M's struggling in Anaheim

<b>ANAHEIM –</b> It has been rough going for the Seattle Mariners so far this weekend, as they've missed out on Carl Pavano and have doubts about landing Corey Koskie.

Although ownership has shown no hesitation about keeping open purse-strings this winter, the one thing the Mariners cannot offer potential free agents is a chance to go to the World Series in 2005. Anything can happen, of course, but players aren't jumping at the opportunity to join a Mariners club that lost 99 games last season.

Seattle's saving grace this weekend may be towering first baseman Richie Sexson, who has shown interest in playing in the Pacific Northwest. Sexson has garnered attention from a number of clubs, including the Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets, but the Mariners have been one consistent choice mentioned all along.

Sexson and his agent, Casey Close, met yesterday with Bavasi in the Mariners' hotel suite and both sides came away with positive vibes.

But good feelings don't always translate into deals on paper. The agent for Pavano, Scott Shapiro, spouted off a soliloquy yesterday that would have you thinking Safeco Field was the North American equivalent of the Taj Mahal.

"The place was a palace," Shapiro said. "It's one of the nicest facilities we've ever set foot in. Carl loved it."

Apparently, not enough to endure a five-hour plane ride from his homes on the East Coast. Pavano told Shapiro to pursue a deal with the Yankees on Saturday afternoon, with an agreement likely to be announced as soon as Sunday.

"Seattle was absolutely a team Carl was considering," Shapiro insisted. "It took him a while [to decide]."

Meanwhile, the Mariners also attempted to court Koskie, the Minnesota Twins third baseman, but probably will fall short. Koskie is said to be heavily considering a three-year deal from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Bryan Hoch is in Anaheim covering the MLB Winter Meetings for Scout.com.


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