More rumor mill fodder

Dave · December 1, 2004 at 6:34 am · Filed Under Mariners 

On the ever-continuing-wheel-of-Finnigan, he cranks out another column contradicting things he recently wrote. Remember this?

Confirming that yesterday, an independent source said the club would fit the sluggers into the defense by asking Sexson to play left field much of the time.

“What they are hoping is to have a rotation of Delgado, Sexson and (Raul) Ibanez for first base, left and DH,” the source said.

Well, now, we’ve got this:

If the Mariners come to agreement with one of the sluggers, that would knock the offer to the other off the table.

The available money has fluctuated from $13 million to $16 million and now is mentioned at between $15-16 million.

I’ll repeat what I’ve been saying ever since the offseason started. Patience, folks. The M’s aren’t going to do anything until the winter meetings. All this stuff is just filler.


48 Responses to “More rumor mill fodder”

  1. Sonic on December 1st, 2004 6:40 am

    Well, he did it again…

    “While they are believed to be able to get both Delgado and Sexson — the two most proven power bats available in this free-agent market —”

    “the two most proven power bats available in this free-agent market”!!??? At least he didn’t say they were the best power bats to come onto the free agent market in recent years like he did in the last column. I guess even Finigan realized he’d gone too far with that little piece of propaganda.

  2. Scott G. on December 1st, 2004 6:56 am

    The chances of M’s management bringing in both Sexson & Delgado is extremely remote. They just don’t want to cut their bridges by not offering Sexson a deal. I’m sure their initial offer to Sexson was just low enough that they’re confident he won’t take it. If Delgado falls through, they’ll up Sexson’s offer. It’s clear that they never seriously considered Beltran or Beltre so they’re making sure they have a shot at the other two legitimate thumpers.

    So say we get Delgado, is Jaret Wright at 3 years / $15 mill the answer? People have gotten burned on overpaying ex-Braves before. Can he possibly sustain last year’s vast improvement?

  3. Jon Wells on December 1st, 2004 7:45 am

    I noticed that contradiction too but these two things in Finnigan’s
    latest have me pissed off too:

    “They would still have the option of using big Bucky Jacobsen as a power source, with the understanding that he needs a solid spring camp to make the club again.”

    So not only are they not planning on starting Bucky at DH but now he needs to have a good spring to even make the team as a bat on the bench? This is a joke — the guy surpassed all expectations as a rookie, will make barely over the minimum and was one of the only reasons to come to Safeco in July and August and now this? Remember folks this is a team that has carried Willie Bloomquist on their major league roster for 2+ seasons. When “Bloomy” was hitting .150 last spring and being outplayed by Bocachica and others, Bo Mel practically guaranteed him a roster spot, saying “For me, Willie is on the team”. I realize the club has a different (better) manager now
    but there must be somebody in the organization that has a clue, that can tell Hargrove that Bucky should be on the time and probably getting playing time at DH.

    And $4 million reserved for Wilson and Villone? What a waste of money.
    Let them walk! Villone can be replaced by one of the relievers from Tacoma at $300K (like Atchison) or they could find a lefthanded reliever on the market (Steve Kline?). There’s supposedly other interest in Wilson, but he’s so anxious to come back that he’s probably only using it to get the M’s to go 2 years. It’ll be a happy day in my household when Wilson and Bloomquist are no longer on the team!

  4. NBarnes on December 1st, 2004 7:49 am

    Well, Beltran is unproven. He won’t be proved until he has three or four more seasons like that, at which time he’ll be, what, 29, and can be expected to enter the deline phase of his career.

    At which time Bill Bavasi will sign him to a 5 year, $75 million dollar contract.

  5. Jon Wells on December 1st, 2004 8:08 am

    Finally! A report from a more trustworthy M’s source than Finnigan.
    Larry LaRue of The News Tribune is reporting that the M’s top position player targets are Delgado and Troy Glaus (he describes them as “Plan A”), that they won’t have interest in Corey Koskie or other “secondary hitters” until offers to Delgado and Glaus fail (yeah!) and he pours water all over the Sexson to LF talk of Finnigan’s (“that’s not the first choice of Sexson or the team”).

