Friday, November 12, 2004


So how can the Seattle Mariners improve themselves?

After all, they lost 99 games in 2004. While their less-than-stellar offseason last winter was a bad omen for the 2004 season, losing 99 games was certainly a surprise to most, if not all, Mariners fans. But as the old saying goes, there's nowhere to go but up.

I'm starting to feel a little better about this ballclub again. I liked the hiring of Mike Hargrove as manager. While Bob Melvin was a nice guy, he wasn't the answer in the Mariners dugout. Maybe Hargrove is. Or maybe he isn't. We'll see though.

Now, I'm not going to be too statsy here. I can promise you that there won't be any "Miggy Hot Stove"-slogans this offseason. All I care about this offseason is that the Mariners improve themselves. Translation, give me a ballclub that I won't feel embarrassed about watching next season. I think that's what we all want, right?

Do I expect the Mariners to be a playoff team in 2005? No. But I do expect them to be better. If this team can go .500 next season, then I'll be somewhat happy. Not all the way happy, but somewhat happy. I just don't want to see another 99-loss team trot out onto the Safeco Field diamond.

So without further ado, here's my offseason plan for your Seattle Mariners:

Sign 1B Richie Sexson to a 2-year deal with an option for a 3rd year.
---David and I are huge Sexson fans. While I would have been more excited about landing Sexson at this time last year, he's still a good ballplayer, even though he missed most of the 2004 season with a torn left labrum. If he can stay healthy, look out.

Sexson can flat out mash the ball. Yes, Safeco Field isn't a hitter's park. But if you can hit the ball, well, you can hit the ball. Sexson can definitely hit the ball. And the Mariners do need a first baseman. I don't want to see Raul Ibanez at first base next season. I hope the Mariners heed my advice here.

Sign 3B Corey Koskie to a 2-year deal
---As good as Adrian Beltre is, I'm not fully convinced that his 2004 season wasn't a contract drive. I'm not totally in favor of signing Koskie, but the Mariners are known to sign these types of players.

If the M's were to sign Koskie, Scott Spiezio would be relegated to the bench, which isn't a bad deal IMO. Spiezio could be very valuable off the bench, although he would be an expensive bench player.

Sign SP Russ Ortiz to a 3-year deal
---I'm surprised that Ortiz's name hasn't come up more. He did win 21 games in 2003 for the Braves. While he struggled in the second half of 2004 for the Braves, he's a solid pitcher who'll get you 15-17 wins.

I like Matt Clement and I think he's a very realistic possibility for the Mariners. But I like Ortiz just a little bit more. He's not an ace, but then again, who is an ace out there on the free agent market this ofseason? Nobody.

Sign LH reliever Buddy Groom to a 1-year deal
---Groom is a lefty that the Mariners should have acquired 2 years ago instead of Doug Creek. But here we are, 2 years later, and 99 losses later.

Anyways, Groom is familiar with Mike Hargrove. The Mariners need to shore up their bullpen and signing Groom would definitely help matters. Yes, Groom is 39 years old. But as much as I would want Steve Kline to come to Seattle, I think the Yankees or Red Sox will sign him instead.

Sign RH reliever Paul Shuey to a 1-year deal
---Shuey missed the entire 2004 season with a ruptured tendon in his right thumb. But despite that, he's a solid reliever. As with Groom, he would also be beneficial to the Mariners bullpen. And he's a former Hargrove player, from his time in Cleveland. Don't underestimate the Hargrove factor this offseason. At least some of Hargrove's former players aren't crap, like Melvin's were.

Sign IF Pokey Reese to a 1-year deal
---Oh, the irony here. See the Ken Griffey, Jr. deal.

Trade OF Randy Winn and SP Ryan Franklin to Los Angeles for 1B Hee Seop Choi and SP Kazuhisa Ishii
---Coming up with this trade idea, I knew that it wasn't going to be a great trade for the Mariners, if it were to happen. But this is a deal that the Mariners would definitely pull off.

Winn is expendable because of Jeremy Reed. I think you give Reed the everyday center field job in 2005. As for Franklin, I just feel that he won't be a Mariner in 2005. So this is my way of making that happen, I guess.

Choi would be insurance for Richie Sexson. But more importantly, Choi would be a damn good bat off the bench for the Mariners. He's a lefty with power. Granted, hitting coaches aren't that important. But I think new hitting coach Don Baylor would be a tremendous asset to Choi, who will only be 26 when the 2005 season starts.

Ishii hasn't been the pitcher that the Dodgers expected him to be when he signed with them before the 2002 season. Which is why I think he's expendable this offseason. Ishii would provide insurance for the Mariners especially if Joel Pineiro and/or Gil Meche aren't healthy in 2005, which is a real possibility.

Trade RP Julio Mateo to San Francisco for OF Todd Linden
---Since I think Willie Bloomquist will be gone, the Mariners will have to fill their Kitsap County-quota with former Central Kitsap star Todd Linden.

I like Mateo. But for some reason, I just see him being dealt this offseason. And in true ex-Mariners fashion, he will light it up for the Giants. Linden would be the 4th outfielder for the Mariners.

Will this deal go down? Most likely not. But as Dave Mahler once said when he impersonated Lou Piniella, "you can do whatever the hell you feel."

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This is my 2005 Seattle Mariners roster, without the use of fancy tables and graphs...

CF---Jeremy Reed
2B---Bret Boone
1B---Richie Sexson
DH---Bucky Jacobsen
LF---Raul Ibanez
3B---Corey Koskie
C----Miguel Olivo
SS---Pokey Reese

SP--Russ Ortiz
SP--Bobby Madritsch
SP--Jamie Moyer
SP--Joel Pineiro
SP--Gil Meche

Closer-----Eddie Guardado (if healthy)
LH Setup---Buddy Groom
RH Setup---Paul Shuey
Reliever---Shigetoshi Hasegawa
Reliever---George Sherill
Swing Man--Kazuhisa Ishii

C---Dan Wilson
IF--Scott Spiezio
IF--Hee Seop Choi
IF--Jolbert Cabrera
OF--Todd Linden

If everyone can stay healthy, this team has a chance of being .500. But realistically, I see 75-81 wins for this team. Hopefully I'm wrong.

This is a huge offseason for the Seattle Mariners. No fancy slogans needed here, just get the job done, Howard, Chuck, Bill, and crew. Or as the folks in these parts like to say, "get-r-done".

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