The InBox

It's cluttering up again, as usual after a long weekend. Here's this week's edition of The InBox.

Peter from Seattle asks:
Meche has a history of pitching poorly through a season until he makes a stop at AAA, then comes back pitching lights out. With Chaves now with the big club and not in Tacoma, do you think he could be the answer to Meche realizing he's a stud? My guess is that Chavez is what helped him in AAA before, so is it worth the risk of another flop season to keep Meche around and see if he'll get it this time?

JAC: Anything is possible, but I sure wouldn't bet on it. Well, I sure wouldn't bet $2.5-3 million on it, anyways, and that's what Meche is going to cost. And I wouldn't exactly say Meche has a history of returning to the minors a better pitcher - it only happened once, and I wouldn't call his 2004 second half "lights out," but he did post a sub-4.00 ERA, which is probably a good value at $3 million or so.

The M's may still be better off trading Meche or, in the end, non-tendering the 27-year-old.

Eric from "Mariner Land" asks:
Who do you think we will have on our roster, April 4th 2006?

JAC: I'm going to go out on a limb and say… Felix Hernandez will be on the roster April 4, 2006.

Kirk from "Mariner Land" asks:
Jason, thanks for your work with Inside the Park. Can you clarify the draft pick protection rules when signing free agents – how high does the 1st round pick have to be to be protected from being forfeited due to free agent signings (as last year's #3 pick was safe despite signing Beltre and Sexson)? Is our 1st round pick this year protected, or will we be risking it by signing a top-tier free agent?

JAC: Thanks for the compliment, Kirk.

Currently, the top 15 picks in the First Year Players Draft are protected from free-agent compensation.

When a team signs a player from a team that drafts in the top 15, theyteam instead receives a 2nd round pick for a Type A or B prospect. If the player was a Type A, the team losing the player also receives a sandwich pick between rounds 1 and 2. If the player was a Type B, the club would receive the signing team's second rounder only.

Of course, to receive compensation, the former team must have offered arbitration to their former player/free agent, or the signing must have taken place before the deadline to tender arbitration contracts.

Type A free agents are the top 30% at each position. Type B is the 31-50% range. The rankings are for ALL players, not just free agents.

Hope this helps.

Nick from "Mariner Land" asks:

1 - A.J. Burnett
2 - Matt Morris
3 - King Felix*
4 - Bobby Livingston*
5- Jaime Moyer

Jacque Jones vs. Brian Giles

What do you think Jason? (WORLD SERIES!!!)
Just Add The Best Bullpen In Baseball, J.J., 101-Soriano, "Everyday Eddy" etc. Competitive, but is that enough to take us (M's) to a seventh game against the "Champions" Chicago Whitesox via National League Champs AND WIN IT?!?

JAC: I don't think there is a chance in Fife, Washington that the Mariners can land Matt Morris, A.J. Burnett, Brian Giles and re-sign Jamie Moyer after inking Kenji Johjima already.

I don't think Livingston is ready quite yet and it looks like Jacque Jones is pricing himself out of Seattle in a heartbeat. Giles is certainly the better value at $11 million if Jones is going for $7 million, regardless of the years attached.

World Series? No. But with that team above, the M's would certainly contend.

Mister Thang from Edmonds asks:
Smarter than my keyboard? I haven't proven that yet? I did muster enough keyboard mastery to send two e-mails already, and no, my mom didn't write them for me.

So how about a new bet. A Column versus $100.

You pick the bet.

JAC: Okay. But since the bet is on my terms now…

You have to send in a 400-word editorial on why you think Jeremy Reed will or will not become a viable offensive player. That's it. No haggling, that's the bet.

Here's the catch. The ItP forums will get to vote on whether the column is print-worthy or not, through a poll set up on the message boards.
To help others clutter The InBox, send your questions, comments and gambling props to Jason A Churchill.

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