Monday, November 29, 2004

In the Market for a Catcher???

It's official: Another catcher signing that makes you go "Huh?"

A top defensive catcher, Miller had one error in 751 total chances. He also has the second-highest fielding percentage in major league history for catchers with 600 or more games, trailing only Seattle's Dan Wilson.
Great. So now there's tangible statistics that can show how to justify giving Dan Wilson handfuls of money because Wilson is a better defensive catcher than Miller. I love Dan Wilson, and see him as a huge asset to this team, but I want him to recieve fair wages. Anything more than $1 million per is overpayment in my book...

My vote: Let Wilson go and give 3 years with 2 options to Varitek. Get a REAL catcher that can hit. I'd MUCH rather have someone of Varitek's stature molding Olivo than someone of Wilson's.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Imitation -- the Best Form of Flattery?

Inspired by Jeff Sullivan, and tightly based on a link posted by eponymous coward on LeoneForThird, I just had to do this -- I could not resist. Before you have another coronary, Munchausen, please read the DISCLAIMER at the beginning AND the end.

Jeff -- you started this. You walked in Street's shoes, and I felt kinda obligated to take on Finnigan...


Friday, December 3, 2004

Mariners GM meetings give M's chance to barter

Not By Bob Finnigan
And Not A Seattle Times staff reporter

A very obvious spoof from an article from Bob Finnigan in 2003:

Even with Mike Hargrove joining them as field manager, the Mariners seemingly enter the creative and costly period of the offseason with the same overall plan and goals.

Not even Hargrove, who was asked in interviews — like all of Seattle's managerial candidates — what he would do to help GM Bill Bavasi rebuild a club that failed to live up to its abilities last season, can deny that Seattle has holes in the bullpen, outfield, left side of the infield, first base and, possibly, the starting rotation if Gil Meche is traded.

While the new guy undoubtedly has his ideas to pass on to Bavasi, Seattle still is expected to enter next week's general-managers meetings in Anaheim with a major effort to pursue a two-part strategy in which they attempt to sign several free agents and set up possible trades.
"We have a chance to do something at the Anaheim meetings," said Roger Jongewaard, Mariner VP Special Assistant to the GM, last week. "Or at least we'll find out where we stand in a number of areas."

Seattle has some funds to work with, including a player payroll that could approach $100 million before the end of the season.

Early on, it was determined that ownership would agree to lay out no less than the $95 million with which it ended last season. Lincoln has directed that another $2 million to $3 million be set aside for possible mid-season trades, if the M's are even back in contention in 2005. This time, Lincoln actually says that the M's would be willing to "take a loss" in order to become competitive again.

Of that total, which the Mariners will no longer specify out of concerns it puts them at a disadvantage in contract negotiations, there is about $20 million to $22 million freed up from the 2004 roster with the departures of John Olerud, Rich Aurillia, Kazuhiro Sasaki, and the retirement of Edgar Martinez. With free agents Ron Villone and Dan Wilson likely to be resigned at around $4 million total, that leaves about $13 million for total signings.

In addition, if Seattle follows one path, it may drop another $7 million by dealing Randy Winn and possibly pitcher Gil Meche.

Bavasi is expected to lean a little less heavily this year on former GM Pat Gillick, who even still stays on for now in a consulting role. Unlike Gordon Ash, who succeeded Gillick as GM in Toronto, it is anticipated Bavasi will utilize Gillick, who recommended Ash to the Blue Jays and then rarely heard from him. But, at the end of his current contract, Bavasi will try and show his true colors to keep his job.

Sources indicate the Mariners will first try to learn their chances of signing current Seibu Lions pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, once he finds out if Seibu will post him to come to the United States to play. While gyroballer Matsuzaka had a breakout season, going 10-6 with 127 strikeouts in 146 innings, and a 2.90 ERA, there are questions about his longevity after having pitched 10 complete games. He also pitched a 249-pitch 17-inning game in high school.

Among North American free agents, the Mariners are thought to have a strong desire to make a big move, such as Toronto slugger Carlos Delgado, Arizona’s Richie Sexson, who has local ties, or Anaheim third baseman/DH Troy Glaus.

They are definitely interested in bringing back reliever Villone, utility guy Jolbert Cabrera and catcher Wilson.

