Seattle still in search of starting pitching
Mariners discuss deals at Winter Meetings, make none
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Without a deadline to put pressure on getting something done, the Mariners spent more time discussing deals than making them at the Winter Meetings.
"I'll talk to one club before I leave for the Dominican Republic," general manager Bill Bavasi said on Thursday morning, "but as I said before we left [Seattle], these meetings are for convenience. We get a chance to sit and talk to someone face-to-face, but that doesn't mean you'll get anything done.
"The only thing that makes things happen is a deadline."
Bavasi said there was "no progress" made between his Wednesday night briefing with Seattle-area media and the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning.
Most of the Mariners' contingent returned to Seattle on Thursday afternoon. Bavasi will stay here until Friday morning and then head south for five days in the Dominican to warm up and cool off.
Asked during a break of the Rule 5 Draft if everyone was as annoyed as him, a club official said, "You just have to accept it. [The meetings] would be a lot more fun if there was a deadline, but it is what it is -- a chance to talk."
The Mariners talked at length with about half of the MLB organizations, trying to put together a package that would improve their starting rotation. Discussions were held with the Orioles regarding left-hander Erik Bedard and the Rays for right-hander Edwin Jackson.
Seattle increased its offer to free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda from three years to four and appears to be one of the two finalists for the pitcher's services. The Diamondbacks have increased their interest, while the Dodgers apparently have backed off.
Kuroda may be coming to America early next week and visit Seattle and Phoenix and could make a decision by the end of the week.
Deals done: None during the Winter Meetings.
Rule 5 activity: The Mariners selected right-hander R.A. Dickey from the Twins in the first round and lost right-handed pitcher Juan Sandoval to the Brewers in the Triple-A Draft.
Goals accomplished: They added a potential starting candidate in knuckleball specialist Dickey, and have a proposal on the table for Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard.
Unfinished business: The Mariners still need pitching help. They upped their original three-year offer to free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to four years and are one of several teams that have a shot at Bedard. A much smaller deal with the Rays for right-hander Edwin Jackson could occur before teams close their offices for the holidays.
GM's bottom line: "We could be a fallback position. If they don't get something done with their main targets soon and they decide to fall back, we may be back in play. There's probably more than one of those examples with us." -- Bavasi, on how the Mariners might get back into the Johan Santana sweepstakes.