The Mariners quest for starting pitching, a left-handed outfield bat and catching help will begin in less than two weeks. In fact, it's probably safe to assume that the club began their search way back in May or June when it became apparent that the 2005 roster would need even more fine-tuning.
Since late in the summer, Seattle-area ‘netters have recommended the names of dozens of potential targets for the M's to pursue. If you scan the web, you'll find suggestions of Jim Thome, Geoff Jenkins, Wily Mo Pena, Jacque Jones, Kevin Millwood, A.J. Burnett and Carlos Delgado, among others.
With anywhere from $18-25 million to spend on roster additions and arbitration contracts this winter, the hometown nine has several options. But assuming that the other 29 teams don't mail it in, the Mariners have major competition for each name they are likely to consider.
But what scenario does the average M's fan prefer? Get at least one frontline starter, no matter what the cost, and add second-tier help in other areas? Add the big bat, even if it means taking on a big contract via trade, and take a chance on a lesser starting pitcher or two?
Go for a catcher, using some of the money available for a bat and starting pitching? Or go cheap behind the plate and cover the other areas? What if the M's never get a chance to ink Burnett or Millwood?
Below are several player packages that are reasonable to expect Bill Bavasi to land in the next few months. Some are absolute best-case scenario, some are bottom rung bare minimum packages.
You Pick the Package and then Vote Here for your favorite.
A: Sign FA SP Kevin Millwood, trade for OF Ken Griffey and C Javier Valentin (Reds pay all deferred money, minus Pineiro contract) for RP Julio Mateo, SP Joel Pineiro and C Rene Rivera. Add marginal bench help and second starting pitcher. Do not re-sign SP Jamie Moyer.
B: Sign Millwood, sign FA OF Jacque Jones, sign FA C Kenji Johjima. Do not re-sign Moyer, hang on to Joel Pineiro. Add marginal bench help and second starting pitcher.
C: Sign Millwood, sign Jones, add replacement level backup catcher and average bench help, re-sign Moyer, Keep Pineiro.
A: Sign FA SP A.J. Burnett, OF Jones. Add replacement level backup catcher and bench help, sign marginal second starting pitcher or use two prospects (Clint Nageotte, Bobby Livingston, Jesse Foppert).
B: Sign Burnett, sign Johjima, use Choo in left field, add the best second-tier starter available and average bench help.
C: Sign Burnett, trade for Griffey and Valentin, use two prospects in rotation, add marginal bench help.
A: Trade for SP Javier Vazquez (for a package including Pineiro for payroll purposes), re-sign Moyer, use Choo in left field, trade for Javier Valentin.
B: Trade for Vazquez, do not re-sign Moyer, sign SP Esteban Loaiza, sign Jones, use Rivera as backup catcher, add marginal bench help.
C: Trade for Vazquez, keep Pineiro, do not re-sign Moyer, trade for OF Geoff Jenkins, use Rivera as backup catcher, add marginal bench help, second-tier starting pitcher and use one prospect in starting rotation..
A: Add Vazquez, Johjima, include Pineiro in Vazquez deal, do not re-sign Moyer, sign Jones. Use two prospects in rotation. Add marginal bench help.
B: Keep Moyer and Pineiro, sign Jones, add best bench help available, sign Johjima. Sign second-tier starter, such as Loaiza, Washburn.
C: Keep Moyer and Pineiro, use prospects Rivera, Nageotte, Choo, save cash for next year's free agent market.
Pick Your Package: Fans Go Shopping
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