Andriesen’s Plan

Dave · September 27, 2006 at 6:42 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Cover your eyes, folks, becuase the first of the Suggested Offseason Moves columns has shown up in the P-I today. David Andriesen bats leadoff with his piece today. There will be more coming, surely.

For those who hate following the links, the key paragraphs:

The Nationals will try everything in their power to keep Soriano, and the suitors will be many. It’s estimated he’ll seek $75 million for five years. Give it to him. The Mariners made commitments of $64 million and $50 million, respectively, to Beltre and Sexson when both had major question marks — so how big a risk is $75 million to a five-time All-Star with no such question marks?

Soriano is going to do great things in the next five years, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be here.

Egads. Paying $15 million per year for ages 31-35 of Alfonso Soriano’s career, then sticking him in Safeco Field, would be a monumental disaster. Since Andriesen likes to focus on things like home runs, RBI’s, and steals, we’ll add a slightly more useful column to the discussion.

Soriano’s OBPs, by year: .304, .332, .338, .324, .309, .355. Yes, just what a team that ranks dead last in MLB in unintentional walks and ahead of only Chicago and Tampa Bay in on-base percentage needs; another swing-at-anything hack whose RH power will be mostly neutralized by Safeco Field. Andriesen tries to downplay the effects of Safeco, since he’s hit well in RFK, but RFK isn’t Safeco. It’s a small sample size, but Soriano’s hit .190/.270/.304 at Safeco in 79 at-bats over the last three years, and it hasn’t been the Mariners tremendous pitching that has been shutting him down.

Soriano is a terrible, terrible idea. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about it, because the M’s aren’t going to be players in that lottery ticket to hell.

Competition for Matsuzaka’s services will be fierce. The posting price could top $25 million — and that’s before negotiating a contract that should run about $10 million to $12 million a year for at least four years. It would be an extraordinary commitment, but by all accounts Matsuzaka is an extraordinary talent. If he pans out and Hernandez lives up to his potential, it could give the Mariners a phenomenal 1-2 punch for years to come.

At least he’s on board with the most obvious move of the offseason. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want Daisuke Matsuzaka. It’s like asking kids if they want pie.

Thanks to their raft of young, cheap talent, the Mariners could bring my 25-man roster in at about $95 million. That’s not counting prorated signing bonuses nor money the team is eating on past bad contracts — something fans don’t like to let the team count as payroll, but money that must be paid just the same. And, of course, it doesn’t count the one-time payout to the Seibu Lions. But right about now, Seattle accountants must be keenly aware of the price of being a cellar dweller.

Andriesen’s right. His plan of shipping out Broussard and importing Soriano and Matsuzaka would add about $20 million to the team’s payroll, meaning that the 25 man roster would come in at just under $100 million. And the team still wouldn’t be good enough to win the World Series.

If this is David Andriesen’s dream, let’s all be thrilled we’re not living in it.


140 Responses to “Andriesen’s Plan”

  1. Dave on September 27th, 2006 1:50 pm

    I imagine that any team would want those 25 million to result in something other than failed negotiations…

    The posting fee is only paid if the team agrees to a contract. If they don’t, the team keeps the money, and Matsuzaka plays next year in Japan.

  2. Wishhiker on September 27th, 2006 1:58 pm

    DM could remain with his present club for one more season and be a Free Agent at the end of 2007. That’s the leverage Boras has in this situation. If you can’t come to terms with them in the time alotted he might just wait one more year (now that he’s waited, what 3?)

  3. jp17 on September 27th, 2006 2:01 pm

    But then the Japanese team loses the posting money, so they clearly want to post him now I would think, and with a weak FA pitching market once again…

  4. Wishhiker on September 27th, 2006 2:07 pm

    Clearly Matsuzaka would be in better position next year regardless of the FA class. The sources I’ve heard say that he doesn’t want to wait, but Boras will play that card.

  5. Wishhiker on September 27th, 2006 2:10 pm

    jp I’m not saying they don’t post him but the ‘sealed’ bid winner then negotiates with the player and his team is no longer involved. They would have no say as to whether he signed a contract or not. Yes if he leaves as a FA they’ll get nothing. It would serve them right for not posting him either of the last 2 years.

  6. VaBeachMarinersFan on September 27th, 2006 2:11 pm

    For those that do not understand the posting process:

    In ye olde archives is a valuable description of it (as written by Derek)

    Posting Process

  7. msb on September 27th, 2006 2:16 pm

    #101– which also is the answer #94 was looking for ….