    Other things to like about LaRue’s piece — there’s not one mention of Seattle’s budget not being able to allow them to make these signings and LaRue says Villone has interest from other teams and an offer from the Yankees (see you later!). He does make it sound like Wilson will return (no other team has offered him a starting job). My opinion is that they’ll probably offer Wilson arbitration if he’s not signed by next Tuesday, Dec 7 (real stupid move but I think they will)…

  6. Troy on December 1st, 2004 8:36 am

    The propaganda has worked! My expectations for this offseason have already decreased so much that Delgado and Glaus (two guys who I initially didn’t want) now get me excited. *Sigh* Finnigan may be a hack, but he’s an effective one.

  7. Ryan on December 1st, 2004 8:40 am

    Exactly my thoughts, Troy. All the sudden, my second and third options when the off-season began have become “the best case scenario”.

    I hate this team sometimes. Just sometimes.

  8. Jon Wells on December 1st, 2004 8:42 am

    Assuming they can sign Delgado and Glaus and Jaret Wright I think
    they have a chance to be solid next year. Sure both those guys are injury risks. Hey, I’d like them to sign Nomar but he’s probably a bigger injury risk. Not a bad little lineup. Now if they can only get someone to take Winn off their hands!

    Ichiro RF
    Reed CF
    Glaus 3B
    Delgado 1B
    Boone 2B
    Bucky DH
    Ibanez LF
    Lopez SS
    Olivo C

    They’d be relying on 3 “kids” as starters (Lopez, Reed & Olivo) so they’d want to sign some decent backups who are capable of starting if necessary, like Pokey Reese in the infield ($1.5 mil) or Tony Womack if Reese signs elsewhere, Gregg Zaun, Einar Diaz or Paul Bako at catcher ($500K – $700K) and a cheap OF capable of playing CF like a Ricky Ledee, an Orlando Palmeiro, a Tom Goodwin or a Doug Glanville (all of these OF’s will sign for between $500K and $1 mil and probably will be NRI’s w/o a guaranteed contract and won’t take up a spot on the 40 man).

    With the M’s supposedly making an offer to Jaret Wright and showing interest in Pavano and Lieber, I’m wondering why there’s been no talk about Odalis Perez? He’s only 27, is left-handed and will be cheaper than the other three it seems (and he allowed three earned runs or less in 26 of his 31 starts). With Moyer falling off the face of the earth, it would be good to add another lefty to the rotation (so they’d have two when Moyer is gone). And why no interest in Matt Clement either?

    ROTATION: Pineiro, Madritsch, Meche, O Perez, Moyer
    BULLPEN: Guardado, Hasegawa, Franklin, Mateo, Putz, Sherrill
    I think it’s possible they’ll trade Mateo which would open up a spot for Atchison or Aaron Taylor (if healthy).

  9. jj on December 1st, 2004 8:45 am

    #3, if you find contradition in Finnigan’s columns, why still take his words so seriously? If we indeed land few offensive power hitters, I for one don’t mind Bucky is the odd man out from the starting line up. And I don’t believe he would be a good bench player since he is not versatile defensily. Bomel is gone. No one is really guarantee Bloomquist a job next year, so lets just calm down and wait it out.

  10. Kevin on December 1st, 2004 9:26 am

    I love Bucky, but in a “fan favorite” kind of way. The more ratonal side of me knows he’s a one-trick pony. But he’s cheap, and I fear M’s management will sign an expensive bat that is equivalent to Bucky’s for 20-30x the price.

  11. Jon Wells on December 1st, 2004 9:29 am

    Just because he contradicted his last piece doesn’t mean you don’t take him seriously. He’s one of just a handful of beat writers covering the Seattle team and he does have his sources within the organization (he’s been covering the M’s for over 20 years).

    So you wouldn’t want to have a power guy like Bucky on your bench, able to step up as a PH in the late innings of a tight game? A guy who can step in for an injured player and give you production in HR’s and RBI’s? That’s hard for me to understand…it’s not like he’s gonna be bitching when he’s not playing. the guy is just so happy to be in the majors…

    Anyway, here’s a few more free agents that are out there, some of who will be NRI’s, all of whom will be relatively cheap and could be good fits with Seattle.

