Off-season timeline

DMZ · October 14, 2004 at 2:26 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Soooo slow news time for the M’s. Here’s what’s probably going to happen in the next couple of weeks.

Now: M’s quietly reach out to and interview managerial candidates. It’s possible they may even reach a decision before the end of the World Series, when MLB lifts their ban on announcements like, say, managerial hirings.

Then there’s a period where teams attempt to sign players to contracts to avoid heading to arbitration.

First week of December: last chance for teams to offer arbitration to players. Players not offered arbitration are free agents. Players who decline arbitration become free agents.

Now-February: players and teams sign contracts to avoid arbitration hearings by signing deals before they get to the hearing. Many split the difference.

February: arbitration hearings determine what those players who didn’t sign a deal will be paid next year.

Here’s what this means for Mariners fans waiting for big moves: the Dodgers will offer Beltre arbitration at the last possible moment, if they can’t get him to sign a contract before then. If he declines arbitration (and if he doesn’t re-sign, he’ll have the kind of interest that’ll make that happen — this isn’t Maddux 2003).

Sooo if we’re waiting for the big splashes, it’s likely to be a while.


47 Responses to “Off-season timeline”

  1. Evan on October 14th, 2004 2:38 pm

    I’d suggest there’s somethng the M’s can do right now that would help the team going forward.

    Your Mariners shortstop for 2005, Chris Woodward.

    Toronto waived Chris Woodward today. Apparently they’ve decided to go with their young guy in Russ Adams and let Woodward go. Since the M’s only really have Lopez at SS, and the team benefits not at all from playing Lopez in the bigs in 2005, taking a flyer on a cheap guy like Woodward might be a really good step. He’d likely be only slightly better than Lopez, but he also wouldn’t be a waste of Lopez’s service time.

  2. Matt Williams on October 14th, 2004 2:38 pm

    Now is the [long] winter of our discontent.

  3. David J Corcoran on October 14th, 2004 2:49 pm

    What do you think will happen to Willie Bloomquist? He is arb eligible this year.

  4. Rick Rizz on October 14th, 2004 2:53 pm

    Willie Bloomquist would be great if they just gave him more playing time.

  5. Dave Valle on October 14th, 2004 3:04 pm

    Yup, Rico, and Spiezio is a Clutch hitter!

  6. Dave Niehaus on October 14th, 2004 3:18 pm

    The ball is hit DEEEEEP to right field and… Ichiro camps under it to make the easy catch.

  7. Ron Fairly on October 14th, 2004 3:21 pm

    And..uh…Scott…uh…Spiezio steps back in. He..uh…swings…and…uh…misses for strike 3. Now Dave, to win the game you have to score runs.

  8. tede on October 14th, 2004 3:43 pm

    Season ticket deposits are due back on October 26 (Game 3). The low number of renewals (despite Howard’s apology letter) may result in some panic moves to move the numbers.

    This is the first time since ’98/’99 where they weren’t relying upon unused playoff ticket money for deposits.

  9. eponymous coward on October 14th, 2004 5:01 pm

    I take it panic moves = new manager?

    My family buys them in a group and is thinking about going down from the middle of the 300 nosebleed section to the first couple of rows of the 300 section. Hey, might as well take advantage of the bad year…

  10. Tom Paciorek on October 14th, 2004 5:09 pm


  11. BirdWatcher on October 14th, 2004 5:17 pm

    DMZ, it might be worthwhile clarifying the arbitration process you describe in your note only applies to players with 6 or more years of MLB experience. My point is the Willie Bloomquists of the world, though eligible for arbitration, fall into the category of players with more than two but less then 6 years of MLB experience where the arbitration process kicks in automatically and is mandatory for BOTH player and club unless they reach a mutaully acceptable agreement beforew the arbitration hearing. In other words, there is no free agent option for players such as Bloomquist, Winn and Meche this year (and Olivo next year ?). In the absence of a mutually acceptable agreement, their compensation is determined by arbitration. Any chance of listing the arbitration status (or lack thereof !)of those Mariners currently on the 25 man roster ?
    roster mem

  12. eponymous coward on October 14th, 2004 6:13 pm

    Or unless the team declines to offer arbitration, making that player a free agent (like we did to John Halama and Desi Relaford).

    God, I only WISH we’d do that to Bloomquist…

  13. Jerry on October 14th, 2004 6:20 pm

    Eponymous, I hear you. It would be nice to let Willie go. I just don’t get it why Mariners is so crazy about him?

