Dave’s Offseason Plan, 2011 Style

Dave · November 5, 2010 at 9:54 am · Filed Under Mariners 

It’s back again – the annual winter tradition where I speculate on some potential moves the M’s could make and put together my own roster for next year. I try to be as realistic as possible, though everyone will have their own opinions on the viability of these moves. I’m sticking to a $93 million budget, about the same amount as what the team spent last year, and will hopefully get in the realm of possibility with the dollars for the arbitration eligible guys and suggested free agents. In the one trade suggested, I’ve tried to fairly compensate the other team with sufficient talent to make the deal work for both sides. As always, the specific players are examples of the types of moves I’d like to see the team make, but there are various alternatives at each position. Oh, and yes, this is your thread for rosterbation. Go nuts.

The Moves

Trade David Aardsma and Jose Lopez to Arizona for OF Cole Gillespie and IF Ryan Roberts
Sign DH Lance Berkman to a 2 year, $12 million contract
Sign LHP Jeff Francis to a 2 year, $10 million contract
Sign IF Nick Punto to a 1 year, $2.5 million contract
Sign LHP Mark Hendrickson to a 1 year, $1 million contract
Sign C Gregg Zaun to a 1 year, $1 million contract
Sign LHP Jamie Moyer to a 1 year, $500,000 contract.

The Rationale

The Mariners are in something of a tough spot. Coming off a miserable season, they have to improve the roster to avoid alienating the fan base stem the erosion of season ticket sales, but with a good Texas team to catch and Anaheim poised to spend a ton of money this winter, contending for the division title in 2011 is probably too much to ask. There’s just too much ground to make up in one winter to get on an even playing field with the Rangers, not to mention trying to overcome an Angels team that could land both Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre this winter.

So, the team needs to make moves that improve the roster, but that also fit into a longer term picture. They’re not in the position to be using prospects in trade to upgrade the major league team, and they don’t have enough money to spend to land a marquee free agent. They also need to make sure that they keep opportunities free for the young talent that is nearly major league ready without putting out a team full of rookies that will lose 100 games again. It’s a tough balancing act, there are pieces that the team can go after that would be able to help the team in both 2011 and beyond. That’s what I’ve tried to emphasize with these moves. Let’s take them one at a time.

Trading David Aardsma is the most obvious move of the winter, and now that they’ve declined Jose Lopez’s option, moving him becomes the second most obvious move. I’ve killed two birds with one stone by trading them away in the same deal. Kevin Towers has made it clear that he has two priorities as the new GM of the Diamondbacks this winter – improve their bullpen and fix the offenses contact problems. Aardsma gives them a fairly low cost closer, while Lopez offers a player who can replace some of Mark Reynolds power with about 150 fewer strikeouts per season, as they are likely to ship out Reynolds this winter. He’d be a decent fit in Seattle if the M’s could unload Chone Figgins, but I don’t see how to make that happen, so for now we just settle on giving Arizona their replacement and their ninth inning guy.

In exchange, the Mariners acquire a couple of useful role players. Gillespie is a classic fourth outfielder in the making, as a guy with no premium tools but decent skills across the board. He draws some walks, has gap power, runs okay, and plays a decent corner outfield, but he’s probably best served as a part-time player. He’d be a perfect fit to share time with Michael Saunders in left and offer some low cost outfield depth with a little bit of upside. Roberts is a utility infielder with a little bit of pop in his bat who had a good 2009 season but flopped last year. Both are cheap role players who fill needs, and given that neither Aardsma nor Lopez have a ton of trade value, this is about what you can expect for the pair. They’re useful pieces that the team needs, and that’s good enough considering what the Mariners are giving up.

They won’t fix the offense, of course, and for the addition of some thump into the line-up, we turn to the free agent market. Lance Berkman is my preferred DH candidate, offering the best package of multiple years of production without a huge cost. He’s going to be 35 next year and is coming off the worst year of his career, but there are reasons to think he’s a good bounce back candidate – his drop in power coincided with a wrist injury that should be healed by next year, and nearly all of his other skills remained equal to his 2009 season when he posted a .386 wOBA.

He wants a full time job and the opportunity to play the field at times, and the Mariners can offer him both, as he could split time with Justin Smoak and hit cleanup on a daily basis. He provides a patient, switch-hitting bat who could take advantage of Safeco’s friendly right field porch, and gives you some depth at first base in case Smoak flops or gets hurt. Going two years may seem risky for a guy his age, but it’s worth the risk to get Berkman in the M’s line-up. If he rebounds, he’ll easily be worth the money and give the team a legitimate cleanup hitter for both 2011 and 2012.

Berkman’s not the only guy we’re handing a two year contract to, however. The other investment I’m making this winter is in the rotation, which is full of question marks once you get past Felix. In order to give the team another quality arm who will love what pitching in Safeco Field will do for his numbers, I turn to Jeff Francis, who was set free by the Rockies when they declined his $7 million option for 2011. Francis has had a reasonably solid career considering he’s spent it pitching in Coors Field, and as a British Columbia kid, would almost certainly welcome the chance to move to a park near his hometown that is paradise on earth for left-handed pitch-to-contact starters.

Francis is, in many ways, similar to Jason Vargas. They’re both soft-tossing lefties who have excellent change-ups and plus command, and while neither is a big strikeout pitcher, they have good enough stuff to miss bats when they have to. Obviously, we’ve seen how well Vargas has flourished in Safeco (like many others before him), and Francis would likely receive a similar benefit from the park. He’s now two years removed from shoulder surgery that cost him all of the 2009 season and limited him to just over 100 innings pitched last year, but his stuff is most of the way back and he actually posted the lowest xFIP of his career last year. He can provide solid innings as a middle of the rotation starter, and should be the kind of starter that the M’s can acquire without paying too high of a price.

The rest of the moves are stopgap fillers for 2011, as the team simply needs to plug some holes while waiting for kids to develop. Nick Punto is a terrific defensive infielder who can play second base until Dustin Ackley is ready, provide an alternative to Jack Wilson when he’s on the DL or traded, and serve as a quality backup infielder when not in the line-up. He’s a slap-hitter with no power, but he’s also legitimately one of the best defenders in the game, and would give Ackley a great example to learn from. His lack of offense will keep his price in the range that the Mariners can afford, and while I’m sure most of you are tired of guys who can’t hit, he’s the best option the team has for the role.

Mark Hendrickson gives the team a cheap quality left-handed setup guy who will be underrated because of an inflated ERA from last year. His peripherals are still fine, and he’s a perfect capable lefty out of the pen. With Baltimore declining his option for $1.2 million, he’s sure to come at a modest cost, and would give Eric Wedge some experience in what would otherwise be a very young bullpen.

Gregg Zaun fills the role of backup catcher, and provides a few benefits – he’s a switch-hitter, has a little bit of power, and as a 40-year-old, he won’t be complaining about playing second fiddle to Adam Moore. There are a number of candidates for the veteran backup catcher role, but Zaun is my favorite and fits in the budget.

We talked about Moyer earlier this week. He’s a perfect fit in the long relief/6th starter role, and if he wants to pitch in MLB next year, this is probably his best bet.

Is it the kind of offseason that will put the Mariners back into the mix for the AL West? No, but I’m not sure that is possible anyway. What it does give the team is a good chance for a .500 season (this roster projects out to about an 80 win team or so) while adding a couple of pieces that could still be useful in 2012. It gives the kids a chance to play while not making the team a disaster if they fail, and maintains most of the financial flexibility the team will get following next year, when Milton Bradley, Carlos Silva, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Jack Wilson come off the books.

The reality is that this team won’t be good again until Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, and Michael Pineda are ready to be core pieces. That won’t happen this year, but this roster would give the team the ability to let all three get their feet wet in the big leagues while hopefully winning enough games to avoid everyone getting fired again.

Comments

176 Responses to “Dave’s Offseason Plan, 2011 Style”

  1. littlelinny6 on November 5th, 2010 10:08 am

    I have to admit, I’m biased toward the Cole Gillespie trade as I went to HS with him. He seems like a very similar version of Ryan Langerhans just RH.

  2. dw on November 5th, 2010 10:09 am

    What about maybe picking up Alex Gordon? He’s a lefthanded hitting 3B-LF who KC has no further use of, and he could plug in at 3B until Ackley is ready, then he becomes a LH guy off the bench (or replaces Bradley in the DH platoon when Milton tweaks his hamstring or his ego yet again).

    And given it’s the Royals, all we have to do is send them another cheap, light hitting middle infielder, although I think we’re running out of those.

  3. dw on November 5th, 2010 10:20 am

    And I’m not sure I’d give Francis even a 1 year deal. He’s still coming back from shoulder surgery, and the little I saw of him didn’t give me any confidence he’s any better than he was in 2008 when the shoulder problems started. He’s lost about 2 MPH off his fastball and can’t even touch 90 anymore. And there’s almost no speed differential between his fastball and changeup.

    He may be Vargas, but Vargas has more consistency in his changeup, and it’s consistently slower than his fastball, because he seems to understand his limits as a pitcher now. I don’t think Francis does yet.

  4. Dave on November 5th, 2010 10:23 am

    Francis’ average fastball speed, by year:

    2005: 88.5 MPH
    2006: 86.0 MPH
    2007: 86.6 MPH
    2008: 86.8 MPH
    2010: 87.2 MPH

    He lost those 2 MPH on his fastball after his first year in the big leagues, not when he got hurt. He’s been effective throwing 87 for the last four years. There’s no reason to think he can’t still do it.

  5. sexymarinersfan on November 5th, 2010 10:28 am

    I like the Francis idea. Even if you can’t get him, you could plug a guy like Luke French in until Mauricio Robles is ready.

  6. basebliman on November 5th, 2010 10:33 am

    I love the Nick Punto acquisition. He’s no great shakes, but he immediately improves the right side defense and can slide over to short once Ackley comes up and Wilson runs over his foot mowing the lawn… on a riding mower.

  7. Willmore2000 on November 5th, 2010 10:34 am

    Call me delusional, but I think that David Aardsma + Jose Lopez can generate more than two fringe players in a trade.

  8. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 10:34 am

    Well, I already mentioned Punto and wanting a DH who can play the field, so I have to say I approve of this roster. This looks exactly like what the M’s should be doing: acquiring players who don’t represent huge downside risks (1-2 year deals) and who don’t block the kids, filling in the bigtime holes (middle infield, DH, C), having some decent backup plans if things go south.

    I wouldn’t put Dustin Ackley’s projected PAs at 0, though. I strongly suspect he’ll be on this roster by July 1 at the latest.
    Call me delusional, but I think that David Aardsma + Jose Lopez can generate more than two fringe players in a trade.

    Lopez has next to no trade value (“Oh, we’ll just wait until you decline arbitration on him and sign him then”), so, really, it’s Aardsma doing all the work here.

  9. MarinerDan on November 5th, 2010 10:37 am

    Unfortunately, I bet Berkman gets more than 2/12 (particularly in light of Boston picking up Ortiz’s option). Also, is there any chance he would want to come to Seattle to join what is, by all accounts, a rebuilding project, particularly at this stage of his career?

  10. Willmore2000 on November 5th, 2010 10:41 am

    Unfortunately, I bet Berkman gets more than 2/12 (particularly in light of Boston picking up Ortiz’s option). Also, is there any chance he would want to come to Seattle to join what is, by all accounts, a rebuilding project, particularly at this stage of his career?

    He spent 12 years in Houston, I think he’s used to it.

  11. MarinerDan on November 5th, 2010 10:43 am

    He spent 12 years in Houston, I think he’s used to it.

    Exactly why he wouldn’t want to come to Seattle to do it again. If he was going to do that, he would just go back to Houston.

  12. sp_da_man on November 5th, 2010 10:45 am

    Always fun to talk Mariners baseball!

    I think everyone would agree that dealing Lopez & Aardsma would make a ton of sense but I’m not sure the market is there for either of them.

    There are a ton of potential closers on the market (Soriano, Fuentes, Gregg, Rauch, Kerry Wood, etc.)which really hurts getting anything of value for Aardsma.

    I like Berkman as a DH but at this point I’m sure he’s going to be chasing a ring & trying to latch on somewhere as a 1B/DH platoon type of player. What about someone like Hawpe or even Adam LaRoche?

