There was a time when it seemed like every center field option to which the Chicago Cubs were connected, the Seattle Mariners were also connected. Dexter Fowler, Denard Span, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Austin Jackson. As one of the teams most visibly in need of a center fielder, it made sense for the Mariners to pop up on those names. So, then, following their offseason activity in the outfield has been an exercise in seeing whether they’d step on anything the Cubs were hopeful of doing.
So far, the Mariners have re-signed Franklin Gutierrez, traded for Leonys Martin, and, today, have signed Nori Aoki to a one-year deal (plus an option). That gives them a boatload of options in the outfield – those three, plus Nelson Cruz, Seth Smith, Boog Powell, and other young players – and would seem to close the door on any other major additions out there.*
To be sure, there are other teams looking at outfield upgrades, though there aren’t that many that are looking for a dedicated center fielder. With the Mariners probably out of that mix, without taking up any of the major options listed above, that’s probably slightly good news for the Cubs.
*(Unless they make another trade, which they might. Jerry Dipoto has been crazy active so far in his new gig.)
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