Be Bold, Jack

Dave · July 5, 2011 at 10:59 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Over at FanGraphs today, I wrote a piece advocating for the Pirates to act as buyers as we head towards the trade deadline, even though it’s pretty likely that they’ll end up falling short of the playoffs. They aren’t actually a very good team, and their current record is something of a fluke, but I still believe that the potential rewards from that fluke lasting all year outweigh the potential gains that could be made by punting the season and acting as sellers.

I believe that this applies to the Mariners as well. This is not a great team, but they’re in a position to give Seattle some interesting baseball in September, and I think they should capitalize on that opportunity. I know the Bill Bavasi era made us very reluctant to trade any young players, but the reality is that the franchise has some players who would have some trade value and probably don’t have a future in Seattle.

Michael Saunders is the most obvious player in that position. He’s still get a little bit of former top prospect shine attached to him, and he’s still a good athlete with some interesting tools. There are organizations out there who would probably be willing to see if they could fix his swing and teach him how to hit Major League pitching. If the M’s were looking to make a blockbuster deal, Saunders wouldn’t be enough on his own, but I’d imagine they could make a smaller move to improve the roster using him as bait. And we shouldn’t let the fact that Bavasi traded away legitimately good talents like Asdrubal Cabrera scare us away from being willing to move a guy like Saunders.

The Mariners need a real left fielder, and if takes giving up Saunders to get a guy who can actually hit big league pitching, so be it. I wouldn’t advocate moving any of the guys that you think could be a real part of the future here, but a guy like Saunders (or maybe even Carlos Triunfel, who also is likely most valuable to the team as trade bait) is expendable. The M’s have some pieces to make a move and improve this team for 2011 without mortgaging the future, and as I talked about in the FG piece, the payoff of stealing a playoff spot is often worth more than the payoff of keeping a marginally interesting prospect around and seeing what he turns into.


81 Responses to “Be Bold, Jack”

  1. Auggeydog on July 5th, 2011 5:42 pm

    PaulB I am really sorry DUDE. I am recovering from back surgery and taking percocet, so I missed a few words, not like it is the end of the world. Or maybe it is DUDE.

    EricL you name a few guys that flamed out, got hurt or whatever, should I name a few that have not? If you think I should turn on the MLB Network and watch some highlights, there are more that have made it. If we are going to make trades on the assumption someone will get hurt, you better trade everyone because it can happen to the bullpen catcher. I said it before, this attitude makes us MLB’s minor league team. If you or anyone feels you should trade Pineda or Felix to improve the team, great we can agree or disagree, but we all have our opinions. If you want to trade a player just because he might get hurt, I don’t think that is the correct mind set. Again though we can agree to disagree. PaulB please be my english teacher and correct my spelling again.

  2. Auggeydog on July 5th, 2011 5:46 pm

    I also mentioned about Bedard going on the injury list in my conspiracy theroy that the other team is part of it. So it would not lower his value.

    I agree he could have done this so he would not get traded. I am pretty sure he does not want to go to NY, and likes he here.

  3. Chris_From_Bothell on July 5th, 2011 5:59 pm

    Your post ignores one thing: Seattle is in a pennant race. So Pineda is just as valuable to Seattle as he is to any other team.

    Does he stop being valuable to Seattle when if the Ms fall out of contention?

    Either Pineda (or most anyone else, really) is a long-term part of the core, or he’s a trade chit now, regardless of the standings.

  4. chris d on July 5th, 2011 6:01 pm

    I think M’s should trade Pineda for Mike Moustakas, 3B for KC. His slash line is 274/354/696 and he has as much ML experience as Ackley and looks like similar stats. We would be trading our star for theirs.

    I don’t know if KC needs pitching but if they did this would be a great trade for both.

    He had great stats in MiL and I hear he is a competitor and a team player.

  5. ppl on July 5th, 2011 6:14 pm

    Trade for Ludwick. I like Cust, but if they can trade for a more productive DH I am okay with that. Call up Seager for 3B.

    How would the line up look with a decent DH, Ludwick or another LF upgrade and Seager?

    Again offense is down this year. MLB hitters are batting .252 as a group. It used to be more like .268. It does not take a stellar line up to win. The M’s could sure use a better one. You sure want more than the 67 White Sox. But you don’t need to be like the 27 Yankees to contend either.

  6. OffensivelyChallenged on July 5th, 2011 6:19 pm

    A .275 25 hr hitting outfielder would be nice. 2 of em.

