Winter Meetings start

Jeff · November 8, 2005 at 10:58 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Jon Paul Morosi has two stories in successive issues of the P-I about the winter meetings, which get underway this week.

The Mariners have made initial inquiries on pitchers A.J. Burnett and Matt Morris, and outfielder Brian Giles, among other high-profile free agents. But this week is unlikely to include many notable signings, if any, since teams are unable to discuss contract terms until Friday.

Matt Morris? Danger!

Since (as the blockquote explains) teams can’t offer contracts to free agents until later this week, it’s trade speculation that occupies most of journalists’ time. Rumored targets include big-ticket players Carl Pavano, Carlos Delgado and Jim Thome.

Dave has said that he wouldn’t be surprised to see Pavano trade discussion between the M’s and Yankees, and it looks like that may be borne out. Regarding Pavano:

The Yankees have long been fond of Seattle starters Gil Meche and Joel Pineiro. Still, even that might not be enough to solidify speculation into a deal. “It makes sense,” one Yankees official said of the scenario, “but I don’t see it happening.”

That’s a good thing. Thirty million for three years of Carl Pavano is not something the Mariners need. Ditto for Thome: the only good thing about pursuing him would be the halt to the “let’s go get Ryan Howard” sentiment in the comments.

Regarding Delgado, I’m more circumspect. That’s a lot of money, he’s not a young player, and it would create certain lineup quandaries — but he can also really hit, is left-handed and would add badly needed power to the lineup. On balance, I don’t think I’d go after him myself, but I can see the thinking behind it.


85 Responses to “Winter Meetings start”

  1. nickpdx on November 8th, 2005 2:46 pm

    Get those GMs together and have them figure out how to pick the real Cy Young and MVP winners, because the writers sure aren’t getting any better at it. Colon, ppbbbbttt.

  2. The Other Tom on November 8th, 2005 2:52 pm

    Sure, Colon isn’t that good, but you have to pick someone. Who do you pick otherwise? The ERA leader Millwood with his 9-11 record in 192 innings? Rivera had a good year, but wasn’t exceptionally different from Joe Nathan or F-Rod. It had to be someone just like ROY in some down years.

  3. Dave on November 8th, 2005 2:55 pm

    I attribute last years down offensive year to the fact that they gave a thousand at-bats to guys who hit like pitchers.

    Seriously, the problem with the M’s offense last year wasn’t the players that are still here. The guys who sank the M’s offense last year now ply their trades elsewhere, and have been replaced by others who have 0.01 percent chance of being anywhere near as terrible as the the guys they are replacing.

    The team, as currently constructed, would probably score about 700 runs next year while playing half its games in a pitchers park. Add even a league average performer in left field (like, say, Jacque Jones), and another major league catcher (Jojima…), and you’ve got a line-up that can score 750 runs, no problem. 750 runs in Safeco Field is a long ways from a dire need for help.

  4. Mr. Egaas on November 8th, 2005 3:04 pm

    Jacque Jones’ career OBP of .327 doesn’t concern you in the least? It would be conceivable that if we added Jones, he would hit 2nd in the lineup based on his speed? If not, then who? .327 in the 2 hole is rather sketch.

    Even if Jones were obtained and platooned vs. righties, his OBP is still only .341 vs. righties. Somehow, I see him being another Randy Winn type, and we all saw how much we hated that.

  5. DJ on November 8th, 2005 3:12 pm

    Dave is hitting the nail on the head here….

    Considering Beltre had somewhat down year for himself (no more kidding he’ll be consistantly 2004), and we are now guaranteed Speizio will not pick up a bat in 2006, things can only get better.

    Look at Reeds and Lopez’s numbers in the minors, things should start to even out as they age. Look at Bentancourt’s numbers (i realize its very small sample size). The way things appear: they can’t be any worse than last year. Throw in a catcher that isn’t an automatic out and lefthanded LF and we should be atleast a +.500 on offense in 2006!

    The true black hole is that starting pitching. Look at Quality starts from 2005. The starting five for the majority of the year (moyer, meche, franklin, sele, and joel)had a total of 64 quality starts all year out of 144 starts. Thats 44%!!!!! That means in over half the games the offense already has their backs against the wall.

  6. adam on November 8th, 2005 3:20 pm

    God, I hope we sign Matt Morris and trade for Carl Pavano. That would be so aaaawesome.

    Then after Bavasi gets fired we could offer Theo lots of money.

  7. Evan on November 8th, 2005 3:25 pm

    Sure, Colon isn’t that good, but you have to pick someone.

    Yes you do.

    The correct choice would have been Johan Santana. Neither Colon nor Rivera would have even appeared on my ballot (Santana, Buehrle, Halladay).

