Left Field Options

Dave · June 19, 2011 at 8:47 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

After taking two out of three from the Phillies, and thanks to the Rangers continuing mediocrity, the Mariners now find themselves just a half game out of first place on June 19th. They still aren’t a great team, but with the league-wide parity seen across baseball this year, the AL West might not require them to be a great team to sneak in and steal a playoff spot. Jack Zduriencik shouldn’t be looking to sell the farm in order to try and win this year, but the front office should absolutely be trying to upgrade the current Major League roster.

After the promotion of Dustin Ackley on Friday, there remains two glaring (and interconnected) holes on the team – left field and designated hitter. The M’s are currently using Carlos Peguero, Mike Carp, Jack Cust, and Greg Halman to cover those two spots, and even with defensive substitutions and platooning, it’s almost impossible to get decent production out of one spot from those four, much less two positions. No team trying to win games in 2011 should be throwing away at-bats by running out two guys from that group on a daily basis.

Additionally, having Peguero, Cust, and Carp all on the roster gives the team three left-handed platoon DH types, so there’s an overlap of skills that isn’t helpful and wastes a roster spot. You could make a case for platooning at both LF and DH, but you can’t do it with all three of these guys on the roster. At least one of them needs to go away, preferably sooner than later.

But, releasing Jack Cust or optioning Carlos Peguero to Tacoma won’t solve the team’s problems. The root of the issue lies in the fact that the team needs a quality hitter who can handle left field, both now and for the future. I think we can pretty safely write off Michael Saunders as any kind of real left fielder of the future, and Carlos Peguero is no more worthy of that tag than Saunders is. Neither of these guys should be in the long term plans for the M’s unless they make massive substantial changes to their approach. Greg Halman has the talent to potentially turn into an option at some point, though he’s not ready for regular playing time in the big leagues, and also isn’t someone the organization needs to be going out of their way to create a spot for.

Cust and Carp are both stopgap-DH types, and while you can justify using one of the two as the LH half of a DH platoon, I would argue that the team probably shouldn’t keep both. Given that Carp is younger and cheaper, he probably should win the coin flip, and if the team can acquire a decent LF/DH bat, Cust’s roster spot is certainly expendable.

So, let’s say that of the current group, you can make a case that the team should probably keep Carp and Halman around. That gives you the right-handed half of a left-field platoon (and a backup CF, which is still necessary) and the left-handed half of a DH platoon. If the team ditches both Peguero and Cust, they’d have the roster spots to aim for a left-handed hitting LF and a right-handed hitting DH. Or, if it turned out to be the best option, they could get a right-handed hitting left fielder who just moved to DH against lefties (assuming he’s a worse fielder than Halman, anyway), and it would have the same overall affect.

However, we’re still not advising a mortgage-the-future-for-the-present type of move, so the shopping list would hopefully be focused on someone who could conceivably provide value beyond the 2011 season and didn’t require sacrificing massive parts of the farm system to acquire. The M’s should be looking to upgrade left field (and potentially DH) for not just this year, but the future as well. Using that criteria, here are a few guys that I’d recommend the Mariners take a look at.

Ryan Ludwick, LF, San Diego

Ludwick turns 33 next month and he’s a free agent at the end of the year – at first glance, he doesn’t exactly scream “future value”. However, while Ludwick might not be a guy that could hold down left field for the next five years, he could be a solid option for the next few seasons. With a $7 million salary in 2011 and a pedestrian looking .255/.323/.400 line, however, Ludwick won’t cost an arm and a leg to acquire and he could be a good value re-sign before he hits free agency.

Ludwick’s value comes from areas that generally aren’t properly valued by the market – hitting decently in a ridiculously tough environment and playing solid defense in a corner spot. Ludwick is essentially a league average hitter (wRC+ the last three years of 105, 107, and 107) who has consistently rated above average in right and left field and played good enough defense to be considered an option in center field from time to time. The trade to San Diego last summer has hurt his raw offensive numbers and his advancing age will probably keep him from landing a big contract this winter, but Ludwick is still a productive player.

If the Mariners could acquire him without surrendering a key part of their future, they could get a significant upgrade in left field (and a much needed quality right-handed bat) who could potentially be re-signed at a reasonable cost at the end of the season. If he didn’t adjust well to the AL or the team decided to stay with the youth movement going forward, they wouldn’t have any long term obligations – he’s a potential option for the future, but not one they’d necessarily be locked into.

The Padres already did well for themselves by taking a chance on Cameron Maybin, and they’ve made it clear that they want to get more athletic in the outfield, so a guy like Saunders could have some appeal to San Diego. I’m not sure I’d swap Saunders for Ludwick in a one for one deal, but it’s the kind of base to a trade that could make sense for both teams.

Luke Scott, LF/DH, Baltimore

Another older option, we’ve talked a lot about Scott over the past few years, but the Orioles have likely reached a point where he’ll actually be available this summer. He turns 33 this week, is playing through a torn labrum in his shoulder that has hindered his productivity, and is standing in the way of increased playing time for Nolan Reimold. He’s also going to be arbitration eligible for the final time this winter, and you have to imagine the Orioles might not be in the mood to give him another raise from his current $6 million salary this winter.

His value has certainly decreased over the last year, so the cost to acquire should be fairly low, especially given that he’s damaged goods. However, even at his reduced performance level, he’d still be a substantial upgrade over what the M’s are getting from left field right now, and his previous performances offer hope that he could be even better than he has been the first few months of 2011. A strong finish to the season might give the M’s enough incentive to offer him arbitration and keep him around for 2012 as well, but like with Ludwick, there’d be no long term commitment if it didn’t work. He’d be a short term upgrade with the possibility of future value, but without getting locked into a multi-year commitment to a guy on the downside of his career.

Chris Coghlan, OF, Florida

I’m speculating on Coghlan’s availability, but given that the Marlins just shipped him to Triple-A this week placed him on the DL after he told them his knee hurt when they said he was going to the minors, it’s safe to say that his value has taken a hit in Florida. The Marlins are in an epic tailspin (their manager resigned today after 18 losses in 21 games), and Coghlan’s struggles are one of the reasons the team has failed to win games as of late – he was hitting just .230/.296/.368 when he was optioned out.

