The Deal As We Know It

Dave · December 14, 2009 at 11:24 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The trade has had moving parts all day long, but as we understand it currently, it looks something like this from the M’s perspective:

Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, and a third player rumored to be J.C. Ramirez for Cliff Lee.

There’s a bunch of other stuff going back and forth from the Blue Jays and Phillies, but this is the relevant portion of the trade to M’s fans. And, to that, I just have to say that this is so amazingly awesome, I’m still trying to figure out how on earth this is actually happening.

Aumont is a good relief prospect. He could be in the majors this year, and he’s got all-star closer upside. Gillies is a potential high OBP center fielder with speed. Ramirez has the best arm in the system. They’re all prospects. And the whole lot of them aren’t worth three months of Cliff Lee, much less an entire season. Breaking it down numerically, since that’s what we do here.

Lee projects as roughly a +5 win pitcher for 2010. Given the expected cost of wins on the market, that makes him worth about $20 to $25 million for the upcoming season. However, the dollar per win values for high end players are usually based on multi-year contracts, as players of this caliber trade a little bit of cash for long term security. Since the Mariners are assuming no long term risk, his value is probably more like $25 to $30 million.

If the M’s can’t sign Lee to an extension, it’s almost a mortal lock that he’ll be a Type A free agent, which means that the team will get two draft picks if he leaves via free agency. The combined value of the two compensation picks is another $5 to $10 million, depending on what specific picks the M’s would receive.

So, the asset that is Lee for 2010 plus potential draft picks is worth somewhere between $30 and $40 million. His 2010 salary? $8 million. He’s a $22 to $32 million net asset. That’s enormous – he’s one of the most valuable properties in baseball.

The three prospects the M’s gave up? None of them are top notch, elite guys. They all have potential, but their risk-reward profiles do not put them in the top tier of minor leaguers. Based on the work of Victor Wang, we can quantify the present value of Aumont and Ramirez at about $5 million each and Gillies at about $3 million. That’s $13 million in total, or about half of what Lee is worth.

This is, quite frankly, a heist. The Mariners are getting a Cy Young caliber pitcher for some decent-but-not-great prospects. They aren’t giving up Morrow. They aren’t giving up Saunders. They aren’t even giving up Triunfel. And yet, they walk away with one of the five or six best pitchers in baseball.

Forget that we probably only have Lee for a year. We’re paying for about two months worth of his services and getting four months for free.

Seriously, dance in the streets. Build a bust of Zduriencik and place it on your mantle. Name your first born son Jack and your daughter Jackie. When this becomes official, hug someone. This trade is that good.

Comments

207 Responses to “The Deal As We Know It”

  1. Mike Snow on December 14th, 2009 11:26 pm

    You could say the team has arranged to reacquire the draft pick they gave up to sign Figgins.

  2. Leroy Stanton on December 14th, 2009 11:27 pm

    mlbtraderumors.com…

    The Mariners have agreed to trade second baseman Jose Lopez to the Phillies for second baseman Chase Utley.

    GM Ruben Amaro Jr. confirmed the trade to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, saying “Well, Chase is a great ballplayer but we felt we needed to make our fans forget the Cliff Lee deal and, frankly, this was the best way to do that.” He also noted Lopez’ “uncanny” ability to drive in runs. The trade is pending physicals and is expected to be announced tomorrow.

  3. pinball1973 on December 14th, 2009 11:35 pm

    Um…. This deal sounds so unbelievable that I won’t entirely believe it until it’s at MLB.com. Not that I don’t believe Dave, but, well, it’s just so absurd and yet not simply crazy.

    Um…. Woo-hoooooo!

  4. TWownsU on December 14th, 2009 11:45 pm

    All hail Jack Zduriencik!

  5. Chris Miller on December 14th, 2009 11:46 pm

    I was thinking Morrow or Saunders, and alternating between being happy and bleh respectively. WOW. I love Ramirez. But wow.

  6. Jake N. on December 14th, 2009 11:50 pm

    Way to far fetched to be real. I am expecting a gotcha sometime tomorrow from the Phillies. The only thing that actually sounds reallistic Is the Jays would want Aumont.

  7. bronmaderine on December 14th, 2009 11:59 pm

    This deal needs to close soon so I can exhale.

  8. Tyler Cox on December 15th, 2009 12:02 am

    I LOVE that we should still have all the pieces talked about trading away this winter (Lopez, Morrow, Lowe). This could turn out to be a very good winter.

  9. stevie_j13 on December 15th, 2009 12:02 am

    I know this is a wonderful trade, but from the other perspective, are the prospects the M’s are giving to Philadelphia much worse than the ones the Phillies gave to Cleveland? Aumont, Ramirez, and Gillies seems like a similar haul to Donald, Carrasco, Marson, and Knapp – and Philly got Ben Francisco out of the deal, as well.

    My point is really that this trade, when looked at in totality, isn’t terrible for the Phillies. They essentially got two months and the playoffs of Cliff Lee for a couple million dollars. They also could not afford to keep Lee and Halladay.

    This is also a wonderful example of Z’s uncanny ability to find undervalued assets. This is the second time Lee has been traded for about half his value. There is still room to get a significant bat and someone to hold down the LF or DH fort for this year. The M’s may also be the best run-preventing team in baseball next year by a mile. Long live Z!

  10. Fungo on December 15th, 2009 12:03 am

    Actually Aumont and Ramirez are both worth 7.3m, while Gillies is about 5.5m. Thus, the total comes to 19.1m. Still a good deal, but not nearly the steal that you think it is. Regardless, a nice move to give the M’s a shot to win in 2010. If they fail, the move will be seen as a bust, since they have little chance to retain him, but the move is worth it.

  11. behappy on December 15th, 2009 12:04 am

    I know this is premature to ask but, what is the chance of Lee signing a long term deal? or would you just want to take the draft picks and find another deal next year?

  12. johnfree63 on December 15th, 2009 12:06 am

    I’m still trying to figure out where Carlos Silva is going to end up. That is the only thing that could make this trade any better.

  13. Typical Idiot Fan on December 15th, 2009 12:08 am

    I know this is premature to ask but, what is the chance of Lee signing a long term deal? or would you just want to take the draft picks and find another deal next year?

    If the earlier reports of Lee wanting Sabathia type money are accurate, then I don’t think we should try extending him. With our priority being Felix, the money just might not be there anyhow. Then again, who knows.

    At this point, I’d plan for the Type A compensation. Someone WILL sign him in the 2010 off season.

  14. Mike Honcho on December 15th, 2009 12:08 am

    You take Lee over the picks, no questions asked.

    But in reality, it will be hard to keep Lee here. Especially if he’s seeking a Sabathia-esque deal.

    The two picks are a worst-case scenario. And that’s pretty awesome.

  15. wabbles on December 15th, 2009 12:13 am

    @ behappy Lee’s agent has been quoted numerous places saying his client wants to play out his contract and test the market.

    But this is highway robbery. Now I really am celebrating Jan. 11 (Z’s birthday) with a tree and presents or something. This is almost cosmic compensation for the Bedard deal. Almost.

    As for Silva, I still say the team bus should drive off without him one day.

  16. fiftyone on December 15th, 2009 12:15 am

    And as stated before, we might even get to hang on to Morrow and Saunders and other young’uns when all is said and done. Which makes sense, since we need those pieces to go get Adrian Gonzalez.
    I believe I’m being facetious, but it’s hard to tell at this point. No coup is out of Zduriencik’s range.

  17. Teej on December 15th, 2009 12:18 am

    I’m still trying to figure out where Carlos Silva is going to end up.

    Put your money on Seattle.

  18. Marinerman1979 on December 15th, 2009 12:19 am

    am I the only one who is nervous that this deal could fall apart? What a great deal.

  19. wabbles on December 15th, 2009 12:22 am

    Thank goodness Bowie Kuhn isn’t the commissioner. I seem to remember he nixed a couple of Charlie Finley’s deals because they were steals like this.

  20. tmac9311 on December 15th, 2009 12:34 am

    another awesome way to look at this is we replaced Johjima’s contract with Cliff Lee. I’m not familiar with Ramirez, but it seems like we essentially trade him for Lee straight up after we get those two picks. I really can’t find a negative on this.

    The only negative thing GMZ has really done is sign Griffey, and really that’s more of a business move, so in a way it’s still a good move.

    I can’t wait for this season, and the winter is still far from over. Like others mentioned, we still have the pieces to acquire Adrian Gonzalez, we probably have enough money to sign a Nick Johnson, Branyan is still a possibility… My best Christmas present could arguably be this offseason; I’ve already gotten so much more than I could of hoped for.

  21. joser on December 15th, 2009 12:34 am

    The schadenfreude I’m getting reading the Angels blogs is just delicious. My favorite:

    No Lackey, No Halladay, No Lee
    I feel like I got kicked in the nuts three times today

    Imagine if you could go around and kick every Angels fan like that. Not once. Not twice. Three times.

    And now realize you don’t have to, because Zduriencik (with a little help from the Phillies and Red Sox) just did it for you.

    But hey, they might be signing a WS MVP with wobbly knees to DH, so they got that going for them.

  22. joser on December 15th, 2009 12:40 am

    So the Dreamliner is scheduled to make its first flight at 10am, and then Brock and Salk are scheduled to have Chone Figgins on at noon, and possibly Zduriencik after that. Quite a day in local daytime media. And new icons about to become Seattle-area institutions.

  23. Scott5000 on December 15th, 2009 12:43 am

    You could say the team has arranged to reacquire the draft pick they gave up to sign Figgins.

    or you could say Z us going back in time and actually repairing the trade/draft mistakes (drafting relievers) of the previous regime. I wouldn’t put time travel past Dr. Z.

  24. DaveValleDrinkNight on December 15th, 2009 1:03 am

    I feel like an 8 year old girl who just got a pony for christmas! Having said that…

    We still need two more big bats in the line-up.

    Go get ‘em Z!

  25. Luc on December 15th, 2009 1:18 am

    We still need two more big bats in the line-up.

    Kids. Sleeping through class again.

  26. poetfiend on December 15th, 2009 1:24 am

    As I now lay me down to sleep
    thank baseball Gods: this happy weep
    will surely make some Angels cry.
    Praise this man who’ll make foes die
    a bit each game, each series, bereft:
    With Cliff on the left, and King on the right
    your summers will turn to autumnless night.
    This tight, righted ship will win with low scores
    ‘gainst those who wish gains on Safeco’s sweet shores.
    So- praise to the pilot of this tight, righted ship,
    praise Captain Z and his crew: Hooray! And Hip, Hip!

    (There are still many questions but, tonight, just one more:
    Who on the roster will wear 34?)

  27. Gibbo on December 15th, 2009 1:36 am

    I still think there must be more than us just giving up Aumont, Gillies and Ramirez for Lee, or at least one of our guys must be headed to Toronto – surely?

    If all of our 3 prospects are heading to the Phillies why did they even need us involved? Could they of gotten better talent for him if the put him out there on the open trade market?

  28. gag harbor on December 15th, 2009 1:37 am

    I’m having a hard time figuring out why Toronto ends up paying a huge part of Halladay’s salary for 2010. Trading the best pitcher in baseball with an under-valued paycheck and to a team that has the capability to sign him to an extension and you still have to pay $8 million of his salary? I wonder what those prospects are worth that Toronto is getting?

  29. njpozner on December 15th, 2009 1:43 am

    If I ever meet Zduriencik in person, it will be hard to restrain my Counselor Troi “Joy! Joy and gratitude!” feelings.

  30. garrett1616 on December 15th, 2009 1:48 am

    Dave, thanks for being such an amazing writer, everytime I come on this site I cant help but smile and laugh a little. Keep up the good work.

