Beltran, redux

JMB · August 29, 2004 at 3:50 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Thanks to everyone who commented on the Beltran thread. A few things: That Scott Boras is his agent is no longer a reason why the M’s won’t sign him. Gillick didn’t deal with Boras, but Bavasi has a good relationship with him from his time in Anaheim. Villone’s a Boras guy, for example. Now, the fact that it’s Boras may mean the money is an issue, but Boras himself isn’t a big deal anymore as far as I’m concerned.

As for the money… yeah, it’s not going to be cheap. I don’t care. As many have said, wouldn’t you rather overpay for quality than for Scott Spiezio? Beltran is a premier talent who isn’t old and who plays a premium position. If you’re going to break the bank, this is the sort of guy you do it for. There are a number of contracts coming off the books this winter. After next season, the likes of Boone, Moyer and Cirillo come off. This team makes money hand over fist. Cash shouldn’t be an issue.

Also, I don’t care if signing him means holes next season — this team isn’t winning 90 games next season anyway. Sign Beltran while you can, continue to break in the youngsters next season, and shoot for winning again in 2006. If you finish at .500 next year, great, that’s just gravy. If they go crazy and try to win next year — quick, sign a closer! and a veteran starter! — they won’t get any better in the long-run.

Sign Carlos Beltran.


49 Responses to “Beltran, redux”

  1. David J Corcoran on August 29th, 2004 4:01 pm

    Speaking of Villone…He’s working in relief! Is he out of the rotation now? (PLEASE!)

  2. Avery on August 29th, 2004 5:03 pm said Villone was scheduled to start Tuesday in Toronto but will miss that start now. My guess is the double header yesterday used up too many pitchers so they ran him out there today.

  3. The Ancient Mariner on August 29th, 2004 5:05 pm

    IMHO, the organization should do something very un-Mariner-like: they should just decide they’re going to go out and sign Beltran and Beltre, whatever the cost. Ordinarily, I’d say that sort of approach would be lunatic at best, but in this case I think it’s the right thing to do. Beltre’s young, Beltran’s in his prime, they’re premier talents who have no real question marks to them (unless you think Beltre’s a risk to return to his ’01-’03 level of performance, which I don’t at all), and thus are good risks–and they wouldn’t be blocking anybody at all. (I like Reed, but he’s a marginal CF, and we need more than that.)

  4. random guy on August 29th, 2004 6:46 pm

    Hmm thats interesting. We could possibly end up with our version of the killer B’s next year. Beltre, Beltran , Boone, Bucky.. One can only hope.

  5. Dave S. on August 29th, 2004 7:42 pm

    The only thing that should stop Beltran from coming here is if he doesn’t want to play here. And, as we all know, money talks. You pony up enough cash, he’ll sign.

  6. Will on August 29th, 2004 8:07 pm

    How extoll the virtues of Mike Cameron, but also argue that CB is overrated and/or overpaid?

    Is Cameron really that superior to Beltran in the field?

  7. Darrell on August 29th, 2004 8:24 pm

    It’s ok to speculate on who the Mariners should go after (Beltran? Sure! Beltre? Sure!). But time is better spent puzzling out what they should do if those options evaporate…because they most likely will. Pretend those two aren’t there – then what would you do? Think that way, then you can be pleasantly surprised if they happen to land one of them. That’s what I’m doing anyway.

  8. Jerry on August 29th, 2004 9:43 pm

    The Ancient Mariner has a great point. The M’s are on the edge of loosing the support of their hardcore fanbase. The teams reluctance to sign superstars has really hurt them thus far. It would really rejuvinate interest in the team if they did go out and sign Beltran AND Beltre. Both guys are exactly the type of players that the M’s could build around. Both play premium positions well. Both would be huge defensive upgrades. Beltran would be the #3 hitter that has been missing from the lineup, and Beltre would be the #4 RBI guy that has also been missing. With those guys hitting behind Ichiro and in front of Bucky and Boone, the team would do some serious damage.

    The money would not be that much of a stretch. The team has 53 million dedicated to players for 2005 right now (as posted in a Seattle Times article a few months back). That leaves them with at least 35 million to spend to fill in the roster. Beltran and Beltre will be available for less than 30 million combined. If the team could move a contract or two (like Winn, Ibanez, or Franklin), they could even afford a starter as well, and still stay near their 95 million budget.

    It is time for the M’s to make some serious moves to renew interest in the team before Seattle becomes a football town again.

  9. JMB on August 29th, 2004 9:44 pm

    Who would I sign not named Beltre or Beltran? JD Drew for the OF, maybe a short deal — with plate appearance incentives — for Nomar.


  10. Dave S. on August 29th, 2004 10:16 pm

    J.D. Drew is a no-brainer, but I don’t see him leaving Atlanta.

    Carlos Delgado could be an option, but we all know how David feels about that one. Troy Glaus is growing on me. With his injury history, he’ll come very cheap, and could be a great option. His ability to handle 3B worries me quite a bit, though.

