Lance from Seattle, WA asks:
How good could we hope Beltre to be in an M's uniform and will he ever be worth the contract he signed for?
JAC: He can only get better, in comparison to his first year with the M's, and as cliché as that sounds, it's legitimate. The more he sees the same pitchers, learns the attack strategy of the American League and gets comfortable hitting at Safeco, he'll put up more consistent numbers. He has every physical tool you could ask a hitter to have. It's just a matter of making adjustments.
"Beltre will hit," said an AL scout after the season was over. "He's just further behind the curve than everyone thought he'd be. He's not a .330 hitter who's going to threaten 50 home runs, but getting to 30-35 isn't out of reach."
Seth, from Billings, MT asks:
With the Mariners in so many trade talks, what do you think might be some of
the packages the M's send away? I know the players who are tradable and
that each trade target has a different value, but what kind of package would
it take to get some of the rumored guys? For example Huff, Pavano, Delgado,
JAC: There are certainly some players that aren't going to be offered up by the M's, including Ichiro, Richie Sexson and Felix Hernandez. Prospects such as Adam Jones are unlikely to be available unless the return is a premium talent. Same goes for a Jose Lopez or Jeremy Reed.
Tampa is currently asking too much for Aubrey Huff, but later in the offseason that is likely to change. At some point, Gil Meche and Rene Rivera might be enough, though Huff doesn't really solve the M's problems.
Wilkerson is an interesting case, especially since the Seattle netters took a published photo and created trade negotiations that may or may not even be taking place. The Nationals would probably want Wilkerson's pitching equivalent in return, which might make it tough for the M's to match Washington's needs. They aren't likely to want to take on salary, so Pineiro for Wilkerson makes little sense.
Delgado is a complicated situation with all the salary attached. Florida may be more inclined to deal their first baseman within their own division in order to avoid paying some of the $48 million remaining on Delgado's deal. It'd probably take more than what the Mariners would be willing to offer. Say, Reed or Jones, plus Nageotte and Rivera/Rob Johnson.
With the Mets involved, Florida doesn't have to settle for journeyman prospects just to unload salary.
Carl Pavano has less value than even Huff, with so much more money involved. It's going to be tough for the Yankees to get much for him, unless they pay a nice chunk of the $30+ million remaining on the contract. The more they pay, the better the return package, as is for all potential trades.
The Yankees would probably settle for Julio Mateo and a minor league catcher if the M's picked up all of the salary. Since that won't happen, it'll take more.
Shane from Osaka, Japan asks:
If the Mariners aren't competing by the All-Star break, do you think Mike Hargrove will be fired? Would they hire Dan Rohn as his replacement?
JAC: As long as the club shows drastic improvement, Hargrove's job is probably safe through 2006. Outside factors may intervene, with GM Bill Bavasi's job also on the line, Hargrove may be the scapegoat.
Rohn could certainly get a look, especially after an in-season firing. It's probably more likely that bench coach Ron Hassey would take over, unless he objected to replacing his friend Hargrove on an interim basis.
Mister Thang from Edmonds asks:
I don't like your counterproposal to the bet I previously suggested. I don't feel I should have to prove myself to anyone. Either you take the bet or you don't. Or, are you just too afraid to let someone write a column?
JAC: Since I have no idea whether you can put together as little as a sentence of baseball thoughts, why would I even consider publishing you without further investigation? You might be wishing I was stupid, or even hoping I was egotistical enough to fall for the macho wager, but I'm not, and I wasn't.
You have to prove that you are smarter than your keyboard first. So far, you haven't even proven you can use one. How do I know that your mommy didn't type your e-mail for you?
To do your part and clutter the InBox, send your questions, suggestion or comments to Jason A Churchill
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