Why I have hope Beltre will return to the team

DMZ · November 28, 2009 at 11:52 am · Filed Under Mariners 

We’ve talked about this a little before, but here, from an article on Mike Lowell:

Adrian Beltre, after a disappointing five-year run in Seattle, could come at a reasonable price for a team willing to chance that Beltre may yet have the thunder in his bat that he displayed with the Dodgers, for whom he hit 48 home runs in 2004.

Were you disappointed in Beltre’s five year run here? I was not. He earned his money and then some. Anyone who thinks he was paid to repeat 2004, or that his value is dependent entirely on his ability to hit, is not giving the subject enough serious contemplation. Or is ignorant. Or doesn’t care whether what they write is true.

What’s even funnier about this particular piece is that after a paragraph discussing Lowell’s UZR and whether he was affected by injury and might get better, there’s this gem:

Among free-agent third basemen, Beltre ranked first in the Fangraphs UZR/150. Figgins was fourth, Feliz 11th, and Mora 12th.

Defense is a reason that Lowell might get traded. And as long as the leaderboard is open, we can talk about other players. But defense isn’t something they’re evaluated on, and certainly doesn’t inform the larger discussion about other options. If the Red Sox swapped Lowell for Beltre, I suppose the Red Sox would lose some offense and there’d be some salary differences to work out. Team defense, hey, who knows?

This is exactly why I hold out hope that the M’s will make a better offer to Beltre than anyone else. That writer’s views represent a vast pool of belief for inattentive baseball writers, fans, and even front-office types. Beltre will not get the kind of contract offers he’d get if he was an average fielder and his value came from his offense, and probably would get better offers still if this five-year run hadn’t come on the heels of his 2004 season, setting it up as a “disappointment” contract.

The M’s though have two advantages in evaluating how much they should offer: they’ve seen Beltre every game for five years, and have seen what he contributes on both sides of the inning, as well as having a realistic view into his shortcomings on offense. And they’re smart, and should be able to value that correctly.

Comments

58 Responses to “Why I have hope Beltre will return to the team”

  1. Slurve on November 28th, 2009 12:12 pm

    If you were expecting Beltre to hit 48 HRs every single year with the M’s the contract would be view as disappointing. If you were expecting an above average hitter with super fantastic defense then you got what you wanted. To the average fan though Dingers measure every single baseball skill imaginable somehow.

  2. CCW on November 28th, 2009 12:15 pm

    The thing I keep coming back to is that, for whatever reason, Beltre can’t hit in Safeco. It goes beyond just the fact that righties have trouble in Safeco – Beltre is particularly bad. If the market were at all efficient, Beltre wouldn’t sign in Seattle. The M’s would get less Beltre for their money than would, say, the Red Sox.

  3. thr33niL on November 28th, 2009 12:37 pm

    Part of me says ‘no way’. The part that saw Beltre display extremely poor plate discipline that got worse every year. That same part that sees Beltre breaking down with injuries the last few years.

    Part of me says ‘yes’ based on his defense, the lack of better options at 3B and the known quantity aspect. When healthy, Beltre can be a guy to give us .260/20HRs and 90RBI with that added bonus of being the best 3B glove in baseball.

    I guess it all comes down to the contract. Rumor has it he is looking for a 4 year deal. I wouldn’t be opposed to that if it was an adjusted rate. Like in the 7-8 million per range.

    In my gut though, I think Adrian wants out of Seattle. So it may all be a moot discussion.

  4. Liam on November 28th, 2009 12:42 pm

    How did Bill Bavasi of all people sign Adrian Beltre to an appropriate contract?

  5. IllinoisMsFan on November 28th, 2009 12:43 pm

    While I would love to have Beltre back at third, I don’t know how he couldn’t be considered a disappointment with the bat. Back when he was signed, Dave expected him to put up .290/.350/.530 that first year. He never came close to that in any season and was .266/.317/.442 for the five years. Beltre turned out to be a value almost entirely due to his glove which, thank goodness, was even better than I think most of us thought.

  6. johnfree63 on November 28th, 2009 12:57 pm

    Its too bad that so many fans haven’t appreciated what the M’s had in Beltre. Now, more then likely he is gone for good and Who is out there in free agency to replace him besides an aging speedster in Figgins, and older players like Mora, and DeRosa who hit about what Beltre hits with worse D.

