M’s Sign Eric Byrnes

Dave · January 29, 2010 at 3:52 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Okay, so, we finally know who the right-handed hitting outfielder is going to be – Eric Byrnes. I wrote up Byrnes last week, when he was DFA’d by the Diamondbacks, so the full take is over there. Short version – I like this.

Since Arizona is on the hook for his remaining salary, this is a league minimum deal. The Mariners have no obligation to keep Byrnes if he’s not healthy in spring training, or he looks old, or whatever. It’s a no-risk flyer on a guy who was a pretty darn good player a couple of years ago. His last two years have been terrible, but if he’s healthy, there should still be some juice left in the tank. If he and Langerhans split the LF time (with Bradley playing out there occasionally), the M’s should have a terrific defensive combo that could hit at something resembling a league average rate. And the platoon will cost them $900,000.

One quick note of caution, though – if you look at Byrnes ridiculously low BABIPs the last few years and think “it’s bad luck”, well, maybe, but not all of it is. Byrnes is historically awful at hitting infield flies. He hits enough pop-ups that the moon has taken out a restraining order against him. Pop-ups, of course, are easy to catch and never turn into hits. So you should expect Byrnes to run a below average BABIP. He’ll regress some, most likely, but don’t expect him to come anywhere near .300.

Comments

133 Responses to “M’s Sign Eric Byrnes”

  1. ManifestDestiny on January 29th, 2010 3:58 pm

    So is the non-pitching side of the roster pretty much set then?

  2. Dave on January 29th, 2010 4:01 pm

    Yeah, probably.

  3. luckyscrubs on January 29th, 2010 4:07 pm

    Well, we can’t argue on the price for Bryne… I hope he has something left. At this point, the offense looks complete. I assume Jack will be focusing his attention on a starting pitcher and call it an off-season. Dave, any idea of this will come via trade or a FA?

  4. uw2010 on January 29th, 2010 4:07 pm

    With Liriano reportedly pitching well in his recent start, do you think we still have any chance at working out a trade for him, or would the price be too high? Also, just wondering if you think Lopez might still be moved to bring back a starting pitcher, followed by signing Hudson.

  5. MarinersArmy on January 29th, 2010 4:08 pm

    Any chance of us acquiring Callaspo now? I actually like his numbers!

  6. luckyscrubs on January 29th, 2010 4:10 pm

    UW, I was thinking the same thing, I think this move leaves Jack with enough money to play with to not only sign Orlando Hudson, but to also take on some salary for a pitcher.

  7. Arron on January 29th, 2010 4:10 pm

    So we should assume that:

    1) If Byrnes, Langerhans, and Bradley are all healthy and hitting well in ST, that Saunders is AAA bound.

    2) Bradley will spend 90% or more of his time at DH(Whoo-Hoo!!!!)

    3) All we need now is a #3 pitcher.

    4) Bye-Bye to Damon hopes.

    Dave, do you think Lopez for Liriano has a shot? If not, or even so, what do you think Z will do before opening day, aquisition wise?

  8. G-Man on January 29th, 2010 4:11 pm

    I love it. Try him out, keep him if he’s worth the roster spot, dump him with miminal cost if he stinks.

    But beware this from the Seattle Times:

    “We think Eric is a great fit for our team,” said Zduriencik. “He is a high-energy player with a veteran presence.”

    No, not the dreaded veteran presence!

  9. Liam on January 29th, 2010 4:13 pm

    Some thought it was odd that Jack Zduriencik tipped his hand yesterday when he said that they were looking for a right handed bat. Given that Eric Byrnes will be at Fanfest tomorrow, it must have been a done deal.

  10. wtnuke on January 29th, 2010 4:14 pm

    Hooray! Now we just have to hope that the bus from the old-folks home doesn’t break down on the way to the stadium!

    Kidding, of course :)

  11. Turbo on January 29th, 2010 4:23 pm

    Really? This is our Right-handed pop pickup? Who’s really going to bad third in this lineup and make their pitchers sweat, much less who will bat fourth? Love the D, but the slugging impotence of this lineup is disconcerting.

    Wonder if the Nats asked for something crazy for JW. I had fallen in love with his FanGraphs line, I have to admit. Saw him crush a ball in their nice overpriced ballpark last year and, despite that tremendous sample size, projected irrationally good things for him.

  12. Dave on January 29th, 2010 4:24 pm

    Bradley is going to hit third.

  13. Alex on January 29th, 2010 4:25 pm

    No, not the dreaded veteran presence!

    Nothing wrong with it when youre paying the league minimum!

  14. Alex on January 29th, 2010 4:26 pm

    Dave, do you think this rules out the chance of the Mariners signing/trading for someone like Willingham or Damon to play LF, or could they still just cut Byrnes and make that move?

  15. MarinersArmy on January 29th, 2010 4:28 pm

    Who hits fourth then?

  16. Dave on January 29th, 2010 4:30 pm

    Damon is out. Jack has been very clear about the fact that he wanted a right-handed hitter.

    This probably rules out any other LF moves until spring training. If Byrnes shows up still limping around and looks terrible, they’ll just cut him and go get someone else. But they’ll let him try to show that he can be the guy they’re looking for, so we’re probably set on the offensive side until March.

  17. Logger on January 29th, 2010 4:30 pm

    How does a Ichiro!-Gutierrez-Langerhans/Byrnes outfield stack up against Ichiro!-Cameron-Wynn?

  18. Dave on January 29th, 2010 4:31 pm

    Who hits fourth then?

    Right now, Lopez. It’s not perfect, but the mythical “scaring pitchers” stuff is all crap anyway.

  19. shortbus on January 29th, 2010 4:33 pm

    Arron says:

    So we should assume that:

    1) If Byrnes, Langerhans, and Bradley are all healthy and hitting well in ST, that Saunders is AAA bound.

    I hope not. Z has said that Saunders was told he has a shot at the LF job. Without a player who is clearly head and shoulders above what Saunders is likely to give you…why not give the kid a shot? He, Byrnes and Langerhans are all projected to be about one WAR players next year.

