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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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December 3, 2007 2:30 PM

Rumors on Ibanez, Broussard, Sexson

Posted by Geoff Baker

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Lots of rumors flying fast and furiously here in Nashville. The best way to hear them is to leave behind the rows of computer-pounding reporters in the media room (pictured above), and walk about 15 minutes to a main bar and lobby atrium in the Cascades section of this massive hotel. You can see the picture of it below. I just came back from there, having spoken to some of my contacts from around baseball. No, not just other reporters. People who actually work for MLB teams.

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So, I've spoken to those people and here's what they tell me about the Mariners. Forget about Johan Santana. Out of their league. As for the possibility of a Raul Ibanez trade to the Cubs in return for pitcher Mark Prior (first of all, for me that's a huge risk), I was told it isn't happening -- for now. The Cubs official I spoke with told me that Chicago GM Jim Hendry called the M's at season's end about acquiring Ibanez.

"It's no secret that Jim wants a lefthanded bat,'' my source said.

But the Mariners apparently never got back to the Cubs, at least not with any proposals. In the meantime, the Cubs have shifted their focus away from Ibanez and towards Kosuke Fukodome from Japan. Fukodome would be coming over to play in right field.

Now, in the event that Fukodome doesn't sign with Chicago, Hendry has made it clear he is pursuing other options. This is where, my source tells me, the team might want to revisit the subject of Ibanez. But it's not their only option and, to be honest, my guy didn't sound all that enthused. The issue of where Ibanez would play would be a big one, since Alfonso Soriano is in left field and isn't going anywhere. That means Ibanez in right field?

Yes it does. Hendry wants the lefty bat in right field, so bringing in Ibanez would mean he goes to right. Remember, my source reminded me, there's a shorter right field at Wrigley, so it isn't the same as at Safeco Field.

Anyhow, that's where things stand. My guess? Until we hear from Fukodome via his agent here later today, there's no point speculating about Ibanez to Chicago. Well, you can speculate about it. But it won't be happening today, I'm pretty sure.

As for Ben Broussard, there is a need for a first baseman down in Tampa Bay and the Rays do have Edwin Jackson out there on the market. But the idea that all it would take is Broussard could be a little far-fetched. Remember, Jackson is out of options, but is pegged for Tampa's rotation next year. Broussard could possibly be non-tendered. My sources in Tampa Bay wouldn't rule out the possibility, but it might take more than Broussard. Remember, the Rays need a catcher. Broussard and Rob Johnson? What do you think? I think that's a hefty price for a back-of-the-rotation guy who looks brilliant one start, mediocre the next, and horrible the next time after that.

But again, at least we're not talking Rafael Soriano for Jackson.

As for Sexson, I'm getting lots of laughter and shoulder shrugs from MLB officials whenever I mention his name. As far as the Giants being a possible suitor, GM Brian Sabean has told people he's not interested in bringing in any more veteran players to fill holes. If he did, it would have to be an impact player. Sexson might have been thought of that way once, but it's doubtful he's seen that way now. I wouldn't bite too hard on those rumors just yet.

For Patrick in the comments section, no, the Cubs have zero interest in Sexson. And I put the question directly to the same source I referenced on Ibanez. Hope that helps. Sorry.

We're not meeting with Bavasi in his suite until 8 p.m., so it will be a while before we can ask him about trades, Jose Guillen, and other stuff. In the meantime, I've got another long lobby hike ahead of me. The photo below shows you how cavernous the inside of this place is. I've got about two of those giant indoor atriums/hallways/spaces to cover before getting back to where many of these movers and shakers are hanging out.


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Posted by Kyle in Kentucky

3:05 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Jackson as "brilliant, mediocre, and horrible"...reminds me of the likes of Joel Pineiro or Gil Meche. Ah, the good ol' days...

Posted by Chip

3:10 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Geoff, just wanted to take a second to talk a little off topic and say that I really appreciate what you're doing with this blog. I read it all last year, and from what I've seen so far I really like the way it's progressing in terms of substance and the style of it. The photos are also a great addition, I don't know how many of us would have otherwise seen exactly where all of it goes down. Great job and keep on keeping on.

