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This Morning's Mariner News

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Two notes from the PI:

In recent days, industry sources have identified a Boras client, right-hander Kevin Millwood, as the Mariners' prime target among free-agent pitchers. Thursday, one veteran agent went so far as to say he expects the Mariners to sign Millwood -- a notion Bavasi indicated was premature.
The Mariners have inquired about the availability of Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre and left-handed pitcher Ron Villone, a former Mariner. Pierre's arrival would displace Jeremy Reed in center field and create a curious scenario at the top of the order. Pierre is regarded as a true leadoff man, and Ichiro Suzuki has a stated preference to bat first.

The Millwood thing has seemingly come out of nowhere (there was no real indication of interest before today), but other teams' relentless pursuit of AJ Burnett has probably made it necessary if the Mariners hope to add a #2 pitcher during the offseason. Millwood's ceiling is lower than Burnett's, and he's going to get a comparable contract, but his mechanics and track record make him the less risky of the two, so it's not like signing Millwood over Burnett is without its upside. Put another way, I wouldn't complain about adding either one.

As far as the Juan Pierre thing is concerned, I'm going to go ahead and hope that it was just idle chatter with a team that's selling off all of its veteran parts, because Jeremy Reed was every bit as good as Pierre last year while costing a lot less. There are a lot of holes on the current Mariner roster. Juan Pierre fills exactly none of them.

Also, from the Times:

Felix Hernandez wants to represent his native Venezuela in next spring's much-hyped World Baseball Classic. The Mariners don't want to risk the most valuable arm in the organization, which they view as too tender at age 19 for the rigors of an intense international tournament.

Thus lies the seeds of a dilemma. The Mariners have filed an official objection to Hernandez's potential participation in the World Cup-like event, but a source close to Hernandez said Thursday night the right-hander was hoping to pitch for his homeland.

This is one of those things over which I'm likely to feign external outrage while being thankful on the inside. I bet Felix wishes he could do other things, too, like walk to the bathroom by himself without a Mariner team representative in tow, or use scissors. Who does this guy think he is, anyway?