The Big Splash Option

Dave · November 17, 2010 at 8:59 am · Filed Under Mariners 

A lot of people are hoping that the Mariners will make a big splash this winter, landing a big power hitter like Prince Fielder or Adam Dunn. That’s looked unlikely at best all along, and we’ve tried to caution that the Mariners off-season is likely to be a bit more low key than that. They don’t have a ton of money to spend, and most of the big name options don’t make sense for where the organization is and what it needs.

Until now. You’ve probably heard that Kevin Towers is now willing to listen to offers for Justin Upton, the Diamondbacks young outfielder, and rumors have swirled over possible landing spots over the last few days. Joel Sherman reported this morning that the “Diamondbacks have growing belief (they) will trade Upton based on ton of interest.” The more reports surface, the more it sounds like this is something Arizona may be planning on doing, rather than just kicking the tires to see what they could get for him.

If Jack Zduriencik wants to make a big move to improve the offense, Upton’s availability gives him that chance. He’s signed through 2015 for a total of $49.5 million, but only $4.25 million of that is due in 2011, so he’d fit into the team’s modest pool of available cash. He turned 23 in August, so acquiring him wouldn’t be a short term desperation move that would require sacrificing the future to improve the present. And, he fits a lot of what the Mariners need.

Yes, he’s a right-handed power hitter, but he’s the kind of right-handed power hitter that the team needs – a guy who drives the ball to all fields. Of his 60 career home runs, only 31 have been to left field. While a lot of right-handed thumpers are great when they pull the ball and lousy when they do anything else, Upton has a .511 wOBA when he hits the ball to left, a .439 wOBA when he hits it to center, and a .365 wOBA when he hits it to right field. Here’s Upton’s spray chart for his 2010 home runs, via Hit Tracker:

He wouldn’t love Safeco, but it wouldn’t kill him either. He’s the kind of slugger who could survive the park and still be a productive hitter in Seattle.

On FanGraphs yesterday, I estimated Upton’s future value, and as you can see, he’s a huge asset, as his contract will pay him just a fraction of what he’s actually going to be worth over the next five years. Given his age and abilities, the expected career path for him ranges anywhere from Ruben Sierra to Reggie Jackson – he’s almost certainly going to hit for power, and if he gets the rest of his game to develop, he could be one of the all-time greats. Even if he doesn’t, he should be a nice player.

Of course, acquiring him would not be cheap. The D’Backs will only deal him for a big offer, but the Mariners have the pieces to put together a big offer. If Jack is willing to build a package around some of the organization’s best pieces (and we’re talking guys like Michael Pineda, Dustin Ackley, or Justin Smoak here), the M’s could get Kevin Towers attention.

Should they? That’s a different question, and depends on the asking price. But, the opportunity is now in front of them. If they want to make a big move to acquire a franchise slugger, they have a shot.

Comments

145 Responses to “The Big Splash Option”

  1. lubin_cuban23 on November 17th, 2010 9:17 am

    Ackley, Smoak. NO WAY! Maybe Pineda.

  2. Kyle in Illinois on November 17th, 2010 9:17 am

    I would love to get Justin Upton–just not if it means giving up Pineda, Ackley, or Smoak. I’m not opposed to giving up young talent, but these guys are too close with too much upside–and they’ve already had various amounts of success.

  3. furlong on November 17th, 2010 9:37 am

    Dunn is likely to be a big disappointment in the AL, Prince Fielder a head case if there ever was one. Justin Upton would be a godsend in Seattle no matter what the cost.

  4. BlackHaloBender on November 17th, 2010 9:43 am

    Well if your gunna mortgage the farm you might as well do it for a 23 year old.

    Ackley would be the only one off limits. Would Pineda, LIddi, Aardsma, Halman, Cortes be too much? Too little?

  5. TherzAlwaysHope on November 17th, 2010 9:43 am

    Safeco Field is place where right handed power hitters go to die. But if the trade included a hot pitching prospect whose PR was poorly handled and is now a pariah — how about that?

  6. robbbbbb on November 17th, 2010 9:49 am

    Upton’s a plus corner outfielder. Left field at Safeco is the obvious fit, where his range plays well. (And he’s unlikely to displace Ichiro or DTFT.) That means that Michael Saunders is the first piece that goes in a deal to bring in Upton.

    Past that, who knows? Probably two grade A prospects in return, and from the high minors. We’re not going to get Upton for our trash.

  7. robbbbbb on November 17th, 2010 9:52 am

    Actually, BlackHaloBender has a point: The Diamondbacks might value Aardsma pretty highly. If that’s the case, then you put Saunders and Aardsma together and you’ve got two quality major league players in the deal. You’d probably have to add at least one more prospect to the deal (Pineda?), but that might be the basis of a pretty good deal.

  8. BlackHaloBender on November 17th, 2010 9:54 am

    So Saunders + Pineda + Smoak?

    That’s rough.

  9. NBarnes on November 17th, 2010 9:55 am

    I could live with giving up Smoak in an Upton deal. Pineda, maybe; it depends on which side of ‘MLB overvalues starting pitching’ the deal falls on. Ackley, no thanks.

  10. BlackHaloBender on November 17th, 2010 9:57 am

    As tough as it is right now to be an M’s fan I’m just not sure this makes sense.

    I’m way closer to the other side of the fence. I’d rather field a replacement level team next year and build up more prospects not less.

  11. GoldenGutz on November 17th, 2010 9:59 am

    Rumors are that Nolasco/Morrison gets it done. I don’t buy it but I’d give up Saunders, DA, Vargas/Fister

  12. Gibbo on November 17th, 2010 10:04 am

    Ackley and Smoak – no, but would trade Saunders, Pineda, Lueke and another piece. Even then I dont know if that is enough. I think the M’s may prefer to keep Pineda as his arm may turn out to be be golden and they are pretty difficult/rare to aquire.

  13. stoyboy on November 17th, 2010 10:04 am

    Would be nice to trade for BJ Upton, JJ Hardy, Alex Gordon and a DH that can at least hit. This bunch could be cheaper and hopefully some upside possibilities.

  14. BlackHaloBender on November 17th, 2010 10:05 am

    Nolasco is allot better than Vargas/Fister but I know nothing of Morrison.

  15. BlackHaloBender on November 17th, 2010 10:06 am

    Saunders, Pineda, Lueke would seem better than Nolasco/Morrison.

  16. the tourist on November 17th, 2010 10:08 am

    I’d do Pineda, Saunders, Aardsma, and Lueke for Upton and one of those backup options Dave mentioned in his post.

  17. opiate82 on November 17th, 2010 10:08 am

    It will always be easier for the M’s to recruit pitching than it will hitting.

    Pineda/Saunders/Aardsma (does Arizona need a closer?) is where I would start. I would keep Smoak and Ackley off the table. M’s need to stock-pile all the offense they can in the farm cause it won’t be easy or cheap to get it otherwise.

  18. tdillon on November 17th, 2010 10:10 am

    I would have rather seen Uggla picked up for an Aardsma/Lueke/Fister package. The 2 picks alone would be worth it. I could live with his bad defense until Ackley is ready.

  19. asuray on November 17th, 2010 10:14 am

    As a Mariners fan living in Arizona, I have close ties to this discussion. Word on the street is that the D’Backs are going to want a top pitching prospect, a MLB ready OF to replace Upton, a corner IF, plus something else. We’re probably looking at Pineda + Saunders + Figgins (with us eating most of his salary) + an Ackley or Smoak type in exchange for Upton to get these talks started. Towers has said that he’s looking to cover most of his needs in one swoop if he’s to deal Upton.

  20. mattlock on November 17th, 2010 10:18 am

    Pineda/Saunders/Aardsma seems like way too steep of a price for Upton. And I’m talking general (perceived) market value. Pineda is widely considered one of the top pitching prospects in the minor leagues. Aardsma (regardless of how we feel about him and his potential for regression) has been one of the better closers in baseball for the last couple years. And Saunders is still a pretty solid prospect. That seems like overkill.

    Unless of course we were getting something back along with Upton, and I don’t see many other realistic options I’d be all that interested in (excluding Reynolds, Drew, Montero, Johnson, Kennedy, etc.)

  21. BlackHaloBender on November 17th, 2010 10:22 am

    Yeah. I think I’d rather have Pineda and Saunders than Upton.

  22. robbbbbb on November 17th, 2010 10:24 am

    Listening to asuray, that means that a deal for Upton from the M’s looks something like:

    Saunders, Pineda, Smoak, Aardsma (or other miscellaneous piece.)

    Temper your expectations for Justin Upton. The M’s would have to give up a lot to get him, and his super-stardom is no guarantee (as Dave notes in his Fangraphs piece.)