  8. Mat on November 8th, 2005 3:27 pm


    You might want to take another look at that. The only way to make Pavano’s salary equivalent to Loaiza’s proposed salary is to get rid of Pineiro’s salary by trading him for Pavano in the first place. $30M – $5.6M – $6.3M = ~$18M

  9. David J Corcoran on November 8th, 2005 3:38 pm

    Aren’t the Winter Meetings usually around Xmas? Aren’t these the pre-Winter Meeting GM Meetings?

  10. Tom on November 8th, 2005 3:41 pm

    Pavano’s ERA outside of Yankee Stadium last year was 2.89. Just throwing that out there.

  11. eponymous coward on November 8th, 2005 3:50 pm

    The team, as currently constructed, would probably score about 700 runs next year while playing half its games in a pitchers park

    Actually, last year’s team scored 699 runs in Safeco, 1000 AB’s to Spiezio/Olivo/Wilson/Boone/Willie Ballgame/etc. and all. As Casey Stengel might say, you could look it up.

    Johjima BY HIMSELF might be 40+ runs over last year’s trainwreck at C. Add in some improvement by the young players and we should have an offense that’s competitive with Anaheim and Oakland. It won’t make you forget the 1927 Yankees or even the 2001 Mariners, but it would be in the upper-middle of the league.

    Here’s the problem- we’re only about 50-60 runs scored behind the divsion leaders (Anaheim and Oakland), but we’re about 100 runs ALLOWED behind them. That is obviously largely a function of our starting staff, since the bullpen’s just fine, and the defense is pretty good as well (decent defensive efficiency ratings, etc.).

    So if we want to contend this year, we have to do the right things when it comes to the pitching staff. And thus it’s why I’m completely unenthusiastic about Carl Pavano- his contract has the stink of Chan Ho Park, Mike Hampton or Kevin Brown all over it, of a deal that won’t return anything close to the value you pay for it in dollars. If we give Joel a shot and he washes out, we try again next year and we have 6 million to work with on the free agent market- if Pavano doesn’t pan out, we’re stuck with him, since we won’t be able to dump him on the Yankees. They both strike me as risks, but only one of them comes with downside risk past 2006.

  12. Deanna on November 8th, 2005 3:52 pm

    not-entirely-OT: Japan Golden Gloves announced. Johjima got one, so did Matsuzaka, as well as a whole lot of other awesome players nobody here probably cares about. Well, and Shinjo. I’m not sure if he qualifies as awesome anymore.

    The best part is the headline: “Lotte’s strong infield monopolizes; Giants get zero”

  13. Bill Gerlt on November 8th, 2005 3:53 pm

    The Baseball Winter meetings are scheduled for Dallas,Texas from December 4-7. Me and Pete Gammons will be there!

  14. Feldor on November 8th, 2005 4:01 pm


    Joel at $6.3M + Loaiza at $6.0M is $12.3M. Pavano’s $18M over 3 years is approximately $6M per year, which leaves another $6.3M. Your point was that getting Pavano gets you one pitcher instead of two. My point was that if the Yankees kick in $5.6M, as was Taylor’s scenario, we have that cash available to go get another arm. If I’m missing something in my math, let me know. It’s all fantasy talk anyway, since I don’t think the Yankees would throw any money our way.

  15. Mat on November 8th, 2005 4:15 pm


    Go check out the MLB Contracts link under Resources on the left, look at what Pavano’s remaining contract is, or go read Jeff’s comment under the last blockquotes in his post, and let me know if you still don’t agree with me.

  16. Ralph Malph on November 8th, 2005 4:19 pm

    Stupid question of the day: who would you rather have, Tino Martinez or John Olerud?

  17. DMZ on November 8th, 2005 4:23 pm

    Super-reader Paul Covert was here? Woo-hoo!

  18. Evan on November 8th, 2005 4:45 pm

    Ralph Malph –


  19. The Ancient Mariner on November 8th, 2005 5:14 pm

    Mat, I think Feldor’s comment was predicated on #40, the Yanks picking up around $6 million of Pavano’s contract.

  20. Feldor on November 8th, 2005 5:16 pm

    Okay Mat. I think we’re looking at it slightly differently. I was looking purely at 2006 payroll, and you seem to be taking in the full contract amounts for both Pavano and Loaiza. Both evaluations are correct in terms of the math, but I think yours is a little more meaningful by taking in the full length of the contract.

    I’m glad I figured out what you meant because I really couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.

  21. mark from Oly. wa. on November 8th, 2005 5:22 pm

    The Yankees want Gil Meche and Joel Pineiro?

