Mariners Insider Blog

WINTER MEETINGS 2008: Updated info on Putz, Beltre, Washburn, Bloomquist, Bedard and Griffey.

OK, I'm taking my previous bullet points and elaborating with some more info on them from my meeting with Zduriencik.

* J.J. Putz has drawn the most interest from teams so far. Zduriencik said "several" teams have contacted him about Putz and his availability. So far he's heard the Mets, Tigers, Cardinals and Indians, but I assume at least three or four others have also asked.

"Several," Zduriencik said when asked how many teams have contacted him about Putz.

"In terms of Putz, there's a lot of clubs in baseball that need that guy," he said. "Sure there have been inquiries about J.J. We have talked about J.J. with other teams. But we haven't made a determination about what we are going to do because that's a very important position for us and a lot of clubs in baseball."

Putz could clearly bring back perhaps a left-fielder to fill the spot vacated by Raul Ibanez.

"My estimation if anything happened on that front then we would have to consider that it is something that helps this organization short term and long term – as any trade would be," Zduriencik said.

Realistically, the Tigers would be the most likely partners. We talked about Putz's Michigan roots, but its more than that, the Tigers have some players that might match-up for a trade.

Outfielder Matt Joyce and first baseman Jeff Larish seem like possibilities.

Putz was apparently upset about the trade rumors - he wants to stay with the Mariners. Zduriencik said he called Putz to clarify the situation.

"I said, 'J.J., I can't make any promises right now," Zduriencik said. "I can't control people calling me and I can't control people making inquiries about you. There's nothing I can control about that. That being the case, J.J., you're a desirable player for a lot of clubs including our own and again as a general manager I have to listen. But I'm not saying anything is going to happen.'"

* Zduriencik has not had any formal talks about a team trying to acquire third baseman Adrian Beltre.

"No one has really talked to me about our third baseman," Zduriencik said. "People have asked questions about him in passing, but I've had no one come to me, and say, 'I want and sit down and talk to you about acquiring your third baseman.'"

* The same for left-handed starter Jarrod Washburn, Zduriencik said no team has asked about him at this point.

"As far as Jarrod Washburn, I have had no discussions or active trade talks to move him at this period of time," Zduriencik said.

* With catching always being needed and the Mariners having a surplus, guys like Adam Moore, Rob Johnson and Jeff Clement have some value, but Zduriencik said he's not looking to trade any of his catching, especially younger catching, right now.

"There have been some people who have inquired about our catching," he said. "As you well know, it's a very difficult position to fill and we currently have three at the bigt-league and we have some desirable guys at the minor league level. But I am not inclined to move any of our young catching."

Obviously, the inquiries don't include Kenji Johjima, who the Mariners would gladly trade if there were takers, but Zduriencik seems firm on keeping Jeff Clement, Rob Johnson and Adam Moore.

"You never know what will happen, or what someone will present to you, but at this moment of time, I am not actively shopping nor do I have a desire to move any of our young catchers," he said.

* Zduriencik said that Brandon Morrow's conversion to a starter will continue, but admitted that it could change if personnel moves were made. He said that's the case with any player. But as of now, they are looking at Morrow as a starter. If they trade Putz, maybe that changes.

"I haven't talked to him about it yet," Zduriencik said of Morrow staying a starter. "I think it's something he wants to do. Myself, Don and the staff will get together and have this debate for quite a period of time, but as of right now, my understanding is that he has been told that he would be given a chance to be in rotation. We haven't change dour mind on that and don't know what we will."

"I do think that any type of player moves, whether it be signing someone, or trading someone, or bringing someone in, whatever you do to improve your ball club, has a domino effect, no question about it,'' Zduriencik said. "I think when the day is said and done, our job is to put the best talented players on the field in the position where they can have the most success. How we determine that is an ongoing process that will remain unanswered until we roll into spring training and realize exactly what this ball club is going to look like.''

* Don Wakamatsu and Erik Bedard hung out last night in Vegas and Zduriencik met with Bedard as well. They are all ecstatic about his progress and believe he should be ready for spring training.

"Don spent some time with him last night and they had a great time," Zduriencik said. "He is every excited. As I said before, and Don echoed it, he met with the trainers (and doctor) and is excited about it. He said, 'hey, I was not 100 percent last year' and that affects a lot of things, your approach, your psyche, your confidence and your ability to perform.

"Every indication points that way. But as you go forward with this, sometimes there are things that happen that cause a little setback, but in terms of the steps to be ready, he is in good shape right now."

* Zduriencik has had further talks with Ken Griffey Jr.'s agent.

"There have been discussions. They've been soft, mild, they haven't been anything concrete. I've talked to Brian a couple different times about a different thoughts and ideas, and again why wouldn't I listen to what he had to say, I'm not closing the door to anything. There's no dialogue going on that would lead to something, all it is cordial conversations."

* Zduriencik talked briefly about Willie Bloomquist, and said they don't have anybody on the roster like him in terms of versatility, but said little about re-signing him.

"I would say based on what Willie did, that we probably don't have anybody on our 25-man roster to do what he did. We probably don't have anyone on our 40 man roster. So I think multi-purpose, mulit-positional player is a desirable player. As we move forward, we'll see how the other pieces fit together to see how if he fits in, if at all. Or does someone else fit in that role. I don't' have that answer yet."