The Mariners went to Nashville looking for perhaps 2 new starting pitchers and perhaps some help at second base and in the bullpen and seemingly in the race for Minnesota Twins ace Johan Santana. Well, after Monday some things have become more clear.
First off, the Mariners are not in the running for Santana and most likely were never seriously in the running. In my opinion, this is the right call by the M’s front office. The Twins will be asking for three of our best prospects which would undoubtedly include Adam Jones, Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement or Brandon Morrow. On top of that you’re going to have to pay Santana $120-150 million over 6-7 years — just too much to pay for a guy that is 29 years old and has thrown the number of innings that he’s thrown. I’m a big proponent of building your team from within, via the draft and your farm system. This creates financial flexibility and most importantly allows the fan base to identify with the players that soon become fixtures in the city and stars for the team. When you play stop gap every year in FA you end with these journeymen who come and go and steep prices in most cases and leave you without someone that is a mainstay, someone that fans can identify with and rally around as a Mariner.
Second, news is the Mariners are talking to a few teams — Rays, Brewers, Indians and the Cubs — about various deals for starting pitching. In the Rays situation it is over young starter Edwin Jackson who has been widely inconsistent since being a top draft pick and a top prospect. Going to the Rays is perhaps prospect C Rob Johnson or 1B/DH/OF Ben Broussard or combination of both. Bill Bavasi has also talked to the Brewers about starting pitcher Ben Sheets just to check on his availability. According to sources, the Brewers are in need of a catcher and corner outfielder and could be enticed by a package of Ibanez and Rob Johnson or most likely prized catching prospect Jeff Clement, although I would hope that the Mariners would be reluctant to give him up and more inclined to give up Kenji Johjima or Johnson. The talks with the Indians is over the Indians’ interest in Ibanez for perhaps starter Cliff Lee and the Cubs are also interested in Ibanez, the Mariners possibly receiving Mark Prior in return.
All of this is just talk and both teams feeling each other out of course but things may develop and progress. If I had my choice I’d like to see the Mariners make a deal with the Brewers for Ben Sheets without giving up Clement or Balentien. If a deal like Ibanez, Johnson and Baek could get it done I’d do it immediately. After that, I’d be in favor of getting Lee from the Indians for Ibanez. Either way I hope the winter meetings end with Ibanez being shipped out of town and a top of the rotation starting pitcher on his way into town.
Stay tuned each of the next couple of days as I will continue to relay news/rumors of each day’s meetings as it pertains to the Seattle Mariners. If you want to see my thoughts on the teams’ needs going into the offseason look in the archives under Seattle Mariners. As always, COMMENT. I love to hear people’s opinions.