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December 6, 2007 at 9:31 AM

Meetings wrap up; no further trade progress

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They held the Rule 5 draft this morning, with the Mariners taking former Texas Rangers starter R.A. Dickey, who rebuilt his career in Minnesota’s system last season after switching to a knuckleball. The 33-year-old went 13-6 with a 3.72 ERA for Class AAA Nashville last season and was on the roster for Class AAA Rochester when selected. But the numbers that peaked Seattle’s interest were his 10-2 record and 2.52 ERA after June 1.
GM Bill Bavasi said that Dickey, who pitched for the Rangers in 2001 and then 2003-2006, going 16-19 in 77 games (33 of them starts), will have a shot at the back of the rotation or bullpen. It cost the M’s $50,000 to claim him with the #15 pick this morning. If they don’t keep him on the major league roster for an entire season, they must offer him back to the Twins for $25,000.
One of the reasons the M’s took a flyer on Dickey was because the team had two open spots on its 40-man roster, meaning a player didn’t have to be removed in order to claim Dickey. That could explain why Dickey, who was the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year last season, was still available. Not every team had the roster room.
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While the Mariners did not lose anyone in the major league portion of the draft, they did see pitcher Juan Sandoval claimed by Milwaukee in the Class AAA round. Sandoval, you may remember, is a pitcher I wrote about at spring training earlier this year. He lost the sight in one eye after being shot during an altercation at a restaurant he was eating at in his native Dominican Republic. It took him nearly a year to recover and pitch competitively again.
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As for the trade and free-agent front, Bavasi said nothing has changed from yesterday. His fellow GMs were all preoccupied with the draft this morning and many of them are now scurrying out of the hotel, bags in-hand, in a mad dash for the airpoirt. Bavasi is heading directly to the Dominican to tour the team’s facilities there. He had one other meeting scheduled with a club today, but doesn’t expect any movement on the larger pitching front. He tapped on his Blackberry when asked whether any further meetings were planned.
My take is that Bavasi did about the best he could at these sessions. There was simply no movement on the trade front, mainly because Johan Santana didn’t get dealt. Nothing Bavasi could do about that. He also can’t force the Minnesota Twins to negotiate with him for Santana. Only way to open Minnesota’s eyes would be to dangle the entire farm system and that’s one way to get fleeced. The groundwork has been laid for further talks on Erik Bedard. From everything I hear, the M’s are as serious as any other suitor about landing him. This isn’t a show. The team wants to get Bedard — once again, without getting fleeced. It may take time and it may not happen.
From what I hear, the M’s are now the frontrunners to land Hiroki Kuroda. I’m pretty sure they offered him that fourth year yesterday. The dollar amounts I’m hearing are anywhere from $40 million to $44 million. This story right here talks about how the Phillies have bowed out of the Kuroda bidding and lists Seattle as having gone up to $44 million. I can’t confirm the dollar amount, but it seems the M’s are prepared to pay the price to get their guy. Let’s see if it was the right call.
At the bottom of the story, it notes that the Phils released former-Mariners reliever Julio Mateo rather than go to arbitration with him. Phillies GM Pat Gillick declined to say whether Mateo’s still-pending domestic abuse case had anything to do with the decision.

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