Good day and good luck in Texas, Rich. This high risk/high reward free agent is off the market, pending a physical. We will see how he does in a hitter friendly park. If he is “on” for an entire season, Texas would have a legit ace. If he is “off”, Texas is out only money and probably the post season. No chance for the Mariners to move forward with the Bedard of 2009.
We are still in the hunt, remote if anything, for Jason Bay. Since Harden was signed for $7.5 million for next year, that would indicate the Mariners did have about that much to offer him as well. Now, they can put that money somewhere else. Bay would be a great option, should they choose. Bay did turn down a 4 year, $60 mil offer from Boston, so he is commanding a high price. Perhaps higher than what he is truly worth.
Another “Bedard-esk” player would be Ben Sheets. Also, a player with some history with Jack Z. Sheets has had some great moments, but also some pretty lousy ones. The last two seasons of his career have been, what I would consider, solid. Amassing a 25-14 record with an ERA hovering around 3.40. This would make a great #2 starter to support Felix. His strikeout count is not as that great as a healthy Harden, but I will take .7 K per inning average over nothing. If the dollar figure is right, I am sure Jack will make the proper choice as the winter meetings comes to close.
As of now, Lopez is still a Mariner. I have a sneaky feeling that this will change prior to 2009 coming to a close. According to Scott BorASS, the Mariners are still talking about trying to bring Beltre back. I don’t put a lot of stock in this, but we will see. It is nice to have a versatile player in Figgins so there really is no pressure on what we would do. If we do bring Beltre back, move Figgins to second and trade Lopez for your #3 starter, maybe #2. Not sure if he alone commands enough for a #2 starter with only one good season under his belt on offense.
Even with the winter meetings coming to a close, talks and negotiations will continue long into the holiday season.