The Seattle Mariners hold options on three players for 2011 - Jose Lopez, Russell Branyan and Erik Bedard - and the trend in baseball the past two days has been thanks but no thanks.
Options were declined for Adam LaRoche, Trevor Hoffman, Rick Ankiel, Bill Hall, Mark Hendrickson, Jhonny Peralta and plenty of others, and in San Diego, catcher Yorvit Torrealba and pitcher Jon Garland declined their options to stay with the Padres. Ouch!
For the Mariners, Bedard will not be invited back - he's simply not able to get or stay healthy in Seattle and has had three surgeries over his three seasons here. Branyan is a slightly tougher call, a man with back issues who was the only real power threat in Seattle's lineup. Can they do better for $5 million? They're likely to want the fredom to find out.
That means, though, that a team in need of bats would need at leas one more.
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Will one of those bats belong to Lopez? He gamely accepted a change of positions last spring, then had a terrible season. Coming off a .272-25-96 year in 2009, Lopez on-base percentage in 2010 was .270 and he hit 10 home runs - three of those in one September game. If general manager Jack Zduriencik and his staff believe Lopez can bounce back, perhaps they pick up his option for about $5 million.
Just as likely, they don't. On all three players, the Mariners have until Thursday night to decide.
Now, a few tidbits:
- Dustin Ackley is batting .417 with a .572 on-base percentage in the Arizona Fall League, and six of his 15 hits are for extra bases. As Everett's Kirby Arnold points out, however, the one thing Seattle asked Ackley to do there was run - and he's attempted to steal only once.
- The Mariners spring training schedule has been released and pitchers and catchers report for physicals on Feb. 13. Want to look at the schedule of games that begin two weeks later, click here and start day dreamin'.
- Dying to watch a little baseball? Tune in to MLB Network on Saturday at 6 p.m. for the Arizona Fall League 'Rising Stars' game. The Mariners have two players invited - Ackley and reliever Josh Fields. Saturday, November 6 at Surprise Stadium