That said, is it likely the Mariners make a trade within the next week? It sounds like they've got a lot on the tables but most teams always do. Is it most likely we'll say goodbye to Ibanez or Sexson or someone else by week's end?

Posted by Frankie

3:13 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Whats up everyone!!!

You know, it feels really weird comin to the blog when its like below freezing outside, mainly because i used to sit up until 1am watchin Mariners games in the summer and vent my anger on this blog....

But anyways its good to be back for now...

I have one question. What is the status on Hiroki Kuroda? I would be real happy to have him come to Seattle for a couple of reasons:

1- A good middle of the rotation pitcher is pretty much what we need the most for this team going into next year.

2- The media coverage from Japan could be really big next year if it covers Kuroda joining Ichiro and Johjima on the Mariners, and it would be great for attendence.


Anyway, thats my biggest concern as of right now. I'll be back to check the comments later, but as for now, its really good to be back..

Frankie

Posted by AKMarinersFan

3:16 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Ibanez as a right fielder? Hmmm...I've got to question your "sources". Maybe he could just "roll the ball in" instead of trying to throw it.

Just currious, when you mention the name "Bavasi" do you get the same kind of chuckles as Sexton?

Posted by wrmike

3:29 PM, Dec 03, 2007

I saw the people that made the Hall of Fame today.

Wasn't Dave Niehaus nominated for broadcasting award? (Just can't think of the name though).

Posted by Chip

3:41 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Geoff, can you tell us anything about a rumor Jayson Stark over at ESPN mentioned? He said the Mariners were looking at Marcus Giles, but that it was if they traded Jose Lopez. Has Lopez's name been brought up in any discussions? Are they worried there might be something more to Lopez's declining play at the end of last season than the personal reasons that emerged during the Cubs trip?

Posted by Choo

3:44 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Hopefully Hiroki Kuroda, will sign with us. Another to note about Hiroki Kuroda is that 1) smooth transition for him to the big league due to Johjima will be his catcher so smooth dialogue 2) agree, Japanese media coverage will be huge considering Johjima, Ichiro and Kuroda on same team and 3) Mariners have all the resources for Japanese players due to their relationship with Japan.


Bavasi better make some good reasonable deals and trades to get the improvement that we really need to leap into playoffs and championship!

Posted by Patrick F.

3:46 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Keep up the good work, Geoff. This is great.

I seriously hope the Mariners aren't considering trading Ibanez. Without him the offense is hopeless.

I would have no problem with Marcus Giles becoming a Mariner, so hopefully there's something to those rumors. Pitching is the greatest need though.

Any news on the pitching front? Is there any other way the M's could attain Prior without including Raul? Is there any real interest in Big Richie? Honestly, I think since he's in the last year of his contract, the team should give him another shot.

Posted by Jared

3:53 PM, Dec 03, 2007

I hope Bavasi doesn't let Kuroda sign with another team! I can see that turning out very well with Johjima behind the plate. I wouldnt mind an Ibanez trade so much if the Mariners would have gave Guillen a contract!

Posted by Jared

3:53 PM, Dec 03, 2007

I hope Bavasi doesn't let Kuroda sign with another team! I can see that turning out very well with Johjima behind the plate. I wouldnt mind an Ibanez trade so much if the Mariners would have gave Guillen a contract!

Posted by Marinermarsh

3:55 PM, Dec 03, 2007

To wrmike, the Ford C. Frick online voting ended on November 30th, but the finalists are not announced until sometime in February. So we'll have to hope that he makes it in before he dies, unlike Buck O'Neill who should have made it when he presented the 17 inductees from the Negro League. Dave is the reason that there were so many fans of the M's even when they were bad for so many years. I know that with all of his stories he renewed my interest from 1981 onward and I voted for him several times each year since they have started opening it to the fans.

Posted by Eburg T

4:14 PM, Dec 03, 2007

As for Sexson, I'm getting lots of laughter and shoulder shrugs from MLB officials whenever I mention his name ...


