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Pelekoudas Assessing

John McLaren getting fired is news, but some of Lee Pelekoudas's comments when fielding questions were more interesting. In particular, he made it clear that he will be assessing players before the trading deadline to figure out how valuable they are to the team. Lee likely has particular players in mind, but who? He will never say, but I have a few guesses:
  • Kenji Johjima - It looks like he is going to play some first base, especially once Richie Sexson is gone. He is the first guy I thought of when I heard Lee's comment about assessing players before the deadline. Given his big contract and Japanese ties, I don't think the Mariners would cut him loose. But, the team finally is making a legitimate commitment to Jeff Clement, so Kenji's future with the team may be at first.
  • Raul Ibanez - Raul should be a known commodity to Pelekoudas, but his contract expires at the end of the year, and this year is now all about preparing for 2009. I think Lee will be keeping a closer eye on Raul to figure out if that big slump he had earlier this year was a fluke, or a harbinger of something bigger. If he concludes that Raul is not part of the 2009 plans, Raul should have value to a number of teams at the deadline.
  • Miguel Batista - He pretty much flamed out as a starter this year, but Pelekoudas is probably seeing if he can fill a role as a reliever for the remainder of his contract. With a season and a half left on the deal, he would be more than a rent-a-player for a contender at the deadline...which in Batista's case probably hurts his trade value.
  • Adrian Beltre - There have been enough rumors about Beltre deals over the past few years for me to believe other teams actually have inquired about him. Though I doubt the Mariners have ever seriously considered trading him, he is making a bunch of money and not hitting as well as expected when he was signed. Adrian seems to heat up with the weather, and perhaps Lee is waiting to see if he does. However, between Beltre's hand and contract, I strongly doubt any deal will come close to fruition this year.
  • Ichiro - Rumors persist that Ichiro has fallen out of favor in the clubhouse, but I would be looking to trade him based on production. Granted, he is the current face of the franchise, and moving him would be controversial, but there are reasons to assess his value. He is perceived as one of baseball's brightest stars, and maybe he is from a marketing standpoint, but he has not been on the field this year. Honestly, he has always been overrated as a player after his rookie season, and he is showing signs this year that he may be aging. Ichiro's trade value is only going to diminish as time goes on, and if a contending team is looking to make a splash, Ichiro could be their guy. Of all the players on the Mariners right now, Ichiro is the most likely to net a lop-sided package in the Mariners favor, even with his huge contract. If Pelekoudas concludes that age is catching up with Ichiro, maybe Lee will strongly consider a trade.
Nobody really knows what Lee Pelekoudas will do as general manager, but only a couple days in he is off to quite the start. He seems to be decisive, and I am sure he will come to conclusions on whatever players he is assessing. What Pelekoudas does after fully assessing the mess he has may lead to even more upheaval.