Offseason Predictions

Dave · October 28, 2004 at 6:08 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I’ve still got a ways to go on my short articles on each important free agent on the market, but now that the offseason is actually upon us, I’d like to take a quick break and post what I’m expecting to occur this winter. Now, like any prognostication, odds are that most of these will be wrong in some way or another. Some of these beliefs are based on some things I’ve been told, while others are more speculative in nature. If you’ve been reading the blog for a few months, you’ll probably be able to tell which is which. So, without too many more caveats, here is basic timeline that I believe will at least somewhat resemble this coming offseason and the Mariners involvement.

Two week exclusive negotation window ending November 10th

During the next two weeks, teams have exclusive rights to negotiate with their own free agents without interfernece from other teams. Often, when a player and team both want to extend the contract, the player will reach an agreement without ever filing for free agency. The Mariners who fall into this category are Ron Villone and Dan Wilson. While the M’s are talking to Villone, I expect him to file for free agency, and the Mariners to pursue other options while keeping Villone as a fallback plan. I believe Wilson will be re-signed to a one year contract before the end of the month. In addition, the team will likely exercise the $1.5 million option on Jolbert Cabrera, bringing him back for another year of hacking utilitiness.

I also expect Randy Winn to be traded during this timeframe. The M’s are going to pursue several outfielders in free agency and are expected to move Winn off the roster in order to free up salary and an open position. Coming off another solid average season, he has a bit of trade value, and will likely be part of a package to acquire a veteran pitcher, either a backend starter or more likely a late inning reliever. Houston, Florida, and Baltimore have been mentioned as possibilities. If forced to pick the most likely destination, I’d guess Baltimore, with Jorge Julio being the player coming back to Seattle. The Mariners would likely include a pitcher in the deal as well.

Beginning of free agency, mid-November to December 1st

If the Astros don’t reach an agreement with Carlos Beltran before he files for free agency, I expect the Mariners to come out with a “take it or leave it” offer in the range of 6 years, $95 million and a 2005 salary of about $9 million. The Mariners would love to have Beltran and will give Boras an opportunity to set the market with a contract larger than what Vladimir Guerrero commanded last year, but they have little interest in getting involved in a prolonged negotiation. If Boras intends to keep Beltran on the market and create a bidding war, the Mariners will retract their offer and move on quickly. I don’t expect Boras to accept the Mariners terms, and I believe he’ll eventually sign with the Chicago Cubs for about the same money, perhaps a little bit more, than what the Mariners original offer will be.

After moving off of Beltran, the organization will turn to target B, who many in the front office prefer anyways. Again, the team will come out bidding strong with an offer intended to knock the Dodgers out of the running; probably something in the 6 year, $80 million range, again with a significantly lower 2005 salary. I don’t believe anyone else in the market will match the Mariners offer, and I expect Adrian Beltre to be the Mariners starting third baseman next spring.

With Beltre under contract, the Mariners will turn to their #1 pitching target, Matt Clement. Hoping that a mediocre record will deflate interest and that other teams will be distracted by bidding wars for Pedro Martinez, Carl Pavano, and Brad Radke, I expect the M’s to come in with a midlevel offer of something in the 3 year, $18 million range. Clement won’t accept that, and negotiations will eventually lead to him signing a deal in the neighborhood of 3 years, $24 million with a 4th year team option and a $1 million plus buyout. Again, expect Clement’s 2005 salary to be quite a bit less than the average yearly value of the contract, perhpas in the $5-6 million range. If Clement decides to sign elsewhere, look for the M’s to offer a similar deal to Kris Benson.

Middle of free agency leading up to Winter Meetings through December 13th

By this time, the Mariners will have committed about $70 million to the roster, leaving about $15 million to fill out the roster. The last “main” piece will be either an outfielder or a first baseman, which will determine Ibanez’s position on the club in 2005. Expect the M’s to make an offer to Richard Hidalgo in the range of a 3 year, $18 million contract with incentives that would push it significantly higher. I expect Hidalgo to get a better offer, however, and the M’s to eventually make a deal with Arizona to acquire Shea Hillenbrand, who will earn about $3.5 million in arbitration next season to play as the everyday first baseman.

