SEATTLE – After narrowly missing the postseason, the Seattle Mariners will spend the offseason aggressively trying to add offense to their lineup.
And general manager Jack Zduriencik said Tuesday the club is ready to raise payroll to find the offense that will help end the second-longest playoff drought in baseball.
“We all know from time to time we were challenged offensively so to add pieces to that offense is very important,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Jack and I have talked about that and I would really like to have a right-handed bat to hit behind (Robinson Cano).”
Zduriencik and McClendon spoke two days after Seattle concluded an 87-75 season. The Mariners finished one game behind Oakland in the A.L. wild card standings, taking it down to the final day before the A’s won their finale to avoid a one-game playoff with the Mariners.
Seattle had the best pitching staff in baseball, leading the league with a 3.17 ERA, anchored by ace Felix Hernandez. But the offensive woes were too much to overcome. Seattle was 14th in the A.L. in batting average, last in on-base percentage and 12th in slugging.
McClendon and Zduriencik reiterated that being in the playoff hunt was important for a young team, but that no one is satisfied with missing the postseason.
“I think the one thing that is really interesting about our club, I think we’re a club that is built for the playoffs. But now we have to get ourselves to the point where we’re built for the regular season,” McClendon said. “I don’t think there was a team in baseball that wanted to face the Seattle Mariners in the playoffs because our pitching is just so good. From an offensive standpoint, we’ve got to get better.”
McClendon said he would like to add two hitters and have a more formidable lineup in the Nos. 3-6 spots of his batting order. Two of those spots will be filled by All-Stars Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager.
Cano hit .314 in the first year of a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Mariners, while Seager led Seattle with 25 home runs and 96 runs batted in. With those two at second and third base, respectively, Zduriencik said the most likely positions where offense would be added are the corner outfield spots, designated hitter and first base.
Designated hitter would be the most obvious upgrade. Seattle’s DH – which included Cano for eight games – hit a combined .190 with 15 homers and 50 RBIs in 152 games.
Max Scherzer will start Game 1 of the A.L. division series for Detroit on Thursday. Justin Verlander is slated for Game 2 at Baltimore, followed by David Price and Rick Porcello. … Angels slugger Josh Hamilton says he’s feeling better and is ready for the playoffs this week. He missed 21 of the Angels’ last 22 games because of shoulder and other upper-body injuries. … Houston’s Jose Altuve and Colorado’s Justin Morneau, the two league batting champions, will be on the roster for the MLB all-star postseason tour of Japan. Washington’s Bryce Harper also was added for the trip, which includes a five-game series against Japan’s national team from Nov. 12-18 that will be preceded and followed by exhibition games. … Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran has undergone elbow surgery to remove a bone spur and loose pieces that limited his throwing ability for most of the 2014 season. … The Rangers have interviewed internal candidates Mike Maddux and Steve Buechele in their search for a new manager. … Greg Walker has quit as hitting coach of the Braves.
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