    Lefty relievers: Jason Christiansen, Gabe White, Kent Mercker. White in particular had an awful season but probably gets no more than an MRI and he’s likely to bounce back and be cheap.

    Righty relievers: Ricky Bottalico, Brian Boehringer, Jeff Nelson. Nellie got under $2 mil last year and statistically didn’t have a great year. He’ll make a mil or less next year at age 38 and could be a bargain for this club. Even with an ERA of 5.32 (probably some caused by inherited runs scoring off other relievers), he did hold opposing batters to a .207 BA, allowed less hits than IP and struck out over 8 batters per 9 innings.

    CATCHER: Add Mike Matheny to the list of FA catchers who would be cheaper and more productive than re-signing Dan Wilson.

    IF: Jose Vizcaino.
    OF’s: Todd Hollandsworth, Danny Bautista, Ben Grieve, Robert Fick.

  12. Mark on December 1st, 2004 9:41 am

    I’ll repeat what I’ve been saying ever since the offseason started. Patience, folks. The M’s aren’t going to do anything until the winter meetings.

    My first reaction to this was, “Huh?!” since, of course, you wrote that offseason prediction in which your entry for the November 15-December 1 window included signing Beltre and Clement. Going back and re-reading that now, though, I see that what you might have meant was the M’s would make offers to Beltre and Clement in that period, with the unstated assumption that they wouldn’t sign on the dotted line until later, possibly much later. If other readers like me mis-read you in that fashion, it might explain a portion of the angst seen in these discussions.

  13. jim on December 1st, 2004 9:42 am

    I’m counting on “unproven bats” such as Bucky, Reed and Olivo to ultimately move the Mariners into contention, backfilling power gaps with short term contracts for fading superstars like Delgado. Mariner optimists fantisize about signing Beltran but how can anyone take this seriously when The Boss needs to swap out his center fielder with another “proven” high-performance component?

  14. Tod on December 1st, 2004 9:54 am

    Regarding Wright, a different way to evaluate Seattle’s interest is to compare him to Clement and Pavano. It appears that he will be much cheaper than Pavano (both in length and annual salary). I can’t get a sense of the market for Clement, but I am guessing he’ll get at least three years and more than Wright annual. He has a longer, more severe injury history than either, although neither Pavano nor Clement are risk free. In fact, Will Carroll is particularly concerned about Clement’s health. And in terms of performance, Pavano has about a half season’s longer history; Clement has a much longer history but of lesser quality. The longer I turn this over, the more I like Wright. There is unquestioned risk, but I can’t say Clement or Pavano make me comfortable either. As Dave declared early on, Pavano is someone to avoid.

  15. Jerry on December 1st, 2004 10:07 am

    If there is any good that can be gleaned from all this, at least the M’s are becoming one of the major players on the free agent market. That is something.

    It is also telling that none of Boras’ clients have been included in any ‘solid’ rumors. This obviously is not just a coincidence, because he has about 248 high-profile clients who are free agents this year. I am just hoping that, once Boras starts serious negotiations, that we will start to hear more rumors linking his clients with the M’s. Specifically, Beltran, Beltre, and Drew. I still think that Drew and Beltre are the way forward. However, there is some encouraging news in the Houston Chronicle today about Beltran:

    Supposedly, the Astros have submitted an offer for 13.5 million/season over 6-7 years, and the Yankees have offered 13 mil/year. Although these offers are preliminary, the fact that the bidding is not over 15 million/year is encouraging. If Beltran can be had for less than that, I think that he is well worth it. This also bodes well for guys like Beltre and Drew. If Beltran is not going to be getting insane money, the market for elite players might not be as crazy as it is for the Omar Vizquels and Christian Guzmans on the market.

  16. Ken Hanselman on December 1st, 2004 10:20 am

    As much as I’d love it if Jerry’s predictions of interest in Boras’ clients were true, the Larue and Finnigan columns and the general spin tell a different tale. This offseason is following the pattern of last offseason. Plan A in 2003 was Tejada. They refuse the fifth year and Plan B is initiated in Omar. On to Plan C. This year, we get a Plan A of Delgado. Plan B is Sexson and so forth. Notice that the Boras clients are not mentioned whatsoever. Dave might argue that it’s too early, but the spin says otherwise, and it’s the same spin as last year. Very predictable, and frankly outrageous, considering the vast funds that are at their disposal.

