Dave’s Offseason Plan, v.2007

Dave · October 30, 2007 at 3:17 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

For the fifth year in a row, I’m putting out an offseason plan – sort of. Each of the last few years, I’ve offered up suggestions for offseason roster maneuvers based on players I was in favor of acquiring, encouraging the team to continue to build its core roster while also giving themselves a chance to contend.

This year, I’m going to do it slightly differently. Looking back over the posts of the last four years, the suggestions hold up well in terms of the philosophy we’d like to see the organization adopt, but don’t work as well in terms of practical suggestions. It’s one thing to explain why the Mariners should be interested in guys like Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, or A.J. Burnett, but its another thing entirely to actually complete that kind of acquisition, especially given the constraints that the front office operates under.

So, this year, I’m breaking it into two posts. This one is more practical, less dramatic, and offers some suggestions that are actually within the realm of possibility given the current organizational structure. I’ll do another post at a later date that acts as more of an idealistic scenario where we could shape the roster how we wanted it worrying about the P.R. impact or how those moves would be looked upon by the executives or the guys in the clubhouse.

In this post, I’m taking into account the logistics of the people in place – John McLaren is the manager, Bill Bavasi is the GM, Chuck Armstrong is the president, and the team is coming off an 88 win season. Trading a bunch of veterans and turning over half the roster just isn’t going to happen in this kind of framework. These guys want to keep their jobs, and to do that, they’re going to try to win as many games in 2008 as possible. They have inherent biases towards experience that have to be accounted for. So, I’ve tried to take all those external factors into account and find options that both fit the necessary criteria while also improving the roster without destroying the future of the franchise.

So, without further ado, here’s the roster.

Lineup Player Position Salary
1. Ichiro Suzuki CF $17,000,000
2. Jose Vidro DH $6,000,000
3. Adrian Beltre 3B $12,000,000
4. Raul Ibanez 1B $5,500,000
5. Kenji Johjima C $5,200,000
6. Geoff Jenkins LF $8,000,000
7. Adam Jones RF $400,000
8. Yuniesky Betancourt SS $1,300,000
9. Jose Lopez 2B $500,000

Bench Player Position Salary
1. Ray Durham Util $7,500,000
2. Willie Bloomquist Inf $950,000
3. Jamie Burke C $400,000
4. Mike Morse 1B/3B $400,000

Rotation Player Position Salary
1. Felix Hernandez Starter $500,000
2. Miguel Batista Starter $9,000,000
3. Jarrod Washburn Starter $10,000,000
4. Bartolo Colon Starter $10,000,000
5. Ryan Rowland-Smith Starter $400,000

Bullpen Player Position Salary
1. J.J. Putz Closer $3,800,000
2. Sean Green RH Setup $450,000
3. George Sherrill LH Setup $450,000
4. Jeremy Affeldt Middle $3,000,000
5. Eric O’Flaherty Middle $450,000
6. Mark Lowe Long Relief $450,000
7. Cha Seung Baek Long Relief $450,000

And here are the actual transactions that were assumed:

Trade Richie Sexson and $4.5 million in cash to San Francisco for Ray Durham
Trade Ben Broussard to Baltimore for random prospect with a pulse.
Non-tender Horacio Ramirez and decline option on Chris Reitsma.
Sign Geoff Jenkins to a 1 year contract worth $8 million.
Sign Bartolo Colon to a 1 year contract worth $10 million.
Sign Jeremy Affeldt to a 3 year contract worth $9 million.

Three free agent signings, none of them considered major, and a couple of minor trades. In all, a fairly boring winter, and one that probably incurs an initial reaction of “That team sucks”. However, hear me out, as I think there’s some logic here.

On paper, the Sexson-Durham swap is basically one free agent disappointment for another, with the M’s covering all but $2 million of the differences between their ’08 salaries. It’s not a big cash savings deal, and Durham is one of the few players in baseball that was actually a worse regular than Sexson last year. Durham turns 36 in a month and, based on his .218/.293/.343 line from last year, looks just about finished as a ballplayer.

