Things are starting to gear up towards the winter meetings now, so there are a lot of names and a lot of teams being thrown around lately. If you’re reading this, you’re probably also keeping tabs on everyone else local, not to mention the nation-wide rumor mill. I’m not linking to anything because there are so many links, I’d never get anything done if I tried to harvest them all; plus, chances are high you’ve heard it all by now anyway. Not to mention it changes every half hour or so, and did while I was writing some of this.
So who are we really after? Chone Figgins, Rich Harden, John Lackey, Jason Bay, and Gregg Zaun have all been mentioned. In fact, MLBTR believes that Gregg Zaun will sign as soon as tonight. I’m all for Zaun, personally. Rob Johnson’s surgeries went “well”, but not well enough to instill confidence that he’ll be ready by Spring Training, so we’ll need a guy. Zaun seems decently projected for an older catcher, and was very catcher-like in his 2009 season with the Orioles and Rays. He had a .761 OPS last year – not great, but not awful for a catcher, if I ever-so-vaguely comprehend that particular stat – better than RJ, slightly better than Kenji. I’ve also heard whispers that Zaun is a bit on the zany side, and I’m all for keeping the Mariners weird. Having a baseball team with character is severely preferable to having one without it. Current word is, it’s with the freaking Brewers. Oh, well.
I’ve also heard that we have more money to spend this year than was originally thought. I don’t know how reliable that particular source was (and couldn’t get any verification from him), but that makes sense if they’re talking Chone Figgins over Adrian Beltre, or John Lackey at all. Lackey is estimated to be worth $100 million next year, or so I hear. I haven’t heard any guesses on what Figgins will be asking for, but pulling Figgins and Lackey both away from the Angels would be simultaneously glorious and just…bizarre. I’d also rather have Figgins over Jason Bay – something I read yesterday indicated that we would be willing to go for a better bat over sub-par defense, but I don’t think that’s the way Jack Zduriencik plays. I don’t believe he would weaken the defensive line he’s worked so hard to create. Figgins is a better solution at third for us. The only reason Figgins isn’t a good idea is because I would have to suffer a season’s worth of Tom yelling his (mispronounced) name very nasally, and in a fake British accent. But that is a small price to pay, and I’ll take one for the team. You’re welcome!
I don’t know from Rich Harden, but he makes the guys at USSM and Lookout Landing excited, so therefore I’m excited. It’s fun to see the stats guys approach this winter with such optimism, instead of the cautious, suspicious attitude so prevalent last year when we didn’t quite know who or what we were getting. From what I understand, Rich Harden is just Erik Bedard’s evil twin.
The John Lackey idea I might not have liked initially – but the playoffs happened, I had a chance to see my enemy in a new light, and now I’m totally fine with it. I would hope that they wouldn’t spend $100 million on a 31-year-old pitcher, but I’ll put my trust in Zduriencik there, mainly because I know I can. Bill James projects him well, not too far off the mark from his 2009, and if he was here in Seattle, he might actually smile more…plus, Lackey and Figgins would wear Mariner blue well. I have to wonder, also, if Lackey would like to get out of Los Angeles after the playoff argument with Mike Scioscia – not that one incident could cause that much animosity. I mean, Lackey’s been pitching for the Angels his entire career, and they’ve gone to the playoffs for the past three years…still, a fresh start? Plus, (and mind you, I don’t know that this would be the order) a Felix/Lackey/Harden/RRS/Snell starting battery? What’s not to like there?
Sorry, I drifted off for a minute – there is a lot to daydream about this offseason, and the more rumors are discussed the worse things will get. Next week will be 10 pounds of crazy in a 5 pound sack. Spring Training is how far away now?