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Get the DR's opinions of what adjustments & fixes are needed to fill and patch the Mariners Gaps and Holes. Review note worthy links to articles around both leagues nearly everyday.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

For all you grammical police that are on the Seattle PI Blog...especially Leathers:

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg.The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabridge Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.Amzanig huh?Yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt! So awlyas rmbemer taht this is a baesabll blog, and not a egnlish or a grmacial calss! But I will sitll do my bset on tihs bolg!

Monday, November 01, 2004

I know the Orioles have stated several times since this past July that they overpaid on Tejada big time...even though his 2004 performance was so OUTSTANDING!

If the M's brass could ever pull a Boone for Tejada trade off...that would be something! Roberts isn't too impressive at 2B for the O's, and there are A LOT of SS's out their as FA's that are good quality and great defensive SS's that will be very cheap for the O's to pickup.

The other thing is that the M's offered Tejada a 5yr $60M deal, so after 2004 his remaining contract is in the M's ballpark. The O's only paid Tejada $7M in 2004, and $4M was deferred until 2010 & 2011. Besides the $4M deferred salary, Tejada has another $61M over the next 5 years owing. Considering the way that salaries have fallen so drastically over the past 3 yrs, it would benefit the O's to trade Tejada for Boone just to gain the salary relief longterm...and then focus on their pitching over the course of the next 2 years. The O's probably would even pay the deferred $4M on Tejada's contract since they only paid him $7M this year.

By doing this trade, the O's would have a Boone surrounded in the lineup with the likes of:

Palmeiro
Mora
Javy Lopez
Bigbie
Segui

I think Boone would do incredible in that kind of a power lineup surrounding him! And, the O's would be saving several extra million $$$ for 2005. Several days ago there are strong rumors that the O's will be going HARD after Delgado. So if they add Delgado or Sexson at 1b, and add Boone on top of that, that would be pretty potent for the O's:

Palmeiro
Mora
Javy Lopez
Bigbie
Segui
Delgado/Sexson
Boone

Then the O's would have and extra $12M freed up in 2006 for add'l offseason moves next year.

Let me rephrase that:

Then the O's would have an extra $12M freed up from Tejada's salary in 2006 AND they would have the $9M freed up from Boone's salary...for add'l offseason moves next year.

If the M's were able to do this sort of a trade for Tejada, we could use the entire offseason money to pickup:

1. Beltran, AND
2. Beltre, AND
3. A Starting Pitcher

Another thing: The O's are very well aware that there are more SS's out there this offseason than ever:

http://www.startribune.com/stories/509/5061762.html

They could "easily" swap Tejada for Boone, and then take the $2M salary difference and apply it to Nomar who will only end up getting in the $7M range...costing the O's only $5M to have Nomar & Boone together versus ONLY Tejada for $11M. AND, they would have stellar defensive at both SS and 2B.

Palmeiro
Mora
Javy Lopez
Bigbie
Segui

Adding: Nomar & Boone around those power hitters

AND, the O's would still have nearly $20M to go after 1-2 starting pitchers...OR 1 starter and Delgado.

Noone thought Nomar would go as cheap as he will end up going this offseason, especially considering the rumored offer early last year that he "supposedly" turned down from BoSox for BIG money. Now Nomar is stating openly that he's willing to sign a 1-2 yr deal for cheap in order to "prove" himself during this time to a team?!

I also wouldn't have a problem with picking up Nomar since we'd be buying in a very low market on him. We could give him a base salary with incentives that could reach as high as $8-9M, since he's big on "proving" himself.

I'd prefer Tejada though since the M's are focusing on getting younger, and Tejada's (28) is 3 yrs younger than Nomar, and a big enthusiastic clubhouse guy.

If the Tejada trade went down, we could either move Lopez to 2B. Or, sign Polanco who can play stellar D at 2B,SS,3B for $3-5M. Or trade Winn (and his $3.75M) for Chase Utley $300k, and let the Philly's resign Polanco. We then could focus on Beltran & Delgado & SP with our entire offseason money.

