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Preview: House that Edgar Built

House that Edgar Built

Dedicated to the trials, tribulations and triumphs of the Seattle Mariners.

Updated: 2014-10-06T18:10:10.342-07:00


Villone accepts Arbitration; Another Dodger?


News this morning is that Ron Villone has accepted the Mariners' arbitration offer. The deadline was December 19th. It's expected that Villone and the Mariners will come to agreement on a deal before it goes before the arbitrator. From the article: "Villone said he and the Mariners 'are not that far apart' on a two-year contract." I would expect Ron to perhaps get something in the neighborhood of 2 years, $3 to $4M.

Villone returning is a good thing. He plays an important role in a pitching staff that has and continues to go through a lot of change. I expect there will be many extended relief and spot start needs like their was last year. Villone fills those needs well that stabilizes the pitching staff. I would have preferred a 1 year deal and less money, but sometimes it's okay for a guy to get paid.

In rumors this morning, the Washington Times is reporting that the Mariners have an offer into Odalis Perez that exceeds a Nationals offer believed to be 3 years, $18M. A serious run at Perez is hard to believe given that Bavasi and Lincoln are now on record as saying that the Mariners are done in free agency barring trades to move salary, etc. While Odalis would be a nice pickup, signing Kevin Millwood to a 1 year, "value rehabbing" deal (assuming he would be interested in such a thing) might be a better fit for the Mariners allowing flexibility in next year's free agent market.

Other interesting news:
  • Jason Varitek has declined salary arbitration with the Red Sox giving the sides until Jan 8th to come to agreement. Other Sox declining include Derek Lowe and Orlando Cabrera (who will not be coming back) and Pokey Reese and Mike Myers (not sure about them).
  • Carlos Beltran has declined the Astros offer of salary arbitration which gives Houston until the Jan. 8th deadline to resign him. The Yankees appear to be the front-runner. It's really too bad there aren't more teams that are interested in signing him. I'm a big fan of Beltre and would have liked to the Mariners make a run at him (btw, not that I'm complaining with Beltre!) The Cubs and Dodgers are rumored, but it appears that it's down to Houston and New York. I guess I'd rather see him back with the Astros, but either way it's disappointing.
  • If you haven't been following the DC baseball saga mess, it's pretty interesting. To summarize: MLB & DC agreed to the move contingent on an agreed stadium financing plan; DC city officials voted to alter the plan to involve more private financing; MLB halts operations suspending marketing & ticket operations; MLB enforces December 31st deadline; a poll of DC residents finds the majority support the private financing.

    I happen to agree with ESPN's Jim Caple. He's correct that the new owner should pay for the costs of the stadium. Forcing the community to pay is MLB being selfish. Oh wait Seattle knows all about that. But selecting DC was a bad idea from the start. The DC community doesn't want baseball like the other communities that competed. It would have been a far better solution to put baseball in Northern VA or even Las Vegas.

    If you bought a "W" hat, it's going to be a collector's item! In fact they are already selling for about $30 on ebay.

It's Official Now - Beltre to Mariners


Since yesterday afternoon, it's been Beltre "reportedly" to Mariners. The press release is now on the Mariners website.
"Adrian is one of the best young position players in baseball," Bill Bavasi said. "He plays Gold Glove caliber defense and is an offensive force. In addition, he is a perfect fit for our goal of building for 2005 and beyond. For everything he's accomplished, he's only 25 years old. We believe he is just entering his prime and we are very excited to know that his prime will be spent in a Mariners uniform at Safeco Field.

"We are also pleased that, like Richie Sexson, Adrian is a great person as well as a great player. He will be a terrific addition to our community."
and ...
"Adrian is a perfect fit for how I envision the Mariners, next season and into the future," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. "This gives us an infield with, basically, three Gold Glovers, pop at both corners and at second base and an exciting young player at shortstop.

"We are a much better team today than we were a couple of days ago. With Beltre, Sexson and Boone in the middle of our order and Ichiro at the top, we now have the ability to run a real legitimate line-up out there every day."

I've been waiting to let this out until the official press release .... Mr. Bavasi .... YOU DA MAN!! ... and Mr. Lincoln ... you too. Way to go! I'm so ecstatic with this news that I can hardly contain myself. I can't wait for the press conference.

Update: The Press Conference will be at 4 pm. Don't miss it. If you're at work, it's being streamed on :) Enjoy this Mariner fans!

