I Don’t Get It

Dave · June 26, 2010 at 9:48 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Marc’s got the details on the Branyan trade below, so read that. Nuts and bolts, M’s gave up two fringe prospects who probably max out as bench players long term, so don’t freak out about them giving up the farm, but I still don’t get it.

The Mariners are 14 games out of first place. The time to try to add some offense to this roster was six weeks ago. Branyan is better than Carp and Kotchman, but not enough to matter. Hell, at this point, Albert Pujols might not be enough to matter. The Mariners are not catching the Rangers – not with this roster, and certainly not with this roster minus Cliff Lee, which is where we should be in a week or two.

Branyan makes the team marginally better, and the M’s didn’t give up much in prospects, but they’re now going to pay an opportunity cost. As we talked about a few weeks ago, the big benefit to being out of the race in June is that you can take flyers on young kids who need a shot to show what they can do. The M’s just eliminated a chance to do that at first base, a position that is an organizational hole for 2011. Rather than giving a shot to a guy like Kila Ka’aihue (.313/.481/.577 in Triple-A, age 26, completely buried in KC), the M’s are now going to use a few hundred at-bats on a guy who turns 35 this winter and has a serious back problem.

Yeah, the team needed power, but they needed power when it mattered. It doesn’t matter anymore. Now, they need to be looking to 2011. And, as much as I like watching The Muscle hit home runs, if he’s the 2011 starting first baseman, this team probably isn’t a contender. This isn’t a move for the future – it’s a move to make the present team less painful to watch hit. This is a move they should have made on May 1st, not June 26th.

Comments

139 Responses to “I Don’t Get It”

  1. mymrbig on June 26th, 2010 9:59 pm

    Not just that, but if Branyan actually ends up giving them a few extra wins, they could end up with a worse draft position for 2011 in what is supposed to be an excellent draft class. Instead of being in the mix for some of the elite college players (Rendon, Cole, Purke, Jungmann, Gray), they may play themselves out of an elite prospect. Heck, maybe they’ll get “lucky” and play themselves out of protected draft pick status. At this point, I’m rooting for the M’s to lose as many games as possible because I’d love to see Rendon in an M’s uniform.

  2. GarForever on June 26th, 2010 10:02 pm

    I agree, Dave, in terms of building the team long-term and about the opportunity costs (though as I said on Marc’s thread, not watching Kotchman or Carp try to hit MLB pitching is reason enough for me to like the deal even if, like you, I don’t entirely get it, and especially not now).

    Here’s the question I have, and I ask it in earnest: why has no one yet plucked Ka’aihue from the Royals given the fact that he is completely blocked? Is it possible that Z (and other GMs) have inquired about him — it seems incredible that they have not — and yet KC wants an unreasonable return? It wouldn’t make sense to let an asset like that sit just because the Royals overvalue him given their current org depth, but this is the same outfit who traded a serviceable pitching prospect with upside for YuBet.

    Any thoughts?

  3. Marinerman1979 on June 26th, 2010 10:05 pm

    Branyan will get hurt soon enough. Furthermore, this team will not score that many more runs with him. And the expected regression of Fister and Vargas will occur. I just hope our guru of a gm hasn’t turned into a dumb-ass. Cliff Lee has to be dealt. And if he is, this team has one above average pitcher in it’s rotation, and an offense that still sucks. It would shock me if this team weren’t a bottom 5 team in the end.

  4. Ross on June 26th, 2010 10:07 pm

    I know this is probably far fetched, but…is there any chance that a trade coming ’round the bend for Lee is contingent on the inclusion of either Carp or Kotchman? That’s the only way this deal makes sense to me.

  5. SonOfZavaras on June 26th, 2010 10:08 pm

    I agree with you 100% on this one, Dave.

    And I’ve only got one thought about it, so far as trying to see the hidden logic in this.

    Perhaps a deal for Lee is in place and imminent, and a first baseman is not part of the deal.

    Which to me would suggest that A-ball talents are making up the body of said deal (not a thought I like).

    But even if I’m right about that, it doesn’t make 100% sense to me, as Branyan’s club control is shaky after 2010.

    Why trade a guy who could possibly be your 4th OF (for YEARS) sometime within 2011… for a guy to improve a team that is going nowhere this year?

    This has to be the first of one more move, or more. It doesn’t have logic on its own.

    But even without this move being made, Anthony Rendon is going to be a Baltimore Oriole. Might as well call it now.

  6. 92-93 on June 26th, 2010 10:09 pm

    I love how Mariners fans complain on a nightly basis about their various 1Bs and DHs and when the GM rectifies the problem, at a cost you all seem to admit is virtually zero, everyone bitches. It’s quite likely if Branyan plays every day the rest of the way that he’ll be a Type B FA and there’s no fear of offering him arbitration when he’s making 2m. It’s not like he’s blocking any Mariners prospects, and the Ms aren’t paying his salary. Where’s the harm? It’s also possible that he’d be an affordable add-in to the contender that acquires Cliff Lee, either as their DH or bench bat. As an impartial outsider I can see how this trade makes a lot of sense for both sides.

  7. nickwest1976 on June 26th, 2010 10:12 pm

    This deal only makes sense to me if Branyan is flipped to another team in a Cliff Lee deal or something along those lines.

    I agree completely Dave, Branyan should not be the answer at 1B next year and he is not a long-term answer obviously.

  8. Breadbaker on June 26th, 2010 10:13 pm

    I suspect there’s an attendance aspect of this. They’re not only drawing poorly, they’re getting a lot of no shows (which impacts concession revenue). Is Russell Branyan a “draw”? No. Is there some marginal difference between this team with and without a guy who can actually hit double digits in home runs? Perhaps.

  9. Dave on June 26th, 2010 10:13 pm

    Opportunity Cost. Opportunity Cost. Opportunity Cost. Learn what it means.

    Also, no, the Royals don’t value Kila. They didn’t even call him up last September. He’s buried there.

  10. jordan on June 26th, 2010 10:14 pm

    I feel like this move is only made because another is imminant. I don’t know what, but Z is not an idiot.

  11. Jon on June 26th, 2010 10:15 pm

    Well done, Z! Russell the Muscle’s swing is built for Safeco. We need power and we need production from 1B. I like it!

  12. GarForever on June 26th, 2010 10:18 pm

    Also, no, the Royals don’t value Kila. They didn’t even call him up last September. He’s buried there.

    OK, that answers part of my question. Ockham’s razor, I guess: the simplest explanation is that the Royals don’t value him.

    Next question: why don’t (or perhaps more appropriately at this point, “didn’t”) the M’s — or anyone else — go get him? Forgive me if I’m being obtuse, but I just can’t make sense of why the M’s wouldn’t.

  13. Dave on June 26th, 2010 10:24 pm

    He’s fat and slow. His best skill is his plate discipline, which doesn’t show up well in scouting reports. He might just be a DH. His power is just okay, not great.

    He’s a low upside guy that offers little that scouts like. But, there’s a chance he’s Jack Cust 2.0, and someone should give him a few hundred at-bats to find out.

  14. Goody on June 26th, 2010 10:24 pm

    The opportunity was to have a player that produces runs. Scoring runs is how baseball games are won. The cost was that by not signing him we had Casey Kotchman flail at the plate and we got buried in the standings.

  15. SonOfZavaras on June 26th, 2010 10:27 pm

    You’re not the only one asking yourself that, GarForever.

    Ka’aihue makes for a better short AND long-term answer at first base.

    And you can’t tell me the Royals would be able to feasibly demand much more than what we just gave up for Branyan.

  16. GarForever on June 26th, 2010 10:27 pm

    That helps, Dave. Thanks.

  17. SonOfZavaras on June 26th, 2010 10:28 pm

    Ka’aihue for 5.5 (or so) years >>>> Branyan for this year only.

  18. bongo on June 26th, 2010 10:42 pm

    My assumption is that none of the offers for Lee included a serviceable first baseman. GMZ had decided to DFA Kotchman and send down Carp. And other potential trades hadn’t materialized. So the choice was either to go with 1B by committee or bring up Everidge and Nelson and put up with their atrocious defense. As Casey Stengel used to say, you’ve got to have a first baseman, otherwise throws end up in the dugout.

  19. DAMellen on June 26th, 2010 10:42 pm

    Is anybody else having flashbacks to the Choo-Broussard trade? How bout the Cabrera-Perez trade? Goddamnit. I thought we were past this shit.

  20. Marinerman1979 on June 26th, 2010 10:44 pm

    I feel like this move is only made because another is imminant. I don’t know what, but Z is not an idiot.

    May not be an idiot….but he is on a major losing streak since he chose to deal Morrow in a deal that made absolutely no sense.

  21. TomTuttle on June 26th, 2010 10:44 pm

    DAMN IT, the only way this team is going to win and develop is if we get NEW young, talent in here.

    Not recycled veterans. We know what Russell Branyan can do already.

    VERY low OBP and a lot of strikeouts to go with the 450 foot homers f he plays every day.

    This is only about Armstrong trying to sell tickets to the casual/idiot fans now.

    Not about trying to “develop”.

    Ugh.

    One more reason to HATE being owned by Nintendo.

  22. KDawg on June 26th, 2010 10:45 pm

    I can’t believe you are bitching about lost opportunity cost here. What opportunity? The opportunity to get a guy, that in your description, might be mediocre. Maybe Jack Cust 2.0? We didn’t even want Jack Cust 1.0.

    Fact is that we gave up no impact minor leaguers for a guy that might sell some tickets and could possibly contribute as a full-time DH next season if he shows the ability to stay healthy for the remainder of this season. That is the logic of this deal.

  23. SonOfZavaras on June 26th, 2010 10:47 pm

    So the choice was either to go with 1B by committee or bring up Everidge and Nelson and put up with their atrocious defense.

