The Crossroads That Is 2011

Dave · July 19, 2010 at 9:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

There are 70 games left in the 2010 season, but no one thinks they really matter much anymore. Yes, it’s nicer to win than to lose, and no one is just going to give up and roll over, but the team is playing for the future and everyone knows it. The question, though, is whether that future can begin next year?

Based on players currently in the organization, the 2011 roster looks something like this:

C; Moore
1B: Smoak
2B: Ackley
SS: Jack Wilson
3B: Figgins
LF: Saunders
CF: Gutierrez
RF: Ichiro
DH: Bradley

Starters: Felix-Vargas-Fister-Pineda-RRS

I don’t think anyone would look at that team and think it was a legitimate contender. There’s two guys who have never played in the majors in starting roles, three young guys still trying to find their way as regular position players, and a rotation full of question marks behind Felix. Oh, and the bullpen isn’t great either.

The team will have some money to spend, somewhere the $10 to $20 million range depending on what the budget is and who else they trade away in the next few weeks. But, there’s almost no way to turn that team into a contender by adding a couple of pieces, because the strength of the team in young talent may also be the thing that keeps them from winning next year.

There are some potential foundation pieces in place. Smoak, Saunders, and Ackley could all hold down their respective positions for years to come. Pineda could give the team another dynamic power arm that it lacks behind Felix right now. Moore could still be a useful catcher. These guys have enough talent to be real building blocks – guys you don’t want to block with veteran players. They all should come to camp next spring with a chance to win a job on Opening Day. You could bring in insurance policy types who can push them and serve as placeholders if they’re not ready, but you’re not going to bring in an established quality player that will get in the way if the kids prove that they’ve little left to learn in Triple-A.

So, what positions can the Mariners realistically try to upgrade at? C, LF, 2B, and 1B are off the table because of the kids. 3B, CF, and RF are out because you’ve got guys under long term contracts at those spots. That leaves, essentially, shortstop, designated hitter, and the rotation as potential points of upgrade this winter.

Even if the team decided to bring in two established starters to go with Felix, Fister, and Vargas, you’re still looking at four spots on the roster that you can really make significant upgrades at (the bench and bullpen don’t matter enough to count). And at two of those, you have guys already under contract for 2011 – Jack Wilson and Milton Bradley.

Bradley is unmovable, beyond just releasing him, which the team probably won’t do unless they have someone they expect to hit better as the DH. They don’t have that guy right now, and its unlikely that they’ll spend much money this winter to bring in a guy who doesn’t play defense, and is likely at the end of his career. So, the Mariners only option is, essentially, try like crazy to move Jack Wilson’s contract in the next couple of weeks, freeing up money and a position to seek an upgrade this winter.

There’s a problem with that, too, though – good shortstops aren’t exactly laying around waiting to sign low money deals to play in Seattle. The big free agent shortstops this winter will be Derek Jeter – and, honestly, I’m more likely to take the field for the Mariners on opening day next year than he is – and a bunch of guys who aren’t any better than Jack Wilson. The team could try to trade for a young shortstop, but they did that last summer, and they found that Wilson was the best guy they could get. The best case scenario for picking up a guy in trade would be a guy like Ryan Theriot, but he’s basically just the same thing that Wilson is at the plate, only with less glove.

A substantial upgrade at shortstop is essentially not realistic. The team could potentially pursue a guy like Carlos Pena to DH and dump Bradley, but does anyone think that the line-up above, with Pena added to the mix, is the makings of a winner? And would Pena even want to stop playing the field regularly at this point in his career? The answer to both of those questions is probably not.

And so, we’re left with the reality that the Mariners have reached a point where they’re not really playing for 2011, but instead, they’re playing for 2012. They’ll lose $20 million in commitments when Bradley and Wilson become free agents, the young kids will have hopefully matured or proven themselves not worthy of full-time jobs, and they’ll still have all the useful pieces that are on the team now. Realistically, that’s probably their next chance to contend – the year when Ackley, Smoak, Saunders, and Pineda could be contributors rather than kids still adjusting to the big leagues and they have the resources to go out and add some talent at positions like SS and DH.

Who knows – maybe Jack will make some moves in the next few months that surprise me and steal enough talent away to turn this team around before next year begins. I just don’t see how he could pull that off, though. Right now, I think this team realistically will need another year. They’re playing for the future, but they’re not playing for next year.

Comments

121 Responses to “The Crossroads That Is 2011”

  1. AllBlues78 on July 19th, 2010 9:19 am

    Ok. Great article but what more does Vargas have to do to keep you from calling him a question mark. He is what he is – a pretty good starter that will never be a #1 or #2 but has moved into the proven category of mid-rotation starters.

  2. MyOhMy on July 19th, 2010 9:23 am

    UGH! That lineup might score less runs than this year and the pitching is bound to give up more runs without Cliff. Bad combo.

    1 step forward with Z last year and now it’s looking like 2 steps back …

  3. stevenboise on July 19th, 2010 9:23 am

    2012, yeh? Isn’t the world supposed to end in December of that year? That figures. We win the World Series then the world comes to an end before the winter meetings. Great.

  4. Goody on July 19th, 2010 9:30 am

    The future is so bright I gotta wear protective goggles….I would be inclined to dump Bradley and plug Branyan into that spot. Bradley is a remnant of the Bavasi Era (Carlos Silva) and he has no role and no value. They should cut their losses and move on.

  5. lalo on July 19th, 2010 9:37 am

    The future is so bright I gotta wear protective goggles….I would be inclined to dump Bradley and plug Branyan into that spot. Bradley is a remnant of the Bavasi Era (Carlos Silva) and he has no role and no value. They should cut their losses and move on.

    I agree ,I would like to see Jack trying to move to Milton Bradley back to San Diego and get that money for next season, Branyan returns, and sold to Jack Wilson, for Figgins is complicated, I prefer to have Carlos Triunfel at third base, but that contract will be difficult to sell,

  6. terry on July 19th, 2010 9:37 am

    It was clear half way through May that 2011 wasn’t going to be a competitive season.

  7. themedia on July 19th, 2010 9:40 am

    It’s possible that Jose Reyes will be a FA (if the Mets don’t pick up an $11 team option). Not likely, but possible.

  8. brokejumper on July 19th, 2010 9:41 am

    I am not nearly so sold on Sauders as a long-term solution in LF. For now, he obviously deserves the chance to start and show what he can do, but his excessive pull hitting is going to hold him back and I think we might need to look at options there.

    The free agent options between Crawford and Werth sure don’t excite me, but I don’t think we can just say LF is off the table in the same way the we can for 2B and 1B.

  9. z24lax on July 19th, 2010 9:43 am

    Can figgins play any short, as it seems a third baseman would be a far easier pickup than a shortstop.

  10. themedia on July 19th, 2010 9:43 am

    Also, is there any possibility of moving Figgins to SS? He’s never played there for a prolonged period before, but he’s got a great glove at 3B and 2B. If we’re looking at FA 3B, then we’re talking about Beltre, Mike Lowell, Ty Wigginton, etc. (better hitters).

  11. thurston24 on July 19th, 2010 9:45 am

    Who knows – maybe Jack will make some moves in the next few months that surprise me and steal enough talent away to turn this team around before next year begins.

    This is the wonderful thing to read and what makes being a Mariners fan fun. We don’t know what GMZ will do but there always seems to be some really interesting trade that occurs in the offseason be it the Franklin Gutierrez trade or the Cliff Lee trade. I don’t know if we get good enough for 2011 but I know we will get very good for the future at some point.

  12. Dave on July 19th, 2010 9:46 am

    If Carl Crawford doesn’t excite you, I’d be concerned that you don’t have a pulse. The Mariners can’t afford him, but come on, he’s one of the 10 best players in baseball.

    And no, Figgins can’t play short.

  13. themedia on July 19th, 2010 9:48 am

    And no, Figgins can’t play short.

    Stats?

  14. brokejumper on July 19th, 2010 9:49 am

    This is my problem Dave… I am combining the emotional outlook of a fan with analysis and did not clearly distinguish between the two. Crawford is a great player, but I am not a big fan.

    In any case, my main point was that I don’t think Saunders has LF locked up as suggested in the article.

  15. littlelinny6 on July 19th, 2010 9:50 am

    Dave,
    Why are you plugging in Figgins to 3B? He has shown nothing this year to think he is more than a utility player. I know his contract looks huge but giving him another 600 PAs next year seems like a huge mistake barring a massive turnaround in these next 70 games. I think 3B should be a place we look to upgrade in the winter if possible as well. If healthy, I think a great buy low guy this trade deadline could be Mike Lowell. The BoSox want to get rid of him and when healthy, he’s a decent defensive 3B who can hit. There’s also guys like Juan Uribe available as well.

  16. eponymous coward on July 19th, 2010 9:55 am

    Here’s the problem- how badly will Mariner attendance wither from now until 2012 when it’s very clear this team is in Cleveland-style rebuilding mode for a while, and how much will that affect how much budget is available in 2012?

    This also makes Ichiro problematic on this roster- you’re talking about him being 38 (and in his FA walk year) before this team has a reasonable chance of contending. I know this is heresy, and there would be good baseball and non-baseball reasons to just keep Ichiro through the end of his contract, but there’s a case to be made that the Mariners should actually do what Branch Rickey used to do: risk trading a player a year early instead keeping them a year late.

  17. diderot on July 19th, 2010 9:58 am

    If healthy, I think a great buy low guy this trade deadline could be Mike Lowell.

    Sorry, but this really smacks of Bavasi thinking. Robbing people like Saunders and Moore the chance to play is only pushing back the timetable for us to compete.

