Have I thanked Chuck Armstrong lately?
Abreu's agent, Peter Greenberg, confirmed Thursday that he has had ongoing contact with Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik and assistant GM Lee Pelekoudas.
Greenberg said the M's have imparted to him that they have considerable interest in Abreu but can't afford him — even as his price tag dwindles in a stagnant market — unless they shed salary.
"They've been telling us they don't have the money now, but they're trying to make room for a guy like Bobby," Greenberg said. "Both Jack and Lee have told me that Bobby is a perfect fit. He fits the Mariners like a glove."
If the Mariners are right up against their budget, then the only realistic ways for them to make room for a free agent right now involve trading Jarrod Washburn or Miguel Batista. However, there's not a team in baseball that would take either player at his full 2009 salary, meaning the M's would either have to pay a chunk of the money - which still counts against the budget - or package a young player with the pitcher to make his acquisition more palatable - which would remove talent from the organization. Awesome job, Chuck. Way to predict the market.
Who knows. Maybe this is all posturing. But ownership has said that they want to trim payroll to the ~$93-94m range, and right now the current roster adds up to about $92m. That doesn't leave the front office much room at all to maneuver. It's not an impossible situation to navigate, but it is a difficult one, and in order to bring in another bat, it looks like Zduriencik may have to get creative.
When we've complained about overpaying in the past, a common counterargument from people who didn't mind the size of a contract was "when has money ever prevented the Mariners from making a move?" I'd say that argument looks pretty stupid right about now.