    Renteria’s the only shortstop on the market that I would consider, as Nomar’s going to be out of our price range for a position that’s not a particularly huge hole.

    Most of the guys we are going to be talking about are Boras clients. Which shouldn’t really be a factor, anyway.

  11. JMB on August 29th, 2004 10:24 pm

    Good points about Glaus. I’d forgotten him. The M’s probably love Renteria — he’s toolsy, hits for average, runs well and is reportedly good in the clubhouse.


  12. eponymous coward on August 29th, 2004 10:54 pm

    Glaus strikes me as a BIG injury risk- we’re talking about a player who’s played LESS games than Griffey the last two years.This strikes me as potentially another car going off the rails in the ongoing trainwreck that is the M’s trying to find a 3B. (Consider that the Mariners in their ENTIRE HISTORY have maybe had good performance out of their 3B maybe 5 years, tops- when Edgar was at the position before he went to DH, and maybe a year or two of Presley (and that’s pushing it, Presley was a bad player a good chunk of his career). That’s it- we’ve either had mediocrities like Bell, below-average players like Russ Davis or outright disasters like Cirillo, Presley circa 1989 and Spiezio. Signing a guy who can’t stay in the lineup and has been going DOWNHILL since age 24 strikes me as an odd way to approach the problem. What REALLY should happen is the M’s should find a player who can last at the position for 10 or so years via the draft- but barring that sign Beltre.

  13. Erik Allen on August 30th, 2004 5:57 am

    I’m very suprised that people are so blithely accepting the legitimacy of Beltran and Beltre’s seasons…in both cases, this year’s (offensive) performance far exceeds anything they have done previously.

    -Beltran has put up good offensive numbers, for a CF, for a number of years, entirely in hitters parks. His defense is reputed to be gold-glove quality, but UZR doesn’t think a lot of him (+4 runs/162 games for 2000-2003). His base-running is clearly great, but all baserunning is inherently of limited value. In all, its not clear that Beltran should be considered a superstar centerfielder…good but not necessarily worthy of a huge contract.

    -Beltre is young, and no doubt very good defensively, but I don’t need to point out the anamoly of his offense this year…a three year average of his hitting stats would put him at a line of .280/.330/.500. A very good line, but clearly less valuable than a Chavez or Rolen level player.

    Neither of these players screams sure superstar, and I certainly wouldn’t want the Mariners to splurge for two huge contracts on players only to become the AL Mets.


    P.S. I would have similar reservations on both Drew and Glaus as well, although for the more obvious injury risk factors.

  14. Josh on August 30th, 2004 6:07 am

    Erik is right, we should just not sign anyone this offseason since everybody is too risky.

  15. Jerry on August 30th, 2004 6:35 am


    Any player is going to be a risk when the salaries get above 5 million/year. However, Beltran is one of the most all-around solid players in the game. I don’t know why you say that his stats are inflated by playing in hitters parks, because his numbers are actually a lot better on the road this season. He plays excellent defense (just a notch below Cameron), hits for power, gets on base, and can steal bases. He does everything well. Most importantly, he has gotten better every year, and is just now entering his prime. Clearly, the move to the NL has hurt his hitting initially, but he has adjusted.

    Regarding Beltre, it is possible that he could be overachieving in his walk year. However, the guy is only 25. He was brought up to the Dodgers at age 19, and had a lot of trouble adjusting. Really, he learned how to play in the big leagues. He has always had a ton of potential, and is just now starting to perform to the level everyone expected. At 25, that is a pretty normal learning curve for a player. He probably would have done better if he had stayed in the minors longer. But the point is, this is not some guy who came out of nowhere. He is now playing like everyone expected him to for years. He made some adjustments at the plate, and now he is just destroying the ball. Plus, he has been doing this in one of the best pitchers parks in baseball. So I think that it is more likely that he has just figured out how to finally put everything together than simply overachieving in his walk year.

    As with any player that has not played at a high level consistently, he is a bit of a risk. But he is not a whole lot more risky than a player that is in his 30s, who has been good in his prime. With Beltre and Beltran, the M’s would most likely be getting their best years.

    Other guys that are interesting:

    Mike Lowell
    JD Drew
    Richie Sexson
    Carlos Delgado
    Edgar Renteria (the only big-name SS worth signing)
    Corey Koskie
    Troy Glaus

    Out of those guys, I like Lowell, Drew and Sexson. Lowell is a bit older, but he is a great player. He can opt out of his contract, so if he is available, he would be a great addition. I like Beltre better, but Lowell is more proven. Hopefully, he will opt out of his contract, and lower the price of all of the 3B players. Drew is a risk because of injury, but nobody says that he doesn’t have the talent. He SHOULD have been playing like this for years. He is also still in his prime, and if he stays healthy, could put up a few more monster seasons. I like Sexson a bit more than Delgado just because of age. Delgado is a better all-around hitter, and is a lefty. But Sexson is 29, and has a good health record before this last problem. I would rather have Sexson at 30 than Delgado at 34. But either would be great additions. The other guys are good players, but don’t fit as nicely as Beltran, Beltre, Lowell, or Drew.

