Winter Meetings, Day Three

Dave · December 5, 2007 at 7:58 am · Filed Under Mariners 

48 hours into the winter meetings and the news continues to come out of cities besides Seattle. As mentioned below, the Tigers just launched themselves right back into the discussion in terms of AL Contenders with their trade yesterday. While the Mariners won’t think this way (after all, jobs are on the line), it’s really quite clear that the 2008 Mariners just have no chance of being in the top tier of American League clubs.

The Red Sox, Yankees, Indians, and Tigers have essentially locked themselves into fighting over position as the four best teams in baseball. The dropoff between those clubs and the fifth best team in the game is pretty staggering. They have, for all intents and purposes, taken any chance the AL West had of winning the wild card and thrown it in a wood chipper. The only way for the Mariners to make the playoffs next year is to win the division, and even if they can do that, they’re looking at having to beat two beheamoths just to even get to the World Series.

In an ideal world, where the franchise wasn’t being run on a win-or-lose-your-job mandate, and the front office could make decisions based on what is best for the franchise, the M’s would just fold up their 2008 tents and become sellers. They are three or four all-star type players away from competing with the big boys in the A.L., and they simply don’t have the resources to make the type of upgrades necessary to get themselves in a legitimate position to win postseason games.

But, that isn’t the reality of the situation. The front office doesn’t have the ability to make that kind of decision – the minute they start selling, they’re writing their own pink slips. This franchise is in win now mode – unfortunately, so are five other American League teams, and they’re all far better at it than the M’s.

So, today, we’ll see talk shift to Erik Bedard, as the M’s try to make a splash and impress some people. After yesterday’s trade, I’m now just hoping that we get through the rest of this winter without destroying the future, because the idea of winning it all in ’08 seems about as likely as Steve Kelley writing an entire paragraph.

Comments

31 Responses to “Winter Meetings, Day Three”

  1. gag harbor on December 5th, 2007 8:09 am

    Wow, no hope of that happening.

  2. Jar on December 5th, 2007 8:17 am

    Dave, what is your opinion on loosing Jones in a trade for Bedard? Would that really be worth it? I love the idea of Bedard, but for Jones?

  3. zzyzx on December 5th, 2007 8:17 am

    “The Red Sox, Yankees, Indians, and Tigers have essentially locked themselves into fighting over position as the four best teams in baseball.”

    I’m just hoping that this is just a blip and not the next 20 years of the sport…

  4. Jar on December 5th, 2007 8:24 am

    “A couple of clubs have their eye on 44 year-old southpaw David Wells: the Mariners and Reds. Hey, for a few million bucks why not.

    The Ms would represent Boomer’s ninth organization. Signing him surely wouldn’t preclude them from acquiring another, more reliable starter.”

  5. Wells on December 5th, 2007 8:51 am

    You’d advocate a deal for Bedard that includes giving up Jones?

  6. F-Rod on December 5th, 2007 8:55 am

    With the O’s allegedly high on Balentien it would be exciting if the deal could be worked around him instead of Jones. Wlad, Morrow, S. Green, lower tier guy would be solid but who knows if thats enough.

  7. Mike Honcho on December 5th, 2007 8:56 am

    You don’t give up the team’s best prospect (if Jones is still a “prospect”) for Bedard, because Bedard doesn’t even make us even with the Angels.

    Sure, if Wlad, Morrow, and Sherrill net Bedard, you do it, but there’s no way a deal like that is happening. The Orioles will demand Jones, and Bavasi should just walk away.

    Given the gap between the “big four” and the rest of the AL, isn’t it time we look to trade Ibanez?

  8. TheEmrys on December 5th, 2007 9:07 am

    Giving up Jones right now doesn’t make sense as we have no 4th outfielder that would take his place. A departure of Jones or Ibanez would have to be followed (or precluded) by a move for a corner outfielder.

  9. Jar on December 5th, 2007 9:09 am

    5 – I wouldn’t, but I was asking Dave if he would.

  10. Eleven11 on December 5th, 2007 9:11 am

    Boy, you nailed that one. I thought the remark (win or die) last year was the death nell of rational thought in the M’s. So it continues. Blow it up is right. We will trot out the same line up as last year with Jones for Guillen and base our hopes on Sexson having that big year he hasn’t since that summer of 1927. Hoping that Ibanez can stay steady, that Vidro doesn’t collapse, that Batista can repeat and that somehow, Washburn…sigh. You know the drill.

  11. SDRE on December 5th, 2007 9:18 am

    Baltimore has a few other aging players that doesn’t seem to be in their plans. Is there anyway a Bedard trade could also be expanded like the Marlins/Tigers deal? Bedard, Roberts, Huff, Payton for Jones, Wlad, Morrow, Lopez, Green, Sherrill, Sexson or Broussard. Having Ichiro and Roberts at the top would obviously be nice. Sign Jenkins and have a Payton/Huff platoon. Ibanez at DH/1b.

