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July 30, 2008 at 2:46 PM

Rhodes, Ibanez in-play

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Let’s drop the Jarrod Washburn stuff for a just a moment and focus on the two other Mariners with the best shot at getting traded by tomorrow. No, not Adrian Beltre. I’m told the San Francisco Giants want him, but are reluctant to move their best young major and minor league arms. Deal won’t happen if they don’t. Besides, who would play third base? The Giants would have to include a third baseman. They have 27-year-old Jose Castillo, another free-swinger but solid defender, who could be a stop-gap guy until the next big thing (Carlos Triunfel?) comes up through Seattle’s system. But there would have to be a prize in any Betre deal, like one of the “untouchable” young arms the Giants have. I’m told that Jonathan Sanchez is the one “untouchable” who could be touchable. But let’s face it. This is already getting too complicated. Sounds like a nice winter project to me.
No, I’m talking Arthur Rhodes and Raul Ibanez. Rhodes was beign pursued by the Tigers, Brewers and Marlins — with Florida about ready to part with the mid-level prospect it would take to get him. Forget about the Tigers, they’re done. Just pulled off a deal with the Yankees, sending them catcher Ivan Rodriguez for reliever Kyle Farnsworth. So, that takes care of any bid for Rhodes by Detroit. To answer one question, yes, Farnsworth is right handed, but it was just another bullpen arm (right or left) that the Tigers wanted to bolster their pen. They weren’t specifically looking for a situational lefty. You’ll also notice in the story that Rodriguez waived his no-trade clause to go to New York. He’s got the same agent as Washburn. Like I said, the no-trade thing isn’t going to hold up any Washburn deal. This stuff gets taken care of.
On to Raul Ibanez. The M’s are apparently asking for two prospects in exchange for him from both the Mets and Cubs. Not surprising, since Seattle would receive two higher level compensatory picks for Ibanez should he leave as a free-agent at year’s end.
But here’s the catch: in order to get those picks, Seattle would have to offer arbitration to Ibanez. What if he accepts? Then, the M’s would have to be prepared to go to 2009 with him as the DH, most likely. So, those draft picks are not a given. In other words, if one prospect is worthy enough, Seattle’s asking price could come down from where it is now. As a negotiating position though, I’d expect to see the ask of two high prospects that’s now out there. You have to have something to come back down to, especially since the deadline is a full 22 hours away.
Now is when things start to get serious. When the real negotiating begins.
Frankly, I’ll be disappointed if Seattle comes away empty-handed tomorrow.
At the very least, Rhodes is the closest to a sure-thing trade you’re ever going to get on a team as bad as the Mariners. They have to deal him. You have a shot at getting a young possibility back and that’s better than clinging to an old one that isn’t going to help this team when it matters. I’d say it’s down to the Marlins and Brewers, both of which are also scouting Eddie Guardado. One will wind up with Florida, the other with Milwaukee.
If Rhodes is still here by tomorrow night, then Lee Pelekoudas will have come up short. There’s holding firm in negotiations, then there’s being too stubborn for your own good. I’d expect that, with 30 years in this business, he’s smart enough to recognize that.

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Yuniesky Betancourt takes a seat tonight. Willie Bloomquist starts in his place. I asked manager Jim Riggleman whether he felt Betancourt needed a night off. He hasn’t exactly been Mr. consistency night-in, night out. Riggleman agreed that he could tellfrom Betancourt’s body language that he’s frustrated.
I don’t know. To me, Betancourt looks like Jose Lopez from last year. I wonder if he has the focus and mental toughness to bring his “A” game night after night. Lopez is doing a much better job of that this season.
I also asked about Jose Vidro and Jeff Clement, the latter pictured above. Neither was put into last night’s game, though Washburn was used as a pinch-runner. It turns out Vidro woke up the other day with a sore neck and back. So, he was kept out. Won’t play tonight either, though maybe off the bench. Clement won’t be ready to catch again until at least Friday because of that bent back thumbnail. Riggleman said he could be used in an emergency to pinch hit. He was keeping him in reserve last night, just in case that situation arose. So, that’s his reasoning for using Washburn to run.



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