PI, Times on the 2005 M’s

DMZ · October 6, 2004 at 11:52 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Lot of good stuff over at the PI.
David Andriesen constructs a lineup in what I think is the smartest and most deliberate setup so far. He moves Ichiro to center, which is interesting but (we should face this) unlikely to happen unless he assents, given his astronomical pull. Hire Beltre and Drew, puts Lopez in at short.

John Hickey’s lineup offers a counterpoint where he hires Glaus and Sexson, and plays them at 3B and 1B, respectively. Which… ennnhhhh.

Hickey also offers a good piece on what the M’s are looking for. It includes this heartening quote:

“We’re looking for people who will help us for more than one year,” general manager Bill Bavasi said. “We’re not looking for acquisitions just for the ’05 club. We’re looking for ’05, ’06 and ’07.”


So that’s the PI: Thiel’s great column, and some good stuff. The Times offers —
Larry Stone! Woo-hoo! Today, he’s written about possible managerial candidates. He also goes out in pursuit of some of those candidates in a good piece.

Mmm… local coverage goodness on a Wednesday.


45 Responses to “PI, Times on the 2005 M’s”

  1. chris w on October 6th, 2004 12:00 pm

    One thing none of them mentions, which I think is key, is trading Winn. So, first priority is trading Winn and signing a 3B (Beltre, Glaus, or, if necessary, Koskie), and all of sudden you have a ton of flexibility, financial and otherwise, to go after an OF (Beltran, Drew, or maybe Ordonez, depending on his health), or a 1B (Delgado or possibly Sexson, depending on price), and a pitcher or two. To me, the key is doing things in the correct order, to maintain flexibility. Hopefully, Bavasi will realize this and not go out and sign a 1B immediately, like he went out and signed Ibanez immediately last year.

  2. Dave on October 6th, 2004 12:02 pm

    Definitely thumbs up for Andriesen’s column, at least until you see “Derek Lowe, #1 starter” in his 2005 line-up.

    Derek Lowe has a 5.42 ERA. He’s averaging 5.17 strikeouts per 9 innings and has a poor 71/105 BB/K rate. Batters hit .299 against him. Being a groundball pitcher doesn’t make you a good pitcher. Lowe is better than he pitched this year, but he’s not anybody’s number one starter. If you can get him for $1 million and stick him in the back of the rotation, he’s worth a flyer. But at best, he’s a marginal improvement on Ryan Franklin.

  3. Jim Thomsen on October 6th, 2004 12:06 pm

    Hickey’s not bad, but he’s not good, either. His picks of Glaus and Sexson ignores many relevant factors, and this story-ender is a gem of ignorance:

    “Jamie Moyer and Ryan Franklin, in particular, are due for a rebound.”

    It would be nice to think so, but the chance of that happening is roughly akin to Britney Spears releasing an album of jazz-guitar originals.

  4. Rich on October 6th, 2004 12:21 pm

    All I want for Christmas is…

    2 free agents and 2 trades.

    First, note that this is my wishlist, but I’m trying to make *reasonable* trades. No “Winn-for-Scott-Rolen” whoppers that make no sense for the other team. Can’t get gold for garbage.

    In order:

    1) Sign Beltre OR Lowell (if available). $10-15 M
    2) Sign Beltran OR J.D. Drew. $10-15 M

    3) Trade Randy Winn and a Pitching Prospect (Nageotte, Blackley, Thornton, etc.) to Phillies for Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
    Philly needs a #2-hitting CF and pitching, and we get a young 1B and 2B. In particular, Utely allows:

    4) Trade Brett Boone to Yankees for Javier Vasquez. (add prospect/salary to either side to make it work). Salaries should wash, meaning we get a potential star pitcher for “free” (Boone’s money), plus have $$ left over for more pitching.

    That gives us:
    C: Olivo/Wilson (re-sign cheap for mentoring)
    1B: Howard/Bucky
    2B: Utley
    3B: Beltre/Lowell
    SS: Lopez
    LF: Ibanez
    CF: Beltran/Drew/Ichiro
    RF: Ichiro/Drew
    DH: Bucky

    Lopez is still learning, but is ok for now at SS. Bucky may not be the next Edgar (who is?), but gives you a cheap, servicable DH that can play 1B in interleage. Plus, saving money on DH and SS allows for 12-13M per FA.
    Speizio, Reed, Cabrera/Bloomquist/UT, 2nd C on the bench. Reed can share time with Ibanez, who would play some 1B and DH. Or, leave him in AAA, and get a 4th OF. (Note, I’m not a fan of Wonder-boy-Willie-B, but he’s decent enough as a 25th man who can back-up lots of positions.)

    Rotation could be:
    Piniero (healthy?)
    Meche (healthy?)

    Allowing Franklin to go back to the Long Relief/Swingman/Spot starter role that he excelled at.

    Even with the above, there should be enough money left for maybe another starter, or some bullpen help.
    If management can’t/won’t pull the Boone Trade, then sign an FA starter – I don’t really care between Pavano/Clement/Millwood/etc.

    Then again, this is the Mariners, and I’m Jewish, so I never really get much in the way of Stocking Stuffers.

    I’m *expecting* something more like:
    FA sign: Delgado/Sexon (name), Glaus/Koskie (“clutch”, especially after TG’s homer yesterday), FA pitcher. All huge risks of injury/regression.

    Still, a boy can dream…

  5. big chef terry on October 6th, 2004 12:27 pm

    see the thiel interview with lincoln…

  6. Dave on October 6th, 2004 12:28 pm

    I’ve seen Ryan Howard’s name pop up a lot, so I guess its time to weigh in.

    He’s a marginal prospect. At best, he’ll eventually be a league average player, and that is probably 4-5 years away. He’s not going to be major league ready next year, and guys like Howard are fairly replaceable. Yes, he’s got power, but he is also pretty easy to pitch to and has a problem with breaking balls.

    Ryan Howard isn’t the answer to anything we should be asking. Move on. Find another pet prospect to wish for.

  7. Jim Thomsen on October 6th, 2004 12:45 pm

    Then there’s the not-so-good coverage goodness from the “second string.” In Tuesday’s News Tribune, columnist John McGrath says flat-out that the Mariners’ managerial search should begin and end with Bryan Price.

  8. Dash on October 6th, 2004 12:48 pm

    I think people have fallen in love with all the stories of Ryan Howard’s power, see him stuck behind Thome in Philly and salivate over an opportunity to pick up a cheap power hitting 1b (an admitted hole on the Mariners).

    Last I knew wasn’t he stuck at AA? Or did he make the jump to AAA this past season? I’m curious to know what his minor league numbers project to at the big league level.

    Still I’d prefer Delgado to Howard. We know what Delgado can do when healthy.

