I've fallen a little behind as I've been busy for the last couple days, so let's get caught up on some of the rumors flying around -
Erik Bedard: Everyone already knows what I think about this. If you don't, you should probably call a doctor, because you might be retarded. At this point, it looks like neither side is budging, and if Bavasi is to be taken at his word, he's already made his best offer. My gut feeling is still that we end up making this trade for the Jones/Sherrill/Tillman package that's being floated everywhere. Fun fact: Firefox spellcheck suggests "Bavaria" for Bavasi and "Beard" for Bedard. Bavaria is a free state in Germany, home of the World Beard & Moustache Championships. Interesting? Yes. Worthless filler? Yes.
(Another fun fact: Firefox spellcheck suggests "spell check" for spellcheck.)
I want to make one thing absolutely clear right now - my stance is not that the Mariners have no chance in 2008, and that therefore they shouldn't swing this deal. Anyone who thinks that is misunderstanding the argument. My stance is that the Mariners don't have great odds in 2008, and that therefore they shouldn't swing this deal. With Bedard and without the guys going away, this team's chances of winning the division probably lie somewhere between 25-40%. (I'm conceding the Wild Card, because we're not Boston, New York, Detroit, or Cleveland. I know that anything can happen, but come on.) Reasonable odds, to be sure, but worth the sacrifice? I personally don't think so. But to each his own. If this trade does go down, it won't be the worst thing ever, and at least it'll make '08/'09 a little more engrossing. While going for it isn't always a good decision, it does undoubtedly heighten one's interest. It'd be like a hockey team pulling its goalie every time it gets a powerplay. Crazy, but gripping.
Ian Snell: This name's come up a little bit as a Bedard alternative. Unfortunately, Ian Snell is quite a bit worse than Erik Bedard. In the American League, he's a #3 pitcher, a mid-4's ERA flyball kind of guy who could get a bit of help from Safeco. Instead of A-level talent, Snell's appeal comes from the fact that he's still got four years of team control, as opposed to Bedard's two. He's a pretty good value, but I'd sooner pass given the price that Pittsburgh's probably asking. And I think Bavasi feels the same way.
Jason Bay: Fascinating. Despite the down season, Bay's not about to come cheap, so if anyone ends up taking him on, they'll have to be mighty confident that whatever happened in 2007 isn't about to happen again. As recently as 2006, Bay was a very, very good player. Last season, though, he just fell apart, and while I don't follow the Pirates well enough to have any insight as to why, injuries don't appear to be the cause. Of note is that, while he established a BABIP range in the .330-.350 range between 2004-2006, last year he dropped to .298.
I don't know what happened. It's possible that Bay just had a fluky bad year. However, it's also possible that, at 29, his power/walks/strikeouts old player skills package is beginning its decline. I am encouraged by the fact that Cleveland's been going after him. If Cleveland's trying to do something, it's probably a good idea. I'm tired of competing with the Cincinnatis of the world. Still, what's more than a little unsettling is how much he looks like
Brad Wilkerson: MLBTradeRumors thinks he's coming here. But then, MLBTradeRumors also believes all kinds of crazy bullshit, so whatever. Wilkerson's a lefty pull hitter with a good bit of power and a glove that won't kill you, so he could be a decent investment. At the same time, though, with his low average and sky-high strikeout rate, his career isn't going to last much longer, and you never know when he's going to reach the end of the line. Still, better him than Luis Gonzalez. Given the way casual Mariner fans treated Mike Cameron, a little part of me would love to see how they'd respond to having Wilkerson and Sexson in the same lineup. A bigger part of me would prefer to keep that in the realm of the hypothetical, though, because if Wilkerson's starting, that means AJ isn't, because AJ went away. He would be cool as a bench bat, although he'll never capture my heart the way Ben did.
Tony Clark: .978 OPS at home as a D'back, .776 OPS on the road. Another batting career that's been prolonged by a hitter's paradise. A switch-hitter, he can still punish the occasional righty, but he's strictly bench fodder, and nothing more. Would be redundant if Wilkerson signed here as a bench bat, but I don't think Wilkerson would be signing here as a bench bat. His presence on the roster would give us more than 13 feet of first basemen.