    I don’t think it’s obvious that Saunders is the guy pegged for Tacoma. It’s possible they are thinking of Langerhans and/or Byrnes as insurance in case Saunders stumbles.

  20. joe simpson can hit on January 29th, 2010 4:33 pm

    Seems like a low-risk deal. If he tries to do a TV show on FSNW, however, someone stop him — living down here in the Southwest I had to witness the Eric Byrnes show on Arizona Fox. You don’t want to go there.

  21. Dave on January 29th, 2010 4:36 pm

    If Saunders is no better than Langerhans, then you go with Langerhans, because there’s no point wasting service time on a non-upgrade. You keep Saunders in Tacoma until he’s better than anything else you already have.

  22. luckyscrubs on January 29th, 2010 4:37 pm

    If Jack is done with our offense I’m guessing this be the lineup vs. lefties.

    1. Ichiro
    2. Figgins
    3. Bradley
    4. Lopez
    5. Gutierrez
    6. Byrnes
    7. Kotchman
    8. Moore/Johnson
    9. Wilson

  23. TumwaterMike on January 29th, 2010 4:38 pm

    I like this signing. I’m thinking Gutierrez bats 3rd, Bradley 4th, Lopez 5th and Griffey 6th. Just my guess. Also Everidge DFA do you think they’re hoping he gets through waivers or have they decided to go in a different direction?

  24. J-Dog on January 29th, 2010 4:40 pm

    really going to bad third in this lineup and make their pitchers sweat, much less who will bat fourth?

    I like the following lineup.
    1) Ichiro!
    2) Figgins
    3) Gutierrez
    4) Bradley
    5) Lopez (assuming not traded)
    6) Kotchman
    7) Catcher to be named later
    8) Langerhans
    9) Wilson

  25. Pine Tar on January 29th, 2010 4:40 pm

    Jack Z. never ceases to amaze. Another no risk-low cost-high upside-high reward move. Awesome.

  26. J-Dog on January 29th, 2010 4:42 pm

    8 ) turned into 8) Sorry.

  27. spokanecougar on January 29th, 2010 4:42 pm

    Still no power in the lineup. Lets hope all these people pan out, we seem to be collecting a lot of players that either could be very helpful or end up being very bad. At least most of them are not signed for a lot of money and years though.

  28. MarinersArmy on January 29th, 2010 4:44 pm

    I’m hoping and praying there’s still $$$ left in the budget and they’re look at a #3 starting pitcher!

    (ie – Harang?)

  29. Alfalfa on January 29th, 2010 4:44 pm

    So, if Liriano pitched well and he is out, who do you foresee the M’s signing on the pitching side Dave?

  30. Breadbaker on January 29th, 2010 4:46 pm

    Milton Bradley is rarely going to come to the plate with the bases empty.

  31. Pine Tar on January 29th, 2010 4:48 pm

    Breadbaker is there a stat for that?

  32. lowrig on January 29th, 2010 4:48 pm

    That lineup is underwhelming. I didn’t expect to go get Prince or Gonzo but Willingham would have sufficed. I don’t know if you can trade Lopez now. You throw Hudson in that lineup and it’s even worse.

  33. Pine Tar on January 29th, 2010 4:51 pm

    combinations of several low cost, high risk moves > one high cost, low risk move

  34. Spudicus on January 29th, 2010 4:52 pm

    Couldn’t agree with Dave more – I also think this is a good move, especially with Arizona picking up all but the league minimum in salary. As for power (or supposed lack of) – the more people we can get on base, the less we need to ‘rely’ on homeruns. With Ichiro! and Chone batting first and second, we’re going to see baserunners for sure.

  35. amnizu on January 29th, 2010 4:58 pm

    Breadbaker is there a stat for that?

    It would be a probability equation more than a statistic based on OBP less HRs + reaching on error or FC for those hitting in front of Bradley.

    Edit: It gets more complex if you want to consider if second hitter GIDP and the line-up rolling over. I now have a headache.

  36. Gerald on January 29th, 2010 5:03 pm

    At least we’ll have someone to provide the pop-ups that we were sure to be in short supply of with the departures of Betancourt and Johjima.

  37. joser on January 29th, 2010 5:09 pm

    another no risk-low cost-high upside-high reward move.

    No risk and low cost, yes, but I don’t see the high upside or the high reward. I for one don’t think there’s anything much in the tank, and what you saw out of Byrnes the last couple of years is exactly what you’ll get this year…except adjusted downwards due to the change in leagues and parks.

    Byrnes likes to face the cameras so maybe he’ll be the Sweeney-esque guy who talks to the press after tough losses (and maybe that will finally shut Salk up on the subject, since he seems obsessed with the idea that such a player is so much of a necessity that without it a team is doomed due to a lack of “leadership”/”chemistry”), but beyond that I’m not enthused.

    Callaspo or Willingham would’ve been much nicer pick-ups, but they would’ve taken some pieces out of the system and it may be the asking price was too high. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if Byrnes is gone by June, if he even breaks camp with the team. And one of those other names may be on the roster by mid-summer too. That’s the one really nice thing about the D’backs picking up all EB’s salary: the M’s will have some maneuvering room to make a key addition during the trade deadline, and given how much of a buyer’s market this offseason has been there may be some real deals available then.

  38. camuskid on January 29th, 2010 5:30 pm

    Any chance Byrnes learns to play first? That infield bench is still looking mighty thin.

  39. Liam on January 29th, 2010 5:30 pm

    That lineup is underwhelming.

    But is amazing in the other half of the inning.