    The M’s need to improve at 3B and at an outfield position. Bucky or Ibanez can play 1B. Lopez is an option at SS, and SS is a position of strength in the M’s farm system. So 3B, and either a good defensive CFer (or a solid RF power hitter, with Ichiro moving to CF) are the best spots to add a free agent.

    Really, the M’s could sign Beltre and Beltran or Beltre and Drew, and still add a starter with the amount of money they will have available this offseason.

  16. Erik Allen on August 30th, 2004 7:41 am

    Okay, let me ammend my position a bit, since I perhaps came off too extreme in my first post…

    The assumption with both Beltran and Beltre is that they are going to get huge contracts…6 years at over $10 million per. For that cost, with that length of time, I would think you would want as close to a sure thing as possible. To me, that is someone who has demonstrated not just goodness, but greatness, over a period of years. Last year, Vlad obviously represented as close to a sure thing as possible (although the back injury was a scary thing). If you told me someone of Vlad’s offensive and defensive quality was available, I would agree the M’s should do anything possible to get them. But, to me at least, Beltran and Beltre are nowhere near Vlad’s level.

    I was probably more down on Beltran than I should have been, but I don’t really see him as a “monster” player…his defensive is raved about, but he doesn’t look good by UZR – he is rated about 20 runs worse than Cameron! Defensive metrics being somewhat questionable, I would certainly be willing to believe he is better than the numbers look, but 20 runs is a big gap to make up. If his defense is not as good as advertised, then a big contract seems like something of a waste.

    I know Beltre is still young, and he has the appendix thing, etc. etc. However, every study I have ever seen (I think one was done at BPro recently) has shown that players having breakout seasons, ON AVERAGE, revert to something closer to their 3-year averages. It doesn’t matter if the player is young or old, the result is the same. Beltre’s 3 year average is quite ho-hum, so I don’t have huge hopes for him next year. He is somewhat analogous to Javy Lopez last year.

    I like some of the other guys on Jerry’s list…I am an especially a big fan of Koskie. The guys on Jerry’s list also have risks, but are unlikely to be looking for huge contacts. They seem like much better risks, IMO.


  17. Troy Sowden on August 30th, 2004 8:02 am

    Comparing Beltre’s breakout season to Javy’s is laughable in my opinion. I haven’t seen the BP study, but I’d bet anything that breakout seasons are much more reliable they younger the player is. Javy was 32 when he busted out last year – Beltre is 25. Show me a 25 year-old that had a year like Beltre is having this year and then had a big drop off. There might be a couple out there, but there can’t be many. I fully expect Beltre to play at or near this level for the next 5-6 years at least.

    I do agree with Erik’s concerns about Beltran’s D being overrated though – he’s an average CF maybe, but not the hero everyone wants and certainly more than one notch below Cammy.

    I’d love either of them and die to have them both, but if I can only have one I’ll take Beltre without a second thought. He’s an annual MVP candidate waiting to happen. He’s also a lot less likely to have his price driven up by the Yankees.

  18. AJ Platzer on August 30th, 2004 8:33 am

    Outside of this year, Beltran’s Home/Road splits make him look very human, and I can’t bring myself to annoint him as a superstar based on stats padded by playing in KC. Of the two, I am more comfortable with giving Beltre a big contract, and willing to settle for Drew for a year or two in the outfield.

  19. Pete on August 30th, 2004 8:39 am

    Will said: “Is Cameron really that superior to Beltran in the field?”

    The answer is “Yes!” Just thought I’d throw that out there. Save Andruw Jones, Cameron’s defensive prowess is unparalleled in baseball. Even with Jones, I would think that most inside the game would agree that Cameron is the greatest center fielder in the game.

    Because he is so all-or-nothing and so inconsistent at the plate, Cameron doesn’t often get the pub that the game’s other great center fielders – Torii Hunter, Jones, etc. – get.

    No, Beltran will not completely fill Cameron’s defensive void in center…

    That said, Beltran is still very good, and worth signing – he’d be an upgrade defensively and offensively over Winn. Moving Winn over to left would probably still mean the Mariners’ return as the best outfield in baseball.

    …Just wanted to toot the Cammy horn…

  20. Dave S. on August 30th, 2004 9:18 am

    There is only one centerfielder who I would consider better than Mike Cameron, defensively.

    And he’s playing first base.

