Friday, October 28, 2005
To keep Eddie, or not to keep Eddie? That my friends it the question
One of the first issues surrounding the mariners this off-season is what to do with team closer and partial team leader Eddie Guardado. Eddie's contract has a team option for the 06' season and if the team decides not to pick that option up then Eddie himself has an option he is able to pick up at a lesser dollar amount. I believe the dollar amounts to be around 6 million for the team option and around 4 million for the player option. My numbers may be a bit off but they are in the ballpark.
Eddie has been a valuable commodity for the mariners sporting a more than serviceable 2.71 era, 48 strike outs in 56 1/3 innings, and a solid 36 saves for a team that won only 69 games. Folks he saved over half the mariner’s wins this season. That’s nasty, simply nasty.
The problem with Eddie is that you really don’t know how long his shoulder is going to hold out. This year he looked fine. But a year prior there was a point when many felt he would never pitch again. He has a tear in his rotator cuff. Eddie assured everyone via the radio waves that he feels fine. However, they are going to take a closer look just to make sure.
The question begins, is Eddie worth the risk? And for what dollar amount makes that risk worth while? I for one do not think that 6 million over the next year is worth the risk for, lets face it, a team that is most likely not going to be in contention. I think the mariners are feeling this way. Rumors are spurring that they will not pick up the team option on Eddie. Additionally it is believed that the mariners do not want Eddie to pick up his option and in return they would work something out with him for possibly more years at less per year. This may bee a good thing but what if the shoulder isn’t ok, do we want to be on the hook for a contract that will see no on the field results.
First off if you, as the mariners, had no intention of picking that team option up, and to top that off did not want Eddie to pick up his end of the deal why did you not move him at the deadline to a contending team that could have helped you build for the future?? Hello, you can not tell me that Boston did not want a left handed closer as dominant as Eddie was in the first half of the season. Just one team that comes to mind when I ponder this quandary.
Secondly what makes you believe that Eddie would be willing to work out a deal less than the two potential ones he already has on the table? From everything I have heard about Eddie, via interviews, articles, and his demeanor on the field it becomes clear to me that Eddie is a stand up loyal guy. And perhaps this is why the mariners feel they can work something out with him. Eddie has said its not the money that is important but rather the respect a-team shows him and that is a stand up thing to say.
So let’s say hypothetically the mariners let Eddie walk. Who rolls into that closer roll? The popular answer is "My Boy" Rafael Soriano. They guys has all the tools to become a dominant closer, however he needs time. Remember this kid has only been pitching for a short time career wise as well as the fact he is coming off Tommy John Surgery. Lets give him a full season before we throw him into a pressure-cooking situation.
Here’s the overall deal. Eddie needs to come back. The dollars and terms of the deal are what are in question. Is 4 million for one year worthwhile? Yes I believe it is. By locking him into the one year 4 million dollar deal you save 2 million and you still have him as trade bait come the 06' trade deadline. Especially is he can prove to go through the first season with no ill effects from his shoulder. In fact I would almost insist that you deal him this year if you sign him to a one-year deal or he picks his option up.
He is a boisterous (good word) leader that exudes fire and emotion on the mound, something I think the team lacks in almost every other position. When was the last time someone other than Eddie showed any sort of emotion on the field, being up set by an error, excited by a amazing catch or celebrating a game breaking hit. He is a positive influence in the clubhouse, something these young guys need to see.
I'd like to hear from the Magic Faithful. What’s the consensus here is Eddie worth the risk, the mariner fan believes so.