  40. Mariners2620 on January 29th, 2010 5:34 pm

    I know that Jack Z can be very misleading when it comes to who he is going to pursue, but I think that he might have been serious when he said that Vargas, Snell, Fister, French, and Olson are going to battle it out for the 4th and 5th spots. I hope that isn’t the case, and it is always impossible to tell, but I just have a feeling that this is it until spring training. I’m really hoping to pick up either Liriano or Harang. Liriano is looking very doubtful, due to the return of his velocity. As for Lopez, I would rather not trade him. He was the only guy consistently knocking in runs, and although his OBP was complete garbage, he was the only one producing (outside of Branyan). I think that many people are down playing the potential of this lineup. We can all agree that we don’t have the big bopper, but we have some very disciplined players who have been added to this lineup. Griffey, Bradley, Figgins, and Kotchman all have great awareness of the strike zone. Gutierrez has also shown the ability to draw a walk. The rest of the lineup is not completely helpless. This will be far from a strong offense, but it will be fine.

  41. Turbo on January 29th, 2010 6:06 pm

    King Dave, if Bradley bats his CHONE line for 2010 we’ll be the only team in the league where pitchers will throw around our No. 2 hitter in hopes of facing our No. 3 hitter. Yeah, I too hope for return to a Bradley mean stat line, but wishfulness appears to be a metric we’re leading in right now for some of our hitters.

  42. universalguru on January 29th, 2010 6:12 pm

    wistfulness indeed… lots of hoping here with Bradley, Kotchman, Byrnes, Griffey and Wilson. However considering the overall price (around $16-17 million?) you can’t argue with the potential value.

  43. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 6:22 pm

    I agree with Joser. However, if Byrnes is replacing Langerhans then it might be worth it. That could open the door to Damon or even Branyan. Branyan makes some sense due to his versatility, while Damon brings more consistent offense.

  44. Marinersmanjk on January 29th, 2010 6:30 pm

    Leroy Damon’s out of the picture. Though I don’t think he was ever really in it. Dave, if we signed someone like Callaspo would that open the door for Liriano? I hope we can still get him.

  45. stevie_j13 on January 29th, 2010 6:40 pm

    I like the Byrnes move in the sense that Z clearly has a philosophy about the type of player he wants and is sticking with it, especially at bargain rates.

    However, I have to second the injury concerns. Not just Bradley, Wilson, Byrnes, Johnson, and Griffey, but with Figgins as well. The way everything is shaping up, Hannahan, other J. Wilson, and Langerhans are going to get a lot of playing time unless several guys play more games than they normally do.

  46. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 7:16 pm

    Who plays 3B if Hannahan is out of the game and someone (Figgins/Wilson/Lopez) gets hurt?

  47. Liam on January 29th, 2010 7:38 pm

    That’s a good question. You would have to make do with one of Byrnes, Langerhans or Kotchman in a pinch and then make a roster move after the game.

  48. arsenal on January 29th, 2010 7:53 pm

    Great signing. The major league minimum for a righty LF with + Defense and some upside? What are people complaining about? If he doesn’t work out, cut him. In the meantime we still have our money to spend elsewhere, say for a starter.

  49. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 8:27 pm

    What are people complaining about? If he doesn’t work out, cut him.

    And then what? What is plan B? There are options now that won’t be there when the season starts.

  50. eric47d on January 29th, 2010 8:32 pm

    arsenal said it perfectly, there’s nothing not to like about this. If it was 2007 and the old regime had just given a +1 WAR, 34 year old outfielder a 3 year, 34 million dollar deal, I’d be upset too, but there’s just no downside here.

    And for those of you that don’t remember the ’85 Cardinals, (baseball Cards, no Neil Lomax jokes please), I’ll just say that every time I read your posts about the need for picking up a “bopper” or a “power guy”, or “making pitchers sweat”, my eyes have started rolling so far back in my head that I can actually see my frontal lobe…please stop, it’s taking years off of my life to be this disgusted with you.

  51. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 8:32 pm

    You would have to make do with one of Byrnes, Langerhans or Kotchman in a pinch and then make a roster move after the game.

    Kotchman and Langerhans are lefties, so that won’t work. I’m guessing they’d use Johnson or Moore.

    But, do you use Hannahan to PH, or do you save him just in case? What if one of the starters are day-to-day? You can’t make roster moves every time someone misses a couple of games.

  52. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 8:37 pm

    eric47d,

    It’s not the financial cost – it’s the opportunity cost. If Byrnes doesn’t work out, what’s plan B? I say it’s a great move if he’s competing with Langerhans for the fourth OF spot, but beyond that, too risky.

  53. Pine Tar on January 29th, 2010 8:39 pm

    Leroy! How is it risky? If it doesn’t work out we don’t owe him anything.

  54. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 8:50 pm

    Leroy! How is it risky? If it doesn’t work out we don’t owe him anything.

    It’s not the MONEY!!! It’s the risk of having someone who struggles for a number of months, releasing him, and then not having another good option.

  55. Marinersmanjk on January 29th, 2010 8:55 pm

    Leroy there’s nobody out there that we’re missing out on by getting Burns. If we really needed someone like Dye Z would have made the move. Seriously we’re not missing out on anything

  56. Marinersmanjk on January 29th, 2010 8:58 pm

    We do have other options. It’s called Saunders, he’s most likely going to start at AAA

  57. Coug1990 on January 29th, 2010 9:02 pm

    And then what? What is plan B? There are options now that won’t be there when the season starts.

    What options are there that you definitely know about?

    Moves can always be made. The Mariners picked up Wilson, Langerhans and Hannahan after the season started last year (not to mention several pitchers).

  58. eric47d on January 29th, 2010 9:05 pm

    Leroy,

    I think it’s too early to look at this as an opportunity cost. Because of the low $ cost here, I’d put this move in the category of “stockpiling”. Byrnes is a potential solution for a particular need the team is going to have, not necessarily the final answer though.

    As we all know, spring training is virtually guaranteed to produce some surprises and some topics that none of us have even considered, so who knows where he fits in the end. All we know is that he’s as cheap as they come as far as the M’s are concerned, and there’s the potential for him to do some good things. When I found out the M’s had traded for Kevin Mitchell I almost puked I was so happy. When I found out the M’s had signed Stan Javier….actually I don’t really remember that moment. Which one did more good? You just never know, but cheap potential is always good.

  59. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 9:07 pm

    Consider Ryan Garko:

    He would be the RH DH. He’s a young, proven, consistent hitter who hits lefties very well.