  31. behappy on December 15th, 2009 1:49 am

    After what Jack did today you start to see the pieces of the puzzle come together a little better. He did the hard part today finding a #2 pitcher behind Felix. Now all of a sudden we have the best 1-2 combo in baseball and a 3-4-5 that has a ton of upside.

    Finding a 1B and someone that can drive the ball should be easy for the PuppetMaster.

  32. mark s on December 15th, 2009 2:10 am

    Jack Z has talked a lot about not wanting to rip someone off or insult someone with a trade offer, but rather make a trade where everyone walked away very happy. Each team should walk away happy about this trade.

    On my spreadsheet, I have the Mariners at 86 wins. I wonder were the team is on Jack’s sheet? I bet it is a little lower than mine.

  33. Osfan on December 15th, 2009 2:16 am

    gag harbor – Toronto is getting a nice haul of prospects out of this from Philly. Essentially, they are getting what JP wanted in July. Toronto does well in this deal. Jack Z made out ridiculously well. Amaro in Philly pulled a Bavasi.

  34. 3cardmonty on December 15th, 2009 2:33 am

    I think Amaro did fine. He turned one year of Lee into 4-5 years of Halladay for three prospects. Are the prospects really that highly regarded that they aren’t worth 3-4 years of Halladay at a below-market rate?

  35. 3cardmonty on December 15th, 2009 2:35 am

    Check that, Amaro even replaced the three prospects he gave up with three of our prospects. This was a fabulous trade for Philly.

  36. NLhamster on December 15th, 2009 2:48 am

    Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 18th. 66 days. These are good times.

  37. Kunkoh on December 15th, 2009 2:52 am

    This does look like one of those trades where everyone either “wins” or has a decent chance of winning thanks to bringing in lots of prospects. I really like the way Jack Z does business. Wow.. I thought last year was great, but if this goes through… just wow.

    It’s no like we finally have a GM with a plan; it’s like we got the baseball equivalent of Patton or Wellington!

  38. gag harbor on December 15th, 2009 3:22 am

    So in looking at the way Dave quantified the Cliff Lee value and the prospects value, how does Toronto end up kicking in $8 million just to move the best pitcher in MLB in his final year of a contract? Those prospects are worth an extra $8 million?

  39. 3cardmonty on December 15th, 2009 4:06 am

    Okay, upon further review (the Philly blogs are not happy and I can now see why), I take back my earlier praise of Amaro. He made one good trade and one bad trade. The Halladay contract is pretty sweet so that should temper the loss of three of their best prospects. But why not just keep Cliff Lee? Supposedly it’s because of payroll concerns but apparently Blanton is in line for $7M compared to Lee’s $8-9M. This seems too good to be true…I just hope Amaro doesn’t come to his senses.

  40. The Ancient Mariner on December 15th, 2009 4:33 am

    Dave, given your past comments, I’m a little surprised that you’re pleased that we’re giving up Aumont and Ramirez instead of Morrow. I would think you’d rather see Morrow go in place of one of those two.

  41. Osfan on December 15th, 2009 4:34 am

    Yeah, the guys at The Good Phight are apopletic. How could Amaro look so good in July and then look this bad now? Did Jack Z get him drunk? If he’d have made this trade with Blanton it would have been bad. I don’t understand it. I’d love to hear Amaro justify this.

  42. gag harbor on December 15th, 2009 4:58 am

    Jason Stark says the Phillies basically traded Lee for Halladay and got a three-year extension on an ace pitcher. He says Toronto felt they owed it to Halladay to trade him to where he wanted to be. Do teams really do things like that? I know there was a no-trade clause but how much does a team “owe” a single player when the whole future of the franchise is on the line?

    Anyway, great that Jack was standing near by with tradables at the ready. Three-way trades really open up the possibilities don’t they.

  43. rlharr on December 15th, 2009 5:24 am

    OMFG who was that masked man?

    Dave, I love your offseason plans each year, they always look like good, sensible moves forward, so much better than we used to get. But this guy is making you look like a Royals general manager. Whew.

    And it goes deeper. Now we have two pitchers to try and lock down long term – signing Lee may be unlikely, and yes, we can only afford one and would rather have Felix, but I’d try for Lee – if Lee did sign we’d have two years of Felix/Lee before having to worry about losing Felix (and getting our two draft picks if so). And just negotiating with Lee might make Felix more likely to sign – he knows there’s a limit to the money…

    And with two inning eaters at the top of the rotation, do they maybe consider cutting back to an 11-man pitching staff?

    This is amazing.

  44. rsrobinson on December 15th, 2009 5:45 am

    Wow! I would’ve thought that the M’s would have had to give up a prospect like Morrow, Triunfel, or Saunders in the deal. Aumont probably became expendable after he was converted to a reliever and the other two are still a long way from MLB ready. I shudder to think what Bavasi would have offered the Phils for Lee.

    Man, this deal came out of nowhere. I wonder what else Jack Z has up his sleeve?

  45. dchappelle on December 15th, 2009 5:45 am

    Dave, do you worry at all that your elated posts somehow make this trade cost more?

  46. Sports on a Schtick on December 15th, 2009 5:48 am
  47. belchnbeaver on December 15th, 2009 6:29 am

    I share the concern that this could end up costing more… FYI: Neyer reposted your front page posting on his blog as well: link

  48. Mekias on December 15th, 2009 7:13 am

    Buster Olney says the deal has been finalized and is just pending a Halladay physical. Looks like the dream has become a reality.

  49. maqman on December 15th, 2009 7:15 am

    Santa Z knew just what I wanted. Before I did. Lee can leave after a year, as long as GMZ stays.

  50. GarForever on December 15th, 2009 7:31 am

    I think it’s possible that those (including Phillies fans) who think Amaro just got heisted aren’t necessarily looking at the big picture. Philadelphia has guaranteed themselves 3 years of Halladay, with very possibly two more based on vesting options, all below market rate, plus $6MM to defray the costs of the 15.75MM he’s owed this year. The Phillies have some big contracts looming, as Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Cole Hamels are all eligible for free agency after the 2011 season (as is Ibanez, though I have to think at that point if he decides to continue playing he’s going to have to come to grips with reality and head back to the AL principally as a DH). If I’ve done my calculations right, I think J.A. Happ will also be a super-two after the ’11 season. This trade bought the Phillies an established stud pitcher for up to five years while preserving at least some payroll flexibility for when these other guys hit free agency or, in Happ’s case, could potentially get huge raises through arbitration. If Phillies fans are unhappy today, they need to think about how they’d feel if the Phillies either (a) ponied up the money on the market for an ace and watched much of the home-grown fan favorites go away, or (b) held on to the home-grown cornerstone only to see them get bombed out due to a lack of pitching beyond Hamels.

    So, I think this trade is great for us, but not nearly as bad for the Phillies as some might think. Not only did they restock their farm from what they shipped to Toronto, but they bought themselves some contract wiggle room beyond the 2011 season.

  51. Carson on December 15th, 2009 7:33 am

    The Worldwide Leader reports that Halladay has come to terms with Philly.

  52. Dave on December 15th, 2009 7:44 am

    I think it’s possible that those (including Phillies fans) who think Amaro just got heisted aren’t necessarily looking at the big picture.

    The problem, though, is that these are two separate trades. There is nothing going back and forth between Seattle and Toronto, so these deals are not intertwined. You have to evaluate the Lee-Seattle part of the trade as a standalone deal, because it is.

    And on that portion of the deal, Philly is getting far less than they should be.

  53. Paul B on December 15th, 2009 7:48 am

    Thank goodness Bowie Kuhn isn’t the commissioner. I seem to remember he nixed a couple of Charlie Finley’s deals because they were steals like this.

    Those deals were players for cash only.

    And times were certainly different.

  54. msb on December 15th, 2009 7:50 am

    The problem, though, is that these are two separate trades.

    I’ve heard the phrase “companion trade” more, over the last 12 hours …

  55. Jeff Nye on December 15th, 2009 7:51 am

    As awesome as Dave is, I don’t think he’s reached the level where he can alter trades in progress just yet.

    Also, Cliff Freakin’ Lee.

  56. dmojr on December 15th, 2009 8:01 am

    with the trade no being final, and all media outlets reporting the M’s are getting a steal… couldn’t the phillies back out and find a different trade partner? Especially if it’s not a 3 way trade… not sure why philly wouldn’t reconsider.

  57. 3cardmonty on December 15th, 2009 8:15 am

    I don’t get it. If the Phillies could get a better package why aren’t teams blowing up their phones to offer it to them?

  58. Paul B on December 15th, 2009 8:15 am

    Could the Phillies get more, though, for one year of Lee? They are dumping 8 million and getting three decent prospects in return for a player they don’t expect to be able to sign anyway.

  59. argh on December 15th, 2009 8:17 am

    What puzzles me — from Dave’s ‘logic test’ aspect — is why the Mariners and/or why such a low price for Lee from Philly? The third team in the Toronto-Philly deal could have been darned near anybody so are we to assume that nobody offered a better package for Lee that what we (now) hear is on the table from Seattle? That seems pretty unbelievable — as does the notion that Philadelphia wouldn’t have tried to shop the deal elsewhere. So what am I missing?

  60. dingbatman on December 15th, 2009 8:18 am

    I wonder if there is more to come from this trade. I don’t understand why Toronto is chipping in $6m on top of Halliday. If that money was coming from the M’s perhaps there is another piece coming our way???

  61. Jeffrey D on December 15th, 2009 8:19 am

    GarForever, I agree with your take on the Phillies, and there are some Phillies fans who will buy into that as well.

    But there is a whole other, not quite as rational, very emotional side to this as well in Philly.

    Seattle is the emerald city, best place to live, and on and on. Philly is seen as second class city in every way. NY and DC are practically on its doorstep and it’s hard to measure up. Even after willing the WS you could hear people say, ya, but they didn’t have to face the Yankees. The AL is better than the NL. Etc, etc. And keep in mind, New Yorkers talk trash, and they have 10 radio stations for every one Philly has, and all the championships, and on and on. You’re second rate, you’ve always been second rate, you’ll always be second rate. You can’t get away from it.

    So Philly wanted to win the WS bad, really bad. But what they were afaid of wasn’t losing. They were afraid of being intimidated. They were afraid of their team walking into Yankee Stadium and playing scared. They wanted NY to look at them with respect.

    So the way the Phillies carried themselves was a BIG DEAL. It was seriously important. And the team measured up, they were not afraid. And the two guys least who really lead the team were Utley and Lee. The way the acted, what they said, what they did, there just aren’t words for how much that meant to a lot of fans. It was deeply personal.

    So, yes, the Halladay trade is the right move, but there are a lot of people in Philly who are broken up and do not want to hear it right now.

  62. Carson on December 15th, 2009 8:23 am

    Rob Neyer agrees with Dave.

  63. Liam on December 15th, 2009 8:26 am

    Buster_ESPN
    Sentiment within some corners of NYY organization is that TOR got less talent than what they would’ve required from the Yankees in a deal.

    Hmm, why does this sound familar

    ?

    Does it really seem likely to anyone that the team called New York, asked for Joba and Hughes, was refused, and then instead of trying to work something else out or see what New York would offer, just hung up, called Detroit, and made a much worse deal?

  64. Liam on December 15th, 2009 8:28 am

    Buster_ESPN
    Sentiment within some corners of NYY organization is that TOR got less talent than what they would’ve required from the Yankees in a deal.

    Hmm, why does this sound familar

    Does it really seem likely to anyone that the team called New York, asked for Joba and Hughes, was refused, and then instead of trying to work something else out or see what New York would offer, just hung up, called Detroit, and made a much worse deal?

