Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wilkerson Official

Nothing too surprising here; I woke up from a quick nap to find Jim Street, Shannon Drayer, Ryan Divish, John Hickey, the AP and many others all reporting that Seattle officially inked outfielder/first baseman Brad Wilkerson to a one year deal.

Geoff Baker reported that Seattle had this deal in their "back pocket" back on Monday.

The AP noted that Wilkerson can play all three outfield positions, which was new to me. Maybe he's not as slow out there as some of us were thinking?

Geoff Baker and Ken Rosenthal are reporting that he was signed for a mere $3M, which is a steal for a starting outfielder, whether you're pro-Wilkerson or not. Looks like we inked him for backup money. Rotoworld adds that there is another $2M in incentives, though I haven't come across another report that says that.

Wilkerson will likely backup/platoon in right field, first base and DH. He brings some very nice pop, but can struggle with low averages and high strikeout rates.

What does this mean?


Pretty much.

Encouraging Trade Reports

Everytime a new rumor surrounding the Erik Bedard/Adam Jones trade talks comes out, I can't help but smile. Earlier this week I was getting a little frustrated, now whenever I come across the daily dose of conflicting reports I just chuckle quietly to myself.

Thursday morning brings a few reports that may lead you to believe that this deal is happening sooner than later.

First of all, the extension rumors are the latest to be tossed down the bogus shoot. Bedard's agent, Mark Pieper, made it known that no such negotiations were taking place. He personally emailed Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun and others to let them the world know his client is unlikely to be extended by the Orioles.

''The report that appeared yesterday regarding Erik Bedard on is wholly inaccurate and contains nothing factual,'' Pieper wrote. ''Quite honestly, that type of journalism is irresponsible and reckless.''

So much for that.

Buster Olney submitted a seemingly optimistic article on ESPN. According to Olney the trade that was set to go through was Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman and Tony Butler, along with one more player. There hasn't been any clashing reports on this subject for quite awhile, so that's a relief. Olney added:

The Orioles have asked the Mariners for written language that Seattle will submit Jones and Sherrill for a physical examination by the Orioles -- and if they pass physicals, then and only then will Baltimore be obligated to finish the trade. The inherent risk for the Mariners is that if either Jones or Sherrill were to flunk their physicals in Baltimore, then the respective value of the players would be diminished within the industry.
It seems common enough that if the players pass the physicals, the trade goes through, and if they fail, they trade is scraped. That's not the interesting past, though. Check out the first sentence again. According to the supposed written agreement, if Sherrill and Jones pass their physicals Baltimore will be locked into the deal.

If I was 99% sure this deal was getting done yesterday, I am not 99.9% certain. Let's just hope Sherrill has been staying in shape this offseason.

Q&A with Shannon Drayer

KOMO's Shannon Drayer knows the current Seattle Mariners team as well as anyone, working in close capacity with the them all season long. She started covering Mariner baseball on a part-time basis back in 1998, moving to full-time during the 2003 season. You can check out her KOMO baseball blog here. Shannon was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for us here at Bleeding Blue and Teal.

BBT: Seattle lost a lot of leadership in Jose Guillen. Who are the most vocal leaders on the current team?

Drayer: Guillen had a leadership style we haven't seen in the clubhouse in a long time. He was a butt kicker. I don't think there are any other butt kickers, but there are different leaders that are important in different ways. Without question, JJ has grown into a leader, and from what I understand, he can be rather vocal at times. Mostly with the bullpen, but he is also a good team guy. Carlos Silva insists that he is vocal. He told us to look for him to be very animated on the bench in games that he is not pitching in. Ichiro believe it or not, felt more comfortable speaking up last year. Raul is a quiet leader, but the first one most guys go to when they are struggling. Willie Bloomquist has been known to speak up and has also been very helpful with the younger players. Adam Jones credits him with showing him the ropes. Willie is also the union rep. I don't think leadership is a problem on this team.

BBT: Do you believe that manager John McLaren is on any type of hot seat in his first full year, or will he be given the complete season for better or worse?

Drayer: Unless something dramatic happens, really dramatic, McLaren has nothing to worry about. The organization gave him everything he wanted in a staff and that is a good indicator that they trust him and they are behind him. Mac has surrounded himself with a lot of experience and I think that was a smart move on his part.

BBT: The Mariners have a few players heading for free agency after the 2008 season, including Raul Ibanez, Kenji Johjima and Willie Bloomquist. There are many variables that could play into the team's decision, but which of these players, if any, do you see Seattle extending before they hit the open market and why?

Drayer: Good question. I don't think the organiztion feels a pressing need to extend any of these guys early. I think Raul and Willie could be end of the season (in the exclusive negotiating window) deals provided they have good years. Willie might want to test the open market, and the team will probably let him. Joh is an interesting case. I don't know if this will be an ownership decision or a management decision. Jeff Clement will be ready to go. Can you keep Joe while you move Jeff in? Ideally Jeff would be at first base resting his legs and swinging that bat every night. Problem is, from what I have heard, he has been resistant to this. He insists on catching which is a shame. Bill Hassleman on our post game show once said that he couldn't understand how anyone that talented with the bat would want to catch. He says the wear and tear of catching will affect his hitting. Joh is a very tough call.

One other thing to keep an eye on. Isn't it time they lock Felix up to a long term deal? That's one of my first questions when we get past this Bedard thing.

BBT: What type of roles do you think Brandon Morrow and Horacio Ramirez would assume should an Erik Bedard trade become official?

Drayer: Word is that Morrow will be in the pen as the right handed set up man. This could get interesting though if Mark Lowe comes back at full strenght. If Lowe is lights out, maybe, just maybe, the organization would send Morrow down to the minors to get ready to move into the starting rotation either next year, or at the deadline after a trade. Ramirez will be looking at the long relief role, Tacoma or possibly he could be let go at the end of spring training.

BBT: Can you confirm reports that Seattle has a deal in place with Brad Wilkerson, pending an Erik Bedard trade? Do you feel it is necessary for the Mariners to look outside of the organization, or are Jeremy Reed and Wlad Balentien viable options?

Drayer: I cannot confirm Wilkerson, but I expect to see him or perhaps Trot Nixon platooning in right with Wlad. Is it necessary to look outside the organization? I think so. If they get Bedard they have to go for it. They have to have something out there that is a known quantity. I like the idea of a platoon, break the young guy in easily. I would give Morse a long look in spring training as well. He can hit a single to right field all day long. That's nice, but not enough. I have talked to a lot of scouts who think he is going to hit for power some day. If he wants to do it in Seattle, he is going to have to do it this spring because he is out of options.


I want to thank Shannon again for helping us out here. Some great points to think about:

  • Jeff Clement doesn't want to play first base.
  • Seattle could be looking to lock up Felix Hernandez soon.
  • Brandon Morrow could get the minor league time he needs if Mark Lowe is healthy.
  • Trot Nixon? This has been the first connection between him and Seattle. Word is he's working on his first base defense.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Read and React: Bedard Predictions

posted by Jon, Patrick and Dustin

Dustin Shires: Throughout all this madness, nothing seems certain anymore.

  • Jones' injury
  • Angelos could nix the trade
  • Bedard seeking Orioles extension
  • Jones' talking could have hindered the talking between clubs

There could be other unknown factors. Simply put, no one has concrete answers, but most of the baseball world thinks this trade is going to happen. I too have taken this stance.

I believe that the Seattle offer is too lucrative for the Orioles to turn down. These type of deals are the ones that Baltimore needs to make in order to avoid another decade of irrelevance. Adam Jones, whether you think he'll be great or not, is the type of player you want to center your rebuilding efforts around.

Do I believe that he'll live up to the hype and fulfill his potential as a Mariner? Absolutely not.

The Orioles are willing to trade their ace and a Cy Young hopeful to find out how good Jones will be. They will also be getting one of the most reliable relievers in the MLB in George Sherrill, a potential front of the rotation pitcher in Chris Tillman, along with unknown 4th and/or 5th prospects.