  14. BirdWatcher on October 14th, 2004 6:25 pm

    Epo – that’s my point. For players with 2 + through 5 years of service, I don’t believe either the team or the player has the option of declining arbitration – this only applies for players with 6+ years of experience where either party (player or team) can trigger free agency by declining arbitration. In other words, a 4th year player either cuts a deal with his current team or accepts the outcome of the arbitration process – but there is no free agency option (for either the player or the team). Have I got this right ?

  15. Dirk on October 14th, 2004 6:44 pm

    BirdWatcher — no, you don’t have that right. If the team decides not to offer arbitration to a 2+ to 5 year player, that player is a free agent. I’m not certain, but that team may not be able to re-sign them after that — only the other 29 teams. If the team does offer arbitration, the player has no option to decline (which differs from 6+ year players, who can decline and become free agents).

  16. Fon Rairley on October 14th, 2004 7:19 pm

    You know, Ibanez would’ve had that ball if the fence hadn’t gotten in the way.

  17. eponymous coward on October 14th, 2004 9:07 pm

    Dirk’s correct- arbitration is only required if the team wishes to keep the player under control during years 2+ to 5 and they aren’t already under a multiyear deal. They can decline to offer it, which makes the player a free agent who can’t resign with their team until May 1st, I believe.

    Teams are doing this more now with marginal players than in the past, as they’ve realized that more players on the free market = depressed salaries…

  18. Jes Gőlbez on October 14th, 2004 9:38 pm

    Speaking as a Jays fan, you don’t want Woodward

    He can’t hit, he can’t field…he lost his starting job to CHRIS GOMEZ… Woodward was given a shot under new manager Gibbons, and quickly lost the confidence of him as well. You are almost better off with pie-face Bloomquist.

  19. Rick Rizz on October 14th, 2004 9:49 pm

    Those Mariners just never give up, folks!

  20. ChrisK on October 14th, 2004 10:17 pm

    “It would be nice to let Willie go. I just don’t get it why Mariners is so crazy about him?”

    Two words: Port. Orchard.

  21. Dave Henderson on October 14th, 2004 11:00 pm

    That’s right, there’s just no quit in ’em.

  22. Evan on October 14th, 2004 11:23 pm

    I know Woodward ain’t great, but he’s not a year of Lopez’s service time, and that’s a major attribute if we can get him for $500K or less.

    If someone offers him more than that, they can have him.

  23. brain on October 14th, 2004 11:38 pm

    i know it’s slow, but you guys should make some shit up. we’re bored.

  24. Jon Wells on October 15th, 2004 1:30 am

    Good god! Chris Woodward for starting shortstop?
    Only if you want the M’s to have a lock on the cellar
    for the next few years. In 2004 Woodward WAS Willie
    Bloomquist, slugging .347 with 1 HR in 213 AB’s (and that’s
    playing half his games at the Skydome!) This is a guy that
    once hit 3 home runs in a game vs. the M’s — when they were good!
    Remarkably, Woodward hit .154 (and slugged .209) at Skydome in
    ’04 while hitting a respectable .295 and slugging .451 on
    the road. His .04 road numbers were more in line with
    his overall numbers in ’02 and ’03 when he looked to be
    pretty good (he slugged .468 in ’02 and .395 in ’03).

    Nevertheless if you want to contend you don’t go giving your
    shortstop job to the Chris Woodwards of the baseball world
    even if it saves you a year of Jose Lopez’s service time.
    Leave that to the D-Rays and Royals, etc.

    If the club decides that they want to contend and that Lopez should be inthe minors and they want to go cheap at SS (because they’re spending
    money upgrading in CF, 3B, 1B and the pitching staff, then you sign Omar Vizquel to a one year deal for $2 million).

    Chris Woodward will likely be a non-roster invitee somewhere, with a salary of $400-500K if he makes whatever club signs him…

  25. Ron Fairly on October 15th, 2004 5:01 am

    What you have to realize is, there’s nothing wrong with making outs, as long as it’s the right kind of out.

  26. Andy Stallings on October 15th, 2004 8:19 am

    re: #s 15 and 17, you’re on the right track. However, if I remember correctly, the rule regarding ineligibility to resign until May 1 is a little differently aligned. I believe it affects only those +6 service time players to whom a club chooses to offer arbitration. If the club’s offer is declined by the player, that player cannot sign with the club until after May 1. This could have become a factor last winter, when Ivan Rodriguez declined to accept the Marlins’ offer of arbitration and then found the market a little cold. There was speculation that he would be forced to consider a late debut by waiting until that date passed to sign with the Marlins (who still had interest) on another one-year prove it contract. At any rate, players under club control (ie under 6 years of service time) to whom the club declines to offer arbitration (the term is non-tender, and yes, it is happening more frequently these days) are free to sign with any of the 30 major-league teams, including the club who non-tendered them (witness Mark Redman, Michael Barrett c. 2003/04).