  17. Greg on December 1st, 2004 10:30 am

    Regarding #14.
    The current market on Clement = Indians and White Sox.
    The big question on Wright can he repeat his sensational numbers of ’04. He has “never” produced numbers even close to last year and without a better understanding of why he suddenly jumped into the circus of very good starting pitchers, I am left with a pressing concern that he is likely to pull an Esteban Loaiza next year. Meanwhile, Clement has shown a 3-year improving trend in all vital stats. Durability will likely shake off teams that would otherwise be interested in Clement.

  18. Lefebvre Believer on December 1st, 2004 10:44 am

    Larue writes such a better piece than Finnigan. I feel sorry for P. Lints offspring. He probably sits at the breakfast table every day reminding them of their $2 weekly allowance and how many Archie comic books that they can buy.

  19. Rob on December 1st, 2004 11:01 am

    Im suprised the M’s are in on the rumors with beltran, espn rumor mill is saying the astros are offering 13.5 a year over about 6. Then they say the yanks will offer somethign similar. Hopefully the m’s are like last years angels…

  20. Jerry on December 1st, 2004 11:11 am


    The thing with Boras’ many clients is that there are very few rumors involving any of them with any team besides Jason Varitek. With Varitek, his current team is the most likely to pay him big money, so there might be a little more motivation to negotiate early. But with Beltran, Beltre, Drew, Lowe, Ordonez, and Millwood, there has been almost no rumors. The Tigets are supposedly interested in Lowe, but nothing concrete has been mentioned. There are rumors about Beltran, but besides a few rumors about preliminary offers and the outlandish demands by Boras, there have been surprisingly few rumors. There has been nearly nothing on Drew, Beltre, and Ordonez. Compare this with Sexson, Glaus, Delgado, Wright, and Pavano. With those guys, the agents and clubs are actually talking. With Boras, it seems like he hasn’t really openned real dialog.

    I don’t think that this is because ML GMs are not interested in his clients. I think that it is because he is just sitting on his hands until the winter meetings. The real juicy rumors will start flying when Boras starts real negotiations with potential suitors. And all signs suggest that this will go down at the winter meetings. So I wouldn’t interpret the lack of rumors about Boras clients, espeically Beltre, as real evidence that the M’s are just not interested. Perhaps this is just me being optimistic, because I think that Beltre should be the M’s #1 priority. However, I have to believe that Bavasi will at least enquire about Beltre, Drew and Beltran given the funds available and the needs the M’s have right now. If this is not the case, and Bavasi is really going after Delgado and Sexson full-steam ahead, it would be a real shame.

  21. ChrisK on December 1st, 2004 11:29 am

    #16 (Ken) – I would agree with you. It seems that the M’s were determined to get offers out on players early this offseason to fill holes quickly and ‘make a splash’ for season ticket sales. However, if that was the case, then why did we hear early rumors about the M’s interest in Beltre, when everyone KNOWS that Boras doesn’t get his clients to sign deals until much later in the offseason? If we are to believe that offers on the table for Delgado, Sexson, Wright, and potentially Koskie, then it seems that they had no real interest in going after Beltre or Beltran in the first place. Either that, or they foolishly thought that Boras would accept a very early offer for either of his two prized clients.

    (P.S. – not that the M’s don’t have the resources to sign Beltre PLUS the others given their revenue streams and Lincoln’s stated “willingness to take a loss” this year. However, I’m still working on the reality that they set a self-imposed salary cap to maximize profits, a number which will be promoted via Finnigan)

  22. Rob on December 1st, 2004 11:31 am

    Whoops meant to say m’s AREN”T in on the rumors. A note about the Finnigan article which I found funny


  23. Rob on December 1st, 2004 11:32 am

    Ok I messed up that blockquote, the quote was supposed to be
    “the two most proven power bats available in this free-agent market — they could not do that and add a front-line pitcher such as Wright”

  24. ChrisK on December 1st, 2004 11:35 am

    Jerry, I just read your post (#20) after I posted mine. I certainly hope that you are correct and I am wrong. But I just don’t see them willing to spend money on Beltre, plus Delgado and Wright (with whom they currently have offers out on), even though they certainly have the means to do so. Either that or they will be quickly shot down by Boras when they lowball him at the winter meetings.