They also want to bring in a veteran shortstop as Jose Lopez insurance and will be willing to spend a couple million on a backup who can play several positions. Expect us to be the lucky winners of Deivi Cruz, probably for something in the 1 year, $2 million range.

The last bench spot will likely be filled with by an outfielder. The front office has a lot of Todd Hollandsworth fans, and he’s coming off a career year, but with a projected outfield of Ibanez, Reed, and Ichiro, the team probably needs a right-hander in this spot. Gabe Kapler is a potential target, and don’t count out Juan Gonzalez, despite his health problems. If he finds the market completely uninterested, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the M’s offer him a nonguaranteed contract with a ton of incentives. I’ll pencil in Kapler for $1 million here, but this spot is pretty fluid.

End of free agency, non-tender period

Due to the questionable health surrounding Pineiro and Guardado, I expect the M’s to take at least one flier on a free agent reliever released by another club. There are just too many possibilities to speculate, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the team picked up a non-tendered veteran and signed them to a low base salary, high incentive contract. Think Ron Villone, part two. It could be Villone himself.

So, what does this expected roster look like?

Position	Player		Salary
C	Wilson		1.0
1B	Hillenbrand	3.5
2B	Boone		9.0
3B	Beltre		9.0
SS	Lopez		0.3
LF	Ibanez		3.8
CF	Reed		0.3
RF	Ichiro		12.0
DH	Jacobsen	           0.3
C	Olivo		0.4
Util	Cabrera		1.5
Inf	Spiezio		3.1
OF	Kapler		1.0
Util	Cruz		2.0
SP1	Clement		6.0
SP2	Pineiro		4.2
SP3	Meche		3.0
SP4	Madritsch	           0.3
SP5	Moyer		7.5
Long	Franklin	           2.4
RHP	Putz		0.3
RHP	Hasegawa	           3.0
LHP	Sherrill	           0.3
Setup	Julio		0.5
Closer	Guardado             4.5
Total			79.2

There are some pretty prominant names not included in that final twenty five. Most obviously, Willie Bloomquist. I don’t expect him to be on the 25 man roster next spring. He may stick with the organization if he’s willing to go back to Tacoma, or they may designate him for assignment. Either way, Cabrera is likely going to inherit the main utility spot, with Deivi Cruz taking over the backup middle infield responsibilities. That leaves Bloomquist on the outside looking in. On the pitching side, there’s no room for Julio Mateo or Scott Atchison, though both could make the club if Guardado isn’t healthy or if Putz struggles in spring training. Atchison or Mateo could also be included in several deals, as their value to other clubs is likely higher than it is to the Mariners.

So, what do I think about this group? It’s a decent start, but it won’t make the playoffs next year. Beltre is a good building block, but he’s surrounded by too many easy outs in the line-up. The offense can be reasonably expected to get nothing from catcher or shortstop and needs to hope for average at best production from DH, center field, and left field. The bench is still going to be poor. At best, the team will finish in the middle of the pack in runs scored.

The rotation is improved, though questions abound. If Meche and Pineiro are healthy, it could be one of the better rotations in the league. If either one of them misses significant time, there’s trouble. The bullpen hinges on Guardado being healthy and Julio improving on his mediocre ’04 season. It’s an average at best group, but at least it costs a lot less than the average bullpens we’ve built in the past.

I’d probably suggest that this team could win 82-85 games, but there’s enough young talent to build around that its finally a team headed in the right direction. The acquistions I expect and won’t like are probably going to be short term moves without a big commitment.

This is what I expect from the club this offseason. It’s a cash outlay of around $24 million and a long term commitment to a free agent, both of which would be unprecedented in team history. There’s a first time for everything, right?


130 Responses to “Offseason Predictions”

  1. eponymous coward on October 30th, 2004 1:59 am

    Yeah, Dave, is Pocket Lint talking to someone else in the front office that’s part of the Gillick clique?

