To understand the financial condition of the Mariners in their early years, consider that in addition to managing the franchise’s short-season Class A Bellingham affiliate in the Northwest League, Jeff Scott was also the top assistant to Hal Keller, who was the Mariners’ scouting director and farm director. The Mariners couldn’t even afford to run an extended Spring Training program, much less get overly involved in the pursuit of players out of Latin America.
However, in back-to-back off-seasons, the Mariners made low-level signings that turned into high-profile results — Edgar Martinez out of Puerto Rico in December 1982 and Omar Vizquel of Venezuela in April 1984.
The combined bonuses that scout Marty Martinez gave the two added up to $6,500 — $4,000 for Martinez and $2,500 for Vizquel.
How tight was the budget? Well, after signing Martinez, he didn’t even come to the United States until Bellingham’s workouts began in June 1983. Bellingham, which played in a league designed more for older players, was the franchise’s only short-season affiliate.
“We did get a Rookie League team in 1984, and a lot of my proposal dealt with needing a place for the young shortstop from Venezuela [Vizquel] to play,” Scott said. “We had it for one year. The next winter, [owner] George [Argyros] said Vizquel was being promoted, so we didn’t need that team anymore.”
Fast forward more than 30 years, and look at what has evolved.
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