Dave’s Offseason Plan

Dave · November 7, 2005 at 9:01 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The last two years, I’ve presented my offseason plan. After the 2003 season, the organization went as far away from my suggestions as humanly possible, and the team promptly went in the tank. Realizing the error of their ways, they actually made several of the moves I suggested after last offseason, and the team returned to championship form immediately. What? They still sucked? Well, that’s not my fault. I blame Canada.

So, with my track record firmly established, I now present to you the Third Annual Offseason Dave’s Plan. This is what I would attempt to do if the team decided to give me reign of the organization. The numbers after the players are their projected 2006 salaries in millions. This is actual 2006 payout, not annual average value of the contract. Obviously, on free agents, I had to guesstime how much it would cost to sign the player. Hopefully, I was somewhere in the ballpark. Onward ho.

Starting C Jojima 3.50
Backup C Torrealba 1.00

Starting 1B Sexson 11.50
Backup 1B Helms 2.00

Starting 2B Lopez 0.32
Backup 2B Bloomquist 0.75

Starting SS Betancourt 0.35

Starting 3B Beltre 11.50

Starting LF J. Jones 5.00
Backup LF Bohn 0.32

Starting CF Reed 0.32

Starting RF Ichiro 11.50
Backup RF Morse 0.32

Starting DH Ibanez 4.25

Offense 49.11

#1 Starter Burnett 10.00
#2 Starter Felix 0.32
#3 Starter Loaiza 6.00
#4 Starter Moyer 3.00
#5 Starter Pineiro 6.30
#6 Starter Brown 2.00

Closer Guardado 6.25
Setup Sherrill 0.32
Setup Soriano 0.32
Mid Relief Putz 0.50
Mid Relief Mateo 0.50
Long Relief Atchison 0.32

Pitching 35.81

Scott Spiezio 3.35
Pokey’s Buyout 0.30
Wiki’s Buyout 0.25
Shiggy’s Buyout 0.33

Sunk Costs 4.23

Total Commitments 89.15

Free Agent Signings

A.J. Burnett: 4 years, $46 million
Esteban Loaiza: 3 years, $18 million
Jacque Jones: 2 years, $10 million
Kenji Jojima: 2 years, $7 million
Jamie Moyer: 1 year, $3 million, incentives could push total value to $5 million
Kevin Brown: 1 year, $2 million, incentives could push total value to $5 million
Wes Helms: 1 year, $2 million

At $89 million on actual payroll, this is likely a little bit out of the M’s current budget. They’ve averaged about $85 million on actual payroll the past few seasons (they report a much higher number which includes numbers that no other team considers part of “payroll”). However, the team has consistently shown the ability to move payroll at the trade deadline, so if the team is not contending, it would not be a challenge to come in under budget. And, if the team is contending, well, then the extra outlay of a million here or there was well worth it, no?

We’ve discussed most of these moves in their own previous posts. For guys like Burnett, Jones, Jojima, and Brown, you should be well aware of why I support their acquisitions. A few quick notes on the others:

Esteban Loaiza, at worst, is an innings-eater in the middle of the rotation who can work deep into games without being terrible. At best, he’s one of the better starting pitchers in baseball. Consistency is a problem, and there’s no real way to know what you’re going to get with him, but the cost to acquire a player with such significant upside and limited downside, especially in a market that looks like its going to go insane, is too good to pass up. I think he’s this years Jon Lieber.

Wes Helms gives the team a reliable bat off the bench, the guy they think Greg Dobbs is but that he never will be. He hit .298/.356/.458 last year, which included a .300/.375/.506 mark against lefties. Since Jones will need to be platooned, Helms bat fits in nicely at DH against southpaws. He can play first or third and give them the pinch-hitting bat they’ve lacked the past several seasons.