Beltre Reaction Roundup


By now, we've all read the analysis and opinion in the local rags. The Seattle PI's John Levesque, John Hickey chime in. As does the Times' Steve Kelley. I thought it would be interesting to look around the net for national reaction. Here's a little of what I found: Dayn Perry of Fox Sports: Although they underachieved to a degree last season, I'm not prepared to take them seriously as contenders in 2005. That said, I very much like the addition of Adrian Beltre. I anticipated that Beltre would sign a seven-year deal for something in excess of $80 million. Instead, the M's land him for five years and $64 million. I'm not entirely sure how to forecast Beltre's performance over the next half-decade, but it won't surprise me if he winds up being worth every penny. Buster Olney of ESPN: The Magazine: Analysis: 4 Baseballs - "Extremely High Impact". The Mariners' situation this winter was much like the Mets' situation: With their credibility eroded, they felt they had to make a splash to win back the interest of the fans. The signing of Richie Sexson was their Pedro Martinez gamble, giving a four-year, $50 million contract to a medical risk. Now they have followed that up with the signing of one of the best available position players -- the 25-year-old Beltre, who batted .334 with 48 homers and 121 RBI for the Dodgers last year, after fully blossoming for the first time in his career. There is no exchange rate involved in those numbers, either: Beltre put up that MVP-type season in Dodger Stadium, a pitcher's park, just like Seattle's Safeco Field. He had the grit to play through injuries last season, he had earned the respect of teammates, and he could be a terrific player for the Mariners for many years to come. He is expensive -- but in a winter when all teams are paying sticker price, that is the cost of talent ...But going forward, they have made a strong and bold statement; Beltre's a great player and he will be for a long time.Bill Plaschke of the LA Times: When asked about the perception that McCourt doesn't have the money to run a team in a major market, DePodesta said, "It's ludicrous. That's an absurd perception." Here's what ludicrous: The Dodgers had worked out the basics for the Green and Penny salary dump before Beltre signed … and their offer still fell 30% short of the Seattle Mariners' deal. Here's what's absurd: Beltre, who didn't want to leave, gave the Dodgers every chance to match the Mariners' deal and the Dodgers refused to even come's SportsNation also had an online survey among the questions: With Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre in the lineup, what happens to the Mariners in 2005? 51.8% Contend for playoffs 20.3% Around .500 16.2% Win the AL West 10.6% Win the wild card 1.2% Same as last year How many home runs will Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre hit for the Mariners? 39.6% 61-70 28.2% 51-60 20.3% 71-80 6.1% More than 80 5.8% Less than 50 Who would you rather have for $115 million? 71.6% Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson 28.4% Carlos Beltran Where does a lineup of Ichiro, Raul Ibanez, Bret Boone, Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson rank? 63.2% A notch below the elite but top 10 23.0% Up there with the likes of Boston, New York Yankees and St. Louis 12.3% Middle of the pack 1.5% Considering Safeco Field? Below average Will Adrian Beltre ever match last season's numbers (.334, 48 HR, 121 RBI)? 50.8% No, his track record suggest last year was his career season 49.2% Yes, he's only 25 and will be an elite hitter for at least four or five years Out of 21,511 responses (polls still open)Interesting stuff![...]

Trading Day


Hot Stove rumors are quickly turning into hard news. With Richie Sexson signed and Adrian Beltre all but signed, no one would fault Mariner fans for not paying close attention to other dealings around MLB. I simply haven't even had the time to formulate a reaction yet.

Regardless, some pretty interested deals are happening. So, there's probably 3 things (hot-stove related) that could keep the Beltre to Mariners story off the front page tomorrow. Two of them happened:

Randy Johnson nearly a Yankee. Tonight, New York Newsday is reporting that Randy Johnson is going to the Yankees in a three team deal that involved the Dodgers. The report said:
The Yankees would receive the 41-year-old Johnson in the deal while sending pitcher Javier Vazquez and two minor-league prospects, catcher Dioner Navarro and third baseman Eric Duncan, to the Dodgers, according to an Arizona source. The Dodgers would send pitchers Brad Penny and Yhency Brazoban and outfielder/first baseman Shawn Green to Arizona to complete the deal.
Talk about your complicated deals. If true, there's an A-Rod and Big Unit reunion is in the making. Nice. Talk about two guys who deserve each other. George Steinbrenner has been obsessing about Randy Johnson for six months, so there's no way this deal wasn't going to get figured out. I vote for the Dodgers as the losers in this deal ... but clearly the cash is going to help them. If they spend it.

Tim Hudson traded to the Braves. The Braves and Athletics prove once again that they are probably the smartest franchises in baseball. And sometimes the smart guys have to deal with each other. The Braves complete a trade with Oakland acquiring Hudson for Charles Thomas, Juan Cruz, and Dan Meyer. The Braves get done what the Orioles, Dodgers, and Cardinals could not. Here's Peter Gammons take on the trade. By the way, this is where Gammons is at his best. As opposed to when he's trying to get the scoop on rumors (when he's always wrong) ... so it's worth a read.

Update: Oh yeah! ... You might be wondering what's the third thing that could have happened? Beltre's Boras stablemate Beltran signing. That is going to take longer.

Gammons: Mariners sign Beltre, 5 years, $65M


ESPN's Peter Gammons is reporting that the Mariners have reached a 5 year deal with Adrian Beltre for $65M$64M (as usual the numbers change ... and what's $1M among friends?). This confirms last night's report in the Seattle Times that Beltre and Mariners were close on a 5 year deal for $60+M. Gammons reports that the Mariners offer beat out the Dodgers who were offering 6 years and a 7th year option, but at less money.

I'll post further when additional details emerge, but I'm very happy about a potential Beltre signing. If the deal is as reported, my take is that it's reasonable valuation for young player who was shown superstar potential and is entering his prime.

Update: It's definitely true ... 4 hours later ... i'm still shocked that it happened. Shocked and impressed. A recent report filed by the AP includes these quotes from Dodgers' GM Paul DePodesta:

We're disappointed. It hurts," Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta said. "Obviously, we would have loved to have him back."

"I think all of us knew this certainly was a possibility. We feel like we stepped up and made a very competitive offer, actually tried to make it a compelling one by offering a sixth guaranteed year. Unfortunately for us, Adrian decided to go elsewhere."


DePodesta said the Dodgers' six-year offer to Beltre and agent Scott Boras included an option for a seventh season.

When asked if the Dodgers were given a final say in the matter, DePodesta said: "Not in so many words. They didn't come back and say if you can do this, he's coming back."

"Scott did have a sense of urgency, we did try to step up to that. That really wasn't the forum. But then again, I'm not blaming Scott for that, either. Everything he did in this process was above board. There's no villain here," he said. "At the end of the day, Seattle stepped up and made a great offer. We had multiple meetings, face-to-face meetings."

Although the Mariners haven't confirmed ... capitulation by your primary competitors is just as good for confirmation. The Red Sox' Larry Lucchino used almost the same words responding to reports that Pedro was signing with the Mets.

Congratulations Bavasi and the Mariners front office.

Sexson Contract ... 4 years, $50M?!?


Wow ... the AP just reported on Sexson's deal. According to the article, it's 4 years, $50M! The deal was originally rumored to be anywhere from 3 years/$33M to 4 years/$48M. This is more that anyone thought.

From the artice: He gets a $6 million signing bonus, $4.5 million next season, $11.5 million in 2006 and $14 million in each of the final two seasons."

