Mariners Analysis

Monday, November 29, 2004

Bavasi uninspiring so far

While it is way too early to start grading Bavasi's off-season, given that he hasn't done a thing so far, let's consider a mid-season report card.

- Hasn't made any bad deals at least
- Sounds like made a fair offer to Wilson (given that Dan hasn't signed, it must not be for much money)
- Hmmm... Let's come back to this one

- Has shown zero creativity
- Is making a huge mistake if reports are accurate re: Delgado AND Sexson
- Does not appear to even be talking with Beltre, Beltran or Drew

I know we all consider the top tier players like Beltre or Beltran extreme fringe candidates for coming to Seattle, but Bavasi needs to at least make a push for them. One, it creates fan interest. Two, it let's other players and agents know there is a new mindset in Seattle, and three, it shows you are doing your damn job.

We all know we have no center fielder- has Bavasi spoken with Altanta about Jones?
We know we have no 3rd basemen. Has Bavasi done his homework on Glaus? He would seem to be a far better option than Sexson- younger, played in the AL West, proved he was heathly at least for September last year and is certainly better than Koskie.

It would be nice to see Bavasi thinking outside the box. In September I predicted Delgado would be the major FA signing for the M's. So far, nothing has changed to make me think otherwise.

So far I have to give Bavasi a D for lack of homework and no creativity. IF current reports are accurate.

Let's hope rumors are just that, and Bavasi has been working behind the scenes more than we know. Did anyone think Anaheim would land the current AL MVP last winter?

So I'll continue to give Bavasi the benefit of the doubt, but the information to date is troubling.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Don't be surprised by Sexson rumors

While we all sit and wait for the Free Agent signings to begin, many M's fans have been wondering if the Sexson rumors are true. Let's look at what we know-

  • Carlos Beltran will likely be a Yankee, and was never going to sign with the Mariners
  • Beltre will never sign with the M's
  • Delgado is an interesting choice, but you will have to overspend to get him
  • All other free agents come with serious concerns (age, injury etc...)

Look, Bavasi is no dummy. He knows as well as you and I do there is less than a 1% chance that either Beltran or Beltre would choose the M's. He HAS to have a plan B.

The problem with plan B is of course it is simply never as as good on paper as plan A. The Glaus' and Sexson's of the world carry nice upside, but plenty of risk as well. The only way you sign a player like that is if you are desperate or have money to throw around- the M's are more the former right now I'm afraid.

Are the Sexson rumors true? It wouldn't shock me if this was leaked by the M's to gauge public interest. It has happened plenty of times before. But the idea that Bavasi already has the parameters of a contract with his agent before we even know the health of the player would REALLY suprise me. Remember Mo? Bavasi sure does!!

There is no way Bavasi signs a player like Sexson as his First choice. Sexson is the guy you fall back on. I mean, why in the world would Bavasi sign Sexson right now without even talking with Glaus? At least Troy hit seven home runs in September- who knows what Sexson's shoulder looks like without a physical.

If the M's really do have deal with Sexson all sown up, then this next season is DOOMED. He is a risky, small upgrade for the M's. Is he $10 million better than Bucky? I'd say Sexson would be hard pressed to hit more than 10 home runs over Bucky's total. Concentrating on Sexson when you have no center fielder, no 3rd baseman and a two catchers who can't hit just makes zero sense to me.

Let's hope we aren't forced to write about Sexson at first base next week as our first free agent signing, or Bavasi is dumber than I ever imagined.

At this point, I'm still giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Mariner's budget a mystery by design

With teams exclusive 10-day window about to expire, we can finally begin to decipher what players Bavasi is planning on targeting. What we will have a harder time figuring out is how much money the M's have to spend on free agents. There are a couple of reasons for this.

One, Bavasi doesn't want to paint himself into a corner. He knows the bullseye will be squarely on him next season, and he wants to get the players he needs now, and worry about how to pay for it later. We can be assured that Bavasi and Lincoln have discussed money, and I doubt Bill likes what he sees.

When you add all the bad contracts on this team, player benefits and other garbage, and then subtract some rumored budget number like $93 million, you simply don't get much left. We have all played this game, and we all end up with less than $20 million. Tha't simply not enough for Bill to turn this around. I'm certain Bavasi has already spoken with Lincoln and been quite candid. He is privately telling him they are a couple of years away, and this next year is to turn it around.

So Bill is going to hear a number from Lincoln, but he's not going to want to worry himself too much about it right now. He's going to target players and then turn to Lincoln for help in figuring out budget impact.

Second, Lincoln doesn't want to quote a particular number either, simply because of all the bad press it will generate. There are no secrets in baseball- we are all going to know EXACTLY what the M's starting day payroll will be next spring when the season starts. We also are going to get a report from the stewards of Safeco telling us how much money the M's pocketed this year.

As I've been saying all year, the M's will turn a healthy profit despite their terrible season. It will look bad if the M's announce their $80 million '04 team turned in a profit of $15 million, and then try to get everyone excited about a $92 million budget for next year. Even Steve Kelley will get around to bashing the M's if this happens.

I think it is simply in the teams best interests if they don't make a big deal about their "budget" this next season.

The past few years the team has acted like there is a salary cap in baseball. Until this team quits talking about hard caps, you can forget about major free agent signings.

So no talk about a budget this year is actually a very good sign for M's fans.