T.J. Bohn is never going to be a full-time major league player, but the things that he does well right now will translate to the major league level immediately. He’s a strong defensive player with a great arm who can play any of the three outfield spots. He has good baserunning instincts and is deceptively fast, making him a stolen base threat as a pinch-runner. He has gap power and can drive the ball when he makes contact. He probably won’t be an asset as a hitter, but as a 5th outfielder, he’s better than Jamal Strong. If he continues to improve like he has, he could end up stealing some at-bats from Reed and Jones before the year is up.

So, there’s the plan. I’d estimate that this team would win somewhere between 85-95 games and contend for a playoff spot. These moves aren’t likely to happen, but this is what I would attempt to accomplish given a hypothetical situation where my opinions mattered.


181 Responses to “Dave’s Offseason Plan”

  1. Oly Rainiers Fan on November 8th, 2005 2:40 am

    And today’s Times/P-I have stories saying that Moyer filed for free agency yesterday (Monday), and that Jojima is looking for a contract in the 3 years for 18 mill price range.

    If true, then the salary projection for your lineup just went up by, I’d guess, around 6-7 million dollars (+2.5 for Jojima, +3 probably more for Jamie, given past success and thin free agent market).

  2. JoJo on November 8th, 2005 5:19 am

    Here’s a dumb qestion,….if defensive metrics can easily predict wins, why didnt Seattle win 90 games last year?

    I know this sounds sarcastic in black and white, but im mostly playing devil’s advocate. Id enjoy and learn from the discussion….

  3. mln on November 8th, 2005 7:17 am

    Whatever happens during the free agent signing period, here’s hoping that the Yankee scumballs make many, many more stupid signings like Jarret Wright and Tony Womack last year.

  4. Southpaw on November 8th, 2005 7:36 am

    Jamie’s contract value does not necessarilly go up because he filed for FA. It just gives the Ms more time to work out a deal in the lower price range since if he didn’t file for FA, they had to come to terms on an extension by the 15th or he’d be locked into getting 6.4M at a minimum from the Ms.

    JoJo, I’m not following your logic at all here. The Ms defense wasn’t all that great last year and no matter how good it is, there’s no way it overcomes the lack of pitching talent to turn that team into a 90 win one. Defense is part of the game same as pitching, hitting, and baserunning. Defensive metrics try to quantify just how much defense influences the game same as stats like VORP and RAR do. The whole basis of the wins system is based off the pyth record theory, which is pretty established in baseball circles. It’s found that, on average, adding ten runs to a team’s differential affects their pyth WL record by 1. So, the goal is to have stats that convert player actions into runs, which then in turn can be turned into wins. Off the four categories, fielding is likely the most off from reality because of the very nature of what you are trying to quantify. However, what we do have is not bad and is a lot better than just ignoring defense all together or, worse, trying to use your eyes or phantom “scouts” to judge someone’s defense. Sorry if I misunderstood your question.

  5. Adam S on November 8th, 2005 9:23 am

    IIRC, Moyer reportedly turned down trades to the Yankees, Braves, and Astros (all playoff teams) last year because they would have moved him out of town, even if only for 2.5 months. While for most players it comes down to just money, I can’t see him signing with anyone other than the Mariners. If the M’s don’t offer enough, he’ll retire.

    Remember the plan is 2006 contracts. Even if Jojima gets 3/18 it’s unlikely to be 6 each year. It could well be 4 – 6 – 8 (option), which would be slighly above Dave’s 2006 figure. Even 5-6-7 only adds 1.5M. And just because he wants it, doesn’t mean he’ll get it.

  6. msb on November 8th, 2005 9:27 am

    #144– having already tried Closer-by-committee, apparently the Sox are now trying GM-by-committee at the winter meetings, with interviews scheduled for a GM during the meetings…

  7. DMZ on November 8th, 2005 9:34 am

    The whole basis of the wins system is based off the pyth record theory, which is pretty established in baseball circles. It’s found that, on average, adding ten runs to a team’s differential affects their pyth WL record by 1.

    The map is not the territory.

  8. Bonefan on November 8th, 2005 9:45 am

    That’s a very good looking team, IMHO, well thought out and well-constructed for offense and defense. Seems within realm of tactical possibilities. I hope the FO is on the same page.