This deal is a must for the rebuilding Orioles, and the Mariners need this deal to go down in order to acquire a proven ace. Bedard has proven he can carry the title of ace, and can win ball games. He could win on a terrible Orioles team, so just think about how good he can be in Safeco (the SafeCave), and with offensive and defensive upgrades. Bedard can be a Cy Young pitcher on the Mariners, assuming he goes through the year healthy.

As I have stated before, I do not believe Jones will be the player USS Mariner thinks he will be, and do not see him as the "savior of the franchise." Sherrill, I believe, came into his own way too late, and is already fairly advanced as far as the lifespan of relief pitchers go. Yes, I know he's relatively new to the MLB, but age is age. We have no idea how good Tillman will be, because he is two or three years away from scratching the surface of the MLB.

To sum it up, I believe this deal is too good for either side to pass up. Both teams have gotten too far into it. The deal is 99% done. All that is needed is the necessary "stamp of approval" from Angelos and Bedard is a Mariner. I believe that Erik Bedard will be pitching for Seattle on Opening Day.

Patrick Whealton: At this point in time, we are all aware of the tumult over the last few days about a possible trade to bring Erik Bedard to Seattle. While many reporters as well as my fellow bloggers here at BBT believe that a deal will be finalized and announced by the end of this week, I have something that I must admit to you. Since the beginning of the off-season, I’ve had the gut feeling that Erik Bedard will be the Orioles starter on opening day 2008.

Despite the developments this week, my gut feeling has not changed. Of course, I hope that I am wrong, but new evidence seems to suggest that the deal that was supposedly done just a couple days ago continues to fall apart at the seams. Since the beginning of the week, we have, in essence, seen a trade work backwards from the point where it was completed, onto finalizing the players involved, onto having the general framework of the deal in question by O’s team owner Peter Angelos, and now finally to the point where the Orioles will explore their other possibilities. This process is completely backwards and to think that it will magically work itself out in a day or two, while possible, seems a little unrealistic to me.

So what other possibilities do the Orioles have? Well, it seems as if other teams including the Reds and possibly the Indians may be back in on the Bedard talks. "General Manager" Andy MacPhail said the other day that other teams are now “chiming in.” However, Bedard to any other team besides the Mariners seems out of the question at this point, especially with the Reds refusing to give up prospect Jay Bruce.

Apparently, there is now another option on the table that was previously didn’t seem to be viable; for the Orioles to sign Bedard to an extension. In the past, the Orioles were under the impression that Bedard and his agent only wanted to discuss contract extensions on a year-by-year basis. Now, based on recent quotes by Erik Bedard, it looks like he is willing to discuss a long-term deal with the club. This development, coupled with the fact that Peter Angelos loves Bedard because he puts butts in seats at Camden Yards, points towards a contract extension or at least a few more roadblocks before a deal with the Mariners is made.

Once again, I am completely for a trade for Bedard and I really hope that it happens, but the window for being able to do that may have just closed.

Jon Shields: I was going to write a long entry like Dustin and Patrick, but I don't feel it's necessary at this point. We've been reporting mostly everything to you, so it's down to gut feelings.

This deal was done. Adam Jones said he was traded to Baltimore. The deal was done, and then there was some sort of wrinkle that needed to be ironed out. That may have been a quick check to see if Erik Bedard could be re-signed, it could have been Baltimore trying to squeeze out some more talent from Seattle, it could have been anything. I don't think there was anything so significant that took us back to square one.

There are too many people with too many sources that are way too confident that this will happen sooner than later. Pair that with anyone who's anyone around baseball saying this deal needs to get done for the Orioles to ever become relevant again, and how can you dispute it?

This deal is announced as early as Thursday morning, late as Monday afternoon. I don't see this falling apart.

Question to the readers: Will this deal go through? If so, when? If not, why not?

Orioles Trying to Re-Sign Bedard?

I just got finished listening to the Under the Lights broadcast featuring's Baltimore Orioles reporter Spencer Fordin. These quotes shouldn't come as a total surprise, but they're not gelling with other reports surfacing earlier today.

"There might be a late breaking development that we've ascertained," Fordin told host Peter McCarthy. "The Orioles may be trying to sign [Bedard] to a 5-year extension instead of trading him. We don't have confirmation from sources high up in the general manager's office yet but it does appear that that could be the case right now."

"They never thought he would [sign an extension], to be quite honest," he continued. "They talked to him about a 3-year deal earlier in the offseason and his agent countered with a much longer proposal, apparently, and the Orioles weren't able to stomach that at the time. So they sniffed around, considered offers, they got very reportedly close [with Seattle]."

"They apparently decided to explore the option of seeing if they could sign him to a 5 year deal," said Fordin, adding moments later, "I think Seattle's on hold, from what we've been told."

Fordin was unsure of whose idea it was to try and re-sign Erik Bedard, president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail or owner Peter Angelos, but called a new contract a "sketchy possibility."

When asked how close Baltimore came to trading Bedard to the Mariners, Fordin replied, "They came very close. They decided on the players involved. They were close enough that Seattle thought it was imperative to get Adam Jones back from Venezuela. Adam Jones thought it was close enough that he told reporters that he was traded to Baltimore, but somewhere along the line there was a slip in communication and the Orioles apparently canceled the physical for Adam Jones. It's really hard to tell where things lie right now."

Not a lot of new info there. Fordin went on to mention that Angelos never approved the deal, not saying he nixed it either. "From what I'm told they never fully got approval from the ownership."

Besides that, Fordin went on to say that he didn't believe any other teams besides the Mariners were involved at this point, contrary to a recent report.

As far as the contract talks go, he said it was still in the early stages. Bedard and the Orioles are still feeling each other out and determining how many years and dollars it will take.

That's all I got from the broadcast.

The contract that Baltimore previously couldn't stomach? $100M over 7 years, according to Jim Street.

In my last post I wrote about the different ways to interpret a recent Prospect Insider update:

UPDATE: 2:37 PM - Prospect Insider's Jason Churchill is expecting this deal to be done before the weekend, according to his sidebar. He went on to say that "the same Orioles rep that gave me the trade offer details has told me Angelos has told McPhail he's fine with the trade as long as extending Erik Bedard is not a realistic option at this point." (Thanks Rob T.)

You could look at that quote two ways. Patrick thinks that it could be bad news, considering Bedard's quotes in which he mentioned that he'd be open to an extension. I see it as good news, because Bedard also said he didn't want to be part of a rebuilding effort. What do you think?

It looks like Patrick had the better guess, assuming Fordin's reporting is correct.

It's strange that we can have so many conflicting reports in such a short period of time. As I was transcribing these quotes BBT contributor Dustin Shires let me know that Tim Kurkjian was on ESPN and was saying something along the lines that the deal makes too much sense, both teams are in too deep, and it's inevitable now. He further paraphrased Kurkjian by telling me, "the Orioles need to take the deal. Adam Jones can be a superstar in the league. He's young, and can have a team built around his potential."

As if these rumors weren't already a mess...

I'm sure we'll have more for you later.

Bedard Deal Close... Again

posted by Jon

Sources are saying a deal could be close to being finalized, that would indeed include Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman and a couple more prospects. Earlier reports were saying those other two could be Tony Butler and Kameron Mickolio, but it's hard to say at this point.'s Jim Molony had this to say today:
Talks were thought to be stalled, but multiple MLB sources said Wednesday that Baltimore and Seattle are close to finalizing the deal the two teams have been discussing for weeks. The trade would send Orioles pitcher Erik Bedard to the Mariners for outfielder Adam Jones, pitchers George Sherill and Chris Tillman and as many as two additional prospects. Tillman is the reigning Mariners' Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

After all the strange and conflicting reports we've been seeing lately, it is nice to see something straight forward like this. Either way, I have been scared to skepticism until I see some sort of press conference or official release.

I should have more to pass on in just a bit. Orioles' reporter Spencer Fordin will be on today, so hopefully we'll find out something soon. I don't think they'd have him on if he didn't have something relevant to say, especially since he wasn't originally on the schedule. Check back!

