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Quick list of bullet points, while I have a minute:

  • I don't mind that Willie Ballgame's going to be a Mariner in 2008. As we've talked about a million times before, he has his uses, and as long as nobody confuses him with an everyday player he's fine to have around. Not that anyone that replaceable should ever have a seven-figure salary, but at some point it's just not worth arguing over a couple hundred thousand dollars. So, whatever.

    What I don't like very much is that the front office thought it necessary to give him an extension a year early. What kind of message is that supposed to send? "We don't have many good players, but our crappy ones will be here longer"? It's not a big deal, and at the end of the day it won't have any kind of significant impact on anything but Willie's rumpus room, but it's an uncomfortable way to kick off the winter.

  • The Mariners appear to be honing in on Adam Eaton, and if the prospect of giving that should-be nobody four guaranteed seasons wasn't enough, the article comes with this little nugget at the bottom:
    And in any discussions with the Mariners, Seattle's decision last year to give Jarrod Washburn a four-year, $37 million contract will be front and center. Washburn hasn't topped 11 victories in a season since 2002, and agents continuously bring up his deal as a reference point for negotiations.

    The gift that keeps on giving, indeed. Swinging a few trades is pretty much the only possible way for Bavasi to fill out the rotation without getting owned. There's another bit in the column talking about how free agents won't want to come here because of the Mariners' recent history of totally sucking, but I imagine that'd be a bigger deal if there were any free agents the Mariners need. Smart teams are avoiding this market as much as possible, and I'd love for Seattle to be one of them.

  • More PMR: David Pinto ranks right fielders. Two models are presented, but I prefer the second one, so...

    Top: Ryan Freel
    Top Everyday Player: Juan Encarnacion
    Bottom: Jeromy Burnitz
    Bottom Everyday Player: Brian Giles
    Mariners: Ichiro, 9th out of 39

    9th may strike you as low, but Ichiro comes out 2nd among players with more than 2500 balls in play. It's interesting to see Giles as low as he is - thanks to his rapid decline, that Bay trade with Pittsburgh will go down as one of the worst deals Kevin Towers ever made. (And that's setting aside whatever Oliver Perez turns into.)

  • Brian Sabean: luckiest man alive. He missed on Juan Pierre, he missed on Gary Matthews Jr., and now he's missed on Carlos Lee, as the bipedal and moderately athletic buffalo reportedly turned down a $112m/6yr offer from San Francisco to play in Houston for less. At this point I think it's fair to say that Sabean was proceeding with a reckless disregard for financial sanity as he tried to add a name in an effort to plug a lineup in need of about seventeen bats. The Giants may be in a world of trouble, but had one of those guys signed on, it could've been worse.
  • I say this because, only a few dozen hours after being spurned by Lee, Sabean may be nearing some of the more reasonable deals of the offseason. Mark Loretta and Rich Aurilia are going to come cheap, and they should be roughly league-average or so at their positions for a few years before they go away. More importantly, though, it looks like Dave Roberts is about to land in San Francisco as well, for $15-18m/3yr. Roberts was as good as Matthews Jr. in 2006, better in 2005, and equivalent in 2004, but because he didn't score 100 runs or play in a bandbox, he's going to get a much more sensible contract. Three seasons at $5-6m per is a lot to offer a 34 year old, but Sabean's getting a better deal - and quite possibly a better player - than Bill Stoneman. So kudos on that one.