Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Richie Sexson Rumors Heat Up 

Rumors that the Mariners are going to sign 1B slugger Richie Sexson are beginning to spread through the Hot Stove like wildfire. Peter Gammons started the speculation with this little throwaway line:
Pedro, Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, Richie Sexson (Seattle?), Troy Glaus, Carlos Delgado, Magglio Ordonez, J.D. Drew, Armando Benitez and Steve Finley are among the others whose journeys will be fascinating to watch.
The Boston Herald now adds more fuel to the fire and hints that the M's are even being shrewd about the signing.
One whisper heard here was that free agent first baseman Richie Sexson has all but signed a deal with the Seattle Mariners [stats, schedule], but that the formalities will be postponed until much later in the hot stove season. Last year, the Mariners signed Raul Ibanez too early and had to give Kansas City a draft pick when the Royals offered him arbitration.
Baseball Prospectus' Injury Guru, Will Carroll, adds this in his latest Under the Knife segment (subscription).
Some teams like facts, some teams like faith. It's like that in a lot of places, but putting millions on the line in hopes that someone will do something sounds to me like something I'd want facts on. The Mariners seem to be fixated on Richie Sexson. They'll point to Ken Griffey Jr., who was able to come back from more serious shoulder surgery, or Shawn Green who came back from similar surgery to hit well. It's Green that I would compare most closely to Sexson's situation. Green's still not all the way back, a combination of shoulder degeneration and the passing of time. If that's enough for the Mariners, well, that is their pattern.
The torn labrum he is recovering from rightfully scares everyone, but if he is healthy, then this is a guy who has averaged 34 HRs over the last 3 years in Milwaukee and was on a pace for 63 last year when he hurt his shoulder trying to check a swing. Sexson is not a superstar. He is a righthander whose pull-hitting style would be hurt by Safeco field. His defense is good, but nothing to write home about. His plate discipline has been increasing every year, and until last year had not had an injury history. However, he'll be 30 years old next year coming off a significant injury.

So how much might the local boy cost? The Arizona Republic reports that Sexson recently turned down a 3-year offer from the DBacks that would have included $10 million in 2005 but whose 2nd and 3rd year guaranteed salaries would be based on plate appearances or games played.

This type of contract seems reasonable to me, and is the type I would hope that Bavasi and company would pursue.

Sexson can begin negotiating openly with clubs on Thursday, November 11th.

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