    Everidge was sold to the Astros. You could insert “Winfree” in place of and not lose the meaning of your post.

  24. Dave on June 26th, 2010 10:49 pm

    If you think Russ Branyan sells tickets, I can’t help you.

  25. damariners on June 26th, 2010 10:49 pm

    Dave, I enjoy reading your posts, but you are wrong on this one. Jack said tonight to Baker, that winning still matters. So what if they play .500 the rest of the way and end up 10 games out.
    -the young guys got to learn to win
    -the team needs to have fan interest, which translates to fans coming out, which translates to the ability to set and project payroll for next year.

    I like the deal. At least this brings some interest back as oppose to watching Kotchman hit less than his weight.

  26. 92-93 on June 26th, 2010 10:50 pm

    There’s no opportunity cost when the team doesn’t own a 1B/DH with potential! It’s nice to dream about what KK can do, but in case you didn’t realize, he’s a KC Royal, and there’s no reason to assume the Mariners can acquire him at little to no cost. Guillen is a FA after this year and could easily be traded, opening up a spot for Kilahue to show the Royals what he can do.

  27. RyanHend on June 26th, 2010 10:50 pm

    I smirked when I saw this. Obviously Z believes he made a mistake in the offseason… but honestly, HOW DOES THIS HELP? The M’s are garbage.

  28. SonOfZavaras on June 26th, 2010 10:51 pm

    Oh,yeah. I did have another thought, too.

    What if Mike Sweeney is done for the year, that “scratch” for today’s game in actuality his back problem having taken a turn or three for the worse?

    I could see that as an impetus for this.

  29. TomTuttle on June 26th, 2010 10:53 pm

    If you think Russ Branyan sells tickets, I can’t help you.

    True, but you piss off A LOT of casual fans if you send out a lineup of what they perceive to be AAA prospects that you may or may not be looking at for 2011 is my point.

    Armstrong and the people who crunch ticket numbers and finances know that if the Mariners just mailed it in for the last 2.5 months, then potential ticket sales are going to go way, way down for some games.

    That’s why I’m halfway pissed about this move even if the players we gave up may not have impressive MLB careers.

    This is mostly about trying to save your butt at the ticket gate, I think by getting, what? 2 or 3 more wins than you would have otherwise?

  30. Axtell on June 26th, 2010 10:54 pm

    The people in favor of this trade are the ones who think that big home runs sell tickets, that big home runs make the team better, and ignore the facts of the situation that says if Branyan can be had for 2 nothing prospects maybe we don’t want him, either.

  31. TomTuttle on June 26th, 2010 10:58 pm

    The people in favor of this trade are the ones who think that big home runs sell tickets, that big home runs make the team better, and ignore the facts of the situation that says if Branyan can be had for 2 nothing prospects maybe we don’t want him, either.

    LOL, that’s just like that one Simpsons episode where Big Mac shows up and asks Bart and the surrounding crowd if they want to see some dingers.

    DINGERS!

  32. SonOfZavaras on June 26th, 2010 10:59 pm

    It’s nice to dream about what KK can do, but in case you didn’t realize, he’s a KC Royal, and there’s no reason to assume the Mariners can acquire him at little to no cost.

    Really, 92-93?

    Really?

    The Royals- The Kansas City Royals- don’t feel the need to give him big-league auditions.

    Because they have so many offensive weapons at their disposal.

    His continued presence in AAA is more than reason enough to consider him quite acquirable.

    So maybe you know… when was the last time you saw an org demand the house for a 26-year-old guy with Ka’aihue’s sort of resume?

  33. bongo on June 26th, 2010 11:00 pm

    Let’s assume to Figgins and Lopez do better in the second half and that we get some replacement-level arms in the bullpen and trade Lee for a decent catcher and perhaps a prospect or two. If Bedard can be a decent #2 starter, the team could play .500 baseball in the second half, or maybe a bit better. That’s not a contender, but at least it’s not so bad that you’d turn down free tickets.

  34. damariners on June 26th, 2010 11:01 pm

    Will the M’s sell more tickets? Who knows, but I doubt it. Z had to do something. It was hard to watch the amount of sub .200 hitters.

  35. 92-93 on June 26th, 2010 11:01 pm

    Yes, really. They are getting good production from both 1B (Butler) and DH (Guillen) and Kila is atrocious defensively. It makes no sense for them to have him up with the big club right now.

  36. SonOfZavaras on June 26th, 2010 11:13 pm

    They are getting good production from both 1B (Butler) and DH (Guillen) and Kila is atrocious defensively. It makes no sense for them to have him up with the big club right now.

    Fine. But it still doesn’t take a Triunfel (or a player of proportionate value) to acquire a Ka’aihue.

    I maintain that what it’d take to get Kila Ka’aihue is not that much more than Carrera/Diaz. If anything more at all.

    While I won’t dissect what all the Royals need (suffice it to say, plenty), if they needed a 4th OF that COULD help in 2011 somewhere and a SS prospect in a-BALL…why wouldn’t they take that deal- even with some modifications- for Ka’aihue?

    My whole point is that a better short AND long-term answer for offensive production could feasibly have been had.

    And I’m wondering why it wasn’t.

  37. 300ZXNA on June 26th, 2010 11:16 pm

    I have to ask: is there possibly some sort of power struggle going on in upper management? I know Z was supposed to have free reign, and Lincoln/Armstrong said they would stay out of it, but after seeing Griffey signed and resigned, and then trotted out for months after he was useful, and now this, I do have to wonder if HowChuck just couldn’t help themselves and are giving ultimatums to Z regarding certain players/trades.

    My reasoning is that Z does NOT seem like a guy who was smart enough to put together a wonderfully flexible bench, etc. only to throw it all away on crowdpleasing veterans. It’s either a massive case of cognitive dissonance . . . or it is two different camps trying to dictate how the team should be run.

  38. KDawg on June 26th, 2010 11:17 pm

    I just don’t understand how people on this site can state how mediocre this guy from KC is, but we have to have him.

    It’s like you are finding petty reasons to criticize this team. This deal doesn’t hurt this team and the alternatives aren’t really any better.

  39. 92-93 on June 26th, 2010 11:21 pm

    While I won’t dissect what all the Royals need (suffice it to say, plenty), if they needed a 4th OF that COULD help in 2011 somewhere and a SS prospect in a-BALL…why wouldn’t they take that deal- even with some modifications- for Ka’aihue?

    Because as you correctly point out, the Royals are starved for offense. So for the same reason you think it would be a nice idea for the Mariners to acquire him, it would be an even smarter idea for the Royals to keep him and see what they have in him before pawning him off for scrubs. This can only happen once Guillen is traded or let go as a FA.

  40. 300ZXNA on June 26th, 2010 11:23 pm

    I believe its because of the risk/reward. Branyan has a lot more risk due to age/injury. Kila does not. Kila also has more potential upside due to his current lack of age/injury.

    No one is guaranteeing it will work, Kotchman is a fine example of what happens when things come up snake eyes, but the cost of playing is so cheap . . .

  41. Broadcast James on June 26th, 2010 11:30 pm

    Well we still have to watch the team for the rest of the season… I might actually tune in to some games if Branyan hits like he did last year… I miss watching baseball, but it’s been depressing.

    And there’s a non-zero chance that the opportunity we spent wouldn’t have worked out anyway, and I sorta feel like I want a 1B that we have more info on than a half-season of small sample size theater anyway.

  42. Dave on June 26th, 2010 11:33 pm

    I just don’t understand how people on this site can state how mediocre this guy from KC is, but we have to have him.

    No one is saying we have to have him. He’s an example, an object lesson.

    Rebuilding teams should give their playing time to guys in their 20s, not in their 30s. Rebuilding teams should give their playing time to guys with multiple years of club control, not free agents to be. Rebuilding teams should give their playing time to guys who are healthy, not guys with herniated discs in their back.

    Branyan might help the team win one more game than they would have otherwise. Whoop de freaking do.

  43. 92-93 on June 26th, 2010 11:34 pm

    but the cost of playing is so cheap . . .

    It’s hilarious when fans clamour for another team’s player and then claim he can be had for bubkas, with zero proof whatsoever. It’s beyond counter-intuitive. Not that it’s just you guys, because Jays fans are amazed we haven’t acquired Alex Gordon yet for a bucket of balls.

  44. djw on June 26th, 2010 11:38 pm

    VERY low OBP

    Tomtuttle, I don’t particularly like or understand this trade either, but let’s stick to reality. As a quick consultation of any number of free websites will quickly inform you, Branyan’s career OBP is actually quite close to league average. Here on planet earth, that’s not low, and it’s certainly not “VERY low”.

    and a lot of strikeouts

    Strikeouts, as you surely know, are no worse for the team than regular, in-play outs.

  45. 300ZXNA on June 26th, 2010 11:42 pm

    You are obviously missing what is meant by ‘cheap’. Compare whatever amount Kila or Gordon would require to what the Adrian Gonzalez’s and Prince Fielder’s of the world would require. Kotchman may suck, and the risk overrode the reward, but all we are out is Bill freakin’ Hall.

  46. Westside guy on June 26th, 2010 11:43 pm

    I’ll be curious to see if this makes more sense in a week to ten days. Sometimes you can’t look at individual events in isolation.

  47. SonOfZavaras on June 26th, 2010 11:47 pm

    I do have to wonder if HowChuck just couldn’t help themselves and are giving ultimatums to Z regarding certain players/trades.

    It’s either a massive case of cognitive dissonance . . . or it is two different camps trying to dictate how the team should be run.

    This isn’t an invalid theory.

    There have been times and events in this season that have kind of seemed like the product of a dichotomous mind.

