At least that’s how it seems right now. Adam Jones is if not in Baltimore now, will be there soon for a physical after being pulled out of any further action in the winter league in Venezuela on Sunday. It appears that Mariners GM Bill Bavasi and Orioles GM Andy McPhail have reached an agreement of Jones, Chris Tillman, George Sherrill and a player to be named for Erik Bedard.
If this deal is finalized and Baltimore owner Peter Angelos does indeed sign off on it as a Mariner fan I will be both devastated and overjoyed. Devastated that my favorite player is leaving in Adam Jones. Ever since we took him in the 2003 draft I have watched his development with a close eye, intent on seeing him fulfill his potential in the big leagues as a Mariner in the not-so-distant future. Ever since Griffey and Alex left, the Seattle franchise has been devoid of an every day player who was a star, someone that would make national magazine covers and be the talk of baseball around the league, I thought Jones could be that player. Someone who would spend the better part of a decade if not decade-plus locking down centerfield in the Safe. And now he’s gone. Immediately I become an Oriole “fan”, I will be watching them closely, hoping that they can rise up and challenge the Yanks and Sox as the Devil Rays appear to be doing and the Blue Jays seem close to.
However, I am also overjoyed. I’m thrilled that the Mariners have now added a legitimate #1 starter and Cy Young candidate to combine with 22 yr old Felix Hernandez to form one of the top 3 duos in MLB today (CLE’s Sabathia and Carmona and ARI’s Webb and Haren) are the other two, that in my mind compete with Seattle’s new dynamic duo. [note: it remains to be seen how Liriano will return from injury and a year lay-off with the Twins and not to mention the status of Santana being uncertain to say the least. Others like the Angels with Lackey and Escobar or DET with Verlander and Bonderman or BOS with Beckett and Schilling aren’t close enough].
If you look at the Mariners potential starting rotation entering 2008, it is not only great at the top but filled with veteran experience and potentially youthful talent:
Brandon Morrow, after spending the offseason being groomed to make a run at the fifth starting job, takes the final rotation spot over Miguel Batista, Horacio Ramirez and R.A Dickey, the Rule 5 draft pick. If a trade does not occur with the 3 players then Batista and Dickey join the bullpen (Dickey has to make the 25 man roster and stay there all season as per Rule 5 rules) and Ramirez is bought out and released. The rest of the bullpen is formed by J.J Putz, Mark Lowe, Arthur Rhodes, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Eric O’Flaherty. When Rhodes gets hurt again folks like Huber and Reitsma can make their way up and fill spots.
After the season when further young, talented pitching prospects develop in the minor leagues and Washburn is perhaps traded an ’09 rotation could be:
As a Mariner fan, you’ve got to love the way the next two year’s rotations potentially shape up. Now, hopefully after a playoff appearance and a solid showing (if not an appearance in the World Series) the Mariners are able to extend Bedard for 4 years. If not and he reaches free agency at the end of ’09 and worst comes to worst as a Mariner fan you have to take solace in the fact that you have a) 2 young studs in Morrow and Aumont locked up for awhile at a bargain who have already shown the ability to be good, if not great, starting pitchers and b) the minor-league talent to bring someone up like an Andrew Barb or Tony Butler (I think Tony is his first name). But with Hernandez, Aumont and Morrow anchoring the rotation for years, that is as good of a 1-2-3 punch as any out there.