    I think I’ll also drop him as line reminding him “So, what DID happen to the Sasaki money, anyway?”

  2. Scraps on October 30th, 2004 2:23 am

    >Yes, there is evidence that left handed power is
    >affected less by Safeco than right handed power is.

    Sorry, I guess I should have asked: What is the evidence? Can you point me toward it?

  3. wmj on October 30th, 2004 3:59 am

    Your projected contracts for Clement and especially Beltre are too optimistic. And while I admit that predicting offseason moves is difficult, your expectations for the Mariners seems a bit arbitrary. Then again, rational thought is not the first thing that comes to mind when contemplating most of the ballclubs past decisions. Perhaps your prognostication should have included the team overpaying some worthless veterans.
    And out of curiosity, can you explain the dicrepancies, however slight, between the salaries of the 2005 staff mentioned in your post and the ones reported by Bob Finnagan in his recent Times article.

  4. Dave on October 30th, 2004 5:52 am


    Here’s the deal; you’re arguing what you want to happen, and then trying to support it with hopes and wishes. I’m telling you how teams actually feel about their players. The Phillies like Ryan Howard (they did draft him, afterall). Most teams don’t, at least not to the extent the Phillies do. This is pretty common. The M’s loved Willie Bloomquist coming up through the system too, though you couldn’t find another team who thought he had a chance to be a player. Same thing with Hee Choi; you want him, so you’ve rationalized why he might be available. Unfortunately, he’s not. You’re just going to have to believe me on this. Paul DePodesta isn’t giving up on Choi after 60 at-bats.

    Hillenbrand is a bad move. I think we all agree with that. You don’t need to convince anyone here.

    I never proposed that the M’s would trade Winn straight up for Julio. I believe that, if a deal of that nature went down, the M’s would include a pitcher, probably from the Atchison/Baek/Mateo grouping. The O’s would swap pitcher for pitcher, and take Winn as well. He doesn’t have nearly as much value as you want him to.

    Oh, and Carlos Lee is not on the block. He just signed a pretty large extension with the White Sox. Can you just stop making stuff up please?

  5. Dave on October 30th, 2004 5:53 am

    I’ll respond to Finnigan’s article in that thread.

  6. Jerry on October 30th, 2004 9:34 am


    You know, you can have a debate without getting grumpy or accusing me of making things up. Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean that I am making things up. Every trade speculation I have come up with is based on rumors I have read or moves teams have made. All I am saying is that I hope that the M’s will explore options for younger players who can fill in at 1B instead of going for someone like Hillenbrand. I think that we all can agree with that.

    I am not making stuff up about Carlos Lee. Why would I just make up stuff? He is rumored to be on the block. If you haven’t heard that, then maybe you are not as informed as you seem to think. He signed an extension that goes through 2005, with a 2006 option, so it is not like he is locked in for years. There are rumors that the ChiSox want to get faster and more athletic. Some have suggested that Paul Konerko and Lee might be on the block (I last read this in Sporting News magazine). Most of the ‘rumors’ I refer to are from fairly reputable sources, although they are still just rumors. Hee Seop Choi is a guy that has played badly in LA, and was benched quickly after he arrived there. LA has Shawn Green that can either play 1B or LF. If the Dodgers sign an OFer, Green is their firstbaseman. The Dodgers also might sign a free agent firstbaseman, like Carlos Delgado. If either of these things happen, the Dodgers will be very likely to trade Choi. Regardless, LA has done everything to suggest that they are unhappy with Choi at 1B. Both DePodesta and Williams are pretty bold about making trades, so you never know what they will try to do. Obviously, everything is contingent on what other moves these teams make, and what they have in mind for offseason pickups. These things that I bring up are just ideas, just like your suggestion about Hillenbrand. Most of them probably won’t pan out.

