Reload: The Offseason Plan To Win in 2009

Dave · September 30, 2008 at 10:35 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

For years, I’ve been posting suggested offseason plans for the M’s, laying out potential moves they could make to improve the roster and try to build a winning team. This year, however, it’s a little different – the organization doesn’t really know what they’re going to do, since they don’t have a GM, and they seem to be leaning towards a rebuild. So, until we know what the decision on the GM is and what he feels like the team should do with this roster, there needs to be two sets of suggestions. Double the work for me, but hopefully, twice as much fun for you guys.

So, here’s part one – a step by step outline of how the organization could retool this winter and attempt to come back as a contender in 2009. There’s a ton of talent hitting free agency this winter and the M’s already have some pieces in place, so it’s possible, even coming off a disastrous season. Here’s one potential roster that could legitimately contend in the A.L. West next year.

And here are the moves that would create said roster:

Trade Jose Lopez, Wladimir Balentien, and Jarrod Washburn to the Brewers for Corey Hart and Brad Nelson

Sign Rafael Furcal to a 3 year, $40 million contract

Sign Milton Bradley to a 3 year, $36 million contract with a vesting option for a 4th season based on PA

Sign Reed Johnson to a 1 year, $3 million contract.

Sign Jeremy Affeldt to a 1 year, $4 million contract

Fairly simple – one trade, four free agent contracts, and a position change for Betancourt. I have a hard time seeing the Brewers turning down that offer (especially with how badly Hart finished 2008, and the fact that he’s arb. eligible this winter), and the contracts for Furcal and Bradley are calculated risks, offering guaranteed years and significant cash to guys with health questions. As far as make believe rosters, I think this one’s quite a bit more realistic than most of the ones I’ve proffered in the past. It requires the M’s to keep their payroll essentially even with what it was in 2008, but wouldn’t require the new GM to come in and demand to be able to trade prospects off for a win-now fix or for a budget increase to spend on veterans. This roster can be built with the resources readily available from day one.

Why would this team win?

Rough calculations put the offense at about +10 runs above average over the full season. Those projections assume a minimal rebound from Betancourt and Hart’s poor seasons, a slight uptick by Beltre and Ichiro, slightly below average production from Clement and Nelson, and Bradley only being a good hitter, not a great one. There’s certainly room for more in the offense – Hart turns 27 next year, and his power is legitimate, so a slightly better approach could lead to a big step forward. Clement could be quite a bit better than the projection, and Bradley might not regress nearly as far as this suggests.

The defense is also remarkably better. Lopez is essentially replaced by Furcal, a pretty huge upgrade with the glove. Ibanez is replaced by Hart, which is like driving by McDonalds and ending up at Mortons. Betancourt’s less of a problem at second base than at shortstop, and while Nelson/Clement won’t be very good over at first, Morse offers some potential as a solid glove there. Overall, this should be an above average defense, probably by the margin of +10 to +15 runs or so.

The pitching staff benefits from a potentially healthy Bedard, the importation of Affeldt to be the bullpen’s primary lefty, and a better back-end of the rotation with RRS, Morrow, and a version of Carlos Silva that can’t possibly be that bad again. Batista, Dickey, and Feierabend provide rotation depth to make up for the innings gap that the starting five will certainly leave, so there’s eight in house starting pitchers already around. Overall, this pitching staff is, much like the rest of the team, slightly above average. Depending on Bedard’s heatlh and the progression of Morrow and Rowland-Smith, I’ve got them at +10 runs above average, but it could jump to +30 if Bedard can pitch the whole season at peak level.

Put it all together, and you’ve got a team that looks like an 85-87 win team based on talent level. Good enough to be the favorite? No, certainly not, but a huge step back to respectability while simultaneously building to the future. No major prospects are sacrificed – Balentien is essentially replaced by Hart, a better version of the same skillset, and while Lopez is shipped off in favor of the older Furcal, Luis Valbuena gets to hang out in Tacoma and push Betancourt for the 2B job if he doesn’t improve.

The guys around which the franchise should be building are still here, and the new talented veterans give the team time to let their prospects develop while also keeping the fan base on board. The team gets younger and significantly more exciting, and the new additions create an opportunity for a playoff berth if enough things go right – Felix breaks out, Bedard stays healthy, Beltre has another monster contract year, whatever. They’re not the favorites, but they’re within striking distance, and there’s real upside on the roster.

Why would this team lose?

Easy – it’s brittle as hell. Furcal gets a huge contract for sitting four months in 2008. Bradley never plays more than about 75% of the season. Bedard’s coming off shoulder surgery. Morrow and Rowland-Smith enter spring training as starters for the first time in their careers. Those five guys are all major durability question marks, and they’re all being counted on. If more than one bites it, this team isn’t going to win. They have to stay healthy.

But what do you really lose by trying this roster out? Say Bedard doesn’t come back, Furcal’s back is still a problem, Bradley misses a bunch of time due to nagging injuries… they just get replaced by the kids you were going to play if you decided to rebuild before the year started, and you can still shop around guys like Beltre and Putz at the trade deadline if you want prospects in lieu of more draft picks.

Yea, there’s some financial outlay, but none of it is guaranteed beyond where Silva and Johjima’s ugly extensions already take us, so it’s not prolonging the years of bad money on the books. If you go into a full scale rebuild, you’re not winning for 2-3 years anyway, so the money spent on Bradley and Furcal isn’t going to push back your timetable one single day. And if the team bombs while either or both of those guys stay healthy and productive, you have a couple new trade chips to hasten your rebuild.

The team has issues, but there are players available that can address those issues, and the team has the resources to get those guys in uniform. The Mariners don’t have to rebuild – with some good roster management, they can restock the major league roster without sacrificing the future. It doesn’t have to be an either/or, win now or rebuild situation. With an offseason like this, the team could win in 2009 and rebuild at the same time.

Comments

94 Responses to “Reload: The Offseason Plan To Win in 2009”

  1. Mike Snow on September 30th, 2008 10:46 pm

    Are the Brewers ready to give up on Rickie Weeks that they would take Lopez?

  2. Dave on September 30th, 2008 10:57 pm

    Weeks is brutal defensively at second base – he needs to move to the OF, which this would allow him to do.

  3. Breadbaker on September 30th, 2008 11:01 pm

    Furcal is 31 and coming off a near-season-long back problem. He’s played well when healthy, but will he be healthy?

  4. Red Apple on September 30th, 2008 11:08 pm

    Trading Lopez at his offensive peak is probably a smart move. But keeping Betancourt? Superficially, his numbers don’t appear that bad (a fair number of doubles, he doesn’t strike out much). Might his perceived value to some teams be a little inflated, and further, maybe his defensive slippage not yet widely known?