    Now, if the M’s could get Upton for Saunders, Pineda, Aardsma, and a lower-level minor leaguer, I’d do that trade in a heartbeat. I doubt the D’Backs will take an offer that low.

  23. Bodhizefa on November 17th, 2010 10:25 am

    It’s going to take two of the big three (Smoak, Pineda, Ackley) to even get the conversation started, I would think. Any of the trade ideas that don’t include two of them are simply not going to be enough. And, you know what? For a guy who could be a classic #3/#4 hitter with real defensive value for the M’s for years and years to come, I’d gladly deal two of those three.

    My offer? Justin Smoak, Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, and Josh Lueke.

  24. Dave on November 17th, 2010 10:26 am

    Let’s rephrase the question – what players on the current roster would you give up to get Felix? Because Upton is worth about as much (or maybe a bit more) than Felix.

    Would you really rather have Saunders and Pineda than Felix?

  25. johndango on November 17th, 2010 10:29 am

    Great point Dave but I just don’t know if I could comfortably say good bye to Pineda. He feels like a future ace and its always good to have one of those. I also can’t see getting ride of Smoak or Ackely because then that leaves two huge holes to fill. Feels like its easier to find an outfielder than it is to find good infielders.

  26. Leroy Stanton on November 17th, 2010 10:29 am

    I’d offer Franklin, Saunders, Cortes, and Lueke. If that doesn’t get it done then just walk away. Dealing Ackley, Pineda, or Smoak defeats the purpose.

  27. jayson on November 17th, 2010 10:29 am

    NOT JUSTIN SMOAK. ANYTHING BUT SMOAK.

  28. Bodhizefa on November 17th, 2010 10:31 am

    Another interesting angle is how unbelievably joyful it is to watch Upton hit (when he makes contact). The ball absolutely rockets off his bat. He would be someone who crowds would pay to see hit, in my opinion. And that’s just at his current level. What if he goes on and becomes a superstar?

    We’re not going to get a better upside hitter anytime soon. This is a real chance to have a badass hitter on our team. I’d take that chance.

  29. awakeling on November 17th, 2010 10:31 am

    There is no way that deal is done. The WAR we can reasonably expect to receive from Pineda and Saunders over the coming years is already equivalent if not more than what we would receive in the expected WAR that Dave indicates for Upton. There is no chance we’re throwing in Figgins (at his lowest trade value in recent history) while eating his salary. Definitely not adding in Ackley or Smoak. Pineda, Saunders, and DA should be more than enough value. If that trade needs an extra B prospect to get it done, fine. Give them Halman.

  30. Jordan on November 17th, 2010 10:31 am

    This just wreaks of the Bedard trade but for a hitter.

    I love that he’s cost-controlled until 2015 however…

    Smoak, Ackley off limits. Pineda, although his control is suspect I think he should be off limits.

    If we could land him for something in the neighborhood of (going off Asuray’s assessment of needs/wants)

    Saunders,
    Lueke or Aardsma/Vargas/Fister (but they aren’t prospects)
    Figgins,
    Lawson

  31. the tourist on November 17th, 2010 10:32 am

    My offer? Justin Smoak, Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, and Josh Lueke.

    Wow. In my opinion, that’s way too much. Subtract our 1B from that, and it’s more likely.

  32. The Ancient Mariner on November 17th, 2010 10:32 am

    Obviously Saunders would go in that deal; the only one I wouldn’t be willing to move is Ackley. I’d probably rather move Smoak than Pineda, but if it has to be Pineda, so be it — we can put together a workable rotation without him, and young pitchers break frighteningly easily. What more it would take beyond Smoak/Pineda + Saunders I wouldn’t presume to know, but honestly, Felix and Ackley are the only guys in the org I’d rule out. Aardsma and Lueke would seem to make good sense as two more pieces in the deal, given the atrocity that was the AZ bullpen last season; how close does Pineda/Saunders/Aardsma/Lueke get you to a deal for Justin Upton?

  33. johndango on November 17th, 2010 10:34 am

    I think the best offer you could pry from me would be Pineda, Aardsma, Saunders and then a couple of AA guys. Or perhaps Figgins and probably some salary relief. I’m not really familiar with Arizona. How’s their leadoff situation look?

  34. mattlock on November 17th, 2010 10:37 am

    Honestly, I wouldn’t mind giving up Smoak in a deal for Upton. Better bats exist at the position, and Upton will likely (probably) be better and more valuable than Smoak. However, giving up Ackley or Pineda would really hurt. The Mariners NEED pitching, and Ackley really seems like a one-of-a-kind talent, especially if he sticks at 2nd.

    So a deal like Smoak/Saunders/Aardsma/Figgins with perhaps Robles? Beavan? That seems like heaven to me.

    But not Pineda :(

  35. johndango on November 17th, 2010 10:40 am

    You know what, any of these would probably be enough except that they decided to trade based on “a ton of interest” so that tells me that there are gonna be a lot of bidders.

    Also, any chance we can just throw Lopez in with the deal?

  36. Jordan on November 17th, 2010 10:40 am

    how close does Pineda/Saunders/Aardsma/Lueke get you to a deal for Justin Upton?

    I’d be surprised if they didn’t take that, but how can Jack get some dirt on Tower and leave Pineda out?

    Throw in Vargas and we got a deal?

  37. robbbbbb on November 17th, 2010 10:41 am

    I’ll remind everyone that Upton clocked in at #11 on the Fangraphs trade value series this summer. (1) That means the price for him has to be huge, and (2) it’s unlikely that a deal will get done.

    Saunders/Pineda/Smoak is just about the minimum for the deal, plus something else interesting- a hot prospect like Nick Franklin.

    That’s a lot. And it’s not like the M’s have a surfeit of talent in the system right now. We’re not dealing from a position of strength anywhere. Maybe if Jack Z pulls his yearly Jedi Mind Trick we might get Upton, but other GMs have to be wising up, don’t they?

  38. meloyellow15 on November 17th, 2010 10:41 am

    I think Ancient Mariner has a solid framework for a deal from the M’s side. Personally, I would be willing to send Smoak, Saunders, Aardsma, Triunfel, and Robles for upton and tony abreu.

  39. Jordan on November 17th, 2010 10:44 am

    5 for 1 is fine, but only if we give sufficient scraps. I doubt AZ will want our scraps.

    Players like:
    David Aardsma
    Jose Lopez
    Josh Lueke
    Chone Figgins

    Can all be considered expendable for various reasons.

    I would love to see Kelly Johnson and Upton come our way then I’d open up more of the pocketbook/ A prospect pile. Just leave Ackley out of it.

  40. Chris_From_Bothell on November 17th, 2010 10:46 am

    Saunders, Aardsma, Smoak and Lueke for Upton. Toss in Franklin or Robles if there’s a bidding war. Then spend on VMart for first base and backup C.

    Ta-da!

  41. awakeling on November 17th, 2010 10:46 am

    The Mariners NEED pitching

    Sure the Ms need pitching, but we need hitting way more. We already have Felix, Vargas, and Fister in place. Sign someone like Francis and let some young guys duke it out for the 5th spot.

    The Ms NEED hitting. Giving up Smoak or Ackley doesn’t get that done. There may be better bats that exist at 1B, but we don’t have them. If we have to give up a top prospect along with Saunders, Pineda is it.

  42. opiate82 on November 17th, 2010 10:55 am

    I don’t understand why you all are willing to throw Smoak in there. Do you not remember how many runs we didn’t scored last season? We NEED to stockpile hitting talent. Upton will probably be a better hitter than Smoak in 2011, but long-term that seems like a sideways step to me.

    Just because Arizona is sending signals that it’ll take two top-level prospects doesn’t mean it actually will. Of course they are going to ask high. Who else has a pitching prospect like Pineda that they can afford to trade away who would be in this conversation?

    Aardsma is expendable cause we can fill his role easily, his perceived value is higher than his actual value, and it seems like getting rid of his salary would be a good thing anyways.

    Maybe Jack Z could convince Arizona that Lopez will have a Beltre-like turn-around next season with a change of scenery.

  43. Chris_From_Bothell on November 17th, 2010 10:56 am

    Sure the Ms need pitching, but we need hitting way more.

    The Ms need quality, first and foremost. Better pitching. Better hitting. Better everything.

  44. meloyellow15 on November 17th, 2010 10:56 am

    The Ms NEED hitting. Giving up Smoak or Ackley doesn’t get that done. There may be better bats that exist at 1B, but we don’t have them. If we have to give up a top prospect along with Saunders, Pineda is it.

    With regards to Smoak, there are a glut of free agent 1B on the market this year. While they do not have the long term potential of Smoak, they could very well be just as productive this year at discounted prices (because of the large supply). So in actuality it would be a question of whether you prefer: Upton & Carlos Pena or Smoak & Saunders. Granted that is an oversimplification because Pena will only be here for one year.