None of this will be cheap or easy. Even Villone, who ended the season leaning toward returning, will take more than originally believed since his agent is the infamous Scott Boras.

For example, the New York Yankees were reported this week to be after Villone in their effort to rework the bullpen, and add a valuable lefty.

Glaus is intriguing in one sense because he would put passion on the field, in the dugout and in the clubhouse for a team that lacked it. Seattle officials were puzzled and troubled at the way their veteran club went flat in the crucial final weeks of the pennant race in 2003, and, basically, all of 2004.

Yet, as one Seattle player put it, "Glaus might help but he might detract as much as he gives. He can hit but he won't hit the long ball in our park and his defense is not consistent (because I’M a better freakin’ defender than him, and Edgar passed the 3B torch to ME, darnit!)."

Seattle has to be careful with some hitters who are seriously affected by the difficulty of hitting at Safeco Field, especially hitting home runs to left. It is one major reason popular M's centerfielder Mike Cameron left after the 2003 season.

The same Mariner had no qualms about bringing Sexson in. "Sexson hits them to all fields," he said. “Plus, I played against him in high school.”

The Yankees are said to have made signing the Toronto slugger a must, even though they have to have an eye to rebuilding their pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen.

Baltimore and Anaheim — both with owners shown to have recently widely opened up their wallets — are also expected to bid on Delgado.

With Matsuzaka reportedly having a preference for playing on the West Coast, San Diego and Los Angeles may present the biggest challenges for Seattle.

Beyond the big names, Seattle may show interest in the likes of relievers such as right-handers Jim Mecir (originally drafted by the M’s), Dave Burba (also a former M, and played under new manager Hargrove in Cleveland), Billy Koch, Paul Shuey; right-handed starters Jaret Wright and Derek Lowe; left-handers Kent Mercker, Mike Matthews; third baseman Corey Koskie, shortstop Miguel Cabrera (Jolbert Cabrera’s brother), outfielders Richard Hidalgo, Todd Hollandsworth and Darren Bragg, and a reunion for the third time with utility man Desi Relaford is not out of the question.

In trade talks, Seattle is expected to be one of several clubs inquiring about Ken Griffey Jr. of the Reds, whom they would play in center, and outfielders Andruw Jones of Atlanta and Aubrey Huff of Tampa Bay.

Seattle may talk to Florida about third baseman Mike Lowell, but Florida has little need for the Mariners' most obvious trade bait: young pitching prospects. Plus, he just signed a contract extension and has a no-trade clause now.

Again, I repeat:

A very obvious spoof from an article from Bob Finnigan in 2003:

Please do not take this seriously!!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Beltre a One-Hit Wonder? Shh, the Secret's Out!!!

The folks over at All-Baseball's Dodger Thoughts blog make some compelling arguments that Beltre could be a better investment than Beltran. They argue that their pre-26-years-old seasons were very comparable. Since Beltre's only 25, he has more peak years than Beltran does.

Blogger "Nolan" responds:
Agreed. Beltre is the better player but let's keep this quiet!
Sorry, folks, the "secret" is out. Us folk in the M's Blogosphere have developed our "Beltre - Beltre - Beltre" mantra quite deeply. How likely we are to be a player is one thing, but let's not forget which organization our current GM came from. If there's anyone in the M's org that can sell Howard on Beltre, and why he's worth the major investment it will likely take to get him, it's Bavasi.

Latest news from the Times

There is a pretty interesting article by Finnigan at the Seattle Times this morning about the Mariners current situation, as far as retaining and acquiring players, and player development. I'd just like to touch on some of the topics featured in the article.

1. M's have been "shaping proposals" to Delgado, Koskie, Jaret Wright, John Lieber, Villone and Pavano.

Delgado, fine. Koskie - only as a last resort! I'd much rather see the club sign Beltre, and failing that, Leone should get the shot. Leone has the possibility of 20-30 HR power, and good defense. He didn't show that defense last season in his limited time in the Majors, but it was his first time in the bigs, and likely would adjust better next season. Koskie would cost 500%+ over Leone; His defense is good, but his power numbers away from the Homerdome make me cringe - 2/3 of his homers came in Minnesota.

