The Glaring Weakness

Dave · April 30, 2009 at 11:33 am · Filed Under Mariners 

13-9, first place in the AL West at the end of April. Everyone in Seattle would have taken that if offered at the beginning of the year. The first month saw more good than bad, and the M’s have put themselves in a position to be contenders for the division this year.

As contenders, then, the requirements change a bit. If you’re serious about winning, then you don’t get to wait until problems manifest themselves as huge black holes before you fix them. You have to be ahead of the curve, acting before disaster strikes rather than trying to react after it sinks your season. Contenders have proactive mindsets when it comes to shaping their roster. So, if the M’s are going to take a run at the AL West this year, they have to be willing to adjust some preseason plans in order to maximize the team’s chances of winning.

For me, the biggest glaring flaw with this team is the quintet of right-handed bats that all have the same basic approach at the plate. Adrian Beltre, Jose Lopez, Yuniesky Betancourt, Franklin Gutierrez, and Kenji Johjima/Rob Johnson occupy five positions as everyday players, and they’re all cut from the same cloth – right-handed, aggressive gap power guys who can hit a fastball if you make a mistake but are more than willing to get themselves out by chasing pitches out of the zone. There are different levels of abilities within these five, but they’re all the same type of hitter. And they all struggle to hit right-handed pitchers, especially righties who have a decent sinker/slider combination.

It doesn’t even have to be a good pitcher. Jered Weaver and James Shields shut us down, but so did Rick Porcello, Edwin Jackson, Bartolo Colon, and Trevor Cahill. When the M’s run into a right-handed sinker/slider pitcher, they’re in trouble, because odds are they aren’t going to get much from the Beltre-Lopez-Betancourt-Gutierrez-Joh/Johnson part of the line-up.

That leaves an enormous amount of pressure on the four LH bats, one of whom isn’t much of a hitter. Two of the LH bats are vulnerable to left-handed relievers as well, so our offense can be fairly easily neutralized by any team with a right-handed starter and a halfway competent left-handed reliever. That’s a big problem.

In addition, the entire bench is right-handed. If any of the four left-handed bats need a day off, they get replaced with a right-handed bat. If you want to inject Balentien into the line-up to add some more power, you’re simply adding yet another hitter who struggles against that same pitcher type. The M’s just have too many right-handed, free-swinging, fastball-oriented hitters.

If they want to win this year, this is going to have to be addressed. One of the five is going to have to surrender their everyday spot in order for the team to get a more patient left-handed bat in the line-up and give the offense some balance.

What are the options? I see three, personally.

1. Try to trade for a middle infielder who bats left-handed or switch-hits. There aren’t a lot of them, and most of the good ones just aren’t available, but you might be able to talk the Braves into a deal that involved Jose Lopez and Kelly Johnson. Maybe. Probably not, but it’d be worth exploring, at least.

2. Bring up Jeff Clement and give him significant time behind the plate. This is almost certainly not going to happen, as the M’s have made a conscious decision to value defense over offense behind the plate. If Clement can’t get out of Tacoma when Johjima’s on the DL, he’s certainly not going to take over the job when both Joh and Rob Johnson are healthy. We can complain about this one all we want, but Clement doesn’t have a future behind the plate with this organization.

3. Trade Beltre, move Russ Branyan to third, and replace him with a left-handed hitting first baseman. This one is extremely unlikely and probably wouldn’t work anyway, because Beltre is one of the reasons this team has a chance to make the playoffs. But, if we’re throwing out ideas, it’s at least in the realm of possibility. As a free agent at the end of the year, the M’s could conceivably get an offer for him that they felt was worth pulling the trigger on, and then attempt to patch the hole they just created by acquiring someone like Nick Johnson and shifting Branyan across the diamond. It’s almost unheard of for teams in contention to make radical shifts like this, which would involve getting away from the defense-first orientation of the roster, but it’s at least possible. A ridiculous longshot, yes, but maybe one worth exploring if the right situations present itself.

As you can see, of the three options that I can come up with, two of them are basically non-starters. That leaves the M’s shopping for a middle infielder who can bat left-handed. That doesn’t seem particularly likely either, honestly.

That’s why this is such a problem. It’s not easily resolved. This team was constructed poorly by the last administration, and it leaves the current front office in a predicament. Perhaps the best test yet of Jack Zduriencik’s abilities as a GM will be to see if he can solve this rubix cube.

Comments

90 Responses to “The Glaring Weakness”

  1. lailaihei on April 30th, 2009 11:48 am

    How about a trade for Willy Aybar to play SS? He’s probably -10 at the position but that’s still better than Yuni, and I like his bat a lot better, too.

  2. kinbote on April 30th, 2009 11:50 am

    You might want to inquire with Ned Colletti about Blake DeWitt. He can play 2b or 3b and is currently riding the bench after the signings of Casey Blake and Orlando Hudson.

    With the Dodgers’ rotation and bullpen areas of concern for the club, this could be an opportunity to steal a good young player for a back-end starter or fungible bullpen arm.

