A few bullet points while I have a minute:
- Every year come November we talk about the Mariners bringing in some bonafide superstar, and every year come April they get set to begin the season with no such acquisition. "A pipe dream," we say. "They'd never even give (name of totally awesome player) a look."
This time, though, this time things are different. We've known all along that Bill Bavasi is an aggressive guy who, if he fails, fails big, and on the heels of another last-place finish he's setting his sights on one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball. All this Manny Ramirez stuff isn't just author speculation; there's substance there, and the two front offices have been talking. Not too long ago I didn't envision Seattle getting involved in the sweepstakes, nor did I see a real good match between their roster and Boston's, but I've been wrong a million times before and I'd love it if I were wrong again. Manny's one of those players worth overpaying for, and he would instantly turn this into a very, very good offense. I wholeheartedly endorse this pursuit.
- Of course, still in need of another starting pitcher, there's no way the Mariners can land Manny and an arm without getting rid of Richie Sexson (or, far less likely, Adrian Beltre). The good news? According to John Hickey, the front office is willing to do exactly that provided the return is good enough. (The article also says stuff about Luis Gonzalez but I'd avoid reading that if I were you.) If nothing else, we can rest assured that, if Bavasi falls short of an adventurous and profitable offseason, it won't be from lack of trying. Not everyone's as ballsy when it comes to dealing with big contracts, and while that can occasionally do a lot of damage, in this particular case I don't see much downside.
- Erase Chris Carpenter from next year's free agent pool. St. Louis extended his contract through 2011.
- Maybe it's me, but Mike Piazza doesn't seem nearly as intimidating as Frank Thomas as Oakland's everyday DH. He'll be productive, and staying off the field might keep him more fresh into the later months, but at the same time guys like Raul Ibanez and Jason Giambi (among others) have said they hit better when they play defense, presumably because it keeps them more constantly alert and into the game. If this alleged phenomenon hasn't already been studied by someone, it should be.
- The Giants, eager to re-build a roster that had been among the league's oldest for the past several seasons, have so far added Bengie Molina (32), Rich Aurilia (35), and Dave Roberts (34), while re-signing Ray Durham (35) and Pedro Feliz (31). Wednesday they plan to meet with Barry Bonds (42) as it appears that their talks with Boston (376) about Manny Ramirez (34) are going nowhere. Brian Sabean is a problem.
- $34m/3yr for Vicente Padilla to stay in Texas. This puts the current Ranger rotation at Millwood/Padilla/uh, so they're expected to keep throwing piles of money at Barry Zito's back while he frantically tries to run away. As the number of middle-tier free agent pitchers on the market gets reduced (Eaton's gone, and Maddux is apparently on the verge of signing with San Diego), the price of Lilly, Meche, and Suppan goes up (although the years may not). We've only heard the Mariners in connection with one of them, thank God, and there's a 99% chance that Lilly signs somewhere else, so fortunately we should be able to avoid that sack hop for retards.