The Seattle Mariners have been talking to teams and agents since 8 a.m. this morning - it's now just after 9:30 p.m. (EST) - and haven't been able to make a move yet.
Why? Adrian Beltre.
Today is the deadline for players offered arbitration to accept or decline, and they have until midnight (EST). Lots of teams have heard from their players.
The Mariners haven't heard from Beltre, or his beloved agent, Scott Boras.
Because Beltre made $12.5 million last year - and could ask for and win that much in arbitration - the Mariners have had to hold that money in reserve until they know what Beltre's plan is.
They're willing to go to arbitration with him, but should he win $12 million or so, it would take a major slice of th4 aproximately $15 million pie left to spend on payroll.
That would mean no Jason Bay, of course. No John Lackey. But it's not at all clear Seattle is serious about either of those players. Still, having $15 million to spend - or $3 million - is a bit of a swing.
So Beltre and Boras are holding the Mariners hostage today. In another 2 1/2 hours, the seige will end and the business of improving the team will proceed.
Are the Mariners close to anything after talks today?
"Possibly," GM Jack Zduriencik said. "We'll know a lot more in 24 hours than we know tonight."
They will know, for instance, what they've got to spend.