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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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Moises Alou is contemplating retirement after the season if he doesn't get a call from the right team this winter. "Whoever is going to sign me is pretty much going to take me out of retirement," he said. "I love playing the game and I do want to play some more, but it has to be the right situation." Alou, 38, becomes a free agent in November if the Cubs decline his $11 million option for 2005, as expected. Though the end of his Cubs career is probably at hand, Alou remains hopeful his numbers can convince general manager Jim Hendry to offer him a respectable one-year contract. Returning to Chicago is "my No. 1 priority," Alou said, but he also acknowledged the Cubs already are committed financially to several other big-salaried players next year. The rumor for weeks has been that Alou will join his father, Giants manager Felipe Alou, in San Francisco next year. Of course, the Giants already have a left fielder named Barry Bonds. "I play right field too," Alou said.

Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez laughed off a report in New York's Newsday about a purported message he sent to Felix Heredia, who wears the same number (45) for the Yankees. Newsday reported that Martinez sent a message through a mutual friend to Heredia: "Next year, when I'm a Yankee, you've got to give me your number." Martinez said the story went like this: "[Heredia] joked that if I came over, he would give me the number without any hesitation. That was it. He said he would give it to me willingly."

Ross Gload went 2-for-4 with two doubles to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games. That has increased speculation that the White Sox might make him their every-day first baseman in 2005 and deal Paul Konerko during the offseason. "I learned early on in my professional career that you can't be shocked by trades,'' said Konerko, who has been traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds. "Everybody can get traded. I saw Mike Piazza get traded right in front of me, so that pretty much makes anybody tradable because he was the best-hitting catcher of all time.''

Suddenly, the Mariners are playing with more passion and focus and energy than they have all season. It's probably too late to save Bob Melvin, but it will help him leave with his head held high. The players never quit on him, and he never quit on the players. Melvin said that former Arizona manager Bob Brenly, a close friend, has helped him deal with the uncertainty and speculation. Brenly, with whom Melvin won a World Series championship in 2001 as the bench coach, went through much the same thing this year, and was fired in July. Lo and behold, he discovered that life went on.

One national sports publication speculated this week that third baseman Mike Lowell would be willing to move across the diamond if he becomes a free agent. The same report said teams such as the Yankees, Mets and Orioles might look at signing him to play first. A Gold Glove-caliber third baseman, Lowell didn't disregard a position switch, but he acknowledged it would be a long shot. "I would under the right circumstances," Lowell said. "I still have to believe there's a major league team that wants me to play third."

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

I noticed that there are a few grammical police on the Seattle PI Mariner's Blog. So for all you grammical police:

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!
One national sports publication speculated this week that third baseman Mike Lowell would be willing to move across the diamond if he becomes a free agent. The same report said teams such as the Yankees, Mets and Orioles might look at signing him to play first. A Gold Glove-caliber third baseman, Lowell didn't disregard a position switch, but he acknowledged it would be a long shot. "I would under the right circumstances," Lowell said. "I still have to believe there's a major league team that wants me to play third."

So far, general manager Mark Shapiro's priority is signing a starting pitcher over the winter, not an outfielder. Asked if the GM was targeting pitchers likely to be more than No. 4 or No. 5 starters, Wedge said: ``Ideally, yes. We have to see where the market lies and get the best starter we can.'' Fans should not expect the Tribe to be chasing premier free-agent starters Pedro Martinez or Carl Pavano, who will command in excess of $10 million. Speculation is that Shapiro will go shopping for pitchers in the $5 million and under category.

Angels OF Jose Guillen, in the first year of a two-year contract that pays him $2.2 million this season and guarantees him $3.5 million next season, might also argue that the suspension is a breach of his contract and that he should be allowed to become a free agent this winter.

Forget any notions spurred by a report last night that Carlos Delgado, the Jays' greatest run producer, will be offered a new contract sometime this week. An offer — if it comes at all — won't happen until this season ends, Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said last night after his club opened a four-game series here with some strong pitching from Roy Halladay and rookie Brandon League in a 4-1 win over the Orioles. "That report is totally false," Ricciardi said of a Toronto television report which claimed the Jays are on the verge of offering their superstar first baseman a three-year deal worth $21 million (all figures U.S.). "We haven't talked to Carlos or his agent about anything. The end of the season would be the time we'd make that decision."

It's do-or-die time for Scott Williamson. The veteran relief pitcher was told by manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Dave Wallace prior to last night's game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field that he will have to prove that his right elbow is sound enough to allow him to work in back-to-back games, while showing more velocity on his fastball. If those conditions aren't met by the end of the weekend, Williamson probably won't be on the American League Division Series roster and most likely won't pitch again for the Red Sox.

If all had gone well, Carlos Guillen would have more than 100 RBI by now — maybe even pushing 110. Instead he’ll be having knee surgery today at Henry Ford Hospital to repair the anterior cruciate ligament of his damaged right knee. Kyle Anderson, one of the Tigers’ physicians, will perform the surgery. “Dr. Anderson has done a number of these and it makes a lot of sense for him to do this one,” Manager Alan Trammell said. “Carlos won’t have to fly somewhere else to get it checked later on.”

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez told ESPN's Peter Gammons, "There's no way that anyone but Buck Showalter can be Manager of the Year. I'd tip my cap to him."

YOU MEAN NOONE IS CONSIDERING MELVIN AS MANAGER OF THE YEAR?!!! JEEZE, WHAT’S WRONG WITH EVERYBODY? HE’S SET SO MANY RECORDS…TOO BAD ALL THE RECORDS HE’S SETTING AS A COUCH ARE BASED ON LOSSES (ETC), AND NOT WINS!

Monday, September 27, 2004

Indians SS Omar Vizquel, 37, is eager to return. This is the first time since 1996 he has not had a guaranteed contract. The uncertainty of next year concerns him. "Mark Shapiro has talked to just about everyone on the team about next year," Vizquel said. "He told me he'd like to wait until the end of the season to talk to me. I can't stand the suspense." Vizquel said he would sign a one-year deal. "It just depends on what they ask me to do," he said. "I would like a two-year deal. It would give me the option of retiring [as an Indian]. "They could defer the money. I could get $2,000 a month 30 years from now."

Sunday, September 26, 2004

When Pedro Martínez says he can't beat the Yankees, it makes you wonder if he has officially kicked off a campaign to join them. The Yankee-taunting, head-hunting, Zimmer-tossing Pedro in pinstripes? You say: blasphemy. I say: Roger Clemens. If Pedro is calling the Yankees daddy, he may as well move on down to the Bronx when his contract expires after this season and take his place in the Steinbrenner family business.

Two players should lead Detroit’s free-agent wish list this autumn, although wishing might be as far as the Tigers get with Carl Pavano and Carlos Beltran. Pavano, a glorious right-hander for Florida, is 29 years old and as close to a sure thing as there is in a free-agent starting pitcher. Any club that commits a bundle of bucks to Pavano is going to get a marvelous front-line pitcher — assuming (we’re happy to do the assuming, Owner Mike Ilitch can do the spending) he stays healthy. Local folks, of course, want Dearborn’s Derek Lowe to come to Detroit. It might work out, although Lowe is going to be expensive and his 2004 season with Boston has been choppy.

