Friday, February 03, 2006

C'mon, Howard, Don't Let THIS Happen!

You may recall that at FanFest, I was able to gab a bit with Mariners' GM Bill Bavasi, both on and off the mike. I genuinely wanted to know the reason why the M's were not pursuing Jeff Weaver. Don't get me wrong -- I don't think Weaver's the greatest thing, and he very well may be a pitcher like Gil Meche or Joel Pineiro, who's highly touted for awhile, but just doesn't seem to be able to put it together. Still, he has pitched decently and has proven himself to be mostly healthy. He can give you 200+ fairly effective innings. His peripheral stats are more along the lines of Kevin Millwood than Jarrod Washburn, and if we were going to give out an ace's contract to a non-ace, I would've given it to Jeff Weaver over Jarrod Washburn.

Typical Boras client stubbornness is one of the reasons Weaver remains unsigned so close to Spring Training. News today, though, is that Weaver is being targeted by Anaheim. According to the article, the Angels would only be willing to give him a 1+1 option deal, and that Anaheim could be the front-runner since Weaver prefers to stay in SoCal. Bavasi divulged that the M's were avoiding Weaver only for financial reasons. Not only did Weaver want too much money (uh, Washburn, anyone?), but the M's were content with the budget they'd set. Bavasi liked Weaver, and thought he'd be a good pickup, but only if Weaver dropped his asking price.

I was going to ask Bavasi another question -- if he was looking at the relatively thin crop of free agents this season, and hoping to tread water long enough to grab a few guys off next year's potentially better crop. I wish I would've been able to ask both questions, but since Deanna didn't get to ask her question, I'm glad he was able to respond to my question. Personally, though, I would look at what's available this year, especially since our cupboard's pretty empty of starting pitching. Jeff Weaver would definitely help this pitching staff. We need starting pitching help, badly.

Howard's response to my asking him for more money, really showed me that the M's are preparing for empty seats. They're raising single-game ticket prices, too. With the Seahawks diverting some attention away from the M's, it's entirely possible that the front office is preparing for some serious financial issues. While our division rivals continue to improve their teams, we sit back and pretty much maintain the status quo.

C'mon, Howard, step it up. Get in the game! Winning would do wonders with the wealth!


At 2/03/2006 2:57 PM, Blogger Snave said...


It's tough to predict what will happen for the Mariners this year, but I think that if the team gets off to a rotten start, i.e. they're still playing about .400 ball after the first 50-60 games, some heads might roll... and Bill's could be one of those. Maybe Grover, too. I think they would want to get a new GM in place prior to the July 31 trading deadline, anyway, if things start out rough.

I do like to take a positive view, though. I still think the roster as it stands is worth 80-85 wins in 2006. While that may not be much, I think it would represent a substantial improvement. Meche and Pineiro are both 27, not 28 until September. I like to think their best years may still be ahead of them, and that having a different pitching coach may help the team get more out of both of them. Adding someone like Washburn (despite the horrific price paid) should steady the rotation a bit. Maybe Moyer can continue to throw well at least at Safeco, and maybe Hernandez won't end up with a tired or injured arm. I think it could still be better, but I also think the rotation will be better than it was last year. I think the catching will be better. The hitting? Maybe about the same, maybe slightly better. It should all add up to somewhere near .500. That would be good enough for me at this point, just to be more competitive and to have a winning record.

At 2/03/2006 3:04 PM, Blogger Snave said...

And Weaver? Heck, I'd sign him! I would do it just to keep the Angels from getting him. As little as Anaheim did in the offseason, we shouldn't be letting them get Weaver... plus, like you were saying, maybe he's kind of like Meche or Pineiro, maybe not. Given his age (29) he should have some mileage left in that hard-throwing right arm. Last year he was 14-11 with a 4.22 ERA, which is fairly average, but his WHIP was 1.17, he fanned 157 batters in 220 IP, and HE ONLY WALKED 43. Giving up 35 HR is a bit of a concern... but I would still sign him.


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