People have been saying, "Yeah, he hit 25 homers last season - that's would have led the Mariners!" Well, true, but remove last year's 25 from his career totals, and he'd average 15 HR per season, (not counting his initial 11-game year.) That, my friends, is not the power threat the Mariners need. Heck - you could expect Leone, and perhaps even Jose Lopez to even hit more than 15 next year.

Like I posted on the P-I blog this morning, if they only sign one power threat this offseason, (Delgado), they will have to sign two next year, assuming Boone leaves, and even if he is re-signed at a deep discount they may have to, as depending on a 37 year old for your power production is quite a risky proposal.

2. Negotiations with Dan Wilson are at a standstill.

I'd expect this to be a minor problem. Look for them to re-sign Wilson. He's too embedded in the community to seriously want to leave, he is a team leader, on-field pitching coach, and the longest-tenured Mariner. The sticking point may be as little as $500,000 to $1 million. Apparently the M's are talking 1 year, $1 million, but Wilson's people think that's not enough for a catcher who could start half the team's games. I agree, but only based on his peripheral benefits, as I noted above. Another backup catcher could probably do just as well as Wilson at catching the ball and calling a good game for $1 million, but Wilson knows this pitching staff quite well, has rapport with them, and, he really didn't have that bad of a year last season. Olivo was brought in mainly for his offense, so having a counterpoint catcher with limited offensive skills shouldn't be a problem.

The article mentions that the White Sox are possible suitors for Wilson's services, and that the M's might go after Sandy Alomar if Wilson leaves. That, to me, would be pretty hilarious. That would mean the M's and Sox would have exchanged catching staffs in less than one year. I'm not sure if it would benefit either team, (especially Chicago), but it would be comical. That is a little similar to the A's, when they had 2/3 of the ex-Royals outfield in Damon and Dye.

3. Olivo has been working hard on defense/catching this offseason, but - get this - still has a long way to go.

I personally think he should also work on actually making contact with the ball, but catching the ball also is an issue for him. Unfortunately, with a position of "Catcher", catching is a big part of your job description, and Olivo hasn't figured that out yet. He did show flashes of greatness with the M's - he has a strong, relatively accurate throwing arm, good speed on the basepaths, a great extra-base stroke, and some power. I'm looking for great things from him in 1-2 years.

4. New manager Hargrove has been pushing for the signing of Jaret (don't call me Jamey) Wright.

I am totally against that. He did have a great year in Atlanta in 2004, but that was his first. Many mediocre pitchers go to Atlanta and become great pitchers, but then can't duplicate that success after they leave. After Millwood, I'm quite suspicious of any pitchers coming from the Braves.

I would not mind seeing Pavano signed, but I do not think it's necessary to sign a pitcher this year. Concentrate on the offense in 2004, then the pitching in 2005.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

We're Getting Linked!

Looks like LeoneForThird as well as the Mariner Optimist have us linked in their M's blog list. Yay! Now maybe there is a slight chance that more than two people will actually read this blog. Not that we don't have anything more to say than the other 99 M's blogs out there, but then again maybe we do...

Friday, November 19, 2004

Splash Size, Continued...

Since I'm desperately running out of time writing up a more in-depth article that I wish I had time for, I'm going to do a quick summary of my thoughts on my earlier post on splash size.

For the M's to pull me out of my fiscal protest (speaking only for me, and not for Munchausen), aside from the sole signing of Carlos Beltran, the M's would have to score at least a 5 on the splash size scale. A sample of how this can happen:

Player (Splash Size Point Ranking)
Beltre (2), Delgado (2), Clement/Pavano (2)
Glaus (2), Delgado (2), Radke/Lowe (1)
Glaus (2) as DH/1b, Beltre (2) at 3B, and Nomar (1) as SS

Beltre, in my book, would qualify as a 2.5, but since I'm being brutal and only using whole numbers, and cannot justify giving him a 3, he's a 2, according to my "splash size" scale.

Conversely, this is what I predict the M's will do, and what I certainly hope does NOT happen:
Sexson (-1), Koskie (-1), Lowe (1)
or (even more optimistic)
Sexson (-1), Glaus (2), Clement (2).