    Hopefully Z can pull another rabbit out of his hat and either get Beltre signed or another miracle trade

  7. DMZ on November 28th, 2009 1:02 pm

    Beltre, by all accounts, likes Seattle. He likes the city, enjoys playing here, likes the fans. He doesn’t like hitting here, though, for sure. There’s no evidence he “wants out” in the same way other free agents go running from bad relationships with their current teams.

    w/r/t Bavasi and the deal, sometimes these things work out differently than you think they might, as the previous comment points out w/r/t the relative expected contributions of his bat and glove.

  8. Jeff Nye on November 28th, 2009 1:25 pm

    Beltre, come back. Some of us really, really appreciate you in a way no other team’s fans will.

    Those who want to evaluate you based on expecting you to repeat your 2004 season every year can be safely ignored.

  9. MorePineTar on November 28th, 2009 1:40 pm

    w/r/t Bavasi and the deal, sometimes these things work out differently than you think they might, as the previous comment points out w/r/t the relative expected contributions of his bat and glove.

    Paul DePodesta once cited a two-by-two decision matrix, mapping good/bad process against good/bad outcomes. In Beltre’s case under the Bavasi admnistration, we probably have case of bad process with a good outcome = dumb luck.

  10. section331 on November 28th, 2009 1:57 pm

    Hey! I can log in here now! *happy day!*

    I have often found it strange that everyone outside of Seattle seems to undervalue Beltre; but if it works out in our favor for 2010, they can undervalue their little hearts out.

  11. joealb on November 28th, 2009 2:05 pm

    I love they idea! That said, it really does not behoove Adrian to come back here. He’ll be 31 next year, if he is looking to maximize his salary he should sign a 1 year deal with a team that plays in a park friendly to right handed pull hitters and then hit the market again next year. As long as he hits 30 or more dingers and puts up an ops of over .800 he will command a pretty big salary for ages 32-35. I love Adrian as much as Red does but I just don’t see him coming back if he is trying to maximize his value.

  12. joe simpson can hit on November 28th, 2009 2:14 pm

    [see guidelines]

  13. DMZ on November 28th, 2009 2:27 pm

    Is that a joke?

  14. sodomojo95 on November 28th, 2009 2:37 pm

    Let’s just bring the leftfield and left-centerfield wall in 15 feet and then Beltre (and hip-hip Jose Lopez) will be more than happy. With the scoreboard in left we’d have a mini-greenmonster and a Minute Maid-esque launching pad for right handed hitters!

  15. Jeff Nye on November 28th, 2009 2:44 pm

    Poor Joe Simpson, being associated with that awful comment.

  16. Miles on November 28th, 2009 2:46 pm

    The only way Beltre end up back in Seattle is thru arbitration. I said this in the other post, if the M’s offer it, Beltre would be smart to accept it. He’ll make 4 to 5 million more this year thru arbitration than he would on the open market. All Adrian needs is a healthy year. His last two years have been injury plagued. If he is healthy, he puts up .270/25. That will get him three years at a higher rate than he’ld be offered this year. We should know if Adrian will be a Mariner again by next Tuesday, the last day to offer arbitration.

  17. Griffin Cooper on November 28th, 2009 2:59 pm

    Beltre coming back would make me a very happy camper.

  18. Mike G. on November 28th, 2009 3:17 pm

    Hey Joe, I think you should click on this link right here.

  19. DMZ on November 28th, 2009 3:18 pm

    I wanted to find out if he was joking independently of him being reminded of that, actually, for obvious reasons.

  20. msb on November 28th, 2009 3:35 pm

    I want AB back. My worries are both his unhappiness with Safeco as a righty, and what Wakamatsu might think of him coming back, based on the comment quoted by Derek in another thread:

    “But even long at-bats aren’t necessarily good at-bats. Both Jose Lopez and Adrian Beltre had at-bats when they fouled off several pitches.

    “There would be an 11-pitch at-bat and a lot of guys would say, ‘Hey, great at-bat. Way to battle,’” Wakamatsu said. “But we’d go back and look at it on video and not one of the pitches they swung at was a strike.”

  21. Liam on November 28th, 2009 4:13 pm

    Both Wakamatsu and Beltre would have been aware of that during the season.

  22. kozmo on November 28th, 2009 4:41 pm

    How did Bill Bavasi of all people sign Adrian Beltre to an appropriate contract?