    If this is incorrect, somebody please correct me.

  27. Trent on October 15th, 2004 8:54 am

    The Chris Woodward idea isn’t a bad one to have as a NRI to ST and help push Lopez, but guaranteeing him a contract isn’t an intelligent move. We could get similar production out of others without guaranteeing them a contract

  28. The Ancient Mariner on October 15th, 2004 9:47 am

    Actually, non-tendering has nothing to do with arbitration, as arbitration isn’t involved until a player has three seasons under his belt (or is in the top 10% in service time, I believe, of players who haven’t completed three full seasons). Basically, for pre-arb players, the club tenders them (i.e., offers them) a contract and they either sign it or don’t; if they don’t, iirc, the club can simply renew their previous year’s contract. The club does have the option, however, of non-tendering them–which is to say, of not offering a new contract–which makes them unrestricted free agents.

  29. mishdanicko on October 15th, 2004 9:48 am

    I’m sorry Jon Wells, but Vizquel? Are you serious?

    Would that be the same Vizquel who will be 38 next year and who the Mariners’ medical staff rejected? I’m not saying Woodward is the answer, but I don’t see how signing Vizquel for five times the money would be any better.

  30. Aaron on October 15th, 2004 9:54 am

    Why should we consider picking up some crappy shortstop as a stop gap when we already have Ramon Santiago? Sure he can’t hit, but when the goal is allowing Jose Lopez to develop without burning service time, what’s the point of using a 40-man roster spot simply to get a marginal increase in offense in a season we likely aren’t going to be competive. Besides, he’s an above average defender, and that’s actually important since we will be developing some young pitchers next year.While trading for Santiago was stupid, I don’t see why we shouldn’t use him next year if Lopez is in Tacoma. Not scoring runs doesn’t hurt anybody while good defense helps out the pitching staff and if by some miracle the M’s are competive in 2005, we’d have to make an upgrade over a NRI retread like Woodward at the deadline anyway.

    Of course, there’s always that Bloomquist character…

  31. Andy Stallings on October 15th, 2004 9:58 am

    My understanding is that players are non-tendered BECAUSE they have reached arbitration. If a cheap contract can be renewed (which it can, for players yet to reach arb. eligibility), there would be very little impetus for a club to non-tender. Certainly a club COULD non-tender a player not yet at the arbitration threshold, but it would be akin to outrighting them to the minors or simply releasing them–i.e. it would be performance or roster-space based rather than fiscally based.

  32. Nintendo Marios on October 15th, 2004 10:19 am

    Brain (#23) was right last night – now is the time for some unfounded but inflamatory rumors. Bonus points if Pocket Lint publishes it.

  33. Evan on October 15th, 2004 10:20 am

    The only way to saave money by non-tendering pre-arb guys is if you then leave that space in your 40-man roster empty. Only the Expos do that.

    On Chris Woodward, remember that he was injured all year. He’s usually more of a .250/.300/.400 hitter than the .230/.280/.350 hitter you saw in 2004.

  34. paul mocker on October 15th, 2004 10:21 am

    My opinion is that Seattle will get scraps, at best, from the dinner plate of the Bos-NY free agent feast. So forget about Beltran, Beltre or Clement.

    Because the war between Boston and New York is heating up George may do something wild. Would he sign Beltre, move Arod to SS (or 2b), and Jeter to 2b? More likely if the Yankees lose to Boston, or even lose their 4th straight WS. Would he sign Clement and trade for Randy Johnson? I say nothing is too wild for George’s ego.

    As the war between the descendants of Babe Ruth heats up, the losers will be the rest of the AL East, teams will payroll in the 2nd tier like Seattle, Chi(A), and Atlanta, then the others. Chi(N) and LAD and perhaps Anaheim will get the players they want.

    I predict the M’s will get Sexson and Radke.

  35. stan on October 15th, 2004 11:14 am

    It could be tough for the Mariners to get a free agent shortstop this winter. The Cubs, Red Soxs, Angels, Cardinals, and Giants should all be in the market. Omar should end up with one of theose clubs; he has said publically that he is not interested in playing for the Mariners. Is there any word on who the Mariners will get as the player to be named later for Aurillia? The Padres has a shortstop at Portland who looked like a better alternative to anything the Mariners have on their current roster.

  36. Dash on October 15th, 2004 11:21 am

    The PI reported today that the M’s have quietly begun interviewing managerial candidates (wow, there’s a news flash for ya.)

    Anyway they have a quote from Art Howe saying that he hasn’t been contacted and if they are expecting him to contact them he won’t. Little arrogant there but hey he’s still being paid for the next to years so no hair off his back.