Wow ... now it's official ... we got taken.

Update (6:00 pm): I took a quick scan of reaction to the Sexson contract and as you would expect it's mixed. There's disappointment over the dollars and length of the deal, some optimism that the low 2005 salary means that additional moves are coming, and a lot of concern that the 2007 & 2008 numbers will come back to haunt the Mariners.

The national and local media haven't reacted yet, so it will be interesting to see that come out. However I do not expect much national reaction, because the Pedro to the Mets story is grabbing those headlines. $50M doesn't buy you the attention it used to.

Also, the annoying "Sex" derived headlines have arrived. Heard so far: "The Joy of Sexson" (komo tv),
"Sexson the City" (king tv) and "Sexson Appeal" (

Mariners sign Richie Sexson for 4 years


Finally ... the saga is over ... Richie Sexson signs with the Mariners for 4 years. At this point, the dollars are unknown, but the reports are $44-48M. No word on any incentives or health-related provisions. Sexson has been reported to be against both ... so it's unlikely.

I've previously posted that I am against the Sexson signing due to injury risk. Now the deal is done .... it doesn't matter. I just hope the physical exam vetted all the issues and that he stays healthy.

Welcome home, Richie.

Niehaus - Finalist for Ford C. Frick Award


Ahhh ... a break from the Hot Stove!

Dave Niehaus was the top vote-getter among fans for the Baseball Hall of Fame's 2005 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters. The Mariners broadcaster since 1977, Niehaus received 14,940 votes increasing his total from the 13,044 votes he received last year. Hopefully, a few of those votes were a result of some of this blog's readers linking from my earlier post.

Last year, Niehaus was second in the online voting to the Giants' Lon Simmons who eventually was named the 2004 winner. So perhaps placing first this year puts Dave in a good position to win. The winer will be annouced in February.

Anyway, it's a nice break from watching to see if Sexson, Delgado or Beltre (or their agents) sneeze and then trying to infer something from it. Plus, how often do you get to type and say "Frick"?

Lastly ... there's recently been a nice uptick in traffic here at the "House that Edgar Built". In fact, the site had its 1000th visitor and 1500th hit (since counting started October 1st). (Sorry, there weren't prizes ... maybe at 1M). So welcome to readers both new (and old). I encourage you to post comments, thoughts, news, and rumors about the Ms, the Hot Stove, or other baseball stuff. I hope you enjoy the site and please let me know if there's anything I can do to make your stay here more informative or fun. Go Mariners!

Winter Meetings wrap up


The annual Winter Meetings wrap up today and baseball's power elite prepare head home ... with or without done deals. Today the following were announced or rumored: Richie Sexson. Last night, both the PI and Times were definitive in the story that Sexson will be a Mariner. In the light of day, it appears there may be some cracks in the story. First, no meida seems to be able to figure out what the agreed terms are. It's been speculated that the terms are 3 years, $33M by CBS Sportsline, to 4 year, $44M, and even up to 5 years. So that's a hint. Second, last night the Orioles claimed they were still in it. And today the AP reports the Mariners are "trying" to get the deal done. From the article: Sexson's agent, Casey Close, said that Seattle and Baltimore were still competing for Sexson. "Nothing is conclusive at this moment. We'll have to see where this thing goes the next 24, 48 hours,'' Close said. "It's all speculative as to what people's perspectives are.'' I was very surprised to generally positive reaction to the story this morning. For example, the KJR talking heads seem to support it, their callers were positive, and several folks posting on the PI blog seem to be happy. The primary dissenting voices seem to be fellow bloggers such as myself. As I posted last night, "I'm completely against signing Sexson." The arguments for support seems to be centered around (1) Sexson had great power numbers in Milwaukee and it would translate in Seattle and (2) at least the Mariners did something significant. I can agree with those statements. (1) Richie Sexson is a talented player who I'm sure can transition back to AL and be productive in a way that Cirllio and Aurilia for example could not. But they are 2 years ago are they not? (2) Signing Sexson would be doing something ... but how much credit should we be giving them for that? As fans who provide the 3rd highest revenue in MLB, shouldn't our expectations be higher than just signing any name player? The general arguments against Sexson (to summarize other bloggers) are that Sexson's shoulder injury has historically had a good probability of reoccurring leadind to a poor "risk/reward balance" (thanks USS Mariner for that term) with Sexson. Simply stated, the Mariners must protect themselves from being in a position where they are paying players who cannot perform. So if the Sexson offer is a 4 year deal heavy on performance incentives (say $6M/yr guaranteed up to $11M with relatively easily reached performance incentives for full employment) or a 3 year deal with some incentives (say $8M/yr guaranteed up to say $12M with performance and a 4th year vesting option), then I'm okay with that. But I'm not hopeful since Sexson has gone on record stating he doesn't think he should have sign a contract with incentives. Sexson is "confident" in the health of his shoulder, but not confident enough to put it in writing. That attitude really bothers me. And that's why I'm completely against signing him. But I'll wait until I hear the deal terms before we can call this a bad deal Pedro Martinez to the ... Mets? What the heck? The media is reporting that the Mets will give Pedro 4 guaranteed years. Pedro got his ring and he's going to bolt for Mets purgatory for a few million dollars. No offense to Mets fans, but there's a lot of issues there. Who needs that in the last years of his career? Doesn't he want to come back to Fenway the hero? The Red Sox offer wasn't his top offer, but it was decent. I guess no one leaves money on the table anymore. Corey Koskie, Toronto, 3 years, $17M. That rumor turned out to be true ... too many years, too much money. Sounds like a broken record. White Sox - Milwaukee Trade. Ken Williams ships Carlos Lee to the Brewers for Scott Podsednik, Luis Vizcaino and a player to be named later. I gotta give Doug Melvin credit for figu[...]