  21. Erik Allen on August 30th, 2004 9:49 am

    I can think of a number of young players who put up big numbers, yet failed to develop: Richard Hidalgo, Erstad, Edgardo Alfonzo, Jermaine Dye, Geoff Jenkins. In 2000, those 4 put up OPSs of 1.028, 0.951, 0.967, 0.951,and 0.948 respectively. All were in the age range 22-26. In 1999 there were Fernando Tatis and Sean Casey (0.957 and 0.938). Pat Burrell had a big year in 2002 (0.920). Aramis Ramirez looked great in 2001, but struggled through 2 years of terrible play before putting it together again this year.

    I will also admit, however, that none of those seasons was as good as the one Beltre is putting up. He just doesn’t seem like a slam dunk to me.

  22. Jerry on August 30th, 2004 10:37 am

    I like this disucssion about Beltran and Beltre. Lots of people here really know what they are talking about. With both of these guys, there is a risk. Beltre is the most risky, because he is clearly having a career year. But with both guys you are talking about very toolsy players. Both players do several things well.

    With Beltre, he is probably not going to play at this level next year. If he does continue to play like 2004, he will be among the elite players in the game (like top-5 in the league). That is not out of the question. He certainly has none of the major warning signs: one outstanding year after several mediocre ones late in his career (see Brady Anderson or Bret Boone); nagging injuries like back, knee, or shoulder issues; or declining production due to age (see Carlos Delgado). Even if he falls off a bit (.310, 35HR), he will still be a very good player. Given his age, defense, the position he plays, his physical tools, his home park, and career path, I think that he is a relatively safe bet. Although 2004 has been a breakout year, he also played very very well late in 2003, which suggests that this is not just one strange year. Finally, he has made a major adjustment at the plate (laying off low, inside pitches) that explains his recent success. Taken together, he is a good guy to take a big risk on. The only knock against him in my opinion is that he is playing too well right now, and the team will be paying for him at the best time for Scott Boras.

    With Beltran, I don’t think that some of you guys are giving him enough credit for his defense. He is very fast, and covers a lot of ground. That is the biggest factor for success at Safeco. He doesn’t make as many SportsCenter plays, but he getst to a lot of balls. Plus, he is one of the best guys in the league at going over the wall for home run balls. He is in the top 10 defensive CF players in the league. The only guys that are clearly better are Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter, Cameron, and Mark Kotsay (and perhaps Jim Edmonds). Beltran would be a major upgrade over our current OF. The biggest trend I see with Beltran is towards more power. That is not necessarily bad, but it could hurt him later in his career in CF. He almost seems to be similar to Barry Bonds, who went from being a 40/40 guy with great defense to a power guy. Even if this is what happens with him, he is still a great player. He has played consistently better for a few years, and he will continue to play solid CF for years. He is entering his prime, and will be 32-33 at the end of a 6-year contract. That should be the best seasons of his career. If the M’s can get him for 6 years, with some option years at the end, it would be a pretty good move. With Beltre, a six-year deal would end at age 31, which would also run through his most productive years (assuming a normal career).

    Regardless of what the M’s do (I also like Sexson and Drew), I really hope that they avoid Yankee-type signings. The Yankees always go after older, mid-30s super-star players. These guys usually play great for a while (Sheffield, Mussina) but they will be stuck with them well past their primes. Beltre and Beltran are good guys to sign long term because of their ages. Drew and Sexson to 3-year deal would be good moves as well. But Beltre and Beltran are both the types of guys that you build teams around. They have the most to offer and are heading into their best years. A lot of people will say that Nomar, Delgado and Ordonez are more proven, less-risky guys, but all three will almost definitely tail off in the next few years. Why not gamble on guys in their prime?

  23. Kent on August 30th, 2004 10:38 am

    Let’s say the M’s sign Beltran and Beltre. With the rest of the team in the shape it is, it’s hardly a stretch to envision them turning out like the Rangers of the past few years. At the very least, there’s a decent chance. And then what happens to the “rejuvenated” fan base?

  24. Jordan on August 30th, 2004 11:30 am

    I’m trying to think of a solution that is a good one that is also somewhat realistic given the front office’s acute lack of creativity (move Ichiro to center!!).

    How about the M’s sign Beltran for a long-term deal (6 years, potentially), Furcal for a short-deal (2-years, or how ever long until Asdrubal Cabrera is ready) and Carl Pavano for a mid-length deal (3 or 4 years)?

    Then we move Winn to LF, Ibanez to 1B. Let Leone take over 3B for the time being. Bucky would, of course, DH next year.

    The rotation could be: Moyer, Pineiro, Pavano, Meche, Madritsch.
    The bullpen could be: Mateo, Franklin, Sherrill, Putz, Guardado (?) and another Tacoma arm.

    The M’s should add Zapp to the 40-man this season and give him some time in the big leagues in September.

    Then, next year, they could carry Zapp and either Reed or Snelling on the bench in addition to the Spiezio/Wilson/Jolbert tandem.

    The M’s would keep J-Lo in Tacoma next year in preparation to take over Boonie’s job in 2006.

