Wednesday, December 15, 2004

M's Sign Sexson - Hooray!!! 

Its official, and its huge. The Mariners ended their miserly ways and entered the world of big time free agents with a 4-year, $50 million deal to first baseman Richie Sexson.

Now, this is a very risky contract, solely because of Sexson's injury history, but we have to hope that the physical the M's gave him shows that the inury will not reoccur. I'll leave it to some of my favorite blogs to bitch and moan about this being the wrong splash (see DMZ at USS Mariner, and Jeff at Mariner Musings for the most pessimistic examples).

The contract is slightly backloaded with a $6 million signing bonus, $4.5 in 2005, 11.5 in 2006, and $14 million in 2007 and 2008. Essentially, Sexson only costs $6 million in 2005. This leaves us in excellent shape to acquire several more free agents this offseason.

Whatever else can be said, this signing shows that the M's are serious players for the top free agents. Will the naysayers forgive Bavasi for this signing when we also land Adrian Beltre at third? Lets say the M's go to the mat for Beltre and sign him for 7-year, $90 million. And say we also add Odalis Perez or Matt Clement to 3-year, $25 million contract. The M's will be contending for a title in 2005.

Unfortunately, the three additions may cost $40 million in 2007 and 2008, if these contracts are similarly backloaded. What will this mean in 2007 and 2008? Who knows? It may mean that two years of success have further swelled the M's fan base and increased revenues. It may be that Sexson is a $14 million albatross that makes us pine for the days of Jeff Cirillo. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, I choose to have faith in the fact that 4 teams were pursuing Sexson, and that the doctors gave him a thorough physical and feel comfortable that he is physically ready to return to his 2003 form and beyond.

Time will tell how this impacts the Mariners, but one thing is for sure, a brave new world of big spending on free agents is upon us. And there is newfound hope for 2005. Rejoice!

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