The Log recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the Mariner's GM as he prepares for what is shaping up to be an eventful offseason, He shared some curious insights into his aquisition strategies and outlook for 2007.
ML: Thanks for being part of the Mariner Log launch.
BB: Happy to do it. It's important that we do a better job of reaching out to the Blog community as it is often where we get some of our best ideas.
ML: Such as?
BB: The Edgar Duck giveaway for one. The Pokey Reese signing is another. It could be something as obvious as someone pointing out that we don't have enough left-handed sock on the bench, or as happened recently, that there aren't any TV's over the urinals at Safeco. The passions of fans run deep.
ML: Coming into this offseason the team has some clear needs. How do you plan to address them?
BB: I wouldn't say there is any hole that we just HAVE to fill. Let's put it this way, when I was with the Angels in they said that Tim Salmon was washed up. That his skills were declining. One guy even described him as having a snowball's chance in you-know-where to hit 30 HR again. We gave him AB's in 2003 and he proved the critics wrong. Sometimes the only hole we have is in our own heads.
ML: Salmon's last year with 30+ HR was in 2000.
BB: You can't measure a body of work in a year. It took him three seasons, but he got to 30 HR. That's my point.
ML: Moving on. Assuming there were some holes, or areas that you would like to improve, what are they?
BB: (Chuckling) I didn't mean to sound like we're 100% set. We have a great young bullpen that is really the strength of the team. Putz, Soriano, Lowe, Fruto, all poised for big years. Have you seen the size of Fruto's head? A lot of smarts packed up in there. That group will be together for a long time. We plan on taking a look at some top-of-the-rotation starters, along with a big young bat to bring some power to our DH spot.
ML: Any names at the top of the list?
BB: Howard in Philly is our priority. We will take long hard looks at Schmidt, Zito and a few others for the rotation.
ML: Have you discussed Howard's availability with the Phillies?
BB: No. We find it helpful to get the names out there and let the press do the ice-breaking. Everyone is available for the right price. I once bought a cat from a woman in Malibu who claimed it was not for sale. Expensive cat.
ML: Is everyone on the Mariners available?
BB: Well Felix is not. We would have to get a pretty sweet price for Putz or Soriano, so I'd say they are staying put as well.
ML: Are there any pitfalls you are looking to avoid?
BB: We expect to be a player in the free agent market, but don't expect us to jump out of the gate and make moves just because other people are doing them. The last thing we want to do is get handcuffed by overpaying for a starter, or dealing young talent for questionable value in return. We also want to avoid guys with a solid track record. We've found that you get guys for a 25% discount if they don't have a history of success at the major league level or if they haven't had success in many, many years. This discount allows us to stockpile more of this type of talent, which is why you see the roster so balanced up and down with the type of players we have. I don't want to share too much or give the other teams in our division any more details.
ML: Interesting. Should be fun to see what happens. Thanks so much for stopping by.
BB: No problem. By the way, are you interested in a cat? He's extremely valuable.
Thursday, October 5, 2006
Posted by The Log at 2:48 PM