    Oh no, we HAVE to keep them now! Don’t you see? The Yanks must know something that we don’t. They’ll go to Yankee stadium and become 25 game winners. We have to keep them for another year.

    2006 will be their year. I can feel it. Can’t you?


    that’s my best impression of a Seattle sport’s reporter.

    Actually, I think a change of scenery could do those guys some good. Not 20 win season good but maybe repectability good.

  22. Mr. Egaas on November 8th, 2005 5:36 pm

    Personally I don’t see Meche or Pineiro doing much better in Yankee stadium, but if we pull off a quality deal, jokes on them.

    Both seem to have the stuff and potential and lack the mental make-up to get it done. A prescription of New York won’t fit that illness.

  23. mln on November 8th, 2005 5:41 pm

    Carl Pavano?

    So now the Mariners are looking to help take some overpriced, injury-prone trash off the Yankees’ hands?

    Not a good idea.

  24. Terry on November 8th, 2005 5:44 pm

    The true blackhole on this team is straight up the middle including the rotation….. its alot of fixing to ask for and still hope for 90 wins..

    Adding a major league quality left fielder would be an upgrade over the last half of the season and certainly a bonified catcher with offense would help too.

    I still dont know…. fixing two needs positions and adding two arms to the rotation in a single offseason is a tall order… Just given the enormity of the the task at hand all but assures Pineiro will be in the rotation next year.

    This is definately Bavasi’s time to shine.

  25. Terry on November 8th, 2005 6:55 pm

    Here’s some data:

    with only 6-7 *quality* arms available this offseason and roughly 99% of major league clubs looking for pitching, it seems almost impossible for the M’s to snag more than 1 arm this off season.

    I know thats not hopeful or helpful… but isnt it reasonable to expect some variation of Meche/Franklin (maybe both) in the rotation next year?

    I dont even know how reasonable it is to assume the M’s could get Moyer if they wanted him back….

    Any thoughts?

  26. Joel on November 8th, 2005 7:11 pm

    I will throw this out there…instead of Helms, how about some left-handed bench “sock”…Tino Martinez!
    Good clubhouse guy. A winner. Solid glove to backup Sexson. Probably come cheap. Good PR move.
    He was let go by the Yanks today.

  27. Ralph Malph on November 8th, 2005 7:29 pm

    Joel –

    Hence my lame attempt at a joke in post # 66.

    My pedantic language pet peeve of the day, courtesy of post 74:


    Somehow that makes me think of calcified — converted into bone. The correct phrase is “bona fide”.

  28. eponymous coward on November 8th, 2005 7:33 pm

    I know thats not hopeful or helpful… but isnt it reasonable to expect some variation of Meche/Franklin (maybe both) in the rotation next year?

    Franklin won’t be back, unless Armstrong is planning on eating all that anti-steroid talk he made in September. It’s kind of hard to have a strong moral stand on not wanting your organization to lead the major leagues in positive steroid tests if you give sign people who flunk them, no? So Ryan’s gone.

    Meche, maybe, but here’s something that should give you pause:

    Lifetime ERA+ (100 is league-average, higher is better):

    Gil Meche: 95
    Brett Tomko: 94

    Basically, Gil Meche is the less healthy and younger version of Brett Tomko. Tomko has a fastball and curve too, and has no ability to find the strike zone a lot of the time, and has also bounced into the minors. I don’t see why you should think Meche will turn out better than Tomko.

  29. DJ on November 8th, 2005 7:39 pm

    I think it is a very realistic assumption that the M’s are not going to land more than one of the 6-7 decent arms available this winter. I think its all but a lost cause to expect Burnett to come to seattle. With his connections with the Blue Jays and his “home town” of Baltimore, it looks like he’s staying on the east coast.

    That’s why i think they need to pursue and over pay for Millwood. Truth of the matter is NOBODY is going to get a “deal” this winter on pitching, if you want it, you’re going to pay for it. I think if they can get Millwood for say $30mil for 3 years, that is a step in the right direction. In the perfect world that would leave them just enough money to get Loaiza, Jones, and jojima. Trade off the spare parts for a bench upgrade and there you go. However, that’s not how the real world works. I agree the M’s would be lucky to land one of these free agents.

    I would be perfectly happy if their opening starting fiver were: Felix, Millwood, Moyer, Joel, and a healthy Foppert/Nagoette.

    This is all supersticious speculation but: Remeber back in 2003 when the M’s pitched the same starting five all year without ANY missing starts? That was LUCKY! It has been a train wreck ever since. Aren’t the M’s due for some GOOD luck when it comes to the health of the starting five? I mean i read all these posts and nobody expects anything from the walking wounded of the M’s minor league “former prospects”. Isn’t it about time luck turned and atleast one of these guys like Nagoette or Foppert or Campillo came through like the great prospects they were just a few seasons ago?