    I am, however, rooting HARD that Kevin Brown retires before anybody on Edgar Martinez Way is tempted to bring his toilet-bashing, wall-punching, private jet-chartering redneck ass to the Northwest for his annual 50 IP’s. Give the $2M to Jamie’s charity and call it a day. But I quibble.

  9. Mike Snow on November 8th, 2005 9:55 am

    Jojima is looking for a contract in the 3 years for 18 mill price range.

    For a catcher, when no player at that position has come over from Japan before? With a potentially serious language barrier in communicating with his pitchers? Coming off an injury, at a position where injuries and early career declines are a common problem? Alan Nero sure dreams big.

    Even Hideki Matsui (aka Godzilla) only got 3 years, $21M when he came over, and that from the Yankees’ bottomless moneypit. I’d offer Jōjima the contract Dave proposes, nothing more.

  10. Andrew on November 8th, 2005 10:18 am

    I don’t see an issue with giving Jojima a contract potentially worth $18 million over 3 years. If you did something that had $3.5 and $4.5 million base salaries in the first two years, with around $1.5 million in incentives; then had a $6 million base salary team option or a $4 million player option in the third year; you’d have a contract worth potentially $17.5 million over 3 years. Worst case scenerio he bombs and you’re only stuck with $12 million over 3 years, which would be bad but not awful.

  11. msb on November 8th, 2005 10:22 am

    and FWIW, he turned down three-year, $22 million from his home team to declare….

  12. Mike Snow on November 8th, 2005 10:32 am

    I’m not sure how you add those numbers up to make $17.5 million over 3 years. And that’s only a three-year contract when the agent is marketing his accomplishments to other potential clients. In normal terms, that’s a two-year contract with an option, and even then it’s more than I’d give considering that Clement is working his way up the pipe.

    Oh, and the money Jōjima was offered in Japan isn’t terribly relevant. He can make more money in Japan than in the US, that’s just the way things are. The same is true for a lot of marginal American players. But if he really wants to play in the major leagues, then he has to do it for less money, and Japan isn’t an option.

  13. njenkin on November 8th, 2005 10:38 am

    I am writing to warn Mariner fans of the millstone that is Wes Helms. As a Brewer fan, I have watched Wes play, such as it is, for several seasons.

    Wes can hit left-handed pitcher but is overwhelmed by righties.

    OPS vs. Lefties–.915
    OPS vs. Righties–.703 (762 ABs)

    He doesn’t walk. (.320 career OBP)

    He is a double play waiting to happen at the plate. He’s grounded into 27 DP’s over the last 3 years in limited time (1030 plate appearances)

    And now let’s talk about the fielding. Ay carumba!

    My favorite summary of Wes is that in 2004 he made 6 more errors than Scott Rolen in less than half the innings played at third base. Helms made 16 errors to Scott’s 10 while Wes was at third base for less than 600 innings.

    Fluke? Anomaly? Ummm, no. I nicknamed Wes “The Manatee” because of his performance at third base for the Crew. He personified inept.

    First base? Not much better. Wes had 114 innings there last year spotting Overbay and while only charged with 1 error should have been tabbed for four more. And in EACH case he either cost the Crew the game or put them in position to LOSE the game.

    To Helms credit after his disasterous 2004 season he did show up to camp in outstanding shape and was excellent in a pinch-hitting role. But I attribute that output to a man determined to save his rep and a fair amount of luck. I seriously doubt he will be able to re-create the “magic” in the future.

    If you want to throw 2 million at Wes Helms that is certainly your choice. But do so at the risk of your good nature and mental health.

    By the way, Helms isn’t interested in a part-time role. He really believes he’s a regular. So you have that mountain to climb as well.

    Good Luck!

  14. Dave on November 8th, 2005 10:42 am

    Wes can hit left-handed pitcher but is overwhelmed by righties.

    Which, considering the roster listed above, is exactly what the M’s need.