  65. 3cardmonty on December 15th, 2009 8:30 am

    First comment from that ESPN article:

    Is this just Erik Bedard deal again for teh M’s?

    Doesn’t get much dumber than ESPN comments. Maybe Youtube comments.

  66. ooter37 on December 15th, 2009 8:32 am

    Why is the ussmariner post paraphrased on espn? Does Dave work for espn now?

  67. 3cardmonty on December 15th, 2009 8:34 am

    Ha! Sorry, I need to stop cruising the ESPN comments, but I had to post this one:

    Of course Dave Cameron is a giant homer so there’s always that as well.

  68. Liam on December 15th, 2009 8:38 am

    Why is the ussmariner post paraphrased on espn? Does Dave work for espn now?

    For analysis on a big Mariners deal, who wouldn’t at least check out what USSM had to say? Rob must have liked what he read, I know they are a fan of his work.

  69. Liam on December 15th, 2009 8:40 am

    Wrong link, here is the right one.

    Congrats to Rob, Keith…

  70. argh on December 15th, 2009 8:41 am

    Oh, sure, now that Bloomquist is gone, Cameron’s suddenly a “giant homer”.

  71. Tek Jansen on December 15th, 2009 8:42 am

    Neyer quotes and attributes Dave. It shows how much respect this blog and its authors have among baseball people.

    Plus, let us all agree not to respond to individuals who desire to draw parallels to the Bedard trade. Any intelligent analysis will lead to the conclusion that the two trades are quite different in terms of players invovled and the circumstances and situations involving the teams. Any person who attempts to claim that the trades are similar lacks the ability to conduct intelligent analysis. (I no longer listen to KJR, but I would guess that someone over there has tried to claim that the trades are similar.)

  72. 3cardmonty on December 15th, 2009 8:52 am

    I know, whatever the opposite of a homer is (walk? strikeout? catcher interference? catcher interference.)–that’s what Dave is.

  73. Tek Jansen on December 15th, 2009 8:56 am

    I know, whatever the opposite of a homer is (walk? strikeout? catcher interference? catcher interference.)–that’s what Dave is.

    How about reaching base on a called third strike passed ball – Rob Johnson style.

  74. 3cardmonty on December 15th, 2009 9:01 am

    Touche.

  75. 3cardmonty on December 15th, 2009 9:07 am

    How about reaching base on a called third strike passed ball – Rob Johnson style.

    Touche.

  76. rsrobinson on December 15th, 2009 9:20 am

    So I take it that the gloom over not signing Harden has evaporated?

  77. Jake75 on December 15th, 2009 9:21 am

    Phils fan here. I apologize for not being able to read all the comments, but it’s seriously hard to consider this a big win, or even a win, for the Mariners. I understand Ms fans are excited — with good reason. Felix/Lee might be the best pairing in baseball. But we’re talking about the merits of this particular trade — and it is a fair deal. Looking at the CC trade or the Johan trade and, even the Lee deal last year, it’s hard to see it any other way.

    Now I don’t know about adding up the projected value of players and so on. I’m not getting into that.

    I take issue with a couple of what have to be considered biased points by Mr. Cameron. First off the “three decent but not great prospects” followed by “we didn’t give up Morrow.” I read that and I assume if it were Morrow and Saunders in place of Aumont and Ramirez, the line would be “we didn’t give up Aumont. We didn’t give up Ramirez.”

    Bottom line: The Ms are giving up their top two pitching prospects and a third prospect who projects as a MLer. For one year of Lee. That’s market value.

    Secondly, it’s become fashionable for fans to lean on the two compensation picks and assume “we’ll just replace those two lost players with two 1st rounders!” Well, it’s not quite that simple.

    First off, it discounts time as a value. A rookie league prospect is nowhere near as valuable as a double or triple A prospect. The Phils are losing three ML prospects and gaining three ML prospects. But they are big losers in that swap because Taylor and Drabek are near ML ready. Same with the Ms. By the time these two compensation picks are in uniform, Ramirez will have nearly four years in pro ball and Aumont three.

    And that’s IF you get the compensation picks. Teams are becoming more and more reluctant to hamstring a FA by offering arb. Cubs didn’t offer Harden arb. Dodgers didn’t offer Wolf arb. Furthermore, teams can hamstring themselves by offering arb. what do we know about Lee? He can be inconsistent. As recently as 2007, he posted a 6.29 ERA. Two, he wants a lot of money. So let’s say he goes 16-10 with a 3.20, very reasonable, and he’s an attractive FA. BUT he wants $20 mil per. All of a sudden he isn’t as attractive to opposing teams who have to give up draft picks.

    And in this scenario, the player may end up accepting arb. And you’re screwed. I know because Kevin Millwood did this to Philly some years ago.

    So in closing, it’s a nice deal for both sides. The Phils have no closer prospects in the system. And Ramirez looks like a very nice arm. Gillies is intriguing.

    And you get one year of Cliff Lee and possibly two draft picks.

  78. Mekias on December 15th, 2009 9:25 am

    It’s a way for Neyer to provide content without actually doing much work. It happens a lot in today’s media.

  79. GarForever on December 15th, 2009 9:32 am

    You have to evaluate the Lee-Seattle part of the trade as a standalone deal, because it is.

    And on that portion of the deal, Philly is getting far less than they should be.

    Fair enough, Dave. I still think I understand what Amaro’s trying to do, if the team is at all serious about re-signing some combination of Howard, Rollins, Hamels, and possibly buying out Happ’s arbitration years at some point, yet guarantee they would have an ace starter regardless.

    You’re right, of course, that this is really one-off deal between Philly and Seattle, and in that context, then I suppose this is, in fact, a heist. I guess the question is, then, as others have raised, why us? Amaro’s not stupid, obviously. Is it really possible that Z offered the most attractive return for Lee among all possible suitors?

    And keep in mind, New Yorkers talk trash, and they have 10 radio stations for every one Philly has, and all the championships, and on and on. You’re second rate, you’ve always been second rate, you’ll always be second rate. You can’t get away from it.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve always liked Philly better than NYC or DC, but maybe that’s just me.

  80. hoffma14 on December 15th, 2009 9:33 am

    I think you obviously gotta be happy with the trade for the mariners, but as a Phillies fan I gotta tell you, we are loving this too.
    I mean lets look at this:
    Phillies Give:
    Kyle Drabek
    Michael Taylor
    Travis D’Arnaud
    Jason Knapp
    Lou Marson
    Jason Donald
    Carlos Carassco

    Phillies Get
    1 yr of Roy Halladay at $9.75 million
    2 months and Playoffs of Cliff Lee
    Phillipe Aumont
    Tyson Gillies
    J.C. Ramirez

    As a mariners fan, which would u rather have the Mariners 3 or Knapp, Marson, Carassco, and Donald? I know which one I want.
    So for us it was essentially Halladay and 2 months + playoffs of Lee for Drabek, Taylor, and D’Arnaud.
    I’ll take that any day of the week.
    Some will argue that you must analyze these trades individually, but really we have the ability of perspective, and really the only team that made a terrible trade here is the Indians.

  81. TumwaterMike on December 15th, 2009 9:58 am

    A thought just occurred to me. With all the things said in the blog-o-sphere about how this is such a “steal” for the M’s, is it possible that either Toronto or Philadelphia could start demaning more?

  82. IB Stramezi on December 15th, 2009 10:00 am

    This is terrible math, Dave. Lee’s value to a team this coming season depends on that team’s prospects for the season. Anyone who thinks the Mariners will be serious contenders is nuts, and so the extra wins lee may deliver in 2010 aren’t relevant.

    Fans are too impatient. Writers like Dave Cameron and Larry Stone are too impatient. And now I’m concerned management may be too impatient, because they’re being forced to deliver hope instead of reality. Please, please let me play some high stakes poker against you guys!

  83. nick.h on December 15th, 2009 10:00 am

    I don’t think it’s been said yet, but in addition to dancing in the streets, building busts of Jack Z and naming our children Jack and Jackie we should show our appreciation for the front office by SHOWING UP next year! Show them our support and absolute elation by buying tickets and the like. :)

  84. TumwaterMike on December 15th, 2009 10:03 am

    show our appreciation for the front office by SHOWING UP next year! Show them our support and absolute elation by buying tickets and the like.

    I’m planning on going to Spring Training this year for the second year in a row.

  85. Liam on December 15th, 2009 10:04 am

    With all the things said in the blog-o-sphere about how this is such a “steal” for the M’s, is it possible that either Toronto or Philadelphia could start demanding more?

    Michael Taylor has supposedly already been flipped to the Athletics, so the Halladay part has to be a done deal.

  86. TumwaterMike on December 15th, 2009 10:07 am

    Michael Taylor has supposedly already been flipped to the Athletics, so the Halladay part has to be a done deal.

    Where did you get that?

  87. TumwaterMike on December 15th, 2009 10:16 am

    Never mind. I just got it from Baker’s blog.

  88. sonichound on December 15th, 2009 10:27 am

    [yeah, we're not going there]

  89. Paul B on December 15th, 2009 10:48 am

    Dear Cliff Lee:

    Seattle is a wonderful summer tourist destination.

    For example, Safeco field really punishes right handed batters, especially right handed batters that hit fly balls.

    With Death to Flying Things patrolling center field, Safeco is absolutely perfect for left handed flyball pitchers. You will enjoy your visit!

    Sincerely,
    Seattle Tourist Bureau for Baseball Players

  90. Briggstar on December 15th, 2009 10:51 am

    And now I’m concerned management may be too impatient, because they’re being forced to deliver hope instead of reality.

    Isn’t that management’s job, given budget limitations, with the implicit goal of that hope becoming a reality? Based on a fine 2009 season, all things considered (including the Angels imploding in the course of a week), Mariners fans have every reason to dream big.

  91. beef on December 15th, 2009 10:56 am

    @jake75

    Now I don’t know about adding up the projected value of players and so on. I’m not getting into that.

    then this site is probably not your cup of tea.

    And in this scenario, the player may end up accepting arb. And you’re screwed. I know because Kevin Millwood did this to Philly some years ago.

    umm. i would love cliff lee to accept arbitration after 2010 but the whole reason he the phillies are moving him is he wants to test the large free agent waters after 2010.

  92. The Ancient Mariner on December 15th, 2009 10:57 am

    And nobody’s yet mentioned the best thing about this deal: this should remove all possibility of Jarrod “Bus” Washburn coming back to the M’s.

  93. joser on December 15th, 2009 11:03 am

    The price to the M’s does seem a little light. But I keep going back to the Santana trade: the Twins got Carlos Gomez and three other guys (Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey), which isn’t a lot more than the M’s are giving up — and the Mets were effectively getting more than a one-year rental because they got to negotiate an extension with Santana as a precondition of the deal. The Brewers gave up more for a half-season of Sabbathia (LaPorta in particular) but they were in a more desperate “win now!” situation. Pitchers on the verge of free agency, no matter how good (in fact, especially if they’re good) just aren’t worth as much as you initially think — even when you factor in the draft picks. Having zero future value depresses net present value.

    That said, as described right now it sure looks like a “heist” to me. Then again, there were smart people around baseball (and not just at USSM) who were wondering why Bavasi would give up as much as he did in the Bedard deal. Short of getting some kind of statement from Amaro, we can’t know how the various factors weighed into his decision. But based on the angst coming out of Phillie, he’s going on to have to say something.

    I said it before in jest, but I’m starting to believe it: Zduriencik is The Shadow. He has the power to cloud men’s minds.