    That, to me, sounds like a somewhat realistic/somewhat idealistic solution to the M’s offseason conundrum that would at least make us presentable short term and could help us become competitive long-term, don’t you think?

  25. Troy Sowden on August 30th, 2004 11:36 am

    Kent, I disagree. You plug in Beltre and Beltran with the other offensive pieces we have – Ichiro, Bucky, Ibanez (who, granted, would be a below average offensive 1B) Boone (who should bounce back a little) with improving youngsters Olivo, Reed, and Lopez, that’s a pretty decent lineup. Certainly leaps and bounds ahead of what we started this year with, thanks to the FA’s plus Bucky and Olivo. If Reed and Lopez can be solid major leaguers, or if we keep Winn instead of Reed, that team will score some runs.

    Of course, the pitching staff will need a lot of luck to be decent, but at least the offense will still be young and good in 06, by the time the pitching has arrived or sorted itself out.

    Adding Beltran and Beltre doesn’t ensure a winning season in 05, but it does mean we won’t be tragically awful like this year, and that we should be back on top by 06.

    Of course, I doubt we add them both, but one or the other would be great.

  26. Colm on August 30th, 2004 11:40 am

    “There is only one centerfielder who I would consider better than Mike Cameron, defensively… And he’s playing first base.”

    Eh? Darren Erstad? What’s a myopic Angels fan doing on this blog? I don’t even think it’s that close of a contest. Erstad is good in the outfield, but not quite in the top tier; Andruw Jones and Torii Hunter are really good, and probably flashier, but Cameron may just be the best outfielder playing at present. Just think – as good as Ichiro is, for his first three seasons as a Mariner he was only the second best outfielder on the team.

  27. Troy Sowden on August 30th, 2004 11:53 am

    The Erstad argument is based the sick numbers (ZR or RF, I can’t remember) he put up his last season in CF with the Angels. For that season, he was clearly the best defensive CF in the game. I’m not convinced that wasn’t a bit of a fluke, nor that he hasn’t lost a bit of that range that made him so great since then. Still, he’s definitely being wasted at 1B.

    BTW, Dave’s no Angel fan, he’s an M through and through. Also, Ichiro’s D is somewhat overrated, and it’s no contest that he was the 2nd best OF on the team. Cameron is a freak.

  28. Jerry on August 30th, 2004 11:55 am

    The M’s will have between 35-40 million to spend this offseason (assuming a 95 mil payroll). They could sign Beltre (6 years, ~11mil/year), Beltran (6 years, ~12mil/year), a starter like Odalis Perez or Carl Pavano (3 years, 7-8mil/year), and still have change left over for a random pieces (1 year, 3 mil free agent reliever). The team would look like this:

    Ichiro RF
    Reed/Winn LF
    Beltran CF
    Beltre 3B
    Boone 2B
    Ibanez DH/1B
    Bucky 1B/DH
    Olivo C
    Lopez SS

    Rotation: Pavano/Perez, Pinero, Moyer, Meche, Madritsch
    Bullpen: Guardado, Sherrill, Putz, Mateo, Villone/Thornton, free agent setup guy

    That would be a good team. That team would be better than last season, assuming that Madritsch and Meche can pitch well. Plus importantly, Moyer, Boone, and Franklin come off the books after 2005, so the team could use that money to sign an elite starter (Mulder, Santana?) to go along with Felix (if he continues his rapid ascent through the system). If the M’s got really crafty, they could try to move the salaries of Franklin, Winn, and/or Ibanez and sign Richie Sexson to bat 5th.

    The point is, the pitching will be alright. Even if we went with Pinero, Moyer, Meche, Madritsch, and Franklin, that is a decent lineup. This season, the M’s problem has been scoring runs. If they can hit the ball, the pitching would be good enough to get them to .500 right now. There is money to spend on a solid starter (Pavano/Perez) and a good reliever. That team would be a contender on paper.

  29. Jerry on August 30th, 2004 11:58 am

    Erstad is the second most overrated player in baseball, second only to Derek Jeter.

    There really is no good stats for defense. Cameron, Hunter, and Andruw Jones are incredible because they make amazing plays. Erstad is not even close. Beltran is better than he is.

  30. Troy Sowden on August 30th, 2004 12:28 pm

    I disagree. Cameron, Hunter and Jones are incredible because they have great range and track balls well. Yes, this leads to making great plays, but the big key is that they make MORE plays (i.e. create more outs) than the others, thanks to their range. Erstad may not look as fast, but positions himself well and gets great jumps.

    As a first baseman, Darin Erstad is incredibly overrated. As a centerfielder, he’s a pretty valuable part (although probably still overrated).

    Also, I think people are way overestimating how much money the M’s have to spend. After arbitration and incentives to players we control rights to (Meche, Piniero, etc), I’ve seen the figures as closer to $25-30 million. I doubt we sign three impact FA’s.