    My favorite summary of Wes is that in 2004 he made 6 more errors than Scott Rolen in less than half the innings played at third base. Helms made 16 errors to Scott’s 10 while Wes was at third base for less than 600 innings.

    Scott Rolen is the best defensive third baseman in the game. His rate statistics this year were as good as anyone in the history of baseball. He’s up there with Brooks Robinson as the best defensive 3B of all time. Being inferior to Scott Rolen isn’t a big deal.

  15. njenkin on November 8th, 2005 10:58 am


    Don’t ever say I didn’t try and help.

    Helms is Benny Ayala. He can hit lefties who don’t have a good fastball. That and he’s Dr. Ironglove.

    Based on your response you seem confident the M’s can minimize the damage Wes can inflict while wearing a glove. Brewer fans came to hold their breath when he would take the field. It was almost uncanny how in key situations the ball would find him and result in another misplay.

    Good luck!

  16. marc w. on November 8th, 2005 11:09 am

    Regarding Weaver v. Loaiza, I think the issue is far from settled. Yes, Loaiza’s home run rate (and FIP) was better in 2005, but the question is what’s likely to happen in 2006. Weaver’s career HR/9 is actually better than Loaiza’s (1.09 v. 1.02), his career K/9 is basically the same (a slight, though insignificant edge to Weaver), and he’s got the slight edge in BB/9. Loaiza’s got a slight edge in career GB/FB, but both guys are GB pitchers (Weaver’s career split is 1.18). This isn’t Derek Lowe v. Ryan Franklin.
    The difference of opinion here boils down to how much weight we give to each pitcher’s 2005 season. Clearly, Loiaza fared much better last year, in large part due to a freakishly large increase in Weaver’s HR/9. For a guy with a career rate of close to 1 (probably under 1 if you throw out this year) to see a rate like that go up 50% in one year in his 20s… well I think it’s an aberration, and some serious regression to the mean is in order. It’s like AJ Burnett’s incredible GB/FB this season – it’s totally out of line with what he’s done in the past, and it really drives people’s assessments/predictions of him. As GB drives FIP, Burnett looks untouchable in that metric – but that doesn’t really answer the question: is the one-year spike in GB/FB ratio luck or is he a fundamentally different pitcher all of the sudden?
    Most importantly, Loaiza’s value is rather high at this point. His solid season with a sub-4 ERA will push his value higher. Weaver may be undervalued by the market as he’s coming off a bad season, and his skill set should play well in Safeco (large outfield, solid control). If that’s wrong, sure, stay away – he does have Boras as his agent. But if Weaver wants to work the Millwood plan and sign a short term deal on the cheap, hoping that the HR and SLG against factors that killed him last year were one-year blips, and then sign a huge deal in a couple of years… I think the M’s should jump at that. Loaiza’s uncharacteristically solid 2005 will make him a lot of money this year.

  17. Feldor on November 8th, 2005 11:25 am

    I don’t think Helm’s glove is an issue. If you sign Jones, as Dave said in his other post, you need someone to platoon with him against lefties. If Helms is really that bad on defense, you can DH him and let Raul have a night in LF.

  18. Andrew on November 8th, 2005 11:47 am

    Mike Snow,

    I came up with 17.5 by adding (3.5 + 1.5) + (4.5 + 1.5) + (6 + 1.5) = 17.5. Sure, it isn’t really a $17.5m contract, but can be sold as one. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

  19. Evan on November 8th, 2005 11:50 am

    Dave’s remarks even said that Helms should platoon with Jones by DHing. Never was it suggested that Helms ever play the field.

  20. njenkin on November 8th, 2005 12:21 pm


    Since everyone on this site is devoted to accuracy a minor clarification from the orginal entry:

    “He can play first or third and give them the pinch-hitting bat they’ve lacked the past several seasons.”

    I took that phrase to suggest that if needed Wes Helms would play the field.

    So I believe your comment, “Never was it suggested” would be incorrect.

    Here’s hoping that should Wes arrive at your doorstep you have better luck than Milwaukee in maximizing his talents.