    Of course, the jury’s still out on DeWitt. His positive attributes are his left-handedness, versatility, price tag, and pedigree. While his offensive ceiling doesn’t seem to be quite enough for 3b, he has potential as a decent 2b bat. Think 10-15 hrs, .350 OBP, etc.

  3. Pig on April 30th, 2009 12:04 pm

    Omar Vizquel would provide a left handed bat, different approach at the plate, passable defense at either middle infield position (assuming he could go over to second base)and a potential stop-gap starter if Lopez or Betancourt is traded or injured. He could possibly help out next year as well…

    Bring him back – I will never forget the bare handed play to preserve Bosio’s no hitter – my only no hitter witnessed in person!

  4. snapper on April 30th, 2009 12:05 pm

    What about acquiring a LH OF to work into the mix?

    LH OFs are much easier to find than 2B/SS, and with Ichiro and Chavez both able to play CF, you could get an extra LH bat into the lineup.

  5. joealb1 on April 30th, 2009 12:08 pm

    Small sample size alert but DeWitt has a .250/.318/.350 line VS righties. He does have a .286/.402/.452 MLB career line against lefties… Does anyone know where to get minor league splits for DeWitt?

  6. lailaihei on April 30th, 2009 12:09 pm

    Another thought, how about Luis Valbuena from the Indians? He has a .423 wOBA through 86 PAs in AAA, is a lefty bat, and can play a pretty decent shortstop.

  7. TomG on April 30th, 2009 12:12 pm

    What about acquiring a LH OF to work into the mix?

    Given his struggles and the glut of talented outfielders in the system, Carl Crawford would be an intriguing choice.

  8. MarcS74 on April 30th, 2009 12:13 pm

    Didn’t we have a lefthanded hitting middle infielder who we just let go after we traded for Cedeno so we could have another right handed middle infielder? We could have just kept Tug Hulett. Though this really wouldn’t do much to solve the offensive problem you are detailing, most middle infielders aren’t going to help along those lines.

    The team really needs to get a switch hitter or two to put into the lineup, that would really help maintain a balanced lineup day in and day out.

    A solution without changing the roster might be to put Balentien in more. Right now Balentien is batting .333 against RHPs, I know it is a small sample size (21 ABs), but I think he is a guy who could help out with the power both home and away. I know the focus is on defense but has Balentien been that bad or bad at all in his starts so far, Chavez hasn’t been that great so far.

    Marc

  9. tmac9311 on April 30th, 2009 12:14 pm

    Felipe Lopez, Jed Lowie, Ceasr and Maicer Izturis, Nick Punto, Ben Zobrist, Emilio Bonifacio, Kelly Johnson, Orlando Hudson, Kaz Matsui, Aaron Miles, Robinson Cano, Asdrubal Cabrera, Alexi Casilla, Chris Getz, Akinori Iwamura, Adam Kennedy is what i could find. Half of those probably don’t upgrade over Yuni or Jose, and some like O-Dawg or Cano are probably untouchable. A few of those guys might be worth acquiring to be a bench hitter or platoon for Yuni. I think Felipe Lopez is the best option, but i can’t see Arizona parting with him with the way he’s playing.

  10. snapper on April 30th, 2009 12:16 pm

    Given his struggles and the glut of talented outfielders in the system, Carl Crawford would be an intriguing choice.

    Or being a little more modest, looking at that same glut, how about Matthew Joyce?

  11. TomG on April 30th, 2009 12:20 pm

    You’d be taking an incredible risk in pinning your hopes on a fragile first baseman, but what about Nick Johnson? Granted it’d be hard to find ABs for Branyan and it’d probably mean the last we’d see of Sweeney (which: good thing) but Johnson’s patient approach and great left-handed bat (when healthy) would be the perfect fit for the team’s needs.

  12. wsm on April 30th, 2009 12:20 pm

    Jed Lowrie might be a good solution down the road (since this problem isn’t going away in the next several years). A Clement/Lowrie swap might make sense if Julio Lugo can re-establish himself in the next couple months. A switch-hitting SS who can handle the #2 spot would be very valuable to this team. But that doesn’t help us now.

  13. coreyjro on April 30th, 2009 12:21 pm

    Wow, I could really go for Asdrubal Cabrera right about now. What is it that Dave always says about freely available talent?

  14. TomG on April 30th, 2009 12:21 pm

    Or being a little more modest, looking at that same glut, how about Matthew Joyce?

    I’d probably prefer Joyce to Crawford when contract and acquisition price are considered but I doubt the Rays would part with him as readily as they would with Crawford. He’s cheaper and under contract for longer.

  15. snapper on April 30th, 2009 12:32 pm

    I’d probably prefer Joyce to Crawford when contract and acquisition price are considered but I doubt the Rays would part with him as readily as they would with Crawford. He’s cheaper and under contract for longer.

