Buying And Selling

Dave · June 16, 2009 at 9:18 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Larry Stone has a good piece in the Times this morning, discussing the timing of when the Mariners need to decide whether they’re buyers or sellers. As you guys know, I advocated for an early selling position on Bedard and Washburn, calling them “volatile assets” whose value could drop precipitously with an injury or a regression in performance. With both of them nursing health problems and Washburn coming off a bad start in Coors Field, hopefully you can see what I was talking about – it would be harder for the M’s to get a good deal for either of them right now than it would have been 10 days ago.

So, now, the M’s have to wait and let those two re-establish their health, which they’ll hopefully do this weekend. In Bedard’s case, he probably has to string together several good outings in a row, showing he can handle a regular workload without having to skip starts every few weeks. Washburn has to continue to show that his two-seamer has given him an extra weapon to handle lefties, and his uptick in strikeout rate isn’t a fluke.

For today, I agree with Larry. The market for these two will grow if they can prove that last weekend was an aberration and pitch well for the next couple of weeks. For now, we probably need to wait before moving those two.

However, as I talked about a bit yesterday on 710/ESPN with Mike Salk, I am convinced that there is an option here beyond the normal “trade prospects for veterans to make a run” or “give up on the season and go with the kids”. Yes, historically, teams have divided themselves into those two camps after the July 31st deadline, but I think the M’s are in a unique situation, in a unique economic environment, and that they have a chance to do things differently this trading season.

The AL West isn’t good. The Rangers have stopped hitting of late, and despite their improved run prevention, they aren’t getting to the playoffs on the backs of their pitching and defense. The Angels were supposed to get a boost from the return of their walking wounded, but Kelvim Escobar just needed one start to prove he couldn’t handle a regular rotation spot anymore, while Ervin Santana hasn’t found his fastball and is going to miss his start tonight with forearm tightness. John Lackey hasn’t exactly been an all-star, either. The Angels still have issues, both offensively and on the pitching side of things.

So, despite the flaws on this M’s roster, I think the front office would be wise to make moves that would help keep the 2009 team afloat and potentially able to capitalize in the second half if Texas and Anaheim continue to struggle. However, at the same time, I think Bedard and Washburn fit the mold of overvalued assets in the mid-season trade market. Teams always overvalue pitching, especially left-handed pitching, as they gear up to make a playoff race. It’s the one thing that’s constantly in demand from multiple clubs and could bring a significant return in trade.

As Mike Salk pointed out yesterday, though, the common belief is that if you trade Bedard and Washburn, you’re done. You’ve just punted two starting pitchers who have been critical to your early season success, there’s no way this team can with without them. I disagree. I think the team can take a buy-and-sell approach to this deadline that would help them build for the future but also keep the 2009 team from going in the tank.

Here’s my suggestion.

The M’s badly need a shortstop. We all know that. The M’s rank 29th in wOBA (.242!) and 30th in UZR (-9.8!) from the SS position. The performances they’ve gotten from Betancourt/Cedeno have been worth about -1.5 wins less than a replacement level shortstop in about 40% of a season. That’s incredibly awful, the kind of gaping hole that no team can really overcome.

The M’s also need another left-handed hitter in the line-up, which we’ve covered ad nauseam here on the blog. The line-up is too right-handed, so when they face a righty with two-seam fastball (the pitch with the largest platoon split), they lack the left-handed bats to punish the opposing pitcher and they get shut down.

What the M’s need more than anything else is a left-handed hitting shortstop with some ability to hit and field. They need a stop-loss to prevent the massive sucking hole at shortstop from taking wins off the board. Upgrading from Betancourt/Cedeno to even a below average SS would be a massive improvement over what the M’s have gotten from the position this year. Where would they find such a player?

Meet Reid Brignac. He’s a 23-year-old left-handed hitting shortstop in the Tampa Bay Rays system. He spent the last few weeks filling in for Jason Bartlett while the Rays starting SS was on the DL, but now that Bartlett is back, it’s off to Durham again for some more time in Triple-A. With Bartlett ahead of him at SS and Ben Zobrist/Willy Aybar holding down second base (and then some) in Akinori Iwamura’s absence, Brignac doesn’t have a role with the Rays. He’s depth for them, an insurance policy in case Bartlett gets hurt again, but not a piece of their core now or going forward.

