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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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July 30, 2008 2:46 PM

Rhodes, Ibanez in-play

Posted by Geoff Baker

raul0730 011.jpg

Let's drop the Jarrod Washburn stuff for a just a moment and focus on the two other Mariners with the best shot at getting traded by tomorrow. No, not Adrian Beltre. I'm told the San Francisco Giants want him, but are reluctant to move their best young major and minor league arms. Deal won't happen if they don't. Besides, who would play third base? The Giants would have to include a third baseman. They have 27-year-old Jose Castillo, another free-swinger but solid defender, who could be a stop-gap guy until the next big thing (Carlos Triunfel?) comes up through Seattle's system. But there would have to be a prize in any Betre deal, like one of the "untouchable'' young arms the Giants have. I'm told that Jonathan Sanchez is the one "untouchable'' who could be touchable. But let's face it. This is already getting too complicated. Sounds like a nice winter project to me.

No, I'm talking Arthur Rhodes and Raul Ibanez. Rhodes was beign pursued by the Tigers, Brewers and Marlins -- with Florida about ready to part with the mid-level prospect it would take to get him. Forget about the Tigers, they're done. Just pulled off a deal with the Yankees, sending them catcher Ivan Rodriguez for reliever Kyle Farnsworth. So, that takes care of any bid for Rhodes by Detroit. To answer one question, yes, Farnsworth is right handed, but it was just another bullpen arm (right or left) that the Tigers wanted to bolster their pen. They weren't specifically looking for a situational lefty. You'll also notice in the story that Rodriguez waived his no-trade clause to go to New York. He's got the same agent as Washburn. Like I said, the no-trade thing isn't going to hold up any Washburn deal. This stuff gets taken care of.

On to Raul Ibanez. The M's are apparently asking for two prospects in exchange for him from both the Mets and Cubs. Not surprising, since Seattle would receive two higher level compensatory picks for Ibanez should he leave as a free-agent at year's end.

But here's the catch: in order to get those picks, Seattle would have to offer arbitration to Ibanez. What if he accepts? Then, the M's would have to be prepared to go to 2009 with him as the DH, most likely. So, those draft picks are not a given. In other words, if one prospect is worthy enough, Seattle's asking price could come down from where it is now. As a negotiating position though, I'd expect to see the ask of two high prospects that's now out there. You have to have something to come back down to, especially since the deadline is a full 22 hours away.

Now is when things start to get serious. When the real negotiating begins.

Frankly, I'll be disappointed if Seattle comes away empty-handed tomorrow.

At the very least, Rhodes is the closest to a sure-thing trade you're ever going to get on a team as bad as the Mariners. They have to deal him. You have a shot at getting a young possibility back and that's better than clinging to an old one that isn't going to help this team when it matters. I'd say it's down to the Marlins and Brewers, both of which are also scouting Eddie Guardado. One will wind up with Florida, the other with Milwaukee.

If Rhodes is still here by tomorrow night, then Lee Pelekoudas will have come up short. There's holding firm in negotiations, then there's being too stubborn for your own good. I'd expect that, with 30 years in this business, he's smart enough to recognize that.


raul0730 013.jpg

Yuniesky Betancourt takes a seat tonight. Willie Bloomquist starts in his place. I asked manager Jim Riggleman whether he felt Betancourt needed a night off. He hasn't exactly been Mr. consistency night-in, night out. Riggleman agreed that he could tellfrom Betancourt's body language that he's frustrated.

I don't know. To me, Betancourt looks like Jose Lopez from last year. I wonder if he has the focus and mental toughness to bring his "A'' game night after night. Lopez is doing a much better job of that this season.

I also asked about Jose Vidro and Jeff Clement, the latter pictured above. Neither was put into last night's game, though Washburn was used as a pinch-runner. It turns out Vidro woke up the other day with a sore neck and back. So, he was kept out. Won't play tonight either, though maybe off the bench. Clement won't be ready to catch again until at least Friday because of that bent back thumbnail. Riggleman said he could be used in an emergency to pinch hit. He was keeping him in reserve last night, just in case that situation arose. So, that's his reasoning for using Washburn to run.


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Posted by Rich Amaral

2:57 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Pudge is a Yankee? Well, that should end speculation (hopes?) of a package deal including Kenji and Washburn to the Yankees. They already have their catcher.

Posted by Mike

3:06 PM, Jul 30, 2008

The Yankees were NEVER going to take Johjima.

Posted by cesame

3:13 PM, Jul 30, 2008

The only team willing to take Johjima is probably the Giants....of Tokyo.

Posted by bleedingblueandteal.com

3:14 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Definately 'hopes'

It would have been nice, though. What's going on with Kenji's knee?

