Mariners Analysis

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mariner Budget

Spring training is almost here, and the winter dead-zone of no news has finally left us. We can now speculate on why Beltre's forearms look bigger and try to envision Washburn as a leader.

We can also get a pretty good idea on the Mariner budget, as the team is pretty much locked down from a roster standpoint. A waiver pickup or trade (Reed/Broussard) is possible, but we can be assured a budget of $100 million is almost certainly a reality.

For that we can thank the windfall the Mariners received from the Nationals, not the generous nature of Lincoln and his unending quest to bring a WS to Seattle. In fact, you could easily make the argument the Mariners FO blew it again this offseason when it came to setting a budget.

Consider what we know-

1) The Front Office knew it would be getting a huge windfall well before the '07 budget was set.
2) The Mariners publicly stated they were going after at least 2 pitchers and a left-handed stick via free agency.
3) The Mariners publicly stated they were shocked at the salary escalation taking place during the offseason.
4) The Mariners had to quickly change plans and resort to trades to fill holes (some would say with terrible results)
5) The Mariners publicly admitted they increased the budget after public criticism was scathing on their offseason "plan"
6) The Mariners admit they bid for Zito ($99 million) but fall short. Weaver is held up as a fall back, and the budget ends up over $100 million.

Not a very competent picture of management. First, they failed to recognize how the market would react to the Nationals money. (This is the same Mariner FO that refused to even bid for Dice-K, despite the roughly $20 million windfall they just received.) Second, they found themselves unprepared for the offseason and made trades virtually no one can defend (Soriano, Snelling).

It's pretty obvious what teams like Boston did with that Nationals money. You can bet the bid for Dice-K felt more like $31 million because the windfall was essentially "free" money that would normally not be available. That money was spent with a purpose.

With the Mariners, getting that money required a crow bar to the wallet and intense criticism from virtually the entire baseball community. One can only imagine what the initial plans were for the windfall.

Everyone agrees, the Mariners are spending enough money to win (finally). The main question is simply are they spending it wisely. If the Mariners end up in last place again, that will be answered as well.