UPDATE: 2:37 PM - Prospect Insider's Jason Churchill is expecting this deal to be done before the weekend, according to his sidebar. He went on to say that "the same Orioles rep that gave me the trade offer details has told me Angelos has told McPhail he's fine with the trade as long as extending Erik Bedard is not a realistic option at this point." (Thanks Rob T.)

You could look at that quote two ways. Patrick thinks that it could be bad news, considering Bedard's quotes in which he mentioned that he'd be open to an extension. I see it as good news, because Bedard also said he didn't want to be part of a rebuilding effort. What do you think?

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Out of Jones/Bedard Titles

posted by Jon

I'm getting a little tired of the subject, especially since no puzzle pieces seem to lock together. Here are a couple odds and ends from today, but take everything with a large grain of salt at this point.

I already wrote about the Adam Jones degenerated hip rumor in my last post, but like everyone else knew next to no details at the time. Looks like the Stan Charles of Press Box is the one who brought it up. Press Box is a Baltimore sports site. They say nothing about the injury, and without hearing or reading an exact quote it's hard to tell what is going on.

MLB Rumors had this to say a couple hours ago:
The trade for Erik Bedard is not official, and probably won't be until the end of the week. It appears the Orioles brought Jones into Baltimore to check out his hip, and assuming that goes well, Bedard should be in Seattle by Monday. What happened earlier this week was probably just miscommunication by Jones and the reporters in Venezuela. Still, it seems like a deal will get done. Yes Orioles owner and "co-GM" Peter Angelos has to sign off on the trade but I think the Orioles realize that if they do not make a trade soon, the offers will only get worse. By trading Bedard, they clear up money to make a splash in the upcoming off seasons that feature better talent.

I can't tell if those first couple sentences are new information, or if Eli just fell behind in the chaos of these rumors. Either way, once reliable MLB Rumors has been questionable at best lately. Hopefully they can turn it around, as they were formerly one of my favorite resources.

More news you are bound to love; the Baltimore Sun has a report that the Mariners are not the only team in on Bedard at this point. Common speculation seems to be that this is just a ploy to drive up the price, but who really knows at this point.

Patrick and I have a bit of a running bet whether or not the Yankees and Sox will become players for Bedard by the end of this. I still don't think the O's would deal within the division. I heard somewhere that they almost had a deal in place with the Blue Jays earlier this Winter and Angelos nixed it. Anyone else hear that?

"We continue to talk [to the Mariners]," MacPhail was quoted today. "We've had some other clubs chime in as well."

That's all I've got today. Anyone else ready for something concrete?

Also, anyone else hoping that the Orioles will learn from the Minnesota Twins' mistake? From the Baltimore side of things, they need to trade Bedard before the offers get worse. I suppose there is always next offseason, though.

Degenerative Hip Reports

posted by Jon
I'm not happy to add to the confusion, but a Baltimore radio show was reporting or speculating today that Adam Jones has a degenerative hip condition. This is completely unconfirmed, and no one else has reported anything similar.

Here is what the Baltimore Sun's Roch Kubatko had to say:

I've been in meetings most of the day and have an interview at 5 p.m. - not for a new job, so don't get your hopes up. But I wanted to address the rumor (because it's what I do these days) that Adam Jones has a degenerative hip condition and that's why the Erik Bedard trade hit a snag.

All I can say about the topic is that the Orioles became concerned with something related to Jones, and the fact that they wanted to bring him in for a physical before
alerting Bedard's agent that a trade agreement was reached should send off signals. But we've heard nothing up to this point about his hip.

Maybe this will prove true later. We'll find out soon enough. But nobody at The Sun would go on a radio show and blurt out this kind of information without being absolutely positive (and obviously reporting it in the paper first). That's dangerous territory, especially when you're possibly impacting a young athlete's reputation and future earnings.

For the sake of Jones, I hope it's false. For the sake of the person who said it, it better be right.

The first thing that popped into my head was Baltimore owner Peter Angelos and his reputation.

Paul White of Sports Weekly was on yesterday, and while talking about the Erik Bedard chaos said, "Angelos has been a stickler in the past with physicals and using them to get out of deals."

The one that comes to mind as a Mariner follower is when he used Aaron Sele's physical to get out of signing him. Sele ended up with us.

Angelos will definitely be looking at this as a way to get out of the deal, if that is really what he wants. What I don't understand is why no member of the Seattle media knows anything about this, and how the Baltimore Sun found out. Sounds a little phony, but only time will tell.

In other news, Adam Jones is heading home to Arizona. No physical, just out of Venezuela.

Also, Johan Santana is reportedly heading to the Mets. The Twins are getting a package lacking the big-time talent Seattle would have offered; too bad for us. Seattle may even be offering a better package for Bedard.

Angelos Out of Control

posted by Jon

Ken Rosenthal continues to update this particular entry with new info. I thought this paragraph was worth mentioning:
The Orioles are angry with the Mariners for allowing the trade talks to go public. Outfielder Adam Jones, the centerpiece of the M's offer, blurted to reporters in Venezuela that he was headed to Baltimore for a physical, indicating that a deal was near. The Orioles are so furious, another source says, they again might be insisting that the Mariners include 17-year-old shortstop Carlos Triunfel in the deal.

Mariners fans have been getting their first taste of Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos. We've been discussing his massive ego, poor business practices and history of deal squashing; traits that Baltimore fans know all too well.

Adam Jones spilled the beans, so what? He ruined your big announcement so you're going to try and get more in return? No wonder Baltimore hates you, Mr. Angelos. Way to run a baseball team.

I really hope this is resolved sooner than later, because this has gotten out of control.

BLOG NOTE: We have set consecutive traffic records for each of the last two days, blowing away the old highs. Wooooo!

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Series of Inconvenient Events

posted by Patrick and Jon

Jon: It's been a chaotic couple of days for all of us trying to follow the Erik Bedard/Adam Jones trade rumors. It seemed to get more and more confusing as the day went on, but finally Geoff Baker was able to clear some things up and make everything make a lot more sense. Through all of the confusion, the only obstacle as of right now would seem to be Orioles owner Peter Angelos. He has a history of squashing these deals, so we'll see how it plays out in the coming days.

Patrick and I compiled a timeline of key Bedard reports over the last couple of days to help cut out some of the confusion or to help you get caught up if you're behind. Skip to the end for the latest if you've kept up so far.

1/27/08 (3:06 PM PST): Shannon Drayer reports that Jones was pulled from the lineup in the Venezuelan Winter League because he was the subject of a trade. Her sources told her that Jones would be flying to Baltimore on Monday for a physical in order for the trade to be completed. She then spoke with George Sherrill who said he was not aware of any deal being done and said that he was not scheduled for a physical.

1/27/08 (3:37 PM PST): Geoff Baker reports the Venezuelan newspaper Diario Panorama had supplied him with quotes from an interview with Adam Jones "(Bill Bavasi) called me yesterday and told me the news. I've got to go to Baltimore tomorrow morning and handle things there. I'm the centerpiece of the deal on the Mariners side. It's an honor to get traded for such a highly talented pitcher as Bedard is. He's one of the best. Last year he finished up as arguably one of the top candidates for the Cy Young. He's that good, so for me it's an honor. You know, I like Seattle, but if I am in Baltimore, as I think now I am, I'm going to embrace it and have the best time of my life in Major League Baseball."

1/27/08 (about 8:30 PM PST): Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider reports that the deal for Bedard is "as close to being done as it can get without an actual deal." Churchill goes on to explain that the deal would send Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler, and Kameron Mickolio to Baltimore.

1/28/08 (8:26 AM PST): ESPN reports that a baseball source has told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN that Adam Jones and George Sherrill have now both said that they are to be taking a physical examination. It is also believed at this point that the deal consists of Jones, Sherrill, Tillman, and one other undisclosed prospect.

1/28/08 (11:01 AM PST): Geoff Baker explains that the only thing holding the deal back is the fact that Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles, must approve the deal before it is finalized and that Angelos is attending to a personal matter today and won't be available to make a decision until Tuesday.