Posted by wabubba

3:16 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Farnsworth is a RH pitcher, why wouldn't the Tigers be interested in a LH pitcher to further augment their bullpen? (I'm sure Leyland would like to have a little flexibility come playoff time to mix and match down the stretch.)

Rhodes v. Guardado! Man, I would take Rhodes in that contest every time if I were looking for bullpen help this year. Hope we deal with the Brewers, as they seem to be banking EVERYTHING on this season=makes them willing to part with more than they should.

Going to the Rainiers game tonight to watch RRS and to spend Julio Mateo's $100 bills...dude just gave them to me the last time he was in town! :-)

Posted by Lenny Randle's Breath

3:23 PM, Jul 30, 2008

If all they move is Rhodes I will be disappointed.

Posted by Briguy17

3:26 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Geoff, I'm sorry to say you will be disappointed. The M's FO (Armstrong, Lincoln, Ellis) have warned Pelekoudas not to make any major moves. He's an interim GM.

I would be absolutely shocked if the Mariners made a trade by tomorrow's deadline.

Posted by Paul

3:27 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Something more interesting to consider here: Don't you guys think that whatever happens in the next 24 hours or so will determine whether Pelekoudas has a shot at sticking around as GM? I mean, if he whiffs on any deal whatsoever or makes a panic move, that has to basically disqualify him from the running as Bavasi's official successor, right?

Posted by Bill

3:40 PM, Jul 30, 2008

I wonder if the GM is under instructions one way or ther other from Lincoln and Armstrong as those two should be fighting for their jobs. If they are assured of employment with the M's next season something is seriously wrong.

Posted by Ragarm

3:42 PM, Jul 30, 2008

It's fun sitting back watching all the other teams in major league baseball make trades and mega deals while our me sit on their butts wringing their hands demonstrating indecision.

Laugh, laugh, I thought I'd cry. It seems so funny to me.

Posted by meagain

3:53 PM, Jul 30, 2008

I would be very reluctant to move Beltre for less than a proven talent and a hot prospect in return. If the Giants have those, why aren't they playing right now? (Unless one of the two is a Triunfel type prospect, in which case who goes with him?)

But if there is such a deal out there, let Lopez and Bloomquist alternate between second and third for the rest of the year. My preference would be Lopez at third and Bloomquist at second. It's not like the M's would be breaking up Tinkers and Evers.

Posted by John

4:03 PM, Jul 30, 2008

I think the M's will move Rhodes and that's it. For now.
We'll be getting a mid-level prospect, and that's it. Given our track record, it won't work out.
I do think they will try to dump Washburn before the Aug. 31 deadline, just to heave the cash.
I would LOVE to get two good prospects for Ibanez, and I really do think he could help a team like the Mets down the stretch, but it never seems like Seattle comes out on the good end of things here.

Posted by Top pick in 09 draft

4:10 PM, Jul 30, 2008

I'm not expecting to see any M's trade other than Rhodes at this point. I think they've decided to go for the two draft picks as basically a trade for Ibanez - hopefully they will have a GM with a solid background in scouting and player development by next June. The situation with Jose Guillen in KC is intriguing - maybe a post-deadline trade could be made with the M's getting him back and KC being willing to take on one of our two long-term bad contracts (Kenji or Silva) that still have three years remaining. Guillen still has two years remaining at $12m/year and looks to have alienated himself with the team and with KC fans. We would need to get a strong manager who can relate well with Latino players (Joey Cora anyone?)

Posted by Chris from Bothell

4:16 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Oh no! Riggleman noticed bad body language from Yuni!

Cue Yuni's DFA in 3... 2... 1...

;)

Posted by Anything Can Happen

4:19 PM, Jul 30, 2008

I would be very sorry to see Ibanez and Rhodes go but I'm doubtful the M's will be contending next year (unless they eat Yuni and Kenji's contracts and plug all of the massive holes, which will be very expensive). And if the M's are not contending next year, then Raul will be 38 and Rhodes nearly 41 two years from now.

I doubt the trade value for either one will be more than it is now. Same for Washburn, though right now his numbers match his contract, and if he continues pitching as well as he has, he's worth more than the Yankees are offering. Beltre, on the other hand, likely will be worth more next July than he is now.

Posted by Rocket

4:29 PM, Jul 30, 2008

If the M's pull off a few trades, 2009 will be ugly. Scratch that thought, 2009 is already looking ugly. We have holes at catcher, first, shortstop(inconsistent), possibly third base if Adrian goes, centerfield and DH. 2009 theme nomination "Refuse to Lose (by more than 10 runs)"

But, I'll still go to the games and support them like I always do. It's just more fun when they're winning.

