December 7, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

I don’t think there’s anything shocking about the decision they made on Cameron.

So what’s a bigger surprise — that they offered arbitration to Borders, or that they didn’t offer to Rhodes? Nary an article went by this off-season without a final line something like, “The Mariners are not expected to offer arbitration to their other free agents: Pat Borders, Mark McLemore, Armando Benitez and John Mabry.”

In any event, I’m disappointed about Rhodes. I pegged him as something of a bargain for next season, as his injury last year would likely hold his price tag down somewhat.

December 7, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

This sucks.

Recap of the Bill Bavasi era to date:

Sign Raul Ibanez. Bad move.

Re-sign Shigetoshi Hasegawa. Questionable move.

Fail to offer arbitration to Arthur Rhodes. Bad move.

Fail to offer arbitration to Mike Cameron. Bad move.

You never know how much you’ll miss something until it is gone. Mike Cameron, thanks for the great years. Good luck with your future team. Hopefully a better ballpark and an organization not obsessed with strikeouts will lead to a year that allows folks to realize the value you have to a club.

Oh, and the Mariners offered arbitration to Pat Borders “due to the special relationship he has with this club.” I am unable to rationally comment on this tonight, and will now proceed to go to bed.

December 7, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Matsui to the Mets, Gammons reports, 3y $6.7m/year. Reyes moves to second as the Mets fix a problem (no one to play 2nd) by giving up of their strengths (Reyes as a future star SS). Of SS candidates the M’s are said to be interested in, Tejada’s it.

Also, off-topic even for those of you in Seattle, I’d like to point out that that dumb million-dollar contest that KUBE tries to pass off as their own (“Santa Kube”) is, in fact, one prize for many, many stations, which is why KUBE has that ‘be the 50th nationwide caller’ blurb, though they don’t fully disclose anywhere (even on their site, which I have to think is illegal) the full nature of this contest, and in fact pretend that someone on (DJ name)’s show won $x dollars, even though that person could be anywhere in the country, and a listner to KUBE or not. This is why when they play the blurbs from the winners, it never contains regional or station branding tags — which should register on your suspicion-o-meter too, since if KUBE was running a contest they’d make every contestant yell the station’s ad line to play on the air.

December 7, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Shiggy is back. Too much money (reportedly $6.3 million for 2 years), but I’m glad its not a 3 year deal. Not good news, but not a completely awful signing.

December 7, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

To follow-up on my constant harping on the $92m lie. This is going to get annoying and technical, so if a lot of financials-related math isn’t your thing, this isn’t going to be your post.

The M’s payroll as total salaries was reported on Opening Day as $87,184,500 by the AP and is listed as being $86,959,167 for the 2003 season by USA Today.

Article XXIII, C. “Determination of Actual Club Payroll” says that “Actual Club Payroll” is the sum of:

a 1/30th share of player benefits (the pensions, etc) aaaand the sum of yearly salaries. Which as calculated pursuant to E, is “value of total compensastion” and includes average value, so signing bonuses are in there, too.

Benefits cost each team $7.7m in 2002, which is the year I dug up. I can’t imagine that went down in 2003. So if the M’s calculation of payroll-as-dispensed-to-local-media includes that, they should have been using a figure of $95m… which is what Lincoln claims was the team’s total expenditures on players last year, but that’s a coincidence, because then it can’t include pro-rated signing bonuses and incentives.

Obvious signing bonuses and stuff (signing, bonus)

Ichiro, 5m on a 3 year deal = 1.7m rated, bonus of 3m possible (achieved?)

Moyer, 1.5m on 3 year deal = .5m rated,

Edgar, 3.5m in incentives last year

Cameron, 1.25m on a 3 year deal = .4m rated

Rhodes, 1m on 4 y deal = .25m rated

Total obvious incentive/signing-type costs: $9.6m total

If you want to argue that the M’s include bonuses and pro-rated signing bonuses, but not benefit costs, they should be claiming $97-98m dollars (unless Ichiro somehow missed his bonuses, which I can’t imagine happened, since bonuses are always tied to playing time and are not performance-based).

The only way the M’s get to their $92m in “payroll” and $95m in “total costs” is if you figure they’re selectively picking chosing which things they include to get to those figures, because there’s no way you can.

There’s really only one way to get to the Mariners’ number, and it’s like this:

$87m in player salary costs

$5m in magic number costs (food and hotel incidentals, or something)



How can we be the only people saying there’s no way to make the numbers work, that any way you add them up the Mariners aren’t telling the truth?

December 7, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

If you weren’t angered by LaRue’s weird column, today’s Pocket Lint piece at the Seattle Times will test your tolerance. Here:

As such, the Seattle club is in the midst of its annual offseason split-personality mode to uphold: a) its standard as a contender and b) its payroll budget.

This year, team officials have kept that figure private, but it is almost certain to be about $95 million. Team president Chuck Armstrong said it would be no less than the 2003 budget of $92 million, and CEO Howard Lincoln said it would be no less than the $95 million expenditure of 2003.

The $92m is a lie. It’s always been a lie, and it’s a telling stain on the local media that they continually regurgitate it when even in pre-season puff pieces the Times couldn’t get the number up to $92m, a fact we pointed out here. No one has ever been able to explain how the Mariners get to a $92m payroll last year without including expenses no other team (or accounting method w/r/t the salary cap, etc) includes in their calculation. It’s a lie, and they push it because it looks good to say they spent over $90m — it’s a big, generous figure that compares well with other teams.

That the team claims their payroll was $92m and their actual expenditure was $95m makes their lies even more obvious, if that was possible: because in saying that, the team acknowledges that there’s payroll and then incentives etc, and that they’re not counting those as part of payroll. The most convoluted method we ever managed to come up with for getting the team to their claimed payroll was to count everything they’re not supposed to count: incentives, pro-rated signing bonuses, meal per diem allowances, the whole thing.

I’m continually disappointed with local press’ failure to analyze or even report on front-office moves (as Dave did yesterday), but their continual complicity in putting out the stories the Mariners want them to cover, in the way the Mariners want them to cover, is shameful and a disgrace to any journalistic principles these papers might claim to honor. The sports section should not be a refuge for editorial compromise and printing lies in the service of those your press pass depends on.