Since the O's are hurting for pitching, a Boone/Franklin/Nageotte for Tejada would be a salary swap.

I wouldn't be so quick to write off this Tejada thing! Especially with all the SS's out there for the O's to make a cheaper run at. The other thing everyone knows is that Boone will probably only get around $5-6M after 2006. This would be a pretty smart move for the O's to gain salary relief over the next several years and still have not only a decent team...but A LOT of extra offseason money over the next several years to do some damage in the AL East and take more games away from the Yanks & BoSox!

Something about Franklin: I have really liked him, and I can't believe the lack of run support he never gets! I also have noticed that he's been "trying" to be like a Jamie Moyer kind of a pitcher for the past couple of years, and he's gotten jammed because of it. Did you notice his last several starts, and then his comments following his starts? He was throwing lights out, and he followed up stating that he was starting to be more aggressive and throw more fastballs in amongst all his other stuff. That was throwing all the hitters off, because they were so use to him being a RHed Moyer on the mound.

I do like the thought of Franklin in the long relief role, but I do personally feel that he's got value for his $2.4M contract next year. And, that a number of teams would be very interested in him!
A Boone/Franklin/Nageotte could be a pretty enticing trade for Tejada. It might not happen?! The O's might laugh at the topic?! But then again, with all the SS's out there on the open market, they just might think it would actually be reasonable...

We should at least be acquiring about it, and throwing it the O's way though.

Just to back what I said about Franklin up:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/gamelog?statsId=6225

His last 4 games in September:

9/15: 9 inning CG, 2 Hits, 0 Runs
9/20: 5 innings, 4 Runs
9/25: 6 innings, 6 Hits, 3 Runs
9/30: 7 innings, 3 Hits, 2 Runs

His 1st 5 games in August:

8/1: 7 innings, 6 Hits, 3 Runs
8/6: 7 innings, 7 Hits, 1 Run
8/12: 5 innings, 8 Hits, 6 Runs (He Got Tapped on this Game!)
8/18: 8 innings, 5 Hits, 3 Runs
8/24: 8 innings, 8 Hits, 4 Runs

Franklin would definitely be an awesome #5 starter in the O's rotation that could eat up a chunck of innings (200+ innings) for them in 2005!

Franklin would also get a hell of a lot more run support with the O's offense vs the M's offense over the past couple of years!

NOW...

http://www.nypost.com/sports/31465.htm

Colorado wants out of the Helton commitment and has a first base prospect (Ryan Shealy) due in 2006.

2005: $12.6M
2006: $16.6M
2007: $16.6M
2008: $16.6M
2009: $16.6M
2010: $16.6M
2011: $19.1M
2012: $23M option and NO buyout; can void after 2007

I've been a big Delgado fan for 1B for us, but I have to say that if Helton became availalbe AND Colorado would cut some salary back from his contract...I'd take Helton over Delgado anyday! He's not only 1.5yrs younger, but he's got 2 gold gloves to go along with it!

Colorado needs pitching, and is looking for salary relief from Helton's contract. Maybe they would take the following players off our hands in order to move Helton's salary:

Mateo, Shiggy, Speizio (this would give Ryan Shealy one extra year with Speizio, and decent 1B defense with Speizio too). Hell give them Nageotte too!

Mateo $350k

Shiggy
2005: $2.98
2006: $330k buyout

Speizio
2005: $3.1M
2006: $3.1M
2007: $250k bouyout

How about Franklin too
2005: $2.4M

Colorado would be getting 3 pitchers (or 4 with Nageotte), and Seattle would only have to dish out:

2005: $4M extra out of our budget in 2005 for Helton
2006: $12.8M in 2006 Helton would cost us
2007: $16.6M
2008: $16.6M
2009: $16.6M
2010: $16.6M
2011: $19.1M

Maybe Colorado would dish back $3M/yr starting in 2007 to make his contract a little more reasonable.