  5. Silentpadna on September 30th, 2008 11:21 pm

    I like this a lot. Would the Brewers be willing to give up a guy like Hart do you think?

    I’m actually a Lopez fan and have been for a long time, so the cost looks higher to me than most fans I’m sure…

    How ’bout targeting a guy like Ka’aihue (Kila), who looks blocked at KC and though not a glamour prospect, certainly showed evidence of breakout this year at 24. He’s exactly the type of plate discipline guy (great K/BB ratios) the M’s have been lacking. Cheap option at first with pretty good upside…

  6. eponymous coward on September 30th, 2008 11:28 pm

    Trading Lopez at his offensive peak is probably a smart move.

    Um, why do you think Lopez is at his offensive peak? A lot of people seem to think he’s a finished product because he’s been around seemingly forever, but he’s just played his age 24 season. I think his .325/.475 second half is more than sustainable- and there’s likely to be room for improvement. I don’t know if you project him as a lock to Aramis Remirez/Miguel Tejada levels of offense, where he noses over a .500 SLG, unless he leaves Safeco, but it doesn’t seem THAT unreasonable; instead of 41 2B and 17 HR, 31 2B and 27 HR…

    That being said, I do agree that he is probably our most fungible/replaceable product though (in terms of having value to another team + ability in the org to replace), so yeah, identifying him as a candidate to go in a deal makes sense. I’d rather dump Betancourt, personally, but I suspect he wouldn’t get much in return, and Bill Bavasi isn’t likely to be a potential trading partner this offseason.

  7. eponymous coward on September 30th, 2008 11:32 pm

    Oh, and if nothing else, a clubhouse with Carlos Silva and Milton Bradley should be give us lots of entertaining stories about team chemistry from Geoff Baker.

  8. Bender on October 1st, 2008 12:03 am

    How does Betancourt look defensively at 2B?

  9. Benne on October 1st, 2008 12:24 am

    I’ve always been a big fan of Furcal. If healthy, he would be such an awesome upgrade to our infield.

    Throwing $36M at a DH is always a calculated risk, but I like the idea of pursuing Bradley. How will his skillset translate to Safeco Field?

  10. skitrex on October 1st, 2008 12:41 am

    I like your thinking, but you know that Howard and Lincoln will want to cut the payroll budget to under $100 million. With our track record with injury prone players like Bedard and Sexson, I don’t think you or another GM will be able to sign a injury risk player to a $10+ million multi year contract. Maybe a Dallas McPherson or another cheaper reclamation project. There should be a couple of players from Texas and Florida that should be available in the offseason.

  11. Hooligan on October 1st, 2008 12:44 am

    It seems like you’ve long been an advocate for Affeldt’s arm, but is a middle relief guy worth that much money? Aren’t there bargains to be found that would allow the team to sink those funds into a stronger position player?

    Good stuff Dave, thanks.

  12. lailaihei on October 1st, 2008 12:52 am

    I agree with mostly everything but I really don’t think we’ll be able to get Hart for that little.

    Nice article though, I enjoyed it, as always.

  13. MattThompson on October 1st, 2008 12:52 am

    Dave for GM!

    Honestly, great stuff. That said, are there any reclamation-type guys the Ms could take a minimum-salary flyer on for DH? I look at Carlos Pena and Jack Cust and shake my head in envy. I did this a lot when Vidro was hitting third the first few months.

  14. hob on October 1st, 2008 1:15 am

    No room for Corcoran in that pen?

  15. mark s on October 1st, 2008 1:58 am

    Love this post every year!

    A 87-75 season would be such a boost to everyone who has watch this team the last couple of years. If only those extra 26 wins all happened at home, now that would be something.

  16. terry on October 1st, 2008 4:47 am

    It’s much easier just to slash and burn and blame the next three years of profitable suck on a young, first time GM that “no one had heard of” before he was hired.

  17. Spanky on October 1st, 2008 6:16 am

    …Morse offers some potential as a solid glove there.

    Thanks for the article…all good ideas. I’ve always like Morse’s bat but thought his problem was always his glove. Why do you believe he can be solid at first? Don’t you think he’ll need some time in Tacoma to get some rehab and some additional experience at first before he can help the big club next year?

  18. bermanator on October 1st, 2008 6:30 am

    You think it’ll take three years and $36 million to get Bradley, even with the baggage he brings to the table?

    This plan is definitely do-able, and I agree that the Brewers would strongly consider that trade (maybe with someone besides Balentien if he’s out of options — otherwise he has the same issue for them that Nelson does). It’s some more cash out of the budget, but it’s not like any of the new guys are blocking younger, cheaper alternatives who are Major League ready.

  19. TomG on October 1st, 2008 7:18 am

    I don’t know if I’d be on board for signing Furcal for that long and for that amount, assuming one could sign him to that deal. (I think he’s in for a much bigger haul than that.) Essentially you’re paying over $13MM for Furcal’s defensive reputation and banking that, as a player entering his Age-31 season, his offense will hover around league average for the duration of the deal. Aside from this truncated season, Furcal has been good for an EqA around .275-.285, which is good for the position, but definitely not worth the money spent on him given the context of the team.

    I also don’t think the Brewers bite on that trade. Balentien would presumably be the jewel of the deal but he’d be a bit redundant at the corner outfield spot, with Braun taking one and Gamel most likely having to move to the other. I guess accepting this move would be in preparation of Fielder moving on to greener pastures down the road but, I think, the Brewers could get much more for Hart than Balentien and a LAIM (Washburn). Lopez makes even less sense if one considers Weeks/Escobar/Hardy all jockeying for the middle infield spots; Lopez would be the worst of the group defensively and probably neck-and-neck with Escobar for the worst offensive player of the group.

    FWIW, I tackled the same problem (constructing the 2009) on another message board (please delete if in violation of site rules):

    http://www.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=119&t=831235&start=15#p17152013

    N.B. This was done before Bedard’s injury.

  20. IHaveALittleProject on October 1st, 2008 7:19 am

    Why do you believe he can be solid at first?

    In my opinion, 1st base isn’t really a challenging position. Usually, the guys who are liabilities over there are completely immobile beer-league types. Morse has been a middle infielder in the past, so the athleticism shouldn’t limit him, and the position isn’t hard to learn.

  21. IHaveALittleProject on October 1st, 2008 7:24 am

    Also, I have to vote against the Jeremy Reed / Reed Johnson platoon for the confusion it will cause Niehaus.

  22. Rain Delay on October 1st, 2008 7:52 am

    You think it’ll take three years and $36 million to get Bradley, even with the baggage he brings to the table?

    Who cares about his baggage. The guy can mash, and that’s what he would be here for.

