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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 31, 2008 5:13 PM

Pelekoudas: "We came close"

Posted by Geoff Baker

trade0731 001.jpg

Seattle leads 2-0 in the first inning, the first run scoring on a double by Raul Ibanez, pictured above, telling Michael Young how he almost got traded.

So, interim general manager Lee Pelekoudas finally arrived at the ballpark after a long day of talking, but not much deal-making. That Arthur Rhodes deal, I'm told, pretty much came together last Sunday and the M's waited it out to see if any better offers came along. My contacts in Miami say that Seattle might have gotten the better of the Rhodes-Gaby Hernandez trade. Hernandez hung around with the Marlins right up until the end of spring training because they wanted a more in-depth look at him. The folks I talked to say he could be in Seattle's rotation by next year. As a No. 4 or No. 5 arm. He didn't start playing baseball until he was 13, when he switched over from soccer. He'll start off with Seattle's Class AA affiliate. He wasn't on the Marlins' 40-man roster.

Anyhow, I asked Pelekoudas about the Ibanez-to-Toronto scenario. In typical fashion, for the Mariners, he was very short on details.

"I'm not going to characterize what we did or didn't do with any club on a particular player,'' he said. "I'll just say that we came close to a couple of deals and weren't able to get them done.''

There you go, then. Well, hold on. There's a bit more to the whole story.

To recap, Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said earlier today that he spent 2 1/2 hours working out details of the Ibanez trade and that things got "intense" and at one point, he thought a deal would get done. Until the Mariners backed out.

We don't know which players were being offered to Seattle. But privately, I'm told this wasn't exactly a case of the Mariners having a deal in-place with Toronto and getting cold feet.

"We were ready to go forward,'' Ricciardi said. "I think at the end of the day they just didn't feel as comfortable going forward to finish off the trade.''

Sure makes it sound as if the M's pulled out of a deal, doesn't it? From what I'm told, some members of Toronto's PR staff actually thought they had a deal and were ready to print out releases.

But now, I'm hearing that the two sides swapped a multitude of names. And not just over a few hours today. Over the past few days. The Blue Jays apparently kept going back to the M's and kept getting rebuffed. Then, the M's would go back to the Jays with names and get rebuffed. In the end, neither side could firmly agree.

Seattle's position was that the two players -- yes, it was going to be two 40-man roster guys -- had to be the equivalent of the two high-end draft picks they'd get as compensation for Ibanez leaving as a Type A free-agent at season's end. And in the end, the players the Jays offered did not meet that criteria in the eyes of Seattle's braintrust.

So, how did this pending "deal" make it into the media? Well, that's an easy one. Ricciardi has a stable of national baseball writers he's established relationships with over the years, dating back to his time as a Boston-based national crosschecker scout for the Oakland A's. Used to hold court with some of the big name East Coast writers every day in the pressbox dining room at Fenway Park. We're talking 15 and 20-year relationships.

Any time you see some in-depth Blue Jays story, with off-the-record details, in one of the big papers, online sites or magazines, chances are Ricciardi is the one doing the talking. Did he leak details of his negotiations with the Mariners to the media ahead of time? Maybe jump the gun a little enthusiastically? And in the end, make it look like it was the M's who couldn't pull the trigger on a deal, instead of him maybe not going along with one of their scenarios?

Hey, who knows? I wasn't in the room. But based on past evidence, I'd say it's entirely possible.

Doesn't mean the M's should not have gone along with any of the proposed deals. But it also doesn't mean they backed out of a pending deal either. Just trying to get you the most complete picture possible.

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Posted by A-Lod

5:00 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Even when this team sucks, they cannot pull off a trade of any significance....

Posted by scrapiron

5:12 PM, Jul 31, 2008

So two prospects on the 40-man roster were offered, but the Mariners decided they weren't as good as the two compensation picks. So lets take Lind, Purcey and League off the list, and find all the guys on the prospects on the Jays 40-man that aren't on the DL:
Jesse Litsch
Jean Machi
Bill Murphy
Davis Romero
Brian Wolfe
Curtis Thigpen
Russ Adams
Buck Coats
Robinzon Diaz

Thigpen is a catcher, so scratch him. Litsch is a nice prospect, but nothing else excites me. That's probably what Lee thought when they were negotiating too.

My guess is that the reason Purcey and League's names were bandied about, is that's what the Mariners wanted to make a deal happen. Without those, the deal fell short.

