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!!!!


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