    While there’s always a need to try to demonstrate to the casual fan that ‘we’re trying to win now’, the fact of the matter is that we’re in full rebuilding mode. The draft, Latin American signings and player development is all that really matters.

    The only small quibble I have with this post is that it’s not geared to 2013–but of course, no one has the ability to predict who will mature and who won’t that far out.

  18. brokejumper on July 19th, 2010 9:59 am

    On Chone – the guy is currently hitting 40 points below the lowest BA of his career, 50 points below the lowest slugging of his career, and 10 points below his lowest OBP of his career.

    Now maybe his track record does not mean anything and he is either injured, or the PNW air just disagrees with him, but if he is going down hill this fast no one could predict it. I think we have to trust he will bounce back to a degree, especially with his contract.

  19. Paul B on July 19th, 2010 10:03 am

    Any other position players in the minors currently (other than Moore and Ackley) who could potentially be a starter in 2012 if they were given a chance in 2011?

  20. eponymous coward on July 19th, 2010 10:03 am

    Stats?

    Yeah- he doesn’t have any recent stats at SS because MLB managers aren’t morons and wouldn’t play him out of position.

    Figgins’ stats grade him out as a good 3B, OK 2B. This means he grades out as a bad SS. His offense wouldn’t be good enough to make up for the hit we’d take on defense. Pass.

  21. themedia on July 19th, 2010 10:04 am

    Fair enough. I guess I’m just looking for a way to really care about baseball again soon.

  22. Liam on July 19th, 2010 10:07 am

    Does Ackley start the year in AAA for a few weeks to add another year of team control?

  23. brokejumper on July 19th, 2010 10:13 am

    Liam – I don’t remember the Mariners doing much of that. They seem to be pretty generous with not leveraging issues of team control like that and trying to treat the youngsters right, though I say this from impression rather than paying particularly close attention.

    Anyone remember examples of the Mariners doing this?

  24. IwearMsHats on July 19th, 2010 10:13 am

    Isn’t it just Ackley’s defense that is holding him back from joining the MLB club at this point? Outside of super-2 I would think so.

  25. firova2 on July 19th, 2010 10:15 am

    Ackley is on a major-league contract, so he’ll be in the bigs when he is ready and service-time considerations won’t be part of it.

  26. LewLegend on July 19th, 2010 10:20 am

    I hate that we’re talking about this subject now. I was hoping we would be a little better this year, but oh well.

    I see Branyan as our DH for 2011 as he is a legitimate #3 hole power hitter. His contract is a bargain for 2011. He would stay healthier (all hotel tables excluded). Milton would be a part-time DH versus lefties, part-time LF. Figgy moves to 3rd or stays at second. We pick up a 3rd baseman like Wigginton or even Kelly Johnson to play 2nd.

    I do agree that we’re going to need a couple of decent arms. We’ll probably have around 10 million or so to get two reliable arms. Safeco helps us make good pitchers out of mediocre guys (see Washburn, Jarrod). Hopefully Z can pull some magic out of a hat and we content in ’11.

  27. Leroy Stanton on July 19th, 2010 10:20 am

    Fair enough. I guess I’m just looking for a way to really care about baseball again soon.

    Nobody saw the Padres as legitimate contenders this year and look what they’ve done. That’s not to say that I think they will contend next year (I don’t – I agree with Dave’s take), but anything can happen and 2011 will start with hope just like every season does. The difference will be the expectations and the possibilities that the younger players bring. I think that’s exciting and it will be worth watching.

  28. SCL on July 19th, 2010 10:22 am

    Dave, I’m really scared of Jack zduriencik getting fired if the M’s have two bad seasons in a row. How long is his leash?

  29. bookbook on July 19th, 2010 10:23 am

    I think this is cogent analysis. Yet, there’s a reason they play the games. Plus, the M’s seem to have a pattern of outperforming on odd-numbered years :-)

    On the bright side, I can see Felix, Smoak, Ackley, Pineda, Gutierrez as a championship-quality core. It isn’t a stretch to imagine Mangini or Wilson emerging as a quality DH for a few years (maybe Triunfel will push his way into the picture?). Our #4 pick next year will likely be a power pitcher of some sort to bolster a rotation before too long. And even Z will concede by 2012 that Wak doesn’t have the tactical chops to run a championship team.

    2011 will feel much more hopeful, I think, than the failed attempt to contend in 2010.

    (I do wish Saunders and Moore had stronger upside than “supporting cast.”)

  30. BigB on July 19th, 2010 10:25 am

    If we just sit back and admit we can’t move Milton’s contract, what are the chances of signing Adam Dunn to something like a 3-year deal to play DH, and playing both Bradley and Saunders in LF for one year? I think he would fit well in our lineup, and even though he’s older I like his bat more than I like Pena’s, by a long shot.

    Am I just crazy thinking Dunn is a great fit here?

  31. JMHawkins on July 19th, 2010 10:25 am

    Yeah, what is the problem with Figgins anyway? His “slump” has been so bad and so prolonged, I’m wondering if it’s not something more than your every day fluctuation. He’s at almost 400 PA for the year and still hitting like a replacement level middle infielder.

    He turns 32 this year. If he racks up another 300 PA this year at a sub-.300 wOBA, I’d be inclined to remove him from the “got a job” list for next year. Especially if the M’s are playing for 2012, they might want to get an early start on auditioning a 3B for 2012.

    And the M’s are going to be in really bad shape if they are playing for 2012. It might be wise of them to shake loose some extra money for 2011. I’m not entirely sure how they could spend it, and I certainly wouldn’t want them to do a Bavasi-esque blunder, but Bradley and Wilson in the starting lineup next year just looks like a punt to me.

    A decade of ignoring the farm system has really hampered the team.

  32. Grizz on July 19th, 2010 10:29 am

    Ackley is on a major-league contract, so he’ll be in the bigs when he is ready and service-time considerations won’t be part of it.

    I’m not sure what you mean here. The fact that Ackley has a major league contract does not affect his service time. Even on a major league contract, Ackley would not start to accrue service time until he is promoted to the majors.

  33. shortbus on July 19th, 2010 10:34 am

    I love that Lopez figures nowhere in our plans for next season. If Ackley continues to hit well in AAA, do the M’s bring him up in August, hopefully after offloading Lopez at the deadline to a team that needs a…whatever Lopez is now?

    Maybe moving back to 3B magically turns Figgins back into the quality hitter the M’s thought they signed.

  34. Dave on July 19th, 2010 10:38 am

    Figgins will be fine. He’s slumping, not dead.

  35. eponymous coward on July 19th, 2010 10:39 am

    And to illustrate my point:

    2009 Mariner salary budget: $98 million.

    2010 Mariner salary budget: $91 million.

    And that was after a year where the Mariners won 85 games and traded for Cliff Lee.

    I don’t think we can safely assume that after a year where the Mariners may lose 100 games again (and two out of the past three years, a level of failure they haven’t been at since the 1970′s) that the budgets for 2011 and 2012 will stay at 90 million… and if that’s the case, Ichiro AND Felix will be eating up close to 50% of the budget for the team just by themselves. That’s a problem- it means if you make a mistake or have bad luck on a FA (*cough*ChoneFigginsin2009*cough*), you have no margin of error to fix a problem. You HAVE to hit home runs every time out on your free agents ala Pat Gillick in 2001, and that’s just impossible.

  36. Mousse on July 19th, 2010 10:45 am

    For those of you advocating signing Lowell and moving Figgins to short (or releasing him?!), I am glad you are not running this team.

  37. Mousse on July 19th, 2010 10:48 am

    Maybe moving back to 3B magically turns Figgins back into the quality hitter the M’s thought they signed.

    This is an argument I have seen from a number of sources, including one of our beat writers. Is there actually any evidence that a player’s offensive production may be adversely affected by switching his defensive position?

  38. maqman on July 19th, 2010 10:49 am

    There are other potential contributors such as Bedard and Hall and other farmhands developing beyond what is currently expected. We need to know if Moore can contribute and if not find a free agent who can.

  39. Chris_From_Bothell on July 19th, 2010 10:49 am

    You could bring in insurance policy types who can push them and serve as placeholders if they’re not ready, but you’re not going to bring in an established quality player that will get in the way if the kids prove that they’ve little left to learn in Triple-A.

    Completely sound reasoning, no matter what the budget is for next year.

    Which makes it also probably the most depressing thing I’ve read on here in some time, as it guarantees that the 2011 team will be mediocre at best, unless some miracle happens with multiple rookies simultaneously.

    I suppose every single one of us who at any time has said, “play the kids!”, needs to put their money where their mouth is and support next year’s team. Unless the powers that be decide to ignore Dave’s reasoning here and cobble together another pretender team with injury risks and scraps…

  40. benthic on July 19th, 2010 10:49 am

    Interesting post, as always, Dave. But I think the thinking here is a little to inflexible with regards to the “kids.” None of them are proven at the big league level, and some of them haven’t shown enough promise to say Z shouldn’t look at moves for a better, say, catcher or left fielder. If an opportunity arose to pursue an upgrade at one of those positions, I wouldn’t lose much sleep over blocking one of the kids from playing time. They’re talented kids, but not exactly prodigies.

  41. bookbook on July 19th, 2010 10:50 am

    I remember what happened to me in my early thirties… any chance Figgins needs lasix-glasses?

  42. diderot on July 19th, 2010 10:51 am

    A decade of ignoring the farm system has really hampered the team.

    I’m guessing you didn’t mean this quite so literally. Of course, there are draft picks we wish we’d made differently, but I think this does a disservice to a lot of people in the organization who worked very hard on developing talent…even if some were packaged off in ill-conceived deals.

    Yeah, what is the problem with Figgins anyway?