    I’ve always liked Francis. Why not give him or someone like Chris Young, Dave Bush or Aaron Harang a shot to see if they can throw 170+ innings worth of decent baseball. I’m sure their pricetags should be real low.

    Lastly, what about a reunion with Willie Bloomquist? OK, maybe not…

  13. Willmore2000 on November 5th, 2010 10:45 am

    Exactly why he wouldn’t want to come to Seattle to do it again. If he was going to do that, he would just go back to Houston.

    Playing baseball in Houston in the summer is not fun.

  14. MarinerDan on November 5th, 2010 10:47 am

    Playing baseball in Houston in the summer is not fun.

    The guy is from Texas — he loves it!

  15. Seattleken on November 5th, 2010 10:48 am

    The roster makes sense thnaks Dave, I’d love Berkman and Punto at those contracts. I think that you should be able to get more for Lopez in a trade I can’t see Moyer giving up a years pension for 500K though, he will likely cost near 2 Million.

    Lopez will likely to bounce back to .275 20 homers, 40 doubles and 30 walks in 600 atbats if he’s out of Safeco and starts fresh on a new team. Not great but good enough numbers to make Jack look bad for giving him away, on a Seattle team that loses 90+ games.

  16. wsm on November 5th, 2010 10:52 am

    It’s extremely unlikely that Pineda opens the year in Seattle. SP prospects rarely break camp. And Seattle has a long tradition of delaying service time. They won’t bring him up for 4 starts in April at the expense of losing control of him in 2017.

    That said, Moyer would be a fine stopgap.

    Lueke will never pitch in Seattle.

    I think Aardsma will have more value than many think. There are a lot of closer openings out there and Aardsma is pretty cheap still. Two years of Aardsma should get similar return to what Z got for one year of JJ coming off an injury.

  17. spankystout on November 5th, 2010 10:56 am

    The thought of an infield consisting of Punto, Figgins, and Wilson makes me want to punch myself in the face. This will be another 100 loss season if the M’s are going in that direction. I agree Punto is good on D, but he is a terrible hitter. His only benefit to the M’s would be as a utility infielder. Otherwise he is just another
    ‘paperboy’ with a better glove.
    Why nominate Zaun instead of the younger Bard?

  18. bat guano on November 5th, 2010 11:06 am

    How much more than Francis would De La Rosa cost? He seems more like a third starter for the long term (after Felix and Pineda).

  19. nmirra on November 5th, 2010 11:06 am

    An entertaining plan. I agree with MarinerDan that I don’t see Berkman coming to a rebuilding team this late in his career unless he really has no better options. He left his lifelong team to try to win a ring with the Yankees. Coming to Seattle seems the opposite of that decision.

  20. GoldenGutz on November 5th, 2010 11:07 am

    Lueke talk is pretty much dead. If I was a betting man I’d say he is a Mariner. He’s not getting released and a team is going to give up crap for him.

    Id like to sign JJ Hardy. He had a bat in Milwaukee and isn’t a horrible fielder at SS. I think Berkman is a perfect fit and would love him.

  21. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 11:20 am

    Is JJ Hardy available?

    I have to say, the DA/Lopez trade is underwhelming. God I hope there’s a GM or two or three left that value the “Save” more than Dave does.

  22. msfanmike on November 5th, 2010 11:21 am

    The thought of an infield consisting of Punto, Figgins, and Wilson makes me want to punch myself in the face

    I think we would get a better workout if I simultaneously punch you while you punch me. Yes, an infield with “Punch”, “Judy” and “Branyan almost punched me” is a frightenting proposition.

    Dave’s rationale was logical, but the resulting lineup …. PLEH! They should be able to do better.

    I do like and agree with a few of the ideas though (Berkman, Francis, Moyer). RRS needs to go though. He is cooked.

  23. ManifestDestiny on November 5th, 2010 11:21 am

    Yikes, this is not a good team. Not insulting you Dave, you did pretty well considering what we have to work with…it’s just seeing this roster really lets the fact that the M’s are gonna be bad again next year really sink in.

    Just some questions, not as direct challenges but just to pick your brain.

    - No chance we can offload Jack Wilson? None whatsoever? Even if we eat some money?
    - I think that Aardsma alone should be able to bring in more than 2 bench prospects, but that’s just a difference of opinion.
    - What about Jeremy Hermida as a 4th OF option? He should be cheap and always seems like he’s so close to getting it all clicking.
    - No love for Javier Vazquez? Safeco’s roomy confines should play well for him, and he seems like a good candidate to try the Washburn Gambit with.

    Anyways, thanks for putting yourself out on the limb with these plans. Always generate some good discussion and thinking.

  24. ivan on November 5th, 2010 11:22 am

    Dave, my question is the same as spankystout’s. What does Zaun bring that Bard doesn’t? I’m not trying to make a case one way or the other, just curious.

    I like the idea of Berkman if the M’s can get him. Jeff Francis? Not so much. Hendrickson? Yes.

  25. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 11:23 am

    I agree Punto is good on D, but he is a terrible hitter.

    Improving 10 runs on defense as opposed to offense is still improving 10 runs. Punto’s contributed more WAR to his teams the last 3 years than Jose Lopez has.

    Yikes, this is not a good team. Not insulting you Dave, you did pretty well considering what we have to work with…it’s just seeing this roster really lets the fact that the M’s are gonna be bad again next year really sink in.

    It’s a .500ish team. Picking up 15-20 wins on 2010 is progress.

  26. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 11:27 am

    I’d also like to see another show me contract with Bedard. Once again, they’re in charge of his off season rehab so the M’s have first hand knowledge of his progress. Talent is talent is talent. Doesn’t matter what the previous frustrations were or the package that was given up to acquire him or the media made “personality issues”. If EB can pitch, sign him back to another heavily incentive laden contract.

  27. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 11:29 am

    Improving 10 runs on defense as opposed to offense is still improving 10 runs. Punto’s contributed more WAR to his teams the last 3 years than Jose Lopez has.

    Well if the stated goal is to not alienate the fan base, I’m not so sure saving 10 more runs defensively is going to float with the Mariner moms.
    I agree, a run is a run but Dave’s off season plan is more than just runs this time.

  28. msfanmike on November 5th, 2010 11:38 am

    It’s a .500ish team. Picking up 15-20 wins on 2010 is progress

    Your bottom line math might be correct, but the .500 ish winning percentage prognostication … I could not disagree more. This proposed lineup could maybe win 70 games IMO – and that might be pushing it.

  29. spankystout on November 5th, 2010 11:40 am

    msfanmike

    Haha now that sounds like fun!…….

    I’m not trying to pile on Dave. I just don’t see any benefit in starting Punto (or anyone similar) alongside Figgins, and Wilson. Punto makes perfect sense as the utility infielder, I just don’t think the M’s can win at all with that IF, and questionable production from the outfield, excluding Ichiro.

    Is John Buck going to be too pricey? Instead of the Zaun/Bard types.

  30. tdillon on November 5th, 2010 11:52 am

    With Edgar Renteria’s option being declined, would he be a better option than Roberts? While health has been an issue, would he be a better option at 2nd? He’d also be a pretty good Jack Wilson replacement. He managed 1.3 WAR over 267 PA. And if he makes it half a season, call it good.

  31. gwangung on November 5th, 2010 11:53 am

    I could not disagree more. This proposed lineup could maybe win 70 games IMO – and that might be pushing it.

    A challenge. Justify that statement–you shouldn’t let it hang there. Are we still hung up on offense and ignoring defense?

  32. lalo on November 5th, 2010 11:56 am

    Thanks for the post Dave, but I think this team would lose 120 games or more, specially with less offense, without Cliff Lee, without a closer…

    Punto < Lopez
    Berkman < Branyan (If healthy)
    Francis, Hendrickson and Moyer… < Cliff Lee
    Kotchman Gillespie and Ryan Roberts

  33. Westside guy on November 5th, 2010 11:57 am

    You know what’s really depressing (not that it’s anything new)? Looking at Dave’s numbers and realizing that 18 million is going to Milton Bradley and Carlos Silva.

  34. Westside guy on November 5th, 2010 11:58 am

    A challenge. Justify that statement–you shouldn’t let it hang there. Are we still hung up on offense and ignoring defense?

    It seems pretty obvious the answer to that is “yes”. :-D

  35. spankystout on November 5th, 2010 12:02 pm

    ec

    I understand the rule of ‘a run-saved is a run-earned’. But at some point you have to realize its impossible to shutout every team, every night. The M’s would have a better chance at winning consistently if they had a balanced team. I always refer back to the 90′s HR bashing M’s for proof that offense isn’t everything, but I also realize neither is defense.

  36. Badbadger on November 5th, 2010 12:03 pm

    Hopefully the actual infield will mostly be Smoak, Ackley, Wilson, and Figgins, with Punto as utility guy.

    I would hope that we could get more for Aardsma, but I guess we’ll see.

  37. Mariners2620 on November 5th, 2010 12:07 pm

    I know this season will be terrible, and that we need to rebuild, but this roster is garbage from head to toe. I will not be buying season tickets this year. Call me a band wagon fan if you must, but I will continue to support them by watching them on my HD TV at home. I will save a decent amount of money too. I don’t need to spend thousands of dollars in order to watch this team lose 100+ games.

  38. Leroy Stanton on November 5th, 2010 12:13 pm

    I seem to recall that Berkman didn’t want to go west, but I could be wrong. Otherwise, he’d be a nice fit if he’d settle for that kind of money.

    I also like Branyan or Thome platooning with a motivated Milton Bradley. This could very well be Bradley’s last year if he doesn’t produce in a big way.

    Personally, I don’t see the value in Punto. I’d rather invest the playing time in Tuiasosopo until Ackley is ready (keeping Figgins at 2B) and spend the savings elsewhere. I’m also not sure the whole learning from another player has merit outside pitchers and catchers. It could just be one of those things we like to believe.

    I’d also hate to spend that much money on Francis since he is so similar to Vargas. My gut tells me that their similarity makes both less effective since opposing hitters essentially get to see the same guy twice. Of course, just like the notion of learning from other players, I have no evidence and could be completely wrong.

  39. batura on November 5th, 2010 12:17 pm

    I like most of the ideas in this roster (especially Berkman at DH), but I feel like there’s only two positions to add any sort of offense, and making Jack Wilson and Nick Punto as full-timer, defense only players sacrifices some needed upgrades.

    I would rather see if there’s a SS out there that offers some hitting and move Jack to the bench as defensive sub/utility player.

  40. Willmore2000 on November 5th, 2010 12:18 pm

    Thanks for the post Dave, but I think this team would lose 120 games or more, specially with less offense, without Cliff Lee, without a closer…

    Punto < Lopez
    Berkman < Branyan (If healthy)
    Francis, Hendrickson and Moyer… < Cliff Lee
    Kotchman Gillespie and Ryan Roberts

    Lopez and Aardsma combined for 0.9 WAR last year.
    Punto + League = 1.8 WAR
    Don’t be overdramatic.

  41. gwangung on November 5th, 2010 12:27 pm

    I understand the rule of ‘a run-saved is a run-earned’. But at some point you have to realize its impossible to shutout every team, every night

    It seems to me that this pretty much admits that you’re not working the numbers and your feeling is based on intuition, not what actually happened.

  42. maqman on November 5th, 2010 12:29 pm

    Thanks for the effort Dave, it’s a good starting point for the discussion. Not so sure Berkman wants to be here or if Francis should be. Moyer will want more money and he’s a good negotiator and will get more or not be here. On a take it or leave it basis, I’d take your roster.

  43. MushHuskies on November 5th, 2010 12:34 pm

    I live in Colorado. Jeff Francis is a class act but sadly his best pitching days could very well be behind him. His first game back this summer he looked great but after that, consistently, he was very hittable and usually was hit. And against NL bats.

    The MPH above sounds good but in practical terms, not working. Movement, pitch differential, all combined to not resemble very closely the same pitcher that led the team to the 2007 WS. 2 years at that price, imho, is a reach.