Of course, there are some other things that would affect a particular player's splash size ranking in my mind. For instance -- Beltre for any longer than 7 years would definitely be a 1 instead of a 2. Beltre for any more than 12 million/per, would also drop him down a point. Following this logic, then, Beltre for a 10 year 150 million deal would be a (-1) in my book. 10 years for 100 million maybe a (1), though (or a 1.5 considering my 2.5 ranking on Beltre). Along the same lines, Delgado for more than 8.5 million would drop him down a point, and longer than 3 years (an option for 4th year would be acceptible) would as well. So, 4 years 40 million would make Delgado a (-1), where as 3 years 30 million would be a (1) and 4 years, 32 million would also be a (1).

Confused yet? I really hope to devote the time to completing my thoughts and opinions on this. I apologize if I've confused you any further.

Recent News, and a Call to Action...

Jim Caple, over at ESPN's Page 2, uses the power of the pixel to cast his vote for Dave Niehaus as the next Ford Frick award winner. Exercise your American-born right, and vote for Niehaus, too. And return tomorrow and vote again!

Larry Stone over at the Seattle Times, reports that Corey Koskie expects to receive an offer from the M's. Before you go and lambast the messenger, stop, look, and listen. Larry Stone and Bob Finnigan are the wrong guys to target. In the press, Art Thiel, John Levesque, and Steve Kelley are. An even better target is the M's e-mail. And, if you're a season ticket holder, you definitely have a louder voice than anyone. Here's the e-mail I just sent to the M's on Koskie:

I know you guys pay about 1/100th of an atom's circumference attention to fan e-mail like mine, especially when it comes to decision making on the roster. However, in the off-chance that someone important actually reads this, and to exercise my democratic right of free speech, I'm writing this e-mail.

The M's should not go after Koskie. Period. If third base is a position where we're looking for power production, there are very few options out there, and Koskie is not a power hitter. If we're not even close to being able to sign Adrian Beltre, and since Vinny Castilla signed with the former Expos, I'd much rather see the M's BURN the money you would spend on Koskie than actually signing him. If Beltre is not going to come here for whatever reason, then keep what we have at third. Don't spend any more money on mediocre players there. PLEASE!!! Get an upper-tier player (Beltre) or no one at all. Move Lopez there and go after an upper-tier SS like Nomar. You already have a mediocre lefty signed to play third, too, in Spiezio. Signing Koskie would just add to the fans' pain of signing Spiezio, and would not fix the problem.

Thanks for listening, if you even do.

So, get off your duffs and get your fingers typing!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Hot Stove League 11/11/04

If you're not already aware, the M's have taken the gracious liberty to archive the Hot Stove League broadcasts on their web site. I'm currently catching up on the 11/11 show, as I was out of town when it aired live.

A few things of note that Bavasi talks about while interviewed:

1) Ron Villone is looking for a multi-year contract, and while the M's would like to have him back, they are indeed looking at other options. Taking his comments at face value (and not trying to analyze them too much), this is a good thing. I wouldn't mind having Villone back, for the right deal, but am not in love with him.

2) The exclusive negotiation window had basically come and gone with Dan Wilson (at the time of the interview) and Bavasi basically said that the only thing that would keep Wilson out of an M's uniform would be for another team to have a full-time job for him. This, too, appears to be a good sign, in that the M's are ready for him to truly test the market. Everyone in baseball knows that Wilson's intended role in Seattle next year will be to mentor Olivo and help him learn the pitchers, as well as being the main receptacle for Moyer's changeup. He will not be the starter in Seattle next season, and should not be paid like one. That said, though, his value in Seattle is clearly more than in any other city. Truly the M's will overpay his market value, and I hope that Wilson (if he returns) recognizes that, and would be willing to do what's best, financially, for the team. If he's truly the gentleman he appears to be, he'd take less money to stay here, and would not be demanding a contract for more than his market value. To determine his market value, he needs to be thrust out on the market. I have a feeling his services are not very highly in demand outside of Seattle.

3) Bavasi was asked if he reads the info posted on the Internet (~50:45), and pays attention to the rumors and other things that appear in the beat writers' columns. Basically, Bavasi admitted that he reads the web all the time, and goes on to say that the M's scouts are divided up into areas, and part of their responsibility is to read what the locals are saying about players. Of course, the time he spends on the web, I'm sure, is limited, but hey, let's lift one up in hopes that he at least browses the blogosphere, and in particular, the more reputable USS Mariner** at the very least.