  45. lalo on November 17th, 2010 10:57 am

    Suanders + Smoak + Pineda + 5 prospects is too much, maybe only Pineda or Saunders, not both,Upton is good, but more valuable than Felix?? I don´t thonk so, specially with his contact problems and a lot of money for the next five years…

  46. tres_arboles on November 17th, 2010 10:57 am

    Interesting spread of opinion and different views on valuation of our prospects. I think Smoak and Ackley should be off the table because that would defeat the purpose of the trade in terms of creating an authentic line-up. Aardsma has real present value in a “sell relatively high” sense if Towers is a closer-over-valuer. That leaves the M’s with only prospective value, which is primarily in their arms, and particularly in Pineda.

    I hope I’m not the only one who remembers when the M’s should have been bat shopping but wouldn’t trade “Number 1 Starter heir apparents” in Joel Pinero or Gil Meche. All my baseball friends, “Those guys are untouchable and shouldn’t be traded.” Mmmm yeah that was right-thinking.

    Pineda’s future might be bright. But it might also be average or worse. I think we know what this particular Upton brings to the table. A perfect three-hole hitter in a line-up that’s been reliant on four and five hole hitters in that slot for the past two years.

    Aardsma, Pineda, Saunders, and a fourth piece from the middle of our rotation or the farm.

  47. opiate82 on November 17th, 2010 11:03 am

    there are a glut of free agent 1B on the market this year. While they do not have the long term potential of Smoak, they could very well be just as productive this year at discounted prices (because of the large supply).

    Again I will point out it’ll be hard for the M’s to attract free agent hitting talent. We are coming off a 100 loss season, and SafeCo is where free-agent hitters go to die (amongst some other negatives of playing in Seattle). Free agent hitters aren’t going to be excited about coming here and we will have to overspend to get them here. I would much rather have young talent locked up long term at discount prices.

  48. awakeling on November 17th, 2010 11:04 am

    Just dreaming of what this would look like in the future…

    Ichiro
    Ackley
    Upton
    Smoak
    DH
    Franklin
    Gutierrez
    Moore
    Figgins

    …even better if Figgins can rebound and be worthy of the #2 spot.

  49. meloyellow15 on November 17th, 2010 11:08 am

    Again I will point out it’ll be hard for the M’s to attract free agent hitting talent. We are coming off a 100 loss season, and SafeCo is where free-agent hitters go to die (amongst some other negatives of playing in Seattle). Free agent hitters aren’t going to be excited about coming here and we will have to overspend to get them here. I would much rather have young talent locked up long term at discount prices.

    Thats a fair point. But, I think Pena will struggle to find a full-time first base job this offseason. There is a very limited market for first basemen. We would be bidding against the likes of Washington so much of our disadvantage would be nullified.

  50. dchappelle on November 17th, 2010 11:10 am

    I’d pass on most of these deals. Justin Upton looks more like Jose Lopez or Adam Jones than Reggie Jackson to me. Massive BABIP, and seriously 30%K!?! Not to mention that he only plays 135 games a year. Especially coming from the NL.

    No No No way. I’d gladly take the under on the 21.5 WAR through 2015.

  51. opiate82 on November 17th, 2010 11:13 am

    Pena’s agent is Scott Boras. I believe Pena will cost us too much money and too many years. With our 2011 prospects it’s not worth signing him to a short-term deal anyways. And I wouldn’t want Pena long term over Smoak.

  52. arichner on November 17th, 2010 11:19 am

    Im prefectly fine with dealing anyone in the minors (save for Ackley). The guy is 23 and averages 20+ HRs a year. Also perfectly happy dealing Aardsma and League. Mr Towers, you want to rebuild your bullpen in one move? You can have Aardsma AND League, throw in Saunders (would be irrelevant in Seattle), I’ll give you Pineda (yes, I love him too), and one of Mangini/Liddi/Triunfel/Halman.
    -
    I dont mind giving up League and Aardsma as finding good RP is easier than any other position (we found it in Aardsma, now sell as high as possible). Having Upton, Smoak, Ackley, Figgins, Guti, Ichiro in the lineup would be awesome.
    -
    Im open minded considering the talent we’re talking about, his contract, his age, and his future value. (Salivating)

  53. Chris_From_Bothell on November 17th, 2010 11:20 am

    Just dreaming of what this would look like in the future… Ichiro/Ackley/Upton; Smoak/DH/Franklin; Gutierrez/Moore/Figgins.

    I like it. If you can pry away Upton without having to give away Pineda or Smoak, look at this:

    Ichi/Ackley/Upton; VMart/Smoak/Gutierrez;
    Mangini/Moore/Franklin

    And while we’re pipe dreaming of 2012, a rotation of Felix, Greinke, Pineda, Darvish and Vargas. With League as setup man and the triumphant return of Rafael Soriano as closer.

    I’d also like a pony.

  54. Bodhizefa on November 17th, 2010 11:22 am

    Any chance we could get Dave to make an educated guess on what kind of specific package it would take from the M’s to net Upton? I’m seeing a lot of Pineda + Saunders ideas, and those just seem silly and completely unrealistic to me (I would think it would cost an awful lot more). As someone who has a much better gauge on trade values than most of us, Dave, could you chime in and give us all a little perspective?

  55. msfanmike on November 17th, 2010 11:24 am

    Why the hell is Arizona considering trading Justin Upton? He is a stud and will likely be a great player for a long time. If there is a team out there that can afford to give up 3 or 4 quality/high upside players in return for Upton … they should go for it. The Mariners do not appear to be deep enough to make that kind of a move.

    If there is a sensible move to be made that makes the team better, go for it. However, that would require Arizona to accept players that the second worst team in baseball has determined are expendable. I can’t see Arizona being dumb enough to do that, but then again – up until today – I couldn’t envision Arizona wanting to trade Upton in the first place.

    Maybe they are just blowing smoke and/or smoak

  56. johndango on November 17th, 2010 11:24 am

    The more I read these arguments, the more I think we should center a deal around Pineda. We seem to always luck out with pitching anyway. I’d really love to have a game changer in our lineup. Do it for the kids Jack. No kid comes to the ball park and gets excited by a strikeout. Home runs is where the money is at. And we haven’t had any of that juice here since 2001. I’m gonna stop talking now. O.o

  57. Jordan on November 17th, 2010 11:24 am

    Just dreaming of what this would look like in the future…

    Or maybe Nishioka @ short?

    All this is rosterbation is fun, but I know Jack has a shorter leash this year and will do more than we expect.

  58. awakeling on November 17th, 2010 11:28 am

    I’d also like a pony.

    :)

    …and yes I was assuming that Pineda was the one being shipped off to make the dream lineup possible.

  59. bookbook on November 17th, 2010 11:29 am

    I think we should trade Schilling, Harnisch, and Finley for him. (Adam Jones and Chris Tillman is not looking like such a major price to pay right at this particular moment in their struggles :>)

  60. mattlock on November 17th, 2010 11:42 am

    All this is rosterbation is fun, but I know Jack has a shorter leash this year and will do more than we expect.

    You have an inside source?

    The more I read these arguments, the more I think we should center a deal around Pineda.

    I think the only thing that could justify trading away Pineda would be if the M’s turned around and somehow acquired a young #3 (minimum) caliber starter, which I don’t see as very realistic. Without Pineda, their rotation is just “Felix/Vargas/Fister/Hyphen/Pauley”, or some such bunk. And next year doesn’t look all that great either.

    On the other hand, Smoak, while terrifically talented and full of potential, isn’t exactly a one-in-a-generation type of talent, particularly at 1B (and especially now that it seems to be more evident that initial reports of his defensive prowess were rather overstated). I’d much rather see a team with Upton and Pineda than a team with Upton and Smoak with Jason Vargas as the #2 starter and David Pauley in the rotation for next two years.

  61. the tourist on November 17th, 2010 11:45 am

    I doubt we’ll touch this unless Upton can be had at a similar steal to Cliff Lee.

  62. scott19 on November 17th, 2010 11:46 am

    I think we should trade Schilling, Harnisch, and Finley for him.

    Maybe we can throw in Jeff Bagwell, Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek as well. :o

  63. the tourist on November 17th, 2010 11:46 am

    I’d much rather see a team with Upton and Pineda than a team with Upton and Smoak with Jason Vargas as the #2 starter and David Pauley in the rotation for next two years.

    You see no possibility of the Mariners, oh I don’t know, signing a free agent pitcher?