Posted by Lenny Randle's Breath

5:13 PM, Jul 31, 2008

This season is a nightmare.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

5:15 PM, Jul 31, 2008

On paper the Gaby Hernandez trade looks good. It does not excuse the lack of deals being worked out by Pelekoudas. There were multiple reports that GM's were publicly laughing at the demands of too much talent in return. Lee was inflexible in just making a fair trade. He was looking to fleece every GM in every deal. I believe we fleeced Florida if Gaby indeed makes it as a #4 starter.

Great job by Geoff keeping us well informed during the deadline deal. A lot better from the stagnant absurd Ichiro 3,000 hit talk.

Posted by John

5:16 PM, Jul 31, 2008

I really can't wait until next winter when the M's PR department revs up ... trying to gets fans in the seats.

Queue M's theme music:
"Yep, we still have the same great guys who lost 100 games last year, but, boy, wait till you see how hard they play.
Why, we've got Jose Vidro who can round the bases -- when he gets a hit every ninth at-bat! -- in his wheelchair in under four minutes.
We've got the "innings-eater" Carlos Silva, who eats and eats and eats.
We've got the free-swinging Yuni Betancourt, who wouldn't take a pitch for a walk if it wore a mini-skirt and asked him out on a date.
We've got the lefty fireballer Eric Bedard, who we fully expect to make at least eight starts this season.
And so much more ...
We're not going to spend $100 million this year and lose 100 games, but hang around to see if we can spend $90 million and lose 90!
So get your crazy butt down to Safeco Field where the fun -- and losing -- never end."

Posted by Go Pilots

5:16 PM, Jul 31, 2008

I'm not too worried about the non-obvious moves right now. Let the new GM/owners trade the Washburns and the Beltres of the world if it fits in there plan for this franchise.

Posted by downonstrikes

5:19 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Pelekoudas stumbled. We would expect nothing less. This team does suck as A-Lod so eloquently wrote. The M's management couldn't land a wet noodle. Turds.

Posted by Ragarm

5:24 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Are we so depleted throughout the system that we can't even offer two or three AA or AAA players for a quality starter? Don't we have a player or two in the minors to package with Vidro just to get him the hell out of town? Oh, wouldn't our prayers be answered if the FO was to replace our bumbling DH and number 4 hitter, Vidro?

I'm laughing now at the whole organization and our absentee ownership in particular.

Guess what? I'm not watching, listening, or going to another game this season. But I will stay here to throw eggs at this bunch of losers as I read about their comical blunders and losses.

Posted by Mint Husky

5:27 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Lee is at Arlington? I was under the impression that the GM rarely traveled with the team.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

5:29 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Thanks for the work and information today Geoff!

Posted by nodiggity

5:29 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Why are Vidro and Cairo still on this team and occupying valuable spots that should go to someone who will actually help this team next year???

Posted by Ms Fan in Exile

5:33 PM, Jul 31, 2008

I think that Pelekoudas did exactly as he should have during the Deadline Frenzy. Boobvasi would have taken what he could, whether it would help us or not, just to get money off the books.

Pelekoudas, based on trades by Mariner's GM's over the past 7 years, had to take a hard stance. If some thought he was too inflexible, so be it. He was serving notice, that while HE was the GM, he would not get fleeced like others have allowed themselves to be.

As for the naysayers, who think Pelekoudas should have been in dump mode, that is the same thinking that was in the minds of 29 other GMs in the league. They figured they could push the M's around, and give us marginal prospects for valuable players. The Twins and Giants thought so with Beltre, saying that a can't miss and marginal prospect were too much for a Gold-Glover at the hot corner. The only reason they were saying that, was because a Bavasi-type GM would have folded and given Beltre up for a bag of used balls and a prospect who hadn't played in over a year due to injury.

I applaud Pelekoudas' handling of the Trade Deadline. I hope that, if we get new ownership, they consider keeping him on. If we don't get new ownership, I would like to see what Lee can do, provided he gets more decision making power than was apparent with Bavasi.

On a side note, for Geoff,

No props on the Rhodes trade?? (Just kidding!! You're doing a great job! Keep it up!)

Posted by shane/olympia

5:36 PM, Jul 31, 2008

lee needs to be gone!

Posted by Go Pilots

5:37 PM, Jul 31, 2008

I have no idea why Vidro is still on this team but Cairo still has a role to play. To be honest though the only position player I would bring up right now is Diaz. Balentine and Hulett are not so hot on my list because they don't have the power that Diaz does.