    I don’t think Tampa will be too quick to deal Crawford. Even if they’d like to, for baseball/$$$ reasons, I’d have to think the fan backlash might be bad.

  16. nickwest1976 on April 30th, 2009 12:33 pm

    Kelly Johnson would be ideal, love that idea but doubt the Braves would move him for Lopez. Wonder what else in addition to Lopez it would take. KJ is a really good OBP guy, left handed and with pop.

    I think one thing the team has to consider is trading Beltre and moving Lopez to 3B. Any idea how Lopez would be defensively at 3B? No way he is Beltre but maybe he could be league avg defensively?

    Then maybe you trade Beltre for a good 2B that hits left handed.

    I am not a trade Beltre advocate but if he isn’t going to re-sign in Seattle he may be a piece to move for a lefty middle infielder and then Lopez shifts to 3B.

  17. coasty141 on April 30th, 2009 12:33 pm

    I can’t imagine you could get what Beltre should be worth with him batting the way he is as of right now. And if you are counting on a Branyan/Nick Johnson combo coming through for you…. you’re going to have to upgrade the bench significantly. Those two really don’t have the best track record of staying off the DL.

  18. nickwest1976 on April 30th, 2009 12:38 pm

    Another idea would be Carp at 1B if he continues to tear up AAA. He is showing to be a patient lefty bat with some pop too. Branyan could then shift to DH. Not sure what happens to JR but clearly JR doesn’t have a ton left in the tank.

  19. asuray on April 30th, 2009 12:43 pm

    nickwest; I don’t like your “trade Beltre” idea but, since you asked, Lopez played reasonably well in the 5 career games he has at third (49 uzr/150) but the sample size is so small that those numbers are basically meaningless. Incidentally, he played well (uzr/150 of 2.9) in the 1/3 of a season he played at SS back in 2004. That was a younger, thinner Jose though. He committed 7 errors in his 34 career minor league games at third. Not exactly Beltre territory.

  20. robbbbbb on April 30th, 2009 12:45 pm

    Or, option (4): None of the above. As Dave notes, the current administration is handcuffed by the previous guys’ mistakes. Likely, Z never gets a good enough offer to pull the trigger on a deal.

    That means we get a frustrating, oh-so-tantalizing summer of games where everything goes right, followed by games where half the lineup chases pitches out of the zone.

    That sucks. But remember: This was supposed to be a lost year, anyway. So let’s enjoy the summer and then see what they can do in the next off-season. If they catch some breaks and slide into the playoffs, then all the better.

  21. SethGrandpa on April 30th, 2009 12:47 pm

    Just spitballing a couple names out there as lefty bats who will be FAs after the year and could possibly be trade bait if their teams fall off…

    Adam LaRoche (PIT)
    Jim Thome (CHW)

    Personally I’d be intrigued by LaRoche. He usually rakes after the All-Star break.

  22. nickwest1976 on April 30th, 2009 12:49 pm

    Let me be clear, I am not a propoent of trading Beltre…but in response to Dave’s post about too many righty bats, it may be a solution in terms of solving that. Moving Beltre for a solid 2B who hits left handed and moving Lopez to 3B would at least add another lefty bat in the lineup.

    I would rather the team figure out another way to accomplish that but it’s an idea that could work.

    Wonder if Beltre for Kelly Johnson would be possible…Atlanta could shift Chipper to 1B.

    KJ is under team control for a few years, makes a couple mil this year so the M’s open up more budget room for other deals while adding a patient OBP, lefty bat at 2B.

  23. Graham on April 30th, 2009 12:51 pm

    I don’t see how this isn’t easily resolved:

    Recognise that catcher defence isn’t critical compared to the impact of catcher hitting and bring up Jeff Clement.

    Just because the org’s approach to date hasn’t involved giving Jeff a chance doesn’t mean it’s a particularly hard problem to fix.

  24. nickwest1976 on April 30th, 2009 12:51 pm

    I don’t agree with the idea that “this was suppossed to be a lost year so let’s just accept it” idea. An opportunity has presented itself with the weak division and I think the M’s HAVE to try and win this year. Do they blow up the future to do so, NO. But if this team could get in the playoffs with Felix/Bedard in a short series they could be really dangerous.

  25. CMC_Stags on April 30th, 2009 12:58 pm

    What about acquiring a LH OF to work into the mix?

    LH OFs are much easier to find than 2B/SS, and with Ichiro and Chavez both able to play CF, you could get an extra LH bat into the lineup.

    Since OF is the only place you really have LH right now, I’m not sure that adding another LH at that position makes sense. The M’s run out Ichiro and Chavez every day and if they really wanted to get another LH bat in the field they could throw Griffey out there when Felix or Bedard pitches.

    If you are going to get another LH bat, your options are 3B, SS, 2B, and/or C. If all your LH hitters play one position, pinch hitting, situational lineups, etc. are very difficult to put together.

  26. Dave on April 30th, 2009 1:00 pm

    Recognise that catcher defence isn’t critical compared to the impact of catcher hitting and bring up Jeff Clement.