That said, this is still a 26-year-old with a career .283/.350/.414 line in just over 1,200 plate appearances, and the sole reason for his drop in production this year is a .263 BABIP that is 100 points below what his mark was two years ago when he won Rookie of the Year. There’s no reason to believe that his current level of production represents a real shift in his abilities, and while he’s more of a solid player than any kind of star, his contact skills and gap power would play well in Safeco. He’s also improved defensively in the outfield, but perhaps more interestingly, he played a decent amount of third base in the minors – Coghlan could potentially be a guy who could slide back to third base where his bat would profile better down the road.

That’s probably not a transition the team would want to make in season, but if they could get Coghlan back on track offensively in left field to finish 2011, they could potentially convert him back to third base over the winter and have a new third baseman for 2012. At the very least, he presents some options, and he won’t even be arbitration eligible until after next season. Because of his low cost and previous success, he’d probably be the most expensive player to acquire, but it’s possible that the M’s could put together a package that would convince the Marlins to move him.

Dexter Fowler, CF/LF, Colorado

Continuing with the different mold than the first two, Fowler is probably not a guy that Eric Wedge would love, but he’s an interesting long term bet who would also offer a present upgrade over what the M’s are running out there right now. He was the Rockies center fielder of the future a few years ago, but up-and-down performances have him on the outs in Denver – he was placed on the DL with an ab strain on June 6th, and Charlie Blackmon has done well in a short stint as his replacement, leaving an open question about whether Fowler will have a job for him once he’s ready to be activated in the next few days.

Fowler is a switch-hitter who draws walks, runs well, has gap power, and would likely have some of the best range of any left fielder in baseball if the M’s put him next to Franklin Gutierrez. However, he also strikes out a lot and isn’t a thumper, and this isn’t the kind of skillset that Eric Wedge has shown much affinity for this year. As a guy with 10 career home runs despite playing half his games in Coors, the M’s would be adding another guy to the line-up who isn’t a long ball threat, and that may not be the direction the team wants to head in given the current roster.

That said, Fowler could be a really nice buy-low option for the team. His skillset is perfectly suited for Safeco, and lining him up with Gutierrez and Ichiro could give the team an elite defensive outfield once again. The team could even platoon him with Halman (he’s traditionally hit RHPs far better than LHPs) to get some extra thump in there against southpaws, and Fowler would provide some long term center field flexibility if Gutierrez’s health problems continue to affect his ability to hit.

At 25, Fowler is the youngest and cheapest option by far, but he’s also the one likely to provide the smallest upgrade in 2011. He’d be the kind of guy the team should be targeting if they were out of the race and committing to a youth movement. Given their current place in the standings, I’ll understand if the M’s decide to go another direction, though I still think he’s an interesting talent who could fit in well in Seattle.

Comments

100 Responses to “Left Field Options”

  1. sportsnw on June 19th, 2011 9:14 pm

    I personally like the Dexter Fowler idea, however I really think a guy from the AL, like Scott, might be a better idea simply because we have seen players try and move from the NL to the AL and not had a lot of success.

  2. G on June 19th, 2011 9:14 pm

    Lets give Mike Sweeney a call… j/k.

  3. hoiland on June 19th, 2011 9:16 pm

    I would love to get Coghlan for the right price. Florida is in shambles, now is the time to pull the trigger Z…we might be able to steal him.

    Jack Cust is the guy to go. Wedge won’t play him and he is 0-11 in his last few plate appearences, I think.

  4. Dave on June 19th, 2011 9:17 pm

    That’s on fire compared to Peguero, who is 2 for his last 21, with one of those “hits” coming off a weak ground ball that hit second base.

    If you can only get rid of one, Peguero is the worst player on the roster, and should be the easy call.

  5. rth1986 on June 19th, 2011 9:20 pm

    Coghlan is an interesting option. I’d also be interested in Ian Stewart. We could slide him in at 3B and platoon Kennedy in LF with Halman.

    Also, how about Angel Pagan? He’s a Randy Winn type: extremely flexible, switch-hitter, can play the entire outfield, speedy, league-average bat…He’s also under team control for another year. I’m sure he wouldn’t be extremely difficult to pry away from the Mets.

  6. CYK on June 19th, 2011 9:23 pm

    we need to acknowledge that Luke Scott bats lefty.

  7. lailaihei on June 19th, 2011 9:29 pm

    I like all your picks except Ludwick. I think a Halman/Carp platoon (or just playing Halman against everyone) would put up the same type of expected WAR as Ludwick.
    Fowler and Coghlan are really interesting, though, as guys who could potentially put up 2-2.5 win seasons regularly.

  8. qwerty on June 19th, 2011 9:31 pm

    Coghlan or Betemit please.

  9. The Ancient Mariner on June 19th, 2011 9:35 pm

    I hadn’t thought about Coghlan maybe being available, but I’d love to see that happen.

  10. rth1986 on June 19th, 2011 9:36 pm

    Not crazy about Ludwick either. Yes, he’s a league-average bat and league-average fielder, but I’d only trade for him if the cost was very low and there were absolutely no other options.

    I don’t see too much of a difference between Luke Scott and Mike Carp at this point, aside from experience. They are both below-average fielders with decent power and patience. I suppose we could replace Peguero with Scott, but whether he’d be an upgrade over Cust is questionable.

    I’d rather go for some more upside or versatility like Coghlan, Pagan, Fowler or Stewart (at 3B).

  11. Nicbp253 on June 19th, 2011 9:40 pm

    PAgan would be awesome!!! So you want to trade for a young player like Fowler, Coghlan instead of letting Halman play. He has power, speed and looks good at the plate.

  12. mearls on June 19th, 2011 9:42 pm

    I actually like Ludwick because I’d be shocked if the Padres expect anything more than a thank you note for him.

    Average is a big upgrade over what we have now, and if we can get him for little or nothing and re-sign him at a reasonable rate that allows the front office to focus elsewhere. When it comes time to make a real investment, 3B stands out as the spot where the M’s will have to pony up some real resources.

  13. lalo on June 19th, 2011 9:43 pm

    I´d love to get both, Scott and Ludwick, Scott could be the fulltime DH, and Ludwick the fulltime LF, Peguero can go to Tacoma, and Cust could be DFA, the lineup would be preety decent, but i don´t know the payroll implications

    Ichi
    Ryan
    Scott (DH)
    Smoak
    Ludwick (LF)
    Ackley
    Olivo
    Guti/Halman
    Figgy/Kennedy

  14. hoiland on June 19th, 2011 10:15 pm

    That’s on fire compared to Peguero, who is 2 for his last 21, with one of those “hits” coming off a weak ground ball that hit second base.

