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Mariners blog

Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

December 5, 2007 at 7:02 PM

Meetings in quagmire

Plenty of you have emailed to wonder why there’s been no blog update for a while. The simple answer is, there’s nothing to update. Nothing is happening other than a lot of chit-chat. You can thank the Minnesota Twins and Johan Santana for that. As far as big pitching deals go, everyone is looking for Santana’s trade to “set the market.”
Problem is, there’s been no trade.
As we mentioned earlier, the Twins are not happy with what the Red Sox have offered for their ace. It doesn’t help them that the Yankees bowed out of talks, effectively eliminating the chief source of competition. Tough to drive a market up that way. So, everyone plays a waiting game, including the Baltimore Orioles, who still are not happy with any offers they’ve received for Erik Bedard.
The O’s had other things on their mind today as they ponder a deal that would send popular second baseman Brian Roberts to the Cubs. Here’s the lowdown on that. Not saying the O’s can’t handle two things at once. I’m sure they can. But I guess I’m starting to wonder if these two GMs — Billy Smith in Minnesota and Andy MacPhail in Baltimore — really know what they want to do with their pitchers.
I mean, in a market like this, with teams desperate for pitching and two of the game’s best on the market, how tough can it be to strike a deal? I think there is a fear factor at-play here, with neither GM wanting to look like a fool by getting fleeced for a staff ace. Let’s face it, any deal struck here, given the names involved, is going to be remembered for an awful long time. Perhaps in historic terms.
Also, there could be some greed invovled as well. When is enough going to be enough in terms of the return that can be generated for a top pitcher? Does either GM really know? I mean, they can have a goal in mind, but if it’s unrealistic where the market is concerned, does that goal have to be shifted?
In Santana’s case, it is true that the Twins could let him walk as a free agent after 2008 and receive two compensatory draft picks. Yes, they will be high picks. But is that still the same as receiving major league ready prospects? It is if you’ve got a few years to kill. Otherwise, it isn’t quite the same and there’s a much higher risk involved in picking players from scratch as opposed to receiving those who’ve already excelled in the minors.
So, that’s what’s going on (or not going on) here in Nashville. The Mariners were expected to decide by today whether to extend their offer to Hiroki Kuroda from three years to four. That would seem to put them in the lead for the Japanese free-agent’s services. Remember, Kuroda is still planning a visit to Seattle and other stops next week.
Lots of buzz about the rumored suspension that could be handed down to former Mariners outfielder Jose Guillen. Some of you have written in to ask me whether I think the possible suspension — said to be 10 to 15 games — was the reason why the Mariners didn’t seek a multi-year deal with the slugger. Well, let’s see. In three years, Guillen could play roughly 180 games with the team. So, do I think his missing 10 or 15 of those is the reason a team wouldn’t sign him? Uh, no.
As far as not offering him arbitration, the “exposure” argument doesn’t make all that much sense to me. I figured this was what the team would say. But realistically, nobody is going to turn down a package paying $36 million from the Royals in favor of a one-year, $10 million arbitration award (maybe) to play in Seattle.
I mean, Guillen is not Vladimir Guerrero. The $36 million was his lifetime lottery win. That’s it. Probably his last big deal. Not like he’d risk playing one more year and then try for his big score. Not after all the elbow surgeries and leg woes he had in just the last 18 months alone.
Chances he’d resign with Seattle? My opinion is, virtually nil. Much has been made about the fact he sat on the KC offer for over a week and only signed once Seattle declined arbitration. Well, that’s one possiblity.
Another is that Guillen got worried late last week when the Royals began making noise about going after Andruw Jones instead. If it were me, and my lifetime score was about to fly out the window, I’d quit my stalling tactics and ink my name above the dotted line.
But that’s just me, of course.
As for those of you wondering about Guillen’s impact in the clubhouse, I can tell you he was not a “cancer” in any way. Yes, he did use his mouth a lot and made his opinions known, often through this blog. But no, he was not the problem with the Mariners. A mediocre starting rotation was. A defense that wasn’t nearly as good as advertised didn’t help. A lineup where all nine guys weren’t entirely focused night after night was a problem. Was Guillen one of those lacking focus? No. He played hard. His teammates, even those who may not have liked his style all the time, respected how he played the game. He got along very well with J.J. Putz, so that should tell you something about the man’s character. So what if he used his mouth? He said back in August that he knew he could get a three-year deal superior to the $30 million package given to Eric Byrnes by the Diamondbacks. Guess what? Guillen was right. If you’re going to talk, back it up. He did.
Was he everyone’s cup of tea? No. But that didn’t make him a cancer. The way I see it, he was a breath of fresh air for a club that didn’t know much about winning prior to 2007. Going forward, we’ll see. Feel free to disagree.

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