    Actually, he’s pretty much the same hitter he’s always been–as long as he’s hitting right handed. The OPS splits are partially explained by BABIP (.243 lefty vs. .356 rightie) but you can bet there are a lot of people in the organization trying to figure this out, too.

  43. Evan on July 19th, 2010 10:51 am

    Since we’re being all optimistic today…

    The worst record in baseball currently belongs to the Baltimore Orioles. We are 6.5 games ahead of Baltimore.

    What are the chances we can finish with a worse record and get the top draft pick? Our team is worse now than it was at the start of the season.

  44. robbbbbb on July 19th, 2010 10:53 am

    A question and two points:

    (1) I notice that Russell Branyan figures nowhere in next year’s plan, Dave. Do you expect the M’s to trade him away? Or what’s his purpose in a Mariner uniform?

    (2) Jack Wilson will need a backup, because he’s not capable of everyday play. Prepare for more of the Jack/Josh job share.

    (3) After this year’s performance, I don’t expect that anybody thinks Jose Lopez has value. Expect him to get back a bag of baseballs in trade. (Unless Z packages him as part of a deal for Zack Greinke. Hey, the Royals value Mariner castoffs! And Greinke is at the peak of his trade value, so clearly the Royals need to deal him! And before anyone asks, yes, I’m kidding.)

  45. Adam B. on July 19th, 2010 10:55 am

    I think part of the problem was that 2009 made people feel like 2010 would be “the” year as opposed to just another rebuilding year.

    Certainly the addition of Cliff Lee made it seem like a postseason appearance was a priority, but I felt then–and still do, that Lee’s departure was always a forgone conclusion dictated by his Type-A status and Zduriencik’s general distaste for Bavasi prospects. In other words; Cliff Lee was just a means of trading Phillipe Aumont and spare change for Justin Smoak and change.

    With 2010 viewed through this perspective, people should understand that winning now would simply have been a delicious gravy (as it was in 2009) on top of what has been an excellent rebuilding campaign.

    That said, I don’t think anyone would mind a few more “Cliff Lee” style trades where Zduriencik picks up someone short term with allusions towards contending, but a more pragmatic eye towards the trade market or draft compensation. Perhaps a revisit to the Harden/Sheets idea?

    Also, I think the M’s need to see if they can’t pry some kind of decent infielder through the trade market. Jack Wilson can’t be relied upon to start more then 120 games–if that, Dustin Ackley probably wont be ready to start in 2011, and Jose Lopez has probably worn out his welcome in Seattle.

    I would think that David Aardsma might be enough to pry Ivan DeJesus from the Dodgers now that he’s coming off the injury and has had his incumbency usurped by Dee Gordon.
    At the least he’d provide a decent back-up alternative to Josh Wilson, while also offering the upside of being a potential starter at short or second til Ackley and Franklin proove ready.

  46. eponymous coward on July 19th, 2010 10:56 am

    It might be wise of them to shake loose some extra money for 2011.

    Well, the problem with that is that after a season where your premiere FA acquisition had a poor year (Figgins), your secondary FA acquisitions/retentions were also trainwrecks (Kotchman, Griffey, Wilson), your trade from last year did nothing to help (Snell+Wilson), oh, and the other big trade you made clearly did nothing to help your team, but DID help the other team (Silva/Bradley), you probably don’t have the strongest case to go to your boss demanding dramatic increases in the MLB salary budget- especially given that revenue for 2011 will likely be flat or down as a hangover from a terrible 2010 season.

    Yes, I know, we all love Zduriencik’s process in general- but results on the field count too, as they directly impact the revenue and resources for the team, and keep in mind when Bill Bavasi tried the “give me more money and I’ll show you a winner” trick, it flopped miserably. There are probably going to have to be results on the field before there are expansions in the salary budget.

  47. ctdawg on July 19th, 2010 10:56 am

    I’m supposed to give up on 2011 already?

    Going into 2009, the line-up was

    C Johjima
    1B Branyan
    2B Lopez
    SS Betancourt
    3B Beltre
    LF Griffey
    CF Gutierrez
    RF Ichiro
    DH Sweeney

    Rotation – Felix, Bedard, Silva, Washburn, RRS

    Johjima was coming off an awful season.
    Branyan had never played consistently as a starter.
    Lopez was coming off a decent season but was allergic to walks.
    Beltre was supposed to be a consistent starter.
    Griffey was old and it wasn’t sure what he’d give.
    Gutierrez had never been a consistent starter,
    Ichiro was Ichiro.
    Sweeney had been injured for several seasons in a row.

    If you count Lopez, that’s 3 starters that you could be confident in.

    In the rotation, Felix was becoming Felix. Bedard was coming off an injury. Silva stunk. Washburn was mediocre. RRS was far from proven. In the bullpen, Morrow decided he wanted to close 2 weeks before the season and Aardsma hadn’t been consistent at all.

    Nothing was there to think this team would win 85 games but it did. Their run differential says the team way overachieved but their bullpen helped them win an MLB best 35 1-run games.

    We are 9 months away from the 2011 season For as bleak as it may look, its ridiculous to write it off already. Let’s see what the actual lineup will be before deeming it another lost season.

  48. Liam on July 19th, 2010 11:10 am

    What are the chances we can finish with a worse record and get the top draft pick?

    If Baltimore finished the season at their current .319 winning percentage, Seattle would need to go 15-77 the rest of the way. Baltimore may improve, but Arizona and Pittsburgh are also in the race to the bottom. It’s not happening.

  49. Adam B. on July 19th, 2010 11:12 am

    Yes, I know, we all love Zduriencik’s process in general- but results on the field count too,

    Which is why you start holding Zduriencik accountable when his process actually places his team on the field.

    Right now the Mariners are still dealing with the remains of Bavasi fallout from years of poor draft philosophies, terrible free-agent contracts, and even worse trades.

    We are just now entering the period where Zduriencik can start to be held accountable for the on the field performances, and while he may not get a blank check to work with, I don’t see any reason why the same front-office that was willing to extend a 117M payroll for Bavasi’s last gasp, couldn’t at least maintain a 90M~ status quo for Zduriencik’s best efforts.

  50. seattlesundevil on July 19th, 2010 11:15 am

    If Baltimore finished the season at their current .319 winning percentage, Seattle would need to go 15-77 the rest of the way.

    Liam – explain to me how we have 92 games left again? Last I checked, we had 70.

  51. Liam on July 19th, 2010 11:19 am

    15-55, sorry I got mixed up.

  52. spankystout on July 19th, 2010 11:23 am

    Yeah 2011 is pretty much toast already. The M’s already have 69.5million committed to next season. Ichiro and Bradley eat up 36.5million (I’m adding in the 5.5million owed to the Cubs). When a slap-hitter, and an inneffective, and unmovable contract eat half your committed budget–you have no flexibility. This isn’t even adding in the other overpaid slap-hitter which would be an extra 9.5million.

  53. SonOfZavaras on July 19th, 2010 11:27 am

    What are the chances we can finish with a worse record and get the top draft pick? Our team is worse now than it was at the start of the season.

    Slim and none. And Slim just left town.

    Baltimore, ‘Zona and the Pirates are all going to go into a free-fall after selling off what few pieces they have.

    We’ll certainly be a protected pick, maybe even within top five. But I think realistically we’re winding up somewhere in the top seven.

  54. SonOfZavaras on July 19th, 2010 11:43 am

    Go ahead and call me crazy for this one…but I have a feeling that Zduriencik has a major move up his sleeve (whether now or during the winter) that may make all the difference in the world insofar as being competitive sooner.

    I have no idea what it could actually be. But I’m not giving up on 2011′s chances until I see what shakes beforehand.

    Just to throw something out there, I could see Gutierrez shipped somewhere for a piece elsewhere- although to surrender a value like that it had best be something of direst need, like a shortstop of considerable quality.

    It’s aggravating that there are so few premium shortstops to be had in this current era.

    A decade ago, it seemed as though everyone either had one or there was one on the way. Now it’s like NO ONE is really good enough to play the position- 20-25 MLB teams right now are probably looking for an upgrade.

    What happened?

    Baseball and it’s cyclical nature, I guess, more than anything.

    Which makes me wonder just how soon Carlos Triunfel gets a shot in the big leagues, and will that shot come at shortstop first if bat proves ready.

    After all, Kevin Mitchell began his major-league career at shortstop- even if no one believed (correctly) he was going to stay there, long-term.

  55. Leroy Stanton on July 19th, 2010 11:47 am

    I think too many M’s fans have become conditioned to believe that surprises are only to the downside. Nobody expected Brennan Boesch to turn the Tigers into a contender. You should expect unexpected things to happen and they’re not always bad. Not even for the Mariners.

  56. Nellie Fox on July 19th, 2010 11:57 am

    I saw this coming in 2008. Easy to say, I know, but it happens to be true. You cannot get away with prolonged mismanagement, poor evaluation, and conflict of interest. Sooner or later it catches up to your franchise. Now we face a mediocre free agent year with jammed contracts, a depleted farm system, and an ineffective, incomplete roster. 2011? Might be 2013.

    Even if the free agent list was delicious, there are few bona fide winners whose agents will recommend Seattle. They don’t win and they don’t pay their stars. It’s just a matter of time before Felix becomes discouraged. He is already losing some of his sharpness as he presses to pitch behind no offense. Ichiro and Bradley aren’t going anywhere, though, and those contracts are more liability than anything else.

    At this point we find more ex-Mariners than available prospects playing positions where the M’s need help. Miguel Oliva, Ryan Franklin, Brian Fuentes, A-Rod, Shin Soo Choo (a better fit in LF or RF, all things considered.)