Now, maybe you look at his .271/.295/.390 mark that he posted over the last few weeks for the Rays and say “meh, another low OBP hacker”. However, look closer. In fact, look at his L/R splits.

Vs RHP: .357/.386/.524, 44 PA, 2 BB, 5 K
Vs LHP: .059/.059/.059, 17 PA, 0 BB, 7 K

To say that Brignac had problems with left-handed pitching would be a bit of an understatement. There’s definitely need for improvement there, and he’s not ready for an every day role in the majors. However, that performance versus lefties hides the fact that he hit the crap out of the ball against right-handed pitching during the last couple of weeks. This isn’t new, either. Here’s his minor league splits from Durham this year.

Vs RHP: .300/.370/.491, 124 PA, 14 BB, 17 K
Vs LHP: .258/.303/.355, 33 PA, 1 BB, 4 K

Brignac hasn’t figured out how to hit lefties yet. That’s okay – he’s 23. That can be improved upon later, and hidden now. The M’s could hide Brignac against lefties, platooning him with Cedeno in order to give both of them the best chance to succeed offensively. He won’t put up a .900 OPS against RHP all year, but he doesn’t have to. If he hits .270/.320/.400 and plays league average defense, the upgrade from Betancourt to Brignac would be larger than the downgrade from Bedard to Rowland-Smith/Jakubauskas/whoever.

Seriously, if the M’s swapped Erik Bedard for Reid Brignac, there’s a pretty good chance they wouldn’t see a significant drop-off in 2009 performance as a team. When you couple the magnitude of the problem that SS has been for the M’s this year with the general overrating of the impact of starting pitchers, you get a situation like this where a decent position player can be worth as much as a good starting pitcher.

Now, there’s a pretty good chance that the Rays wouldn’t swap Brignac for Bedard straight up. They don’t have a ton of budget flexibility, and they’re notoriously reluctant to trade young talent. That’s okay – the M’s have the pieces to make a deal work. They have the financial ability to pay Bedard’s contract through the end of ’09, eliminating the need for the Rays to increase their payroll. They have extraneous players like Jeff Clement, who would appeal to a Rays front office that likes that kind of player type, that could be added into a multi-player deal.

The pieces are there to make this work. Even if you can’t find a perfect fit with the Rays (maybe they don’t want to deal with Bedard’s health problems), the team should still pursue Brignac as a target. As we saw Jack do in the Putz deal, it’s quite possible to use players to acquire talent that another team wants in order to get the guy you’re after. If the Phillies are willing to overpay for Bedard (and it sounds like they probably are), then the M’s can target a player in that deal who would appeal to Tampa Bay in a Brignac trade.

Because they’ll be in demand this trading season, the M’s have the flexibility to use Bedard and Washburn as bait to pick up pieces that won’t just help them in the future, but can help them right now. There are players out there, like Brignac, who would be an immediate upgrade for the Mariners, while also providing some long term value. These are the kinds of players the M’s should be targeting.

Don’t get caught up thinking that it’s a trade-prospects or trade-for-prospects decision. The M’s are in the position to do both. Deal Bedard and Washburn to the highest bidder, or for the pieces that will allow you to go out and get guys like Brignac. Sell, yes, on those two players, but then buy us a left-handed hitting shortstop who can help the team right now and going forward.

This isn’t an either/or situation. Buy and sell, not buy or sell.

Comments

56 Responses to “Buying And Selling”

  1. eb on June 16th, 2009 9:32 am

    Is Brignac an above average Major League shortstop defensively? His defensive abilities and how many more years he is under club control would be other factors in making the decision whether it is worth dealing for him.

  2. diderot on June 16th, 2009 9:39 am

    Given the strength elsewhere in the American League, I don’t know whether winning the West is much of a consolation prize. But leaving that aside, the more intriguing part of Stone’s piece is the delicate issue of DH.

    Yes, shortstop is a huge hole for us. But plugging Brignac into the middle of the infield doesn’t solve the problem of the two non-performing elephants in the middle of the lineup.

    Could we please begin a coherent discussion (fine if it’s another post) about who would make most sense to promote from Tacoma? And I’m presuming one player for DH, and another to replace the Balentien role.

