MLB.com’s Mariners Mailbag includes this gem:
I ask myself this every year, but do you see the Mariners actually going out and spending some money to acquire a much-needed addition (or two)? It seems like we always make offers, but never get the job done. The Mariners have one of the highest revenues in baseball, and what about all that money they ended up not having to pay for Sasaki?
— Jason Y., Puyallup, Wash.
You must have forgotten that last winter, the Mariners signed several free agents (Eddie Guardado, Raul Ibanez, Scott Spiezio, Rich Aurilia and Ron Villone) for more than $50 million and re-signed Ichiro for $44 million. That’s a lot of money to most of us. Some of that “Sasaki money” was used to pay off underachieving players (like John Olerud and Aurilia) after they were released during the season. The Yankees paid very little of Olerud’s $7 million salary, and the Padres paid about $175,000 of Aurilia’s $3 million contract. And just because a team makes an offer to a player (they offered Miguel Tejada $45 million over five years) doesn’t mean that the player will take it.
That Sasaki money wasn’t spent on anything. At the start of the year, they had $5-7m or so (depending on who’s talking) in money that they had said they were budged for, but had not spent on payroll including Olerud and Aurilia. Dropping those two didn’t do anything to the budget. If anything, it raises a larger point: if the Yankees paid Olerud something, and the Padres picked up any of Aurilia’s salary, then the total amount they were under their original budget was higher, not lower, than when they started the season with Sasaki money burning a hole in their pocket.
Or, if you prefer…
There hasn’t been much written or said about Matsuzaka, who pitches for the Japan Series-winning Seibu Lions, and held the touring U.S. All-Star team to five hits in a complete-game win in Sapporo last month. The reason for the lack of publicity is that the right-hander isn’t a free agent and therefore can’t sign with an MLB organization for several more years.
Except for, you know, here. And the reason for the lack of publicity? Before he re-signed there, he was going to be a free agent after this season and there was much speculation that he’d come over.
Also, uh… Dan Wilson’s been terrific for 11 years, which is greatly overstating his case. Even if the Mariners sign Delgado *and* Sexson, there would still be “plenty of at-bats” for Bucky to pick up. “Since Koskie is less expensive, his signing would allow the Mariners to fill other holes.” Like last year! We should spend tons of money on multi-year contracts for a new set of aging players every year, because then you’re filling more holes — and you guarantee you’ll have holes the next year! Yay!