  44. lalo on November 5th, 2010 12:35 pm

    Proyected lineup:

    Ichiro… 320 6 HR OK! I love Ichiro
    Figgy.290 2 HR OK! Should be better than this year
    Berkman… 250 20 HR OK! But I prefer Branyan or Matsui
    Smoak.. 280 21 HR OK! Should be the cleanup hitter
    Guti… 270 15 HR OK! Guti is great
    Saunders… 260 14 HR OK! I like Saunders
    Wilson… 240 2 HR NEEDS UPGRADE, MAYBE BARTLETT??
    Moore… 240 8 HR NEEDS UPGRADE, V-MART?
    Punto 200 1 HR NEEDS UPGRADE, I WOULD LOVE URIBE

    The rotation is fine
    Felix
    Vargas
    Fister
    Francis
    Pineda

    Bullpen: Is fine, maybe a guy like Jose Contreras would be good.

    Pauley
    Moyer
    Hyphen/Contreras
    Lueke
    Cortes
    League

  45. Westside guy on November 5th, 2010 12:36 pm

    I think part of the issue is it’s hard to grasp just how horrible the 2010 Mariners offense was on an intuitive level.

    A run saved is always as valuable as a run earned. But the problem this past year was more along the lines of a run saved not being the equivalent of two runs earned.

  46. Duncan Idaho on November 5th, 2010 12:49 pm

    This is about as perfect a roster one can expect next year. Awesome work Dave.

    Love the idea of Punto filling in at second until Ackley is ready and switching to short once he is or Wilson gets hurt or traded.

    I will say one thing and that is I am extremely doubtful Lueke ever spends one day as an active player on the Mariners 25 man roster. And while he is clearly better than Varvaro or Fields I see one of them taking that spot in the bullpen.

  47. olystuart on November 5th, 2010 12:49 pm

    FG crowdsourcing put Berkman at 2 years $16mil and though Dave is thinking a smaller deal, maybe it would take a deal on the upper end of his range of possible contracts to bring him to Seattle. What if the contract was 2/16, or even a 3 year deal, would it still be worth it or possible to bring him here?

  48. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 12:53 pm

    What makes everyone think that the Mariner infield defense was particularly awesome and adding a good defensive player like Punto can’t improve it? RoJo sucked, Bard was OK, Lopez was OK at 3B, Figgins sucked at 2B, Kotchman was average, and both Wilsons sucked. Net, the Mariner infield defense was below average. It was the OF that was good on defense.

    If you figure that we’re dumping the best defensive player in our IF (Lopez), the defense has to come from somewhere. Punto IS one of the best defensive players in baseball.

    Yes, I’d like it if we could sign the 2001 version of Bret Boone too, and get great defense AND offense from the middle infield. That’s not happening. Given the salary restraints on the Mariners and the options on the market, Punto is fine.

  49. Carson on November 5th, 2010 12:55 pm

    Renteria was on the DL three times this year, and himself has said he may ride off into the sunset.

    That’s not the type of player the M’s would be looking for, nor are the M’s the type of team a guy who is considering retirement and fresh off a World Series win would stick around for.

  50. Duncan Idaho on November 5th, 2010 1:01 pm

    Seriously you guys criticizing this offense for lack of production need to stop. Even if Berkman and Smoak repeated their numbers from last year in the 3-4 spots this team would be expected to score about 35-40 more runs. Now chances are that both Smoak and Berkman will dramaticly outproduce last years numbers. And I’m not ready to write off Milton Bradley just yet either, if Saunders struggles early and Bradley hits close to like he did in 2008 the Mariners could actually end up with an above average offense. If Saunders breaks out and Milton is a bench player the Mariners could end up with an above average offense. No matter what with the subtraction of Jose Lopez, Josh Wilson and Rob Johnson as everyday players any offense the Mariners put on the field should be better.

  51. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 1:06 pm

    Oh, and:

    Punto < Lopez

    Lopez’s WAR, 2007-2010: 5.5 WAR, 4 years as full-time player

    Punto’s WAR, 2007-2010: 5.6, ONE year as full-time player

    Oh, and Tui has -1.1 WAR in about half a season in MLB. He’s been terrible, and he’s sucked as a 3B. You’re basically replacing Lopez with a version of Lopez who’s terrible at 3B. Tui’s done nothing to show he deserves a MLB job, so why give him one?

  52. Dave on November 5th, 2010 1:09 pm

    Here’s a template for those of you unable to think beyond “OMG OFFENSE!!11″ Just use this instead of writing new comments.

    “Hi, I’d like to object to the acquisition of (insert anyone not named Adam Dunn here). You see, I believe this team needs more offense, and they should attempt to maximize hitting ability at every single position on the roster. I don’t really understand how to win baseball games, but I’d like them to lose differently than last year.

    (Player Name) doesn’t strike fear into opposing pitchers, and so even though the evidence is overwhelming against my point of view, I’m going to whine about giving him playing time in favor of (Adam Dunn). I think the Mariners should acquire (Adam Dunn) and play him at (insert position here).

    Don’t do anything except focus solely on offense. After all, everyone knows that Texas didn’t win anything until they stopped focusing on pitching and defense and loaded up their line-up with sluggers. I do not support any moves that do not fix the line-up, because I have a narrow view of baseball that was formed by playing video games and fantasy baseball.

    Thank you for spending your time and energy trying to educate me. I would rather just remain ignorant, however.”

  53. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 1:11 pm

    Using WAR and “a run saved is a run earned” might be fine justification for some moves from an analytical standpoint. Fits this site well.
    But, if the discussion is about a realistic and perhaps probable plan given the the stated goal of ” improve the roster to avoid alienating the fan base stem the erosion of season ticket sales” then the Punto type and makes less sense. So does the DA/Lopez trade.

    Dave, you’re a great analytical mind but a horrible PR person!:-)

  54. Gibbo on November 5th, 2010 1:19 pm

    Love the Berkman idea!!! I like the thought of us getting a SS – maybe Tejada, Lowrie, Zobrist, Bartlett, JJ Hardy (Zobrist/Lowrie are probably too costly to aquire). Wilson may give us a Christmas present and retire even if he doesnt retire I would still go get a SS.

    I would also like to see us get a 3B guy with breakout potential – maybe Alex Gordon? Then we keep Figgins at 2nd and if the 3B fails you move him across when Ackley is ready to come up.

    Ichi RF
    Figgins 2B
    Zobrist SS
    Berkman DH
    Guti CF
    Smoak 1B
    Gordon 3B
    Moore C
    Saunders LF
    Bench Wilson, Bradley, Bard and Punto.

    No OF’ér on the bench but Figgins, Zobrist, Bradley and Gordon(at a push) will do that.

    Wilson traded mid season when we bring up Ackley

  55. MrGenre on November 5th, 2010 1:21 pm

    Can’t resist typing this after Dave’s template.

    What we really need is someone with pop! You can’t score runs without someone being able to drive them in… with homeruns. ;)

  56. atobin22 on November 5th, 2010 1:26 pm

    To everyone criticizing Dave’s projected lineup: 2010 saw Kotchman, Rob Johnson, and Josh Wilson receive a combined 1,000 plate appearances, and every player outside of Ichiro significantly underperformed based on their projections.

    The offense in 2011 will improve based on regression alone. Berkman at DH would be a dramatic upgrade over anyone Seattle threw out there last year (except Branyan, but I think Berkman is still an improvement if healthy). Add in another off-season of development for Saunders and Smoak and one can argue that Dave’s projected lineup would be an improvement at 6 or 7 positions (depending on how you feel about Adam Moore). I don’t think 80 wins would be out of the question.

  57. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 1:27 pm

    But, if the discussion is about a realistic and perhaps probable plan given the the stated goal of ” improve the roster to avoid alienating the fan base stem the erosion of season ticket sales” then the Punto type and makes less sense. So does the DA/Lopez trade.

    You know what helps sell tickets? Winning baseball games.

    The Mariners DO NOT HAVE enough talent in their infield right now, unless you assume the following three things:

    a) Dustin Ackley is going to contribute on Opening Day (alternately: Lopez could bounce back to be an OK 2B as he has in years past)
    b) Figgins will do OK at 3B when you move him there,
    c) Jack Wilson will come back to be OK as the starting SS.

    That’s what you have to assume: that the current talent is going to be OK (when it very clearly wasn’t last year), or that you’re going to bet the house on a player who’s played a grand total of 133 games of pro ball at 2B.

    Now, if you’d like to suggest reasonably priced IF talent that can come in and contribute 1-2 WAR at around 2.5 million like Punto, or spend the money that Dave’s put towards FAs differently (about 14 million or so, but keep in mind Aardsma had to come off the books to do that, so if you’re keeping Aardsma, figure he wins a chunk of that in arbitration)… please so so. He DID suggest this was the rosterbation thread, after all. Don’t get caught up on names. But DO understand, the Mariner middle infield (+3B) of 2010 was completely inadequate, and needs some attention, so you can’t just sign Adam Dunn and call it a day.

  58. IdahoFan on November 5th, 2010 1:29 pm

    Do the Mariners have a director of pro scouting yet? Do they need one?

  59. Leroy Stanton on November 5th, 2010 1:29 pm

    Oh, and Tui has -1.1 WAR in about half a season in MLB. He’s been terrible, and he’s sucked as a 3B. You’re basically replacing Lopez with a version of Lopez who’s terrible at 3B. Tui’s done nothing to show he deserves a MLB job, so why give him one?

    210 PAs is half a season? Tui has basically had a month and a half of semi-regular playing time. In that time, he posted a higher OPS than Saunders or Moore did in 2010. Tui is younger than Moore and six months older than Saunders.

    I don’t think Tui has the same potential that Moore or Saunders do, but why not save a couple of million and give Tui a shot instead of Punto? At least Tui has some potential to develop into an asset, but we already know who Punto is and he certainly won’t be a difference maker in 2011.

  60. Dave on November 5th, 2010 1:35 pm

    You do realize that you have to have a backup shortstop on the roster, right? And, given that Jack Wilson is the starter (and no, they can’t trade him), that guy has to actually be able to play the position somewhat regularly.

    Think things through before coming up with useless suggestions.

  61. Alec on November 5th, 2010 1:40 pm

    Tui CANNOT play 2B. The Mariners are looking committed to moving Figgins back to 3B (makes sense, if his offense doesn’t rebound you might as well put him where he can provide the most value in the field, he was one of the best non-Beltre 3B in the game in Anaheim). Where do you put Tui? Smoak is at 1B (and Tui could barely hack it there). Tui is a bench bat at best. If you really don’t like Punto, the move (with this roster) would be to play Ryan Roberts at 2B, with Tui on the bench if he is there at all.
    But if Punto came, then like Dave said, he holds down 2B til Ackley is ready, and backs up the middle infield after. Or, as I see the most likely scenario, moves to short when Jack Wilson gets hurt in late May. That way we don’t get stuck with Josh Wilson as our starting shortstop for half a season again (although I am happy that he got his shot and hope he catches on with the Royals like the rest of our cast offs).

  62. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 1:42 pm

    I don’t think Tui has the same potential that Moore or Saunders do, but why not save a couple of million and give Tui a shot instead of Punto? At least Tui has some potential to develop into an asset, but we already know who Punto is and he certainly won’t be a difference maker in 2011.

    Nick Punto has contributed around 10 wins above replacement to his teams, over 2800 or so plate appearances. If that was expressed in terms of full seasons, that would make Punto a league average player when he plays a full season (around 2 WAR in 650 PAs is league average).

    Tui will be doing WELL to contribute 10 wins to his MLB teams over his career, given his career path so far. Lopez, by the by, who we’ve pretty much given up on? Had a 1.7 WAR season under his belt already at that age.

    I see no reason to hand a job to a guy who has done NOTHING to demonstrate he deserves one (and it’s not like he couldn’t have grabbed a job last year). Tui is a completely replaceable asset as a RHB, poor fielding 3B. Nick Punto plays outstanding defense. This isn’t even close.

  63. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 1:43 pm

    You know what helps sell tickets? Winning baseball games.

    Well since you sell season tickets before there are any games to win, I’ll disagree.
    But thank you for another tired euphemism.

  64. Leroy Stanton on November 5th, 2010 1:46 pm

    You do realize that you have to have a backup shortstop on the roster, right? And, given that Jack Wilson is the starter (and no, they can’t trade him), that guy has to actually be able to play the position somewhat regularly.