    Let’s keep going: Adam Jones, Adrian Beltre, Rafael Soriano. Brandon Morrow, Matt Thornton, Jose Guillen, Raul Ibanez. Even Greg Dobbs and Mike Morse offer more off the bench than the litany of no names the M’s have offered off the bench.

    Everyone likes to say that every team has this legacy. No they don’t. Name another franchise and show us the names.

    Simply put, we are in a fix. It’s taken more than a decade of sloppy decisions to create this, and it will take more than a season or two to repair it. Besides, no one in the Mariner FO is exactly rushing to the forefront with evidence that the root problem has changed.

  57. JMHawkins on July 19th, 2010 11:58 am

    I’m guessing you didn’t mean this quite so literally. Of course, there are draft picks we wish we’d made differently, but I think this does a disservice to a lot of people in the organization who worked very hard on developing talent…even if some were packaged off in ill-conceived deals.

    No, I meant pretty much exactly what I said. I’m sure there were people who worked very hard and meant very well, but they can hardly have been the right people to be in those positions or the team would have a better farm system. It’s not just the draft picks, though those were bad, but the development has been horrible too. The M’s have produced very, very few MLB-caliber players in the last ten years. They’ve drafted prospects who’ve gone bust. They’ve traded for propsects who’ve gone bust. They’ve drafted high in the order, low in the order, they’ve spent money, refused to spend money, and the one consistent result has been bad results.

  58. Nellie Fox on July 19th, 2010 12:11 pm

    Reality is incriminating.

  59. Xteve X on July 19th, 2010 12:12 pm

    If healthy, I think a great buy low guy this trade deadline could be Mike Lowell.

    “Sorry, but this really smacks of Bavasi thinking. Robbing people like Saunders and Moore the chance to play is only pushing back the timetable for us to compete.”

    But how would acquiring Lowell affect playing time for Saunders & Moore? The odd man out would be Figgins if anyone.

    Not that I’m enamored of Lowell but even he would be an upgrade over Lopez at this point.

  60. Westside guy on July 19th, 2010 12:18 pm

    Right now 2012 seems a long way off, but I don’t mind watching the young guys learn on the job – what bugged me was watching old guys who were obviously done get plate appearances while the young guy(s) was on the bench. But on to 2012…

    It’s the last year of Ichiro’s contract, and it seems like our majority owner cares deeply about the happiness of his Japanese players (at least based on the contract Johjima was given). I’m wondering if the purse strings might be loosened for 2012 in the name of “giving Ichiro a legitimate run at a World Series ring”. I know some people might say “why not 2011?” – but, if Dave’s right, that would be more of a Bavasi-esque sort of move, since the bulk of the team won’t be quite there yet. In 2012, it might require just a couple pieces (e.g. pitching).

  61. melo_otto15 on July 19th, 2010 12:23 pm

    Why does the general idea in the comments seem to be that Chone Figgins is done, and that the contract needs to be moved? Is he a 6 WAR player? No. But I don’t see any reason to believe that he’ll be a replacement level player from here on out. In short: people are throwing in the towel on him a tad too early, it seems.

  62. eponymous coward on July 19th, 2010 12:24 pm

    We are just now entering the period where Zduriencik can start to be held accountable for the on the field performances

    Um, how much of the current roster was on it the day Zduriencik was hired?

    I also find it a fascinating and amusing that people want to give credit for 2009′s success to Zduriencik, but want to blame 2010′s failure on Bavasi.

  63. Adam B. on July 19th, 2010 12:27 pm

    The problem with accountability in baseball is that it always takes a few years for mistakes (and wise decisions) to fully mature.

    The damage Bill Bavasi (and Pat Gillick!) did is only just now catching up to us in the form of washed out draft picks, the remnants of Albatross contracts, and the general dearth of talent as it was shipped out for short-term fixes and misguided motives.

    Can you imagine Jack Zduriencik trading away Shin Soo Choo, Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, Rafael Soriano, Carlos Guillen, Asdrubal Cabrera, Matt Thornton and Freddy Garcia for the sum of what Bill Bavasi accrued?

    Certainly retrospect doesn’t help Bavasi’s case, but even without it his moves were clearly among the most damaging to this franchise as any moves a GM has made.

    The fact that we have a glimmer of hope for 2012 is only because Zduriencik has prooven to be so adept at acquiring talent from multiple sources and that the team is profitable enough to chase the talent it needs.

    The fact of the matter is that this team HAS changed, and while we wont reap the benefits of that change for a little while yet, the horizon is oh so bright.

  64. eponymous coward on July 19th, 2010 12:34 pm

    When a slap-hitter, and an inneffective, and unmovable contract eat half your committed budget–you have no flexibility.

    Ichiro and Bradley aren’t going anywhere, though, and those contracts are more liability than anything else.

    Ichiro’s a valuable player, and lumping him in with Bradley (who IS an albatross) is ignoring his value. Calling him a “slap hitter” misses my point- which isn’t “Ichiro sucks and is overpaid”, but “an older player making 20 million and not offering much of discounted value in terms of salary/value on the field is a problem, in the context of a rebuilding team where revenues will probably be static or in decline for a while, contention isn’t realistic just quite yet, and you’re tying up a lot of salary in very few players”.

    If the 2010 season had worked out like it was intended (contention for the division, playoffs), Ichiro is probably not a problem, since there’s probably good reason to BOOST payroll come the 2010-2011 offseason. In the context of 2010-2011 being rebuilding years and contention not being realistic, I think you have to consider trading him (with the understanding that you can make an argument that dumping a very good player for pennies on the dollar doesn’t help your team- you have to get value back and consider the non-baseball side of things, too)… but the idea that Ichiro is some kind of drag on the team is stupid. He’s still a good player.

  65. lalo on July 19th, 2010 12:34 pm

    My prediction for 2011:

    RF Ichiro
    2b Dustin Ackley if he´s ready
    CF Guti
    DH Russell Branyan(Carlos Peña or Adam Dunn maybe)
    1b Smoak
    LF Saunders

    Until this point everything is going well…
    SS Josh/Jack/…Triunfel???
    C Moore/Mr. Passed Ball
    3b Figgins

    Bradley in San Diego or in the free agent market
    Pitchers:

    Felix
    Bedard/or a cheap pitcher in the free agent market
    Pineda if he´s ready
    Vargas
    Fister/French

    If Jack does Improvising the last three positions, this does not look too bad for 2011…

  66. Adam B. on July 19th, 2010 12:35 pm

    Um, how much of the current roster was on it the day Zduriencik was hired?

    Um, how much of the current roster would you rather have in 2011 then of the 2008 roster in 2009?

    Hope is worth a lot.

    It’s one thing to lose 100 games with a team full of overpaid veterans at the end of their careers. It’s an entirely different thing to lose 100 games with a core of young players coming into the game at the start of their careers.

    I am no Zduriencik apologist, I don’t think 85 wins in 2009 buys him any more credit in 2011 and 2012 then do 95 losses in 2010. The point is that judging an unfinished product is pointless.

    If Justin Smoak, Chone Figgins, Dustin Ackley, etc. aren’t part of the solution in 2012 and 2013 THEN you have an argument against Zduriencik.

  67. Westside guy on July 19th, 2010 12:42 pm

    Hope is worth a lot.

    I like that!

    I’ll be curious to see what this team does with Ackley in 2011. Given the reports we’ve had on his fielding, he might spend the year in AAA working on that. But, given the way his bat has come around (and the fact that this team has had no qualms about putting Tui on the major league roster)… would they consider letting him learn to defend 2B in the majors?

  68. msfanmike on July 19th, 2010 12:43 pm

    With Shin Soo Choo, Matt Thornton and Miguel Olivo – this is a completely different team today. If Adam Jones were here, Guti most likely wouldn’t be – so I would like to just call that a wash. I like Guti better anyway.

    Not getting anything other than a supplemental draft pick for Ibanez seems like a really bad move at this time too. It seemed like a really bad move 2 years ago too, but that is the move the ownership decided to make/not make. They hamstrung the Acting GM – Pelekoudas (allegedly) at the time.

    There were various and legitimate reasons for the exodus of others mentioned in Nellie’s post above, but I understand his point … if his point is that sometimes it is “better to do nothing.”

    However, doing “nothing” now is not an option.

    Choo and Thornton were bonehead moves. Olivo had his “issues” when he was here, but he has developed into a much better player since that time. We should have gotten something for Dobbs. Morse brought us Langerhans (wash). Franklin had the positive drug test. Guillen wanted too much money. Fuentes ditto … and he isn’t actually any good. Beltre was offered arbitration and could have made $12M this year. He turned it down and settled for $5M this year instead – with no guarantee that he will ever make it back.

    Everything JM Hawkins stated is true. However, the issues cross over various administrations – so the finger of blame can truly only be pointed at the top. We either rebuild and commit to it … or we continue along this roller coaster of an occasional “false positive” that interrupts what appears to be a rebuilding process.

    The AL West is not very strong. A couple key additions for next year (this years key additions could have been Marlon Byrd, Vladimir Guerrero and Jason Kendall) if decisions had been made differently. The ’11 FA market doesn’t look very promising, but there will still be a deal or two to be found. Convincing those FA’s to come to Seattle might actually be harder than finding their asking price. However, ’11 should be better than ’10 regardless.

  69. Utis on July 19th, 2010 12:44 pm

    You can’t punt 2011 on top of the likely near 100 loss season this year. Three out of four losing seasons will put the M’s into a Cleveland like tailspin at the gate.

    Even if you assume that Smoak, Ackley, and Saunders all have a 70% chance of being good contributors in 2012, that still leaves you with only a 34% chance that all three will pan out. To contend, the Mariners need to be willing to replace any one of them with a more certain quantity.