However, take a closer look. This is a guy who hit .293/.360/.538 in 2006, making him a borderline all-star, and his underlying performance didn’t change all that much.

BB%: 2006 – 9.2%, 2007 – 11.0%
K%: 2006 – 11.0%, 2007 – 14.0%
GB%: 2006 – 46%, 2007 – 46%
LD%: 2006 – 17%, 2007 – 14%

His walkrate and strikeout both went up slightly, indicating that he was starting to lose a little batspeed and compensated by working the count more often. This is pretty common in aging players. His groundball rate remained the same, so there wasn’t a dramatic change in the arc of his swing. His line drive rate dropped a bit, but this is less predictive than you might think, and a 3% drop isn’t nearly enough to account for the massive change in results between 2006 and 2007.

So where was the difference? Here:

Batting Average On Balls In Play: 2006 – .292, 2007 – .238

Among major league hitters with 300+ PA, Durham posted the third lowest BABIP in the major leagues. Richie Sexson actually posted the lowest (.217), with Dave Ross (.228) coming in second. Some other low BABIP guys include John Buck, Jason Kendall, Dan Johnson, Adam Kennedy, and Andruw Jones.

BABIP is definitely a result born out of a collection of skills for a hitter (unlike with pitchers), as high contact/speed guys (Ichiro, for instance) will almost always post higher BABIPs than base-clogging sluggers. However, performance in batting average on balls in play is still influenced significantly by factors beyond the hitters control, and it’s not at all uncommon for players to experience wild swings in their BABIP from year to year.

In fact, if I was going to make a list of the most likely hitters to rebound in 2008, Richie Sexson, Ray Durham, and Andruw Jones would all be on the list. It’s no coincidence that all three guys appear to have fallen off a cliff in 2007, but had their performances significantly dragged down by extremely low BABIP rates. For a projection going forward, we should expect all three to perform significantly closer to their career average BABIP marks than their 2007 BABIP marks.

J.C. Bradbury actually built a model called PrOPS, or projected OPS, that essentially gives us an expected BA/OBP/SLG line that accounts for the variance in BABIP. According to PrOPS, Ray Durham “should have” hit .257/.332/.392, all significantly better than his actual ’07 performances. Sexson, by the way, should have hit .264/.346/.474, so PrOPS would suggest an even stronger rebound from Richie next year.

However, as you guys are probably sick of hearing, offense is only part of the story. The projected rebound by Sexson gives the Giants a valid reason to want to acquire him to serve as a power hitting first baseman that they’ve been missing for years, but the Mariners simply have too many 1B/DH guys on the roster as is, and one of them has to go. In Ray Durham, the team acquires a rebound candidate who offers extreme roster flexibility.

A natural second baseman, Durham would give the team a legitimate option to push Jose Lopez next year, hopefully motivating him into living up to his potential. However, Durham is also athletic enough to play multiple positions and fill the super-utility role that Mark McLemore made famous years ago. Durham’s made it clear that he’d be open to moving to another city if it gives him the chance to play everyday (the Giants would prefer to hand the second base job to youngster Kevin Frandsen), and entering into his contract year, it shouldn’t be too tall of a task to convince him to pick up additional positions to offer flexibility and added value.

As a switch-hitting 2B/3B/1B/LF/RF/DH candidate, Durham would offer McLaren all kinds of options in putting out a line-up. Jose Lopez is struggling? He plays second base, and the team doesn’t experience a huge dropoff. Adrian Beltre need a day off? No problem. Raul Ibanez’s hamstrings are acting up and the team’s facing a RH pitcher? Durham plays first base, with Ibanez sliding to DH. Jose Vidro hits like the no-power wuss we all think he is? That’s okay, because there’s a switch hitter with a better bat on the bench. Durham could easily get 300-400 at-bats playing six positions. Swapping Sexson for Durham clears a positional logjam while giving the Mariners another useful role-player and no long term financial commitment.

