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Is 6 years too long? Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Posted by jkcmason in Acquisitions, Contracts, Mariners, Offseason.
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What in your opinion would make a larger difference on a baseball team: Option 1) signing two players with questionable pasts and mediocre talent, or Option 2) Landing One younger top of the line pitcher to lead your staff? I keep pondering Bill Bavasi’s free agent moves and to me they just don’t make sense. I would much rather have Barry Zito pitching at the top my rotation for the next 6 years than Jose Guillen batting 6th or 7th and Miguel Batista pitching 4th . I can understand that signing a starting pitcher no matter what their age to a 6 year deal is risky, but signing a 36 year old pitcher to a 3 year deal and a player who has been cut from 4 out of 6 teams is riskier. Barry Zito has been a consistent force for the Oakland Athletics for the past 7 years including three appearances in the All Star Game and one Cy young award. He rarely misses starts and is known for finishing the season strong. Signing him until he is 34 for $16 million dollars a year is better to me than signing 36 year old Miguel Batista to a 3 year deal at $8.5 million and 30 year old Jose Guillen to a one year $5.5 million contract with bonuses. Last year the Mariners were willing to sign Jarrod Washburn to a 4 year deal at $13 million a year. I do not see Jarrod Washburn as the ace of any pitching staff, unless he goes with Meche to the Kansas City Royals. Barry Zito would be the Ace of our pitching staff, and a player that we could count to get better as the season goes on. Not to mention that with players price tags rising like they are $16 million dollars a year will look like a bargain in 3 years. Two years ago Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson’s contracts looked like busts, but now they look like decent deals. If we are willing to pay Miguel Batista until he is 39 or 40, then we should be willing to pay Barry Zito until he is 34 or 35. What the hell give him 7 years in my opinion, just send back Batista.

Vidro to Free Up Possibilities Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Posted by jkcmason in Acquisitions, Jose Vidro, Mariners, Offseason.
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Looks like the Mariners have made another move acquiring Jose Vidro from the Nationals for the young talent of Chris Snelling and Emiliano Fruto. This move doesn’t make since with the current Mariners infield, all it could do would be to set us up for another trade. Vidro has experience at 1st base, 2nd base, and 3rd base. 1st base has already been the focus of rumors with Broussard headed to the Orioles, and Sexson headed to either the Giants or the Yankees. Acquiring Vidro allows the Mariners to give serious thought to trading Adrian Beltre, or Jose Lopez.

The most important goal of the Mariners in the off-season was to acquire a “top end” starter, unless by some means you would consider Horacio Ramirez or Miguel Batista on the top end of things, the Mariners have fallen short. There are some top end starters that are rumored to be available via trade. That list would include the likes of Tim Hudson, Brad Penny, Dan Haren, Jon Garland, Dontrelle Willis, and Mark Buerhle. Without bringing in a third team to the deal the most likely acquisition would be Dan Haren. Tim Hudson isn’t as likely due to the fact that the Braves have already dealt a starting pitcher in Ramirez. Mark Buerhle and Jon Garland are also less likely to be dealt after the recent move sending Freddy Garcia to the Phillies. D-Train would be a great fit for the Mariners to trade for, but it still isn’t likely that he is even on the block with Florida’s GM repeatedly quoted as saying otherwise. Brad Penny is on a team that the Mariners could deal with, but the Dodgers strengths are close to the same as the Mariners. Richie Sexson – Nomar Garciaparra, Jose Lopez – Jeff Kent, and Adrian Beltre – Wilson Betimit, Andy LaRoche.

Even with Dan Haren being the most likely conclusion, there are still problems in dealing for him. First and foremost is that the A’s aren’t likely to trade within their own division. Another strike against the deal is that Oakland is also not prone to take a large contract like Richie Sexson or Adrian Beltre. This would leave a combo deal likely to involve Jose Lopez and center fielder Jeremy Reed, who Billy Beane is reported to covet.

Of these pitchers rumored to be on the block I would most like Bill Bavasi to push for Dontrelle Willis. D-Train is a young top end Starter that throws with charisma. He would easily win the fan base over in Seattle even if it does take him some time to adjust to the American League. That doesn’t make it any more likely that the Marlins are willing to part with him, but I had to get my opinion out there some how.

