Ask the Diamond Genius 2/15

Jason A. Churchill answers your questions in another installment of Ask the Diamond Genius. Included this week are answers to your questions on the importance of a strong bench in the American League, building a strong farm system without the use of the draft and the contract status of non-roster invitees.

Q: What are your thoughts on the idea that the bench matters alot less in the American league vs. the National League?

Keith Larrabee
Kelso, Wash.

DG: I agree but with a qualifier.  There are teams, including the hometown nine, that could benefit greatly from a strong bench player or two.  Having a group of aging players and/or a few injury risks, it is always a good idea to have a few viable options to fill in and rest them.  There is not as much pinch hitting in the AL due to the DH but a Stan Javier type player can do wonders for a team's balance.

Q: Why aren't the salaries for the recently signed players guaranteed?  Mike Myers, Eric Owens, Terry Mulholland aren't getting paid?  I don't understand.

Jarren Phillips
University Place, Wash.

DG: The above mentioned players as well as Ron Villone, will only have their contracts guaranteed if they make the 25-man roster coming out of Spring Training.  Currently they are not on the club's roster in any fashion, making them Non-Roster Invitees.'s Joseph A. Yencich recently handled a breakdown of the NRI's.  It's a good informative read. 
The M's Non-Roster Invitee Breakdown

Q: Can you please tell me how the M's can continue to lose draft picks with Free Agent signing compensation and in failing to sign 1st rounders and still have a productive minor league system?  

Christopher Miltera
Bend,  Oregon

DG: The M's fill those holes with foreign signings from Japan, South Korea, Latin America, and Australia.  Chris Snelling, Travis Blackley, Felix Hernandez, Jose Lopez, and Shin-soo Choo are all top 10 Mariner prospects.  None of them were drafted.   

  Q: What are the chances of seeing the M's land Carlos Beltran at the trade deadline now that the M's have Kaz's salary to play with?  

Katrina Lottier
Edmonds, Wash.

DG: Not likely due to what other clubs will offer KC for Beltran.  The Yankees and Dodgers will likely offer more than the M's are willing to give for a rental player.

  Q: Why would the M's NOT want to re-sign Freddy Garcia if he has a good season?  Seems fans are already writing him off.
Tom Kelley
Tacoma, Wash.

DG: Money.  Will he be worth to the M's what other teams are going to be offering?

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