  64. opiate82 on November 17th, 2010 11:52 am

    I think 2011 is a throw away year anyways (due to not only what the M’s can’t do this offseason, but also how strong Texas/Anaheim will be). With money coming off the books in 2012 we can fill Pineda’s slot with someone like Grienke

  65. spankystout on November 17th, 2010 11:56 am

    WOW! Some of these proposed trades are insane.

  66. gwangung on November 17th, 2010 11:57 am

    With money coming off the books in 2012 we can fill Pineda’s slot with someone like Grienke

    Heh heh. Good one. Replacing cheap potential with uber-expensive known player. Not sure that’s a good strategy to count on.

    Also not crazy about any deals that open more holes than we’re plugging. If a deal does that, then I suggest that it’s a deal not worth doing right now.

  67. xxtinynickxx on November 17th, 2010 11:59 am

    The M’s probably would need a 3rd team to be involved so they do not loose their top 3 spects for Upton. I could handle seeing Smoak go or Ackley even. Would like to see Pineda stay around.

  68. fiftyone on November 17th, 2010 12:09 pm

    So what you’re telling me is, the bag of crap we traded to Philly for Lee, the bag of crap that over time metamorphosed into Smoak et al., that bag of crap has a chance to turn into Justin Upton? Just by adding a redundant Saunders and a replaceable Aarsdma and another promising prospect?

    Hell yes.

  69. Westside guy on November 17th, 2010 12:09 pm

    Let’s rephrase the question – what players on the current roster would you give up to get Felix? Because Upton is worth about as much (or maybe a bit more) than Felix.

    Would you really rather have Saunders and Pineda than Felix?

    Yeah I’d want Felix, and it’s not close. I think people sort of forget that Felix is still only 24. As good as he is, his best years are probably ahead of him. How scary is THAT?

    If there’s that much interest in Upton, though, I don’t know if it’d make sense for the Mariners to pursue him – whoever gets him may very well end up overpaying. I don’t think I’d want to give up Ackley or Smoak to get Upton, personally. If we had to give up one or the other – I’d hang onto Ackley. No question about sending Saunders since he’d be superfluous after a trade for Upton.

    In any case: Given last season, I’d think a trade that involved pitching would be a much easier sell politically.

  70. the tourist on November 17th, 2010 12:10 pm

    The more I think about this, the less interested I am. Maybe if we were a contender needing to upgrade at an outfield position with a farm that isn’t as important to our future success as it currently is. I mean, you wouldn’t see the the Nationals trading Strasburg and Harper for Upton, so I don’t see why the Mariners would make a similar deal in Pineda and Ackley/Smoak (plus others). I think keeping the Pineda/Ackley/Smoak trio along with progress from Saunders would be more valuable to us than retaining only one of the Pineda/Ackley/Smoak trio and having Justin Upton.

  71. hypnofelix on November 17th, 2010 12:12 pm

    I would like to put Upton’s age in perspective: he is younger than Smoak, Saunders, and Lueke, and is only 6 months older than Ackley. We are talking about a nearly legitimate star, at a prospect’s age. This is exactly what Felix was before last off-season, minus a team-friendly long-term contract.

  72. asuray on November 17th, 2010 12:21 pm

    For the “no Smoak” and “no Ackley” people who want the M’s to legitimately pursue Upton; it’s going to take two of the Pineda/Ackley/Smoak plus something to get him. Kevin Towers presumably isn’t an idiot so we can’t reasonably expect to send something like Figgins, Bradley, Jack Wilson, and the rights to pay the remainder of Carlos Silva’s salary for high value commodity like Upton. If you want him, we’ll have to pay the price. Personally, I’d be more interested in waiting until right after an Upton to whoever trade and swooping in and trying to work a deal for Drew with the possibility of benefiting from from a little bit of post-big trade afterglow generosity on the D’Backs part. Maybe package a corner IF prospect (Liddi, et al) and someone like Jack Wilson, with us covering some salary. Not sure if that would work.

  73. asuray on November 17th, 2010 12:25 pm

    I think Upton is a deal for a team that wants an upgrade in the short term at the expense of potentially greater value in the long term, i.e., a team that is a star player away and has prospects. Someone like the Mets could work this out as they have top prospects and have the cash to send a guy like Bay to AZ and continue to pay his salary.

  74. Klatz on November 17th, 2010 12:26 pm

    I would rather retain Smoak over Ackley or Pineda. And it seems likely at least one of the three and possibly two would be required to begin a conversation. While Ackley and Pineda have more value than Smoak in the long run, they carry more risk, Pineda more than Ackley.

    So I’d be willing to give up Pineda. I’d rather retain Ackley. So something along the lines of

    Pineda, Saunders, and two low-level top prospects (like Franklin or would seem fair (as fair as my biased M’s worldview allows). Getting rid of Lueke, would be a bonus.

    But if I were the Diamondbacks I wouldn’t settle for anything less than Pineda+Ackley or Pineda+Smoak to headline the trade.

  75. Pete Livengood on November 17th, 2010 12:34 pm

    I am in the “probably not” camp. Not because Upton isn’t a great player whom I’d love to have, but it just isn’t the right time for the M’s to get into a bidding war like this (apparently) will be.

    Of Smoak/Ackley/Pineda, Smoak is by far the one I would be most willing to include in a deal. I’d probably pass if we couldn’t get the deal done without including one or both of the other two. And, quite frankly, a deal where we give up Smoak, Saunders, Lueke, somebody like Fister, and perhaps Lopez as a throw-in, is a pretty good haul for Arizona.

  76. spokaneman on November 17th, 2010 12:42 pm

    Let’s rephrase the question – what players on the current roster would you give up to get Felix? Because Upton is worth about as much (or maybe a bit more) than Felix.

    Do you really believe that? Could I then assume you would move Felix for Upton straight up? Because I would be dancing in the streets of Arizona if that happened. (if I were a DBacks fan)

  77. The_Waco_Kid on November 17th, 2010 12:46 pm

    I agree with tourist and asuray. Maybe I’m missing something, but this seems like a huge risk. Upton is promising, but how proven? Granted, Pineda has not pitched in the majors, but still. I think we all agree that the main thing going well for us is prospects and it seems like most of these Upton proposals would jeopardize that. Assuming we are not contending in 2011, this is a particularly odd time for such a risk.

    I’d offer maybe one major prospect (but not Ackley). Beyond that, I’d only offer AA guys or guys like DA, Slopez, and Lueke that we have reason to part with. Although when I see a package with Smoak, Lueke and then some, I can’t help but think, is Upton worth as much as Cliff Lee? (even though that’s oversimplifying)

  78. asuray on November 17th, 2010 12:51 pm

    There are decent players out there that a package of one of our ‘A’ prospects + an Aardsma/Leuke and some lower level prospects will net us, but Upton isn’t one of them. I’m not necessarily making a value judgment about the prospects of trading for Upton (I personally wouldn’t do it), I’m just saying that we need to be realistic about what it will take. Let’s remember that the commentary on every MLB team fan blog out there is probably blowing up with the same conversation we’re having here so it’s not like we would have exclusive negotiation rights. I’d much rather go after a Drew, or a Sandoval/Beckham type (per Matt Klaasen’s post on FanGraphs last week)

  79. the tourist on November 17th, 2010 12:58 pm

    Although when I see a package with Smoak, Lueke and then some, I can’t help but think, is Upton worth as much as Cliff Lee? (even though that’s oversimplifying)

    5 years of Upton would most definitely be worth more than 4 months of Cliff Lee.

  80. Typical Idiot Fan on November 17th, 2010 1:06 pm

    I don’t remember who said it, but someone on Lookout Landing opined:

    If what you gave up in the deal make you sick to your stomach, it was probably a fair deal.

    Get sick, folks.

  81. opiate82 on November 17th, 2010 1:09 pm

    Heh heh. Good one. Replacing cheap potential with uber-expensive known player. Not sure that’s a good strategy to count on.

    The M’s will have money to spend, and we’ll get more value per dollar on pitchers than we will hitters (because pitchers want to come here, hitters don’t). And we’d be replacing a cheap pitcher for a cheap hitter so your analogy doesn’t quiet add up anyways. Well he isn’t as cheap as Pineda is, but the Upton’s contract is still a very favorable one.

    For the “no Smoak” and “no Ackley” people who want the M’s to legitimately pursue Upton; it’s going to take two of the Pineda/Ackley/Smoak plus something to get him.

    If that is the case I don’t want him. Not that it isn’t the right price, but the M’s aren’t in a position to give up that much. If we were talking about adding a piece for a World Series run, I’d consider it, but in the M’s current situation, no thanks.

  82. The_Waco_Kid on November 17th, 2010 1:10 pm

    5 years of Upton would most definitely be worth more than 4 months of Cliff Lee.

