Yes, there was a King’s Court in the Tokyo Dome. This is Mariners security guard and avid fan Daryl Chadderdon, keeping the court alive and well half way across the world.
Here are fans lined up to buy concessions, with Mariners items the seemingly popular item. A Mariners shirt, that would be 6,000 yen. Most Tokyo Dome fans lined up solidly in favor of Seattle, with lots of Ichiro jerseys. Did see a couple A’s shirts, but they were in the distinct minority. Read more
Former Reds and Nationals general manager Jim Bowden suggested Tuesday on his Twitter account that the Mariners were the “front runners” for free agent Prince Fielder, with the Brewers, Cubs and Blue Jays only interested in shorter-term deals.
But Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik disagreed with the stance later in the evening when meeting with several Seattle media members in his hotel suite in the Anatole Hilton in Dallas.
“I don’t want to talk about Prince, but I would say the wording of that is misleading,” Zduriencik said. “Because you don’t know, on any free agent, I have no clue how many clubs are in on any free agent that we’re talking to.
“Even today, the guys I’ve sat with tell me they’ve got five clubs interested in their player or players. And in any case, how do you know that? Another ballclub is not going to tell you. As I’ve said with all of this stuff, I’d prefer to be low key on any discussion. My style is not to build up a big fanfare. Sometimes these things get legs of their own.
“To say anybody is a front runner, I don’t know how that would have come out.”
Zduriencik said he ran into Bowden in the hotel lobby earlier in the day, but the two exchanged nothing more than hellos. Bowden is now working for ESPN and MLB Network.
Jack Zduriencik isn’t jumping feet first into the pool quite yet, but the Mariners GM acknowledged his club is interested in Prince Fielder and will “go down that road” and see where it leads.
The Mariners certainly could use an offensive boost, having endured the lowest scoring offense in the American League the past two seasons. But they’ve also got about $80 million of their projected $95 million in payroll already tied up in existing contracts and expected arbitration raises.
Thus it would take some creative maneuvering to get serious with Fielder, which is why I specifically asked Zduriencik if the Mariners had the resources to pursue the free-agent slugger.
“That really depends,” said Zduriencik, who was the Brewers scouting director when they drafted Fielder in 2002. ”There are so many factors there and no one knows where that number will end up. As much as you might have desire to go down a path, the length and dollars tie into that.
“There’s no question we could use a big bat in the middle of our lineup, but where is your limitation and threshold? We’ll go down that road and experiment and see where it ends up, but until things get more definitive, we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Here’s my full story on Zduriencik’s thoughts on the Mariners situation as they head to the Winter Meetings next week.
– Greg Johns
Looking to add some right-handed punch to their roster, the Mariners selected outfielder Mike Wilson from Triple-A Tacoma on Monday and designated veteran Ryan Langerhans for assignment.
Wilson, 27, will make his first appearance in a Major League uniform Tuesday when the Mariners open a three-game series in Baltimore. He was hitting .381 with four home runs and 14 RBIs for the Rainiers and has been in the Mariners Minor League system since 2001 when he was a second-round Draft pick.
Wilson gives manager Eric Wedge a right-handed option off the bench and could help out in left field or at designated hitter. The Mariners have won eight of their past 12 games, but continue struggling at the plate and have scored just 18 runs over their past eight games.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Wilson, who turned down a football scholarship to Oklahoma when he signed with the Mariners, hit 17 home runs in Tacoma and eight for Double-A West Tenn last season.
Langerhans, 31, is a nine-year Major League veteran who has been with the Mariners the past three seasons. He was hitting .173 in 52 at-bats for Seattle with three home runs and six RBIs in 52 at-bats.
The Mariners will have 10 days to trade, release or outright the contract of Langerhans.