    As for the Ka’aihue matter, 92-93- it could well be that it IS a smarter thing for the Royals to do, holding on to Ka’aihue for 2011, and clear some house in-between the seasons.

    But the next time that the Royals are accused of being an intelligently-run organization will be the first time.

    They signed Guillen and Meche to those contracts and traded for Mike Jacobs, for Pete’s sake. They’re almost a living, flashing poster-child for all the things that a small-market baseball club really, really shouldn’t do.

    I just don’t see where the Royals have any leverage anywhere to demand a higher price-tag than Carerra/Diaz for Ka’aihue…when that’s all that it took to land a useable major-league (and a lot more accomplished) first baseman. Who’s having a perfectly fine year IN the major leagues.

    However, the fact remains that Ka’aihue- whatever his merits/weaknesses- was NOT dealt for. For reasons as to I can only speculate. Without being an insider, I’m going to have to assume solid reasoning was behind why not.

    And I’m not criticizing the Mariners FO, or Zduriencik. I know perfectly well this isn’t an org-killer of a deal.

    But I fundamentally dislike giving up a tangible piece (Carerra, and ergo, club control for 6 years of a possible 1st-rate 4th outfielder) for a guy that improves a team marginally this year only, for sure.

    Just on the face of it, I can’t see the logic in tightening the bolts on the Titanic when it’s already in the water and will inevitably sink.

  48. ac32 on June 26th, 2010 11:55 pm

    I think it is time to bring up Matt Mangini (send the hugger or kotchrocket packing) to get him some experience and hopefully he could be ready for next year. Then in September get Pineda up here and possibly someone like Robles. I have given up on this year like most people but I think we have a bright future with guys like Nick Franklin, Ackley and all of the young pitchers.

  49. 92-93 on June 26th, 2010 11:58 pm

    I just don’t see where the Royals have any leverage anywhere to demand a higher price-tag than Carerra/Diaz for Ka’aihue…when that’s all that it took to land a useable major-league (and a lot more accomplished) first baseman.

    You really have gone off the deep end. Why on earth do the Royals need leverage to trade their own player? They aren’t making outrageous demands for a player – you are coming to them and asking, and if they have no interest in your scrubs because Kila’s ceiling is much higher and can help them in the immediate future, why should they entertain your offer?

    You all need to step back, take a deep breath, and relax. This trade can only help your organization, assuming the 2 prospects are as fringy as you guys are making them out to be.

  50. SonOfZavaras on June 27th, 2010 12:03 am

    It’s hilarious when fans clamour for another team’s player and then claim he can be had for bubkas, with zero proof whatsoever. It’s beyond counter-intuitive.

    No, it’s Player Values 101.

    We have proof of where Ka’aihue’s value would stand in the Branyan trade itself.

    ALL it took to land a first baseman having a good year in the big leagues (proven commodity) was Ezequiel Carerra and Juan Diaz.

    Two prospects that are on very few’s top 20 list in an organization that’s probably somewhere middle-of-the-pack in terms of 2010 farm depth.

    There ARE non-major leaguers that’ll carry a bigger price-tag than what the Indians got for Branyan, sure. Of course.

    But it’s very dubious to regard Ka’aihue as one of those guys.

    And Dave has it right- it’s just an object lesson, not a matter of “we just GOTTA have this guy”.

    Rebuilding teams should- when they decide to spend assets- do so wisely, and this move doesn’t seem quite like the flashpoint of logic and reason.

    Not yet, anyway.

  51. 92-93 on June 27th, 2010 12:06 am

    Branyan is a FA. Kila has 6 years of control at cost-controlled prices. You’re comparing them why?

  52. LongDistance on June 27th, 2010 12:06 am

    I don’t get it.

    Amazing. That was exactly what I thought, even before I got here. And I thought, coming here, I’d get some sort of answer. And I can see, the jury’s still out.

    Frankly, it’s non-news: some sort of busy-work mid-season stats diddling.

    Either that, or it’s some weird form of kleptomania… they just grabbed him because he was there on the shelf…

  53. SonOfZavaras on June 27th, 2010 12:18 am

    You really have gone off the deep end. Why on earth do the Royals need leverage to trade their own player?…

    This trade can only help your organization, assuming the 2 prospects are as fringy as you guys are making them out to be.

    Sigh.

    Okay, 92-93. I give up.

    Either you don’t understand what I’m saying, or you just see it differently.

    Whichever it may be- and I suspect the latter- the basis of this is now tiresome.

    For the record, I’m not being Chicken Little on this. I said it before- this trade isn’t any great harm, if a harm at all.

    The Branyan acquisition is a minor matter, in the bigger scheme, albeit a curious one at the moment.

    With any luck, the next moves (and I see little chance of there not being any) will be more transparently palatable.

  54. scott19 on June 27th, 2010 12:20 am

    Totally sounds like something is brewing to me, too…and, much like when Mike Piazza played for the Marlins back in ’98 for an hour or so, Branyan will soon be getting flipped to another team as part of something larger.

  55. jephdood on June 27th, 2010 12:34 am

    If Z is posturing and really is aware we have NO shot this year, and is aggressively working the phones to trade Lee.. he can acquire any insignificant player he wants in the meantime. Especially when another team is paying the bill. This is a ‘who cares’ move with the minor benefit of me not having to watch Kotchman play any more.

  56. DAMellen on June 27th, 2010 12:39 am

    Hell, Kila wouldn’t necessarily just be Cust 2.0. I think Russ Branyan 2.0 (without the injuries) is a distinct possibility. Not that those two things are so different. Basically, I think he might be worth 3.5 WAR instead of a 2.5. Still, UNLEASH THE KILAMONSTER!!!!

  57. RRS for Prez on June 27th, 2010 12:51 am

    I’m usually wrong but I don’t think Branyan will get flipped since he cost us next to nothing. The idea reminds me of the annoying guy in my fantasy baseball league who picks up Free Agents and offers them to me in a trade. If I wanted them, I would’ve picked them up myself.

    “1st rate 4th outfielder”?? I don’t have any first hand knowledge on Carrera, but Marc’s thread didn’t give me the impression of “1st rate 4th outfielder.”

    I don’t know if this makes me more likely to go to games, but hoping for a Branyan home run gets me more excited than hoping Kotchman extends his errorless streak..

  58. SonOfZavaras on June 27th, 2010 12:56 am

    “1st rate 4th outfielder”?? I don’t have any first hand knowledge on Carrera, but Marc’s thread didn’t give me the impression of “1st rate 4th outfielder.”

    (Carerra, and ergo, club control for 6 years of a possible 1st-rate 4th outfielder)

    That’s his ceiling,IMO. Anybody with his speed has a chance of being that, but his weak arm and questionable offensive prowess would be obstacles in him becoming that.

    But I have to allow for possibility.

  59. just a fan on June 27th, 2010 1:02 am

    Yeah, it’d be nice to acquire a younger guy like Kila Ka’aihue and see if he reaches his potential or not, but how can anybody claim to know what the Royals want for him? Maybe the Royals are hoping to trade Jose Guillen, and plan to call up Ka’aihue in the aftermath? Maybe they’re saving him for next year? Does that make sense? No, but it’s Kansas City!

    From what I’ve read, Carrera and Diaz are “two fringe prospects who probably max out as bench players long term.”

    Seems to me that if KC has a player that an acquiring team would see as an immediate major league starter, they might want what they see as an immediate major league starter. At least, it’s a plausible thought. Which just goes to show, we have no clue what KC is thinking about Ka’aihue.

    Therefore, nobody should be complaining that Zduriencik didn’t acquire him unless they’ve got an insider at Kauffman Stadium.

  60. PackBob on June 27th, 2010 2:13 am

    I get it. Z just wants to put a little fun back in the dreary lineup, for the fan who just wants to enjoy the ballgame. And, hopefully, the Mariners players are still trying to win games.

    Besides that, the play-off future team moves are not a sure thing. Beating the dead horse post after post about how this season is over is about as appealing as watching the Mariners offense.

  61. franklloyd on June 27th, 2010 2:17 am

    I vote for “the other shoe has yet to drop” theory, like Cliff Lee + Branyan to the Mets for
    Ike Davis + Mejia.

  62. Liam on June 27th, 2010 2:42 am

    I think this completes the Franklin Gutierrez trade.

  63. terry on June 27th, 2010 4:21 am

    “Rebuilding? Rebuilding? There’s no rebuilding in (Mariners) baseball!”

  64. bermanator on June 27th, 2010 5:56 am

    There are two parts here, I think.

    The first is the acquisition of Branyan, which I don’t have a problem with. He costs nothing, he can be flipped if he gets hot over the next few weeks, he isn’t blocking anyone with a lot of potential, and he perhaps allows Z to play hardball in making the Lee deal because it is a sign Seattle is not intending to hold a fire sale. I get the opportunity cost argument, but I also understand wanting to improve the product on the field right now, and Branyan does that.

    The second is Ka’aihue … and all I can guess is that his cheapness is overrated. Kansas City might not value them for their ballclub, but they still value him as an asset or he would be gone. Comparing Branyan to Ka’aihue implies we know what the price for Ka’aihue would be, which we don’t (and won’t until the Royals deal him). There’s an implied assumption that Ka’aihue would be available at little cost, but it seems to me that this isn’t the only baseball news outlet that is touting his potential. I’m sure Kansas City has had opportunities to trade him but haven’t found anything tempting enough to do so.

    This is one case where it’s hard to know what the right answer is on Branyan-Ka’aihue unless you are sitting in Z’s office and know a.) whether they called Kansas City and b.) what the price tag was on Ka’aihue.