  94. 3cardmonty on December 15th, 2009 11:03 am

    I take issue with a couple of what have to be considered biased points by Mr. Cameron. First off the “three decent but not great prospects” followed by “we didn’t give up Morrow.” I read that and I assume if it were Morrow and Saunders in place of Aumont and Ramirez, the line would be “we didn’t give up Aumont. We didn’t give up Ramirez.”

    Stop projecting your homerism. Everybody’s relieved Saunders wasn’t dealt. But, glad to hear some Philly fans are happy to have three decent prospects rather than a year of Halladay and Lee together. We can all be happy about the trade together! (You might actually want to stick around here if that’s what you’re looking for, as the Philly blogs are on the verge of busting out the torches and pitchforks.)

  95. Dave on December 15th, 2009 11:04 am

    Now I don’t know about adding up the projected value of players and so on. I’m not getting into that.

    Let’s just stop right here. You’re admitting that you’re not aware of how to value players. Why should we care about anything you say after this?

    I take issue with a couple of what have to be considered biased points by Mr. Cameron.

    Just to clarify – Mariners fan = biased, Phillies fan = objective. Got it.

    I read that and I assume if it were Morrow and Saunders in place of Aumont and Ramirez, the line would be “we didn’t give up Aumont. We didn’t give up Ramirez.”

    Your argument rests on your presumption of what you think I would have said. Seriously?

    Bottom line: The Ms are giving up their top two pitching prospects and a third prospect who projects as a MLer. For one year of Lee. That’s market value.

    Our top two pitching prospects aren’t normal “top two pitching prospects”, because we don’t have very good top tier pitching prospects. It’s like saying you got the Washington Nationals second best starting pitcher.

    First off, it discounts time as a value.

    If you weren’t ignorant about the quantified values listed above, you’d know this isn’t true.

    And in this scenario, the player may end up accepting arb. And you’re screwed.

    Keep in mind – you’re arguing that the Mariners would be screwed by having one of the best pitchers in baseball under contract on a no-risk, one year deal.

    So in closing, it’s a nice deal for both sides.

    Thank you for your totally objective, well informed opinion.

  96. IB Stramezi on December 15th, 2009 11:05 am

    Ah, but the Mariner’s didn’t have a fine season last year, Briggstar! They had by far the worst offense in the AL, scoring 243 fewer runs than the Angels. Just because they improved from horrible in 2008 to mediocre in 2009 doesn’t mean they’re ready to become contenders in 2010.

    You convert hope into reality by implementing a sound plan. If the Mariners want to be contenders in a few years, they should make moves now with that goal in mind, not to pump up unrealistic expectations for this season. Personally, I enjoy watching young talent develop. This clamor for instant gratification is really unfortunate.

  97. gwangung on December 15th, 2009 11:06 am

    This is terrible math, Dave. Lee’s value to a team this coming season depends on that team’s prospects for the season.

    Um, no, what Lee does for the Mariners this season is that he tremendously improves the team’s chances to win more games at a price that is very modest (prospects and all). That’s value.

    By the way, very much appreciate the twitter list that’s been set up. For pure news and rumor bites, it’s been fabulous…and I can come here for discussion.

  98. Steve Nelson on December 15th, 2009 11:06 am

    Ah, thanks to Ken Rosenthal for pointing out something I had forgotten.

    Benny Looper is now the Assistant GM for the Phillies. Looper’s familiarity with the Mariners system likely played a role in the Phillies decision to deal with the Mariners. Perhaps they didn’t shop around much because they felt they would have much better information on Mariners players than they would be able to get from other organizations.

    It might also be that Looper rates Aumont more highly than do many other observers. (Wouldn’t be surprising, since Looper would have been involved in the decision to use a first round pick on Aumont.) If so, the Phillies might feel that, despite what others are saying, they are acquiring a top-line talent.

    In any case, I’m sure that the Philly front office feels that they have a pretty good handle on the players they are receiving and they feel quite comfortable that it was a resonable return for Lee’s services.

    Time, of course, will tell.

  99. gwangung on December 15th, 2009 11:09 am

    Just because they improved from horrible in 2008 to mediocre in 2009 doesn’t mean they’re ready to become contenders in 2010.

    It doesn’t mean they’re NOT ready, either. It all depends on the moves and the personnel you end up with. Your comments seem light on that.

  100. gwangung on December 15th, 2009 11:10 am

    Ah, thanks to Ken Rosenthal for pointing out something I had forgotten.

    Benny Looper is now the Assistant GM for the Phillies.

    D’oh! Now, that’s what you pay professionals for…

  101. Alex on December 15th, 2009 11:17 am

    I love this deal because we are losing NONE of Saunders, Morrow, Triunfel, Moore.

    The two draft picks we get back after 1 year essentially cover two of the prospects, so we are only really paying one mid level prospect for a year of Cliff Lee.

    I wouldve been a lot less happy losing someone like Saunders, or based on those initial Saunders+Morrow+someone reports.

    We arent sacrificing the future here, which makes this a great deal. Philadephia must undervalue Cliff lee, they are paying significantly to get a small upgrade from him to Halladay. They do get an extension at a fairly good price, so there is value for them, but I think Seattle and Toronto are the winners here.

  102. joser on December 15th, 2009 11:25 am

    or you could say Z us going back in time and actually repairing the trade/draft mistakes (drafting relievers) of the previous regime. I wouldn’t put time travel past Dr. Z.

    Imagine what he could do if he didn’t have to spend so much effort on going back in time to un-do past failure? Ie, how much fun it’s going to be in a couple of years when Silva is off the books and the entire system is rebuilt according to his plan? Of course, if the org wasn’t mired in failure he wouldn’t have been handed the keys; it’s a rare GM who gets to take over a winning org.

    Jason Stark says the Phillies basically traded Lee for Halladay and got a three-year extension on an ace pitcher. He says Toronto felt they owed it to Halladay to trade him to where he wanted to be. Do teams really do things like that? I know there was a no-trade clause but how much does a team “owe” a single player when the whole future of the franchise is on the line?

    I know very little about what sentiment might exist in the Jays executive suite, but I don’t think they had any choice. Halladay is in the driver’s seat: they tried trading him last summer and got nowhere, in part because Riccardi wanted the moon if he was going to send Halladay to one of his AL East rivals, but also in large part because Halladay has full veto power over any trade. (The Jays had something going with the Rangers before Halladay nixed it, for example… thank goodness). Halladay can just sit back and say “no” to any trade he doesn’t like, and then just go through the motions this season waiting for free agency (there’s a risk of injury, of course, but that’s lower for Mr Complete Game than for just about any other top pitcher). And according to several accounts Halladay is one of those rare guys for whom it’s not all about the money — at least not at this point in his career. Which is why he’s leaving money on the table to sign with the Phillies (if the $60M/3year report is accurate): he wants to go to a winner that trains in Florida. That limits the Jays’ options considerably.

    From Toronto’s standpoint, there’s some value in getting him out of the division (and league) though I’m sure they talked to NY and Boston, it’s unclear how serious it was beyond keeping Philly honest: neither of them would offer more now than they had on the table last July; the Yankees are no longer as desperate to win another ring and the Red Sox were already focused on Lackey. Phillie was clearly the best match for Halladay, and given the choice between risking getting outbid for Lee vs locking in Halladay below market rates, Halladay was a good choice for Phillie.

    But separate from that, what doesn’t entirely make sense, as Dave and many here have noted, is how Seattle comes in with the best offer for Lee.

  103. wabbles on December 15th, 2009 11:27 am

    “Halladay has come to terms with Philly.”

    I knew a couple of lifelong residents who never quite had come to terms with living in Philly.

  104. Hobo on December 15th, 2009 11:28 am

    My question is why would Looper & Gillick take these particular prospects. Wouldn’t you think that with their intimate knowledge of Mariners player development that Zduriencik, Grifol, and Tollman would have had to give up more?

  105. IB Stramezi on December 15th, 2009 11:29 am

    If the Mariners can convert last year’s team into a contender next year, that would be a remarkable achievment. Do you expect that? If yes, you should favor this deal. If not, you should ask what you are willing to sacrifice for future seasons to win more games in 2010.

    I hope Alex is correct, and that the replacement draft picks the Mariners will end up with offset the prospects they are trading. But, in any case, the motivation of the trade is a “win now” strategy, and that to me makes no sense.

  106. Briggstar on December 15th, 2009 11:30 am

    Just because they improved from horrible in 2008 to mediocre in 2009 doesn’t mean they’re ready to become contenders in 2010.

    The beauty of the Lee deal is that given a lackluster 2010 season, he can be parlayed into either shiny trade deadline bait or Type A draft picks. (As Dave keeps saying: “No risk”.)

    Also, I can’t help but grin reading through the Angels forums. Not only are they facing the loss of Figgins (to US!) and Lackey (to the hated BoSox), but Vlad hasn’t been resigned either. Those are three names that struck fear in the hearts of Mariner Nation for the better part of the last decade.

    Add another Mariner Killer to the roster in Cliff Lee, and you’ve not only altered the balance of power in the AL West, you’ve given Seattle one heck of a chance in any playoff series, particularly in spacious Safeco with a defense for the ages. So yeah, I’ve got a little optimism going forward.

  107. wabbles on December 15th, 2009 11:36 am

    @ Briggstar One of the Angels blogs has The Rally Monkey holding a sign saying “I Hate It Here.” It’s fun watching other teams’ fans lining up on the ledge after years of being there ourselves.

  108. gwangung on December 15th, 2009 11:38 am

    If yes, you should favor this deal. If not, you should ask what you are willing to sacrifice for future seasons to win more games in 2010.

    That depends on how you evaluate the prospects you’re giving up. Obviously, if you give up three prospects that project to be non-major leagures, it’s a huge win. Just as obviously, if you give up three almost-can’t miss prospects, it’s a loss.

    As of yet, there’s no analysis that these three prospects AREN’T worth the year of Lee.

  109. Mike Snow on December 15th, 2009 11:38 am

    It will be interesting to see if the Phillies attempt to make Aumont into a starter again.

  110. joser on December 15th, 2009 11:38 am

    You convert hope into reality by implementing a sound plan.

    So you’re saying they don’t have a sound plan? To me, it looks like the team has a sound plan for the first time in almost a decade.

    If the Mariners want to be contenders in a few years, they should make moves now with that goal in mind, not to pump up unrealistic expectations for this season. Personally, I enjoy watching young talent develop.

    So do I, which is why I’m glad Morrow and Saunders aren’t part of this deal. And why I’ll enjoy watching whomever they draft with the picks they get when Lee departs. If Aumont were still a starter, I’d be sorry to see him go; but as a reliever whose best-case upside is “star closer” I’m not particularly upset. It’s always a little sad to see prospects depart, because they always embody hope as much as talent (often more, considering how few make it to the show) but when you have an opportunity to pick up the kind of excess value Lee represents I think you have to take it.

    Yeah, Lee might “inflate” the M’s win totals for the year he’s here, but wins are wins and they get butts in seats. And I’m starting to have faith that Zduriencik will be able to do this yet again: after Lee departs, there will be another miraculous trade to make the team better once more, all while the kids like Saunders and Ackley and Triunfel are poised to arrive.

  111. gwangung on December 15th, 2009 11:40 am

    And, by the way, “win now” is not a bad strategy if the cost is minimal. In fact, that’s the whole point of being a GM, winning as much as you can over the short and long term.

  112. Steve Nelson on December 15th, 2009 11:43 am

    @Hobo:

    My question is why would Looper & Gillick take these particular prospects. Wouldn’t you think that with their intimate knowledge of Mariners player development that Zduriencik, Grifol, and Tollman would have had to give up more?