  31. Dave S. on August 30th, 2004 12:40 pm

    “The Erstad argument is based the sick numbers (ZR or RF, I can’t remember) he put up his last season in CF with the Angels. For that season, he was clearly the best defensive CF in the game. I’m not convinced that wasn’t a bit of a fluke, nor that he hasn’t lost a bit of that range that made him so great since then. Still, he’s definitely being wasted at 1B.”

    Erstad’s numbers in virtually every defensive statistical category put him not only as the top defensive centerfielder of the last several years, but among the top defensive centerfielders of all time. His bat may be incredibly overrated, but his defense certainly is not.

    If anything, Hunter and Jones are overrated. (Boy, I’m gonna get hammered for that one).

  32. Pete on August 30th, 2004 12:50 pm

    The best defensive center fielders in the game are clear, and unchallenged.

    1.) Mike Cameron
    2.) Andruw Jones

    They are in entirely different league, far and away the best. The second tier, Edmonds, Hunter, and Erstad, are just that, one level down.

    Cameron managed the one of the most spacious outfields in baseball as if it was his own personal playground. He’s the best in the game: the best jump, the best range, carefully-timed dives and leaps.

    Jones is a close second.

  33. Paul Weaver on August 30th, 2004 1:58 pm

    I remember the first time I saw Cameron at Safeco field, he got horrible jumps on the ball – would back up on short flies, run up on long flies – but, boy, did times change quick. Winn is a solid left fielder.
    ….oh, wait. This thread is about Beltre and Beltran. One or both of them may price their way out of the Mariner’s reach.
    Every instinct in me says, ‘go get em!’ But, I am reserved by lessons of past teams, that have had their salaries tied up in superstars. I think of the Belle/Thomas Chicago White Sox. Wasn’t Mo Vaugh amazing with Anaheim?? High salaries going to one or two guys make it hard to put together a well balanced team.
    Beltre will probably be the cheapest/best option, with a lesser free agent going to center. Another thread had once pointed out that a large majority of the teams with the purchasing power to sign Beltre, also don’t have a hole at third. His “fluke” status also makes his price tag possibly lower. Even if you average this season with his past two or three, he still comes out as a decent enough hitter that you don’t lose too much if he underperforms – good defense is usually consistent with players, so there is yet another plus in the event he underperforms at the plate.
    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The team should go all out for this guy, and if we lose, it’s not so bad.
    I suppose you could make the same arguments for Beltran…..the upside just doesn’t seem as great for him because he is 2 years older and doesn’t carry a high average right now (or while he was in KC this year.)

  34. Jon on August 30th, 2004 2:18 pm

    I enjoy reading the comments about Beltran and Beltre. It is fun to talk about the possibilities. But then, it was fun the last off-season and the many, many trade deadlines before that. Let’s face it: The M’s will not sign either of these guys or any other high impact free agent. Even assuming these guys would entertain playing for a team that is otherwise going nowhere in a non-hitter friendly ballpark, the M’s will never outbid all others for their services. The Yankees? Uh, no. The Dodgers? Well, many want to believe they won’t step up to pay Beltre. Even if I believed that (and I don’t), I’d have be crazy to think the Mariners will do what the Dodgers are too poor to do. The Dodgers see four million in attendance in their future if they keep Beltre. They also look back and see the Angels nipping at their heals. And I’m supposed to think the Mariners have more motivation to sign Beltre? The only motivation the M’s brass have is to find another way to hoodwink us into thinking they really care.

  35. Jerry on August 30th, 2004 2:29 pm


    That post is just insanely wrong. If you really have that little faith in the management, why do you follow the team? How will the team manage to spend 95 million without signing any impact free agents? Why would players not want to come to Seattle? I could spend hours listing players who went to loosing teams in free agency for $$$. That argument might work for older players who have never won anything. But Beltre and Beltran are both totally obtainable for the M’s. And really, the M’s have a nice field, a well-run system, a high payroll, a decent nucleus of players, and a winning tradition. They are not the Pirates or the Expos.

    Your comments are based entirely on bitterness about a horrible season and have nothing to do with the realities of the game nor the situation with the M’s. CHEER UP MAN!!!! The future looks bright!!

  36. DMZ on August 30th, 2004 2:38 pm

    Jerry —

    The team doesn’t have a reputation for being player-friendly in the way that St. Loius, or Arizona, or several other team do, though — places you want to go to play. The team’s mishandling of Randy Johnson and their knives-in-the-back farewell to Ken Griffey Jr. are probably the biggest barriers to having a good rep, but given two offers between employers, it’s intangible issues like that that often sway a prospective signee.

  37. Troy Sowden on August 30th, 2004 3:31 pm

    I agree Derek. That’s why we’ll have to outbid them. Beltre can be had – I was the one who outlined all the bidders for Beltre, and I listed the BoSox as a key contender. Well, turns out ownership is capping their spending next year at $110 million, and their focus is going to be on resigning their own guys. I wouldn’t put it past Theo to throw his hat in the ring, but unless we somehow sign Beltran, we should have the available money to go get Beltre. Any excuse management produces is just that, an excuse.