    Hence the oversimplifying. But I’d say they got 4 months + first World Series + better chance of signing him now.

  83. Pete Livengood on November 17th, 2010 1:18 pm

    I agree with the tourist (“5 years of Upton would most definitely be worth more than 4 months of Cliff Lee”), and asuray may be right about what it will take to pry Upton away. I lean to the other side – public pronouncements about “what it will take” are always on the high side as long as the player is genuinely on the block and not just being used to test the market. It usually takes far less than what the first speculation suggests (for instance, who would have ever thought Cliff Lee could be had for the package the Phillies ultimately took?).

    I mistakenly left DA out of the package I suggested above would be a pretty good haul for the D’Backs (Smoak, Saunders, Lueke, somebody like Fister, and perhaps Lopez); I meant to include him. Would that get it done? I don’t know, maybe not. But it is the most I’d be willing to do (give or take a couple of players not named Ackley or Pineda, and probably not Franklin either), and if that doesn’t float their boat, I’m fine with that. It would be different if the Mariners were much closer to contention, and had fewer holes to fill. Like I said, I just see this as an odd time to get into a bidding war, even for a great young player like Upton.

  84. Pete Livengood on November 17th, 2010 1:26 pm

    opiate82 wrote:

    “For the “no Smoak” and “no Ackley” people who want the M’s to legitimately pursue Upton; it’s going to take two of the Pineda/Ackley/Smoak plus something to get him.”

    If that is the case I don’t want him. Not that it isn’t the right price, but the M’s aren’t in a position to give up that much. If we were talking about adding a piece for a World Series run, I’d consider it, but in the M’s current situation, no thanks.

    Uhhh, what he said, and said better than I did….

  85. BlackHaloBender on November 17th, 2010 1:26 pm

    Fun to talk about but ultimately useless. I’d rather be trading our stars away for a big haul of prospects not the other way around.

  86. opiate82 on November 17th, 2010 1:32 pm

    Fun to talk about but ultimately useless. I’d rather be trading our stars away for a big haul of prospects not the other way around.

    Really? You’d rather be in the Diamondbacks position than ours? Neither is very good atm, but I’d rather be in the rebuilding process then the “blowing things up” process.

  87. BlackHaloBender on November 17th, 2010 1:41 pm

    No I just not-so-secretly would trade Guti, Ichiro and even Felix. I watched the Rays for a long time and you need years of trading away your best talent for loads of prospects to get where they are. Specially after Bavasi f’d us over so badly.

  88. NF on November 17th, 2010 1:45 pm

    For the people who don’t want to trade away Smoak in the deal:

    Justin Upton DOB: 8/25/1987
    Justin Smoak DOB: 12/5/1986

    I believe both have 5 years of team control.

    I’ll take the guy who’s been playing in the majors for 4 seasons and already hit 60 HR’s.

    If you’re worried about money: If Smoak ends up a monster first baseman, you end up paying him big bucks at the end through arbitration or an extension anyway.

    I think Upton has more upside at a more valuable defensive position and also gives the front office some cost certainty which is valuable as well.

    If you want to keep Ackley out of the discussion, I’m ok with that, but you can’t consider Smoak untouchable here.

  89. eponymous coward on November 17th, 2010 1:57 pm

    I don’t know that the Mariners are in a position to be dealing away most of the immediate productivity of the farm system for one player, even if that guy IS a 4-6 WAR player. Whichever one (or more) of Ackley/Pineda/Smoak goes, they basically have nothing behind them that represents an immediate replacement in 2011- and given our budget limitations, we’re unlikely to add anything splashy on the FA market.

    If we were Minnesota and it was “well, not only do we have J.J. Hardy under contract, but we have a guy in AAA who we can replace him with”, sure, burn up the phone, but we saw what happened last year when we surrounded the pickup of a 4-6 WAR player (Cliff Lee) with a bunch of pickups off the street from Large Item Pickup Day.

    Realistically, this organization has holes in starting pitching (needs a guy capable of being an above-average starter), middle infielder, and left-handed, power hitting corner position players- and our top prospects do a decent job of adding to those needs, but there isn’t really anything behind them yet. So I have to pass on this if I am Zduriencik, reluctantly… unless there’s some hocus-pocus 3-way dealing that gets me back more than just Upton (which I wouldn’t completely discount, but I suspect it would be a harder deal to make).

  90. eponymous coward on November 17th, 2010 2:02 pm

    If you want to keep Ackley out of the discussion, I’m ok with that, but you can’t consider Smoak untouchable here.

    For that reason, I seriously doubt it’s (Smoak+gaggle of talent behind Smoak on the M’s depth charts) = Upton. It’s probably more like (Smoak+ one of Ackley or Pineda) = Upton, with us having to toss players like Lueke and Truinfel into the pot to get additional players back from the D’Backs.

    That’s just a really hard sell for me in late 2010.

  91. NF on November 17th, 2010 2:10 pm

    EC,

    I agree, it’s definitely not just Smoak + a whole bunch of guys who’d be lucky to turn into Willie Bloomquist.

    I have a feeling that we’d be looking at Smoak + Pineda + Franklin. I’m not saying we should definitely do that, but if Towers comes to us and the first name out of his mouth is “Smoak”, we can’t say no and hang up the phone. We have to be open to moving Smoak.

  92. opiate82 on November 17th, 2010 2:17 pm

    No I just not-so-secretly would trade Guti, Ichiro and even Felix. I watched the Rays for a long time and you need years of trading away your best talent for loads of prospects to get where they are. Specially after Bavasi f’d us over so badly.

    The Ray’s had a good 3 year run, but are about to fall off the table. If I can’t be the Yankees/Red Sox, I’d rather be the Twins than the Rays. Yes I know, the Rays made it to the World Series, but as Bobby Cox says, once you make the playoffs it is a crap-shoot after that. The Giants are perfect proof of that.

    I’d rather have something sustainable rather trading everything with the hopes of opening a 3 year window. To do that, you need to hold onto your Mauer’s and Morneau’s.

  93. gwangung on November 17th, 2010 2:37 pm

    The M’s will have money to spend, and we’ll get more value per dollar on pitchers than we will hitters (because pitchers want to come here, hitters don’t). And we’d be replacing a cheap pitcher for a cheap hitter so your analogy doesn’t quiet add up anyways. Well he isn’t as cheap as Pineda is, but the Upton’s contract is still a very favorable one.

    It’s a favorable contract in a vacuum, but you’re still trying to replace cheap players with expensive, known producers. The whole point of building your farm system is to avoid doing that.

    Not sure the farm system is, as of yet, robust enough to get Upton.

  94. TherzAlwaysHope on November 17th, 2010 3:16 pm

    What kind of blockbuster trade could happen if Ichiro was put on the table?

  95. jayson on November 17th, 2010 3:29 pm

    I fully back trading Ichiro.

  96. opiate82 on November 17th, 2010 3:35 pm

    s a favorable contract in a vacuum, but you’re still trying to replace cheap players with expensive, known producers. The whole point of building your farm system is to avoid doing that.
    Not sure the farm system is, as of yet, robust enough to get Upton.

    If you did my Pineda/Saunders/Aardsma trade you would be giving up Saunders, who would be pretty much blocked by Upton anyways, Aardsma who is an ‘expensive known producer’ and Pineda. That really isn’t a big hit to our farm. Especially since Upton is locked up through 2015.

    You keep saying you don’t want to replace cheap players with expensive players. You seem to be forgetting that the M’s have quiet a bit a money coming off the books in 2012, so it is more like replacing expensive players with different expensive players. They are (hopefully) going to spend that money on some player(s).

    Again, I will state that if it takes 2 of Ackley/Pineda/Smoak I am not interested. And Pineda is the only one of those 3 pieces I am willing to give up in a package for Upton.

  97. opiate82 on November 17th, 2010 3:39 pm

    What kind of blockbuster trade could happen if Ichiro was put on the table?

    Haven’t you heard, all Ichiro does is hit singles, plays selfishly both offensive and defensively, he won’t steal bases and is a clubhouse cancer. Oh and he is old and over the hill. Who is going to give up the farm to get him?