  30. skipj on November 8th, 2005 7:53 pm

    Apologies to all in advance, I rarely post before having read every previous post…
    But, I need to play online poker.
    As a player, you’ll bet me a Meche and Piniero against a Pavano.
    Let’s say Meche and Piniero are both Tens. Let’s say Pavano is a single Jack, or even a Queen…We’re in pockets, no flop yet.
    You want to trade?
    I can beat you, with a decent flop, 4th street or river. You got me beat before any of that.
    If either Meche or Piniero come through, the Yanks are fine, if Pavano doesn’t, we’re hosed.

  31. ray on November 8th, 2005 8:19 pm

    Well, Jojima is in the U.S. and according to the ST (“Sports Nippon, a Japanese newspaper, reported recently that Seattle had already prepared a No. 2 Mariners jersey [Jojima’s number with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks] with his name on the back.”) he really wants to be in Seattle. I like how they quoted Sports Nippon. I think it is the same paper that often has nude pictures of women — not that I read it but some salarymen read it on the trains and it’s hard not to notice such a picture during the commute.

    #79, I forgot about Campillo. Will he be ready for 2006? Because if he will be, he can easily be a replacement for Franklin or Moyer at the #5 spot.

    Also, at the winter meetings, I expect Bavasi to announce a trade with the Padres.

  32. John D. on November 8th, 2005 8:26 pm

    IBANEZ CATCHING (# 36) – Inasmuch as he was replaced at emergency catcher (# 3 catcher) by Willie Bloomquist…

  33. pensive on November 9th, 2005 1:30 am

    I wonder what impact if any the new pitching coach will have on the younger pitchers. He seemed to help Pineiro and Meche when they worked with him. At the very least hopefully he will not question a pitcher’s ability to pitch through pain in the media.

    A consistancy at catcher could also help. Should cut those mound meetings quite abit.

    Hope the starting pitchers the Mariners acquire are fast workers. Love to watch those pitchers that get the ball and throw. King Felix is great at that.

  34. Bela Txadux on November 9th, 2005 3:42 am

    Dave, re: the offense, you’ve used that 1000 useless at-bats argument before; it doesn’t fly, and I think that you’re thinking is better than that. All the guys you include there were gone by the Break, and the Ms offense was arguably even less productive for the final ten weeks of the season. Sure those guys were bad; absolutely, they dragged down the teams aggregates; the Ms offense was thoroughly mediocre without them—and those were their good days.

    You expect NO decline from Ibanez, Sexson, and Ichiro? Well, that’s what your statements imply. Maybe we’ll get lucky, there, but that’s what it would have to be. Sure, that will probably be offset by improvement from Lopez and Betancourt who put up numbers about as lowly as they could, and are all but certain to do better. But that doesn’t get the _team_ any better on balance. You expect Reed to improve; I don’t as I’ve discussed. We haven’t gotten to discussing Beltre this offseason, and this isn’t the place, but as a placeholder ’05 is who Beltre is, on the nail, because it’s exactly who he’s been throughout his career. It strains credulity to anticipate _significant_ improvement from him. I wouldn’t bet on a decline, but he is who he is.

    Acquiring Jojima and Jones would be significant offensive positives, no question. Neither is likely to do more than shore up the offense to consistent mediocrity as opposed to sucktasticness. As was chronicled throughout the season, the Ms significantly underperformed their offensive aggregates in terms of their number of wins. Part of that could be bad luck, but by more than FIVE WINS? That’s a chasm; you know it is. More of that underperformance likely has to do with the thoroughly wretched OBP of this team. Jones isn’t going to help that, and that is a component where I do NOT anticipate excellence from Betancourt or Lopez. There are _reasons_ why the Ms underperformed that have zippo, nada, zilch to do with the guys who are gone, reasons attached to the guys who remain.

    Can mediocre, underperforming offensive, good defensive teams in pitcher’s parks with pitchers win their division and more? It does happen, yeah; mostly, such teams suck. For the offensive issues of this team to be a ‘myth,’ everything but everything has to go right next year. That’s hoping for a lot. The Ms do have a talent base to work with, I’m not saying that they’re a vacant lot, but their offense doesn’t work as constituted, and that is cause for subtractions as well as additions.

  35. Evan on November 9th, 2005 1:31 pm

    I would expect only slight decline from Ibanez and Sexson, and I expect improvement from Ichiro (his performance is subject to wild swings, and last year looks like it was near the bottom of his range).