Posted by Bill

5:41 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Oh look there's a game going on!

Well, at least the Angels are kicking the crap out of the Yankees.

This about sums it up:


Seattle Mariners: How is Raul Ibanez still in left field? Jarrod Washburn still in the rotation? Why were teams calling about J.J. Putz told the closer was unavailable? Adrian Beltre couldnít fetch a prospect or two? The transition in Seattle that began with the firing of GM Bill Bavasi and manager John McLaren apparently hasnít trickled down to the playing field."

dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb

Posted by Go Pilots

5:52 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Bill, an Interim GM who does basic moves is smart. They said the Rays were losers because they did nothing. Typical Boston-NY axis BS. Manny is going to LAD so they have extra outfielders that we might beable to aquire so we can finally deal Ibanez in august. Putz isn't gone because he's the domestic face of the franchise. Or do you not watch TV ads? Outside of Ichiro and local boy Willie, Putz is the most marketable.

Posted by Go Pilots

5:53 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Bill, an Interim GM who does basic moves is smart. They said the Rays were losers because they did nothing. Typical Boston-NY axis BS. Manny is going to LAD so they have extra outfielders that we might beable to aquire so we can finally deal Ibanez in august. Putz isn't gone because he's the domestic face of the franchise. Or do you not watch TV ads? Outside of Ichiro and local boy Willie, Putz is the most marketable.

Posted by Ms Fan in Exile

5:56 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Sorry, brother, not buying it. As I stated above, I applaud Pelekoudas for not making trades just to be making trades and make a name for himself. He played it the way it had to be played. There is plenty of time to wheel and deal. Many of the players we want to get rid of wouldn't have gotten us anything, so now we can pass them through waivers and release or trade for whatever we can get.

Of those that have value, I think Raul has more value in the clubhouse, field, and the two draft picks we will receive for losing him. If you remember Spring Training, Washburn and Stottlemyre were working on his grip, and a new pitch. I think the last two months we have seen him gain more control over both that grip and his new pitch. With some run support, he could get us a much better package next July, if we intend to trade him at all.

Posted by Lance

6:00 PM, Jul 31, 2008

In their heart of hearts the M's probably didn't really want to trade Raul. Stat freaks may not like it, but Raul is the heart and soul of this team. And, it's never good to trade your heart and soul. The M's would have had to be overwhelmed to do so, and they just weren't.

Posted by joebbaseball

6:24 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Thanks for your hard work on these stories today Geoff. Thank god the m's didn't reject a percey-league combo. HOWEVER I am still anoyed that Wash, Raul, Vidro, and Beltre are still on this team. No matter who the GM is just getting rid of all those guys is a positive. THEY ALL STINK. Ok Raul isn't bad, but who's to say they can't just re-sign him in two months? I can't believe there were teams willing to take the other bums. Just taking their contracts is a step forward for this team. And, who knows, there are a lot of minor leaguers who were never top prospects that turned out to be good players. The thing that bothers me most about today, like most days following the M's, is they don't really seem to have a plan. As Peter Gammons said earlier today, I don't think the M's realize just how bad they stink.

Posted by Ry

6:26 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Well, that should do it.

The trade deadline was really the last reason anyone had to pay attention to this worthless organization. Guys like Ibanez, Washburn, Putz, and Beltre couldn't be any less valuable to a team in this position and the FO failed to move any of them. Under Bavasi and now Pelekoudas, the M's remind me so much of the way the Sonics were managed during the last 10 years. The indecisive approach of stradling the line between rebuilding and just trying to get by with offseason roster patches is painfully familiar. Does anyone truly know what the direction of this organization is?

Posted by TimsHead

6:29 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Here's the deal: You should never ever ever take all these trade rumors at face value. You've got reporters speculating, formulating and sometimes even fabricating. My hunch is that the Jays didn't offer much -- if no Lind, League, Litsch or Pursey, what you have are a bunch of questionable prospects who aren't exactly wowing them in Syracuse.

The Rhodes trade is decent ... if you can fetch a potential #5 starter for an aging situational lefty on a team going nowhere, it's worth the try. Throwing away Putz or Lowe or RSS for that payback would be criminal, but this isn't a bad move.

I'm happy for Junior, though. I may just start rooting for the White Sox to get him his ring. That would be sweet.