    (Before you bite my head off, pretend there is a “sarcasm font” and I used it to type that description of Ichiro)

  98. Rayvensdad on November 17th, 2010 3:48 pm

    STOP!!! PLEASE!!! For god’s sake!!! This is the kind of B.S. thinking that has gotten us to this point. There isn’t a single player in the MLB that we can put into this team and suddenly become a contender. WE NEED MULTIPLE PIECES, and since we aren’t going to pay up the rear to get them from the FA market, you can forget it. Look, I like Upton and I know he’s young and has a lot of talent, but SERIOUSLY, you want to send out Smoak, Pinieda, Ackley, Halman, Lueke, Cortes, and on and on and on?!?!?!?! Stop M’s fans PLEASE! We are talking about an ENTIRE young core coming up over the next few years. Can anyone say Tampa Bay Rays?!?!?! If we try for the quick fix, we are screwed! We’ve tried the quick fix for the last 7 years and look where it has gotten us. Bedard for Adam Jones, George Sherrill and company… does that ring a bell???? All it has given us is a couple of 100+ losing seasons and a lot of free time in October. This team WILL NOT compete with the quick fix as a solution. If we give up our future, then we’re going to give up any playoff hopes for years to come. Keep Ackley, Saunders, Cortes, Smoak, Pinieda, Lueke, and Halman. If you want to acquire Upton for Lopez, Bradley, Aardsma, Figgins, Rowland-Smith, Fister, and in this case you can throw in Saunders… then I can handle that, because with the exception of Fister and Saunders, none of those guys are our future. But don’t give up our talented youth for one guy. Come on M’s fans, we’re only a few months out of the season and we’re right back to the thinking that put us in this @#$% hole.

  99. Rayvensdad on November 17th, 2010 3:49 pm

    Thank god opiate82, I was literally about to come through the computer and bash your head in! :) And I 100% agree with if it takes two of Ackley, Pinieda, and Smoak then I’m not in. I don’t want to see any one of those guys go, but if they can give Pinieda and junk to somehow get Upton (unlikely) then I can handle that.

  100. asuray on November 17th, 2010 3:55 pm

    My opinion on what it would take to get Upton is based mostly on listening to the sports radio talk show callers and pundits down here in Phoenix and, as the new GM of a team in a notoriously fickle fan market who is trying to generate interest, I’d be hard pressed to believe that Towers isn’t at least marginally interested in what the fans think. the fans want Reynolds dealt and, if Upton is to go, they want to get in return for dealing those two someone who can play third, someone to replace Upton in the OF, one or more front line pitching prospects, the closer to MLB ready the better, and an A hitting prospect. You’re probably not getting an A hitting or pitching prospect for Reynolds so that leaves them wanting at least one top shelf pitching prospect (Pineda), an top hitting prospect (Smoak or Ackley), and whatever they can’t can’t for Reynolds (Saunders if they still need OF and ??? if they need a 3B). The only thing we have going in our favor is that the D’Backs have ahistorically bad bullpen and, despite the highly variable nature of relief talent, might be enticed by an Aardsma, Leuke, Cortes, etc. but that would probably only be as a throw in on the back end of a deal for Upton. If we are hell bent on dealing with the D’Backs, I’d still rather have a Drew/Gillespie package come to fruition. Dave’s discussed Gillespie’s role/value already and Drew’s only 27, hits lefty, plays decent defense, has been worth around 10 WAR over the past three seasons, and stands to make only $3.4 million next year before he becomes arbitration eligible. I’d rather give up one good prospect and parts for those two then 2-3 good prospects plus parts for Upton.

  101. Rayvensdad on November 17th, 2010 3:58 pm

    NF… why do we need to be open to moving Smoak?!?!?! A Power hitting switch hitter who plays 1st base well, and is said by scouts to be the next Mark Texeira, ESPECIALLY when he fully develops. We gave up Cliff Lee for this guy, and I honestly don’t think that Jack is going to just hand him back over to someone else, ESPECIALLY when one guy in LF isn’t going to bring this team to the playoffs, let alone the World Series. Smoak is our future, plain and simple, and because of such… he’s off limits!

  102. opiate82 on November 17th, 2010 4:07 pm

    Thanks for the perspective Asuray, it is insightful.

  103. greentunic on November 17th, 2010 4:25 pm

    Dave,

    Explain why Upton is greater-than-or-equal-to Felix please.

    Upton is a good (maybe great) hitter, with a .272/.352/.471 career line. But he is far from the best hitter in his league.

    Felix, however, is the top pitching performer in the league over the last two years (not much room for argument). And thats in the tougher league.

    I just don’t see that. But I am curious to know if I missed something or if there are metrics I am unaware of.

  104. Boy9988 on November 17th, 2010 4:47 pm

    Saunders/Gutierrez
    Aardsma
    Vargas
    Leuke/Cortez
    Seager/Poythress
    /Triunfel/ – If they still need more to bit on.

    But Ackley/Smoak/Pineda/Franklin should all be untouchable. Its just too much of a step back for a kid that Ks 150 times a year, and whose power may come to die in this ballpark. Too much of a risk to give up our top prospects.

  105. spankystout on November 17th, 2010 5:10 pm

    Kevin Towers is quoted on MLB.com as saying you never know when someone will “grossly overpay”. I think this says it all about Upton’s availability. Stephen Drew, or Mark Reynolds may be more likely to be traded than a 23 year old with a lopsided contract in favor of his team. That is unless your GM is willing to “grossly overpay” for Upton….Thank god Bavasi isn’t here.

  106. diderot on November 17th, 2010 5:16 pm

    Given Dave’s equivalency, would we trade Felix for Upton straight up? (Everyday value of position player over durability issues for pitchers).

  107. MrZDevotee on November 17th, 2010 5:24 pm

    I’d rather sit back and watch how much it takes from someone else to land him. It’s bad timing, I think, as far as casting off our own “A” prospects to get an upgrade (even a GREAT upgrade) at LF.

    I’d really REALLY love to watch Upton in an M’s uniform, but the cost would be too high, given the assumption that loads of teams are “in” on the talks.

    I think the max I’d be willing to offer is: Smoak, League, Aardsma… And I don’t think that would get it done.

    I’d say no to including TWO of the “big 3″ (ie, Smoak, Ackley, Pineda).

    And again, it makes me sad to say that, but it just screams of “the old way the M’s did things” to offer up any more than that. An injury or a major slump, and suddenly the cost skyrockets into instant “bad trade” land.

    It’s definitely fun to think about though. If only…

  108. tres_arboles on November 17th, 2010 5:33 pm

    For the “no Smoak” and “no Ackley” people who want the M’s to legitimately pursue Upton; it’s going to take two of the Pineda/Ackley/Smoak plus something to get him.

    You seem pretty assured of this calibration. If you’re correct, color me disinterested. One big step up not worth the the probable two-plus steps back.

  109. jld on November 17th, 2010 5:45 pm

    http://www.johndierks.com/img/IMG_0357.jpg

    Dave is referring to their value via WAR.

    The reason Upton can have more value is that he plays everyday vs Felix pitching every five.

    A great pitcher might be able to dominate a great batter, but he then has to sit down for four games.

  110. spankystout on November 17th, 2010 5:45 pm

    King Felix has accumulated 13 WAR in the last two seasons. Justin Upton has accumulated 7.7 WAR in his 3+ season career. Upton may project to one day equal Felix. But so far he hasn’t come close to being on par with Felix.

  111. xxtinynickxx on November 17th, 2010 6:15 pm

    Instead of looking at what the M’s would have to give up, think about what the M’s would be getting back. How many times did the M’s come close to winning a game when Felix pitched but did not because of the offense. How many times did Vargas or any other pitcher have the same chance, but the offense just was not there. The question should be would Upton help that more in the next 5 years then the Pineda, Smoak or Ackley or any combination. That should be the real question, but thats just my opinion.

    By the way no way Felix goes anywhere.

  112. maddux on November 17th, 2010 6:24 pm

    I would prefer we keep our prospects vs. trading for Upton. At this point we need to build volume within our system as not all prospects work out and Upton may not work out as well.

    We need to be patient this year, let Smoak, Ackley, Pineda, Saunders, Cortez, Lueke, Moore play, watch Nick Franklin’s development and hope we draft well with our number 2 pick this year and that guy can help in 2012. We are so many players away right now that I hate the idea of shrinking the pool of talent for one guy.

  113. asuray on November 17th, 2010 6:37 pm

    I think this thread is running out of steam. It seems like everyone is firmly entrenched in one of two camps; those who want to trade for Upton but are naive as to what it will take to get him and those who think it’s going to take mortgaging the farm and, thus, aren’t interested. Neither of those groups are conducive to maintaining a hypothetical trade thread.

  114. asuray on November 17th, 2010 6:41 pm

    Plus, Dave’s recent post over at FanGraphs pretty well renders moot most of the deals proposed here.

  115. Marinerman1979 on November 18th, 2010 12:40 am

    I would LISTEN to anything. Justin Upton is a great asset to get. We need that asset.

  116. Greeff on November 18th, 2010 12:53 am

    While Justin Upton is a great player i don’t think we should give up Ackley, Smoak or Pineda.

    if we could get Upton without giving up those 3 that would be great! and if anyone could do it it would be Jack Z!

