Much will be made over the Seattle Mariners payroll in the coming weeks. General manager Jack Zduriencik has already told MLB.com and the Seattle Times that he anticipates that the payroll will not go down, and he will likely have more money available this offseason.
Here's my previous thoughts on payroll
Last season, the Mariners payroll was right around $83 million. A year ago, the Mariners had budgeted for about $91 million in payroll going into the season. Zduriencik came in under that number. Some of it was aided by the dropping of Ichiro and Brandon League's contracts. This season it should exceed that. The Mariners, according to a source, are expected to budget more than $91 million for payroll. Given the money coming off the books with Ichiro, League and other contracts, that gives Seattle some money to do something.
Obviously, some of that projected payroll is slightly decreased with the two most recent signings.
- Hisashi Iwakuma signed a two-year contract extension for roughly about $14 million. Iwakuma will make $6.5 million in 2013 and $6.5 million in 2014. The Mariners have a $7 million club option for 2015 with a $1 million buyout.
- Oliver Perez signed a 1-year contract for $1.5 million with $600,000 in bonuses.
But that still leaves a sizable amount of dollars to invest in hitting and perhaps another back of the rotation starter.
Still, it's important to remember, spending money just because you have it is foolish, and financially irresponsible. It's how the Red Sox ended up with John Lackey. And while teams like the Red Sox can overcome it, the Mariners are not in a similar situation.
It's not so much fiscal responsibility, but fiscal awareness. Spending for the sake of spending leads to Carlos Silva. Smart spending for the purpose of building and filling needs leads to Iwakuma or Perez or even Kevin Millwood.
Looking at the free agent crop of hitters this year, which isn't great, I'd be hesitant to drop tons of money on Nick Swisher or BJ Upton or even Josh Hamilton. A possible trade for a hitter like Justin Upton, who is under contract and younger, seems like a better investment.
We will likely get some time with Zduriencik tomorrow at the Iwakuma press conference to ask more. But it's clear he will likely have more money this offseason than he has in the past few seasons to help build his roster.