**DMZ's latest hiccups on Jamey Wright and Mo Vaughn aside...

Bavasi, bring us Beltre or Beltran. I know you've got the dough -- show us you got game!

Monday, November 15, 2004

A New Curse in Town?

There's a nice piece in the Sunday Times about A-Rod and his memories of the 2004 ALCS. The last line pretty much sums it all up:

The fact that I haven't won a championship bothers me... Until I do, I will not sleep or be comfortable with my career.

Well, A-Rod, you better go get some sleeping pills, or take some sleeping advice from Rip Van Winkle. The Yankees can continue to go out and buy the best players money can buy, but will they ever be able to gel as a team and do what it takes to even get to the World Series again? It might be, say, 80-something years from now. You'd be 109 if you lived that long (and considering that a lack of sleep tends to break people down physically, that's a long shot).

From all appearances, the curse has been shifted from Boston to the Yankees.

Way to go, Slap-Rod!

Friday, November 12, 2004

George Argyros - Ambassador

George Argyros was a previous owner of the Mariners. Criticized as one of the team's worst owners, Argyros owned the majority of the M's shares from '81-'89, during which period the M's went 570-725, with an average yearly attendance around $1 million. This included their worst-ever year, 1983, when they went 60-102.

Argyros ran the club even more conservative, fiscally, than the Oakland A's of today. His budget was tighter than a Grateful Dead jam. He didn't retain players when they got expensive, didn't sign impact free agents, and for the most part didn't make trades for good young players. Despite a relatively small buy-in, he made a lot of money when he sold the majority interest in the Mariners. He then went on to be a highly successful, (ultra-rich), real estate developer in California.

Then he did something that allowed him to be appointed an ambassador to a foreign nation, a position he was not qualified for, in a country whose native language he did not speak. What did he do? What country was it? I suggest that you read this..

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Splash size pre-rankings...

As many of you may be aware, Munchausen and I both have filed a fiscal protest on the M's. That means that we are not willing to spend money on the M's (tickets, parking, concessions, etc...) until Howard Lincoln, and the rest of the front office, make decisions that dramatically improve this team. It's pretty much consensus that the M's need to make a big splash this offseason to get things back on track.

My curiosity, though, is -- what would that big splash be? I mean, really, they've got a lot of holes to fill, and it's certainly subject to debate whether the M's should make one HUGE splash and a few olympic-gold-medalist-divers'-sized splashes to fill in the other holes, or if they should make several moderate-sized splashes that would be large, but not completely as huge as, say, signing Beltran. I'm really okay with either, provided they interpret those splashes the same way I do. Although I do believe the M's have the bones to make several Beltran-sized splashes, I'm realistic enough to believe that they don't have the cojones and it's not likely that they will.

But, I'm only one voice in the blogosphere. I'm curious as to the different levels of splashes that the M's can make, and who you'd place in those levels. To start the discussion, I really have only one HUGE splash in mind. That's Beltran. Period. He's the hands down Holy Grail of this free agent market, pretty much consensus around the baseball world. I've heard some people question this, but it seems to be the case that he's the biggest prize of this offseason.

To use a ratings scale of "-1" to "3", "3" being a gray whale-sized tail fin splash, "2" being more of a walrus-sized splash, "1" being a penguin-sized splash, and "-1" being a total belly flop, what are people's splash rankings on the free agent list (let's use MLB's free agent list because it's nicely sortable).

Obviously, Beltran is a 3. If you want to debate this, that's fine, too. Are there any other 3's out there? Is Beltre a 3? Lots of people say, yes, and I'm leaning more that direction.

If there's one and only one move that they made this offseason that can and would silence my cynicism, it would, of course, to be to sign Carlos Beltran. If they made that signing alone, and band-aided the rest of the team for a run in 2006, I'd be just fine with that. I can't speak for Munchausen, but that one signing would get me buying tickets again.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Welcome Munchausen!!!

My twin brother from a different mother in the M's blogosphere, Munchausen, has agreed to co-admin this blog with me. Welcome! Hopefully having another live body posting ideas here will breathe some life into this blog and get it rolling. Yay!