    If Kotchman struggles or is injured, he’d play 1B
    If Griffey struggles or is injured, he’d DH more
    If you needed an emergency catcher, he could catch (he did in the minors).
    If you needed a 3B or OF, short-term, he could play there.

    Josh Willingham could also fill the same roles.

    If Byrnes takes that roster spot, how do you handle these situations? And, of course, Byrnes is both a health and a performance risk.

  60. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 9:11 pm

    Eric,

    It very well could be a great move. I said it was a great move if he’s competing for Langerhans’ spot. But, I hope they come up with a good Plan B.

  61. Dave on January 29th, 2010 9:19 pm

    You can’t play the opportunity cost card and only lok at the roster spot while ignoring salary. That Byrnes makes the league minimum allows the M’s to spend more on a pitcher. This counts.

  62. Mekias on January 29th, 2010 9:30 pm

    The injury risk for Byrnes is rather negligible. Before his hamstring problems in 2008, he had never been on the DL before. The time he missed in 2009 was due to a broken hand. That’s not exactly a chronic injury. So the only real question going forward is, have his hamstrings fully healed? If they have, he’s probably not much more of an injury risk than anyone else. If they haven’t, we’ll likely find out in spring training and go elsewhere with our final roster spot.

    As a platoon player against lefties, Byrnes can be very valuable and dirt cheap. I’m more than willing to give him a shot.

  63. joser on January 29th, 2010 9:42 pm

    It’s not the MONEY!!! It’s the risk of having someone who struggles for a number of months, releasing him, and then not having another good option.

    Actually, at that point there almost certainly will be more options available than there are now, or cheaper anyway. It’s likely Callaspo and Willingham were available but the price (in terms of trade pieces) was too high; in “a number of months” with the Nats and Royals out of it once again and looking at moves for 2011, the calculation (and demands) may be different. Or somebody else may be available from another team unexpectedly out of contention early. Or, who knows, maybe Tui is tearing up Tacoma to such a degree that you have to promote him. Wouldn’t that suck?

    It’s not like your 4th outfielder or utility-platoon guy has enough of an impact on the team that any struggling he does is going to single-handedly sink their pennant chances… and if he really is sucking it up that bad, I trust Zduriencik to cut him sooner rather than later. The good news is that they didn’t give up anything to get him, so cutting him leaves no regrets. (How crappy would it be to cough up a pitcher to the Nationals to get Willingham and then have him turn into their closer or something while the M’s are cutting Willingham because he didn’t produce?)

    I’m not wild about Byrnes because he doesn’t bring a lot of upside, but conversely there’s very little downside: the cost here really is very low. The system hasn’t lost any more prospects and the team isn’t on the hook for any real money, which means they’re still in good shape for next year and for making a shrewd acquisition at the trade deadline. And I’m quite sure that Zduriencik has beaten the bushes looking at all the players we’ve named and quite a few we haven’t thought of; if he thinks Byrnes is ultimately the best deal out there right now for this rather limited role — well, he probably is.

    One of the things we’ve already learned about the Zduriencik front office is that they’re thinking a couple of moves ahead all the time. This isn’t the Bavasi regime that was forever a day late and a dollar short, lamely confessing time and again to being “surprised by the market.” Zduriencik has a plan B. And a C, D, and E. In fact, because Byrnes essentially cost them nothing they could decide to cut him in Spring Training at zero cost. And so he may actually be Plan B (or even C), a guy they’ve got in their back pocket while they’re still seeing what develops for Plan A.

  64. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 9:49 pm

    You can’t play the opportunity cost card and only lok at the roster spot while ignoring salary. That Byrnes makes the league minimum allows the M’s to spend more on a pitcher. This counts.

    Of course it counts, but I’m not worried about $400K. I’m worried that he might put up an OPS under .670 like he has in 3 of the last 5 years. And you never get those games back.

  65. Mekias on January 29th, 2010 10:00 pm

    Of course it counts, but I’m not worried about $400K. I’m worried that he might put up an OPS under .670 like he has in 3 of the last 5 years. And you never get those games back.

    I assume Wak isn’t silly enough to play him a lot versus right-handed pitchers when Langerhans, Bradley, and/or Saunders are all better options. If they use him strictly as a platoon player against lefties, his bat should be a plus for us.

  66. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 10:08 pm

    It’s not like your 4th outfielder or utility-platoon guy has enough of an impact on the team that any struggling he does is going to single-handedly sink their pennant chances

    If Byrnes is the 4th outfielder then that’s great. If he’s half the DH (with Griffey!) with no versatility then that’s pretty risky.

  67. Marinersmanjk on January 29th, 2010 10:08 pm

    Leroy if we didn’t sign Byrns, than we would have traded and lost a prospect or signed someon for more money. Which, in turn, would have lessened the amount of money we would have been able to spend on a starting piching. There is nobody out there for the league minimum that would give us the value of Byrns. This is an all-around good deal.

  68. Pete Livengood on January 29th, 2010 10:10 pm

    Leroy, do you acknowledge joser’s point, namely that Byrnes may be Plan B (or C)? At minimum, I think he raises a very valid point….

  69. heychuck01 on January 29th, 2010 10:19 pm

    @Leroy

    Byrnes has a consistant .800 OPS throughout his career vs. LHP. When injured AND during his bad years.

    How is a platoon a huge risk?

  70. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 10:21 pm

    Leroy, do you acknowledge joser’s point, namely that Byrnes may be Plan B (or C)? At minimum, I think he raises a very valid point….

    Yes, I acknowledge his point. Again, I said this may be a great signing and I’m not against it. I just hope they’re not relying on Byrnes for ~300 PAs. And Joser always raises very valid points. :)

  71. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 10:27 pm

    Byrnes has a consistant .800 OPS throughout his career vs. LHP. When injured AND during his bad years.

    How is a platoon a huge risk?

    @heychuck

    That’s a fair point. Still, Garko is closer to .900.