    As I mentioned above, it’s likely that they had their own assessments of the players involved and they could easily value them differently than others might.

    Also, from their standpoint the question really becomes whether they are receiving adequate value for Lee. In making the deal they obviously felt that they were. Again, Looper almost surely was closely involved in that assessment. Perhaps they felt that they might be able to get better prospoects elsewhere, but in their minds that may have been offset by feeling more comfortable with their knowledge of Mariners prospects – that is, they are attaching value to reducing their perceived risks in the transaction.

    ****

    BTW – I’m not defending those hypothesized elements of the Phillies thinking. I’m merely offering them as factors that could have present.

  113. G-Man on December 15th, 2009 11:44 am

    The Looper factor makes sense. What makes less sense to me is why Phiily wouldn’t keep Lee as well as Halliday. Maybe they didn’t want to give up the prospects Toronto wanted to make it a 2-team deal, but given their success over the past 2 years, it has to be enticing to add Halliday and look for a third straight WS appearance.

    But wait, I think I can answer my own question. A team coming off 2 straight WS and 1 win might decide that maintaining a good team over the longer term is more important the trying to make a third WS. The positive effects in terms of tickets sales and such from the third time might not be so significant. OTOH, the M’s would gain a lot from getting back to the postseason after a long absence.

  114. gwangung on December 15th, 2009 11:46 am

    And why I’ll enjoy watching whomever they draft with the picks they get when Lee departs.

    How much difference will there be between these prospects and the draft picks? Given how far down Ramirez and Gillies are (they are by no means major league ready), I think, at worst, you’re losing a year of development time. That has its value, but the current value of winning games, I think, overwhelms that, particularly given that of these prospects seem to be in areas where Seattle has adequate depth.

  115. Ninja Jordan on December 15th, 2009 11:52 am

    [use the link button]

  116. BLYKMYK44 on December 15th, 2009 11:54 am

    I hope Alex is correct, and that the replacement draft picks the Mariners will end up with offset the prospects they are trading. But, in any case, the motivation of the trade is a “win now” strategy, and that to me makes no sense.

    - I dunno…it seems like the strategy was basically:

    We’re going to trade for a very good pitcher that costs significantly less then what we are giving up. On top of that, the two exit strategies:

    A) Lee performs well…we perform well…we go to playoffs…he walks away and we get draft picks

    B) Lee performs well…we do not perform well…we trade at deadline

    Appear to leave us at a minimal risk situation.

    So, I’d ask what exactly are you scared of when it comes to this trade? That those exact prospects won’t be the ones who are getting developed?

  117. TumwaterMike on December 15th, 2009 12:01 pm

    Here’s a thought. With Felix and Lee in the rotation, both in the top 5 in getting innings, would that not reduce the need for a 12 man pitching staff, allowing the M’s to get another position player?

  118. joser on December 15th, 2009 12:05 pm

    Also, I can’t help but grin reading through the Angels forums. Not only are they facing the loss of Figgins (to US!) and Lackey (to the hated BoSox), but Vlad hasn’t been resigned either. Those are three names that struck fear in the hearts of Mariner Nation for the better part of the last decade.

    Yeah, there’s a bit of over-reaction there (as there is with any fanbase) but it’s still pretty entertaining, especially when you see folks wondering “How are we going to be able to beat the Mariners now?” Ah, schadenfreude….

    That said, it sounds like they’ve signed Matsui to a reasonable one-year deal, and he crushes balls in parks with short right fields. He might not be Vlad the Mariner Impaler, but he could be a reasonable substitute. On the plus side, 19 Ichiro-Matsui games a year has to bolster that Japanese audience (and revenue).

    If the Mariners can convert last year’s team into a contender next year, that would be a remarkable achievment.

    Detroit went from losing 113 games to playing in the World Series in three years. It can be done. There’s only three teams to beat in the AL West, and so far the Angels have been getting weaker, the Rangers have gotten only slightly better, and nobody’s heard from the A’s at all (which of course is ominous, but they’ve got a lot of work to do). And man, Felix and Lee in a short ALDS?

    I’m not sure if this team is a contender next year, but they’re a lot closer than they were a couple of weeks ago. And they already were a lot closer this year than a lot of people expected them to be late ’08 when Zduriencik took over (people were predicting it would take several years just to get back to .500)

    The way I see it, this was an opportunity to acquire excess talent that was just too good to ignore. Suppose you had a company you had started from scratch and were building up steadily according to the business plan you drafted back at the beginning. And one day you discover an opportunity that will require an investment of some of your carefully-hoarded capital but could offer a chance to get much bigger much sooner than you expected. It’s not a bet-the-company gamble, but it does require some significant outlay from you and it might not pay off. Do you take it? Obviously it depends on the details, and philosophically you might tend to lean one way or the other, but I don’t think you can claim that the slow-and-steady approach is always superior to the higher-risk/higher-reward path under all circumstances. Baseball (on the field rather than at the gate) already has more risk and randomness in it than many other pursuits, so there’s no guarantee that the slow-and-steady approach is going to yield better results anyway (just like there’s no guarantee Gillies or Aumont or Ramirez will ever see the majors).

  119. Ninja Jordan on December 15th, 2009 12:06 pm
  120. formerstarQB16 on December 15th, 2009 12:11 pm

    Why do we not consider revenue when factoring in the overall value of an asset (Cliff Lee)? I understand that we are fans of rosterbation, but baseball is a business and GM’s should run it as such. It seems to me that players should be valued not on the market value but on the value the player represents in current and projected revenue streams (tied to individual and team WAR).

    With this thought, Lee could in fact be much more valuable then $25MM-$40MM if he pushes this team into contention and possibly deep into the playoffs.

  121. CCW on December 15th, 2009 12:17 pm

    Aumont is a RELIEVER. You just can’t add that much value in 60 innings per year.

    Ramirez is RAW. How many guys with his skillset – live arm, mediocre mechanics, not much idea where the ball is going – work out? I bet it’s a pretty low percentage.

    Gillies is MEDIOCRE. Just not an impact player.

    These are not premmium prospects. The M’s still have Saunders, Morrow, Moore, Tui and Triunfel. I’m elated.

  122. georgmi on December 15th, 2009 12:21 pm

    We don’t consider revenue because we can’t know how any particular action will actually affect revenue.

    Yeah, we can say signing Griffey will boost the gate, we know that winning teams draw better than losers, and we know that “chicks dig the long ball”, but assigning real, specific dollar values to those tendencies is far beyond any simple analysis. And how do the national and local economies affect things? And does a marginal win, or a marginal HR, have the same effect on the Red Sox’ revenues as the Royals’? (Answer: no.)

    Certainly, the Ms must have some kind of model, but they’re not going to share that with anybody, and it is unlikely to be very sophisticated as yet.

  123. Liam on December 15th, 2009 12:24 pm

    With this thought, Lee could in fact be much more valuable then $25MM-$40MM if he pushes this team into contention and possibly deep into the playoffs.

    It’s a team effort getting to the playoffs, so you can’t give all the credit to Lee for pushing you over the top when he is standing on Ichiro, Gutierrez and Felix.

  124. et_blankenship on December 15th, 2009 12:28 pm

    Here’s a thought. With Felix and Lee in the rotation, both in the top 5 in getting innings, would that not reduce the need for a 12 man pitching staff, allowing the M’s to get another position player?

    I doubt it. One benefit of combining a 12-man pitching staff with a highly diversified bench is the preservation of player options. The more flexibility you have on the major league roster, the better your odds of being able to cope with minor emergencies like bullpen taxation and day-to-day injuries without having to burn through valuable player options.

  125. Paul L on December 15th, 2009 12:30 pm

    And man, Felix and Lee in a short ALDS?

    Yea, at that point I’d be comfortable with a rotation of:
    - Felix
    - Lee
    - Rowland-Smith
    - Cameron
    - Zumsteg

  126. nepacific on December 15th, 2009 12:31 pm

    Mariners acquired a Venezuelan catcher yesterday in Eliezer Alfonzo. They apparently have interest in a Venezuelan pitcher today in Kelvim Escobar. Might those help Feliz want to stay here, even if the club trades a Venezuelan 2b in Jose Lopez?

    Do the Ms have enough money to pay both Felix and Lee what it would likely take to keep them long-term?

    Jack was great on the radio just now: smart, cautious, and humble. Careful to say nothing about Lee. I’d like to have asked him if Eliezer Alfonzo is enough insurance at catcher, in his mind.

  127. TumwaterMike on December 15th, 2009 12:32 pm

    I doubt it. One benefit of combining a 12-man pitching staff with a highly diversified bench is the preservation of player options. The more flexibility you have on the major league roster, the better your odds of being able to cope with minor emergencies like bullpen taxation and day-to-day injuries without having to burn through valuable player options.

    So doesn’t your comment support having an extra position player on the bench, to give the manager more options?

  128. joser on December 15th, 2009 12:33 pm

    And no more-sophisticated model is likely to give you much better results than some simple correlation between wins and revenue. In other words, of the things under a GM’s control, the most direct path to higher revenue is accumulating more wins. And WAR tells us that. So there’s really very little to be gained by considering anything other than WAR.

  129. Paul B on December 15th, 2009 12:34 pm

    Zduriencik was just on 710, but he wouldn’t comment on any pending deals including the Lee one.

    It seems to me that players should be valued not on the market value but on the value the player represents in current and projected revenue streams (tied to individual and team WAR).

    I’m sure the M’s are looking for opportunities where the value of a player to the M’s is greater than the market value of that player.

    An example of that is when they look to see how Safeco impacts a player.

    Also, remember that the M’s have access to everthing that Tango has done, and they use him as a consultant.

  130. wabbles on December 15th, 2009 1:00 pm

    “Imagine what he could do if he didn’t have to spend so much effort on going back in time to un-do past failure? Ie, how much fun it’s going to be in a couple of years when Silva is off the books and the entire system is rebuilt according to his plan?”

    Yeah, remember last winter when we watched in awe as Z and his staff worked their magic, wondering what they could do without deadweight players, bloated contracts and payroll restrictions? Now we’re beginning to see what they can do. This is fun.

  131. Paul B on December 15th, 2009 1:01 pm

    Do the Ms have enough money to pay both Felix and Lee what it would likely take to keep them long-term?

    Almost certainly not, unless at least one of them is willing to sign for a discount. If they both want Sabathia money, then no way.

  132. Liam on December 15th, 2009 1:03 pm

    Mariners acquired a Venezuelan catcher yesterday in Eliezer Alfonzo. They apparently have interest in a Venezuelan pitcher today in Kelvim Escobar. Might those help Felix want to stay here, even if the club trades a Venezuelan 2b in Jose Lopez?

    Isn’t this line of thinking a bit insulting?

  133. formerstarQB16 on December 15th, 2009 1:04 pm

    It’s a team effort getting to the playoffs, so you can’t give all the credit to Lee for pushing you over the top when he is standing on Ichiro, Gutierrez and Felix.

    This is why I said that it should be tied to both individual and team WAR. As Dave has discussed before, there is a marginal value to wins. Once you’ve reached a certain point, each additional win is valued more than the one before it.

    We don’t consider revenue because we can’t know how any particular action will actually affect revenue.

    I understand that it is much more difficult to tie revenue to a players value as opposed to what the market dictates, but as a CPA I understand that there are various ratios that allow you to tie profits to assets… asset turnover being one.

    It seems to me that there should be a way to tie marginal win values with marginal revenue values to come up with a more accurate value of a player to an organization beyond what the market describes. Especially considering how unfairly balanced the revenue streams are for various organizations.

