Mariners Analysis

Monday, December 31, 2007

Spring Training about to appear on horizon

Today is the last day of 2007, and the pace of finalizing rosters is about to accelerate. The Winter meetings are long over, most of the big trades and signings have been made and clubs selectively choose among the remaining players as they finalize their roster.

For all the talk about the Mariners being big players in the offseason, the signing of Silva is all we have to date. No mega-trades, no big name signings that get casual fans excited. Bavasi has money and players (Jones) burning a hole in his pocket and we know he is going to do something. We just don't know what it is yet.

The biggest story of the offseason in my mind is the possible trade of Santana. It is very rare when the best pitcher is made available, but equally rare when the two richest and highest profile teams in Boston and NY both have their rotations largely set. If either one of the these two teams had a legitimate need to bolster their rotation a deal would have likely been done already and the Mariners and other non-Santana approved teams could proceed in their offseason rebuilding.

Instead, it seems like teams and agents have been waiting to see the market for Santana unfold before they give the green light on all the rest of the deals out there, which is certainly affecting the Mariners plans.

Right now it would seem the Mariners are locked in stalemate with Baltimore. Bavasi is smart enough to realize removing Jones AND Morrow creates as many problems as it solves, while at the same time Baltimore understands there are worse things in the world than having a really good pitcher on your roster come opening day. The only way it makes sense for the Orioles is to get TWO quality players in return, otherwise why make the deal?

My prediction?

Bedard (and Santana) stays and Bavasi spends a large chunk of change on a player who isn't worth it just to make a splash and try to save his job. While Bavasi is fine with dealing Jones (which is crazy) he didn't really plan for replacing him. Perhaps if had offered arbitration to Guillen and he actually accepted (like they claimed they thought he would) it might be easier for Bavasi to send Jones for pitching. But who will he replace him with? Jenkins is off the market, and there are no obvious replacements in the minors. (Wlad is no where near ready)

This is all part of the maddening world of trying to understand this team. The team has a lousy defense, doesn't walk, doesn't hit for power and gave up a ton of runs due to a management team that refused to cut bait with either Weaver or Ramirez, yet the biggest story is what starting pitcher are we going to trade for.

The good news is Spring training will be here very quickly. The "plan" that Bavasi has been working on will finally be revealed and we can actually start talking about the team, and not just try and predict the future on events we have no control.