    If you can only get rid of one, Peguero is the worst player on the roster, and should be the easy call.

    Dave, I would rather have Peguero go back down to AAA and develop his eye for the baseball. However, I am just coming to terms with the fact that Wedge does not want Cust.

    At this point, until the front office makes a move and gets someone for LF/DH, I would like to see Halman out there as often as possible. He is the best defender out of the bunch and his bat isn’t completely awful. Platoon Carp/Peguero at DH (since Cust will never get playing time) and put Carp in LF when Halman needs to cover CF for Guti.

    Oh, and move Ackley up to 2nd please.

  15. groundzero55 on June 19th, 2011 10:22 pm

    I like Scott but I’d rather have a guy that can go the other way if needed. Teams just employ a shift for Scott and it works pretty well.

    Ludwick I like. The guy has 9 homers and 44 RBI at Petco with basically no protection in the lineup.

  16. timbmyers on June 19th, 2011 10:26 pm

    What about Alex Gordon from KC? He is sustaining his offense and the defense in LF hasn’t been bad. He would be an upgrade for sure.

  17. groundzero55 on June 19th, 2011 10:28 pm

    I think they are keeping Gordon. He is one of the pieces in their getting younger plan.

  18. diderot on June 19th, 2011 10:29 pm

    Assuming the price is right, my votes would be:

    Ludwick: absolutely, do it now.

    Scott: absolutely not; I’m not convinced he would outperform Carp over the rest of the year, and I can’t see his strong birther beliefs playing well in the clubhouse.

    Coghlan: Last year he could only convert his 336 BABIP into a 96 wRC. I just don’t see him as a clear upgrade over Halman.

    Fowler: I want to believe; but there’s a reason the Rockies sent him down. I agree that his K rate would drive Wedge nuts. On the other hand, I would love to get him into the system if the Rockies have truly soured.

    So, my first choice for left would be Ludwick, with the Halman/Carp platoon as the alternative. Peguero needs to go down, because I wouldn’t give up on Cust yet.

    And can we possibly have Olivo catch every game?

  19. Nicbp253 on June 19th, 2011 10:31 pm

    Yeah Ludwick would be nice. Alex Gordon thats a bit of a reach.

  20. Chris_From_Bothell on June 19th, 2011 10:35 pm

    If the offense from all these suggested fellows is sort of a wash, then sounds like Ludwick or Fowler are good, cheap options. Consistently good outfield defense will only get more important as the Ms start running into innings limits and/or fatigue with some of the pitching that got them here. Kind of unfortunate that Halman can’t get the long everyday look that Saunders got earlier this season….

    I suppose the premise here is also that payroll is what it is, and that no one of significance should be moved this season in order to be the traditional “buyer at the trade deadline”. I.e., if the Ms win the west, it will be with pretty much the exact 25-man they have now, minus possibly Cust.

  21. groundzero55 on June 19th, 2011 10:37 pm

    I suppose the premise here is also that payroll is what it is, and that no one of significance should be moved this season in order to be the traditional “buyer at the trade deadline”. I.e., if the Ms win the west, it will be with pretty much the exact 25-man they have now, minus possibly Cust.

    Basically yes…anything they give up in trade would likely be from the minors, unless they include Halman or Peguero which is a possibility.

  22. rth1986 on June 19th, 2011 10:40 pm

    What about Alex Gordon from KC? He is sustaining his offense and the defense in LF hasn’t been bad. He would be an upgrade for sure.

    Last year, Alex Gordon might have been an option. This year, KC finally has let him play and I doubt they’d want to move him now…Maybe Kila would be an option, but is he better than Carp?

  23. Chris_From_Bothell on June 19th, 2011 10:40 pm

    Bah. Just noticed the bit in the opening paragraph about no farm mortgaging, couldn’t edit my comment in time to reflect that.

  24. groundzero55 on June 19th, 2011 10:46 pm

    I think there are plenty of options that I wouldn’t call “mortgaging the farm” a la Bavasi. Z isn’t going to give away top talent for a guy who is only usable for a couple years. We have plenty of guys in AA/AAA who other teams may take a flier on, that realistically have no chance of making the big club here.

  25. DarkKnight1680 on June 19th, 2011 10:51 pm

    Would rather stick with Halman over Fowler. His discipline has looked better this season over an admittedly small sample, and he could have a future. Would like to let him develop and he plays a nice LF. SO if they just search for a DH, they dont have to worry about defense or anything. How about Michael Morse? Haha.

  26. Mike Snow on June 19th, 2011 10:53 pm

    I can’t see his strong birther beliefs playing well in the clubhouse.

    Nobody in the clubhouse is going to make a fuss about Scott being a birther. The media and the fanbase are another question, but even if clubhouse chemistry is real and does matter, that is not the issue that would lead to chemistry problems with Scott.

  27. dweazy206 on June 19th, 2011 11:01 pm

    One name: Carlos Beltran. I don’t know how serious the Mets are about competing this year – currently hovering around .500, but in the competitive NL East, and Mets ownership is hurting for cash. Beltran is still productive, and is a FA at the end of the season. For the right amount of $$ I’d imagine the Mets might be willing to listen, though I’d also imagine the Mariners wouldn’t be the only team standing in line

  28. diderot on June 19th, 2011 11:05 pm

    Nobody in the clubhouse is going to make a fuss about Scott being a birther.

    Well, I guess you’d have to say that neither one of us could prove the contention one way or another…but on the other hand, if someone in the media decided to make an issue of this and questioned Scott and his teammates about it, I think there would be a high probability this could become something that the team wouldn’t want to deal with.

  29. MrZDevotee on June 19th, 2011 11:07 pm

    Chris Coghlan is a seriously interesting idea– and the type of guy Z seems to like taking chances on (one time super prospect, that has played himself out of the spotlight)… The sort of “buy low” guy that is an upgrade even if he doesn’t bounce back (pretty much literally an “upgrade” in that he sort of represents the same unproven talent we’re shuffling around out there, but with a higher baseline to his talent level).

    Do you really think he might be available, Dave? And I know nothing about the Marlins, do we have anything of real interest to them? (I still wish we had left Carp in Tacoma, lighting it up, so as to maximize his trade value– the “unknown” can be a lot more intoxicating than the “known” when it comes to AAA guys putting up big numbers, who then put up smaller numbers in the Majors).