  25. Brian Harper on December 1st, 2004 11:36 am

    I think Ken (#16) has hit the nail on the head. The off-season looks very much like last year’s. First the M’s use the beat writers to wage an expectation-lowering campaign, floating strange math to explain why they don’t really have as much money to use in free-agency as we all knew they did. Then they make it known that they’re targeting one of the lesser “big” names on the market, but be sure and add that they “don’t want to get into a bidding war”, in case they don’t sign even that good a player. Right from the start they do everything they can to justify their lack of involvement with the top free-agent prizes. They did it last year with Guerrero, they’re doing it this year with Beltre and Beltran. I’d love to buy into Dave’s optimism, but every sign I’ve seen has pointed to a “more of same” off-season.

  26. Brent Overman on December 1st, 2004 11:46 am

    Yikes. This just screams of Chris Bosio and Greg Hibbard revisited. “One good year! Let’s ink him long term!” It’s like pissing in the wind and ignoring the ramifications.

    If they do this, what’s so drastically different from “Gillvasi’s” moves last year to Bavasi’s first move this year? Both reek of poor judgment.

  27. Ken Hanselman on December 1st, 2004 11:46 am

    Jerry and Chris: Again, I’d love to agree with Jerry’s optimism on Bavasi’s intent to at least inquire about Beltre. But, my opinion is similar to Chris’ in that I think Lincoln still feels the sting of dealing with Boras from his failed “negotiation” in 2000 regarding Arod, and I think that’s the real reason that you likely won’t see a Boras client in an M’s uni anytime soon. Plus, their MO has always been to identify high-ticket players (ie: Tejada) fold once the ante gets too high, and then switch to their plan B. This time, it appears that they are folding early on the high-ticket guy (Beltre/Boras) and settling for Glaus early on. Sure, it’s possible that the winter meetings could produce a miracle and land us Beltre, but I have serious doubts that their self-imposed “budget” will allow them to stay at the table very long. Again, it’s an outrage considering the revenues they have enjoyed. Also, I agree with Jon regarding Bucky. On a bad knee, he proved himself quite capable of being a full-time DH.

  28. ChrisK on December 1st, 2004 11:47 am

    Brian (#25), you could be right. Once Beltre and Beltran sign with other teams, I’m sure Finny will write a Boras-bashing article paining him as the devil and saying how evil he is for the purity of the game, etc etc. Hell, P-Lint may even break out the Cirillo Card for old time’s sake (like when he tried to use Cirillo as justification for not signing Vlad last year – this is not a joke). Then there’s the old “A-Rod hasn’t won anything yet” card that he will use when Beltran signs a megadeal with another team. Ahh, to be a sportswriter in this town…

  29. Alex on December 1st, 2004 11:52 am

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t like the fact that M’s management is essentially trying to insult our collective intelligence. They float (through their media mouthpieces) varying figues about the money that’s available for FA’s. They make big promises about changes, but never put their money where their mouth is. You would think that they would learn from the Indians and Orioles that the fan base is nothing to take for granted. This team is veering down that same path rapidly, in my opinion.

    I forsee them signing some old and/or mediocre free agents this year and perhaps being around .500 for another year or two. Attendance will drop, as will revenues, and management will cry poor and no FA’s (mediocre or otherwise) will be signed. We’ll then resort to playing all kids and we’ll stink for years to come. I hate to sound like doom and gloom, but what I am reading and hearing doesn’t make a longtime M’s fan feel optimistic.

