Now What?

Dave · June 3, 2010 at 9:45 am · Filed Under Mariners 

A quick reminder that I’ll be doing my weekly chat with Brock and Salk on ESPN 710 today, but instead of 12:30, we’ll do it at 2:15. Can’t imagine what the topic of the day will be.

Okay, Junior’s retired. At the risk of sounding heartless, it’s time to figure out what to do with the roster now. In the short term, the M’s will almost certainly just call up another pitcher from Tacoma (bet on Chad Cordero) in order to get them through the rest of their 20-striaght-games-without-a-day-off stretch, and go back to the 12 man pitching staff. In the long term, however, the departure of Griffey from the roster gives the Mariners some opportunities.

Everyone knows they need another hitter. As we discussed yesterday, they probably need to upgrade at first base if they’re going to try to contend, but the open roster spot from Griffey retiring now gives them the potential to retain Kotchman and keep him as a part-time player if they can get a bat who can rotate between 1B/DH/LF.

There’s one really obvious guy who fits the bill perfectly: Luke Scott. I talked about him as a fit this winter, and we’ve mentioned his name a number of times over the first few months, but with Griffey out of the picture, he makes more sense than ever.

Against right-handers, you could put Saunders or Langerhans in left, Bradley at DH, and Scott at first base. On days where you wanted Kotchman’s glove in there (perhaps when Fister and Felix are pitching), Scott or Bradley can play left, with the other spending time at designated hitter. Against lefties, he could be a big thumping bat off the bench, the kind of real pinch-hitter that the team could use to sub in for the catcher in a high leverage situation.

A guy who can hit the ball a long way and give you flexibility at three positions, doesn’t make that much money, is under team control for 2011, and is playing on a team that has no chance of winning this year – seriously, he’s about as perfect a fit as you’re going to get.

It would have been hard to fit him into the roster with Griffey around. Now, the M’s have an opening for him. If they’re serious about winning, they should make this move sooner than later.

Comments

48 Responses to “Now What?”

  1. Xteve X on June 3rd, 2010 9:47 am

    Given Scott’s ability to play first and the outfield, I could not agree with this move more.

    Any ideas about what would be a reasonable package for Baltimore?

  2. CarpCarter on June 3rd, 2010 9:50 am

    Far too logical a move for the 2010 FO to pull off, but here’s to hoping I suppose.

  3. dekdek on June 3rd, 2010 9:50 am

    Who do the Mariners trade for Luke Scott?

  4. luckyscrubs on June 3rd, 2010 9:52 am

    Dave or anyone else, how is Cordero looking in AAA?

  5. robbbbbb on June 3rd, 2010 9:55 am

    It depends on what the Orioles want for him, doesn’t it? If the M’s have to give up too much to make a deal for Luke Scott, then it’s a bad idea.

    In principle, Luke Scott is a terrific idea. In practice, I think the Orioles are going to ask too much.

  6. Diehard on June 3rd, 2010 9:58 am

    Oh please oh please oh please trade for Luke Scott Jack!!!!!!!! Maybe the Orioles would be interested in Bedard since we all know he’s close to being back in top form….or not. haha

  7. FrankTheTank on June 3rd, 2010 10:06 am

    So we’re still in “In Contention” mode for 2010?

    I thought we were on the “Trade Lee, Bench Kotchman” train for a better 2011?

    I’m honestly not sure, but I don’t think we can trade for Scott (or anyone) without an honest assessment of our chances this year.

    I’d say go with what we’ve got the for rest of the month, and if it gets better (Bedard healthy, Figgins continues improvement, Lopez better, offense from somewhere), then make the moves to make a play in July/August/September.

  8. bermanator on June 3rd, 2010 10:11 am

    The problem is that all of these reasons that make him attractive to Seattle…

    A guy who can hit the ball a long way and give you flexibility at three positions, doesn’t make that much money, is under team control for 2011…

    …inspire Baltimore to not just deal him for the sake of making a change. This season is toast for the Orioles, but I’d be stunned if they did a mass teardown — I think you’ll see them concentrate on shopping Millwood, and checking if anyone will take Atkins off their hands.

    What the Orioles need are young position players — the farm is very pitching-heavy. I doubt that Tui would cut it, and Carp is struggling in AAA.

    Dave, what kind of offer did you have in mind?

  9. Chris_From_Bothell on June 3rd, 2010 10:12 am

    A guy who can hit the ball a long way and give you flexibility at three positions, doesn’t make that much money, is under team control for 2011,

    Which is why the Ms would overpay for him.