The Royals aren't saying so publicly, but it's no secret they don't plan to pick up their $3.25 million option to retain Joe Randa for 2005. Instead, they will pay a $500,000 buyout that allows Randa, who turns 35 in December, to become a free agent. “We didn't rule out anything,” general manager Allard Baird said, “but I would anticipate him exploring other opportunities. And I would expect us to do the same, to explore things that may fit in line with Mark Teahen being the guy at some point next season.”

Speaking of potential free agents, one who obviously bears watching is Jason Varitek. While everyone in Boston understands Varitek's value to the Red Sox, one of the teams interested in him will be the Baltimore Orioles, who hope to move Javy Lopez to first base, at least on a part-time basis. Lopez has acknowledged that he would be receptive to the switch, an easy move given that the O's will not be committed to Rafael Palmeiro. Another team that could have interest in Varitek? The Rangers.

The Mets free agent shopping list:
C Jason Varitek. Not only is he a good all-around player, he will become the gritty team leader this club has needed for a long time. Not afraid to get in anyone's face, regardless of the player's stature, and is a full-accountability guy.
RHP Matt Morris. He's been inconsistent this year, so he won't command as much money in this market, but he's had a very good overall body of work. A local guy from Rockland County, N.Y., who went to Seton Hall, he's pitched in pennant races and has performed under pressure. Second choice is Russ Ortiz.
1B Paul Konerko. He will probably be available in a trade and this would solve a lot of problems about who plays where.


Kevin Millwood was asked if he expected to be someplace else in 2005. Millwood accepted salary arbitration last off-season after he could not find the multiyear contract he had hoped for and signed a one-year, $11 million contract. The Phillies went over budget to sign Millwood, and it's unlikely they would be able to pay that salary again. "I'm not sure they've come out and said they want anybody right now," Millwood said. "There's always a chance of coming back. I've said it before. They have to show interest before anything can go in that direction. I'll wait and see who calls, and if Philly is one of those teams I'm sure we'll talk." So if these were his final pitches in a Phillies uniform, how would he sum up his two seasons in Philadelphia? "Less than stellar," said Millwood, a free agent after the season and one of the most affable players in the Phillies clubhouse. "I didn't think last year was quite as bad as it seemed. This year, it seemed, right when I started pitching well things went south health-wise. There's really nothing you can do about it, but at the same time you don't have to like it, either."

There are some other intriguing closers, led by Troy Percival, who will be replaced by Francisco Rodriguez in Anaheim, and Armando Benitez, who had a tremendous season for the Marlins. Detroit is undecided about picking up Ugueth Urbina's option.

Mike Lowell has a clause in his contract that stipulates he can become a free agent if the Marlins do not get a new stadium deal, and the third baseman is expected to opt out this off-season under that circumstance. The Mets have long wanted Lowell, and have had internal discussions about pursuing Lowell as a first baseman and mentor to David Wright (they share the same agent, the Levinson brothers).

Former Twins manager Tom Kelly, who has done a lot of advance scouting after he gave up his job as manager, is not doing any scouting this season. The Yankees have six scouts following the Twins these days, led by Gene Michael, who has been quoted about how impressed he is with Twins pitcher Johan Santana.

It didn't sit well with the Diamondbacks' Randy Johnson last week when ESPN listed Roger Clemens, Carl Pavano and Jason Schmidt as the favorites for the NL Cy Young Award. Johnson is 14-14 with a 2.69 ERA, and leads the league with 272 strikeouts and a .240 opponents' batting average. "My year's being overlooked simply because we've lost 100 ballgames," Johnson said. "Wins are out of my control. The other people that are in line for the Cy Young, I'd like to see what their record would be here." Ben's Take: Randy Johnson had a chance to play for a winner and he decided he would rather be a loser in Arizona than wear Dodger Blue... He gets what he deserves...

Jason Varitek is the heart and soul of the Red Sox, and he likes playing in Boston. Don't look for Varitek to seriously test the market, even though he's a Scott Boras client. St. Louis' Mike Matheny is a Gold Glover and handles a pitching staff well.

Not only is Pedro Martinez running scared from the Yankees, but he has some company. Repeating Martinez' claims after Friday's 6-4 loss, Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon said he'd also like to avoid the Bombers in October. "To be honest with you, I would much rather not face them in the ALCS, too, so we don't have that Red Sox-Yankee thing going again," Damon said before last night's game. With Martinez's verbal concession speech late Friday and Damon's admission yesterday, the evidence is mounting that the Yanks have invaded the heads of their rivals and hold an important psychological edge heading into the playoffs.

Before Adrian Beltre heads home to the Dominican Republic for the winter -- Los Angeles hopes that's at least a month from now -- Manager Jim Tracy will meet with his star third baseman to let him know how much he wants Beltre back in Dodger blue. Beltre can become a free agent after the World Series. He is having a breakout season, and Tracy strongly believes the 25-year-old Beltre deserves as much consideration for NL most valuable player as Barry Bonds. Tracy realizes he doesn't have the final say on whether to keep Beltre with the club that signed him before his 16th birthday and patiently developed him into a superstar. Still, the skipper will make his opinion known to GM Paul DePodesta. "I'm very hopeful we have the opportunity to have Adrian Beltre," Tracy said. "Do I want to watch this guy walk off and do this for somebody else? No."

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Pedro Martinez on losing to the Yankees: "I'd wish they'd disappear and never come back," he continued, spicing his sentence with a well-chosen expletive. "What can I say? "All I can do is tip my cap and call the Yankees my daddy." The Yankees' newest son took a long time following the game to meet with the media. While his teammates dressed hurriedly and quietly, many of them exiting without speaking to reporters, the pitcher stayed in a back room "cooling off," as one team official put it. When Martinez, who allowed eight runs and eight hits in five innings on Sunday at Yankee Stadium, finally walked into the interview room, he still had not showered and was clad only in gym shorts and a T-shirt.

Yankees officials have been in contact with the agent for Cuban defector Kendry Morales and maintain an interest in signing the switch-hitting slugger. Morales, the 21-year-old outfielder/first baseman who defected from Cuba in June, is negotiating with several teams, and the Yankees plan to be in the bidding when it gets serious. Morales defected just before the wife of former Yankee pitcher Jose Contreras, and in early August he obtained citizenship in the Dominican Republic, making him free to sign with any big-league team.

Friday, September 24, 2004

I've posted newspaper articles over the past month on Mark Lieberthal, and a possible trade this offseason...and the Philly's possibily moving him this offseason.

I'm still holding to my guns that a possible 3 team trade is still likely this offseason with Seattle/NYY/Philly's...

