What the M’s can still do

DMZ · February 11, 2008 at 7:29 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

To be entirely open, it hasn’t been fun for me here at USSM lately (just deleted-another “you faked results to advance your agenda” comment! Awesome!)(to be clear — that many-seasons thing was not a prediction, it was “hey, I spent a lot of time using DMB, and here’s the interesting stuff that came out of it”)(I suspect that train’s long left the station, though), so it’s time to geek out about one of my favorite topics, roster construction. Benches benches benches!


winter break from paul goyette‘s flickr stream, used under the Creative Commons license

What does the team still need, and how might they still improve, assuming they’re dead-set on making a run for it?

First, the hitters. Let’s assume they’re not going to make any more major moves and dump any of these guys.
DH-B Turbo
C-R Johjima
1B-R Sexson
2B-R Lopez
SS-R Betancourt
3B-R Beltre
LF-L Ibanez
CF-L Ichiro!
RF-L Wilkerson

Nine spots burned.

Burke’s the backup catcher (#10), so that solves that piece. #11 is Bloomquist. Now you have 1-3 spots left, depending on how many pitchers the M’s carry. Let’s figure on 12 pitchers, so you’ve got two bench spots left.

What do you need that you could patch for on the bench? Horrible defense at first and left, and you’re hoping to get average defense in right out of Wilkerson. And you could really use a good pinch runner for those three and Turbo too. And if Bloomquist is your backup infielder, what you really need is two more backup outfielders who can chase flies like nobody’s business. A righty if you can manage it, to sub in for Ibanez or Wilkerson against lefty starters — and they don’t have to be that great to be better than them against lefties. And you could really use another bat off the bench, particularly a decent defensive replacement for Sexson.

If they’re not willing to go shopping, I think you have to go with Reed. His offensive performance was much improved last year in Tacoma, though his projections are not particularly good looking (PECOTA: .265/.321/.385, ZiPS .259/.312/.377) it’s a fine skill set to offer as a 4th outfielder: below-average but not horrible bad, good defense, particularly in the corners, not a base-stealing threat but a decent runner. Especially considering the question of Wilkerson’s durability, it makes even more sense. So I’d take Reed with the #12 spot.

Then what? It’s an interesting question, and I’ve got a couple of possibilities:
- You take Morse as a backup corner infielder/Sexson replacement
- Jimerson as a 5th OFer and pure defensive replacement and runner.

What you really don’t have any need for is a I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-Bloomquist player like Cairo, who also can’t hit, but makes up for it by not being a good runner or fielder.

If you’re willing to spend, you’re not going to a lot better, really. None of Shawn Green/Trot Nixon/Reggie Sanders helps solve a problem you’re carrying. Corey Patterson would be a nice choice — he’s a glove, has some speed, might hit and might not, depending on which season it is. As a 4th OFer in spacious Safeco, he’s a nice choice. And likely comes with a high price tag. Kenny Lofton’s still out there, too, and you could certainly do worse.

There’s Bonds, if you want the ultimate in controversial and risky may-be-in-jail-on-perjury-charges choices. Then you push him into DH/LF as often as circumstances permit… but that’s not going to happen, so forget I mentioned it.

And surveying the field, Patterson’s a great choice if you can get him on the cheap, but beyond that, there’s not a lot to buy for your remaining bench dollar in the lineup.

So flip a coin (which will come up heads 90% of the time) and get yourself a #13 position player, and go on to the pitchers.

SP-L Bedard
SP-R Hernandez
SP-L Washburn
SP-R Silva
SP-R Batista
RP-R: Putz
We’re at 19… and then chaos fills the remaining six spots.

Let’s figure if they’re willing to punt the future, they’re willing to spend another year of Morrow in the pen. Ding! #20. Can I get Aumont, too? I mean why not, right? Then O’Flaherty, sure, that’s your first choice to get a lefty in there. #21.

Looking at that rotation, what do you need? If history’s any guide, some long relief when Silva’s defense fails him and he’s knocked out early, Washburn’s going to need a consistent bridge for the 7th-8th, and you won’t always have Morrow around (or Putz, for that matter). Take Rowland-Smith for long relief (#22), assuming Baek’s your 6th starter in Tacoma, and Sean Green for bridging as RP-R (#23). Now McClaren’ll want another short-use lefty – Rhodes may will break with the team out of spring training if he’s at all effective (#24) though I’d argue you’re better off taking a better righty option if you have one… so you might go with both Huber and Lowe here (I’d love to see Lowe healthy and effective) though they’ll likely only need one (#25 and done).

I don’t see any point on spending more on the bullpen. It’d be costly and probably wouldn’t do much better. And this throws HoRam to the minors/the waiver wire/wherever, which the org is unlikely to do, so you have to drop someone, and that’ll be a substantial downgrade.

Anyway — we know the 2008 starters. The next interesting thing is how they use the resources at hand to try and patch for the squad’s obvious weaknesses.

Comments

109 Responses to “What the M’s can still do”

  1. sealclubber253 on February 11th, 2008 7:38 pm

    I would really like to see Morse make the team. He is a below average fielder, but it seems that every time he comes up, his bat gets hot. I really like him off the bench as a pinch hitter and even getting a few starts in the corner outfield spots to rest those tired legs out there. He usually doesn’t hit for much power, but I still think he is the best of the 3 from the Garcia trade.

  2. Sports on a Schtick on February 11th, 2008 7:59 pm

    Despite the numerous flaws on this roster Ramirez and Cairo are completely unnecessary. And there’s a good chance both will make the team. Bravo Bavasi.

  3. OppositeField on February 11th, 2008 8:08 pm

    Great post. On to the future we go. I’d love to see as much Lowe as possible as well.

  4. pensive on February 11th, 2008 8:13 pm

    Patterson seemed to be a better choice than Wilkerson.
    Is his price Turbo like?

    Watching the relay of Reds game. Bloomquist shouldn’t be allowed to play an outfield position.