    ***Too bad Endy Chavez is a Ranger, ’cause there’s no way in hell they’d trade him to us, but he’d be a nice buy low option as Texas gets healthy again, providing modestly plus talent if his comeback course continues– I almost wish we had “Bedard-ed” him and kept him around rehabbing him for small $$$’s… Of course, he’s left handed, but still, could have been a stable piece of the puzzle moving forward, and Halman could sub for him and Guty as they both get back to 100%***

  30. Jack Howland on June 20th, 2011 12:12 am

    What about Jason Kubel or Fukudome?

  31. saintnumberfive on June 20th, 2011 12:16 am

    Bring back Raul Ibanez! Yeah right..

    On the serious side, I like Fowler. I honestly would hate for the M’s to give up the farm for a good, but past his prime outfielder like Beltran. Or for that matter, I don’t want Seattle to sign really anyone who’s going to command 15-20 mill a year, no matter how talented they are, ala Prince Fielder or Jose Reyes. First off, we don’t have room for either of those guys. Second, we don’t need a 120+ mill a year payroll to compete.

    I think getting caught up in the free agent signing frenzy like New York, Boston, Anaheim, and Chicago (Cubs) is bad. I trust Jack’s savvy for finding value. Most all the big moves he’s made have panned out for the better, aside from Figgins, which was still a great move in retrospect. It’s not his fault that Chone has inexplicably failed miserably. Even the Brandon League trade I didn’t like at first, but seeing as how well he’s doing as our closer, and how much Morrow is struggling in Toronto, that’s got to be a win for us.

    Mr. Z: You’ll kick ass yet again. Oh, and Howard and Chuck- Please give Jack an extension. Now.

  32. Refuse2Lose on June 20th, 2011 12:24 am

    I really agree with the Ludwick idea, he is a career .265/.335/.468 hitter who really played well in STL before going to SD, he was hitting .281 in 2010 and .265 the year before that (in a full year with the cards) but he also bashed 22 long balls. And as Dave mentioned, he has 9 home runs which would put him 3rd in home runs and with 45 RBIs he’s ahead of Smoak.
    I’m not trying to use stats like RBIs and HRs to say hes a good player and the savior to our team, BUT i think he is the best option we have in making a trade and getting something of value out of LF for the rest of year instead of messing around with this Peguero rodeo show and Cust DH walks, which I won’t get into at this point.
    I think Halman deserves a legit shot at being our 4th outfielder on a constant basis, which means playing for Guti one game out of every 3 at this point, as well as playing in LF when Ludwick is at DH against a lefty. I also say that if we trade for Ludwick we are saying bye to both Cust and Peguero because they are virtually unneeded at that point.

    To lay it out, you get Kennedy most of the time at 3rd (screw you Figgins) and you have him spell Ackley every once and awhile, and play some DH.
    Halman gets time in LF when Ludwick DHs, CF for Guti’s days off, and maybe RF for Ichiro every 2 and half years or so.
    Carp gets the majority of at bats at DH so we can really see what we’ve got in him or if hes really a AAAA player for life.

    This gives us a versatile bench with no players who can only play one position, or two if you count Peguero “playing” DH, and we have a legit shot at contending in the NFC, I mean AL west without compromising our future.

  33. groundzero55 on June 20th, 2011 12:42 am

    I have to say, I agree with your idea for the most part. However…

    I think we still need another bat. As much as I like Smoak, and Ludwick would be a nice addition, I’m not going to count on Olivo to be a consistent power threat, and Ackley may hit some out but he’s not really a power type hitter either. I’m not at all sure that having a lineup with two home run threats and the rest slap hitters is enough offense. Ludwick is generally a 20-25ish homer guy which really isn’t slugger territory. Smoak is the only guy I see even approaching 30.

    Or, everyone can just step up, if Guti makes a rebound to his 15ish home runs and Carp shows some power, then yea we would probably be ok.

  34. CarpCarter on June 20th, 2011 12:56 am

    We can always ask the Nationals if we can do givesies backsies on the Mike Morse/Ryan Langerhans screwup.

  35. just a fan on June 20th, 2011 12:58 am

    Well, I guess you’d have to say that neither one of us could prove the contention one way or another…but on the other hand, if someone in the media decided to make an issue of this and questioned Scott and his teammates about it, I think there would be a high probability this could become something that the team wouldn’t want to deal with.

    It would be made into one article in the Times, and otherwise be a footnote unless somebody goes on one of his personal crusades. Probably a lot of ballplayers have beliefs that some consider “interesting”, just not publicly. If Scott plays hard, the clubhouse won’t care. These are 20-something ballplayers, half are foreigners. They are baseball players, man. They would love Scott’s gun collection! It’s Awesome!

    Anyhoo…

    If Scott is old, hurt and left-handed, why would we want the one-man militia at the price the O’s would demand?

    Ludwick is a right-handed bat with numbers suppressed by Petco. He’s a free agent after the year with San Diego’s budget. He seems likely the best value, unless you’re high on Fowler. Coghlan won’t be cheap.

  36. Westside guy on June 20th, 2011 1:09 am

    I don’t think we need another thumper, personally – although I certainly wouldn’t complain if we got one. But what we do need is somebody that can get on base for a minimum league-average pace. All of these guys with OBPs of .270 and below are killing us, given that we don’t have a Jose Bautista to carry this team by himself.

    I’m going to exempt Guti from the complaint simply because I believe he’s playing sick. So per what Dave said, we either need to keep Halman around or we need a good fielding guy like Ludwick – Guti can’t play 7 days a week now, and I worry it may get worse as the season goes on.

    Halman, though – he’s a great guy, but there’s no way his current performance is remotely sustainable. If we’re going for the pennant, he’s probably not the best choice… unless they’re dead set against bringing someone in from elsewhere.

    I’ve been a Saunders supporter, but I have a hard time anyone would give us much of anything for him right now. His AAA numbers are good, but his awful MLB numbers are just too fresh. If San Diego doesn’t value Ludwick for his skill set, they’re probably not going to want Saunders – a worse hitter with the same skill set.

    Oh, and some of you seem to be sweating Peguero “going away”. Despite the terminology, he wouldn’t be leaving the organization… just sent back down to Tacoma.

  37. KiWiNiNjA on June 20th, 2011 1:25 am

    I don’t think we need another thumper, personally – although I certainly wouldn’t complain if we got one. But what we do need is somebody that can get on base for a minimum league-average pace.