NYY will go after Varitek just to piss off Boston, then:

Vasquez to Seattle
Boone to NYY
Posada to Philly's
Chase Utley/Howard to Seattle


Seattle would have to throw in whatever prospects the Philly's wanted from our system, But I posted yesturday the link about Howard & the Philly's having NO spot to put him, so he'll more than likely be moved, because they even have their corner OF spots locked up longterm. And, if Philly's won't send Utley then the M's can go hard after Polanco as a FA...since we'd be losing our 2B in the above trade.

Why could a trade like this go down?
1. NYY tryed HARD to move Posada this past offseason, and wanted to pick up Pudge. So, if George wanted to really piss off Boston even more and go after Pedro & Varitek...George will be moving salary...Posada being for sure.

2. Last December Philly's & M's were rumored on a potential trade, on several occasions, of trading: Ben Davis for Chase Utley & Jason Michaels!!! Why? Because they wanted Davis to eventually take over for Lieberthal within a year or two! Well, Ben Davis is out of the picture, but they still need to figure out a backup plan for Lieberthal OR trade him and then pickup a Posada kind of a power bat catcher.

3. I provided a link yesturday to George's issues with Vasquez...total disappointment...so expect George to move him in someway so that he can concentrate on signing Pedro or Pavano or etc etc etc.

Also, remember that George really wanted Boone this past July, but really didn't want to pickup his $9M in 2005. If George is disappointed in the Vasquez deal, another $32.5M owing between 2005-2007, then Boone's $9M salary looks pretty good at this point...especially considering that is their main position weakness. I have been posting comments of a Vasquez/Boone trade with NYY throwing in $7M spread over 3 yrs to offset the difference above Boone's $9M 2005 salary. That would solve our Starting Pitcher move that we need to make this offseason, and we would have done it with Boone's salary...with $37M still left to spend.

Here is the link again:

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/story/234536p-201464c.html

4. Philly's don't have a space for Ryan Howard...Ben Maller reporting yesturday:

https://registration.philly.com/reg/login.do?url=http://www.philly.com%2Fmld%2Finquirer%2Fsports%2F9716894.htm

Phils rookie first baseman Ryan Howard has impressed his coaches and teammates in his limited at-bats. In case they hadn't known it before, the man hits the ball hard. But his future with the Phillies is still uncertain. He is a first baseman. Always has been. Asked about it over and over and over again, Phillies personnel said Howard is best suited to play first base. Outfield wasn't even a possibility. But that stance has shifted recently. Howard will receive outfield instruction in the Arizona Fall League. Of course, even if Howard shows he can play in the outfield, it appears his path to the big leagues with the Phillies remains blocked. Jim Thome has him blocked at first base, and Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu have him blocked in the corner outfield positions. Those three are all signed to long-term contracts. "I still think it's worth our while to go through the exercise of seeing him out there," Phillies GM Ed Wade said.
The free agent that provides the most intrigue is White Sox outfielder Magglio Ordonez, who is sidelined with torn cartilage in his right knee. He may have to settle for a one-year deal and try to rebuild his value next season. The Rangers have definite interest and will check those medical records carefully.

Deep-pocketed teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets and Dodgers will come after Carl Pavano, but the Marlins have familiarity on their side. They should be prepared to pay $30 million over four years. "Carl can still say no," Lowell said. "If you try to sign Carl to a four-year, $8 million deal, Carl is going to tell you to take a hike."

How badly is Magglio Ordonez's injured? Only a bone bruise, as Ordonez is quoted as saying, or one that could linger into spring training, as the White Sox have hinted? In still another day of the ongoing Ordonez free-agent saga, Sox general manager Ken Williams said, "We would like him at some point to come back and see our doctors." Williams was intentionally obscure about when the Sox might decide whether they would offer their $14 million right fielder a new contract. "That's difficult to determine, and as time goes on, [the media] will understand—when certain truths come out—more so why we are in a holding pattern, that we can't make any overtures prematurely," Williams said.

Mike Lieberthal is hitting .381 with four homers and nine RBIs in September, which gives him hope for a better 2005. He said it has crossed his mind that the Phillies might trade him. Lieberthal makes $7.5 million next season, and has a $7.5 million option for 2006 that automatically vests if he has 1,200 plate appearances from 2003 to '05, or 850 plate appearances from '04 to '05, or 475 plate appearances in 2005. He entered last night's game with 1,057 plate appearances the last two seasons, including 496 plate appearances this season. "I'm lucky to be a catcher and not an outfielder," he said with a chuckle. "Or a first baseman. Or a third baseman. Then I'd be in trouble. But [a trade] crosses your mind at the trading deadline. I could be traded this off-season, but they can't trade me without my consent." A 10-year veteran with at least five seasons with the same team, Lieberthal can veto any trade.

San Francisco's Brett Tomko is 5-0, 1.21 in his last six starts. The hot streak started after he began seeing a sports psychologist in Los Angeles who, he said, has helped him relax. "It's a piece of the puzzle that fits nicely," Tomko said.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

First baseman Mike Sweeney won't play again this season. The Royals made that decision before Monday's game because they believe Sweeney hasn't recovered sufficiently from a herniated disk to risk playing in the final two weeks. “Everyone just came to the conclusion that it would be for the best to get myself 100 percent,” he said. “Because I'm not 100 percent right now. The way I look at it, my off-season program starts today.” Sweeney is scheduled to depart today to consult with Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles about an off-season conditioning program. “We said all along,” general manager Allard Baird said, “that he would not come back unless he was 100 percent.”

Phils rookie first baseman Ryan Howard has impressed his coaches and teammates in his limited at-bats. In case they hadn't known it before, the man hits the ball hard. But his future with the Phillies is still uncertain. He is a first baseman. Always has been. Asked about it over and over and over again, Phillies personnel said Howard is best suited to play first base. Outfield wasn't even a possibility. But that stance has shifted recently. Howard will receive outfield instruction in the Arizona Fall League. Of course, even if Howard shows he can play in the outfield, it appears his path to the big leagues with the Phillies remains blocked. Jim Thome has him blocked at first base, and Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu have him blocked in the corner outfield positions. Those three are all signed to long-term contracts. "I still think it's worth our while to go through the exercise of seeing him out there," Phillies GM Ed Wade said.

It wasn't lost on third baseman Mike Lowell that he could be beginning his final home series in a Marlins uniform Tuesday. Lowell's four-year, $32 million contract is tied to the Marlins' stadium plans, and the plans still need financial help from the Florida Legislature. If the plans aren't in place by Nov. 1, Lowell can opt out of a contract that would pay $7.5 million next year. Although Lowell recognizes what a stadium would do, he is more concerned about the team's competitive approach. He doesn't have a no-trade clause in his contract. He isn't likely to stay with the team unless he is guaranteed that he won't be traded, and the team will remain at a competitive level.

White Sox general manager Ken Williams already has plenty on his to-do list as the season winds down and he plans for the 2005 campaign. But the biggest concern looming is the increasing chance All-Star slugger Magglio Ordonez may not be healed sufficiently to start next season. The Sox have played the second half of this season without veteran sluggers Ordonez and Frank Thomas (stress fracture in left ankle). Ordonez was placed on the disabled list July 22 with bone marrow edema in his left knee. Williams thinks Thomas will be ready to go next spring, but perhaps not Ordonez. The injury to Ordonez, who is being paid $14 million in the last year of his contract, also makes it difficult to negotiate a free-agent deal with him and his agent.

