M’s Not On Upton’s No Trade List

Dave · November 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

A few days ago, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Mariners were one of four teams on Justin Upton’s limited no-trade list. Rosenthal is almost always right, and breaks a ton of news, but it turns out that he missed on this one, as no less a source than the agency that represents Upton said on Twitter today that the Mariners are not on Upton’s list.

This is interesting for the obvious reason, as it means that we can resume wondering about just how much the M’s should be willing to offer Arizona to get Upton to Seattle. It’s also interesting for a more subtle reason, I think – that Upton’s agents felt it necessary to set the record straight on this particular rumor tells me that there’s a decent chance that the Diamondbacks and his agents have already talked about where he would be willing to go based on the teams that have shown the most interest.

When was the last time you saw an agency correct a rumor like this? It just doesn’t happen, and there’s no way this was the first piece of incorrect information that has ever been floated about one of their clients. However, they felt that it was important this time to correct the public record. We can only speculate as to why, but if the Mariners were being aggressive in their pursuit of Upton, and the agency knew it was a legitimate possible destination, then it could make some sense to debunk that particular error.

I could be wrong, but it’s worth thinking about, at least.

Comments

80 Responses to “M’s Not On Upton’s No Trade List”

  1. dgarnett on November 23rd, 2010 2:50 pm

    this definitely seems to be one of those “if there’s smoke there’s fire” deals.

    I know the CBA doesn’t allow the trading of draft picks directly, but has any team tried going around the rule with the PTBNL angle? With the reports that the diamond backs want pitching, could you see them taking Pineda + the future #2 pick of their choice (cole or purke)?

  2. kennyb on November 23rd, 2010 2:50 pm

    I agree that it could be a good sign. I would love to have Upton.
    It is also possible that the rumor was quashed because the offers have not been as good as expected and they are trying to scare up some better offers.
    For now I choose to take it as it looks, the Mariners are in it and Arizona wanted this rumor corrected.

  3. robbbbbb on November 23rd, 2010 2:56 pm

    (1) This reminds me of Kremlinology during the Cold War, where you’d have to make inferences from limited data to try and construct a picture of what’s happening from the inside. Sometimes that didn’t work out so well.

    (2) That said, I think you’re right that this has some significance. When is the last time you saw a player’s agent go out of his way to correct such a notion?

    Gosh, I’d love to see Justin Upton in a Mariner uniform. I’m also thinking it would cost the team more than he’d be worth.

  4. Carson on November 23rd, 2010 2:59 pm

    It is also possible that the rumor was quashed because the offers have not been as good as expected and they are trying to scare up some better offers.

    Why would his agents need to drum that up, though? Upton gains nothing from the Diamondbacks maximizing thier haul.

  5. robbbbbb on November 23rd, 2010 3:08 pm

    In fact, I’d think that Upton would be better served by the Diamondbacks getting a *bad* haul than a good one. If the team doesn’t give up too much talent, then Upton’s playing around better players. From a purely financial point that’s good for him: Players on successful teams have historically gotten better contracts. But I have to think the guy wants to play for a winner, too.

  6. Mid80sRighty on November 23rd, 2010 3:08 pm

    Not sure I understand why any team, player, agent, etc. would feel compelled to correct the public’s perception in a situation like this. If, like you say, the Mariners are are being agressive in their pursuit of Upton then obviously the two sides are talking and already know Seattle isn’t on his no-trade list.

    Maybe I’m just not thinking deep enough on this. Sometimes I forget we now live in a world where if an “i” isn’t dotted or “t” crossed then is HAS to mean something.

  7. kennyb on November 23rd, 2010 3:09 pm

    If Upton wants out of Arizona then it would be in his best interest to get the offers as high as possible. Arizona doesn’t have to trade him, but they will if they get a great offer.
    There has been no indication that Upton wants to leave, but if he does, that would be a good way to drive up the price.

  8. kennyb on November 23rd, 2010 3:17 pm

    If, like you say, the Mariners are are being agressive in their pursuit of Upton then obviously the two sides are talking and already know Seattle isn’t on his no-trade list.

    This is exactly why I think there is a possibility (very small, mind you) that the rumor was quashed in order to up the offers. The M’s and Dbacks would know if Seattle was on the no trade list, but the other MLB teams may not. Now they do and they also know the M’s could be serious players. It may cause them to up their offers.
    I still think we have to take this a face value, but like the A’s blocking move on Iwakuma, there could be some behind the scenes goings on.

  9. Carson on November 23rd, 2010 3:26 pm

    Perhaps the M’s have not yet had talks with the D-Backs, or his agents aren’t aware of them doing so – but Upton likes the idea of coming here but can’t dircetly tell them that.

    Like, maybe they feel the need to correct the info so the M’s would inquire. Though, why they wouldn’t just call the D-Backs and ask.. I don’t know.

  10. dlb on November 23rd, 2010 3:55 pm

    If the M’s are prohibited from talking directly with Upton, and I don’t know if this is the case or not, then perhaps its a form of signaling from the Upton side to the M’s. Maybe after all of this speculation Upton wants out of Arizona now and he wants to quash speculation that he’s not interested in playing for the M’s or would be disgruntled if traded.

  11. _David_ on November 23rd, 2010 4:05 pm

    I think an agency would want to set the record straight because a no-trade list is kind of a loaded issue. It can send a message that a player doesn’t like a particular city, which affects fan opinion. After all, the agency doesn’t want Mariners fans to not vote Upton into an All-Star game, or if a fan of the team Upton plays for lives in Seattle, to feel slighted and not buy an Upton T-shirt or whatever.

  12. Westside guy on November 23rd, 2010 4:27 pm

    Maybe Upton as some weird rain fetish.

    C’mon, we’re whistling in the dark here. I’m glad Seattle’s not on Upton’s no-trade list; but that’s more because when Rosenthal’s tweet came out it seemed like kicking a man when he’s already down.

  13. jephdood on November 23rd, 2010 5:02 pm

    As long as Ackley stays put, I’m okay with the Upton rumors again.