    Short of firing the manager (who is doing an excellent job), this isn’t going to happen. So therefore, it’s not an easily fixable solution.

    It’s just time to accept that Clement isn’t a catcher in this organization. Look at him as a 1B/DH prospect or trade bait.

  27. ivan on April 30th, 2009 1:04 pm

    I’m with Graham. Clement’s defense sucks, and I think it hurts the team more than Graham thinks it does. But they need another left-handed bat. Cut Sweeney. Give Clement all of Sweeney’s ABs and some of Griffey’s. Trade Johnson if someone wants a catcher in a package.

    It’s a small step and not a cure-all. But except for the Putz trade, small steps are how they have gotten to where they are.

    I’m also cool with bringing Omar back. They can cut Batista or Corcoran to make room for him.

  28. CMC_Stags on April 30th, 2009 1:06 pm

    So, is there any easy way to look up Wild Pitches allowed by catchers? Johnson only has one past ball this year, but there has been at least one WP in each of his starts but one.

    Maybe it’s that he’s comfortable calling for balls in the dirt and that the fact that they are happening is not a bad thing (like errors charged to Beltre that no other 3B even gets close to the ball). Then again, it seems that this is at least some kind of an issue.

  29. Graham on April 30th, 2009 1:08 pm

    I’m not going to just accept (or the Aumont–>relief thing) that without a lot of complaining about it.

  30. coasty141 on April 30th, 2009 1:09 pm

    “Look at him as a 1B/DH prospect or trade bait.”

    -Ok… If Clement is a DH prospect does it make sense to have a 53 year old DH with a .316wOBA blocking his progress?

  31. Dave on April 30th, 2009 1:12 pm

    Complain all you want. That doesn’t change the reality of the situation.

  32. Jeff Nye on April 30th, 2009 1:13 pm

    Isn’t complaining what Graham does best?

    I have to agree with Dave though. The org just doesn’t see him as a catcher anymore, and it’s time to make peace with that whether you like it or not.

    For me, I feel basically the same way I felt about Adam Jones; I want him to get traded so he’ll actually get a legitimate shot somewhere else.

  33. Graham on April 30th, 2009 1:23 pm

    The reality of the situation is that this just isn’t going to get fixed, which is a bit of a boring thing to write about.

  34. Dave on April 30th, 2009 1:26 pm

    The chance of the team making a deal for a LH middle infielder is higher than the chance Clement catches for the Mariners.

    If the latter is worth complaining about, the former is worth writing about.

  35. Butwheredoesthemeatgo on April 30th, 2009 1:27 pm

    Maybe this is a problem that just more than likely can’t be fixed this year, not at fair value anyway, at least before the trading deadline, then it can be a big part of Z’s focus at the deadline. However finding a way to have Clement on the big league roster so we have more lefty’s to choose from to combat right handers pitchers would obviously be an asset to the club, but they insist on having 12 pitchers and with our primary first baseman and DH both being leftys it is seemingly impossible to get him in the line up enough for it to be worth it.

  36. Max Power on April 30th, 2009 1:29 pm

    The org just doesn’t see him as a catcher anymore, and it’s time to make peace with that whether you like it or not.

    Isn’t he more or less exclusively playing catcher in Tacoma?

  37. Dave on April 30th, 2009 1:30 pm

    Nope – he made his first start at first base the other night, and he’s taking ground balls there to get more comfortable during practice.

  38. bakomariner on April 30th, 2009 1:31 pm

    The problems are at catcher and up the middle…we don’t need to upgrade 1B…we’re fine there now with Branyan and hopefully Carp will be ready next year…

    It’s the “double-play twins” that we need to address…

  39. Colorado Mariner Fan on April 30th, 2009 1:32 pm

    Dave – as long as we’re tossing out ideas, what about moving a pitcher to get the hitter you’re looking for? For instance, Bedard?

    That’s obviously a bit radical, but he’s upped his value with recent performances, may walk anyway at the end of the year, and we’ve shown that a solid defense (and a shiny new changeup?) can make even Jarrod Washburn look like an effective SP.

    And if not Bedard, what about one of the many live arms we stocked up in the offseason? Or maybe Washburn?

    Obviously, any such deal would require a workable SP replacement if Bedard got moved. But the defense-first approach would remain intact, and moving first (before the deadline rush in a few months) might be a way to lever the early good performance.

  40. nickwest1976 on April 30th, 2009 1:32 pm

    If you find this thread so boring Graham, why continue to post in the thread?

    I actually find the thread extremely interesting and relevant to what is happening. Not only is finding more patient, lefty bats a HUGE priority for this year, it has to be for Jack Z and company as they move past this year as well.

    I am encouraged that we have Clement and Carp in AAA as two players that have shown patience and pop as lefty bats so far in the minors.

  41. Max Power on April 30th, 2009 1:40 pm

    Nope – he made his first start at first base the other night, and he’s taking ground balls there to get more comfortable during practice.