Durham also gives the team a potential platoon partner for new left fielder Geoff Jenkins (and yes, I’d rather have him in right with Jones in left, but I don’t think McLaren’s up for that). Jenkins is the classic Safeco Field hitter, an extreme-pull power lefty who could take advantage of Safeco’s short right field porch, much like Raul Ibanez has. The team badly needs another left-handed power hitter, and with Jose Guillen looking for big money on a multiyear contract, the Mariners can go back to the free agent well for a one year stopgap deal while evaluating how Wladimir Balentien develops in Tacoma. Jenkins is basically a better defensive version of Ibanez, offering basically the same offensive skillet but with actual range in the outfield. Like Ibanez, he can’t hit lefties, and would be best served rarely starting against southpaws. With Durham on the roster, this isn’t a problem, as Jenkins can be best used in his role of left-handed power hitter and deployed appropriately.

With Jenkins, Durham, and Jones essentially replacing Sexson, Broussard, and Guillen, the team gains significantly more flexibility in the daily line-up, allowing McLaren to give more rest to the everyday players without forcing Willie Bloomquist into regular action. The team also improves by leaps and bounds defensively, getting Ibanez and Guillen out of the outfield and replacing them with significantly better defenders. In Safeco Field, this is a big deal.

Ibanez is unlikely to be much defensively at first base, but this roster also presents options. If Durham adjusts to 1B as well as I expect, he becomes a legitimate option, as does Mike Morse against left-handers. Ibanez could easily slide to designated hitter with Jose Vidro getting relegated to pinch-hitter extraordinaire, and all of the sudden, a Durham-Lopez-Betancourt-Beltre-Jenkins-Ichiro-Jones defense goes from one of the leagues worst to something that should be above average, and potentially very good.

Overall, the offense should be similar to the 2007 version – overly aggressive, inconsistent, but about average in terms of scoring runs. The line-up depth makes up for some of the weakness in the middle, and by retaining Jeff Clement and Wladimir Balentien and storing them in Tacoma, the organization has some internal options in case a bat is needed at mid-season.

Now, to the pitching. I laid out the case for Bartolo Colon last week, and to me, this is the obvious move of the winter. I slotted him in for $10 million because I’ve historically underestimated the cost of free agents, but I think he could reasonably be had for $7-$10 million without a long term commitment. He gives the team a veteran, World Series tested arm with a track record, as well as adding another strikeout arm to a rotation that pitches to too much contact. If I could only make one move this winter, this would be it.

Behind Colon, I’d make Ryan-Rowland Smith the favorite for the #5 starter job heading into camp, making Cha Seung Baek and Brandon Morrow significantly outpitch him in March to beat him out. Rowland-Smith has the skillset that is perfectly aligned to Safeco Field, and is exactly the kind of pitcher who can fill innings at the back-end of a rotation just through throwing strikes and letting the home park do the rest. By improving the defense as well, RR-S can simply focus on putting the ball over the plate, and his three pitch repertoire should be good enough to be a capable fifth starter.

Baek makes the roster in the long reliever/6th starter role, offering a fill-in for any starters who need to skip a start, while Brandon Morrow heads to Tacoma to work on learning how to pitch. With a Tacoma rotation headed by Morrow-Feierabend-White-Rohrbaugh-Campillo, the team should have enough internal options behind Baek should they need to get some replacement starters from Triple-A during the year.

The core of the bullpen remains mostly unchanged, with only lefty Jeremy Affeldt as a newcomer. A local white kid who always loved the Mariners growing up and now has World Series experience, he fits in perfectly with the kind of player the organization loves to acquire. A groundball lefty with good enough stuff to miss bats and two breaking balls that keep both lefties and righties honest, he fits in well as a multi-inning middle reliever and a nice complement to Sean Green and George Sherrill. His command is his biggest weakness, but as Morrow showed last year, that can be somewhat overcome in relief if you keep the ball in the park (Affeldt does) and get your fair share of strikeouts. He also has experience as a starter and could be an option in the rotation if need be.