    Does any deal HAVE to include TWO of Pineda, Smoak, Ackley? Would something like Pineda, Lueke, Aardsma, Lopez, and Saunders do it? Or is that just too much “junk” :)

    If we somehow get him, the Safeco fences from LC to RC need to be moved in.

  14. Liam on November 23rd, 2010 5:47 pm

    I know the CBA doesn’t allow the trading of draft picks directly, but has any team tried going around the rule with the PTBNL angle? With the reports that the diamond backs want pitching, could you see them taking Pineda + the future #2 pick of their choice (cole or purke)?

    Teams can’t trade a newly drafted player for 12 months and any PTBNL has to be dealt within 6.

  15. Chris_From_Bothell on November 23rd, 2010 5:54 pm

    Does any deal HAVE to include TWO of Pineda, Smoak, Ackley? Would something like Pineda, Lueke, Aardsma, Lopez, and Saunders do it?

    Pretty much the only one that would work, I’d think, with Pineda interchangable with Smoak or perhaps Franklin or Robles with Lopez, for purposes of that trade. That’s about as much as the Ms can give away without it getting pretty lopsided.

    Both Pineda and Smoak, or Ackley at all, and it definitely isn’t worth it.

    Killing the rumor to drum up more interest seems like kind of an odd theory. The Ms are presumably already known to have limited resources, so I don’t know why they’d be seen as a serious competitor for anyone this offseason, per se.

  16. the tourist on November 23rd, 2010 5:58 pm

    If they could somehow pull it off and we could see an Ackley/Upton/Smoak/(Berkmann?, Huff?, Scott?, Hawpe?) meat of the order, I’d be extremely pleased. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over the loss of Pineda.

  17. Jordan on November 23rd, 2010 6:02 pm

    /(Berkmann?, Huff?, Scott?, Hawpe?)

    Huff already resigned w/ the Giants.

  18. Duncan Idaho on November 23rd, 2010 6:32 pm

    Still there are those out their who view Ackley as the most valuable piece. I would love Dave to weigh in because I view that as delusional.

    Right now Ackley is a poor defensive 2B who will get on base at a high clip but have trouble hitting for much power. He is a lot more Brian Roberts at best than he is Chase Utley at best. Yet many in Marinerdom treat Ackley as if he is the one untouchable.

    I’m sorry, but in this new mostly PED free era a player like Smoak is easily the most valuable of the three (maybe four) top prospects. How many switch hitting high average and OBP players with legitimate thirty homer power are left in MLB. Beltran – old. Berkman – old. Swisher – not sure about a consistently high average or the power outside of Yankee Stadium. Morales is one, but questions after injury. Are there others? I can’t think of any.

    There is a reason Jack held out for Smoak above all others when trading Lee. You can listen to naysayers in Texas talk about how they weren’t really that high on Smoak. But that is rubbish put in the press to sell Rangers fans on the Lee deal.

    I would trade Pineda/Ackley for Upton in a heartbeat and I think most smart baseball people would agree. Having Upton and Smoak locked into the three and four spots in the lineup for five and possibly six seasons is a formidable cornerstone of a franchise that intends to consistently contend. In the past the Red Sox were praised for the Ortiz/Ramirez combo, and currently the Yankees are praised for Tex/Arod. Well by 2013 it is a safe bet that Upton/Smoak would be outproducing the NY duo and be in the discussion for best 3/4 hitters in all of mlb.

    Trade Pineda/Ackley and whatever minor pieces it takes to get Upton and the Mariners would take a gigantic leap toward respectability that a player like Ackley has about a 1% chance of ever giving them.

  19. Gibbo on November 23rd, 2010 6:43 pm

    >>> Would something like Pineda, Lueke, Aardsma, Lopez, and Saunders do it?

    I just dont see this working. Although the Padres were rumored for a long time to be interested in Jose Lopez,and now they have Towers as their GM then maybe he still values Lopez. Maybe if Lopez had a good year last year then that package almost would of been enough.

  20. Gibbo on November 23rd, 2010 6:48 pm

    Good take Duncan – The question for me on Ackley is, will the power come? Although, I would be happy with the Brian Roberts comparisons anyway.

  21. lamlor on November 23rd, 2010 7:14 pm

    I think another question has to be asked here and that is this;

    If, and I assume we are since everybody seems to be reporting it, we are willing to trade Pineda, Ackley, and/or Smoak, why don’t we see what other type players we might be able to get with this kind of offer?

    AGon? Hanley Ramirez? Carlos Gonzalez (little scared of the Coors Field affect)? Votto? Longoria? Braun? etc.

    Nothing against Upton, but they want the moon for this guy and so far he has been an average outfielder in a hitters ballpark compared to Safeco. Plus he has a shoulder issue at times which sounds a lot like what Sexson had for a couple of years. I also realize that Upton’s contract has something to do with it, but any offer for one of the other guys could be contingent on an extension.

  22. adamsymonds on November 23rd, 2010 7:36 pm

    “Right now Ackley is a poor defensive 2B who will get on base at a high clip but have trouble hitting for much power. He is a lot more Brian Roberts at best than he is Chase Utley at best”

    I don’t disagree with your assessment, necessarily, but I feel like this understates how good a player Brian Roberts really is. In all his full seasons, from 2003-2009, he averaged 4 WAR a year and 03-04 were just his first two full years. Until the injury this year, that was 5 straight years in the top 10 at 2B with 2 top 5 appearances.

  23. Rick L on November 23rd, 2010 7:48 pm

    we can resume wondering about just how much the M’s should be willing to offer Arizona to get Upton to Seattle.

    Jose Lopez, Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak (Ackley can play first base), Matt Tuiasosopo, Josh Lueke.

  24. egreenlaw9 on November 23rd, 2010 8:33 pm

    I’m floored by how diversely we M’s fans value our top three.

    So many people are like “I’m okay with Ackley/Smoak/Pineda and Smoak/Pineda/Ackley being traded for Upton, but if the deal includes Pineda/Ackley/Smoak, then NO WAY!”

    Has anyone else noticed this and thought it curious?

  25. Rick L on November 23rd, 2010 9:07 pm

    Pineda/Ackley/Smoak is too high a price. But you are trading potential with these guys for something actual in Upton. I would give up one of them plus some other things (Doug Fister?) for Upton.