  7. Steve Nelson on July 5th, 2011 6:26 pm

    Your post ignores one thing: Seattle is in a pennant race. So Pineda is just as valuable to Seattle as he is to any other team.

    Whoosh. Right over your head!!! I assume you were sitting in front a monitor when you were posting or else my point would have been stuck in your forehead.


    Your comment is pretty clearly false. Philadelphia and the Yankees, for example, are both the middle of a pennant race. Do you seriously think that Pineda is as valuable to the Phillies as he is to the Yankees??? Or to switch to relief pitchers, do you think that Huston Street would be as valuable to the Braves as he might be to the Brewers???

    Or, switching back to the Mariners, do you think that Jack Wilson (who can still play a fine shortstop, BTW) is as valuable to the Mariners as he might be to a team with a gaping hole at shortstop?

    Teams that are in pennant races have different needs, and different players have different values to those teams depending on what the particular teams needs and strengths are.

    The reality is that in a completely open market, there are other teams where Pineda would have more value than he would have with the Mariners.


    Certainly losing him would hurt, but it’s likely that there are deals out there that would bring back to the Mariners more value than they would surrender in giving him up. And I’m not talking about future value – I’m talking about value that can help the Mariners compete the rest of this season as well as the next several seasons. I’m not talking about trading for prospects; we would be looking for players, like Pineda, who can provide a solid contribution at the MLB level right now, with remaining upside potential.

  8. sonichound on July 5th, 2011 6:36 pm

    I think there could be something done with Milwaukie. They have Mat Gamel in the minors and no room for him in the major league roster. He is being groomed as a replacement for Fielder in case he leaves. He also has played some LF. If nothing else, he is a young left-handed hitting DH. I don’t know if Bedard would be enough but maybe Bedard +? If the Brewers add Bedard and make a push in the playoffs maybe they have a better chance at resigning Fielder. They are only 1 game back right now.

  9. eponymous coward on July 5th, 2011 6:37 pm

    But pinning any of that on Cliff Lee is ridiculous

    Who’s pinning it on Cliff Lee?

    I’m saying “well, no biggie if we decide to just take a pass at making a move this year, we’ll make moves in the offseason that will work much better” isn’t a lock.

    I believe Z (like myself) would suggest that as our overall organization gets healthier (ie, more money to work with) we’ll definitely be MUCH more aggressive.

    What makes you think there will be much more money to work with next year? We have 30 million or so to play with next year, but time to resign Jason Vargas? Ch-ching. Time to resign All-Star Brandon League? Ch-ching.

    This happens EVERY year- everyone goes “oh, we’ll have LOTS of money next year, so don’t worry about making a move”- and then it’s a huge surprise when it doesn’t go as far as you’d think.

    Plus have you LOOKED at next year’s FA market? It blows, aside from superstars we won’t be able to sign anyway.

    And this also ignores the fact that you know what gives you more money for payroll? Winning baseball games in October. You know what kills your ability to increase payroll? Crappy baseball (like in 2010) that decreases revenue.

    You’re suggestions are a bit like a modified Bavasi-vision, who leapt at every opportunity to win “now”, by leveraging tomorrow, by ignoring the system and just sticking in “The Player We’ve Been Needing” at whatever cost, and by spending money (albeit future money) that we didn’t have…

    The Mariners are getting NEGATIVE wins above replacement from their OFers and DHs. That includes one guy who is 37 and under contract for 2012 for almost 20 million, and another guy who has spent the last year plus fighting a chronic medical condition who’s also going to be making a lot of money over the next few years… and who is hitting below the Mendoza line.

    If ONE of Carp/Peguero/Halman turned into a player capable of 2 WAR in a year or two (league average player), we’d be doing well (and we’d have to suffer through two of the other being crap, like we are in 2011). We have a team that isn’t getting replacement-level play in FOUR positions.

    You’re going to have to make a trade to get a decent OF, given the “meh” on the FA market. What is wrong with making that trade in July as opposed to November?

    I am not suggesting it’s time to load up on Jose Vidros for a 3 month rental. I am saying a solution where we get a player for a couple of years (this and next)? Fine by me.

  10. MrZDevotee on July 5th, 2011 6:55 pm

    I don’t think we’re actually that far away in thinking, when it comes down to it. I think you’re misunderstanding, or not hearing, my actual beliefs…

    This happens EVERY year- everyone goes “oh, we’ll have LOTS of money next year, so don’t worry about making a move”- and then it’s a huge surprise when it doesn’t go as far as you’d think.

