Reader mail! And man, am I posting frequently lately or what. Jerry Ek asks:
I was reading an article in the NY post about Cuban defector Kendry Morales. It mentioned that he was working out for teams this week in the Dominical Republic, and that he could sign with a club very soon. I have heard conflicting information about the Mâ€™s interest in this guy. Do you guys have an insider info on whether the Mâ€™s are looking at this guy, and if so, what there level of interest is?
The Mariners have been interested in Cuban defectors in the past but never at the price they go at. This is a good thing: when do these guys ever live up to the contracts they get? Maybe you can argue El Duque, but even he turned out to be older and his contract wasn’t a consistent value. I think the M’s would be interested if the price was right, but correctly look at Cuban players like Morales as being too costly to be worth the risk.
As to Morales’ possible value: I’ve stopped paying attention to these guys. Until we have some kind of actual reference point for thier performance, I’m going to hold off on making judgements, in the same way I would for a guy who had a great season in short-season rookie ball. Dave may have something to offer here.
Since the 2004 season is such a bust, and the fans are not happy, why canâ€™t the Mâ€™s divert some of the â€˜Sasaki Moneyâ€™ and the unused payroll to offer this kid a big signing bonus. He could end up being the 1B player of the future, and he can play 3B and both corner infield spots as well. Since he is 21, he probably wonâ€™t be ready for a bit. But at least it would give the hard-core fan-base something to talk about besides Ichiroâ€™s hunt for the hits record.
It’s true, they could do this, but… they won’t. They’ve already said that money saved can’t be carried over for next year, so it would seem to make sense that they could spend it on player acquisition costs, but remember from the strange Matsui speculation that the Mariners consider foreign player costs as some weird semi-off-budget category of spending, and so they’re unlikely to raid account #1 to do something interesting with account #2.