  65. Miles on June 27th, 2010 7:51 am

    What happens if the M’s win today? They get a day off and go to NY with Lee, Felix and Fister? Can they win 2 of those games? Then on to Detroit where it will be Vargas, RRS(?) and Lee. Can they win 2 of those? Then it’s home with 3 vs KC behind Felix, Bedard(?) and Fister. Sweep? Then 4 more against the Yankees behind possibly Vargas, Lee, Felix and Bedard.

    There is a small chance, but still a chance, that the M’s go into the All-Star break 2 to 3 games under .500 and headed to LAA for a 4 game series with a rotation of Lee, Felix, Bedard and Vargas/Fister. Branyan could make all the difference.

  66. BleedsPurple_74 on June 27th, 2010 8:03 am

    I have to agree with the blog author here – this move makes very little sense. Maybe Jack Z is going to surprise us all and pull off a blockbuster trade using Branyan and Lee as a package deal, but I don’t know enough about other teams’ needs to intelligently comment on that.

    What’s clear is that the M’s have NO chance of winning the AL West this year. They’re too far back in the standings and the Rangers are the hottest team in baseball right now. We’re not going to catch them.

    So, hopefully, this Branyan deal doesn’t mean Jack Z has become so delusional that he thinks keeping Cliff Lee around until the end of the season is a smart idea, because it’s not. The guy is so gone it’s not even funny. I don’t believe there’s any chance Lee will sign with the M’s. And I don’t want to sit out the trade deadline and get two compensatory picks for Lee that MIGHT develop into good ballplayers someday.

    I want Trader Jack to create a feeding frenzy for Lee’s services and then make the best trade possible to replenish the M’s woeful farm system. And look, if Jack Z wants to make a run at Lee bad enough, he will have ample time to do it during the offseason. We could get some prospects in a trade for him and then re-acquire him when the season is over, if Lee is that badly wanted.

    This move with Branyan, while it will help the M’s in the short-term, is not about building for the future, and I think that’s what Jack Z should be focused on.

  67. eponymous coward on June 27th, 2010 8:18 am

    My working theory goes something like this…

    From Dave’s piece on the 2011 Mariners:

    That gives the team an $80 million payroll before they go shopping. We have to assume the budget will be in the low $90 millions again next year, giving the team just over $10 million to spend. That doesn’t go very far when you need two starting pitchers, a starting first baseman, a catcher who can play at least half the time, a whole new bench, possibly a designated hitter, and maybe another arm in the bullpen.

    Branyan has a $5 million mutual option for 2011. So… the Mariners have gone out and filled in the “starting 1B/possibly a DH” part of their needs for 2011, and spent $5 million for that.

    My guess is they are going to try and make Erik Bedard and some combination of Pineda/French/RRS/ the “starting pitcher” part of that, and they’ll do Large Item Pickup on the SP/SS/C/bench/bullpen stuff of whatever isn’t addressed by trading Cliff Lee.

    The big problem, in my book, is between Wilson, Bradley and the remaining cash for Silva, the M’s will be spending nearly $25 million of their 2011 budget for two guys who you might pencil in for ~4 WAR if you’re feeling generous, and realistically, more like 2-3 WAR.

    In that sense… well, if you pencil in Russ for 2.5 WAR for 5 million… well, it’s kind of OK… except, just like the last time we did this kind of deal with Cleveland, we could have had Branyan WITHOUT giving up prospects. (Granted, Casey Kotchman was a much better idea than Carl Everett, but still.) That, and I agree with Dave: we should be seeing if Kila Ka’aihue can be the next Russell Branyan/Jack Cust for a lot less salary in 2011 than $5 million. It’s pretty easy to find first basemen that can hit OK; decent catchers and shortstops are much trickier.

  68. wanderinginsodo on June 27th, 2010 8:23 am

    I get it. The FO might know that they can’t win the division, but they need to salvage the season to some degree and Kotchman has made the FO look like fools. Branyan did not. They need a cheap middle of the line-up guy. They need the power. They need credibility again.

    Most of us were happy with 3rd in the division last year because at least they played decent ball and exceeded expecations. I think that is what the FO is hoping for right now, playing decently and finishing without looking foolish.

  69. BleedsPurple_74 on June 27th, 2010 8:25 am

    Yeah, but this trade makes Jack Z look foolish. he could’ve had Branyan at the start of the season without giving up ANY prospects.

  70. Jake N. on June 27th, 2010 8:31 am

    OK, odd move. Lets peel it back and look at what it could do for this team. We are out of the playoff race, period. So it is not that kind of move. Branyan is not a building block for the future, so we can x that off. I am left with it is an experiment. Putting 2 real bats like Russel and Bradley together. Does it Make Bradley the Hitter we know he can be. Does it make the offense take off. Were they that close to competeing. It is an answere to next years roster. Does this mix of players have what it takes, given the right center piece? It is an experiment. Low risk low cost, were we wrong experiment… That is the only thing that makes any sence to me.

  71. Utis on June 27th, 2010 8:33 am

    Branyan might help the team win one more game than they would have otherwise. Whoop de freaking do.

    There is a very good chance Branyan ends up leading the team in SLG and HR through the rest of the year. That should translate to more than just one win. Don’t underestimate the value of not finishing last.

    As for Kila, I would love to get him as much as anyone but isn’t it likely that KC would want young pitchers in return? In that case, there may not be a good match with the Mariners.

  72. Naliamegod on June 27th, 2010 8:41 am

    Yeah, but this trade makes Jack Z look foolish. he could’ve had Branyan at the start of the season without giving up ANY prospects.

    No he couldn’t; we offered Branyan a better deal than what he later got in Cleveland. Branyan just wouldn’t budge on his demands. You can’t force a player in a contract if they don’t want to sign.

  73. terry on June 27th, 2010 8:41 am

    Don’t underestimate the value of not finishing last.

    What is that value?

  74. eponymous coward on June 27th, 2010 8:45 am

    There is a very good chance Branyan ends up leading the team in SLG and HR through the rest of the year. That should translate to more than just one win.

    Branyan is maybe a 2.5 WAR player. We only get a little over half a season of him. Even if you figure he replaces 0 WAR players (and I’d argue the PA’s he’ll take from Kotchman/Sweeney/Bradley is more like replacing a ~1-1.5 WAR player), that’s still less than two wins.

    Don’t underestimate the value of not finishing last.

    It has next to no value in terms of 2011′s attendance, really. Attendance in 2010 is down from 2009 despite finishing over .500 last year (and 2009 was down from 2008, despite finishing over .500 that year AND bouncing back from 2008′s horrible year). It will probably be static or down in 2011, even if the Mariners bounce back a lot and finish around .500.

    Realistically, the way for the M’s to goose 2011′s attendance with moves that ONLY apply to 2010 is to win a division/pennant/championship in 2010 or open a new park. Neither of those are happening. The other way to improve 2011′s attendance is to improve the 2011 team to one that is a realistic contender AND to contend in 2011, and Dave’s point is bringing Branyan back isn’t a particularly good way to improve prospects in 2011 compared to evaluating younger, less expensive players.

  75. Miles on June 27th, 2010 8:54 am

    Yes, and if the cost of Kila was Pineda? Who here is still willing to to that?

    And as far as the M’s not being able to catch Texas, it’s not likely, but it’s not impossilbe. Playing Houston and Pittsburg over the last few weeks have helped them look very good.

    They have done poorly vs the AL East this year. They still have 5 series vs NYY, Boston and TB. They have 7 more series vs the M’s and LAA. This week they go to LAA and get the even hotter ChiSox at home for 3.

    Hang onto Cliff as long as possible and see what shakes out with Branyan hitting in the 5 spot behind Ichiro, Figgins, Guttierez and Lopez thru the end of July.

    And as far as not finishing last? Better attendance this year may mean a higher payroll for next year. A drop in attendance this year may have a huge impact on the budget next year.

  76. eponymous coward on June 27th, 2010 8:55 am

    No he couldn’t; we offered Branyan a better deal than what he later got in Cleveland. Branyan just wouldn’t budge on his demands. You can’t force a player in a contract if they don’t want to sign.

    Did Branyan’s contract change between when he signed it (and we wouldn’t match it) and when we traded for him?

    Obviously, Zduriencik didn’t think the contract was a good idea during the offseason, and is fine with it now, so, yes, saying that Zdurienick guessed wrong is reasonable. Basically, he figured seeing if Casey Kotchman for one year at age 27 would do a Carlos Pena-style breakout was a better risk than seeing if Russ Branyan’s back would let him come back. I’d also say it was a defensible decision… but the move to bring Branyan back is less so. It’s much closer to the Snell/Wilson trade, where it’s not so much that we traded valuable pieces away, that there are some clear yellow and red flags where this has some definite downsides- we’re trading for a veteran with injury risk where if things go south, we’ll have dead salary on the books we simply can’t afford to have, plus we’ve precluded looking at some other ways to address a problem.

  77. msfanmike on June 27th, 2010 9:00 am

    He costs nothing, he can be flipped if he gets hot over the next few weeks, he isn’t blocking anyone with a lot of potential, and he perhaps allows Z to play hardball in making the Lee deal because it is a sign Seattle is not intending to hold a fire sale. I get the opportunity cost argument, but I also understand wanting to improve the product on the field right now, and Branyan does that.

    This guy gets it.

    Do any of you guys realize how bad a DH Milton Bradely is – and how Branyan could soon be filling that role (maybe full time next year) while not minimizing any possibilities to get the great Kazoo Kalua.

    Jack “righted” a wrong and he must have gotten into his time machine to do it (thank PGREVY for that suggestion) per our discussion from earlier this week on this very topic.

    They should have actually done this earlier than May … they should have accomplished the Branyan re-signing last November. Neither side handled the negotiation very well (other discussion points debated from earlier this week with DMZ) and yesterday’s trade pretty much substantiated an admission of that fact … IMO.