So we trade for Shiggy/Franklin/Mateo/Nageotte/Speizio for Helton and end up having to pay:

2005: $4M extra out of our budget in 2005 for Helton
2006: $12.8M in 2006 Helton would cost us
2007: $13.6M (Rockies cutback $3M to us) & opt out of his 2012 option
2008: $13.6M (Rockies cutback $3M to us)
2009: $13.6M (Rockies cutback $3M to us)
2010: $13.6M (Rockies cutback $3M to us)
2011: $16.1M (Rockies cutback $3M to us)

I'm NOW getting a little too excited, but here goes:

1. Sign Beltran whatever it takes;
2. Sign Beltre whatever it takes;
3. Sign Clement for $6-7M/yr for 3yrs
4. Trade for Helton costing us $4M of our offseason money in 2005;
5. Trade Boone for Tejada costing us an add'l $2M in 2005, and move Lopez to 2B;
6. Trade Winn ($3.75m) for Chase Utley ($300k) to save $3.45M from Winn's salary, and platoon Utley's LHB at 2B with Lopez!

Our 2005 lineup would look like this:

RF Ichiro
2B Utley (Or LF Reed)
CF Beltran
1B Helton
SS Tejada (or Boone at 2B if not traded, and Utley/Lopez platooning at SS)
DH/LF Ibanez OR DH Bucky
3B Beltre
LF Reed
C Olivo/Wilson

2005 Rotation:
Pineiro
Moyer
Meche
Clement
Madritsch

Saturday, October 30, 2004

The front office for the M’s is at a cross roads this winter. They can either go about business as usual or they can step up to the plate and spend some of the cash they’ve been hording the past three seasons.

This is a franchise that has no debt. They’ve consistently run large profits since moving into Safeco Field and since they paid off the stadium cost over runs they’ve taken their profits and built up a huge war chest of cash that’s just sitting there earning interest.

If management continues to go the cheap route and cry poor, they are going to run this fan base into the ground.

There is absolutely no reason, from an operating standpoint that this franchise can’t spend $100+ million on player payroll and not loose money on a cash basis. An organization of this size probably has $10-$15 million in depreciation/amortization expense (this is a non-cash expense) included in their operating expenses every season. So when the organization says they generated $10 or $12 million in “operating profits", they really had $20 - $27 million in “operating cash flow” that season. Now there are certain expense items that need to be covered by that “operating cash flow", like interest expense, debt reduction (they haven’t had any debt since the stadium cost over runs were paid off) capital projects on the stadium (think batters eye) adn the likes, however those items don’t come anywhere close to totalling up to $20 million (assuming the low side).

This franchise has been stocking cash away for a rainy day…..well, that rainy day has come via the 2004 season. Its time to step up and crying poor or budget contraints, just isn’t going to cut it any longer.

I have NO DOUBT that the M’s have the cash reserves to sign all of these players:
Beltran, Beltre, Delgado, Clement

THEY WON'T, but they have the cash resources to do it.

The other thing that disturbs me? Our 2004 budget was $95M, and management stated publicly last November that they would be “willing” to go over $95M by the July 2004 trading deadline if the right deal came along. Well hello, we ended the season paying out $79M in payroll…that is $16M less than the entire 2004 pre-approved budget of AT LEAST $95M.

Why, Why, Why in the world don’t they apply that $16M toward the bad contracts that we ended up releasing but are still stuck with through 2005: Cirillo, Jarvis…So that their salary doesn’t effect the payroll budget in 2005?!

Then, WHY can’t they take the difference and extend our 2005 budget from $95M to at least $105M?

