I think it seemed odd to most people in Seattle that the Seattle Mariners would spend 240 million over 10 years on a free agent 2nd basemen. Perhaps the brain-trust of the Seattle Mariners realized they were one superstar away from being contenders.
Or, perhaps this is another sign of the dysfunction that is the Seattle Mariners. I lean towards the latter, and this great expose by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times supports my theory.
The article crosses a wide variety of sources, lending credibility to the points made. Former manager Eric Wedge is oft quoted, and given his terse departure at the end of the year, his story pretty much rings true to his actions. My favorite quote is the stories relayed by Wedge regarding front office meddling:
Things changed after a slow start to 2011. Four people who worked closely with Wedge say he was inundated with directives from above: that Lincoln and Armstrong took notes nightly during games and passed them to Zduriencik, who relayed them to Wedge in his office and expected him to work on it with players.
The sources say Wedge implored Zduriencik to stand up to unreasonable demands, like Lincoln and Armstrong wanting Felix Hernandez and other pitchers to throw live batting practice between starts so position players could work on bunting and situational hitting.
This article does not portray Zduriencik in a good light, which is not often done. The light shown on upper management is also not good, but that is common, as current upper management has the responsibility for the abysmal performance of the Seattle Mariners over the last 10+ years.
So maybe this free agent will be the answer. Unfortunately my guess is this salary commitment will be a disaster, and lead to further dysfunction in the Mariners organization.