Mark Lowe is penciled in as a low leverage reliever, but this spot is basically up for grabs in spring training. If Kameron Mickolio and his 96 MPH fastball prove ready to get major league hitters out, I have no problem sending Lowe back to Tacoma to get some work. Low leverage innings are perfect for guys like Lowe or Mickolio, who can simply work on gaining experience against major league hitters without being put in critical game situations to begin the year.

So that’s the roster, and including the money being paid to San Francisco as part of the Sexson deal, the team comes in at about $105 million for 2008, with $47 million of that coming off the books after next season, giving the team significant financial flexibility going forward.

Here’s the basic expectations for this team compared to the 2007 model.

1. Significantly improved defense, especially in the outfield. Having three guys capable of chasing down flyballs, two of whom are good enough to play center, should improve the run prevention by 20-30 runs.

2. Improved left-handed power in the line-up. Jenkins gives the team another LH bat, making it harder for teams with RH heavy rotations (such as the Angels) to just shut down the offense.

3. Better roster flexibility. Durham and Morse give the team the ability to platoon if desire, and Durham’s potential to play five positions on the field while providing decent offensive production gives the team options when guys are hurting or need a day off.

4. A somewhat better rotation. Batista and Washburn are both candidates to take a step back, but that should be mitigated by Colon and Rowland-Smith improving the back end, and Felix’s potential to take a big leap forward is still a wild card.

5. More depth. With Clement, Balentien, and Morrow hanging out in Tacoma at the beginning of the year, the team has talented options in case an internal solution is needed to an unforseen problem (or a forseen problem, such as Jose Vidro being terrible) and valuable trade chips if the team is contending in the summer.

Now, despite those strengths, I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t a great team, an 80-85 win roster that could get to 92-95 if absolutely everything breaks right. However, if the Angels sign A-Rod and Bonds, we’re hosed, because this team isn’t going to keep up with Los Angeles in that case. But I’d argue that if LA goes for broke, we’re hosed no matter what, and this plan at least keeps the nucleus of a potential contender in place beyond 2008 without saddling the team with any more long term contracts.

For $105 million, perhaps we should be able to get more than “we might contend if the Angels don’t sign A-Rod”, but considering the constraints this roster and an 88 win season put in place, I think this is a viable plan to put a quality team on the field next year without sacrificing the future of the franchise in an ill-fated attempt to win at all costs.


133 Responses to “Dave’s Offseason Plan, v.2007”

  1. bermanator on October 31st, 2007 5:49 am

    99 — I don’t think people are in love with Colon so much as they see him as the one palatable option in a terrible free agent market for starting pitchers. Who else would you rather have who might be affordable and sign a short-term deal?

  2. Spanky on October 31st, 2007 6:32 am

    Dave, Dave, Dave…one HUGE flaw in your reasoning and it flies in the face of your assumptions for doing the two-part offseason plan.

    You stated “…allowing McLaren to give more rest to the everyday players…” Do you see any problem with that statement? In what we saw last year, what makes you think McLaren will give everyday players more rest…especially if they don’t want to come out (and we all know veterans understand you never come out because you might be upstaged by somebody else doing your job!!)?

  3. ndevale on October 31st, 2007 6:36 am

    I really enjoyed this post, especially because it made me feel that I´m not totally ignorant. I had thought of Jenkins since I read a piece in the Hardball Times last month, where they call him a superb defender by the way. I also thought about a MacLemore but didn´t think of Durham. Perfect fit. I´m wondering about additional possible moves along with this plan, specifically another starting pitcher such as Hiroki Kuroda, whom Churchill suggests the M’s are scouting closely. By pushing RRS back to Tacoma, you get additional depth, and just maybe the possibility of trading Washburn mid-season or next winter. One question: If the M’s were to follow exactly this plan, and come Febuary no one has signed Bonds, do you take him for 1 year/15 million?