  9. PaulP on October 6th, 2004 12:57 pm

    Dave, looking at only numbers, is Lowe really an improvement over Ryan Franklin? Really, I had no idea how bad Lowes numbers are. The only thing he seems to have going for him are the 15 home runs he’s given up. Other than that, Franklin’s just as good (or bad)

  10. Coach on October 6th, 2004 12:59 pm

    Fellow GM:
    I am writing to introduce Mr. Winn. After several years of evaluation here I can assure you that he is exactly the kind of player you have been seeking. I thought some examples might be useful for your consideration.
    First, during one of our infamous lulls this past season, Mr. Winn made the Web Gem’s on Baseball Tonight. I can assure you that Mr. Winn has made numerous plays of that quality, but as you may know, there is a media bias in place against Seattle players. In fact, another Web Gem segment attributed to a Mr. Bocachica might actually have been Mr. Winn, the uniform numbers are very hard to discern in those situations.
    Second, Mr. Winn adapted quickly to the CF position, despite what you might have heard. In actuality, we attribute any difficulties he had initially to the bcckdrop in CF. I’m sure that as of this date you are very familiar with the backdrop in CF at Safeco causing any number of anomalies, as it is well documented.
    Third, I want to assure you that the outstanding production from our lead-off slot this year was in no small part due to the un-willingness of our opponents to face Mr. Winn in the batting order.
    I will stop here, although I could cite other examples.
    In conclusion, we feel that Mr. Winn would be just compensation for one of your exceptional relief pitchers. We look forward to continued discussions with you on an equitable arrangement.
    Bill B.

  11. Rich on October 6th, 2004 1:02 pm

    Understood about Howard.

    The main point, which I failed to make, is that I’d much rather spend on 2 good risks (in my mind of course), in Beltre/Lowell and Beltran/Drew. Spending a lot on Delgado (older, injury risk), Sexon (injured last year), Glaus (Bavasi guy with big injury risk with “clutch” label), or Koskie (aging turf player) scares me. I’m worried that, as Lincoln said, they’ll spend a lot of money this offseason – but they’ll do it unwisely.

    I’m not stuck on Howard as the answer, but as part of a deal to net Utley and dump Winn. Given what’s out there this year, I’d rather go after the 3B and CF, and let 1B take care of itself. My thinking is that if we can get a stud 3B (Beltre/Lowell) plus some combination of Howard/Bucky/Ibanez, then that’s better than overspending on Delgado and Koskie. 1B is the easier position to fill. If there’s a better one available for Winn (the key being *available*), fine with me.

    BTW – USSM is the BEST Mariners site out there. Keep up the good work!

  12. msb on October 6th, 2004 1:34 pm

    re: #2 & pitchers to flee from– I was entertained to see that Evan Grant (Dallas Morning News) wants to try to palm Chan Ho Park off on Seattle, based on his record in Safeco. Of course, his summary of Park shouldn’t make anyone want to run out & get him: “Chan Ho Park is still an awful signing: The Rangers gave Park the last five months of last year to recover strength in his back. They didn’t ask him to be anything more than their No. 2 starter this season. And he responded with another three-month stay on the DL and all of four wins. Two of those were in Seattle where he is 3-0 with a 0.67 ERA since joining the Rangers (he’s 11-18 with a 6.41 mark anywhere else). He frustrated the team with back soreness issues that two doctors said was nothing of significance. In the biggest game of the season, he got frustrated by a couple of homers and went headhunting. The Rangers will do all they can to deal him this winter, even if it saves them no money. But after three seasons, five DL stays and just 17 wins, it’s clear he’s not wanted.”

  13. Evan on October 6th, 2004 1:53 pm

    Keeping Lopez up does us no good. Sure, he’s passably acceptable now, but if he improves with age I’d like us to have those years. We’d be better off leaving Lopez down and signing someone else passably acceptable just as a place-holder.

  14. eponymous coward on October 6th, 2004 2:29 pm

    Um, why do the Yankees need ANOTHER old player on the serious downside of their career in the person of Bret Boone? Do Bernie Williams and Jason Giambi not fill the quota? Do the Yankees really need to put a lineup out there of 9 guys in their 30’s (I think A-Rod turns 30 this year)?

    Before you say “he might bounce back”, consider that Roberto Alomar is a year older than Boone, and has almost washed out of the league. And Jeff Kent (same age as Alomar) HAS declined a good chunk from his years in SF, while still being a good player, but it’s masked by going from Pac Bell to TenRun Field (the road stats show it, though, his OPS on the road is about 40 points lower than career, and over 100 points lower than peak). Expecting Boone to bounce back is really, really optimistic. I think the odds he’ll collapse from where he is now are higher. As such, any GM picking him up is being silly- and Cashman’s not silly.

    Considering one of the anchors of their rotation (Brown) has a rather long injury history, they shouldn’t be trading away starters either.

    Howard’s numbers this year, superficially, are comparable to Bucky’s this year. Except he’s years younger. Why would a guy in AAA who’s 25 and has monster numbers be 4-5 years away from being a decent player? By that point, they are almost past their peak, right? Are his stats THAT juiced by the park or something?

    I wouldn’t make Howard a priority- but if I had a choice between, say, Howard, Reed, Beltran and Beltre being four of our starting 9 or Delgado, Glaus, Winn and Ibanez…well, I know who I’d pick. At this point, why the hell NOT go with kids?

  15. Troy on October 6th, 2004 2:31 pm

    I don’t understand your dismissal of Howard either. He had success in an admittedly short stint in AAA. Is there a reason we shouldn’t trust his numbers?

  16. DMZ on October 6th, 2004 2:46 pm

    Can we maybe try to keep the 2005 fantasy roster construction in the 2005 Roster Speculation thread that we built because people wanted a place to do exactly that? I’m just saying.

  17. Rich on October 6th, 2004 3:33 pm

    Sorry. Just got excited after seeing so much to dissect in today’s paper. 😉 Heading over to the other page now…

  18. Dave on October 6th, 2004 3:37 pm

    To me, Howard and Jacobsen are pretty similar players, and the ease of finding a player like Jacobsen is a big part of the reason that I’m not so bullish on Howard.

    Howard has monstrous power, but he’s a unique prospect. When we were discussing the BP Top 50 last year, I argued against Prince Fielder as the top first base prospect in the minors despite awesome numbers at a young age, simply due to the fact that I believed Fielder was far more developed than the normal 19-year-old. Howard is a similar story, though not in Fielder’s league as a prospect. He’s a big boy that just isn’t going to get any stronger than he already is. Unlike a lot of prospects, we can’t project Howard to get much better than he already is. He isn’t the type of guy who is going to improve through normal body maturation. If he gets any bigger, he’s a DH.

    Think of Ryan Howard as the 6’0 kid in 5th grade who dominated all the playground sports. It wasn’t that he had the most talent-he just developed quicker. Howard is that kind of specimen; he’s got major league power and has spent his career beating up on inexperienced pitchers. He has serious problems making contact with breaking stuff (129 K’s in 374 at-bats at Double-A) and isn’t going to hit for much of an average at the major league level. He’s not especially patient either, and his peak potential is probably a .260/.340/.550 line. Next year, I’d imagine he’s more of a .240/.290/.450 player, and that’s not an asset.

    First baseman are easy to find. Don’t give up something of value for Howard. He’s a pretty good bet to be the next Russ Branyan.