    You play to win – every GD day – because if you don’t, the baseball Gods will not shine upon you. You don’t play to lose in the “hopes” to improve your draft position 2 years from now. For all we know, Branyan and Lee are buddies from their previous days in Cleveland – and Lee would be more inclined to want to stay in Seattle with his buddy in tow.

    Zeke Carrera as a 4th outfielder … when/why?! Are you kidding me. Another no power corner outfielder? How many guys are lined up throughout the system that are better than him as a LF candidate- 7?

    We lost nothing. We gained some pop – with no long term contractual commitment attached. We will get to hear Neihaus call some more Branyan blasts. A lot of you guys have overanalyzed the shit out of yesterday’s trade. The bermanator summed it up within a few sentences.

    Branyan is a reasonable cost for 2011 if the Mariners in fact believe they might need some power at the 1B position next year. I am assuming they have already concluded they will need some power – since they currently have none.

    Zeke Carrera? Come on!!! Mike Wilson just moved up a notch – and guess what … he’s coming soon too.

  78. dkmarinerfanforlife on June 27th, 2010 9:04 am

    Most of us were happy with 3rd in the division last year because at least they played decent ball and exceeded expecations. I think that is what the FO is hoping for right now, playing decently and finishing without looking foolish.

    I agree. While making the playoffs should be the #1 goal, goal #2 should always be putting an entertaining team on the field. At least with The Muscle and without Kotchman, it should be a more entertaining team to watch.

  79. GarForever on June 27th, 2010 9:12 am

    Yeah, but this trade makes Jack Z look foolish. he could’ve had Branyan at the start of the season without giving up ANY prospects.

    Z and the FO may not have batted nearly a 1.000 this last offseason like they did their first, but I am really getting tired of this particular meme. People need to know what the hell they’re talking about: try here

    I know, this particular item was on a very obscure web site (the M’s official one). But one could choose from ~44,900 results that return in 0.28 seconds with the search terms branyan-rejects-mariners-offer.

    For the last time, for those of you who can’t seem to get your heads wrapped around it: the M’s made The Muscle an offer, he and his agent thought they could do better, the M’s went in a different direction.

  80. terry on June 27th, 2010 9:13 am

    Z is brilliant. The price just went up for Lee. If the Ms are willing to trade minor league “talent” for major leaguers, then clearly Lee will cost a lot to pry from their fingers.

  81. eponymous coward on June 27th, 2010 9:14 am

    You play to win – every GD day – because if you don’t, the baseball Gods will not shine upon you. You don’t play to lose in the “hopes” to improve your draft position 2 years from now.

    Not trading for Russ Branyan is not the same as “playing to lose”.

    We lost nothing.

    The last time we traded a guy to Cleveland for a 1B/DH, the assessment was his ceiling was “backup OF”.

  82. charliebrown on June 27th, 2010 9:15 am

    When you look at this trade and Z’s comments about trading Lee, it seems to me like Z and the front office actually believe that the M’s are still in the race.

    Man I hope I’m wrong about that, but if they really think that all it will take is one good week to get back in the AL West race then they could really mess up the future of this team.

  83. eponymous coward on June 27th, 2010 9:24 am

    While making the playoffs should be the #1 goal, goal #2 should always be putting an entertaining team on the field.

    Sacrificing the ability to evaluate talent in 2010 for known quantities in the hopes of “entertaining” is a fool’s errand. The history of Mariner attendance for the past 35 years shows the fans aren’t going to turn out until there’s playoffs. The bloom of “Wow, we won 85 games! In an entertaining fashion! And didn’t finish last! Aren’t we awesome!” is well off the rose. This isn’t the early 90′s, when ANY winning record was a novelty.

  84. msfanmike on June 27th, 2010 9:24 am

    For the last time, for those of you who can’t seem to get your heads wrapped around it: the M’s made The Muscle an offer, he and his agent thought they could do better, the M’s went in a different direction.

    Do you really think there is someone who doesn’t already know and understand this?

    The Mariners and Branyan were attempting to negotiate a contract within the “confines” of a false market that they had collectivley created. They wanted him and he wanted them … and every other organization knew this – so they stayed away from Branyan and did not make any offers. Neither side of the Branyan negotiation knew what his true value was – and the negotiation went sour because they couldn’t agree on a price within the confines of the false market they had collectively created.

    All of MLB learned of Branyan’s true market value after the M’s walked away from the table and publicly proclaimed they were no longer negotiating. If they had “let him walk” and then matched his best outside offer – they would have been able to re-sign him.

    Perhaps Jack doesn’t know what he is doing. However, I am on the same page with him – in regard to his decision from yesterday … and I think that decision puts a stamp on rectifying a previous (collective) “wrong.”

  85. Naliamegod on June 27th, 2010 9:31 am

    Did Branyan’s contract change between when he signed it (and we wouldn’t match it) and when we traded for him?

    As stated before, we offered a deal as good, if not better, than Cleveland and Branyan rejected it. Stop blaming Z for not signing Branyan; Branyan decided to hold out longer for a better deal that never came. LaRoche did the exact same thing last offseason. By the time Branyan was realizing he was not going to get the offer he wanted, we already invested in Kotchman as our 1B because we couldn’t wait any longer.

    The last time we traded a guy to Cleveland for a 1B/DH, the assessment was his ceiling was “backup OF”.

    Choo was a legitimate prospect who had major question marks because he was a tweener. Carrera is nowhere near as good as Choo was back then.

  86. GarForever on June 27th, 2010 9:33 am
    For the last time, for those of you who can’t seem to get your heads wrapped around it: the M’s made The Muscle an offer, he and his agent thought they could do better, the M’s went in a different direction.

    Do you really think there is someone who doesn’t already know and understand this?

    msfanmike — apparently so, since comments of that ilk keep showing up everywhere, including above in this very thread. I grant you, no one who is a regular reader of this site or who paid attention to the negotiating climate between the sides (as you clearly did) still thinks this. And apparently, those who still seriously think this include Steve Berthiaume and Tim Kurkjian, since they just led off Baseball Tonight referring to how the M’s “let Branyan walk in free agency” and just “gave up two pretty interesting young players” to get him back.

  87. Gomez on June 27th, 2010 9:40 am

    This isn’t a move for the future – it’s a move to make the present team less painful to watch hit.

    That has to be it. Right now, the 2010 M’s are a hard sell for Seattle fans, and this strikes me as a move to try and add some interest and ticket sales during a lost season.

    As stated before, we offered a deal as good, if not better, than Cleveland and Branyan rejected it.

    This gets repeated a lot and is missing some valuable context: Branyan rejected the M’s deal at a time where he still thought he could command a multi-year deal, and only signed the 1 year deal with Cleveland once it became clear to him no one was going to offer such a deal… and well after the M’s had moved on and looked elsewhere for 1B options.

  88. eponymous coward on June 27th, 2010 9:44 am

    Stop blaming Z for not signing Branyan

    Why am I blaming him? I believe I said signing Kotchman was a completely defensible move, given Kotchman was a) younger, b) a better defensive player, and thus c) might have had breakout potential at LESS cost in years/injury risk than Branyan. In essence, it’s the same theory that got us Branyan in 2009- undervalued talent that adds wins for cheap.

    My problem is that NOW, with 2010 a dead letter, you’re in essence bringing either Branyan back for 2011, or adding a rental for a completely wasted season, and sacrificing talent for the privilege. I also think that Branyan at $5 million isn’t very undervalued, given that he’s around a 2.5 WAR player. That’s 2 million per win, which is OK, but not great, and, again, we’re talking about a 35 year old player with a injury history, mileage, and old player skills, which, as we’ve seen up close with players like Sexson, Griffey and maybe Milton Bradley, means you can hit a wall pretty damned fast.

    In essence, I think Zduriencik’s decision in the offseason was right, and there’s not a lot of point in a do-over.

  89. Shanfan on June 27th, 2010 10:06 am

    I’m not sure what Opportunity Cost means so go easy on me, but having two minor leagers – now evaluated as not being in your future plans – taking at-bats from guys behind them also be an Opportunity Cost? This is the time of year when 50 or more players are being added to the system, room has to be created for them. Move up or move out. If we can turn two of these guys into a Russell Branyan, why not?

    P.S. Is there’s a slight chance that Kotchman may tradeable (or givable) to a contender looking to bolster their bench?

  90. eponymous coward on June 27th, 2010 10:06 am

    That has to be it. Right now, the 2010 M’s are a hard sell for Seattle fans, and this strikes me as a move to try and add some interest and ticket sales during a lost season.

    The attendance difference between a 70 win 2010 Mariner team without Branyan and a 75 win team with him is negligible. Heck, I’d say that’s true for an 85 win team that doesn’t win anything. Case in point: we drew crowds of 15,978, 14,528 and 15,931 during three games of our opening homestand in 2010, well before the bottom fell out on the 2010 season, and after a 2009 season that had plenty of promise + trading for Cliff Lee (so it was very clear we were going for it in 2010).

    Face it folks- if trading for one of the best pitchers in baseball and winning 85 games isn’t going to goose your attendance, Russ Branyan isn’t going to, either.

  91. Idaho M on June 27th, 2010 10:23 am

    You guys are all missing the point. What this team is missing from 2009 is the strength and the quality of the hugging. Kotchman cant hit so obviously he cant hug. Carp reminds me of that pale sweaty guy that was in the band in high school.No one wants to hug him ! Josh Wilson playing first? A guy they call the paperboy cant give a manly hug ! So with Sweeney going to the DL again with back spasms ( which by the way has greatly diminished the strength of his hugs ) the only thing they could do was bring back The Muscle. Just wait and see want those big strong hugs will do to this team. The turnaround will be amazing !