Oh %$@& ... Mariners land Sexson


Tonight the Seattle PI is reporting that the Mariners have reached a contract agreement with Richie Sexson subject to him passing a physical. Fox Sports/Sporting News is reporting similar information. Contract terms haven't been disclosed, but I'm sure they will come out. And it will be for more money than Sexson should get.

What can I say? I'm completely against signing Sexson. But it looks inevitable that I'll have to cheer for him next year ...

Update (11:50 pm): More bad news ... the PI updated the article and I quote: "This might be the only top-tier signing by the Mariners this winter. Bavasi admitted the surprisingly inflated market could decrease the number of free agents he is able to sign." If it's true, that's very sad and depressing. Sexson cannot be the Mariner's only answer to 2004. Even the D'Backs who are in complete disarray are doing more. I really hoped the naysayers were wrong and that the Mariners would find their backbone this off-season, but more and more it looks like they might be right and the market is just going to pass the Ms by.

Now for some good news (because I really need some right about now), Corey Koskie and the Blue Jays have reportedly agreed to a 3 year, $17M contract. That's a ridiculous deal for player like Koskie. I'm so glad we're not dealing with that too.

Update (12:30 am): Is there hope? Could it be that the Sexson deal is a figment of the Seattle PI's imagination? A mirage? According to Jim Street's report on the Mariner website, "
Several Major League sources told on Sunday night that the Mariners were on the verge of signing Sexson to a multiyear contract and one agent said the deal already had been completed. But a Mariners official said nothing has been finalized." I really hope the PI is wrong. The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the Orioles believe they still have a chance at Sexson. But then again, the Seattle Times is carrying the Sexson to Mariners story for tomorrow. So who knows? We'll see tomorrow.

More Winter Meetings Noise


After furious activity in the days leading up to the Wineter Meetings, rumors are still flying around but press conference action has calmed down somewhat and guys like Arthur Rhodes and Dan Kolb are making the headlines. There's still activity among the headliners - Carl Pavano deciding on the Yankees, Jaret Wright flunking his Yankees' physical ... and then passing it, Roger Clemens accepting Astros arbitration (but may retire yet), and Renteria being wooed by the RedSox. Other than Boomer ... no real signings of significance. So on to the rumors: The Dodgers' Paul DePodesta is reported by the AP as saying that the Dodgers want Beltre back but are willing to go with other options. To quote the report: "DePodesta noted that teams who play one player far more than his teammates often haven't fared well. "If the resources are a little more spread around, you're a little more flexible," he said." How conceited ... thanks for your concern Paul ... worry about your own team. The PI had Bavasi's reaction to the Pavano news. To quote the PI: "He had said from the very, very start that the decision was going to be emotional and personal, and not all about money," Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi said. "It's conceivable that our offer might have been better. We have no idea. The initial offers -- (agent Scott Shapiro) told us ours was at least as good as, or maybe even a little bit better, than New York's." That's really rough ... make a better offer and still lose out. That the risk I meant in my earlier post about the risks of going for tier 1 guys. The article goes on to say that Mariners expressed interest in one of Boras' pitching clients ... which could mean Derek Lowe, Kevin Millwood, or Eric Milton ... or Ron Villone. Just kidding. Richie Sexson rode into town a few days late and met with several interested clubs including the Mariners. From the same PI report, Bavasi said "It was nice to meet him. It was the first time I had met him. It was probably helpful to him, too. My guess is that he's got at least a few clubs to talk to." Does not sound like a ringing endorsement to me.The Seattle Times reports that the Mariners also met with Corey Koskie's agent. So that thread is still open. Koskie has been offered 3 years, $20M by the Blue Jays (why?). But he seems to be in hot demand as a reported fallback for Dodgers. See? The market for fallbacks is on the rise.The same Times report indicates that the Andruw Jones rumor is nonsense. Reports are that Beltre has been offered 7 years by the Dodgers and 6 years by the Mariners. According to this report from San Bernadino, the Angels are interested in Ron Villone. Really? I don't think so. They might be interested only to drive up the Mariners price. The Angels are reportedly close with Matt Clement at 3 years and $7-9M per. As I posted earlier today, I said that I would name the player I would like to see the Mariners go for broke on. No surprise, that player is Carlos Beltran. Yeah, yeah, I know, it's easy to say that your team should go after the years' highest profile free agent. But I have my reasons ... and I think they are decent. In my previous post, I noted that signing a tier one player for 7 (or 10!) years is more than merely signing a player. It's making an investment in the future of the franchise. And as important as a players' physical talents are intangibles like character, leadership, etc. First, everything I know about Beltran indicates that he's a guy in the "Mariners' mold". A lot of us hard core baseball fans hate the "character guy" label used to justify so many crappy Ms signings. But character is important with the franchise player and you can bet Beltran will be doing charity work right next to Jamie Moyer. Second, Beltran is not known as a vocal clubhouse guy bu[...]

"Big Papi" wins Papi's award


Congratulations to Boston's David "Big Papi" Ortiz for winning the 2004 Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award. The DH award was renamed in Edgar's honor by Commissioner Bud Selig during Edgar's retirement ceremony at the end of the 2004 season. Ortiz won the award in 2003 and joins Edgar, Don Baylor, Harold Baines, and Dave Parker as a back-to-back winner.