  19. eponymous coward on October 6th, 2004 4:26 pm

    (Sorry, Derek…but you have to admit those stories were a lot about roster construction…)

    Well, I look at it this way- If I could get Winn and Ibanez off the rotser based on their 2003 seasons and replace them with Reed and Howard, that’s potentially 6-8 million in “value” I can use for either the players who come back, or, if it was just prospects, for free agents.

    At this point, the Mariners have too many tweener OF’ers on the 40-man or close to it (who don’t or can’t really play CF but don’t hit with the power you’d associate with a corner OF). I count 7: Ichiro, Ibanez, Winn, Reed, Snelling, Choo, Strong. Not one of those guys has any realistic projection at 30 home runs. That doesn’t mean they suck, but at some level having this many gus with essentially the same skill set (hitting for average, decent speed, maybe some gap power, corner OF) when your organization has holes in other areas is a luxury you can’t afford. So that’s why I’d dump the players who are oldest and make the most money with the least productivity for that money (Winn and Ibanez)- and why I could live with Howard and Reed for a year in 2005. I’m not attached to Howard (if he washes out in a year or two, move on before he makes bank in arbitration), but I figure I’d rather spend 10 million on a great player and 300K on a rookie than split 10.3 million between two lesser players who might play better than the rookie but won’t match the star. The only way the M’s are going to win in 2005 is if they get lucky with kids, anyway (this is generally what happens when teams explode forward, their kids turn out well)- so why not stock up on them?

  20. Adam S on October 6th, 2004 5:00 pm

    I’m not sure whether to laugh, cry, or puke at Hickey’s starting rotation. He has two guys who stunk in 2004 (Moyer, Franklin), two guys who were good for all of TWO months (Meche, Madritsch), and one guy coming back from an injury. Moyer might rebound, but if he’s our #1 starter 2005 will be worse than this year.

    Likewise if Ibanez, Ichiro, and Winn are the starting OF again, we’d better get more at 1B and 3B than two major injury risks. Isn’t his suggestion the same team as 2004 with Glaus instead of Spiezio?

  21. kwickie on October 6th, 2004 5:02 pm

    Why is there no mention at all of Jeremy Reed?

  22. eponymous coward on October 6th, 2004 6:00 pm

    Uh, because the M’s have Proven Veterans Randy Winn and Raoul Ibañez blocking him, and since they have them under contract, the assumption is they’ll be here next year?

    I don’t think it’s a safe assumption- I think Bavasi will do the math and realize he’ll HAVE to shave dollars from existing payroll to get all he wants in the FA market. Thus at least one of them will be history.

  23. Ben on October 6th, 2004 6:06 pm

    I am not that crazy about Hickey’s line up and rotation either. I know there is no way to get rid of Moyer unless he is graceful enough to retire next year, but at least get rid of Franklin and get a FA.

    Although Hickey’s at KJR950 earlier sort of explained that this is what he thinks would happen not what he likes to see happen.

  24. Bela Txadux on October 6th, 2004 8:55 pm

    Andriesen’s line-up is somewhat interesting, and Rich #4, a good effort on sweet dreamin’ there. A few comments on the lot:

    I’m with you completely on Ryan Howard, Dave. Except that you left off the fact that he’s sub-mediocre at 1B. There are at least two dozen guys in the high minors who would be better value as roster filler for ’05; even Zapp is a better bet were he to return (probably not) since he can at least play the position well. A point given too little note by Andriesen and others is that Ibanez _cannnot_ play first base, he’s worse there than he is in LF. Jacobsen also _CANNOT_ play first base, and it wasn’t just his knee; his glove was stone, as I personally watched half a dozen balls bounce off of him. I like Bucky a ton as a hitter, but he’s a DH if he makes it at all. The Mariners have NO first baseman on the roster, and to my mind this is a high priority in the offseason, only just behind signing a CF who can hit for power. And not just a lumberin’ jack over there at 1B: If Johnny O. convinced me of one thing, it’s that the defensive importance of 1B play is much underestimated. I think a trade here is the best option, but all that is something for another post.

    Derek Lowe: Oh, please, pay him to stay _away_! Until he shows that he can have three months in a row of getting major league hitters out, which he hasn’t done since his big year as a closer. I would seriously rather have Franklin back as 5th man as he at least soaks up innings which is the first responsibility of a back-of-the-cue man.

    Javier Vasquez, Underperformer. Frank Robinson called him on it. The Yankees are down on him for it. We don’t need to be the third fool. He’s got a great pitcher’s body, good stuff, and little in the way of guts or intensity. Just say no. He’s not cheap and signed long-term, too. Hmmm. (“Hello? Kenny Williams? I’ve got the deal you’ll remember me for for the rest of your life, it’s . . . . “)

    Randy Winn: whether Randy is traded or not is, too my mind, the key issue to watch regarding the remaking of the existing roster. He is at the height of his value, and could definitely be moved. The Ms currently have _four_ other outfielders of roughly similar or better aggregate value: Ibanez, Snelling (love him), Reed (made Winn expendable in any rational organization), and Choo (grades out as another Randy offensively, but vastly better defensively). Snelling, Reed, or Choo all are likely better defensively than Winn, and more importantly Choo and Reed have enough to actually perform as fourth outfielders unlike Winn who can only play left. I’m no great fan of Ibanez, but he has power Winn will never show and has a better approach at the plate also. I bear the man no personal animus, and he always plays hard; he’s just not talented enough to do that much for the team, was not from the moment he arrived, and they need to stop fooling themselves and get somebody with more and better positives. That’s the test, can they wise up, or do they continue to delude themselves in a very self-serving way about what makes a player good _in general_. This team needs to get _better_ and Randy Winn offers no possibility of getting any better; he’s no one to build around; the Ms have a ton of options in house, all of them either cheaper or committed money. If the organization keeps Randy Winn, Self-starter, it is a sign manifest that they haven’t a clue and are just signing names and ‘big year’ numbers. If they move him it is, to me, a sign that they seriously want to _actually upgrade_ a talent-poor roster rather than just look good enough to keep the fans in their seats for another season.

  25. Jerry on October 6th, 2004 9:42 pm

    I really disagree with Dave’s scouting report on Howard. That ‘big kid on the playground’ story is just not a good analogy. This guy had a big slump in college, and has gotten better in each of his three full seasons in the minors. If that ‘early development’ argument was accurate, you would expect him to struggle as he went from level to level. That hasn’t happened. He went from being a power prospect to someone with MLB level power in one year in 2004. Who cares if he doesn’t get any stronger. He is 6’4″ 240 now! He needs to work on plate discipline, but right now he could play for the M’s. He hit well in AAA and hit well in a brief callup to Philly. He is a pure power hitter, and like most of these guys, people talk about how they strike out too much or ‘can’t hit breaking pitches’. The Bucky comparison makes sense, as both guys seem to have put up similar stats. However, Howard is a lefty, and, most importantly, is 5 years younger. That age/competition level is the biggest difference. He is a far better prospect. He might be the next Branyan, but he also might be the next Thome, Sexson, or Dunn.

