Who Stays, Who Goes
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 Ã¢â‚¬â€ 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.