  8. pinball1973 on September 27th, 2006 3:49 pm

    It wasn’t the worst article ever written, just an “anyone not an idiot” (oh, except for the first third about Soriano, of course) space filler.
    I believe I have read perhaps six more sensible, and better written, articles about what the Mariners’ plans for 2007 should be, just on the few decent fan blogs.
    Sportswriters? Bah! Humbugs!

    On Daisuke M.: be careful! The Seibu Lions management seem to have crafty, but have also shown outright crazy tendancies. They especially have some almost feudal notion about their ownership of Matsuzaka, who is the team symbol after all. They may refuse to post him because they are not legally bound to, even given the certainty of losing him the following year without compensation. They might also simply demand a posting fee they believe higher than any MLB team would be likely to offer.
    I would also suggest the Mariners look over the Tiger’s Kei Igawa, who also wants a shot at MLB, may demand and recieve posting due to his unhappiness at being turned down last year, and being a quality starter (likely a strong #3) who could be signed at a very reasonable price.
    Koji Uehara is also a real possibility, having had a mediocre year with a terrible Giants team. He also is a year away from free agency.

  9. ConorGlassey on September 27th, 2006 4:11 pm

    pinball1973 / Deanna / anyone else…

    What do you know about Hiroki Kuroda and Hirotoshi Ishii? I have a friend from Japan who says they may also want to come over…

  10. JMB on September 27th, 2006 4:14 pm

    Mmmm… pie.

  11. JI on September 27th, 2006 4:19 pm

    Edmonds won’t play anywhere but center as long as he can physically man the position. If you look at his splits you’ll see that over the past two he’s actually hit left handers better than right handers, so maybe this year’s slip is an anomaly. The Cardinals would have to be monumentally stupid to let him slip away, especially after watching Juan Encarnacion/Preston Wilson flop around the outfield for the past month.

    So yeah, sign Edmonds if he’s available. you won’t regret it.

  12. JI on September 27th, 2006 4:21 pm

    Assuming Soriano replicates his career year for the next five years in a row, he is worth every penny.

  13. dw on September 27th, 2006 4:34 pm

    On Daisuke M.: be careful! The Seibu Lions management seem to have crafty, but have also shown outright crazy tendancies. They especially have some almost feudal notion about their ownership of Matsuzaka, who is the team symbol after all. They may refuse to post him because they are not legally bound to, even given the certainty of losing him the following year without compensation.

    Too bad the “retirement” loophole has been closed in NPB. I could see Matsuzaka totally doing that.

  14. Rizzs? ugh.. on September 27th, 2006 4:41 pm

    Buck Martinez was just talking about Pat Gillick on Wednesday Night Baseball. “Pat Gillick was the last GM to win in Toronto, Baltimore and Seattle.” He didn’t mean it as a back-handed compliment but it should make him wonder…I doubt he does though.

  15. Adam S on September 27th, 2006 4:52 pm

    Assuming Soriano replicates his career year for the next five years in a row, he is worth every penny.
    I assume this is tongue-in-cheek, i.e. you know he won’t, but the sad think is some GM will pay him like he will. Well, not quite $18-20M an 8-9 WARP player is worth, but he’s going to need to defy the aging curve AND (and this is the less likely part for me) turn out that his “true talent level” is the 9 WARP player he was this year not the 4 WARP he’d been the previous two seasons.

    At least Soriano has actually been VERY GOOD this year, unlike Carlos Lee who’s simply an average LF and is asking for the same $15M.

  16. Adam S on September 27th, 2006 5:04 pm

    We’re asking them to adjust to move the LF fence in, the RF fence out, and adjust the park (potentially adding a bit more foul territory down the lines) to make it detrimental to LH and RH.
    This is well up the thread but I’ve been wonder how feasible this is for a while. From a practical standpoint, how would you actually do this? You couldn’t just move the left field fence in and leave a 10-ft gap between the seats/bullpens and the fence, could you? Would you move home plate 10 feet toward where 3B is now and live with foul territory being lopsided and the “best seats in the house” all being further from the action?

    I know teams have done this so it must be possible, but what’s the approach that’s asthetic, cost effective, and doesn’t negatively impace the quality of seating along 1B and RF? You do have to move home plate to create more foul ground, right?


