Guillen made $2.5M last year, and if there’s one truth about arbitration, it’s that players get raises (deserved or not). Let’s suppose the M’s file at $3M, a marginal raise. Guillen’s agent knows they’ll offer at least a small raise, so now he’s likely to file for at least $3.5M. For discussion purposes, I think we probably should figure he’ll make $3.5-$4M next season.
However, I think it’s easy to save some money in order to pay him (and potentially Cameron more than $5M if needed). How? Don’t sign Batista for $4M. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’d be a nice guy to have, but at the same time there are guys like Rett Johnson, Clint Nageotte, Bobby Madritsch and even Julio Mateo (think about it!) who could take that 5th starter spot and make next to nothing doing it.
As Jason pointed out, there are some flaws in my plan, most notably the guesses on what arb. eligible and free agent acquisition players will cost. If I’m off even a little bit on several players, we’re over budget, as I didn’t leave much wiggle room. To answer a few questions, though:
1. Will Guillen really get significantly more than $2.5 million? That was his number this year, and he’s coming off a /.276/.359/.394 line in a year that he only played 109 games. He doesn’t have any sexy numbers that you can look at and say “hey, this guy deserves a raise”. He’ll probably get one just on service time, but I don’t see it being a significant raise.
2. The biggest stretch in all this is Mike Cameron at $5 million. I’m near certain he’ll get offered more than that by the Mets, and that would mean he’d have to take less money to stay in Seattle, which he probably won’t do. But I want to see Mike Cameron stay, and so I’m doing a little wishcasting. If he does leave, then you don’t trade Winn for prospects and sub him into centerfield instead at a slightly lower salary. The defensive downgrade from Cameron to Winn is enormous, though, and people are underestimating Cameron’s effects on this team.
3. Edgar’s base salary is $3 million. I tossed him an extra million since he’s almost certain to reach some of the incentives.
4. No, I’m not sure Justin Leone is ready to be an everyday player on a contending team. But I’d rather give him a chance to fail, then make a move at the deadline if he’s not the answer. These are the kind of risks that, if they pay off, provide a huge advantage for the team. If they don’t, you can still recover and find a replacement in season.
5. Miguel Batista made $3.3 million last year and the D’Backs declined his option for $5 milion. Clearly, they view his value as something less than $5 million, but I have to think he’ll get a raise after a very solid year. Thus, the $4 million number, which could be totally off base.
6. Paul Quantrill opted out of a deal that would pay him $3.5 million next year. Clearly, he’s expecting a raise. After posting an ERA 131 percent better than league average, I’d say he deserves it too. Before you think Dodger Stadium was the reason for his 1.75 ERA, he was better on the road than at home. And I should clarify my “murder on righties” comment; he’s awesome against left-handers too. Quantrill is a two-inning relief ace who can dominate hitters from both sides of the plate. He throws strikes, is durable, and has a strong track record of success. He’s given up 3 home runs the past 2 years. He’s an outstanding reliever, and unless he sees some kind of serious decline, $4 million for his services is a good deal.
7. Taylor is basically a name to fill that spot, but I would give Simpson, Looper, Putz, and Rett Johnson looks at that role as well. I have no problem going into spring training letting the kids fight for the last two spots in the bullpen. The M’s pitching depth is one of their biggest advantages, and they should use it to full strength.
Uh, ditto. I’m speachless, really, at how well it all works out.
OK, so I do have one thing to say — Carlos Guillen will get more than $2.5M in arbitration, possibly blowing your budget but not by much.
I’m so impressed with Dave’s plan, I’m giving it my full endorsement.
Just playing around with the roster under the constraints of a $95 million budget. Originally, I built an $82 million team that looked a lot like last years team, just with a better bench and less experienced pitching staff. I realized that I had enough money to upgrade the offense, and went all out and got myself Vladimir Guerrero. I don’t think this will happen, and I’m not advocating these moves in totality, but it does show that the M’s could afford to make a run at Vlad if they so chose. In order to create enough room financially, I’ve traded Freddy Garcia, Randy Winn, and Ryan Franklin for prospects. All three have too much value to earn a non-tender, but none of them are worth their projected 2004 salaries to the Mariners. I also released Jeff Cirillo, eating his entire contract in the process. The free agent signings I’m advocating include a few guys who didn’t show up on my earlier list.
Miguel Batista is a quality pitcher who Arizona let go because of their cost cutting maneuvers. With Safeco Field keeping the balls in the park, he’d be a perfect fit. Also has great stuff to come out of the bullpen if young pitchers step up and demand a look.
Paul Quantrill is one of the most underrated relievers in the game. Murder on right-handers. Perfect compliment to Rhodes as a RH/LH pair.
Ben Grieve slots in as the left-handed bat off the bench. I think he could be in for a nice rebound season in the right environment.
Pokey Reese takes McLemore’s spot as the utility player, but actually provides tremendous defense at short and second as well as being able to handle third base. Solid pinch-running option as well.
Vlad, I don’t need to explain. He’s just awesome.
Here’s the roster:
Position Player Salary
C Wilson 3.50
1B Olerud 7.00
2B Boone 8.00
3B Leone 0.30
SS Guillen 2.50
LF Guerrero 15.00
CF Cameron 5.00
RF Ichiro 10.00
DH Martinez 4.00
Bench Colbrunn 2.00
Bench Grieve 1.00
Bench Davis 1.00
Bench Reese 1.00
Bench Bloomquist 0.30
SP #1 Moyer 6.25
SP #2 Pineiro 1.00
SP #3 Batista 4.00
SP #4 Meche 0.50
SP #5 Soriano 0.30
Closer Sasaki 7.50
RH Setup Quantrill 4.00
LH Setup Rhodes 2.50
RH Setup Mateo 0.30
RH Setup Taylor 0.30
Long Relief Madritsch 0.30
Sunk Cost Cirillo 6.50