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Things To Know

It's been said that the best thing about baseball is the offseason - fans of the champion get to bask in the glory of a title, fans of good teams get to look forward to another playoff push the next year, and fans of bad teams get to cross their fingers and hope for a big acquisition that will bring them back to respectability. There really is something for everyone. With that in mind, though, the offseason also perpetuates considerable discussion and speculation, breeding constant debate. So I thought it'd be good to compile a list of things we know to be true heading into the winter, if only to cut down on the arguments.

  1. Nobody in the front office is "stupid." Not Bavasi, not Lincoln, not Pelekoudas. Nobody.
  2. The front office knows who's available, and has established reasons for pursuing some players while ignoring others. Few of your ideas, no matter how wild and crazy they may be, are really "original" in the sense that nobody's thought of them before. People within the organization do this kind of thing for a living, and are always looking for new ways to make the team better. This goes for free agents (of both the major and minor league variety), trade possibilities, and Rule 5 guys. If the Mariners don't go after your favorite "sleeper" free agent, it's not because they don't know about him.
  3. The Mariners are not as bad as their record would suggest. Going into 2006, the current group is probably good for 75-80 wins, and a shiny acquisition or two would give them a decent shot at competiting for the division. (This is probably the most important point on the list. Don't forget it.)
  4. The Mariners have the necessary resources to make said shiny acquisitions.
  5. Kevin Millwood finished the year with the lowest ERA in the AL. If you think he's going to be a bargain compared to Burnett, you're wrong.
  6. Adrian Beltre, Richie Sexson, and Ichiro are staying put.
  7. The Mariners have one of the top bullpens in the league, and don't even need to think about signing any more relievers.
  8. Felix Hernandez is a legitimate ace. The Mariners don't necessarily need to be in the market for a "real #1 pitcher," because they already have one.
  9. Assuming the return of Pineiro/Moyer and the loss of Meche/Franklin, the Mariners will have two empty rotation spots to fill this winter. Offensively, holes are behind the plate and at DH/LF (wherever Ibanez isn't). Elaborate trade scenarios may seem nice, but they're unlikely, and the team isn't going to block anyone they already have at any of the other positions.
  10. Jeremy Reed is a good center fielder and will not be changing positions. Especially to accomodate Ken Griffey Jr. Shut up about that already. It's not new and it's not smart.
  11. If Bill Bavasi doesn't make a big splash this winter, it won't be from lack of trying - it'll be because he didn't think the benefits of having a certain player are worth the cost of bringing him in.
I might've missed a few, but I think that's a pretty good place to start.