David Wells to Red Sox


David Wells, Red Sox, 2 years, $8-$18M. Boomer's deal rumored to be 1 year, $6.5M expands this morning to another year (of course Gammons was wrong!). The AP reports that Wells "gets a $3 million signing bonus and a salary of $2.5 million a year. In addition, he would earn $200,000 per start from 11-20 and $300,000 per start from 21-30." The RedSox will give up a pick to the Padres since Wells was offered arbitration. According to some reports, the Wells signing puts the Red Sox out of the Pavano race. Give Theo Epstein credit for putting together an innovative deal in a unique circumstance. This is a fair deal that pays for play. Plain and simple. And it gives Boomer some incentive for staying out of bar fights and not "falling in his kitchen". Wells gives the Sox a left-hander to mix up their rotation. Last year, they only had 1 lefty start ... not that it really hindered them. Mariners. No new news rumors regarding the Mariners pursuits of Beltre, Ddelgado, or Pavano. While there's this break in the Mariners rumorland, I had a few thoughts ... Seeing players like Finley, Wells, Kent, Ortiz go off the board doesn't bother me at all. With other teams signing these tier 2, plan Bs, fallback players, the market is rapidly turning into a market of tier 1 and tier 3 players. It's good to see the Mariners not rush into deals because players of some profile are falling. The best approach for the Mariners is to make investments in 1 or 2 long term tier 1 players and fill out the roster with young talent and cheap veteran scrubs. But this approach has it's risks. First, getting a tier one to agree to Seattle is no simple task. There are precious few tier 1 players and with limited supply, there's a lot of variabiliy in what it takes to sign them. Some will want to go to a storied franchise for the historical impact, some will want to be close to thier homes, some will want money, some will want security. They have a separate market perhaps driven more by comparables from tier 1s in other off-seasons than from other players in their same off-season. The risk here is going for broke with tier 1s, it's possible the Mariners can get shut-out. Second, once signed, a tier 1 player becomes more than a mere component of the team. Unless of course you're the Yankees loaded with tier 1s. It's a long-term investment in a cornerstone that will shape the team. So intangibles like player character, health and personality become more critical. Not sure? Ask the Portland Trail Blazers about signing questionable character guys to long-term deals. So while, there's been considerable criticism of Bavasi after the 2004 debacle ... some justified, some not. It's in this off-season that he's going to make his mark. Will it be a weak stab, a black mark, or a bold franchise-altering strike? He's in a position of "must" succeed. And while his performance will be rated by March ... we may be discussing his impact for years to come. (There is one player that I would like to see the Mariners go for broke on in terms of the off-season. I'll leave that open as a teaser for the next entry ...) Update (12:50 pm): According to FoxSports' Ken Rosenthal (who is right about 1/2 as often as Peter Gammons, who is never right), "The Braves might be looking to trade Andruw Jones, with the Mariners among the teams interested in the multi-dimensional center fielder." Oh man ... let's hope that's not true. Update (3:00 pm): Round-up: Arthur Rhodes, the well-travelled ex-Mariner, has been traded (again). This to the Indians for Matt Lawton Elsewhere, Roger Clemens has accepted the Astros arbitration offer, although he may yet still retire. the annual "will he or won't he" retire drama continues According to the SF Chronicle, [...]

Winter Meetings Day 1 ... Some Talk, Some Action


The first official day of the MLB's GM Winter Meetings in Anahiem has wrapped up ... there's been some news and a lot of rumors. First the Mariners' rumors: Adrian Beltre: No doubt the biggest Mariners' story is the pursuit of Beltre. As I wrote yesterday, a persistent rumor has been circling blogs & message forums that the Mariners have offered Beltre a 7 year/$90M deal. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times confirmed that Mariners are pursuing Beltre and writes: There was confirmation yesterday from a baseball source that the club has made an offer, reportedly significant, to third baseman Adrian Beltre, one of the jewels of the free-agent marketplace. In concert with their serious play for first baseman Carlos Delgado, the M's insist they aren't just paying lip service to improving the team's offense. "If they're one of the better players, we'll be in on them," Bavasi said. "There's probably not a lot of guys you can't mention." So there it is. No further confirmation of deal terms. is naming the Mariners as the "favorite" to land Beltre. Finally, the guys at the USS Mariner thought they *might* have confirmation that the Beltre deal was done ... before retracting it an hour and a half later. So there's a lot of conjecture right now, but no real tangible confirmation from Beltre or the Ms. As of this evening, Bavasi only confirmed that he has had "at least one meeting" with Beltre's agent Scott Boras. But those meetings could have been about Boras' other client Ron Villone, so it means nothing. As I said yesterday ... stay tuned .... Carl Pavano: But wait fans! That's not all. (I need a set of steak knives here.) According to Peter Gammons (not that he's Mr. Credible), the Mariners are evidently still in the race for Pavano along with ... you guessed it ... the RedSox and the Yankees. According to reports, Pavano had an very positive visit to Seattle (maybe he likes the rain) and was very impressed with the park and the Ms staff. He cancelled his planned visit to Anaheim and flew back to his home in Montreal to "continue his workout regimen." Dedicated guy. Bavasi and Pavano's agent Scott Shapiro had a 3 hour lunch on Thursday morning. As of this evening, there are more rumors floating around that Pavano has been offered 5 years/$60M by the Mariners. According to an AP report, Shapiro said that " all the teams competing for Pavano had offered contracts of at least four years." A separate AP report, has Pavano nearing agreement with the Yankees on a 4 year, $42M deal. The report goes on to say that signing Pavano doesn't rule out the Yankees closing the Jaret Wright deal (which still isn't officially done, despite being reported 2 days ago), but does rule out signing Eric Milton. The smart money is on the Yankees for Pavano. The Mariners are likely going to have to move on to plan B which is ... Matt Clement? Odalis Perez? Update (10:30 am): TNT reports identifies the Tigers as offering 5 years and Pavano's agent is naming the Tigers and the Yankees as the top current contentders. Carlos Delgado. Nothing really new on the Delgado front. The rumor is that the Orioles are the front-runners for Delgado. He's said to like Baltimore and prefer the East Coast which is closer to his home. There are also reports the the Rangers may be interested in making him a DH. Richie Sexson. Things have gotten quiet on the Sexson front which means one of two things. The Mariners have moved on or they are pressing his suit for the news conference. The Mets have made Sexson an offer, but it's rumored that it's a ploy by the Sexson camp to drive up his price and that he's very close to signing the Ms offer. Bummer. I think his injured wing is going to be a lo[...]