M's hired Don Baylor to be hitting coach. This is great news!!!! He was on my "ok" list for manager, although people I'm sure disagree with that decision. His presence here can only help the M's. I'm lovin' what the M's have done so far. Let's keep going!!!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Understanding Pocket Lint...

Hello, and welcome to Mariners Morsels! I've created this blog to be a temporary home for my thoughts. Only time will tell how long this thing stays afloat...

My first topic for discussion will be my e-mail discussion with Seattle Times sports reporter Bob Finnigan. I finally decided to spend the time, and try out Blogger, to fulfill my promise to my Seattle PI M's blogmates. I apologize in advance for the length, but you have to have the whole conversation to hear my thoughts.

So without further adieu...

A conversation with Bob Finnigan

In response to Bob Finnigan's Seattle Times article from 10/30/04 "M's caught in a numbers crunch" I was one of the many people who sent him an e-mail on this very article. I wanted to tactfully and respectfully find out why there was a discrepancy between what the M's were feeding to the public about their payroll, and what the folks in the M's blogosphere are saying about their payroll. Here's my first letter:


From: Paul
Sent: Sat 10/30/2004 7:19 PM
To: Bob Finnigan
Subject: "M's caught in a numbers crunch."

Mr. Finnigan:

I faithfully read both the Times and the PI sports sections'colmnists, as well as other stories from other newspapers. In addition, I peruse and comment in the M's blogosphere. I may not have as much inside information as you have access to, but I'm aware enough that the information you're providing in your article appears to me to be completely inaccurate and misleading. It really appears that you are trying to continue to lower fans' expectations for this offseason and what the M's will do, by implying that the M's really don't have a whole lot of money to spend upgrading their team, both now and for the long run. As you may be aware, the USS Mariner has called you out on this specific article. See
if you haven't already.

I'd also like to point out Jeff Sullivan's entry on the "Leone for Third" blog, and how the information seems to point out that the M's should have the financial resources to commit over $100 million to payroll.

I'm really inclined to believe this information, and would like to understand the situation a whole lot better.

Realizing that you do this for a living, I'm begging you to respond -- but not necessarily to me, rather to both Mr. Sullivan and the folks at the USS Mariner. Commenting is and has been allowed for quite some time, and I'm asking you to explain the apparent discrepency in what your article mentions as being the $$ available, and what others in the M's blogosphere are saying. There's obviously a discrepancy, and I'm curious as to your thoughts as to the discrepancy.


I was surprised to receive a reply the next day. He was fairly courteous to me, but showed obvious signs of receiving lots of negative feedback:


From: Bob Finnigan []
Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2004 10:57 AM
To: Paul
Subject: RE: "M's caught in a numbers crunch."

pm, thnx for writing. my report was bsed on what lincoln has said, what i know of ms methods and approaches and what ive been told privately. what was reported was what i know of the ms situation and my best estimate of what they will try to do. i just had one clown try to tell me moyer does not make 8 mill next year. he does. period. ms will try to get meche at 3 mill, wilson 2.5, villone 2, cabrera 1, olivo .75, plus kids for total of 12 mill or so. people can find all the fault with my math, etc. but those are the way i see it. period. bob f


According to the M's web site forum, as well as other blogs (PI and USS Mariner), people were not receiving kind responses from Mr. Finnigan. Considering he called someone a "clown" in his reply to me, it seems that he was on the defensive. Even though he'd given a little bit of his take on the whole situation, and how he came up with his information, he didn't directly answer my question. So I sent him a follow-up (and threw the last line in, to try and soften his mood a bit):


From: Paul
Sent: Sun 10/31/2004 9:15 PM
To: Bob Finnigan
Subject: RE: "M's caught in a numbers crunch."

Thanks for your response, it was rather unexpected. Ultimately, though, my question is more along the lines as to why the M's can't (or won't) go over the $100 million mark in payroll. Not that they should just go out and spend for spending's sake, but there are some guys out there that can fill some serious holes for the long-term (yet would have an immediate impact next season). To get these guys, though, they'll have to go over $100 million in payroll. Everything I hear from the M's and from you says that they can't and won't. But the information I read elsewhere says they can and they should. I'm curious as to your take, specifically, on that discrepancy.