  26. lailaihei on November 23rd, 2010 9:34 pm

    Maybe I’m way off, but I’d imagine a package to get Upton would be something like Smoak+Pineda or Ackley, plus either Franklin or a couple non-Franklin prospects.

    Upton is a premium player at a good price, and unless we give up our “big three” I will be absolutely stoked to get him.

  27. egreenlaw9 on November 23rd, 2010 9:35 pm

    Rick L

    Think you misunderstood me… :)

    I’m saying that people are okay with ONE of Ackley/Smoak/Pineda….

    Make more sense now?

  28. the tourist on November 23rd, 2010 9:52 pm

    I’m floored by how diversely we M’s fans value our top three.
    So many people are like “I’m okay with Ackley/Smoak/Pineda and Smoak/Pineda/Ackley being traded for Upton, but if the deal includes Pineda/Ackley/Smoak, then NO WAY!”
    Has anyone else noticed this and thought it curious?

    My reasoning for being okay with trading Pineda while not being okay with trading Ackley or Smoak is because Pineda is a pitcher and pitchers are more volatile. Also, the park and defense seem to help average pitching (see Washburn’s 2009, Fister’s 2010), so premium pitching while certainly valuable is less valuable than premium hitting (which both Smoak and Ackley have as a ceiling).

  29. Boy9988 on November 23rd, 2010 11:04 pm

    Dustin Ackley
    Michael Pineda
    David Aardsma
    Michael Saunders
    Josh Leuke
    Mauricio Robles
    Carlos Triunfel

    for

    Justin Upton (5yrs)
    Stephen Drew (2yrs)

    Am I crazy?

  30. CMC_Stags on November 23rd, 2010 11:31 pm

    Am I crazy?

    Yes, you are. The M’s would basically have no cost controlled players left in the pipeline and be maxed out payroll wise for the next few years.

    Who plays 2B/3B (whichever Figgins doesn’t play)?
    Who takes Pineda’s spot in the rotation?
    How do the M’s fill out the bullpen without Aardsma, Leuke, and Robles?

    Added to that, I’m not sure the deal makes sense for Arizona either. I guess it depends on the depth of their rebuilding effort.

  31. the tourist on November 23rd, 2010 11:38 pm

    Am I crazy?

    If their (AZ) previous regime hadn’t given away Haren and you added his name to the list, then no. But as that stands, yes. Yes, very much so.

  32. bugrat6 on November 24th, 2010 2:16 am

    We should trade away the whole team besides Smoak and Ackley, for this guy. Then, we could field the only three-player, RHYMING roster in MLB, of Justin, Dustin, and Justin Upton.

    Say that ten times fast?

  33. Badbadger on November 24th, 2010 6:15 am

    As I’ve said before, we can’t really afford to empty out our minors in exchange for one guy. Our team is full of holes, and left field may not even be one of them depending on if you believe Saunders might still work out.

    Someone who is a better position to trade prospects will probably get him.

  34. heyoka on November 24th, 2010 7:30 am

    I’ve got the perfect trade:

    Ichiro, Felix, Gutierrez, Pineda, Smoak, Ackley, and $5 million.

    for

    Justin Upton

  35. Jordan on November 24th, 2010 8:00 am

    we can’t really afford to empty out our minors

    Isn’t that kinda what got us here in the first place coupled with aging, overpriced contracts?

  36. Jordan on November 24th, 2010 8:05 am

    Ichiro, Felix, Gutierrez, Pineda, Smoak, Ackley, and $5 million

    Finally, a realistic trade!

  37. Jordan on November 24th, 2010 8:09 am

    Seriously, unless we’re merely giving up scrap heaps and expendable parts then what’s the point?

    Don’t we think Ackley + Pineda + Smoak + Saunders is more valuable than Upton +1 long-term?

    Unless the trade looked something like (and didn’t include Franklin):

    Saunders (becomes expendable)
    Aardsma (we aren’t contending)
    Lopez (perhaps we could get some Big League Chew back for him?)
    Lueke (we handled this poorly, he should get to play in Seattle)
    + 2 low level throw-ins

    It’s been beat into the ground…But, Towers is not a complete tard so unless we’re willing to ante up it doesn’t happen. From just a quantity standpoint, I would think our multiple prospects have a better chance of providing greater value overall; maybe not next year but in 2012 and beyond.

  38. diderot on November 24th, 2010 8:43 am

    Doesn’t it seem inevitable that Arizona is now committed to trading Upton for someone? After essentially putting him up for auction, how happy would he be to go back into that clubhouse?
    And I still wonder why they decided to do this so publicly. I just have the feeling they decided either his shoulder or his strikeout rate is never going to be fixed.

  39. Dutch on November 24th, 2010 8:57 am

    @Jordan,

    I agree completely. I don’t see why a Seattle fan would get excited over losing one of Pineda/Ackley/Smoak. We might be winning the trade in terms of the best estimate of present value, but the best estimate isn’t worth much for players this young.

  40. Duncan Idaho on November 24th, 2010 9:15 am

    Apparently what I wrote above was not read or not understood by anyone. Trading away Smoak defeats the purpose of aquiring Upton. Smoak and Upton combine to make a formidable MOTO for the next five or possibly six years. And possibly even longer if it worked out that way. The chances of Ackley developing along the lines of Utley and becoming that MOTO bat are just not that good. He profiles as a top of the lineup batter, so I suggest everyone that is acting like he is more should just stop until he has proven he is more. And Pineda is a 21 year old pitcher who profiles as a possible TOR arm but again he is a pitcher. His arm could blow up on the first pitch he throws in the bigs and he could end up as nothing.

    You trade Pineda and Ackley to aquire a talent like Upton. It would be illogical not to. It is worth giving up the promise of those two youngsters to run this lineup out there for the next two years for sure, more than likely three years, possibly four years and at least some chance of even more;

    1.RF Ichiro
    2.3B Figgins
    3.LF Upton
    4.1B Smoak
    5.DH Generic DH
    6.CF Gutierrez
    7.2B Whomever?
    8.C Whomever?
    9.SS Whomever?