  23. TomG on October 1st, 2008 7:57 am

    I’d be more concerned about the medical baggage Bradley brings to the table. The guy’s never been the picture of perfect health.

  24. DHRjericho on October 1st, 2008 7:58 am

    I can’t imagine the Brewers would be foolish enough to move Hart based on a 20 game sample at the end of the year….despite arbitration starting. I have a feeling Doug Melvin is a little smarter than that. Washburns salary in 09 will probably cover the first 2 years of arb for Hart anyway…there would be no need to make this move unless i’m missing something. The Brewers wouldn’t want or need Lopez and Balentiens star potential doesn’t seem like it’ll reach Harts.

  25. DHRjericho on October 1st, 2008 8:02 am

    About Bradley i’d add that his Home/Road splits from 08 might not bode well for Safeco.

  26. msb on October 1st, 2008 8:23 am

    I do think it should be called: “Reload: The Annual (and Oft-Ignored) Offseason Plan To Win”

  27. sbaxamusa on October 1st, 2008 8:25 am

    I have a few comments.

    1) There were 40 pitchers last year who had more than 70 IP in relief. It seems unlikely that next year 4 of them will end up on the M’s.

    2) That pitching staff is “projected” to pitch 1250 innings. A typical load for a pitching staff is ~1430 IP, give or take. So there’s 180 IP that will be pitched by…who? If they’re replacement level pitchers (ie, no payroll increase over the 116 MM you show here) then they’ll be a .370 starter and a .460 reliever.

    That’s not such a big deal (~ 5 runs) if Dickey and Batista pick up all the rotation slack (and pitch the same in both roles). But more than likely, a lot of those IP will come from replacement level starters and relievers, which will kick you down another 10 or 15 runs, or between 1 and 2 wins.

    3) Same deal with the PAs – you have 5550 PA if everyone stays healthy (relative to expectations). A typical team might have 6100 PAs. That’s another 550 PA, which, if it goes to a replacement level hitter, is about 2 wins below average (that is, an average hitter is 2 wins above replacement).

    Even in this relatively rosy scenario, I have a hard time seeing this team as anything other than .500. Now if Bedard and Bradley and Furcal can play “more” full-time, you might have a mid- to high-80s win team.

  28. bermanator on October 1st, 2008 8:31 am

    Who cares about his baggage. The guy can mash, and that’s what he would be here for.

    Any GM signing someone to that kind of contract should be worried about baggage, because if his health issues rise up again his contract becomes another albatross.

    At any rate, that wasn’t an argument against Seattle signing him, just a theory that it may limit the amount of teams that will be willing to make that kind of a commitment to him (in years as much as in dollars).

  29. msb on October 1st, 2008 8:40 am

    I like your thinking, but you know that Howard and Lincoln will want to cut the payroll budget to under $100 million.

    why do we know this?

    Also, I have to vote against the Jeremy Reed / Reed Johnson platoon for the confusion it will cause Niehaus.

    nah, it’ll smooth things out, ’cause all he’ll have to say is …”Reed!”

  30. bakomariner on October 1st, 2008 9:15 am

    1- Corcoran has to be in the pen…
    2- The Brewers are probably going to lose Sheets and Sabathia, so Washburn might be something they are interested in as a replacement…not in skills mind you, but they need to replace them with someone…
    3- I agree that we need to sell high on Lopez, but I’d rather have him at 2B than Yuni…I was sooooo excited about the future of Yuni when he first came on the scene…now I can’t think of a position player on the Ms I want gone more than him…
    4-Dave, what do you think about the manager? Riggs earn the right to get the gig, or do you have someone else in mind? And the rest of the staff? Mel coming back?

    Great write up as always…I look forward to part two…

  31. bat guano on October 1st, 2008 9:17 am

    I love the proposed Hart trade Dave, but I’m not sure the Brewers would go for it. It would be worth asking though. The biggest problem with this plan appears to me to be at first base. What happens if Nelson flops? Do you really think Morse can hit enough to justify a platoon role there? Hopefully there’s a better backup plan than Miguel Cairo and/or Brian Lahair……

  32. Dave on October 1st, 2008 9:22 am

    But keeping Betancourt?

    His value’s down quite a bit. If someone makes a good offer, great, but I think it’s more likely that he could see his value rise with an offseason of hard work and a better performance in 2009.

    Would the Brewers be willing to give up a guy like Hart do you think?

    If the Brewers recognize that Weeks is better off in the OF than continuing the 2B experiment, then yes.

    How ’bout targeting a guy like Ka’aihue (Kila), who looks blocked at KC and though not a glamour prospect, certainly showed evidence of breakout this year at 24.

    KC doesn’t have as much reason to trade Kaaihue as the Brewers do to trade Nelson.

    How does Betancourt look defensively at 2B?

    Better than at SS, for sure.

    How will his skillset translate to Safeco Field?

    Very well – he’s a spray hitter who will get most of his at-bats as a LH, which Safeco is very friendly too.

    Aren’t there bargains to be found that would allow the team to sink those funds into a stronger position player?

    I don’t think there are that much better fits for this team in the position player market, honestly. You might argue Orlando Hudson over Furcal or something, but Affeldt’s salary isn’t keeping you from getting Mark Teixeira.

    No room for Corcoran in that pen?

    I’m generally not too concerned about the names in the bullpen. Obviously, the team will use a lot more than 25 guys next year, so just listing the opening day roster omits some guys who will pitch quite a bit.

    I’ve always like Morse’s bat but thought his problem was always his glove. Why do you believe he can be solid at first?

    Albert Pujols would be a problem at short, but he’s fantastic at first. Morse won’t be that good, but his skillset actually works pretty well for a first baseman. I think he could be something like Derrek Lee defensively with some work.

    You think it’ll take three years and $36 million to get Bradley, even with the baggage he brings to the table?

    To get him to sign with Seattle, maybe. Jose Guillen got 3/36 last winter, and his baggage is obviously well known, plus he’s not as good as Bradley is. Maybe you can get him for less, but the general idea is the same.

    Furcal has been good for an EqA around .275-.285, which is good for the position, but definitely not worth the money spent on him given the context of the team.

    My projection for Furcal has him being +5 to +10 runs better than an average hitter and playing average defense at shortstop. In terms of win values, a slightly above average hitter who can play an average SS is worth about 3.5 wins above a replacement level player. You’d have to set your marginal value very, very low to not think 3.5 wins is worth $13 million.

    1) There were 40 pitchers last year who had more than 70 IP in relief. It seems unlikely that next year 4 of them will end up on the M’s.