    Look, all I am trying to say is that the M’s should be looking for a bargain. Late in the offseason, after most teams have made some moves and their needs are more clearly defined, the M’s might be able to pick up a cheap option at 1B. Preferably, they can find someone like Choi, Howard, or Pena who might actually turn out to be a long-term option. This might be possible without giving up important players, or they might have to trade some pitching to address that need. But if that is what it takes, why not do it? Hillenbrand is not going to be free either. If you are going to make a trade, why not get some balls and actually go after a good player? Or at least find a player who makes sense for Seattle on some level.

    It is clear from your analysis above that the M’s are going to be hard pressed to bring in two middle-of-the-order hitters and a starting pitcher in free agency. The front office has made it clear that they are going to sign a starting pitcher and one star hitter. I think that Clement and Beltre would be great choices here. But if the M’s do sign these two guys, they will really need a lefty power hitter to rebuild the middle of the order. To do this, they will need to make a trade. Either they can focus on acquiring a player in a trade, or move one or two contracts to free up enough cash to sign a third free agent. I think that the former is the most likely, becasue, as you say, players like Franklin, Spiezio, Boone, and Shiggy have negative trade value.

    I would rather see them go after someone like Howard. A trade like Winn, Baek/Blackley, and Atchison/Mateo for Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd would be a good move. It would make some sense for both teams. The M’s would get a 4th outfielder cheap, plus a decent prospect at 1B. Both of these guys could exceed expectations. The Phillies get a pitching prospect, a reliever, and a CF/leadoff hitter. Or the M’s could try to pick up a player with a bigger contract in exchange for one of our bad contracts. Cliff Floyd could make sense at DH or in a possible move to 1B. His contract is bad (6.5 million/year through 2006), but if the Met’s were willing to accept one of our bad contracts, like Spiezio, it begins to make more sense. When he is healthy, Floyd is a good hitter, and at 1B or DH the M’s could possibly get a full season out of him. He could be a good pickup, because he is a lefty with power who gets on base. The Met’s would definitely listen to offers on him. The Met’s are going to have to accept a bad contract to move him because of his high price tag. If the M’s could trade Spiezio or Ibanez for him, he only would cost the M’s 3 million (6.5 minus Spiezio’s contract). Who knows what the Met’s would want for him, but he makes more sense than Hillenbrand.

    These ideas are all just speculation. I am not saying that any of these things are a done deal. I just hope that the M’s explore all of their options. I am just thinking out loud about possibilities. Really, isn’t your whole post above just making stuff up? Why is it OK for you to make stuff up, but not any of the rest of us? Does an idea have to be a bad idea to be OK here?

  7. George on October 30th, 2004 2:58 pm

    If I’m going to spend over 6 mill on a guy who can no longer field to dh I’d rather see if Griffey was available for that. Both have injury risk but the upside of Griffey is higher than Floyd.

  8. George on October 30th, 2004 3:01 pm

    Dave you never answered anything on Griffey, something you can’t say or just laughing too hard at the notion as it was put.

  9. Jerry on October 30th, 2004 3:56 pm


    DH’s still have to run the bases. Griffey is a bad idea. Floyd can actually play baseball occasionally.

  10. Logan on October 30th, 2004 4:30 pm

    Jerry, your obssesion for Howard is disturbing. Blackley could be Derek Lowe in 2-3 years.

  11. Logan on October 30th, 2004 4:37 pm

    Why would any GM perfer Shea Hildebrand over Ibanez? They are similar offensively, why get rid of a known commodity veteran for another veteran. I’d rather trade for a younger power hitter, Ibanez performed admirably with no protection in the line-up and gave the team leadership and heart to a lifeless club in 2004.

  12. Econ guy on October 30th, 2004 4:55 pm

    Jerry is not the only one interested in players like Howard. I think that Jerry is correct in the sense that the M’s should go after a young 1B that has an upside (even if there is a large risk that he will fail). If the M’s were in a position to be competitive in 2005 I think that a proven veteran player would make sense. Since they probably will not be competitive in 2005, it would be much better to build a team that at least has the potential to be good in 2006. Howard may fail, but he does have a real upside. I am not saying that the M’s need to get Howard, but they should be looking into acquiring a young 1B with an upside.