  5. zackr on February 11th, 2008 8:27 pm

    Hey Derek,

    Is there a position in the field that is consistently cheaper to field than the others? As in, say I want to build a quality team on a tight budget. What non-pitcher starting position player can I leave out of my long term goals, comfortably betting that there will be cheap quality available yearly?

  6. Mike Snow on February 11th, 2008 8:46 pm

    I would really like to see Morse make the team. He is a below average fielder, but it seems that every time he comes up, his bat gets hot.

    Rene Rivera hit great when he was called up in 2005, too.

  7. Wilder83 on February 11th, 2008 8:49 pm

    Our bench is screwed. Where is the big bat when you need it? At least the bullpen has some practical choices.

  8. Steve T on February 11th, 2008 8:53 pm

    Well, if we had a big bat on the bench, the question would be “why isn’t that big bat starting over one of these bums?”

    I think they’re going to go with Cairo, because they need coverage in the infield, even if it’s lousy coverage. If it was me I’d go with 11 pitchers, on the theory that our supercalifragilisticexpialadocious rotation will eat more innings, but it’s not me.

  9. DMZ on February 11th, 2008 8:53 pm

    The further you go down the defensive spectrum, the more plentiful your choices. So if you’re going to punt any position, punt DH, then 1B, then LF, and so on.

  10. RussM on February 11th, 2008 8:55 pm

    Is there any sentiment out there that a trade for Crisp would be out of the question? I don’t even know what the Red Sox would ask for.

  11. TumwaterMike on February 11th, 2008 9:15 pm

    With your scenario it leaves Clement out of the picture. I belive this is Johjima’s last year and he’ll be a free agent. The M’s need to find out if Clement can be a major league catcher before they decide on whether to try and resign Johjima next year. I would list him as a #3 C/DH/1B/PH. He will need to get some major league innings under his belt as a catcher. I would probably leave either Reed or Jimerson of of your predictions and keep Clement.

  12. Zach on February 11th, 2008 9:22 pm

    Patterson is an interesting guy to me, not least because I hadn’t realized he was so physically small. More importantly, he makes me wonder, again, about how bases stolen might be easily assimilated into a catchall stat like OPS when assessing a base-stealer’s value. Patterson, whose OPS in ’07 was .690, also stole 37 bases on the year. Does it make any sense to perform a calculation adding the 37 steals to his total bases, yielding a SLG. % + steals number of .466, and thusly, an OPS + steals of .770. A much more palatable number as an indicator of offensive performance, but is it a reasonable indicator?
    Has someone proposed this before? It seems that a case could be made that a single plus a steal, on average, could be more valuable than a double, because you get to choose when you add that extra base. Likewise could it be less valuable when it comes to driving in runs. I’m really not sure what to think, other than that a guy with an OPS of .700 and forty steals seems more valuable than an guy with an OPS of .700 and five steals.
    I suppose failed steal attempts should be subtracted, perhaps by some multiple larger than one if this was to be fully fleshed out.
    Apologies if this is something that’s been beaten to death in the past and I haven’t done the legwork in finding the posts.

  13. IdahoInvader on February 11th, 2008 9:28 pm

    In all seriousness, if Bonds was signed to DH, how much better would this offense be? I don’t care for the guy, but I do care about winning.

  14. gwangung on February 11th, 2008 9:32 pm

    The M’s need to find out if Clement can be a major league catcher before they decide on whether to try and resign Johjima next year.

    Best way to do that is to play him everyday in Tacoma and see if he;s a catcher, period.

  15. Jack Howland on February 11th, 2008 9:32 pm

    I think it is likely that they go with 12 pitchers, because that is what has “worked for” them in the past. Cairo was brought in as a multi-position guy to complement WFB which allows them to keep a smaller bench. This leaves one open spot which should go to a RH outfielder and elimates Reed. My guess is Balentien or Morse, although I’m not sure what you do when Ichiro needs a rest or has a multi-day injury or when Wilkerson goes on the DL.

    In other words, the whole situation with the bench is very bleak.

  16. ConorGlassey on February 11th, 2008 9:34 pm

    Too bad the M’s already wasted one of the bench spots on Miguel Cairo. The M’s bench is going to be very weak this year.

  17. TumwaterMike on February 11th, 2008 9:38 pm

    14-Catching at AAA Tacoma is not like catching in the Majors. Clement needs to be in Seattle to get the best assessment of his abilities.

  18. thefin190 on February 11th, 2008 9:40 pm

    Isn’t Morse out of options? Meaning if they don’t keep him on the major league roster they have to waive/trade him? Too bad, Bloomquist and Cairo will hog up the bench. How stupid was it to sign Cairo to a major league deal, rather than a minor league deal with an invite to ST? I think I speak for everyone when I say that.

  19. JMHawkins on February 11th, 2008 9:47 pm

    14-Catching at AAA Tacoma is not like catching in the Majors. Clement needs to be in Seattle to get the best assessment of his abilities.

    400 ABs in Tacoma is a better indicator of ability than pinch hitting once or twice a week.

  20. TumwaterMike on February 11th, 2008 9:57 pm

    His hiting is not in question. It’s his catching that the M’s need to look at. Have him catch a few games in the Majors to se if he’s got it. When he was called up last year I don’t belive he got any time behind the plate. If he can’t cut it behind the plate, at least the M’s will know that and that should help them decide what they are going to do with Johjima.

  21. Tek Jansen on February 11th, 2008 10:03 pm

    I can see Morse being traded in ST. Cairo’s signing eliminated a spot for him on the M’s

    Does DMZ not see Dickey making the team. It wouldn’t really bother me one way or the other if he was the 7th bullpen guy.

    The only roster spaces I see open are the final bench spot and the final two bullpen slots.

    And I think that Clement should stay in Tacoma and develop. His value, as a prospect and eventually as a player, comes from being able to catch at the major league level, not from DHing, PHing, or learning to play first. Plus, I could not fathom how dumb the M’s would be if they constructed a bench of two no-hit infielders and two catchers.

    Good post, DMZ.

