The Mariners missed out on a couple of free agents players of note this weekend – one major leaguer, and one minor leaguer.
There were plenty of reports that the Mariners were serious players for veteran outfielder Melky Cabrera, but Melky had other offers, too – and he decided to sign with the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox have been extremely aggressive this off-season, trying to turn a 75-win team into a wild card (or even division title?) contender. Melky is a great add for them – just like he would’ve been for the Mariners.
Then at the Triple-A level, 2014 Tacoma Rainiers all-star infielder Gabriel Noriega signed as a free agent with the Kansas City Royals. It’s a minor league deal that probably includes an invitation to major league spring training.
The Mariners signed Noriega as a teenager and he worked his way up to Triple-A, but was not added to the 40-man roster. Because he’s played six full seasons in the minors, he was granted free agency.
I assume that the Mariners tried to re-sign him (we could certainly use him in Tacoma), but Noriega probably looked at the situation like this: both Brad Miller and Chris Taylor shot past him and reached the majors, and Ketel Marte is going to be the Triple-A shortstop and is one of the organization’s top prospects, Kyle Seager just signed for $100 million, Robinson Cano is here forever… it’s time to try a different organization with more potential for upward mobility.
Hopefully Noriega will get a shot at the big leagues with the Royals.
- In his notebook from Saturday, Bob Dutton reports that the Mariners are probably going to keep Brad Miller at shortstop.
- John McGrath can’t believe that Kendrys Morales got a two-year contract from the Royals.
- Larry Stone revealed his Hall Of Fame ballot and explained why Edgar Martinez isn’t getting elected.
- The Seattle Times ran a story on new Mariner Nelson Cruz.
- In this blog for ESPN Insiders, former GM Jim Bowden suggests that the Mariners could get Justin Upton from Atlanta for prospects Ketel Marte and Edwin Diaz. Upton is a free agent after 2015 so you only get him for one year, but… that’s interesting.
- PCL President Branch Rickey – who won an award at the Winter Meetings – told a great story about a pregame promotion gone wrong involving jackrabbits.
- This is a fun read: Joe Posnanski ranked the 25 best players who are not in the Hall of Fame – with no restrictions at all. Several ex-Rainiers, an ex-Tacoma Tiger, and some ex-Mariners are on the list.
- Former Seattle Rainiers broadcaster Rod Belcher passed away at age 94. He had quite a career.
- Also passing away: Sy Berger, father of the modern baseball card. Here is his New York Times obituary.
Next update: Wednesday. That last link gave me an idea…