  92. greentunic on June 27th, 2010 10:35 am

    Lets take a second before we say Branyan’s WAR is low. We aren’g comparing Banyan to replacement level, we’re comparring him to Kotchman level. I’m guessing replacement level at 1B is like .240/.310/.400 or so. I’m probably wrong but replacement level is probably 4 wins above Kotchams .180 average. THEN add Branyan’s WAR and his Wins Above Kotchman levels are actually intriguing. haha

  93. msfanmike on June 27th, 2010 10:36 am

    @GarForever: 10-4 … I was not sure who exactly (or in what context) your original message was intended for.

    In regard to Branyan – and the negotiation – and the negotiation gone bad – and the various reports of who did what to who: All’s well that ends well. It is in the process of ending well … IMO.

    With Sweeney being a perpetual DL’er and with MB being perpetually suck-ola and with one more year committed to him … having Branyan in the mix makes a lot of sense and allows Carp to continue to develop in AAA. They still have one more option year on Carp.

    Time to move on to filling other holes … there are a’plenty; while they still try to work two very young and/or inexperienced players into the fold (Saunders, Moore) in order to see what they have.

  94. Seattleken on June 27th, 2010 10:37 am

    The deal does makes more sense for 2011 not 2010 as the team does not have a left handed firstbaseman or DH of note on the team for next year. If MB starts hitting .280/.370.450 then we have a a DH and Branyon plays 1B if MB doesn’t hit we have Branyon as the lefty DH.

    This move fits with what Jack has done since becoming GM trade prospects he doesn’t like for marginal improvements on the big league club. I think its a bad strategy for building a real winner (95+ win team), but I don’t have to market and sell tickets the way Jack does.

    Clearly Jack is looking at building the M’s as a marginal winner (80-90 wins a year) and market the club as a potential division winner again in 2011.

    So his plan is clearly keep the team competitive now, even if it means not building a world series contender. So hes not going to do a Tampa Bay, he is taking the middle ground (think Milwaukee).

    I disagree but I understand it as I don’t have to market and sell a team and obviously ownership doesn’t want to see Seattle attendance drop to Tampa Bay rebuilding levels. I’m sure they would rather be the Cubs selling tickets even with a poor team than Florida winning world series and not having consistent team with “hope” to market to fans.

  95. Utis on June 27th, 2010 10:57 am

    It’s not as much about the attendance as it is about the players. Players, pitchers in particular, want to win. The team owes it to them, within reason, to put the best team they can on the field. I am sure Felix and the rest of the pitchers want to have winning records. According to Jack, the front office has been looking for a power bat since winter. The thinking is that having a known legitimate power threat in the line up will improve the other players performance. Yes, I know there is no statistical evidence for that.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out for Sweeney, Bradley, Josh Wilson, and Saunders. We should not see Sweeney or Wilson at 1B again this year. If Bradley continues to struggle, Sweeney might get some of his ABs at DH. Saunders should be playing every day. Josh Wilson should spell Jack Wilson as much as possible and Lopez or Figgins once a week.

  96. KDawg on June 27th, 2010 10:59 am

    Let me start by saying, I don’t really understand or believe in WAR. But this seems to be a perfect example of why I think WAR is an imperfect stat. Branyan in this lineup from day one of this season would at least net us 4-5 wins already. We have had so many one run losses.

    But if his WAR is only 2.5, then he shouldn’t be able to have such an impact on a team. However, his bat in our lineup would likely have significantly helped this team.

    In my understanding, WAR is a decent way to evaluate players, but it doesn’t translate to actual results. There are too many variables.

  97. Jim_H on June 27th, 2010 11:00 am

    M’s fans aren’t going to pay Safeco prices to watch the team develop marginal minor leaguers. Branyan costs very little, and will either provide some pop in the lineup, or will provide some additional trade value at the deadline. We really aren’t giving up anything here, and if nothing else, it sends a message to the fans thinking about buying tickets to games THIS season, that we are still trying to be competitive.

  98. RosanjinScholar on June 27th, 2010 11:03 am

    This move tells me that Lee is going to get dealt soon. It let’s Z go out and say that they got an offer of players that they could not refuse and that they think the team is better after that trade.

    “Isn’t this a sign you are giving up on the rest of the season Jack? Of course not, we have made recent moves to make our offense better (Branyan) and we will continue to look for opportunities to improve our club.

    They are out of it and they know it. But as others have noted and some here like to forget, it is a business and they can’t allow attendance to fall off a cliff for the rest of the season. A pitiful second half will also make season ticket sales for next year even harder in a bad economy. Z throws a bone to the business side with this one since he did not have to give up anything significant to get Russ.

    Mock the trade – but it may actually make sense for the long term if it results in a more competitive team, improves or at least helps stabilize their finances and gives us a bigger payroll in 2011 than we otherwise might have gotten.

  99. ivan on June 27th, 2010 11:06 am

    Eponymous Coward says:

    Sacrificing the ability to evaluate talent in 2010 for known quantities in the hopes of “entertaining” is a fool’s errand.

    I’m not disagreeing, or trying to be argumentative, but exactly what talent are you talking about here? Neither Carrera nor Diaz were going to play here this season anyway. And there’s hardly any point in giving Kotchman or Carp ABs that Branyan can get.

    It would have made no difference to me if that hadn’t made this deal. Carrera might have been a somewhat interesting role player. But they already have paid big bucks for a player who fills that role, and his name is Chone Figgins. I mean, how many speedy, no-power, high-BB slap hitters does any one team need? Diaz has an upside, but with Triunfel and Franklin in the system, and Littlewood drafted, he was surplus.

    So who does Branyan take PAs from who might be helping Seattle down the line? Help me out with this, because I don’t understand your reasoning. Does Branyan make them better right now, or does he not? What was the alternative?

  100. firova2 on June 27th, 2010 11:14 am

    I don’t think attendance has much to do with it. I think Z just can’t stand watching this inept offense any longer–he probably hates it far more than we do and is additionally galled that he’s the one responsible for it in the end. It isn’t just the run totals. It is loading the bases over and over again and getting nothing out of it. He simply needs a MLB run producer as soon as possible.

    Almost no one has commented on one of the reasons Z actually gave. He says he is trying to send a message to the team. I’m not completely clear on what the message is since I don’t think Branyan alone is going to lead to a lot of wins, but if the frustration we feel is so high, I imagine the players themselves are also frustrated. They’re not equipped to compete right now at the major league level, and I think this is a morale move if nothing else.

    Worst case scenario is that they pick up the option for next year, they’ve made a risky investment in his back, but if he is healthy, he probably comes cheaper than anyone on the market and faster than anyone in the system. Plus the Lee deal can plug some of the other holes.

    I think this means a deal with Minnesota is on the table. Wilson Ramos seems to be the position-player upgrade that is most feasible given that first base now has a temporary fix.

  101. Gomez on June 27th, 2010 11:15 am

    The attendance difference between a 70 win 2010 Mariner team without Branyan and a 75 win team with him is negligible.

    First off, the difference between trying to sell tickets to casual fans for a losing team with a limp no-power 2-3 run a game offense and selling tickets for a losing team that can score a few runs and give them a better chance to win individual games is a bit more significant.

    Even if the team and many fans (such as many reading here, myself included) have given up on the season, many local/regional fans still might have an interest in attending Mariner games, so long as the team can make a significant effort to win, i.e. not make the cost and time invested to see a game a complete waste of their time. A team that scores 3 runs a game and is clearly/obviously punting the season isn’t going to draw most casual fans.

    But the biggest reason why Jack would want to buff up 2010′s team in a lost season is that, while ticket sales may not matter to the team’s bottom line, it does matter to the team’s relationship with FSNW, given FSNW is paying the Mariners a lucrative sum for a media contract. More interest in the team in 2010 means more viewers in 2010 which means higher average ratings over the life of the current contract which means more ad dollars down the line. If ratings tank, a) FSNW loses money in the long run as advertisers can cite lowered average ratings as justifiable leverage to lower the price on ad spots with the network and b) the Mariners may lose out on money from a new contract down the line whether with FSNW or another media carrier, as the network side will cite low ratings from this period as justification for low-balling the M’s when it comes time to negotiate a renewal.

    We can argue about whether or not such a thing matters in the short run for the team’s fortunes in a vacuum, but there certainly appears to be a discernible motive or two to the move that goes beyond trying to compete in a lost season.

  102. eponymous coward on June 27th, 2010 11:18 am

    Let me start by saying, I don’t really understand or believe in WAR.

    So you’re going to talk authoritatively about something you don’t understand?

    Branyan in this lineup from day one of this season would at least net us 4-5 wins already.

    Branyan came off the DL April 20th.

    Cleveland’s gone 20-40 since then, the worst record in the AL.

    So, I guess you think his magic bat only works in Seattle?

  103. firova2 on June 27th, 2010 11:22 am

    This is also a talent evaluation move. In this situation, opportunity cost only works for out-of-house candidates, as Dave suggests, who may or may not be available–we can’t know. In house, they’ve clearly made a judgment call on two twenty-somethings: Mike Carp is no more the answer in their view than Jeff Clement was (though he has had limited MLB opportunities this year to prove it) and clearly Casey Kotchman is not the answer going forward.

    We’ll see whether it is a bad idea to give up on both Carp and Kotchman, but obviously Z doesn’t think they are the answer to anything and more at-bats will only prove the point.

    Again, I think this points to a Twins deal.

  104. Hammy57 on June 27th, 2010 11:23 am

    You heard me.