  21. marc w. on November 8th, 2005 12:32 pm

    Instead of Helms, what do people think of Eli Marrero as the bench’s lefty-masher. He made more than $2mil last year, but he’s a free agent coming off an injury-plagued half-season that included getting DFA’s by the royals and hitting .181. Sounds pretty good, right?
    Seriously, from 2002-2004, he hit 326/376/597 against lefties. He needs to be kept far away from RHPs, but he might actually have some utility in the outfield as well – it would give you a bit more flexibility than someone who needed to be a DH only.
    Ultimately, it all depends on his injuries (I really don’t know how severe they are) and money – I don’t think he’s in a great bargaining position, however.

  22. JasonAChurchill on November 8th, 2005 1:34 pm

    Helms wouldn’t even be taking the field that much, anyways. And when he did, it’d be at first far more than 3rd.

  23. John Brooks on November 8th, 2005 3:36 pm

    #58- About Loaiza being average in the AL, I’m not so sure about that, remember his 2003 year? 21-9. Then New York, some people either have it or don’t have it. Loaiza is one of the better pitchers when you look at it.

    #59- What makes you think Loaiza will want to play for the Royals, Royals Owner David Glass has to show a effort which he hasn’t in the last few yrs. If Loaiza signs with Arizona he would be a OK signing, not great, though not that bad either.

    #76- Durazo will probably cost around the same price as Jones, and I’m not so sure after this yr’s injury. Also, I’m not sure he’s the type of hitter that will fit well in Safeco. Choo still has plenty of upside, but needs to gain some plate displicine. Bradley is a terrible option IMO, as he can tear a team apart alone w/his attitude(Cleveland and LA). Does Seattle really need Bradley’s antics? About losing a draft pick for Jones, I agree it’s not really worth it when you look at it, and Loaiza isn’t worth losing a draft pick for the M’s either.

    #80- Though is Jones really worth that much? At 2 yrs/$10 million, I think I pass. I rather start Reed or Choo, Choo with the chance can outhit Jones by a small margin and will be much cheaper. I agree the M’s can’t really afford losing a draft pick, so why waste a draft pick on signing Jones?

  24. Mike Snow on November 8th, 2005 4:03 pm

    Andrew: I came up with 17.5 by adding (3.5 + 1.5) + (4.5 + 1.5) + (6 + 1.5) = 17.5

    No, that equals 18.5, and your original post didn’t really indicate that the $1.5M incentives applied to the option year as well. That’s why it didn’t make sense.

  25. Joel on November 8th, 2005 7:10 pm

    I will throw this out there…instead of Helms, how about some left-handed bench “sock”…Tino Martinez!
    Good clubhouse guy. A winner. Solid glove to backup Sexson. Probably come cheap. Good PR move.
    He was let go by the Yanks today.

  26. David J Corcoran on November 8th, 2005 7:28 pm

    If Marrero is willing to catch, that would make it even sweeter. Have a backup C you can start v LHP, and come off the bench all the other days as a reserve C/1B/OF. Really helps the versatility of the bench, too.

  27. Bela Txadux on November 9th, 2005 2:20 am


    With the exception of K. Brown, who we’ve discussed, I like the plan. In particular, I like that it _is_ a plan; it’s readily apparent to see the team and roster construction concepts behind the acquisitions, and they interlock. This doesn’t get into trades, but it’s not intended to.

    There’s no way Jojima is not a significant asset, and the Ms can get it done if they want to get it done. I’d rather have his strengths for two years until Clement works his way into the picture than coast and hope.

    I’ve been a Bohn man en blog, and for the reasons you cite, and he’s already in the org, too. ‘Course, I was and still am a Charles Gipson fan for his D and baserunning alone, but Bohn has gap power that the Gipper doesn’t. The comparison to Posednick (I saw his triple for his first MLB hit, twas a gas), although Scott made a bit more contact and knew how to operate that kind of game.