    The article also goes on to say that there was an initial contact with Don Baylor (Bavasi: Hey Don, you interested in a job. Baylor: Yeah. Bavasi: Cool, I’ll call you later.) but the M’s haven’t gotten back with him yet to schedule anything.

    They also throw Herzog’s name out there again.

  37. Jim on October 15th, 2004 11:35 am

    Carlos Beltran continued his torrid postseason by crushing his sixth homer in seven games — guess who’s getting fitted for pinstripes?

  38. Todd on October 15th, 2004 11:53 am

    I have to agree with Dash (#35). Baylor is this year’s Randolph/Chambliss. Everyone will talk to him so that they can be in compliance with the rules regarding minority candidates.

    Houston will aslo have to randomly select a minority candidate with whom to speak before they are allowed to remove the “interim” tag from Garner’s name plate.

    Here’s a question: If MLB teams do not need to interview minority candidates to name an interim manager, why don’t clubs just keep their “interim” managers? Is there any reason why a club could not keep the interim manager for, say, five or six years. After all, “interim” is simply a designation indicating the the manager will not be manager for ever, which is true of all managers.

  39. The Ancient Mariner on October 15th, 2004 12:12 pm

    Re #35: I presume you mean J. J. Furmaniak? His numbers certainly look good; I don’t know much else about him, though. SD might be willing to part with him since they have Khalil Greene. Failing that, I’d be happy to get Ramon Vazquez back–he didn’t hit this season, but he has much better in him.

  40. stan on October 15th, 2004 12:29 pm

    Ancient Marainer, yes Furmaniak is the shortstop I had in mind. I was not sure how to spell his name. He looked like a decent player who will never dislodge Kahalil Greene. I had forgotten about Vazquez, but I think he would be a decent alternative. Either one would be an upgrade over what the Mariners currently have, though Furmaniak is in my opinion the better player.

  41. The Ancient Mariner on October 15th, 2004 2:10 pm

    Furmaniak looks like the better of the two to me as well, but all I have is a single stat line to go on. Anyone know more about this kid?

  42. Ryan on October 15th, 2004 3:57 pm

    CBS Sportsline is reporting that the Twins refused Cristian Guzman’s option for 2005. Any thoughts on Guzman?

  43. stan on October 15th, 2004 4:20 pm

    Ancient Mariner…. I don’t know much about him other than what I saw when he played at Cheney Stadium…. He hits the ball hard…. Not a whole lot of foot speed, decent throwing arm, adequate defense… I don’t know how old he is, though I don’t remember seeing him in the Coast League until 2004… He looked to me like a guy who can play the game…. I doubt that he could ever be an All Star but in answer to #42 I would rather have him than Christian Guzman.

  44. The Ancient Mariner on October 15th, 2004 7:42 pm

    If we could get him for the minimum (or close), maybe.

  45. Paul Covert on October 15th, 2004 10:00 pm

    ESPN reports that the Lowell FA possibility is looking realistic:

    Lowell’s VORP’s for the past three years have been 47, 52, and 53; UZR puts his defense about 7 runs below average (Davenport is more optimistic there). So his recent performance would seem to be worth about 4-5 games a year (more if Davenport is right about his defense); as he’s now over 30, I’d figure on more like 4, 3, 3 over the next three years (but still an average-to-above 3B). If he goes FA he’ll be giving up a year at $7.5M in Florida; I could see him being worth about $20M/3yrs, maybe a little more (though not much more).

    Whether he’ll be worth that much in the M’s specific situation is another question, of course. First, it’s only relevant if Beltre doesn’t come here, of course; I do not wish to promote Lowell as a reason not to go hard after Beltre, only as a possible backup plan just in case.

    Even then, Lowell would only make sense after signing a couple of higher-caliber guys (maybe Clement and J.D. Drew). If we’re going to be rebuilding next year anyway, I’d rather give the 3B time to Leone and see if he pans out.

  46. stan on October 15th, 2004 10:26 pm

    Paul C, I really don’t think Leone is a prospect. He strikes out too much and he has trouble throwing the ball across the diamond….

  47. eponymous coward on October 17th, 2004 12:01 pm

    Guzman would even be OK at a million…but I suspect we’d try and sign him to a multiyear deal ala Spiezio/Ibañez.

    Let’s put it this way:

    Guzman’s 2004 OPS: .693
    Rich Aurilia’s 2004 OPS: .667

    Aurilia beats Guzman’s 2004 OBP .314 to .309, so the 26 point difference in OPS is smaller than it appears.

    His defensive value’s likely better than Aurilia’s, but I’d pass on anything other than cheap filler duty (if we decide Jose Lopez is going to be in Tacoma in April 2005).