Don't get burned on that Hot Stove


The 2004 off-season got off to an agonizingly slow start ... filled with watching teams deal for the Mike Redmonds of the world ... now things are definintely heating up. First, Troy Glaus signs. Now, Jeff Kent has inked a 2 year, $17M deal with the Dodgers according to the Associated Press. I can't wait to hear the booing that ex-Giant Kent will recieve the first time he visits SBC Park in San Francisco wearing the hated Dodger Blue. I'm sure I'll hear all about it from my Giants friends.

Speaking of Dodger blues, there is also word that the Angels are pursuing ex-Dodger Steve Finley for a 2 year deal which would net him $20M. That would take a bidder out of the Beltran sweeps.

Finally to round out this Dodgers update, for the past several days there has been a wild rumor going around the internet that the Mariners have offered Adrian Beltre a 7 year, $90M contract. Reportedly discussed on sports radio in LA or SD. At this point, I don't know of any mainstream media confirmation. Quite frankly, I find it extremely hard to believe. It would be completely out of character for the Mariners management. So stay tuned ...

Update: Eric Young signs with Padres for 1 year, $1M according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

Melvin gets Troy Glaus


According to the Arizona Republic, Troy Glaus has agreed to a 4 year, $45M deal with the Diamondbacks. According to the article, Glaus will be paid "a $4 million signing bonus and a salary of $8.25 million this season. He'll make $9.25 million in 2006, $10.75 million in 2007 and $12.75 million in 2008." Glaus was pursued by the Mariners at some level. The media accounts didn't make it sound too serious, but how serious we'll probably never know. He was also pursued by the Tigers, Mets and Orioles among others. Glaus is a talent that you would love to have and under healthy circumstances this is probably a good deal for a player of his caliber. But he has missed a lot of games over the last couple of years with shoulder problems. In my opinion, this contract is a lot of risk in both money and years for a guy who may have continuing health issues. I am a bit surprised as I thought Glaus would have wanted something like a 2 year deal to demonstrate that he's healthy and then go for a blockbuster deal in 2007. Something like the tack that Nomar seems to be taking. Either that or something very incentive laden. It would have been interesting to see the other deals offered to Glaus. It's possible that Glaus took the longest contract offered to him ... perhaps looking for security because he's not as confident about his own health? Going to the D'Backs is certainly an interesting proposition for Glaus. From a team on the rise like the Angels to a team in turmoil like Arizona. A few days ago there were reports that the D'Backs wanted Glaus to play some first base and Glaus wanted the third base job exclusively, so that issue must have been resolved. Injury & team situations aside, Glaus is a "name" in the 2004 Free Agent market. So what does this tell us about the market? Probably nothing about the top names, Beltre and Beltran. Perhaps it's an indicator that the midlevel market is indeed rising for both pitchers and hitters. But more appropriately Glaus' deal hints that we won't see many injury discounted deals (in dollars and/or length) for guys like Carlos Delgado, Magglio Ordonez (if he is recovered!), JD Drew, and Richie Sexson. I'm satisfied that the Mariners didn't sign Glaus ... and happy it wasn't for this kind of deal. I had perferred him to Richie Sexson (and certainly Corey Koskie!), but still much lower than some other options. One thing is for sure ... the FA options at the hot corner are certainly dwindling. Update (12:00): Another deal was signed this morning: Jermaine Dye was signed by the White Sox for 2 years, $10.15M. Dye's deal is for $4M in 2005, $5M in 2006, and a club option $6M for 2007 (or $1.15M buyout). The As paid Dye $11.7M the last two seasons ... a lot for his 23 HR/.265 BA/.793 OPS production. Dye will replace Magglio Ordonez (who was not given arbitration) in right field. Update #2 (1:00):'s Jim Caple has an most excellent article discussing the Mariners off-season (thanks PI Blog for the link). Caple calls out Mariners' front office for not acquring players when needed in 2000, 2002, and 2003 saying : Had Seattle taken on additional salary by acquiring the needed players then, the Mariners: a.) might have reached the World Series for the first time; b.) probably would have made the postseason in four consecutive seasons; c.) most likely wouldn't have declined so horribly last year; and d.) definitely wouldn't be experiencing such a costly attendance drop. They've lost more than 600,000 fans since 2002.He calls them out for not spending the Kaz money, for having an almost barren farm system, and on and on ... stopping himself only with an "Enough Already!" He throws out that t[...]

Another pitcher signing: Woody Williams to Padres


This afternoon, the Padres announced Woody Williams signed a one year deal for $3.5M. The deal includes a 2006 club option and could pay Williams up to $14.5 depending on how much he starts.

I was just saying the mid-priced pitcher market was competitive and another one gets locked up. All the news reports have stated that Pavano isn't a realistic option for the Ms. A quick search on's free agent tracker shows just 27 starting pitchers left and that includes Ron Villone! You have a bunch of guys who want $10M/season (or more) ... Pedro, Pavano, Ortiz, Lowe ... and then the third and fourth tiers. The Mariners' usual plan of targeting the second-tier may not work as the options are quickly dwindling. The Phillies, Yankees, Padres, and Mets beat 'em to the mediocre signings.

I've always been a sucker graphical analysis and their ability to show trends clearly and simply. Jeff at the Leone for Third blog has developed an elegant graphical analysis charting a Free Agent's salary (computed as overall deal dollars/years) to his VORP. He graphs the 2003 off-season and this 2004 off-season to date. While very few deals have completed so far this off-season, the market appears to be up from last year. His analysis also shows that the Free Agent market tends to be uneven with earlier deals getting less VORP for a club's money than deals completed later in the off-season.

I recommend you check out Jeff's interesting analysis in it's entirety. As the Guinness guys might say: Brilliant!

A Million here, A Million there ...