Yankees starter Javier Vazquez has landed firmly in George Steinbrenner's cross-hairs. "We'd all like him to be better, but you know, he is what he is," The Boss said before entering the Stadium last night. "They better get him straightened around." "They," in Boss parlance in these instances, generally means manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre. But everyone within the Yankees' hierarchy seems dumbfounded by Vazquez's inconsistency in posting a 14-10 record and a 4.77 ERA in 30 starts this season. He has not turned in quality starts in back-to-back outings since the All-Star break; and he has been torched for a 7.63 ERA over that span.

Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney isn't running from the reality. His back problems can no longer be regarded as a matter of coincidence and bad luck. Not when they have curtailed his playing time for three straight seasons. “I know in the industry that I'm labeled now as the guy with back trouble,” he said. “It's frustrating because up until the 2002 season, I don't think I ever missed more than one game because of an injury.” Sweeney still wants to avoid surgery but expressed willingness to consider all other options. One possibility is to consult the pain-management specialist in Colorado who worked with Yankees pitcher Kevin Brown. “If I have to go stay in Colorado for two weeks,” Sweeney vowed, “I'll do it. If I have to hire an instructor in Kansas City to come to the house every day, or meet me at the gym every day, I'll do it. I'll do whatever it takes to get healthy.”

Monday, September 20, 2004

Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez on losing to the Yankees: "I'm the most-hated man in New York," said Martinez, who is the highest-paid pitcher in the game ($18 million this season) and will become a free agent this fall. Asked how he thought the same fans would react if he were signed by the Yanks, he said, "They would love me." A move to the Yankees might be attractive to Martinez because he'd no longer have to pitch against them. In his last 20 starts against the Bombers he is 5-7.

Nomar Garciaparra: Anaheim figures to make the biggest bid. Garciaparra is from California and reportedly longed to go home when he played in Boston. He seems to enjoy playing and living in Chicago, but Garciaparra may not be overwhelmed by the Cubs' offer, which is likely to reflect his recent spate of injuries. St. Louis' Edgar Renteria, another free agent-to-be, is not a bad option if Garciaparra leaves.

Omar Vizquel can't understand what the problem is. If the Indians do not exercise the option clause in his contract at the end of the season (which they won't), he can become a free agent. But that doesn't interest him. Only one thing does: remaining with the Indians. ``My decision is not hard,'' he said Sunday. ``I want to stay. '' Asked if he had any interest in testing the market, Vizquel said, ``Not really. There's no other team I want to play for. I had some interest in Seattle (his home), but I don't want to go through another rebuilding process. ``Why go anywhere? I think we can win here.'' Vizquel is keenly aware that general manager Mark Shapiro has a myriad of concerns and alternatives. Young shortstop Jhonny Peralta is waiting in the wings, and there are budgetary limitations.

An early line on the most tradable Tigers heading into the 2004 off-season: Bobby Higginson: The Tigers are trying to clear roster space and likely will use Higginson as a fourth outfielder if he sticks in Detroit to finish the last year of his contract. Detroit would need to pay almost all of Higginson’s remaining $8.85 million salary if he is traded, but the possibility of a team such as the Yankees bringing on Higginson as a bench presence isn’t out of the question.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Adrian Beltre clearly wants to stay in Southern California -- his wife is from Los Angeles, and the Beltres have a house there. So if the Dodgers can't meet Boras' price, deep-pocketed Angel owner Arte Moreno, who landed free agent Vladimir Guerrero last winter, could sign Beltre as well. Beltre has said he wants to stay with the Dodgers but has also expressed an interest in the Angels because he likes manager Mike Scioscia and has good relationship with many of Anaheim's players.

As Blue Jays first baseman Carlos Delgado heads to free agency, he must look for a team with a need and a team with some dollars to spend. The Baltimore Orioles both have a need and money. And they have an outstanding barbecue in right field operated by former Orioles first baseman Boog Powell.

Though their priority will be to re-sign Adrian Beltre, it's hard to imagine the Dodgers not having interest in Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek after they traded Paul Lo Duca in the Brad Penny deal.

Because they didn't sign him to an extension last winter, the Angels could lose closer Troy Percival to free agency. Will he interest the Cubs?

If the Marlins have the same $53 million payroll, that would leave only about $16 million for 19 players. Just three of those players -- free agent Carl Pavano and arbitration-eligible Paul Lo Duca and A.J. Burnett -- figure to collectively command well more than $16 million. That leaves Pavano's return especially questionable. Former Mets general manager Steve Phillips, now with ESPN, said off the air last week he expects the Mets and Yankees to have interest in Pavano.

Baltimore will look to move potential non-tender Jay Gibbons this winter. Put him on the list of potential replacements for Magglio Ordonez, assuming the White Sox don't sign their right fielder to a one-year contract.

While the Diamondbacks made their first contract offer to Richie Sexson last Monday, they are expected to receive stiff competition from the Mariners, who play near Sexson's home in Vancouver, Wash., and need a big bat in the middle of their lineup.

The Tigers offered Bobby Higginson for Cliff Floyd, one bad idea the Mets quickly rejected. The Mets are discussing Richie Sexson internally but believe he'll remain in Arizona (if not, he'll probably go home to Seattle). It's better not to break the bank for a first baseman, anyway. One idea is Lyle Overbay since Milwaukee has Prince Fielder (Cecil's son) coming.

Mets people need to ask Mike Piazza about waiving his no-trade rights. He's been a great Met, but for the sake of his safety, he needs to DH now. Jason Varitek is mentioned as a Mets possibility. But he may be allergic to New York: Varitek was hitting .300 heading into today's game but was 0-for-30 with 16 K's at Yankee Stadium.

The Rays are trying to get to the playoffs by getting out of the AL East. Vince Naimoli says: "We campaign almost every day to get in a different division."


Saturday, September 18, 2004

Al Leiter has a mutual option for $10 million for 2005 with a $2 million buyout. He definitely wants to pitch next year and expects the Mets to decline the option and ask him to come back for less money. But people close to him are recommending he sign with the Yankees or Phillies next year. "Of course I want to be a Met forever," he said. "But it's very upsetting. I just don't know." Ideally Leiter wants to stay and retire as a Met. But the environment around the club has become so poisoned by all the losing and finger-pointing that things have changed. He has been accused of sinking both Bobby Valentine and Art Howe, as well as initiating everything from the Scott Kazmir trade to picking the design pattern that is mowed into the outfield grass.

The Giants missed out on Richie Sexson last time around when he was dealt to the Diamondbacks. Sexson has crushed the ball at SBC Park and would give the Giants the needed power threat behind Barry Bonds.