  117. Duncan Idaho on November 18th, 2010 3:44 am

    The only way Arizona does it IMO is for Pineda, Ackley, Saunders and a bullpen arm. I take the deal and demand Kelly Johnson as a throw in. Here is the lineup;

    1. RF Ichiro
    2. 3B Figgins
    3. LF Upton
    4. DH Berkman/Branyan/Bradley/Matsui
    5. 1B Smoak
    6. CF Gutierrez
    7. 2B Johnson
    8. C Moore
    9. SS Wilson/Punto

    Then again maybe the deal becomes a super blockbuster and looks more like this. Figgins, Smoak, Pineda, 2 bullpen arms for Upton and Mark Reynolds. Lineup looks like this;

    1. RF Ichiro
    2. 2B Ackley
    3. LF Upton
    4. DH Berkman/Branyan/Bradley/Matsui
    5. 1B Reynolds
    6. CF Gutierrez
    7. 3B Lopez
    8. C Moore
    9. SS Wilson/Punto

    Saunders sees significant at bats off the bench with 70-80 starts spelling DH, Lopez and Guti.

    Or if there is a bump in payroll a lineup like this;

    1. RF Ichiro
    2. 2B Ackley
    3. LF Upton
    4. 1B Berkman
    5. 3B Reynolds
    6. DH Branyan/Bradley/Matsui
    7. CF Gutierrez
    8. C Moore
    9. SS Wilson/Punto

    Saunders sees less at bats but still gets 50-55 starts spelling Branyan, Berkman and Guti.

    Now I like option three the best and if the Mariners could find a viable number 2 starter that team contends for the division in 2011.

  118. Duncan Idaho on November 18th, 2010 3:56 am

    After reading through most of the other trade proposals I would say the two paths I suggest in the previous post are some of the only realistic proposals in this thread.

    First and foremost in a trade like this Pineda and one or two of Aardsma/League/Cortes/Lueke/Fields are gone. And realisticly it will take either Ackley or Smoak to finish off the deal. Now obviously Smoak is more valuable than Ackley because of his MOTO potential. But anyone thinking that this can get done for less is being unrealistic. By the way as Upton is proven and locked up the deals are worth it dependant on what else goes and comes back to strike a perfect balance.

  119. Badbadger on November 18th, 2010 7:31 am

    I guess I’m a raging optimist about Smoak, but I’m hoping that he becomes a better hitter than Upton. Upton is putting up a ~820 OPS, although of course he’s only 23 and may well get better. On the other hand he strikes out a LOT and Safeco will hurt him some.

  120. The Ancient Mariner on November 18th, 2010 7:54 am

    I think folks who are down on Upton (if you will) need to remember two things:

    1) Justin Upton is ~8 months younger than Justin Smoak, and already a better player.

    2) Justin Upton is ~20 months younger than Felix Hernandez, and in his last two seasons by WAR has been just about as good as Felix el Rey was in his age 21-22 seasons (though he’s older in-season, which does have some significance).

  121. Duncan Idaho on November 18th, 2010 9:04 am

    If we could add the parts to get Reynolds too I would include Smoak. If it is just Upton coming back I would rather send off Ackley and have Smoak and Upton anchoring the middle of the lineup for the next four years and hopefully more.

    Basicly of the 3 Mariner blue chippers I grade them;

    1. Smoak
    2. Ackley
    3. Pineda

  122. eponymous coward on November 18th, 2010 12:58 pm

    I think folks who are down on Upton

    I’m not down on Upton. The problem I see is this is a team that just got through losing 100 games, and the farm system isn’t overflowing with talent ready to show up in 2011- there’s some, but trading it away for Upton means you’re potentially looking at an infield of Carp, Figgins, Wilson (pick one) and Tui (assuming the package was Smoak and Ackley++). That’s maybe ONE guy who’s capable of being a league-average player (if you figure that Jack Wilson’s odds of a rebound + Chone Figgins’ = one decent player), and everyone else is replacement-level- and even throwing in a guy like Punto in the mix means it’s still a horrible infield (Punto is basically Jack Wilson’s upside if he bounces back in 2011).

    Towers is going to want young talent at multiple positions. The problem is we need young talent at multiple positions, possibly worse than we need Justin Upton.

    Also, I find the idea that an above-average 2B is a “throw-in” to a deal involving Justin Upton to be almost as amusing as the idea that the perfect match to Safeco is a RHB with a strikeout problem. Yeah, that should work out well.

  123. joethewest on November 18th, 2010 1:24 pm

    Dave, I really like your website and generally agree with you…but when people post stupid ideas like trading Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak IN THE SAME FRICKING PACKAGE for Justin Upton, I just can’t go on any longer.

    Ackley is one of the best collegiate (if not THE best) hitter of the decade (no Bryce Harper doesn’t count. that was jr. college).

    Smoak is the best 1B prospect in all of baseball. Are you guys kidding me?

  124. everett on November 18th, 2010 1:39 pm

    Wow, I think some people seriously overrate the value of our prospects. All three are very nice prospects, and trading all three for Upton would be too much for me. However, there’s no way the Dbacks would trade Upton without getting at least one of them and then significant other pieces, or getting two of the three, with lesser pieces. Myself, I’d start any offer with Pineda and Saunders, and hope Kevin Towers is feeling generous/stupid enough to not ask for Smoak/Ackley if we give up other lesser options.

  125. Badbadger on November 18th, 2010 1:51 pm

    I’m curious what people think Smoak, Ackley, and Upton’s slash lines will be at age 27.

  126. eponymous coward on November 18th, 2010 2:28 pm

    I’m curious what people think Smoak, Ackley, and Upton’s slash lines will be at age 27.

    Slash lines are dependent on the park.

    I think Ackley is a peak 3+ WAR player (make a couple of All Star games, with some potential breakout past that). I think Smoak is a peak 2.5+ WAR player (might make an All-Star game, not as much potential to break out). If they can both be ~2 WAR players by 2012 (league average), this helps us out immensely (by having league average performance at minimal salary).

    Upton is no doubt the better player of the three unless Ackley blows up bigtime (which is at best a “maybe”), but the farm system doesn’t seem deep enough to make a move like this… yet.

  127. SonOfZavaras on November 18th, 2010 3:08 pm

    My first thought on it is it’s a terrible idea. Yeah, the guy is a tremendous physical talent. But he and his brother have both struck me as self-entitled brats. Potential’s wonderful to possess, but to me it’s just another word- and will Justin Upton live up to his?

    And you could have Willie Mays in his prime on the table- but we need way more than one premium player.

    The value of keeping pieces like Smoak, Pineda, Ackley, and Franklin is to me the better bet to take.

    But on the other hand, we are an org that is (frankly) now looking to find evident reasons for people to come to the ballpark.

    I’d guess I’d be okay if it happens, but the price tag is likely to make us just cringe.

  128. SonOfZavaras on November 18th, 2010 3:29 pm

    Hypothetical package for Justin Upton:

    To me, Ackley and Smoak should be off-limits. Because the org is obviously counting on them to be ready sooner rather than later. I also think you really don’t have viable replacements in-system for those two if they are dealt.

    Pineda is another story. As special as what he could be, a Gerrit Cole or Matthew Purke drafting could ease that pain a bit.

    I love the Condor, but he’d likely HAVE to go in the deal to make room for Upton. Unless the D’backs would take Gutierrez, but I don’t think that likely.

    Let’s say we really bite the bullet and include Nick Franklin. I love everything I’ve heard about him, but it might be a case of selling high on a prospect.

    Then, Josh Lueke. Because, let’s face it…this org is trying to hide their eyes and hope he goes away. I don’t see “HowChuck” having the fortitude to say “bring on the public relations hit”- never mind the guy’s paid his debt to society as society decreed he should.

    Pineda, Saunders, Franklin, Lueke. With Aardsma thrown in if a fifth piece is insisted on.

    Does that get it done?

    That likely gives you a lineup that looks like this:

    1B Smoak
    2B Ackley
    SS Ja. Wilson- subject to another trade happening or injury.
    3B Figgins
    C Moore
    LF Upton
    CF Gutierrez
    RF Ichiro
    DH Bradley (?)

    I’d gamble that lineup produces more than last year’s.

  129. Duncan Idaho on November 18th, 2010 6:01 pm

    Pineda and Ackley for Upton, yes.

    Pineda and Smoak for Upton and something else coming back, yes.

    Ackley and Smoak for Upton, no way. The only way that is even feasible is if Drew is coming back this way as well and now were talking about adding Pineda back in and even more pieces moving around.

    The simple fact is Pineda + Ackley = Upton.
    Pineda + Smoak is too much for Upton without getting something else decent like Kelly Johnson back as well.