... pretty soon you're talking real money. At the arbitration deadline, a flurry of new deals. Of note: Nomar Garciaparra, Cubs, 1 year, $8M (with additional $3M in incentives). After an injury marred 2004, Nohmah is reestablishing his value in hopes of a blockbuster multi-year deal next year. Of course, $8 to $11M isn't too bad for a "three-quarters" World Series champion ... is it? Tony Womack, Yankees, 2 year, $4M. Tony Womack? I guess they aren't going to be interested in Bret Boone then ... The market for pitchers continues to rise: Jon Lieber, Phillies, 3 years, $21M. Press Release. Sometimes I wonder about the Phillies front office, but you gotta like the full salary disclosure in the official press release. You don't see the Mariners standard line: "Per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed." Which is useless since they end up getting disclosed anyway. Jaret Wright, Yankees, 3 years, $20-21M. Brad Radke, Twins, 2 years, $18M Rheal Cormier, Phillies, 2 years, $5.75M Dustin Hermanson, White Sox, 2 year, $5.5M Antonio Alfonseca, Marlins, 2 year, $4.75M Matt Morris, Cardinals, 1 year, $2.5M (with an additional $4.5M in incentives) Al Leiter, Marlins, 1 year, between $6 to $8M Mike DeJean, Mets, 1 year, $1.15M Others: Todd Walker, Cubs, 1 year, $2.5M. Includes a 2006 club option. Henry Blanco, Cubs, 2 years, $2.7M BJ Surhoff, Orioles, $1.1M Elmer Dessens, Dodgers, $1.3M. Includes 2006 mutual option Sandy Alomar, Rangers, $550K. Offered Arbitration: Twins: Corey Koskie Marlins: Carl Pavano D'Backs: Richie Sexson Cubs: Matt Clement Astros: Carlos Beltran Dodgers: Adrian Beltre, Odalis Perez, Wilson Alvarez, Brent Mayne Red Sox: Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek, Orlando Cabrera, Pokey Reese, David McCarty, Mike Myers Padres: David Wells Giants: Jason Christiansen Not Offered Arbitration: Blue Jays: Carlos Delgado Twins: Corey Koskie, Terry Mulholland Mets: Richard Hidalgo Angels: Tory Glaus, Aaron Sele Braves: JD Drew Dodgers: Steve Finley, Jose Lima Astros: Jeff Kent Giants: Robb Nen Royals: Juan Gonzales Phillies: Kevin Millwood, Eric Milton Reds: Barry Larkin Well, there you have it. I'm sure I've left something (or rather someone) out. It's hard to make too many generalizations at this point. It does however look like a lot of teams are desperate for pitching help. The mid-priced pitcher market seems to be very competitive with deals for guys like Benson, Wright, and Lieber going at the upper end of the range. It will be interesting to see if it compresses or expands the market at the upper end (Pavano & Pedro) and the lower end (Villone) of the pitchers market. My guess is that it will expand the low end (as it already seems to be doing) and compress the upper end. [...]

Villone offered Arbitration


This just in ... the Mariners have offered Ron Villone arbitration prior to tonight's deadline. According to the Associated Press report, Bavasi indicated that the differences came to money and not deal length. Which is odd given that the previous reports indicated that Villone was interested in a multi-year deal and the Mariners were offering 1 year with a club option for the second year. Villone has until December 19th to accept or decline the arbitration offer.

Interesting the AP report says the the Mariners have "about $22 million to spend." Take that Bob Finnigan.

Pavano's Visit


Tonight Carl Pavano's Seattle visit is winding down. I was wondering if someone was going to report seeing him throwing some salmon at Pike Place Fish. So far ... haven't heard anything. Perhaps the pouring rain deterred him. Well, he wanted to know what Seattle was like. It's better in the summer Carl.

I do find it interesting that news reports have the old guard Lincoln/Armstrong/Pelekoudas taking the lead in Pavano's visit. Bavasi and Hargrove were at their homes in California and Ohio respectively ... evidently both had better things to do.

Reports in the local media put long odds on a Pavano signing with more "realistic" interest in Jaret Wright. Tonight however the San Francisco Chronicle and Fox News are reporting the Wright is close to signing with the Yankees for 3 years and $20-21M. The Yankee deal trumps the Mariners offer reported at 3 years/$9M (initially reported at 3 years/$15M).

Looks like the Mariners are either going to have to get serious about Pavano or move on to others ... Matt Clement anyone? With Wright's new deal, you have to wonder what the market will be for the top names.

Mariners re-sign Wilson to 1 year deal


This afternoon the Mariners announced that they re-signed Dan Wilson to a one year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed, but I assume they will come out in forthcoming news reports.

Update: Wilson will be paid $1.75M according to several published reports. A little more than I would have liked to see, but it's not a bad deal.

From the press release:

"Bringing Dan back was important to us," said Bavasi. "His veteran leadership and the way he handles the pitching staff are integral parts of our ballclub, and he did a great job working with Olivo last season."

"I am glad we got this worked out to remain in Seattle for another season," said Wilson. "This is where my family and I have called home for the last 11 years and I am looking forward to helping return the club to the level of success we've become accustomed to on the field."

Complete details can be found here.

This is good news. Having Wilson back will be good stabilizing influence with Olivo taking the majority of the starts. The one-year deal is appropriate and it's good that the Ms didn't get caught up in the seemingly rising catchers market (see Damian Miller's deal).

One down. So far no word on whether Ron Villone will be given arbitration. It will be interesting to see how things play out with Villone, since he's one of Scott Boras' (lesser) clients. Might give some insight into Mariners-Boras relations ... now that Carlos Beltran has named the Mariners as an interested team.