    If the Ms do get him, and especially if they have to give up someone valuable for him, I hope he performs well under pressure. Because fairly or not, he’s going to be seen as “the man who replaced Junior”, and/or “the man brought in to save the Ms season on the cheap”.

    I’d say go with what we’ve got the for rest of the month, and if it gets better (Bedard healthy, Figgins continues improvement, Lopez better, offense from somewhere), then make the moves to make a play in July/August/September.

    I agree. Picking up other teams’ scraps and bargain-basement hunting is part of how the Ms got into this mess this year. Either play with the big kids, and trade for or buy an impact bat or two at the deadline like a serious contender, or sell and build for the future. This in-between stuff occasionally nets you a Branyan but it can also get you a Kotchman.

  10. luckyscrubs on June 3rd, 2010 10:14 am

    I’m honestly not sure, but I don’t think we can trade for Scott (or anyone) without an honest assessment of our chances this year.

    Scott is under contract through 2011.

  11. nickwest1976 on June 3rd, 2010 10:16 am

    I have been beating the drum for Luke Scott since the off-season, could not agree with this more. It makes too much sense.

  12. SonOfZavaras on June 3rd, 2010 10:16 am

    A name I kind of came up with is current Durham 1B/DH type Dan Johnson- who’s currently tearing up AAA and doesn’t have a prayer of a call-up in that org.

    He’d be cheaper than Scott.

    But I don’t know if the guy can play left field, and agree that an acquisition should probably have that ability.

    Gut feeling on what’s it gonna take to land Luke Scott is at least one significant prospect. Maybe time to sell high on Alex Liddi? Or Greg Halman?

  13. Robin Hood on June 3rd, 2010 10:20 am

    This in-between stuff occasionally nets you a Branyan but it can also get you a Kotchman.

    I 100% agree. In order to win, you can’t rely on surprise players all the time…you have to invest and buy and trade. But just remember, when you begin to win, all the money you spent will come back. Scott would be nice, but why not reach for the stars (Fielder) too???

    Remember the early 2000s, everyone? Safeco Field came in and the M’s were in contention 3 out of 4 years and we had a minimum of 30,000 fans at every game…well, if we start winning, fans will come…I know I will………and then, guess what? You got more money JACK!!!!

    How did the Angels win the West so many times these last several years? 2 things: good farm (from trading good players) and buying/trading for good players (Abreu, Teixiera, Hunter, etc.)

  14. bermanator on June 3rd, 2010 10:20 am

    Gut feeling on what’s it gonna take to land Luke Scott is at least one significant prospect.

    That’s a safe bet — MacPhail doesn’t give his guys away.

  15. SonOfZavaras on June 3rd, 2010 10:21 am

    Dan Johnson isn’t even on the Rays 40-man roster. Smells like “undervalued asset” to me.

  16. littlelinny6 on June 3rd, 2010 10:23 am

    SonOfZavaras,
    I disagree because Pena is in his walk year and he’s hitting like crap. The Rays aren’t trading him, especially after they retained Reid Brignac despite having Bartlett last year. I agree with the idea of Luke Scott but they don’t have to get rid of him and after the Bedard deal I wouldn’t be surprised if they ask for someone like Pineda, Robles, Hensley, etc. from our farm system. If we can give them some quad A guys (French, Carp, Nelson, Tui, etc.) along with maybe a reliever it would be worth it but otherwise I don’t see the O’s doing anything.

  17. aNewYorkerWhoLovesIchiro on June 3rd, 2010 10:26 am

    Either play with the big kids, and trade for or buy an impact bat or two at the deadline like a serious contender, or sell and build for the future

    Buying impact bats is exactly what Z doesn’t want to do. Look at what he said about the Brewers having power bats in Braun, Fielder and Hardy (back in the 25 hr days) – they came through the draft.

    The problem with trying to trade for Scott right now is that only one team is selling, so without more competition the price will be high. Kotchman right now is replacement level…this sucks.

  18. eponymous coward on June 3rd, 2010 10:28 am

    The problem with the Scott scenario is that Wakamatsu is still in the middle of his multi-year non-homosexual mancrush with Huggy Bear, and thus I think it likely that Sweeney is the mostly-fulltime DH (barring injury), Bradley is the mostly fulltime LF (barring injury), and Wak generally forgets that Saunders and Langerhans are on his bench until one or both of 6-4-3 or Bradley are injured. They’re not going to add Scott while the manager thinks that he HAS an adequate DH.