    Think things through before coming up with useless suggestions.

    I didn’t say Tui would be the backup SS. He would be a corner IF/OF. And with any luck, Jack Wilson will be the backup SS.

  65. Bender on November 5th, 2010 1:47 pm

    What are the chances the front office allows Z some more funds? I get the feeling that they really can’t abide another stinker, and I know the fans won’t put up with that.

    Assuming they release another 10 million or so, who would you target to fill the gaps? Would that even make a difference?

  66. Alec on November 5th, 2010 1:48 pm

    Dave, don’t know if you would know this, but did the Marlins tender John Baker? He is the brother of a friend, as well as one of the hardest working people I have ever met and would completely embrace the new physical training philosophy (His brother loved it, they are both workout maniacs). I like the idea of Zaun as a backup too, but if Baker hits the market, what are your thoughts on him? He has a little pop (9 HR in 2009 in 400 AB’s), wOBA’d .365 in 2008 and bats lefty so he could spell Moore vs. tougher RHP.

    Also, not that it matters, but he was the 4th rounder in the Moneyball A’s draft.

  67. Westside guy on November 5th, 2010 1:49 pm

    Dave, about your lineup… not enough grit. And I’m not sure these guys play the game right, come to play, or know how to win.

    Not to mention that I haven’t seen any of them man up, or give 110%.

  68. Alec on November 5th, 2010 1:50 pm

    Well, my John Baker hopes are dashed, he got Tommy John surgery in September, so betting on him to be ready by opening day isn’t a smart bet. Still would be interested in any thoughts you have on him, Dave.

  69. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 1:50 pm

    For all the folks here set to blindly defend Dave’s position, please stop sipping the kool-aid. Dave is a big boy and can defend his own positions, as usually does it quite well. Come up with your own position and defend that.

    My point has little to do with WAR (gasp!). I think WAR is a nice little tool but it isn’t the only consideration on this topic.
    If the stated goal is to sell season tickets (among other things) then Punto starting the season at 2B and the addition of Gillespie and Roberts does nothing to aid this quest. Tell me I’m wrong, but lighten up for crying out loud.

  70. Alec on November 5th, 2010 1:50 pm

    @Westside guy: A ROSTER FULL OF WILLIE BALLGAME WILL GRIT ITS WAY TO THE SERIES

  71. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 1:58 pm

    Well since you sell season tickets before there are any games to win, I’ll disagree.
    But thank you for another tired euphemism.

    No, seriously, go look it up. The single biggest correlation with attendance is winning.

    You want an example? The 2004 Mariners were dead last in the AL in runs scored. They signed Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre. Attendance went from 2,940,731 to 2,725,459. Why? Because they sucked in 2004 and sucked some more in 2005.

    Focusing on scoring runs and power and ignoring which players are best (including defensive contribution) gets you the 1999 Tampa Bay Rays- who signed McGriff and Canseco and added 150 runs scored… and still sucked because they gave up runs, too, and still didn’t draw fans.

    Fans want to see winning baseball. Adding offense doesn’t fix the M’s problems in infield defense (and they do have them). If you don’t like Punto, suggest something ELSE, but “oh, we have too much defense already, we need to score runs” is flat out wrong. We need better players, on offense AND defense.

  72. Alec on November 5th, 2010 1:58 pm

    @vertigoman: The person whose position is based on the most factual evidence and logical reasoning will tend to have more people agreeing. Why don’t you consider the fact that people may simply agree with his position and hold the same opinions?

    To address your point, you are right that Punto and backups won’t sell season tickets. But, keep in mind that while a goal is to sell season tickets, with limited payroll flexibility, a big splash player that will sell tickets on his own is not feasible with handicapping the payroll in future seasons (which is what got us here in the first place). So the goal instead is to improve the product enough that increased winning will sell more tickets during the season. Also, I’m not sure if one big ticket free agent that would fit on this roster would get people all that more excited about the season, the disappointment is too fresh. Cliff Lee/Carl Crawford are the only guys I can think of that might have that effect. Don’t think Werth is familiar enough to the casual fan.

  73. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 1:59 pm

    No, seriously, go look it up. The single biggest correlation with attendance is winning.

    Yes and that would apply to the 2010 record. If the goal is to sell 2011 season tickets, then winning won’t help now will it. Too hard to understand?

  74. Alec on November 5th, 2010 2:01 pm

    @eponymous coward: glad you took the time to do some digging on that. My unsupported thoughts were that really the only way a big FA signing could significantly boost ticket sales would be if it came after a successful but non-playoff/non-World Series and looked like it could push the team over the top (and there fans are already excited about winning, and it just adds to the excitement rather than creating it). Or possibly something like A-Rod going to Texas in 2001 (which I may be wrong, but my guess would be a lot of people bought tickets to see him), but there is no one that the Mariners could sign in that stratosphere.

  75. TomG on November 5th, 2010 2:02 pm

    Dave, what are your thoughts on Brandon Webb? Worth taking a small Cordero-like gamble on or do you think he’s pretty much done?

  76. Alec on November 5th, 2010 2:03 pm

    @vertigoman: who said the goal was to sell 2011 season tickets? Why are you focusing so much on that? Dave’s goal with this plan is to “give the team the ability to let [young core] get their feet wet in the big leagues while hopefully winning enough games to avoid everyone getting fired again.”

  77. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:04 pm

    @Alec: So the goal instead is to improve the product enough that increased winning will sell more tickets during the season.

    And that’s something I happen to agree with. I’m not the casual fan nor am I a season ticket holder or a potential one. I think it should be about improving the right way, not the flashy way.

    But if you are going to say the goal for this roster is “season ticket holders” then Punto is a big negative towards achieving that goal. Roberts/Gillespie even more so. That’s a tough sell.

  78. Alec on November 5th, 2010 2:06 pm

    @vertigoman: again, where is this goal of “season ticket holders” from?

  79. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:06 pm

    @alec:who said the goal was to sell 2011 season tickets? Why are you focusing so much on that? Dave’s goal with this plan is to “give the team the ability to let [young core] get their feet wet in the big leagues while hopefully winning enough games to avoid everyone getting fired again.”

    I guess I’m more concerned with the “realistic and possible” part. Am I making more sense now? Honest question there.

  80. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 2:07 pm

    If the stated goal is to sell season tickets (among other things) then Punto starting the season at 2B and the addition of Gillespie and Roberts does nothing to aid this quest.

    Nothing is going to sell more season tickets after a 100 loss season, other than winning. Bavasi tried the “let’s make big splashes in free agency and lure in the fans” approach multiple times, and failed miserably at either building sustained excellence OR keeping the season ticket base. We do not need to go down that road yet again.

    What Dave’s proposed doesn’t screw up the salary flexibility we have coming for 2012 once albatross contracts go away, nor does it put players on the roster who block the kids. It also puts together a roster that has a reasonable shot at a .500 record and doesn’t assume the Mariner ownership will open the checkbook. If you want to suggest different players to accomplish those ends, fine, by all means, suggest away. But the point is the Mariners could sign Cliff Lee and Adam Dunn, commit ALL their offseason budget (and more) to a couple of star players… and they’d still have problems.

  81. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:08 pm

    @Alec:again, where is this goal of “season ticket holders” from?

    “The Mariners are in something of a tough spot. Coming off a miserable season, they have to improve the roster to avoid alienating the fan base stem the erosion of season ticket sales

    First paragraph after the spread.

  82. Alec on November 5th, 2010 2:10 pm

    If the goal were to sell season tickets, I think Dave would have built a different team. Dave, if you are still around, is that correct? But I don’t think the Mariners FO goal is to maximize 2011 season ticket sales, but to build a team that can win and compete for years on end, while improving the roster enough to placate the media/Chuck/Howard enough to keep their jobs into 2012, when they will have the money to hit the FA market harder.

  83. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:11 pm

    @eponymous coward Nothing is going to sell more season tickets after a 100 loss season, other than winning. Bavasi tried the “let’s make big splashes in free agency and lure in the fans” approach multiple times, and failed miserably at either building sustained excellence OR keeping the season ticket base. We do not need to go down that road yet again.

    So to say it again, I don’t disagree with theory behind the roster. I do disagree that this roster somehow achieves what it sets out to do from the ownership’s perspective.

  84. The Ancient Mariner on November 5th, 2010 2:15 pm

    @vertigoman: You’re misunderstanding Dave’s statement. The goal is not to make moves that will attract season ticket sales. The goal is to make moves that will help the team win games so that a more successful season will “stem the erosion” of season-ticket sales.

  85. Alec on November 5th, 2010 2:16 pm

    Fair enough, I stand corrected, but stem the erosion isn’t the same as increase. And again, Dave pointed to improving the roster rather than “BIG FLASHY FREE AGENT” because there is more than one goal. 2011 season ticket sales may take a hit, but that is probably inevitable given that we lost 100 and literally everyone but Felix and Ichiro! collectively forgot how to play. Erosion is a gradual process, and the team would take a hit on season ticket sales this year coupled with a future increase that is sustained over a period of competitive seasons.

    If you are under the assumption that the ONLY goal of this roster is to sell 2011 tickets, then yes, you are right, these moves do nothing to motivate casual fans to buy tickets. But that isn’t the only goal, nor is it a logical way to build a team.

  86. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:17 pm

    @vertigoman: You’re misunderstanding Dave’s statement. The goal is not to make moves that will attract season ticket sales. The goal is to make moves that will help the team win games so that a more successful season will “stem the erosion” of season-ticket sales.

    No you are inferring that. You’ve read the “Rationale” wrong.

    they have to improve the roster to avoid alienating the fan base stem the erosion of season ticket sales,

  87. Alec on November 5th, 2010 2:19 pm

    @The Ancient Mariner: thanks for posting a much more concise and clear summary of my point right about me.

    @vertigo: Ownership’s only goal isn’t only to increase season ticket sales. While they would like that, they understand the correlation between winning and selling tickets (unless your team plays in Tampa)

  88. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:19 pm

    I’m not being argumentative here. If you haven’t read Dave’s post, maybe you shouldn’t comment on it. Or at least blindly defend something (that needs no defense).

    Disagreement is permitted.

  89. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 2:19 pm

    So to say it again, I don’t disagree with theory behind the roster. I do disagree that this roster somehow achieves what it sets out to do from the ownership’s perspective.

    Then show your work. Why is this a terrible roster? Who are your alternatives?

    Look, it’s very simple- Dave’s proposing a path to a ~.500 roster that doesn’t do grievous injury to the franchise’s prospects in 2012. That’s about the best thing the Mariners could expect in terms of bringing back season ticket holders- less terrible baseball, and the possibility of making strong moves in the 2011-2012 offseason. What exactly do you expect to be able to buy with about 14 million and change of potential salary additions (after trading Aardsma), and given that you need some talent at C, middle infield, the bullpen, and a hitter who isn’t a complete slug only capable of DHing?

  90. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:20 pm

    Then show your work. Why is this a terrible roster? Who are your alternatives?

    Are you serious? Where did I say this is a terrible roster?

    Read the post and quit living up to your handle.

  91. Alec on November 5th, 2010 2:21 pm

    @vertigoman: you took one sentence of Dave’s post and have focused on it as the sole goal of this plan, and added something that he never stated, namely that “stem the erosion of season tickets” refers solely to 2011. You can’t ignore other information in the post that informs Dave’s motivation for building like this, such as “let [young core] get their feet wet in the big leagues while hopefully winning enough games to avoid everyone getting fired again”

  92. Klatz on November 5th, 2010 2:22 pm

    What about Chin-Lung Hu. He’s prospects with the Dodgers seem pretty small given his poor offensive performance. But he’s young and his minor league performance suggest the potential of adequate. His major league record suggests some bad luck with a .230 BABIP.

    On the bright side he’s a great defender and young.

    On a side note, how about targeting arbitration eligible players that are almost certain to decline arbitration in order to snag a draft pick for the putatively loaded 2011 draft class?

  93. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:22 pm

    Look, it’s very simple- Dave’s proposing a path to a ~.500 roster that doesn’t do grievous injury to the franchise’s prospects in 2012.

    I think Dave achieves that goal. Read my comments. Read Dave’s entire post then get back to me.

