Who Stays, Who Goes

Dave · July 19, 2005 at 12:33 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

It sounds like the wheels of trade are beginning to churn in the front office. Chris Snelling has rejoined the team in Toronto—apparently, there’s an obscure rule about avoiding the 10 day recall window if you never actually reported to your optional assignment, so Snelling never rejoined the Rainiers—and Larry Stone had a piece in the Times this morning about who to keep and who to deal. Since we like Larry, I’m going to use his comments as a launching point for my take.

Eddie Guardado: Keep. It only makes sense to deal Guardado if they have someone ready to plug in, and the Mariners don’t. Guardado is a strength; they can lock him up for next year by picking up a $6.25 million team option. To retain an All-Star caliber closer, it’s worth it.

I disagree. Closers are fungible. We may not have someone who can post a 1.45 ERA in the future, but odds are, neither can Eddie. His peripherals don’t support his crazy low run prevention, and he’s still got the whole injured arm thing. And he’s old. Guardado is the team’s most marketable piece. They can find another closer. Use him to get a legitimate prospect.

Jamie Moyer: Trade. He has been a magnificent performer, an asset to the community, and remains, at age 42, an effective pitcher. But if the M’s can find a team desperate for starting pitching, and Moyer agrees to waive his trade-veto rights for a chance to pitch in his first World Series, it can be a win-win. Besides, there’s nothing to keep the M’s from re-signing Moyer next year.

Again, I disagree. With the no-trade, his big contract, his terrible performances away from Safeco, his age, and his lack of stuff, what are you going to get for him? If you convince him to go to, say, New York, you’re going to get a C level prospect, which the M’s already have a ton of, and you have to deal with the negative press from trading Moyer. The odds of us getting something of real tangible value are low enough that I’d hang onto him. And, as Derek and I discussed the other night, bring him back next year as a home-only starter.

Gil Meche: Keep. The word now is that the Marlins and White Sox, among others, covet Meche. As maddening as he has been, Meche still has a world-class arm and 10 victories to his credit. Plus, he’s just 26. The M’s have invested too much time and effort to watch him blossom into an ace with another team.

Good God no. Move him as soon as you can. A world class arm? Whatever. He’s got decent enough stuff that hitters pound and he can’t throw strikes consistently. His win totals make it look like he’s pitching well, but he’s not. He’s bad. If a team “covets” him, cash in now. He’s the new Brett Tomko.

Joel Pineiro: Trade. Pineiro remains as maddening, and nearly as promising, as Meche, and they’re days apart in age. The same risk exists in trading him, but at this point in Pineiro’s career, with him still struggling to come back from elbow problems, his upside no longer seems as high as Meche’s. If they can get a good package of young talent, it’s a risk worth taking — especially to get next year’s $6.3 million salary off their books.

I agree with Stone in principal, but I think there’s this weird unrealistic school of thought that Joel Pineiro has trade value. He makes $6 million next year, he’s terrible, and his velocity is just gone. Fine, you might find a team willing to take him on as a reclamation project if we pay half his salary and they don’t have to give us anything for him. And I’d probably be willing to do that. But there’s no way we’re getting a package of young talent AND they’re paying his salary. Joel Pineiro is a bad major league pitcher with a big contract.

Raul Ibanez: Keep. Ibanez is a quality left-handed bat, with the ability to play outfield, and a positive clubhouse presence. There’s no reason to deal him.

While I agree that I’d keep him, unless some team really wants him and makes me a nice offer, there are reasons to deal him. But we’ve done this post already, so I’ll move on.

Randy Winn: Trade. At some point soon, the Mariners are going to have to address the glaring lack of power in their outfield. Plus, they have Chris Snelling (not a power threat yet, but definitely a potential impact bat) having earned an extended look.

It sounds like Winn is gone sooner than later. And while we’ve been big supporters of Winn the past year, its the right move.

Ron Villone: Keep. Left-handed relievers are a valuable commodity, and Villone is one of the best around. Replacing him would be harder than you’d think.

No freaking way. Move now. Fine, he’s a fairly valuable middle reliever on a team that has a freaking ton of them. George Sherrill, anyone. Cesar Jimenez. Villone would not be hard to replace for a team that understands the fungibility of relievers. We bought low on Villone and it paid off. Time to sell high.

Shigetoshi Hasegawa: Trade. Shiggy did a wonderful job in 2003, but his career appears to be on the decline. If the M’s could get some value in return, they should do it, and groom a younger arm for the job.

Sure. If you can get a live body in return, move him. Shiggy has no value to this team and you don’t want him back next year.

Now, to the players Stone didn’t mention:

Aaron Sele and Ryan Franklin – depends on what you do with the other three starters. You can’t trade the entire rotation. There aren’t enough pitchers in Tacoma to replace more than a couple. Sele and Franklin aren’t going to bring a ton in return anyways, so they’re decent bets to stick around and eat the rest of the 2005 innings. But if you can’t move Meche, Moyer, or Pineiro, trying to redeem either one for a servicable young player would be a good idea.

Jeff Nelson – again, if you move Guardado, Villone, and Hasegawa, you probably need to hang onto him so that the bullpen isn’t a total joke to finish the year. But, if those guys stick around, deal Nelson. He has no future here and could probably bring at least a potentially marginal role player in return.


