For those disappointed in the Seattle Mariners at the winter meetings this week, consider this - their signing of Chone Figgins was universally praised as an impact move.
No, they didn't add power. Or pitching. They didn't come home with a designated hitter or No. 2 starting pitcher. Who's on first remains more than a funny line.
What you've seen from general manager Jack Zduriencik this off-season is a thoughtful, consistent approach to his continued rebuilding of the franchise.
Last winter, he added center fielder Franklin Gutierrez. A year later, he locked up a marvelous defensive shortsop in Jack Wilson, brought back a clubhouse leader who made Ichiro Suzuki a happy guy and snatched Figgins from the division-rival Angels.
Zduriencik isn't done. Rumors persist that the team is in the hunt for two of the three big-name free agents - John Lackey and Jason Bay. It would be a surprise if he doesn't pull off at least one trade in the weeks to come.
What should reassure fans as much as what the Mariners have done this winter is what they haven't done. They haven't panicked and paid too much for, say, the suspect arm of Rich Harden. They didn't send Brandon Morrow, Shawn Kelley and Carlos Triunfel to Detroit for Edwin Jackson.
Zduriencik hasn't made a mistake, but that's not because he's overly cautious. The Mariners were aggressive at the meetings and likely will remain so - Lord knows, they have needs.
What's clear is that Zduriencik knows what kind of team he wants, and is meticulously going about building it. Hismoves so far have earned the benefit of the doubt.
Pat Gillick had his Jeff Cirillo. Woody Woodward and Bill Bavasi made mistakes that set the frachise back years. Zduriencik almost certainly will have a misstep along he way, but he hasn't yet.
Patience, then, is the order of business. Let the Mariners build the team they want. By spring training, they'll almost certainly have a first baseman, another pitcher, a DH and probably a surprise or two.
Now, a few links:
- The Jason Bay derby has another horse - the New York Mets have reportedly offered the free agent outfielder a four-year, $65 million deal.
- The big week for catchers continued with the Colorado Rockies landing Chris Iannetta with a three-year, $8.3 million contract that has a fourth-year, $5 million option.
- The Washington Nationals added Ivan Rodriguez and pitcher Brian Bruney at the winter meetings, and Thomas Boswell thinks that was just the beginning for them this winter.
- The New York Yankees are looking fo another starting pitcher and GM Brian Cashman said the list of remaining free agents is 'pricey.' Among the Yankee candidates: Ben Sheets.
- As they have been the past few years, agents were the 'rock stars' of the winter meetings, and writer Paul Hagen looks at the reasons behind that.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers weren't active at the meetings, and writer Bill Plaschke takes them to task for handcuffing general manager Ned Colletti.
- The Minnesota Twins move into their new ballpark in 2010, and they appear to be doing it with a team payroll that could reach $90 million - $20 million more than the team has ever spent.