    Lets not forget that was the same offseason that he signed Richmond Lockwood Sexson. Success did not come without failure.

  23. jephdood on November 28th, 2009 4:51 pm

    His OBP and propensity to swing at REALLY horrible pitches has been Lopez-esque. In the field, no complaints. At the plate, I was never impressed.

  24. terry on November 28th, 2009 5:35 pm

    If Beltre decides to play for another team, I will be very sad.

    He has been a joy to watch as a Mariner and his toughness and character have been truly inspirational.

    He’s a special sort of player and one I have been proud to have associated with the Mariners organisation.

  25. nathaniel dawson on November 28th, 2009 6:02 pm

    Who is out there in free agency to replace him besides an aging speedster in Figgins

    Figgins is less than a year older than Beltre and was worth almost 7 wins above replacement last year. You would somehow characterize him as an “aging speedster”?

    if he is looking to maximize his salary he should sign a 1 year deal with a team

    The only way Beltre end up back in Seattle is thru arbitration. I said this in the other post, if the M’s offer it, Beltre would be smart to accept it. He’ll make 4 to 5 million more this year thru arbitration than he would on the open market.

    Beltre is almost certain to take a multi-year deal this off-season. There is too much risk for him to sign for a one year deal unless that’s all he can get. It simply unreasonable to think that there there aren’t at least a few teams out there that would understand the true value that Beltre can bring to a team. And it’s a stretch to think that a one year deal would offer him as much as 4-5 million more a year than a longer term deal would bring him.

  26. pensive on November 28th, 2009 6:03 pm

    Beltre is simply a Warrior. Mr Beltre put on a bag in order to practice. Played through injuries that would have the strongest f mortals rehabilitate in warm climates.

    I was fortunate to view one best ever shows at 3rd base for the past 5 years. Hope it won’t be one of those realizations that folks only appreciate when gone.

  27. josh_h on November 28th, 2009 6:09 pm

    I love his Adrian’s defense, but I’m very torn – I’d love to see better OBP throughout the line-up.

    It would be have been great if he hadn’t got hurt during the year and we could have got the best return in a trade for him.

    Based on the everything we know regarding how other teams (under) value Beltre – what is fair/realistic? 3 years/30M? More?

  28. JoeMoe on November 28th, 2009 6:59 pm

    i loved Beltre, his D is the best in the bigs at third, but he would be dumb not to sign with the Phillies if they are going after him. That would complete an unstoppable infield, and after seeing what the change of scenery did for former Mariners Raul Ibanez, Beltre is probably drooling from the mouth at the idea of batting 7th for a team that has made the past two World Series.

  29. Captain Lars on November 28th, 2009 7:30 pm

    As someone who gets way more excited over a web gem than a dinger, watching Beltre play third base is a thing of beauty. Watching him at the dish flailing wildly at balls thrown so far off the plate that they’re in a different time zone is another thing altogether. I’m reminded of Charlie Brown and Lucy in the reoccurring scene where Lucy tells Charlie Brown that she’ll tee up the football so he can kick it. Even though Charlie Brown must know she’s going to yank the ball out of the way at the last second so that he’ll swing through and land flat on his back (because she’s done it every single time), he simply can’t resist and get’s victimized yet again. Every pitcher in baseball knows that Beltre cannot lay off a slider thrown a foot off the plate when he’s got two strikes. Every time he gets himself out on that pitch I want to scream. I never expected Beltre to come close to repeating his 2004 offensive numbers but I was disappointed in his five year totals for us. Not bad really, but our offense needs a ton of improvement and I don’t think we’ll ever get any more from Beltre than he gave us. It certainly won’t upset me if they resign him but I think I’m ready to move on.

  30. ivan on November 28th, 2009 7:45 pm

    Here’s my totally unscientific, non-systematic, ignorant, biased credulous gomer idiot fanboy opinion.

    Not only should the M’s give Beltre anything he wants to have him back, but it would be the best single signing they would make this offseason. I would solidify the defense on the left side and let the M’s spot Hall and Hannahan all over the infield, and for Hall, LF and RF if needed.

    Signing Beltre would enable the M’s to trade Lopez while he has perceived high value and platoon Hall and Hannahan at 2B till Tui, or maybe Ackley, was ready to go.