    To me that is a lineup that could shock people in 2011 ala the 2010 Padres(At least as far as team results are concerned). And could definitely be in the better half of AL lineups in 2012. Taking Smoak out of that lineup for Ackley and you begin to see something that resembles the 2009-2010 Mariners way too much.

  41. Duncan Idaho on November 24th, 2010 9:28 am

    Justin Smoak DOB: December 5th, 1986 2011 age: 24
    Justin Upton DOB: August 25th, 1987 2011 age: 23
    Dustin Ackley DOB: February 26th, 1988 2011age:23
    Michael Pineda DOB: January 18th, 1989 2011age:22

    Upton is the same age as the rest of these guys. It would be perfectly legitimate to estimate that he vastly improves his numbers across the board. Especially considering that he was talented enough to be the first overall pick straight out of highschool. A talent level that Ackley nor Smoak can lay a very strong claim to.

    An argument against trading Mariner youngsters because of unfulfilled potential could and probably does have more justification in the case of Upton.

    Mariners fans are far too in love with Mariner prospects. Particularly Ackley.

  42. gwangung on November 24th, 2010 9:32 am

    Apparently what I wrote above was not read or not understood by anyone.

    Or folks are giving it the due response it deserves. Depends on one’s ego, I suppose.

  43. Duncan Idaho on November 24th, 2010 9:36 am

    Or folks are simply overvaluing Ackley, a leadoff hitter, over the two Justins, legitimate middle of the order bats.

  44. Duncan Idaho on November 24th, 2010 9:58 am

    Ackley + Pineda + Lueke + Saunders + Beavan or Robles for Upton + Kelly Johnson

    Realistic and I’d do it in a hearbeat. Although if the Mariners could get Towers to take Halman over Saunders I believe Saunders makes a terrific 4th outfielder.

  45. Jordan on November 24th, 2010 10:17 am

    Ackley + Pineda + Lueke + Saunders + Beavan or Robles for Upton + Kelly Johnson

    If we got Kelly Johnson back I’d definitely throw another “top” prospect in the pile. But until then, it’s not worth it. Ackley/Pineda/Lueke is better than Upton alone even treating Ackley “just” as a top of the order hitter.

    I suppose I might value Pineda differently after getting Cole or someone like that in the draft.

    Regardless I doubt Towers sees that as realistic so it won’t matter.

  46. greentunic on November 24th, 2010 10:22 am

    Or folks are simply overvaluing Ackley, a leadoff hitter, over the two Justins, legitimate middle of the order bats.

    Gosh, how crazy would our marketing department go with this? “From Justin to Justin!” or “The Bustin’ Justins!” or “Just-in Time For the Justins’ Prime!”

    May need some work…

  47. Duncan Idaho on November 24th, 2010 10:23 am

    Ackley/Pineda/Lueke might be even to Upton, it is in no way ‘better alone’ than Upton. Unless you overvalue Ackley and undervalue the inherent risk of a 21 year old pitcher.

  48. Duncan Idaho on November 24th, 2010 10:25 am

    greentunic, you need to trademark “Just-in Time For the Justins’ Prime!”

    That is brilliant.

  49. Duncan Idaho on November 24th, 2010 10:29 am

    Imagine if they could pull off a certain post game concert.

    “Be at the safe on Friday to see Justin. Bieber, Upton and Smoak.”

    The whole crowd would look and act like that young lady Ichiro ran into and patted on the leg.

  50. zagfan22 on November 24th, 2010 11:22 am

    What I don’t understand is the lack of patience that some people in the blog-o-sphere seem to have.

    It makes sense that a big name makes us all excited, but is Upton a big name? I realize he is a proven MLB outfielder with skills that would help our club. But mortgaging our future to win now is not where this club is.

    Does acquiring Upton put us in playoff contention? Does it even put us over .500? If Upton was the one missing piece of the puzzle, then I would trade two of our big four without question.

    Where the team is right now, you make a move to acquire Upton, we will be right back to where we are in two years. We all see what happened when a GM mortgages the farm for one player (see Bedard, Erik), and where are we right now? We are in a much worse place than we were before the trade.

    I don’t expect the Mariners to be in playoff contention this year and possibly next. I want to see the kids play and play together. I want to see an opening day lineup of 2012 with an infield of Smoak-Ackley-Franklin-Figgins, an outfield of Saunders-Gutierrez-Ichiro and a rotation with Felix and Pineda in it.

    Getting Upton just makes me think of the Bedard trade, but worse.

  51. eponymous coward on November 24th, 2010 11:39 am

    I love how Justin Smoak’s been turned into a “legitimate MOTO bat” after a .239/.287/.407 season in MLB- and being OLDER than Justin Upton (who very clearly is outhitting him, but isn’t clearly a MOTO bat yet) as well as being very obviously better than Dustin Ackley.

    I don’t think this is obvious at all.

    BTW, what scares me about Upton? Lifetime .905 OPS in Arizona, .742 in the rest of MLB. Holy Home Field Inflation of Stats, Batman! But hey, it worked out great when we did this with Adrian Beltre, right? Right?

  52. B13a on November 24th, 2010 11:51 am

    I’m hesitant about this possible trade.

    I understand that prospects are prospects, and that their overall chances of panning out are slim, but Smoak, Pineda, and Ackley have as much a chance of becoming good players as any prospect. People have listed the holes on the team several times, and that includes a first baseman, a reliable #2 pitcher, a second baseman, and a shortstop. Franklin is a ways away, but I feel like just because we have a chance to acquire a very good player in Upton doesn’t mean we should.

    I’m also not sold on Upton completely. He’s a very, very good player, but trading our top pitching prospect, one of our top middle infielders, or anyone else with them seems like a steep price for anyone, and this is no exception. Towers is asking for the moon for Upton, and I don’t think he’s worth that much.

    This does smell like the Bedard trade, but I take comfort in the fact that we won’t be giving away the majority of our best prospects because Jack Z is not an idiot. If they do trade for him, I hope it doesn’t contain Ackley or Pineda at the very least; I like Smoak a lot too, but he is more expendable compared to those two.

