Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Guardado Ready To Rock 

This article certainly seems to clear up any confusion about who will be the closer going forward. It shall be Eddie. "I'm ready to rock, bro," said Guardado in the interview.

Guardado said he hasn't been informed he'll be the closer, but Kohler said a club official called him and said, "Tell Eddie to get his closer face on again."

Conspiracy theorists will latch onto this tidbit...

But interestingly, Guardado's agent, Kevin Kohler, said yesterday that the subject of Sasaki's potential departure was broached during negotiations. In late November, news reports had surfaced that the Yomiuri Giants had contacted Seattle about a trade for Sasaki. Guardado was signed two weeks later.

"The timing and the way everything came down is a surprise," Kohler said of Sasaki's departure. "But everyone kind of knew it was a possibility. Some things were out there earlier (in the winter). There were some discussions about that, definitely, during the negotiations.

"Because of where they started, and where we ended up in negotiations, I think there was some definite concern from the Mariners' standpoint whether Sasaki would be back, or maybe not completely healthy again."

I'm giving M's management the benefit of the doubt. They signed Guardado with the full intention of having him setup Sasaki this year, or at least not resigning him next year. I don't think Sasaki was told to wait until Vlad is off the market before making his announcement. Makes no sense to me. But, I have seen this theory espoused on KJR and in some M's forums.

Another important note. The M's have not saved $9.5M, but more likely $8.5M as Guardado makes an extra million if he finishes more than 60 games this year.

The effort to get Sasaki off the books may take weeks, and since the Union is involved, the M's can't be sure that some snag will arise that will keep this from happening. This may nix any thoughts of signing Pudge, but I remain ever the optimist.

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