  3. Mike Snow on June 16th, 2009 9:41 am

    Given the strength elsewhere in the American League, I don’t know whether winning the West is much of a consolation prize.

    No, the consolation prize is that pretty much anybody can get hot and win a playoff series, if only they manage to get there.

  4. diderot on June 16th, 2009 9:43 am

    Agreed. My fear is that the ‘we can win this thing’ mentality infests the fan base to the degree that the front office hesitates on doing the things that should be done for fear of being seen as committing a ‘white flag’ trade.

  5. Sports on a Schtick on June 16th, 2009 9:48 am

    Get into the MLB playoffs and anything can happen. See Cardinals a few years ago. Baseball isn’t like NBA where the better teams almost always reach the Finals.

    I’m guessing Brignac is sort of like what we hope Nick Franklin will become.

  6. Chris_From_Bothell on June 16th, 2009 10:01 am

    Doesn’t “buy and sell” have the potential of doing neither thing very well? The problem with trying to do both is the potential to end up with not only much the same .500-ish team we have now, but no real value back from the best trading chits we have.

    E.g., Trading Bedard to get Brignac makes sense if Brignac is truly among the best overall talent – regardless of player’s position or N’s current needs – that Bedard would fetch in this season’s market. But if Bedard could get you more value elsewhere, wouldn’t getting Brignac be short-sighted?

    I also agree that the much more interesting question is how to fix the DH position, both in terms of reduced playing time for the current DHs and who to shuffle around to make room for a new guy.

  7. Paul B on June 16th, 2009 10:02 am

    If the M’s do agree to pay Bedard’s and Washburn’s salaries for the rest of 2009, that would make them more valuable on the trade market as it opens up opportunities with small market teams.

    Makes sense, it’s a sunk cost for the M’s in a way, already figured into the budget.

  8. Chris_From_Bothell on June 16th, 2009 10:03 am

    “N’s” = “M’s” in previous comment, obviously. That’s what I get for trying to abbreviate “Mariners”.

  9. Paul B on June 16th, 2009 10:05 am

    The DH position is going to be fixed in 2010, so that isn’t nearly as important right now as Shortstop. A deal for a player like Brignac makes sense in that it improves the team right now (or at least, by essentially swapping Bedard’s goodness for Yuni’s badness, the team stays even in 2009) and it results in a player who could fit in well in 2010.

  10. diderot on June 16th, 2009 10:11 am

    No, the consolation prize is that pretty much anybody can get hot and win a playoff series, if only they manage to get there.

    That’s true in theory, and the Cardinals may have been the worst team in the playoffs the year they won. But they did have one thing the M’s don’t–Pujols. And as I remember, a much better approach at the plate.

    But for us to contend with anyone in the postseason we’d have to double down on the pitching-and-defense strengths. Obviously, this isn’t a bad way to go. But the teams that have done it in the past were far more talented in those areas. Say what you will about Felix/Bedard/Aardsma…that’s not exactly Koufax/Drysdale/Larry Sherry. And even those ‘no-hit’ Dodger teams had Maury Wills, the two Davis guys in the outfield and our own beloved Ron Fairly in the lineup.

    All I’m saying is that staying in contention is great to keep interest and attendance up during the summer, but we shouldn’t fool ourselves. The top priority this year has to remain making the moves that make us better next year.

  11. Shizane on June 16th, 2009 10:15 am

    Who replaces Bedard/Washburn? Would Felix have to throw all 7 games in a playoff series???

  12. Chris_From_Bothell on June 16th, 2009 10:21 am

    A deal for a player like Brignac makes sense in that it improves the team right now (or at least, by essentially swapping Bedard’s goodness for Yuni’s badness, the team stays even in 2009) and it results in a player who could fit in well in 2010.

    Yes, good fit now and possibly future. But is Brignac the best value possible you can get in return for Bedard, this season?

  13. Tek Jansen on June 16th, 2009 10:21 am

    I think Zduriencik recognizes the basic theory of Dave’s post. Over the offseason, the M’s new GM basically bought and sold with the Putz trade. He gave up what were, at the time, valuable assets to simultaneously make the M’s better now (Gutierrez, Chavez, Vargas) and in the future (Carp, Cleto, etc.).

