Via USS Mariner comes news from the New York Times that the M's are interested in Jose Contreras. If true, this is utterly nonsensical. The rumor is that we'll give up a 27 year old starter with a reasonable contract for a 30+ starter (his age isn't listed in the story, and let's be honest, no one knows how old he really is anyway) with a bloated contract.
The more interesting portion of the article -- to me, anyway -- is that the Yankees have asked about Mike Myers. As far as I'm concerned, they can have him. The question is what we'd get in return.
We'd need a lot more than Dioner Navarro for Freddy, and the Yankees don't have a lot more to offer. They'd want a lot more than Mike Myers for Navarro, who is their last real tradable prospect. I don't think I see a match here. At least I hope I don't.
On an unrelated note: Are you the parent of a female high school debater? If so, send her to the Women's Debate Institute, a low-cost camp put on by a bunch of sharp debate minds. I've been involved with this camp for four years now, and it rocks.
Nothing Says Baseball Like A Dead Egghead Kraut: According to German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, human thought moves through several stages. An initial idea (thesis) is met with consideration, contradiction and critique (antithesis). Completing a tripartite move, this information is integrated into a synthesis, a higher level of knowledge that transcends the original data.
Having established that my $40,000 in student loans produced something, let's play everyone's favorite game show based on an epistemological treatise -- thesis, antithesis, synthesis.
Thesis: Larry Stone's column today says that the Mariners may not get much for Freddy Garcia. The most incisive quote Stone gleans from an anonymous GM is:
"The more money he makes, the less value he has," said another. "Not many teams are willing to pick up the money. If you get two prospects, one would be definite, one mild. You're not going to get more than that."
Save possibly Bret Boone, Garcia is the Mariners' best potential trade chip. It appears, though, that his contract dollars and contract status might prevent the M's from getting top-tier prospect talent for the future.
Antithesis: Bill Bavasi said on the post-game show last night that the Mariners haven't thrown up the white flag yet, are still trying to get back into the race, and still have a hearty chunk of the Sasaki money available to acquire a player -- if they're in the hunt. Left unsaid was what happens to that money if they aren't.
Additionally, he reported that they'll try to re-sign Garcia, but not until after the year ends. They don't want to distract him during the year, even though he acknowledged that letting his contract expire could result in paying more money to re-sign a newly free agent Garcia.
Synthesis: We have a pot of money that we'll use if we get back into the race. We have a pitcher that won't get a top-tier prospect in trade because of his expensive contract. Let's synthesize this information (without the aid of a Casio keyboard), shall we?
The Mariners could either:
-- Offer to pay some or all of Garcia's contract if a team like the White Sox will give up a truly blue chip prospect. We win because the difference between Aaron Rowand or Joe Borchard and Jeremy Reed is (in my eyes) significant. They win because they fill a need without taking on too much payroll. And let's be real: the only drawback would be us spending money that likely wouldn't get put back into next year's payroll anyway.
-- Or, as Stone suggests, use the Sasaki money as seed funds to sign Garcia. If we're out of the race (we are) and if we truly can't get decent value in return for Freddy Garcia (as Stone suggests), it doesn't make sense to let him get to free agency. We either lose him for nothing or pay too much for him.
Obviously, these two courses of action are mutually exclusive. Ultimately, the decision depends on how much you can get for Freddy.
But it's a decision that has to be made soon, so it's in the M's best interests to do some Hegelian synthesis ASAP.
posted by Jefflink 11:13 AM 
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Highlights from the Bavasi interview on last night's post-game show:
* They've had deals for Gil Meche offered to them by two separate teams, but felt that the value they'd get back for Meche wasn't as high as Gil himself. This might or might not be true -- hard to say without knowing the details -- but it somewhat disturbed me to hear him continually refer to Meche as a "prospect."
* Not one, but two people called in and told Bill that he was "doing a great job" and the Mariners were "lucky to have him." Hey, I can see their point. Well, except for that whole turning a 93 win team into a 100 loss team thing. Honestly, why is it so many people feel they have to suck up to people in positions of power all the time? This almost made me call in to say "Bill, I think you're doing a plain awful job, and here's why," but The Lovely Wife vetoed that course of action.
Incidentally, one of the "attaboy, Bill" callers asked what the latest was about the Mariners moving to the National League.
* He kept up the absurd "we're trying to get back in the race" line, and really seemed to believe it. Said they'd like to re-sign Freddy, but are going to wait until after the season, because in-season negotiations might distract him.
For the record, I want us to re-sign Freddy. But if he can be rattled that easily, can you really rely on him? And would rattling a free agent in his walk year really be such a bad financial strategy? Mostly kidding about that last one.
* Assured the listeners that we would be players on major free agents in the offseason. Wanted to call in and ask why we should believe him in the wake of our non-pursuit of Vladimir Guerrero (who had NINE runs batted in that night).
* As much as said "no" to the Aaron Boone rumors (good!), saying that he felt Boone's right-handed pull stroke wouldn't do well in Safeco.
Ho-hum. Another painful loss. About par for the course this year, huh?