    Ok, but there’s a difference between getting him familiar with 1b and abandoning all thoughts of putting him at catcher.

    He’s already had a bunch of knee issues, so if you were really done with him at C, I’d think you would stop running the risk of further injury by playing him at C in the minors. The only reasons I can think of for him to be playing C at all is if you are either trying to maintain trade value or because you still think he can be at least a part time C.

  42. Graham on April 30th, 2009 1:40 pm

    Perhaps it’s because I moderate here, nickwest.

    Dave – It’s certainly worth writing about, but a trade for a MI is a massive longshot (although more likely than I’d guess, I imagine).

  43. Alex on April 30th, 2009 1:41 pm

    Personally, I would feel perfectly fine with a scenario where we stay with what we have, contend this year, and then continue to make intelligent moves that strengthen the team for the future and build the club correctly.

    Playing .500 from here out probably puts us either slightly behind or slightly ahead in our division at year’s end, and .500 looks to be a good assessment of our talent level, imo, so we should be able to contend without making any moves.

    If Zduriencik can make a move that helps us this year without hurting our future thats great, but my main priority is to see more moves that improve our future, and give us a GREAT team in several years. Even if they sacrifice this year to do it, I am fine with that.

  44. snapper on April 30th, 2009 1:46 pm

    Since OF is the only place you really have LH right now, I’m not sure that adding another LH at that position makes sense. The M’s run out Ichiro and Chavez every day and if they really wanted to get another LH bat in the field they could throw Griffey out there when Felix or Bedard pitches.

    Griffey’s defense is horrific. If you’re facing a tough right hander, what’s wrong with having 3 LH OF’s and Griffey at DH?

    Gutierrez’s history is that he hits LHs well, and doesn’t hit RHs. I see no reason that he can’t sit against some RHs.

  45. EnglishMariner on April 30th, 2009 1:47 pm

    How about trade Beltre for a LH SS, move Branyan to 3B and make Clement the 1B?

    I don’t think we should even think about trading Lopez if the biggest problem, Yseless, remains.

  46. mkd on April 30th, 2009 1:58 pm

    Yeah- we seem to have played our way into something of a bind. Even when we win we lose?

    My gut says we should still be sellers at the deadline- that moving Washburn and Beltre to build a more patient, lefty lineup is the way to go, even if it means finishing up the season as a mediocre also-ran.

  47. Gump on April 30th, 2009 2:02 pm

    I just pray we don’t get the next Al Martin trade out of hope to go deep in the playoffs. It’s nice sitting on top right now but how many things have gone horrible for the other teams in the division this year to be where we’re at.

  48. aaron c. on April 30th, 2009 2:03 pm

    My gut says we should still be sellers at the deadline- that moving Washburn and Beltre to build a more patient, lefty lineup is the way to go, even if it means finishing up the season as a mediocre also-ran.

    If the Mariners are still in serious contention at the deadline and they make a trade that makes contention less likely, I will be furious.

  49. Gump on April 30th, 2009 2:12 pm

    Would the FO allow a trade that would make us better if that move puts us up over thier payroll “goal” for the year? That might be another obstical as well.

  50. CMC_Stags on April 30th, 2009 2:23 pm

    If the Mariners are still in serious contention at the deadline and they make a trade that makes contention less likely, I will be furious.

    If the M’s are contending (to get whacked in the playoffs by the AL East wild card) at the deadline and they make a trade that makes contending for the next 5 years more likely, I will be ecstatic.

  51. awestby51 on April 30th, 2009 2:24 pm

    It’s just time to accept that Clement isn’t a catcher in this organization. Look at him as a 1B/DH prospect or trade bait.

    Some people have been talking about Carl Crawford, and Dave, you wrote at Fangraphs about how expendable he is. How is the catching situation in the Tampa system? I should also ask, is it just the Mariners who view Clement as a 1B, or could we still peddle him as a C prospect?

  52. aaron c. on April 30th, 2009 2:28 pm

    If the M’s are contending (to get whacked in the playoffs by the AL East wild card) at the deadline and they make a trade that makes contending for the next 5 years more likely, I will be ecstatic.

    All sorts of crazy things happen in the playoffs, and good teams get left out of them all the time. Getting to the playoffs should be the goal of any franchise, and while I don’t want the Mariners to do anything that will harm the long-term health of the team I don’t want to them to give away a chance at the post-season.

  53. Jack Howland on April 30th, 2009 2:29 pm

    What about picking up Geoff Jenkins and dropping the 12th pitcher? Jenkins can play LF against righties and can be lifted for Gutierrez or Chavez in the late innings when a lefty comes in. He would come in at league minimum making him no risk from a financial perspective.

  54. jvalentine on April 30th, 2009 2:35 pm

    What about the possibilty of signing a gritty, veteran, left handed bat that can play second base/outfield? Ray Durham?