  53. eponymous coward on November 24th, 2010 12:21 pm

    NB: I think Upton’s a very good player, the same way Beltre was for us… but those home/road splits scare me. I wonder if a few years later, if he’s acquired, it will be a case of vague disappointment among the fanbase, just like Beltre, because half his games are at Safeco, Where Fly Balls Go To Die.

  54. mattlock on November 24th, 2010 12:56 pm

    “Be at the safe on Friday to see Justin. Bieber, Upton and Smoak.”

    Would they get the chance to see Bieber go Upton Smoak? Cuz that would be worth it to me.

  55. Duncan Idaho on November 24th, 2010 1:37 pm

    List of 2B who can reasonably be expected to produce similar or better numbers than Ackley for at least the next two seasons.

    Ellis, Kinsler, Kendrick, Hudson, Beckham, Aviles, Cano, Pedroia, Zobrist (or Rodriguez, or Brignac), Hill, Roberts, Sanchez, Johnson, Phillips, Weeks, Utley, Uggla, Prado and maybe even Jose Lopez (just kidding).

    List of switch hitters at any position who can reasonably be expected to hit .280 with 80 BB’s and 25-30 home runs in 2011 or 2012.

    Teixeira – yes, slow starts and average only questions
    Morales – does not walk at nearly high enough rate but other numbers should be there
    Swisher – most likely yes if he keeps avg. up and walk rates return to normal after down 2010 although he never showed consistency like this until in Yankee lineup and Yankee hitters paradise
    Berkman – unlikeley considering age, health, playing time
    Beltran – would have to stay healthy and have a lot else go right as well
    Jones – ditto Berkman and Beltran but moreso
    Smoak – has a decent chance to put up those numbers in 2011 and I would say it is highly probable he starts consistently producing at that level in 2012

    Smoak is a rare batter with rare skills and so what if he is an average or below average 1B. To me Smoak is the only other untouchable after Felix and Ichiro. You see the list of players with Smoak’s batting skillset and yes some of them provide more value because of defense but I believe every player on that list has made at least one All Star team and so will Smoak. Jack held out to get this guy for a reason and honestly considering Safeco Field I wouldn’t trade Smoak for Upton one for one. Rare commodities have intrinsic value for the scarcity factor alone and players like Smoak are obviously scarce.

    Finaly, this is not the best way to predict future results but here is a list of Justin Upton’s comparables through age 22 season;

    Ruben Sierra (960)
    Dick Kokos (951)
    Andruw Jones (949)
    Jack Clark (947)
    Greg Luzinski (942)
    Boog Powell (938)
    Jose Canseco (935)
    Juan Gonzalez (932)
    Whitey Lockman (922)

    None of these guys are hall of famers but I’d love to have any of the ones I’ve heard of on my team during their prime seasons. And that was after a down year during which he had injury problems. Here are his comparables after his breakout season as a 21 year old; Ruben Sierra, Miguel Cabrera, Andruw Jones, Hank Aaron, Dick Kokos, Sam Crawford, Jaun Gonzalez, Ron Santo, Willie Mays, Vada Pinson.

    But by all means make Ackley untouchable when trying to aquire a supremely gifted five tool player like Upton. And if one of the young position players has to go make sure it is Smoak, because even though he could be the best power hitting switch hitter in all of baseball by 2013 or 2014 left handed hitting mediocre defensive second baseman who draw enough walks to be top leadoff hitters are the truly rare commodity in today’s MLB.

  56. Chris_From_Bothell on November 24th, 2010 1:42 pm

    Or folks are simply overvaluing Ackley, a leadoff hitter, over the two Justins, legitimate middle of the order bats.

    Or folks are thinking that Ackley will be an overall better talent than Smoak, and aren’t just obsessing over powerrrrr numbers.

    Again, Pineda and a bunch of pieces should be reasonable for Upton. Any more is overpaying, working it out gives you the Upton/Smoak 3-4 that you’re fixated on.

  57. Duncan Idaho on November 24th, 2010 1:43 pm

    Upton can not be a free agent until after 2015. The Mariners would be guaranteed to have him for five seasons. He is not a pitcher with an injury history.

    This is nothing like the Bedard trade. NOTHING!

  58. Duncan Idaho on November 24th, 2010 2:12 pm

    Chris-from-Bothell how is a 21 year old pitcher who has never thrown more than 150 innings. And has a history of arm trouble, plus a bunch of B and C prospects, reasonable value for a guy who compares well with HOF’s and perennial All Star’s at a similar age? In a dream or a video game this might be true, in reality it is just not.

    Now onto the Ackley vs. Smoak debate. If Ackley becomes what most think, Brian Roberts with the stick, he would have to be a top defensive 2B to hold more value than Smoak and then it still would be up in the air. The only way Ackley is sure to be more valuable than Smoak is if he develops power and defense ala Utley and Phillips. Maybe in a dream, right? Surely it would not be wise to gamble on Ackley becoming Utley or Phillips. In fact the odds of that happening are about the same as Upton turning into the second coming of Hank Aaron and if I had to gamble on one of those happening I’d rather gamble on the guy that could become an all time great. And in Smoak’s case I’d say he should get extra credit for being that rarest of baseball commodities, a power hitting switch hitter. I’d also say that the most likely outcome between Smoak becoming Teixeira or Eddie Murray or Berkman, Ackley becoming Utley, and Upton becoming an all time great would be for Smoak to become a consistent All Star 1B. But hey, maybe all of them bust. My money is on Smoak to be the least likely to disappoint while Upton is the most likely to shock us to the upside and Ackley having the lowest floor and the smallest, like 1%, of chances at reaching an Utley like ceiling.

  59. lamlor on November 24th, 2010 2:47 pm

    We are not winning in 2011 so why throw away our top 3 prospects for an above average outfielder? Yes Upton is 23, but he also plays in a more hitter friendly park than Safeco especially for a RH. He was 4th on his team in RBI’s. His contract is more than the 3 top guys we are talking about dealing for him. We have no money to spend as it is so if we get him what do we put around him? Yes we have money in 2012 to spend, but no guarantees we can get a top free agent to come here like always.