  38. Pete on August 30th, 2004 3:51 pm


    Your optimism is great, but I really feel like it’s (at least partly) missplaced.

    Sure the Mariners say there payroll will be $90-$95 million. You ask, “how will we spend all that money without getting some impact players?” Seems logical.

    That argument makes a lot of sense until you think about it a little longer…

    What your logic doesn’t account for: What if the Mariners try as hard as they possibly can to spend that money and pay the big names, but are just plain unable to spend the money??

    Here’s what I mean…There is ALWAYS a ceiling to a bidding war (or relatively so).

    So, what happens when, for example, the Dodgers and M’s (to make it very simple) are bidding, bidding, bidding for Beltre and they both decide that they can’t go any higher than 6 years $78 million dollars (a whopping $13 million per year). Then, say Lincoln says, “hey let’s throw a little more cash in there “for the fans.” So the M’s go 6 years, $82 million.

    Beltre still pretty much has to decide between 2 nearly identical offers. Why would he choose Seattle over LA? There’s not many reasons. I suppose he COULD, but there’s an awfully good chance he’d choose LA when given similar offers. Now, add in a couple more teams, say the White Sox and the Angels. They’re in for 5 years $70 million and 7 years $80 million. These are all teams with bright futures.

    The point is, the bidding stops somewhere, and the Mariners can’t just keep up-up-upping their bid. The player will eventually choose between similar offers.

    The days of out-bidding with $252 million are over.

    You are half right. The Mariners very well COULD land one or two or even three of these big names. I hope like heck they are able to. But that doesn’t mean they will be able to spend the money the way they want to. The players will all get big bucks, and the M’s will be willing to give them big bucks. But what happens when they BARELY lose out on the bidding for Beltre, and the next thing we know the Yankees nab Beltran with a massive deal (timing matters too – we’re so focussed on Beltre, that Beltran just slips by with nary a bid). Glaus stays to take a run at another title in Anaheim. The M’s offer an insane $10 mil a year to Pavano, but he stays with his Marlins buddies for $9 mil.

    What happens then? We have $30-$40 mil to to give who?

    It’s not like going to the store, and saying, “Hmmm, I’ll have a Beltran and a Beltre and a Delgado or a Pavano.”

    There are other shoppers, and there’s only one of each.

  39. Pete on August 30th, 2004 3:53 pm

    I’m not saying my last post is going to come true and we’ll be out of luck, but there’s certainly another possible result of all the money to spend. It’s not automatic.

  40. Colm on August 30th, 2004 4:11 pm

    I haven’t read discussion on this, but won’t the Mariners lose their highest draft pick in a generation if they go chasing big-time free agents like Beltre/ran this winter?

    Anyone care to comment on the likely shape of the 2005 draft? Or potential non-arbritation free agents who won’t cost the Mariners draft picks.

    Of course the Mariners have been pretty cavalier with their draft picks in the time I’ve lived in Seattle (since 1998) and less than successful with the high picks that they haven’t lost. I wouldn’t anticipate them either preserving their top-three pick, or siging Carlos Beltran. However I’m not too troubled by that prospect, since I think a better plan would be to chase a second tier corner outfielder with some power and move Ichiro to center.

    Beltre to me seems the more attractive prospect. He’s younger, he has more power, and we probably have a better read on his stat’s since he’s played all of his career home games in the pitchers’ paradise that is Dodger stadium. Beltran is a known Yankees target and will be insanely overpaid next year. The Dodgers of course have a big payroll and a lot emotionally invested in Beltre, so he wouldn’t come cheap, but I think he is a more realistic target and fills a deeper hole on this M’s team.

    But I am worried about bringing yet another right-handed NL infielder to Safeco field. There’s a real track record of failure there that will worry management and likely discourage free-agents.

  41. Eric on August 30th, 2004 4:15 pm

    no the top 15 picks are protected even if you sign a FA, so the Ms can sign all the FAs they want and will have a likely top 3 pick

  42. Paul Weaver on August 30th, 2004 4:36 pm

    So the Yankees are going to give up Jeter or A-Rod to get Beltre?
    I really don’t think they are in contention for this one.

  43. Paul Weaver on August 30th, 2004 4:38 pm

    whoops! Beltran Beltre, darn those first 5 letters.
    Sorry about that. Yankees want BeltrAN, BeltrAN.
    That probably means we’ll get Bernie Williams. You know the Mariner’s propensity for “proven veterans”…….

  44. Darrell on August 30th, 2004 5:04 pm


    I’m with you – the M’s could set a budget of, say, $95 mil and be incapable of spending it in any practical way. They could end with an actual payroll of $75 mil (or something) simply because they can’t find the right willing takers.