  72. Marinersmanjk on January 29th, 2010 10:41 pm

    And Garko would cost a good 1-2 million cheaper at best.

  73. Coug1990 on January 29th, 2010 10:42 pm

    That’s a fair point. Still, Garko is closer to .900

    I agree, Garko would look good in a Mariners uniform. But, I don’t think the Mariners wanted to platoon at first base. Besides, I am guessing the Mariners kicked the tires regarding Garko and either the price was too high or he wasn’t interested.

    It takes two to play and if Garko isn’t interested, it really doesn’t matter what any team wants.

  74. Dave on January 29th, 2010 10:50 pm

    I can just imagine the sale pitch to Garko.

    “So, Ryan, we know you want to get your career back on track after that little stretch of tough luck down in San Francisco. Seattle is totally different.

    Okay, yes, it’s another park that’s not exactly hitter friendly. And yes, we’re going to use Kotchman as our first baseman on most days, so you’d probably end up DH’ing more than anything else. You wouldn’t be the full time DH, of course, because we’ve got that Griffey guy who has to play some and Milton Bradley isn’t healthy enough to play the outfield everyday.

    So, you’d get something like 200 at-bats and play maybe a few hundred innings in the field. That should be plenty of time to show teams that you can still produce enough to get a big contract next winter!

    Oh, and also, we’re kind of broke, so we can’t offer you very much money. What do you say?”

  75. Mr. Egaas on January 29th, 2010 10:59 pm

    In a pinch, it’s yesterday, and you have 300K to offer to Jonny Gomes or Eric Byrnes, both will accept the second it’s offered.

    What do you do?

  76. Marinersmanjk on January 29th, 2010 11:06 pm

    Personally I’d go with Byrnes if his hammy’s are all good. He presents speed and good defense and possibly a decent .280 average. Gomes has notoriously bad defense, which doesn’t fit the mold Z has set for our team.

  77. Coug1990 on January 29th, 2010 11:11 pm

    In a pinch, it’s yesterday, and you have 300K to offer to Jonny Gomes or Eric Byrnes, both will accept the second it’s offered.

    What do you do?

    Nothing. The major league minimum is $400,000 so if the Mariners have only $300,000, it is not enough.

  78. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 11:13 pm

    Garko’s response:

    “Well, it is getting late, and let’s be honest, no one is really knocking down my door. Plus, you’re right, how much is Griffey really going to play anyway. I guess 400 at-bats really is a possibility.

    So, yeah, I’ll take the deal – $2.5MM is more than fair. Especially in this market. It’s probably the closest thing to a starting job I can hope for.”

  79. Coug1990 on January 29th, 2010 11:21 pm

    Leroy, now your making things up.

    Plus, you’re right, how much is Griffey really going to play anyway.

    The Mariners have never said that Griffey isn’t going to play. They have went out of their way to say the opposite.

    Do you really not think the Mariners have not talked to Garko’s agent to get an idea of what he is thinking?

  80. Dave on January 29th, 2010 11:24 pm

    If you’d rather have Garko for $2.5M than Byrnes for $400K, you’re nuts.

  81. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2010 11:43 pm

    If you’d rather have Garko for $2.5M than Byrnes for $400K, you’re nuts.

    I’d rather have Garko and Byrnes for $2.9M. Garko would make a fine RH DH platoon partner and Byrnes would make a great fourth outfielder, assuming he’s healthy and not washed up. But, I’d pay $400K to find out.

    What would you spend that $2.5M on?

  82. Marinersmanjk on January 29th, 2010 11:43 pm

    Coug you obviously didn’t read Dave’s earlier post. The whole point of it was suppossed to be a joke.

  83. Coug1990 on January 30th, 2010 12:16 am

    Marinersmanjk, did you really mean me? My posts have been along the same line as Dave’s. Have you read all of this? Dave’s sarcastic (joking) post was in response to Leroy’s previous serious posts about acquiring Garko.

  84. Leroy Stanton on January 30th, 2010 12:24 am

    The Mariners have never said that Griffey isn’t going to play. They have went out of their way to say the opposite.

    Do you really not think the Mariners have not talked to Garko’s agent to get an idea of what he is thinking?

    I never said Griffey isn’t going to play. How much he will actually play is an open question.

    Yes, it has been reported that the M’s have talked to him.

  85. Marinersmanjk on January 30th, 2010 12:42 am

    Oh coug gotcha. I thought you thought Leroy was serious to his response to Dave’s post. And I’m on the same page as you. I dn’t get why Leroy doesn’t like Byrnes considering we’re not giving anything up.

  86. johnfree63 on January 30th, 2010 12:52 am

    I don’t think this move completely closes the book on the line-up. The M’s could just as easily be bringing in another player to compete with Byrnes and Langerhans for the 4thOF/utility spot. Its probably not a Garko or Dye but maybe a player like Rocco Baldelli. All 3 of those guys won’t be making a lot of money so if they are not cutting it in Spring Training, the M’s cut them or send them down to Tacoma. No Big Deal.

  87. Kazinski on January 30th, 2010 4:20 am

    I think the LF job is still Saunders to lose, or I should say if he tears the cover off the ball in ST the job will be his, he is by far and away the best option. I think he can be a legitimate 30-30 threat, maybe not next year, but if he shows the potential, then he plays. And in that case Byrnes may be the 4th OF, if he is healthy because of the RH thing.

    But I think they should look into Tui playing some outfield in ST, because if Tui can play a decent outfield, then he is much more versatile than any of the other options. Plus he is a RH bat. You’d have to assume a 3b would have to arm to play the outfield, and there is no question about his athleticism. Then you’ve got Tui, Bradley as 4th, 5th outfielders, Griffey in an emergency, and Tui is also your 5th infielder.

    Then the other question, what about Branyan? If the market has dried up so much for players like Garko and Branyan, would you, could you sign him to a minor league deal and stash him down in Tacoma in case of a Bradley meltdown, Griffey breakdown, or Kotchman letdown?

    I’m traveling in Vietnam now, but I can’t wait for pitchers and catchers to report.

