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I'm not sure what exactly is going on, but John Hickey is the latest guy to weigh in on who he thinks will be brought back, and in his opinion, it's Ryan Franklin:

Bavasi said Sunday he wouldn't discuss the Mariners' plans regarding the five until Tuesday. But Soriano, Mateo and Bloomquist seem all but certain to get contract offers, and the same is probably true for Franklin. Whether Meche will be offered a contract may come down to the final hours.

The way I figure, if one of them absolutely has to come back, it should be Meche - he's younger, gets more strikeouts, does a better job of keeping the ball in the yard, and has more upside going into 2006 than Franklin, who's going to turn 33 in March. The latter is the more durable pitcher, having made 94 starts over the past three seasons, so that's a point in his favor, but Meche has made 81 over the same time period (not including his 2004 demotion), so it's not like there's a huge difference. Money shouldn't really factor into the decision either, since Meche made $2.54m last year to Franklin's $2.4m. After having similar (-ly awful) seasons, they should wind up with similar salaries.

We've heard different suggestions of which starter is coming back from Morosi, Hickey, and Finnigan, and in a way I'm not surprised, because this can't possibly be a decision that Bavasi is looking forward to making. It's like staying home on a Friday night, getting all but the Learning Channel and CNBC blocked from your satellite package by a thunderstorm, and having to make a choice between Ballroom Bootcamp and The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch. You know that you have to choose one of them, since the alternative is to sit around and think about how pathetic you are for the rest of the night, but whichever program you select is just as likely to remind you of your current abjection. It's the definition of a no-win circumstance. Pity poor Bill; I'd love to help, but that forceful blow to the crotch you dealt me with the Washburn news knocked me out of commission for the next few weeks.