  12. msb on December 5th, 2007 9:28 am

    FWIW, from Drayer this morning: “John McLaren told Matt Pitman and Rick Rizzs that his scheduled trip to Venezuela tomorrow has been put on hold. He was supposed to leave tomorrow. When asked if he was sticking around because something was cooking in Nashville he said he hoped so.”

  13. david h on December 5th, 2007 9:34 am

    SDRE (#11): Are you crazy?

  14. msb on December 5th, 2007 9:45 am

    Gardy paid attention in “Know Your Cliche’s” class.

    “With the Twins in search of middle-infield help, one potential target is free agent David Eckstein. “I’ve always had a lot of respect for him,” said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire. “He catches the ball. He knows how to play. He’s a proven winner.”"

  15. SDRE on December 5th, 2007 9:45 am

    #13 I guess wanting Payton and Huff is crazy but adding Roberts would be nice as Dave wrote on his next post. I’m still just hoping to dump Sexson. Huff (with his Baltimore radio bashing)and Payton (need for an outfielder if we lose Wlad and Jones) came to mind.

  16. matthias on December 5th, 2007 9:46 am

    Assume for a moment that we can’t win next year and we decide to rebuild. Isn’t that sort of unfair to Ichiro? The guy held out until he saw that the team had a chance to contend. Only then did he agree to sign (at below market rate). Doesn’t the team have an obligation to him to at least compete next year?

  17. bergamot on December 5th, 2007 11:16 am

    msb (14): “Proven winner” is used so often as a justification for potential or actual player acquisitions. I wonder who the “proven losers” are? It would be great to hear a GM say, “We are looking to deal some of the proven losers off our roster”.

  18. Pete Livengood on December 5th, 2007 11:55 am

    Given the gap between the “big four” and the rest of the AL, isn’t it time we look to trade Ibanez?

    Yes! Already. There seems to be a market for him, and he clearly falls into the “better trade a guy a year too early than a year too late” category.

    This was my biggest frustration with the failure offer Guillen arbitration (even though I’m not sure I agree with Dave on the value of the risk he’d accept – the valuation is correct, but I’m not sure the “hedge” market for actually realizing that valuation, as opposed to $0 or $arb award, exists – though I wouldn’t care for other reasons) is that offering arb to Guillen and having him take it for 1 year wouldn’t be horrible if it meant they got a decent return for Ibanez. They’d have Guillen to plug in, or they could replace Raul’s LH bat with Geoff Jenkins in the more likely event that Guillen DIDN’T accept arbitration despite the offer.

    There really wasn’t much excuse for not offering Guillen arbitration, regardless of perceived risk. They would still be better with him accepting arb, with more flexible options, and they’d be fine if he declined (and have the pick to boot). It HAD to be a front-office, Mitchell Report/suspension anticipated, “we won’t have cheaters on this roster” kind of decision imposed from On High.

    But I digress. Yes, trade Raul for value while it is still being offered. Replace him with Jenkins, and get better defensively (and probably offensively, too, as I anticipate the impending cliff drop for Ibanez will have to come sooner than later).

  19. eponymous coward on December 5th, 2007 12:27 pm

    In an ideal world, where the franchise wasn’t being run on a win-or-lose-your-job mandate, and the front office could make decisions based on what is best for the franchise, the M’s would just fold up their 2008 tents and become sellers. They are three or four all-star type players away from competing with the big boys in the A.L., and they simply don’t have the resources to make the type of upgrades necessary to get themselves in a legitimate position to win postseason games.

    So why SHOULDN’T the front office team lose their jobs, if the result of $350 million in salary over four years is one 88 win season, 3 last place finishes, and “sorry, time to blow up the team again”?

    Also, if you figure that King Felix, Ichiro, Beltre, and JJ are all-star players, you’re saying the M’s need 7-8 potential all-star type players? That’s a pretty dominant team, historically speaking- comparable to the mid-70′s Reds (who’d have 5-7 All Stars every year). You really think the Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox and Indians are all THAT good?

  20. tylerv on December 5th, 2007 12:35 pm

    “the idea of winning it all in ‘08 seems about as likely as Steve Kelley writing an entire paragraph.”
    HAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!

  21. Dave on December 5th, 2007 1:00 pm

    You really think the Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox and Indians are all THAT good?

    Yep.

    NYY All-Star Types: A-Rod, Posada, Cano, Jeter, Wang, Rivera
    BOS All-Star Types: Ortiz, Ramirez, Lowell, Pedroia, Beckett, Papelbon
    CLE All-Star Types: Hafner, Sizemore, Martinez, Sabathia, Carmona, Betancourt/Perez (pick one)
    DET All-Star Types: Cabrera, Polanco, Granderson, Ordonez, Verlander

    That’s six for every club except Detroit, who get five despite me omitting Bonderman, Pudge, Guillen, Sheffield, or Renteria. You could easily argue that one of two of those will be all-star types next year.

