Seattle Mariners

Twins Sign E. Santana, Royals Ink Morales

esantana

Ervin Santana joined his 4th team in 4 years.

 

One former Royal is going to Minnesota and one former Twin is going to Kansas City. Starting pitcher Ervin Santana and 1st Baseman/DH Kendrys Morales have found new teams for the 2015 season.

Santana is coming off a one-year, $14.1MM deal he signed with the Atlanta Braves last March after injuries had depleted the Braves starting rotation. Santana, who turns 32 on Friday, won 14 games in 31 starts. Except for a rough patch in May, Santana kept the Braves in most of the games he started and was 3-0, 1.95 in four April starts. The Twins rewarded him with a four-year deal worth about $55MM. While the average is less than the pay he got from Atlanta, he gets the long term deal he sought prior to last season. This is Santana’s fourth team in four years.

Morales was just starting to become a star in the league when he broke his leg celebrating a game winning grand slam home run for the Los Angeles Angels in 2010. He missed the rest of the season (111 games) and all of the 2011 season as a result.

He hit well in his return in 2012 (.787 OPS, 22 HR 73 RBI in 134 games), but the Halos dealt him to Seattle in December for pitcher Jason Vargas. He was a player without a team in 2014 until early June when the Twins signed him to a deal for the remainder of the season. At the deadline, he was sent back to Seattle for pitcher Stephen Pryor.

Morales’ deal with the Royals is for two years and $17MM. The 31-year old will replace Billy Butler at DH and occasionally spell Eric Hosmer at first base.

Signed: Cruz Joins Cano in Seattle

NCruz

Had Nelson Cruz not been busted in the Biogenesis scandal in 2013 he likely would have landed a five year deal last year with at least a value of $90MM – $100MM. Instead he signed with the Baltimore Orioles for one year and bashed an AL leading 40 home runs and drove in 108 runs.

It was those numbers that landed Cruz a four-year, $57MM deal with the Seattle Mariners Monday morning. It’s still shy a year and some millions of what he could have made, but after last season’s compromise (Cruz earned $8MM), the new deal looks pretty golden.

The Mariners made a committment last season towards a brighter tomorrow when they held firm to their policy of holding on to ace Felix Hernandez and then signed free agent second baseman Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240MM deal. The team also inked closer Fernando Rodney last offseason and recently signed slugging third baseman Kyle Seager to a seven year extension. They also dealt for centerfielder Austin Jackson at the 2014 trade deadline.

Cruz is likely to spend most of his time at DH, though he should see upwards of 50 games in left and/or right field spelling Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders. The 34-year old, who has been subject to hamstring injuries throughout his career, matched his career high for games played last season with 159. His home run and RBI totals were both career highs (it was the first time he knocked in 100 runs) and helped earn Cruz his third All-Star appearance and a 7th place finish in the AL MVP voting.

His season was made more interesting by the fact that Cruz only put up .783 OPS at his home ball park, the hitter friendly Camden Yards. His bat also went to sleep from June through part of August.

The New York Mets originally signed the Dominican native to a contract in 1998. He was dealt to the Oakland A’s in 2000 and then moved on to Milwaukee in 2004. The deal that kickstarted his career though came in 2006 when he and Carlos Lee were sent to the Texas Rangers for reliever Francisco Cordero and outfielders Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix.

Cruz had his break out season in 2009 when he slugged 33 home runs. He’s averaged 29 home runs in his last six seasons. He had 27 HR and 76 RBI when he was suspended 50 games for his involvement with Biogenesis, the performance enhancing drug (PED) “store” that mascaraded as a health clinic.

With Cruz’s departure, the Orioles may ramp up their talks with the LA Dodgers about outfielder Matt Kemp.

Extended: Mariners Re-Up Seager For 7 Years

Seager

Kyle Seager has 100 million reasons to smile.

 

The Seattle Mariners made a big committment to turning things around last offseason when they gave free agent second baeman Robinson Cano to a 10 year, $240MM contract. The Mariners continued to build for the here and now, and the future, when they agreed – as reported by Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan – today to a seven year, $100MM contract extension with third baseman Kyle Seager.

The 27-year old is coming off his best season in the Major Leagues, one that saw him earn his first All-Star nod and captured his first Gold Glove Award as well. Seager finished 20th in the AL MVP vote after he compiled a .268/.334/.454 slash line with career highs in home runs (25) and RBI (96).  The North Carolina native has averaged 22 home runs and 84 RBI in his first three full seasons in the Major Leagues.

Seager would not have been eligible for free agency until the 2018 season and wasn’t arbitration eligible until 2015.

2015 Mariners at a glance

Starting Rotation – Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma (possible on the trading block), James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, Roenis Elias

Infield – 1B – Logan Morrison 2B – Cano SS – Brad Miller/Chris Taylor 3B – Seager

Outfield – Dustin Ackley, Austin Jackson, Michael Saunders

Catcher – Mike Zunino

Bullpen – Closer – Fernando Rodney,

Seattle’s Chris Young, the comeback kid- er, man

Photo credit: Otto Greule Jr. Getty Images