Over-the-hill veterans like Seattle

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sweeney_090908.jpgFirst, Ken Griffey Jr. said he was interested in playing another season, perhaps in Seattle. Now, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Mike Sweeney is singing the same song.

“We’ll see what happens this winter. I probably won’t know if I’ll get the opportunity to play for another five months or so. But if I do and it can be in a place where we could all make it work, then I’d love to play another season.”

According to the report, Sweeney was interested in Seattle or Anaheim, though the Angels seem like an unlikely fit.

So it might come down to Seattle, which is apparently a place all the over-the-hill-but-respected veterans want to be. What’s next? Jay Buhner coming out of retirement for another season? Mark Langston lobbying for a role in the bullpen?

It just goes to show you they’re having fun in Seattle after quickly turning a 101-loss team into a fairly competitive ballclub. In fairness, Sweeney and Griffey have received plenty of credit for their positive veteran presence in the clubhouse, but it takes more than chemistry to win games.

As general manager Jack Zduriencik continues to remake the roster Bill Bavasi left him, he’ll have to weigh the worth of having respected guys like Griffey and Sweeney around vs. having guys who can actually still play.

He might get some mileage out of having one of the two around, but use up two roster spots? Not gonna happen. Personally, I’d stick with the guy who can get away with tickling Ichiro (scroll down), but that’s just me.

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If you Twitter, and wonder what happened to Ken Phelps, follow me at @Bharks.

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.