Now you're just making stuff up, Kenny

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FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal thinks the Jays should let Alex Rios depart on waivers, deleting his contract while getting nothing in return. It’s an arguable position, except that Rosenthal doesn’t put forth much of an argument. Instead, he starts off with this:
The “trade” would not be Rios for whatever meager package the White Sox might offer. The “trade” would be for the $58.7 million that Rios is guaranteed from 2010 to ’14, an average of nearly $12 million per year.
Know what a team could have bought for $12 million last offseason? Outfielder Bobby Abreu, second baseman Orlando Hudson, first baseman Russell Branyan and shortstop Adam Everett — and still had $800,000 to spare.

And Adam Everett!!! Be still my heart.
This is the argument?
First, those players are probably going to end up making over $15 million this year. It’s fun to pretend Hudson’s deal was worth the guaranteed $3.38 million, but he’ll earn $8 million if he stays healthy. He’s already guaranteed himself more than $6 million.
Second, no one team could have had those four players for even the $15 million. It’s never going to work that way. If the Angels faced competition for Abreu, he wouldn’t have signed for $5 million. If the Blue Jays or any other random team offered him $5 million on December 15, he would have laughed in their faces.
So, let’s just say the Blue Jays were waiting in the weeds for all of these guys. Well, Abreu might have been realistic. Not at $5 million, but maybe $7 million-$8 million. Hudson? Back to Toronto and J.P. Ricciardi’s loving arms? Probably not. Plus, he would have cost a draft pick. Branyan? They weren’t going to offer him regular playing time, so he still would have gone to Seattle. Everett? No, I just don’t get that one.
But Rosenthal’s point is that the Jays could use Rios’ money on free agents. And they could. It probably wouldn’t work out, but they could. First, let’s run down all of Ricciardi’s successful big free-agent acquisitions.

Should we do it again? OK, you can say A.J. Burnett was a modest success. He was an above average starter while earning $31 million over three seasons, going 38-24 with a 3.94 ERA, but he only stayed healthy in his walk year. The other three multiyear deals Ricciardi handed out to bring in free agents all ended up with him eating money: B.J. Ryan, Frank Thomas and Corey Koskie. If Ricciardi chooses to spend Rios’ money on free agents, he’ll likely end up with worse players and fewer draft picks.
No, I hardly think that’s the answer. Rios has been a disappointment since landing his big contract prior to 2008, but he’s still been a huge bargain to this point. Yes, he’s eventually going to make $12 million in 2011. However, in 2008, he earned $4.235 million. In 2009, he’s making $5.9 million. Next year, it’s going to be $9.7 million. The odds are still very good that he’ll be worth every penny he’s earning, particularly if the Jays face facts and realize they’d be better off with him in center and Vernon Wells in a corner.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.