I should note that I am aware that Richie Sexson is not a free agent. I lumped him into the “Stay the Heck Away” category because we get a lot of questions about him and he’s 99.9 % sure to be traded. He’s a pretty good player, but a terrible fit for the Mariners.
Right-handed pull hitter likely to see his numbers tank in Safeco Field? Check.
Due more in salary next year than he would command on the open market? Check.
Poor defensive player at a position currently occupied by two players already under contract? Check.
I’d like Richie Sexson’s bat in the Mariner line-up. Unfortunately, that also requires finding somewhere to put Richie Sexson’s glove and Richie Sexson’s contract, and neither of those are desirable options. Better to spend your $8.5 million on a player who can upgrade a position of need.
As advertised, here is my not-comprehensive list of free agent suggestions. It includes guys that I endorse as quality acquisitions, guys I would avoid like they had the bubonic plague, and guys I can’t make up my mind on. Obviously, money is a huge factor in these decisions, and we really don’t know what certain players will command on the open market. At $2-3 million, Arthur Rhodes is a bargain. At $4 million, he’s overpriced. Some of my endorsed signees are based on the fact that they could be had cheaply, while the stay-the-heck-away guys are ones I expect to command far too much in return for what they provide. Due to time restraints, I present the list without commentary, other than to say that I will defend my support of Pokey Reese at a later date. I’m not insane, and its not a joke.
Dave's Endorsed Signings "Stay the Heck Away" Guys Undecided
Mike Cameron Shigetoshi Hasegawa Kazuo Matsui
Arthur Rhodes Mark McLemore Shannon Stewart
Vladimir Guerrero Armando Benitez Jose Cruz Jr
Matt Stairs John Mabry Jose Guillen
Jeromy Burnitz Raul Ibanez Kenny Lofton
Ben Grieve Joe Randa Roberto Alomar
Pokey Reese Richie Sexson Rondell White
Oh, and one more thing: if the Yankees are seriously thinking about trading Nick Johnson, for anything, the Bavasi should pull a Billy Beane, call Cashman up and say “What’s it going to take?” and then come back in a couple hours with a four-team deal that lands Johnson on the Mariners. Four teams, twelve teams, the M’s don’t have a spot for him — I don’t care, I really don’t. I’d put him at 1b/DH to rest Edgar more and see if Olerud’s (limited) power stroke, and then Olerud can teach Johnson how to pick the low throw…. look, I know it doesn’t make sense for the team. But it’s Nick Johnson! Nick Johnson! How can the Yankees trade him?
I also made an outstanding chicken pho once. Man that was a good soup.
Ahhh, lunch. When a boy can pay $20 for a Taco Time soft taco and look at ESPN without feeling bad.
Anyway, quick re-visits:
Ichiro to center instead of Winn is good for me. Ichiro played center in Japan (though yes, in parks that are generally smaller yadda yadda), he’s got good range, hands, and takes good routes to the ball, and he’s got a great arm (obviously). I was at a couple of the games in 2002 where he subbed in for Cameron, and he looked good out there. Plus, Ichiro’s offensive value in center is higher than it is as a right fielder, compared to others at the position. The M’s must figure out the slump, though, and if that means investing more money for a quality 4th and running Ichiro/Winn/other dude out in center and resting Ichiro once a week, or more, that’s what they have to do. Really good Ichiro is worth a lot to the team, and slumping Ichiro kills the offense. It’s worth investing in a quality, deep outfield — especially now that we’ve seen how a really great outfield defense can turn a fly-ball pitcher (like Ryan Franklin) into a much better starter.
Any trade that gets Freddy Garcia out and returns value to the M’s is fine by me. At this point, I see arbitration as a too-expensive gamble that’s unlikely to pay off for the team, so if they get a six-pack of Milwaukee’s Best for him (mmm… the Beast) that’s fine.
Like us, you’re probably hearing a lot of rumors of things the M’s might be pursuing on the trade/FA market. This is going to seem obvious, but — some of these rumors would immediately put me in the pro-Bavasi camp. And some of them would indicate that as an organization, the M’s aren’t learning. We’ll see.