JMB · December 20, 2004 at 9:39 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I’m on board with both of these suggestions — Wade Miller for the rotation, David Eckstein for shortstop. Dave’s pretty much covered Miller, and assuming he’s healthy, there’s really no downside there. His numbers the last three years have been very solid: 3.66 ERA, 440 IP, 395 H, 42 HR, 183 BB, 379 K and a .242/.318/.380 line against. The injury might mean you’re more comfortable with a one-year deal, but given that he’s only 28, I’d be fine with a two-year deal (with the second year perhaps worth more based on games started in the first year, kind of like Moyer’s deal).

Eckstein’s a harder argument, but he’d probably come cheap and it’s not like there’s a better option hanging around at the moment. I’d really like to see Jose Lopez head back to Tacoma rather than burn a full year of service time, and Eckstein’s not horrible in the field or with the bat. Honestly, with the exception of power, I’d expect him to out perform Lopez next season, particularly in the OBP department. You hit him 9th, no big deal.


32 Responses to “Two-for-two”

  1. Jon Wells on December 20th, 2004 9:50 pm

    I’m on board on Eckstein too. First thing I thought of when I heard that he’d been non-tendered. $1 mil to $1.5 mil and Lopez spends the year at Tacoma playing second. I’m also in on Wade Miller but they’d have to sign another starter (Odalis Perez?) as well since there is still some risk that Miller won’t be able to start the year.

  2. Matto on December 20th, 2004 9:51 pm


    I agree with you. Both are the type of players the M’s should be going for. Miller to push Frankin/rookies out of rotation and X to push Boone while making sure Jose Lopez is indeed ready. These are the types of low risk, high reward players good teams go after. That being said I don’t want the M’s giving Too much money to them. I like the idea of an incentive-ladden contract for both.

  3. Matto on December 20th, 2004 9:51 pm

    re #2 should say Franklin not Frankin.

  4. Metz on December 20th, 2004 9:52 pm

    Since we heard at the feed that Bavasi perfers “athletes” over performers I highly doubt that the front office gives little Davey a look. I agree that he’d be a good stop gap for a year. Sure he looks like every throw he makes is going to cause his arm to fall off at the shoulder and he beats every runner with his throw by only 1/2 step but he does record outs and he’d be a decent #9 hitter. He doesn’t make mistakes, he’s good on the base paths and he’ll understand his place on the club. If he performs well this year then he may even stick around for another.

  5. Jim Thomsen on December 20th, 2004 10:06 pm

    You can figure out Eckstein’s market by process of elimination … to wit, who needs a shortstop?

    Oakland: No
    Anaheim: No longer
    Texas: No
    Minnesota: Yes
    Kansas City: They may not think they do, but they do
    Detroit: Yes, pretty much
    Chicago White Sox: Hmmmmm …..
    Cleveland: Probably not
    New York: Depends on your point of view, but no
    Toronto: Could stand an upgrade
    Boston: No
    Baltimore: Nah
    Tampa Bay: Depends on their plan for Upton
    Florida: No
    Atlanta: No
    Montreashington: No
    Mets: No
    Cincinnati: Maybe
    St. Louis: No
    Chicago Cubs: No
    Arizona: They don’t think so
    L.A. Dodgers: They don’t think so
    San Diego: No
    Houston: Probably not
    Milwaukee: Maybe, but probably not
    Colorado: Possibly
    San Francisco: No
    Philadelphia: No
    Pittsburgh: No

    Seems like Eck and his agent could play several teams off one another and squeeze an upside deal of what I’d guess could be as high as $3.8 million.

  6. Digger on December 20th, 2004 10:16 pm

    St Louis, Houston, and the White Sox all desparately need a shortstop and now Eckstein is the best available. I agree with the $4M figure.

  7. Jim Thomsen on December 20th, 2004 10:25 pm

    You’re right … I forgot about St. Louis’ black hole. Add them to the list. I wonder if Houston thinks its need is desperate, though.

  8. Dave on December 20th, 2004 10:26 pm

    I’ll pass on Eckstein. I still would like to see the team pick up Pokey Reese on the cheap. His bat absolutely sucks, but his glove is so good that he’s still a useful player. He might be the only guy in the league capable of being worth $1 million despite hitting .221/.271/.303.

    Let everyone else fight over Eckstein’s grittiness. I’ll take Pokey’s glove.

    Of course, lost in all of this speculation is the fact that the M’s are still basically out of money.

  9. Marty Lighthizer on December 20th, 2004 10:30 pm

    Re: #5 —
    You can figure out Eckstein’s market by process of elimination … to wit, who needs a shortstop?
    Detroit: Yes, pretty much

    Am I missing something? Carlos Guillen was one of the best things that happened to Detroit last year… Is he gone?