    Since I was just listing the 25 man roster, a lot of the bullpen guys are just placeholders for a spot – so Green/Affeldt/Lowe/Corcoran/Jimenez/whoever will combine throw 250-300 innings, and since the talent level difference between them all is fairly minimal, it won’t effect the overall projection much. If this was meant to be a precise projection, you’re right, I’d have to tweak things.

    Even in this relatively rosy scenario, I have a hard time seeing this team as anything other than .500. Now if Bedard and Bradley and Furcal can play “more” full-time, you might have a mid- to high-80s win team.

    Well, if someone would update the daily Marcels, we could run a more accurate projection…

  33. Sports on a Schtick on October 1st, 2008 9:24 am

    So Dave, you feel Clement should stick at catcher?

  34. Dave on October 1st, 2008 9:30 am

    No, I think he ends up at first base. But I’m willing to give him one more year to prove me wrong while we wait to find out if Adam Moore can push himself into the picture or if Kenji can rebound.

    If Clement still can’t catch, he moves to first, where he, Nelson, and Bradley can split the 1B/DH at-bats.

  35. msb on October 1st, 2008 9:38 am

    Morse won’t be that good, but his skillset actually works pretty well for a first baseman. I think he could be something like Derrek Lee defensively with some work.

    and he does seem to be willing to do the work …

    But keeping Betancourt?

    His value’s down quite a bit. If someone makes a good offer, great, but I think it’s more likely that he could see his value rise with an offseason of hard work and a better performance in 2009.

    Yuni is joining the Ibanez Straighten-Up&Fly-Right off-season work-out, so it will be interesting to see him come spring training

  36. bakomariner on October 1st, 2008 9:41 am

    Morse does seem to be figuring things out…at least offensively…being in a platoon at 1B would be good for him…just keep him out of the outfield or it’s Ibanez all over again…

  37. JerBear on October 1st, 2008 9:49 am

    This is why I love this site! Great work, Dave.

    But shouldn’t you be finalizing your honeymoon plans instead of an offseason reload plan? ;)

    Seriously, though, is there a way to get this sent to Chuck and Howard? I wouldn’t expect them to actually do anything in this post, or even understand all of it – but this is the part that they need to have driven home:

    The Mariners don’t have to rebuild – with some good roster management, they can restock the major league roster without sacrificing the future. It doesn’t have to be an either/or, win now or rebuild situation. With an offseason like this, the team could win in 2009 and rebuild at the same time.

  38. TomG on October 1st, 2008 9:57 am

    You’d have to set your marginal value very, very low to not think 3.5 wins is worth $13 million

    I know this exercise is to build a hypothetical contender for next season but I don’t know the validity in giving that kind of long-term financial commitment to Furcal, given his age through the contract and recent injury history. (Again, paying no mind to the dearth of top-tier FA SS artificially inflating his price.) Adding Furcal in a vacuum to any team at that price is a relative no-brainer; like you said 3.5 marginal wins for $13MM is a bargain. However, adding Furcal long-term at the expense of X and Y for a team in need of more long-term solutions becomes more of a gamble and is treading dangerously close to the same path this team has gone down in the past few seasons.

    I guess I don’t see the need of adding Furcal because I don’t see that team as constructed being a serious enough contender next season, and especially beyond, to justify adding him for that long and at that price. (Especially not with that rotation.)

  39. Eastside Crank on October 1st, 2008 10:13 am

    Being a Dodger fan I have always been leery of Bradley’s temper. He is a very talented player but during his time with the Dodgers he had trouble keeping his actions in check. I am willing to cut him some slack but I am guessing that Dave thinks the M’s will have a new manager. Trailing in the 8th inning of a 1-0 game Bradley dropped a bases loaded line drive allowing 2 runs to score. A fan in the right field stands showed his appreciation by throwing a plastic bottle on the field. Bradley went ballistic and tried to assault the stands. After being restrained by other players and thrown out of the game he taunted the fans near the Dodger dugout. He had to be pulled back into the dugout by the Dodger bench coach – Jim Riggleman.

  40. Dave on October 1st, 2008 10:51 am

    Well, if your objections to Furcal are “this team can’t win”, then this post isn’t really for you, because the entire thrust of it is “this team can win”. I’ll have a “this team can’t win, here’s how to rebuild” plan up later.

  41. That Bootleg Guy on October 1st, 2008 11:00 am

    Yeah, Crank, but as an A’s fan living in San Diego, I’ve seen when Bradley can keep his temper in check (for the most part) and hit very well, as he did during the A’s AL West title team in 2006. In 2007, he was the Padres’ best hitter during his admittedly short time in San Diego.

    Save for the issue with the Royals PBP guy this year, he seems like he was a model citizen with the most irritating thing about him being the persistent injury issues he’s almost guaranteed to endure each year.

  42. Joe C on October 1st, 2008 11:01 am

    I normally don’t give much credence to what baseball announcers say, but they had an interesting idea in the play-in game last night. One of them mentioned that the White Sox might think of moving Alexei Ramirez to SS next year, effectively sending Orlando Cabrera out the door. Cabrera is a solid switch-hitting SS who I’ve never liked for the fact that he’s played for the Red Sox and Angels and he’s killed the Mariners, but he’s been healthy and consistent and could be relied upon more than Furcal in my opinion. I don’t know what it would take to get him or what he would cost, but I thought it was an idea that could work for the Mariners. I’d think he might fit in the two-hole behind Ichiro better than Furcal.

  43. joser on October 1st, 2008 11:02 am

    About Bradley i’d add that his Home/Road splits from 08 might not bode well for Safeco.

    Don’t do that. You’ll just make Dave mad. Using Home/Road splits doesn’t add any information and just cuts your sample size in half. If you want to talk about the move to Safeco, then use his numbers from Safeco. In 110 PA, he’s .258 / .391 / .506 which gives him a 116 OPS+ (vs .280 / .370 / .457, 118 OPS+ for his career). Not a big deal on the surface, but he’s a switch hitter who hits much better RH (.303 / .387 / .504 ) than LH (.270 / .362 / .436), which is more of a problem when you play half your games at Safeco. There’s the ammunition you want for the argument you’re making.

    You might argue Orlando Hudson over Furcal

    That’s where I was going to go. Hudson has been my pick for the Frank Thomas Memorial Reclamation Surprise for 2009, and I seem to recall you calling him “officially endorsed” when you referenced your post on him over at Fangraphs. So what gives? Why Furcal over Hudson? Is Hudson just the cheaper/lower upside version, and you’d rather go for more if the money’s available? Given Hudson’s been off the radar all year I would think he’d take pretty good terms to re-establish himself; you could probably do a one-year deal with a team option for one or two more.

