Mariners rumors: Seattle 'again a team to watch' in free agency

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

They might have planned on waiting all along, but now, it looks like the Mariners could jump back into the free agent market.

With a new team president in place and free agent prices falling, the Mariners could be poised to make another significant move, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Several available players could be of interest to the team, including Nelson Cruz, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Fernando Rodney.

Shortly after signing Robinson Cano to a somewhat surprising 10-year, $240 million deal, Rosenthal reported that the team would need to convince ownership to increase their budget to make any more significant moves. General manager Jack Zduriencik said he was likely done making "major" moves this winter.

However, newly appointed team president Kevin Mather -- he doesn't officially take over until next week -- recently said that his team has the financial flexibility to make additional moves, and that future spending is "up to Zduiencik." A public vote of confidence from the new boss could be enough to encourage Zduriencik to do something "major."

The Mariners were briefly considered the frontrunners for Masahiro Tanaka, so they appear to have some interest in improving their rotation. After Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, the team will rely on almost exclusively inexperienced pitchers to fill out their rotation. Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, and Erasmo Ramirez could all be a part of the team's future as starters, but they have pitched less than 200 Major League innings combined. So, a veteran addition like Santana or Jimenez could provide them with valuable innings, and the ability to bring their young pitchers along slowly if they struggle.

At the team's FanFest event, Zduriencik said he has had "a lot of discussions with Adam Katz, [Nelson Cruz'] agent." He expressed concerns about surrendering a draft pick in order to sign a free agent and Cruz' asking price -- which was reportedly four years and $75 million at one point this offseason.

Seattle's 2014 first-round pick is protected, and they already gave up the 30th pick overall by signing Cano. So, if the M's were to sign another free agent tied to draft compensation, they would lose the no. 46 overall.

The team might also decide to pursue an established closer, having relied on the relatively inexperienced Danny Farquhar to finish games late last season. Rosenthal mentions Fernando Rodney as a potential target.

More from SB Nation MLB:

• Tanaka signs with the YankeesNeyer: Nope, the Red Sox aren’t the Yanks

• Neyer: Finally a Greg Maddux controversyFuture HOF cap dilemmas to come

• White Sox extend manager Robin Ventura

• Alfonso Soriano: Recollecting an albatross

• 2014 MLB salary arbitration tracker

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