  17. Coach Owens on September 27th, 2006 5:14 pm

    116. Usually when you’re doing this you remove seats from where you extending a playing surface. Then you move those seats you removed from before and put them into the area where you’re moving the fence in so you probably don’t move homeplate or any other bases also you can keep the same amount of seats. Well that’s how I’d do it.

  18. ConorGlassey on September 27th, 2006 5:37 pm

    Moving home plate would be a nightmare…

  19. gwangung on September 27th, 2006 5:38 pm

    Moving home plate would be a nightmare…

    They did it in the Kingdome.

  20. G-Man on September 27th, 2006 5:41 pm

    Leaving a gap between the old and new fences has been done – I believe KC did it. Safeco has the bullpens in left, so it wouldn’t be bad there, and I’d think they could extend the landing in the LC alley if they wanted to. RF would be more challenging depending upon the construction method it was built with originally.

    All that said, I say leave it all as-is. Too many people forget one simple fact: the opponents get to use the same fences that we do. A few more homers for Beltre equate to a passel more for a bunch of our opponents. I think we do better molding a team with left handed power than accomodating the right handers that we have.

  21. msb on September 27th, 2006 5:41 pm

    I’m sure they have a plan in-hand, even if they have never moved on it; it is a subject that arose even before they moved in….

  22. Coach Owens on September 27th, 2006 5:47 pm

    120. Yeah but each of our opponents don’t play 81 games at Safeco every single year.

  23. DMZ on September 27th, 2006 5:48 pm

    We’ve had the fences discussion before, can we please stop rerunning it here? Thanks.

  24. Dave on September 27th, 2006 6:08 pm

    I’d love it if people could actually understand the argument. If I see the “it won’t help, other teams play here too” response one more time, I’m going to throw something.

    It’s. about. roster. construction. possibilities.

    It’s not an attempt to gain an in-game advantage. It’s about not limiting ourselves to some much smaller subset of possible acquisitions because our home park is so ridiculously tough on the majority of major league hitters.

  25. BelieveItOrNot on September 27th, 2006 6:17 pm


  26. terry on September 27th, 2006 6:19 pm

    It. seems. so. simple. when. you. put. it. that. way. 🙂

    Seriously, its curious that something most assume is an advantage (home park) could be something that chronically decreases your ability to compete….

    It’s a bit unintuitive but mostly its just maddening that it isn’t corrected.

  27. terry on September 27th, 2006 6:20 pm

    I’ve got the under on #125 being deleted…. 🙂

  28. Coach Owens on September 27th, 2006 6:31 pm

    127. Yep.

  29. Dave on September 27th, 2006 6:32 pm

    You won’t be seeing posts from that guy anymore.

  30. John D. on September 27th, 2006 7:35 pm

    Moving The Fences In (See # 34 and others)- Does anyone remember SAFECO’s first brochure, the one that trumpeted how exciting the triple was?
    Well, they forgot to sign triple-hitters.

  31. John D. on September 27th, 2006 7:43 pm

    Another Strike Against HARGROVE – If you have your choice of going after a good left-handed hitter (Delgado), or a good right-handed hitter (Sexson), given SAFECO’s dimensions, isn’t it obvious which one you’d choose? Not to everyone.

  32. Dave on September 27th, 2006 7:49 pm

    The Mariners preferred Delgado to Sexson. Delgado just wouldn’t sign the M’s offer. Sexson was the backup plan.

    The M’s didn’t choose Sexson over Delgado.

  33. Allen McPheeters on September 27th, 2006 8:46 pm

    Um, for those of us who are naive, can we get a brief explanation again of how tailoring your roster to your (peculiar) home park is a bad thing?

    I mean, let’s say that you assemble a roster that wins 70% of its home games. That team only has to win 30% of its road games (plus one game) to have a winning season. Fans at home go home happy a lot. And sometimes all you have to be is good at home — see the 1987 and 1991 Minnesota Twins. If memory serves, both teams won every postseason home game, lost every postseason road game, and took home big trophies at the end of October.

  34. NODO Dweller on September 27th, 2006 10:05 pm

    Nobody’s arguing that tailoring your roster to your home park is necessarily bad. The issue is that Safeco is configured in a way which makes putting together a roster that *can* take advantage both difficult and expensive.

  35. gwangung on September 27th, 2006 10:45 pm

    Nobody’s arguing that tailoring your roster to your home park is necessarily bad.

    Actually, I was questioning that–because I was wondering if you built an extreme park where you win 70% of your games, will you be able to win outside of it? It’s all seemed conventional wisdom-like, and conventional wisdom should either be challeneged or supported by data.

