Well, it's taken me this long to throw together my thoughts on what the M's should do to build their 2006 club. Obviously my thoughts have changed quite a bit, mostly because of the actions that have already taken place, but also because of new discussions I've had around the blogs.
Without further adieu, I present my version of the 2006 M's. It includes what I believe is reasonable, as far as who the M's might actually be targeting, and at what cost.
I'll start with the offense:Starters:
1) RF Ichiro Suzuki (signed)
2) CF Jeremy Reed (signed)
3) LF Jeremy Burnitz (1 year, $4 million, with 2nd year team option for $4.5 million, $500K buyout. Lefty sock, decent OF that won't kill us, and could even be above average.)
4) 1B Richie Sexson (Signed)
5) 2B Jose Lopez (signed)
6) SS Yuniesky Betancourt (signed)
7) 3B Adrian Beltre (signed)
8) C Kenji Johjima (3-year deal $16.5 million total, 2006 salary: $5.1 million + incentives to bring to max of $5.5 million)
9) DH Raul Ibanez (signed)Bench:
10) Rene Rivera (signed)
11) Willie Bloomquist (signed through arbitration years: 2+ year $1.9-3.2 million total; $800 K in 2006; $1.1 million 2007; $1.3 million 2008 team option. His defensive ability in multiple positions and baserunning skills are indeed worth that much to me.)
12) Mike Morse (signed)
13) Shin-Soo Choo (signed)Comments:
I expect heavy criticism for "coveting" Burnitz. I don't like him, per se, but I do like him better than Jones. His defense is very solid, and a 90 point righty/lefty split in OPS
(favoring righties vs. lefties), is MUCH more tolerable than a 215 point split
. Then there's that whole contract length thing. No way Jones takes anything less than 3 years. Burnitz would jump at an option year, even if there's very little chance the M's exercise it. That would make it $4.5 million total for 2006 (since the option would be declined in 2006, in the M's funky accounting stuff it would count towards the 2006 budget and not 2007's ;-). That's a 10% pay cut over what he got from Chicago, and probably max what he gets. Even though he's in decline, he still could hit 30+ homers with 1/2 his games in lefty-hitter-friendly Safeco. That'll be double what we got out of LF in 2005, and, quite frankly, still more than what Jacque Jones (and platoon mate) would give ya -- with only a slight loss in defense.
I also know the bench still doesn't have much in the way of pinch hitting. Since Grover is convinced he needs a 12-man pitching staff, I don't see the M's doing much different here. My wildcard is Choo, who, really, I'm taking a total stab with here. I can see the M's getting a bench guy for Torrealba (who I'm assuming is traded before the season starts, hence listing Rivera on the bench), so Choo's spot is written in the lightest of pencil marks. Personally, I'd prefer Bohn, but he likely needs a full season in AAA before that happens.
Finally, I know with Part 1
, I pretty firmly inked Torrealba in as the starter, but that was weeks before I knew about KJ as even a possibility (nevermind that I started this list with 10% of the season remaining). I obviously was wrong with Ojeda being his backup, too, but it was, in my opinion, closer to the 50.00000001% part of the "More Likely than Not."
Greg Dobbs (Tacoma), Jamal Strong (leaves via minor league free agency). Bucky Jacobsen is already gone, and will not return. Please pray that he doesn't pull another David Arias on us (though at least we got something
-- Dave Hollins -- for Arias).
Now on to the Pitching StaffStarting Rotation
(not in any order)
1) Felix Hernandez (signed)
2) Joel Pineiro (signed)
3) Jamie Moyer (1+ year deal; $3 million base, to reach $5 million with incentives; Team option 2nd year, same $5 million max, $500K buyout)
4) Kevin Millwood (4 years $45 million; 2006 salary: $8 million + $5 million signing bonus*; 2007-2009 salaries: $9, 11, 12 million team option, $1 million buyout)
5) Jeff Weaver (4 years, $32 million; 2006 salary: $5 million + $3 million signing bonus*; 2007-2009 salaries: $7, 8, 9 million team option, $750K buyout)Bullpen
(not in order)
6) Eddie Guardado (signed)
7) George Sherrill (signed)
8) Rafael Soriano (signed)
9) Jeff Harris (signed)
10) JJ Putz (signed)
11) Scott Atchison (signed)
12) Matt Thornton (signed)Comments
AJ Burnett would be my first choice over Millwood. However, I see him getting 5+ years and at least $13 million per. The M's aren't going to spend that much on him. Considering Bavasi's amicable relationship with Boras, I see Boras sending two of his clients the M's way. Millwood, then, becomes the first target for the M's. It's not surprising at all to hear from Morosi
, that indeed this is the case. I know the contracts are a little weird, and now to explain the signing bonuses (*). One thing that Lincoln has said is that the M's "close the books" from year to year. Money budgeted, but not spent, from one year does not, according to him, get carried into the next. However, he's also made it very clear that the M's owners do not pull profits out of the team -- that all the profits get poured back into the team. Interesting paradox, this is.
So, I'm throwing in some signing bonuses that could come out of 2006's budget, the leftovers of 2005 (since, if both of these guys sign in 2005, technically that's still 2005's budget, right?), or that secret "stash" of profits that they pull international signing fees and what have you out of. If you exclude the signing bonuses (yet include incentives, as the M's tend to do for public budgeting purposes), the total addition to payroll is $18 million for pitching and $9.1 for offense -- a total of ~$27 million.Why Jeff Weaver?
you ask... Well, I honestly believe Boras wants to give us two of his pitchers. I'm narrowing this down between Washburn and Weaver, and if given that choice, I'd take Weaver -- merely for durability's sake. Of course, if his client over in Japan does end up getting posted, for some unexpected reason, the M's will bid very, very highly for his services. Boras would know this, of course, at least as certainly as he can know it before picking out a nice pitcher from his portfolio. I'm about 90% confident, though, that Dice-K won't be posted this offseason. Maybe next year, when Moyer finally decides to hang 'em up...
As Choo is my 13th bat, and written in pencil, Matt Thornton is my 12th pitcher. He could be replaced several ways. Trade Gil Meche or Julio Mateo to Florida for Ron Villone, and have RV take Thornton's spot (Thornton, then, would be non-tendered/DFA'd).Noticably Absent
: Gil Meche (traded for prospects), Julio Mateo (traded for prospects); Ryan Franklin (Non-Tendered as quickly as you can say "Buh_" as in "Buh-Bye!"). These three moves probably whack close to $5 million off the budget (which would help defray the signing bonuses).
Final thought: I don't believe we'll make any major trades to bring in a starting pitcher or a LF/DH guy. We might pick up a bench bat, but are we really going to sacrifice a lot of our already-weakened farm system to pick up someone who might help for a year or two? I wouldn't. Nor do I think we should create holes (CF, 2B, 3B) by trading to fill another.
There. I'm done. Now it's your turn to slam these thoughts.