  4. cebo04 on October 31st, 2007 6:57 am


    do we need a short term option? it seems like many out there have written off ’08 as a year in which we prepare for ’09. even at 82-85 wins we arent in the playoffs with the teams that are out there. i would just rather see us promote from within, very difficult i konw, or trade for someone young with upside. getting colon for one year, to me, disrupts the flow. in the best case scenario, he pitches well and we have to deal with a guillen like situation where the team entertains offering this guy an extension. the whole situation with colon just scares me.

  5. bermanator on October 31st, 2007 7:04 am


    it seems like many out there have written off ‘08 as a year in which we prepare for ‘09.

    Much though the team might improve if this were the case, USSM’s views do not necessarily represent those of the Mariners front office. Since everyone there is effectively in a contract year, I expect it will do something.

    I’d rather make a short commitment to Colon than a four-year one to Silva (to take one FA alternative), and I’d rather just pay him the cash for a one- or two-year deal than make a panic trade after the Angels sign A-Rod. Given the situation the front office and manager are in, I don’t think they view standing pat as an option.

  6. scraps on October 31st, 2007 8:10 am

    extremely overweight

    “Extremely” is a silly word to use here. Colon weighs more than you want a pitcher to weigh, but if he were extremely overweight he wouldn’t be able to perform. I don’t know why people make such a big deal about the weight. The only thing that matters is, can he do the job? There’s a long, long history of effective fat pitchers, who remain effective years past the point where armchair experts declared they would fall apart because of their weight. The fact is, being in athletic shape comes in many forms, and none of us know what kind of shape Colon is in. I trust the trainers to say whether or not he’s in shape to play for us more than I trust a bunch of guys making fat jokes.

  7. scraps on October 31st, 2007 8:11 am

    As for trading Ibanez: Dave said this is the realistic post. Management is not going to trade Ibanez.

  8. Dave on October 31st, 2007 8:34 am

    Hey Dave – could you please discuss the difference between signing Jenkins and Fukudome?

    This is going to sound like a cop-out, but I think I have a pretty good idea of how good Jenkins is, and I don’t really have any idea how good Fukudome is. I’ve only seen short video clips, but from the swing he takes, I’m not sure how much power he’ll hit for, and defense is really anyone’s guess.

    Jenkins will probably require a shorter commitment and is more of a known quantity. However, if the M’s have scouted Fukudome extensively and think he’s a better bet, I won’t argue. I don’t really have a position on him – I just don’t think I have enough good information to make any real conclusions.

    Dave, which of any prospects in the Baltimore system that you would choose for Broussard and why?

    You won’t get a ton for Broussard. Maybe an arm like Jim Johnson.

    Dave, did you ask your sources about Sexson’s health. Mine (no doubt less informed than yours) say his injury may be career-ending.

    I haven’t heard anything like that.

    My only reservation is the Affeldt addition. I think 3 yr/$9 M is overpaying. I would probably find a league-average fifth starter at 1 yr/$3-5 M and keep Rowland-Smith as my long man in the pen. But that’s just me.

    League average 5th starters aren’t signing for 1 year, $3.5 million.

    So, if it takes a 2 year deal to land Jenkins or Colon, do you still do it?

    Depends on the money, but probably.

    I’m not sure why you would prefer trading Sexson away rather than Ibanez.

    This isn’t about what I’d prefer – this is about what is theoretically possible given the current organization. And they’re just not trading Raul Ibanez.

  9. the other benno on October 31st, 2007 8:51 am

    For those questioning whether the Ms see RRS as a starter, see Jason Churchill’s article on RRS starting in Venezuela Winter League on Prospect Insider.

  10. Jeff Nye on October 31st, 2007 9:10 am

    Even if the organization was willing to trade Ibanez, I’m not sure I’d rather get rid of him than Sexson.

    Ibanez still adds value as a hitter even if he’s worthless defensively; Sexson, I just don’t see as valuable either offensively or defensively anymore, but I can see the Giants going for the Durham/Sexson scenario if we add enough money to the deal.

  11. JMHawkins on October 31st, 2007 10:00 am

    Sexson, I just don’t see as valuable either offensively or defensively anymore, but I can see the Giants going for the Durham/Sexson scenario if we add enough money to the deal.