  19. Wallingfjord on June 3rd, 2010 10:41 am

    What do folks make of the Mike Lowell rumors? Poor fit for the team? I guess he’d only make sense in a “win now” situation, and I certainly don’t advocate him over Scott. Just wondering.

  20. Illex Squid on June 3rd, 2010 10:57 am

    The Fangraphs link led me to another posting over there positing a trade for Jose Guillén. They said it wasn’t likely, but that was partly because of the overflow of DHs here. I guess it’s a sign of my diminishing faith in Zduriencik that I now fear this scenario.

  21. SonOfZavaras on June 3rd, 2010 11:08 am

    I agree with the idea of Luke Scott but they don’t have to get rid of him and after the Bedard deal I wouldn’t be surprised if they ask for someone like Pineda, Robles, Hensley, etc. from our farm system.

    Littlelinny6,

    Sure, I could see them asking for any of those names. And I’m willing to bet all of them can be had with the exception of Pineda. But as noted by someone else above, the Orioles ARE rich in pitching down on the farm, and I think would look to acquire a hitter first, IMHO.

    Which is why I brought up Liddi and Halman. We could lose either one and I wouldn’t cry. Heck, Carlos Triunfel wouldn’t make me cry, either. Not that I’m a disbeliever in Triunfel, but his overall game is quite possibly a poor fit for Safeco.

    I agree that the O’s don’t HAVE to be rid of Scott…but they’re like any other team that has struggled for as long as they have- should be pursuing every possible opportunity to improve.

    Throughout baseball history, one of those best opportunities has always been the other team looking to get over the hump to bona-fide contender.

    And they don’t have enough assets to win right now. Point blank.

    Nope. If I’m MacPhail, I listen to everything right now. Not necessarily pull the trigger, but listen.

    As for Johnson of the Rays, he’s 32 and the Rays won’t look at him as anything more than a secondary insurance plan, no matter how crappy Pena hits. Since he’s not on the 40, adding Johnson involves some roster-wrangling that probably isn’t palatable to the long run.

    Whoever they have up at the ML-level already that gives Pena a breather would be Plan B if they need it.

  22. wescottr on June 3rd, 2010 11:14 am

    What if they asked us for Ryan Rowland-Smith? They always need starting pitching. Do fister and vargas make RRS expendable in a trade like this? How does it look from a value point of view?

  23. lalo on June 3rd, 2010 11:17 am

    The M’s do not have anything attractive to Baltimore in Tacoma, maybe Luke French or anyone Pineda AA but that would be too much, maybe Tui and some prospects of A or AA would be a good deal with Baltimore.

  24. Utis on June 3rd, 2010 11:18 am

    The guy I still favor is Kila Ka’aihue from the Royals. I wonder what it would take to get him. This could be a move for both now and the future.

    Kotchman could be kept as a left handed bat off the bench and defensive replacement but it would be better to try to move him (not sure there would be any takers).

    When Jack Wilson comes back, a bench of backup catcher, Langerhans, Josh Wilson, and right handed pich hitter/ocassional DH (Sweeney?) could work. This assumes Milton is the full time DH and Saunders the full time LF. Tui would go back to Tacoma and Kotchman would go elsewhere.

  25. lalo on June 3rd, 2010 11:21 am

    What if they asked us for Ryan Rowland-Smith? They always need starting pitching. Do fister and vargas make RRS expendable in a trade like this? How does it look from a value point of view?

    I agree Hyphen could be attractive for Baltimors, they need starting pitching for the future, hopefully makes a deal

  26. marc w on June 3rd, 2010 11:24 am

    luckyscrubs,

    Cordero’s looking pretty good in Tacoma, actually. He had one disaster appearance in Salt Lake, but other than that, he’s been sharp.
    The problem is, his game is the sort of thing that’s built to dominate AAA. He’s sneaky, changes speeds, pounds the zone, has a good change. This allows him to rack up a lot of Ks, and his FIP is quite good. I think he’s earned a shot, but his type of pitcher has very little margin for error, and for a guy coming off a major injury and a long layoff, it’s tough to know how deceptive he’d be to MLB hitters.

    As for Scott, personally, I’d be pretty bummed if it took Robles/Triunfel/Hensley. I’d be a lot less bummed about Triunfel now that Franklin’s destroying the MWL, but still…
    Chavez/Peguero + Martinez?

  27. Gomez on June 3rd, 2010 11:26 am

    If you were the O’s, would you trade Luke Scott straight up for RRS, or for RRS and a so-so prospect or two? I sure wouldn’t.

