Day 2 went by a lot quieter for the Mariners it seems and was perhaps another “unproductive” day as GM Bill Bavasi termed day 1 late Monday night.
However, there does appear to be some clarification on the Mariners’ perceived targets. Ben Sheets of the Brewers appears to be off the trading block. The Mariners and Brewers have talked but Sheets didn’t come up and instead, the pitcher in question may have been Chris Capuano. The discussions also look to be at a standstill at the moment… The Cubs, who were interested in left-handed hitting OF Raul Ibanez, have diverted their focus to the Japanese free agent OF Fukodome to fill that need…there also hasn’t much word, if any, on the Mariners and Indians discussions regarding Ibanez and perhaps starting pitcher Cliff Lee…Edwin Jackson of the Rays also seems to be on the back burner for the Mariners.
Where the Mariners do seem to be actively pursuing are services of free agent Japanese starter Hiroki Kuroda where they are one of about 8 teams bidding for his services. There are some reports out there that Seattle is the lone team to have offered a fourth year in the contract which could be in the $45 million ballpark but I have heard nothing concrete on this, it is definitely only speculation at this point. The other suitors for Kuroda are the Royals, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Mets, Phillies and Cubs. Meanwhile the Mariners also seem to have stepped to the forefront in the Erik Bedard sweepstakes. Baltimore was not taken aback by the Dodgers or Mets offers and appear to really like the Mariners proposal. Rumors abound to what that was, some say OF/SS Adam Jones and P Brandon Morrow other scenarios being Morrow, OF Wladimir Balentien and RP George Sherrill. It still remains to be seen who the pieces involved may be but it is clear right now that Seattle has indeed stepped to the lead in the pursuit of ace Bedard.
I really, truly hope that the Mariners have not offered Kuroda the 4 year deal that is being reported and also hope that they are not the front runners to land him. I don’t see Kuoroda as anything more than a #4 or 5 starter and when you consider that he’ll be coming over to the better league (the AL) at 32 years of age when he was nothing special over in Japan, it really worries me. If I was the GM, I wouldn’t offer Kuroda more than a 2year $15 million dollar deal, market be damned. As far as I’m concerned the Mariners would be far better off grooming their own guys like Ryan Rowland-Smith and the aforementioned Morrow if he is not dealt. They also have some young stars in the minor leagues in Tony Butler and Tillman (first name alludes me right now) who are generating a lot of good buzz inside and outside the organization.
I am in favor, however, of trading for Erik Bedard of the Baltimore Orioles under a few conditions. I would rather hold on to Jones and Jeff Clement and only give up a max of three players in a deal for only Bedard. If another player, perhaps a prospect is to come along with Bedard then a fourth, perhaps, could be included. The way I see it a deal of P Morrow, P Ryan Frierabend and OF Balentien should suffice and allow the Mariners to keep both Jones and Clement. If Jones and Morrow are both included and especially if Balentien is added along with them, I do NOT agree to this deal for only Bedard. Maybe the Orioles have a good young pitching or outfield prospect that we could get in return that I am not familiar with but as of right now, with those parameters, I am not in favor of it.
Well, we’ll see what happens. Stay tuned for more updates and analysis of Day 3 of the Winter Meetings…I must say the Tigers look to be the team to beat right now in the AL with the move they made…