1/28/08 (1:46 PM PST): Shannon Drayer reports that she learned through email with Adam Jones that he is still in Venezuela but isn't competing in winter ball because the Mariners requested that he not play. But here's the kicker, Jones also told Drayer that he had never told Venezuelan reporters that he was involved in a trade and that he did not know what was going on. Not only this, but she reports that George Sherrill is not scheduled to take part in a physical despite earlier reports that said he was despite earlier reports that said he wasn't. Confused yet?

1/28/08 (3:06 PM PST): The Baltimore Sun reports that the deal is on hold and that Jones was going to take a physical in Baltimore presumably on Tuesday. The article says that Orioles GM Andy MacPhail said there is no agreement yet and not to expect any developments for at least a few days. Bill Bavasi told the Baltimore Sun that any reports thus far have been "very, very premature" and confirmed that a deal had no yet been agreed upon. He also explained to the Sun that "Adam Jones has met his goals so there was no point of leaving him in [winter ball]. He's been called back from the club and sent home." To me, this seems like Bavasi covering up a leak of information and that he was not pulled from winter ball because he had accomplished his goals unless his goals were to be involved in a trade.

1/28/08 (3:12 PM PST): Patrick personally learned from Chris Tillman, who is thought to be a player involved in the Bedard deal, that he has not been notified by the Mariners of anything saying, "I've definitely been hearing it around, but as of right now, I'm pretty much clueless as to what's going on."

1/28/08 (3:15 PM PST): Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Peter Angelos may have a reason to reject the supposed deal after learning that Erik Bedard is open to hearing proposals from the Orioles about a contract extension if it is for at least five years. According to Rosenthal, the Orioles organization had thought Bedard only wanted to discuss a one-year deal.

1/28/08 (5:19 PM PST): Geoff Baker, like a genius, figured out a solution to this complex chain of events and arrant reports and summed it all up in a blog entry. He says that he has heard audiotape of Adam Jones' comments to reporters and that he did in fact tell them that he has been traded to Baltimore and was going there to take a physical despite saying later that his his comments were misinterpreted and "lost in translation." Baker made it clear that he thinks Adam Jones should not have blamed the language barrier for him leaking information to reporters prematurely. He goes on to explain that Angelos is the final road block before this deal is consummated.

Un-Breaking News: Adam Jones Trade

Major things coming out of Shannon Drayer's blog:

Just heard from Adam Jones via email. Said that he is still in Venezuela but obeying orders from his MLB team and not playing. He says that he said nothing about being traded to the Venezuelan press. Something may have been lost in translation somewhere. Like the last time he was pulled from the lineup by the Mariners, Adam says he does not know what is going on, and that with his winter league team in the finals, it sucks to not be able to help them.

Confused yet? Add to this George Sherrill's denial of being instructed to report to Baltimore for a physical it would appear that we got wind of this trade in the very early stages. Things most likely are still being hammered out and players won't be getting on planes until they do.

This goes along with all the other conflicting information flying around.

So what is really going on? Hopefully we'll know soon.

Seattle to Sign Wilkerson

I was going to hold off on this, but it is rapidly making its way around the blogosphere so I decided it was best to get it out there.

It would appear that the Seattle Mariners are close, or have possibly already signed, free agent Brad Wilkerson. Geoff Baker said earlier on radio and confirmed on his blog that "the Mariners already have a one-year deal with free-agent Brad Wilkerson in their back pocket for the moment a Bedard trade is finalized." He went on to speculate that the deal could be worth as much as $8M.

Seattle P-I's John Hickey just posted a blog about the same thing, though it appeared to be based on other reports, not necessarily on his own inside information.

This also goes along with MLB Trade Rumor's post from Saturday that we passed along.

We already know, Seattle would have been better off re-signing Jose Guillen, so no need to remind everyone. Wilkerson won't be too bad, no matter what happens with Adam Jones. Low averages, high strikeout rates, but he will add some pop to the bottom half of the lineup and is defensively versatile, despite being average in the field at best. You can read why Patrick is against Wilkerson here.

Baker was not the first to talk of a Wilkerson/Wladimir Balentien platoon, an arrangement that would likely please many a Mariner fan.

How do you all feel about adding Wilkerson to the team?

Angelos Could be the Deal Breaker

Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos is notorious for nixing potential trades.

He has yet to approve any Erik Bedard trades, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark.

This deal is still believed to go through, but keep your fingers crossed (or make a peace sign, if you're one of the many that doesn't want to see Bedard in Seattle).

Stark adds that Angelos is busy on personal business and we won't know what's going on until tomorrow at the earliest.

The Answer Should Be Wlad, Not Wilkerson

posted by Patrick

As many of you know, in recent days the Mariners have been linked to free agent Brad Wilkerson (1B/OF) and, in fact, a deal with Wilkerson is thought to materialize very soon and probably will as soon as the deal for Bedard is consummated.

Brad Wilkerson
2005: 565 AB's, .248 AVG, 11 homeruns, K every 3.84 AB's
2006: 320 AB's, .222 AVG, 15 homeruns, K every 2.76 AB's
2007: 338 AB's, .234 AVG, 20 homeruns, K every 3.15 AB's

Career at SAFECO: 33 AB's, .182 AVG, .357 OBP

In 2007, Richie Sexson struckout once every 4.34 at bats; a better rate than Wilkerson's numbers from 05, 06, and 07.

So why in the world would we want to bring in another low average guy that strikes out even more than Richie Sexson? Sure, he has a little pop and can play the outfield as well as first base; but unless it's absolutely necessary to acquire another outfielder (meaning that Jones and Balentien are traded), I would not want to throw anywhere from 2 to 6 million dollars (per year) at him, especially if the deal is more than one year. His career average at SAFECO is abyssmal and I don't see him as a good fit here.

Note: When the Adam Jones to Baltimore deal is finished, I'd want to see Wlad in right field.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Who is Seattle Giving for Bedard?

posted by Jon

The first report of who Seattle is sending to Baltimore in exchange for ace Erik Bedard has been issued by Churchill at Prospect Insider.

His source(s) are telling him Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, George Sherrill, Tony Butler and Kameron Mickolio.

As a fan I hate to see Sherrill and Mickolio go, and losing Tillman and Butler in the same trade will be quite a loss, but overall this isn't as bad as it could've been. Remember when we were talking about how many of Jones, Jeff Clement, Brandon Morrow, Carlos Triunfel and Wladimir Balentien we'd have to give up?

Hopefully we won't have to speculate for too long. The official announcement and all that comes with it should surface before mid-week.

Once this all becomes official we'll release a big post about what we're getting and who we lost.

UPDATE 1/28, 9:22 AM - George Sherrill has been informed and is scheduled to take a physical, according to ESPN. Thanks for the tip, Carver.

UPDATE 1/28, 11:10 AM - What do you know, more conflicting reports: Seattle P-I blog

Bedard Coming to Seattle!

The Erik Bedard/Adam Jones trade is going down, according to Geoff Baker and other sources.

As I blogged earlier, Jones was held out of the lineup in Venezuela and is coming home to take a physical.

"(Bill Bavasi) called me yesterday and told me the news," Adam Jones told a Diario Panorama reporter. "I’ve got to go to Baltimore tomorrow morning and handle things there. I'm the centerpiece of the deal on the Mariners side. It's an honor to get traded for such a highly talented pitcher as Bedard is."

Very exciting to see this deal actually happen after weeks and weeks of speculation. No word yet on who the other players are, we'll keep you updated.

Note: As soon as this deal becomes final, expect the Mariners to waste no time in acquiring a right fielder. The most likely option right now is Brad Wilkerson.

UPDATE 7:36 PM - "We do not have an agreement with the Mariners," Orioles president of baseball operations MacPhail said.

We get it. No deal until he passes his physical, that he is likely taking in Seattle, not Baltimore.

I don't see how these latest reports can be wrong, but this has been a strange offseason so who knows.

Adam Jones Out of Lineup.. Again

Shannon Drayer is reporting that Adam Jones will not be available to the Cardinales de Lara for the second time this offseason.

Could the Mariners be close to another trade? Hard to say after a wacky offseason.

She also mentioned that she has heard from "good sources" that George Sherrill will likely be heading to Baltimore if a trade occurs, and Carlos Triunfel will not be.