I certainly don't dispute that Meche, Wilson, Villone, Cabrera, Olivo and the youth could take $10-12 million out of the "available" pot (though it's definitely arguable whether Wilson, Villone and Cabrera should be re-signed). I do dispute that the M's only have $15 million (beyond these
signings) for this offseason's shopping list. I realize it may be a strategic move from the M's brass not to tip their hand to the players' agents that they're targeting, but still it just seems like the same old BS that they've been spoon-feeding the fans for the past several years, and that they're trying to lower expectations purposely and maliciously.

If the M's are going to remain a healthy franchise, Howard and Chuck, et al, are really going to have to pull what Anaheim did before 2004. It's entirely possible for the M's to be back in contention next season without hurting the franchise in the long run. Indeed, it will take some risks, but at least they'd SHOW that they're finally taking action on their empty words and unfulfilled promises. Signing several $2-6 million guys along the lines of Spiezio, Cabrera, Villone, Vizquel, Koskie, Randa, etc., would be hugely demotivating to a lot of fans. They need to make a couple of HUGE splashes like Anaheim did before 2004, to show their fans and their current players that they're serious. They need to stop talking about it, and do it!!!

This is one fan extremely tired of hearing anything out of Howard's mouth. I want to see that he's serious! I know that money is not an issue. Heck, if it means that I'd have to pay 7.50 instead of 7 bucks for a stinkin' Budweiser at Safeco, then I'd buy a couple extra...



Again, my goal was to be respectful and tactful in expressing my anger. I tried to show Mr. Finnigan that I wasn't directing my anger at him, but rather chose to direct my frustration by asking his opinion of why the discrepancy exists. Again he wrote me back the next day, and really helped clarify things:


From: Bob Finnigan []
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 6:33 AM
To: Paul
Subject: RE: "M's caught in a numbers crunch."

pm, i cant see any place you are wrong, except in even wishing lincoln to be pragmatic. this man is all business and tough enough in that sense to take the heat. we both know they could spend 20-25 mill and probably be close to break even. it is ms right to spend according to lincolns biz model and that means you should expect the likes of sexson, nw kid coiming off injury, and koskie, who fits their price much better than beltre or glaus. pitching? i cant see lowe now, nor pavano nor milton nor radke. poss wright, at best. then maybe a miracle will happen, and lowe will pine to come back to his birth org. but dont hold your breath. i can only report what i hear is on ms wish list, not what i wish for them. bob f


I politely thanked him for our conversation, and showed him my interpretation on his role in all of this:


Thanks, Bob!

This actually clears up some of my confusion. It appears to me, then, that you're writing from the perspective of a reporter moreso than as an editorialist. Therefore, your license for interpretation is a little more limited, and your flexibility is thus constrained as well. I can certainly appreciate that, and forgive you for being associated thusly with this situation.

It would be nice, though, for once, for Lincoln to pull his head out and get a clue. He's going to lose this fanbase very quickly otherwise. I hope he really surprises us soon!


I haven't received anything further from Mr. Finnigan, nor do I expect to.

Hopefully, my e-mail conversation will clear up some misconceptions. Those of you that "know" me through the blogosphere hopefully have figured out that I generally try to give people the benefit of the doubt. If someone's being treated unjustly, I'm usually not shy to call people on it. I honestly don't think Finnigan is a bad guy. I also do not believe he's the enemy. He's the messenger, if you will, of that enemy -- Howard "F." Lincoln. That's who the fan outrage should be targeted at. Finnigan should only be targeted when the info he's reporting seems inaccurate. But, tactfully, of course. I suggest questioning him on his errant facts, but not arrogantly. In this case, as Mr. Finnigan himself writes -- "what was reported was what i know of the ms situation and my best estimate of what
they will try to do." Indeed, if there's anyone that can 'estimate' what the M's will try to do, and has the info to predict it accurately, it's Mr. Finnigan. However, in his role as a reporter, he does not have the liberty to criticize those decisions. That job is saved for Art Thiel (PI) and Steve Kelley
& Larry Stone (Times). Of these, I'm hoping that Art Thiel steps up to the plate. I'd guess that he has the most clout of any of this area's columnists.

As Linda Richman would say "Discuss amongst yourselves" (but please don't get verklempt):