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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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December 10, 2008 2:11 PM

Jeter on Sabathia; M's discuss Hermida with Marlins

Posted by Geoff Baker

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UPDATE (3:14 p.m.): I'm now told it was the Mariners who actually approached the Marlins to ask about the availability of outfielder Jeremy Hermida, not the other way around. No doubt looking to see whether they can get him cheap. We'll try to nail this down when we speak to GM Jack Zduriencik at 5 p.m.

Some quick Mariners talk before I get further into this post: the Florida Marlins, in need of catching help, have apparently offered outfielder Jeremy Hermida to both the Mariners and the Texas Rangers. The Marlins need catching, as I said, and Mariners Class AAA prospect Rob Johnson could be of interest, though we're not sure whether that specific name was discussed.

Hermida is only 24 and had an .820 OPS in 2007 -- much of it from a second-half burst -- but that slipped to .729 last year. He earned just $395,000 last year, but is now arbitration eligible. He's a lefty hitter, who has played in right field primarily, but will be used in left if he stays in Florida.

He's still young, but whispers of him being a first-round bust now follow him around. Still, he nearly got shipped off as part of that Manny Ramirez deal last summer, so some folks still think highly of him. Johnson is blocked within Seattle's system by Jeff Clement and Kenji Johjima, with Adam Moore on the rise in the minors and Jamie Burke still looming in the background wondering whether he'll come back.

The Tampa Bay Rays already turned down an offer of Hermida for one of their starting pitchers. We'll try to follow up on this some more. I wouldn't go crazy on this offer just yet. The M's get offered plenty of things every day. We know they have surplus catching, so it's natural the Marlins would look their way.

They just did a World Baseball Classic press conference, with Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees up on the podium. Afterwards, Jeter came down to talk about today's seven-year, $160 million contract the Yankees have apparently agreed to with pitcher C.C. Sabathia. See the video below.

"All I can say is how great a pitcher he is,'' Jeter said. Any team would love to have him. He's a guy that's an intimidating factor on the mound,'' Jeter said. "And hopefully, we can get it done.''

In the second clip that the video jumps to, Jeter responds to a question about how he thinks the contract will be perceived in lieu of the nation's troubled economic state. Jeter called the reported deal "kind of mind boggling'' but then added:

"I think it says a lot about the state of the game,'' Jeter says. "The game has increased, attendance has increased throughout the years and it shows that baseball is in a pretty good state right now.''

Had lunch with manager Dan Wakamatsu and some Mariners beat writers within the last hour. Wakamatsu is back home in Texas, just outside of Dallas, after spending some time in Seattle. He'll be holding court with the nation's writers later today as his turn in the rotation comes up. Managers do these things daily.

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