  130. Duncan Idaho on November 18th, 2010 6:13 pm

    In addition I mentioned earlier that the Diamondbacks are seriously trying to move Reynolds for an infielder with OBP skills.

    Now to me that move would look something like Figgins, Smoak, Pineda, Lueke(or other bullpen arm + possibly a young starter like Beavan or Robles) for Upton and Reynolds.

    That leaves the Mariners with a Reynolds, Ackley, Wilson/Punto and Jose Lopez infield unless the Mariners were willing to bring in a 1B like Berkman/Laroche/Huff as well as a DH (Branyan/Matsui/Bradley). That could be a possibility if Lopez and Aardsma are dumped.

    Still I think the fanbase should be looking at Smoak as far more untouchable than Ackley or Pineda. Ackley is a rarity as a possible offensive force at second it is true but as Mariner fans have now painfully learned the young 1B who can BB 100 times and hit 30 bombs while making almost nothing has become a rare commodity in the post steroid era. There is a reason Jack held out for Smoak and he is the last of the 3 blue chippers I would want to see leave the Mariners. Just imagine what an Upton, Berkman, Smoak heart of the lineup could do with the Mariners prolific on base combination of Ichiro and Figgins.

  131. Duncan Idaho on November 18th, 2010 6:19 pm

    Eponymous, answering your earlier question I would look at Upton as a guy who would be at 140-145 wRC+ at 27, Smoak at 133-138 wRC+ at 27, and Ackley in a best case at around 123 wRC+ but more likely at around 117 wRC+. That is nice for Ackley at 2B but he may still end up as a COF for all we know.

  132. Badbadger on November 18th, 2010 8:41 pm

    I guess I’m just having a hard time seeing the M’s being the team that wins the bidding for Upton. We’re not really in a position to empty out our minors for a guy, and other teams who are closer to contending can afford to do that.

  133. the tourist on November 18th, 2010 9:06 pm

    After reading all of what’s been posted today, I think people are really underrating Ackley’s ceiling.

  134. eponymous coward on November 18th, 2010 10:05 pm

    Eponymous, answering your earlier question I would look at Upton as a guy who would be at 140-145 wRC+ at 27, Smoak at 133-138 wRC+ at 27, and Ackley in a best case at around 123 wRC+ but more likely at around 117 wRC+. That is nice for Ackley at 2B but he may still end up as a COF for all we know.

    Ugh. This is why I hate slash lines and offense-only contributions as the sole way to evaluate players (aside from park effects). We have to account for defense here, folks, and the fact that value exists in being able to play more challenging defensive positions, even if the 1B is the better hitter.

  135. joethewest on November 19th, 2010 1:16 am

    @ the tourist

    Perhaps if Straburg didn’t blow up to the size of the sun, Ackley would have gotten alot more hype and thus be much less underrated. I don’t frickin’ know.

    But hey just for fun, in 2009

    Jose Lopez – 25 HR 42 doubles 69 K’s
    Justin Upton- 26 HR 30 doubles 137 k’s

    So let’s just give up the farm for this guy. Then we can have 2 Jose Lopezes!!!

  136. Duncan Idaho on November 19th, 2010 10:05 am

    joethewest,

    Jose Lopez
    age 20 3.7 BB% .270 wOBA 0.3 UZR = 0.0 WAR
    age 21 3.0 BB% .287 wOBA 1.6 UZR = 0.3 WAR
    age 22 4.0 BB% .314 wOBA 0.5 UZR = 1.7 WAR
    age 26 3.7 BB% .268 wOBA 8.1 UZR = 0.7 WAR last season

    Justin Upton
    age 20 12.9 BB% .347 wOBA -8.4 UZR = 0.5 WAR
    age 21 9.4 BB% .388 wOBA 7.7 UZR = 4.6 WAR
    age 22 11.2 BB% .349 wOBA 7.6 UZR = 3.1 WAR last season

    and eponymous, right now Ackley is a below average to poor defensive 2B and an unknown quantity as most likely a left fielder. I’d say it is reasonable to leave out defensive info on him since we don’t really know anything for certain other than the above mentioned. We do know that Smoak is probably an average defensive 1B though. So as it stands now there is negligable defensive difference between Ackley and Smoak so it is quite reasonable to judge them purely on offensive contributions. Especially since we can safely gues what kind of contributor Smoak will be with the bat while the jury is still out on Ackley with the stick as well.

    And eponymous I believe it was you who asked for speculation about offensive contribution in the first place.

  137. eponymous coward on November 19th, 2010 11:01 am

    “Badbadger on November 18th, 2010 1:51 pm

    I’m curious what people think Smoak, Ackley, and Upton’s slash lines will be at age 27.”

    So as it stands now there is negligable defensive difference between Ackley and Smoak so it is quite reasonable to judge them purely on offensive contributions.

    No, it is not. Aside from the handwaving you just performed on Ackley and Smoak’s defensive abilities, defensive position counts as part of the process of evaluating players. Otherwise, you get ridiculous results, like thinking Paul Sorrento was a better player than Ozzie Smith because he was clearly a better hitter.

    Also, we’re mostly using minor league stats to project BOTH Smoak and Ackley- because Smoak’s first MLB season wasn’t very good. So why are you discounting Ackley’s progress up to AAA in one pro season?

  138. Duncan Idaho on November 19th, 2010 11:07 am

    When it is all said and done if the Mariners can get Upton for one of Smoak/Pineda/Ackley they have to do it.

    If they can get Upton for Smoak/Franklin they have to do it.

    If they can get Upton for Pineda/Ackley they have to do it.

    If they can get Upton for Pineda/Franklin they have to do it.

    If they can get Upton for Ackley/Franklin they have to do it.

    If Arizona has to have Smoak/Pineda for Upton then the Mariners have to insist on adding names like Drew or Reynolds + or Johnson +++.

    And sorry eponymous, I see you were actually responding to someone who wanted to speculate on the future production of Upton/Smoak/Ackley. I apologize.

  139. Duncan Idaho on November 19th, 2010 11:30 am

    Eponymous I was talking about Ackley’s poor defense at 2B being pretty much equal to Smoak’s average defense at first. Of course Ackley will still have more intrinsic value because of positional adjustment but my contention was that value added strictly from defense (UZR) would be negligible between the two. And possibly Smoak would add more value if the scouting reports I’ve read on Ackley are to be believed.

    On the offensive side I don’t see how you can’t think that Smoak has the higher floor and ceiling as a hitter. Ackley may someday be the better player overall but that will be because of positional adustment, better than advertised defense, and better than advertised power. In terms of value added simply through wOBA I don’t see Ackley ever approaching Smoak’s production level. If he does I’ll be damn happy though because the Mariners would then have the AL version of Chase Utley.

    Of course then too there is always the possibility that Smoak becomes a bust. But the optimist in me says there is a less than 1% chance of that happening.

  140. jjracoon on November 19th, 2010 12:27 pm

    Just when I think I am getting all the WAR stuff, I read all these entries and am confused. When I look at the statistics for Upton the past three years I dont see how he equates as so high a WAR.
    His defense in 2008 & 2009 didnt seem that good with 12 errors each year and even last year he had 4. Is he getting his value from playing RF and there just werent that many good ones?? Granted his offense looks alright especially compared to what happened this season and he is young but how does add up to a probable future star?? Also, if he becomes the Mariners LF doesnt that lower his value since many high offense players are in LF????

  141. gwangung on November 19th, 2010 1:07 pm

    I just think some fans are getting hypnotized by “name players” in the belief they’re surer bets than prospects; I’m also seeing them neglect defensive contributions, which I’m also not sanguine about (meaning they’re not thinking about them meaningfully, either statistically or from a scout’s perspective).

  142. jordan on November 20th, 2010 5:40 pm

    If I were going for Upton, I would deal Pineda, Saunders, and Nick Franklin. I hate to part with Franklin, as well as Pineda but you gotta do what you gotta do.

  143. heychuck01 on November 20th, 2010 7:33 pm

    Perhaps the Mariners involvement in this “potential deal” is that of a third party. Maybe they are not looking to land Upton, but something else.

    It fits Jack’s M.O. to try and step in to any trade to see if he can trade something in surplus, for some other type of need.

  144. the tourist on November 20th, 2010 10:04 pm

    @heychuck01: I like this line of thinking. Trade a couple of live bullpen arms (Aardsma, Cleto?) and a minor piece from the farm (Halman? Mangini?) and somehow wriggle Drew away from them.

  145. GripS on November 21st, 2010 9:35 pm

    My problem is all of Ackley, Pineda and Smoak could potentially be the type of guy who a lot of teams would give up a lot for. Getting Justin Upton would just mean trying to contend sooner then you are ready to. If he flops it turns into another Erik Bedard trade.

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