  22. joealb on February 11th, 2008 10:04 pm

    Hey TumwaterMike, what do you think is he differance between catching in AAA and the majors?

  23. msb on February 11th, 2008 10:08 pm

    faker.

    so, hitting myself in the head again, why sign Cairo to a major-league deal? why?

    Sweeney’s gone to the A’s on a minor league deal; interesting to see if his back holds up, and what he does.

  24. gwangung on February 11th, 2008 10:08 pm

    By all accounts, Clement needs time to work on his catching. He needs to solidify his catching basics. He’s not up to AAA standards now, so why try to push him to the majors to “see if he can catch at the major leagues.”

    Plus, I could not fathom how dumb the M’s would be if they constructed a bench of two no-hit infielders and two catchers.

    You watch this team and you got the answer already…

  25. Tek Jansen on February 11th, 2008 10:09 pm

    Too clarify my comment on why I do not want to see Clement on the bench, if he is with the M’s, he will not catch or see any sort of substantial time behind the plate. Although, since the M’s seem to think that they can make Morrow into a starting pitcher by never allowing him to start, maybe they think that Clement can learn to catch if they treat him like Roberto Petagine.

  26. Kazinski on February 11th, 2008 10:13 pm

    I’ve got a feeling that they’ll go with 11 pitchers this year, depending on what happens in the spring of course. Last season coming out of camp, Putz had a sore arm, Sherril had a terrible spring, then right off the bat Weaver sucked, HoRam couldn’t get an out on the road, then Felix got hurt in his 3rd start. Sean White was a rule 5 guy, and couldn’t be sent down. So the M’s never had a chance to get to an 6 man pen.

    This year however, there are no rule 5 picks, and if everyone is healthy why would you spend the money on Silva, spend the players on Bedard, in order to get one of the deepest rotations in baseball if you thought your were going to need a 7 man bullpen to back them up?

    Now if Mac has a 5 man bench will he use them? I’d love to see Clement an Morse make the roster. Forget Clement replacing Joh, I want to see him eating Turbo’s AB’s.

  27. Wilder83 on February 11th, 2008 10:14 pm

    #12

    If you are going to add steals to OPS, then you need to subtract caught stealing from something like BA, OBP, or OPS.

  28. Wilder83 on February 11th, 2008 10:20 pm

    #26

    R.A. Dickey is a Rule 5 draft pick.

  29. jeffs98119 on February 11th, 2008 10:25 pm

    A note re: Wilkerson: in 2007, over 3 years (2005-2007), and in his last good year (2004), his OPS was higher against LHP. I would thus humbly suggest that a straight R-L platoon is not necessarily necessary in his case, and that while resting him might be advisable due to his apparent fragility, it does not need to happen against LHP.

  30. DMZ on February 11th, 2008 10:30 pm

    I’m always skeptical of reverse platoon splits. I’d have to go look around, but I believe there’s some research on this, too, that would be useful.

    w/r/t Dickey — I’d love to see him contribute, but I don’t think it’s likely.

  31. gwangung on February 11th, 2008 10:32 pm

    Yeah, but resting regulars does not seem to be a priority with this management team….

  32. jeffs98119 on February 11th, 2008 10:35 pm

    Perhaps…

    Also, don’t discount Reggie Sanders’ potential as a veteran leader (alongside Miguel Cairo). He’s got 17 years experience! He’s hit 300 HR and has 300 SB! He’s won two World Series rings! His middle name is Laverne (really)!

  33. jeffs98119 on February 11th, 2008 10:37 pm

    Dickey was a Rule 5–have the Mariners ever paid for a Rule 5 and not kept him all season? Of course, those other guys all stunk, and Dickey might actually contribute.

  34. F-Rod on February 11th, 2008 10:38 pm

    I would have taken K-Lo instead of Wilkerson in the first place (but wouldn’t mind him now). I think they should go with 11 pitchers and keep R.A. Dickey +Ryan Ro. to start the season and mop up. The improved staff should be able to pitch more innings and Dickey could be used in all horrible starts.

    Unless an infielder gets hurt I doubt they will take Cairo. The team always seems to acquire a cheap Cairo guy and they don’t hang with the team. Vidro can play “the Cairo role in an emergency.” I think they should keep five outfielders with Reed in one spot, and a righty in the other.

  35. milendriel on February 11th, 2008 10:46 pm

    34- Except they gave Cairo a major league contract. Sure, it’d be nice if they release him, but that’s pissing away a million dollars and simply isn’t going to happen. It’s pretty much identical to the HoRam situation.

  36. Tek Jansen on February 11th, 2008 10:58 pm

    I can see the M’s releasing HoRam, but not Cairo. Plus, it might be possible to send HoRam to Tacoma without getting him through waivers. I am not sure on that though.

    The M’s have always kept their Rule 5 players, but Dickey is a little different. Unlike Sean White, whom they saw as a young player with potential to develop, Dickey is an older guy who will either contribute now or never. The M’s wanted to keep White on the 25 man roster long enough to make him their property. I don’t imagine that they want to keep Dickey around so that he can spend 2009 working in the minors.

  37. wlad on February 11th, 2008 11:07 pm

    i’m not sure Reed will make the team, i think it will be Cairo or Wlad. Rhodes will make the team over Reitsma (hopefully)

  38. cwel87 on February 11th, 2008 11:11 pm

    “In all seriousness, if Bonds was signed to DH, how much better would this offense be? I don’t care for the guy, but I do care about winning.”

    The man’s got a point. I know the casual fan of any fanbase would cry out in fury, thus making this we-just-got-the-crap-kicked-out-of-us-by-every-sim-ever talk and nothing more, but who here would seriously deny Bonds a spot on the team?

    I mean, I don’t think it’s really possible to upgrade more at any position then to go at DH from Vidro to Bonds.

  39. Kazinski on February 11th, 2008 11:15 pm

    I forgot about Dickey. Well I want to see him on the roster anyway. Never forget the name of the game isn’t winning, it’s entertainment, and there is nothing more entertaining than a knuckleballer, even when he his getting shelled.