    I say we make our best offer as follows and if they don’t like it, move on:

    Pineda
    Figgins (plus salary difference of Reynolds)
    Saunders
    Lueke
    Aardsma
    Triunfel

    for

    Upton
    Reynolds

  60. heychuck01 on November 24th, 2010 2:47 pm

    I think by and large, most people are undervaluing Upton, and then not realizing that Arizona has to ‘win’ the trade to make it happen.

    What Upton is actually worth in a trade is a little irrelavent. Arizona wants more, or why bother? I also believe they will get it, whether it be the Mariners, or whoever.

    Upton really has the chance to turn out to be a Griffey or Mays superstar type. The chances may be slim, but very few players even have that chance.

    On a personal note, I am torn. Knowing what the Mariners need to give up is daunting, but the potential in Upton is so intriging… much more so then any of the Mariners prospects.

  61. beadyeyes123 on November 24th, 2010 3:07 pm

    If it’s just Pineda, Saunders and some promising low level prospects, do it. Otherwise one poster has it right…look at Upton’s home vs away splits and it’s clear we may regret this deal down the line.

    To the poster thinking we can get Drew thrown in? Not happening according to the D-backs. Besides, he has 2 years left right? We won’t be competitive for possibly another year or two so he’ll be most likely gone before then.

    I like Upton but not enough to empty the farm RIGHT NOW. Too many holes to fill plus Upton alone is not gonna get us to the playoffs next season. Like Dave always has said, when we are on the verge of being competitive and we need to fill one or two holes with big trades, THEN do deals like this.

    Rosterbation is all we are doing here and it will take a LOT to get Upton out of Arizona. Not worth it in my eyes.

  62. lamlor on November 24th, 2010 3:10 pm

    My worry with Upton:

    2007 .300 82 RBI 24 HR 22 SB
    2008 .273 67 9 44
    2009 .241 55 11 42
    2010 .237 62 18 42

    Yes this is BJ Upton’s numbers. Remember him? He was a hotter prospect than his younger brother for years and now he can’t make contact. I am not saying that if it happens to one brother the other brother is as likely. I am just saying that Justin is still no lock to get any better. Injuries, mechanics, ballparks all can derail a potentially great career. BJ was 23 in 2007 when he peaked.

    I like him, but not for the farm. If this was 2001 type season, then go for it. This is a team that has been the second worst in the league 2 of the last 3 years. One man, even Pujols, won’t change that.

  63. Duncan Idaho on November 24th, 2010 3:35 pm

    No one is saying Smoak, Ackley and Pineda. That would be stupid. Two of the three is the speculation and I’d say one has to be Pineda and I’d rather the other be Ackley than Smoak.

  64. eponymous coward on November 24th, 2010 3:48 pm

    Smoak – has a decent chance to put up those numbers in 2011 and I would say it is highly probable he starts consistently producing at that level in 2012

    Smoak’s 2011 Bill James projections (which are regularly derided as being too optimistic for pitchers AND hitters):

    .249/.351/.414

    Dustin Ackley’s, BTW, are .239/.325/.358.

    So… yeah. Suuuuuuure Smoak’s ready to start knocking out .280 with power and walks. Uh-huh.

    If Ackley becomes what most think, Brian Roberts with the stick, he would have to be a top defensive 2B to hold more value than Smoak and then it still would be up in the air.

    You do realize Brian Roberts has a couple of All-Star games and 3 4+ WAR seasons to his credit, right? (Which, incidentally, is 3 more 4+ WAR seasons than Nick Swisher.)

    Regardless of whether or not Dustin Ackley ran over your dog, the evidence that he’s a dramatically inferior prospect to Smoak’s just not there. I would say “probably a bit too soon to tell”- but the fact that Ackley adjusted a bit faster at AAA (.274/.338/.439) than Smoak did at the same age (.244/.363/.360) might be a point in his favor- especially since he did this while switching positions.

  65. Duncan Idaho on November 24th, 2010 4:59 pm

    Eponymous, I like how you take the worst case of the switch hitting power guys and apply it to Smoak. It is actually quite accurate. At the worst Smoak turns into a less athletic Swisher with maybe a bit more power.

    Nick Swisher – Career 116 OPS+

    Of course then there are three more cases that too have similar odds of occuring;

    Eddie Murray – Career 129 OPS+
    Mark Teixeira – Career 134 OPS+
    Lance Berkman – Career 145 OPS+

    If he just ended up as a 116 OPS+ guy I would be satisfied. If he ended up as a 129 OPS+ guy I would be content. If he ended up as a 134 OPS+ guy I would be joyful. And if he ended up as a 145 OPS+ guy I would be absolutely thrilled. No matter what I don’t see myself being disappointed by Smoak in the end.

    Now I’d like to see some Ackley comps from you? And what you expect in the worst case or in the best?

  66. eponymous coward on November 24th, 2010 6:39 pm

    Of course then there are three more cases that too have similar odds of occuring

    Exactly how are you quantifying these odds?

    But since you’re bringing names into the discussion…

    Eddie Murray, age 23: 480 MLB games, 120 OPS+
    Lance Berkman: not a 1B until age 29
    Mark Teixeira: age 23: 102 OPS+

    I’d say Smoak’s closest to Tex. However, you might note that Tex’s minor league stats (.995 minor league OPS) blow Smoak’s away (.869 minor league OPS). I think I would argue Tex > Smoak.

    Now I’d like to see some Ackley comps from you?

    No. I don’t think I am good enough at this game to project with the confidence you do (and LHB 2B with very little minor league experience and knocking non the door of MLB in the space of ~150 pro games are not a huge group beyond the Whitakers of MLB). But I know you’re not good enough. Your comp group is all significantly better than Smoak.

  67. Browl on November 24th, 2010 7:06 pm

    I think that Smoak has a lower floor than Ackley. At worst Ackley’s patientience makes him an above-average offensive 2nd baseman, and even if his defense never comes around he should probably end up above replacement level.
    Smoak, at worst, will be a poor defensive 1st baseman, and he’s not a lock to hit 20 hrs/year. Without great offensive numbers he could possibly even end up at replacement level or below. The value of position can not be overstated.

