The good ship Mariner is in dry dock in the Port of Seattle. There is the usual news black out during the World Series, so as not to distract the baseball universe from its major event.
But inside the ship one imagines new skipper Eric Wedge and his GM Jackie Z going over their roster of sailors deciding who to let walk the plank, who to keep for the 2011 voyage, and which free agents to shanghai.
David Aardsma is eligible for salary arbitration. He struggled early in the year, but regained his form. It will cost the M’s some money, but they have no immediate replacement, unless they decide to go with Josh Fields or Dan Cortes. Signing a free agent closer may cost more than Aardsma, so the Mariners are sure to make an offer to David.
Bedard, who has been injured every year with Seattle, has a club option for 2011. If healthy he can be great, but you do not pay big bucks for a part time starter. Maybe the M’s can decline the option and resign at a blue-light discount.
Journeyman catcher Josh Bard is a free agent. The M’s have faith in Adam Moore and having a veteran back up is a good plan. Unless there is a better backup on the market, the switch hitting Bard would be a good fit.
The Mariners have a club option on third baseman Jose Lopez. If they decline and let him go, Figgins could move to third, the position he played for the Angels. The M’s could go for either a second or third baseman in free agency, so they have options to look at. Lopez had an off year. But if your name was not Ichiro or Felix you probably struggled. They may let him go just to begin house cleaning.
Ryan Langerhans, a left handed pinch hitter with no power and no ability to hit takes up a roster spot. The fact he has been with the team for nearly two years is a mystery. He should walk the plank.
There are many other player decisions to make. Casey Kotchman? Jack Wilson?
So what will Eric and Jack decide? The rumors, speculation, the hot stove chatter will begin following some baseball event currently being played out.