    If and when the M’s do trade a couple starting pitchers, I have faith that Zduriencik can strengthen the team for the future without waving the white flag on this season.

    And even those ‘no-hit’ Dodger teams had Maury Wills, the two Davis guys in the outfield and our own beloved Ron Fairly in the lineup.

    “That’s good hittin’.” Yeah, Fairly. For all the crap we gave him as an analyst, he was actually a pretty good hitter in his day.

  14. ThePopeofChilitown on June 16th, 2009 10:24 am

    Are there any other players that come to mind of Brignac is not the guy?

    He’s not a long term answer, but I thought I read that Chris Burke is again available.

  15. eponymous coward on June 16th, 2009 10:26 am

    That’s true in theory, and the Cardinals may have been the worst team in the playoffs the year they won.

    The 1973 Mets, 1984 Padres, 1985 Royals, 1987 Twins and the 1997/2003 Florida Marlins are also some good examples of teams that beat better teams to win it all or make the World Series. Really, getting to the playoffs is the important part.

    All I’m saying is that staying in contention is great to keep interest and attendance up during the summer, but we shouldn’t fool ourselves. The top priority this year has to remain making the moves that make us better next year.

    I think Dave’s point is this is a false dichotomy- it’s possible to make moves that help now AND help later.

    I am fairly sanguine about our chances, as it’s pretty obvious the 2009 M’s are a true-talent ~.500 team, more likely to be slightly under, but this is a year where 83-85 wins might win the AL West. Unless you’re proposed a deal with very young prospects, where the upside is just too good to not take the deal, there’s no reason why Zduriencik shouldn’t want talent that can be used on the 2009 team back in any deal. That’s Dave’s point.

  16. Sports on a Schtick on June 16th, 2009 10:33 am

    All I’m saying is that staying in contention is great to keep interest and attendance up during the summer, but we shouldn’t fool ourselves. The top priority this year has to remain making the moves that make us better next year.

    I think we’re all in agreement here. Hopefully either the M’s sell (thinking long-term) or do a buy/sell hybrid like Dave suggests. I mean, no one wants this team to pony up for Joe Blanton…

  17. jimmylauderdale on June 16th, 2009 10:34 am

    Dave, is there any interest whatsoever for Betancourt? I know he has very little, if any, value but has any team been willing to offer at least a non-prospect or a similarly flawed(production vs cost) major leaguer that may interest the M’s? What is the teams best shot of moving him?

  18. arbeck on June 16th, 2009 10:37 am

    Chris_From_Bothell,

    You may be able to get a player with more upside who is farther away from the big leagues for Bedard, but I’m not sure that is more value. The Mariners need middle infielders, left handed batters, and players ready to contribute now and in 2010. If you can pick up one guy who meets all three of those criteria, I think you have to do it. If you can do something where we give up Bedard, Clement, plus a bullpen guy (Aardsma, Sean White, Corcoran, etc) and then we get back Reid Brignac and one of the following: Jeff Nieman, Mitch Talbot, Andy Sonnstantine. We’d probably have to send money, and their might be a few fringe prospects sent one way or the other, but it works well for both teams.

  19. diderot on June 16th, 2009 10:38 am

    Really, getting to the playoffs is the important part.

    Not sure how many teams have fans who would agree with this. Isn’t it more the case that any playoff team that doesn’t ‘win it all’ is seen as a failure by the majority of fans?

    there’s no reason why Zduriencik shouldn’t want talent that can be used on the 2009 team back in any deal.

    Well, sure. But the dichotomy comes in with Shizane’s comment. You’re not going to get better this year without sacrificing something. And taking Bedard out of the rotation is a negative, is it not? Could an improvement at shortstop more than offset the loss to the rotation? Probably so.

    But the bottom line remains the same–you may want to have it both ways, but in most cases that’s not going to happen.

  20. Axtell on June 16th, 2009 10:50 am

    I’m hoping that the current front office feels no obligation to get a deal for Bedard that rivals the players the M’s gave up initially.

    Betancourt’s numbers on the surface belie how terrible he has been for us. He needs to go away immediately…let’s hope it happens by the trade deadline.