Interesting Santana Note

From Pioneer Press:

The Twins tried to get the Los Angeles Angels interested in Santana, but the Angels appear more interested in acquiring hitting than pitching.

It seems everyone has been under the impression that Seattle would be unable to obtain Johan Santana because he didn't want to play on the West Coast.

I remember a report that Santana was upset when that rumor started flying around, though I can't find the link at the moment, so I wouldn't be surprised if his East Coast preference was severely blown out of proportion.

Maybe Seattle is still in on Santana?

“We’ve tried to keep all of our lines in the water to get the premier guys that are out there,” GM Bill Bavasi said on Thursday. “And we’ve been involved all the way on those guys and we’ve stayed involved.”

Don't get your hopes up, but interesting nonetheless.

UPDATE - Now that Bedard is reportedly heading to Seattle this was obviously a pointless post.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Clark Update 2; Silva Interview

According to MLB Rumors, Tony Clark could be nearing a deal with the San Francisco Giants.

Such a deal would be contradictory to recent Chris Haft speculation. Besides that, Giants GM Brian Sabean recently said, "I don't know that we could marginally improve ourselves with anybody out there," hinting that he was done with the free agent market.

The Giants don't seem to have much of a plan this offseason, so I suppose anything is possible.

The majority of Mariner fans seem to be against a Tony Clark signing, so this could only be good news.

Lately I have been thinking that Brad Wilkerson could be brought in as a backup, not necessarily as a starter, but that is all speculation. I also wonder if Seattle would go after Ryan Klesko. He would be a seemingly pointless addition, like Clark, but if Bill Bavasi is hellbent on adding first base depth from the left side he could look that direction.

Besides the latest rumblings on Tony Clark, MLB Rumors has also just released an interview with new Seattle Mariners pitcher Carlos Silva that may be worth your while.

Wilkerson Update


Can't promise anything, but my source is saying Brad Wilkerson is likely to become a Mariner on a one-year deal. Put this in the unconfirmed category for now.

We all know how solid the information has been this offseason, but a Wilkerson deal wouldn't be surprising to me at this point.

My first reactions were that GM Bill Bavasi was referring to Wilkerson on Thursday when he said, "You might see some of those drop-dead dates where agents say, 'Well, I can't wait for you anymore. I know you have an everyday job for me if you make move-A, but you know what, this other team over here; they've got 250-300 at bats for my guy, I gotta go that way.' So you might see some of that."

We'll keep you updated.

McLaren to "Steal" Some Wins

I just finished up a post on MVN's Caffeinated Confines about manager John McLaren's intentions to steal more bases in 2008. Here's a snippet:

Back at the Winter Meetings McLaren was asked how many bases Ichiro could steal. “Let’s just say 80 to start with,” he responded. “Let’s go there.”

“I think Betancourt has got the capabilities of being a 20-plus stolen base guy,” McLaren was also quoted as saying in the same media session.

Thursday at the annual Spring Training luncheon hosted at Safeco Field, McLaren backed up his statements. “Ichiro can walk backwards and steal 40 bases, he’s on base more than anybody.”

The manager talked about being aggressive all game long, and having a “daredevil” or “riverboat gambler” attitude on the basepaths next season.

“I want Betancourt running more for sure,” he said, also mentioning Adam Jones and Jose Lopez. He continued a few minutes later, “I would like to see Betancourt stealing some bases– 20, 30, 40. I mean, he’s got that type of talent.”

For the complete post click the link: Seattle to be Aggressive on the Basepaths in '08.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bedard Unhappy, Clark's Choices, Jason Bay?

Alright, a couple tid-bits to wrap up the work week.

Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun was able to talk to Erik Bedard on the phone today.

"If they don't want me, [a trade] is the best thing to do," Bedard told Jeff, among other things. Be sure to check out the article for all the quotes.

Bedard has voiced his displeasure with Baltimore before, but the timing of these comments can only help Seattle get a deal done, in my opinion.

Zrebiec goes on to agree with everyone that Chris Tillman would likely be involved alongside Adam Jones.

---'s Chris Haft has this to say in his latest installment of Giants' Notes, "Numerous free-agent first basemen remain available -- Sean Casey, Mike Sweeney, Doug Mientkiewicz and Tony Clark, among others -- but none is likely to sign with the Giants as a complement to Dan Ortmeier."

Pair that with Buster Olney's report that Clark's choices were down to Seattle and San Francisco and it looks like our Mariners are going to end up with Clark, for better or worse.


There have been some mentions of new Jason Bay rumors in our comment sections. Anyone wanna help me out and elaborate a little bit here? URLs, quotes or whatever you have, because I'm not following where these are coming from.

Unless this the quote everyone is talking about:

Churchill: The latest I’m hearing is that the Pirates deal may only involve Bay, not Snell, and may only happen if the Mariners are sure they are going to trade Jones for Bedard.

Doesn't sound like much of a rumor.

Clark Update

A couple readers already mentioned this in the comments, but Buster Olney is reporting that Tony Clark is going to likely sign with either the Mariners or the San Francisco Giants.

Unfortunately you have to be a subscriber to read the whole piece, but other outlets such as Rotoworld are reporting what they read.

We'll keep you updated.

Putz to Win Rolaids Relief Award

posted by Jon
Everyone that sat through Seattle's two hour long address to the media, either in person or at their computers, were probably looking for the same things. Most of us were waiting for GM Bill Bavasi's Q&A session, over an hour into the conference, to try and find some quotes to stoke the hot stove.

There was a lot of other good info to come out of it from everyone that contributed. Surely there will be mentions of minor league news, injury updates, new team philosophies and other things at later dates on this blog as they pertain to the posts. There was one little tid-bit that is unimportant in the grand scope of things, but noteworthy nonetheless.

J.J. Putz will be announced as the American League Rolaids Relief Man Award winner on Sunday. This shouldn't be a shock, as this is one of the few awards in which the winner is determined by the stats, and not skewed by Red Sox Nation or lazy players.

Putz, the first Mariner to ever win the award, ran away with the title. The Angels' K-Rod finished in a distant second.

It's always nice to see our guys get recognized, and hopefully Putz will be right back on top of the American League next season.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Baker/Street Latest: Bavasi Confident

posted by Jon

Geoff Baker just posted on his blog, backing up the Shannon Drayer entry I mentioned yesterday. Baker adds some great quotes.

First, Bavasi still expects to get a deal done for a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. He never mentions names, but it's clear he was talking about Erik Bedard. It's also clear that Bavasi feels this team is ready to challenge for a playoff spot and is ready to give up Adam Jones and plenty of other names to get a deal done.

"We're in a position now where we have to do our best to make those moves for a top-of-the-rotation guy so we can slot the rest of the rotation where it should be,'' he said. "We feel we have to make a move -- one more move."

Bavasi says he's already put his best offer on the table and that it's now a waiting game. He says there's been a genuine reluctance by some clubs to part with young prospects, but "we're not one of those clubs. We're prepared to move...but there is a limit.''

What would that be?

"I don't think you can give a club its terms and its price,'' he said. "We can move a premier prospect and numbers (of players), but we're not going to move a number of premier prospects."

So, what's going to happen now?

"As I'm sitting here today, I think we will (get a deal done),'' he said. "I think there's a good chance of that."

Based on the above quotes I have trouble believing the rumors that Adam Jones was the dealbreaker a week ago. Sure, maybe Baltimore is asking too much, but Bavasi is willing to get this done.'s Jim Street has just written about the same topic, adding some interesting quotes of his own.

"I might think we're going to make a move, so I'll go ahead and make other moves, assuming I will make that big deal," Street quotes Bavasi as saying. "But if I don't make that big deal, I'm in trouble."

What moves could these be? Acquiring another outfielder perhaps?

According to both Street and Baker, Bavasi is being realistic about his rotation, which is encouraging.

As quoted above, Baker has him saying, "We're in a position now where we have to do our best to make those moves for a top-of-the-rotation guy so we can slot the rest of the rotation where it should be.''

Street collected this quote from Bavasi, "For us, the most important thing is the top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. Not a No. 2 or No. 3 or a No. 4. But there is a limit to what we will move."