    Eponymous Coward really identified the big issue here. Getting a guy like Howard for a player like Winn would be a worthwhile risk, because even if he doesn’t turn out, the M’s would still be moving a big salary in a position where they have redundancy. The M’s have enough OFers without power. I would rather give Reed the chance to develop power than leave Winn in LF next year. I think that Ibanez and Winn should BOTH be moved if at all possible. Both have some trade value, and if they could be shipped off, the M’s could invest that money in other things (Beltran, Beltre, Drew, Glaus and a starter).

    Jeremy Reed is a good option in LF or possibly even CF. He is nearly as good as Winn today, and has the potential to be much much better. Plus, he is a lot cheaper for the next three years. If the M’s can sign someone like JD Drew, then Ibanez and/or Winn can go. Since Ibanez can also fill in at 1B, and has more pop, he makes more sense to stay. Since Winn can play CF (in theory), and is a good #2 hitter, he probably has more trade value.

    Ryan Howard for Randy Winn would be a great trade. Howard and Utley for Winn and Nageotte would be better, although that is a big longshot since the Phillies really like Utley. Since Howard is not going to play for Philly, and the Phillies need help at CF and leadoff, it makes perfect sense. If Howard flops, the M’s would still have Ibanez, Bucky, and Spiezio to play 1B and Reed, Ibanez, and maybe Choo or Snelling to play LF. It is a low risk, high potential move.

    Other young 1B players the M’s might be able to get include Casey Kotchman, Carlos Pena, Hee Seop Choi, or Lyle Overbay. However, I don’t really like Overbay. He seems likely to never play like he did in the first half. He was bad after the all-star break. However, he does drive in runs and hit a lot of doubles. Kotchman is going to be a great player, but the Angels would probably want a lot in return. If Detroit goes out and gets Sexson or Delgado, then Pena would be a good risk also. He is due for a breakout. He has shown flashes of his talent, and I could see him finally living up to the hype from a few years back. Plus, if the M’s picked him up and he played well, it would make everyone feel a little better about the Guillen debacle. Choi is running out of chances, but could be a good player if he can put things together. If nothing else, he will get on base a lot and could platoon with Bucky. However, of all these options, if you consider the other teams’ needs and roster situation, the Howard deal makes the most sense. The M’s should have done this at the trade deadline, but it is not too late.

    Regardless, I think that 1B is a spot that the M’s would be wise to try to address through a trade, instead of blowing a lot of cash on Delgado or Sexson. Especially if either of the latter are going to be getting salaries around 10 million. I would rather see them invest that money in some combination of Beltre/Glaus and Beltran/Drew. Beltre and Drew makes the most sense given the likely competition on the market and the M’s resources. With Winn off the books, they could spend as much as 12 million each on Drew and Beltre, plus 10 million on a starter, and still have some change left over.

  26. Donovan on October 6th, 2004 9:52 pm

    Any chance we could trade Franklin for someone like Johnny Gomes (OF, TB)? I’m under no illusions that Gomes would be a solution for next year but he’s an intriguing prospect and, obviously, we wouldn’t be giving up a whole lot in Franklin. Yet, with the TB logjam in the OF and lack of decent starting pitching, it might be attractive to the Rays.

  27. Jerry on October 6th, 2004 9:52 pm


    Why do you say that Howard and Bucky are bad at 1B? I didn’t see Bucky make any horrible plays. Neither are scouted as good defensive players, but neither are Ibanez either. Have you actually seen Howard play? I doubt you have. Besides, a bad 1B player is still going to do his job 99% of the time (catching the ball). It is nice to have a guy who can save a double down the line, but the M’s need power in a big way.

    I don’t think that Howard or Bucky would be a whole lot worse than Delgado or Sexson. There really aren’t that many solid all-around 1B players available right now, unless the team is really willing to sacrifice offense (JT Snow?).

    Since you yourself argue that moving Winn is a big step towards rebuilding this team, why would you be against a Winn for Howard swap? If nothing else, Winn is off the books and the M’s can address the need at 1B through another trade. Plus, they have Spiezio to play defense late in games. It makes sense.

  28. eponymous coward on October 6th, 2004 10:39 pm

    I wouldn’t go THAT far…but if nothing else, you pick up a cheap veteran or AAA guy to add depth and if your depth performs well, and Howard+Bucky makes instant platoon at either 1B or DH.

    I think the idea is not to get too attached to your guys making ML minimums (see Bloomquist, Willie)- but guys who are cheap, young and potentially useful isn’t a bad idea when your offseason goal is to shove wheelbarrows of money at as many talented players as you can. The more positions on the 25-man you can fill with guys making the minimum, or even a million in that circumstance, the better. I’m all for getting the Julio Lugos, Morgan Ensbergs and Ryan Howards of the world on the roster in exchange for the Jeremy Reeds, Willie Bloomquists and Ramon Santiagos who’ll do nothing interesting, and the Winns and Ibañezes who make more than what we really need to be paying for average to slightly-above average performance.

  29. Kyle S on October 7th, 2004 4:08 am

    The problem with Ryan Howard being the next Adam Dunn is that the two men are the same age, and Adam Dunn has about 100 career major league home runs. Plus Howard can’t even come close to matching Dunn’s walk rate.

    It’s all about age relative to level, folks. That’s why everyone loves BJ Upton, Dave Wright, and Andy Marte.

  30. Jon Wells on October 7th, 2004 4:21 am

    This article from Thursday’s Seattle TImes (link at bottom of this post) is VERY DISTURBING. I don’t mean to shout out that the sky is falling, but unfortunately it appears that it is. Bigtime. Management is playing around with the money again. All of a sudden they’ve only got $20-22 million to spend this off-season. By my calculations, they should have closer to $35 million to spend, more if they could deal Randy Winn and/or Ryan Franklin (or Boone, as Finnigan’s article suggests the club might do). If David Cameron’s sources were right about the team recognizing their past mistakes and going all out this winter to resuscitate the team, they couldn’t possibly have expected it could be done with so little money to work with.

    Sorry, but as Finnigan points out, $20 to $22 million just isn’t gonna cut it (I’m not even sure Billy Beane could turn this club into a contender in ’05 with that money). They have so many holes to fill that if that’s all they have to work with, there’s no way they get the two middle of the order bats that they need (and have needed for the last five seasons) and a top flight starter. With that kind of money they’ll be lucky to get Carlos Delgado (at a minimum of $10 mil and maybe more) but what’s the point in signing him if the team has so many holes that they can’t hope to contend? And how are they going to
    con top free agents into coming here if the team isn’t going to spend enough to be competitive?

    They might have been able to afford J.D. Drew at around $10 mil a year if they hadn’t foolishly signed Randy Winn to a contract that overpays him to the tune of $4 million a season. If we had a decent GM we might hope that we’d be able to make some creative trades to help fill the gaps on the team, but I wouldn’t count on that. Seriously folks, this Bavasi clown is making Woody Woodward look pretty good…

    What I think this club needs is a #1 or #2 starter ($7-10 mil), a top flight set-up man who can close if Guardado isn’t able to pitch ($3 mil), one absolute stud like Carlos Beltran or Adrian Beltre ($14 mil or so) and another big bopper for the middle of the order, Drew, Magglio Ordonez, Delgado, Troy Glaus or Richie Sexson ($10 million). All this totals up to around $35 million — they do these things I believe they can contend. If not, then ????