    Even in this relatively rosy scenario, I have a hard time seeing this team as anything other than .500. Now if Bedard and Bradley and Furcal can play “more” full-time, you might have a mid- to high-80s win team.

    That was my best-case scenario going into this season. That would be my best-case scenario going into next season. It’s certainly better than “tear down and rebuild.” I’d be very happy with a 2009 team with 81 wins and a first round draft pick, one that got there without gutting the farm or signing albatross contracts extending beyond the ones already on the books. That’s rebuilding without tearing down. That’s a huge improvement over this year. That’s a good season.

  44. bakomariner on October 1st, 2008 11:13 am

    Orlando Cabrera is another interesting choice, but I don’t know if I could deal with Hudler always referring to him as “The OC” when the Ms play the Angels next year.

  45. joser on October 1st, 2008 11:17 am

    Being a Dodger fan I have always been leery of Bradley’s temper. He is a very talented player but during his time with the Dodgers he had trouble keeping his actions in check.

    That was Jose Guillen in a nutshell. Lots of altercations before he came to Seattle; several altercations this year in KC (including coaches, other players, and one where teammates had to intercede when he went after a home fan). His year in Seattle, nada. Maybe the same soporific environment that leads to 100 loss seasons and the need for stadium signs reminding fans to cheer also contains the hidden virtue of soothing the savage beast; maybe the organizational insistence on “character” and “chemistry” really has an effect. Who knows. But that’s less of a concern with the M’s than it might be other places.

  46. bakomariner on October 1st, 2008 11:20 am

    I could care less if the team has 25 a-holes on it if they win a title. As many have said, you have a bad clubhouse when you are losing and a good one when you are winning. Screw chemistry.

    The chemistry and off-field stuff shouldn’t matter if the player can play and play well.

  47. Sports on a Schtick on October 1st, 2008 11:42 am

    I’m pretty sure Orlando Cabrera is not a switch hitter. I’ve always liked the guy. Good defense and he carried that Angels offense a couple years ago when Vlad was out.

  48. Colm on October 1st, 2008 12:22 pm

    What would Furcal and Bradley cost in draft picks? The #2 overall pick is sacrosanct – but surely Bradley would cost us our second draft pick. Would Furcal also be classified as a class A?

  49. eponymous coward on October 1st, 2008 12:24 pm

    You know, focusing on the names Dave puts down as opposed to the ideas he brings across is probably the wrong way to go.

    Basically, it can be broken down into:

    1. find reasonable answers in middle infield, 1B, DH, OF that help upgrade the defense and offense
    2. dump one of the triumvirate of overpaid SPs, packaged with some talent, to help with item 1,
    3. shore up the bullpen a wee bit,
    4. Don’t burn the farm system doing 1-3.

    I think it’s do-able, even if you can argue around the margins (like, say, preferring Lopez to Betancourt as a player you keep).

  50. Joe C on October 1st, 2008 12:37 pm

    Sorry about that. Cabrera hits right. I was confused I guess because he used to play for the Angels who ran out five or six switch hitters in a lot of games… I just assumed he was one of them. He’s a good hitter though and if it didn’t cost too much it might be a viable option.

  51. TumwaterMike on October 1st, 2008 12:44 pm

    I would like to see the Mariners get Greg Dobbs back. He is left-handed, can play 3rd, 1st and DH. He has proven, with extended playing time, he can hit .280-.300 with about 10 homeruns.

    He could maybe platoon with Morse at first, DH and give Beltre some rest at 3rd. I think he would be a solid bench guy for the M’s. I don’t know if he’s a free agent but if he’s not you could proabably get him for a couple of 2nd tier minor leaguers.

  52. bakomariner on October 1st, 2008 1:12 pm

    Dave, I know how down you are on LaHair, but is Nelson any better? I don’t know anything about him besides raw stats.

  53. thekid24 on October 1st, 2008 1:22 pm

    1. If you want a volatile $12M outfielder, trade a bucket of balls to KC for Jose Guillen and have him play LF.

    2. Trade Jose Lopez and Jarrod Washburn to the White Sox for Nick Swisher (hates Ozzie Guillen). Swisher costs you just $5.3M in 2008 and solves your 1B problem. Sox will be looking for a 2B to replace Cabrera, with Ramirez moving to SS. You’ll have to eat $6M of Washburn’s $10.35 deal.

    3. Find a spot for two of the Florida Marlins’ 17 arbitration-eligible players. Offer them Balentien and get yourself an upgrade in LHP Scott Olsen and an all-purpose IF/OF Alfredo Amezega for a combined $5M.

    4. Sign Ken Griffey, Jr. to a hometown 1 yr/$8M contract.

    5. Trade Miguel Batista ($9M) and Rob Johnson to the Toronto Blue Jays for the final three years of 2B Aaron Hill’s contract ($2.6M in 2009).

    6. Save the $4M you were going to spend on Affeldt. Rowland-Smith returns to the bullpen assuming Bedard is healthy, Jimenez slides into the situational lefty role.

    RESULT:

    RF Ichiro (L) $17.0
    2B Hill (R) $2.6
    LF Guillen (R) $12.0
    DH Griffey (L) $8.0
    3B Beltre (R) $12.0
    1B Swisher (L) $5.3
    C Clement (L) $0.5
    SS Betancourt (R) $2.0
    CF Reed (L) $0.5

    Bench Johjima (R) $8.0
    Bench Amezega (R) $1.0
    Bench Hulett (L) $0.5
    Bench LaHair (L) $0.5

    SP Hernandez (R) $3.0
    SP Bedard (L) $8.0
    SP Morrow (R) $0.5
    SP Olsen (L) $4.5
    SP Silva (R) $11.0

    CL Putz (R) $5.0
    Rel Jimenez (L) $0.5
    Rel Green (R) $0.5
    Rel Rowland-Smith (L) $0.5
    Rel Lowe (R) $0.5
    Rel Corcoran (R) $0.5

    subtotal $104.4M
    plus $6M to Washburn

    TOTAL $110.4M

  54. Red Apple on October 1st, 2008 1:27 pm

    BTW, I forgot to say:

    Awesome, Dave! This is great, great stuff. If only the current management put as much passion and forward thinking into their JOB as you put into just this one of your many outside interests, the M’s would be in fantastic shape.

  55. bakomariner on October 1st, 2008 1:29 pm

    thekid-

    Guillen in LF would be as bad as Ibanez. No thanks.

    Griffey is done. It would be a nice feel-good story, but again, no thanks.

    RRS is a starter now. Period. If you want to replace a starter, send Silva to the pen.

    The rest sounds good. I would REALLY be okay with Swisher. Always loved that guy. Even when he was an A.

