Continuing FA speculation

DMZ · November 26, 2004 at 4:06 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I never know how to title these kind of follow-up posts.

On the ownership thing (which, patting ourselves on the back, we beat everyone to, because our Japanese readers tip us off way early): the Times carries an AP piece (hey — we beat AP by hours yesterday. Hee hee hee.)

Over at the P.I., continuing their tradition of whipping the Times in both quality and quantity of Mariner coverage, Art Theil writes a short piece that — HOLY MACKERAL — expands on what we already know. He went out and got quotes and new information and everything.

This cracks me up. Anyway, from Thiel: Yamauchi remains “the club’s titular head”. Thiel also scratches out some numbers on the hidden-ownership thing:

A source familiar with Mariners ownership said NOA already owned about 22 percent, which makes the corporation about a 54 percent majority owner of the franchise.

Kudos to you, Art Thiel.

At the same paper, John Hickey’s column givesupdates on FA stuff. They’re looking for Delgado to bat third, followed by Richie Sexson or Troy Glaus.

Which seems weird that you’d get both Delgado and then Sexson, since Delgado makes Sexson totally pointless. Wait, though, Hickey anticipates this question:

The Mariners can add two first baseman if they so choose because they are looking for both a first baseman and a designated hitter this off-season.

Don’t we have some guy… Bucky, mashes the ball for $0?

My favorite Hickey sentence:

If they could make those additions of proven home run hitters in the middle of the lineup, the Mariners would be able to compete with the rest of the power brokers in the American League West.

If you figure Sexson’s arm stays on, and Delgado’s knee holds up, and Sexson’s power translates, it’s still a stretch. Let’s be generous and say that’s ~+40 HR (M’s as 1b: 15 HR, as DH: 16 HR). And say the other teams in the AL West get the same HR totals.

Texas, 227 HR
Oakland, 189 HR
Seattle, 176 HR
Anaheim, 162 HR

Uh, little ways to go still. It is hard to believe how little power was on this team last year, I know. They were one home run (I like to think it was Leone or Bucky) away from last place in all of MLB.

Anyway, Hickey also mentiones that Pavano’s coming to town next week, and they’re looking at Lieber. I think the team should bring potential free agents to town during August, rather than… now. Seattle’s great, but when it’s 50 and raining, we have a hard time competing with (for instance) LA, San Diego, Phoenix, and any team in Texas, or Florida.

Bob Finnigan wrote on Wednesday that the M’s are focused on

first baseman Carlos Delgado, third baseman Corey Koskie and pitchers Jaret Wright, Jon Lieber, Ron Villone and Carl Pavano.

Also (and I’m shocked no one sent this to us):

Right now, the backup catcher is Wiki Gonzalez, who is very similar to Olivo — tough and talented but in need of considerable work. […] Some in the organization say Gonzalez, who came from San Diego in the Jeff Cirillo deal, could be a sleeper.

In that he’s asleep a lot? Because the scuttlebutt on Wiki was that he was the Laziest Man in Baseball, and had the coveted embossed satin pillow to prove it.

Also… Wiki’s 31 now. That’s not “need of considerable work” anymore.


27 Responses to “Continuing FA speculation”

  1. Chris Begley on November 26th, 2004 4:15 pm is reporting that the Mariners are offering 3 years plus an option to Big Carlos. The option, apparently, is to compensate him for moving out of the clean up spot and into the number 3 spot in the batting order. Please tell me that is wrong. When the day comes that a players batting order spot is locked into his contract, well I don’t know what.

  2. Paul Covert on November 26th, 2004 4:20 pm

    So, we’ve got the Gold Glove awards, and the Silver Bats, and now… the Satin Pillows?

  3. Evan on November 26th, 2004 4:23 pm

    Don’t forget the brass ball, the tungsten second base, and the slime-mold batting cage.

  4. Adam T on November 26th, 2004 4:31 pm

    Why in the world would movement in the batting order translate into an option year? This is rediculous.

    Sidenote on Delgado – I remember watching (one of the first?) In The Life or whatever it’s called on ESPN featuring him. In it, he trolled through Toronto and at one point bought some cigars (Cubans?). Washington State Customs…lock and load! 😉

  5. David J Corcoran on November 26th, 2004 4:35 pm

    My only figgerin’ is that they must be trying to move Bucky to third. Which makes ALMOST as much sense as moving Moyer to left field.

  6. John on November 26th, 2004 4:42 pm

    Derek, your delta+40 HR figure doesn’t take into account the benefit Boone, Ibanez and others will get by removing the pressure of batting 3 and 4, slots they are not suited for. Combine these two in the 5/6 or 6/7 slots, stick the two kids Olivo/Lopez in the 8/9 holes and you have the kind of lineup where everybody does better. Assuming health, which admittedly is not a given here, Delgado will do even better with Sexson hitting behind him.

  7. DMZ on November 26th, 2004 5:02 pm

    That’s the kind of quality humor that makes me happy I implemented comments. Thanks.