    Are there any other teams like the Minnesota Twins that relied on their home park as much? Because their example isn’t worth quite that much if they are the only team who took advantage of their home part like that.

  36. Jeff Nye on September 27th, 2006 11:19 pm

    It’s pretty simple, really.

    Safeco is built to heavily penalize right handed hitters.

    Most hitters (and most people) are right handed.

    This means that your options to put together a roster that isn’t overly penalized by Safeco are limited, and thus expensive.

    EVERYBODY wants left handed power, so scarcity is involved too inasmuch as the limited resources are heavily competed for.

    This is, of course, an oversimplification; but you get the idea.

  37. eponymous coward on September 27th, 2006 11:52 pm

    I wouldn’t use “built”. Somehow, I don’t think the M’s brass thought “hey, let’s screw A-Rod and Edgar while we make it easy for Junior” when Safeco was designed. Certainly it was designed as a pitcher’s park, with a bit of a short RF porch, but I don’t THINK they were trying to replicate Death Valley in LCF.

    It seems more like a scenario where, after a few years, the overwhelming data shows the park hoses RHB more than they thought… so the park should be tweaked to make it a more evenly balanced park for RHB/LHB, just like how the batter’s eye was improved a couple years ago to everyone’s satisfaction (so it seems-I’ve heard nothing like the complaints I used to hear in the press since they put in the honeycomb).

  38. RollingWave on September 28th, 2006 1:48 am

    Matsuzaka makes a lot of sense though I wouldn’t exactly overpay for his service, the M’s share in the Japanese market is already pretty good, Matz would have far more market effect for teams without big Japanese stars than the Ms (or Yankees) but of course, he’s a great player regardless.

    I would think getting a 1B and making Sexon the DH make sense too… that or getting a DH. there are a few things that can go around. for example. they could sign Barry *gasp* Bonds… whom with a year at DH has a good chance of putting up a good healthy season and has no real long term commitments attached. if you can’t find good long term solution, settle for great short term onces. not medicoare mediuem term solutions.

    In the 1B market, Lee from Korea might not actually cost THAT much. remember that this is a guy that was turned down by every team last year. if your smart and quick you might be able to get a pretty economic deal on him. and he’s a lefty. which seems to fit the M’s needs. other wise the market gets pretty junky from there own and you probably should just consider getting Barry Bonds….

  39. joser on September 28th, 2006 9:10 am

    I don’t think the desire for Matsuzaka is dominated by visions of marketing sugarplums in Japan. I think it’s the fact that they don’t have to negotiatte against any other team if they win the bid, and they end up controlling him for six years; plus, the bid comes out of another pile of money, so in terms of return on payroll investment it makes him by far the best value as far as the M’s are concerned. And the rotation is obviously the highest priority in the offseason.

    Barry Bonds isn’t coming here. Well, maybe if the M’s broke the bank to get him, but would you really want to pay ARod money to get one year of Bonds? Bonds is either going to stick around with the Giants while he chases Aaron, or he becomes a DH for the Angels (his family is in SoCal, and Moreno has pledged he’s going to make a big move — and though I seriously doubt that is it, he is willing to cough up the cash if the right opportunity came along). Besides, despite the M’s flailing efforts in recent years, DH is the easiest position to fill on a team. There’s no reason to tie up a big chunk of your payroll there.

    There’s a reason every team turned down Lee last year. It’s possible he’s turned a corner, but it’s just as possible he’s had one fluke year. In any case I don’t see what the fascination is — even if you brought his numbers straight across, vs applying the usual translation factors for Japanese league stats, he’s not that amazing. He’s not going to be the next Ichiro. He could be the next Matsui — but which one? You’re taking a big gamble.

  40. Joe on September 28th, 2006 9:11 am

    I seem to remember an interview with Lincoln or Armstrong (one of the upper-echelon brass, anyway) where he admitted that they screwed up with respect to the winds: they built Safeco so that hitters would benefit from a wind out of the south. And in the central Sound winds are most commonly out of the south when averaged over the year, which was the basis for their decision. The problem is that the stronger winter winds dominate the average, and in the summer the winds are much more likely to be out of the north (which, note, is head-on for a ball hit to left but a cross-wind for a ball hit to right). I keep meaning to ask a friend at the UW Atmospheric Dept about that, because I know they have the data, but from observation that does seem to be the case.

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