    Adrian’s home/road splits are pretty convincing, but he is the same hacker on the road as he is at home. At age 30, He probably isn’t going to get religion. So what? I’d go all out to make it worth his while to stay.

    Somebody, somewhere, somehow, needs to persuade Adrian that he’d hit better here if he only could learn to lay off those breaking balls in the dirt.

  31. JakeSuds on November 28th, 2009 7:54 pm

    The man tried to throw out the runner on the play he blew his testicle out on. That was all I needed to see.

  32. ThundaPC on November 28th, 2009 8:08 pm

    Yes, I’m really disappointed that Adrian Beltre did not turn out to be better than Albert Pujols over the last five years….

    If we were expecting that kind of performance over time he would’ve deserved a 5 year/+$180M contract. We should be thrilled that we only paid for his true talent level of 5 years/+$64M.

    I’d love to have Beltre back. If nothing else, our organization knows how valuable he is and no one will appreciate him as much as we do unless he puts up another 10.0 WAR season.

  33. twitchytsj on November 28th, 2009 8:18 pm

    ESPN really needs to proof read their articles better. Originally Figgins had a career high OBP of 789 (they fixed that one), but they still haven’t noticed their comment about MVP candidate Melvin Mora.

    “Much less attractive but also available is Melvin Mora, who turns 38 on Feb. 2 and had a career-worst OBP (.679) last season.”

    If his career worst OBP is 679 maybe the M’s should make him their new 3B :D .

    In all seriousness though I’m shocked that the guy who references fangraphs and UZR makes the comment that Beltre isn’t worth his contract.

  34. Catherwood on November 28th, 2009 8:30 pm

    This probably wants a different thread, but we’ve all talked about how hard it is for right-handed hitters in Safeco — so how did Edgar do so well? And can we somehow capture some part of that and teach it to guys like Adrian?

    From my own perspective, it always seemed like Edgar was willing to stay back on the pitch on the outside edge and drive it the other way, whereas Adrian (and poor godawful Richie) always try to pull every single pitch. This is probably ridiculously oversimplified. But seriously: surely it’s possible to be a good RHH in Safeco?

  35. galaxieboi on November 28th, 2009 9:14 pm

    To be fair, Edgar was one of the greatest hitters of our generation. He could’ve played half his home games at Death Valley National Park and hit well. And Edgar often didn’t hit as well at the Safe as he did on the road. Check his baseball-reference page for splits.

    Back to Beltre, his tOPS+ split (+ means to the road ‘side’) between home and road has gone from +8 to +9 to +24 to +39 to +21 this year (injury shortened). Sure, he hits a little better than WFB’s career line at home, but he still rakes on the road.

  36. ClaytonMiles on November 28th, 2009 9:23 pm

    I really think he is gone, arbitration or not. Beltre’s defense was superb, and good enough to make up for his less-than-superb plate performance. The silver lining of his departure is we have a lot of money, flexibility at the position and adequate defensive replacements on the bench.
    I’m curious how much USSM thinks the Ms could offer Beltre in a 1-yr deal that is market competitive and within the team’s budget.

  37. rightwingrick on November 28th, 2009 10:34 pm

    Sorry, but an OBP hovering around .300 is just not acceptable. Beltre rarely seemed to have his whole game together as a Mariner, which is unfortunate. And after 4 years, with the team in disarray in 2008, he didn’t seem to bring the leadership, either. The only way the M’s should re-sign him is if they get a tremendous break on the price, enabling them to somehow upgrade elsewhere.

  38. Dave in Palo Alto on November 28th, 2009 11:33 pm

    I’d like to see him back too, but the gent has to start wearing a cup. Seriously.

  39. Liam on November 29th, 2009 2:04 am

    Should the Mariners pay Beltre his market rate given their budget and the positions that need upgrading?

  40. GarForever on November 29th, 2009 8:06 am

    Figgins is less than a year older than Beltre and was worth almost 7 wins above replacement last year. You would somehow characterize him as an “aging speedster”?

    Nathaniel, with all due respect, Figgins WAR was 6.1, not 7, and anyone who expects him to replicate that in the future is guilty of the same “crime” as people who thought Beltre would ever replicate 2004. His previous best is 3.2, and although his WAR might have been better in 2007 and 2008 if he had played more than 116 games in either season, but that’s rather the point, I think: he’s going to be a 32-year-old guy whose value is mostly built on speed, and he is not without history of significant injury.