    The O’s already have a variety of marginal SPs in their system: Why would they want RRS?

  28. Robin Hood on June 3rd, 2010 11:28 am

    in other news, the Royals claimed Texeira…..bummer!!!

  29. spankystout on June 3rd, 2010 12:00 pm

    Luke Scott works with the positions that are open. He isn’t a premiere player, so the cost of acquiring him shouldn’t be as much as some are thinking. I wouldn’t be opposed to Scott being a Mariner if his main job is 1B/DH. I would like to see a younger better player coming in, but Scott is an upgrade over Kotchman, and the other in-house canidates.

  30. luckyscrubs on June 3rd, 2010 12:00 pm

    Thanks for the detailed response, Marc W!

  31. awestby51 on June 3rd, 2010 12:02 pm

    in other news, the Royals claimed Texeira…..bummer!!!

    Of course they did! If there’s something Dayton Moore loves more than Center Fielders, it’s former Mariners.

    It’s really unfortunate the Nationals are pretending to be contenders right now, because I think Willingham is the ideal fit for our club. Here’s to hoping the M’s can scratch by for the next 2 weeks as the Nats tumble.

  32. MrZDevotee on June 3rd, 2010 12:03 pm

    Or Robin Hood-
    In other news, Texeira went where all slightly-above-mediocre former Mariners go to pasture.

    It’s like we have a AAA team in Tacoma, and a post-MLB-usefulness ZZZ team in Kansas City.

    (Which is a bit ironic, considering Sweeney came from there… It’s like we called him “down”, instead of up, from KC.)

  33. miscreant on June 3rd, 2010 12:06 pm

    Scott could be a good pick up. Scott reminds me a bit of Jack Cust. I think Scott has been having shoulder problems. That has got to be a concern. Wouldn’t want a repeat of Jack Wilson, Scott is worthless on the DL.

  34. MrZDevotee on June 3rd, 2010 12:06 pm

    I think it’s interesting that West Tennessee still has Dustin Ackley listed as 1B on their official team roster– talk about a guy who can play 1st and the outfield?

    I know it’s too early for him at this level, but it’s funny he’s listed on their roster as a 1B, when that’s where we could use a better bat at the moment.

    (He’s evidently getting the hang of the wooden bat, too– finishing their last road trip with a .460 avg and .650 OBP.)

  35. pgreyy on June 3rd, 2010 12:06 pm

    Picking up other teams’ scraps and bargain-basement hunting is part of how the Ms got into this mess this year. Either play with the big kids, and trade for or buy an impact bat or two at the deadline like a serious contender, or sell and build for the future. This in-between stuff occasionally nets you a Branyan but it can also get you a Kotchman.

    I don’t like this spin of what Z does.

    Was acquiring Chone Figgins “bargain-basement hunting”? Was Cliff Lee a scrap?

    If the deal makes sense, I think Z makes the deal. I think he’s got a good handle on relative value and potential upside.

    I think mindlessly and indiscriminately “playing with the big kids” leads to a Bavasian nightmare of overpaying for overvalued pieces–which ties the team’s hands for future moves…while when Z misses, he tends to miss when undervalued players don’t reach their upside.

    I’m hearing “we need to get a big bat at first”–well, Richie Sexson was a big bat. I’d rather be disappointed that Kotchman’s not hitting the way we’d hoped compared to pinning our future on another Sexson.

    But, I think what we’ve lost is this idea that Z was building the M’s to be a long term success–thanks to the Cliff Lee deal and our positive feelings from last year’s season, I think we all bought into the “Believe Big” concept. Now that a confluence of decent bets have gone sour, I sense that many people are flailing around, willing to throw away the good decisions in a panic.

    Z believes that we should draft bats…that bats are overvalued and would cost too much to gamble on. Instead, he tries to make good value decisions…some designed just to tide us over until his approach can see some long term results.

    If Luke Scott can be had for a reasonable return, something that doesn’t break us for the future…I’m for it. But doing something out of desperation that hamstrings us for consistent improvement in the years ahead…that’s not playing with the big boys, that’s just foolish.

    I don’t think Z is foolish. Wak, maybe… Armstrong & Lincoln, often… But not Z.

    Not yet.

  36. Westside guy on June 3rd, 2010 12:16 pm

    If we trade for Luke Scott – or anyone else, for that matter – I will honestly be surprised if Saunders is not part of the deal. It’s painfully obvious he’s never going to get a real chance here; and since I like the guy, I hope he ends up having a monster career wherever he gets shipped.