    I’m not saying we’ll have lots of money, actually, I’m saying we’ve been pretty strapped by what we have to work with so far in Z’s tenure, and he’s had to focus all his attention on outmaneuvering bad contracts, while signing guys who are high risk, but high reward– and now that we’ve begun to develop a decent core to the team it warrants caution until we get out from under some of that, $30million is roughly double what he’s had to work with combined the past few seasons… I agree with the “it happens every year” thing, but it hasn’t for us so far the past two seasons.

    And even in the off-season, I’m not calling for some major move (“no” to Prince Fielder, please)… In fact, I’ve written a couple of different times recently that if we’re gonna be players in the offseason, I think it makes sense to do it NOW, at the break, via trade, rather than in a bidding war over the Winter…

    That’s where I think you’re misunderstanding me– and that we’re not really that far off. I spend much of the time in our posts back and forth correcting your assumptions about what I was saying (ie, “don’t contend”… not what I think… ““well, no biggie if we decide to just take a pass at making a move this year, we’ll make moves in the offseason that will work much better””… not what I ever said, and not my thinking, AT ALL, I’ve actually written AGAINST doing that…

    The offseason isn’t just about “Free Agents” either. Even if we wait till the offseason I’d rather make a good trade (like I wrote a couple days ago) because you don’t actually have ANY negative impact financially, or talent wise, if you find a good partner and each trade from surplus/strength on your rosters, with like contracts.

    So yeah, I’m trying to make points, but I guess if you hear it differently, and repeat back to me things I never said, nor believe– it’s hard for us to get anywhere.

    Let’s both hope the M’s make some decent moves, and help us continue to contend through the rest of the season. I know we can agree on that basic premise– and that’s about as clearly as I can say it.

    Go M’s!

  11. chris d on July 5th, 2011 7:01 pm

    And there is no one I trust more than Jack Z to make those moves…but a move has to happen…and soon.

  12. Auggeydog on July 5th, 2011 7:14 pm

    King’s Court in Oakland that is great. Blowers needs to have a turkey leg, or whatever they have that is close delivered to them.

  13. Paul B on July 5th, 2011 7:17 pm

    PaulB please be my english teacher and correct my spelling again.

    The post in question had at least 12 mistakes. In one post. I think you can do better.

    I think you were trying to convey some sort of conspiracy theory, but it was hard to tell. Anyway, I think it most likely was as valid as most conspiracy theories.

  14. stevemotivateir on July 5th, 2011 7:34 pm

    If they can get into the playoffs, all it takes is a hot streak. I doubt too many people bet on the Giants taking it all last year. So why not the Mariners this year? They got the pitching. If they can bring in a bat or two that will enhance their ability to produce runs, for players that aren’t part of the future here, they’d make out like bandits. If they make a move and don’t make the playoffs, there’s still no (or little) lost. Jack would be a fool not to make a move if the opportunity is there. No matter what happens this year, I’m hoping we see Fielder in a Mariners uniform next year.

  15. Auggeydog on July 5th, 2011 7:36 pm

    Sorry, I usually try and proof read my posts before I post them. I sometimes will leave punctuation out because I am lazy but spelling I look closer at. The pain killers are affecting me more than usual today. I have a lit keyboard and still the letters are blurry. My wife was laughing at a FB post I made. At least I have an excuse, I have read posts I stop reading because they are spelled so bad. Hope we can get a few more runs and sweep the A’s down there.

  16. Bodhizefa on July 5th, 2011 7:38 pm

    My dream trade is Vargas, Nick Franklin, and Michael Saunders for Hunter Pence and Fernando Rodriguez. Boy oh boy would I enjoy seeing us take a shot with Pence.

  17. Auggeydog on July 5th, 2011 7:42 pm

    Steve, Fielder would be awesome at Safeco. Is he worth about 20% of the Mariners payroll as a DH and a part time 1st base man? He will demand too much money, and is not worth it IMHO. It is a return on inverstment question, is he worth not getting a LF, a 3rd basemen or a C? I think we can get a DH for less and fill the other holes and be more effective.

  18. stevemotivateir on July 5th, 2011 7:54 pm

    Auggey, you’re forgetting that there are some huge burdens lifted off the payroll next year. And you can bet the team would be willing to spend a little more if they had a real shot at going all the way. They showed a willingness to spend with Bavasi, I’m sure they’d feel more confident doing so with Z. Not to mention, a left fielder and third baseman, doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. They wouldn’t spend big on a third baseman anyway if they still have Figgins on the roster.