  10. Marty Lighthizer on December 20th, 2004 10:34 pm

    Re: My #9 above:
    I forgot to add that Guillen was not only one of the best things that happened to Detroit, he was also one of the worst that happened to Seattle — and is the main reason we have this thread today…

  11. Jim Thomsen on December 20th, 2004 10:36 pm

    I had heard Guillen might not be ready to start the season. Anybody else read anything?

  12. brain on December 20th, 2004 10:42 pm

    Wade Miller has way too much upside to not grab him. He could the steal of the offseason.

  13. JMB on December 20th, 2004 10:42 pm

    Now, don’t get me wrong here — Eckstein costs more than about $1M, and I’m no longer on board. In that case, Dave’s Pokey Reese idea sounds good.


  14. Chris on December 20th, 2004 10:56 pm

    Guillen is there starting third baseman.

  15. moira on December 20th, 2004 11:00 pm

    Is Pokey Reese in our price range at all? I’ve always dreamed of rooting for someone called “Pokey”…

  16. Jon Wells on December 20th, 2004 11:14 pm

    Even with the exploding market this year I don’t think there’s any way that Eckstein will get $3-4 million a year — the market for desirable free agents at the beginning of the winter is always different than the market for non-tendered players who are basically guys that have been discarded by one organization. You don’t typically see bidding wars for these type of players and many of them end up having to take a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.

    Eckstein is a decent stopgap shortstop for a team for a year or two but he has flaws. In particular, he’s got a weak arm though he does manage to make most of the plays at SS. He might be considered by some teams that are looking for a second baseman. He likely would have made about $3 mil from the Angels in arbitration — it was thought that even if they signed a SS that Anaheim would keep Eckstein to play 2B since Adam Kennedy is not expected to be ready to start the ’05 season. My guess is that they spent more $$$ on Cabrera than they anticipated and that’s where Eckstein’s money went…

    I might go a little higher than Jason, say $1.5 to $1.75 tops and I really think the M’s would have a good shot at grabbing him for that.

  17. Chris on December 20th, 2004 11:22 pm

    I don’t understand the desire to pick up Eckstien regardless of the price. He’s Willie Bloomquist without the speed. Cabrera is one of the better young shortstops in the game today. He had a down year last year because the Expos offense was so terrible. Then he switched leagues. The Angels got themselves one heck of a shortstop. Batting in front of Garrett Anderson Steve Finley and VLAD are going to improve his numbers dramatically. This time next year his contract will look like a bargain.

  18. Dave on December 20th, 2004 11:33 pm

    (Eckstein is) Willie Bloomquist without the speed.

    Plus the ability to actually play a major league shortstop. And, hey, if we’re doing a comparison.

    Eckstein: .276/.339/.332
    Bloomquist: .245/.283/.330

    That’s 60 points of on base percentage. That’s a ton of outs.

    Cabrera is one of the better young shortstops in the game today.

    Cabrera just turned 30.

    The Angels got themselves one heck of a shortstop. Batting in front of Garrett Anderson Steve Finley and VLAD are going to improve his numbers dramatically. This time next year his contract will look like a bargain.

    I defended Cabrera, and I think he’s better than Eckstein. But there’s just no way that a league average shortstop should get 4 years, $32 million. This contract will never look like a bargain. It’s an albatross from day one.

  19. Chris on December 20th, 2004 11:42 pm

    Wow Dave you sure made me look like an idiot. Way to go. Your really smart and cool.

  20. DMZ on December 21st, 2004 12:36 am


    I don’t understand the desire to pick up Eckstein regardless of the price.

    No one’s argued in favor of this. Even the people who think he’d be a decent stopgap don’t want to pay $2m. Where does this come from?

  21. Mark on December 21st, 2004 1:12 am

    I believe he was attempting to say: no matter how much we’d have to pay for his services, David Eckstein is not a worthwhile investment.

  22. eponymous coward on December 21st, 2004 1:31 am

    Which I don’t think is true- I’d be cool with either Eckstein or Reese for a million.

    For one thing, I’d say the odds that Boone has an injury or craptastic year that is a DECLINE from 2004, or Lopez not being as good as the front office is hyping him to be and spending significant time in AAA are high enough to justify having another middle infielder on the roster who can give decent performance. That’s not Willie Bloomquist (whom the M’s tendered an offer to, grrrr), and Leone’s not anything but an emergency stopgap at SS. If you have Eckstein or Reese on the bench, you aren’t going to be completely punting a position.

    And yeah, Miller- though I won’t be sobbing in my beer if we end up with Perez, either.

  23. Terry Benish on December 21st, 2004 1:34 am

    The numbers suggest Reese is by far the best defensively at ss over Eckstein. Eckstein is fearless offensively, albeit without talent, but he will perform.