This would ensure several things:

1. That we could lock up Beltran for the next 6-7 years.
2. That we could lock up Beltre for the next 5-6 years.
3. That we could lock up Delgado for the next 3-5 years.
4. That we could lock up Clement for the next 3 years, with an option year.
5. That we could even pickup Nomar for CHEAP for the next 1-2 years, on a incentive laden deal, with an option year.

Everybody will deny that the M’s would do "all" of this, but my point being is that the money $$$ is there to do all of this. And in noway am I going to except any BS regarding how much money we “don’t” have this offseason from people and idiots like Finnegan!

SEATTLE MARINERS
Under Guaranteed Contract:
2B- Bret Boone 2005: $9m
1B- Scott Spiezio 2005: $3.1m
C- Wiki Gonzalez 2005: $2.25m
SP- Kevin Jarvis 2005: $500k Buyout
LF- Randy Winn 2005: $3.75m
RF- Ichiro Suzski 2005: $10.5m
LF- Raul Ibanez 2005: $3.75m
SP- Joel Pineiro 2005: $4.2m
SP- Ryan Franklin 2005: $2.40m
RP- Shigetoshi Hasegawa 2005: $2.90m
SP- Jamie Moyer 2005: $3.0m + $1.5m for 30+ GS in 2003 + $1.5m for 30+ GS in 2004 = $6M
RP- Eddie Guardado 2005: $4.5M Seattle will decline option, Guardado will pickup his $4.5M contract with the M’s…considering his health is still questionable.

2005 GUARANTEED CONTRACT TOTALS: $52.85M

Arbitration Eligible: SP- Gil Meche – Made $1.9M in 2004. He will no doubt sign a very similar contract like Franklin did. There are still questionable things regarding Meche that doesn’t merit a huge contract. Look for a 2yr deal with an option year: 2005-$2M, 2006-$2.4M, 2007-$3M team option

UT- Willie Bloomquist – Made $330k in 2004. Non-Tender him and let him find his way to Arizona with Melvin

2005 ARBITRATION CONTRACT TOTALS: $2M (Meche)

Cheap Team Controlled Contracts:
C- Miguel Olivo– 2004: $170k
3B- Greg Dobbs– 2004: $50k
3B- Justin Leone– 2004: $50k
2B- Mickey Lopez– 2004: $50k
SS- Jose Lopez– 2004: $50k
SS- Ramon Santiago– 2004: $50k
CF- Jeremy Reed???
DH- Bucky Jacobsen???
C Rene Rivera???
SP- Bobby Madritsch– 2004: $50k
SP- Clint Nageotte– 2004: $50k
SP- Travis Blackley???
SP- Cha Seung Baek– 2004: $50k
RP- Julio Mateo– 2004: $350k
RP- J.J. Putz– 2004: $50k
RP- George Sherrill???
RP- Matt Thornton– 2004: $50k
RP- Randy Williams???
RP- Scott Atchison (I see us trading Atchison)
RP- Aaron Taylor– 2004: $300k
RP- Rafael Soriano– 2004: $340k
OF- Chris Snelling– 2004: $300k (Trade him, I’m tired of his injures)

2005 TOTAL TEAM CONTROLLED CONTRACTS ESTIMATE: $2.5M (this total is including team approved raises for all these guys)

Free Agents:
C- Dan Wilson– 2004: $3.5M. I’m estimating Dan will resign a 1yr contract for $2-2.5M
RP- Ron Villone– 2004: $1M. I’m estimating Villone will resign a 1y contract for $1.5MRP- Masao Kida ??? I not impress with this guy

2005 TOTAL FA SIGNINGS FOR WILSON & VILLONE: $3.5M

2005 TOTAL COMMITTED SO FAR: $60.85M

NOW, with a $95M budget...How in the hell can anybody justify publicly writing an article stating the M's only have $12.5M available for FA signings?!

The M's spent a total payroll of $79M in 2004, a total of $16M under their $95M budget that was approved last November 2003. Nearly $9M of this money was from Sasaki's salary that was never paid out.