The Angels need a legit third baseman next season. If they are hesitant to throw millions at the brittle Troy Glaus, how about stealing Adrian Beltre from the Dodgers? If the Dodgers stop crying poor mouth, get smart and re-sign the 26-year-old MVP candidate Beltre, the Angels could look toward Jeff Kent, Vinny Castilla or Corey Koskie at the far turn.

Where will Nomar go? The Angels want to upgrade at short, David Eckstein will find a new home while Nomar Garciaparra settles in Anaheim. The deep-pocket Angels will take a chance on the injury-riddled shortstop. The Cubs won't.

So who goes to the Cubs to play short? How about Edgar Renteria or Boston's Orlando Cabrera, if the Red Sox decide they would rather have Renteria? For some strange reason the Cards are lukewarm on re-signing Renteria, who would crush the ball in Wrigley or Fenway, if given the chance.

Texas needs starting pitching. Carl Pavano, Eric Milton, Brad Radke, Matt Morris, Russ Ortiz, Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe will be available. Trouble is the Yankees need pitching too, and at least one or two on the list will be in the Bronx next season.

The A's have coveted reliever Scott Williamson from his days in Cincinnati, even considering at one point trading Mark Mulder for the hard throwing righty. If Boston doesn't make an effort to re-sign Williamson, he would be a welcome addition to the A's bullpen.

Armando Benitez has regained top-closer status. Cleveland should look at Benitez or Troy Percival, who will be replaced by Frankie Rodriguez in Anaheim next season.

The Rangers are expecting to be without All-Star second baseman Alfonso Soriano for the remainder of the season with an injured left hamstring muscle. The injury is similar to tendon/hamstring problems former Rangers outfielder Doug Glanville had last season and Ricky Ledee had in 2001. Both required surgery and missed significant amounts of playing time. Soriano had played all but one of the Rangers' games, and is hitting .280 with 28 home runs and 91 RBI. "This makes me mad, because I like to play every day and this is the end of the season," Soriano said. "We're fighting for the playoffs, and it's not good."

A rather displeased George Steinbrenner had nothing to say to reporters as he hustled to his waiting car after the game.

Friday, September 17, 2004

There should be some interesting names out there. The crown jewel, clearly, is Carlos Beltran, who started the year at Kansas City and was traded to Houston. But the reality is that the Yankees are expected to go after him hard. And when the Yankees decide they won't be outbid, they usually get who they want. The ripple effect, however, could be that the Yankees might then make Kenny Lofton or Bernie Williams available. Both are signed through 2005. Steve Finley will be a free agent, but every indication is that he would prefer to remain out West. J.D. Drew (rhymes with boo) will be a free agent, but Citizens Bank might not be the most, ahem, hospitable environment for the onetime draft refusenik. Here's an intriguing thought: If the rumors are true, the Braves are going to have to lower their payroll dramatically again this winter and could make available Andruw Jones, who is owed a total of $39 million over the next 3 years.

If Frank Thomas makes it official and agrees to return to the White Sox for 2005, his salary gets locked in at $8 million for the season. If he rejects his option, the Sox could use their option to keep Thomas at $11 million. If both sides decline to pick up their options, Thomas would become a free agent. If Thomas could have stayed healthy and posted strong numbers this season, one theory had Thomas taking a chance on declining his option in the hopes that the Sox used theirs at the higher price. Since Magglio Ordonez is not expected to return next season Thomas might have taken a chance that the Sox did not want to lose both hitters from the heart of the order. Questions about how long it will take for Thomas to get up to speed after missing more than half the season make it unlikely that the designated hitter now would decline his option and risk becoming a free agent. He is not likely to come close to making the amount he would earn by just renewing his Sox contract.

The Cardinals have suspended contract talks with all pending free agents until the completion of the postseason, general manager Walt Jocketty confirmed Thursday. The Cardinals' free-agent list is an impressive one, including opening-day starter Matt Morris, Renteria, second baseman Tony Womack, catcher Mike Matheny, utility player Marlon Anderson, outfielder Ray Lankford, middle reliever Cal Eldred, lefthanded setup man Steve Kline and outfielder John Mabry. The club holds an option on starters Woody Williams and Chris Carpenter. The club approached Morris, Matheny and Renteria at various times this year but failed to come close on any deals. Morris declined a two-year offer, Matheny rejected a one-year bid and Renteria was unimpressed by a four-year proposal during spring training.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

"If the Twins make a market-value offer to Johan Santana this winter, as expected, it will be for about $22 million over three years."

If the Twins are expected to work a $22M 3yr deal for Santana, then my question is: What will they want Radke for...it's got to be less than $7.3M/yr

I don't think Radke will be taking that major of a paycut to $7M! If he did I think Radke is sounding pretty good for $7M!

Radke's 4yr Contract:
2001 Salary: $7M
2002 Salary: $8M
2003 Salary: $8M + $1.5M (1/2 signing bonus paid this year)
2004 Salary: $10M + $1.5M (1/2 signing bonus paid this year)
https://registration.twincities.com/reg/login.do?url=http://www.twincities.com%2Fmld%2Fpioneerpress%2Fsports%2F9674449.htm

If the Twins make a market-value offer to Johan Santana this winter, as expected, it will be for about $22 million over three years.

https://registration.twincities.com/reg/login.do?url=http://www.twincities.com%2Fmld%2Fpioneerpress%2Fsports%2F9674449.htm

As dominant as Johan Santana has been, fellow Twins pitcher Brad Radke, has been nearly as effective. "Everybody talks about Santana, but if Radke would have gotten some run support, he would be right up there with him," right fielder Jacque Jones said. Radke has had 11 starts this season in which he has allowed two runs or fewer and not gotten a decision. Radke (11-7) and Santana (18-6) are tied for first in the major leagues with 23 quality starts. A quality start is when a pitcher goes six innings or more and allows three or fewer runs. Arizona's Randy Johnson and Boston's Pedro Martinez are tied for second with 22 each.

http://www.cleveland.com/sports/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/sports/1095327070124520.xml

Indians GM Mark Shapiro said that when it comes to determining if Omar Vizquel stays or is turned loose, there is no decision. "There is no decision on what I want to do," Shapiro said. "I want to keep him. He is an unbelievably talented player. You cannot overlook the year he's had, especially coming back from knee surgery. "I feel that it's been an honor watching him this year." Money (surprise, surprise) will dictate if Vizquel, 37, returns. "Our decision will be based on this market," Shapiro said.

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/baseball/mlb/kansas_city_royals/9674606.htm

The Royals also hold options for next season on third baseman Joe Randa and outfielder Juan Gonzalez. Baird has already said the club will exercise its $500,000 buyout to void a $7 million contract with Gonzalez. The Royals are also expected to pay another $500,000 to void Randa's $3.25 million deal.

ESPN Scouting Defense on Randa:
Randa really shines with the glove. He has quick feet and hands, and a strong, accurate arm. He'll usually make a few errors in a short span, then none for long stretches. Randa is accomplished at charging bunts and is surehanded enough for spot second-base duty. His 2003 campaign was deserving of Gold Glove consideration.

Since 1999 Randa’s yearly averages have been:
14.2 HR’s
85 RBI’s
289 BA (and he rarely strikes out!)