Others have been following the Mariners' attendance patterns closer than I. I'll try to pull together a post with links to all of that info soon, but for now, check this: last night was the sparsest attendance at a Safeco Field game since the park opened in 1999. Bodes ill.
Greg Johns turnabout update: If you're scoring at home: This team is good thanks to Bill Bavasi's moves; No it isn't; This team could still be good if they get some wins; OK, this team is bad, but it's not Bill Bavasi's fault; and the latest installment, break this team up now.
I kinda hope they win three games in a row so we can get a "Let's not be too hasty" column.
posted by Jefflink 8:49 AM 
Hartford, CT: Will Seattle really trade Bret Boone before the end of the season? And where would he go? Logic says the Yankees will be goign after him but do they have anything that Seattle would be interested in trade-wise? Who else would be a contender for Boone if he is put out as trade bait?
Peter Gammons: I think Boone will be traded. I think the Yankees will be contenders. Dioneer Navarro is a young catcher that the Yankees have and the Ms could use. But, the Yankees may have to use him to go after a pitcher like Freddy Garcia. As for Boone, I would think the Cardinals, Cubs and Dodgers would all have interest.
We've heard the Dioner Navarro rumor before, of course. It's interesting that Gammons would say so definitively that Boone will be traded, however.
Also from the chat (and this sounds like bunk to me):
Steve Z, Pittsburgh, PA: A rumor is circulating which has Texas shopping Mark Teixeira, presumably for pitching help. My questions: Is there any truth to the rumor? If true, why would the Rangers want to make such a silly trade? Finally, what would the Rangers want in return? Thanks.
Peter Gammons: I don't think Teixeira will get traded but b/c his agent is Scott Boras, he is the one young player who declined to sign a long term contract. The Rangers seem to be attempting to purge themselves of Boras clients after fiascos with Chan Ho Park, A-Rod and Todd VanPoppel. Teixeira is potentially a great hitter, but the Rangers know they need very good starting pitching, and Teixeira is there (sic) most tradable player.
No way this is true. Teixeira is a cornerstone player, Boras client or not. But if it is true, you'd have to think there would be a feeding frenzy to deal for him, right?
The Mariners have informed clubs that they are "open to anything," according to two major league executives. That means the M's would field offers not only for RHP Freddy Garcia, but also 2B Bret Boone, RHP Gil Meche and possibly RHP Joel Piniero.
This isn't much different from what we've been hearing so far, but the fact that two major league executives confirm it signals that the flat-out shopping of everyone has begun. Also from that article:
The White Sox represent another possible trade partner for the Mariners. G.M. Ken Williams badly wants to add a starting pitcher, but he likely would want Seattle to assume at least part of Garcia's $6.875 million salary and include a young player if the Sox were to part with a major league-ready outfield prospect like Joe Borchard or Jeremy Reed.
David Cameron at USS Mariner, knowing I covet Reed, e-mailed me earlier this year to throw cold water on this rumor. He notes that teams rarely, if ever, trade their No. 1 rated prospects, especially for a rent-a-player like Garcia.
This passage piques my curiosity, though. What if the Mariners -- who have cash to burn -- picked up a healthy hunk of Freddy's contract and threw in a younger pitcher? I'd blanche if we acquired Borchard, but for Reed, that could be a sweet deal given the dearth of position player prospects in the system. They get Freddy, a young pitcher, and cash they can use to re-sign Garcia or Magglio Ordonez. Sure, it's a longshot, but it's something you have to investigate.
[There's also an interesting note in that Rosenthal article about George Sherrill. Read on, it's near the bottom.]
Another team that makes sense to approach for a Garcia deal is Minnesota, as Peter Gammons recently wrote. Lots of young bats, no room for all of 'em.
posted by Jefflink 10:21 AM 
Character: Ever since the Mariners signed Ben Christensen, there's been an outpouring of (justified) outrage. How could an organization that prides itself on only pursuing quality people acquire a headhunter who ruined a man's career, and could easily have killed him?
I share this outrage. But I think something that has been missed is that Bill Bavasi doesn't appear to share the organization's desire to pursue exclusively players with squeaky-clean images. Consider:
* Though it's tough to put stock into rumors, the Mariners were consistently reported to be among the five teams trying to sign noted prickly personality Raul Mondesi.
Yes, this is a small sample size. Back in the day, though, could you see the M's even giving Mondesi the sniff test?
I spoke too soon: Greg Johns busts out a fallacy-laden column defending Bavasi against second-guessers. And while the larger point of the column is well taken -- that baseball surprises everybody -- it's also full of half-truths and distortions. I'm sick of line-by-line nitpicking, so I'll just say this.
Bill Bavasi has been a major-league general manager for seven years including this season. Barring a catastrophic earthquake along the San Andreas fault that deposits California squarely in the ocean while the Rangers are on a west coast swing, this will be the seventh year his teams have failed to make the playoffs.
In business, that gets you fired. In baseball, it means you're a "veteran executive with experience."
Shameless Jeff-promotion: Timely new article about a bill affecting the Western Shoshone Nation that could come up for a vote in Congress this week. New hiking article, too, about Lake Padden park and off-leash areas near Bellingham.
posted by Jefflink 8:50 AM