  68. J-Dog on November 24th, 2010 8:05 pm

    I think by and large, most people are undervaluing Upton, and then not realizing that Arizona has to ‘win’ the trade to make it happen.

    If Arizona has to ‘win’ the trade, does that mean that Seattle would have to ‘lose’ the trade? It isn’t like Seattle is ready to contend while Arizona is rebuilding. This isn’t a case of one team trading for the present, while the other team trades for the future. I don’t see how Arizona ‘wins’ the trade and Seattle also ‘wins’ the trade.

  69. heychuck01 on November 24th, 2010 8:49 pm

    If Arizona has to ‘win’ the trade, does that mean that Seattle would have to ‘lose’ the trade? It isn’t like Seattle is ready to contend while Arizona is rebuilding. This isn’t a case of one team trading for the present, while the other team trades for the future. I don’t see how Arizona ‘wins’ the trade and Seattle also ‘wins’ the trade.

    Yah, I know. The only way this happens is if Seattle (or another team) thinks Upton will meet his full potential, which is much greater then any one part of what they are giving away.

    It is a gamble., which I address in my post.

    It is a case of litereally betting the farm.

  70. gwangung on November 24th, 2010 9:55 pm

    Upton really has the chance to turn out to be a Griffey or Mays superstar type. The chances may be slim, but very few players even have that chance.

    On a personal note, I am torn. Knowing what the Mariners need to give up is daunting, but the potential in Upton is so intriging… much more so then any of the Mariners prospects.

    Now I have to ask: why is it a good strategy to OBTAIN such gambles at substantial cost, rather than to develop them within house?

  71. heychuck01 on November 24th, 2010 10:40 pm

    If you are asking me, I don’t think ‘gamblin’g is a great strategy. I wouldn’t do it if we were talking about life and death, but we are talking about baseball :) It is fun to think about. I never said it was a good strategy

    Jack Z. has alot more riding on these decisions then we do (duh). However, if the Mariners have another dismal season, he will probably be gone. He might feel like gambling.

  72. Liam on November 25th, 2010 10:03 am

    I’m only for the deal if we could get this ustin without giving up either of our ustins.

  73. Duncan Idaho on November 25th, 2010 3:22 pm

    EPONYMOUS, YOU think they are all better than Smoak . That is why I listed a range of recent powererful switch hitting at least occasional first baseman. If Smoak ends up hitting in that range chances are that Ackley only competes with him in terms of WAR because of the positional adjustment differences between 1B and 2B. That is not insured of happening either though, because Ackley might be awful as a defensive 2B.

    Now I’ll list a legitimate range of possibilities for Ackley from an offensive perspective. That is high walk, high average leadoff or second hitter types and I’ll include Utley as a possible best case scenario.

    Luis Castillo – Career 92 OPS+
    Orlando Hudson – Career 99 OPS+
    Brian Roberts – Career 104 OPS+
    Roberto Alomar – Career 116 OPS+
    Chase Utley – Career 129 OPS+

    Now I view those first four players as the legitimate range of offensive contribution that Mariner fans can expect from Ackley. All four of those guys have been All Stars and have hit at the top of lineups for part, most or all of their careers. In all honesty I would be disappointed if Ackley hit like Castillo but a range has to have a worst case scenario. My guess is that Ackley hits better than Hudson and close to even with Roberts. During Roberts best seasons he posted an OPS+ of 139 and 118 which I would guess would be close to what Ackley does in his best seasons. Now maybe everything clicks and Ackley hits like Alomar. That would be thrilling and welcomed. But to suggest that it is reasonable to think that Ackley could hit like Chase Utley is not an expectation based in reality.

    In baseball history you have Rogers Hornsby, a man alone atop the mountain of MLB 2B. Then there is basicly Joe Morgan, Jackie Robinson and Chase Utley as the greatest hitting 2B of all time. So suggesting that Ackley becomes that type of hitter, or any Mariner fan that truly believes Ackley becomes that type of hitter, would be similar to me suggesting that Smoak has a reasonable chance of hitting like Jimmie Foxx or Mark McGwire.

    There is a chance, however infinitesimal, that a black hole could appear in my back yard. That of course does not make it likely and certainly does not put it within a range of reasonable outcomes. On the other hand, saying that Smoak could hit within a range of 116-145 OPS+ is quite reasonable. That is the range inside which good first baseman are expected to hit. I’m not out there claiming Smoak is going to hit like Mcgwire or Foxx. I’m saying that a 145 OPS+ is reasonable to expect as a best possible outcome for Justin Smoak. If I had to guess as to what Smoak’s OPS+ will be for his career I would guess somewhere between 125-130. But having watched him now, and in the current hitting environment, I would be leaning toward the 130 end of that projection.

    Yet I’m “not good enough” to predict or suggest reasonable outcomes for the careers of Smoak or Ackley. And Smoak is clearly “significantly” poor enough of a hitter that suggesting he becomes a very good hitting 1B is unlikely according to you. Especially if the suggestion comes from someone like me who is clearly “not good enough” to make those types of projections. And I’m supposed to sit back and read and listen to a group of Mariners fans and the Mariners blogosphere that tells me Ackley should be untouchable because according to what they say and write it is reasonable to expect Ackley to become one of the half dozen greatest hitting second baseman of all time. Please!

    I’m starting to think it is the irrational Ackley supporters who are “not good enough”, to make judgements about anything concerning major league baseball or the Seattle Mariners. The way many talk and write about the kid tells me that logic and reason, concerning him, walked out the door awhile ago.

  74. Duncan Idaho on November 25th, 2010 3:39 pm

    Add Rod Carew to the greatest hitting second baseman of all time list.

    It’s funny because great hitting 2B like Cano and Alomar just don’t compare to Utley, Carew, Robinson, and Morgan. Yet the two names I’ve heard thrown around the most as Ackley comps are Carew and Utley.

    Delusional I think.

  75. msfanmike on November 25th, 2010 9:38 pm

    Add Rod Carew to the greatest hitting second baseman of all time list.