  30. msb on December 1st, 2004 11:54 am

    If you want to listen to Boras tout his clients (“Carlos is considering a limited number of teams and the Houston Astros are one of them,”), he will be on radio at 11PT…

  31. ChrisK on December 1st, 2004 12:22 pm

    Alex (#29), the M’s are insulting our collective intelligence because it’s worked in the past. After last year’s posturing on Tejada, the spin on Aurilia/Speizio/Guillen, failing to address their biggest need (for 3 years running), and the outrageous FO comments like “Pudge Rodriguez is about the same as Dan Wilson & Ben Davis”, the M’s STILL set records for pre-season ticket sales.

    This is because their marketing strategy is focused on the family-oriented, marginal baseball fan (ie, not the people on this blog). That’s why the M’s can afford to build a team that is ‘competitive’ but won’t go the extra mile to make a serious WS run. Since most paying fans aren’t demanding a WS-calibur team (esp. given our revenues), why risk profit margins to go all out?

    I know the M’s realize they cannot keep putting a 99-loss team out there. But I think they feel they can make s good profit with a 80-85 win team that stays ‘in the hunt’ for the playoffs, since ‘anything can happen in the playoffs!’. With a slightly better-than-average team, they can still draw good crowds by marketing the following 4 things: 1) Safeco as fun for the whole family, 2) Ichiro, 3) our nice-guy & hometown players, and 4) a ‘competitive’ team that might make the playoffs! (you never know!)

    Yes this is cynical, but if you look at the situation from a marketing perspective a lot of their actions start to make sense (ie, obsession with nice guys, the cuddly commercials, keeping Bloomquist on the roster, unwillingness to exceed their salary cap, Finny’s articles via the FO, etc).

  32. Ken Hanselman on December 1st, 2004 12:36 pm

    I know we’re getting way ahead of ourselves here since we’re still waiting for the official “moves,” but unfortunately I think Chris has it right. As a result, we have little choice but to stay active on this blog in an effort to educate the casual fans that Marketing has so successfully (so far) exploited. The thing is, though, why can’t they understand that it takes more than “proven veterans” to create a consistently competitive team (which they purportedly desire), and that spending money doesn’t necessarily mean setting money on fire?

  33. Bill on December 1st, 2004 12:51 pm

    From the Finnigan article: “…$4 to $5 million earmarked for [Wilson and Villone].” Dear God, does that mean $1.75M to Wilson and $2.5M to Villone? Please, Yankees, sign Villone, we will be eternally grateful.

  34. eponymous coward on December 1st, 2004 2:14 pm

    I know the M’s realize they cannot keep putting a 99-loss team out there. But I think they feel they can make s good profit with a 80-85 win team that stays ‘in the hunt’ for the playoffs, since ‘anything can happen in the playoffs!’. With a slightly better-than-average team, they can still draw good crowds by marketing the following 4 things: 1) Safeco as fun for the whole family, 2) Ichiro, 3) our nice-guy & hometown players, and 4) a ‘competitive’ team that might make the playoffs! (you never know!)

    The thing is that a FA haul of Delgado/Glaus/Wright MIGHT get 85 wins…if EVERYTHING goes perfectly.

    What’s just as likely to happen is there are enough injuries/regressions to the mean/age-related dropoffs/young players who don’t quite pan out to offset the success stories, and the M’s win 70-75 games this year. Which IS an improvement on 63, but it’s not going to draw fans or sell season tickets to the casual fan. What happens after that is left as an exercise for the reader.

  35. eponymous coward on December 1st, 2004 2:18 pm


    I suspect the M’s are looking at Detroit as their model (“Hey, we can improve 30 games when we sign FA’s!”)- while forgetting that Detroit plays in a craptastic division (I suspect any of the 3 AL West teams would have won 90+ in the AL Central and beaten our the Twins), and got YOUNG players too, like Guillen.

  36. msb on December 1st, 2004 3:04 pm

    Boras speaking on today (the paraphrasing is mine): At the GM meetings he and his team sit down with GMs to discuss their entire roster, their needs, their plans, their hopes and dreams… he then allows the GM to approach him with questions about specific clients. He has some really, really good clients. You can’t compare them to earlier signings, because they are incomparable. He expects player movement to start happening in December (and he is not the reason his clients move so slowly, he doesn’t have the pen in hand) and he feels that pitchers will begin moving after RJ’s situation is settled.