    While I expect Sexson will bounce back and have a decent year, I do think the trade Dave’s outlines works very well (in the “what this Front Office might do” scheme anyway). It helps break up the log-jam at 1B/DH (keeping Raul’s legs out of the outfield), and brings in a veteran to push Lopez without adding salary. Given the noises the organization was making about Lopez, I suspect finding a 2B is high on their list of needs (right after SP), so converting Sexson’s contract into a solution there is a great idea.

    And honestly, I like Lopez, he’s young, and it’s way too early to give up on him. But his offense last year was a concern. Maybe it was his brother, maybe it was a nagging injury, maybe it was the team trying to make him a slap, oppo-field hitter, but whatever it was, he needs to hit better to hold down a starting job.

    I hear the people saying we’re already long-ball challenged and trading Sexson will just make that worse, but I think the move Dave outlines can make it better. This team will hit more long-balls if it

    a) starts Adam Jones
    b) puts another lefty masher in the lineup
    c) gets better hitting out of Lopez

    With both Sexson and Vidro in the lineup, you have to choose between a) and b), you can’t do both. With Sexson gone, you can do both. If the “push him” idea works with Lopez, Durham helps with c) too.

    Dave, you have shown amazing flexibility in your thinking. I know this plan goes against a lot of what you really believe, but working within someone else’s constraints, I think you’ve crafted a pretty good plan.

  12. C. Cheetah on October 31st, 2007 10:13 am

    JMHawkins…you are correct.
    And I REALLY HOPE you are correct when you say this plan goes against Dave’s thinking & beliefs, because I want more in this off season than this…but unfortunately this plan may be the best that Bavasi can do.

  13. Lailoken on October 31st, 2007 10:15 am

    What about the incentive-laden deal route & organizational depth minor-league contract competing for a roster spot stuff? What you suggest they could spend on Affeldt could upgrade Jenkins to Fukudome if we just go after a Sauerbeck/Rhodes/Rincon competition (Jiminez could be insurance there too). If someone’s arm is alright we’re all good. The bargain FA starters aren’t non-existent. A team just have to pick the right one. Some of these guys are gonna pan out:

    Mike Mussina
    Casey Fossum
    Livan Hernandez
    Matt Clement
    Jason Jennings
    Dustin Hermanson (perhaps past starting days)
    Joe Kennedy (inflated 05 Coors stats)
    Byung-hun Kim
    Shawn Chacon
    Bruce Chen
    Glendon Rusch
    Jaret Wright
    Wade Miller

    Grabbing a couple & seeing whose arm has enough life left to compete with RRS, Baek, & all is a fair route albeit one the front office might prefer for the #5 spot in their pursuit of safe bets. I agree with those who argue Colon will likely take more than one year altho if he believes he’s healthy he might go for single year to secure one last big contract after a comeback season. Realitstically, it makes more sense to have someone on a one year deal in the #4 spot with Morrow, Tillman, & others capable of making a leap soon. Randy in the last year of his contract would be ideal especially if we could net a bench-buried Quentin in the package. Yeah, yeah a wee-bit optimistic & we all know how the Big Unit & Chuck share pleasantries.

    Kudos on the LH power bat, switch-hitter on the bench, versatile bench, & don’t trade the big prospects formula. Bavasi will be hard-pressed to come up with anything as repulsive as the Soriano or Vidro trades this time around so the offseason might come across as an awesome in comparison. Everyone is watching Bill.

    Excited for the ideal scenario. What do you think about for the contingency plans? How do you like the incentive-contract bargain bin arms? They do fit within the organizational structure of favoring veterans & competition. Personally, I favor Clement out of that group but also like Livan as a mentor for Felix.

  14. G-Man on October 31st, 2007 10:30 am

    I want to compliment Dave for doing the two approaches (assuming he doesn’t die before he writes the idealistic one). While I like the dream team articles, I love seeing the realistic scenario.