    Maybe we can make a deal with Oakland for Jack Cust?

  38. Refuse2Lose on June 20th, 2011 1:51 am

    Correction: Peguero back to Tacoma to figure out what the difference between a curveball and fastball looks like.

  39. vj on June 20th, 2011 2:21 am

    As right-handed batter of a DH-platoon, I would like to reiterate my suggestion to use Olivo. Lifetime OPS vs LHP is a tick above .800 and he can’t catch every game. Putting him at DH vs. LHP would be a good way to use his bat while he gets a break from catching. And Giminez bats right.

  40. matthew on June 20th, 2011 2:35 am

    No thank you on Luke Scott.

  41. bookbook on June 20th, 2011 4:31 am

    Thanks for this article.

    I’d like to hope that we don’t acquire Scott, at this point. He’s starting to feel like Carl Crawford II (wrath of the dinosaur).

    While I’ll concede that most major league ballplayers make Michelle Bachman look like a liberal, I didn’t personally enjoy rooting for Crawford or Martin, and wouldn’t like to root for Scott.

    Ludwick would be nice. I don’t know what we might trade to get any of the younger guys, given our minors…

  42. vj on June 20th, 2011 5:25 am

    bookbook: I think you are refering to Carl Everett, not Crawford.

  43. edclayton on June 20th, 2011 5:28 am

    He’s starting to feel like Carl Crawford II (wrath of the dinosaur).

    I think you mean Carl Everett.

  44. BillH on June 20th, 2011 5:56 am

    I would have said yes to Luke Scott 2 years ago. Now he just plain cannot hit left-handed pitching. I live in DC so I watch a lot of Orioles games and he has just looked awful.

  45. Daron Andrew on June 20th, 2011 6:43 am

    Ludwick would be my preference.

    Coghlan would be great, but even though the Marlins may be prepared to listen to offers, I feel like they may want more than I would be willing to give up. But thats just my gut feeling…could be wrong.

    I think I would throw up if they brought in Luke Scott

    I agree about sending Peguero down & keeping Carp and Halman with the club (though I don’t have a fiery hatred for Peggy like Dave seems to have). Again – he’s helped the team win a couple games this past month.

  46. wilchiro on June 20th, 2011 7:31 am

    Luke Scott definitely makes the most sense here. He is a lefty that slots in well to Safeco’s ballpark dimensions and can even play first. Ludwick screams Eric Byrnes and I wonder if the other two are even upgrades.

  47. Ichirolling51 on June 20th, 2011 7:40 am

    Dave, do you think that Ackley has the chance to have a Buster Posey type impact on the M’s this year? This team is strikingly simular to the Giants team of last season imo.

  48. Ichirolling51 on June 20th, 2011 7:47 am

    Also, a player that that wouldn’t cost that much is Wilson Betemit. He is a switch hitter that can play 3B, 2B, 1B and LF, and can also DH. Any chance the M’s go after him? I think he’d be a perfect fit.

  49. ivan on June 20th, 2011 8:20 am

    I have always liked Ludwick, and I wished Seattle could have gotten him 7-8 years ago when he was in the Texas organization. He’d be a good addition. I like Fowler even better, though. Lots more versatility there. I wonder what the price is.

    I’m for keeping Halman as a 4th OF. He is NOT the same player I watched at Tacoma last season. He is keeping his weight more on his back foot and not lunching at pitches like he did, and it appears — I could be mistaken here — that he has shortened his swing somewhat. That is exactly what he needed to do.

  50. djw on June 20th, 2011 8:29 am

    (I still wish we had left Carp in Tacoma, lighting it up, so as to maximize his trade value– the “unknown” can be a lot more intoxicating than the “known” when it comes to AAA guys putting up big numbers, who then put up smaller numbers in the Majors).

    This is an odd and not particularly convincing theory, for two reasons:

    1) It’s not exactly some crazy unknown theory that minor league numbers, especially those that don’t reflect a change in approach, are seriously discounted the more times you repeat the level. I seem to recall Rob Johnson putting up impressive AAA numbers his third time around the block, too. The more times you repeat the league, the less impressive the numbers are, and it’s not like other teams’ front offices aren’t aware of this. The league has surely not failed to notice the change in hitting environment in the Pacific league and Tacoma in particular this year.

    2) More importantly, perhaps, the message sent by keeping him down is “yes, he’s tearing it up, but despite our unlikely contention, youth movement, and two gaping holes at positions he could fill in for, we don’t think he could help us.” Doesn’t this sound like a bit of a red flag to you?

    Neither of us can know for sure whether he has trade value, and certainly stranger things have happened. When speculating about trade value as an outsider, I think it probably makes the most sense to be conventional and a bit conservative, and under that approach I can’t imagine he has any trade value as a But I’d be curious to hear of a case where a player who profiled like Carp (2011 version) commanded real value in a trade. I can’t recall anything off the top of my head.

  51. ripperlv on June 20th, 2011 8:32 am

    Certainly not much of a WOW factor here. I’m not convinced any of those guys can produce at SAFECO. I’d just as soon keep what we got until we can come up with a genuine improvement, whatever that may be.

  52. stevie_j13 on June 20th, 2011 8:38 am

    I wonder how much it would take to get Andre Ethier out of Los Angeles. He hates it there, the Dodgers have been disappointed with his lack of power this season (even though he has a slash line of .313/.390/.452) and he makes a lot of money for a team out of contention that is struggling to make payroll. I am not suggesting that we could get him for Saunders, but Paxton or Walker + Carp and another midlevel prospect (Liddi?) might do it. Plus, he is under team control for one more year.

  53. RRR on June 20th, 2011 8:54 am

    Dave- These are my favorite articles you do. Well done!

    I will point out I am deathly afraid of Luke Scott for non-baseball reasons. I’m not sure if I want an open nutcase running around leaving bananas in the latin players’ lockers.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/otl/news/story?id=6395744

  54. BLYKMYK44 on June 20th, 2011 9:05 am

    Fingers crossed that the baseball team I support doesn’t make their talent evaluations based on the player’s politcal belief system. While I might not agree with Scott’s political beliefs I find it strange that anyone would let that affect their enjoyment of watching him play baseball.

  55. lalo on June 20th, 2011 9:07 am

    I will point out I am deathly afraid of Luke Scott for non-baseball reasons. I’m not sure if I want an open nutcase running around leaving bananas in the latin players’ lockers.