  13. Dave on October 30th, 2004 7:48 pm


    I’m telling you that you’re “rumors” are crap. Believe what you will; I’m telling you what i know to be true. Choi is not “obviously being shopped”. Howard is not available for Winn. The Orioles don’t want Ibanez (the M’s have no interest in moving him anyways). Konerko and Lee aren’t being shopped. None of these “rumors” have any validity at all.

    Griffey-no, I don’t think the Reds will eat the necessary amount of salary to make any team want to take a shot at him.

  14. George on October 30th, 2004 7:52 pm

    thanks dave

  15. Dave on October 30th, 2004 8:00 pm

    Oh, and I think I forgot to mention the Hillenbrand question. I know that there are people in the organization with some pull who like him quite a bit, more than most folks do. I know that if Sexson resigns with Arizona, as expected, they’re going to put Hillenbrand on the market and he’ll almost certainly be dealt. I haven’t been told “Hillenbrand is one of our target players” or anything to that effect. So, that was more a speculative suggestion based on a few pieces of unconnected information.

  16. Tom on October 30th, 2004 9:30 pm

    Forgive me beforehand if I go a little out of context here.

    Well, it’s official, I’ve lost faith in Howard Lincoln.
    I’m forever the optimist, but the Seattle Times article by Bob Finnigan today made me think otherwise. You know, it really ticks me off. Howard Lincoln, Chuck Armstrong and Bill Bavasi, have been saying all summer that they’ll spend significant money this year, and actions speak louder than words, and we can get back into contention next year, and then I read this trash.

    You know, I just hate this, I don’t care whether you guys had a feeling he would be cheap or not, but Lincoln still lied.

    He still lied to you all about him spending money, and I’m tired of it. That is why my manager (Lou), my general manager (Gillick), are gone.

    Dosen’t the fool see how much money the Red Sox, Yankees, and Angels make when they invest over 100 million in players? For petes sake, he was the president of Nintendo! Of course he has the money!!!

    And what especially makes this bitter is that, unlike the Sonics or Seahawks, people actually give a crap about this team when their around. At least that’s how it is been the last 10 years.

    I’m sick of it!!

    Instead of getting 2-4 top tier free agents, were only gonna get 1, if that. And even if we have money next year, what are we gonna hear?
    Excuses, excuses, excuses.

    I’m so sick of Seattle being “losertown”

    I wish the owners could prove they gave a crap about this team and get some great players. Like Arte Moreno, John Henry of the Red Sox, and even George Steinbrenner has. Even our ownership for a time cared about getting the best players. I mean, it wasn’t until a couple years ago where Pinella and Gillick said that they couldn’t handle it anymore. And Gillick was here for about a good 5 seasons, and Pinella was here for 10.

    But forget it, they think baseball is a business more than a sport. And that’s what ticks me off more than anything.

    For 10 years, since I was 7 years old, I’ve been dreaming about seeing these guys in the World Series. But this is crushing.

    I don’t think your’e gonna see a product that is much better next year.

  17. David J Corcoran on October 31st, 2004 8:29 am

    What about Mark Teixiera? With Adrian Gonzalez coming up, will he be traded, or moved to DH/OF?

  18. Jerry on October 31st, 2004 11:08 am


    You are not understanding my point at all. All I am saying is that the M’s would be smart to look into trades for younger first basemen. They might be able to pick up a cheaper option in exchange for a player they don’t really need.

    You are being a total hypocrit. You say that the rumors that I mentioned, which have been discussed in the media, are ‘crap’ then you just spin your own ‘rumors’. Your Shea Hillenbrand ‘rumor’ is just as much ‘crap.’

  19. Mark on October 31st, 2004 1:21 pm

    I agree with you dave for the most part. I would just like to see a few names change. Like Jose Viscaino instead of Cruz and maybe sign Rheal Cormier instead of trading for julio. Then trade for a 1st baseman of greater caliber than Hillenbrand. Maybe trade for Mike Sweeney, you know KC wants to get rid of him like VD. Just tweeks but I like the main pieces.