  56. thekid24 on October 1st, 2008 1:38 pm

    Why does everyone think Guillen is such a bad OF? He’s still got his legs and he’s got a RF’s arm.

    Griffey is done, yes, but is Mike Morse better? I want to at least enjoy watching the games if we’re going to lose.

    I agree RRS should remain a starter, but I also love Scott Olsen. Silva to the pen would be fine with me, but we would then need to sacrifice Corcoran for a lefty. Maybe Rhodes would sign another 1-year deal.

  57. msb on October 1st, 2008 1:49 pm

    Weeks is brutal defensively at second base – he needs to move to the OF, which this would allow him to do.

    well, he’s tried to show them in today’s game …

  58. horatiosanzserif on October 1st, 2008 1:58 pm

    Interesting write-up. It’d be nice to see the M’s land Hart.

    Thoughts on Swisher, since someone brought him up:

    2008 splits:
    Home – .247/.361/.517 (19 HR)
    Road – .189/.301/.294 (5 HR)

    Might as well re-sign Sexson for that kind of line.

  59. scraps on October 1st, 2008 2:19 pm

    Not all volatile outfielders are built equal. The difference between Guillen and Bradley is that Guillen is a mediocre hitter and Bradley is a superb hitter.

  60. Jeff Nye on October 1st, 2008 2:56 pm

    Hey, we got much further into this post than I thought we would before someone advocated getting Griffey.

  61. Bender on October 1st, 2008 3:09 pm

    Thanks for answering our questions in this thread.

  62. scraps on October 1st, 2008 3:20 pm

    And even the Griffey-advocator admitted he’s toast.

  63. mariners2009 on October 1st, 2008 3:28 pm

    Is it really worth it to pick up Bradley for 3/$36 when Raul could cost less? Maybe it’s just me, but I would really rather have Raul at DH just for the lack of issues and durability.

    Raul 2008 .293/.358/.479
    Milton 2008 .321/.436/.563

    Those are big numbers, but can he do it again? I doubt it.

  64. msb on October 1st, 2008 3:34 pm

    but I would really rather have Raul at DH just for the lack of issues and durability.

    you’d have to convince Raul to DH for a rebuilding team.

  65. mariners2009 on October 1st, 2008 3:40 pm

    True. I was at a Rangers/M’s game in April and sat 4 rows up from the Ranger’s dugout. In the 2nd or 3rd inning, Milton came walking back to the dugout after a weak pop up. One of the fans gave a shout to him along the lines of “nice hit.” Nothing dirty. Milton’s reply was a very loud and threatning “SHUTUP!” It was funny and pathetic at the same time. I can respect the skills, but I can’t respect the guy and could never be a fan of his. I would rather have Bonds.

  66. eponymous coward on October 1st, 2008 4:35 pm

    If the M’s are going after Furcal, they aren’t rebuilding and throwing away 2008, like whaty Beane did to 2007, circa July 2007; they are making a legitimate try at things.

    600 PAs of Raul might be better than 450 PAs of Bradley + 150 PAs of replacement-level (someone like, say, LaHair), I guess, especially since Bradley’s only pulled off a 450 PA season twice in his career- you’re more likely to get 300 PAs. Bradley’s a monster bat, but the M’s don’t have the kind of depth where they can plug in a decent bat somewhere in the lineup as a backup DH when Bradley has his 8 week stint on the DL. That’s probably the biggest problem with Dave’s plan, as he acknowledged- the Mariners would be pushing their luck to get 120 games out of that roster- and the depth behind Bradley’s not there.

    The problem is I’m not sure you want to be handing Raul 3/36 contracts, either, if Bradley isn’t who you want, and Bradley has more upside than Raul.

    Oh, and Griffey’s awful. His walk rates are going up while his power is nosediving, like other HOFers did before their careers tanked (Mays, for instance), which is a “Danger, Will Robinson!” alert- basically, he’s getting walks because some pitchers and umpires still think he’s The Kid, and instead of swinging at stuff he can’t hit any more, he’s waiting counts out and trying to get something, ANYTHING he can drive (and not succeeding a lot). The next phase is when people throw him stuff straight down Broadway and he whiffs or pops it to SS, and we get to see Richie Sexson all over again. Pass.

  67. Grizz on October 1st, 2008 5:09 pm

    Why does everyone think Guillen is such a bad OF? He’s still got his legs and he’s got a RF’s arm.

    The advanced defensive metrics rate Guillen as one of the worst corner outfielders in baseball. Dewan’s +/- system has him -20 plays below average (which converts to costing his team about 16 runs). Similarly, UZR for 2007 (the 2008 results apparently have not been published yet) rated Guillen at -21 runs below average. In comparison, +/- has Ibanez at -18 plays (14.5 runs), and UZR for 2007 had Ibanez at -31 runs.

  68. Pogotoa on October 1st, 2008 5:41 pm

    I like some of the moves Dave. Not sure about Furcal, but wouldnt mind seeing the rest of the moves go down.

    Two guys I would like to see the M’s target using Lopez and Balentien as trade bait would be David DeJesus and Jeremy Hermida.

    I would also not be adverse to Orlando Hudson, although I think Triunfel is gonna be legit and our 2B starting within 2-3 yrs, therefore not sure you want to sign Hudson for the 4-5 yrs he’ll be looking for.

  69. Wishhiker on October 1st, 2008 5:55 pm

    You know…there were quite a few team records that Edgar took from Griffey after he left and I’d rather Edgar kept them at this point. Griffey wanted out and Edgar stayed, let ‘Gar keep those team records he earned by being a career Mariner. If we wanted Griffey at this point, why not just keep Ibanez? I don’t see a particular need for either…I can’t imagine Griffey being under 50 and as bad a Sexson, though…But being that he’s a type B FA the M’s would lose a pick…Why lose any this year? To be out of the cellar but less equipped to make it to the top in future years? Not worth it in my opinion. Orlando Cabrera (A), Rafael Furcal (B), Milton Bradley (B) and Jeremy Affelt (B) are not worth the pick loss (if offered arbitration by their team: by Dec. 2nd we’ll know), the way our recent 2nd round picks have looked to me. I’d rather watch young players out there at this point than lessen future opportunity by one pick in a pointless year just to improve to .520 or some such. It’s meaningless. Reed Johnson is a good example of what they should look for in an underrated FA that won’t lose your team a pick.

    Is there really any reason to sign a type A or B FA this year if they’re offered arbitration?

  70. eponymous coward on October 1st, 2008 6:34 pm

    That, Grizz, and even when Guillen was having a GOOD year, and Raul, not as much (2007), Raul was the better hitter (6 runscreated per game vs. 5.7 for Guillen).

    It’s not really close- if you want to bring back a complete stiff of an OF to be DH, Raul’s your guy over Jose.