    Agree, i didn´t know this stuff, but i think he could be worse than Milton Bradley in the clubhouse…, terrific article

  56. Leroy Stanton on June 20th, 2011 9:11 am

    Ludwick seems like the right fit and the kind of guy the M’s would (and could) acquire. The problem, though, is that Mike Wilson fits in the same way but the FO apparently prefers Peguero.

  57. Leroy Stanton on June 20th, 2011 9:16 am

    I’m for keeping Halman as a 4th OF. He is NOT the same player I watched at Tacoma last season. He is keeping his weight more on his back foot and not lunching at pitches like he did, and it appears — I could be mistaken here — that he has shortened his swing somewhat. That is exactly what he needed to do.

    I didn’t get the chance to see Halman in Tacoma last year, but yeah, his approach definitely doesn’t match his reputation. Even as a backup he brings a lot of value to the team with his speed, defense, and RH power bat. I think he’ll be here for a while.

  58. RRR on June 20th, 2011 9:17 am

    @BLYKMYK44- I agree that someone’s political belief system shouldn’t matter. I also generally agree that great huggers like Sweeney shouldn’t be valued for their huggability (production is usually all that should matter). But I am of the mind that someone is capable of having a personality so abrasive that it upsets team chemistry (regardless of whether they are a left-wing nut or a right-wing nut). That is my fear with Scott.

  59. gwangung on June 20th, 2011 9:22 am

    Certainly not much of a WOW factor here.

    We don’t need WOW. We need average production. Which we’re not likely to get from the young ‘uns.

    ALso…you pay a lot more for WOW than you do for average.

  60. mlathrop3 on June 20th, 2011 9:26 am

    I’m a fan of a Coghlan deal, it’s the only one that possibly gets Figgins out of the lineup entirely.

  61. Westside guy on June 20th, 2011 9:45 am
    I don’t think we need another thumper, personally – although I certainly wouldn’t complain if we got one. But what we do need is somebody that can get on base for a minimum league-average pace.

    Maybe we can make a deal with Oakland for Jack Cust?

    :-D

    Hey I like Cust (one of the few here that do, apparently) – but he’s not a viable option for left field. We definitely need a competent fielder that can get on base at a .330 or better clip.

  62. Typical Idiot Fan on June 20th, 2011 10:08 am

    Neither Oakland nor Seattle seem to oppose the idea of trading in division. We could ask about David DeJesus, too. He seems to be doing everything the same but is having some bad luck in the balls in play department. He’s a competent left fielder and an above league average bat normally. He’s being paid $6 million this year, but by now should only cost a little over 3 million the rest of the way.

  63. LongDistance on June 20th, 2011 11:09 am

    Chris Coghlan, please, is not a this year solution. You are talking about THIS year… right?

    He’s got a number of things to work out, which if he was already in the organization, would be one thing. And we’d expect him to be in Tacoma doing that until next Spring… including getting his throwing arm back.

    Take him… off… the list. Now.

  64. dchappelle on June 20th, 2011 11:27 am

    Fowler – a hitter from Colorado? Isn’t that one of those, never take a pitcher from Atlanta, never engage in a land war in China kind of things?

  65. djw on June 20th, 2011 11:38 am

    The line is “land war in Asia.”

    And the answer is no, it’s not. Pay careful attention to the hitter’s abilities, and how they’ve been distorted by the home park, and so on. But Coors doesn’t ruin hitters, nor does it make them impossible to evaluate.

  66. JH on June 20th, 2011 11:45 am

    A few weeks ago I really wanted the Ms to target Chris Denorfia, but at this point it looks like the Padres have decided to use him as an everyday guy, so the price is probably a bit too high now.

    He’d have been a great fit, though. Can play all 3 OF positions, good in corners, adequate in CF, hits well against both righties and lefties, and under control for 2 more years.

  67. codybond31 on June 20th, 2011 11:55 am

    Best buy-low Option:

    Adam Dunn.

    Pefect fit for this team and SafeCo. Value has never been lower, but I still really like him.

  68. make_dave_proud on June 20th, 2011 12:00 pm

    I love the Ludwick idea. I thought he was gettable when he was in St. Louis, and could no longer bear the thought of watching Ibanez patrol LF. He’s no spring chicken, but he seems like the type of flyer you take on somebody who could benefit from a change in scenery.

  69. meloyellow15 on June 20th, 2011 12:30 pm

    BJ Upton could be an interesting buy low candidate if the Rays fall out of it. Granted he’s not a perfect fit for the park and im not sure our system matches up with Tampa’s needs perfectly but I wouldn’t mind grabbing Upton and Sean Rodriguez.

  70. Westside guy on June 20th, 2011 12:35 pm

    The line is “land war in Asia.”

    …but only slightly less well known is this: “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!”

  71. groundzero55 on June 20th, 2011 12:52 pm

    BJ Upton could be an interesting buy low candidate if the Rays fall out of it.

    I read the Rays probably want a major league-ready bat in return. Which clearly we already don’t have enough of.

  72. MrZDevotee on June 20th, 2011 12:58 pm

    DJW-
    Trying to keep things short in my last post (which I never accomplish *laugh*) I should have included Carp playing more time at his better position in Tacoma (1B), which would lend credence to why we might move him (’cause he’d be blocked). We could have even moved him BACK to 1B in Tacoma and sold it as “we tried him in LF, our real need, and it didn’t work– so we need a LF” (as a sell to a team in need of a 1B, with a LF they’re willing to move).

    And I know minor numbers don’t translate, but if our OWN organization, and folks on this website, were wondering if Carp had somehow refined his approach, and perhaps the weight loss had led to some new physical revelation– enough so that he finally forced his way up to Seattle, when all indications were Z had no real interest in doing that (or he would have been here sooner, presumably)– well, it’s much easier to sell that possibility of “he figured it out” (offensively) to other teams in need, than to actually bring him up to the majors and show… er… well, actually, he’s kinda still who he was (which was my fear all along).

    I think if indeed we ARE looking for a LF (which I have no idea), than I don’t think Carp would pencil in as a backup (when we need someone who can play CF too, to spell Guty)… So I would want to maximize his value, and I was suggesting that showing that he’s league average or lower at the Major League level, has downplayed the fact that he was THE VERY BEST hitter in the PCL so far this year.

    Alas…

    Too late.

