Prince Fielder's Price Tag

The Mariners are in the running for Prince Fielder, on some level at least. I'd hope they look at him. He is the painfully obvious answer to energize an offense that's a year removed from being the worst in American League history. If money wasn't an object, there would be no debate over signing him.

However, money is an object. More importantly, it's an object that Prince Fielder will demand and receive. The Mariners (in my estimation) are not just Prince Fielder away from being a championship contender. He raises their expected win total considerably, but the M's need to be able to acquire other pieces, even if they secure Prince's services.

So, the real question is not whether Fielder is worth going after or not. What needs to be asked is how much is Fielder worth going after?

Mariners Acquire Jaso

The Mariners have traded RHP Josh Lueke to the Rays, along with a player to be named later or cash considerations, for C John Jaso. Presumably, Jaso will be Miguel Olivo's backup, and also becomes the closest thing the organization has to a long-term solution this side of Adam Moore.

Jaso is what he is, a left-handed hitting catcher without much of an arm, but steady hands, and a steady bat. He has a bit of power (which Safeco won't kill, because he's left-handed), but his patience is his greatest asset.

Interestingly enough, Jaso and Olivo's strengths and weaknesses complement each other nicely. It makes a platoon a logical possibility, but in reality, I think some of Olivo's value comes in his tough-nosed insistence on playing every day. My sense is that Olivo is a leader within the clubhouse, and that's a good thing with his toughness and competitive fire. This is still a young team looking to impart "the Mariner way" on inexperienced players, which is why I am pretty sure Jaso won't be playing too much. Still, the Mariners lacked depth at catcher. Jaso is a welcome and needed addition.

The New CBA

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association officially have a new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement. The preceding one was set to expire December 11, so this deal was struck weeks before the deadline. Based on very recent history in the NFL, NBA, and even NHL a few years ago, baseball should be nominated for Nobel prizes. Major American professional sports leagues simply don't reach agreements until the 11th hour, or later...or much later.

What's even more remarkable is that the MLB reached a new deal easily despite making massive changes within the CBA. Legitimate negotiating had to take place to make this deal happen. This isn't a case where everyone got around a table, and agreed to keep the status quo. There are tons of changes with seismic implications.

Halman Tragically Passes

The news that Greg Halman was stabbed to death is painfully hard to take - even for someone like me, who is barely connected to the guy. I never knew him, or talked to him. All I did was root for him because he was a Seattle Mariner.

I won't attempt to paint a portrait of the person that Greg Halman was. I hope people do, because he seems like he was a great guy (which makes today's news even tougher). As a player, he might have been the best athlete in the system. Halman was very "toolsy," but still raw. He was progressing though. Now we'll never no how good he would have been.

It's too early to talk about the roster implications too. It simply feels insensitive, and rather unimportant at the moment. A topic that popped up from time to time was what the Mariners would do with their glut of younger outfielders, but this most certainly was the farthest thing from a solution that anyone wanted. I think everyone wishes that the picture was more crowded right about now.

All that's left to talk about is Halman's passing itself.

Baseball In Living Color

It's been a busy week in baseball history. The Astros are moving from the NL Central to the AL West. Each league is getting an additional playoff team. A new CBA is all but agreed upon, lacking only some formal pomp and circumstance to complete the deal.*

*By the way, NFL - and especially NBA - MLB just proved it is possible to, you know, negotiate these things in good faith. The deadline was December 11. Why do pro sports leagues feel a need to go on so long, and lockout/strike - especially you, NBA, where your season is perilously close to being flushed down the toilet?

There are plenty of things to talk about in baseball this week as major changes are clearly afoot. You know what caught my eye more than anything this week though?

Uniforms.

In the past week and one day, five different teams have announced uniform changes. If you crave in-depth analysis on a regular basis about what teams wear, Uni Watch is the unquestioned authority. Still, I've got my two cents to add, because an emerging trend has become the new fashion statement. Bright is back in style in baseball.

Papelbon's the Choice

The Phillies signed RHP Jonathan Papelbon to a 4 year, $50 million deal after a reported 4 year, $44 million agreement with RHP Ryan Madson fell through. Madson was the Phillies closer last year, and it is interesting that things did not work out for whatever reason. It will be even more interesting if Madson ends up with another NL East team, like the Nationals, who are rumored to be a suitor for his services.

I'm not sure if either Papelbon or Madson are worth long-term contracts at the price tags they demand, but I'm not about to chastise the Phillies. Their window of opportunity is right now, and their roster isn't getting any younger. They are a better team right now with a guy like Papelbon closing for them. This is a team worth buying talent for right now, even if it means dealing with some unsavory consequences later.

Plus, signing Papelbon instead of Madson is clearly a better decision.

11 Awareness Day

With a day off from work, I definitely want to write today. However, it's surprisingly tough to write about baseball right now. I've always got ideas, but there is just so much going on outside of baseball at the moment. For starters, the stunning Penn State scandal is still setting in. Today is Veteran's Day too, and honoring the military is important. This isn't the best day to focus on baseball.

However, it is also 11/11/11, so what better day to take a quick break from reality to remember Edgar Martinez?

It's not as if I have some novel insight about Edgar to share with the world at this point. He was my favorite baseball player growing up though, so an excuse to look at his numbers is always welcome. Just for fun, to remember how amazing of a hitter 'Gar was, let's compare his career averages with what we just saw out of the 2011 Mariners offense. Where would Edgar stack up amongst the best of the 2011 M's?

Trade Targets Via Free Agency

With free agency kicking off in earnest today, this is a good time to talk about what the Mariners could do in free agency, and whom they should go after.

The answer is so boring though. Given how bad they have been, this isn't exactly a franchise that many quality veterans will line up to play for. Plus, with the youth movement underway, it's not the greatest idea for player development to keep young players from playing. It all adds up to the M's being far away from any juicy free agent action, in all likelihood.

Interestingly enough though, the M's have money to spend. They have roughly $30 million, if they keep the same payroll that they had this season. That's enough to talk to anyone, even Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, but again - would any of the premium free agents really look at Seattle as a great fit for them?

Instead, the Mariners might be able to indirectly benefit from the most expensive free agents. They are in a position to take on salary, which could make them a good trade partner.

2011 All Former Mariners FAs

Conveniently, there are exactly 25 unrestricted free agents that have played for the Mariners. What would that roster look like? Let's find out!