The Seattle Mariners made their first real move of the off-season today, signing Jack Cust to a 2.5 million, 1 year deal. Dan wrote earlier today about how underwhelming the Mariners off-season had been thus far. There haven’t been any deals and the rumors have been just as lame. So, getting an actual bit of news is nice.
Don’t get me wrong, Jack Cust isn’t exactly the most exciting news, especially with the Angels looking like the front-runner for Carl Crawford but I think this was a nice move. Cust is a left-handed power hitter. He’s been with the A’s the last few years and has put up solid numbers. He’s an all-or-nothing type of hitter (like Russell Branyan) who strikes out and walks a ton.
Cust has had a drop-0ff in power the last few years. His slugging percentages his first two years in the bigs were .504 and .476 (in 2007 and 2008). The last two years his slugging percentages were .417 and .438. His home run total has dropped a little bit. These are the reasons to fear, but there are reasons to expect success.
Cust is a left-handed bat that could do quite well in Safeco. Signing for 2.5 million is very cheap for a player who would have been the Mariners best power-hitter last year and who will most likely be their best power-hitter this year. Cust will step into the middle of the lineup and actually give this team at least a little bit of a threat.
Will Cust turn this team around? No, but he’ll be one of the small pieces that could turn this team back to respectability. We don’t have much money to spend, but this was a low risk-high reward type of move that we’re used to seeing out of Jack Z.
In other news, the Mariners are reportedly on the verge of signing Miguel Olivo to a 2 year, $7.5 million deal. When Mariner fans think of Miguel Olivo most come close to throwing up in their mouths, but the truth is he’s not near as bad as we remember. And, don’t forget that Rob Johnson was our starting catcher a good share of last year. We’ll have more on this move if it actually happens. As of now, it’s nothing but rumors.