  37. Grant on December 1st, 2004 4:08 pm

    I think everyone is being prematurely pessimistic, I saw an interview with Bavasi on FSN the other day and he was talking about how they were trying to target guys that can help the team ’06 and beyond. I think he knows that it will be hard to have create a ‘quick-fix’ for this team, and is not looking to bring in players nearing the end of their careers. If we see more of the same from the M’s I plan to bash them frequently on this site, but until something actually happens I’m going to remain optimistic, and hope that we see Beltran, Beltre, Drew, and/or Clement in an M’s uniform next season. I have to admit that my expectations have been lowered as well though, I would be somewhat satisfied if we got Delgado, Glaus, and Wright. However I don’t think that is a product of PLF, but all media covering the M’s because those are the only guys that have been linked to the M”s by anyine that I have any interest in.

  38. BirdWatcher on December 1st, 2004 4:28 pm

    I’m a big Delgado fan and have enjoyed watching him live and on TV for years, but how can presumably sane MLB GMs be willing to offer a 3-year, $30MM+ contract to a 33 year old power hitter ? Using the excellent resources available at, let’s look at a dozen hitters with career stats similar to Delgado at age 32 (some amazingly similar !).

    It’s scary – none of the 12 hitters maintained their historical performance in Years 33 through 35. Fred McGriff and Jeff Bagwell performed the best but, still, with slightly lower average OBP and SA. Willie McCovey, Gil Hodges, Jose Canseco, David Justice and Tim Salmon put up acceptable numbers but, unfortunately, were hit by the injury bug and were reduced to being part-time players. Albert Belle, Mo Vaughan, Cecil Fielder, Kent Hrbek and Ralph Kiner, all of whom had outstanding Year 32 seasons, suffered career ending injuries soon after, with Vaughan being the only one to even make it to Year 35 (< 100 ABs !). Bottom line – here are twelve 32 year old hitters with career patterns comparable to Delgado. Two maintained nearly the same performance rates in Years 33-35, five performed adequately but were injured a large part of the time, and no less than five were complete non-entities by Age 34. It seems clear the chances of Delgado achieving anything even close to his historical performance numbers is pretty low, and the most likely outcome is he’ll be either a complete or partial bust at some point over the next two years. Is this really where you want to commit over $30 MM ? Looks like the return on investment would be a lot higher from the twentysomethings (Beltran, Beltre, Glaus) or Garciaparra or Sexson (interestingly, Sexson’s list of comparable players is very similar to Delgado’s, except they are at an earlier point in their careers – and that makes all the difference, partly because of fewer injuries but also because performance is still improving in some cases).

  39. BirdWatcher on December 1st, 2004 4:31 pm

    Here’s the rest of Note 35!

    to even make it to Year 35 (<100 ABs).

    Bottom line – here are twelve 32 year old hitters with career patterns comparable to Delgado. Two maintained nearly the same performance rates in Years 33-35, five performed adequately but were injured a large part of the time, and no less than five were complete non-entities by Age 34.

    It seems clear the chances of Delgado achieving anything even close to his historical performance numbers is pretty low, and the most likely outcome is he’ll be either a complete or partial bust at some point over the next two years. Is this really where you want to commit over $30 MM ? Looks like the return on investment would be a lot higher from the twentysomethings (Beltran, Beltre, Glaus) or Garciaparra or Sexson (interestingly, Sexson’s list of comparable players is very similar to Delgado’s, except they are at an earlier point in their careers – and that makes all the difference, partly because of fewer injuries but also because performance is still improving in some cases).

  40. chief on December 1st, 2004 4:49 pm

    Re # 31. Chris, nice analysis, I couldn’t agree more.
    Re # 37. Grant, I like a positive approach also, but, and its a big but, the Ms have a track record the past few years that causes the insightful fan to be cynical and pessimistic. Do you recall the inaction at the trading deadline the past couple of seasons? Lincoln’s comments about going for upgrades without thought to profits next year? Now we will see if the pessimism is warranted. I do not trust the FO to do the right thing but I am hopeful that I am wrong and you are correct. For me getting Delgado, Glaus and Wright would be a good start to success and would put us in position to really do some good in 2006. Time will tell ….