  134. scott19 on December 15th, 2009 1:05 pm

    Yeah, there’s a bit of over-reaction there (as there is with any fanbase) but it’s still pretty entertaining, especially when you see folks wondering “How are we going to be able to beat the Mariners now?” Ah, schadenfreude….

    Oh, it might be rough for a while, but those poor little Angel fans will through this. They’ll just cut back on the number of innings per game they attend from the current six back down to the traditional three is all. :)

  135. georgmi on December 15th, 2009 1:07 pm

    That’s a different kind of option. “Player options” are the right to move players up and down between the minors and the big club. Options for the manager are having Mark McLemore wanting playing time.

  136. scott19 on December 15th, 2009 1:09 pm

    *Meant to say “get through this” there, but I’m sure they will…

    Hopefully, not for the next decade or so, though.

  137. formerstarQB16 on December 15th, 2009 1:09 pm

    By the way, I’m speaking on an individual season basis when refering to marginal win values since it is impossible to marginally value the part of a whole once that part has been added.

  138. georgmi on December 15th, 2009 1:24 pm

    It seems to me that there should be a way to tie marginal win values with marginal revenue values to come up with a more accurate value of a player to an organization beyond what the market describes.

    I believe that this analysis will come, but it will take many years of collecting data before anything like reliability of prediction can be assumed–it takes nearly a thousand PAs before you leave the realm of small sample size when evaluating a hitter, and that is an extremely simple and isolatable interaction when compared to the connection between all the factors that contribute to a team’s annual revenue performance.

    And even when that kind of analysis is available, each team’s specific model will be different (5 marginal wins for the Twins or Tigers means the playoffs or not, but 5 marginal wins for the Royals means sucking slightly less or more), and possibly even more importantly, each team’s indicated strategy (assuming profit maximization as the universal goal) will be different.

    That last point is what worries me, actually. It’s clear, even without sophisitcated economic modeling, that with their giant markets and perennial rivalry, it pays the Yankees and Red Sox to overinvest on players, but it is in no way clear that the small-market teams would see increased profits by spending for impact players. Given a long-term cellar-dwelling franchise, the bump in revenues from adding wins might very well be less than the market cost of those additional wins, and the profit-maximizing strategy for those teams could be to divest players live at the league minimum x25, and invest in clever PR people to make up reasons to go to games that don’t involve wanting to see the team win a game or two.

  139. et_blankenship on December 15th, 2009 1:29 pm

    So doesn’t your comment support having an extra position player on the bench, to give the manager more options?

    Not at all. The drawback to a 12-man pitching staff is a lighter bench, but a manager has all the options he needs with Swiss army knives like Hannahan and Hall at his disposal. Their flexibility is what allows a team the luxury of a 12-man pitching staff, which, unlike an 11-man staff, is less susceptible to fatigue and can survive a man down for prolonged periods of time. It’s the most efficient style of roster as it requires the fewest roster moves (fewer player options burned) to maintain during the course of a season.

  140. nathaniel dawson on December 15th, 2009 1:31 pm

    Thank goodness Bowie Kuhn isn’t the commissioner. I seem to remember he nixed a couple of Charlie Finley’s deals because they were steals like this.

    I believe those trades involved straight player-for-cash deals. If Phillie were trying to trade Lee to us for a large amount of cash, Selig might step in to nix it.

    Secondly, it’s become fashionable for fans to lean on the two compensation picks and assume “we’ll just replace those two lost players with two 1st rounders!” Well, it’s not quite that simple.

    First off, it discounts time as a value. By the time these two compensation picks are in uniform, Ramirez will have nearly four years in pro ball and Aumont three.

    You are correct about time as value — but you have to keep in mind that we are getting value from Cliff Lee right now rather than waiting for value down the road from those prospects that we trade away. The two pretty much wash out.

    I’m not concerned with the M’s somehow getting screwed by not getting the compensation picks. About the only thing that could take those away is some sort of catastrophic injury to Lee. But that’s baseball.

    Now I don’t know about adding up the projected value of players and so on. I’m not getting into that.

    Let’s just stop right here. You’re admitting that you’re not aware of how to value players. Why should we care about anything you say after this?

    I don’t think that’s the point he was trying to make. No matter what you deem those picks to have in future value, the market is what determines how much Seattle gives up. Comparing this trade with other recent trades, it looks fairly equivalent.

  141. joser on December 15th, 2009 1:37 pm

    Meanwhile, back at last week’s Big Deal, this is still taking me some getting used-to. But dang, doesn’t his dad look like a cool guy? Rocking the salt-and-pepper flattop like J. Jonah Jameson (kind of appropriate since Chone will be sharing the field with Spiderman).

  142. formerstarQB16 on December 15th, 2009 1:37 pm

    That last point is what worries me, actually. It’s clear, even without sophisitcated economic modeling, that with their giant markets and perennial rivalry, it pays the Yankees and Red Sox to overinvest on players, but it is in no way clear that the small-market teams would see increased profits by spending for impact players

    I could definitely see an “Arizona Cardinals” effect once/if this sort of valuation become more prevalent.

    Again, I get that its more of a crapshoot, I’m just saying that as a GM I would want this sort of analysis done.

  143. Briggstar on December 15th, 2009 1:44 pm

    …the profit-maximizing strategy for those teams could be to … invest in clever PR people to make up reasons to go to games that don’t involve wanting to see the team win a game or two.

    Lefebvre Believer!, SoDo Mojo and You Gotta Love These Guys come to mind.

  144. georgmi on December 15th, 2009 1:57 pm

    as a GM I would want this sort of analysis done.

    Absolutely agree, and I’m reasonably sure that at least some teams are working on it. I just think we’re a long way from having a sufficient body of data.

    It has crossed my mind to go back to school, and do a Ph.D. in Econ, where I would tackle this exact problem. But I’m not sure my wife would want me to spend years of my life jumping through a bunch of academic hoops, just to get myself a job at Safeco. :)

  145. Steve Nelson on December 15th, 2009 2:00 pm

    et_blankenship

    In that context “burning options” is almost totally irrelevant. First, options don’t really exist. There are option years, and once a player is moved is on the MLB club and is subsequently sent down, that activates an option year. Once that option year is activated the player can be moved back and forth between the minor leagues and MLB any number of times without triggering any additional option activity.

    Second, for players who are stashed in the minors as depth for the MLB club, you really don’t care if you burn an option year on them if you need to. After all, that’s exactly why you have them available in the first place.

    The only time the option years become an issue is when there is a player you want to keep, but he takes a long time to develop – the Matt Thornton type of situation. But even with Thornton it wasn’t an issue of possibly burning option years by bringing him to the MLB – they reached a point where they ran out of options just by keeping him in the minors for more development time. (And having sent him to the minors each of those years he was available to move back and forth between Tacoma and Seattle without activating any additional options.)

    For all practical purposes, teams never run of options on a player because of unnecessary calls to the MLB club. They run out of options when they’ve had a guy on the 40-man roster for a couple of years, requiring that they have to use an option if they want to keep him in the minors for more development. But once they make that decision to have him in the minors, they can then call him up the MLB club without triggering an option.

    But again, if the only reason you’ve kept the guy around is as depth for the big league, there’s no reason to care that you burned an option year when you sent him to the minors to start the season.

  146. Marinerman1979 on December 15th, 2009 2:01 pm

    on topic, I really hope this goes through today…so I can sleep tonight.

  147. amnizu on December 15th, 2009 2:08 pm

    I wonder just how much MLB GMs actually worry about P&L. It’s my guess that they spend most of their time worrying about the product on the field and maximizing efficiency from their operating budget, similar to a traditional operational VP and leave the actual dollars and cents up to the accountants. Even working 80 hours a week I strongly doubt they are that involved in doing cost benefit analysis for the price of cotton candy at Safeco next season

  148. georgmi on December 15th, 2009 2:15 pm

    It doesn’t really matter who in the front office is thinking about maximizing the organization’s profit; somebody is thinking about it.

  149. Mike Snow on December 15th, 2009 2:15 pm

    There is one situation where unwise callups could cause you to run out of option years for a player when you still need them. It’s when you rush a highly touted player to the majors with his development woefully incomplete, fail to stick to a coherent plan for developing his talent to its potential, and yo-yo him back and forth based on short-term team needs at the expense of his personal progress. Otherwise known as the Brandon Morrow career path.

  150. Paul L on December 15th, 2009 2:17 pm

    How does our outfield compare to Cleveland’s and Philly’s?

    I realize that we’re solid in CF & RF, but the Phillies in particular are no slouch at those positions either. And yes, I acknowledge the irony of Ibanez in LF.

    Just asking if we can REALLY expect Lee to pitch that much better than where he’s come from?

  151. georgmi on December 15th, 2009 2:25 pm

    Do we need him to pitch better than a 3.22 ERA (3.11 FIP)?

  152. Briggstar on December 15th, 2009 2:34 pm

    Exactly. Status quo for Lee is good enough for me.

  153. Paul B on December 15th, 2009 2:37 pm

    Any lefty starter, except maybe an extreme groundballer or strikout pitcher, would do better in Safeco when facing righthanded batters.

  154. georgmi on December 15th, 2009 2:37 pm

    For comparison, Felix’s epic season this year was a 3.09 FIP, which means his 2.49 ERA was significantly helped by the seven guys behind him.

    Those guys are going to be backing up Lee as well.

  155. GarForever on December 15th, 2009 2:38 pm

    How does our outfield compare to Cleveland’s and Philly’s?

    Victorino becomes a free agent after the 2011 season, since his arb/team control years will have run out. I wonder if the Phils are hoping Gillies develops into a potential replacement in the interim, given the other obligations that come home to roost for them that year?

  156. Nate on December 15th, 2009 2:39 pm

    AND, being a LH Pitcher, he would be stronger against LH hitters, which are the only hitters Safeco Field allows to be somewhat normal. It’s already tough enough on RH hitters.

    I can see him regressing a bit and still putting up as good or better numbers for the M’s.

  157. georgmi on December 15th, 2009 2:40 pm

    Those guys are going to be backing up Lee as well.

    OK, most of those guys.

  158. The Ancient Mariner on December 15th, 2009 2:58 pm

    It’s a team effort getting to the playoffs, so you can’t give all the credit to Lee for pushing you over the top when he is standing on Ichiro, Gutierrez and Felix.

    Let me tell you, if I see Lee standing on Ichiro, Gutierrez and Felix, I won’t be giving him any credit for anything — I’ll be screaming at him to get off those guys, then calling the team trainer.

  159. Jake75 on December 15th, 2009 3:04 pm

    > umm. i would love cliff lee to accept arbitration after 2010 but the whole reason he the phillies are moving him is he wants to test the large free agent waters after 2010.

    Really Beef? I was under the assumption that the Ms needed all their money for King Felix. Not sure what your financial structure is now.

  160. Jake75 on December 15th, 2009 3:17 pm

    [failed to format quotes in reply]

  161. Steve Nelson on December 15th, 2009 3:19 pm

    There is one situation where unwise callups could cause you to run out of option years for a player when you still need them. It’s when you rush a highly touted player to the majors with his development woefully incomplete, fail to stick to a coherent plan for developing his talent to its potential, and yo-yo him back and forth based on short-term team needs at the expense of his personal progress. Otherwise known as the Brandon Morrow career path.

    Yep – but that’s a completely different context from the notion of that going with 11 vs. 12 guys in the bullpen will reduce flexibility due to burning option years.

    ******

    There’s yet another context in which a team might run out of options on a player. That’s when they sign a high school age player to a MLB contract. When that happens the guy is on the 40-man roster immediately, which means you begin using option years immediately every season he is in the minors. If he’s not MLB ready by year four, you have to either keep him on the MLB roster anyway or take him off the 40-man roster and send him through waivers if you want to keep him.