The M’s were seriously looking at trying to get him last offseason. So, if their efforts fail in acquiring Beltre, or Lowell if he becomes available, look for them to go after Randa for cheap. Koskie is also out there for pretty cheap, that plays superb defense, and is a LHB.

If Randa or Koskie was placed at 3B, our offseason money can be spent for Beltran CF, Delgado 1B, and SP like Pavano or Radke.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Yankees sources and baseball union sources also contended that two major airlines had offered to charter the Devil Rays to New York Sunday night. And DuPuy acknowledged that multiple flights were available Friday night through Saturday afternoon. "I think it's very important to be consistent and follow the rules," Levine said. "It's now undisputed from the Commissioner's office that the Devil Rays told them they were trying to get to New York, when, in fact, they were not. ... "We were here ready to play. The Devil Rays weren't. ... The rule states if your team is here and ready to play and the other team isn't here, there should be a forfeit. We believe there should be a forfeit because there was clear and present opportunity to get through this."

As Lou Piniella spoke, his voice got louder and his face got redder. "I don't know anything about forfeits," the Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager said. "Let me tell you this: I think when you look at baseball, it's important. Your family is doubly important or triply important and when a hurricane is beating down on the Florida coast, 160, 70, 80 miles from your hometown, I think you take care of your family first and you worry about the ballgame second. "I know the Yankees are in a pennant race, but I also know that our kids are young and have a lot of young kids at home. There was flooding, there are a lot of things that occurred over a two-day period in Florida, and I think everybody was more comfortable being with their family than being in New York sitting in a hotel waiting to play a baseball game. "If it'd been reversed, and that hurricane would have been here in the New York area as opposed to the Tampa area, the Yankees should have stayed at home and forgotten about the ballgame in Tampa. Period."

This shows the Yanks are more than concerned about the standings coming down the stretch this September, especially with Brown out for the rest of September!

George is pushing to STEAL a game from Tampa Bay on a forfeiture. Unreal. That just shows how much confidence he doesn't have in this team at this point in the game. Also, he knows that he will be having to play several double headers in the next 3 weeks, thus putting more pressure on his pitching rotation...and thus losing some extra games to Tampa, Orioles, and Boston!

I heard on Baseball Tonight last night that the next double header the Yanks have to play is, I think, this weekend. They mentioned that the Yanks were "planning" on revolting and not showing up for the second game!

1st off, I totally agree with what Lou brought out regarding a Natural Disaster. But now, for George to pull this crap and not showing up for their 2nd game on the double header this next week, could very well end up being a forfeiture on the Yankee's side.

You go Lou! You go Tampa! I have been projecting that Boston will win 4-6 against their last 6 games with Yanks. But if they end up playing these "required" double headers with Tampa before the Boston series, there will be a pretty good chance that Boston sweeps them in both series! If that happens, the Yanks would lose 6 games, and be tied with the Angels for the wildcard...with the Angels having the upper hand on their pitching.

I never EVER thought I would be rooting for the Angels over the M's, but I am this September!

Projected final standings:

Boston 102-60
Yankees 93-69
Oakland 97-65
Angels 95-67

2004 AL Playoff Teams: Boston, Twins, Oakland, & the Angels for the Wildcard!

Monday, September 06, 2004

It is no secret that general manager Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen have their eyes on a sleeker, swifter, less powerful model for next season. And that leaves the plodding, powerful Paul Konerko dangling at the end of a question mark if the Sox need trade bait. "I think they're definitely going to reshape or retool the team a different way, and that could mean someone like myself [will go]," he said. "I know what they want to go with, and that's not the way I am. "But I also know if you want to have a successful team, you have to have guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark. You have to balance it right. It has been proven to me that's the way to go about it, [with] pitching, defense and speed. Look at the Marlins and Twins."

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Here's a very AWESOME article regarding the future woes of the Yankee's pitching staff beyond 2004, and also on Beltran looking to changing agents. If Beltran does make a change, it could really benefit the M's for possibly swooping in early, while Yanks & Boston will be going head to head duking it out for Pedro/Lowe/Williamson. This will allow the M's to focus right away on FA signings in early November, instead of after the Winter meetings.

http://nypost.com/sports/19193.htm

In a move that could radically alter the offseason, Carlos Beltran might change agents from Scott Boras to Alan Nero, according to an official from a team unlikely to bid on the star center fielder. With players of this ability, Boras has a penchant to patiently wait deep into the offseason. In addition, some teams are scared to even consider bidding when Boras is involved. The Yanks and Red Sox are probably going to be in pursuit of the speedy, powerful switch-hitter.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Only 25, Adrian Beltre is already in his seventh season with the Dodgers. Entering this year, he was sandwiched between the Cardinals' Albert Pujols and Cincinnati's Adam Dunn as the under-25 league leaders in total home runs. Those same three now lead the majors in home runs, with Beltre and Pujols entering Friday's game at Busch Stadium tied with 43. That puts Beltre five shy of tying Mike Schmidt's record for home runs by a third baseman and three shy of doubling his career high.

Lets look at some recently signed contracts over the past couple of years.

Albert Pujols
2004: $ 7.05
2005: $11.00
2006: $14.00
2007: $12.00
2008: $13.00
2009: $13.00
2010: $13.00
2011: $5.00 buyout, or $16M Option

But notice that Pujols is 24 yrs old, and has been averaging 40 HR's with an avg of 120 RBI's over the past 4 years...with a career BA of .334!!!

Jim Edmonds
2001: $6.0M (+$2.0M signing bonus)
2002: $7.0M
2003: $8.0M
2004: $9.0M
2005: $10.0M
2006: $12.0M
2007: Team option $10.0M or $3.0M buyout

-Around $1.0M of the above totals each year deferred without interest

Prior to signing with the Cards in 2001, Edmonds had 4 proven years with the Angels averaging 28 HR's in 1995, 96, 97, and 98! Oh, and lets remember he's now received 6 gold gloves too! Another proven player! Was also 30 yrs old in 2000 when signing his contract with the Cards.

Scott Rolen
2004: $ 6.18
2005: $ 9.75
2006: $10.38
2007: $14.50
2008: $13.79
2009: $13.25
2010: $12.63

Prior to 2004 he's averaged 31 HR's each year with an avg of 116 RBI's per year. 7 years of a proven track record. And, prior to signing his 2004 contract with the Cards he was 28 yrs old, and his defense was superb and proven as well!

The Cards have been building their team around these three guys: Edmonds (now 34), Pujols 24, and Rolen 30. And now picking up Larry Walker, despite his age of 37, with Colorado paying a good chuck of his salary. But, Walker's contract is only for 2 more yrs after 2004.

BELTRE
Now, lets discuss Beltre again and what everyone thinks he will go for this offseason.

Even with his stellar year of .339 BA, 43 HR's, 100 RBI's...his career average counting this year is: 24 HR's, 84 RBI's, .273 BA

Not bad averages! But, lets take this years totals out and what do we have on an average?
16.5 HR's each year, 64.8 RBI's each year, with a career BA of .261!!!