    If we even just do Sexson-for-Durham and dump Horacio, I’ll be very happy.

  15. Kunkoh on October 31st, 2007 10:35 am

    Any chance that Jenkins (if we land him) could replace Raul as the “face” of the organization? Same position (LF) but better defense, comparable offense, and he’s from WA.

    At the same time, could moving to Safeco potentially help Jenkins? I know the NL to AL generally hurts offense, but He’s been hitting 20+ HR the past few seasons (exception to last year), and Safeco seems to favor LH hitters.

  16. jimmylauderdale on October 31st, 2007 10:49 am

    I like the Jenkins talk, especially adding another LH power bat… but if he ends up somewhere else would Brad Wilkerson be a bad alternative? Or even Shawn Green?

  17. Mike Snow on October 31st, 2007 12:24 pm

    Any chance that Jenkins (if we land him) could replace Raul as the “face” of the organization? Same position (LF) but better defense, comparable offense, and he’s from WA.

    Not likely, especially since they won’t want to make a long-term commitment even if they do bring him in. Position has nothing to do with it. Being from Washington might, but they haven’t really promoted Sexson that way despite his local connection.

  18. Grizz on October 31st, 2007 1:19 pm

    Any 30 second clip of any interview with Sexson explains why he was never in the running for Face of the Franchise.

    Jeff Clement might be the next Face of the Franchise — he comes off as Dan Wilson’s younger brother.

  19. gwangung on October 31st, 2007 2:08 pm

    Jeff Clement might be the next Face of the Franchise — he comes off as Dan Wilson’s younger brother.

    And some of that September call-up offense didn’t hurt, either…

  20. joser on October 31st, 2007 2:18 pm

    So in light of Dave’s plan, Nate Silver from BP offers his:

    What They Should Do: Weak Sell. You take some of that goodwill that you generated by re-signing Ichiro and call it a consolidation year and play for 2009, which means being willing to trade useful players like Kenji Johjima and Raul Ibanez. The Mariners were a 79-83 Pythagorean team, and even that record was established with some unlikely performances from the likes of players like Vidro and Batista. They’d need to acquire at least two second-rank quality starters to have a tangible shot at the playoffs, and those sorts of players will be prohibitively expensive this winter if they’re available at all. On the other hand, things look pretty good for 2009; Jones, Balentien, and Clement will have full-time roles nailed down if they don’t get them in 2008, while several bad contracts come off the books.

    What They Will Do: Weak Buy. The Mariners are in a relatively dangerous position, coming off a year in which they were speciously close to the playoffs, and led by a GM (Bill Bavasi) who understands neither the value of young talent nor things like Pythagorean records. I envision a trade involving either Balentien or Jones for starting pitching, which may actually fetch something, but at too high a price.

    Unfortunately, I think he has Bavasi nailed…

  21. Bearman on October 31st, 2007 2:40 pm

    After the M’s sign either Kuroda or Uehara and trade Washburn for A/AA prospect deal then I can see if Colon is healthy he must pass a very detailed phyical in order to be signed.
    I would however go a step futher and add a incentive clause of a earned option year if Colon meets a set of goals during his one yr contract.

    I fully agree with the Jeremy Affeldt signing still young but has playoff experience which is always a plus in RP.
    Has already expressed a interest in signing with the M’s and likes the idea of pitching so close to his hometown and family.
    Again if signed I’d add a incentive clause so he earn a option yr added to his contract provided he met a set of goals during the life of his 3yr deal.

    I must confess I didn’t think of the Sexson and $$$$ for Ray Durham deal.Dave you’re right Durham is a possible McLemore type super sub who would definately push Lopez to perform to his expected level or prove him to be trade bait.
    I also agree Durham shows any ability at 1stB and that would make Ibanez DH and Vidro the emergency INFer and pinch hitting specialist.
    However in that case you have to retain Broussard or gamble on a platoon of sorts with Morse/Durham/and maybe Ibanez.