    Otherwise known as the Mac Suzuki career path.

  162. Jake75 on December 15th, 2009 3:20 pm

    Let’s just stop right here. You’re admitting that you’re not aware of how to value players. Why should we care about anything you say after this?

    I said I’m not getting into assessing the trade via salary figures. It seems you choose that method in order to declare it a “heist” and get your followers to “dance in the street,” was it?

    Just to clarify – Mariners fan = biased, Phillies fan = objective. Got it.

    I didn’t say that. We’re all biased for our teams. I think your post went well beyond bias to extreme homerism.

    Your argument rests on your presumption of what you think I would have said. Seriously?

    Not at all David. My argument is explained in great detail.

    Our top two pitching prospects aren’t normal “top two pitching prospects”, because we don’t have very good top tier pitching prospects. It’s like saying you got the Washington Nationals second best starting pitcher.

    Yet, your thrilled that you didn’t part with Morrow, presumably your third best pitching prospect? Hmmm… Your own words, Mr. Cameron: Aumont is a “potential all-star closer.” Gillies is “a potential high OBP center fielder with speed.” And Ramirez? Well he just has “the best arm in the system.”

    If you weren’t ignorant about the quantified values listed above, you’d know this isn’t true.

    Quantified values? David, a pitcher that throws 95 with reasonable control is a decent prospect. Just like a player who hits for average and power is a decent hitter. I don’t need to make up statistics to figure out who can play and who can’t.

    Keep in mind – you’re arguing that the Mariners would be screwed by having one of the best pitchers in baseball under contract on a no-risk, one year deal.

    Yes, Thanks for confirming your lack of consideration of the complexities of the arbitration process.

    Thank you for your totally objective, well informed opinion.

    You’re welcome, David.

  163. nepacific on December 15th, 2009 3:23 pm

    @Liam re insulting to think that having Venezuelans on the team might make Felix feel comfortable here: I get your point, but if I was working in Venezuela, I might be glad to have some Americans around. Or not. Depends on the person. Not sure how Felix would feel. Obviously, money is the biggest factor, but a lot of things might count.

  164. eponymous coward on December 15th, 2009 3:34 pm

    Ah, but the Mariner’s didn’t have a fine season last year, Briggstar! They had by far the worst offense in the AL, scoring 243 fewer runs than the Angels. Just because they improved from horrible in 2008 to mediocre in 2009 doesn’t mean they’re ready to become contenders in 2010.

    There are plenty of worst-to-first instances in MLB history, as well as ~~.500-to-first. This doesn’t mean the Mariners are guaranteed to do this, but the idea that you can’t turn a ~.500 team into a contender’s pretty laughable, especially given that the Mariners have decent salary flexibility (with Carlos Silva really being the only boat anchor left), as well as some pretty talented players on the roster (King Felix, Ichiro, Gutierrez). This is hardly a roster that’s bereft of talent.

    You convert hope into reality by implementing a sound plan. If the Mariners want to be contenders in a few years, they should make moves now with that goal in mind, not to pump up unrealistic expectations for this season. Personally, I enjoy watching young talent develop. This clamor for instant gratification is really unfortunate.

    Let’s see. The Mariners are about to pay Cliff Lee in 2010 what they paid Miguel Batista to pitch garbage relief in 2009 (or, alternately, what they paid Erik Bedard to mostly not pitch at all in 2009). They also basically are a wash when swapping out Beltre for Figgins… with the bonus that Figgins will cost significantly LESS than Beltre.

    Oh, and they still have enough money to find decent bats at 1B and DH (and theoretically, could bring in someone capable of playing LF as well as DH or 1B without being terrible in the field), without them having to give up their promising LF prospect (Saunders), or decent 1B prospect (Carp) or 2B/3B prospect (Tui), AND they could realistically trade Lopez and/or Morrow to help fill out the rest of the roster (and if they trade Morrow, they have plenty of depth to fill out 3-4-5, as well as having a the kind of pitchers who should be able to take advantage of a very good team defense).

    Oh, and the division leader just LOST their ace pitcher and one of their better players, without any real replacement as of yet. If you don’t think that makes contention a realistic assessment of the team’s chances in 2010… well, I don’t know what to tell you, other than apparently the Bavasi years have beaten you down so badly that you’re unable to enjoy the good fortune of having a quality GM fix a franchise’s most pressing problems (lack of pitching talent behind Felix, bloated salaries) in the space of 13 months.

    Yes, the offense isn’t fixed yet. It won’t take a ton to fix it, though, and while the 2010 Mariners likely won’t have a good offense (especially playing in Safeco, and with Jack Wilson and whoever catches likely to be offensive non-entities), they likely will have a great defense and very solid pitching, and with ENOUGH offense to contend if they get a reasonable performance out of 1B, LF and DH (two of those positions were complete disasters last year). Wins are wins regardless if the score’s 3-2 or 7-6.

  165. Kazinski on December 15th, 2009 3:38 pm

    Jake75,
    No matter how good the prospects are they are worth the trade for the M’s because they are prospects where we have a lot of organizational depth. We have three more years of both Ichiro and Gutierrez, and two gifted young outfielders ahead of Gillies on the depth chart. Aumont is a reliever with a great fastball, but he doesn’t project as a starter, and we also have Aardsma, Lowe, Fields, and Morrow, that are all young guys with upper 90′s fastballs. Ramirez is in single A ball. I’m glad your happy with them, but other than Aumont they weren’t even really on the radar screen of guys that would be ready or needed, in the next 2-3 years. I hope they do well in Philly.

    And as for the Arbitration process, if Cliff Lee accepts arbitration then we get to keep him for another year for less than he would make as a free agent. That’s a discount.

  166. formerstarQB16 on December 15th, 2009 3:45 pm

    Jake74 -

    You’re an idiot.

  167. domovoi on December 15th, 2009 3:47 pm

    Yet, your thrilled that you didn’t part with Morrow, presumably your third best pitching prospect.

    Morrow isn’t a prospect. If he were, he’d be our best pitching prospect.

    Basically, the reason why this trade is so lopsided is because Lee has very little risk of doing extremely well while the prospects (being prospects) are very risky and even their best projection doesn’t have them performing as well as Lee will likely do. When I say “risk,” I mean deviations in their median projected performance.

    The only reason why the prospects would be preferred over Lee are because of their price. In other words, if you’re not even considering their salaries, as you claim, this deal is even more lopsided than Dave suggested.

    Thanks for confirming your lack of consideration of the complexities of the arbitration process.

    There is no way, no how that Lee will accept arbitration.

  168. formerstarQB16 on December 15th, 2009 3:59 pm

    Jake73-

    I would assume you found this site through the Neyer blog. Did you ever stop and consider why a blogger would be referenced on the front page of ESPN.com? It might have something to do with the fact that his opinion is considered accurate and objective?

    I would also assume that you lack a general understanding of the world around you considering you’re arguing against statistical analysis. It’s ok… you’re not the only one:

    The game has changed. Those who succeed understand that. That’s why your post was an epic fail.

  169. Kazinski on December 15th, 2009 4:24 pm

    How does our outfield compare to Cleveland’s and Philly’s?

    Fangraphs answers that question without much effort. The story of 2009 UZR for those teams is “The Outstanding, the Good, and the Ugly”:
    Mariners – +62.0
    Phillies – +8.1
    Indians – -20.7

    Cliff may like our outfield.

  170. ooter37 on December 15th, 2009 4:43 pm

    I’m glad fans (and executives) who think like Jake75 exist. That way the Mariners can continue to make awesome trades.

  171. The Dreeze on December 15th, 2009 4:44 pm

    I say we Huizenga ourselves a championship.

    Yo Adrian(s)!!!

  172. The Dreeze on December 15th, 2009 4:46 pm

    Jack Z and I will no longer live in a world where Arod has a ring and Griffey does not.

  173. Steve Nelson on December 15th, 2009 4:59 pm

    Jake75:

    You’re just grossly overestimating the value the prospects Philly is receiving. While the players do have potential as you indicate, players of the caliber that Philly is receiving in the deal simply are not that rare.

    ******

    I’ll skip the numeric stuff that you eschew and try to explain it in on the same level at which you are advancing your arguments.

    The Mariners minor league system is generally considered middle of the road in overall caliber of prospects. There are no prospects in the system that are considered top tier prospects. Even if you add Morrow to the list of prospects (which, as explained above, he isn’t classed as anymore – that’s why he’s not the “third best prospect”) that’s still the case. Morrow is interesting, but he’s also demonstrated that he is anything but a sure thing. And he is the closest to a “sure thing” in the system.

    Beyond that the Mariners system is largely a collection of “interesting” guys. Some of them have decent potential, but the reality is that only about 20% of such guys ever reach that potential. That’s why the guys are not highly rated; the attrition rate is too great. They don’t get a top rating until they show that they are actually realizing that potential.

    And breaking it down further, the system is particularly weak in pitching. Hence, the comments above that even the Mariners best pitching prospects aren’t all that great.

    Perhaps Ramirez is the best prospect in the system, but it’s not as if he blew away hitters in high A-ball. He certainly did credibly, particularly when accounting for the joke that in Lancaster that was his home park. But it’s also clear that he has some things to work on to succeed at higher levels. And the things he needs to work on are exactly the things that derail 3/4 of the players like him. That’s why his realistic upside is to be part of a major league bullpen. Maybe he will get it together and be more than that. But is actually more likely that he’ll never get past AAA ball.

    You can almost repeat the above post for Aumont. Then you can ponder why the Mariners moved Aumont from a starting role to the bullpen. If he truly profiles best as a relief pitcher – to the point where the Mariners appear to have given up on him as a starter – that greatly reduces his value. Or, as has been reported by some observers, he has a physical condition that will prevent him from ever assuming the workload of a starter.

    ****

    Ok – so the Mariners farm system is largely a middling system, with no “sure thing” players. A number of interesting guys, but almost every one of those guys comes with major question marks. Not questions that are the difference between whether the guy is a perennial all-star or an occasional all-star; these are questions about whether the guy is even MLB caliber. Or, for guys like Saunders and Moore who are close to MLB ready, they profile as simply regulars at best.

    In other words the best players in the Mariners system are the types of players that are found in all but the most barren farm systems. What the Mariners most notably are lacking are truly elite prospects.

    And what the Phillies are getting out of that syatem isn’t even the best of such a middling system. The Phillies are getting essentially a couple of “B” level prospects and one “C” level prospect of the type that can be found in any system and that a decent scouting and player development organization can likely be replenish with one year’s amateur draft + one year of international free agent signings. And the comp picks garnered when Lee leaves will make it even easier to restock.

    ******

    That seems like not very much to pay for one year of Cliff Lee. That’s the type of payment that any team but the bottom third in farm system caliber ought to be able to easily match. One year of Cliff Lee + 2 comp picks is simply worth more than what one team can reasonably expect to replace in one year of new talent acquisition.

    That’s why it appears to most observers that the Phillies are coming out short in what they are obtaining for Cliff Lee.

  174. mw3 on December 15th, 2009 5:36 pm

    Baseball America and others might view the two pitchers the M’s gave up as their top two, I certainly don’t and I doubt the Mariners themselves do. Gun to my head I’d rather have Fields than Aumont and I like both Robles and Pineda more than Ramirez.

  175. mikey21390 on December 15th, 2009 5:45 pm

    “I talked to a buddy of Cliff’s today,” said one baseball man. “And he said, ‘This is just going to tick him off even more. He really liked it in Philly. He’ll be on a crusade now.’”