  45. Pete on August 30th, 2004 7:45 pm


    Thanks for your agreement – at least I think you meant it for me, as I was the one discussing the possibility of the M’s coming up short in trying to meet $95 million.

    Not a lot of people are considering that possibility. The Mariners are going to have to get pretty lucky in free agency in order to spend that much. That’s why I believe…

    If the Mariners actually reach their stated budget of $95 million, they are going to be an excellent team, and will back to 90 wins.

    ……I don’t think there’s any way they can spend $40 million on over-paid middle-tier free agents…is there?

  46. Jerry on August 30th, 2004 9:38 pm


    With all due respect, why would you think that it is hard to spend money on free agents? You are right that there will be bidding wars. And Boras will probably hold up the bidding for a long time. But there just aren’t that many teams with payroll flexibility.

    These are the teams that I think could make a run:

    -LA: The Dodgers are loosing a ton of money, and will not go overboard. They have already stated that they don’t want to go over three years. This is the type of thing that GMs say to get their fans ready for a disappointment
    -Anahiem: they are talking about re-signing Troy Glaus and have Dallas McPhearson in their system. McPhearson is one of the best hitters in the minors. They also have a guy named Ron Quinlan who has played well at 3B before getting injured recently. They could make a move for Beltre. but I don’t see them as major players. They are the dark-horses in this.
    -the Yankees: anyone who says this is straight up stupid. I’m sorry. Its just a very stupid idea.
    -Boston: They have to resign Jason Varitek (their Edgar), Pedro Martinez, Orlando Cabrera, Derek Lowe, Pokey Reese, and SIX of their relievers. Plus, they have stated that they want to trim 15 million in payroll. No Way.
    -there are very few other possiblities. These teams will not go for him: Atlanta, Florida, Texas, New York Mets, San Diego, St. Louis, and the Cubs. Who is left? San Franscisco maybe? The White Sox.

    Plus, Corey Koskie, Troy Glaus, and perhaps Mike Lowell will be available also.

    Regarding Beltran, it is tougher to predict who will go after him because he is an outfielder. The Yankees are the favorites, but I would be disappointed if the M’s didn’t get involved. The Yankees biggest hole is their pitching. They are going to sign at least one high-priced pitcher, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they went for Pedro just to spite the Red Sox. They could go sign two starters. Because they have a pretty glaring need for starters (especially if the rotation gets rocked in the playoffs) they might be less likely to go after large contracts to position players. The worst case scenario is that it would force the Yankees or some other team to pay more. If the bidding gets too high, I would rather see the M’s just try to make a trade or hold off.

    But you yourself made the most important point when you said: “The days of out-bidding with $252 million are over.”

    Last season, the market was really set when Vlad, Sheffield, and Tejada got 12-13 mil/year. Those guys are premier, top-ten players. If it takes 12-13 mil for the best players available, the M’s have to be seen as favorites for ANYONE with the amount of cash they have to spend. I will be very very pissed off if the M’s only sign one big-name player, and I don’t think that I am alone in this. Despite what you think, it is not hard to spend available money when you have lots of holes to fill. If Beltran gets way too expensive, than go for Drew. If that doesn’t work, how about Beltre and Sexson? Trade for Paul Konerko or Andruw Jones. If they absolutely cannot find any place to spend money, they can sign three starting pitchers. How about a rotation of Pavano, Perez, Lowe, Pinero and Madritsch/Meche? There are tons of possilities.

    But the one thing that I don’t want to hear is “there just wasn’t a good fit for us” from Bavasi when the team has 30-40 mil in free payroll. Completely unacceptable.

  47. Conor Glassey on August 30th, 2004 10:02 pm

    Why would you think that Boston has to re-sign Derek Lowe? He’s been horrible this season. I also think that our opportunity to trade for Paul Konerko has passed.
    I’m still trying to figure out what the M’s should do next year. I would love to see them sign Carlos Beltran, but honestly, I just don’t see it happening. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to contend next season, but it’s unlikely. It will be sure be a lot easier when Boone and Moyer are off the books. One thing that I would love to see is the Mariners sign Grady Fuson to keep Bavasi in line (and then take his job!) and help with the draft.

  48. G-Man on August 30th, 2004 10:39 pm

    I am cynical enough about this organization to fear that they will spend their $95 million without signing any of the impact players mentioned in this thread. They managed to commit a ton of bucks last winter without getting anyone noteworthy. The typical salary for those contracts was 3-4 million/year. Watch them sign several over-30, second-tier vets for 6-8 million/year this winter. I hope not, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

    As for the $95 million, they have a way of making that disappear faster than we can account for, too.

  49. Conor Glassey on August 30th, 2004 10:39 pm

    By the way, here’s a good interview and a good chat with Grady Fuson:

    BTW: I put these in this format because I wasn’t sure about posting links. Derek – would it be possible to make it so that comments can be previewed before posting?