  94. Alec on November 5th, 2010 2:24 pm

    @vertigo: I see that you agree with the methodology of the plan. I am not disputing that. I am just trying to point out to you that you have zeroed in on one goal of the plan (stem erosion of season ticket sales), and then qualified it to refer to something much more specific than what Dave meant it to (increase 2011 season ticket sales).

  95. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:25 pm

    @Alec:you took one sentence of Dave’s post and have focused on it as the sole goal of this plan, and added something that he never stated, namely that “stem the erosion of season tickets” refers solely to 2011. You can’t ignore other information in the post that informs Dave’s motivation for building like this, such as “let [young core] get their feet wet in the big leagues while hopefully winning enough games to avoid everyone getting fired again”

    Please don’t mince my words. I have done nothing of the sort. I disagreed with one part of his post and stated it in a very direct easy to read manner. WHy are you having such a problem understanding that?
    If Dave labels the section I’m referring to “Rationale” it’s safe to assume that it is the “Rationale” behind the roster is it not?

  96. Mathball on November 5th, 2010 2:26 pm

    So who is the guy that Wedge brings in to be his guy? He talked about the veterans in the locker room, so I suspect that he will want to bring in somebody to police the locker room. Much like Wak brought in Sweeney ( and I suspect Brayan the 2nd time around)

    Look for somebody that is near the end of their career, with ties to Wedge that “plays the game right” to make the team out of SP for no apparent reason.

  97. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:28 pm

    @Alec:I see that you agree with the methodology of the plan. I am not disputing that. I am just trying to point out to you that you have zeroed in on one goal of the plan (stem erosion of season ticket sales), and then qualified it to refer to something much more specific than what Dave meant it to (increase 2011 season ticket sales).

    Again:
    The Mariners are in something of a tough spot. Coming off a miserable season, they have to improve the roster to avoid alienating the fan base stem the erosion of season ticket sales

    OK, if the miserable season was 2010 then what ticket sales do you think he’s referring to if he is trying to “stem the erosion of season ticket sales”?

  98. Shizane on November 5th, 2010 2:31 pm

    Hmmmm…spend $93M on a roster just to finish at .500 (assuming no major injuries)? Pass.

    My plan would be to aggressively communicate to fans that this is going to be a lost season and work with the marketing group to develop more promotions to get fans acquainted with the young players. I would drop payroll to around $80M and see which Moyer-like veterans I could bring in to help the kids. Veterans get playing time, kids get tutors, everyone wins.

    The key in my plan would be open communication between the front office and fans, so that the fans know we are doing this to make a big push (i.e. $100M+ payroll) in 2012 and beyond. Perhaps it turns off the fair weather fans, but I think you would still draw the youth baseball teams, baseball purists, groups etc., especially with high quality, more frequent promotions.

  99. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 2:32 pm

    Read Dave’s entire post then get back to me.

    I’m pretty sure I understand Dave’s post. What I don’t understand is why you think Nick Punto’s presence (or lack of it) on the roster is more important for season ticket sales than getting to a .500 record. It’s not. The damage to season ticket’s already done; the point now is to put together as good a roster as humanly possible within the constraints Zduriencik will have to operate within. If that includes Punto, fine, if not, equally as fine, as long as the goal’s winning as opposed to caring as to whether your signing for shortstop “sells season tickets”.

    And quite frankly, if you’re not going to bother laying out a coherent argument for your position as to why it makes a difference, and why WAR doesn’t work (and the proof on that is all on YOU- you want to say WAR doesn’t work for assessing player values, by all means, pony up the argument), I see no need to get back to you.

  100. Badbadger on November 5th, 2010 2:33 pm

    I agree that signing Punto won’t have the fans lining up for seasons tickets, but what’s the alternative? It doesn’t make much sense to sign someone who’s going to block Ackley.

    The M’s goal should be to sell more season tickets over the next decade by becoming a smart and well-run team, not to fixate on season ticket sales in 2011, which aren’t going to be that great no matter what.

  101. Alec on November 5th, 2010 2:35 pm

    what ticket sales do you think he’s referring to?
    How about 2012? 2013? you know the Mariners have seasons after this one right? You don’t build a season ticket base (or maintain one) with one offseason. What if the goal is to improve this team so that it wins and is better prepared for 2012? Season ticket sales continue their downward trend this year, and then as the team moves in a winning direction, the pattern reverses, and since they didn’t handicap themselves with “BIG FLASHY FREE AGENT,” they are able to keep adding the parts they need to improve more, creating a cycle that leads to sustained season ticket growth.

    the erosion of season ticket sales did not start in 2010. It has been going on for years now, and there was a slight bounce (emphasis on slight) after 2009 (a winning season). I understand that he included season ticket sales immediately under rationale. But I don’t think that justifies excluding other information that is contained the post, which CLEARLY informs the rationale for the moves, simply because it is not under the right header.

  102. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:38 pm

    I’m pretty sure I understand Dave’s post. What I don’t understand is why you think Nick Punto’s presence (or lack of it) on the roster is more important for season ticket sales than getting to a .500 record. It’s not.

    You can’t read. You just like to get worked up.
    I never said WAR is useless, that’s just you getting all crazy about defending what ever cause you think baseball metrics represent.
    Get a life.
    And I agree with the above bolded statement. If you practiced reading skills you’d be able to infer as much.

  103. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:45 pm

    How about 2012? 2013? you know the Mariners have seasons after this one right? You don’t build a season ticket base (or maintain one) with one offseason. What if the goal is to improve this team so that it wins and is better prepared for 2012? Season ticket sales continue their downward trend this year, and then as the team moves in a winning direction, the pattern reverses, and since they didn’t handicap themselves with “BIG FLASHY FREE AGENT,” they are able to keep adding the parts they need to improve more, creating a cycle that leads to sustained season ticket growth.

    For crying out loud! I agree. It is best to look forward. But this post is about a plausible roster assuming certain criteria. One of those (and yes only one of those) is the pressure ownership and management faces in regards to season ticket sales. If the goal is to “stem the erosion” then that starts this year. Does it not?

    THis is not a debate over roster construction theory. I’m debating the plausibility of this roster (namely Punto at 2B and trading DA away for backup/fringe prospect) in regards to the stated situation ownership and management faces with season ticket sales.
    That’ s it. That is all I said. You and the eponymous retard have blown tit out of proportion.

  104. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 2:46 pm

    I would drop payroll to around $80M and see which Moyer-like veterans I could bring in to help the kids. Veterans get playing time, kids get tutors, everyone wins.

    Well, that’s probably a 70 win roster (with some serious downside risk). You’ve knocked out all the FA’s and replaced them with “0 WAR”, and three of your starting infielders are some combination of Josh Wilson, Jack Wilson, Tui and Figgins.

    The key in my plan would be open communication between the front office and fans, so that the fans know we are doing this to make a big push (i.e. $100M+ payroll) in 2012 and beyond.

    How did that work in 2005 and 2008- gearing up to sign FA’s or make splashy moves to increase payroll?

    It’s a terribly risky strategy, IMO- if your FAs fall down go boom like Bedard or Sexson, you’re left with albatross contracts.

    I don’t see why ownership should go for this.

  105. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:50 pm

    That’ s it. That is all I said. You and the eponymous retard have blown tit out of proportion.

    Umm, I missed the edit window there and that should read “it”.

    heh.

    Too funny.

  106. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:53 pm

    I don’t see why ownership should go for this.

    No one said that this post was about what ownership would do. It’s about what Dave would do taking into consideration the motivation and needs of the team.
    You see it’s a thoughtful post on his part. He isn’t rosterbating or wishing that we had wiser ownership.

  107. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 2:55 pm

    You and the eponymous retard have blown tit out of proportion.

    Classy. But thanks for making your position clear.

    I propose you haven’t a clue as to what’s “plausible” and what isn’t with respect to what would help 2011 season ticket sales. Simply put, it’s irrelevant who the M’s sign in terms of “names”, because the only thing that would help 2011 season ticket sales was winning games in 2010. Everything else is a rounding error compared to that. They could sign Nick Punto OR Miguel Tejada OR (fill in the blank): none of them would sell season tickets to any measurable degree. So in that light, Dave’s roster is perfectly plausible.

    However, I can make that point without calling you a name.

  108. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 2:57 pm

    At any rate. Thanks for the roster and break down Dave. It’s well thought out even if the resulting makeup of the team is oh so underwhelming.

  109. MrGenre on November 5th, 2010 2:57 pm

    It’s amusing to see all the other posts mixed in this discussion that have failed to get us back on track, but I’ll try it as well.

    I’m curious what anyone else things of the possibility of JJ Hardy at short. He seems a plausible non-tender candidate and could be an interesting part of the club, whether we unload Jack Wilson or not.

    He’s definitely on the pricier side of things when looking at Dave’s roster, but I’d love to take a flier on his level of talent at that position. Thoughts? I see short as one of the two biggest holes next season (and more importantly, the season after).

  110. Badbadger on November 5th, 2010 2:58 pm

    I would drop payroll to around $80M and see which Moyer-like veterans I could bring in to help the kids. Veterans get playing time, kids get tutors, everyone wins.

    I guess one thing I have a hard time with is the notion of Moyer-like veterans having a profound effect on young players.

    Consider that even a 23 year old player likely has 15 years of baseball under his belt, and has successfully passed through all the filters to make it to the highest level of the game. How much more do they have to learn? I don’t doubt that a player occasionally learns a new pitch or something that makes a big difference, but generally I suspect that by the time a kid gets to the big leagues they’re pretty much going to turn out like they’re going to turn out and no level of tutoring is going to make much difference.

    But if I’m wrong, why not just hire a huge coaching staff and not put them on the roster? I have no urge to watch a bunch of washed up veterans.

  111. Typical Idiot Fan on November 5th, 2010 2:59 pm

    This is why rosterbation is banned on the better run blogs. There’s always “that guy” who comes in and argues about a stupid and minor point for hours, despite the mountain of evidence and arguments brought back against him, and who leaves thinking that he’s accomplished something.

  112. Smoak em on November 5th, 2010 2:59 pm

    Watching the Giants win it all proves that above average pitching combined with solid defense up the middle can take a team far. Since they will not be able to put it all together in 2011, it is important to give the young guys playing time. Sign some players to 1 year deals to help free up some more cash for next year. Finding a second solid starter and quality shortstop in free agency next year may be the way to go. Let the marketing department worry about attendance.

  113. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 3:02 pm

    I propose you haven’t a clue as to what’s “plausible” and what isn’t with respect to what would help 2011 season ticket sales. Simply put, it’s irrelevant who the M’s sign in terms of “names”, because the only thing that would help 2011 season ticket sales was winning games in 2010. Everything else is a rounding error compared to that. They could sign Nick Punto OR Miguel Tejada OR (fill in the blank): none of them would sell season tickets to any measurable degree. So in that light, Dave’s roster is perfectly plausible.
    However, I can make that point without calling you a name.

    Retarded peopled have a hard time with reading comprehension. I stand behind that.

    And your posts are so much about what you would do. How you would handle this or what you think the situation should or should not be. You seem to live in an ego centric universe behind that key board.

    If you took the time to read,make an honest effort at debate and get off your own tip you wouldn’t seem retarded.

    I think you hold all the cards here man

  114. Shizane on November 5th, 2010 3:03 pm

    eponymous coward – thanks for the comments. Here are my responses:

    Well, that’s probably a 70 win roster (with some serious downside risk).

    What is the difference between a 70 win roster and an 80 win roster when finishing 4th in the Al West both times?

    How did that work in 2005 and 2008- gearing up to sign FA’s or make splashy moves to increase payroll?

    Just because you have $$ doesn’t mean you have to spend it irresponsibly. A low payroll at the beginning of the off-season means flexibility to me….something that we don’t have now. I would rather use this upcoming season, which we all believe to be a “lost” season, to develop the kids and introduce them to the public. And I’d rather not spend an extra $15M on stopgap role players if the end result is going to be the same anyway. Fact: baseball fans will come to the ballpark if the team is winning. Let’s try and save some $$ in a year that we can’t win and set up the team/public for a long run in the future.