    Those four teams are awesome. The M’s aren’t anywhere close to them.

  22. eponymous coward on December 5th, 2007 1:14 pm

    Well, were Jones to be as good as he could be in a hurry, and Felix to assume his throne, you’d have:

    SEA All Star Types: Ichiro, Jones, Putz, Beltre, King Felix

    Of course, I think we should be properly skeptical that Jones is going to be THAT good next year- plus if you swap Jones for Bedard, you don’t get Jones as a potential All-Star, though you could probably argue Bedard has a better shot at an All-Star game than Jones in 2008 (Jones is probably the better bet for 2009-on, though).

    But the chasm doesn’t seem to be a 3-4 player gap; more like a 1-2 player gap if Felix starts performing to his potential, plus the fact that the Mariners have some serious boat anchors in the field (Ibanez, Sexson) and at the plate (Lopez, Sexson) and problems with organizational philosophy.

  23. Dave on December 5th, 2007 1:20 pm

    The gap in all-stars is 1-2 players. The gap in the rest of the roster is enormous, unless you really think Ibanez/Sexson/Vidro/Batista/Washburn compares to Youkilis/Drew/Varitek/Matsuzaka/Schilling.

    The M’s need about 3-4 more all-stars because they’ve got so much crap on their roster that they have to overcompensate for.

  24. terry on December 5th, 2007 1:27 pm

    Why the heck did the Tigers want Willis?

  25. eponymous coward on December 5th, 2007 1:51 pm

    The M’s need about 3-4 more all-stars because they’ve got so much crap on their roster that they have to overcompensate for.

    Yeah, that’s the “boat anchors/organizational philosophy” part of my post. Realistically, ditching Sexson for a ham sandwich, picking up Jenkins as an OF, pushing Vidro to the bench and Raul to 1B/DH and sitting against a lot of lefties, fixes most of it… and you forgot Yuni and Johjima, who certainly aren’t BAD players, and you can make a case they are average to above average for their position, if not really All-Star worthy (I could see one of them having a fluke AS year, but it’d be a career year).

    The problem with the M’s roster being cluttered with crap wouldn’t be that hard to solve this offseason, given competent management that understood the value of replacement-level talent and could make proper player personnel evaluations. I think it would be tricky, but not impossible, if we had Chris Antonetti or someone like him in here.

    The problem isn’t just that the Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers and Indians have less problems to solve; it’s that the Mariners can’t even accurately identify the problems on the roster, so they decide they are an 88 win team just like the Tigers, and all they need is two starting pitchers and for Richie to bounce back, while ignoring the facts that they have a roster cluttered with DHs and that they could improve the team far more efficiently by emphasizing defense and less expensive pitching (Tampa Bay says “Hi, remember us?”).

    Given that we have the GM we have and not the GM we want, I GUESS you could say “let him blow it all up”, but given Bavasi’s track record in trades, I don’t think we should think it’s a slam dunk he could do a good job of blowing the team up and laying a foundation for 2009 or later- the sum total of the Guillen, Garcia, Winn, Villone, Moyer, Doyle, and Soriano trades is basically a crippled DH and some marginal and failed prospects. Granted, some of that’s plain bad luck, and a fair chunk of those trades were perfectly defensible… but I could easily see Bavasi’s replacement heading into 2009 and being WORSE off (in terms of talent being ready for the 25 man roster) than Bavasi is heading into 2008. I think I’d rather see him sign Kuroda and Jenkins and hope that he gets lucky at the craps table (and figure if he doesn’t, we get Antonetti in 2009) than watch him dismember the roster and hope he gets better magic beans this time.

  26. JG on December 5th, 2007 4:56 pm

    Dave, the Reds releases Jorge Cantu today. Would you sign him as a back-up/push for Lopez?

  27. Teej on December 5th, 2007 8:04 pm

    Cantu is only 25 and has a reputation — deserved or not — as a malcontent. I don’t think he’s really the type of guy the M’s are looking for to push Lopez.

    Not saying it’s a bad idea (I don’t know much about his skills), just that the M’s are surely looking at a different type of player (read: older).

  28. Dave on December 5th, 2007 9:38 pm

    Cantu is horrible.

  29. scott19 on December 5th, 2007 11:34 pm

    11: Wow…that sounds like one of those old blockbuster trades from the 1970′s! :)

  30. scott19 on December 5th, 2007 11:40 pm

    12: The way these meetings have been going, however, that “something” might turn out to be a plate of grits and gravy. :)

  31. shemberry on December 6th, 2007 8:42 am

    M’s took R.A. Dickey in the first round of the Rule 5 draft.

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