Crop of New Rumors


A few days away from the Hot Stove and there are a new crop of rumors. So in no particular order: The latest Bob Finnigan bomb is that the Mariners have tendered a 3 year, $15M deal to Jaret Wright. Wright worked with the geniuses in the Braves organization to resurrect his career after years of arm trouble. I like Wright (although he's not my top choice), but I don't like this deal. It's excessive for a pitcher with some question marks. Also, one wonders whether Hargrove is an asset or a detriment with Wright. After all, it could be argued that Hargrove was at the helm when Wright suffered injury. How Wright feels about playing under Hargrove again is interesting. The timing of the news about the Wright deal is interesting with the Carlpalooza tour coming to Seattle next week. Pavano is still scheduled to be in town from Dec 7 to 8th. If published reports about the budget and predictions on priorities (2 mashers & a #1 or 2 starter) are correct ... then it's either Wright or Pavano (for more $) and certainly not both. So I wonder what Pavano will be thinking coming to town. Maybe the Gulfstream G550 has already been chartered for the trip to Seattle and there's no refund ... Of course, last week's Finnigan bomb that the Mariners are going after both Carlos Delgado and Richie Sexson is still out there. And appearing as a reference in USA Today and other media outlets. So far only the Tacoma News Tribune published an article partially disputing the report. Among other things, the TNT article "Ms bidding for big hitters" states: the Mariners have offers outstanding to 6 players ... not named. I would surmise them to be Dan Wilson, Ron Villone, Carlos Delgado, Troy Glaus, Richie Sexson and Jaret Wright. the Mariners believe that their chances of signing Pavano are slim and that Wright is a more realistic target landing Delgado and Glaus is “Plan A". Signing both Delgado and Sexson and moving Sexon to LF is not the clubs' or Sexson's preference. Furthermore signing Sexson is "more of a longshot" because he has already has more lucrative deals both in term (4 years from the D'Backs) and in money ($10M from the Mets) than the Ms are expected to offer. The TNT doesn't completely dismiss Finnigan's Delgado-Sexson report, but marks it as a "longshot". Interesting choice of words since you usually reserve "longshot" for things you want to happen as opposed to things you don't ... anyway. Anyway, the TNT analysis of the off-season plans seem a bit more believable. I would not be surprised if the Mariners weren't doing something very close to this. So far no news on what Dan Wilson has said to the Mariners contract offer (believed to be a 1 or 2 year deal at $1M). Seems like that may be bad news in locking him up as Olivo's backup. It has been reported that Wilson wants a starting job, but so far he has attracted interest only in a backup role. Nevertheless, Damian Miller's 3 year, $8.75M deal with the Brewers, may have raised the market on mid-30s catchers. Everyone loves Wilson, but the Mariners should not get swept up into overpaying to keep him. Dan should be offered no more than 2 years at $1M per. Anything more is foolish. Out of Denver (you should be feeling the cold Cirillo wind blowing), there is a report that the Mariners might be interested in Jeromy Burnitz. Yikes. Yet another rumor that I hope is false. Burnitz had respectable numbers last season, .283/37 HR/ 110 RBI ... but he plays for the Rockies! Consider his numbers at Coors field, .322, 24[...]

Two First Basemen Aren't Better than One


As a Mariner fan, it's hard not be frustred sometimes. From the Seattle Times, the Mariners are evidently trying to sign two over-30 first basemen to multi-year deals. This is a terrible plan ... wrong on just so many levels.

I couldn't agree more with the USS Mariner:
Signing Delgado and Sexson, then calling it an offseason, would just about cement the M’s status as the worst team in the AL West for 2005 and 2006.
Well said.

From nearly the start of the failed 2004 season, many Mariner fans realized that the team could not compete and looked ahead to the off-season. To the opportunity of perhaps signing the future cornerstones of the Mariners. Young, talented and rising stars like Carlos Beltran and Adrian Beltre would be on the market. The Mariners looked like they might have the "financial flexibility" to make some bold moves ... Howard Lincon's letter said as much. There was a lot to be hopeful about.

Now here we are a couple of weeks into the off-season and then things have changed. The "financial flexibility" has nearly disappeared ... the reported available budget of $13-$16M is about half (or less) than many estimated. The market for young stars appears to be fast on the rise fueled by historic NLCS performance by Beltran and an improbable BoSox victory. And news reports are about the possibility of signing the likes of Sexson, Delgado and Koskie.

It's hard to have a lot of hope now ...

Thanks & Turkeys


As millions of Americans get together with friends and family to give thanks and dissect turkey, it's a good idea as Mariner fans to do the same.

Couple of things to be thankful for:
  • Ichiro breaking George Sisler's record. Witnessing that hit in person was perhaps the only redeeming moment of an otherwise forgettable season.
  • Edgar. A great player and a better man. Best wishes 'Gar.
There are too many turkeys to name ... and, well, why spoil the mood? Who are you thankful for and who are the turkeys?

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Niehaus, Polls, Mailbags


  • At the risk of sounding like the Mariners' marketing department. If you have a spare moment, vote for Dave Niehaus to be inducted into the broadcaster's portion of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dave has been the Mariners announcer since the team's inception and I think he's worthy of this recognition. Voting for the Ford C. Frick Award occurs here. By the way, I don't recommend voting for Rick Rizz or Ron Fairly.
  • Could the Mariners be gauging public interest with their website? On the official Mariners' site, you will find their latest poll: "Which free agent is the most enticing?" The choices are Carlos Delgado, Derek Lowe, Troy Glaus, and Corey Koskie. Unfortunately they did not include a "none of the above" option ... which I would have readily chosen. Instead, I just hit "Submit" with no vote to see the results. Of the approximately 2600 votes so far, it's 69% Delgado, 13% Lowe, 13% Glaus, and unbelievably 5% Koskie.
  • Jim Street has another Useless Mailbag. I repeat my criticism of this feature. It just amazes me how clueless the questions are. There's one that asserts that the Ms don't need Sammy Sosa because "our outfield is set with Ibanez, Winn, and Ichiro" and "do you think Scott Spiezio will be at first or third?" And this winner, "I was wondering if the Mariners would look to retrieve (Ben) Davis as a replacement for Edgar Martinez at the DH spot and possible replacement for Dan Wilson at catcher." What?? Ben Davis back?? Even Jim Street couldn't craft a "politically correct" Mariners response to that.