Worst Offseason Ever… Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Posted by mrgenre in Acquisitions, Offseason.
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I’m sufficiently rattled, as every good Mariners fan should be, by our team’s lackluster achievements so far this offseason. If Bavasi was just trying to hurt himself here (which he’s doing a fine job of), that’s one thing, but to cripple our franchise is another.Let’s break down these moves so far:

As most baseball analysts are putting it, we were basically “fleeced” in our dealings with the Braves, giving up star reliever Rafael Soriano for southpaw Horacio Ramirez, a third-tier starter at his BEST.

We signed Jose Guillen to right field for 5.5 mil plus incentives, a move most northwest columnists are choosing to see as a “guy with a big upside,” while the national media didn’t seem to notice it even happening.

We have reportedly (although if Batista is calling it, then it happened) signed Miguel Batista to a three year deal, inking the Mariners back into the nursing home once again, after a year that finally saw our team with a respectable average age.

We picked up a Rule V draftee from the Pirates for a little cash, which basically means when he doesn’t make the club this spring we get to send him back to the Braves (his original team) and pay them 25 grand just for playing with him a little while.

These moves aside, I think what really gets to each and every Mariners fan is the moves that didn’t happen. There were those of us who dreamed of a starting five that included Kei Igawa and Jason Schmidt prior to the winter meetings. Many were itching at the thought of signing a perennial slugger like Barry Bonds or Frank Thomas to DH.

My personal pick for worst move that didn’t happen so far? Jason Jennings.

He was traded from the Rockies to the Astros today for a center-fielder and two good pitching prospects. It was rumored that in their search for someone to rove the grounds at Coors’ Field, they were interested in Jeremy Reed, a player who at best next season for us (thanks to a few poor sessions at the plate and Ichiro shifting a little to his right) will make the starting roster in Tacoma. And starting pitching prospects? Prospects we have. Major leaguers we don’t. This is the trade that Bavasi should have jumped on. This is the trade that would have kept him in Seattle. And now, aside from some stellar Richie Sexson for an ace move that no one has forseen, Bavasi is likely gone after next season (if not earlier) and thanks to him, Hargrove will also likely get the boot.

You’ve still got my heart, Mariners, but when the only thing that has made me smile this offseason is watching Toronto pay millions for Gil Mess, the thoughts of Ramirez and Batista mowing down batters at Safeco won’t quite keep me warm this winter.

We will miss you, Soriano Monday, December 11, 2006

Posted by mrgenre in Acquisitions, Mariners, Offseason, Rafael Soriano.
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Okay, folks. I can untie my tongue now. It was a lousy article, ripe with inaccurate (yes, it was in the Oregonian) wonderings about Bavasi’s inability to keep minor league players and such, but it at least got my question out there: Why not convert Soriano into a starter?
Let’s have a look at who we got in return, shall we?
Horacio Ramirez, an unproven, third-tier, injury-prone starter whose only upsides are his age (27) and the fact that he’s a lefty. Who knows? He could come through for us. He’s got the potential to be a 200 inning workhorse who keeps the ball down and isn’t afraid to rely on his infield to get the job done for him. Infield we got.

But, was it worth losing Soriano? A guy who last season proved himself (again) to be capable of a tremendous season in the ‘pen! Now, I’ll be the first to admit that with Mateo still a part of our club, we have nothing to worry about (sarc), but Soriano wanted to start! He even asked, knowing we were short arms. In his rookie year, he did start for us eight times and pitched a dismal 4.56 and went 0-3. 4.56 on this squad last year, believe it or not, IS starting material!

Our majority starting five and their final ERAs of 2006:
Meche, 32 games started, 4.48 ERA
Felix, 31 games started, 4.52 ERA
Washboard, 31 games started, 4.67 ERA
Jaime, 25 games started, 4.39 ERA
Joel, 25 games started, 6.36 ERA

By ERA alone, and not factoring in his now five years of major league experience (okay, maybe three), he’s at least a third tier starter in this mix. Plus, he’s a starter to begin with. The only reason he was never considered a candidate to leave the bullpen was because we were NOT short starting pitching (do you remember, fans? the good ol’ days?) and he struggled with injuries off and on in his career as a Mariner.
Now, I can’t know all the details in this. Maybe the M’s know something we don’t about Ramirez. Maybe Soriano had lost his magic touch after his injury last year. Maybe we’ve actually got the stuff to win this year.

But this Mariners’ fan is getting a little fed up with “maybes.”