When you get a chance, check the wire service report about the Mariners' signing of Greg Colbrunn. The quotations from the organization about Colbrunn's leadership qualities--no doubt the missing factor for a team that won 116 games two years ago and that has untested kids like John Olerud and Edgar Martinez on the roster--are typical, but hilarious.
Colbrunn got a 2 year deal that effectively doubles Todd Zeile's contract. I know he slugged .626 in 171 ABs, which is better than Chris Snelling or Dan Meyer or whomever resided in Manager Lou's doghouse, but *come on*.
Yeah, I saw that. I don't really get it either. I've always liked Colbrunn, but $1.8 M in this market seems a bit expensive. It only makes sense if they a) expect Edgar to break down and want Colbrunn to replace him as DH, b) want to platoon Olerud with a righty bat at first, or c) want to jettison Jeff Cirillo at third.
I think c) is remote at best because of Colbrunn's lack of experience at third (18 games in three years) and Cirillo's contract (>$21M in with 3+ years remaining).
B) is doubtful. Olerud had a good year even though he broke down in the second half.
C) is possible. He is 40. They just re-signed him for $4, he had a good year last year, and he's an icon in Seattle, but he did miss a bunch of games and will probably miss some this year.
Maybe they did just get him to add depth. Seattle did get passed by two teams in the division in the second half last year and key players had poor second halves. They have not been very active this offseason other than re-signing some key players and acquiring Randy Winn for Piniella.
It seems that they took stock and detemined that they still had a team that could compete. They just needed to acquire some depth with a Greg Colbrunn/three-quarter starter type. Colbrunn does strengthen them in three positions (1b, DH, and 3B). He is 33 though and on this aging team, why add another declining player?
Besides they may be right. Garcia and Cameron should bounce back to their 2001 form. Ichiro should look more like the first-half Ichiro than the second half. Winn should be an upgrade in left, assuming that's where he plays (they should have great OF defense at least). Cirillo can't get much worse. And Colbrunn can help prop up some of the older players.
But why they decided to pay him so much is beyond me. The Zeile point is a good one. Colbrunn's a better hitter at this stage but Zeile can actually play third and first. He is a bit older though.
Maybe the M's just didn't get the collusion memo???