    Also I am really tired of this organization holding essentially 5 first baseman in both Seattle and Tacoma. With the conversion of Clement that would give us 6 (Branyan, Sweeney, Carp, LaHair, Shelton and Clement).

    They have no where to put these guys to get them up anytime soon and this makes the need for a left handed middle infielder even more clear.

  55. Gump on April 30th, 2009 2:44 pm

    Griffey was one of my major baseball heroes but how nice would it be to have Abreu hitting in the middle of our lineup. It’s nice seeing him back in a m’s uniform but it would have been nice if that deal would have worked.

  56. okori on April 30th, 2009 2:50 pm

    I’ve read Joyce and Zobrist’s name in this blog..

    What would it take to acquire the two? A LH OF and IF to work into our rotation. I don’t think we can do this now, but I like this acquisition in July.

  57. bronmaderine on April 30th, 2009 3:40 pm

    You may have already addressed this, but assuming Clement could play league average D at 1B does he have enough bat to play the position?

    Is he a better hitter than Casey Kotchman, but somewhere below Teixiera?

    Is the simple – though impossible – solution to call up Clement and sit Griffey?

  58. Dave on April 30th, 2009 3:42 pm

    Swapping out a LH bat for a LH bat doesn’t help the problem at all.

  59. SonOfZavaras on April 30th, 2009 3:53 pm

    If we’re strictly talking short-term winning: I think we should bite the bullet and re-acquire Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians. I think it could be done in exchange for a guy like Jason Vargas.

    Cabrera’s price tag isn’t the moon, and he’s more of a bet to help at the ML-level right now than Valbuena.

    I frankly think we can win both this year and over the next few years. But, if I’m wrong and you absolutely have to sacrifice one, I say sacrifice this season.

    I want a winner as much as anyone, but I’m willing to wait for it a couple of years- as a logical progression of long-sighted, smart moves made in 2009 and 2010.

    But this org has char-broiled its future several times in its history- for the sake of “winning now” and the potential financial profits a playoff run produces.

    I’m just really hoping the short buck isn’t all Jack Z has in mind.

    And oh, yes….bring up Clement. Regardless of whatever defensive appellation suits him best, he’s a bat first and foremost. He was drafted and developed as a bat, a bat is what he is.

    And that lefty bat needs to be knocking in runs and getting extra-base hits for the big club.

  60. bronmaderine on April 30th, 2009 3:56 pm

    BTW, over 70 ABs Doyle is hitting .343 with an OBP .471, SLG .500, OPS .971. The guy is just murdering righties. He’s got 17 BB. I know I’m tilting at windmills here, but I’d love to see him get one more shot at playing LF for us.

    He’s playing in AAA in Mexico. I’m not sure someone of his health disposition should be in Mexico right now.

  61. _David_ on April 30th, 2009 4:09 pm

    I feel about trading Beltre how some here felt about the possibility of trading Ichiro a while back. If we’re essentially making a lateral move or only a slight improvement by trading him, and if there’s also a lot of risk involved, we should avoid it. I’ve become attached to watching him play 3rd base, and like losing Ichiro, it would make watching Mariners games less enjoyable. Maybe I’m missing the reality that there’s much less of a chance of re-signing Beltre than there was Ichiro at the time, but we should focus more on the easier fixes like getting rid of Betancourt, as that is every bit as important.

  62. Lantern on April 30th, 2009 4:13 pm

    The last administration constucted this team with Ibanez, and Clement. Clement didn’t work out (not their fault) and the new administration traded ( sorry not traded, just let him get overpaid elsewhere and took a draft pick or 2 in compensation) Ibanez.

  63. Dave on April 30th, 2009 4:20 pm

    I think we should bite the bullet and re-acquire Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians. I think it could be done in exchange for a guy like Jason Vargas.

    You’re crazy.

  64. Breadbaker on April 30th, 2009 4:20 pm

    the new administration traded Ibanez.

    The new administration offered Ibanez salary arbitration when he was a free agent and he signed with another team. He was not traded.

  65. tmac9311 on April 30th, 2009 4:25 pm

    I think as of now trading Beltre would be a huge mistake. He is not going to get near the contract he got last time, regardless of his play. His defense may be the best in the majors at 3B, at minimum top 5, and he can hit pretty well too. I’d expect him to get 8-10 million a year, which is nearly half what he makes now, and we also get Wash and Batista off the books. Unless he comes out and says he will not come back to the mariners, I’d think we got a reasonable shot to keep him.

    What about a Cedeno/LHSS platoon. Trade Yuni (and Wash if necessary) for someone like a Lowrie/Maicer/Zobrist/Asdrubal. It wouldn’t completely solve the problem, but it help and we we still always have a utility guy off the bench.

  66. Roy Stuckey Weaver on April 30th, 2009 4:26 pm

    Explore a deal with the Yankees. They need relief help and we are going to have to get rid of some of our relievers when Chad Cordero and one of the Lefties come up. Might as well sell high on a guy.