  71. gottago on October 1st, 2008 7:37 pm

    No free agents for multi-year contracts. One year specialist if the price is right.
    Enough of the love fest over Raul. He should be not be resigned.
    Trade Ichiro. Dump Johjima.
    If Griffey comes back it should be to welcome guests to the Emerald Queen.
    Bedard — shows up to play or lose him before Memorial Day.

  72. joser on October 1st, 2008 8:05 pm

    They’re not going to trade Ichiro, and they’re not going to dump Johjima (unless he continues to suck and decides to retire back to Japan a la Sasaki). In order to wish for that, you have to first wish for a different majority owner. But this isn’t really the thread for “let’s assume you can change everything.”

  73. scraps on October 1st, 2008 9:18 pm

    You know…there were quite a few team records that Edgar took from Griffey after he left and I’d rather Edgar kept them at this point.

    A-effin-men.

    Trade Ichiro

    We do not exist in the same Mariner-fan universe.

  74. DHRjericho on October 2nd, 2008 8:06 am

    Joser – I guess i was just trying to say that a .272 swing in OPS from Home to Road should show that Bradley wouldn’t put up numbers anything close to those he did this year if he was playing half his games in Safeco. I’m sure that’s obvious to everyone so maybe it was redundant.

    Also Bradley’s only reached 500 AB’s once in his career. That doesn’t bode well for productivity.

  75. gottago on October 2nd, 2008 8:17 am

    If the Mariners ownership wants to go with an all-Japan/Korean team–why don’t they just do that. In my Mariner universe–I’m for best all-around team and talent. The all-Japan, all-the time thing has worn thin and at best is misplaced allegiance and at-worst, its racist. I’d rather have a meddling owner who tells you how he’s going to build a great team, then a bunch of suits that say one thing and do something else.

  76. eponymous coward on October 2nd, 2008 8:55 am

    Soooooo… the fact that Ichiro’s actually a great player, and the fact that you’re trying to reload rather than rebuild (and thus you WANT to keep Hall of Fame players) has no impact on whether or not you keep him, because he’s Japanese?

  77. gottago on October 2nd, 2008 9:10 am

    Soooooo… the fact that Ichiro’s actually a great player, and the fact that you’re trying to reload rather than rebuild (and thus you WANT to keep Hall of Fame players) has no impact on whether or not you keep him, because he’s Japanese?

    I’m not against him or any other player. But if you can get value for him – like a power-hitting third baseman and a power-hitting corner outfielder, along with a left-hander at rookie or A ball, the Mariners will be a better team after the move.

    They’re not going to trade Ichiro, and they’re not going to dump Johjima (unless he continues to suck and decides to retire back to Japan a la Sasaki). In order to wish for that, you have to first wish for a different majority owner. But this isn’t really the thread for “let’s assume you can change everything.”

    My comments were in response to the “different majority ownership” remark.

  78. msb on October 2nd, 2008 9:36 am

    The all-Japan, all-the time thing has worn thin

    wouldn’t they now have Matsusaka, Igawa, Fukodome etc on the team if that was really the case? As far as I can tell, in 10+ years Mr Yamauchi has asked for three things; to try for the highest bid for Ichiro, to sign Sasaki and to extend Johjima.

  79. Wishhiker on October 2nd, 2008 10:13 am

    How about offer Raul arbitration and see if he makes the decision for you? If he’s back, he’s the DH and you’re not losing a pick to get a pretty good bat for there and if not you get 2 picks. The chances seem pretty good that he’d go elsewhere unless nobody was offering multi-year to get him and a dearth of offers is hard to perceive happening. He’s the only type A/B FA I can really see going for this year. I don’t think this 100 loss team has any reason to throw away picks on a few wins.

  80. joser on October 2nd, 2008 10:37 am

    As far as I can tell, in 10+ years Mr Yamauchi has asked for three things; to try for the highest bid for Ichiro, to sign Sasaki and to extend Johjima.

    Exactly. To exaggerate that into an “all-Japan, all-the time thing” is at best “misplaced” and at worst “racist.” No, I don’t want to go there and I’m not actually accusing you of that. Just quoting your (incendiary, hyperbolic) words back to you.

    One of the enduring themes of USSM is that undervalued players go overlooked by the M’s and get picked up by smarter teams. But one area where the team has been especially strong relative to its peers is overseas scouting. Having an overseas owner may contribute to that or it may not, but the results so far have been pretty good (you may recall that before Ichiro played his first season in the US the widespread consensus was that he was too weak to hit in the American leagues and he, and every other Japanese position player, wouldn’t make it over here). Sure, ownership is certainly aware of the collateral business benefits in the Japanese market when they’re making decisions about certain Japanese players, but prior to the Johjima extension they were also perfectly defensible baseball decisions (particularly on a team that often makes indefensible baseball decisions regarding American players).

  81. msb on October 2nd, 2008 10:41 am

    yup. what I said. only longer & better :)

  82. eponymous coward on October 2nd, 2008 11:13 am

    I’m not against him or any other player. But if you can get value for him – like a power-hitting third baseman and a power-hitting corner outfielder, along with a left-hander at rookie or A ball, the Mariners will be a better team after the move.

    So, you’re saying a deal like (pulling some names of players who meet your guidelines) Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano, or Hank Blalock and Josh Hamilton, plus a young LHP, in trade for Ichiro is a realistic deal for the Mariners to pursue?

    I submit that you’re fooling yourself if you think Ichiro fetches that much in trade. You should probably realize that if you’re trading Ichiro, you’re blowing the team up and getting unproven kids back, and the Mariners probably will NOT be a better team right away after the move- perhaps in the future, but not in the here and now (which is what Dave’s post is about). That’s fine, but be honest about it.

    Or, to put this another way: Carlos Beltran, a younger player than Ichiro, netted the Royals starters in the OF and C (Teahen and Buck), plus a throwin pitcher (Wood). None of the players the Royals netted could hold a candle to Beltran, and the Royals, while better than they were in 2004, are still not a particularly good team.

    Sure, the Mariners would be a better team if their trading partners were the functional equivalent of Bill Bavasi with severe organic brain damage, and we could turn one HOF player into two superior players + a prospect- but that’s unlikely to be the case. The best case would be something like the Griffey/Cameron trade, where we get ONE undervalued player and Ichiro suddenly goes south- but Ichiro isn’t Junior.

  83. Jeff Nye on October 2nd, 2008 12:04 pm

    Your friendly neighborhood mods say:

    Implying racism on the part of M’s ownership isn’t really appropriate, and takes us down a road we’re not going to go down.