Everyone knows we currently have a rotation that includes one ace-in-training and three back-end guys in Washburn, Silva and Batista, and it's nice to know Bavasi is on the same page.

There was rumors about a deadline at the end of this month, but Baltimore's Andy McPhail would just like things settled by the time pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, just shy of three weeks from now.

It's very exciting to me to see these rumors spring back up, as anticipated, especially now that we know Bavasi will not be taken. I know many of you are attached to our prospects and are seemingly against the "win now" mentality, but it looks like Bill Bavasi will be able to keep some good, young talent in Seattle even with a Bedard trade.

Watch the complete press conference.

How does everyone feel about the latest happenings?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Minor" Help, part 2

Back in early December I posted an ad on here for someone to write about the Seattle organization from rookie ball to AAA. Chris Meer answered the call, and made his debut on December 15th with a post about Robert Rohrbaugh.

I was pleased with the post, but I haven't heard from Chris since December 23rd. I've decided it is time to start looking around for someone else. (Chris, if you're out there, send me an email!)

If you are interested in contributing 1-2 posts per month profiling minor leaugers, writing about transactions, who's hot/who's not, and all things minor leagues please send me an email at After you contact me be prepared to get write a post, and if it is what we're looking for it will be posted on the site and you will be added as a contributor to BBT.

You could be granted more than 1-2 posts depending on your content. If you can post entries that include more than a quick Google search and a glance through Baseball-Reference you are obviously more valuable.

If you have any interest at all, even if you feel under-qualified, please send me an email and we'll talk about it. Look forward to hearing from you.

Bavasi Still Looking for an Ace

posted by Jon

It's been a slow day today, but I decided to poke around and see if I could find anything worth passing along.

KOMO's Shannon Drayer has posted today that Seattle GM Bill Bavasi is still trying to acquire an "elite starter" via trade. (Decent read, check it out)

Nothing too significant in the entry, but encouraging nonetheless. Many fans seem to assume that Bavasi has dropped out of the Bedard race after last week's events, but obviously the talks just stalled and it's back to the drawing board.

Drayer did mention that Cincinnati has seemingly pulled out of the Bedard race, which makes the New York Mets' interest in Johan Santana much more interesting.

Many sources have the Mets as the new favorite to come away with the two-time Cy Young award winner. If they can seal the deal and bring Santana to Shea Stadium then it would appear that Seattle has a better shot at Erik Bedard. The Mariners would be the lone team targeting Bedard at that point and the price could come down just enough to get a deal done. I would expect a final attempt by the Reds, but they have been much more stubborn than Seattle thus far.

The Mets impact is all speculation with a lot of variables, but it seems to add up. Thoughts?

UPDATE (7:02 AM - 1/24) - Prospect Insider's sidebar is saying that the two sides are in a staring contest, as each team is waiting for the other to blink. Churchill mentions than if it doesn't get done this weekend it won't get done at all, so hopefully we'll know once and for all within a week or so.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bloomquist Could Be Back

posted by Jon

At some point last season I saw a television interview with Willie Bloomquist in which he expressed his unhappiness with his role, saying something along the lines that he would be searching for something better once his contract expired after the '08 season.

If I had been blogging at the time I would have documented it or at least gotten an exact quote, but either way I had developed my own belief that he would not be back. Because of this belief I have defended Mike Morse on several occasions, because I figured he was a decent option to help fill the void left by Bloomquist.

Bloomquist is still slightly down on his role, but it seems he has learned to accept it and may be more willing to sign an extension with Seattle, according to this Kitsap Sun article.

Willing, but only if they show him the money.

Willie's 2007 paycheck was just shy of a million bucks, but he could be looking to double his salary. In the article he compares himself to utility men Alex Cora and Alex Cintron.

"Those guys are making somewhere around $2 million a year or something like that. In the past they have been everyday guys, but the bottom line is they're paid as utility guys. With all due respect to them, they're good players and they play short and second and maybe a little bit of third. I can throw in center field, right field, first and left field as well," Bloomquist was quoted as saying.

There is no doubt that he is confident in his role, referring to himself as "one of the better guys in the league at it" and passing along the Mariners' belief that he is "one of the best, if not the best at being a utility guy."

Could Bloomquist really command $2M annually? It's hard to find players as defensively flexible as Willie, but here are a couple utility men and their salaries:

Seattle's newest utility man, Miguel Cairo, just signed for $850,000 this year, and has not made more than $1M in his career (2006). Cairo plays all four infield positions and can play some outfield.

Former Oakland and current Toronto utility man Marco Scutaro will make $1.55M next season. Scutaro routinely gets more at bats than Bloomquist, but like Cairo he does not bring speed to the table and only plays emergency outfield.

Alfredo Amezaga of the Florida Marlins is fairly comparable to Bloomquist. Plays everywhere, steals bases, but receives quite a few more at bats than Bloomquist (400 last season). Unfortunately Amezaga is still under team control so it's hard to tell how much he could make with arbitration out of the way. Like Bloomquist he made just under one million last season.

Former Mariner bust Scott Spiezio has done well for himself as the Cardinals' utility man. He's been a better hitter than Bloomquist, but lacks defensive ability at center field and shortstop. He is currently making over $2M annually.

I could go on listing other utility men, but obviously none of them quite compare to Willie. He's not a great hitter by any stretch, not even a good hitter, but he plays solid defense at seven positions and not many players in the Major Leagues can boast that.

Is $2M too much to give a guy who has yet to eclipse 251 at bats in a season? Sure it is, but he is valuable in his own right. If you based the salary strictly on offense and speed off the bench he shouldn't be making any more than $1-1.5M, but his versatility could indeed push him to the $1.75-2M range if that is what it takes to retain him. That may be too much, but I believe the Mariners would like to keep him and $2M is practically pocket change for a team whose payroll is over $105M.

I can see why Willie would be reluctant to pursue a job elsewhere at this point. He will have to fight twice as hard as anyone else for a starting job now that he has been pigeon-holed into the utility role, and his family is rooted in the Seattle area. Bloomquist has hinted in the article that he doesn't want to deal with this during the season, so we could see him extended before Spring Training closes. We'll keep you updated.

Question to the reader: How much is Bloomquist worth?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Seattle Interested in Tony Clark

posted by Jon

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Mariners are among three teams vying for free agent first baseman Tony Clark.

If signed, Clark would likely get at bats at first base and DH, as well as pinch hitting late.

New BBT addition Dustin Shires had Seattle going after Clark over a month ago at his old blog, Mariner Nation. Here is a paragraph from his post dated December 16:
Clark is an imposing figure, standing 6'7" and weighing in at 245 pounds. The guy is a switch-hitting power bat who has more power success from the left side of the plate. A pull, power hitter is what Seattle has always lacked in Safeco. The fact that he's a switch hitter makes him all the more appealing because once Sexson hits the wall, Clark can fill in full time, hitting against both lefties and righties. When given playing time, Clark has been a successful power bat. Every year that he's played more than 130 games, he's hit more than 30 home runs. I won't lie, the guy strikes out quite a bit, about 1/4 of the time, but not like we haven't seen that in Sexson. Honestly, he can't do worse than Sexson did last year.

I happen to strongly disagree here. First of all, Richie Sexson will bounce back next season. There is no way he will repeat his numbers from last year, or post a .245/.330/.460 vital line (AVG/OBP/SLG) as U.S.S. Mariner predicts. He has a career vital of .263/.345/.514 and has managed to post a .248/.338/.488 since joining the Mariners, despite the horrifying .205/.295/.399 he produced last year. I predict he will post something closer to his 2006 numbers than his 2007 nightmare.

Besides my belief that Sexson will bounce back, he actually hits righties just as well as Tony Clark, posting a .264 career average against them compared to Clark's .263 while hitting left-handed. Sure, Sexson has slipped to the .240s in recent years, but I don't believe the drop is significant enough to warrant a platoon situation (especially since Clark has hit .213 and .254 against right-handers the past two seasons).