Yeah, it's either laugh or cry.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

4:15 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Giles over Lopez...are you crazy? Hold on to Lopez for two more years and Triunfel will be ready. If he doesn't perform use Chen. Giles is a step in the wrong direction.

Posted by Lance

4:17 PM, Dec 03, 2007

I wouldn't trade any good major leaguer for Jackson or any other non-established starter who's out of options. If he has a bad spring you lose him on waivers, anyway. Then you're left with nothing. In that respect, Broussard and/or Johnson is worse than Soriano for Ramirez. At least you can keep Horacio around hoping he developes. Jokes aside, that's not out of the realm of possibility.
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Broussard is a quality major league hitter. Johnson can be another Dan Wilson type, with a slightly better bat. He's a much better all-round catcher than Clement is. I wouldn't give him up until you see whether Clement can adequately catch at the big league level. That's a big IF right now. Catcher is one position I wouldn't give to someone just to have their bat in the lineup.
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It's fine if Bavasi wants to talk deals for a starter. That can be a Plan B in the event Kuroda doesn't sign with the M's. Then the 5th spot can easily be filled internally.
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If I trade for Jackson the only guy I'd give up is Cha Seung Baek, another guy out of options. But, I'm not sure even that is an even trade. Both have been quite the underachievers. I'd stick with Cha Seung. At least you don't have to give up a good player for him. Then, do you keep Jackson even with a poor spring when Cha Seung has a good spring just to keep the trade from being a failure? That would be a Horacio Ramirez or Jeff Weaver redux.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

4:20 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Good lord, these last 2 updates from Geoff were depressing. I know Seattle is considered a bit of a backwater, and not in the same tier as some other MLB teams, but yeek. Maybe we shouldn't be QUITE as harsh on Mr. Bavasi. Doesn't sound like he has a hell of a lot to work with, in some respects...

And the Edwin Jackson murmurs are equally depressing. I looked up his stats. He doesn't have a season w/ an ERA under 5!

Kuroda is looking more and more like an absolute minimum starting point, rather than The Signing Of The Offseason. If all we have is +Kuroda, -Guillen, the Ms will be lucky to finish 2nd in the West again.

Posted by Lance

4:24 PM, Dec 03, 2007

I'm not sure I accept what Sabean says about Sexson when you want to move Ray Durham as much as they do. He probably just wants to put on a tough face to get Seattle to throw in extra money. It's not like they have anyone else to play the position right now, including Travis Ishikawa. Unless they move someone over there like Dan Ortmeier. That's why including Mike Morse in such a deal makes sense.

Posted by Garry

4:28 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Geoff,

Can you put a bug in Bavasi's ear to just go pickup Fukudome's power LHB & gold glove defense in RF. We do that, and there are 3 teams out there that want Ibanez in a heartbeat!

Pickup Fukudome and send Ibanez to the Cubs for Prior, or to Cleveland for laffey!

Can you put the feelers out there to see if Seattle is anywhere interested in Fukudome & then let us know?

Thanks in advance!!!

Posted by Garry

4:28 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Geoff,

Can you put a bug in Bavasi's ear to just go pickup Fukudome's power LHB & gold glove defense in RF. We do that, and there are 3 teams out there that want Ibanez in a heartbeat!

Pickup Fukudome and send Ibanez to the Cubs for Prior, or to Cleveland for laffey!

Can you put the feelers out there to see if Seattle is anywhere interested in Fukudome & then let us know?

Thanks in advance!!!

Posted by Steve Schumacher

4:53 PM, Dec 03, 2007

With so many teams having success bringing up young players, and building a team for the long term, why do the Mariners continue to go the more expensive route of trying to bring in veteran free agents, or trading young talent for established players? It seems very short sighted to trade away your prospects all the time. At least that's the way it appears to me. Correct me if I'm wrong. I for one would be willing to wait and watch a team being developed and built for the long term -- like Cleveland, for example.