  21. Dave on June 16th, 2009 11:01 am

    Is Brignac an above average Major League shortstop defensively? His defensive abilities and how many more years he is under club control would be other factors in making the decision whether it is worth dealing for him.

    He has average to above average range, and like most young kids, makes too many errors. The total package is average-ish, with potential to be a bit better than that with experience. Consider him -5 to +5. He’s under team control through 2015.

    E.g., Trading Bedard to get Brignac makes sense if Brignac is truly among the best overall talent – regardless of player’s position or N’s current needs – that Bedard would fetch in this season’s market. But if Bedard could get you more value elsewhere, wouldn’t getting Brignac be short-sighted?

    Fans get way, way too caught up in “upside” and “potential” when valuing young players. Brignac might only be a +1 to +2 win shortstop right now, with +2 to +3 win upside, but those wins have present value, and the present value of a win (especially in a weak division) is significantly more valuable than the future value of a win.

    It’s the Gutierrez trade principle. Remember all the people who freaked out because we traded an all-star closer for a bunch of lower upside guys who were close to the majors? That’s exactly the kind of deal the M’s need to be making. Those people were wrong.

    Who replaces Bedard/Washburn? Would Felix have to throw all 7 games in a playoff series???

    If you trade with Tampa, odds are you try to make it a multiplayer deal where Sonnanstine or Niemann are coming back to replace Bedard. If you trade with Philly, you make sure Carlos Carrasco is in the deal. The M’s will get a pitcher back in a Bedard trade.

    But is Brignac the best value possible you can get in return for Bedard, this season?

    Yes. Present value matters.

    Dave, is there any interest whatsoever for Betancourt?

    Nope.

    But the bottom line remains the same–you may want to have it both ways, but in most cases that’s not going to happen.

    This isn’t most cases.

  22. zjmuglidny on June 16th, 2009 11:20 am

    I think the best franchises have been adhering to the buying “and” selling principle for a while (see Red Sox, Braves). I like the thinking. Hopefully the Ms can get more for Bedard than a young platoon shortstop, though. If he gets a few more healthy, quality starts under this belt before the deadline, (a major if), I think it’s a Brignac-esque player plus another big piece, or it’s better to keep him and take your chances with a resign/compensatory picks/make a run this year and hope Yuni and Cedeno play better or a stop gap SS is acquired.

  23. TomG on June 16th, 2009 11:20 am

    It’s the Gutierrez trade principle. Remember all the people who freaked out because we traded an all-star closer for a bunch of lower upside guys who were close to the majors? That’s exactly the kind of deal the M’s need to be making. Those people were wrong.

    I don’t necessarily think trading Bedard is quite analogous to the Putz trade. First, even when you consider the general overratedness of “proven closers”, on the average they tend to command less on the trade market than perceived front- or mid-line starters do. It’s quite possible that, given his injuries and slight ineffectiveness in 2008, that what the Mariners got in return was the best offer out there by a margin. Second, Putz was traded during the offseason, which lacks the pertinence of completing a trade when compared to trades at the deadline (i.e. there is more motivation to complete a deal.)

    Not that I don’t agree with the premise – trading Bedard for the same kind of return as Putz isn’t a loss by any means – but I think that you’re bound to find a panicky team or three looking for star-quality pitching that would gladly overpay for Bedard’s services. In that regard, trading him for a good, but flawed upgrade like Brignac would seem like a bit of a letdown all things considered.

  24. bilbo27 on June 16th, 2009 11:28 am

    “is there any interest whatsoever for Betancourt?”

    I would say no real interest, but I bet Tampa Bay might want him included in the proposed Bedard trade (with some additional money to cover Betancourt’s contract). They’ll need a new “just in case” shortstop they can stash in AAA and Betancourt would be a great fit that way. I mean with a little time in AAA maybe learning some work ethic and the proper way to play the game, he might even become a passable player. You never know? ;-)

  25. Dave on June 16th, 2009 11:29 am

    I think it’s a Brignac-esque player plus another big piece, or it’s better to keep him and take your chances with a resign/compensatory picks/make a run this year and hope Yuni and Cedeno play better or a stop gap SS is acquired.

    This is crazy. Crazy. The idea that the Mariners are going to get 2 or 3 premium players for a couple months of Erik Bedard is insane.