  88. Jeff Nye on January 30th, 2010 5:14 am

    If nothing else, I like this signing for Jeff Sullivan’s best work yet.

    But really, there is no downside to this move, and a reasonable upside. If a better option presents itself at any time, you wave bye-bye to Eric Byrnes. The opportunity cost of a roster spot doesn’t apply when you can free that roster spot up again pretty much at will.

  89. CCW on January 30th, 2010 7:49 am

    Leroy, I like the spirit you bring to these discussions, but I think you need to take a step back here. You might object to how the M’s got to this roster situation, but that’s water under the bridge. Now that Griffey, Kotchman and Bradley are on the team, the M’s were looking for one thing: a right-fielder who can hit lefties. And they got that. For cheap. Garko, Damon, etc., all may have made sense at one time, but given where we are NOW, Byrnes makes perfect sense. And he’s cheap enough that if Callaspo or Willingham become real possibilities, maybe you trade for one of them and eat the $400,000.

  90. Arron on January 30th, 2010 8:05 am

    This team needs a five-man bench like no other…

  91. TumwaterMike on January 30th, 2010 8:23 am

    Last year Jack added low risk high reward players such as Russell Branyan and David Aardsma and was rewarded. He also had a couple that didn’t work out as well but did some value for them such as Chris Woodward and Chris Shelton. He then added Jack Hanahan, Jack Wilson and Ryan Langerhans, as well as some pitching, during the season. There is no question in my mind that Jack will continue to tweak the roster as needed during the season. What we have going in this year is better than what we had going in last year. Lets all be happy about that.

    There are only 2 starters left from the disaster that netted them 101 loses, Lopes and Ichiro. Lets keep the faith.

  92. Leroy Stanton on January 30th, 2010 8:31 am

    CCW, I like the signing. And, I believe we only pay him for as long as we keep him, so it’s a pro-rated share of 400K. Basically, it’s a free look at a guy with some upside potential. If he’s healthy and hasn’t “lost it”, then we have a very valuable fourth outfielder. If he turns into something more, then that is a bonus.

    What I don’t like – and I don’t know that this is the case – is the idea of depending on him being a productive bat in the lineup. We’re already counting on Griffey, Bradley, and Kotchman to produce and they are question marks. I’d like a little better insurance than Byrnes who himself is a wildcard.

  93. wsm on January 30th, 2010 8:47 am

    So, I understand the love for Langerhans, but he’s no guarantee to get anything close to regular playing time in LF. In fact, the Mariners didn’t even want to offer him arbitration because they weren’t even sure he’d make the team (this is before Milton Bradley came on board even). They weren’t even willing to guarantee him a lousy 750k. Instead, they signed him to a split contract that allows him to be outrighted to Tacoma and collect a salary of 90k.

    Langerhans’s roster spot is on the line for 2010. Right now, Bradley IS the LF and Griffey IS the DH. Byrnes IS the 4th outfielder. That can all change is Spring Training due to injuries of course, but as of now Langerhans will be in a death struggle for the last bench slot with Tui and whoever else they bring in.

    They have other needs for that bench slot too – righty 1B, someone who can play at least 3B (to allow Figgins to shift to 2B/SS), and a late inning PH for Moore/Wilson. They can’t fill all those jobs, but some may be more important to them than having a 5th OF.

  94. Arron on January 30th, 2010 8:54 am

    I really wish people would stop “worrying” about Griffey’s playing time or production. He will be the 25th man on the bench. He will not be a starter. Bradley will DH most of the time. Griffey probably won’t help or hurt the team on the field. Let’s move on.

  95. Pine Tar on January 30th, 2010 8:55 am

    Griffey will not DH against LHP

  96. Pine Tar on January 30th, 2010 9:04 am

    That’s kinda the point of trying to find a RH outfielder.

  97. Arron on January 30th, 2010 9:10 am

    Bradley will DH against LHP with Byrnes in RF.

    The rest is seems depends on Saunders. If he is ready, he will probably plattoon with Byrnes in LF. If he’s not, LF will be a plattoon of Bradley, Langerhans and Byrnes.

    I REALLY don’t see Griffey doing more than spot starts.

  98. Paul B on January 30th, 2010 9:13 am

    This team needs a five-man bench like no other…

    I really hope they do that. With 12 pitchers, the 12th guy usually only pitches mop up in blowouts, and is really just there in case the team plays a 17 inning game or something. I’ve found it annoying when teams complain about how their bullpen is overworked, I look and see that they have a couple of their bullpen pitchers that have thrown about 1 inning each in the last week.

    The alternative would be to use that roster spot for someone like Josh Wilson who is pretty much there to be an emergency fill in at any position, allowing for pinch hitting, pinch running (gotta run for Griffey if he walks in a close game in the 9th) and such.

    The last man on the bench gets to impact close games, the last man in the bullpen gets to impact blowouts.

    Any chance Byrnes learns to play first? That infield bench is still looking mighty thin.

    Hannahan or Lopez can always play first.

    Speaking of Lopez, and batting him 4th, I’d do that on the road. Actually, I’d hit him third on the road against lefties. At home, I’d move him way down in the order.

    Turbo:

    King Dave, if Bradley bats his CHONE line for 2010 we’ll be the only team in the league where pitchers will throw around our No. 2 hitter in hopes of facing our No. 3 hitter.

    If a team wants to walk a speedy guy to pitch to a guy with an .800 OPS, that would be great for the M’s. I hope they walk Figgins every time he comes up.

    No ML team will be that dumb, unfortunately.

  99. Pine Tar on January 30th, 2010 9:16 am

    Who’s DH against RHP? I assume it would be Bradley if Saunders coms on if not then what?

  100. Leroy Stanton on January 30th, 2010 9:20 am

    The last man on the bench gets to impact close games, the last man in the bullpen gets to impact blowouts.

    @Paul B: I like that. I think I’ll steal it. :)

  101. Pine Tar on January 30th, 2010 9:32 am

    Who’s DH against RHP? I assume it would be Bradley if Saunders comes on. If not then what?