    (Would have been a LOT easier– and ideal– if SOMEBODY had already seized the LF position, and he’d actually still be in Tacoma right now, and we could perhaps trade him for a decent long relief bullpen arm… That’s my most pressing concern as I hear people talk about “contending” THIS year without much mention that Pineda is gonna get shutdown before September, so having a 4 man bullpen will probably not be ideal in those latter months.)

  73. MrZDevotee on June 20th, 2011 1:02 pm

    Dave–
    re: my last point in the post right above this one.

    I’d love to see an article about whether contending is realistic when no one has yet broached the subject of what happens when Pineda gets shut down, and our other starters begin fatiguing from going so far in games all season– all coupled with the fact that we really only have a 4 man bullpen.

    Safe to say the offense isn’t going to make up that deficit when it happens. (And it is a “when” not an “if” it appears– at the very least, shutting down Pineda, but no real solutions to the other situations in our system currently either).

  74. groundzero55 on June 20th, 2011 1:58 pm

    Might they be considering moving Pauley back into the rotation late in the year and moving Pineda to the bullpen to cut down his innings?

  75. timbmyers on June 20th, 2011 2:26 pm

    I do like the idea of Dexter Fowler…good range and a SH to put in LF. Maybe they can pry him and Ian Stewart away and see if a change of scenery helps their performance. I think they both improve the offense and the defense and I don’t think it would cost the team too much to get them.

  76. amnizu on June 20th, 2011 2:58 pm

    At this stage I think it is still too early to make a move. codybond31 mentioned Dunn, this is the type of player who maybe available as we apporach the deadline that would really offer an impact to this team as a low cost rental.

    I believed heading into this season that this was a rebuilding year. While I am hopefully optomistic that the winning will continue, I still believe this team is going to fade as we enter summer and the arms begin to tire. I think the team should continue to move forward with the apporach that got them here, play the kids, play for 2012 and beyond. If we get to mid to late July and are still in this then lets make a move. June 20th is too early for us to know if this team is for real or not.

  77. rsrobinson on June 20th, 2011 3:16 pm

    I don’t particularly like any of those potential deals and would prefer to use a Carp/Halman platoon in LF for now and find out what we have in those two. I’d give Cust one more chance to prove he can do something besides draw walks. That’s just not enough from a DH. It’s not.

    Peguero needs more seasoning in Tacoma.

  78. Ichirolling51 on June 20th, 2011 3:22 pm

    I think Jose Reyes would make a great LF, no? Anyone? But I don’t think that would fall into the catagory of a “Low cost move.” Or we could just keep him at SS and move Ryan around. But that’s a move we think about making in the offseason, but one can only dream.

  79. Ibuprofen on June 20th, 2011 3:22 pm

    I’d like to see us go after Fowler+Stewart in some sort of package deal. See if a change of scenery helps either one or both of them.

  80. groundzero55 on June 20th, 2011 3:56 pm

    Reyes will cost more than the M’s can afford. He very likely could end up on the Yankees.

  81. goat on June 20th, 2011 4:26 pm

    I was thinking Kubal would be a good option, but this makes a pretty good case for Ludwick.

    But if the goal is to get a RH, it seems it would make the most sense to give Halman a bit more time in AAA and use Saunders as the 4th OF once he’s had a bit of time to work on his swing. I don’t think he’ll develop into a fulltime player, but he makes more sense as a 4th OF than Halman because of handedness and because there’s still a chance Halman could develop into a good player.

  82. stevemotivateir on June 20th, 2011 4:45 pm

    I wonder what the Mets would ask for Beltran or Wright. Probably too much in way of prospects.

  83. G on June 20th, 2011 5:44 pm

    How about Carlos Lee? Houston’s not going anywhere and he’s only signed through 2012.

  84. ck on June 20th, 2011 5:50 pm

    I hope Halman gets a long look to see if he is the answer in left field.

  85. plyka on June 20th, 2011 7:24 pm

    I think a lot of people are looking at this backwards. The Mariners shouldn’t be looking to get a new LF, they should be looking to ship out Brandon League + Bedard + anyone else to bring in elite level young talent (or the best they can get).

    This team has ZERO chance of competing this year, for many reasons, the most important of which are:

    1) Pineda is on an innings count. Regardless of the situation, he will eventually be shut down which will without doubt end the pennant race for the mariners.

    2) The current pitchers are being overused, including the pen. Do you guys truly think that the Mariners can use only 5 starters for the entire year? Eventually there will be an injury, and then what will the Mariners do? Add this threat, albeit a highly likelyhood threat, to the 100% Pineda elimination from the starting rotation, and you have ZERO chance of the Mariners contending.

    3) Fangraphs in their latest “power rankings” have the Mariners as the 27th ranked team in the MLB. 27!! http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/fangraphs-power-rankings-62011/

    Basically, this team has ZERO chance of contending. Let’s get real and ship off some of this talent to desparate teams for more young talent. Is it possible to get the Yankee DH/C, Jesus? Bedard and League should be at the peak of their value, let’s not ruin this chance because of emotions and ship them off for some younger talent to truly rebuild. That’s what i’d be telling the management.

  86. Donovan on June 20th, 2011 7:58 pm

    Go get Wily Mo Pena.

  87. drm1125 on June 20th, 2011 8:10 pm

    plyka,

    Thay are contending! Who knows if they’ll keep contending but everybody said they’d be out of it by now. It’s not right and would send the wrong message to both fans and the players to “give up” while we are only 1 game back from Texas. Plus, nobody’s giving anything good for Bedard. I don’t want to raid the minors for somebody but I don’t mind a smaller deal for somebody that won’t cost and arm and leg.

  88. eponymous coward on June 20th, 2011 8:30 pm

    The Mariners shouldn’t be looking to get a new LF, they should belooking to ship out Brandon League + Bedard + anyone else to bring in elite level young talent (or the best they can get).

    King Felix should fetch some good players, right?

    And look at how many World Series championships Cleveland has since they blew up thei-oh, wait, you mean they didn’t win any?

    But they are drawing over two mi-oh, wait, you mean the fan base still hasn’t recovered from having craps taken on them by their owners?

    But the Marlins, they’ve won titles. Surely they draw fans. Wait, they don’t? How perplexing- they do those kinds of trades all the time! Why don’t the fans love this?

    How about that. Maybe there’s actual value in acting like you’re in a pennant race when you’re in a pennant race.

