Report: Mariners appear willing to offer Melky Cabrera a similar contract to Nelson Cruz

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The Mariners signed veteran slugger Nelson Cruz to a four-year, $57 million contract this week, but general manager Jack Zduriencik is still looking for ways to improve his lineup. We heard last night that free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera is on their radar and CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman has some details on what a potential offer from Seattle might look like:

Cabrera is said to be seeking a five-year deal, with the Mariners thought to be willing to get into the neighborhood of the $57-million, four-year deal Cruz received.

The 30-year-old Cabrera is nearly four years younger than Cruz and he’s coming off a strong season in his own right, so it’s possible someone will give him that fifth year. But the AAV (average annual value) sounds about right.

The Mariners are also scouring the trade market for another bat. Recent reports have connected them to Matt Kemp of the Dodgers, Justin Upton and Evan Gattis from the Braves, and Yoenis Cespedes of the Red Sox, among others.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.