    This team has serious needs at first base, third base and 1 OF spot and they have to be concerned about Miguel Olivo who had serious problems behind the plate ( a ton of passed balls and wild pitches)
    after being acquired in the Garcia deal. Perhaps they should be thinking about dealing Olivo and trying to sign Jason Varitek (maybe they can get Varitek and Lowe to return together, for old times sake…).

    More importantly, if that’s all the dough they have to work with this winter, they have no shot at making the big splash that Howard Lincoln has promised and they will lose at least a third of their remaining season ticket holders (they had 20,000 this year, down from a high of 27,000 in 2002). Way to run your business into the ground, Howard!

    The stupidest part of Finnigan’s article is the list of who’s likely to be on the team and who’s not. Willie F Bloomquist (.283 OBP and .330 slugging) is listed as “likely” while Bucky Jacobsen who slugged .500 and had a pace for 35-40 HR’s when he was with the team, is listed as a “longshot”. WTF????? They’ll both make similar money next season. How could they possibly keep Bloomquist while dumping Jacobsen??? And what’s with the love affair with the mediocre Ron Villone?


  31. Bela Txadux on October 7th, 2004 5:29 am

    Back atcha, Jerry on Jacobsen and Ryan Howard, plus a word on Big Clint:

    Yes, I _have_ seen Jacobsen play 1b. I was in the stands twice when he wore a glove, and made a point to watch several times on the godbox. Not a large sample, but in that time I saw _multiple_ balls bounce OFF his glove. I saw balls go UNDER his glove. He was stiff as a board, trying as hard as he could, and had virtually no lateral range. Jacobsen played only a handful of games at first for the Ms (12-15??), had multiple errors, and more than one additional error was charged to fielders on throws that Bucky couldn’t reel in. I’m no scout and no expert, and Bucky is no first baseman. And I like the guy a bunch, because in even a few passing comments he has conveyed that his understanding of hitting as a science is very sound and in fact quite advanced: Bucky has shaped his approach at the plate to his own skillset, and I think has an excellent chance to hit and hit well at the ML level as a fulltime player.

    Now, the Big Guy was playing on one leg with a damaged knee, and moreover totally rusty, since with his bad knee swelling up whenever he played in the field down in Tacoma Dan Rohn had Bucky almost exclusively at DH with Zapp, a fine fielder, at 1b. With his knee cartlidge shaved, the man may have a tiny bit of range, but this won’t help his glove at all. If Bucky plays 40+ games at 1B for the Ms next year, Jerry, I’m sure he will convince you of that beyond dispute.

    On Ryan Howard, I don’t want to sound like the guy is a washout at all, J-Man. But let’s be serious. He has been old for his levels, plus he had college experience. He racked up most of his success at AA. His walk rate isn’t remotely close to Dunn, and I suspect is below that of Thome (though I haven’t gone and looked). Howard was on track to challenge Dunn’s brand new K record—but in the minors at the same age; his K rate is frightening and will be severely exploited by major league pitchers. When Dave says “this is where he grades out” that’s a fact-based assessment made from minor league comparisons, I assume, but pretty much dead on from what I recall of such things when I read them once on a time. Kyle S in #29 above, puts it in context, too. As far as Howard’s defense I’m only repeating what I’ve read elsehwere, but I’m not inclined to hear it as trash talk, and the word is DH now not later.

    . . . And for all that Ryan Howard is left-handed, still youngish, and has monster power. Your best comparison with upside is David Ortiz, and Howard is actually _ahead_ of him, since at the same age Ortiz not only couldn’t hit the curve he couldn’t hit lefties either which is why two organizations shipped him out (the Ms famously first as always, as always). Or Howard could be Calvin Pickering. We won’t know until about two years from now. Seriously. We all want guys like Howard to be the real deal, except that after you’ve watched guys like this for 30 years float to the top of the minors you realize that it’s 2-1 against.

    . . . And for all THAT I’d trade Randy Winn for him tomorrow. In a package with someone else I could use in ’05 at the ML level. Because Howard _cannot_ be counted on at the ML level next year, he’s a work in progress, destination not-as-yet-determined. But he can only DH, and the Ms have a DH who is, frankly, a more developed hitter, if older and right-handed. Howard is a high-risk/high-reward, but I, personally wouldn’t bet on him being an impact player. And he’s more than welcome to prove me wrong, and good luck to him.

    —But NOT FOR NAGEOTTE! Clint has a great moving fastball, and that wicked slider, with not much of an offspeed pitch; it’s pure power, and everything moves enough that he has trouble picking up the strike zone. Clint has initially struggled at high A and then at AA, only to get in a zone of his own and blow guys away with pure stuff thereafter. He was going to struggle at AAA, almost certainly, where quality hitters can foul off good pitches and nail location mistakes. Clint struggled; a lot. The idiot Ms FO brough him up and stuck him in the rotation when there was less than zero prospect of him having any success based on his performance at Tacoma, just a classic desperation-promotion blunder, one of the worst Mariner moves all year. Now, they are Officially Disappointed in his progress—which only shows that they see what they want to see. But we don’t have to see it their way, so let’s not. Nageotte’s risk is high. His upside is higher. Don’t trade this man, period.

    Here’s the word: Young Pitchers Struggle. There are always guys like Clemens who are great from day one—they’re rare. Young guys like Clint with wicked stuff that moves all over the place struggle a lot. I mean FOR YEARS a lot of the time. But when and if they gain that little extra bit of control, they dominate. Here’s a list, and you’ve probably seen a few of these guys pitch: Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Matt Clement. Here’s another guy you’ve probably seen pitch: Brett Tomko. Nageotte is somewhere between Tomko and Clement with his present package. I’m not saying that Clint is going to be Kevin Brown or better (and Brown was the wildest of wild men for YEARS after he came up, wasn’t until Miami that he became the best post-game weapon of his time). The point is that Nageotte will likely struggle for several years before we know exactly where he will REALLY level off, here. But the upside is just too high to trade him for peanuts which is all one would get for him now—from a smooth operator who will slot him a #1 in successive post-season series, quite possibly. But the Ms have just _got_ to stop with this head-tripping Dissapointment slop they keep serving up to their younger players. Clint is something between a project and a work in progress, and the organization should recognize him for what he is and can be and continue to work with him on that.

    It’s Baek who should be packaged, a just-good-enough guy, but that’s for another day.

  32. James on October 7th, 2004 9:25 am

    A little note about J.D. Drew. I read an article in one of the Atlanta papers the other day that said he’s currently building a house in Georgia which doesn’t mean he’s a lock to resign with the Braves, obviously with the money he is going to be paid he can afford to build lots of houses, but it’s definitely a point in favor for him leaving the Braves.

  33. James on October 7th, 2004 9:27 am

    Damn typo, “definitely not a point in favor for him leaving the Braves.”