    Yes I do suppose that would be a good addition for you to make. Ryne Sandberg would be a nice addition to your non-inclusive list too.

    If Ackley has a career that is similar to Brian Roberts, we will all be whistling zippity doo dah.

    Alomar doesn’t compare? HOF 2011. Bank on it. You might also want to double check Cano’s stats -with a few core prime years remaining.

  76. J-Dog on November 26th, 2010 1:49 am

    Not a 2B, but Wade Boggs had a career 130 OPS+, which is slightly better than Chase Utley’s career OPS+. Boggs hit more than 10 home runs in exactly two seasons (24 HR in 1987 and 11 HR in 1994).

    John Olerud had a career 128 OPS+. Olerud hit more than 10 HRs in most of his seasons, but only hit more than 20 HRs in 5 seasons (out of 16).

    Rod Carew had a career 131 OPS and hit more than 10 HRs twice in his career.

    There is more than one way for a hitter to add value. So called power isn’t the only way to add power.

  77. Duncan Idaho on November 26th, 2010 4:28 am

    Completely spaced Ryno Sandberg. Can’t believe it either because he was once my absolute favorite player. And I didn’t compare Cano with Ackley because Cano is not a hitter that takes walks.

    Interesting comps J-Dog, but as I pointed out above I’m not comfortable projecting anyone to have a talent range that gives them a possibility of being a sure fire first ballot HOF before they ever play an MLB game. I stand by my prediction that we can expect Ackley to hit in a range somewhere between Orlando Hudson and Roberto Alomar. Of course if I knew for certain that Ackley would hit like Boggs, Olerud, Carew, Utley, Morgan or Robinson I would say that made him untouchable. As many others have already said. But I’m just not comfortable predicting that level of performance for someone who is not a ‘power hitter’ (for lack of a better term) like Upton or Smoak.

    My qualm with the analysis between Ackley and Smoak is that some doubt Smoak’s ability to be a B or B+ player (well above average to very good). While they are basicaly willing to predict that Ackley will turn into an A to A+ player (someone who is basicly assured of someday becoming a HOF member). I just don’t understand the logic behind predictions like that.

  78. J-Dog on November 26th, 2010 9:56 am

    My qualm with the analysis between Ackley and Smoak is that some doubt Smoak’s ability to be a B or B+ player (well above average to very good). While they are basicaly willing to predict that Ackley will turn into an A to A+ player (someone who is basicly assured of someday becoming a HOF member). I just don’t understand the logic behind predictions like that.

    I agree with this statement. It is difficult to project a significant difference in future value between these two players at this stage in their careers.

  79. eponymous coward on November 29th, 2010 11:51 am

    I’m still not seeing an argument for Smoak being a superior hitter at 1B, other than “I think so”.

    Well, that’s great. However, shouldn’t he be a superior hitter already, given that he’s OLDER than Justin Upton? As it stands he’s not even a good hitter for 1B yet coming into his age 24 season… but you want to throw him in a comp group with Eddie Murray (lifetime OPS+, 130)- who was already a great hitter by age 23.

    But since you insist… Smoak’s closer to Adam LaRoche’s career minor league OPS (.810) than Tex’s (.995). So why is Tex the better comp? Just because he’s a switch-hitter? (FWIW, since you seem to be pushing for this: I think Smoak is closer to the LaRoche/Tino Martinez side of hitters than the Texeira/Murray side, though I’d say he’s got more growth room than Adam LaRoche, so more like a ++.)

    My qualm with the analysis between Ackley and Smoak is that some doubt Smoak’s ability to be a B or B+ player (well above average to very good). While they are basicaly willing to predict that Ackley will turn into an A to A+ player (someone who is basicly assured of someday becoming a HOF member). I just don’t understand the logic behind predictions like that.

    But that’s not my argument. My argument is that I’d probably evaluate Ackley and Smoak as B/B+ prospects. Quoting myself:

    I would say “probably a bit too soon to tell”

    Maybe Ackley’s better (he adjusted a bit faster at AAA). Maybe Smoak’s better (he’s probably going to be the better hitter overall, the way Ackley could be ahead in that case is via position adjustment). But there’s no conclusive evidence putting Smoak way ahead of Ackley.

    If we had to put one of the two on the line (which I am not crazy about- as I said, that home/road split for Upton scares me), I would trade Smoak in 2011 instead of Ackley, as I think it would be a bit easier to find a veteran 1B as a patch than a veteran infielder, if you assume both players are roughly even (but if Ackley gets the deal done, not Smoak… well, I guess it would depend on how badly you want Upton)… but I just don’t think we know enough to say Smoak >>> Ackley as a prospect.

  80. joser on November 29th, 2010 5:52 pm

    I know I’m way late to this discussion, and maybe somebody already covered this (I only skimmed, sorry), but

    When was the last time you saw an agency correct a rumor like this? It just doesn’t happen, and there’s no way this was the first piece of incorrect information that has ever been floated about one of their clients. However, they felt that it was important this time to correct the public record. We can only speculate as to why…

    Maybe I’m just a cynical SOB, but here’s my speculation: his agents want to generate as much interest in their client as possible — even if that means creating fictional interest by leaking stuff to the press and the wider internet. It’s not like this is the mechanism they would use to tell Zduriencik that the M’s aren’t on Upton’s no-trade list: they have his number and they can just pick up the phone (I haven’t checked what other players they represent, but it’s likely they talk to Z multiple times in the offseason for other reasons anyway, so an “oh by the way” would be easy).

    No, the only reason to go public like this is to (a) drum up some interest in the fanbase, and (b) efficiently let all the other GMs know that the Seattle FO might be a factor in the bidding for Upton’s services. The latter point is the big one; even if Jack publicly says the M’s aren’t interested at the prices Arizona has been demanding, just the fact that the M’s are (supposedly) back on the radar might be enough to stir the pot a bit amongst the other GMs given the record of unlikely trades Z has already amassed. It’s not like this will drive up the bidding the way, say, rumors of Yankees’ involvement might; but given that they almost certainly aren’t involved Upton’s agents have to spread whatever thin gruel they have.

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