Posted by Phil Isernio

6:36 PM, Jul 31, 2008

The Mariners let's see 27 games out of first place. Needing to start the process of rebuilding the team. The same old story cannot make trades. I say we trade Chuck, Howard, and Lee for three bags of grass seed and a keg of beer. Find a young General Manager with vision to make this team a winner. All the teams that made trades want to win that is why they trade. The mariners have been around since 1976 no world series ring. Did you ever think you would say Tampa Bay is better than the mariners? Well my friends they are........

Posted by msb

6:59 PM, Jul 31, 2008

well, for what its worth, Drayer said that she was told that the names coming back to the Ms for both Ibanez & Washburn were "organizational players", a.k.a. minor leaguers who fill out the rosters without much expectation of a major league career

Posted by Chris from Bothell

7:24 PM, Jul 31, 2008

So did Riccardi leak stuff to you, given your longtime connection to Toronto media? ;) ;)

Posted by Full Count

8:57 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Unable to make deals when Bavasi was there and it is no different now, Pelekoudas and these guys are just very very bad deal makers, the owners need to stop all deals now and focus on getting a new President, GM and director of scouting.

It is useless to even worry about the games, great if we win but at this point this franchise is in trouble from top to bottom and desperately needs a vision for the future.

Posted by Mariner Mgnt Sucks

11:09 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Jason Stark from pretty much summed it up..

If ever there was a team that should have used this deadline to clear out as much money, dead weight and extraneous parts as it could export, wasn't Seattle it?

So how could this deadline have come and gone with only Rhodes driving into the sunset? How could Ibanez still be there? How could Jarrod Washburn still be there? How could one-third of that roster not have been traded in the past couple of weeks?

"I'm cutting them a little slack," one rival GM said. "They're leader-less right now."

True, the Mariners have an interim GM (well-liked Lee Pelekoudas) and an owner in Japan and an uncertain chain of command. But they angered teams they spoke to with what were widely viewed as outrageous demands. And the bottom line is that this deadline represented a lost renovation opportunity in the middle of an already-lost season. And how many lost opportunities can clubs like this afford?

"I really don't know how to describe that club right now," one AL executive said. "It just seems to be a train wreck out there."

Posted by Patrick F.

12:10 AM, Aug 01, 2008

I think the M's will be able to get better deals for these guys in the offseason, especially the pitchers (Bedard, Washburn). Raul could net some decent prospects as well.

I'm totally opposed to the idea of trading Beltre or Putz. Beltre is in his prime and I think JJ will be able to work his way out of his recent funk.

At least, the M's were able to get an above average prospect for an aging Arthur Rhodes. We got really lucky there. I for one am glad we won't see Washburn wearing pinstripes this season.

Posted by SaukMtnMan

12:26 AM, Aug 01, 2008

The M's suck. Pelekoudas talks about looking towards the future after trading Rhodes for Gaby Fernandez; but what about the teams more glaring needs? Like trading the rest of their pathetic roster sans King Felix! Felix should be what you build the team around. Ichiro and the rest of the underachievers should be on their way to other parts of the country at this very moment. Ands as fans we should have had the opportunity to look towards the future with new, younger players on our roster.
Shame on the M's for putting the screws to their fan base for five of the last six seasons. It is pathetic to watch and disconcerting to listen to too. Dave Neihaus is in the Hall of Fame because he can get Seattle excited about a team that is truly incapable of anything exciting.
Fire the whole flippin' team!

Posted by Bums

2:33 AM, Aug 01, 2008

It is probably best not to do too much until the so-called permanent GM and manager come in. They should have dumped Washburn, though, and hopefully still will. Keeping him around this and next season makes very little sense. They are going to lose 90 games next year, so it does not make sense to be throwing money away.

Posted by Howard Cosell

8:44 AM, Aug 01, 2008

Jayson Stark spoke to teams who characterized the Ms demands as "outrageous" in general.

Cmon Geoff - tell it like it is - you are starting to look like a stooge for management.

The ownership of this team should be concentrating on getting a top notch GM and Manager and not these plug in stop gap maneuvers. And when they do get get ones (Hargove etc) make sure they don't leave under mysterious X file circumstances.

Is AL Davis running this team?

Recent entries

Jul 31, 08 - 08:55 PM
M's hang on, beat Rangers

Jul 31, 08 - 06:49 PM
Mariners at Texas Rangers: 07/31 game thread

Jul 31, 08 - 05:13 PM
Pelekoudas: "We came close"

Jul 31, 08 - 02:48 PM
Ricciardi: M's shot down Ibanez deal

Jul 31, 08 - 01:03 PM
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