  34. Dave on October 7th, 2004 9:56 am


    Howard is nothing close to the next Thome or Dunn. Howard just finished his age 24 season and spent most of it in Double-A. When Thome was 24, he hit .268/.359/.523 in his second year in the majors. His minor league numbers were significantly better (and completely different) than Howard. By age 24, Sexson had nearly 1,000 major league at-bats. Dunn is essentially the same age as Howard, and has three years of big league experience. Howard has no chance to make himself into a player of their caliber.

    I’m not saying Ryan Howard has no future in the big leagues. I’m not saying that trading Randy Winn for him would be a bad idea (though its wishcasting at its worst). I’m simply telling you that you’re overvaluing a marginal prospect, and there’s little chance that he could actually contribute to the M’s next year.

  35. Jerry on October 7th, 2004 10:38 am


    Again, I think that we just have to agree to disagree on Howard. I don’t know why you are so convinced that Howard can’t play 1B. If you look at his minor league error totals, he only had 7 errors in 102 games in AA, and 6 errors in 29 games in AAA. His increased errors in AAA are almost definitely an adjustment issue. By comparison, Zapp had 8 errors in 136 games. Zapp might be a little better on defense than Howard, but it is not like Howard is totally inadequate at 1B like you seem to think.

    You say that you are basing your opinion of him on scouting reports, but Baseball America says this about him: “He has proven to be a surprisingly good defender or a big man, with average range and plus hands.” People have compared him as a hitter with Ortiz, which is a very good thing. But don’t extend that comparison to his defense, because Ortiz is brutal with the glove. The Calvin Pickering comparison is just silly. Pickering is 28, is not even rated among the Royals top 30 prospects, and is 6’7″ and nearly 300 pounds. I don’t think that Howard can be projected to put on 60 pounds in the next four years. People have also compared him to Fred McGriff, which is probably more accurate than Pickering. The point is, there is absolutely no reason to think that Howard can’t play 1B. You guys are internalizing and extending the Ortiz comparison too much.

    I also don’t agree with everyone’s assessment that Howard is much too old for his level of competition. He is only 24, and has been destroying AA and AAA all year. That is two years younger than Zapp and five years younger than Bucky. He is not an 18-year-old phenom, but he has progressed through the Phillies system every year, showing consistent improvement. A lot of players don’t dominate right off the bat when they go to pro ball. If you discount all players as non-prospects after they turn 24, you miss out on a lot of quality players that take a little longer to develop. And it is not like he is treading water. He has only four years of minor league experience, and has progressed at each level. The Phillies have not been rushing him because he has no chance of playing in Philadelphia. If he was in a system with an opportuntiy to play, he would have been on much more of a fast-track. This is why he was not promoted to AAA earlier.

    He does have a ways to go in trimming down on K’s and drawing more walks. But at 24, he has time. It is not like he is Bucky or Leone, who are at a stage in thier careers where they either stick in the big leagues or fade away. And he is definitely not a lock to follow the career paths of Russell Branyan and Calvin Pickering.

    We can both agree that moving Howard for Winn is a win-win situation. Even if Howard doesn’t play in one single game for the M’s, it would still be a good move to free up a space in the OF for Reed and to trim 3.5 million off the books. But Howard the best-case scenario for Howard is .275, .350 OBP, 35-40 HR, 100+ RBI player like Thome or Dunn. Why not take a chance on him? The strikouts are not a big deal, as long as he can draw walks. As a general rule, as power hitters develop, they tend to draw more and more walks. I am not saying that Howard will ever become a .410 OBP guy like Thome, but if he could draw 80 walks/year, it makes 130 K’s easier to stomach.

    I am not married to the Howard idea. But I do think that the M’s should try to focus on cheaper alternatives at 1B. Lyle Overbay, Carlos Pena, Adrian Gonzales, and Hee Seop Choi would also be good players to take a chance on. All are cheap, and are not going to handicap the team if they don’t work out.

    Casey Kotchman would be ideal, but he will be hard to get. I like Kotchman a lot, and think that he is going to be a great player. He is a much more complete player, and I could see him developing into a Todd Helton type guy, with great defense. Since he is such a disciplined hitter, I could see him developing more power down the road. But he is a good bet to develop into a John Olerud type player. The bad thing about him is that everyone knows that he is going to be good, and the Angels don’t tend to trade prospects. I have no idea what the Angels would want for him. However, Darrin Erstad has him blocked through 2006 unless they move him to another position. I don’t see Kotchman getting a shot since Erstad is the soul of the Angels team.

    Another dark-horse possibility is for the M’s to go after Kendry Morales. He is not ready to play, but scouts say that he is a good hitter. If he could be signed for a reasonable amount (a minor league contract) he would be a good backup plan at 1B.

    The point is that 1B is an easy spot to get production. Since the M’s have so many holes to fill, I would rather see them spend their money on premium positions. I think that Beltre is a better signing than Delgado, as both will be available for roughly the same amount of money. Since Beltre plays a premium position at a gold-glove level, it is a no-brainer. Same thing with the OF. The OF defense this year was a major disappointment after seeing Cameron out there for so long. I would rather see the M’s invest in Carlos Beltran (long shot) or JD Drew (more realistict) because both would allow the team to move guys in the OF and improve the defense, while also adding a middle of the order hitter. If the M’s do sign Drew and Beltre, and go with a high risk prospect at 1B (like Howard) and he busts, the M’s could then go after someone like Paul Konerko, Carlos Lee, Mark Tiexeria, or someone else who might be available through a trade or free agency in 2006.

    Since the M’s are not going to be serious contenders in 2005, why not take a chance on a young 1B player that could develop into a cheap producer. Delgado and Sexson are good players, but I think that that money is best spent on premium positions like 3B, OF/RF, and SS.

  36. Jerry on October 7th, 2004 10:44 am


    I was comparing Howard to Dunn and Thome because all three are pure power hitters who will strike out a lot. Dunn and Thome were more advanced at age 24. Perhaps Ortiz is a better comparison, although Howard CAN play 1B.

    I agree that he is anything but a sure thing. However, who cares? He is a better prospect than Bucky. If he doesn’t work out, the M’s could use Ibanez, Spiezio, and Bucky there in 2005. Since they aren’t going to contend next season, it is not a huge risk. If Howard is a bust, they can go after a proven 1B guy in 2006. I would hate to see the M’s kick down 10 million on a first baseman this offseason, when they have so much need and there is so much free agent depth at SS, 3B, and OF.

    I would rather see the M’s go after Kotchman or Pena, or even try to put together a blockbuster for Tiexeira or Dunn. Hee Seop Choi and Adrian Gonzales are viable options as well.

    The point is, the M’s should be looking at low risk/high reward options at 1B and investing their free payroll in premium positions.

  37. Dave on October 7th, 2004 10:53 am


    If your main point is “don’t spend on a first baseman, they’re too easy to find”, then I agree, and have been arguing that point for months. But you should understand that teams don’t just give away good young prospects. Kotchman, Pena, Gonzalez, and Howard are going to cost the team talent to acquire. Hoping to pawn off players you believe are overpaid and get a quality, cheap young player in return is not realistic.