  115. Typical Idiot Fan on November 5th, 2010 3:06 pm

    As for next season:

    “It’s a terrible thing to have to tell your fans, who have waited like Detroit’s have, that their team won’t win it this year. But it’s better than lying to them.” Source: Sports Illustrated (July 9, 1979)

    Oh “Sparky” Anderson, I will miss you.

  116. MrGenre on November 5th, 2010 3:06 pm

    Stop feeding the squirrels, guys, and maybe they’ll go away.

  117. anonymous on November 5th, 2010 3:11 pm

    What about Hiroyuki Nakajima? He seems more exciting than Punto, may not cost too much more, and could be a good player for multiple years, possibly erasing the need for a shortstop once Wilson is gone until guys like Franklin and Triunfel are ready.

  118. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 3:12 pm

    Retarded peopled have a hard time with reading comprehension. I stand behind that.

    As well you should.

    If you took the time to read,make an honest effort at debate and get off your own tip you wouldn’t seem retarded.

    Still waiting for you to propose something more “plausible”.

    Or does your argument for what would sell more season tickets than signing Punto et al revolve around how many times you can call me “retarded”?

    I have to confess, that’s a very novel plan. Have you considered work in a baseball front office?

  119. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 3:15 pm

    @Typical Idiot Fan This is why rosterbation is banned on the better run blogs. There’s always “that guy” who comes in and argues about a stupid and minor point for hours, despite the mountain of evidence and arguments brought back against him, and who leaves thinking that he’s accomplished something.

    I really hope that’s not directed at my posts. I give an honest comment that disagrees with one part of a post and I’m a troll?

    You know, sometimes discussion and debate is allowed even within the choir. Doesn’t mean your from another congregation.

  120. Leroy Stanton on November 5th, 2010 3:19 pm

    I’m curious what anyone else things of the possibility of JJ Hardy at short. He seems a plausible non-tender candidate and could be an interesting part of the club, whether we unload Jack Wilson or not.

    I don’t know anything about his struggles, but I like that type of move. It’s something that could really improve the team, now and in the future, if it worked out. He’s only 28.

    It seems like a much better use of resources than Nick Punto.

  121. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 3:22 pm

    Still waiting for you to propose something more “plausible”.
    Or does your argument for what would sell more season tickets than signing Punto et al revolve around how many times you can call me “retarded”?
    I have to confess, that’s a very novel plan. Have you considered work in a baseball front office?

    Well, this is not about what I would do. Adding grand ideas for improvement is your realm. THis is about something that Dave put forth and suggested. This isn’t my soapbox nor should it be yours.
    Besides, whatever I would suggest as an alternative is only riffing off what Dave posted. Not fair to use some one else’s body of work to launch something I deem to be better. Does that make any sense?

    I disagree that specific parts of this roster achieves the “possible” and realistic part of what Dave is going for only in regards to what he believes ownerships motivation will be.

    Simple, small and only one thing that I said.

  122. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 3:24 pm

    I’m curious what anyone else things of the possibility of JJ Hardy at short.

    If he’s affordable and available, sure. (No, I’m not really hung up on acquiring Nick Punto.)

    But why wouldn’t the Twins bring back a guy this good if the salary was within reason? He grades out as a 3+ WAR player, and they should be doing fine for salary money at Target Field, after a good season.

  123. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 3:29 pm

    Besides, whatever I would suggest as an alternative is only riffing off what Dave posted. Not fair to use some one else’s body of work to launch something I deem to be better. Does that make any sense?

    No.

    But your big words frighten and confuse me. This isn’t fun like the Special Olympics I get to bounce a ball in.

    (We prefer the term “differently abled”, by the way.)

  124. MrGenre on November 5th, 2010 3:37 pm

    But why wouldn’t the Twins bring back a guy this good if the salary was within reason? He grades out as a 3+ WAR player, and they should be doing fine for salary money at Target Field, after a good season.

    It’s speculation, sure. But a 1st round draft pick in Plouffe’s knocking on the door and they still have Casilla. Looking deeper, most Twins fans seem to think they’ll run him through arbitration, but it’s fun to dream, ain’t it?

  125. SODOMOJO360 on November 5th, 2010 3:39 pm

    Here’s a template for those of you unable to think beyond “OMG OFFENSE!!11? Just use this instead of writing new comments.

    Look how well putting together a defensive team worked last year. It didn’t. If M’s lose 100 games again Jack Z. is gone.

  126. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 3:43 pm

    It’s speculation, sure. But a 1st round draft pick in Plouffe’s knocking on the door and they still have Casilla. Looking deeper, most Twins fans seem to think they’ll run him through arbitration, but it’s fun to dream, ain’t it?

    I would think if that was the case, offer arbitration, and then the Twins trade at some point if they really DO think he’s surplus, rather than dump him and get nothing except for some salary relief. I would imagine there’s a trade market for 3 WAR shortstops.

    And they did drop Punto from the roster, so there would be space to add a rookie.

  127. MrGenre on November 5th, 2010 3:49 pm

    I would imagine there’s a trade market for 3 WAR shortstops.

    Just throwing out ideas, is all. I’m not the first to suggest he might be non-tendered.

  128. Typical Idiot Fan on November 5th, 2010 3:51 pm

    I really hope that’s not directed at my posts. I give an honest comment that disagrees with one part of a post and I’m a troll?

    Even if you’re being honest, you’re still deliberately continuing to stir the pot, degrading to deflective statements, insults, and useless banter such as “get a life”. In short, yeah, you’re trolling.

    You haven’t even made your point. I don’t even know if YOU know what YOUR point is.

    You know, sometimes discussion and debate is allowed even within the choir. Doesn’t mean your from another congregation.

    I said you were trolling. Some of the best trolls are ones within the congregation.

  129. Typical Idiot Fan on November 5th, 2010 3:51 pm

    Look how well putting together a defensive team worked last year.

    It won the World Series.

  130. Leroy Stanton on November 5th, 2010 3:52 pm

    mlbtraderumors had this on Hardy, but sentiment was running 5:1 against him being non-tendered.

  131. MrGenre on November 5th, 2010 3:55 pm

    mlbtraderumors had this on Hardy, but sentiment was running 5:1 against him being non-tendered.

    It’s a long shot, for sure.

  132. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 4:04 pm

    Even if you’re being honest, you’re still deliberately continuing to stir the pot, degrading to deflective statements, insults, and useless banter such as “get a life”. In short, yeah, you’re trolling.
    You haven’t even made your point. I don’t even know if YOU know what YOUR point is.

    What would I possibly have to gain by being anything else but honest on a blog?

    Stirring what pot? By disagreeing with a small portion of an otherwise nice post? My point was clearly made, it was not offensive and it was only one thing I said.
    It’s open for debate. But I admit, i lose it when i have to restate something several times because one or two people didn’t bother to read Dave’s post. How many times do I have to quote the same statement that is sitting at the top of this page without getting annoyed.
    Maybe some of you are so used to a certain kind of all or nothing attack that you’re champing at the bit but this wasn’t one. It’s a simple point to understand. It in no way reflects my sentiments towards the theories that makeup the content on this site.

    do you understand what my point was?

  133. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 4:10 pm

    Here, the retarded guy can help you with this one!

    http://www.ussmariner.com/comment-guidelines/

    Abusive behavior towards others
    When you post in reply to people, pretend that you are arguing with an umpire.
    “You blew that call, he was safe by a mile.” = Okay
    “You blow.” = Ejected

    Or, if we had a U.S.S. Mariner get-together, we were all eating pizza and drinking beer, having a good time, would yelling your comment get you punched, then or later?

    You think x because you’re adopted, so there’s that

    Speculation about another person’s motives for taking a particular position, particularly in a negative and derogatory sense.

    That’s why you’re trolling.

  134. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 4:17 pm

    Well here is the statement that evidently set a couple of folks off:

    Well if the stated goal is to not alienate the fan base, I’m not so sure saving 10 more runs defensively is going to float with the Mariner moms.
    I agree, a run is a run but Dave’s off season plan is more than just runs this time.

    I went onto to qualify what I meant by being more specific with quotes from the post. Because reading between lines and not being literal about every single thing is hard to understand I’ll break it down.

    Well if the stated goal is to not alienate the fan base,
    Dave’s thoughts paraphrased, I did the job of giving a direct quote later so y’all wouldn’t have to cramp your fingers by scrolling or hurt your eyes by actually reading his post

    Mariner moms
    Soccer moms= casual fan
    Attempt at humor obviously not aimed at math nerds (myself included)

    I agree, a run is a run but Dave’s off season plan is more than just runs this time.

    You see this is the fuzzy point that I know is just so hard to understand. I agree means I’m of the same mind when it comes to runs in any form.
    The rest of this sentence implies that, and I know it’s fuzzy, that Dave’s plan has more to it than just runs.

    Ownership motivation, ticket sales…something Dave was concerned with when addressing the roster here. In that way and only in that way, I disagree that certain moves herein proposed achieves the goal of a realistic and possible roster.

    If you or anyone else here finds that offensive you need thicker skin or your own site.

  135. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 4:19 pm

    Speculation about another person’s motives for taking a particular position, particularly in a negative and derogatory sense.

    So by that definition you are trolling.

  136. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 4:20 pm

    And sense a certain comment about being learning impaired hurt your feeling EC, I’m sorry.

    But when the guy running the blog liberally throws out “idiot” I tend to believe that’s allowable.

  137. metz123 on November 5th, 2010 4:32 pm

    Let’s take Dave’s $93 million dollar roster and also his contention that it would be a team lucky to be at .500.

    Let’s also assume that this .500 team does not stem the reduction in season ticket holders, nor does it stem the reduction in attendance and tv and radio ratings in general.

    Do you think that the M’s are still going to commit $93 million in payroll this year?

    I’m thinking that Dave will have to go through this exercise again with a target payroll of around $85 million and see how that changes the current rosterbation.

    We all know this season is a lost cause as far as being competitive. Even with unlimited funds there aren’t enough quality free agents out there to turn this team into a contender. Is management going to continue with their current philosophy of “spend, try and be decent, while not handicapping the future, realizing we aren’t going to be good and hope that enough fans turn out to see Ichiro, Felix and a warm summer day”?

  138. ripperlv on November 5th, 2010 4:34 pm

    Interesting. I like the Berkman pickup. Do you really feel Saunders is going to take over in LF? I would still like to see some more power but the team has speed for sure, some defense and middle of the road pitching. More competitive, but no trophies in sight. Nice article.

  139. spankystout on November 5th, 2010 4:36 pm

    Why is it OK to assume the M’s offense will rebound next season, with youngsters and inconsistent/injury-prone veterans? Obviously i’m excluding Ichiro.

  140. Leroy Stanton on November 5th, 2010 4:47 pm

    We all know this season is a lost cause as far as being competitive.

    I would say it’s more likely than not that the Mariners finish under .500. But lost cause? No way. Smoak, Pineda, Ackley, Saunders, and Moore are wildcards. And we don’t know what moves Jack is going to make. Baseball is too unpredictable to give up in November.

  141. thurston24 on November 5th, 2010 4:54 pm

    Does Halman have Minor League options left? If he does I assume he stays in AAA but, I thought he was out of them. If he is, why wouldn’t the M’s give him a chance to show that the K’s are too much to succeed?

  142. J-Dog on November 5th, 2010 4:56 pm

    But why wouldn’t the Twins bring back a guy this good if the salary was within reason? He grades out as a 3+ WAR player, and they should be doing fine for salary money at Target Field, after a good season.

    For what its worth, the Prospect Insider blog also speculated that JJ Hardy is a likely non-tender prospect. Arbitration was the stated reason. I would view Hardy as a better, albeit more expensive, addition than Punto.

  143. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 4:58 pm

    We all know this season is a lost cause as far as being competitive. Even with unlimited funds there aren’t enough quality free agents out there to turn this team into a contender. Is management going to continue with their current philosophy of “spend, try and be decent, while not handicapping the future,

    I think that if management thought that last year’s team was constructed to compete while continuing the systemic rebuild then I think they’ll have to assume the same thing this year. Regression comes into play.

    They can compete. The roster above is a good example of how. I don’t think it’ll do the part of exciting potential season ticket holders but it could compete just like the team competed in 09. Just like it could have in ’10.