    Maybe someone can help me fill out my list here, but in racking my brain I can think of only two guys in the last thirty years whose game was in large measure built on speed who did not decline significantly in their mid-30s, and for both a single name may suffice: Rickey and Ichiro. Figgins is a nice player, but he will never be confused with either of those guys, and anyone who gives him a fat contract this off season will almost surely regret it.

  41. ck on November 29th, 2009 8:43 am

    I love Beltre’s defense. I always hoped his plate discipline would improve, especially in team at-bat situations. But because Boras is his agent, and Boras will want to wait until spring training starts to sign, will Jack Z wait that long on finding his infield ?

  42. dchappelle on November 29th, 2009 9:01 am

    First I don’t think there is any chance the M’s sign Figgins (not should they). He’ll get market rate or better after having a career year and not having the “disappointment” tag that Beltre does. The whole point of the article is that Beltre might be worthwhile to get back because of the market still undervaluing his defense.

    Maybe someone can help me fill out my list here, but in racking my brain I can think of only two guys in the last thirty years whose game was in large measure built on speed who did not decline significantly in their mid-30s, and for both a single name may suffice: Rickey and Ichiro. Figgins is a nice player, but he will never be confused with either of those guys, and anyone who gives him a fat contract this off season will almost surely regret it.

    There is actually a decent amount of evidence that players with young player skills (speed and batting average) actually age pretty well. Some others that did or are fairly consistent as they age: Kenny Lofton, Furcal, Luis Castillo.

    DMZ did a nice article discussing Sexson and old vs young player skills here.

  43. Miles on November 29th, 2009 12:36 pm

    Nathaniel said:

    And it’s a stretch to think that a one year deal would offer him as much as 4-5 million more a year than a longer term deal would bring him.

    It’s not about if the M’s offer him money. If he goes to arbitration the least he can make is 90% of his $13.4+ million from last year. The M’s would be on the hook for at least $12.6 million for one year of Adrian.

    Offense, such as Ibanez, gets the 3/$30 mill. Defense gets contracts much less. If Jack Wilson could hit, he’ld be getting paid the big bucks, too. I see Adrian signing for 3/$21-24ish. Beltre gets half of $24 mill. for one year in Seattle. If he improves his offensive numbers, then next year I can see him getting the 3/$30. Even if he signed $8 million per year, he makes $4 million more next year and $2 million more over the next two years if he has a decent offensive year in 2010.

  44. TranquilPsychosis on November 29th, 2009 2:12 pm

    I also would love to see Beltre wearing the Compass Rose next season. Though I do wonder how soon we should expect to see his defensive decline. I’m not so concerned about injury with him as much as aging. Outside of the shot in the gooseberries in ’09, which was a freak injury, he has averaged 151 games over the life of the contract.

    So what length of contract should the team be looking at? would 2 years with a team option for a 3rd be reasonable?

  45. Pete Livengood on November 29th, 2009 2:15 pm

    I would love it if Beltre came back, but honestly, if the Red Sox are sniffing around, what are the chances? They’ll pay him fairly, he should be able to hit in that park better, and they will compete every year. The Mariners can claim that they will, but the recent history – which is all AB knows – doesn’t support that.

    If the Sox move away from Lowell and are interested in Beltre, I think he’s gone regardless of the M’s interest (or lack thereof).

  46. Jake N. on November 29th, 2009 2:26 pm

    Jak Z. showed us all this year how great defense can turn [around] a [team's] ability to win. But I feel the next step in reaching the Angels will be determined by OBP. Love Beltre’s [heart], cannot stand for his [inability] to reach base. We already have Beltre 2.0 in Hannahan. Low OBP, great defense at a cheaper price. If you are going to spend money at third [base] I prefer Figgins.

  47. TranquilPsychosis on November 29th, 2009 2:29 pm

    If you are going to spend money at third Base I prefer Figgins.

    Isn’t it the general consensus that Figgins will be price prohibitive for this team?

  48. nathaniel dawson on November 29th, 2009 2:58 pm

    Nathaniel, with all due respect, Figgins WAR was 6.1, not 7, and anyone who expects him to replicate that in the future is guilty of the same “crime” as people who thought Beltre would ever replicate 2004. His previous best is 3.2, and although his WAR might have been better in 2007 and 2008 if he had played more than 116 games in either season, but that’s rather the point, I think: he’s going to be a 32-year-old guy whose value is mostly built on speed, and he is not without history of significant injury.