  20. Dave on October 31st, 2004 8:19 pm

    They might be able to pick up a cheaper option in exchange for a player they don’t really need.

    Its amazing to me that you still believe anyone else might want to give up something of value for something that is clearly worthless.

  21. The Ancient Mariner on October 31st, 2004 8:34 pm

    Jerry, the difference is that Dave has contacts which we don’t have, and therefore knows things which we don’t. Thus his speculation is informed to a degree which ours isn’t. This is an important distinction.

    Oh, and Mark: Hillenbrand is at least cheap. Sweeney has a horrendous contract. Given the money situation, I’d actually rather have Hillenbrand.

  22. DMZ on October 31st, 2004 8:49 pm

    I believe Sweeney’s contract also has some poison-pill style clauses, where if he gets traded it gets far, far worse than it is for KC now.

  23. Mark on October 31st, 2004 9:31 pm

    Also I would not be averse to signing Sele again, of course for the right price as insurance for the SP’s. Franklin moving to the pen seems like a great idea to me. Especially with the success of other mediocre starters turned relievers, it’s worth a shot. Of the available SP I would prefer Radke to Clement and would settle for Millwood, realistically probably none of them but wishful thinking.

  24. Jerry on October 31st, 2004 11:19 pm

    “Its amazing to me that you still believe anyone else might want to give up something of value for something that is clearly worthless.”

    Not sure what you are referring to. You yourself said that Winn has trade value, so we both agree that he is not totally worthless. Hillenbrand, on the other hand, is completely useless. With the Boone/Vazquez trade, I was referring to two players who are basically bad contracts. It is just a matter of whether one player is ‘less worthless’ to another team. The Yankees are going to ditch Vazquez, and they have supposedly expressed interest Boone although they don’t want his contract. If the M’s were taking most of Vazquez’s contact off their hands, it might be something they are interested in. If they get a better deal, they get a better deal. I just don’t think that they are going to have a lot of good offers for a player with a contract like Vazquez’s. Just like the M’s aren’t going to get a lot of offers for a player with a contract like Boone’s.

  25. Bela Txadux on November 1st, 2004 12:30 am

    Dave, on the issue of giving up something of value for something worthless, oddly enough folks do this all the time in baseball; it’s called seeing what you want to see. Since statistically sound, objective analysis has come in over the last twenty years this happens _much_ less often than it used to—but it still happens. Every year. Particularly at the trade deadline in July, but in the offseason, too. Consider the Ms most famous instance of this: Slocumb, Timlin, and Spoljaric [yesss! I can still spell his name]. Now, I’ll grant you that Timlin in ’98 was something better than useless, but in ’97 he and the other two were ABSOLUTELY USELESS, and the other two stayed that way. And look at what the Ms gave up for them; definitely non-useless, however we figure there value.

    . . . Strange as it may seem, folks will see what they want to at times. This doesn’t mean that anyone will take Spezio after his ’04 year, under any circumstances, of course. But I would have said Cirllo was untradeable under any circumstances, and not only was he traded (without any savings of $$ but that _was_ impossible), but the Ms even got one player, Dave Hansen, who actually could do a little bit of something useful. I wouldn’t mind Hansen coming back this offseason, either, I’ve got a sweet spot for professional hitters. Sometimes one can turn manure into mutton stew, Porterhouse, no, but mutton stew, yes.

    I do agree with you overall, Dave, that discussing player acquisitions en blog it is better if we stay with real possibilities than wishtastic ejaculations or mere scenario spinning. I think most of Jerry’s posts are something other than in these latter two categories, more ‘reaches’ in my view than dreamcasting; you simply don’t agree with his points, which is your prerogative.

  26. Bela Txadux on November 1st, 2004 12:34 am

    Oh, and Derek Bell! Dave. He was traded several times AND signed to a multi-year. And if ever there was a ‘useless baseball player’ in recent years D-wreck is surely at the head of the list.