  105. eponymous coward on June 27th, 2010 11:28 am

    First off, the difference between trying to sell tickets to casual fans for a losing team with a limp no-power 2-3 run a game offense and selling tickets for a losing team that can score a few runs and give them a better chance to win individual games is a bit more significant.

    Then prove it. I showed my work- attendance did NOTHING after signing Cliff Lee. Attendance didn’t improve after the Sexson/Beltre signings during the 2004-2005 offseason, for that matter (lost 200,000 fans- very similar to what is likely to happen this year, in fact).

    All the data I’ve seen with respect to attendance leads me to this repeating theme: fans come out when you contend, and don’t when you don’t. 2010 is a completely lost cause in terms of contention. Making roster moves based on the idea that fan-favorite players can draw fans to non-contending teams isn’t borne out by anything I’ve seen. Aside from the Barry Bonds/HOFer level kind of draw, you just don’t get bumps once the season is a dead letter- and moreover, it is much more likely this team LOSES attendance next year thanks to having gone in the toilet by June 1 than gains any bump from 3+ months of Branyan.

  106. Hammy57 on June 27th, 2010 11:29 am

    Barry Bonds? HA!

  107. BleedsPurple_74 on June 27th, 2010 11:33 am

    You know, I completely forgot about the context of the Branyan negotiations prior to the season. I stand corrected. He did indeed walk away and take a worse deal from the Indians eventually.

  108. eponymous coward on June 27th, 2010 11:42 am

    The problem I see is adding Branyan and taking away Lee (which is almost certainly going to happen in the upcoming weeks) doesn’t improve the 2010 team, and even IF you had Branyan and Lee, you’re looking at a flawed team with serious holes on the roster: catcher and shortstop are a mess, DH isn’t all that great, Lopez is very clearly a poor fit for this stadium though an OK player overall, the bullpen talent and and back end of the rotation have various question marks. It’s an 80-85 win roster, which makes them a marginal contender in ANY division at best, and one of the big pieces (Lee) no longer fits in the current Mariner budget come October.

    In this light, why is investing in the morale of the 2010 team a priority over trying to make the 2011 team a contender? That’s Dave’s point, and I guess your counterargument is this is one of those feel-good, rah-rah, let’s show the players love decisions. I would just say that like Griffey/Sweeney, these are decisions that aren’t really supported by a lot of objective evidence. Quite frankly, these kinds of decisions were getting old when Bill Bavasi was making them. Zduriencik’s versions of them aren’t the same sort of disasters, but I expect better.

  109. eponymous coward on June 27th, 2010 11:43 am

    Barry Bonds? HA!

    Bonds was most certainly a draw while chasing the HR record. But last I checked, Branyan’s a few hundred home runs shy of that record.

  110. Gomez on June 27th, 2010 11:48 am

    Just moments after I posted my comment I suddenly realized the Mariners signed a 10 year extension through 2020 with FSNW. Whoops!

    The point remains, however. Team interest will impact FSNW’s bottom line via ad dollars as the M’s are one of their top selling points. And the team’s contract with KIRO, which tentatively expires in 2011, is also a factor. How the team plays this year could impact the team down the road in a variety of ways beyond the on-field product.

    Then prove it. I showed my work- attendance did NOTHING after signing Cliff Lee.

    Yeah, losing all those games did a lot more to impact attendance than trading for Cliff Lee did.

  111. Hammy57 on June 27th, 2010 11:49 am

    Eponymous, do you HAVE to argue against everyone? Can’t you just sit down and enjoy the game? Relax man. Relax.

  112. Leroy Stanton on June 27th, 2010 11:52 am

    This was a depth move pure and simple – Branyan is now third on the bobblehead depth chart.

  113. Hammy57 on June 27th, 2010 11:53 am

    This was a depth move pure and simple – Branyan is now third on the bobblehead depth chart.

    I think The Muscle would be the only person whose bobblehead’s body would be bigger than the head.

  114. Adam S on June 27th, 2010 11:57 am

    Regardless of what Z may say publicly, anyone who passed high school Algebra know the Mariners are a longshot to finish .500 this year, much less talk about playoffs. The realistic upside of this team is they play 500 ball the rest of the season.

    My sense is there are three things going on here.

    1) The Mariners have to play the remaining 90 games and the rules require them to have a first baseman. Kotchman has been a disaster, Carp is outmatched, Wilson is a joke, Sweeney is a DH and a poor one at that, so they’re void at 1B. They don’t even have a replacement-level first baseman. This gives them someone to fill the spot rather than running out .200/.280/.330 out there every day. While you may declare trying to win games as “noble”, the reality is drawing 10-12K people for all of August and September is likely to impact the payroll for 2011 and 2012. This at least makes the team more watchable even if it actually adds just 1-2 wins. Given Lee is going to be gone soon, they need something.

    2) The cost is minimal. They might flip him and get two similar players back (I realize that goes against #1). Or they get a draft pick back after the season if they let him go.

    3) Dave mentioned they have to fill 1B for 2011. And as noted above they have no internal options. Sure you don’t build around a 35 year old guy, but 2-3 wins for $5 is a good deal. This is much like the Jack Wilson deal last year — it’s a short-term fix to fill a need for next year.

    As noted, the M’s wanted Branyan back and he wanted to come back. But they M’s weren’t willing to give him two years, nor was anyone else, and so they simply moved on to plan B.

  115. eponymous coward on June 27th, 2010 12:01 pm

    Yeah, losing all those games did a lot more to impact attendance than trading for Cliff Lee did.

    The Mariners were tied for the division lead after that last game where they drew ~15,000. Oh, and that was after an 85 win season, so the “but they sucked last year” argument doesn’t apply.

    However, they were never in real contention in 2009 after early July- which, again, speaks to my argument that having a decent team that doesn’t really contend doesn’t help attendance.

  116. Gomez on June 27th, 2010 12:14 pm

    The Mariners were tied for the division lead after that last game where they drew ~15,000.

    During the early portion of 2010 where we could have still argued the M’s were in the hunt… they were at best a couple games over .500 and scoring about 3 runs a game, hardly a team that looked like they were going to seriously challenge for the AL West even if technically they were right there in the race.

  117. JH on June 27th, 2010 12:24 pm

    The only real justification I see here is the potential Type B compensation the team might be able to get for Branyan if he walks this year. That’s far from a given, though. As he found out this past year, the market for old 1Bs with bad backs is really, really thin. I think if the Ms decline the option and offer him arbitration there’s a good chance he takes it next year.

    That said, I like the idea of having a chance at another 1S pick in what’s shaping up to be one of the best draft pools in years.

  118. scott19 on June 27th, 2010 12:33 pm

    the Mariners are a longshot to finish .500 this year

    I would agree that the post-season is out of the question…but, based on what the White Sox have been up to lately, I wouldn’t entirely rule out .500 for this team if they got hot lukewarm for a stretch.

    And I’ve been about as doom-and-gloom down on these guys as anybody this year.

  119. Xteve X on June 27th, 2010 1:05 pm

    “This trade can only help your organization, assuming the 2 prospects are as fringy as you guys are making them out to be.”

    I don’t think this move has much to do with winning, the season’s over and they’re just making overtures to the casual fans to keep them coming in.

    I submit that the idiot brain trust of Lincoln and Armstrong still think they can manufacture chemistry by bringing in more veteran players. They still haven’t learned after at least half a dozen failed attempts that winning breeds chemistry, not the other way around.

    And I also submit that only a fanbase as accepting of mediocrity as this one (not the good people that frequent this website, but the people that still actually pay money to watch this dreadful team) should consider a third place division finish as acceptable.

  120. scott19 on June 27th, 2010 1:20 pm

    I submit that the idiot brain trust of Lincoln and Armstrong still think they can manufacture chemistry by bringing in more veteran players. They still haven’t learned after at least half a dozen failed attempts that winning breeds chemistry, not the other way around.

    I agree — and that is why, in my opinion as well, that regardless of who the GM is, this team will likely not go anywhere near a championship until those two finally retire.

  121. nathaniel dawson on June 27th, 2010 1:23 pm

    “First off, the difference between trying to sell tickets to casual fans for a losing team with a limp no-power 2-3 run a game offense and selling tickets for a losing team that can score a few runs and give them a better chance to win individual games is a bit more significant.”

    Then prove it. I showed my work- attendance did NOTHING after signing Cliff Lee. Attendance didn’t improve after the Sexson/Beltre signings during the 2004-2005 offseason, for that matter (lost 200,000 fans- very similar to what is likely to happen this year, in fact).

    All the data I’ve seen with respect to attendance leads me to this repeating theme: fans come out when you contend, and don’t when you don’t. 2010 is a completely lost cause in terms of contention. Making roster moves based on the idea that fan-favorite players can draw fans to non-contending teams isn’t borne out by anything I’ve seen. Aside from the Barry Bonds/HOFer level kind of draw, you just don’t get bumps once the season is a dead letter- and moreover, it is much more likely this team LOSES attendance next year thanks to having gone in the toilet by June 1 than gains any bump from 3+ months of Branyan.

    I’m not the poster you responded to, but I can provide some evidence you’re looking for.

    http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2010/03/what_puts_fans.php

    Especially this statement:

    “While WPCT obviously helped attendance overall, I was also curious to see if the slope of the lines changed depending on whether the team was over or under .500? Did an extra win provide different attendance value to a .450 team vs. a .550 team? I refit the model to test this out and found there was no significant difference. The relationship between WPCT and attendance was the same whether the team was good or bad. While of course an extra few wins won’t help a poor team get any closer to a championship, it will help at the box office, and the attendance effect of those wins is just as important to poor teams as to good teams. Next time you deride a bad team for “wasting” their money by signing a free agent when they have no chance of winning anything, realize that the difference between stinky and mediocre can have a strong effect at the box office, even if it won’t win any flags.”

