The Seattle Mariners need to go better than 8-15 the rest of the way to avoid being the first 100-loss club to spend over $100 million on payroll. Given this grave disappointment of a season, one might think that the team will go out and add parts to help contend in ’09 and beyond.
Not so fast. Geoff Baker caught up with team president Chuck Armstrong, who said, paraphrased, read my lips: no big name free agents. So if you’re in Seattle and were hoping for a savior in the form of CC Sabathia or Mark Teixeira — or even in the form of Griffey Jr. — you might find yourself a little disappointed this winter. The team already tried that route, and it didn’t pan out so well. So they’re trying a different approach.
The team will hire a new GM soon, and Armstrong wants to see a "comprehensive plan" out of each candidate. This invovles a rigorous rebuilding process that will enable the team to sustain itself without having to pick from high-ticket free agents. Of course, the Ms still have a shot in 2009. As Baker points out, there’s plenty of talent on the roster. If both Felix Hernandez and Erik Bedard pitch how they’re capable, if Jeff Clement and Brandon Morrow realize their potential, if Carlos Silva and Jarrod Washburn can be league-avearge, then yeah, maybe they’ve got a shot. But that’s a whole lot of ifs.
It seems as if any new GM in Seattle will have a number of tough decisions to make. Is this an omen of a full-out rebuild?