It’s finally the offseason! We can finally spit out the residue of a pathetic year, gargle with the antiseptic mouth wash of Hot Stove Action, and smile the gleaming white smile of Hope for another baseball season.
Apparently, the first order of business had to deal with Team Options for players with Team Options written into their contracts. Specifically Erik Bedard, Russell Branyan, and Jose Lopez. To the surprise of no one, those options were not picked up.
And a Hallelujah rang out from across the Pacific Northwest! … but wait!
Yes, it’s true, in theory we could re-sign all of these players at reduced cost. Bedard is still, I’m assuming, injured and not throwing a baseball right now. Were we to take yet ANOTHER flyer on him potentially returning to major league action, I’d assume it would be at a much lower cost than the $8 million option we just turned down. As I’m sure I’ve written, I have zero expectations for Bedard, so whatever if we get him on the cheap. I’m not going to fly into a rage. This thing has been pre-ordained since we traded for him: Erik Bedard will only pitch well again in Major League Baseball when he’s in a non-Mariners uniform.
I think, of the three, The Muscle is the likeliest to return. But, again, at a lower cost. And, let’s face it, at a platoon split at DH (assuming, of course, that he’d be healthy long enough to even be considered part of a “time-share”). Again, if we brought him back on the cheap, I wouldn’t go crazy.
I might go crazy if we bring back Lopez. The shitty thing about this situation is that he’s arbitration eligible. Which means, he’s still under team control for one more season. Which MEANS, as long as we offer him some semblance of a contract, he’s pretty much guaranteed to return to the team. And that, of course, means that he’d be getting a modest raise from last year’s salary – last year when he was at his absolute worst in every conceivable way.
I assume, of course, that if Lopez is brought back, we wouldn’t in any way guarantee him a roster spot, much less a starting position on this team. You always hate losing guys and getting nothing in return, but I just don’t see what you could possibly get in return for a guy who’s a dead pull hitter, has warning track power at best, can’t take a walk to save his life, and is slower than John Olerud on one leg. Seriously! I’m asking you! Who in their right mind would take this guy?
Now, if it were me running this team, I’d probably just say Goodbye to all three players. Let’s face it, they were all dead weight last year. I could almost make a case for The Muscle to return, but look at the guy: he’s a .240 hitter, a dead pull hitter, and he doesn’t really walk all that often. To top it off, put him out in the field and his back is spasming for the next 10 days. Most of the time when he’s hurt, he doesn’t even have the decency to go on the DL. Day-to-day injuries are the bane of my existence and Russell The Muscle is Captain Day-to-Day.
Fresh faces. Those are what we need. Anything that doesn’t resemble the fiasco that was the 2010 season.