114 Responses to “Who Stays, Who Goes”

  1. Kirk on July 19th, 2005 5:25 pm


    Man, you have a pretty high threshold for “building-for-the-future value”. While I wouldn’t rule them as untouchable, I think it’s way premature to trade away Lopez, Reed and Snelling, and I’d be inclined to put Soriano in that category as well once he returns. I also am not convinced yet that the Beltre signing wasn’t a good one, and given his age I’d be highly reluctant to move him at this point.

  2. New and Improved Rhino on July 19th, 2005 5:54 pm

    Guardado: I actually like Guardado, but he’s a red flag injury risk with a high price tag. The M’s would be better off acquiring young talent for him and saving his $4-6 million salary for more pressing needs.

    Meche: Do you really want to pay Meche $4+ million to find out if 2006 is finally the year that he magically puts it all together? The M’s are not going to offer Meche arbitration. With other teams interested in him, the M’s should move him as quickly as possible.

  3. RealRhino on July 19th, 2005 5:55 pm

    #100 – On the other hand, Gil may be WAY more expensive than a prospect we might get in return, even if the likelihood that the prospect turns into a good pitcher is less than the likelihood that Gil Meche turns into a good pitcher.

    Re “stuff,” it’s interesting that BP rates Joel’s stuff as better than Meche’s. I admit I don’t know much about their “stuff” stat, but the K rates bear it out.

    2006 is also the future, not just 2009. Eddie has value for 2006, IMO. Yes, if things come together and his trade value is as high as it’s ever going to be, okay. But unlike Villone, Shige, Boone, Moyer, Franklin, etc., I wouldn’t just trade him for a bag of balls.

  4. New and Improved Rhino on July 19th, 2005 6:11 pm

    Bag of balls for Villone? Villone has “gridiron toughness.” Some GM would pay handsomely for his moxie and grit.

  5. ryan on July 19th, 2005 6:30 pm

    Anybody else get the feeling that Beltres really unlucky. Hes always getting robbed.

  6. Jim Osmer on July 19th, 2005 7:54 pm

    So we still think Doyle is here because Hansen needs to stay on the DL or is a trade coming?

  7. Kirk on July 19th, 2005 8:14 pm


    Yeah, I would pay $4+ M for Meche next year. Did you see how crazy the free agent market got for mediocre starters last offseason? I’d take Meche and his inconsistency for $4+ M on the off-chance the light clicks on for him. If it doesn’t, I’m skeptical his trade value will be significantly lower next mid-season than this one.

  8. AK1984 on July 19th, 2005 8:25 pm

    The M’s would be better off paying Felix Hernandez, Jorge Campillo, and Bobby Livingston $316,000 apiece to pitch in the rotation, rather than give Gil Meche, Ryan Franklin or Jaime Moyer any money whatsoever. Unfortunately, though, Joel Pineiro is due $6.3 million; thus, he ought to be traded, if at all possible, for a prospect during this upcoming off-season.

  9. Mark O on July 19th, 2005 10:30 pm

    A little off topic but what do you guys think about Jason Schimdt’s impending free agency and the possibility of a homecoming? I know a couple of off-seasons ago their were rumblings that he would bolt the Giants and sign with the M’s.

  10. Matt Williams on July 20th, 2005 12:13 am

    Mark O let’s just say I have a gut reaction against him at the moment. He was supposed to be one of the linchpins of my fantasy staff. I’ll admit taking Leiter was a mistake, and Magglio Ordonez was a calculated risk midway through the draft. But I will forever be pissed at Schmidt and Lowell for tanking my team this year.

    Plus, doesn’t he have an option for 2006 in his contract? I can’t imagine the Giants just turning him loose for one bad, injured season.

  11. Unkle Rusty on July 20th, 2005 9:51 am

    Dave has talked up Gerald Laird in the past. Not that I am personally ready to drop-kick Olivo, but Laird seems blocked in Texas and Texas needs pitching. Would they do a Franklin or Villone for Laird deal? Of course, Franklin has an astronomical 3-year ERA in Alrington (9.24).

  12. Bela Txadux on July 20th, 2005 9:23 pm

    Just for the record, Dave, I’ll say that I agree with you exactly on the buy/sell eval of everyone you mention to lead off this thread.

    * Guardado-cash out
    * Meche-cash out immediately
    * Winn-cash out

    * Villone
    Hasegawa-move the one/two who get the best offer;
    keep the tailender

    + Moyer-keep; he’s popular, still effective, get’s little back
    + Ibanez-keep; he’s a patient, lefty, hitter without a replacement
    in system
    0 Pinero-has no value in a trade with his $$ and – velocity, so …

    The _one_ trade I’d like to see, since we’re in that mode?: Meche, a bullpen arm (not Guardado)/back-up infielder, and Shin Soo-choo for Adam Dunn

  13. DMZ on July 20th, 2005 9:41 pm

    Why would the Reds make that deal?

  14. Ross on July 21st, 2005 1:44 pm

    PLEASE trade Guardado. He’s the only guy we could maybe trade for someone decent (Winn might get us a B-Grade prospect) – Do we really think we’ll be contending next year? I don’t, and the only reason to keep Eddie (other than not being able to get anything for him) is if we’re going to contend next year.

    Trading Eddie makes sense on so many levels, we could actually get a player for him, as opposed to everyone else we might trade on this team

    Also, if you could actually get a player for any one of Moyer, Meche, or Piniero, DO IT! I doubt it but what the hell.

    If you wanna trade Winn, go ahead.