    The other place where Jack may be able to spend wisely is the bullpen. Yes I know that finding good value releivers is difficult but Rhodes and Nelson were key free agent pickups for the Mariners once upon a time.

  70. msfanmike on July 19th, 2010 12:49 pm

    Oh – and throw Asdrubal Cabrera into the “bonehead” decision category mix from my post above. Hard to believe I left something out of a post that long, but I did.

    Others have mentioned it too. I am agreeing with them.

  71. eponymous coward on July 19th, 2010 12:49 pm

    If Justin Smoak, Chone Figgins, Dustin Ackley, etc. aren’t part of the solution in 2012 and 2013 THEN you have an argument against Zduriencik.

    I’m not making an argument against Zduriencik, in the sense of “fire him, NOW”, but the idea that he gets a complete mulligan on 2010 doesn’t work for me, either. Like it or not, Chone Figgins is HIS signing. Milton Bradley is HIS trade. Jack Wilson and Ian Snell were the guys HE brought in.

    It’s an entirely different thing to lose 100 games with a core of young players coming into the game at the start of their careers.

    You can look at what Cleveland did in 2002-2004, though, something very similar to this (and processes many on this blog approved of)… and see where they are now, right back down at the bottom of the AL Central, though.

  72. Axtell on July 19th, 2010 12:51 pm

    I think too many people get caught up wanting/needing to win ‘now’, instead of looking at long term sustainability. Would you rather be a team that’s perpetually in the playoff hunt, always running out a winning team, or would you rather go for broke every year, leaving your farm system in shambles because you traded away every valuable piece at a chance of winning?

    I’d go for the former, and it seems that Z and Co. have that idea in place as well. They have to strike a balance between fielding a competitive club as well as looking to the future. They jumped on a great deal to move a valuable commodity and brought in Smoak. Smoak, Saunders, and Ackley have the chance to form a very formidable core for this team to build on for a long time. Young, talented, and under club control for a good number of years, I’ve seen time and again where groups of players arriving in the bigs about the same time forming a common bond and thriving. It’s been a long time (if ever) that we’ve seen this in Seattle, so a lot of fans are hesitant to jump on board with it.

    I’m ok with going into 2011 knowing the season is preparing to get ready for 2012 as long as we don’t see the likes of Kotchman, Bradley, and others blocking the way of our young talent. I’d much rather see the M’s lose with those three young guys out there than the vets doing nothing more than cashing a paycheck.

  73. diderot on July 19th, 2010 1:08 pm

    The M’s have produced very, very few MLB-caliber players in the last ten years.

    Can you imagine Jack Zduriencik trading away Shin Soo Choo, Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, Rafael Soriano, Carlos Guillen, Asdrubal Cabrera, Matt Thornton and Freddy Garcia for the sum of what Bill Bavasi accrued?

    I guess I’m having trouble reconciling these two comments. Does the organization suck because it couldn’t produce MLB caliber players…or did it just fritter them away?

    Doesn’t seem like it could be both.

  74. Adam B. on July 19th, 2010 1:14 pm

    I’m not making an argument against Zduriencik, in the sense of “fire him, NOW”, but the idea that he gets a complete mulligan on 2010 doesn’t work for me, either

    I wouldn’t say anyone wants to give him a complete mulligan, Figgins is indeed a black eye, but is it his fault he has to take risks on guys like Wilson, Bradley and Snell?

    Milton Bradley hasn’t been impressive. Who would you rather he trade Carlos Silva for? Do you hang onto the 2008/2009 version of Silva or should he just have eaten that contract for no return?

    Ian Snell had NO chance of being a decent starting pitcher? Or just not enough to be worth the invaluable pieces Zduriencik surrendered for him?

    Which Mariner prospect is Jack Wilson blocking? Which free-agent shortstop has outperformed him?

    My point isn’t that Jack Zduriencik has been wort free, my point is that he was given a handful of dog crap and told “Good luck!” and has turned that into something more then just dog crap.

    So while he doesn’t get a complete mulligan, he does get some leeway for not being the one who dug the hole he has to climb out of.

    Or did you expect him to pull off an even bigger miracle after 2009?

  75. charliebrown on July 19th, 2010 1:21 pm

    Just a question here, but at what point is Chone Figgins no longer considered to be “slumping” instead of “declining”?

    I know it’s not now, but if Chone struggles this bad for an entire year then isn’t it at least a sign that he’s starting to decline?

  76. diderot on July 19th, 2010 1:26 pm

    I think too many M’s fans have become conditioned to believe that surprises are only to the downside. Nobody expected Brennan Boesch to turn the Tigers into a contender. You should expect unexpected things to happen and they’re not always bad. Not even for the Mariners.

    Amen to this. The complexion changes if two between Ackley and Smoak and Saunders and Pineda and Halman and Moore and Mangini and Wilson and Triunfel become more than ‘contributors’. Is there a law against us having positive surprises?

  77. spankystout on July 19th, 2010 1:34 pm

    eponymous coward

    I wasn’t addressing you. I was commenting that those with 2011 hopes are being lofty…..As for Ichiro–he is a slap-hitter, unless its 5 o’clock. He is recieving 20% of the overall payroll for singles, some SBs, and plus-defense, at a non-premium position. Unfortunately the M’s don’t have the Red Sox, or Yanks payroll to play with.

  78. eponymous coward on July 19th, 2010 1:39 pm

    Or did you expect him to pull off an even bigger miracle after 2009?

    Avoiding going from 85 wins to perhaps 100 losses doesn’t strike me as a miracle. This team is bad. It’s likely to be bad next year, too- and it’s a scale of bad we haven’t seen in Seattle in a long, long time.

    I wouldn’t say anyone wants to give him a complete mulligan, Figgins is indeed a black eye, but is it his fault he has to take risks on guys like Wilson, Bradley and Snell?

    Figgins may be the most defensible of his roster moves.

    Do you hang onto the 2008/2009 version of Silva or should he just have eaten that contract for no return?

    You can make the argument that a healthy Carlos Silva doing what he is doing in Chicago isn’t much of a surprise, given his past career. Yes, Bavasi overpaid for him, but Silva’s back to what he was for the Twins- a useful 3/4 rotation innings-eater.

    I think the Bradley trade was defensible in hindsight and at the time… but keeping Silva and hoping a better defense and healthy arm would revive his career and value ala Washburn wasn’t completely ridiculous, either- and Bradley’s career is full of downside risk from injury (and now, apparently, age). It wasn’t black and white.

    When you’re taking a lot of risks and they don’t pan out.. well, you end up where the Mariners are in July 2011, with a roster that’s out of whack. We’re paying 8 1B/DH/LF types to play in 2010 (Griffey, Sweeney, Branyan, Kotchman, Langerhans, Bradley, Saunders, Smoak)… and we have NO depth in the middle infield for a guy who very clearly was an injury risk (Jack Wilson), and the bullpen’s horrible, both positions where Griffey and Sweeney’s money could have given us upgrades from “horrible” to “tolerable”. There’s just no way you get to blame this one on Bavasi.

  79. eponymous coward on July 19th, 2010 1:50 pm

    As for Ichiro–he is a slap-hitter, unless its 5 o’clock. He is recieving 20% of the overall payroll for singles, some SBs, and plus-defense, at a non-premium position.

    Ichiro’s a 4-5 WAR player. How he gets to his contributions (singles, walks, stolen bases, home runs, defense, whatever) is irrelevant- the point is that he consistently performs at an All-Star, HOF level, which is quite valuable. Focusing on what a player doesn’t do (“slap hitter”) instead of what the worth is of what he does do is stupid.

    If we had Mark Texeira, a comparable player, but making the same amount of money Ichiro does, we’d still have the same problem of a large amount of payroll tied up in a veteran while the team’s not in contention, even though that veteran is a very good player. The problem has nothing to do with the fact that Ichiro doesn’t hit 30 jacks a year.

  80. itea on July 19th, 2010 2:26 pm

    This is a relatively minor point – but for bad teams/good teams, there is actually a small difference in how the generic ‘WAR’ is accrued. For an individual player it may hardly be worth mentioning; for a team built on a pitching and defense philosophy where offense is sacrificed for defense across the board, those numbers will add up. This first occurred to me earlier this year in a thread where Jeff Nye dictated (incorrectly, IMO) that there was no difference between saving an extra run and scoring an extra run.

    Basically, if you think your team is good, it’s worth sacrificing the offense for equal defense. If your team is bad, you might get a couple extra wins going the other direction.

  81. Mariners1212 on July 19th, 2010 2:27 pm

    eponymous coward
    You can’t say that Silva would have done this with the Mariners this year. The reason he is doing better is because he is throwing his fastball a lot less and hitters are not hitting his off speed stuff. The Seattle pitching coaches seem to do the exact opposite with our pitchers, so to say he would have performed the same is probably wrong.

  82. florient on July 19th, 2010 2:27 pm

    If ichiro is a 5 WAR player. Is it conceivable that he could be traded for a couple of players that add up to, say, 3 WAR while upgrading positions that currently contain negative or even WAR players? Thus getting us slightly more WAR overall?

  83. Steve Nelson on July 19th, 2010 2:29 pm

    Rebuilding a team is a stochastic process, in which discrete options become available at somewhat random or arbitrary times. Fans of a team can only hope that their GM is sufficiently astute to recognize and respond to those options when they become available.

    With Zduriencik we’ve seen him do precisely that. I think we’re a bit spoiled in that two such opportunities presented themselves fairly quickly in his tenure. Had those situations not presented themselves when they did, these discussions would be quite different.

