A team looking hard to improve its pitching staff - with emphasis on its bullpen - the Seattle Mariners could pick up Philadelphia closer Ricky Bottalico just by saying “yes” to an offer they’ve declined.
Bottalico, 27, saved 15 games in the first half of the season for a team that won just 25, but what the Phillies want in return is left fielder Jose Cruz Jr.
“That’s not going to happen,” one Seattle executive said Saturday.
In fact, any number of deals have been discussed - and discarded - in recent days. Kansas City has dangled veteran Tim Belcher, who has a costly no-trade clause buyout. Boston is eager to move both Tom Gordon and slumping reliever Heathcliff Slocumb.
Both have $3 million contracts, not counting reachable incentives.
“The problem we’re having is that everyone we talk to wants the kids we don’t want to give up,” manager Lou Piniella said.
That’s one problem. Another, said team vice president Lee Pelekoudas, is that too many teams aren’t dealing yet because they’re still in the wild-card race.
“Teams 10 games out are still very much in the race, and some of them may not be in two weeks,” Piniella said. “We’re looking. Woody Woodward is working the telephones. Believe me, we’re trying to improve this team. We just won’t mortgage the future of the franchise to do it.”
Ken Griffey Jr. almost certainly will miss today’s game to attend a memorial service for his mother-in-law, who died Thursday. Griffey likely will rejoin the team in Oakland on Monday. … Right-hander Tim Scott joined the team Saturday but hadn’t thrown since three days before the All-Star Game. “We gave him a good workout day today, let him throw,” Piniella said. “We’ll get him in a game soon.” … Coach Lee Elia will undergo surgery Tuesday to implant radioactive seeds that doctors hope will eradicate prostate cancer.
Seattle closes out the homestand against Texas with a 1:35 p.m. game today. Probable starting pitchers: Bobby Witt (10-4, 3.62) vs. Randy Johnson (12-2, 2.20).
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