    If they cut payroll in order to go full on traditional rebuild (which I really doubt they’ll do) it’ll only reduce the team’s income and probably the payroll even further.

  144. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 5:01 pm

    And we don’t know what moves Jack is going to make. Baseball is too unpredictable to give up in November.

    here here.

    GmZ baseball is incredibly hard to predict.

    Once again,

    CLIFF LEE, what,
    really….how….are you freaking kidding me?

  145. Snake Hippo on November 5th, 2010 5:04 pm

    Dave/whoever, do you think there is any possibility of the Mariners acquiring Pablo Sandoval from the Giants? It appears that he’s fallen out of favor there, but he is still young and had a poor BABIP this past season. Maybe trade for him with a package built around Figgins and/or Aardsma?

    On the other hand, the M’s have not had good history with fat players or free-swingers, so maybe not. But a young switch-hitter with upside who could play 3B, 1B, DH, and maybe even C sounds pretty nice.

  146. Cresswell on November 5th, 2010 5:23 pm

    The problem with people today … is the same problem we;ve had for a while. You’d rather a .218 hitter who’s in the majors than a .300 hitter who is not. No mention of Mangini. Ackley you continue to say shouldn’t be up. Why the heck not? It seems like an awful lot of effort to have a worse offense than last year (in the infield at least). And where do you get the idea that Saunders can be 2 WAR given his last two years? Just silly. We need a shortstop who can hit and field … I wish Figgins could go there, because then we could put Mangini at 3B and Ackley at 2B. … Saunders had not earned 600 plate appearances, not by a long shot. And in Berkman, you want to trade for a home run hitter who doesn’t hit home runs anymore? You think he’ll hit more in Safeco? Just silly stuff.

  147. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 5:30 pm

    Ownership motivation, ticket sales…something Dave was concerned with when addressing the roster here. In that way and only in that way, I disagree that certain moves herein proposed achieves the goal of a realistic and possible roster.

    Great. It’s lovely you disagree. Go you.

    Since you won’t explain your reasoning or offer an alternative, why post about it?

    If you or anyone else here finds that offensive you need thicker skin or your own site.

    For someone who seems to think others have reading comprehension problems, you don’t seem to understand “Could you present an actual argument for your position?” very well.

    So by that definition you are trolling.

    Please point out where I have speculated as to WHY you have no clue.

    And sense a certain comment about being learning impaired hurt your feeling EC, I’m sorry.

    But when the guy running the blog liberally throws out “idiot” I tend to believe that’s allowable.

    You’ve managed to go from “well, I shouldn’t build on the blog owner’s work” to “well, the blog owner does it, so I can too” so fast you should have whiplash.

    Oh, and yes, being called names on the Interwebs by people who can’t spell and won’t make a coherent argument hurts my feelings. I am crying little black tears. Sniff sniff.

    Anyways, to sum up, because this is way too meta: you disagree that Dave’s proposed roster is the right way to excite the season ticket holders, even though it would be a reasonable way to get to a .500 team, which should be a goal, but you won’t actually put forth an argument as to what WOULD be the right way. Because, well… something. Whatever. I don’t care, at this point.

    Go you for thinking that. Would you like a cookie?

  148. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 5:31 pm

    The problem with people today … is the same problem we;ve had for a while. You’d rather a .218 hitter who’s in the majors than a .300 hitter who is not.

    If they aren’t hitting 300 in the majors then you’re just projecting.

    No mention of Mangini. Ackley you continue to say shouldn’t be up. Why the heck not?

    Where would Mangini play. Plus the name. Replace the last “i” with an “a”. I imagine saying Ackley won’t make the roster is speculating that he’s not reading defensively and there’s always the super 2s. Personally, I think he’ll have a good shot to make the club out of the gates.

    It seems like an awful lot of effort to have a worse offense than last year (in the infield at least). And where do you get the idea that Saunders can be 2 WAR given his last two years? Just silly.

    He’s projecting just like you were doing with the 300 hitters not in the majors comment.

  149. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 5:35 pm

    Since you won’t explain your reasoning or offer an alternative, why post about it?

    Reread, it’s all there sport.

    Please point out where I have speculated as to WHY you have no clue.

    ….

    Oh, and yes, being called names on the Interwebs by people who can’t spell and won’t make a coherent argument hurts my feelings. I am crying little black tears. Sniff sniff.

    sorry, did i miss a typo?

    Go you for thinking that. Would you like a cookie?

    What does that even mean?

  150. nwade on November 5th, 2010 5:37 pm

    Cresswell – Please see earlier discussions and artciles on this site. Ackley won’t be up because the club gets him for a full extra year if they keep him in the minors for the first month or two of the 2011 season. After that, then he’ll be up (barring injury, knock on wood).

    SODOMOJO360 – Please see earlier discussions and articles on this site. A “defensive” team roster methodology helped several teams get into the post-season this year. The problem wasn’t our methods, the problem was our players and the results they failed to achieve. If just 3 or 4 of them had an “average” season instead of a horrible one, our team would have been much better. Maybe not division-winners, but not 100-game losers either!

  151. eponymous coward on November 5th, 2010 5:38 pm

    For what its worth, the Prospect Insider blog also speculated that JJ Hardy is a likely non-tender prospect. Arbitration was the stated reason.

    Let’s consider the alternatives:

    - Decline arbitration. You get $6 million salary relief and no other return.

    - Offer arbitration. Trade JJ Hardy for package of minor leaguers to team that needs SS. You get $6 million in salary relief and tasty prospects.

    - Offer arbitration. For some inexplicable reason, no team in all of MLB wants JJ Hardy when you put him on the trade market. You pay him whatever the award is. Oh, and you get a 3 WAR player, which translates to about 12 million in value.

    I am completely stumped as to why options 2 and 3 are somehow things the Twins would be completely hosed by, considering that they play in a sold-out ballpark and make plenty of cash these days.

  152. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 5:42 pm

    Anyways, to sum up, because this is way too meta: you disagree that Dave’s proposed roster is the right way to excite the season ticket holders, even though it would be a reasonable way to get to a .500 team, which should be a goal, but you won’t actually put forth an argument as to what WOULD be the right way. Because, well… something. Whatever. I don’t care, at this point.

    Right there, that’ where you’re missing it. Keeps sneaking right by you like Lopez on a soft grounder up the middle.
    I don’t disagree with his proposed roster. Only silly children think in such absolutes. Surely you’re not a silly child. I may disagree that such a roster doesn’t do the job of “avoid alienating the fan base stem the erosion of season ticket sales”.
    And yes, I may believe that season tickets are sold before the season starts. And yes I may believe that if the 2011 roster is constructed with this consideration “avoid alienating the fan base stem the erosion of season ticket sales” I am assuming that begins in 2011.
    Fair enough.

    Now Go you for thinking that.

  153. Gibbo on November 5th, 2010 5:49 pm

    Yes I really like the idea of Sandoval – just not sure of the cost or if it is realistic? I think the M’s have been interested in the past.

    But a haul of Hardy, Sandoval and Berkman would be a fine result for the off season.

  154. diderot on November 5th, 2010 5:52 pm

    I liked this blog a lot better before vertigoman kidnapped Dave and took it over.

  155. vertigoman on November 5th, 2010 5:56 pm

    I liked this blog a lot better before vertigoman kidnapped Dave and took it over.

    Heh.
    I have him right here. He seems to like peanuts.
    If you grab eponymous coward we can work out an exchange.

  156. ck on November 5th, 2010 7:07 pm

    Dave, Thank You, for a great plausible roster to open the bidding. The comments so far have hit most of the variables; i.e., Mariners have a limited budget, perhaps around 90 mil., good players win more games than bad players, you must make money by selling tickets to afford good players, rookies such as Ackley, Smoak, Pineda, et al can only learn and improve by playing against major leaguers, and will Lueke ever wear the teal, or whatever color the marketing dept. is promoting this year. One question for Dave, Is the urban legend that Mariners have money to bid for, and sign, Japanese players true ?

  157. Duncan Idaho on November 5th, 2010 7:23 pm

    On season tickets; The dropoff in renewals from last year represents a return to the bare bones hard core fans some of whom have owned season tickets since 1977. Even if the Mariners signed the Japanese kid, Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford and Adam Dunn and then traded for Zach Greinke the resulting season ticket sales would still not represent a majority of total ticket sales. The days when the Mariners can write in stone 16,000-20,000 season ticket sales are over for awhile. The only way for sales to ever approach that level again is the same sort of sustained excellence that made it possible in the first place.

    On Punto; Excellent move no matter how you look at it because in the end Punto is being brought in to play short when the situation arises. Which it will. I was all for getting an offensive shortstop this offseason but that was only because I didn’t see any good defensive ones on the market.

    No matter what in 2011 the Mariners will count on the first 5 spots in the lineup for most of the run production. And with improved pitching and defense and progression to below average (instead of all time ineptitude) by the bottom of the lineup the Mariners should come close to scoring as many runs as they give up, which I would say is a first key step to getting back to respectability. That may leave the Mariners winning 70 games or good luck might see them to 85 wins. Either way they are not going to the playoffs next year.

    One more tidbit to throw out there. Don’t be surprised if the Mariners get in on the bidding for Greinke if he does become available. A package of Pineda, Saunders, Robles and Lueke would look pretty nice to the Royals.

  158. Duncan Idaho on November 5th, 2010 7:35 pm

    And for the last time Ackley will be a Mariner until 2017 by leaving him in Tacoma only until around April 15th. It would well behoove no one to leave Ackley in Tacoma past that date if he hits .400/.550/.600 the first two weeks. And no that is not out of the realm of possibility. Ackley will start the season in Tacoma only because it will buy the Mariners an extra season or because he is legitimately not ready. In fact if he tears it up in Arizona and the club and Ackley can agree to some kind of framework for locking him up long term I would not be surprised to see him starting at second and hitting sixth on opening day.

  159. Chris_From_Bothell on November 5th, 2010 8:11 pm

    He’s going to be 35 next year and is coming off the worst year of his career, but there are reasons to think he’s a good bounce back candidate

    Hey, it’s last offseason all over again. Pass.

    Swap out Berkman, Zaun and Francis, substitute Victor Martinez as the regular DH and backup catcher for the same money as would have gone to the lot of them.
    Sign Hisashi Iwakuma.
    Start Ackley out of spring training and have Punto on the bench. Or play roster games to keep Ackley down for two weeks as Duncan Idaho suggests.

    Rest of that suggested roster looks fine.

  160. Cresswell on November 5th, 2010 8:50 pm

    the thing about projecting, that’s the point. Saunders, Carp … they weren’t .300 hitters in the minors. They ended up not .300 hitts in the majors. They ended up fairly similar players to what their minor stats were. Players that hit well in the minors generally hit well in the majors. People get caught up in the fact that a guy in the majors is “proven” because he’s been around. That’s not good enough.

    My projections on Ackley are, yes, projections, but based on experience. Any projections on Saunders have to be based on experience, too – he’s .220 hitter who strikes out an awful lot and doesn’t have the power and/or plate discipline to justify those numbers. I would think projecting him to his .250 with 20 hr power might not be out of the realm of possibility, but it’s a stretch, it really is.

    eponymous – sorry don’t understand your comment about Mangini. I apologize for being obtuse.

    Nwade. Sorry I missed that about Ackley. That at least makes sense, but then, why bother trading for a new guy just to fill in time until Ackley comes up? Again, it’s wasted effort.

    Rather spend the effort on a power hitter who’s not 100 years old.

  161. Gibbo on November 5th, 2010 9:20 pm

    Don’t be surprised if the Mariners get in on the bidding for Greinke if he does become available. A package of Pineda, Saunders, Robles and Lueke would look pretty nice to the Royals.

    That sounds like we have put the cart before the horse again – Yes to trading Saunders but no way do I trade all of those four guys!

  162. greentunic on November 5th, 2010 10:02 pm

    littlelinny6,

    Funny you should say that, he went to my HS too! Wait… that means YOU and I went to the same HS! ’06 class. Love to see Gillespie in M’s uniform.

  163. John W. on November 6th, 2010 12:00 am

    Thanks for the great post. I love these every year. I really like the idea of picking up Jeff Francis, but do you think he’s going to take that much money?

