Sunday, May 02, 2004


7-15. 7-15.

I found myself rooting for the A's against the Yankees last night. Has my hatred of the Yankees now surpassed my love of the Mariners? I don't like being pessimistic. It upsets me that I've already given up, but I have. I just don't see how they will pass all three of the teams ahead of them. To get back to the 93 win mark they achieved the last two years, and that has a chance of winning the division, will require them to play at a .615 clip for the rest of the season. I just don't see it happening. The starting pitching is far to inconsistent, and with the Mariners offense there can be no off days for the pitching.

So I want to talk about the ultimate pessimist topic, becoming a seller at the trade deadline. What will the Mariners do if they are 15 out come July? They have several mediocre players signed to multi-year contracts (Ibanez, Spezio, and, yes, Ichiro). Will they be on the market?


Out of all the players on the M's I can only think of 2 position players that would be potential trade deadline acquisition targets by other teams. Boone and Spezio. Everyone in baseball learned from previous off seasons that players like Ibanez are available much cheaper and for shorter contract lengths than what the M's have left to pay Raul. He may be waved around but I'd be stunned if anyone bit.

Ichiro is impossible to get rid of. To the casual fan he is the "superstar" on the M's. They would take a huge PR hit if they even dangled him. Yamamuchi won't even let the M's explore the market for him. You saw how quickly one mention of potential loss of face regarding the subject of arbitration turned into a multi year deal. All this being said, the real stumbling block around Ichiro is that the league finally figured out that he provides very little value for $11 million a year. Singles hitting, non walking, non base stealing right fielders (even if they play ungodly defense) are simply not worth 1/2 of what the M's pay Ichiro. I've said it since 2001. He is a valuable player only if he hits .350 and steals 50 bases a year at the standard 75% success rate. He would be valuable if he hit .300 and had an obp of .400 but that's not his game. In his (travesty of all star voting, Boone should have won) year 2001 he had an amazing number of infield singles that he doesn't get any more. He never drives in runners from any base other than 3rd. The league adjusted to him and he's never adjusted back.

For pitching, Freddy will be dangled and every other pitcher other than Soriano and Mateo and Moyer should be offered up. If teams are willing to make value for value position player offers for Meche or Piniero I say take the deals. I expect a few teams to go hard after Boone, he's valuable, fairly paid and doesn't have much left on his current deal. I expect some team to need a player like Spezio and he may get dealt.

Too be frank there isn't a player on this team other than Soriano that I wouldn't trade away. Yes, that includes Edgar and Jamie. If a contender offers something for either of them and he's interested I make the deal. They deserve another shot at a ring.

The only players I want to keep are Boone, Edgar, Moyer, Soriano and Mateo. I only want 5 out of the current 26 man roster. That's a surprisingly small number for a team that was supposed to be a contender. It shows how poorly this team was assembled for $88 million (Don't believe the $95 million dollar lie).


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