I would hate to see Clark taking up a roster spot on the bench. He can only realistically play first base, and he would be hurting Mike Morse's future with Seattle. The only reason I would be alright with a Tony Clark acquisition is if the Mariners front office is still planning on trading Sexson. I don't see that happening at this point, and even then it would just be a salary dump move, because I doubt Clark would outdo Sexson next season.

Tony Clark would simply replace Ben Broussard, a player who was traded because there was no room for him. Yay or nay on a Clark signing?

Poll Results: Top Prospects

posted by Jon

Q: Who will have the best major league career?

Adam Jones - 70 - ~50%
Jeff Clement - 32 - ~23%
Brandon Morrow - 19 - ~13%
Wladimir Balentien - 17 - ~12%

Jon's vote: Jeff Clement
Dustin's vote: Jeff Clement
Patrick's vote: Wladimir Balentien

First of all I'd like to mention the great voter turnout. It obviously reflects on all the new readers we have gained recently, and I'd like to thank you all for contributing.

There wasn't a lot in the results that surprised me. Without thinking much about it I placed the players in order of how many votes I thought they would receive, and that's how it ended up. I did expect Morrow to grab a few more votes and I figured Wlad would finish in a distant last.

A few days after the launch of this poll I realized that there was a real problem with the question, especially since I wasn't sure who to pick. How can you rank the MLB careers of players that are slotted into completely different roles?

Maybe a more appropriate question to ask would be:

Who will have the biggest impact on the teams they play for over the course of their career?

Change any votes?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jeremy Affeldt, Brad Wilkerson

posted by Dustin

Jon previously blogged here that a move the Mariners could make if Sherrill is traded would be to sign Jeremy Affeldt, a Washington native. Well, that idea was nixed today when it was announced that Affeldt and the Reds have agreed on a 1 year, $3 million deal (with performance bonuses).

He may be used as a end of the rotation starter to begin the year, but if all else fails, he'll be moved to the bullpen where he was exclusively used last season, and successful as well.


Rumor has it that the Mariners are interested in Brad Wilkerson. The Red Sox had previously shown some interest, but the lofty demand of 3 years, $21 million should have them thinking otherwise.

Also connected to Wilkerson: Yankees and A's

Wilkerson is 30 years old and is a home hitter. If Jones is dealt, could Wilkerson by a viable option to fill right? Certainly, as long as Boras, Wilkerson's agent, drops the price.


Jon's two cents: It's not difficult to connect the dots on this one. I'm almost certain Affledt was holding out for the Mariners, the Bedard deal has supposedly fallen through, so he signed with Cinci.

As far as Wilkerson goes, I don't believe he would be a good option for Seattle, with or without Adam Jones. He's a high strikeout, low defense guy who only got it done in a hitter's haven of a home stadium last season. He's left handed, which is always a plus, but I don't think he'd be the best choice for Seattle, especially if Richie Sexson is in the same lineup.

Wilkerson's price will undoubtedly come down, though, as there has been a backlash against Scott Boras lately. His clients have not been getting the outlandish demands he has been asking for, and I think he may be toning it down a little bit.

Bedard to Seattle: Important Precedent

posted by Patrick

It's July 31st, 1989 and the Minnesota Twins are 51-53 after finishing 91-71 the year before, and are just two years removed from winning the World Series in '88. With a weak pitching staff that was in dire need of rebuilding, general manager Andy MacPhail traded away the Twins lone starting pitcher sensation; a 29-year old Cy Young Award winner by the name of Frank Viola. The trade involved sending Viola to the Mets for starting pitchers Rick Aguilera, David West, and Kevin Tapani as well as relief pitchers Jack Savage and Tim Drummond.

When asked about the trade, GM Andy MacPhail stated that "This is the kind of deal a general manager hates to make, you put your head out there because you know it's the right thing to do for the organization." Although the move didn't completely pan out for the Twins, MacPhail managed to keep his job for a couple more years despite lack of support for him among Twins fans.

If you've stuck with me so far, you have reached the paragraph where I make my point. Andy MacPhail is the Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore Orioles but essentially serves as general manager (Mike Flanagan is officially the GM but MacPhail pulls the strings). So MacPhail is faced with the same type of situation that he was faced with in the summer of 1989. He's already demonstrated that he will trade a superstar pitcher to rebuild a franchise if it's in the best interest of the team, and I think the consensus is that trading Erik Bedard is the better choice for the Orioles in the long-term. By the way, remember when I said Viola was 29 when he was traded? Erik Bedard turns 29 in March...

More MacPhail Quotes about the Viola Trade:

"The reality is that baseball is cyclical. Sometimes you've got to play the cycle and turn in your chips for more chips."

"You knew at the time it was one of those trades that can be a career buster, when you get right down to it. It's one of those that you have to get right. But I had a lot of confidence in our evaluators, and I just knew in my heart and soul it was time."


Friday, January 18, 2008

Jones is the Hangup?

posted by Jon

Prospect Insider has been single-handedly driving the Adam Jones rumor mill at times this offseason, and they have some new info on their sidebar today.

After exchanging emails with a person connected to the trade discussions between the Baltimore Orioles and the Seattle Mariners, I've learned that maybe the reason a deal has not been consummated is not what we've been led to believe up to this point.

Thus far it's appeared that the Orioles' demand for either Brandon Morrow, Carlos Triunfel or even Chris Tillman to be included may have held a deal up for the past few weeks. But perhaps that's not true, says the source.

"It's Adam Jones. I don't think they (Seattle) are sure about giving him up."

The two clubs are apparently keeping the lines of communication open, but no deal is imminent.

That is pretty surprising to me, but it makes the whole Winter league episode make a little more sense. That brings me to this little blurb by MLBTR:

Maybe the Mariners have been reading blogs again.
Honestly, that wouldn't surprise me one bit. There is not way you pull out of that trade unless you've been listening to biased, whiny fan bloggers crying about it. Bottom line is that Erik Bedard makes this team better than Adam Jones would in 2008 and 2009. You don't need to think beyond that, because we have plenty of youth waiting in the wings.

Everything looks at Jones' power numbers in AAA and thinks he is some sort of god. Anyone else realize that he could strike out 200 times if he doesn't have any lineup protection?

Horacio Ramirez Inks For 2008

It was announced today that the Mariners and Horacio Ramirez have agreed to a one year contract for 2008 worth $2.75 million with an opportunity for Ramirez to earn up to $300,000 more in bonuses. In doing so, the two parties avoid salary arbitration.

The base salary of $2.75 million is a $100k raise from last year. Yes, that's right; apparently you can get a pay raise for being the worst starting pitcher in baseball. Does this mean that Horacio is a lock for the rotation? Absolutely not. The Mariners did this so that they had an option to fall back on in the event that none of our young guns were capable to be in the rotation and we don't sign or trade for another starter.

Hopefully we'll be able to close the case on HoRam in the next couple of weeks by acquiring the ace that we've been looking for.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

M's Issue Non-Roster Invites

The Seattle Mariners announced their first 18 Spring Training invites today.

Pitchers (11): Arthur Rhodes, Chris Reitsma, Chris Tillman, Kam Mickolio, Phillipe Aumont, Robert Rohrbaugh, Philip Barzilla, Jake Woods, Roy Corcoran, Brodie Downs, Stephen Kahn

Infielders (3): Matt Tuiasosopo, Mark Kiger, Tug Hulett

Outfielders (1): Bronson Sardinha

Catchers (3): Adam Moore, Jair Fernandez, Brant Ust

Pitchers: Chris Reitsma and Arthur Rhodes you know. They are both veterans of the game, both successful in the past, both made Seattle's Opening Day roster last season and both missed substantial time on the disabled list. The Mariner bullpen would receive a nice boost if either of these two can bounce back from their injuries and pitch like they did in the days of yesteryear. I think Reitsma has the best chance to bounce back. He should be fully recovered and still has some innings left in his arm, while Rhodes missed all of last season and may be running out of time. While he had a great year for Cleveland in 2005, Rhodes hasn't pitched successfully in back-to-back seasons since his last stint with Seattle.