  40. sealclubber253 on February 11th, 2008 11:26 pm

    I think it makes sense to have the 4-5 guys on the bench be Burke, Morse, WFB ($100,000 a stolen base makes sense in the 9th when we are down a run, right?) Cairo (I miss Brousard) and then Reed as a defensive sub. Wow, looks like about a .255/5/20 kind of group total? Good thing Burke’s and Morse’s decent hitting brings that average up.

    Is there any posibility of using Putz as a pinch hitter? He is a big guy and might be able to add to the power numbers of those guys…

  41. Mat on February 11th, 2008 11:31 pm

    Wilkerson has a .265/.363/.456 line against LHP for his career and .245/.351/.449 line against RHP. At worst I’d say he has a typical platoon split, at best I’d expect him to be about even against LHP and RHP going forward. Reverse platoon splits are pretty rare, but looking at his whole career, I think it’s reasonable to say that Wilkerson has a smaller-than-average split.

  42. Pete on February 11th, 2008 11:47 pm

    DMZ –

    Now McClaren’ll want another short-use lefty – either Rhodes or Reitsma will break with the team out of spring training (#24)…

    Am I reading this wrong, or did you just call Reitsma a lefty? ‘Cuz he’s a righty, righty?

  43. Rain Delay on February 12th, 2008 12:00 am

    42 – Ya, Reitsma is a righty.

  44. DMZ on February 12th, 2008 12:07 am

    Fixed. I have this theory about why I missed that, but it’s dumb — I frequently identify Reed as a righty, so I try to always concentrate on not making that mistake, and when I wrote this up I just went left left left left…

  45. Pete on February 12th, 2008 12:37 am

    No problem dude. Figured a brain fart.

  46. TumwaterMike on February 12th, 2008 12:40 am

    For what its worth-here’s my opening day roster(after they trade Vidro):
    1. C-Johjima BR
    2. C-Burk BR
    3. C-Clement BL
    4. 18 Sexson BR
    5. 1B/3B/OF Morse BR
    6. 2B Lopez BR
    7. INF/OF Bloomquist BR
    8. SS Bentacourt BR
    9. 3B Beltre BR
    10. INF/1B Cairo BR
    11. LF/DH/1B Ibanez BL
    12. CF Ichiro BL
    13. OF/1B Wilkerson BL
    14. OF Reed BL
    15. SP Bedard LH
    16. SP Hernandez RH
    17. SP Washburn LH
    18. SP Batista RH
    19. SP Silva RH
    20. LONG RELIEF Dickey RH
    21. MIDDLE RELIEF Rameriz LH
    22. SET UP RELIEF Green RH
    23. SET UP RELIEF O’Flaherty LH
    24. SET UP RELIEF Morrow RH
    25. CLOSER Putz RH

    Batting Order:
    1. CF Ichiro
    2. C Johjima
    3. DH or LF Ibanez
    4. 1B or DH Sexson
    5. RF Wilkerson
    6. 3B Beltre
    7. DH or LF or 1B Morse or Clement
    8. 2B Lopez
    9. SS Betancourt

    I only have 11 pitchers. Both Stottlemyre and McClain have said they want the starters to go more innings. Both Dickey and Rameriz are capable of pitching 3 innings. I think this shortens the bullpen.

  47. joser on February 12th, 2008 1:52 am

    who here would seriously deny Bonds a spot on the team?

    I don’t know if there are any federal prosecutors here, but there’s a good chance they will.

    (heh, I just googled “prosecutor” to check the spelling, and the fourth hit, and number one news result, with a picture… Barry Bonds)

    Never forget the name of the game isn’t winning, it’s entertainment, and there is nothing more entertaining than a knuckleballer, even when he his getting shelled.

    I agree. If he was a starter, I’d go to every home game he was scheduled.

  48. matthew on February 12th, 2008 2:32 am

    Am I missing something, or have their been rumors that John McLain will take over for McLaren after he gets trounced in the election?

  49. Terminator X on February 12th, 2008 4:04 am

    Am I missing something, or have there been rumors that John McClain sprung to life from the Die Hard movies and entered into the election?

    So this doesn’t get deleted: I’d take Bonds gladly for a reasonable price, whatever that is. Maybe if he’s desperate a possible clause correlating bonuses/pay cuts to time missed for legal reasons. Of course, it looks like the M’s are trying to clean up and break ties with steriod users right now anyways (not offering arb to Guillen) so I don’t imagine them bringing in the most infamous roider of all-time. Also another reason I’d probably bet against Morse getting an opening-day spot on the 25.

  50. Jake N. on February 12th, 2008 7:16 am

    There is one player out there that I would trade Truienfel for. Carl Crawford would solve many things for us and really make us a contender. Our outfield would be above average in defense and offense. We could then trade Richie to anyone for a bag of used Balls and platoon 1B. Plus Crawford gives us alot more speed and stolen bases.

    1-Ichiro CF
    2-Lopez 2B
    3-Crawford RF
    4-Ibanez DH
    5-Beltre 3B
    6-Johjima C
    7-Yuni SS
    8-Wilkerson LF
    9-Morse 1B

    bench
    10-Reed Defensive sub in out field
    11-Willie The usual, steal a couple bags
    12-Jimmerson Defensive sub, pinch runner
    13-Burke Backstop
    14-Cairo infielder Sub

    Starters
    15-Bedard
    16-Hernandez
    17-Washburn
    18-Silva
    19-Batista

    Pen
    20-JJ
    21-Morrow
    22-RRS
    23-Green
    24-O’Flaherty
    25-Dickey

    Vidro and Horam Send packing… they are not going to help us win a single thing. So it makes no difference if another team picks them up, Because they will only make that team worse. Like maybe we could luck out and have the Angels pick up Horam, They need a pitcher now! Our very own Trojan Horse! He can suck the life out of there Pen this year! Wishfull thinking…

  51. bermanator on February 12th, 2008 7:31 am

    There is one player out there that I would trade Truienfel for. Carl Crawford

    Why not make them toss in Kazmir as well if we’re just wishcasting?

