Rett Johnson started for Inland Empire tonight. In his 2004 season debut, he worked one inning, allowed one hit, walked one, threw one wild pitch and fanned one.
Also, as a note, I know people are simply stating that the Mariners can decline Guardado’s option and let him become a free agent. This isn’t true, unfortunately. His contract is rather unique, but the essence is that he was guaranteed $13 million over 3 years unless he chose to opt-out. The Star Tribune had the breakdown last winter.
2004: $1.5 million signing bonus, $2.5 million in base pay.
2005: Team option at $6 million. If declined, player option for $4.5 million.
2006: Team option at $7 million. If declined, player option at $4.5 million
There are incentives in the deal that made him more money this year since he inherited the closer role as well. Obviously, the M’s will decline their option, and then Guardado will exercise his, keeping him under contract to the M’s next year for $4.5 million. Odds are he’ll be picking up his own option for 2006 as well, as he won’t have enough time to prove that he’s worth more than $4.5 million on the open market after next season.
The M’s guaranteed Guardado a lot of money and it blew up in their face. This signing was Bill Bavasi’s pride and joy, the only defendable move you can make from last offseason. And its now a giant lemon that’s going to suck $9 million out of the budget the next two years and give us minimal return on that investment.
Just in case the season wasn’t bad enough, here’s a giant freaking nail in the coffin.
Rafael Soriano is likely going to have Tommy John surgery on his elbow and is out for 12-18 months. He probably won’t see a big league mound again until spring training of 2006.
But wait, there’s more.
Eddie Guardado has a torn rotator cuff that will require surgery and is expected to keep him out for 8-12 months. That would put his return somewhere in the middle of next year. And yes, I’m fairly certain he’ll be exercising his option to return next year.
At this point, I’d say the M’s might want to reconsider my proposal that they can contend next year. This is just about as bad of news as the team could get right now.
Cha Seung Baek’s tenure in the majors didn’t last long. Hiram Bocachica has been recalled and Baek sent back to Tacoma. This move gives the M’s a 4th outfielder and Tacoma another badly needed arm. Since Baek’s stay with the big club was less than 20 days, this will not count as an option year for him.