Cracking "The Safe"
Cracking "The Safe": The Seattle Mariners
~ Everything to do with the Seattle Mariners ~
Wednesday, December 24, 2003

As Rick so eloquently pointed out, Russell Branyan would be a nice Christmas stucking stuffer for M's fans, on the cheap.

Santa Bavasi should know that M's fans have been EXTREMELY nice for years....

Here's to something other than a big fat lump of coal!

posted at 12/24/2003 02:16:00 PM

Check out the update on the Cirillo No-Trade Clause piece I wrote....

Steve at the newly renamed Mariner's Wheelhouse gave me some interesting tidbits to add....

posted at 12/24/2003 02:11:00 PM

Merry Christmas to all out there in Blogger-Land. I am excited for the new year and the rise of Mariner-talk on the Internet. Due to the lack of activity in the baseball world over the next few days, I will take a short hiatus and be back after Christmas...

Thanks for reading!


posted at 12/24/2003 01:48:00 PM

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

If you haven't visited On-Deck Baseball, you are really missing out on a great baseball blog. This site stays very updated and mixes a nice amount of prospect reporting with ML News and commentary.

There are a couple nice updates about M's reliever George Sherill in there as well. I think that his dominance in the Puerto Rican League might make the M's more inclined to use their small budget surplus to get two bench players rather than a lefty like Sauerbeck.

posted at 12/23/2003 12:53:00 AM

Re-examining the No-Trade Clause

Jeff Cirillo remains a Mariner. Try as he may, Bill Bavasi can't seem to get him out of town. Which got me thinking about the ramifications of the no-trade clause on team's ability to make moves.

Let me start off first by noting that 10/5 guys really don't apply to this discussion because they are granted the right to vetoe any trade after 10 years of Major League service and 5 consecutive with the same club. What we are really talking about here is the increasingly common practice of teams to offer players a no-trade clause as a form of enticement.

The Atlanta Braves are an interesting team to mention in this discussion. They have NEVER offered any player a no-trade clause in a contract. Never. John Schuerholz does not believe that players should hold that card.

From a player's standpoint, the allure of a no-trade clause is one of certainty. Not many players would enjoy being sent to rot in Detroit or Tampa Bay for multiple years just because their team wants to dump salary. Imagine A-Rod playing for last year's Devil Rays team. There whole team (minus the sunk cost salary of Greg Vaughn) made less than A-Rod last year. Imagine Tom Hicks sending A-Rod there. He would be immensely popular in his home state and would certainly raise revenues just in sheer tickets sold. But the problem is that A-Rod is now campaigning to play for a winning team. Even with, the Devil Rays would still struggle to compete in their division.

The luxury for a player such as Rodriguez is that they are able to control where they make their living. In Cirillo's case, the reason given was family related. Cirillo would rather sit on Seattle's bench than New York's if it meant having to relocate his family. But the chance of Cirillo returning to Seattle next season is less than zero so Cirillo obviously is trying to determine where he will play next year. As the system stands, this is his right. Shame on Bavasi for assuming anything when Cirillo is involved.

It makes great sense for players to be granted the right to veto any trade after staying loyal to their team under the 10 and 5 rule. But when a financial handicap like Cirillo is allowed to infest a team's roster, the economics take a precedent.

Teams could simply adopt the Braves policy, after all, it is the teams right to refuse this during negotiation, perhaps at the cost of a little more money. Or maybe teams should look into incentive-based no-trade clauses. Just like a bonus that would kick in after a player achieved a certain amount of plate appearances or innings pitched, this would ensure that a player performed well in return for job security.

I'm not even sure if this would be legal under the CBA but it seems that in this new era of Free Agency, the leverage of players to exercise the no-trade clause is handcuffing many team's ability to excell on the field.

Jeff Cirillo reminded us that bad contracts are a blight on pro sports, while others like A-Rod are forced to spend their summers toiling in oblivion, enjoying the fruits of a lucrative deal. Either way, no-trade clauses might go the way of the dinosaur sooner than you think.

Update: Thanks to Steve at Steve's Mariners and Stuff for pointing out that whatever Cirillo makes when he signs with another team will actually be deducted from what the M's owe him for the duration of his deal. If he signs for 300k (which would be likely so that Cirillo could stick it to the M's even more), the M's will see 300k in relief from the more than $15 million owed. Steve also pointed out that in addition to the Braves, the Red Sox don't offer no-trade clauses. Schilling had to drop his in order to come to Boston and Manny Ramirez has a stipulation in his deal that grants him a no-trade clause if anyone else on the team gets one. Interesting stuff, thanks Steve!

posted at 12/23/2003 12:00:00 AM

Monday, December 22, 2003

I've still gotta believe that the M's are going to actively shop Garcia until and maybe through Spring Training. Outside of the big name guys (Schilling, Colon, etc.) who changed teams this season, the market was and is now extremely light on top pitching talent. I agree with Bavasi's comment that Freddy would certainly have been the best pitcher non-tendered. The M's were wise to hang on to their best bargaining chip.

$6.875 million was what landed Escobar in Anaheim. And I would be willing to bet my two front teeth that Kelvim does not have as good a 2004 campaign as Garcia does.

Escobar is quite simply overrated and underachieving. He shows moments of brilliance and dominance, but his inconsistency is the key reason that the Blue Jays bounced him back and forth between the pen and the rotation.

That said, Garcia will still have some suitors at his current price.

posted at 12/22/2003 01:34:00 PM

Trident Fever has an interesting retort to my Guardado/Rhodes analysis. I still think that Guardado was a good pickup even at that price. He's still making less than Arthur this year. But Kudos to you John for your educated take.

I also agree with John that Julio Mateo is extremely underrated. The guy is in a similar position to what Ryan Franklin was two years ago. Mateo could probably start on a large number of ML teams but he does his middle relief job so well, he is to valuable to move. Both Franklin and Mateo challenge hitters with their best stuff and, as a result, tend to give up a lot of longballs. However you cannot discount the fact that both pitchers give up a ton of SOLO shots. That means that they are throwing strikes, avoiding the big inning, and giving their team a chance to win every time out.

posted at 12/22/2003 01:27:00 PM