Posted by smith

4:43 PM, Jul 30, 2008

"It turns out Vidro woke up the other day with a sore neck and back. So, he was kept out. Won't play tonight either, though maybe off the bench. "

I bet Vidro got the sore neck and back Sunday, when he made that Webgem awesome backhanded grab and twisted midair, fired a strike, from 20 feet behind secondbase to LaHair for the crucial clutch 3rd out.

Posted by Mike

4:46 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Rocket---It might not be so bad. The Ms would have to really try to put out a worse DH than Jose Vidro and worse 1Bman than Miguel Cairo. These are the two easiest positions to fill and can be done cheaply. Just getting league average production out of these two spots will improve us by 40-50 runs.

You also have to assume that Clement will start to hit too. Just getting him to an OPS in the .740 range is probably also good for 20 runs compared to the miserable black hole that catcher has been.

Replacing Raul in LF with an average defender is also worth about 20 runs.

So with just a couple of easy, low-cost changes we gain 90 runs. That makes us a .500 team.

All is not lost for next year. For all the discussion of the trade deadline, the most important decision the Ms will make is who will run the team?

Posted by -j.

4:47 PM, Jul 30, 2008

"Frankly, I'll be disappointed if Seattle comes away empty-handed tomorrow. "

===========================================

You won't be the only one Geoff. I was hoping to see a little creativity out of Pelekoudas but it seems he is sticking to the obvious list of players who should be traded. Doesn't seem to be making any progress on that front as it is. Maybe he is limited by the two guys upstairs but it isn't looking good.

Fact of the matter is, thus far Pelekoudas could be replaced by a crash-test dummy and we wouldn't know the difference.

Get off you butt Lee and make some changes.

Posted by scrapiron

4:51 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Trade Ibanez for two prospects. If you can't get the two prospects, try and re-sign him to be your DH next year. No loss there.

Jose Vidro, why is he still here? There has been zero interest in him on the trade front. Let's face it, nobody wants him. Last night they had to use a pitcher to run because Jose Vidro was too sore to play. Meanwhile, a healthy Victor Diaz is hitting home runs in bunches at Tacoma. Why aren't we looking to the future and seeing what Diaz can do? This makes no sense.

Posted by JP

4:52 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Jayson Stark had this to say earlier. "The Mariners are driving a tough bargain. But the Marlins, for one, have been especially persistent. So by Thursday afternoon, if Rhodes isn't heading for one of those destinations, it will mean the Mariners didn't just misplay their cards; they'd have to have set the entire deck on fire."

I think we will be setting the entire deck of cards on fire tomorrow.

Posted by Tacoma Rain

4:53 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Geoff,
You are a stand-up guy, but this is BUSINESS...so the Mariners don't have to. Further, if they are actually playing hardball with teams, hopefully they can do it with players too.
The PERFECT place to start would be with Ibanez. Starting Friday, the M's should make Ibanez the full-time DH. Further, when September call-ups are here, you platoon someone with Raul at DH...I do not care who.
Raul will get the message, and he WON"T WANT to sign here.
Thus, you get 2 draft choices.

Posted by ian

4:55 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Can Lopez play third? Don't see why not. It might suit him better than 2nd.

Posted by John

5:20 PM, Jul 30, 2008

I don't think you have to worry about Rhodes getting traded. That's going to happen.
And I'm glad Seattle is holding firm on Washburn. I've bounced around on several Web sites and it's clear the national media thinks Seattle should hand New York Washburn for the rest of the season because they'll pay his contract. It's a bunch of bull.
I think Washburn IS a much-improved pitcher. I think he has discovered something with his changeup, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's fairly successful as Jamie Moyer was for the next several years based on that changeup. Because of that, I don't think Seattle NEEDS to trade Washburn at all. Yes, he might be overpayed next year, but if he can put together a full season like his second half this year, he won't be that overpayed.
Besides, he can always be dealt this offseason or next season.
I say make sure you get at least one quality player for Wash or don't make the deal. The Yankees can sit there in third place and suck their thumbs all they want. As much as I hate how Seattle has been managed, any failure by New York brings me a great deal of pleasure.

Posted by BrianL

5:22 PM, Jul 30, 2008

ian - Doesn't have quick enough instincts and reaction.

Posted by bobbus451

6:11 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Threadjack/

Julio "One-man crime wave" Mateo has been arrested in New Mexico for counterfeiting. Cue Bavasi's Mateo re-acquisition in 3...2...1...Um, wait....
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-mateo-fakebills&prov=ap&type=lgns

/End Threadjack

Posted by Nick

7:40 PM, Jul 30, 2008

For the record, Geoff, I like you way better than those guys at ussmariner.

With this horrible season I hope you don't go packing your bags. I'm moving to CA in January and I'd like to still be able to come back here and read your blog.

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