  8. IgnatiusReilly on November 26th, 2004 5:05 pm

    The tricksy bit, is figuring out whether DMZ is referring to John’s post, or David’s suggestion of Bucky at third. I’m guessing the former.

  9. IgnatiusReilly on November 26th, 2004 5:32 pm

    I think with any amount of competence on Bavasi’s part, we should be able to surpass that 176 HR mark simply by replacing the powerless wonders of 2004’s Olerud, Edgar, Aurillia, and Spiezio.

    2005 Guesses for a Pretty Cruddy Offseason:
    RF, Ichiro = 8 HR
    CF, Winn = 14 HR
    LF, Ibanez = 20 HR
    1B, Delgado = 30 HR
    2B, Boone = 20 HR (I actually think he’ll hit ~25 again, but I know the popular theory is he is plummeting into oblivion)
    DH, Bucky = 22
    SS, Lopez = 13
    C, Olivo = 15
    3B, Platoon??? = 15

    That’s about 157 by adding Delgado, and not counting any HRs contributed by the bench (3…maybe 4).

  10. IgnatiusReilly on November 26th, 2004 5:39 pm

    So in any case, your 176 might not be terribly low, but I think it would be low after you factor in the +3 or 4 you could expect from Olivo getting more time, +3 or 4 at SS, etc.

  11. Kurt on November 26th, 2004 6:03 pm

    If this comes down, I will always wonder why this Mariner team, with barely ANY hopes in competing for the playoffs in 2005, didn’t pay a little more and go after younger quality FAs like Beltran and Beltre, who would be coming into their prime at the same time this team did.


  12. IgnatiusReilly on November 26th, 2004 6:06 pm

    If the snippet of Delgado batting third instead of fourth is anything more than random noise, I’ve got to be suspicious that they are still looking at Beltre. Wishful thinking? Yeah, probably.

  13. David J Corcoran on November 26th, 2004 6:21 pm

    Re: My previous post.

    The only thing stupider than Bucky at 3rd would be signing Mo Vaughn as a late inning defensive shortstop/setup guy. Actually, Sexson could be useful on the mound. His arm is pretty good….

  14. Lou Able on November 26th, 2004 6:53 pm

    Will someone please explain to me why the Mariners would want R. Sexson. Az who have full knowledge of his injury and repair are not rushing to sign him. When was the last time the Mariners brought a National League player to Safeco Field that had a successful season.

  15. David J Corcoran on November 26th, 2004 6:55 pm

    Bret Boone-2001

  16. Lou Able on November 26th, 2004 7:38 pm

    Thats one and it was three years ago.

  17. ChrisK on November 26th, 2004 8:13 pm

    #14 – Sexton is a Northwest native, which in the M’s eyes is equivalent to having a “6th tool”. Koskie has that tool too because his wife is from BC. The 7th tool is being a “good clubhouse guy”. That’s why Willie Bloomquist is 3-tool player. He can field, is from the NW, and is a nice guy.

  18. Dave on November 26th, 2004 8:13 pm

    Can we please, please, please stop getting upset over what is published in the papers?

    None of Boras’ clients are going to sign before the winter meetings (okay, maybe Villone). There aren’t any “rumors” of discussions because Boras handles things in a different manner. The M’s can’t force him to sit down and negotiate a deal for Adrian Beltre. It takes two to tango. In this case, it’s not the Mariners who are refusing to dance.

    Remember, though: Boras isn’t dancing with anyone. Patience, folks. Patience.

  19. mfan on November 26th, 2004 8:29 pm

    WFB can field? Well, I guess he does play several positions. BTW, it’s Sexson.

  20. Jerry on November 26th, 2004 8:43 pm


    Do you know what Boras’ motivation for not negotiating might be? I figure that he must want the bright lights and publicity of the winter meetings, but he is going to have to sign some of his players. Other than just simple vanity, is there any reason to wait on all of his players? With a player like Beltran or Beltre, I could see why he might try to milk every last penny. But some of his other players might end up being bargains for teams if other players fill most of the teams needs, especially with pitchers like Lowe and Millwood. Every player that signs before his clients is just one less potential bidder.

    You do bring up a good point though. I haven’t heard any rumors about any of his clients for a long time. None of them. And the rumors you do hear is ‘so and so team might have interest in blank..’ types of things.

    Oh well. I just hope that, when Boras does start serious negotiations, we stop hearing idiotic ideas like Sexson AND Delgado. I can’t really imagine a worse idea than that one. At least Koskie can field a position that we need help at. Spending big money on a DH is just dumb.

  21. Dave on November 26th, 2004 8:59 pm

    Boras believes, and has been positively reaffirmed each year he’s done this, that the way to maximize contract offers is to create an environment where it is believable that other teams are expending themselves beyond “normal limits”. The winter meetings are perfect for this; everyone worth their salt is legitimately around the corner. Boras can easily walk away from a meeting with the Dodgers, threaten that he’s going to cross the hall and sign with another club, and not have it be an empty threat. The in-person dynamic of the winter meetings creates leverage an agent otherwise doesn’t have.