  84. TomTuttle on July 19th, 2010 2:31 pm

    Somehow I doubt Armstrong/Lincoln will let Jack build towards 2012 since not many people would then want to buy tickets for 2011 and Super Mario, Bros. would lose money.

    Just watch them make Z orchestrate a crappy trade (like the Erik Bedard trade) to give people the PERCEPTION that Seattle is a contender, they are committed to winning, etc.

  85. Adam B. on July 19th, 2010 2:33 pm

    When you’re taking a lot of risks and they don’t pan out.. well, you end up where the Mariners are in July 2011, with a roster that’s out of whack. We’re paying 8 1B/DH/LF types to play in 2010 (Griffey, Sweeney, Branyan, Kotchman, Langerhans, Bradley, Saunders, Smoak)… and we have NO depth in the middle infield for a guy who very clearly was an injury risk (Jack Wilson), and the bullpen’s horrible, both positions where Griffey and Sweeney’s money could have given us upgrades from “horrible” to “tolerable”. There’s just no way you get to blame this one on Bavasi.

    And Zduriencik should’ve taken all the straw and spun it into gold? I still don’t see how Zduriencik not having any payroll flexibility or talent to work with isn’t Bavasi’s fault?

    You’ve basically just reiterated the point I used to refute your argument. Zduriencik didn’t create the holes at 1B, LF, C, SS, etc. etc. He just had to fill them with a limited payroll and relatively little developed talent.

    And I can only speculate, but I find it highly unlikely that Griffey returning for a second year would’ve been in Zduriencik’s (or any other GM for that matter…) master plan. I think that one gets chalked up to people who prioritize a bottom line over Wins; And I don’t think Zduriencik’s primary concern is building a legacy of keeping a team “profitable”.

  86. JMHawkins on July 19th, 2010 2:36 pm

    I guess I’m having trouble reconciling these two comments. Does the organization suck because it couldn’t produce MLB caliber players…or did it just fritter them away?

    Doesn’t seem like it could be both.

    Both, in a sense. My suspicion is that something was (hopefully no longer is) broken in the M’s player development. Given Gillick’s clear preference for established veterans, and Bavasi’s track record of poor hires (e.g. the high profile “hires” like Sexson, Hargrove, Ramirez, etc. were obviously bad, perhaps some less visible hires in the PD org were too?) I think it’s a definite possibility the people evaluating, coaching, and promoting young players just weren’t good at their jobs.

    So, on the one hand we hand we have poor high-level draft picks who have washed out (Garciaparra) or will never be able to justify their draft slot (Fields). Then we have a legion of guys with potential like Clement, Morrow, Reed, Olivo, who have stagnated while in the M’s system (whether originally M’s picks or well regarded prospects they traded for). And on the gripping hand are guys like Choo and Cabrera who blossomed only once they went elsewhere.

    The last above-average position player to graduate into the big leagues from the M’s system turns 35 next Tuesday.

    That’s not just bad draft picks. Jeff Clement wasn’t a bad pick. Jeremy Reed wasn’t a bad trade. The M’s weren’t developing their blue chips right. They weren’t getting value out of the other guys either. Brennan Boesch was a 3rd round pick. Zobrist was a 6th rounder. Pujols was a 13th round pick.

    The M’s have had decent players go through their system, but their system has been almost totally unable to coach those guys into being quality Major League players. A few have been salvaged by other orgs, and looking at the way Morrow was handled (for instance) is it any wonder guys didn’t prosper as M’s farmhands?

  87. don52656 on July 19th, 2010 2:36 pm

    Dave, I totally agree with you. If we assume that this team is going to lose in the neighborhood of 100 games this year, it would be a miracle for a team to improve from that level to playoff level in a single season. I would think that having an exciting, young, competitive team in the 80 win range next year would be a fair expectation, with making the jump to playoff contender in 2012 a possibility.

    Since we have gone so very long without a playoff team, I can only hope that when we do reach the level of being a playoff contender, we will stay at that level for many years.

    I wonder how many more years Ichiro will be counted to be one of the components of the next Mariners playoff team? I’m sure he will age better than just about anyone, but the window of opportunity for him to be a playoff participant in Seattle is beginning to close, albeit slowly.

  88. GoldenGutz on July 19th, 2010 2:38 pm

    I love our young core, Felix, Pineda, Ackley, Franklin, Smoak, Saunders, Moore. Felix and Pineda are our 1-2, Ackley, Franklin and Smoak our are infield and Saunders will be a nice player (maybe a SSC type player, does everything you want) add in the fact we probably get a top pitcher this year and 2013 is probably the year you’re looking at a legit contender for years to come. I think Jack is a stop gap until Franklin comes up, so I don’t see him staying for much longer.

  89. don52656 on July 19th, 2010 2:53 pm

    Tacoma 53-41
    W Tenn 47-46
    High Desert 50-44
    Clinton 50-42
    Everett 21-9
    Pulaski 14-12

    It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between minor league success and major league success, but I like the fact that every one of the M’s minor league affiliates has a winning record. I don’t think it can hurt to have established a culture of winning among players as they graduate to higher levels and eventually the majors.

  90. Rck74 on July 19th, 2010 2:53 pm

    I think if Jack put Ichiro on the trade market he wouldn’t get near as much as some people think. He may even be asked to pick up some of Ichiro’s salary. That’s not a knock on Ichiro it’s just that not too many players make $18 million a year. And only a handful of teams would pick up that salary.

  91. bat guano on July 19th, 2010 2:55 pm

    Dave: I’ve enjoyed your trade value series at Fangraphs, which has me thinking about what we might deal to bring in some new talent. Given that we’re pointing towards 2012 and beyond (and I agree that’s the most realistic scenario), wouldn’t it make sense to trade David Aardsma for a prospect that might be able to help us down the road? Might Aardsma bring back a highly regarded position player who still needs 2-3 years to develop? Aardsma won’t be critical to us in the near future, so I’m thinking that trading him before the deadline might be one small step toward building the team we need…

  92. Mike Snow on July 19th, 2010 2:59 pm

    I think Jack is a stop gap until Franklin comes up, so I don’t see him staying for much longer.

    It’s wonderful that Franklin is hitting better than we had any right to expect, but there’s a lot of wishcasting going on here in terms of his contribution to the big league club. We’re talking about a 19-year-old playing Low-A ball who was still in high school last year. Having one year left on Jack Wilson’s contract is not anywhere near providing a bridge to the possible day when Nick Franklin can be a valuable contributor in the majors as a starting shortstop.

  93. florient on July 19th, 2010 3:19 pm

    What ever happened to Josh Fields, our 08 first round pick?

  94. justinh on July 19th, 2010 3:27 pm

    I would bet those who are blasting JZ for Figgins and Bradley this year were probably raving about the two pickups seven months ago. You can only evaluate signings/trades/drafts in two ways:

    1. At the time of the signing/ trade/draft

    Or

    2. When all is said and done

    I believe JZ made the right move signing Figgins at the time and I also think he is much better than what he has shown thus far. Obviously he has struggled thus far but changing your position/team/spot in the order can be tough. I am not saying he is a 6 WAR, but I expect him to have a much better year in 2011. Figgins is not a utility player as some have said. It also helps to have a decent #3 hitter behind you and Figgy has not had that nearly all year.

    The Bradley/Silva deal was a shot in the dark and a move that made sense for me. I do not fault JZ for being aggressive and making the move so many of us wanted the Mariners to make in the past. Bradley had the potential to be a legit middle of the order presence and it was worth risking Silva for the chance Milton could produce anywhere close to the way he did in previous years. Again, with a guy that sees a lot of pitches and takes walks, it is nice to have some protection and I think that also has hurt Bradley. I’m not saying I think MB has been better than Silva, but I stand by Z’s thinking.

    The difference between JZ and Bavasi is I liked the moves Z did at the time. I never liked the moves Bavasi made. JZ already has a record for being a good judge of talent. Acquiring Cliff Lee was brilliant, and JZ realized there was a great chance he would improve the club through a midseason trade or two picks. Landing Smoak and losing 100 games is better than being a 85 win team for my money. JZ is acquiring the pieces it will take to win a World Series and not simply trying to be a mediocre team that hangs until August. In order to win in this market, you need to have inexpensive, young talent that will contribute and Ackley, Smoak, Pineda, Saunders, Moore, and possibly others (Truinfel, Paxton, Mangini, Raben, Wilson) give you a legit shot in 2012.

    I stand by JZ and believe he will give us a very good shot to be a contender in 2012. Let the kids play next year with an eye towards 2012. If we win next year, I will be overjoyed, but letting your young talent get PT in 2011 is priority #1. With the inexpensive talent contributing, we can spend money on a legit FA class in 2012.

    I also expect Z will make a move for a SS sometime in the next year and I would love to acquire Brignac from Tampa. I know we would have to give up a good amount of talent, but I think he is going to be a stud and well worth it.

  95. littlelinny6 on July 19th, 2010 3:28 pm

    I for one would definitely like a read a post about why we should give Figgins the 3B job next year. I’m not saying we should automatically bench him but the M’s should at least explore free agency a bit. Figgins LD% is down over 4% this year and his basic inability to drive the ball with any authority is worrisome. While there may be nothing better out there at 3B, since we resigned ourselves to basically having black holes offensively at SS and C, punting another position in 2011 makes no sense. Having Figgins at 3B in 2011 isn’t the worse thing but it should not be set in stone.

  96. justinh on July 19th, 2010 3:30 pm

    florient on July 19th, 2010 3:19 pm
    What ever happened to Josh Fields, our 08 first round pick?

    Another brilliant move by BB. He was injured in AA, but is back or coming back soon.

