Mariners Attempting to Make Newsworthy News

Other real-world responsibilities pulled me away from baseball most of the past week and a half. Looks I didn't miss much until the past few days. The Mariners have been reportedly busy without much to officially show yet. Frankly, that doubles as a description of their whole offseason. In case you need an update going into spring training (starts Tuesday!), here you go:
  • Maybe Felix Hernandez is about to sign a huge contract. Ryan Divish at the TNT has a nice summary blog post up today with the latest grumblings about some sort of elbow problem that might be a reason King Felix and the M's haven't agreed to a 7-year, $175 million deal that was reported a few days ago. My guess (pure speculation) is that they found some sort of normal wear-and-tear that would be expected of a workhorse like King Felix, and perhaps also explains his gradual dip in velocity over the last few seasons. The Mariners want Felix, and Felix wants to stay with the Mariners. Maybe the deal includes some sort of injury clauses, but my prediction is that it gets done. I'm so sure of it I still named my fantasy baseball league after King Felix this season.
  • Maybe Joe Saunders is about to sign a modest contract. I feel like there has been speculation about Saunders for the better part of a month now. The speculation strengthened the last few days to reports that a deal is in place, pending a physical. Saunders will essentially replace Jason Vargas, and on paper there is a very good chance that his impersonation is a dead ringer. I also love the idea of Saunders crushing his former team, the Angels, but we will have to see if that happens.
  • Kelly Shoppach officially signed a deal, and the Mariners DFAd Shawn Kelley to make room for him. I am not in love with this move, but it is rather minor so it is hard to have much emotion about at all. Shoppach is the backup catcher, Kelley was a middle reliever. I feel like the Mariners could find similar backup catchers by offering minor league deals with invites to spring training, thus saving Kelley or someone else for another month. Seems a bit to me like the Mariners spent more than they needed to get Shoppach, and gave up more than they needed to at this point.
  • Jon Garland was given a minor league contract with invite to spring training. Welcome this year's Kevin Millwood to camp! Garland isn't quite as much of a grizzled veteran, but he pitches to contact and got lost in the off-season shuffle because he did not pitch at all last season. I think Garland is better than fellow revival project Jeremy Bonderman, which makes him in my view closer to a dark horse than a long shot to grab the fifth spot in the M's starting rotation.
Spring training starts slowly, but it will be nice to talk about something besides all the things maybe or maybe not happening. It's time to play ball, or at least have pitchers and catcher play games of catch that replace clips of amazing squirrels on local sports broadcasts.