    As to the OF since Guillen is most likely going to opt out and not exercise his player option.
    I think the M’s can do better short term than Jenkins for instance that Japanese OF FA (his name escapes me) who is bit younger and can be had for less money for a longer deal say 2 yrs and earned option for say 3 or 4 mil a yr.
    In either case it does allow the M’s to retain both Clement and Balentien in AAA to futher ready themselves to play MLB for the M’s.
    Also allows the M’s to retain Burke for another season til Clement,Johnson,or Moore prove ready to assume both the starting and backup jobs.

  22. bakomariner on October 31st, 2007 2:48 pm


    What are the chances that the Ms sign Kuroda? and if they do, how will he be in the states?

  23. Mike Snow on October 31st, 2007 7:05 pm

    When do the free agent rankings come out? Do you expect any of these pick-ups to be Type A free agents?

    As an update – they’ve now come out. Here are the full AL and NL lists. None of Dave’s targets is worth a compensation pick, Jenkins just misses. Jose Guillen is a Type B, as expected, for what it’s worth.

  24. Dave in Palo Alto on October 31st, 2007 9:55 pm

    Nice to see all the Ray Durham love here because, hey, love makes the world go round.

    But having watched him a lot, Durham is a guy hovering near, or falling over, the Joey Cora cliff. Ray had an OPS of .503 (no typo) after the AS break. Compared to Durham, Sexson DID have a second half surge. You can look at Durham’s low BABIP, but really, he’s lost a lot of power, which I have to attribute to a loss of A LOT of batspeed because he’s very small for an MLB ballplayer and can’t rely on your basic (mass) *(velocity) for power. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Durham out of baseball mid-season next summer.

    Even seen solely as a mechanism for giving Sexson the door, it’s not a great move to pick up Durham.

  25. Tom on October 31st, 2007 10:58 pm

    You really think we would take Geoff Jenkins over Kosuke Fukudome, Dave? Interesting.

  26. Tom on October 31st, 2007 10:59 pm

    Also too, what ever happened to Kam Mickolo and Jorge Campillo??? I would think both of them would have a decent chance to make the team next year in middle and long relief.

  27. Grizz on November 1st, 2007 9:37 am

    Campillo and his 85 MPH fastball were released.

  28. cellphonesdead on November 1st, 2007 4:16 pm

    just wondering….we should consider putting Wlad in the OF? Ibanez is aging and idk about wlad”s fielding, but almost anything is better than Rauuul’s. It would add youth to our lineup, but questions. So to answer the doubts in the lineup I suggest signing/trading for a proven 2B (eg Iguchi, maybe Giles). That would then open trade options with ibanez, such as the previously rumored Nate Robertson trade.

    and is Bavasi gonna do something legit…like signing an A-class free agent? or is he gonna just be a lame duck–yet again?

  29. joser on November 1st, 2007 11:29 pm

    Bavasi has said he won’t put two rookies in the outfield, and with Guillen apparently walking and Jones the heir apparent, there’s one rookie there already.

    Wlad is better in the field than Raul, certainly. But Raul is the face of the franchise at the moment, which is part of the reason Dave was trying to find a place for him by trading Sexson.

  30. Tom on November 2nd, 2007 3:33 am

    #127: hahaha, well never mind then. I must’ve been too mesmorized by Rocktober to realize that.

  31. horatiosanzserif on November 5th, 2007 11:03 am

    Just wanted to add that Ray Durham has played all of 1 inning in his professional career at a position other than 2B (CF for Giants in 2005). As a lifelong White Sox fan, I’ve seen him as a defensive liability for quite some time, and I have severe doubts he’s anything close to a “supersub” of McLemore quality.

    Obviously, he’s better than Sexson, however.

  32. swershow on November 5th, 2007 1:25 pm

    Howabout Aubrey Huff? He shouldnt cost anything in prospects really, and hes a lefty power bat who apparently can still slug a bit.

  33. jimmylauderdale on November 6th, 2007 2:28 pm

    Huff only had 15 HR last year. I’d rather the team look at starting pitching. Zack Greinke is a player who would be worth an inquiry.

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