    I’d love to see an updated take on this:
    http://ussmariner.com/2009/12/29/left-field-and-dh/

  102. Breadbaker on January 30th, 2010 9:43 am

    So what is Byrnes, the 23rd guy on the roster or the 24th? Useful player, cheap, not going to have huge impact. Remember, our manager isn’t exactly Mr. Late Inning Strategy.

  103. Alfalfa on January 30th, 2010 10:28 am

    I’m assuming Byrnes is the 24th at this point. The others I would assume would be Hannahan and the back up Catcher. The next guy who would make the most sense to me would be Tui, that is if he could play a little outfield to go with his infielding, because then he would allow us to have that 7th pitcher in the pen if we needed it. A lot is definitely hinging on ST..can’t wait to see what happens. I’m glad we got Byrnes though, hope he regains his 07 form.

  104. Paul B on January 30th, 2010 11:04 am

    @Leroy Stanton

    I like that. I think I’ll steal it.

    Feel free. But I think I was paraphrasing Earl Weaver, so probably best to give the credit to him.

  105. Paul B on January 30th, 2010 11:06 am

    The next guy who would make the most sense to me would be Tui

    Good point, I wish I would have mentioned him instead of Josh Wilson…

  106. kcw2 on January 30th, 2010 11:42 am

    Just curious. I reread Dave’s article. What happened to SF? Did SF not offer?

  107. goat on January 30th, 2010 11:42 am

    Tui doesn’t really have to be able to play the outfield if Figgins can. Just move Figgins to left and play Tui at 3rd.
    If Tui is doing well at AAA, you can release Byrnes. If Saunders is doing well at AAA, you can swap him with Langerhans. You could even start platooning Kotchman if both Tui and Byrnes are doing well (move Lopez to 1st against LHP and start Tui instead). Lots of flexibility.

  108. Liam on January 30th, 2010 12:44 pm

    Just curious. I reread Dave’s article. What happened to SF? Did SF not offer?

    @MUrbanCSN on Jan 28th
    The #sfgiants’ door appears to have shut — or never even opened — on Eric Byrnes, too. So consider the G’s done with any real shopping

  109. kcw2 on January 30th, 2010 12:57 pm

    Liam–thanks.

  110. Ralph_Malph on January 30th, 2010 1:06 pm

    Who’s DH against RHP? I assume it would be Bradley if Saunders comes on. If not then what?

    We’ve got a left-handed DH who’s coming to camp “ripped” (or so I hear). Though I’m not sure how losing 7 pounds translates to ripped.

    Regardless, I assume Griffey will DH against RHP at least half the time, if he’s healthy.

  111. charliemountain on January 30th, 2010 1:46 pm

    I think the part that gets dismissed in this is that Griffey had a .930 OPS at Safeco Field compared to a .584 on the road. Stats don’t usually work that way, especially at Safeco. But that’s too big of a swing for me to dismiss as an aberration when you can tell that Griffey’s a guy who is heavily motivated (as silly as this sounds) by the love of the game. I think he has more fun at Safeco and performs better there. I don’t care about his fun, but I care about his production. Depending on how these guys actually play, I’d plan on DHing Griffey at home more often than not and letting Bradley play a lot of OF.

  112. goat on January 30th, 2010 1:55 pm

    It seems to me that one of the advantages of having a RH OF is having someone to pinchhit for Langerhans, Kotchman or Griffey against LHP late in games. If he is that bad at popouts, maybe he wouldn’t be a good option. Or does he popout less against LHP?

  113. scraps on January 30th, 2010 2:05 pm

    But that’s too big of a swing for me to dismiss as an aberration

    Maybe it’s too big of a swing for you, but it’s not too big a swing for statistics. It’s eminently dismissable.

  114. Liam on January 30th, 2010 2:14 pm

    See the conversation in this thread for Griffey’s home/road splits. It’s a small sample size and not a repeatable skill.

  115. Alfalfa on January 30th, 2010 4:21 pm

    Ok, so I’m wondering who we’re going to get to be our 3 starter..if we go that route. There really aren’t many names that interest me a whole lot. I honestly would rather not see Washburn or Wang brought in..unless Washburn signs for super cheap. Maybe a trade? Thoughts?

  116. joser on January 30th, 2010 4:23 pm

    Griffey had 199 PA at Safeco last year. That’s far short of the 500 or so that are necessary for us to have any faith in that OPS number. As Liam and Scraps have noted, we shouldn’t expect it to continue; in fact, it is precisely because that split is so extreme that we should dismiss it. While it’s quite possible he’ll put up another .735 overall OPS (since he managed a bit better than that with the Reds and White Sox over the past couple of years), it’s unlikely he will again do so by putting up .930 at home and .580 away. It’s sad, but he’s on a clear downward trend; “ripped” or not, he’s unlikely to get better (and, if something like his eyes start to betray him, he could fall off a cliff and be much, much worse).

  117. Rck74 on January 30th, 2010 4:41 pm

    I think we’ll improve our offense from 14th in runs scored to 13th for sure. Our fourth worst run differential (-52) should improve to close to even as well. Figgins, Bradley, Byrnes and Kotchman must have the rest of the AL shaking in their boots.

  118. eponymous coward on January 30th, 2010 5:32 pm

    Some Mariner OPS by position last year:

    3B: .643
    SS: .597
    LF: .609
    DH: .747

    You know, I do think Chone Figgins, Milton Bradley, Jack Wilson, Ryan Langerhans and Eric Byrnes are likely to improve on that, as a group.

  119. henryv on January 30th, 2010 7:06 pm

    I just had one of those moments where I realized that we have Cliff Lee pitching for us this year.

    Still gives me tingles.

  120. Sidi on January 30th, 2010 7:28 pm

    I think the part that gets dismissed in this is that Griffey had a .930 OPS at Safeco Field compared to a .584 on the road. Stats don’t usually work that way, especially at Safeco

    But you’re ignoring his splits when he ate fish the night before vs. steak. Clearly red meat is the most important part of his game, and we need to focus on feeding him right.