  97. GoldenGutz on July 19th, 2010 3:57 pm

    Don’t forget about Fields awesome control!

    Anyone else think Lueke may be a great closer. You look at his ridiculous numbers that he posts. (I believe an 11:2 K:BB ratio.) That trade is making me so happy with the early numbers (although Beavan got roughed up)

  98. JMHawkins on July 19th, 2010 4:05 pm

    I liked the Figgins deal when it was made and still think it was a good idea. It hasn’t worked out so far, and at this point, the question (regarding Figgins) is whether it’s going to get better. Dave thinks so, I hope so, and I wouldn’t dump him right now for a bucket of balls or in order to give a fringe prospect a shot. However, if he doesn’t post a .300+ wOBA for the last two months of the season, I’d classify him as a “sunk cost” and see if there’s a better option to be had. Mabye there isn’t, but if he finishes 2010 the way he began it, I’d look at him more as someone to “push” Ackley rather than pencilled in as regular.

    As far as Zdurincik, he’s definitely had more plusses than minuses, but he’s had a few head-scratchers for sure. I don’t count Figgins against him, I think it was a good move. But going into 2011, the biggest weaknesses on the team are probably SS and C, two of the hardest positions to fill.

    Zduriencik has pulled off a couple of sheer brilliant moves, getting Guti and turning a couple of fringe pitching prospects and few million dollars into Justin Smoak. He’ll need to do something similar to plug the remaining holes left by prior mgmt. Those moves will need to be more Guti-esque, less Sweeney-ific.

  99. Chris_From_Bothell on July 19th, 2010 4:14 pm

    The M’s have had decent players go through their system, but their system has been almost totally unable to coach those guys into being quality Major League players. A few have been salvaged by other orgs, and looking at the way Morrow was handled (for instance) is it any wonder guys didn’t prosper as M’s farmhands?

    It’s a great point, and a depressing trend. I’d love to know how an organization can evaluate and correct problems in its coaching system proactively.

    It’d be sad to think that the only way to definitely know that your coaching / minors system sucks is by counting the number of players with terrible records here, who do just fine elsewhere.

    Isn’t there some objective rating system available for ML coaches and minor league instruction, so you can correct midseason or from one season to the next?

    Something that quantifies things like: “League was great elsewhere when he threw his splitter, he’s not throwing his splitter, you’d think the coaches would know he should throw his splitter, therefore X coach get dinged -X points on some scale for not doing the obvious with a player”?

    We shouldn’t need to have a laundry list over several years like Choo, Thornton, Olivo, Asdrubal Cabrera, possibly Morrow, etc. etc. before figuring out there’s a fundamental organizational problem…

  100. Breadbaker on July 19th, 2010 4:50 pm

    It should be remembered that although Bavasi drafted Fields, Zduriencik signed him (and could have taken another draft pick instead). I don’t think he gets a pass for that.

    I love Jack, I love his intelligence and his energy and his self-confidence. He’s had a run of really bad luck with some moves that penciled out properly; that will happen on occasion, just as sometimes a prospect works out well beyond anyone’s expectations.

    One of the things I think we tend to forget on this blog is that those numbers that come up are really just the high point on a wide range of possibilities. So a guy who “projects” to hit .270 has an X% chance of hitting .240 and a Y% chance of hitting .330. This year, we’ve had an awful lot of X% happen. Last year, Aardsma was at Y+%. But at least we didn’t sign him to a six-year extension.

  101. eponymous coward on July 19th, 2010 5:04 pm

    And Zduriencik should’ve taken all the straw and spun it into gold?

    Bill Bavasi didn’t sign ANY of the players I mentioned in my post. None of them. Zero. The fact is that Zduriencik CHOSE to have Ken Griffey’s useless carcass cluttering up the roster (and any objective analysis shows Griffey hasn’t been above replacement level for years), chose to let Wak have Sweeney as his quasi-coach, chose to trade white elephants, and so on.

    If you start out in a hole (and yes, Bavasi put the organization in a hole), sure you should account for the fact that you start out in a hole, and every GM screws one up now and then. But you still get evaluated on the record, and just to take an example, the Mariner plan of record in 2010 for SS was pray that A) Jack Wilson stays healthy and B) use a guy with next to no experience at SS (Hannahan) as a fallback plan. Are you going to blame Bill Bavasi for the Mariners not signing any infield depth in 2010, when they wasted money on Griffey AND Sweeney?

    That’s my argument. Jack doesn’t get to escape blame for a 2010 season of 100 losses just by handwaving about Bavasi. Bad decisions (DH, infield) and bad coaching (Silva, League falling in love with his fastball) count.

    You can’t say that Silva would have done this with the Mariners this year.

    I’m not saying that- but it’s pretty obvious in hindsight that Silva wasn’t complete garbage. I also think in light of League thinking he needs to throw 99% fastballs (and the fact that the Mariner bullpen is overstocked with good fastball/poor command righties) that the organization might have a bit of a problem. That reflects on the GM.

    Does Zduriencik deserve to be fired? No, of course not. But I think excusemaking when you have a potential 100-loss season is the wrong way to go here. Zdurencik failed to do a good job in 2010, if you figure his job was “build on progress made in 2009″. Now the key is “can he learn from the failures and what went wrong”? Bavasi never did, really, in California or Seattle.

  102. SODOMOJO360 on July 19th, 2010 5:17 pm

    I don’t think you have to let Saunders be the LF if there’s something else better out there. He is still young enough to spend next year in AAA to learn how to hit lefties. Dump Bradley, eat the salary and sign Branyan to be the DH next year. Must find a 5th starter for Hyphen.

  103. heychuck01 on July 19th, 2010 5:17 pm

    Everyone here realizes that the preceding article is Dave Cameron’s OPINION? Right? You are entitled to have your own (opinion).

    I know, we come here because we are fans of Dave’s analysis. But, he is commenting on the future. He doesn’t KNOW anything. If you think otherwise, you could be right too!! Don’t get too depressed about things just because you read this one article… or you can if you want. It’s your opinion to decide.

  104. Frozenropers on July 19th, 2010 5:19 pm

    I’d still really like to see if Jack Z can make a deal with DM and the Royals to see if they would part with Gordon to fill our 3b position. With them moving him to the OF and DM’s lover for “tools” it would sure be interesting to see if JZ could create a deal around Halman and Lopez. The Royal’s just seem to love to grab up Mariner players.

    We could move Gordon back to 3b and promote him back to the MLB and he would be a perfect piece to grow with Smoak, Ackley, Saunders, Guti, Moore, Felix and Pineda.

  105. diderot on July 19th, 2010 5:26 pm

    Zdurencik failed to do a good job in 2010, if you figure his job was “build on progress made in 2009?. Now the key is “can he learn from the failures and what went wrong”?

    eponymous,

    There’s sense in a lot of what you say, but I think you’re drawing a false conclusion. He didn’t ‘fail’…and thus, there’s nothing to ‘learn’.

    The man had a plan–pitching and defense. It’s the only one he had available. He worked it, and in the off season almost everyone applauded. But everyone from this site to the most brain-dead national baseball writer had the same question–is there enough hitting?

    The players have failed. Maybe bad luck, maybe something else, but the team he built this year is better than the one he inherited/built last year. They just haven’t won. I wonder if the issues you cite–no backup SS, Silva/Bradley, League throwing fewer fastballs–would have made a whit of difference.

    So my thought is that Z is doing a great job, and should continue doing it. Yes, he can be second-guessed. But is there anyone in baseball you’d rather have working in his circumstances?

  106. JMHawkins on July 19th, 2010 6:19 pm

    The man had a plan–pitching and defense. It’s the only one he had available. He worked it, and…

    I beg to differ a bit. The 2010 team is struggling in part because Zduriencik did not work the pitching and defense plan. Not all the way. It was a good plan, but he didn’t follow through.

    Pitching-and-defense would not have had Bradley as the everyday LF and Tui as the backup SS to an injury prone starter. Pitching-and-defense would not have had such a weak and inflexible bench and two catchers who couldn’t.

    Catch that is.

    The unexpected offensive collapse of Figgins and the general inability of any of the position players the team gambled on to come through (Bradley, Griffey, Sweeney, Kotchman, Jack Wilson, Moore, that surfer dude we platooned in LF for a while…) hurt too, but this team was poorly finished off. Something happened between the Cliff Lee signing and the opening day roster. I still have a really hard time reconciling that the guy who traded for Guti and Lee is also the guy that had a Griffey/Sweeney platoon at DH with a seven man pen and Tui the only backup infielder.

    I’m not out for Zduriencik’s head either. Like I said earlier, on balance he’s been more plus than minus. But EC is right that 2010 has some lessons to teach. It would be a bit presumptious of me to claim I could learn them better than Zduriencik, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any lessons.

  107. eponymous coward on July 19th, 2010 7:09 pm

    The players have failed.

    Given that almost all of the roster has been turned over, that should read “the players Zduriencik chose for the 2010 have failed”.

    We seem to be going around and around on this point, but you can’t blame Bill Bavasi for the existence of Mike Sweeney or Ken Griffey on this roster on Opening Day when he had nothing to do with the signing. You can’t blame Bavasi for dumping Morrow for League. You can’t blame Bavasi for trading for Wilson and Snell… etc., etc.

    Maybe bad luck, maybe something else, but the team he built this year is better than the one he inherited/built last year.

    Based on what? We just blew a half-year of Cliff Lee’s career, and if Dave’s right, Ichiro’s going to be pushing 40 before this team is in contention, and Felix will be making $20 million instead of what he’s making now (which makes him a discounted asset now, not so much later). Oh, and we’ve spent the last 7 YEARS rebuilding, without being in anything resembling a pennant race in September, and it’s trashing the fan base and revenue for the team, to the point where attendance is back to early 1990′s levels. It is quite possible that this team will go 10 years without being in a pennant race in September.

