The annual Winter Meetings wrap up today and baseball's power elite prepare head home ... with or without done deals. Today the following were announced or rumored:
Last night, both the PI and Times were definitive in the story that Sexson will be a Mariner. In the light of day, it appears there may be some cracks in the story. First, no meida seems to be able to figure out what the agreed terms are. It's been speculated that the terms are 3 years, $33M by CBS Sportsline, to 4 year, $44M, and even up to 5 years. So that's a hint. Second, last night the Orioles claimed they were still in it. And today the AP reports
the Mariners are "trying" to get the deal done. From the article:
Sexson's agent, Casey Close, said that Seattle and Baltimore were still competing for Sexson. "Nothing is conclusive at this moment. We'll have to see where this thing goes the next 24, 48 hours,'' Close said. "It's all speculative as to what people's perspectives are.''
I was very surprised to generally positive reaction to the story this morning. For example, the KJR talking heads seem to support it, their callers were positive, and several folks posting on the PI blog seem to be happy. The primary dissenting voices seem to be fellow bloggers such as myself. As I posted last night, "I'm completely against signing Sexson."
The arguments for support seems to be centered around (1) Sexson had great power numbers in Milwaukee and it would translate in Seattle and (2) at least the Mariners did something significant. I can agree with those statements. (1) Richie Sexson is a talented player who I'm sure can transition back to AL and be productive in a way that Cirllio and Aurilia for example could not. But they are 2 years ago are they not? (2) Signing Sexson would be doing something
... but how much credit should we be giving them for that? As fans who provide the 3rd highest revenue in MLB, shouldn't our expectations be higher than just signing any name player
The general arguments against Sexson (to summarize other bloggers) are that Sexson's shoulder injury has historically had a good probability of reoccurring leadind to a poor "risk/reward balance" (thanks USS Mariner for that term) with Sexson. Simply stated, the Mariners must protect themselves from being in a position where they are paying players who cannot perform.
So if the Sexson offer is a 4 year deal heavy on performance incentives (say $6M/yr guaranteed up to $11M with relatively easily reached performance incentives for full employment) or a 3 year deal with some incentives (say $8M/yr guaranteed up to say $12M with performance and a 4th year vesting option), then I'm okay with that. But I'm not hopeful since Sexson has gone on record stating he doesn't think he should have sign a contract with incentives
. Sexson is "confident" in the health of his shoulder, but not confident enough to put it in writing. That attitude really bothers me. And that's why I'm completely against signing him. But I'll wait until I hear the deal terms before we can call this a bad deal
Pedro Martinez to the ... Mets?
What the heck? The media is reporting that the Mets will give Pedro 4 guaranteed years. Pedro got his ring and he's going to bolt for Mets purgatory for a few million dollars. No offense to Mets fans, but there's a lot of issues there. Who needs that in the last years of his career? Doesn't he want to come back to Fenway the hero? The Red Sox offer wasn't his top offer, but it was decent. I guess no one leaves money on the table anymore.
Corey Koskie, Toronto, 3 years, $17M.
That rumor turned out to be true ... too many years, too much money. Sounds like a broken record.
White Sox - Milwaukee Trade.
Ken Williams ships Carlos Lee to the Brewers for Scott Podsednik, Luis Vizcaino and a player to be named later. I gotta give Doug Melvin credit for figuring out how to do something with nothing. That guy is creative. He gets 6 decent players from the D'backs for Sexson who only played 23 games. Now this. I (like everyone else) am trying to figure out why this makes any sense for the White Sox. Some have speculated that there may be more deals coming ... perhaps involving Podsednik. We'll see ...
Mike Matheny, Giants, 3 years,
Looks like this ends A.J. Pierzynski's stay in SF. I think AJ really pissed off Sabean when he won his arbitration case after being traded to the Giants last year. I wonder where he's going to end up ...
Finally this evening ... Estaban Yan, Angels, 2 years,
$3M $2.25M. That sounds better ... some of the early reported numbers were kind of sloppy tonight.
Update (7:30 pm): One more tonight ... the Indians sign Jose Hernandez for 1 year, $1.8M
On the Beltre front, the Orange County Register is reporting that the rumored 7 year, $90M offer was not made by the Mariners. "That's been floated. But not by us," Mariners GM Bill Bavasi said. "We have not offered anyone a seven-year contract." And this:"We would certainly be prepared to (make an offer) at this point, but he (Boras) has made it clear to me what we'd offer at this point wouldn't be acceptable," DePodesta said. "That's a tough game of poker. It only takes one team to step up and make an offer, and you lose the player."
Hmmm ... so that's interesting, the 7/$90M numbers are in the negotiations but not offered by a team. Here's a wild guess ... it's Boras up to his tricks. Spreading a little rumors. Confirmed by off-shore local news. Get things started. Clever.
Update (10:15 pm): According to an AP report this evening, "A Seattle executive told an agent that the Mariners thought they were close to agreement on a three-year contract with Sexson. An official of another team that had sought the first baseman said the deal being discussed averaged about $11 million." So were back to 3 years/$33M. I still question the deal, but 3 years takes the sting out a little.
Also, if you care about Randy Johnson, the D'Backs have contacted the Yankees again. Since NY is the only place Randy will agree to be traded, Arizona needs them if they want to move him.
Update (11:00 pm): ESPN is reporting that "The Seattle Mariners were finalizing a deal with Richie Sexson late Monday night, while the Baltimore Orioles, who also pursued the free-agent slugger at baseball's winter meetings, were completely out of the running. Reports have the deal for three or four years at somewhere between $33 million and $45 million, pending a physical on Sexson's left shoulder." This Sexson deal is moving sooooo slow ... it's like watching paint dry. Then again that describes the whole "hot stove" ... nevermind.
Update (12:30 am): Tonight the Seattle Times is slightly backing away from the Sexson story reporting that the deal isn't done "just yet". But the are saying the deal could be 4 years, $48M. That's bad. But there was some good in the article. It goes on to say that the Mariners were "growing frustrated" with Delgado and were putting more effort into Beltre including a meeting with Boras yesterday. Although they had 2 meetings with Delgado's agent ... so go figure. It's been reported elsewhere that the number for Delgado is up to 5 years, $65M which is up considerably from some estimates of 3 years, $18-24M before the off-season dealing began.
This passage cracked me up:
"And for a player causing so much consternation over his health, Sexson was known as an ironman until last season.
It's great that he had great heart and wants to play. No one is questioning that. But if Sexson reinjures his shoulder, he cannot play. Big difference.
"This guy wants to play every inning of every game," said Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin, who traded Sexson to Arizona last winter for six players, mainly because the Brewers couldn't afford him."
"I remember, he got hit by Juan Cruz, the Cubs pitcher (in 2003)," Melvin said. "He just drilled him in the ribs, and Richie went down. We said, 'Oops, there's his streak. There's no way he's going to play.'
"He would not come out of the game. He could hardly swing the next at-bat. But he played the rest of the game, came back, played the next game and kept on playing."
Update (1:00 am): I just can't help myself. This from the Hartford Courant, "Beltran won't take a tour of teams, like Pavano did. "A lot of that stuff has already been done," said Scott Boras, his agent. Boras said Beltran has narrowed the field to five. The Yankees, Astros, Tigers, Mariners and Cubs are probably the five."
That's the kind of good news I need!