    On a side note… This is depressing. It all just seems so hopeless. The Rangers will be good now for a long time, the Angels are always good… and we have this awful, awful team.

    Worst yet, in his “Things are more Hopeful than they appear” post, Jay mentioned in the comments that our organization has the “10-15th” best farm system in the league, which is just better than average. Were screwed. I can’t be the only person thinking this way right? In three or four years, does anyone think in their heart of hearts that Smoak, Pineda, Saunders, and Ackley will really propel our team past the Angels or Rangers?

    I need someone to tell me we have something better than a small chance, ya know? That those guys can win some serious games. Because I just don’t see it. And I’m sick of seeing our busted prospects go on to be great somewhere else. I hope all of this is just pessimism.

    Oh, and the Hisashi Iwakuma news is really exciting, but thats for another board.

  164. heychuck01 on November 6th, 2010 12:27 am

    Worst yet, in his “Things are more Hopeful than they appear” post, Jay mentioned in the comments that our organization has the “10-15th” best farm system in the league, which is just better than average. Were screwed. I can’t be the only person thinking this way right? In three or four years, does anyone think in their heart of hearts that Smoak, Pineda, Saunders, and Ackley will really propel our team past the Angels or Rangers?

    It will be hard to compete with those guys for sure, for the near future.

    However, do not forget, that the Mariners budget is relatively large, and they have shown they will spend money to try to get over the hump(again this is all relative, they are not the Yankees). We are not neccesarily ‘stuck’ with the current crop of players.

    Granted, they have spent money unwisely in the past, but they did spend it. Maybe Z will do better. I am not really referring to next year, but the following years.

  165. Mothy on November 6th, 2010 8:09 am

    Ah, Vertigoman and Eponymous Coward, why can’t you let a good post rest in peace. And yes, EpCo, I realise Vertigoman was wrong- and very wrong in calling you a retard- but if you’d let him be wrong in peace this would have been over a long time ago.

    Anyway, I have to say I like this roster. I was a little disappointed at the DA and Lopez trade, at what you said it would bring back, but after thinking a little while it makes a lot more sense. Although I still hope for a little more Z magic that might bring something a little better back than that. I guess I see that as the pessimistic rather than the optimistic return.
    As for Punto, I’m fine with that, and a little excited at the idea of seeing excellent D at 2b again after too many years of mediocre to poor D. Of course, if Hardy becomes available as some commenters said he might, I like that option better. But until that happens I’ll dream of Punto.
    Also Francis I’m not sure about. I don’t think it would be a bad, crippling move. But I don’t know if what he would provide over a Pauley or his type being in the rotation- with some other garbage heap pickup taking his place in the bullpen- would be worth the extra expense.
    Even with the minor disagreements I enjoyed this post. Keep up the good work.

  166. DoesntCompute on November 6th, 2010 9:29 am

    What have I learned with this post? The outlook for 2011 is pretty grim and that I should ignore posts written by Vertigoman and EC. They may have good points but it isn’t worth my time to read through the steaming pile of bickering and petty comments to figure it out. I don’t give a damn which of you is right, I just wish you’d both knock it off.

  167. baetown415 on November 6th, 2010 9:48 am

    This is probably the best offseason plan Dave’s ever written. It looks really good, although I think the Rangers are more likely to sign Berkman if they increase payroll a little bit after/if they re-sign Lee.

  168. Chris_From_Bothell on November 6th, 2010 10:22 am

    A package of Pineda, Saunders, Robles and Lueke would look pretty nice to the Royals.

    Could they get away with Figgins, Saunders, Robles and Lueke for Grienke instead? I don’t know what the Royals’ needs are at 2b or 3b, so perhaps Figgins doesn’t work. Or hey, even bump it down a notch to Fister, Saunders, Robles and Lueke. This IS the same front office that took Betancourt off the Ms hands, perhaps they don’t value players the same way the Ms do…

    I’d just love to see a Felix-Zack-Hisashi-Pineda-Vargas lineup… enough to tolerate Mangini/Tui at 3b and random-fella at LF…

  169. snapper on November 6th, 2010 10:44 am

    This plan seems way too conservative for a team in the M’s position.

    Berkman makes sense, I agree he’s a good bounceback candidate, though I’ll think he’ll go to a contender.

    The other players named as acquisition targets don’t have any upside, and aren’t going to put fannies in the seats.

    Why not take bigger risks? Flip Aardsma for some prospects, rather than 4th OF/BUI types.

    Look to AAAA types to fill the Punto/Hendrickson/Zaun/Gillespie/Roberts roles.

    An if your going to spend some money, go for really high beta/upside guys like Bedard, Harden and Webb, who could benefit from a good ballpark/defense to rebuild their careers. You could either build options into their contracts, so you control them for an extra year or two if they’re good, or flip them at the deadline for extra talent.

    Otherwise, a string of moves that spend money to make a 65 win team a 72 win team for 2011, but don’t improve the talent base for 2012 and beyond, don’t make much sense.

  170. sambclark on November 6th, 2010 11:16 am

    Am I the only one holding out hope that Jack Wilson will pack his bags and decide to go back to Japan?!

  171. Adam S on November 6th, 2010 4:39 pm

    Looks like the Moyer idea might be a non-starter — http://bit.ly/bWICtg

  172. Lailoken on November 6th, 2010 6:47 pm

    The Moves

    Trade David Aardsma and Jose Lopez to Arizona for OF Cole Gillespie and IF Ryan Roberts.

    After last season, I’m aiming to add offense at every position.

    Trade David Aardsma, Brandon League, Mike Carp, & Rob Johnson with money to Tampa Bay for Jason Bartlett & Matt Moore

    Sign Jose Contreras to a 1 year $2 million contract plus incentives for saves & games finished

    With Tampa Bay’s wholesale bullpen changeover & surplus at shortstop I’d aim to upgrade the offense via that route. While a run is a run the offense was a disaster & Jack Wilson cannot stay healthy. Bartlett may be no guarantee for offensive performance since 2009 is his only big year but he maintained a decent walk rate in 2010 while his BABIP plummetted. A measley 20 points bounceback on his BABIP makes him grade out as a much better player.

    Trading both of the club’s top late-inning arms is not an easy decision. Cortes, Kelley, Lueke, Fields, Varvaro, & Pryor all easily project to reach MLB by the end of 2012. This free agent class has tons of aging bullpen arms that can fill a gap without commanding draft pick compensation (Contreras, Hoffman, or Saito). I picked Contreras because he did so well last year. He could get more base salary elsewhere but likely wouldn’t have the opportunity to close. Going the inexpensive bullpen route at this point helps maximize the limited payroll. If too many of the youngsters fail to develop then next offseason when the Silva/Bradley/Wilson/other money comes off the books you can add an experienced arm or two if needed.

    Sidenote: Minnesota may see Plouffe or Casilla as viable alternatives to Hardy. If they do, I would prefer Hardy to Bartlett.

    Sign DH Lance Berkman to a 2 year, $12 million contract

    Bradley is a sunk cost but it’s hard to stomach him being on the bench for $13 million. Hard to not agree with the premise that Berkman is the best fit.

    Sign DH Lance Berkman to a 2 year, $12 million contract

    Even after a down year, my second choice, Carlos Pena could get more money & years than Berkman due to his being a few years younger with more power in 2009. The contract for Berkman may be a tad optimistic but incentives to guard against the prospect that his power may not return make sense.

    Sign LHP Jeff Francis to a 2 year, $10 million contract

    I admit it, I have a prejudice against pitch-to-contact pitchers who have sizeable contracts. Set aside the name, if you read the scouting report I can’t help but think that I wouldn’t want them pitching in a playoff game. The final spot or two in a rotation can be filled with guys who don’t have top-notch stuff at minimal cost.

    Sign LHP Erik Bedard & RHP Rich Harden to 1 year, $1 million contracts plus incentives; & Dustin McGowan to a minor league contract

    A possible rotation of Felix, Bedard, Harden, Pineda, & Vargas later in the year would be a major improvement. Brandon Webb too is very intriguing.

    Sign IF Nick Punto to a 1 year, $2.5 million contract

    With the trade for Bartlett above this move would be extraneous. However, a backup IF is still a need since in my scenario Ryan Roberts wasn’t traded for. Plenty of minor league free agents to compete for that job but I’d sign Willie Aybar as the favorite since he’s a versatile switch-hitter.

    Sign Willie Aybar to a 1 year, $.85 million contract & Alfredo Amezaga, D’Angelo Jiminez, & Luis Hernandez to minor league contracts

    Sign LHP Mark Hendrickson to a 1 year, $1 million contract

    Similar to earlier, I prefer the high upside pitchers. Andrew Miller is a non-tender candidate since he is due $2 million & out of options. If the budget is there he could be had via trade or he could be signed for less as a free agent.

    Sign Andrew Miller to a 1 year, $1 million contract

    Sign C Gregg Zaun to a 1 year, $1 million contract

    Zaun is one of my favorite gritty bench players & we almost signed him last season. I agree with this one but I’d also take a long hard look at Dioner Navarro. Navarro is young enough (26 yo) he’ll likely get a guaranteed contract.

    Sign C Gregg Zaun to a 1 year, $1 million contract

    That works. He can mentor Moore.

    Sign LHP Jamie Moyer to a 1 year, $500,000 contract

    Although Moyer would be a bargain at that rate this team needs to get younger & today’s news about his elbow injury makes such reunion seem unlikely.

    No move.

    Fister & French fit better as long/swingmen for this club.

    Other moves:

    Trade some semi-useful minor leaguer to KC for Kila Kai’ahue

    Sign Royce Ring or Taylor Tankersley to a minor league contract

    Sign Jeremy Hermida to a minor league contract

    Sign Barrett Loux, Rafael DePaula, & Esteilon Peguero

  173. SODOMOJO360 on November 6th, 2010 7:52 pm

    Look how well putting together a defensive team worked last year.
    It won the World Series.

    Along with far superior pitching and offense

  174. Salty Dog on November 8th, 2010 11:26 am

    I pray for an infusion of offense this year. Not because that’s a better strategy – yes, a run saved = a run scored – but because this team was utterly unwatchable last year. Scoring runs is generally exciting. Preventing runs is generally dull.

    Probably no one else agrees, but look at every other sport. The NFL is always putting rules in place to create more offense. The NHL, post-lockout, implemented rules that opened the game up to increase offense. The NBA put in a 24 second clock to force offensive play.

    MLB is going in the wrong direction. That’s probably a natural outgrowth of banning PEDs, but your average fan wants to see offense, not run prevention. Or at least I do. I’m tired of watching Mariners that are worthless at the plate. Watching Gutierrez make a difficult catch look easy just doesn’t do it for me.

  175. nelso139 on November 13th, 2010 2:53 am

    Honestly coming from a ticket holder who spends quite a bit of money on this lousy ball club every year, I must say I am not going to spend a dollar more. This organization is a joke. They need a complete overhaul.. meaning they need new ownership, President and CEO, etc. every year its the same damn thing with these guys. We get excited for absolutely nothing. And Dave I understand and agree on only one thing you said that entire post.. the Mariners in reality will not be good this next season. Judging by your roster moves, the Mariners will not even be able get a hit even if the ball was placed in front of them on a damn tee…

  176. JoshJones on November 14th, 2010 7:28 pm

    trade for ryan doumit. We’ve talked about him plenty over the past 2 seasons. He can play C, outfield, and DH. He’s a descent hitter. The pirates have 3 catchers so they would be willing to deal him. He can DH while still giving Adam moore and michael saunders days off.

    I think this season should be modeled after the giants. Focus on pitching. I would choose 2 of these options.
    1) trade for kenshin kawakami.
    2) if bedard is healthy give him another incentive deal.
    3) jon Garland. He showed this year that in a pitchers ballpark he’s rather effective.
    4) Brandon Webb if hes healthy and going to be a starting pitcher, NOT relief pitcher.

    None of these moves take much to do and have good upside. We stock pile our talent and money and add another proven hitter next season or at the trade deadline.

    If he actually wanted to come to seattle I would love to see victor martinez in a mariners uniform. DH, 1st, and catcher. perfect fit. keeps the fans happy while still allowing our youth to develop.

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