We just had our daily meeting with GM Jack Zduriencik where he talked about a few different things. Of course, none of the things included possible players he might be looking at or interested in acquiring. If you haven't followed the Mariners much or are not familiar with how Zduriencik works, he simply isn't going to tip his hand in these situations. It's just not his style. He's very up front about it.
So we didn't get any comments about possibly acquiring catcher Gregg Zaun or outfielder Matt Diaz. Both fit into what the Mariners are looking for. I'm skeptical of all the rumors about Hideki Matsui coming here.
Obviously, it's been well documented that the Mariners don't have much payroll to work with in bringing players because of how the roster sits now. A rough guesstimate is maybe $12 million to work with -- or roughly a full year of Milton Bradley.
Zduriencik admitted moves could take a certain level of creativity.
"We have a lot of committed dollars, so we have to be flexible and versatile to do some things," he said. "I would hope there’s a way or two we can improve our club. That remains to be seen."
There have been talks in the weeks leading up to the meetings. He called it a "feeling out" process.
Part of it will be waiting for the market to settle down. It's not that the Mariners are picking out the scraps. But their budget simply won't allow them to look at top free agents. Even Zduriencik admitted as much.
"I would say we are probably in a position this year to where we need to get answers to our current crop of players," he said. "I do think we are going to see some young guys on the ball club this season."
We can name the young guys - Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders, Dan Cortes, Josh Lueke, Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley.
But Zduriencik isn't going to assure them spots on the 25-man roster.
“I don’t know how the club is going to end up shaping up, some of these young guys we are talking about have options,” he said. “They’re not on scholarship. They’re not guaranteed to be in a certain position on the field. They have to earn it.
"If you earn it at spring training, you will be on the club. If you don’t, you will be back in Tacoma."
One thing that was asked by a good-looking, young reporter from Montana was whether or not he had talked to Chone Figgins about the trade of Jose Lopez and any possible move back to third base for Figgins.
Right now, it seems likely that Dustin Ackley would start at second and Figgins would go back to third after an awful season at second base.
"We have not had any discussion," Zduriencik said "It’s yet to be determined. We’re here this week all together, Eric Wedge is here, to talk about all possibilities and options."
Zduriencik wants to have a better grasp of what the roster is like and whether such a decision would even fit.
"That's putting the cart before the horse," he said. "We want to be solidified that this is our thinking and this is what we want do to. But right now that decision has not been made yet."