  41. Econ guy on December 1st, 2004 5:30 pm

    Kendry Morales signed with the Angels. Dave, do you have any projection on how good he will be?

  42. Basebliman on December 1st, 2004 5:58 pm

    #38/39 Let’s not forget about another great player that declined before age 32. He used to patrol CF with the M’s…

  43. Frozenropers on December 1st, 2004 6:00 pm

    #38: Any reason you didn’t include current players like the 34 year old Jim Thome or the 34 year old Jim Edmonds or the 35 year old Gary Sheffield in your comparison of players and performance trends as they age?

    Thome is probably the closest comparable type hitter to Delgado you’ll find out there today and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down at the age of 34. Delgado won’t hit the age of 34 until mid-season 2006. So he’s pretty much got two full seasons before he hits Thome’s current age.

    Jim Edmonds has turned in two of his better/best all round seasons at the age of 33 and 34. Where’s the drop off there?

    Gary Sheffield just turned 36…..he didn’t slow down much the last two seasons, which he turned in at the ages of 34 and 35.

    IMO, any Mo Vaughn comparison to Delgado is weak at best. Mo was vastly over weight which hastened his downfall and injury problems…..Delgado is a workout warrior who is in probably as good of physical shape as anyone in the majors.

    I think people here who say Delgado is “done”, or has little chance to achieve anything close to his historical performance numbers are just crying sour milk, because he’s not “their” first choice for a free agent target.

    Discouting Delgado because he’s 32 years old and won’t turn 33 until mid season next year is just foolish. The guy is a premier middle of the order hitter in an era when power hitters produce well into their mid 30’s. Delgado has still Del-GOT-IT! ;o)

  44. eponymous coward on December 1st, 2004 8:40 pm

    Edmonds is a CF, not a 1B or corner OF. Wrong comp.

    OK, so we add in Sheffield and Thome. That means you’ve got a couple extra good comps… and still a mess of bad ones (4/5/5). The reason why Birdwatcher used those names is they were on Delgado’s comp list.

    While we’re at it, Olerud was signed to a 2 year deal at age 33 coming off of good seasons, and has ZERO injury history since the early 90’s. Remind me, how did that turn out?

  45. Bill on December 1st, 2004 10:02 pm

    2002: .300/.403/.490
    2003: .269/.372/.390

  46. enkel on December 1st, 2004 11:41 pm

    If indeed Lincoln holds grudge against Boras over Rodriquez he should be gone. It not as if A-Rod got a few more $$ he was grossly overpaid any business person would take that money.
    No comparison what he did to fans team Lou when a bat would have sent them to and further in playoffs.
    By the way Buckey was much more athletic than I expected playing 1ST & good hand eye. Will be interesting to see how he does with 2 good knees 25lbs lighter..

  47. Bernard Aboba on December 2nd, 2004 1:15 am

    Has any analysis been done on the longevity of players taking steroids? Jason Giambi has now fessed up, as has his brother Jeremy:

    Ironically, the usage appeared to have originated with Jason’s desire to play longer:

    “So I started to ask him: ’Hey, what are the things you’re doing with Barry? He’s an incredible player. I want to still be able to work out at that age and keep playing,”’ Giambi testified, according to the Chronicle. “And that’s how the conversation first started.”

    Sadly, rather than prolonging his career, steriods appear to have contributed to Jason’s pituitary tumor.

    And the Yankees now have 4 years remaining on Giambi’s 7 year, $120 MM contract. Any chance they can collect insurance?

  48. Frozenropers on December 2nd, 2004 12:47 pm

    #44, we aren’t talking about comparing Delgado and Edmonds defensive abilities….we are talking about their offensive abilities at the plate…….they both hit. Their defensive position is not relative to the discussion of how much longer each can perform at the plate. If anything, one could surmise that Edmonds should break down sooner as his defensive position is more demanding, impacting his performance at the plate…..but that’s not the point…the point is players being able to perform offensively at or above their historical averages well into their mid-30’s.

    Now you are comparing Delgado and Olerude as hitters? Might as well go compare Delgado to Mark Grace too.