    Patterson might not be that expensive, given that he’s still looking for work. But I’m sure playing tine is a big concern for him, especially since he’s probably looking at a one- or two-year deal at this point.

  52. cwel87 on February 12th, 2008 7:37 am

    They’ll never dump Vidro unless they have a reason to. Obviously, I feel like there are about 37 reasons to drop him, but I’m not the one who handcuffed myself *in a trade* to a $6M albatross…

    Remember like 5 years ago when Manny was put on waivers? That’d have been pretty sweet.

  53. Tek Jansen on February 12th, 2008 7:54 am

    While Mac and Stottlemyre have said that they want to the starters to go deeper into games, I will believe that they carry only eleven pitchers when the final 25 roster is set. The M’s have used a twelve man pitching staff 98% of the time over the last three years. I would like to see an eleven man staff and a five man bench, but I would bet that the numbers come out twelve and four.

  54. galaxieboi on February 12th, 2008 8:23 am

    Great work again, Derek. Thanks a lot.

    Clement needs to be in AAA to learn his position. The guy can rake, we know that. But he’s worth a lot less if all he can do is sub in at first and DH.

    I also can’t see how there’s any difference between catching at Tacoma and catching at Seattle. It’s not as if he’ll be catching on Mars where there aren’t any coaches watching him.

  55. msb on February 12th, 2008 8:25 am

    #38, 49

    from a recent Bay Area column by Carl Seward:

    “Without hearing from the man himself, we have no clues about his motivations, what lengths he would go to prolong his career and how little money he might play for after making $17 million in 2007. Even if some team did show some interest, it’s not likely Bonds could command a fraction of that kind of cash for his services.

    With no feelers coming his way, Bonds’ late-January request to have federal perjury charges against him dismissed may represent the last-ditch attempt to keep his career afloat, because it appears no team wants to take him on with those charges hanging over him.”

  56. JMHawkins on February 12th, 2008 8:55 am

    Fixed. I have this theory about why I missed that, but it’s dumb — I frequently identify Reed as a righty, so I try to always concentrate on not making that mistake, and when I wrote this up I just went left left left left…

    Must be a holdover from the caucuses…

    His hiting is not in question. It’s his catching that the M’s need to look at. Have him catch a few games in the Majors to se if he’s got it. When he was called up last year I don’t belive he got any time behind the plate. If he can’t cut it behind the plate, at least the M’s will know that and that should help them decide what they are going to do with Johjima.

    Again, i think a couple months starting behind the plate in Tacoma will tell them more than a handfull of games in the Majors. Frankly, it seems like they should have figured this out by now anyway, but who knows.

    But overall, wow, for a roster with the number of regulars over 32 they have, it’s scary to have a four man bench as weak as this one looks to be.

  57. garhof on February 12th, 2008 9:29 am

    Anyone have any idea what Coco Crisp would cost in a trade?

    He would be a perfect fit. Could play LF and RF while allowing Raul/Wilkerson to rest/get some games at DH or 1B. And of course, he is plenty capable of giving Ichiro is 1 day off in CF.

    Maybe the better question is, why would the Sox get rid of him? He’s great insurance if Ellsbury doesn’t live up to the hype. He’s a great defender/4th outfielder fit for their team. And he’s pretty cheap (’08 – 4.75M, ’09 – 5.75M, ’10 club option)

  58. Tek Jansen on February 12th, 2008 9:37 am

    #57 — I think that paying for Corey Patterson on the FA market would be better than trading for Crisp. After the Bedard deal, the M’s don’t have the luxury of giving up more valuable minor league talent. I wouldn’t expect that the Red Sox would give him away for C+ prospects.

  59. msb on February 12th, 2008 9:38 am

    Sean Deveney opined “The Red Sox would love get a top catching prospect for Crisp, but those are in short supply and the team is dealing from a position of weakness. More likely they’ll take a prospect or two who can be dealt at a later time, as they did in the Edgar Renteria-Andy Marte deal that led to the trade for Crisp. “

  60. marc w on February 12th, 2008 9:40 am

    33 – “have the Mariners ever paid for a Rule 5 and not kept him all season?”

    Yes, Luis Gonzales in 2006.

    54 – “The guy can rake, we know that.”

    Maybe. I like Clement as much as the next guy (but not as much as Kevin Goldstein), but let’s all remember that his huge comeback season last year he hit .275/.370/.497. That’s exceptional for a catcher, but it’s about what Jeremy Brown did, and it’s much worse than Geovany Soto. Not saying he’s a terrible hitter, but it’s worth putting those numbers in context. Wlad, for example, had a slightly higher OPS (and was younger). Just as there are still some questions lingering around Wlad, I think the same has to be true of Clement.

    All of this is to argue that he needs to be in Tacoma working on his defense and consolidating the gains he made at the plate.

  61. joser on February 12th, 2008 9:42 am

    Yeah, if all you’re looking for is a 4th outfielder, there are plenty available on the open market, and in Tacoma. Though I would’ve said the same thing about DHs a year ago, and Bavasi traded for one anyway.

  62. cwel87 on February 12th, 2008 10:09 am

    At the very least, I’d sign Patterson and give him a go. If we get lucky, we get a strong 9 hole batter who causes the best domino effect ever. That is, he takes the LF spot, relieving Ibanez of his super bad glove. Then, Ibanez takes the DH from Vidro, relieving him of his super bad…everything. That’d be a huge win.

  63. jeffs98119 on February 12th, 2008 10:19 am

    Is Patterson really even an upgrade over Reed? I still think Reed has a chance to be a decent player. He had a very good season at Tacoma last year. The reasons his projections are low is because he had a mediocre rookie year in 2005 (understandable) and a poor, injury-filled second year in 2006. Take ’06 out of the equation–which is at least somewhat justifiable given his broken wrist (?)–and he would look a lot better. Certainly an acceptable fourth outfielder, maybe a starter.