Posted by byebyeIbanez

5:04 PM, Dec 03, 2007

dude, AKmarinerfan, it's called a cut-off man. Yes, Raul Ibanez isn't the greatest OF'er but let's not resort to ridiculous hyperbole. If another team thinks he can be their RF'er than whatever, you don't need to criticize it, after all it's not our problem.

Posted by Adam

5:09 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Lance - Jackson is a much better prospect than Baek. He misses more bats, gets more ground balls, and is younger than Baek. He can still get fixed with some work on his mechanics. Baek is what he is - a AAAA starter who can be replaced at the drop of a hat.


Kuroda isn't worth 4/44, in my opinion. All the scouting reports I've read have him as a #4 pitcher. Further, Japanese starters do not have a good track record in MLB. Kuroda is not worth the kind of money offered, not as a #4 starter. And I don't see why he'd provide a boost to attendance.


If Ibanez can get us a young pitcher, I'm all for trading him. He's a terrible defender, and he can't hit lefties. In other words, he's best suited to be a platoon DH. And he's aging. Replacing him with Adam Jones will make this team better now and in the future. I would LOVE to see Hendry trade for him. And I would expect more than Prior.


Posted by Kyle in Kentucky

5:16 PM, Dec 03, 2007

If we could trade Ibanez for a solid pitcher, I'd be all for it. But I don't share all the hate that many of you do towards Raul. He's been one of our clutch-est hitters for the last few years. Of course his defense isn't great but in my opinion he has made up for it in the long haul with his bat. And I know a lot of you don't want to hear about it, but he's one of the classiest guys in the game. In my book, that still counts for something. If we can move him and upgrade our team, I'd be all for it...but I would be sad to see him leave.

Posted by byebyeIbanez

5:18 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Adam, according to Jim Street on MLB.com (i believe) the offer the Mariners have on the table is something in the neighborhood of 3 for 30 so that to me is a lot better. I was in the same boat as you, 4 for 44 for a guy that wasn't really anything special in Japan is overboard. I still hope we don't land him or anyone outside of Kyle Lohse at a price of 1 yr + team option for $4.5 mil. He would be a good pick up at that price and then just put Ryan Rowland-Smith and Brandon Morrow in the rotation and move Batista to the pen where he can do it all and be our swiss-army knife so to speak.

Posted by scrapiron

5:19 PM, Dec 03, 2007

For whatever reason the Mariners are down on Broussard. They wouldn't play him regularly at first base because they didn't want to hurt Sexson's feelings, and now they are letting out that they might non-tender him. This despite there being quite a bit of interest in him on the trade market. The M's are driving his trade value down since many teams think they can wait them out and get him for nothing. So if they can't find a way to make Broussard fit in their system, then let's trade him and get something of value in return. (Jackson)

Posted by byebyeIbanez

5:20 PM, Dec 03, 2007

he's actually not really a clutch hitter as you say Kyle. He was like .250 with RISP last year last time I checked which was early September I think.

Posted by Adam

5:27 PM, Dec 03, 2007

bbI - Larry LaRue over at the Tacoma News Tribune says we offered 4/44. Not sure who to believe - I'd much rather take Kuroda at 3/30, but I'm sure Bavasi is going to overpay.

Posted by Kyle in Kentucky

5:30 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Actually, Ibanez hit .328 w/ RISP in 2007, ranking him 22nd in the AL and 3rd on the team for players with 100+ at bats w/ RISP. With 2 outs and RISP Ibanez hit .324, ranking him 7th in the AL and 2nd on the team behind Ichiro. In 2006 he was 3rd in the AL with a .377 average. In both years he was also in the top 15 in the AL in RBIs with 2-outs/RISP (6th in 2007; 15th in 2006).

Posted by Garry

6:02 PM, Dec 03, 2007

I'm not going to knock Ibanez's bat at all. Yes he had a tough 2007, but had an incredible 2006! And yes he's been a valuable LHB for Seattle over the past 4 years. Yes he's classy, but even the classiest player we've had was at 1B and a power LHB and he too was traded OLERUD!