    Besides this spending spree on mediocre to poor players, teams are generally conservative early in the offseason. They don’t want to sign a large, longterm contract that will look overpriced in just a few weeks. The big contracts almost always come in December, after an initial salvo from an owner looking to make “a big splash” sets the market.

    It might seem like this offseason is taking forever to unfold, but this is pretty normal. The Thanksgiving week is always non-newsworthy, and teams begin to make some moves in the last week of November and things heat up leading to the winter meetings.

  22. eponymous coward on November 26th, 2004 10:26 pm

    What. The. F*$k?

    Let’s see, Bucky hits pretty well during his callup- so they are actually considering signing a guy for a zillion dollars to be maybe 10-20% better than Bucky? I could see Delgado OR Sexson as a DH/1B to complement Bucky, but jeez…

    What, are the Mariners going to use the Chewbacca Defense as their strategy for offseason moves? Does Richie Sexson live on Endor during the offseason? God, when I thought this couldn’t get any worse, I hear crap like this. I guess they aren’t content to block their young OF’ers with guys like Winn and Ibañez; they need to block Bucky as well.

    God willing it will be Delgado/Glaus- which would give us a younger injury risk, I guess.

  23. The Birth of a Nation on November 26th, 2004 10:31 pm

    Regardless, after weeks of contemplation I believe this is what the M’s opening-day lineup will look like:

    1. Ichiro RF
    2. Winn CF
    3. Delgado 1B
    4. Glaus 3B
    5. Boone 2B
    6. Ibanez LF
    7. Bucky DH
    8. Olivo C
    9. P. Reese SS

    I’m worried about the defense. Pokey obviously improves this, but I toss and turn at night at the thought of Ibanez and Winn in left and center for 150 games each…

  24. eponymous coward on November 26th, 2004 10:36 pm


    Mike Cameron (no, ALL of his seasons were successful, not just 2000 and 2001.)

    And I’d say a season like Boone’s pretty much puts the lie to the idea that swtiching leagues and moving to Safeco = doom. There were other reasons for Cirillo’s collapse (such as him not hitting well outside of Coors Field in 2001)- plus Cirillo spent some time in the AL with the Brewers before they switched leagues, so it’s not like “OMG, who ARE all these strange pitchers who I’ve never seen before”.

  25. NBarnes on November 26th, 2004 11:12 pm

    The argument that we can make the lineup better by rearranging the guys we have, a la #6, makes me want to write ‘There Is No God But Statistical Analysis and Bill James Is It’s Prophet’ on the walls of my house in blood over and over.

  26. eponymous coward on November 27th, 2004 1:21 am

    If this comes down, I will always wonder why this Mariner team, with barely ANY hopes in competing for the playoffs in 2005, didn’t pay a little more and go after younger quality FAs like Beltran and Beltre, who would be coming into their prime at the same time this team did.

    You got me. As I’ve said, why not just set the salary money you’d pay in 2005 to Delgado and Sexson on fire if you MUST spend it, or spend it on hookers and blow, or donate it to Edgar’s favorite charity? You’d go from maybe 74-79 wins to 68-73- which are both going to kill attendance by the time September rolls around, and you’d not have the +30 behemonths/injury risks being Olerud in 2004/Boone in 2004+2005 boat anchors on payroll when 2008-9 rolls around and the draft picks the M’s had in 2005 start paying off.

    Setting an salary target (that way understates break-even) and signing veterans that are more appropriate to a team needing one or two puzzle pieces, as a way of convincing the fans that you’re “competitive”, just strikes me as bizarre. I don’t know what’s scarier, that the team is cynical enough to blow money on veterans when they KNOW it’s unlikely to pay off in 2005, or that they’ve falllen for their own PR spin of “we’re a good team having a down year”, and they are still unable to grasp something Branch frigging Rickey knew 50 years ago- baseball players peak by the age of 30, and it’s downhill from there.

  27. Mark on November 27th, 2004 11:55 am

    signing veterans that are more appropriate to a team needing one or two puzzle pieces, as a way of convincing fans that you’re “competitive”, just strikes me as bizarre.

    Bread and circuses, my man. Bread and circuses.

    You cite Branch Rickey. Well, I can go much farther back than that — the ancient Romans knew that you satisfy the public, not with substantive change, but with bread and circuses: easy, quick fixes that give them something to get excited about, even as they do nothing to address the real source of their discontent. Fixing a team is hard — it involves long, time-consuming, and difficult propositions like stocking the farm system, developing talent, and making wise decisions in the free-agent market. Much easier to do something quick and splashy like signing a “name player,” putting his face on billboards, and selling him to the public as a quick fix. Then, when your team fails again, all you have to do is bemoan your terrible luck — “nobody saw that terrible season coming, all our players had bad years at the same time” — and start looking for the next path of least resistance. By the time the public finally loses faith in your business methods, you’re probably going to be retired or employed by a different team, and someone else will have to deal with the mess you made.