Geoff Baker at the Seattle Times has an interesting interview with Chuck Armstrong regarding some of the extravagant salaries paid to recent free agent signings. Armstrong specifically referred to Jason Werth's seven year $126 million deal with the Nationals.
Not going to happen happen for the M's. They already have too much money out on bets, some of which didn't work out well. They're still choking on the four year $48 million deal Bill Bavasi signed with Carlos Silva, ahem, complicated by extra goodies included in the subsequent trade for Milton Bradley. There are still $5 million out on the Jack Wilson signing, he of the perpetually injured hamstrings. Bad deals, lots of money that will never be recouped on value.
If I could make one wish, it is that we spend the dough for a legit run producer at DH. While I've seen Bradley penciled in here, I just lack faith the man will get the job done. We're two years removed from his amazing year in Texas when he led the league in OPS. 2009 was bad and 2010 was atrocious. Bradley is rarely able to play more than 120 games, and then what. We're looking at Matt Tuiasosopo as DH, and no offense intended to Matt, but he's not an answer.
The DH spot should be a spot for legitimate run producers. Guys who can get on base, hit for a decent average with at least good gap power. No defensive acumen is required, though if your designated hitter can play a position without untterly butchering it that's a bonus. Speed is nice too, but that would be like hoping for a pony and a new iPad on your birthday, perhaps a little much.
I'm not suggesting a respectable DH will land the Mariners in the division race, much less the World Series. However, a run-producer at the position will help this team win. If Eric Bedard is healthy, if Michael Pineda pitches as advertised, the Mariners rotation shapes up to be above average-enough to keep them in games, enough to keep fan interest. But if the M's run out an offense that again scores as historically few runs as they did last year their fan will continue to shrink like the glaciers on Mount Rainier.
That said, I see Jack Cust may be near signing with the M's. Good move, bad move? I'm not a big Cust fan because I don't think he represents what I like as a baseball player. On the other hand, I think he's a prototypical DH. Can't play the field at all, but he is someone who gets on base and can hit the ball a long way. If he doesn't do those things, he strikes out a lot. He's healthier than Russell Branyan and slower than molasses in January. Not my first choice, but he'll make the M's better.