    There’s a lot of factors that can influence how much gain a team gets by winning more games, but it’s clear that even for bad teams, increased wins mean increased attendance. Putting the best team on the field is important to the M’s. Trying to win as many games as they can the rest of the season is important to the M’s. It’s not only important for their future income, it also impacts their ability to field a winning team in the future.

    This is a franchise that has struggled the last few years, and they want to do what they can to maintain fan interest. It matters if they try to gain wins and fans the rest of the way.

  122. JH on June 27th, 2010 1:23 pm

    That’s based on a whole lot of suppositions for which you have no evidence whatsoever.

  123. snapper on June 27th, 2010 1:35 pm

    Anyone think that the M’s might plan to keep Branyan for 2011, having realized they made a mistake by not resigning him?

    With all the hole’s they have for next year, filling 1B or DH for ~$3M might be a good play.

  124. akampfer on June 27th, 2010 1:51 pm

    Snapper, I agree. Right away I thought they will put him at DH, because really, who do they have? First base makes no sense with Carp, Kotchman and now they are playing Josh Wilson to keep his warmer bat in the lineup, so they needed another first baseman like a hole in the head. I too think something bigger is coming and not necessarily involving Branyan. Maybe he’s here to fill a hole that’s about to be created.

  125. JH on June 27th, 2010 2:11 pm

    You just named three players who have played first base for the mariners this year. You did not, however, name a single major league quality first baseman.

  126. spankystout on June 27th, 2010 2:38 pm

    Jack Z should have signed Branyan over Sweeney in the offseason. He gave up on Branyan when he acquired the unproven Kotchman. Even when the market gave Branyan no leverage, Jack Z didn’t take advantage to bolster the ‘natural competition’ on the team. Now he gives up two guys whom may never contribute-but its two guys that should have never left. I agree with Dave, ‘I don’t get it.’ This move has me thinking Chuck and Howie are stirring the pot.

  127. Ralph_Malph on June 27th, 2010 2:52 pm

    The only real justification I see here is the potential Type B compensation the team might be able to get for Branyan if he walks this year.

    My understanding is there’s a mutual option for next year. If the M’s decline the option they have to pay him a buyout (funded by Cleveland, as I understand it). Can they really buy out his contract and then offer him arbitration? I wouldn’t think so. So I wouldn’t think there’s any way they could get compensation this year. Maybe next year, if they exercise the option for $5 million and then let him walk after next year.

    The real reason for this trade was today’s lineup. Josh Wilson playing 1B and batting 5th. You can’t expect people to pay major league ticket prices if you don’t put a major league team on the field.

  128. Grizz on June 27th, 2010 3:42 pm

    Can they really buy out his contract and then offer him arbitration?

    Yes. There is nothing in the CBA or the Major League Rules preventing a team from offering arbitration to a player after turning down an option. As a practical matter, though, it rarely would happen because the option amount would have to be significantly more than what the player could reasonably expect to get in arbitration.

    One exception would be if the player signed a contract that precluded the team from offering arbitration (which I think Aaron Sele and more recently Orlando Hudson have done).

  129. littlesongs on June 27th, 2010 3:58 pm

    2010 is over, so I am not upset about this deal. Jack Zduriencik might be a whole lot smarter than this one move looks on the surface.

    By playing hardball with Branyan last fall, the team was positioned to have some leverage in upcoming negotiations. Perhaps it is a coincidence, but last winter Guti and Felix both signed reasonable contracts that were beneficial to both player and franchise.

    In the meantime, Russell has been catching all sorts of hell from Cleveland fans and the media. In a move that cost essentially nothing, Branyan was given an opportunity to finish this season with a team where the crowd and the press already like him.

    Jack has played some damn good poker since he sat down. Some hands turned out lousy, but I see no reason to question his skills.

  130. mln on June 27th, 2010 5:08 pm

    Don’t worry Mariner fans. This is only the first step in Z’s master plan to reacquire Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians.

    I wish.

  131. scott19 on June 27th, 2010 6:01 pm

    Speaking of which, Mr. Choo hit two home runs today against the Reds…

    Oh, how the stupidity of the Bavasi era continues to pay dividends!

  132. JH on June 27th, 2010 6:08 pm

    Can they really buy out his contract and then offer him arbitration?

    Yes.

  133. kenshabby on June 27th, 2010 8:44 pm

    It’s times like this I’m glad I have two other teams to root for (contending teams, no less). A trend likely to continue for a few years based on the M’s state of affairs. :p

  134. ivan on June 27th, 2010 9:18 pm

    Eponymous Coward said:

    In this light, why is investing in the morale of the 2010 team a priority over trying to make the 2011 team a contender? That’s Dave’s point, and I guess your counterargument is this is one of those feel-good, rah-rah, let’s show the players love decisions.

    I hope that wasn’t my comment you were referring to, because I didn’t say anything about “team morale” or “show the players love.” I asked you what “talent” the Branyan acquisition blocked. How does acquiring Branyan now hinder the team from improving in 2011? You could say that about anybody they acquired.

    Further down, EC says:

    Dave’s point is bringing Branyan back isn’t a particularly good way to improve prospects in 2011 compared to evaluating younger, less expensive players.

    As I said, I don’t necessarily disagree, and I’m not trying to be argumentative here. I just want to know which “younger, less expensive players” you’re referring to. Some theoretical player they might get in a trade? That was the reasoning behind acquiring Kotchman, if I remember.

    I recognize that Branyan is a risk. I get that. I get that his ceiling is limited. I get that we might have seen his peak already. I guess I consider this a low-risk, low-reward move. If they can’t raise the ceiling, then they raise the floor.

    I don’t give a shit about attendance. I agree with you that if they win, attendance will take care of itself. I don’t give a shit about “morale” or “chemistry.” Winning takes care of that, too. But I can’t buy into the notion that acquiring Branyan now hurts them in 2011. We just don’t know enough to say that at this point .

  135. philosofool on June 27th, 2010 10:02 pm

    Kila is on the Royals 40 man. That’s pretty good evidence that the Royals know he’s worth something more than a few fringe prospects. While it’s hard to see what the Royals are doing here, I think “completely buried” is an overstatement: Guilen is a free agent at the end of the year. Dayton Moore isn’t a good GM but he’s not unaware of Kila’s 2008 AA stats nor his current AAA stats; even the most old school GM loves a kid with a .300+ BA and the ability to hit 37 HR in a minor league season.

  136. Adam S on June 28th, 2010 1:03 am

    based on what the White Sox have been up to lately, I wouldn’t entirely rule out .500 for this team if they got hot lukewarm for a stretch.

    The Mariners would have to go 50-37 (.574) to finish 81-81. They’re a ~.400 team that’s about to trade away its best player. If you believe that the Mariners are much, much better than they’ve played so far and their true talent level is .500, they’d have a ~10% chance to win 50 or more of their remaining games. That’s a long shot even being optimistic of their ability.

    Sadly this team’s achievement is going to be not losing 100 games.

  137. SeasonTix on June 28th, 2010 1:43 am

    As a season ticket holder (weekend plan) I’ve pobably personally attended far more games at Safeco Field that most of the posters on this blog.

    I consider myself a “casual fan.” I like to read this blog to get the stats perspective and I agree with a lot of what you guys have to say, but you fail to realize that the vast majority of people coming to watch the M’s play at Safeco don’t give a crap about most of the stuff discussed on this blog.

    Case in point:

    Last Wednesday I took my buddy to watch the M’s play the Cubs. I was excited because Cliff Lee was pitching.

    Now get this …

    (are you sitting down?)

    He didn’t even know who Cliff Lee is!!

    I had to explain to him that he’s currently one of the best … if not THE best pitchers in baseball and he just threw a complete game shutout in his previous start.

    Now my friend is no dummie … he’s an electrical engineer and he’s been to many M’s games with me in the past.

    He likes watching baseball games, but he is a casual fan (like me) … he enjoys coming to Safeco, having a couple of beers, watching baseball and hoping the M’s win.

    He doesn’t check the standings and box scores every night … he doesn’t calculate WAR or VORP.
    He doesn’t care if the M’s suck. As he told me once, “it’s still major league baseball.”

    He is the typical Mariners baseball fan. And I’m surrounded by people just like him every time I go to a game.

    So if you wonder why the team made this trade, I think it’s because they know they typical fan would rather see “The Muscle” knock one out of the park a couple times a week rather than watch the team score 0-2 runs per game. It’s as simple as that.

  138. JH on June 28th, 2010 2:12 am

    even the most old school GM loves a kid with a .300+ BA and the ability to hit 37 HR in a minor league season.

    In 2004, Calvin Pickering was a 27-year-old who put up a .314/.451/.712 line in AAA for the Royals, with 35 home runs in only 89 games. He backed up that performance with a .246/.338/.500 line in 142 major league plate appearances. Most of the analytical community expected the Royals to give Pickering a shot at regular playing time in 2005. He got 31 plate appearances in the big leagues, and his team got a .747 OPS from 1B, and a .790 OPS from the DH position.

    Allard Baird, not Dayton Moore made that call, but there are numerous examples of late-20s 1B/DH’s who never got a shot. Carlos Pena rotted away in AAA his age 27 and 28 seasons, to name just one more example. 1B/DH are tough positions to break into the majors. It is entirely possible (and from the available evidence, likely) that the Royals don’t value Kila. Another player whose team clearly doesn’t value him is John Bowker. I’d love to see the Ms give him a shot.

  139. themojoworkin on June 28th, 2010 3:34 pm

    Is it possible that he qualifies as a Type A or B free agent and nets us picks? Sounds like the players we gave up weren’t too significant- maybe a sandwich pick (if he ends up a type B) is more valuable?

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