  27. paul mocker on November 1st, 2004 11:52 am

    Dave wrote this in his article:

    I expect the Mariners to come out with a “take it or leave it” offer in the range of 6 years, $95 million and a 2005 salary of about $9 million. The Mariners would love to have Beltran and will give Boras an opportunity to set the market with a contract larger than what Vladimir Guerrero commanded last year, but they have little interest in getting involved in a prolonged negotiation. If Boras intends to keep Beltran on the market and create a bidding war, the Mariners will retract their offer and move on quickly. I don’t expect Boras to accept the Mariners terms, and I believe he’ll eventually sign with the Chicago Cubs for about the same money, perhaps a little bit more, than what the Mariners original offer will be.”

    What does this say about the mole in the Safe that Dave presumably gets some of his info from? Does this reflect any insider info?

    My question for those who have excerieance in employee acquisition and retention: Why start out the bidding? If you expect to lose by a few million and don’t want to engage in high level bidding, why start with an offer?

    The Mariner’s have it wrong. The objective is to retain Beltran. The method is to beat the other bidders. Simply say to Boras: We will beat any offer can get the job done. Am I wrong?

  28. Jerry on November 1st, 2004 12:13 pm


    Even if they have no real interest in signing Beltran, at least they would be upping the bidding for other teams. I think that the numbers that Dave posted are pretty much what Beltran SHOULD be worth. That is a lot of cash (average salary of 15.8 million). Really, the M’s would probably be better off going to Beltre and a starting pitcher, like Dave proposed. I would rather see them get some balls and sign three good players: Beltre, Clement, and a third hitter, perhaps JD Drew or Carlos Delgado. A lefty bat would really help the M’s in building a strong lineup. But if the M’s are going to follow Finnigan’s advice and be stingy, that is probably not going to happen.

  29. Steve on November 1st, 2004 7:08 pm

    I can think of several rational reasons for the Mariners to approach Beltran as Dave suggests>

    1. If the Mariners bid becomes a floor from which bidding proceeds, the Mariners will have succeeded in driving up the price that another team pays for Beltran. That works to the Mariners advantage.

    2. If the Mariners offer is turned down, they signal clearly to other players and agents that the Mariners are serious about free agent acquisition this year.

    3. It plays well with the local fan base if the Mariners make a big time offer.

    4. The Mariners have enough holes to fill that it’s not in their interest to drag things out. If they wait too long on Beltran, other players they are interested may sign with other teams. That greatly weaken the Mariners off season situation.

    5. It may be good PR with Scott Boras – give Boras a strong opening bid for one of his players. As mercenary as Boras appears to be, it’s still critical to work relationships with his baseball execs. So he does operate in a quid pro quo world. The payback could come later in negotiations with Drew, for example.

    6. If the Mariners offer is an above market offer – but one the Mariners are willing to pay – there is a possibility that Beltran will receive no offers better than the Mariners offer. In that case, Beltran and Boras may come back to the Mariners, asking if the Mariners are willing to repeat the orginal offer. In such a situation, the Mariners would have some negotiating leverage to get Beltran for a better deal than the original offer (and remember that the original offer would be one the Mariners were willing to pay.

    With all of that being said, I think the biggest consideration that will drive the Mariners is the need to act decisively and quickly. The Mariners plans will be stymied if none of their primary targets are ready to act quickly.

  30. paul mocker on November 3rd, 2004 2:59 pm


    #1. This advantage is very small. They rarely make first offers.

    #2 – I don’t understand how a rejected offer would be a signal that they were serious.

    #3 – Agreed. The PR value is good but fleeting. Very few fans even remember who the M’s offer contacts to.

    #4 – Agreed. They don’t want to prolong things. This is why you make an offer that is close to market value and that signals you are serious.

    #6. The M’s offer won’t be above market. Is there a consistent pattern of Bavasi making above market offers? Perhaps with the Angels.