  89. Liam on June 20th, 2011 8:50 pm

    3) Fangraphs in their latest “power rankings” have the Mariners as the 27th ranked team in the MLB. 27!!

    This doesn’t have anything to do with the Mariners chances for making the playoffs.

    Try Cool Standings for that.

  90. groundzero55 on June 20th, 2011 8:59 pm

    1) Pineda is on an innings count. Regardless of the situation, he will eventually be shut down which will without doubt end the pennant race for the mariners.

    Without Pineda we would still have 4 starters with an ERA of 3.75 or under. Don’t tell me that’s not enough to compete.

    2) The current pitchers are being overused, including the pen. Do you guys truly think that the Mariners can use only 5 starters for the entire year? Eventually there will be an injury, and then what will the Mariners do? Add this threat, albeit a highly likelyhood threat, to the 100% Pineda elimination from the starting rotation, and you have ZERO chance of the Mariners contending.

    See above. Also, the pen is not being overworked, if anything they are underworked as our starters are regularly going deeper into games.

    3) Fangraphs in their latest “power rankings” have the Mariners as the 27th ranked team in the MLB. 27!!

    ESPN has the M’s 14. A ranking is just that, it’s not objective reality.

    Let’s get real and ship off some of this talent to desparate teams for more young talent. Is it possible to get the Yankee DH/C, Jesus? Bedard and League should be at the peak of their value,

    Right here you make me think you are probably a Yankees honk. Jesus Montero will probably never be more than a DH as he is a terrible catcher. While Bedard is a legitimate trade piece, as far as I’m concerned League is part of the youth movement. When this team is seriously contending over the next few years you don’t want an unproven rookie closing games, nor do you want to be overpaying some free agent closer.

  91. rth1986 on June 20th, 2011 10:59 pm

    Right now, I don’t think Bedard could fetch more than a few B-level prospect.

    However, that could change a month from now. If Bedard is still pitching like he is and staying healthy, I’d imagine his value could go up considerably for a desperate contender. We could probably get a haul something a little more than Jarrod Washburn in ’09 and a little less than Lee in ’10.

    Hopefully Z is considering some SP options for depth. I wouldn’t necessarily trust Beavan or Laffey or French or whoever to step into the rotation.

    I agree that League should be considered part of the youth movement. In my opinion, I think League was being groomed for the closer’s role all along while the team tried to sell high on Aardsma. Even though that failed, it doesn’t mean the team should try to sell League. I think he’ll only get better.

  92. rth1986 on June 20th, 2011 11:02 pm

    3) Fangraphs in their latest “power rankings” have the Mariners as the 27th ranked team in the MLB. 27!! http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/fangraphs-power-rankings-62011/

    Meh…I love FanGraphs, but their power rankings are pretty lousy in my opinion. I don’t think 50% of the ranking should be based on fan projections. It should either be based purely on total WAR or a more complex calculation of talent.

    The Mariners don’t have a great team, but that doesn’t matter. They are half a game back in late June. Whether they are prepared or not, they are in the thick of the race and the team should take advantage of this opportunity. They shouldn’t sell the farm, but they definitely need to play this out and add some pieces to patch things up.

  93. just a fan on June 20th, 2011 11:32 pm

    Anybody who advocates SELL SELL SELL when a team is a half-game back should be (the non-violent equivalent of shot) and banned from all ballparks — little league included.

  94. Westside guy on June 21st, 2011 12:02 am

    (the non-violent equivalent of shot)

    Poke him with the soft cushions!

  95. sexymarinersfan on June 21st, 2011 2:07 am

    I agree with everything Luke Scott says. I feel like I have to watch a lot more of what I say up here than when I lived down in Texas. My best friend is also black and we both believe that Obama was not born in this country. Nothing wrong with being able to speak your mind. There’s a lot more politically correctness up here in Washington that I’ve seen than that down south, from what I’ve witnessed. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just different is all. You should be able to speak your mind no matter what as long as it is not derogatory.

    As far as trading for a bat, I trust Z’s judgement in acquiring talent. Right now we just need to let these kids play and find out what we’ve got before we run off half-cock looking to upgrade over them, and as much as I hate it, running Figgins out there on a regular basis is the right call, although the booing of the fans has got to be getting to him as well. He’s definitely pressing. That never helps when you’re in as big a slump as he’s been.

  96. MrZDevotee on June 21st, 2011 4:13 am

    SexyMarinersFan-
    Nothing wrong with speaking your mind in MOST places, but here at USSMariner there’s a pretty clear rule that we don’t discuss politics because it only leads to ugliness, when there’s plenty of ugliness to be discussed already regarding things like offense, defense, and Peguero! *laugh*

    (So we’ll have to debate elsewhere things like “The Fact that George W Bush was born in America is pretty clear evidence that NO ONE born in America should ever be president!” *I jest*)

  97. eponymous coward on June 21st, 2011 6:32 am

    You should be able to speak your mind no matter what as long as it is not derogatory.

    If you speak your mind and it shows you are a fool, you shouldn’t be surprised when fools are not suffered gladly- and this is true on USSM when it comes to the topics discussed here, and other places where political topics are OK to discuss.

  98. sexymarinersfan on June 21st, 2011 7:43 am

    DONE DEAL!

  99. plyka on June 21st, 2011 7:49 am

    Wow, look at all the emotional responses i got from you guys. One guy even called me a “yankees honk,” lol. I love it, the ole how dare you even dream of saying something negative or else, remark, lol.

    Hopefully the management of the Mariners is not as emotional as most of you.

    The humorous thing is that most didn’t even respond to my points, one guy actually made something up of me wanting to trade Felix (only god knows where that came from).

    The overall points are simple and cannot be denied:

    1) Pineda will not be pitching for the entire season. Without Pineda, this team cannot compete.

    2) The Mariners have used just 5 starters for the entire year and have ZERO starting pitching depth. With Pineda gone, that means you have 4 of your current starters IF no one is injured which is a highly unlikely event. Also, with the innings they are pitching, they will tire.

    It doesn’t take a genious baseball mind (if there is even such a thing) to see what is ahead for this team. I just think that management must make decisions with their head instead of with their hearts.

  100. Dave on June 21st, 2011 8:15 am

    Well, this thread went to crap. I don’t have time to go through and moderate all the off-topic/political comments, so I’m just going to close the thread instead.

    Talk about baseball. That’s it.