Win Now? Do This.
As I mentioned in this morning’s post, the Mariners are in win now mode – coming off an 88 win season and with jobs still on the line, building for 2009 is not an option. However, as the Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox, and Indians continue to set the bar for just what a legitimate contender looks like, the M’s have some serious ground to cover if they’re going to actually try to win it all next year. Johan Santana wouldn’t have been enough. Erik Bedard won’t be enough. This team needs to make some significant improvements at multiple positions if they’re actually going to make a run for the pennant. (Note – I don’t support this philosophy, but realize that the organization won’t do what I want them to, so at least we can try to help them do the best while pursuing a suboptimal roster building approach).
So, here’s a totally made up series of moves (please don’t call these rumors or email beat writers asking how likely these moves are – they’re fictional creations from Dave Land) that could potentially help the Mariners accomplish their goal of having to be taken at least semi-seriously in the A.L. next year.
1. Trade Adam Jones, Brandon Morrow and Jose Lopez to Baltimore for Erik Bedard and Brian Roberts.
The M’s aren’t going to get Bedard without surrendering Adam Jones, but it doesn’t make any sense to just make that move and not fix the rest of the roster. By going from Lopez to Roberts, the team takes a significant step forward at second base; Roberts is one of those ridiculously underappreciated players in the game, because his contributions (lots of doubles, walks, and good defense) are generally undervalued among talent evaluators. Like Bedard, Roberts is under contract through 2009 at a below market salary, and is just 29 years old. While the team would be trading a lot of future value, they’d be getting two guys in their primes, both under club control for two more years.
If you’re going to trade Adam Jones, this is the kind of package you have to get back.
2. Sign Geoff Jenkins to a multiyear deal.
If Jones is traded, this is almost non-negotiable; the team would have to replace him with a quality defensive outfielder or we’ll just see a repeat of last year’s debacle in the outfield.
3. Sign Bartolo Colon to a one year deal.
We’ve talked about this – it’s a good idea, and if he goes into the season as your #5 starter behind Bedard, Felix, Batista, and Washburn, the downside if he gets hurt is limited (Rowland-Smith and Baek are still around), and the upside is still there for him to move into the upper half of the rotation, removing the team’s need to potentially throw Washburn to the wolves in a playoff series.
Ideally, they’d go beyond even these moves, dealing either Sexson or Vidro and replacing Ibanez with a real outfielder as well, but that might be asking for too much. If they’re going to get serious in a deal for Bedard, however, this is the path they need to commit to going down. Bedard and Kuroda is just not enough to make them real contenders. This team needs more than that.
Adding Roberts and Jenkins to the offense would add two more bats that can swing from the left side and are a good fit for Safeco Field, while also hopefully keeping the defense at least passable, rather than the disaster it was last year.
I’d still rather the team not trade Jones in some far fetched attempt to grasp at glory, but if they’re going to do so, at least we can hope that they’ll do something like this. Don’t settle for just adding a pitcher or two – either get serious, make the team good, or hold your cards.