By Mike Salk
You want rumors? You got 'em! Hear are some bits and pieces (mostly Mariners related) I picked up around the lobby yesterday (and last night).
-As much as we've heard the Mariners connected with Gregg Zaun, one Mariner's source says his name hasn't come up that often yet. That's not to say they aren't looking at veteran catchers. According to the source, the name that keeps popping up is that of Miguel Olivo (pictured). The former Mariner has hit 10 or more home runs every year since 2006 (including 22 in 2009) but obviously struggled in his time in Seattle.
Shannon Drayer has more on Olivo here.
Personally, I think Zaun is a GREAT fit (although I'll admit to not knowing too much about Olivo). Zaun would likely settle for a one year deal (since he's coming off an injury) and is the perfect personality to help Eric Wedge change the culture of the clubhouse. He is an old-timey, salty veteran who will police the clubhouse. According to one player who was with him on one of Zaun's 10 teams, the catcher "is a riot and he will handle any problems that come up. He knows the game, the way it's played and he'll let you know how to play it. I loved him."
Yes, Zaun is an injury risk and he might not play much for whichever team signs him, but I think he would be valuable whether he plays or not!
By the way, I've also heard the team isn't as high on Adam Moore as they once were. That probably isn't too surprising given the year he had, but there is a sense that he better figure it out soon.
-As much as he made sense to me, the Mariners apparently didn't care to much for Mark Reynolds. One member of the Padres front office said San Diego called the M's about him but were told, "no thanks." The Mariners are not impressed with the right-handed power and think he could be "another Richie Sexson." I say, fine with me! Sexson hit 30+ home runs twice with the M's and never hit less than 20. Their team leader hit 15 last year!
-The Mariners are looking harder for a second basemn than for someone to play third. The team believes Chone Figgins is MUCH better at the hot corner. I heard that at least one teammate last year was shocked at how much Figgins struggled with the move to second. That same teammate wasn't too upset to see Jose Lopez traded either, saying he wasn't exactly a workaholic.
-The Mariners may have kicked the tires on Hideki Matsui, but most seem to believe that would never happen.
-The Mariners may have also looked into former Braves OF Matt Diaz, but they should get in line. Diaz crushes lefty pitching and is considered a great piece for a team in contention.
-Don't be surprised if the Rays trade one of their fantastic starting pitchers. Heard from one source last night who would be surprised if both James Shields and Matt Garza are still there by the start of spring training.