  64. PositivePaul on February 12th, 2008 10:24 am

    …assuming Baek’s your 6th starter in Tacoma…

    Well, if he clears waivers, then yeah. I doubt he’d clear waivers, though.

    The more I think about OF defense, the more I keep forgetting about Charlton Jimerson. He’s not a terrible option and is already on the 40-man.

    I really would like to think that with the addition of two innings eaters they’d be less inclined to go with a 12-man pitching staff and keep an extra player on the bench. But, well, I don’t exactly expect McLaren to be non-Hargrovian in his bench usage either…

  65. Tom on February 12th, 2008 10:39 am

    Kenny Lofton anyone?

  66. regfairfield on February 12th, 2008 11:04 am

    60 – Tacoma is quite possibly the hardest park to hit in baseball. Sacremento is a pitchers park but not to the extent that Tacoma is and Iowa is a pretty good hitters park.

  67. Tuomas on February 12th, 2008 11:06 am

    DMZ: You say that, as you go down the bench, you punt the less-important defensive positions first. That makes sense for a hypothetical team, but isn’t that exactly the opposite of the situation the Mariners find themselves in? It seems to me that the most sensible option, and indeed the only ones which seems logical, is carrying a backup LF to cover for Ibanez’s Manny-level futility and a backup 1B to cover for Richie, who’s nearly as bad.

    Perhaps I’m misunderstanding your point, but it seems that, on this team, the less-important defensive positions are exactly the ones which need to be covered on the bench, given their level of weakness.

  68. galaxieboi on February 12th, 2008 11:13 am

    Here’s a link to park factors.

    Tacoma is relatively tough on hitters, but the PCL is a hitter’s league.

    http://www.minorleaguesplits.com/pf.html

  69. galaxieboi on February 12th, 2008 11:17 am

    I think what Derek meant was that the further left on the defensive spectrum a position is, the easier it is to find a replacement player.

  70. Tek Jansen on February 12th, 2008 11:18 am

    #63 — I think that Patterson is an upgrade over Reed. He can hit for more power and he is a much better base stealer.

    I am not certain that Patterson would necessarily be worth the cost. If he comes as cheaply as Wilkerson, I would say yes. If not, then I would go for Reed or Jimerson as the final bench spot.

    And am I alone in thinking that Cairo is guaranteed a spot on the bench. Some have commented that he is not a sure thing. My opinion is that his major league contract makes him a sure fire bet to be on the roster opening day. Why do others feel differently?

  71. TumwaterMike on February 12th, 2008 11:18 am

    49-My bad-I posted this early in the morning.

  72. regfairfield on February 12th, 2008 11:19 am

    I use Dan Syzmborski’s three year park factors. Tacoma’s .91 ties them with five or six parks for toughest park to hit in. Being in the PCL shouldn’t hurt Clement relative to Brown and Soto, since they’re in the league too.

    http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/oracle/discussion/2007_minor_league_park_multipliers/

  73. Breadbaker on February 12th, 2008 11:50 am

    Really does make you appreciate Gillick’s signing of McLemore and Javier as among his first moves when he got here (and he never found a way to replace Javier when he retired). Two guys who could play seven positions between them, both switch-hitters, veterans but not too old and perfectly willing to play bench roles.

  74. bakomariner on February 12th, 2008 12:31 pm

    With the potential injury/age problems, and with the improved rotation, they HAVE to go to a five-man bench…Brad’s history and Raul’s legs are reasons enough to have Reed, Morse, and Jimerson up alone…then Willie Boom-Boom and Burke round it out…not much power for the late inning pinch-hit home-run, but they should be able to play adequate defense and run better than Raul, Richie, and Brad…

  75. scraps on February 12th, 2008 1:10 pm

    I don’t remember McLemore being perfectly willing to have a bench role.

  76. sealclubber253 on February 12th, 2008 1:16 pm

    73.

    If we could get WFB and Turbo to some how morph into one player…

  77. Ralph_Malph on February 12th, 2008 1:23 pm

    Another argument in favor of the 5-man bench is the depth of the starting rotation. While I realize there’s plenty of room to question just how good these guys are, there should be a whole lot fewer HoRam/Weaver/Feierabend one- inning-or-less shellings than last year. As long as HoRam doesn’t get any spot starts.

  78. msb on February 12th, 2008 1:47 pm

    I don’t remember McLemore being perfectly willing to have a bench role.

    I believe his line was “”I’m an everyday player who plays different positions”

  79. marc w on February 12th, 2008 1:49 pm

    reg @72 -
    I’ve been using Minor league splits factors, but even using Dan’s numbers (thanks for the link), there’s simply not a lot of difference there. Both sets of numbers show Sacto as a harder place to hit HRs than Tacoma. I found that surprising, but there it is.
    The run park factors are nearly identical, and the hit factors are within .02 or so.

    Are you saying park factors make Brown/Clement’s similar numbers completely dissimilar? I’ll hear an argument for Soto (and I’m not saying he’s an equivalent prospect), but hey, JR Towles played in an even tougher environment…

    The point is, I don’t think I’m ready to anoint Clement as a given with the bat quite yet, and the park factors aren’t leading me to question that.

  80. The Ghost of Spike Owen on February 12th, 2008 2:55 pm

    13 – If they sign Bonds, I’m boxing up all my M’s shit and mailing it to Howard Lincoln. I admit to not caring that much about winning. I’m a Mariners fan; I’m used to losing. There are some places I won’t go to avoid it.

  81. The Ghost of Spike Owen on February 12th, 2008 2:57 pm

    In other news, I can’t believe I’m about to embark on another summer of watching Richie Sexson suck. At least since Ichiro signed his extension Richie isn’t making more money than him anymore. That was a bitter pill to swallow for awhile there.

  82. JMHawkins on February 12th, 2008 3:33 pm

    At least since Ichiro signed his extension Richie isn’t making more money than him anymore. That was a bitter pill to swallow for awhile there.

    Well, our Starting Pitchers are paid pretty close to inverse order of ability.