  121. Bomberboy on January 30th, 2010 7:33 pm

    did someone mention “terrific defensive ” platoon? who are the two? Byrnes if I recall plays the outfield like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. Make me feel better, tell me that several years ago at this peak Byrnes was not horrible, as I remember him in the field.

  122. nathaniel dawson on January 30th, 2010 8:21 pm

    Ok, so I’m wondering who we’re going to get to be our 3 starter

    We may not get anyone to be our 3 starter, we may just go with what we have. Or if we get someone from outside, he may not be our 3 starter. Right now, it would certainly be Ryan Rowland-Smith.

  123. Liam on January 30th, 2010 8:26 pm

    Bomberboy,

    Check out his fangraphs page. His fielding has been average to above average.

  124. RRS for Prez on January 30th, 2010 8:28 pm

    In 2007, Byrnes was ranked in the top 3 best defensive leftfielders in Fielding Bible.

  125. micahjr on January 30th, 2010 11:41 pm

    @WSM

    They have other needs for that bench slot too – righty 1B, someone who can play at least 3B (to allow Figgins to shift to 2B/SS), and a late inning PH for Moore/Wilson. They can’t fill all those jobs, but some may be more important to them than having a 5th OF.

    Kotchman has almost no platoon split, so a right handed 1b makes no sense. Hannahan can play all the infield positions and is a natural 3b, so 2 of the things you feel we need, you haven’t actually looked at the roster to determine. In addition, Byrnes is likely your righty pinch hitter off the bench, either him or Bradley most days. Lopez can still play 1b, and probably 3b also. Griffey will be able to ph and has done well there, also.

  126. micahjr on January 30th, 2010 11:54 pm

    @Arron

    Saunders should not be brought in to platoon (that is the correct spelling). That would be a waste of a potential full time starter. If the idea is to platoon Saunders, it is better to leave him in Tacoma.

  127. Leroy Stanton on January 30th, 2010 11:58 pm

    Kotchman has almost no platoon split, so a right handed 1b makes no sense. Hannahan can play all the infield positions and is a natural 3b, so 2 of the things you feel we need, you haven’t actually looked at the roster to determine.

    @micahjr

    Others (maybe including the M’s) disagree with you.

  128. wsm on January 31st, 2010 6:55 am

    Its pretty clear the M’s want someone else on their bench in Langerhans’s slot.

    a. they’re not going with an 11-man pitching staff, not at first anyway. Standard 4 man bench.

    b. Griffey and Milton are penciled in for all the PAs at DH/LF vs RHP. They ARE Wak’s starters.

    c. Byrnes will be the LF vs LHP, but he wil also get the starts in LF vs RHP when Milton can’t go. He’s your 4th OF.

    d. The M’s seem to see the need for a platoon 1B/DH as being greater than the need to have someone who can fill in defensively in LF with the correct platoon split vs. RHP. Oddly enough, they sacrificed defensive flexibility for a right-handed DH bench guy last year too. In fact, Mike Sweeney is still out there and would love to come back…

    e. Langerhans is signed to a non-guaranteed contract because the M’s have no intention of guaranteeing him a spot on the roster.

    All of this can, and probably will fall apart by May 1, but I’m pretty sure this is what Seattle is thinking right now.

  129. Paul B on January 31st, 2010 7:18 am

    Its pretty clear the M’s want someone else on their bench in Langerhans’s slot.

    And you know this why?

  130. BrownL on January 31st, 2010 10:07 am

    a. they’re not going with an 11-man pitching staff, not at first anyway. Standard 4 man bench.

    I don’t see why an 11-man bullpen wouldn’t work right out of the gate. The M’s are lousy with borderline #5 starters that will likely end up in the bullpen anyway, so they’ll have multiple bullpen guys who can work long relief.

    Definitely going to make the team:
    Felix
    Lee
    RR-S
    Snell
    Aardsma
    Lowe
    League
    Kelley
    (I’m assuming Sean White is still hurt)

    Then, pick three from the 5th starter/long relief cluster: Fister, Olson, Texeira, French, Vargas, Petit.

    All those guys, even Texeira I believe, can give you some innings. Also, at the beginning of the year, I’ve definitely heard of teams going without using their 5th starter for weeks, so that essentially gives you a 7th bullpen arm.

  131. wsm on January 31st, 2010 10:10 am

    And you know this why?

    On a roster that didn’t have either Milton Bradley or Eric Byrnes at the time, Jack Z basically told Ryan Langerhans he would not guarantee him a $750k salary by non-tendering him.
    750k is nothing. A good 4th outfielder makes more than that (Randy Winn, Xavier Nady, etc.).

    Instead, Langerhans agreed to a split contract that allows the Mariners to send him to AAA (and pay him a lot less). These are the kinds of contracts that you give to guys who don’t fit on the 25 man roster but you still want to keep them around anyway. Its very similar to the deal Chris Coste got from the Mets to maybe be their backup catcher, or maybe not.

    Now after adding Milton Bradley and Eric Byrnes we’re expected to believe Langerhans is a semi-regular platoon LF? That makes no sense at all.

    Oh, and the assisstant GM said they want someone who’s right-handed and plays 1B.

  132. Miles on January 31st, 2010 10:27 am

    wsm, you hit the nail on the head. I don’t know why everyone here thinks that Griffey is going to be a hood ornament this year. Spring Training will let Langerhans and Byrnes fight it out for 4th OF. It’s redundant to keep them both.

    While everyone should be trying to figure out who the next M’s signing is going to be, they are waffling about how excited they are going to be with Milton at DH.

    Jack said he was looking at some right handed bats last week. He said nothing about a trade, like Cameron stated in the last write up. I wouldn’t be suprised if the right handed 1B/DH bat was Mike Sweeney. Is that what I am hoping for? No. Just wouldn’t be suprised. I’m hoping for Dye.

  133. Paul B on January 31st, 2010 1:53 pm

    wsm, see Dave’s more recent blog entry.

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