  67. Breadbaker on April 30th, 2009 4:32 pm

    The Yankees are having enough trouble keeping infielders on the field. They’re currently playing the ghost of Angel Barroa at third.

  68. Dave on April 30th, 2009 4:33 pm

    Trade Yuni (and Wash if necessary) for someone like a Lowrie/Maicer/Zobrist/Asdrubal.

    People do not give you good players for crap.

    People do not give you good players for crap.

    People do not give you good players for crap.

  69. Logger on April 30th, 2009 4:37 pm

    People do not give you good players for crap.

    People do not give you good players for crap.

    People do not give you good players for crap.

    Chuckle, chuckle.

  70. Nate on April 30th, 2009 4:43 pm

    whoa Dave, you only have to hit the “submit comment” button once.

    oh, wait… maybe that was for added emphasis or something.

  71. Kazinski on April 30th, 2009 5:13 pm

    It’s the choice Zduriencik made between defense and offense, which we all cheered for. We’ve got the best defensive outfield in the game, and the lightest slugging outfield in the game. There is a reason that teams are willing to pay players like Ibanez 10m a year to misplay line drives in the corner.

  72. Dave on April 30th, 2009 5:16 pm

    You do realize that exactly one of the five quintet of hacking right-handers is an outfielder, right?

    I just need to stop reading the comments for a few days. You guys make me think that we’re just banging our heads against a wall.

  73. Butwheredoesthemeatgo on April 30th, 2009 5:21 pm

    Bavasi gave away Choo and on a different occasion Asdrubal Cabrara for what could be termed as crap, i am sure he did it more than those two times but those are the first two that come to mind. But yes, the Yuni & Washburn crap sandwich will not bring back players of the quality mentioned, it has got to be harder to find GM’s who don’t understand the true value of a players anymore.

  74. SonOfZavaras on April 30th, 2009 5:25 pm

    All right then, Dave.

    But how is my supposed craziness manifesting itself? By saying we should acquire Cabrera back from the Wahoos, or by saying that someone like Vargas could snare him?

    My guess is that it was the latter.

    But, you really didn’t specify.

    And if my guess is correct, what (in all your experience) would it take to land an Asdrubal Cabrera, if it can be agreed it’d be a good move?

    I’ll concentrate on Cabrera, because the availability/talent/cost factors for others look really tilted against us at this time….

  75. Breadbaker on April 30th, 2009 5:36 pm

    To get a 23-year old middle infielder with a current OPS of .877? Why on earth would the Indians be interested in dealing one of their foundations?

  76. Dave on April 30th, 2009 5:44 pm

    Why would the Indians trade Cabrera? He’s a 23-year-old switch hitter with enough range to be good at SS or great at 2B, and he has about one season’s worth of major league playing time and has been worth +3.1 wins in that time. He makes nothing, and won’t make anything for several more years. They’re contenders this year, and he’s a big part of why they’re one of the better teams in the AL Central.

    He’s probably more valuable than every member of the Mariners 25 man roster besides Felix. If your goal was to knock them off their feet and make them trade him, you’d have to do something like Beltre (plus cash to fit him in their budget), Saunders, Pineda, and a lower level prospect. And even then, I’m not sure they make that move.

  77. Dave on April 30th, 2009 5:48 pm

    Bavasi gave away Choo and on a different occasion Asdrubal Cabrara for what could be termed as crap, i am sure he did it more than those two times but those are the first two that come to mind.

    There’s a huge difference between acquiring a prospect who later develops into a good player and acquiring a good player.

  78. Breadbaker on April 30th, 2009 6:05 pm

    There’s a huge difference between acquiring a prospect who later develops into a good player and acquiring a good player.

    Which is not to say that those trades made sense when they were made either, they just make less and less sense with 20:20 hindsight.

  79. SonOfZavaras on April 30th, 2009 6:34 pm

    Thanks, Dave. Makes sense.

    Now, to look for another solution to this problem. And I so totally agree it’s a problem.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been telling my friends/fellow fans for a couple weeks now:

    “We’re too right-handed! In both the bullpen and bats! And all the timely hits will eventually disappear for too long of a stretch! And I love exclamation points!”

    (J/K on that last one.)

    Vargas is up, though. Sure hope dude decides he wants a major-league job.

  80. Evan on April 30th, 2009 6:44 pm

    You guys make me think that we’re just banging our heads against a wall.

    If your goal is to convince people generally that they should think critically and hold opinions that make sense, you are.

    If, however, you’re trying to share cogent analysis with an informed subset of the populace, then these comments are not evidence that you are failing (though one might well wonder why the site has comments).

  81. AndyK on April 30th, 2009 7:25 pm

    Long time reader – first time post.

    Realistically I think DH, SS, and 2B are the places to look for solutions. I cant imagine a scenario where we trade Beltre and our team is better off for it.

    DH – If Griffey struggles to the point where it is unreasonable to start him anymore, I think it could be highly likely that we call up Clement. Easily solved but not a scenario we would like to see.