    As to Howard specifically, I ‘d encourage you to read some of the research I and others have done on minor league strikeout rate as a projector of future abilities. While you’re correct that strikeouts aren’t a big deal at the major league level, few players with Howard’s proclivity for swinging and missing in the minors develop into good major league hitters. You’re arguing value; I’m arguing projection. Howard has been a valuable minor league hitter using skills that are not likely to translate well at the major league level.

  38. Jon Wells on October 7th, 2004 11:39 am

    Comment re: #35 which said “I think that Beltre is a better signing than Delgado, as both will be available for roughly the same amount of money. Since Beltre plays a premium position at a gold-glove level, it is a no-brainer.”

    Actually it’s a no-brainer that Delgado and Beltre will not get similar amounts of money and Delgado’s contract will be much shorter (he’s almost seven years older). Factor in that Beltre’s agent is Scott Boras and Beltre is coming off a monster year and Delgado had an off-year including missing 1/4 of the seson w/ an injury and add in that Beltre isn’t likely to come to Seattle and Delgado has said he likes Seattle and the difference in contracts is gonna be HUGE. Boras will be seeking 7 or 8 years for Beltre, may end up settling for 6, but is likely to get him $14-15 mil a season or more. Delgado turns 33 next June — nobody’s gonna give him more than a 3 year deal and he probably gets between $8 and $10 mil a year (if there turns out to be a big market for him, maybe $12 mil a year).

  39. Jerry on October 7th, 2004 2:36 pm


    No way does Beltre get 14-15 million. No way.

    Do you really think that a GM is going to invest more money in Beltre than players like Tejada, Sheffield, and Vlad got last year. Not going to happen. Beltran might get that much, but not Beltre.

    Beltre is a great player and a great talent, but he has only played like this for one year. That is enough to push down the amount he will get. Factor that in with the fact that there are several other 3B free agents (Lowell, Glaus, Koskie, Randa), and the bidding will not get that high.

    Do some research, and look up the amounts that players got last season. The free agent market is just like any market, and is going to fluctuate. Right now, the market is down. Next season, a lot of the big-spender teams are not going to be spending (Boston, Anahiem, LA, Houston, Atlanta). I think that you are thinking from a 1999 mentality. Teams just aren’t spending that much anymore.

    I think that the only free agent that might get a huge sum in Beltran. What you are saying is that Beltre will get more than ANY PLAYER did last season. That is not realistic.

  40. Jerry on October 7th, 2004 2:38 pm

    One more thing.

    I figure that Delgado will probably get around 10 million on a three-year deal. Perhaps Beltre will get 11-12 million (I think this is a high estimate) on a 6 year deal. That is pretty close. If it comes down to 1-2 million, I figure, why not go for the younger player with more potential?

  41. Bela Txadux on October 7th, 2004 8:55 pm

    Final comments on Ryan Howard and 1b from me, Jerry,

    On first inspection, Howard’s numbers are impressive, and comparisons with Dunn and Howard come to mind, or closer to the bone to Ortiz. But beyond appearances and working with statistically verifiable projections and most-comparables Howard really doesn’t grade out as a hitter of that ilk _as he stands NOW_. He’s not going to have 130 Ks; north of 200 Ks are far more probable if he played enough to get the total. He’s not going to draw 80 walks, but significantly less. And that is the nut of the matter. Very few guys with that package become good ML hitters, very few. Wlad Balentien has time to turn around (probably won’t but he has time); Howard is old relative to turning his numbers around, and that hurts any estimation of his value. He may turn into a ML hitter of real force, but he must change significantly to do so, and he must do the learning on the acquiring teams time and hazard if he proves able to do it. Which is why there hasn’t exactly been a swarm of GMs buzzing up Philly for this guy that organization obviously has to and is going to move.

    . . . And for all that Howard will most likely be given a shot, and deserves it, I personally hope he succeeds big time because I like for folks to succeed, and regardless he will put up real numbers which will obviate any further need to speculate on our parts. : )

    As far as _trading_ for a 1B rather than signing a free agent, I am 100% with you: I think the guys who might be acquired in trade vastly exceed in value they guys on the market, and that’s without even taking into account the much higher $ costs of a free agent sign at this position. Kotchmann is my favorite guy here, not that I think it will happen, and as Dave says getting him figures to be talent-expensive if it’s doable at all.

  42. Jerry on October 7th, 2004 10:38 pm

    Bela and Dave,

    I still don’t agree with the theory that K’s are the most important factor in a players ‘projection’. Dallas McPherson, who a lot of people are touting as one of the best prospects in baseball, had more Ks and less walks than Howard, with less HRs. I don’t see why you can argue that Howard is not going to have success.

    I just don’t believe that plate discipline is a skill that people don’t learn. It is a skill, not a tool. Arm strength, speed, power, and agility are a lot more difficult to teach than laying off pitches. I think that it might be useful to distinguish between players that lack hand quickness and players that just don’t lay off bad pitches. The former is difficult to overcome, the latter is something that develops with experience. This is the problem I have with the extreme stats side of the stats/scouting debate. I recognize the value of stats more than most people. However, I don’t think that you can come up with some statistical equation and use it as the golden rule for projecting how a players talents will work at the big league level. You have to consider the player’s specific skill set, and take into account what might be the cause of statistics that might raise red flags. Are all guys that strike out a lot the same? I don’t think so. Power hitters with very good plate discipline are still going to K a lot. While you do expect players to strike out more when the reach the big leagues, you also expect them to get better as they progress. Howard has K’d a lot in his time up in Philly, but he has also hit the ball well. It is a very small sample, but he was not completely overmatched. The guy is 24, has bigtime power, has progressed consistently through the Phillies system, and is a good prospect. I just don’t think that you can write him off that easily.

    I like Kotchman a lot, but he is probably not realistic. How about Carlos Pena? He strikes me as a guy that is about to turn things around and really put it all together. I think that the Tigers could go after Delgado or Sexson. If they did, Pena would be available. He has shown flashes of his talent, and he didn’t have a horrible season this year. He is only 26, and put up good post-allstar numbers. He finished with 27 HRs although his OBP and AV were a bit lower than you would like. He is not the prospect that Kotchman is, but he is a good defender and could be a guy who turns around his career. A change of scenery could really help this guy.

    I agree that Kotchman is the guy though. However, it would take a great deal to get him.

    I still think that Howard makes sense. The M’s would give up little. If the trade for Winn was possible, it would just give the M’s more payroll flexibility. Plus, they would get a cheap player with a lot of talent.

    Hee Seop Choi is another possiblity. He gets on base well, and plays good defense. He also has good power. I think that he has also had trouble getting a chance to play. He was good for Florida, and then sucked in LA. He is another player that could use a change of scenery. The Dodgers will definitely trade him, it is just an issue of what they are looking for in return. However, I think that the M’s could pick him up without giving up their premium prospects.