  176. Jeffrey D on December 15th, 2009 5:50 pm

    The Dreeze, totally agree! At least Sr can share with him. And Jr can return the favor by giving Sr a tour of Cooperstown.

    Steve, I have not followed A ball. What Lancaster team were you referring to for Ramirez? Lancaster, PA, the Barnstormers, is in the independent league, I believe.

  177. Steve Nelson on December 15th, 2009 5:54 pm

    Steve, I have not followed A ball. What Lancaster team were you referring to for Ramirez? Lancaster, PA, the Barnstormers, is in the independent league, I believe.

    My mistake – should be Adelanto (High Desert), not Lancaster. Both parks are high altitude desert air bandboxes.

  178. Faceplant on December 15th, 2009 5:55 pm

    All Jake75 is interested in doing is playing a game of “gotcha”. Why are people indulging him?

  179. jouish on December 15th, 2009 6:14 pm

    Oh God, I hope Cliff Lee accepts arbitration when we offer. I’d love to be that type of screwed.

    Mariner’s are closer to contending than most people think. Just rough calculations here, but I think our baseline is around 75 wins. With Figgins (+3) and Lee (+4) we’re looking at an upgrade of about 7 wins. That’s 82 Ws just right there. With the steps back LAA are taking by losing Figgins and Lackey, it’s reasonable that 85-90 wins could take the division. There’s a reasonable chance we contend next year, especially if we add another solid set of moves.

  180. SonOfZavaras on December 15th, 2009 6:38 pm

    I really couldn’t love this trade any more. Physically impossible. I’ve been doing cartwheels all day.

    There is essentially no “lose” in this deal- I like Ramirez and Gillies’ skill-sets personally…but they were not considered cornerstone players, in my estimation.

    Even if Lee goes FA after 2010, we recoup some more depth for the farm via draft picks. No loss other than development time. I am digging this situation!

    (Sidenote: somebody was commenting on how it shouldn’t be taken for granted that the M’s would offer arby to Lee. Um, let me state, on a stack of Bibles….YES, THEY WOULD. It’s called offering arbitration, and the player has to accept it for it to be in play. Do you really think there’s a chance on God’s green Earth that Lee would accept any arby offer when there’s 80-120 million-plus- easily!- out there for him??)

    Imagine, acquiring a top-tier talent for a price far short of the deed to the farm. Unthinkable! Inconceivable!

    Who’s to say Michael Pineda and Ezequiel Carrera don’t replace what those guys (Ramirez, Gillies) might have gotten you at the ML-level?

    And even if they had been future cornerstones, their time would not have been now.

    So, one of the top 10 starters in all of baseball is locked up for 2010, and you still have the likes of Ackley, Poythress, and Triunfel (all of whom own bats I like moreso than Gillies) roaming your higher minors.

    And a touch further along than that, you have Saunders, Tuiasasopo and Moore knocking on the door.

    Man, part of me wishes I could have a son for the sole purpose of naming him Jack! This one move alone wiped out my Seahawks malaise in nothing flat.

    I will say this, though…part of me worries about the pure amount of interesting arms we’ve been giving up…Brett Lorin, Aaron Pribanic, Nathan Adcock, JC Ramirez and Phillippe Aumont.

    What depth we DID have has taken some whacks.

    And…ballpark estimation, that leaves Josh Fields, Pineda, Maikel Cleto, Nick Hill and Mauricio Robles as the most intriguing arms in the system (If I’ve missed anybody, somebody holler).

    And quote me on this: I don’t think Zduriencik’s done at all. These moves have been “win now” moves, and as such, more moves are needed to start seriously thinking contender for the 2010 AL West title.

    I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  181. universalguru on December 15th, 2009 6:51 pm

    Don’t forget about Dan Cortes who’s got a ton of up-side if he can get his control under er… control.

  182. universalguru on December 15th, 2009 6:53 pm

    Just out of curiosity how many minor league manager/instructors have changed since Jack took office? Does anyone know?

  183. JC Intellectual on December 15th, 2009 7:05 pm

    What if you could make one trade like this every year for a Cliff Lee equivalent? Worse case, you have a perpetual Cy Young caliber pitcher at $8M/year and a $5M loss in terms of expected prospect values. What competitive organization wouldn’t do that?

  184. kmsandrbs on December 15th, 2009 7:10 pm

    Okay … who will the “Ace” be … Felix or Lee? Who gets the opening day start?

  185. Carson on December 15th, 2009 7:14 pm

    Okay … who will the “Ace” be … Felix or Lee? Who gets the opening day start?

    Unless Felix slips on a banana peel and opens the season on the DL – there’s a 0% chance Lee gets the opening day nod.

  186. Liam on December 15th, 2009 7:17 pm

    Felix is the 2010 opening day starter.

  187. joser on December 15th, 2009 7:41 pm

    Seriously, who cares? At this point I doubt either Cliff or Felix do. Opening Day Starter is about as empty an honor as you can find in baseball. (Game 1 starter in a postseason series: there’s something to be proud of). I expect it’ll be Felix, but if that screws up the lefty/righty ordering or the matchups for the first couple of opponents, I would hope Wak would go with the percentages rather than worrying about who gets the “honor.”

  188. joser on December 15th, 2009 7:48 pm

    I don’t know if Jake75 is still around, but maybe he’d be interested in a Red Sox Blogger’s analysis (at THT) as an objective 3rd party opinion. (Personally I think he’s overstated things a little bit in the opening line, but then the job of the lede is to grab your attention.)

  189. Gibbo on December 15th, 2009 7:51 pm

    Nah Felix gets it…. even if they dont think it’s important you dont run the risk of upsetting the guy that you want to be the king of Seattle for years to come.

  190. LH sock puppet on December 15th, 2009 9:29 pm

    Instead of posting an inane comparison of Bedard and Lee trades, here’s my obvious contrast of the two. (mods, I realize almost no one else has posted the name Bedard here. I understand if you delete this so as not to sully the discussion.)

    First, a bit of my philosophy on analyzing trades–the future means nothing. For example, at the time, I recall thinking that the M’s were going nowhere, so trading two decent players for an average/good reliever named Slocumb was a poor trade. Not one of the 10 worst in history. Using hindsight is worthless, because no one (unless you’re GMZ) can see the future and then go back in time to fix mistakes.

    Likewise, the Bedard trade was easy to see at the time that it was a poor one for the M’s. Five minutes on the ESPN site showed that Bedard’s shoulder had a “some assembly required” tattoo on it and that he just had a career year, drastically altering his numbers. On the other side, one had to do a little more research (read an article or two on this site and watch a few Mariner games) to see that All-Star And Former Mariner Adam Jones (then named Future All-Star Adam Jones) was/is the real deal.

    For the Lee trade half of this contrast, I refer you to Dave’s article above. Good value is good value, regardless of long term potential.

    @Briggstar: Thanks for unintentionally explaining Dave’s “no risk” aspect of the Lee trade to me. Perfect sense. The M’s do well enough with Lee to get to the playoffs, mission accomplished. They’re going nowhere at midseason, trade Lee to a team that is. End of the year, comp picks or, heck, sign him in arb under market.

  191. juneau_fan on December 15th, 2009 9:38 pm

    “I talked to a buddy of Cliff’s today,” said one baseball man. “And he said, ‘This is just going to tick him off even more. He really liked it in Philly. He’ll be on a crusade now.’”

    This makes no sense, assuming it’s true.

    If he loved Philly so much, then why didn’t he sign a long term deal with them?

    Oh, that’s right, the infamous line, it’s just business.

    Well, I believe that will be Philly and Seattle’s retort to any whining about getting shipped off.

  192. Adam B. on December 15th, 2009 10:35 pm

    Aumont has taken his physical according to the Times.

    I’m still in stunned disbelief for several reasons:

    1. Put aside “Saw this coming” who on Earth would’ve DREAMT this could happen? This trade came from beyond even Safeco’s spacious left field.

    2. The one-sidedness; Mariners have gotten used to suffering. Our dearth of post-season play, our playoff performances in the rare instances we have, Bavasi… Nothing in the Mariners history has ever prepared us to be THIS victorious in any baseball undertaking. If this is God’s way of justifying the Bedard trade, amen.

    3. Seriously? Just Aumont, Gillies and Ramirez? My brother was certain the report was wrong, we had to be giving up more or get some other pitcher in return. I didn’t dare hope one way or the other.

    Hey Jack, hurry up and make a more mortal transaction so I can get my head straight.

  193. Briggstar on December 15th, 2009 10:58 pm

    Thanks for unintentionally explaining Dave’s “no risk” aspect of the Lee trade to me.

    Oooh, zing! Er, glad to help?

    Really though, the Lee trade upside is there for both the short and long term. Dave can break down the why’s a lot more in-depth, but I’ll gladly add my few homer insights if it continues to help the uninformed. ;)

  194. just a fan on December 15th, 2009 11:04 pm

    This trade is obscenely beautiful. I do wonder if having Felix and Clifton affects whether we carry 11 or 12 pitchers. If this deal means we only need to carry 11 pitchers, this makes the Ken Griffey, Jr. deal more palatable from a baseball perspective. (Although, as just a fan, I frickin love Ken Griffey, Jr.!)

  195. JMHawkins on December 15th, 2009 11:07 pm

    Well, old Saint Jack, that merry old elf! Two years in a row he’s put a shiny present under the tree for Mariner fans. Forget about taking the kids to see Santa at Bel-Square. Go down to 1st and Edgar and tell Zdurienciclaus what you want for Christmas.

  196. Pine Tar on December 15th, 2009 11:22 pm

    The more I think about this deal the more I think it reflects the fundamental brilliance of Jack Z. Zero risk deal for Cy Young award winner! Truly astonishing!

  197. Pine Tar on December 15th, 2009 11:26 pm

    “Zdurienciclaus” that is pretty brilliant too.

  198. Pine Tar on December 15th, 2009 11:41 pm

    Also I am wondering if anyone has calculated the win values of the GM’s and where Jack Z would fall.

  199. Mahoney5500 on December 15th, 2009 11:55 pm

    So now that we have 2 studs capable of going deep into every game they pitch (3 if you count RRS minus the “stud” part), is there any chance we go with an 11 man bullpen?

  200. lokiforever on December 16th, 2009 1:11 am

    Unlikely. That just goes against conventional wisdom, an 11 man bull-pen. But just maybe we’ll go with 5 in the pen. ;-)

  201. lokiforever on December 16th, 2009 1:12 am

    Ok 6.

  202. eternal on December 16th, 2009 9:36 am

    so what next? Seems like the rotation is set. Next up another RP and some more offensive/defensive might? I’m curious to know where they go from here. I would assume it needs to be a 1st or 2nd baseman.

  203. Paul B on December 16th, 2009 9:57 am

    Dave spoke to that somewhat yesterday on Brock and Salk.

    As set up currently, the team would be counting on breakout years from some combination of Saunders/Tui/Carp. Signing one or two veterans to one year deals would provide flexibility in 2010 while not blocking the kids in the future.

  204. bram on December 16th, 2009 9:59 am

    Ruh Roh, I hope it isn’t Aumont who flunked his physical…

    http://twitter.com/elliottbaseball/status/6736729384

  205. bram on December 16th, 2009 10:02 am

    Sorry about lack of context: that Tweet is from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, and yes, he’s talking about Halladay/Lee.

  206. xeifrank on December 16th, 2009 10:08 am

    If one of the Mariners prospects flunked the physical does that nix the trade? Wonder how hard it would be to plug in a different player instead.
    vr, Xei

  207. eternal on December 16th, 2009 10:09 am

    dear god, no.

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