    I think Pokey makes this pitching staff quite a bit better.

  24. planB on December 21st, 2004 1:59 am

    #19 I don’t think a thoughtful rebuttal is intended to make you look like an idiot.

  25. Jerry on December 21st, 2004 2:08 am

    I agree with E. Coward. Either Miller or Perez would be great pickups. I think that Perez is really underrated. I like him better than Kris Benson, Russ Ortiz, Jon Lieber, and a few of the other overpaid starters out there. I think that the only knocks on Perez is a laid-back attitude and a bad playoff performance against the Cards this year. However, his stats are solid. He didn’t get that many wins, but I remember reading that he had the worst run support in the MLs (I couldn’t find the exact stats on this, and I think it might have been 2003). Anyhow, a 27 year old lefty with great stuff and a legit shot to improve? OK.

    Miller would be awesome as well, however, I wonder what he will actually get. I have heard predictions of 5 mil/year, but I would imagine that some team would beat that. Cory Lidle got about that much, and I think that Miller is a better pitcher than Kris Benson, who got 7 mil/year (although this was from the Yanks). If Miller could be had for less than Perez, and on a 1-year deal with an option or vesting options, that would be great.

    This is where Bavasi really has a chance to shut up his critics. If he can move a contract or two, and clear enough room to sign a starter like one of these two, he will really demonstrate that he is a good GM. Up until now, he has really just spent money. He overpaid for Sexson and got a great deal for Beltre. All in all, I really like what he has done thus far. However, I would like to see him work out a few good moves now that the money is tight. If he could move Franklin and Winn, the money is there. If he can move Frankline and Winn and bring back a useful arm for the bullpen, he’s a genious. If he can move Franklin, Winn, and Spiezio and bring back a cheap bullpen arm…well, it would be nice if he could move Winn and Franklin for cheap bullpen help.

    This is Bavasi’s chance to really show us what he can do.

  26. eponymous coward on December 21st, 2004 2:16 am

    I tink Franklin IS a useful arm in the bullpen. Rubber arm swing men aren’t as useful as they were in the days of frequent doubleheaders (so having Villone and Franklin’s a bit of a surplus), but if signing a starter puts him in the ‘pen, it’s all good. If someone wanted him I’m not attached, but we don’t have to dump him (and arguably he’s more likely to be useful than Shiggy).

    Also…why don’t people suggest moving Ibañez instead of Winn if you’re determined to move an OF? I don’t get it (though I guess I’m guilty of doing it in the past too). I don’t see a lot of difference in the two at the plate, and an OF who is passable if not great in CF and very good in LF> an OF who is passable if not great in LF and not very good at 1B, if the offense is equal.

  27. Josh on December 21st, 2004 2:24 am

    Jerry, Benson was signed by the Mets not the Yankees. But yes I would agree they did overspend to get him back.

  28. Scott G. on December 21st, 2004 7:58 am

    I’m all over a Wade Miller deal. You don’t get guys with this much talent for this cheap very often. He lacks consistency and has a, shall we say, “colorful” injury history but there’s no questioning his talent.

    I love Eckstein’s attitude but I’m not crazy about spending money for it. Maybe I’d go $1 million. Anything more and I’m throwing him back on the pile.

  29. Adam S on December 21st, 2004 10:00 am

    #25, that’s exactly why people suggest moving Winn. He’s more valuable than Ibanez and would be an upgrade in CF for many teams, so the Mariners could get something for him. There’s not much demand for an average to below average LF/1B, plus the Mariners and many people believe playing in Safeco Field helps him as a left handed power hitter (sic).

  30. CecilFielderRules on December 21st, 2004 10:09 am

    Wade Miller is IDEAL for the M’s. They are the exact type of team who should go after him. For a sure contender, he’s too risky to count on. For a bottom feeder, the 1-year reward if he’s healthy won’t make a difference. For the M’s, who aren’t honest conteders at this point, a healthy Miller could push them into possible contention. If he breaks down, you’re probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs anyway. From the few times I’ve watched Miller, he has serious stuff but the occasional command problems. But when he is on, man he can mow down a line-up. Doubt it will happen, but he would be a great risk to take….

  31. tino on December 21st, 2004 1:05 pm

    Ramon Santiago ~= Pokey Reese. If we want someone to flash the glove and be below replacement level offensively, let’s just use him.

    Eckstein sure would be fun. Is anyone in MLB more reliant on HBP for their offensive contribution?

    How about Eric Bruntlett? We could probably get him from Houston for a spare part. Dave, any take on this guy being able to be 5-10 VORP in 2005? Has anyone seen his defense?

  32. Terry Benish on December 21st, 2004 9:13 pm

    Ramon Santiago can’t carry Pokey’s jock…