    If the Rays would swap Brignac for Bedard straight up, the M’s should jump at it and throw a party. You won’t do better than that.

  26. Bremerton guy on June 16th, 2009 11:30 am

    Is it heresy to suggest that Mike Morse be given an opportunity at shortstop? He can certainly hit the ball, and his fielding statistics at Tacoma indicate that he may have improved his defensive play. At any rate, he certainly can’t be any worse than the incumbent.

  27. Dave on June 16th, 2009 11:34 am

    Mike Morse is not a major league player in any way, shape, or form. He’s a 3B/1B/DH who can’t hit major league pitching.

  28. CMC_Stags on June 16th, 2009 11:36 am

    Is it heresy to suggest that Mike Morse be given an opportunity at shortstop?

    Yes. Check his UZR/150 at Fangraphs. He’s horrible at SS and bad at 2B/3B. At best, he’s a 1B/RF/LF who could be an emergency sub at SS/2B/3B.

  29. 6-4-3 on June 16th, 2009 11:37 am

    The idea of trading away Bedard and Washburn made me wonder: has a team ever attempted to do away with the classic pitching rotation altogether, or at least partially? Quality starting pitching is consistently the most difficult commodity to find, so why not try ditching the concept of a starter and basically just have a bunch of bullpen guys? Obviously someone would need to start every game, but they would go in knowing they would be pitching three innings max. Advantages to this: availability of more pitchers on a daily basis, better ability to handle situational substitions early in the game, less ABs by pitchers in the NL. What would be the disadvantages?

    You could even implement this on a partial basis. For example, the Mariners could start Felix in the traditional role, but then fill in the rest of the games with the “pitcher by committee” concept.

  30. CMC_Stags on June 16th, 2009 11:43 am

    …so why not try ditching the concept of a starter and basically just have a bunch of bullpen guys?… What would be the disadvantages?

    Well, teams need to pitch around 1415 innings in a season (162 games times 8.75 innings per game). The most IP in 2008 by relievers was 89.1 innings. At that pace, you’d need a 16 man pitching staff to make it through the season.

  31. djw on June 16th, 2009 11:45 am

    I think you’d need a larger roster than 25, or a unique collection of durable/flexible relievers to pull it off. Competence on the mound for 1500 or so innings a year requires some innings-munching.

  32. djw on June 16th, 2009 11:47 am

    CMC-stags makes my point much better by using actual numbers.

  33. Bremerton guy on June 16th, 2009 11:47 am

    Re Morse: He can hit major league pitching. In 2005 he had 230 ABs, approximately what the current regulars have for 2009. His OPS was .718, which would be third best on this team. Admittedly, fielding might be a problem, but on an interim basis, it wouldn’t be any worse than Betancourt. Plus, maybe he’s getting better. I was at a Rainiers game last week and they were touting his errorless streak at 2B. Ironically, he muffed one that game. How could it hurt to give him a shot?

  34. eponymous coward on June 16th, 2009 11:53 am

    Not sure how many teams have fans who would agree with this. Isn’t it more the case that any playoff team that doesn’t ‘win it all’ is seen as a failure by the majority of fans?

    Getting to the playoffs is a necessary precondition to winning it all, though, and you simply do not know for certain that devaluing your chances for 2009 will improve them for 2010, as the competitive climate for making the playoffs in 2010 depends on what other teams do and future events you have little control over or insight into.

    For a real-life example of this, take Cleveland- I’d argue they’ve done a very solid job of rebuilding that franchise after 2001 compared to what the Mariners have done after 2001… and the net result so far is exactly one playoff appearance more than the M’s.

    In a division where we have Billy Beane, an Angels franchise that spends money, and a Rangers franchise that is valuing defense (plus an AL Wild Card race that will likely have two teams of Tampa/Boston/NY in it every year for a few years) I don’t think it’s a given that all the Mariners have to do in 2010 is piece together a 90 win true-talent team and the playoffs are a lock. So you can’t just throw away 2009 quite yet, and I think emphasizing MLB-ready players in trade (as opposed to players farther away who might have higher ceilings) is perfectly fine. There are often trades that can be made where the talent is equivalent on both ends, but it reconfigures it into needs on both rosters (one team’s surplus fitting into another team’s need). That seems to be what Dave is suggesting by something akin to Bedard/Clement for Brignac/Sonnanstine.

