So this has been eluded to by a few different blogs (Jeff, Dave, Jon… You know the usual suspects) but I thought It would be a good idea to go into a little bit of detail about the Mariners off-season plans and not so much the targets of the plans but instead the schedule of events to come.
While Its been talked about and certain parts rumored and speculated about. We the fans have all been awaiting the time that the Mariners will looking to for possibile upgrade pieces to their team. The Seattle Blogsphere have all mentioned the possibility of the Mariners interest some of the “damaged goods” type pitchers or otherwise stated high risk/high reward type players such as Justin Duscherer, Rich Harden, or my personal favorite Ben Sheets.
Understand that I am all for exploring such options, but as fans we have to understand that because of who we have interested in there maybe a “waiting period” per say. Let give some examples,
Last year of course there was the economic issues… well…the entire collapse of America’s economy (and lets face it leading to the decline of both Canada, Britain and others). This of course created an environment where players were unable to find the market prices for their talent. Instead most were forced to take lower paying contracts and/or less years. After the economy on the upward hike and Baseball not taking as large of losses as feared do player salaries regain their composure and head north for the winter?
Back to the issue of the so called “collusion”, because the contracts being worth less and signed over less time players held out for longer trying to try and obtain as much value from clubs as possible. I put together a group as you can see below, of when players signed their contracts. This list isn’t complete but gives you a generalized view of when everything went down.
Pat Burrell, Mark Texeria, Carl Pavano, Jason Giambi, Milton Bradley, Brad Penny, Trevor Hoffman, John Smoltz, Derek Lowe, Jon Garland, Eric Henske, Orlando Hudson, Joe Crede, Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Bobby Abreu and Garrett Anderson
Raul Ibanez, CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Russell Branyan, Mike Hampton, Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes
Now, I’m not saying that there won’t be more signings in December than in January or vice-versa. I am saying that if you take a look at who signed first it was the big name free-agents (excluding Mike Hampton and Russell Branyan). There are plenty of different variables that could change how players approach offers, but the normal operating procedure that we’ve seen out of Scott Boras and company is to let the big names set the new market trade of value on their ability. Then prey on clubs that are willing and desperate to pay those demands for over valued talent.
Believe that Matt Holiday or John Lackey will most likely ink a deal before Rich Harden, Johnny Damon or Mike Cameron. Although you never know with Damon and his connections with the Yankees he could very well sign a quick deal in the next few days way outside his going market price…(okay i’m rambling, enough of that).
The real point that I am trying to make is simple, since the popular belief is that we are targeting either injured or undervalued players they will most likely be looking for others to take the led and establish their value. This leads to the possibility we may not see the Mariners make a real “splash” in the free-agent market until the new year. If that’s how long it takes before we engage the market our roster could change over 4 or 5 different pieces and that could change our targets in free agency.
The big dates to watch are of course this week the General Manager meetings are happening from the 9th to the 11th in Chicago, followed by the big winter meetings December 7th – 10th. There are also some minor dates of importance such as the non-tender dead-line on 12 December and November 20th where qualifying minor leaguers need to be added to a 40 man roster by this date otherwise are left vulnerable to the Rule V draft coming up later this winter (having a hard time nailing down this date, if anyone knows please pass along that info).
Bottom line, information will come but it’s going to be a waiting game. We all need to practice patience this off-season and I am the worse person to give this sermon being on my final 30 days prior to heading back home, Lord knows I’m about to burst. Remember that there is a long time until Pitcher and Catchers report and we just have to see what the Mariners front office decides to do.