Mariners fans will get their first look at first round pick Phillipe Aumont. He has yet to make his professional debut, however, and should be cut fairly early. Chris Tillman, as good as he could become, probably won't last long either in his first big league Spring Training.

Jake Woods is another familiar face, but I think he blew his chance at a regular role with this team and is now below several pitchers on the organizational depth chart. Don't expect much out of Stephen Kahn either. He has pitched well during his brief Mariner career, but he'll likely start the year back in AA. Brodie Downs hasn't taken the typical path to the majors. He was drafted out of Junior College at age 27 last year, and combined for a 2.49 ERA between rookie ball, AA and AAA in his first season. He could be an interesting story to follow.

The young pitchers with the best chance to crack this years Opening Day roster would have to be Kameron Mickolio and Robert Rohrbaugh. Mickolio was in the same draft as Brandon Morrow, and is a hulk of a man that delivers some serious heat. Rohrbaugh may be in the same boat as Jake Woods. He's a lefty starter type that will probably end up in AAA instead of in the bullpen or fifth spot, but he is just about major league ready. More on Rohrbaugh here. Philip Barzilla and Roy Corcoran could surprise some people as well. Barzilla has pitched fairly well over the last seven seasons in the Houston organization, but has only logged a third of a major league inning. Being left handed is an advantage, and he would definitely benefit from a George Sherrill departure, though there appear to be better pitchers in front of him. Corcoran, most recently of the Marlins organization, has also pitched in seven minor league seasons with a very nice 3.11 ERA and 9.39 K/9, but has been unable to put it together in his 16 appearances at the major league level.

I was rather surprised that neither Austin Bibens-Dirkx nor Doug Fister were able to get an invite. ABD also came out of the same draft class as Morrow and Mickolio, and might be more advanced at this point in his career had it not been for some injuries slowing him down. He should be up before season's end, though Fister might be another year or so away.

If I had to pick one non-roster pitcher to make the 25-man, besides Reitsma and Rhodes, I would have to pick Kam Mickolio. The guy has shot through the organization and finished 2007 with 10.5 K/9 in AAA.

I'll write at length about all the pitchers competing for jobs once Spring Training rolls around.

Infielders: Seattle's first pick of the 2004 draft (3rd round), Matt Tuiasosopo has been a bit of a disappointment so far. He has yet to develop the power most scouts thought he had, and will not be granted a 25-man roster spot anytime soon. Tug Hulett, who was acquired in the Ben Broussard trade, along with Mark Kiger give the Mariners even more depth among utility men. Neither of them are better options than Willie Bloomquist or the recently signed Miguel Cairo, so this is no more than a tryout for next year. Bloomquist and Cairo will both be free agents after this season, and the Mariners will have to find new utility guys for the bench.

Catchers: The Mariners are going to have a very nice group of catchers working with the pitchers this Spring Training. Kenji Johjima, Jaime Burke, Jeff Clement and Rob Johnson will be joined by up-and-comer Adam Moore this Spring. He is projecting to be a very solid major league catcher, a Michael Barrett type, and he is reportedly very good with the pitchers. I wrote much more about him here. Joining Moore will be Jair Fernandez and Brant Ust, and neither are much to write home about. Ust has been playing pro ball since 1999 but has yet to make his major league debut. Like Fernandez, he is weak with the stick but does have some value. Ust is a rare breed of utility players that can play catcher. Last season in AAA Tacoma he logged innings at catcher, first base, second base and third base.

Outfielder Bronson Sardinha is a former first round pick by the New York Yankees (2001). I doubt the 24 year old will compete with the likes of Jeremy Reed, Charlton Jimerson and others for the fourth outfielder spot, and he is probably just auditioning for another AAA job. If anything he can entertain us with his totally awesome middle name: Kiheimahanaomauiakeo. I wonder how long it took him to learn how to spell that.

This seems like a pretty good bunch of players. I don't see any of the position players making the team however. There should be a few more invites dished out in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Roberts to Cubs; Seattle's Turn?

posted by Jon

There have been reports today that the Cubs are all set to acquire second baseman Brian Roberts from the Baltimore Orioles. I know we throw you off sometimes, but this is in fact a Mariners blog, and this trade could very well impact Seattle.

It has been my belief that the ongoing Baltimore/Chicago trade talks were hindering Seattle's ability to get a deal done with the Orioles. Baltimore obviously wants to move Roberts more, whether it has to do with the recent steroid allegations or anything else. They have already stated that they are in no rush to trade Erik Bedard, and they feel comfortable with him as their Opening Day starter.

With Roberts out of the way, Orioles GM Andy MacPhail can now turn all of his attention to moving his ace southpaw. Don't believe the rumors that the once "imminent" Seattle/Baltimore deal is dead. Obviously Baltimore needed to shift their focus as they were preparing to bring in a different boatload of prospects.

Yes, Adam Jones is back in Lara's lineup, but I think that is less of a factor than some think. A deal was close, so he was pulled out. The deal was put on the backburner, so he was put back in the lineup.

This Cubs/Orioles trade could also impact a potential Seattle deal, for better or worse, depending on what Baltimore gets in return for Roberts. Jon Lieber was signed by the Cubs just before this report came out, making some of Chicago's young starters available, namely Sean Marshall and Sean Gallagher. Could the inclusion of either or both of these pitchers extinguish Baltimore's interest in Brandon Morrow? While you can never have enough young pitching, it would certainly make it easier for them to drop him from the price tag. You could ask the same question regarding the possible (though unlikely) inclusion of stud center fielder Felix Pie, but I think Adam Jones would remain the centerpiece regardless as he is obviously capable of playing one of the corners.

I know many of us would rather send Baltimore Brandon Morrow over some other prospect, but Seattle GM Bill Bavasi may not feel the same. If Morrow is dropped from the deal something could get done sooner than later.

Just read this blurb from the bottom of the aforementioned report:

One baseball insider confirmed through email that the Cubs would like to make another move this off season before pitchers and catchers report. He went on to say that he has not heard anything about a deal being close, but said a deal is likely to go down before the end of the month.

This could obviously be referring to anything, but interesting nonetheless. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if talks were renewed within the next week or so.

Note: Take the Roberts-to-Cubs rumor with a grain of salt. Although this trade has been on the verge of happening for quite some time, there hasn't been a lot of confirming reports out there. We should know within the coming days.

Update (11:55 PM PST) - A new update on the previously linked MLB-Rumors entry seems to contradict the entire reasoning behind this post.

The Daily Herald believes the Orioles would prefer to trade Bedard before Roberts, so we will see what happens.

It's their speculation against mine, we'll see who wins out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Rhodes, Sherrill Agree to Terms

The Seattle Mariners agreed to terms on a minor league deal with lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes today. Rhodes missed all of last season, and may also miss the beginning of this coming year. This is another low risk signing and I see no problem with it.

The M's also avoided arbitration with George Sherrill, so he is now officially signed for next season.

It's easy enough to connect either of these moves to Bedard, but I wouldn't bother. I'll try to sum up today's rumors a little later on.

Adam Jones to Return to Lara

posted by Jon

Alright, back to the Erik Bedard! Back to Adam Jones! Here are a couple of things I picked up last night:

Roch Kubatko is reporting that Adam Jones is set to resume play for the Cardinales de Lara of the Venezuela Winter league. He was pulled out over the weekend, spawning an overload of speculation as to the reason why. It still could have been the result of Seattle/Baltimore discussions heating up, and there could be numerous reasons why he's playing again. Maybe the trade negotiations have taken a step back, maybe Jones was begging to help Lara in their playoff run, maybe he is only available from the bench, maybe he hasn't actually been cleared and it was a false report. It wouldn't be the first time a report was wrong. Many sources had been reporting that Jones was on his way back to Seattle, likely to take a physical. Just don't write this trade off yet.

On a slightly more creative note, Baltimore appears interested in signing Octavio Dotel. Now, I am not totally familiar with the Orioles' plans or current bullpen situation, but would a Dotel acquisition alter Baltimore's pursuit of George Sherrill? Maybe some of you O's fans that have recently invaded can help us out on that one. I don't think it would, but it is a valid point to bring up.