    Maybe someone can help me fill out my list here, but in racking my brain I can think of only two guys in the last thirty years whose game was in large measure built on speed who did not decline significantly in their mid-30s, and for both a single name may suffice: Rickey and Ichiro. Figgins is a nice player, but he will never be confused with either of those guys, and anyone who gives him a fat contract this off season will almost surely regret it.

    Garforever, you really should take baserunning into acount. A baserunning metric designed and maintained by Baseball Prospectus has him at +7.2 runs last year. That’s not an unreliable number, either, as for his career he’s added 6.5 runs a season, more than half a win a year. Hardball Times also ran their own numbers on baserunning this year and have him at +7.4. Add baserunning into his Fangraphs WAR calculation and it becomes 6.8. That looks pretty close to 7 to me. I never said I would expect him to repeat that level in the future; it’s possible of course, but not likely. I wouldn’t worry about his injuries, either. They’ve been few and he looked plenty healthy last year. He’s been hurt as many times in his career as Adrian Beltre was last year.

    Figgins offers a lot more of value to a team than just his baserunning. He makes good contact, draws a lot of walks, adds value on the bases, and plays good (maybe even really good) defense. At third base, he’s probably something like a 4 to 5 win player and shows no sign of slowing down. I’m not sure why anyone right now would think that he wouldn’t be worth the contract he gets, because, after all, unless someone has a crystal ball, no one right now, not even Chone Figgins and his agent, know what kind of deal he’s going to be able to get.

    It’s not about if the M’s offer him money. If he goes to arbitration the least he can make is 90% of his $13.4+ million from last year. The M’s would be on the hook for at least $12.6 million for one year of Adrian.

    Adrian Beltre is not guaranteed any amount of money through the arbitration process other than the Major League minimum of $400something thousand. A contract between Beltre and the M’s could be for whatever amount the two sides agree on.

    Isn’t it the general consensus that Figgins will be price prohibitive for this team?

    The only general consensus that matters about such a thing is among the Mariners executives and owners.

  49. DMZ on November 29th, 2009 3:07 pm

    It’s true that Beltre and the Mariners could avoid arbitration by agreeing to whatever contract they want, up to the point where they put suits on and show up to debate. But if they actually do go into the arbitration hearing, he is guaranteed not to take more than an n% paycut. And as a practical matter, given his service time and that of players he’ll be compared to, it’s going to be nearly impossible to get an arbitrator to take the team’s side if Beltre asks for anything remotely reasonable.

  50. Ralph_Malph on November 29th, 2009 3:41 pm

    Maybe someone can help me fill out my list here, but in racking my brain I can think of only two guys in the last thirty years whose game was in large measure built on speed who did not decline significantly in their mid-30s, and for both a single name may suffice: Rickey and Ichiro.

    Brett Butler, Willie Wilson, Tim Raines, Willie McGee, Johnny Damon, Lou Brock (OK, more than 30 years ago). To name a few off the top of my head, along with the few already named. This statement just isn’t true.

    Beltre’s skills aren’t speed based, but they’re also not “old player skills”.

    As far as his plate discipline, it’s streaky like his hitting in general. When he’s hot, he lays off the outside slider. When he’s slumping, he fishes for it. People remember those terrible swings but seem to forget his hot streaks. That’s why the best way to evaluate him is with his overall averages, not your memories of a bad swing or 50 bad swings.

  51. The Ancient Mariner on November 29th, 2009 3:53 pm

    I did not follow this paragraph:

    Defense is a reason that Lowell might get traded. And as long as the leaderboard is open, we can talk about other players. But defense isn’t something they’re evaluated on, and certainly doesn’t inform the larger discussion about other options. If the Red Sox swapped Lowell for Beltre, I suppose the Red Sox would lose some offense and there’d be some salary differences to work out. Team defense, hey, who knows?

    It seems to be clear to everyone else, but I don’t understand what DMZ was trying to say here.