Also, his defense has improved this year, and it has been noted that LA has waiting for his "potential" for 6 yrs now. He only has 9 erros at 3B this year, but prior to 2004 he's been averaging exactly 20 every year.

I keep hearing a number of M's fans say he will be going for $13M/yr because of his MVP type year, and being 25 yrs old.

Scott Boras has NOT mentioned any figures at the present, but he has mentioned that they wanted to "start" at pushing for a 6 yr contract. I think that will rule out the Dodgers right there, because they have been openly advocating a month ago about not signing more than 3 yr contracts any longer!

The big money teams like Boston & Yanks don't need Beltre. And besides, they will be focusing on resigning their big ticket players...as well as duking it out for Pedro. Boston has Pedro, Lowe, Varitek, Williamson, etc. to resign as well.

One other thing that has to be mentioned about what we have already gone through as the biggest flop in M's history is Cirillo. Granted he came from Coor's field, but check out his career numbers prior to coming to Seattle:

He averaged 13 HR's each year, 80 RBI's, and had a career BA of .310!!!

Plus he was proven the BEST defensive 3B glove in all of MLB. Look what kind of money he ended up signing with Seattle for, over 4 yrs. A proven gold glove & career .310 BA! Look what salary he got while the market & economy was still HOT. The economy, especially MLB salaries, has taken a major nose dive over the past several years.

Beltre is 25 yrs old, and finally in 2004 playing up to the potential that LA has been openly stating that he's always had.

Here's the ESPN Scouting Report on him:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/scouting?statsId=6039

2004 Outlook
The Dodgers face a tough decision with Beltre, who is now arbitration-eligible. While many media types blame the third baseman for the team's woes and feel the club should non-tender him, the Dodgers have only Robin Ventura available to take his place, and he is likely to play a reserve role that includes some time at first base. Beltre has lots of room for improvement in all aspects of the game. It's easy to forget how young he is. At an age when many so-called prospects are just getting their feet wet, Beltre already has five full big league seasons under his belt.

I do think it is worth comparing Beltre to the likes Pujols, Edmonds, & Rolen's contracts...even Cirillo's (pre-Seattle numbers).

Prior to Beltre's 2004 year his career avgs: 16 HR's, 64 RBI's, .261 BA
Cirillo's career averages prior to coming to Seattle: 13 HR's, 80 RBI's, .310 BA


Don't get me wrong, I would love to see the M's pickup Beltre, but we have to be reasonable here too. If signed by the M's, I bet we can expect Beltre to make $5-6M in his first contract year (2005). Then, after 2005 when Cirillo's salary is off the books kicking in the incentives starting in 2006 and beyond, and allowing him to make upwards of $7-9M/yr if he plays up to his potential every year. If he makes 450PA in the previous year, if he makes the all-star team every year, etc.

I really think Beltre can be had for $48M over 6 years, with incentives that would be included inside that $48M. Regarding the teams that would be in the market for a 3B guy like Beltre, I just don't see very many money teams that will be involved in pursuing Beltre except for LA and Seattle.

I do have to mention a pretty awesome thing about 2006. The only players that currently have any effect on our payroll are:

$0.25M Wiki's buyout
$4.5M Guardado
$0.33M Shiggy's buyout
$4.25M Ibanez
$6.3M Pineiro
$3.1M Speizo
$12.5M Ichiro
$3.75M Winn

$34.98M Total

This total is also based on NOT moving Winn/Ibanez/Speizo, which will no doubt happen.

Edmonds, Pujols, Rolens contracts were ALL backloaded with Edmonds having $1M deferred annually. The 1st year of each of their contracts were ALL very low:

Pujols 2004 salary: $7M Edmonds 2001 salary: $6M Rolens 2004 salary: $6M

So don't think the M's can't do the same before 2005 with:

Beltre
Beltran
Delgado
Berkman - if we can pull him away from Houston this offseason by trading either Winn or Ibanez. Both their lower salaries would appeal to the Astros.

And still have enough to pickup a starter like Pavano or Radke, and a RP such as Williamson or Lowe!

The M's do need to really think about 5-6 yr incentive laden contracts. We would be truly building the next decade around these guys:

Beltre 25 yrs old (would take $6M in his first year of his 5-6 yr contract)
Beltran 28 yrs old (would take $9M in his first year of his 5-6 yr contract)
Berkman 28 yrs old (would take $6M in his first year of his 5-6 yr contract)
Delgado 32 yrs old (would take $6M in his first year of his 5-6 yr contract)

And our team would be SET to compete against an aging Yankee's & Boston teams. And while the Yankee's will be fighting to stay under a $250M payroll in 2005 (not counting luxury tax & revenue sharing), we will be rebuilding for the next decade.

I can see attendance going through the roof at Safeco every year if our management can negotiate ALL the above contracts and then build the rest of our team around them.

I would project that if the M's could pickup Beltre, Berkman, and Delgado for the 2005 season, each would sign a contract similiar to:

Beltre & Berkman & Delgado ($48M 6/yr Contracts)
2005 $6M
2006 $7M
2007 $7.5M
2008 $8.5M
2009 $9M
2010 $10M Option year

Beltran ($60M 5/yr Contract)
2005 $9M
2006 $14M
2007 $13M
2008 $12M
2009 $12M

Establishing contracts similiar to the above for these four players would only cost our club $27M this offseason. And, if we were able to acquire an OF of Berkman/Beltran/Ichiro with Beltre @ 3B and Delgado at 1B, we can plan to move: Ibanez $3.75M, Winn $3.75M, Franklin $2.4M. Thus saving an add'l total of $9.9M. We would EASILY have enough to acquire a starting pitcher like Pavano, Morris, Radke, Clement in the $8-9M range....AND a RP in the likes of Williamson or Lowe in the $3.5-5M range...AND still be UNDER a $95M payroll.

And all of this doesn't even include the $13M that the M's ended up in the bank with (under budget for 2004), that management publicly stated would not add that $13M on top of the 2005 $95M budget.

I was very optimistic all last offseason that ended in utter dissappointment! This offseason, I'm a fanatical M's fan that expects NO LESS than the lineup I projected above. Our management should be knowledgeable enough to get these kind of contracts negotiated and set in stone.

I will NOT be happy with anything less than a 2005 lineup of:

2005 Lineup
RF Ichiro
LF Berkman
CF Beltran or Drew
1B Delgado or Sexson
3B Beltre
2B Boone
DH Bucky/Zapp (platooning base on RHP's and LHP's)
C Olivo
SS Lopez/Little Matsui (Matsui if Mets will trade us Matsui for Speizo & Wiki & $1M cash for the salary difference)

I actually think Matsui would shine in Seattle with Ichiro here. And, it wouldn't hurt our Japanese revenue from the fans that are caught in the middle between NYY and Seattle, between Godzilla and Ichiro.

