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September 5, 2008 at 5:29 PM

Hear the Armstrong radio interview

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Mariners manager Jim Riggleman, above, asks team CEO Howard Lincoln: “How come we never get to hear you on KJR?”
Or, perhaps not.
In any event, team president Chuck Armstrong went on KJR AM 950 this afternoon to discuss our story from today. Have a listen right here.
Armstrong further clarifies his position on why it isn’t hypocritical for him to say that, on the one hand, the team will have to grind its way through some expensive contracts, while on the other he nixed the Jarrod Washburn trade that could have saved the club $13 million. He says there’s a difference to being on-the-hook for Washburn, Miguel Batista and Adrian Beltre for one year versus a bunch of three and four-year deals.
Not sure I’d include Batista in that group. Unless it was Batista from 2007. But the point is still there, in that he doesn’t consider one-year deals to be an albatross. On the subject of Raul Ibanez, he left open the possibility the team would re-sign him, despite the embargo on high-priced free-agents.
“We’d like to re-sign Raul,” he said. “He’s been our most productive offensive player. But it has to make good economic sense.”

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In other words, if they can get him relatively cheap, they go for it. If it’s a deal like last winter, when Jose Guillen signed for three years, $36 million in KC, they take a pass. Interesting to see where that money line will be drawn with Ibanez, especially with two potential high draft picks to be gained if he leaves. Unlike with Guillen, I’d expect to see the M’s at least offer Ibanez arbitration. Still don’t understand the Guillen reasoning last year.
Finally, one last note about Armstrong’s nixing of the Washburn deal scaring off potential candidates. When I spoke to Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava in Toronto back in late-July, he said he’d be very interested in taking a look at the M’s if they ever offered him an interview. Last week, we saw former Indians and Rangers GM John Hart throw his hat in the ring. That’s two names of candidates who would likely be on any shortlist.
Those of you who insist you “know” that other candidates will shy away from the M’s…some names please. I mean, it’s interesting as a guess, or speculation. But I’m telling you that folks I’ve talked to around the game say this is a very good setup here in Seattle, regardless of Armstrong, Lincoln, or Japanese ownership. If any of you want to dispute what I’m saying, I’ve just thrown two names of big candidates out there who are definitely interested in the job. Let’s see your names of who is going to back off an interview for a team that keeps spending $100 million and plays in a city as nice as this one with a money-making ballpark. I’d love to be educated and hear something new. Because I do not know everything. And I’m willing to be told something new by others who feel they are better informed than I am.
If not, you might want to consider some of what I’ve said today. And I’m saying that Armstrong’s nixing of the Washburn deal is a red herring as far as scaring off potential GM candidates. Continue to worry about it if you want. I won’t. There are plenty of other things to worry about where this organization is concerned. One will be what to do with the five catchers in the organization who could be ready to play major league ball in 2009. One of which is locked up for $24 million through 2011 after the worst pro season of his career. But that’s just one issue, and for another day.



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