  83. regfairfield on February 12th, 2008 4:36 pm

    79 – Clement strikes out less frequently, and more importantly is four years younger.

    Also, I’d argue that Jeremy Brown would probably be a decent backup catcher at worst if someone gave him the chance.

  84. Wsumojo on February 12th, 2008 4:43 pm

    I agree with you Tek Jansen. Cairo has a contract that the team made not long ago viewing it as him on the roster opening day no matter how crappy of a spring he has nor what talent we can lose on waivers by not having any more options(Morse/Baek). Maybe the Jones trade will open their eyes to needing a Reed/Jimenez/Patterson as a 4th OFer now that we didn’t as desperately need before. Cairo & Ramirez are WORTHLESS, what do the Mariners talent evaluators and coaches see in them that we all don’t????

  85. marc w on February 12th, 2008 4:55 pm

    83 – True enough. The thing is, Brown’s not a prospect at all. Like you say, he’d be a decent back-up with his OBP, but the A’s have Kurt Suzuki who basically has Brown’s skillset, only more of it (less power, but whatever).

    The point is, Clement is a solid catching prospect. But I still don’t think we’re at the point where we can just take it for granted that he’s an above average MLB hitter. His value is still tied to his position, at least *right now*. Adam Jones was in a similar position after 2006, and then made a huge jump in 2007 (to the point where he’s a good hitter for a corner OF). Maybe Clement does that next year. He’s not exactly young for the league, but he’s still got some development yet. I’d just like to see that development before I take it as a given that ‘he can rake.’ Again, Wlad outhit him and most here (esp. Dave) would argue that Wlad would be lost in a full season of MLB in 2008.

  86. Breadbaker on February 12th, 2008 5:04 pm

    I doubt the Jones trade is likely to open their eyes to anything. They think the Bedard trade, as they undoubtedly call it, along with all the rest of their offseason moves and non-moves, was just what the team needed. I’d be very surprised if they consider any need to spell Wilkerson or Raul. As to what they saw in Cairo, he’s Manny Alexander, Jose Offerman, Dave Hollins. What they see in Ramirez is trying to bury the evidence of last year’s stupidity.

  87. regfairfield on February 12th, 2008 5:05 pm

    85 – Brown’s not a prospect because he’s 27. If he put up those numbers at age 23 like Clement, people would take notice.

    Balentin strikes out way too much right now for me to be confident he could handle the bigs. Clement’s strikeout rate isn’t as good as I remember it being, but it still is a good deal better than Balentin’s and he walks more often. Because of his more advanced strike zone control, I think Clement is far more suited for the next level than Wlad.

  88. gwangung on February 12th, 2008 5:22 pm

    I think Clement is far more suited for the next level than Wlad.

    His bat…maybe.

    His catching? Hmmmm

    (Why why why WHY do people ignore the other half of a player’s value?)

  89. Rick L on February 12th, 2008 5:32 pm

    With Baek out of options, I would wager he will be with the team out of spring training. So I think he will be the primary long relief guy and step in if someone gets hurt. RRS will back him up. With leaves Green, O’Flaherty, and Morrow for the set up roles, that is 11 pitchers. It will be interesting to see what they do with Ramirez and Dickey. Maybe one of them will knock RRS back to AAA.

  90. shortbus on February 12th, 2008 5:41 pm

    On McLemore: He averaged 117 games and 384 AB’s with the M’s. Lou was always finding a time and place for him to play and give guys a rest. Mac occasionally grumped about it, if I recall, but overall was an asset to the team with the number of positions he played well.

  91. Breadbaker on February 12th, 2008 5:46 pm

    89: No way on this planet McLaren leaves himself only one lefty in the bullpen. He wouldn’t let Sherrill face righties (that was one of the reasons they brought in Rick White, to keep Putz from having to do more than a three-out save when they brought in a left-handed bat in the eighth), even though he was facing righties at a mere .212 with a .587 OPS. So if he had only O’Flaherty from the left side, his head would explode.

  92. Breadbaker on February 12th, 2008 5:47 pm

    Okay, brainfart. I meant “a right-handed bat in the eighth.”

  93. shortbus on February 12th, 2008 6:06 pm

    I have a question about where the M’s might make moves later in the year. Assuming they’re within a few games of the Angels at the deadline and want to improve, I have a feeling they could be in a bind. Assuming everyone on the roster is essentially performing up to expectations, the only people they could replace would be either young, inexpensive stars like Lopez, Betancourt and Hernandez, true veteran performers like Ichiro, Beltre, Bedard or Putz, or the kind of mediocre veterans that “know how to grind out a pennant race.” Unless someone is really underperforming there really isn’t a way to get better in terms of the way the M’s FO views its players. They could tweak the bench or the bullpen, I guess. I just don’t see them making a deal in which a guy like Ibanez is replaced by someone way better.

  94. msb on February 12th, 2008 6:16 pm

    FWIW, tonight’s KOMO hot stove show has Bedard, Perlozzo and Bone.

  95. rea on February 12th, 2008 6:34 pm

    I predict that you will see Cairo getting time at first this spring. Having signed Cairo, they are more-or-less committed to having a bench consisting of Bloomquist, Cairo, backup catcher, and 4th outfielder. They’ll have to trade Morrow, if he’s out of options–unless they are willing to go with Bloomquist as the 4th OF.

    I don’t see any sign that team management is thinking of purging the likes of Sexton, Ibanez, or Vidro.

    They’ll have 12 pitchers, because that’s the fashionable way to do things, and because they need 12 roster slots for pitchers if they are going to carry H. Ramierez–which they will, or they wouldn’t have signed him. His role will doubtless be to come in when the SP gets knocked out early, and ensure the game stays out of reach. The rest of the bullpen will, of course, be Putz, Baek (no options), Morrow, O’Flaherty, Green, and one unsettled slot–perhaps a situational lefty, as our host suggests.

  96. Tek Jansen on February 12th, 2008 6:56 pm

    #95 — You probably meant “Morse” is out of options. I can see the M’s trading Morse and/or Baek for something rather than forcing them onto the roster.