    I also expect even if we bring in Scott, Wak will never willingly diminish Sweeney’s role on the team – which means we’re playing for 2011 anyway.

  37. spankystout on June 3rd, 2010 12:17 pm

    Luke Scotts numbers….
    WAR 09-1.5, 08-2.3, 07-2.5, 06-2.9
    265/349/497/846 career BA, OBP, SLG, OPS he is good, not great and shouldn’t cost that much to acquire. He has declined in WAR every year, he is 31, he may be aging quickly. His O-swing is above 30% above his career norm around 23%. Short term fix, not a long term solution. But once again he is better than the other in-house options.

  38. Chris_From_Bothell on June 3rd, 2010 12:30 pm

    pgreyy:

    Was acquiring Chone Figgins “bargain-basement hunting”? Was Cliff Lee a scrap?

    Nope, and nope. Most everyone after them was though. He was on a roll, then nickel-and-dimed the rest of the way there.

    If the deal makes sense, I think Z makes the deal. I think he’s got a good handle on relative value and potential upside.

    Perhaps. But it’s still a bargain-hunting move, not a bid to try to make a contender.

    utis:

    When Jack Wilson comes back, a bench of backup catcher, Langerhans, Josh Wilson, and right handed pich hitter/ocassional DH (Sweeney?) could work. This assumes Milton is the full time DH and Saunders the full time LF. Tui would go back to Tacoma and Kotchman would go elsewhere.

    I really, really hope Jack Wilson doesn’t come back. His injury history just makes him too unreliable, his fabled defense has never really shown up (in large part due to the aforementioned injury history), and his bat is the last thing this team needs now.

    Josh Wilson is holding down the fort for now. There’s roster space to be able to find someone as good or better than Josh to come off of the bench. Or even, to shop for a quality SS in trade. At the very least, this is the time to go find the true backup infielder the team’s lacked for most of the season.

  39. smb on June 3rd, 2010 2:03 pm

    Mr. Luke Scott is the consummate ’9 HRs in 15 days’ type of guy…streaky, but god is he fun to watch hit when he’s hot.

  40. Mid80sRighty on June 3rd, 2010 3:00 pm

    He was on a roll, then nickel-and-dimed the rest of the way there.

    Ever heard of a budget?

  41. Hopmacker on June 3rd, 2010 3:18 pm

    Mid80sRighty on June 3rd, 2010 3:00 pm He was on a roll, then nickel-and-dimed the rest of the way there.

    Ever heard of a budget?

    Why are you trying to bring realism and fact into the argument? Please, this type of action will destroy some people’s ability to complain while not dealing with reality. /sarcasm

  42. GoldenGutz on June 3rd, 2010 3:34 pm

    Triunfel is probably expandable since Franklin is tearing it up and I have hear Triunfel doesn’t project as a SS more of a 3B or 2B.

  43. msb on June 3rd, 2010 3:52 pm

    As expected, Cordero is en route, says Divish.

  44. Alfalfa on June 3rd, 2010 3:54 pm

    I don’t want Luke Scott, plain and simple, he is not part of our future.

  45. Marinersmanjk on June 3rd, 2010 3:55 pm

    Was acquiring Chone Figgins “bargain-basement hunting”? Was Cliff Lee a scrap?

    If the deal makes sense, I think Z makes the deal. I think he’s got a good handle on relative value and potential upside.

    Imagine if we had Jason Bay to swap left and DH with Milton. That’s one hell of a combo, and we wouldn’t be having nearly the run scoring problem. Though if we got Bay we probably wouldn’t have acquired Milton.

  46. Chris_From_Bothell on June 3rd, 2010 4:22 pm

    Ever heard of a budget?

    You mean that thing that the front office skimped on, reducing from the previous year even though there was no reduction in revenue? Yes, yes I have.

  47. Edman on June 3rd, 2010 4:58 pm

    Chris, have you noticed that the economy is down? No? Have you been increasing your spending, to make your kids happy?

    Would you plan on increased revenues, or potentially a decrease in revenue?

    It’s not like they cut the budget in half.

  48. msfanmike on June 3rd, 2010 6:41 pm

    “Spankystout” and “Alfalfa” make good points. Luke Scott is a decent player, but his actual value to the Mariners at this point in time is the delta between his talent level and Langerhans’ talent level … and nothing more. Langerhans can fill all the positions described in Dave’s post – at presumably a lower level of ability … but that “delta” is the true trade value of Luke Scott. In other words something along the lines of last years 6th round draft pick … assuming last years 6th round draft pick was not very good.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.