It is way past the time for the FO to step up to the plate and spend $40M this offseason, for the future of the M's...for their fan base! I have personally been a M's optimist for the past 3 years, counting on them to make the appropriate moves and invest in this team. I really think this is the LAST offseason they will have to remedy this problem with all fans!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Well, game 4 ended up being 3 hours and 14 minutes long...6 minutes shy of the lunar eclipse ending, which was at 11:45PM ET!

It was just ment to be for Boston in 2004!

One other thing regarding Jersey numbers:

1918
+34 Ortiz
+33 Varitek
+24 Manny
-5 Nomar

= 2004

So, with Nomar it would of taken Boston another 5 years! Just thought I'd throw that tidbit in.
We all know how superstitous baseball players/fans are. And, what is really whacky is how Boston has gotten here. Being down 3-0 to the Yanks, and accomplishing something that's never been done in MLB history. The first two games of the WS combining for 8 errors. And the list goes on and on and on according to Starks useless information article.

Game 1:http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/fallclassic/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=1908044

Game 2:http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/fallclassic/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=1908756

Game 3:http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/fallclassic/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=1910177

And not to mention Boone's father passing away after Game 3 of the BoSox/Yanks game from a massive heart attack. Many will be thinking he's been up there since Game 3 negotiating with Babe Ruth to reverse the curse. And what timing to do it too!

What a year to break the curse of the Bambino though, in MLB's 100th world series!

What a night to break the curse of the Bambino...the evening of the Lunar Eclipse!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6345294/?GT1=5472

Who would of thought that Boston would be possibly be going into game 4, the evening of the lunar eclipse, with a possible sweep against the Cards offense. Just amazing! It will be something that will be added to Starks Useless Information article for game 4 if it happens!

Another note on the Lunar Eclipse tonight:

The game starts at 8:25PM ET, and should end approximately at 11:25PM ET.

The eclipse starts at 8:06PM ET, and ends at 11:45PM ET. So the entire game will be played at during the entire eclipse.

At 10:23PM ET (1 hour before the game ends, the earth will be "in total shadow at 10:23 p.m. ET, the moon might turn a shade of deep red that frightened the ancients.")

The Total Eclipse ends at 11:45PM.

Now, what is really interesting is that game 2 in Boston ended up being a total game time of exactly 3 hours 20 minutes...tonights game 4 (game 2 in St Louis) starts at 8:25PM ET...and if followed the same pattern as game 2 in Boston would officially end at 11:45PM ET tonight.

Wow, this is leading up to the most incredible reversal of the curse of the Bambino that anyone would of ever thought possible!!! Is Babe Ruth finally sick and tired of George Steinbrenner now?! Will he forward the curse onto the future of the Yankees for the next 100 years?

Us M's fans can only hope!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

While Nomar Garciaparra took the time to call some of his former Sox mates, including Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, the future of the former Sox shortstop remains highly uncertain. A likely scenario, according to sources close to Garciaparra, is he may seek a one-year deal this winter as a free agent in order to reestablish his market value. He could return to the Cubs, but there is some talk the Dodgers might consider moving shortstop Cesar Izturis to second to make room for the native southern Californian

Cardinals reliever Steve Kline wasn't happy with being left off the World Series roster. "I'm dumbfounded, shocked," Kline told reporters last night before Game 1. "You get to the end of the rainbow and there's no pot of gold for me. I could have had surgery a month ago." Kline had delayed surgery to repair a 70% tear of a tendon in his left index finger. Ray King is now the only southpaw in the Cardinals bullpen - he gave up a hard-hit, bad hop infield hit to David Ortiz and got Kevin Millar to foul out last night. "At this level of competition, to try to compete at less than 100% is not fair to him, or to us," pitching coach Dave Duncan said. Kline, a free-agent-to-be, figures the decision seals his fate with St. Louis as far as 2005.

