Okay, time to spill the beans. The M’s decided not to make any moves today. They feel that Myers is still a good candidate to be dealt in August, as non-contending teams won’t put in waiver claims on him, and they’ll be able to ship him off somewhere in the next four weeks. Everyone else is sticking around for the rest of the year. Here’s a recap of what they walked away from, all of which will be pretty strongly denied by the front office if asked directly. It’s just what they do. Please don’t shoot the messenger:
First, the “big move” I alluded to last night that I really wish could have happened. San Diego put 23-year-old third baseman Sean Burroughs in play, and at one point, it seemed like the M’s and Padres were getting close to coming to an agreement. The M’s apparently offered a package of Hansen, Justin Leone, and Jamal Strong for Burroughs, which the Padres eventually declined. The counter included the Mariners swallowing the contract of Jay Payton. As much as I like Burroughs, I’m glad the M’s didn’t take on Payton’s abysmal contract. Still, thoughts of Burroughs for a few spare parts made me jump up and down, and in my opinion, would have been a better return for what we gave up than the Garcia deal. It just couldn’t get done.
The San Francisco Giants made a decent offer for Randy Winn last week, which included picking up the remainder of his contract. The players offered in return were marginal prospects, but Bavasi was initially leaning towards making the move. After consulting with the coaching staff, they decided to not move Winn, as Melvin believes he’s an underrated player and didn’t want to lose him. Don’t ask me why Bob Melvin gets a say in these matters, as he’s very unlikely to be managing this club next year. Several teams, including Philadelphia, made similar offers for Winn in the past few days and were rebuffed. The M’s wanted a major league caliber player in return. There was some talk that the Phillies might be willing to part with Chase Utley if they could get Villone and Winn together, but they decided to go another direction.
The market for Villone was essentially one average prospect. At least 6 teams made offers on him, all in the same general range. Philadelphia offered the same package that they eventually sent to Cincinatti for Todd Jones. The Braves offered Matt Merricks for Villone, then shipped him to LA for Tom Martin. None of the offers for Villone would have returned a strong prospect, and the organization decided they’d be better off letting him soak up innings the rest of the year rather than taking on a guy who they aren’t in love with.
The M’s didn’t like any of the guys in play for Mike Myers. It was almost all relief prospects and low-level longshots, so they figured they’d hang onto him, see if a team gets desperate and improves their offer in the next couple of weeks. Can’t say I really disagree with this thinking. It can’t hurt to wait, and someone would claim him on waivers if they ever decide they just want to dump the rest of his contract.
The Cubs and Giants made strong runs at Eddie Guardado, but the M’s took him off the market. They value closers very highly and didn’t feel they’d be able to replace him next year if they dealt him now. I don’t know specifically what the Cubs offered, but I do know that every club that asked about Angel Guzman was told no. The Giants package didn’t include Matt Cain or Merkin Valdez, the two jewels of their system.
The market for Bret Boone never really got off the ground, party because the M’s made it known that they didn’t really want to move him. There were a few teams who would have had interest if the M’s were willing to eat a decent amount of his contract next year, but they decided to hang onto Boone and hope he rebounds. Expect him to be the opening day second baseman for the M’s next year.
Jolbert Cabrera drew moderate interest, but the M’s plan on bringing him back next year at his $1.5 million option and declined to move him.
There was never any talk about Edgar Martinez, Jamie Moyer, or Dan Wilson. The M’s had no interest in moving any of the three and were upfront with each team that called about that.
I’ll post my analysis of of the non-action later.
If you want to know just how insane rumor mongering can be, here’s two messages that I got at almost exactly the same time.
“Nomar to the cubs in a 3 way. They get Orlando Cabrera from Montreal. Theo screwed up.”
“Hey, Nomar’s going to the Cubs, 4 way trade, Red Sox getting Cabrera from Expos and Clement from Cubs. Epstein pulled off a winner.”
Seriously, both of these come from really good sources. Personally, I wish MLB would just make the trade deadline into some huge TV special like the draft. Everyone gets a war room, a delegate on the floor, and trades are announced to a nation wide audience and a room of screaming fans. Who wouldn’t watch this?
From all appearances, the M’s didn’t make a move. There are several deals being looked over by the commissioner’s office right now that should be announced shortly, but it doesn’t seem like any of them involve the M’s.
Today’s starting shortstop: Jose Lopez. He takes the roster spot vacated by Dave Hansen.
About 40 minutes to go, though a lot of trades probably won’t be announced until 4:30 or so. The M’s have talks going on that could turn into three or four deals, but I’d guess only one will get done, and that’s going to be Mike Myers. Perhaps Bavasi knows that someone is going to fold their tent and meet his demand for Ron Villone, but right now, it looks like they may have overplayed their hand. Lots of teams grumbling about the M’s prices for mediocrities.
When the deadline passes and we get word what’s done, I’ll bring you up to speed on the deals the M’s had a chance to make and walked away from. They’ve passed up some solid offers, hoping to up the ante. Here’s to hoping it works.