    Are there talented players? Sure. Cleveland had some talent in the mid 00′s, too (still has some of those players). It got them about 2-3 years of being in contention, and they’re back in the toilet now.

    So my thought is that Z is doing a great job, and should continue doing it. Yes, he can be second-guessed. But is there anyone in baseball you’d rather have working in his circumstances?

    Honestly? I don’t know. Which is why I’m not saying fire him. I like a lot of what has been done. But no, sorry, I don’t care what kind of handwaving you do about previous management, you don’t get to claim credit for a job well done when the season tanks this badly, and you’ve been able to turn over a huge percentage of the roster during your tenure as a GM. Like it or not, this is HIS team, and if it sucks, it means he chose players who went on to suck. His job is to choose better next time.

  108. SODOMOJO360 on July 19th, 2010 7:34 pm

    He didn’t choose Lopez who has been one of the biggest busts this year after having the year he did last year. Bradley, Kotch, Figgins, Grif, Bullpen, Catchers….all having career worst years. Can’t blame Jack for not thinking all of them would be horrible this year.

  109. kenshabby on July 19th, 2010 7:37 pm

    I don’t believe 2012 is realistic either. Perhaps by 2015, or maybe 2077.

  110. shadow_watch on July 19th, 2010 8:03 pm

    I believe that the M’s should seriously consider moving Ichiro for the right price. They are not going to contend anytime soon. They should be able to get a decent return on moving him, while saving significant salary and opening up a spot for a run producing OF. We cannot have multiple power positions occupied by non-RBI producing players.

    If a trade option becomes available at 3B you explore it. Figgins could be a great McLemore clone if he accepted the role.

    I do look for a solid number 2 arm in any potential Ichiro deal.

  111. Double Suicide Squeeze on July 19th, 2010 8:48 pm

    I agree with the folks who want to move Ichiro now. His salary is huge and the number of years he has left in the tank are anyone’s guess. Right now he is still an All-Star level player. Right now he is good.

    Right now the M’s are in rebuild mode.

    How does keeping Ichiro’s salary on the books help this team rebuild? Especially when he can be traded for multiple players that can be a part of the rebuilding process.

    The only thing he provides to a rebuilding team is marketing and additional revenue (which can’t be totally discounted), but at the cost of truly going forward with the rebuilding process. Long term I have to think that a winning team (and maybe a new young star?) would be more profitable than an aging Ichiro.

    With the number of holes this team has, trading Ichiro seems like the best way to free up salary and get a decent return via trade.

  112. JMHawkins on July 19th, 2010 9:10 pm

    I do believe the bulk of the problems with this team are the fault of pre-Zduriencik management. Yes, he’s turned over the roster to a large extent, but he still began with a very bare cupboard and nobody can create a real contender without a few more cheap young guys than Zduriencik inherited. He “turned over” Mike Morse, Bill Hall, Carlos Silva, Jeremy Reed, etc. He got a pretty good return for them considering, but those guys and a small handfull of millions for FA signings aren’t going to turn into the TB Rays overnight.

    The biggest problem he faced was that upon taking over, the “youth” on the team consisted of Felix Hernandez, Jose Lopez, and a bunch of replacement level guys. He certainly hasn’t been perfect in rebuilding, I’ve got my complaints. But he was handed a you-know-what sandwich, without much bread. He doesn’t deserve blame for all 100 losses this year. Some of them, sure, but not all.

  113. greentunic on July 19th, 2010 9:11 pm

    Trading Ichrio would be way too risky to consider. Not baseball wise, but Mariner-wise. JZ would get KILLED by the media, most fans (entire Japanese fanbase, and we DO have one), and the baseball community.

    Ownership wouldn’t allow it anyway. Plus we wouldn’t get a ton without eating lots of his salary. The M’s moving Ichiro is something that would only happen in video games.

  114. eponymous coward on July 19th, 2010 11:25 pm

    He didn’t choose Lopez who has been one of the biggest busts this year after having the year he did last year. Bradley, Kotch, Figgins, Grif, Bullpen, Catchers….all having career worst years. Can’t blame Jack for not thinking all of them would be horrible this year.

    No general manager goes out thinking “I’m going to make a team that sucks this year and make poor decisions”. Not Bavasi, not whichever loser is running the Orioles or Royals this year, nobody.

    If the attitude is “100 lossses, no big deal, at least it’s not Bill Bavasi and this is all really his fault anyway”, there’s no opportunity to learn and improve. You have to admit to mistakes before you can learn from them.

    Yes, he’s turned over the roster to a large extent, but he still began with a very bare cupboard and nobody can create a real contender without a few more cheap young guys than Zduriencik inherited.

    OK, so all the stuff Dave/Lookout Landing/etc. that everyone wrote was 100% wrong (and not in hindsight- if this team was hosed, it should have been obvious back then), and there was no way this team was capable of contending in 2010 or in the near future? Then why bother with Cliff Lee and Figgins? That’s $20 million in ownership’s cash being wasted on a team that can’t contend- why not mail it in Florida Marlins-style?

    I don’t buy that. I think some of this is bad luck… but some of the bad luck is residue of bad design of the 2010 roster (to put a twist on how Branch Rickey put it), and there were choices that could have helped the team quite a bit. My sincere hope is the management team doesn’t gloss over this ala Bavasi did when some of HIS plans went cockeyed, but they LEARN. Being a MLB GM is a tough job, and if you don’t learn and improve, you’ll get lapped by the ones who do.

  115. samregens on July 20th, 2010 12:47 am

    All this “trade Ichiro” talk is pretty damn irritating.

    Sure, trade the only reliable high performing player on the team. The guy who manages to play excellently at a high level for the fans, year in and year out, and almost every single fucking game, even when surrounded by guys playing like garbage and amid despair of another wasted season due to mediocrity.

    And for those yakking on about how high his salary is, you seem to be forgetting he is costing us the grand price of 1.5 Carlos Silvas, 1.5 Milton Bradley, 1.5 Beltres, 1.5 Sexsons, 2 Figgins, etc. How many wins has he been worth every year compared to these guys again?

    For some people it seems that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and they like to complain and hate upon what we have.
    Other teams’ good players are always better than the gem we have. That is until, the Chone Figgins, the Bradleys, the Sexsons, etc. actually come to the Safe and we see that they’re not so great after all.
    Complain away.

    And really, the Mariners would be unwatchable without Ichiro. He’s the only tried and true superstar/world class everyday player on the team.
    The guy who’s busting his butt out there every single day, playing at an excellent level for the team and fans.
    The Mariners without our superstar leadoff man would be a pathetic garbage team below the Pirates or Royals in terms of significance.

  116. Schwindt10 on July 20th, 2010 1:30 am

    I agree with the notion that Z should do everything in his power to move Wilson, then we can move Figgy over to SS, & get ourselves a 3B in FA (Inge, Cantu, Feliz, Wigginton).

  117. JMHawkins on July 20th, 2010 9:19 am

    OK, so all the stuff Dave/Lookout Landing/etc. that everyone wrote was 100% wrong (and not in hindsight- if this team was hosed, it should have been obvious back then), and there was no way this team was capable of contending in 2010 or in the near future

    What I recall from the prognosis was that the team had a bunch of gambles that, if they paid off, would make them a contender. And if they didn’t, we’d have a 70 win club.

    Well, the gambles (Kotchman, Bradley, Bedard, Wilson, Griffey) all failed pretty badly, and a couple of “sure things” (Figgins, League) collapsed on top of that.

    I don’t give Zduriencik a pass, no siree. I’ve mentioned my complaints. He made some bad moves. I also recognize that the hand he had to play required taking big risks to compete. When he took over, the team was at the bottom of the league talent-wise with it’s starting C, SS and CF. The three most important positions, and they had nothing on the ML roster or (really) in AAA. Clement, Johnson and Moore were there at C, but Clement couldn’t stick, Johnson is replacement level, and Moore isn’t ready.

    He’s got the team going in the right direction, but this year he’s proven to be human and fallable.

  118. eponymous coward on July 20th, 2010 10:09 am

    He’s got the team going in the right direction, but this year he’s proven to be human and fallable.

    I can go with that. If you’re not failing every now and then, you probably aren’t trying hard enough. The key is what you learn from the failures.

    All this “trade Ichiro” talk is pretty damn irritating.

    Sure, he’s a great player. There’s no serious argument about that. So’s Cliff Lee. Didn’t seem to stop us from trading him.

  119. samregens on July 20th, 2010 5:27 pm

    Sure, he’s a great player. There’s no serious argument about that. So’s Cliff Lee. Didn’t seem to stop us from trading him.

    While Cliff Lee was here I really felt that he and Ichiro were clearly a cut above the rest in terms of professionalism, preparation, actual performance on the field, etc.

    However, I find it interesting that in terms of trading people away, you think that a player who was here for half a year is equal to a player who can be said to be the face of the Mariners for close to 10 years now and counting.

    And who has been maybe the only big superstar showing loyalty to the Mariners and the fans in Seattle, choosing to sign with us in free agency and remain with us when he could have gone anywhere else and been very welcome.

  120. regnaD kciN on July 20th, 2010 6:00 pm

    And really, the Mariners would be unwatchable without Ichiro.

    Uh…right now, the Mariners are unwatchable with Ichiro.

  121. sbrune40 on July 20th, 2010 10:56 pm

    what if the m’s find a taker for saunders and get a decent return and go hard after crawford in free agency?? too much wishful thinking huh?

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