The Twins' interest in Cleveland free-agent shortstop Omar Vizquel, 37, is believed to be as a one-season stopgap while minor league Jason Bartlett prepares to take over the job in 2006.

As for Javy Vazquez, the other half of Joe Torre's Game 7 suicide tag team, it appears the Yankees are resigned to trading him rather than attempting to resurrect him next spring. They'll undoubtedly try to re-visit the Randy Johnson talks with Arizona, but as exciting as the prospect of the Big Unit in pinstripes may be, trading young for old with nothing coming in the barren farm system is a recipe for long-term disaster. Again, the failures of the Yankees' player development department over the last eight years has severely handicapped their ability to make necessary improvements and, as such, this team could get old in a hurry.

The Boston Red Sox's interest in Twins free-agent starter Brad Radke is huge.

There's already speculation that Pedro Martinez will go to Anaheim, where he is close to Vladimir Guerrero and Bartolo Colon, and owner Arte Moreno is serious about winning.

Mets people have talked about trying to sign Richie Sexson or Troy Glaus for first base but have concerns because both missed most of 2004 with injuries. Sexson isn't likely to return to Arizona, and his hometown Mariners will pursue him. Glaus is still thought to prefer third base. Magglio Ordoñez remains an option. But he missed the last four months with a knee injury.

Nomar Garciaparra's health problems in 2004 make a big multiyear offer unlikely this winter. But he has told friends he's willing to take a one-year deal for 2005 with an option for 2006 to prove to teams he can play an entire season. If that happens, the Cubs chances of re-signing him will improve significantly.

The Marlins continue to have trouble completing their stadium deal, leaving Mike Lowell on the cusp of free agency and creating uncertainty about the franchise's long-term future. Unless Lowell is traded in the next week, he will very likely be in position to declare for free agency in the first week of November. With a stadium deal unlikely to be completed by Nov. 1, the 2006 and 2007 seasons of Lowell's contract (worth $18 million combined) would be voided. If he chooses, Lowell could stay with the Marlins next season for $7.5 million. But he's better off opting for free agency, having said he prefers to decide where he will play instead of putting himself in position to be traded.

So much has been speculated about the Yankees signing ">Carlos Beltran to play center field, but before they do that, they'd better have a game plan for Bernie Williams, who otherwise becomes a very expensive 300 at-bat fourth outfielder.

The Cubs officially will decline the $11 million option on left fielder Moises Alou in the next week, making Alou a free agent after three seasons with the club. There's an outside chance Alou could return at a much smaller price tag. Alou, 38, hit a career-high 39 home runs and had a team-leading 106 RBIs this season, but his eight errors tied for second among National League left fielders. The Cubs would like some more speed in the outfield, and if Alou and right fielder Sammy Sosa leave, they will get that opportunity.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/bb/2862462

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros likely won't be able to afford to re-sign free agent Carlos Beltran this offseason. Beltran said he plans to consider the Astros, though.

How much will Beltran sign for & how long? Lets look at one of the best hitters in the game that was signed last year:

Feb 20th, 2004 – Albert Pujols officially signed a seven-year, $100 million contract with the Cardinals, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

2004: $7.05M
2005: $11M
2006: $14M
2007: $12M
2008: $13M
2009: $13M
2010: $13M
2011: $5M buyout, $16M option

Shouldn’t a similar $100M contract for Beltran be reasonable for us to pull off? We could build around him for the next 8 years with an option year!

Beltran fits our needs more this year than Tejada did last offseason, and the M’s offered a 5yr $60M $12M/yr contract to Tejada. With Beltran only 27yrs old, that would lock him up until he’s 34-35yrs old with us.

2005: $12M
2006: $12M
2007: $12M
2008: $12M
2009: $12M
2010: $12M
2011: $12M
2011: $5M buyout, $16M option

That would total $100M.