  35. georgmi on June 16th, 2009 11:55 am

    How could it hurt to give him a shot?

    Morse’s rabid female fanbase, distraught over the loss of their favorite admitted steroid user and unable to find Interstate 5, could go on a week-long drunken rampage through the Port of Tacoma, diverting PoT security from their essential job of screening shipping for anthrax and nuclear materials, allowing Al-Qaeda to finally sneak a dirty bomb into the country, detonating it during the Bite of Seattle and killing thousands.

    Granted, that probably isn’t very likely. But you asked.

  36. coreyjro on June 16th, 2009 11:55 am

    Let Mike Morse go. Let him go.

    As for Brignac he was a top 20 prospect two years ago, and dropped because he didn’t hit at AAA last year. For those of you who think we should get someone awesome for Bedard, there really aren’t that many players in the LH SS mold. If you can find a better one that is MLB ready I’d be interested.

  37. Derstad1 on June 16th, 2009 12:03 pm

    I am relatively new to USSM, but have been a Mariners fan forever. So, pardon me if this sounds like blasphemy, and this could be a ridiculous question, but would the Mariners ever consider trading Felix?

    If they are serious about contending in the future, and as Dave says SP’s are overvalued, could it not make sense to get someone to trade their whole system for someone like Felix? If we could net something along the lines of what The Indians got for Colon 7 years ago (Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore) would that be a sufficient return?

    Its quite possible I am missing something, so any helpful reasons this shouldn’t even be CONSIDERED would be helpful.

  38. Bodhizefa on June 16th, 2009 12:28 pm

    It’s too bad the Marlins aren’t looking for help and we can’t get Chris Coghlan. I would absolutely LOVE to have him on this team.

    I saw Carlos Carrasco last night at the Durham Bulls game. He’s going to be a fine pitcher at some point, and his change-up was definitely on last night as it was baffling lefties all night long. He’s certainly a pitcher I’d be interested in having on the M’s. Good control, an out pitch that defeats our stadium’s weakness (i.e. lefties), and a nice-looking high stirrup uniform.

  39. Chris_From_Bothell on June 16th, 2009 12:30 pm

    TomG’s point is what I was trying to say:

    …I think that you’re bound to find a panicky team or three looking for star-quality pitching that would gladly overpay for Bedard’s services. In that regard, trading him for a good, but flawed upgrade like Brignac would seem like a bit of a letdown all things considered.

    Dave’s point about overvaluing potential is well-taken, though.

  40. jro on June 16th, 2009 12:47 pm

    Brignac is a way to address two big needs: a lefty bat and filling the shortstop hole. However, don’t we need just better bats in the lineup?

    We just rolled out of Colorado with nothing to show for it. I’m not sure our issues are too-much-right-handedness so much as simply having poor handedness at the plate.

    It would probably be an effective move, but I don’t foresee a left-handed SS in Triple-A as being such a big difference maker on this team. Still more work to do.

  41. diderot on June 16th, 2009 12:50 pm

    This isn’t most cases.

    Dave,
    To make sure I’m following you, is this because of our particular situation at shortstop (and the fact that there really is a dearth of SS talent across the majors as a whole)?
    Or do you refer to something different?

  42. djw on June 16th, 2009 12:56 pm

    The “would a so-so shortstop be such a big deal, really?” position is in part a product of failing to properly internalize and/or grasp the implications of a very important and astonishing part of Dave’s post:

    The performances they’ve gotten from Betancourt/Cedeno have been worth about -1.5 wins less than a replacement level shortstop in about 40% of a season.

    Replacement level, as a concept, is something of an abstraction, and in the case of the SS position in 2009 it’s not very helpful for thinking about the M’s shortstop situation at all. Brignac doesn’t have to be very impressive at all to have a major impact on this team. Going forward, he (probably) gives a cheap, young, improving, well-suited for the stadium option.

  43. Jeff Nye on June 16th, 2009 1:02 pm

    Mike Morse isn’t the answer to any question you should be asking.

  44. Dennisss on June 16th, 2009 1:15 pm

    has a team ever attempted to do away with the classic pitching rotation altogether, or at least partially?