  52. Bomberboy on November 29th, 2009 4:16 pm

    WHo cares how much AB was paid? He has above average glove, arm, solid speed, in a bad year will hit .270 ish and hits doubles and a few homers. OH yeah, the M’s have zero prospects at third, zero. If he can be had at all grab him. Otherwise it is just one more hole to fill. And if I hear one more “move Lopez to third”….never mind

  53. Wilder83 on November 29th, 2009 10:45 pm

    Zero prospects? Really? You mean Alex Liddi and Carlos Truinfel (who will likely move to 2B or 3B) are not good enough prospects?

  54. eponymous coward on November 30th, 2009 12:06 am

    USSM has discussed Liddi, and Triunfel has played a grand total of 7 games at AA, and has not posted an OPS over .742 yet in the minors (FWIW, Adrian Beltre hit the majors at Triunfel’s current age, and OPS’ed .780 as a Dodger playing full time at age 20).

    Neither of them should be counted on to give the M’s anything in 2010… so yeah, the M’s are kind of light in the infield, unless you keep Lopez and count on Tui as the 3B, or trade Lopez, stick Tui at 2B, and go with a Hall/Hannahan platoon (assuming a 2B/3B doesn’t come back).

  55. rsrobinson on November 30th, 2009 5:20 am

    Beltre is my second favorite Mariner (after Ichiro!) and I’d love to see him back, but I get the feeling that he wants to see what he can do offensively in a ballpark more suited to his skills than Safeco. I hope I’m wrong because I think a healthy Beltre and a healthy Wilson playing together would be Death to Rolling Things on the left side of the infield.

  56. GarForever on November 30th, 2009 10:50 am

    Brett Butler, Willie Wilson, Tim Raines, Willie McGee, Johnny Damon, Lou Brock (OK, more than 30 years ago). To name a few off the top of my head, along with the few already named. This statement just isn’t true.

    Well, I was asking for help in building out my list, figuring I had missed someone, but I feel this deserves a response for both substance and tone:

    Butler, I grant you, was “productive” until he turned 39, though after the age of 36 he only played in 111 games in a season once, and his totals in that regard were usually much, much lower.

    To suggest that Wilson was a force after his mid-thirties is a stretch: his numbers were already declining, then fell precipitously from the year he turned 36 onward.

    Raines’ OPS stayed relatively high from the year he turned 35 onward, but he never played in more than 109 games in a season, and usually far fewer.

    Damon just turned 36, but indeed he looks like another one to add to the list, though I wonder to what degree he qualifies as someone whose game is largely built on speed.

    McGee remained relatively productive and durable, though he was scarcely much of a base-stealing threat from age 33 on.

    And, Brock: well, duh. He was a slam dunk Hall-of-Famer, and again, no one for whom Chone Figgins is likely to be mistaken.

    I thank you for bringing a few other cases to my attention as food for thought, but I don’t think it vitiates the overall point I was hoping to make regarding the dangers of overvaluing Figgins, even if other sites than fangraphs peg his WAR slightly higher (and I reiterate, there’s no particularly strong reason based on his previous career numbers to think he will come close to repeating that performance). Though it seems the majority of contributors here don’t think it’s a good idea to sign him (and more importantly, that it won’t happen), there also seems to be a persistent undercurrent of thought that he would be attractive or a better option than Beltre. Marginally, that might be true, but not for what he’s likely to get paid versus what AB will probably get in free agency.

  57. Leroy Stanton on November 30th, 2009 4:36 pm

    Willie Wilson, Vince Coleman, Juan Pierre, etc are players whose game is built on speed. Once that goes there’s nothing left. Some of the other players had/have a lot more depth to their game.

    Figgins might be too expensive, but maybe not. I’m guessing he’ll get 4/$42MM. At that price he becomes interesting. He’ll only be 35 in the last year of a 4 year deal and I wouldn’t expect too much decline before then.

    Figgins can play 2B or LF in addition to 3B. Given the uncertainty the M’s have at those positions, it’s a big plus. He’s also not handicapped by Safeco the way that Beltre is.

    Beltre is a good, solid player and I will miss him. But for the money I think the M’s have better options.

  58. nathaniel dawson on November 30th, 2009 6:15 pm

    Figgins might be too expensive, but maybe not. I’m guessing he’ll get 4/$42MM

    Hard to guess what Figgins might get, but I’d bet it’ll be more than that, maybe $13 to 17MM per year. I have no guess myself whether that would be higher than what the M’s would be wiling to spend on him.

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