Players hit an age platoo and we just have to move them unless they can just squeeze in at DH "if" they are major HR hitters. (ie: Boone, Olerud, etc, etc). Since 2002 Seattle has been in rebuilding mode, and that's why come the start of 2009...Sexson/Vidro & Ibanez will ALL be gone!!!

I've been pushing Fukudome, and yes he's like 31 years old...and "some" could say he's on the wrong side of 30 too. From everything I've read and seen, I'm willing to take him on a 3-4 year contract. But his gold glove RF defense, power RF arm, and power LHB & major doubles hitter (doubles hitter even better then Raul) is too enticing to pass up.

I've been drulling just thinking of an OF of Jones in LF, Ichiro, and Fukudome in RF! That would be the best defensive OF in all of MLB!

Don't get me wrong, I actually wouldn't mind Ibanez as our DH in 2008...I JUST CANT BARE TO WATCH HIM IN LF ONE MORE YEAR!!! BUT, "if" we have an opportunity to land Fukudome & trade Ibanez for Prior or Laffey....JUST DO IT I SAY!!!

Posted by oregongal

6:32 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Yeah, what Garry said about IbaƱez. And I have a soft spot in my heart for classy guys. The only thing I have against him is that it's painful to watch him run in LF. Unfortunately, that's something that's going to keep getting worse with his age.

Posted by Lance

7:09 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Adam, my point is that at this time Baek stands as much a chance to help in 2008 as does Jackson. Because unless Jackson turns it around immediately you're going to have to suffer with him as you did with Ramirez and Weaver last year, or put him on waivers where he'll be claimed. You can quickly fall out of the race waiting for him to figure things out on the ML level. I'd just wait until he, or another similar pitcher, is put on waivers and put in a claim. Remember, Jackson was a part of an awful starting rotation. He certainly didn't help matters.
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He may be more physically gifted than Baek, but baseball is replete with guys who had golden arms and ten cent heads. Better, I say, to trade Broussard, or even Johnson, for a young starter who can be sent down if need be. That's not the case with EJ.
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Make a deal for him and everyone's going to bellyache how they gave away 'fill in the blank'.
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Also, I wouldn't simply call Baek a AAAA pitcher. He's got skills and just needs to be more consistant with them. And, he's got to stay healthy. I don't care what age he is. What does that matter? If he can get big league hitters out consistantly I don't care what his age is. I'd rather get someone who can win now, not a guy who'll take two, three or more years to get it together. We need a quality starter, not someone who's young enough to have a Hall-of-Fame career.
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But, as I said, Baek for Jackson seems like a reasonable deal to me. I wouldn't offer anything more for the guy.

Posted by joe

7:25 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Edwin Jackson? Edwin Jackson? Sure he was a top prospect...4 years ago. What has Edwin Jackson ever proved at the MLB level? He has had a horrible career. He walks an astronomical amount of hitters. At least Broussard has a semi-successful track record. Edwin Jackson?
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I for one am not getting my hopes up. I have little confidence in Bavasi's negotiating ability. Sure, he may make a few deals, but just so he looks like he is being productive. The bottom line is, that the Mariners will never make it to the Playoffs, much less the World Series, under Bill's "leadership".
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Better hope Santa's got something else in store for us Mariner fans, cuz Bill Bavasi ain't gonna provide JACK!

Posted by mike56

8:44 PM, Dec 03, 2007

Hey what is with the Ibanez bashing?? All he has done since he has been in Seattle is average around 290 w 20 plus and when healthy drive in 89 to 120runs! Plus play hard and play hurt...he also brings heart and character. Oh and by the way try finding someone to do that for 5.5million!! And byebyeibanez I looked it up and he hit over 300 risp again! I am all for improving the club, but what lh threat do you have if he goes? Why do you think so many teams covet his bat? As far as platooning goes you would be the only guy in the league to platoon a 100 rbi guy....and his ba vs lefties was higher than many regular lh batters including 2006 mvp Morneu. With that being said you have to give up quality to get quality. Over the last 6 and a half years he has been one of the most underrated players in the game period.

Posted by jack

8:11 AM, Jan 09, 2008

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