    SS – This is the position I see that we could most easily trade for. Yuni, as previously mentioned, has become a defensive liability.

    I would like to just throw out a name. Ryan Theriot. Gets on base, plays average defense, hits lefties. I don’t expect Theriot to have a season like he did last year but I would argue that a line of .270/.350 isn’t out of the picture.

  82. jordan on April 30th, 2009 8:48 pm

    What about Ben Zobrist? I think he could be a great player givin solid playing time.

    What do you guys think of his availibility?

  83. spliffbowl on April 30th, 2009 9:06 pm

    I’m not too sure on his availability, but I am fairly certain that Zobrist is a fairly lousy defender at SS, which is part of the reason why he’s a super utility type for the Rays. And while he would most definitely be an offensive upgrade over Yuni, the team really shouldn’t look to acquire a SS that is really not any better than Yuni at defense. But kept in a super utility role, he would be great.

  84. zach in spokane on April 30th, 2009 9:15 pm

    Bring in Geoff Jenkins for the minimum to pinch hit and play some LF when Chavez is in CF.

    Plus, he can move in to Griffey’s spot when Junior gets hurt or officially becomes Dave Hansen.

  85. joser on April 30th, 2009 11:20 pm

    Zobrist is a minus defender at SS (no better than Betancourt) but he appears to be a decent corner outfielder. His value is his utility — he doesn’t have a permanent position with the Rays because they have better players at those positions already*. Essentially he’s a left-handed Willie Bloomquist. Strikes out a bit more, walks a bit more, a bit more power in the bat. He’s a lefty, and he’d be a handy bench player, but I don’t see any reason to think he’s going to be “great” any more than Willie was, no matter how much playing time either one of them got.

    * You might say that means he’s expendable by the Rays, especially if they drop out of contention in the brutal AL East. But that also means there’s nothing they need, so why would they part with him? Unless you want to overpay for a utility guy, how do you pry him loose?

  86. okori on April 30th, 2009 11:49 pm

    Trade targets?

    Joey Votto- The Reds have Yadir Alfonso coming through the system. Once they fall out of the race, Votto may become available. Hey look, Bavasi’s in the FO. May happen..

    David DeJesus- Makes a little $$. Kind of a duplication in KC with Crisp. Also, they’ve got 140 1B. Butler, Shealy.. That guy who’s name begins with a K that I can’t pronounce. They’ve also been in love with Yu Bet.

    Internal solutions..

    Clement, Saunders (just started in LF and batted LO in Tacoma)..

    I think the ultimate solution though, is that Wak starts using platoons more. Clement can split time at Catcher. I think it can be argued that the Gut’s bat doesn’t argue for a permanent role.. So there’s two spots..

    I think Zobrist makes some sense too.. If his D = Yu Bet’s, then it’s a net push when he plays. He just brings in a LH bat.. More options..

  87. aaron c. on May 1st, 2009 12:37 am

    Joey Votto- The Reds have Yadir Alfonso coming through the system. Once they fall out of the race, Votto may become available. Hey look, Bavasi’s in the FO. May happen..

    David DeJesus- Makes a little $$. Kind of a duplication in KC with Crisp. Also, they’ve got 140 1B. Butler, Shealy.. That guy who’s name begins with a K that I can’t pronounce. They’ve also been in love with Yu Bet.

    Votto is fairly valuable and even if he’s soon to be redundant (which is far from certain) he’s nowhere close to expendable. He’d cost a fair amount. And since he plays 1B, you’re not adding a left-handed bat. You’re swapping left-handed bats. Votto is too good to get cheaply, he’s not a huge enough upgrade to sacrifice a ton of talent for and he doesn’t solve the immediate problem.

    I like DeJesus and he’d clearly be an upgrade over Endy, but once again you’re just replacing a left-handed hitter with another left-handed hitter. DeJesus is better, but you’ve still got a ton of free-swinging righties in the lineup. As far as KC being “in love” with Yuni; I’m fairly certain that’s no longer the case, and I’m not entirely sold that it ever was. Yuni has clearly not improved (and may in fact be getting worse) and I doubt the rest of baseball is completely oblivious. Not only that, but Mike Aviles is a better player than Yuni by a fairly wide margin.

  88. CCW on May 1st, 2009 8:06 am

    Filling that middle infield spot is going to be very difficult on the fly. Seems to me you suck it up there, and just go with what you have.

    There is another glaring weakness at the moment… Griffey. He really might be cooked. Fortunately, that’s an easy fix. You could go with Clement, which might or might not work (seems to me like you risk further devaluing if he struggles), another DH-type, or you could target a guy like Seth Smith, who is actually OK in the outfield and so has additional value when Endy sits against righties.

  89. Kazinski on May 1st, 2009 9:32 am

    My hope is that Wak is smart enough that if he sees lack of offense against righthanders as being a bigger roadblock to winning than Clements defense as catcher, then he’ll make the adjustment.

  90. beckya57 on May 2nd, 2009 10:53 pm

    [no politics]

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