I’m disappointed that the M’s didn’t get any better offers for Villone moreso than I am that they didn’t move him. I was surprised at how mediocre the actual deals were that the M’s could have made, and in that context, I think the argument that his value to the club now is greater than the potential future value that the prospects would have brought has some merit.
While realizing that this season is lost and the actual win-loss column matters little in the grand scheme of things, the Mariners are still an entertainment product. Getting beat 13-2 while Cha Baek or Matt Thornton take lumps while they should be in Tacoma is not entertaining or helpful to anyone’s development. In this case, Villone’s presence on the roster is not blocking anyone in Tacoma who should be in Seattle, and his removal would necessitate a premature call for someone who simply isn’t major league ready and could use the Triple-A innings.
Toss in the fact that there is still a chance he could be a waiver trade candidate during August (though it’s unlikely) and I’m not terribly upset that he didn’t get moved for what they were offered. I wish teams liked him more than they do, but the market for Villone just wasn’t very high.
In all, I can’t say I really disagree with how Bavasi handled the situation Saturday. The offers the M’s got just weren’t very good. I wouldn’t have pulled the trigger on the Burroughs deal because of Payton’s contract. I still believe that the M’s best chance to contend soon is to spend a lot of money this offseason, and giving $4 million to Jay Payton is $4 million they don’t have to give to Beltre, Beltran, Drew, Hidalgo, Garciaparra, etc…
The issue I have with how the deadline was handled was the M’s strategy, but this is nothing new. I’ve made it pretty clear that I think their best course of action was to remove as many ’05 contracts as possible, then rebuild the team’s core in the offseason through free agency. The organization decided not to do this, however, and in the context of that decision, they did fine. Fans are complaining about another deadline passing with no action, but the M’s made their huge deal a month ago, getting a ransom price for Freddy Garcia. Had they made this move yesterday instead, they simply would have been out an extra $1 million in Garcia’s salary, as well as having less time to acclimate Olivo, Reed, and Morse to their way of doing things.
Realistically, the M’s just didn’t have that many pieces to move. Now, it’s fair to say that’s because Pat Gillick and Bill Bavasi have put together back-to-back disastrous offseasons and signed a remarkable number of bad contracts, but we’ve been down that road before, and at this point, we’re preaching to the choir.
All in all, I think the M’s did about as much as they could have. If someone else was in charge, I might be upset that they weren’t more creative and proactive trying to create deals, but I’ve come to accept that this management team is neither creative nor proactive, and my expectations have been lowered thusly. Within the context of receiving offers for players they wanted to move and evaluating which deals to make, they did fine.
I have to say I’m a bit disappointed by the lack of move, though I guess I understand. If Dave’s right about Myers (they’ll wait to see if someone gets desperate), then that could work out better. I still would have moved Villone, but only because I’m scared of how much they’re going to pay him next season.
The Sean Burroughs thing sure is interesting, though. And, gosh darn it, I would have taken on Jay Payton to do it. His contract isn’t nearly as bad as Dave suggested — $1.5M this year, $3.5M next year and a $50K buyout (or $4M option) for 2006. Sure, $4M (salary plus buyout) is way too much for his services next season, but c’mon, you’re talking about a 23-yo 3B with the sort offensive game we keep hearing is perfect for Safeco. He’s cheap and under club control for at least three more seasons. Ah well.
I would have traded Guardado, too, but I guess that’s because I don’t value closers nearly the same way the M’s do. As it stands, they’re probably going to be stuck paying him $6M next season, not to mention the $1M bonus he’s going to get this year for finishing 60 games (why doesn’t ESPN keep this stat?).