OR even more competitive @ $110M:

2005: $12M
2006: $14M
2007: $14M
2008: $14M
2009: $13M
2010: $13M
2011: $13M
2011: $5M buyout, $16M option

That would total $110M

OR if it’s backloaded with a signing bonus if he’s willing to make $9M again in 2005:

2005: $9M
2006: $12M
2007: $15M
2008: $15M
2009: $14M
2010: $14M
2011: $14M
2011: $5M buyout, $16M option

Considering the M’s Tejada offer last year, I really think they will open their checkbook on Beltran for a $90-110M 7yr contract with an option year. The longer out we go, the better overall annual rate we will end up getting for him.
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/bb/2862462

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros likely won't be able to afford to re-sign free agent Carlos Beltran this offseason. Beltran said he plans to consider the Astros, though.
The Cubs officially will decline the $11 million option on left fielder Moises Alou in the next week, making Alou a free agent after three seasons with the club. There's an outside chance Alou could return at a much smaller price tag. Alou, 38, hit a career-high 39 home runs and had a team-leading 106 RBIs this season, but his eight errors tied for second among National League left fielders. The Cubs would like some more speed in the outfield, and if Alou and right fielder Sammy Sosa leave, they will get that opportunity.

The Dodgers have identified retaining third baseman Adrian Beltre as their top off-season priority but have yet to make him an offer and are unlikely to do so in the weeks before their exclusive negotiating rights expire. Beltre can file for free agency as soon as the day after the World Series and can sign with another club as soon as 16 days after the Series. But negotiations are expected to be lengthy, with Beltre and agent Scott Boras expected to solicit bids from other clubs before considering any offer from the Dodgers.

The Cubs will explore the possibility of signing center fielder Carlos Beltran to a multiyear deal, hoping he doesn't price himself out of their range. Beltran declined to speculate about his upcoming free agency after the Astros bowed out of the postseason on Thursday. "That's a decision I'll make in Puerto Rico," he said.

Yankees OF Kenny Lofton doesn't believe he got a chance to make a difference. "I know what I've done in past postseasons," Lofton said yesterday. "I didn't get the opportunities." Lofton, a .277 hitter with nine steals in 30 LCS games prior to this year, played in just three of the seven games against the Red Sox. He was 3-for-10 with two walks and three strikeouts. When he signed a three-year deal with the Yankees, Lofton said he was under the impression that he would play every day. It turned out to be an awkward arrangement. He has two years left on his deal, but because of his inexpensive salary ($3.1 million), it wouldn't be shocking if the Yankees dealt him, especially if they make a run at free agent Carlos Beltran.

Hideki Matsui was one of a half-dozen players who showed up yesterday to clean out their lockers. With one year and $8 million remaining on the three-year contract he signed before the 2003 season, the left fielder is thinking ahead, and hoping he can be with the Yankees beyond the 2005 season. "It would be nice if I could stay," Matsui said, through interpreter Roger Kahlon. "I think, for me, this is the best environment to play baseball. But that's not my decision." Matsui said his agent, Arn Tellem, had not yet begun discussions with the Yankees about an extension, and he didn't sound as if he expected it to happen before the start of next season.

If the Twins need to trade Jacque Jones, and Kubel is unavailable, they have other options for right field. Lew Ford, who batted .299 with 15 homers and 72 RBI in his first full season of action, could move to the outfield. Rochester native Michael Restovich, who spent most of the season in the minors, could get his long-awaited break. And one Twins official pointed out that Michael Cuddyer, mentioned as a possible replacement for free agent Corey Koskie at third or for underperforming Luis Rivas at second, could play right field. Ryan declined to discuss if Kubel's injury disrupts his plans for right field.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Angels likely to cut salary next season, possibily down to $90M

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/9936898.htm

After committing $146 million to add Vladimir Guerrero, Jose Guillen, Bartolo Colon and Kelvim Escobar a year ago, Moreno reportedly would like to reduce the Angels' payroll from $112 million to somewhere below $100 million, perhaps even as low as $90 million.


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