    I’d love to do better at the plate than Jones, but where is that guy in this market? There’s nobody there. His best value is with the glove, and he can play all three spots. Even at the money you project, his contract would be moveable supposing that the Ms wanted to go another way.

    Loaiza, to me, is the third best pitcher on the market, and I’ve been in favor of the Ms going for the sign there for some time. He gets plenty Ks, has a good BB/9, is a GBer, and throws plenty of innings. He has another strength we haven’t talked about: durability, as much as any pitcher. Something to remember about his bad time in NY: they had a horrible infield defense when he was there, and a poor defense overall. Here is an issue with the horrible early years of Loaiza: he was, and to a significant extent still is, a two pitch pitcher, a cutter and a FB. He had a great propensity for giving up the five-run inning when something wasn’t working because he had nothing to fall back on. To the extent that Esteban has improved in the last three years, and I think his improvement is real, it’s that he seems a bit better at stopping the bleeding during a bad patch with his stuff. That’s called, Learning How to Pitch. He is not as dominant as his good stretches, but even when he’s not going well he eats up innings. I don’t see him as a top of the rotation guy; more a Fassero kind of sign for the middle of the rotation. Put the Ms defense behind him, and the Ms bullpen after him, and you maximize what he does best. At ~$6-7 a year, well that’s Pinero’s vody, and Loaiza’s better than Joel at this point.

    Bringing in Helms as a platoon compliment is good, although one could argue that LeCroy offers as much upside. Grover won’t use either of them, so it wouldn’t matter, but.

    I don’t think that the Ms are going to trade Eddie, either, not with the way this played out. Having Guardado for one year at his present $$ isn’t a burden, he’s effective, and he should still be tradeable at the Break come to that. I’d rather trade him now, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

  28. Terry Benish on November 9th, 2005 9:41 am

    Pretty reasoned extrapolation from existing starting point…end result looks a lot like last year’s outfield, jones is an upgrade from Winn, but not all that much. Team still seems very punchless…thus run deprived…starting pitchers alone would be a vast improvement.

    Ichiro seems to be the keylog in the paradigm…with the corrolary that this type of roster desparately needs offense from the middle positions (cf, ss, 2b, catcher)and is probably not going to get it soon.

    The only objection I might make is that none of the acquisitions seem to have ever touched the Dodger or Angel organizations which is a key to predicting Bavasi moves…

  29. mike thomas on November 9th, 2005 3:32 pm

    this is generally a bad plan. the mariners are not going to contend for a couple years. bringing in brown and loaiza is insane. brown more so. the mariners can win 80 games next year staying young, and by so doing save some money, and hold onto most of the fanbase. or they can overpay for a guys like brown and loaiza, pretend that they’re going to contend, and then lose 90 games again when everybody gets hurt. nageotte is a better starting option. cheap, young, and talented. also, healthy. we should think about contending in 2 or 3 years, not this year.

  30. David on November 12th, 2005 8:53 am

    Eduardo Perez is my choice for pinch-hitter/lefty basher/backup first-baseman. As I recall we thought about luring him to the NW a few years ago. He went to Tampa, was hurt for most of the first year, played very well the second year, and is now a FA. I say 2yr/3.5 million with the second year a club option. He’ll DH against lefties, spell Richie occasionally, and be our designated late inning pinch-hitter.

    Complement that w/

    Giles, 3/27
    Burnett, 4/48
    Morris, 2/15 (3rd year option)
    Brown, 1yr minor league deal
    Jojima, 2/8
    Moyer, 1/4

    and I like our chances. But then again I always like our chances, in November.

  31. ToddK on November 18th, 2005 9:43 am

    I still say…sign Jojima and then trade Torrealba and Franklin to Colorado for Aaron Miles. Then package Lopez, Meche and Thorton to someone like LA for Lowe. Sign Millwood, Jacque Jones and Moyer.

    Ichiro RF
    Miles 2B
    Ibanez DH
    Sexson 1B
    Beltre 3B
    Jones LF
    Jojima C
    Reed CF
    Betancourt SS