2005 Starters
Pavano/Radke/Morris or Clemente
Piniero
Moyer
Meche
Madritch

2005 Relief Pitcher to Add
Williamson OR Lowe

Thursday, September 02, 2004

I've heard several times on some recent blogs Kaz not having any honor. Two months prior to his announcement of going back to Japan, and prior to any "rumors" on him as well, I was advocating moving him and trading him for the 2004 season.

We then picked up Guardado, and we had a "healthy" Soriano at the time that was pitching in the Winter league with a 1.0ERA or less. We could of easily moved Kaz's $8M+ salary, and everyone told me that I was nuts, and that management would never do that to one of our Japanese players. Then all of a sudden when Kaz, out of the blue, showed up to renig on his contract (1st time ever in MLB history a player would just "walk" away from $8.1M of guaranteed money)...and then to sign a lot lessor contract in Japan.

I honestly felt that our Japanese owner called Kaz in and sat down with him in Japan last October displaying his extreme disappointment regarding his lack of production & injuries throughout the entire season for $8M. I have been advocating for nearly a year since Kaz left that it was his honor & pride that made him leave Seattle...honor & pride that was pushed by our Japanese owner. What happened? Kaz backed out of his contract of $8.1M for 2004. NOW, just reported today: Kaz is undergoing season ending surgery on his elbow in Japan.

I have a lot of Japanese friends in Seattle, and they pride themselves on their honor. That is their culture! So don't think for one minute Kaz didn't leave Seattle to help the M's, after the worse disappointing season he's ever had. You can't dawg him for that!

Just a side note: A month prior to "any" rumors on Kaz walking away from his contract, the M's had signed Guardado. It was stated that Guardado could be our closer in 2005 & 2006, because Kaz wanted to finish his career out in Japan after the 2004 season. And remember Kaz was in Japan during this entire time, and didn't meet with "any" management until he flew in to sign the paperwork at Safeco field. This also tells me that the only personal contact he had back in Japan was with our owner!

Just my two cents that I have already advocated many times last offseason. NOW, not spending that $8.1M to make our team more competitive was just the most pathetic thing I've ever seen. In fact, we are currently sitting at $82M...nearly $13M under budget for 2004...with Management stating that "they will NOT add that $13M to the 2005 budget".

What they have mentioned though? They will be spending more than this year (2004). Does that mean more than $82M that was actually spent, or a more than the $95M 2004 budget?!
Remember too that that money was there prior to the start of the year accruing interest, so the M's have nearly made an additional $1M just on interest alone during this calendar year.
So the M's technically would have approx $109M to work with IF THEY CHOSE TO DO SO. The money is there!

Kaz honored the team enough to walk away from over $8M to help the M's out. But, what about ownership & management? Do they honor the fans enough to step up to the plate and USE ALL this money to put a kick ass team out there next year? With the kind of money available to them this offseason, the M's are the team that can have the biggest splash in MLB for FA signings. They "could" pull off multiple FA signings that could have a major impact for 2005:

Beltre, Beltran, Delgado or Sexson, Pavano.

They didn't step up to the plate and do it in 2004, and history shows that 2005 isn't looking good either...BUT, considering what the M's have accomplished over the past decade, and how extreme this year has gone, I say this year is a MAJOR eye opener for them to actually go out and surprise us all.

I'm staying optimistic this offseason. This year we were told that the "money" was being reserved for a July trading deadline move. Many of us posted that by July we would be so far out of it that July would be TOO late! And sure enough that is exactly what happened.
Fans will EXPECT big moves this offseason, or shit is going to hit the fans! Fans will NOT want to hear "we are saving money for a trading deadline move"! Our power roster & starting pitching better be set by April 1! I feel very strongly that management knows that they need to do this as well, or they will have the worse ticket sales ever! Remember that the majority of season ticket sales are done in the offseason based upon the moves of the teams (ie: Detriot signing Pudge. That week Detriot had more ticket sales than Florida had the entire offseason!). No doubt management will be continually analyzing all of this as April 1st fast approaches.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/2002023154_melvin02.html

If Bob Melvin's fate as Mariners manager has not already been decided — and with a win-loss mark at minus-30 after yesterday's loss, it may have been — it will be soon. Sources indicate that Melvin's job will be a primary topic at Seattle's annual organizational meetings, which usually are held during the last homestand of the season. General manager Bill Bavasi has refused to be drawn into speculation on the manager's status. "I refuse to entertain the question," is Bavasi's standard response. "I'm not about to discuss anyone's job status in public — Bob's, mine or yours."

http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/TorontoSun/Sports/2004/09/02/612687.html

Think the Blue Jays offence has sputtered worse than a 1986 Pinto? Wait until you see 2005, if the Jays don't re-sign first baseman Carlos Delgado. The Los Angles Dodgers, the Boston Rod Sox and the Florida Marlins expressed interest in Delgado at the trade deadline. The Seattle Mariners may be another possible suitor and if the Montreal Expos relocate they'll need someone to sell tickets. "Trying to replace a 30-homer, 100-RBI guy, which he could be even though he was out for a month, isn't easy," said Rene Lachemann, who managed the Florida Marlins and the M's and is now their bench coach.

http://www.washtimes.com/sports/20040902-121343-2792r.htm

If Ichiro continues to average 4.4 at-bats a game, he would need 71 hits in the final month to reach .400 — assuming, that is, he plays every game. A mere 70 hits would leave him at .3983. In other words, he would have to bat .522 over the last 31 games to join Ted Williams in the .400 Club.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1094076610974&call_pageid=969907739730&col=970081600908&DPL=JvsODSH7Aw0u%2bwoQO%2bYJDSbkFxAj%2bwoUO%2bYNDSbgFxMn%2bwkVO%2bUODSXhFxMv%2bwkYO%2bQKDSTkFxUn%2bw8QO%2bMIDSPjFxUi%2bw8XO%2bMMDSPvFxUu%2bw4RO%2bIKDSLlFxQk%2bw4XFw%3d%3d&tacodalogin=yes

Despite Carlos Delgado's travails of the first four months, the soon-to-be-free-agent, entered last night needing six homers and 25 RBIs in 30 games to reach the 30-100 plateau for the seventh straight season. Swinging a hot bat, the odds seemed good. "As a slugger, as a run-producer, once you get to 100 (RBIs), that's the bar," Delgado explained. "I've always said this is a team sport played by individuals. If you do what you need to do, at the end of the day, you'll be helping your ball club. If I get 25 RBIs, that's 25 runs that the Blue Jays score. It's not 25 runs for me. "It would be nice to reach 30 and 100. I don't think I'm hurting the ball club by doing that. There's no need to think anyone's being selfish or greedy. Having a guy at second and third, what are you going to do? You want to drive them in. You can't go wrong trying to better yourself.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-salmon2sep02,1,3207816.story?coll=la-headlines-sports

The lengthy and distinguished Angel career of Tim Salmon, the franchise's home run leader and one of the most popular players in club history, could be over. The veteran outfielder said Wednesday he would have surgery on his ailing left shoulder and left knee — undergoing one procedure as early as next week and the other in the next three months — and he probably would sit out the 2005 season.

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