    All of these guys are interesting options. I hope that the M’s explore trades before they go out and sign Delgado or Sexson. It makes sense to fill this need with a cheap player. Whoever they get, it will not be a disaster if he busts.

  43. Bela Txadux on October 9th, 2004 11:32 pm

    So Jerry,

    I agree with you %110 about the importance of looking at specific player skill sets and the imporatnace of contextualizing raw stats against such specifics. The tentative nature of how this exact kind of modeling is pursued in the statistical community, and too often the lack of any firm comparison being made by the unsophisticated, is one reason why I do not at the moment make statistical analysis my beginning point in considering a player (together with the fact that I’m a writer with a great deal else to occupy my mind).

    Plate discipline is a skill which many players DON’T learn, J-man, believe it. Why this is would be a long discussion the short summary of which is: nobody knows. But many players don’t, and this is what is captured in the gross, statistical comparisons; those numbers show that most players of x age with y numbers don’t get it together and so are fools for the pitchers most of the time. Howard _can_ most certainly beat the trend, but the only rational approach to his matrix is, Show Me, Son. The numbers are not on his side. At all. That is what _I’m_ saying. Dave can speak for himself should he choose, although I suspect from what he wrote he’s parsed his peace.

    Which brings us to Pena. I liked Carlos a bunch in the minors. The man now has, what?, well over 1,000 ABs which say that he hits like Jose Cruz, Jr. only with fewer walks. Pena has not made the adjustment at the big league level. Dave could look up the _statistical probabilities_ regarding whether or not Pena will have a ‘break out’ season next year, or at any time. I can tell you without looking that they lie in the low single digits. Carlos is pretty much who he will be, period. That said, as a ‘patch’ option he has viability as long as the $ figure is low; some power, pretty good D, will have a bust-’em-up game a couple of times a year; could have a Good-Konerko year in there somewhere, probably near his walk year, but otherwise he’s the Bad-Konerko, pretty much. I’d far rather have Pena at first then Spezio at any time, but that’s not to say Carlos has any great probability of performing at a substantial level, he’s got journeyman firstbaseman all over him. I suspect Bavasi wants bigger names, but that’s not to say that Pena doesn’t have upside, and if Carlos had been acquired in the Guillen deal it would have made sense in a way last year. As he stands now, Pena is not quite as good a hitter as Ibanez—but Carlos _does_ play a position which needs to be filled here, which Ibanez cannot fill, and is enough younger that his value, such as it is, should hold up longer. So, it’s pretty much pick-’em.

  44. Bernard Aboba on October 11th, 2004 2:26 pm

    A question: Are the Mariners likely to resign Wilson?

  45. Rich on October 12th, 2004 12:15 pm

    Well, I started this tangent (then went away for a few days), so I guess I should add my last thoughts.

    The idea was NOT “let’s get Ryan Howard at all costs!”

    It started out as a comparison of Hickey and Andriesen. As a fan, Hickey scared the heck out out of me, since it’s exactly what I expect out of management. Aside from signing Lowe, I really liked Andriesen’s idea of Beltre and Drew.

    But that got me thinking. I’m not greedy – I’d be happy with Beltre or Lowell, if he becomes available. Same goes for Drew or Beltran. Thus, I was actually being a bit more lenient than Andriesen.

    If that’s all they did, I’d be happy, really.

    But it got me thinking. If we could pull off just those signings, what else could we do? I’d love a mashing 1B, but I don’t want to pay for one. If we can get two studs (3B/CF) long term this offseason, we can get a 1B and SP next season. But, hey, everyone’s talked about trading Winn. What can we, *realistically*, get for him? Would I prefer Casey Kotchman, Carlos Pena, or Mark Teixiera (sp)? Of course. But can I get them? Not likely. But, there have been rumblings that Philly could use Winn. What’ve they got? Well, Howard might be a good longshot – some love him, some not so much. But, hey, they’ve also got that Utley/Polanco thing going, and Boone’s not getting any younger… Maybe we could package Winn/pitcher for Howard/Utley? “Pitcher” being Nageotte, if necessary, or Baek, Thornton, Blackley, whomever – Utley could be great for the M’s, but you’ve gotta give up quality to get quality. Theoretically, we’d control Utley for a while, right?

    Anyway, you get Utley, plus a longshot at 1B. Now, you have two 2B. Do you play Utley at 1B? Or can we get anything for Boone? Tough. Really, the only shot is the Yankees. As you say, why would they want ANOTHER aging former-star? Well, Olerud’s doing pretty well for them, and 2b is a bit of a hole. Plus, all the scuttlebut is that Steinbrenner hates Vazquez. Look, Boone might not be ideal, but a swap of the two might work out for both teams. Big George dumps Vazquez, and gets a former-star in return. Heck, given Boone’s comments about vision and injuries, plus the chance to show he’s not done, I’d expect a pretty good rebod from him, especially if he can be the number 7 that he now is (instead of 3-4). Longshot, but not out of the question.

    And that gives us a pretty good starting pitcher. Maybe he has underperformed, but he’s better than most of what we can send out there now. And, traded for Boone, he’s basically “free”, right?

    Because, when it comes to pitching, I don’t trust the M’s on anyone they could get this year. Pavano, Millwood, Radke – they’re likely to overpay for a dead arm. I’d much rather go with someone like Vazquez for this year, then go hard after Santana/Mulder/whomever next year. (If I remember, next year’s pitching FAs are much better than this year’s, right?).

    So, two FA’s, two trades. Gives us:
    1) stud 3B
    2) stud OF (and Ibanez/Reed, Ichiro, Beltran/Drew is a great OF)
    3) young, improving 2B (Utley) with great defense.
    4) 1B options of Howard/Bucky/Spiezio/etc.
    Maybe none pan out. Bucky’s really a DH, but can at least play 10-20 games at first. Spiezio can’t be as bad as this year, right? Maybe Howard fails, and we need a 1B next year. But, as this site so often proclaims, first base is an easier position to fill. Even assume Howard fails – we blow 300k on him, rather than 9 mil on Delgado. We’re not going to the World Series in 05 (but if we do, get someone at the deadline), so we can always find a 1B for 06.

    5) A strong 2/3 SP for no FA money.
    Franklin may not be a star, but he did pretty well in the long relief/spot starter role. Yes, he’s overpaid, but we can’t change that now. And can’t trade him, either. Still, I’d MUCH prefer him over Lowe.

    6) Money left over for bullpen, bench, and maybe even another SP.

    Like I said, this is a pipe dream, and not likely to happen. I’d be happy with just the two signings (excluding Lowe) from Andriesen. I was just trying to get creative with some ideas that seem reasonable to all parties. (ie, not Ryan Franklin for Manny Ramirez), because I think this front office NEEDS to get creative. I’m less concerned with the specifics (ie, Beltre or Lowell, any good young 1B, etc.) than I am with the general approach.

    The last thing I want to see is the M’s toss all of their money at a 1B and SP. (Especially Delgado/Sexon and Lowe). Add in Koskie (good guy, good name, aging former semi-star), and we’re doomed. Square away the tough positions now (3B and CF), and then see where we can go from there.

    Happy dreaming!