  84. gottago on October 2nd, 2008 12:29 pm

    Whoa – settle down. The point is that the Mariners continue to “fall in love and marry” their star players. Or pseudo stars in the case of Sexson. And the fans support the matrimony when the better baseball decision is to “date them and then dump them.”

    I like the fact that Beane played and uses a combination of stats and intuition when it comes to players.

    And I’m ready for the team to be blown up.

  85. eponymous coward on October 2nd, 2008 1:31 pm

    Right, but you’ve yet to make the argument that “date Ichiro and dump him” is the best solution. Dave’s entire argument here is that blowing the team up isn’t necessary, that there is a path to a decent team in 2008, and, given that there’s some evidence that the Angels aren’t really a 99 win true talent team- they are plus 12 on their Pythagorean record; last year’s M’s were plus 9- the argument that putting an 85-88 win team on the table in the West could get you lucky isn’t unreasonable.

    One might also note, for instance, that Eric Chavez is still in an A’s uniform. It’s not unreasonable to build your team around superior, talented players like Ichiro, Felix and Beltre- the problem is that the Mariners have made lousy decisions on supporting cast, not the stars. But, as Bill James pointed out, bad teams (and, I suppose, some of their fans) blame their stars.

  86. gottago on October 2nd, 2008 1:43 pm

    I don’t blame the players. I blame the management that brought them together. And the management that can’t part with a player. I acknowledge that luck and timing all play a part in building a team, but I think that the Mariners can try and build an organization that gives young players a chance, lets those who can, flourish, and then deal them and start over instead of trying to lock them up for another 3-4-5 years as they head into their 30′s.

    It seems to me you have to deal them before they have reached enough service to dictate the terms. And as ARod has shown, dictating terms (including going to a contender) and delivering a world championship are two different things.

  87. eponymous coward on October 2nd, 2008 1:53 pm

    It seems to me you have to deal them before they have reached enough service to dictate the terms.

    That’s one way of looking at it. The Twins, essentially, have that model, where Santana gets dealt, Silva, Jones and Hunter walk, and so on. Basically, there’s complete roster turnover after 6-7 years or so, among the better players.

    On the other hand, you might note the Twins don’t draw great (though a new park may help), and while they contend regularly for division titles in the mid 80-low 90 win range while turning over their talent, they don’t really build superior teams like the Red Sox do- in large part because once their players hit their peak, it’s time to send them away. So, really, there’s not one way you HAVE to build the team- and that’s Dave’s point.

  88. joser on October 2nd, 2008 2:43 pm

    And the fact remains, as pointed out earlier, that Ichiro is not going to net the team anywhere near as much as you seemed to think, and that he remains uniquely valuable to the M’s. So he shouldn’t be at the top of your list to trade even if “blowing up the team” is the strategy you want to take. In any case, Dave’s said he’s going to do a rebuild post, and that would be the appropriate time and place to debate the fine details of such a strategy.

  89. loganwol on October 2nd, 2008 3:14 pm

    Can we stop all this and just reload through the draft, international signings?

    Kidding ourselves that we would be contender 3 years ago is what go us here in the first place.

    Imagine if were in the basement, we might have gotten Longoria! Sigh!! I am looking at the Rays score today and can’t help but dream. :)

  90. Wishhiker on October 2nd, 2008 4:57 pm

    I’m waiting for the “this team can’t win, here’s how to rebuild” post because it seems more reasonable to me. I have to concede there is a possibility that they could win enough to make it somewhat worthwhile (playoffs maybe 10%, ALCS much lower and slim to none on a WS.) I don’t think it’s worth giving up the % chance at improving a team that’s hopefully much closer in 3-5 years by losing picks now to have a slight chance at the playoffs next year. A year from now I think this situation is far more viable than it is now. If only this same argument had held Bavasi’s hand last year this could be the right year.

    No Silva, Bedard, Cairo, Wilkerson, Baek instead of Wells (WTF was that anyway, favors to other teams now and not just players?) jettisoning Reitsma and Ramirez before guaranteeing them more money and no Johjima extension.

  91. andrew23 on October 2nd, 2008 6:22 pm

    I’m sure the Twins would prefer the Boston model. Give them an extra $80M a year for salaries, and they’ll carry it out.

  92. msb on October 2nd, 2008 6:58 pm

    I don’t blame the players. I blame the management that brought them together. And the management that can’t part with a player.

    well, they seem to have parted with a lot of players the last few years– most mid-season

  93. SDRE on October 2nd, 2008 11:39 pm

    Trade Beltre, Betencourt, and Bedard for Andre Ethier and James McDonald

    Trade Clement and Washburn for Prince Fielder

    Trade Carlos Silva, Wlad Balentien and Jose Lopez for Luis Castillo and Ryan Church

    Sign Furcal

    Sign Milton Bradley

    Ichiro CF
    Furcal SS
    Fielder 1B
    Bradley DH
    Ethier LF
    Ryan Church RF
    Johjima/ Johnson C
    Tui 3B
    Luis Castillo/ Valbuena 2B

    Felix
    McDonald
    RR Smith
    Morrow
    F-bend/ Dickey/ FA

  94. SonOfZavaras on October 3rd, 2008 9:43 pm

    I don’t like Dave’s reload plan, in general. I think Lopez is close to being a legit 20-HR guy, maybe more. To me, he makes more sense than Nelson at first base. Balentien might not be a bad trade- I love the guy, but I think Halman has a better ceiling and will be ready by 2010. I like Furcal, too….but he’s quite injury-prone and could block several prospects (notably Triunfel, who I think will go totally wunderkind on us all next year) if he’s there for 3 years.

    I’ve always liked Affeldt, and would welcome him very readily onto the team as a FA pick-up.

    But I DO NOT like the idea of Milton Bradley in a Mariner uniform. Not for $12 mil. Not even for 4 mil. Too much blasted baggage, too hair-trigger a temper. We may need cajones as a team, but not the borderline-psychotic kind.

    The thing that makes all this projection tough is knowing the ceilings of what young talent we’ve gotten banging on the door. Personally, I think Tuiasasopo will be in the Morgan Ensberg style of third-sacker, where he’ll give you what he’s got, but he’ll struggle to hit .250, and get enough hard swings to nail 20 into the seats- with barely-average-defense (if he works at it). Not ready ’til 2010.

    I think everyone is understimating Valbuena, and Balentien will become a .270-25-90+ RBI guy- good numbers but not a superstar. And it’ll take him ’til 2010-2011 to get there, plus you’ll always deal with at least 110 SO from him.

    Clement I have little doubt about- .290 with no leg hits, enough power for 20 every year. I even think his defense- while not Benchian- has been better than advertised.

    That’s what I think we’ll wind up with in these younger players. Will it be enough?

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