One way or another
Bavasi, via MLB.com:
“We feel better about this club than last year’s club,” Bavasi said. “The way we look at it, we don’t have to make those kinds of decisions until after the All-Star break. We’re not ready yet to say we’re going to trade veterans for kids in the classic give-up style.
“But neither are we at the point of trading for veterans in the classic contender style. The so-called ‘rent-a-player’ idea doesn’t scare us, but I don’t think we would want to trade for someone with a bad contract.”
Fair enough, and in other discussions I’ve tried to make this point: if the team has to pay all of a veteran’s salary (say, Boone) to trade them for a gumdrop, they may be better off keeping the player and letting them finish off the season.
That being said, Bavasi predicted the Mariners would be active “one way or another” as the trading deadline approaches. A lot can happen in the next three weeks, especially with so many games (10) against American League West opponents heading into the three-day All-Star break.
A hot streak could catapult the Mariners into the Angels’ rear-view mirror. A cold snap could bury them in the lower echelon of the division.
We’ve discussed this before, but no hot streak gets this team into contention. They’re over ten games out at this point. Historically, teams that are over ten games out this late in the season don’t come back. It’s possible but extremely unlikely.
This article’s general point, that Seattle’s looking at the pot and wondering, is backed up elsewhere.
In the PI:
The Mariners are said to be considering offers on three players: second baseman Bret Boone, left-handed pitcher Jamie Moyer, and outfielder Randy Winn.
It’s interesting Guardado’s not mentioned here, though we’ve noted that they refused to consider trading him last year and consider having a closer an important part of their .450 team.
A baseball executive whose club spoke with the Mariners recently was told Seattle was in a “holding pattern.”
“If they continue to lose, they’ll probably move some players,” the executive said.
That seems to be the perception of the executive more than anything Bavasi’s said, in the same way the MLB.com article is. Much of the speculation about what’s in the front office’s head is unsupported by even their statements.
They may be doing what they did last year at this time, and playing hard-to-get. There was a time they weren’t going to trade Freddy Garcia. They could be working the phones, or waiting for the last round of suitors to come knocking again.
They could be bored. They may figure that given the choice between dumping a veteran (and eating a lot of their salary) to pick up a AAA guy they’re going to release this off-season and having that veteran finish out the year, they might as well have the veteran around.
They might be twiddling their thumbs.
We can reasonably expect they’re not punting on next year. As the Yankees, and Red Sox, and other contending teams have trouble getting other teams to cough up players that might help them, it’s unlikely the Mariners are going to go out and trade off their middle infielder crop for rent-a-players.
At some point though, we should worry about Bavasi weighing self-interest against the long term interests of the team. We’ve seen it happen in other teams: if he doesn’t feel like he’ll be around for the next really good Mariner team unless they get to .500 in 2006, there’s a lot of damage that can be done in a one-year quest to guarantee contention.