    The answer is Yes. Tony LaRussa tried it for a short time with the A’s one year when they were really awful. They had a nine-man rotation, with three guys slated to pitch 3 innings each every third game, and a couple more in the bullpen. It did not really get good results, the starter could never get a win, and they gave it up after a month or two.

    I do not remember the year, but bad team, LaRussa, and I know Bob Welch was on the team. That should narrow it down.

  45. TomTuttle on June 16th, 2009 1:19 pm

    Anyone who is desperate for pitching come July that’s willing to give us 1 or 2 decent major league ready prospects for Bedard at SS, 3B, 2B or SP can have him as far as I’m concerned.

    He’s done NOTHING for us since he’s got here except prove the Adam Jones traded was lopsided in Baltimore’s favor.

  46. TomTuttle on June 16th, 2009 1:20 pm

    trade*

  47. diderot on June 16th, 2009 1:25 pm

    He’s done NOTHING for us since he’s got here except prove the Adam Jones traded was lopsided in Baltimore’s favor.

    You mean other than pitching well?

    Don’t blame him for the trade. It wasn’t his idea.

  48. Graham on June 16th, 2009 1:27 pm

    [Bedard’s] done NOTHING for us since he’s got here except prove the Adam Jones traded was lopsided in Baltimore’s favor.

    What a ridiculous overstatement

  49. 6-4-3 on June 16th, 2009 1:46 pm

    They had a nine-man rotation, with three guys slated to pitch 3 innings each every third game, and a couple more in the bullpen. It did not really get good results, the starter could never get a win, and they gave it up after a month or two.

    Starters never getting the win would definitely be a drawback. Also, starters would be pissed when the manager pulled them after three innings when pitching well. Once again “team morale” rears its ugly head…

    I should have known LaRussa would have tried this scheme :)

  50. Mike Snow on June 16th, 2009 2:16 pm

    For those wondering about the LaRussa experiment, I had to go track it down. (Specifically, I was skeptical that it happened, but it looks like I just didn’t remember because I was out of the country when it happened.) It’s from the second half of July 1993, pretty distinctive as that’s when you have the only relief appearances by regular starters Welch, Ron Darling, and Bobby Witt. I’m not sure the pattern was intended to be a 9-man rotation with a 3-3-3 IP pattern, though. From the box scores, I would have guessed 4-4-1 (with the 1 being Eckersley).

  51. Dennisss on June 16th, 2009 2:53 pm

    Mike,

    Thanks for checking. My research abilities are not as good as yours, so that’s strictly from memory. You are probably right that I got the pattern slightly wrong.

    I would be skeptical too. I’m glad someone felt the need to look it up.

  52. thebigp708 on June 16th, 2009 3:02 pm

    If all else fails I could play SS for the M’s… It would be an upgrade from YB and I’m cheap.

  53. bakomariner on June 16th, 2009 4:41 pm

    Great write up and good, thought out responses…way to kick off the day…I’m off to the ballpark baby…just got back to the hotel from the beach…time to watch The King for the first time in person…got my jersey and I’m out the door…have a good one!

    Happy Felix Day!

  54. jjracoon on June 16th, 2009 5:59 pm

    I got enamored by the young Betancourt too during his first couple years but can not see ANY improvement in ANY aspect of his game in at least 1 1/2 years. I see this kid as a short term answer with possible long term implications. If Trunfiel (sic) proves to be the shortstop of the future then Brignac becomes the second baseman. I was sold as soon as I saw the left handed hitting and the stats just made it tastier. Any chance of Carp coming up to give us a little lefthanded bench strength too??????

  55. qwerty on June 16th, 2009 8:49 pm

    If you trade with Tampa, odds are you try to make it a multiplayer deal where Sonnanstine or Niemann are coming back to replace Bedard. If you trade with Philly, you make sure Carlos Carrasco is in the deal. The M’s will get a pitcher back in a Bedard trade.

    So my hopes of getting 3 prospects back for Bedard are a pipedream? It’s like trading the 5 prospects (Jones et al for Brignac…) ouch.

  56. Jeff Nye on June 16th, 2009 11:01 pm

    If the team can get Reid Brignac for a three-month rental of Bedard, we should all be ecstatic.

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