  97. JMHawkins on February 12th, 2008 7:35 pm

    Maybe one of them will knock RRS back to AAA.

    It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have him stretched out and in the groove of starting every fifth day. It’s almost certain we’ll need a 6th starter at some point.

  98. galaxieboi on February 12th, 2008 9:32 pm

    His bat…maybe.

    His catching? Hmmmm

    (Why why why WHY do people ignore the other half of a player’s value?)

    gwangung- That’s what we’re discussing. Simply the offensive half of their games.

    marc w- Clement’s top comps are Eric Munson, Todd Helton, Trot Nixon and Adrian Gonzalez. He was an outstanding hitter in a great college program in maybe the best conference in college baseball. He was hurt most of ’06 in addition to being rushed. He’ll hit.

    But you’re right, I’d like to seem take that step forward this year. Both behind the dish and with the stick. If he does then I think we can pencil him in as a starter next year.

  99. gwangung on February 12th, 2008 10:10 pm

    But you’re right, I’d like to seem take that step forward this year. Both behind the dish and with the stick. If he does then I think we can pencil him in as a starter next year.

    No disagreement there.

    I’m just grousing (a bit) that when people talk about people, they manage to focus just on the bat, not on the glove (and if they talk about it at all, they brush it off as minor). Catching is difficult, you can’t pick it up by catching a few games in the majors (particularly after he was rushed up the system). And having him sit in the majors is definitely not as good as having him catch everyday in the minors.

    But I’m afraid the Mariners won’t see it that way. They’ll make the same mistake as they do with Ibanez and look at the bat and ignore the glove, and go for the short term gain over the long term development (as they did with Morrow).

  100. galaxieboi on February 12th, 2008 10:39 pm

    I’m afraid of that too. However, this is a time when perhaps the Mariner love for ‘veteran grit’ will pay off. “We don’t need that kid. We’ve got two perfectly good catchers already. Leave him in smelly Tacoma for another year.” Maybe?

  101. marc w on February 12th, 2008 11:41 pm

    99 – I think it’s entirely logical to focus on a minor leaguer’s bat, especially given scouting concerns that a player may not stick at his current position. We are – by choice, it’s true – focusing solely on his bat at this moment. If that’s distressing to you, please, look away.

    galaxieboi, I’m glad you’re confident of Clement. seriously, his college pedigree is great, and gives me a bit more confidence. My point initially was that his stats are pretty good for a young-ish catcher. They’re not the sort of stats that put to rest any doubt about MLB hitting ability. So yes, let’s hope he develops, and let’s hope his defense means he stays behind the plate.
    btw, what comps are you using? In PECOTA, his top comp is Ryan Christianson, which should give all M’s fans pause (2nd is Mike Jacobs, which is much better, although Jacobs didn’t stick at C).

    87 – I brought up Brown and Soto just to say that Clement wasn’t the best hitting catcher in his league last year. Again, the point is, he’s done pretty well *for a catcher* so far. If there’s any doubt about his ability to stick there, that’s necessarily going to impact his ranking. I’m not absolutely sure he’ll rake in MLB. I’m more confident saying he’s a pretty good hitting C prospect. If he was an OF, we’re not having this conversation, that’s all.
    Sure, Brown wouldn’t have been overlooked if he’d done this at 23. He was well known at 23, of course, but that’s another story.
    Also, if Balentien’s K rate bothers you, what do you make of Adam Jones’ rate?

  102. Wishhiker on February 13th, 2008 2:37 am

    I just think O’Flaherty’s got Fu. I don’t know what exactly Fu is, but it seems to me it might be the anti-scrappy. Ask Fu Master Putz about it…

  103. regfairfield on February 13th, 2008 5:15 am

    101 – If it doesn’t improve, he’ll never be a great hitter, but his patience, power and defense will keep his performance at acceptable levels. With that said, he’s got all the time in the world to make it better, and he’s gradually been improving. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits something like .240/.310/.420 in the first half this year.

  104. rea on February 13th, 2008 6:18 am

    #95 — You probably meant “Morse” is out of options

    Eeek! Yes . . .

  105. galaxieboi on February 13th, 2008 8:24 am

    Marc- I think you’re using last year’s PECOTA comps. Munson, Helton and Nixon are from the recently released PECOTA Weighted Means speadsheet. As a player makes improvements and ages his comps are apt to change.

    And I hope he hits better than 240/310/420 if he’s in Tacoma.

  106. marc w on February 13th, 2008 8:36 am

    Thanks 105 -

    And yeah, he better hit better than a .730 OPS in tacoma, but I’m assuming Reg meant in Seattle. And yeah, that’s about what I’d expect.
    So far, he was able to turn a disastrous intro to AAA in 2006 into extremely solid production in 2007, so it’s not like he hasn’t shown an ability to learn/grow.

    Out of curiosity, why do they have to keep Cairo? If someone opens their eyes, or if they’re able to grab someone else off the scrap heap, he’s outta here (OK, he and Jimerson). Just because they signed him to a major league deal doesn’t mean they’re bound to the guy.

  107. regfairfield on February 13th, 2008 9:04 am

    I was actually talking about Jones there, should have been more clear with the pronouns. I really value low strikeout rates in minor leaguers and it seems like anyone who strikes out more than once every four at bats struggles when they get to the bigs.

  108. rea on February 13th, 2008 9:04 am

    why do they have to keep Cairo?

    They’re not required to keep him, but it would be surprising to pay him $850,000 and then release him. If the Mariners are giving away money to peole they don’t plan to keep on their roster, I’d like some.

  109. gwangung on February 13th, 2008 11:39 am

    I was actually talking about Jones there, should have been more clear with the pronouns. I really value low strikeout rates in minor leaguers and it seems like anyone who strikes out more than once every four at bats struggles when they get to the bigs.

    Apparently, that’s the team attitude for the Ms.

    Not sure that really works out (see Mike Cameron).

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