Mariners Insider Blog

For the Mariners, options grow as the market falls

Jack Zduriencik must like the way the free-agent market is playing out, and if it continues on another week or two, he and the Seattle Mariners might be in position to pick up a player at a bargain.

Teams are passing on the contract demands of still-available players like Manny Ramirez and Adam Dunn, and a pitcher like Pedro Martinez has suddenly found his market reduced to one interested team – the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Ken Griffey Jr. doesn't have a job, or a serious offer. Neither do Bobby Abreu, Garret Anderson, Orlando Hudson, Orlando Cabrera or Omar Vizquel. That's not to say the Mariners will make offers on any of them – but the market has kept those playes available, and their prices keep falling like Blue Chip stocks.

The new Mariners GM may benefit from the market or may pass entirely on grabbing another free agent, but his patience – if that's what it is – has certainly put him in position to shop.

And it may be, that was his intention all along.

Yes, Zduriencik is pursuing trades and talking to teams. The Yankees are tangling outfielders Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady, and the Mariners have chatted to see what New York wants in return.

But if trade talks go nowhere, the Mariners may find themselves an unemployed player without many options. Then all they have to deal with is pride.

Back in the '80s, for instance, Hall of Famer Rod Carew still had enough bat left to play a few seasons, perhaps in a slightly diminished role. And the Angels offered him a $1 million contract.

Carew was offended and retired.

This year, players like Nomar Garciaparra, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas and Vizquel may face the same option – play for what their market value has become or go home.

The Mariners? If they choose to bid, they won't find nearly as much competition as they once expected.