Mariners rumors: Conflicting reports on offseason plan

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

After shelling out $240 million to land Robinson Cano, the Mariners offseason plan has gotten pretty murky.

The Mariners could be making an effort to scale back spending as the offseason moves forward, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

Reports that the team has suddenly decided to begin "pinching pennies" clash with the recent rumors of their interest in free agent starter Ervin Santana. However, club officials have reportedly indicated that they are approaching the boundaries of their payroll flexibility, but concessions could be made for the right player.

If that report holds true, the club's all-in assault on the 2013 offseason could end up looking more like an accident than a meticulously outlined blueprint to remodel the franchise.

In addition to Santana, the Mariners have been linked to several other potentially expensive players like Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, and trade candidate David Price.

In his report, Rosenthal suggests that Seattle is still in need of several other pieces to assemble a competitive roster. Despite adding Cano, Corey Hart, Logan Morrison, and re-signing Franklin Gutierrez, Rosenthal poses a need for "another starting pitcher, additional offensive help, and arguably a closer, too."

Some of those needs could be addressed if general manager Jack Zduriencik decides to shop recently displaced second baseman Nick Franklin. Before reaching the majors for the first time last season, the switch-hitting 22-year-old was considered one of the top prospects in the Mariners' farm system, so Zduriencik could see a considerable return if he chooses to move Franklin.

Regardless of how they proceed this winter, the Mariners roster is better equipped to contend in 2014 than they were a year ago, but if they're truly finished adding players, most of the baseball world will be left asking the same question as Rosenthal:

"What the heck are the Mariners doing?"

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