Neddyballgame was in my living room last night and yelled up that the M's had signed Matt Lawton. We all know this by now.
Opinions are varied, but I think it's a decent move. Cheap, good bench bat. Much better than the Greg Dobbs and Scott Spiezio's than rode the pine last year.
A lot of people's first thought was that this means a Reed deal is imminent. That, of course, makes me cringe as I think of an outfield with Raul Ibanez and Carl Everett limping towards balls. But, it really has me wondering why the M's would even consider trading Jeremy Reed. You're talking about the only non-sucking, non-steroid using guy left from the Freddy trade. At the time, Reed was considered a top prospect. He didn't have a great year in 2005, but I don't see why the Mariners would be ready to move him. But, a couple of reasons come to mind (note these are from the Mariners perspective):
1) Bavasi needs to win this year. If moving Reed for a starter means the M's can win 80+ games, then Bavasi would have to think about it. I don't necessarily think that Reed for Clement or Arroyo would mean that kind of improvement, but if Big Bill feels that way, then he has to consider it. I can't imagine him surviving the winter if 2006 is anything like 2004-2005.
2) The Mariners think Adam Jones is the real deal in centerfield. If the M's think this is true, then Reed becomes expendible. They may not think Jones is ready for the big time in the spring, but are willing to get by with an outfield of Ichiro, Ibanez, and rotating Lawton and Everett. I'd have to think Ichiro would see some time in center with that group. Move Reed and have a rotation of Felix, Washburn, Clement/Arroyo, Moyer, Piniero. Survive with the guys you have, and wait until Jones is ready.
Reason #2 has me intrigued for sure.
Oh, and one more thing. I read that the White Sox are shopping Jon Garland for bullpen help. We definitely could provide some of that bullpen help. The only problem is that Garland is a free agent after this year so we may not get him back. Guardado for Garland?
So the offseason has blown so far, but I think there is reason to believe the M's will be better in 2006. Let's not forget that the 2005 M's had Bret Boone, Miguel Olivo, Scott Spiezio, Wilson Valdez, and Aaron Sele for half of the year. I'm excited to see improvements from Beltre, Ichiro, Reed, Betancourt, Lopez. A whole year from Felix too. Playoff contenders? Doubtful. .500 and hope for 2007? Maybe.
I'd expect things to be slow here at Mariner Magic until the new year with the Holidays and traveling and whatnot. So.....enjoy your respective holidays.