More M’s accounting in the media
How much money do the Mariners have available to work with for free-agent signings this offseason? Also, who are the M’s players that are currently scheduled to be returning to the 25-man team (and their salary commitments)? — David Smirnow
Howard Lincoln, the team’s CEO, has said that the payroll budget would not be cut this season, which suggests that the organization will spend about $93 million next season. As of Nov. 1, the team has 11 players under contract next season for $53.68 million. They also owe Jeff Cirillo $4.78 million, and will pay $500,000 to buy out pitcher Kevin Jarvis. Starting pitcher Gil Meche is eligible for free agency and figures to get at least $1 million. With the remainder of the 40-man roster expected to make at least $7 million to $8 million, it is believed that general manager Bill Bavasi will have between $13-15 million to lure free agents to Seattle.
Okay, so factual error #1 is that Meche isn’t eligible for free agency.
#2 is that the Mariners spread a $92m number last year, but that was fictional and they never spent the “Sasaki money”. Actual payroll was much lower.
Assuming you grant him everything else, though, as our readers point out, the numbers still don’t add up.
53.68m + 4.78m to Cirillo + .5m for Jarvis + Meche at 1m + “remainder of roster” at 8m = ~70m, which would mean the team would have, by the logic at the start of the article, $23m to spend on luring free agents to Seattle.
That’s a 8-10m math error *even if you agree with all of the assumptions there*.
I want to point this out to make two points, though:
First, errors like this occur all over the place if you pay attention. That the editors couldn’t be troubled to add the numbers up and see there was a huge error should tell you a lot about the standards of MLB. This wasn’t even a subjective judgement call, either.
Second, when Finnigan runs an article with random numbers in it to justify a weird conclusion, well, he’s not alone.
Update 11/3: they pulled the Q and the A from the page.