  19. Auggeydog on July 5th, 2011 8:25 pm

    We have $25-30 mill to spend but we have a few guys that we need to re-sign. SO let’s say the team will add to what we have, and they have $30 mill left which seems pretty fair. Fielder will costs around $25mill. So we have $5mill to sign a LF, and a C. We can leave 3rd out for sake of argument. Olivo is not under contract and as much as I love the guy we need to upgrade. We could have the same merry-go-round in LF we have now. So worse case scenario we spend the $5mill on Olivo and a few bench players like Kennedy. We have not upgraded much except DH. Now the contract is 5 years and 3 years into it, Fielder is hurt and done, or just loses it. We have sunk $125mill into a guy that is past his prime and producing like Figgy. I think signings like that can comeback and bite you too much. I would love to have him, but it scares me in the long run to commit the money to him. People are talking about the risk of Pineda, he is cheap this would be a huge gamble. Fielder is not exactly the epitome of being in shape.

  20. just a fan on July 5th, 2011 8:30 pm

    The argument isn’t “trade star player for average bats”.

    Dave’s proposal was just that. Trade a potential(?) star for a couple (potential) solid regulars.

    And the goal isn’t to swindle someone; if your goal is to not make a trade unless you are swindling someone you’re not going to make very many trades.

    Except that if we’re trying to make a move to improve the club this year, trading Pineda is going to hurt the team just as much as any hitter we take back will help the team. Unless it’s a swindle, trading a major league contributor for another major league contributor is robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    Therefore, anybody advocating trading Pineda to help this year is either (a) creating one void to fill another, or (b) hoping for a swindle.

  21. just a fan on July 5th, 2011 8:33 pm

    Felix’s salary goes from $10m to $18.5m next year.

  22. stevemotivateir on July 5th, 2011 8:49 pm

    Auggey, first, Olivo is under contract for next year, and there’s a team option for 2013. So catcher is covered. Second, if Fielder cost 25 million a year… the Mariners ain’t gonna sign him! In fact, I doubt any team other than the Yankees, would pay that kind of dough. You’re also assuming that there is a set number the team will spend. There isn’t. We just assume there’s a rough number. If they were in contention, again, I could see them splurging a bit. But if the numbers on Fielder were 25, that’s more than splurging! And I would be real nervous about spending that much as well. For a DH part-time 1st baseman, I’d bet the number Jack is thinking, is under 20. Even with the numbers you’re suggesting, you can certainly find a utility guy and a left fielder. The young guys are still under team control with arbitration for years to come. By the time any of them are looking at a huge contract, Ichiro will likely be off the books, at least for the kind of dough he’s making now.

  23. eponymous coward on July 5th, 2011 9:14 pm

    We have $25-30 mill to spend but we have a few guys that we need to re-sign. SO let’s say the team will add to what we have, and they have $30 mill left which seems pretty fair.

    It’s not. The ~$30 million of (what’s committed for 2011 minus what’s committed for 2012) is right on the money, but Vargas and League will be due big raises, or we’ll have to non-tender them in arbitration and replace them, or trade them for cheaper players. Bedard’s a free agent, and he won’t be signing for 1 million + incentives, so again, either he walks out the door and we’re down a couple of WAR, or we give him a big raise.

    When you add in arbitration on players, some raises for rookies/non-arb players, plus MLB minimums, you’re looking at about 15 million in salary that’s available, assuming payroll is not cut (not a completely safe assumption given how attendance is tanking badly- we’re officially in the bottom third of baseball’s attendance now, below Washington and Pittsburgh, and not too far ahead of Cleveland or even the sad sacks like Oakland), some of which needs to replace or resign Bedard. That’s maybe someone like Figgins (though, dear God, not someone who sucks like Figgins) plus some cheapish veterans.

  24. stevemotivateir on July 5th, 2011 9:23 pm

    Again, there’s no set spending limit. You’re assuming the line from this year is the limit for next year, right? Arbitration/raises will figure in. But being free of Bradley, Wilson, Silva, and Betancourt (still owed 1 million), will open things up considerably. There will still be a little room to go after a bigger name bat. The real question, is whether they intend to contend next year (not tryin’ to make a funny there). Attendance would certainly influence a decision, if the team isn’t in the hunt and numbers don’t pick up (soon).

  25. stevemotivateir on July 5th, 2011 9:41 pm

    Haha, if they do make a push for next year, the slogan for the year can be “Intend to Contend”!

  26. danelboones on July 6th, 2011 1:57 am

    Bedard’s a free agent, and he won’t be signing for 1 million + incentives, so again, either he walks out the door and we’re down a couple of WAR, or we give him a big raise.

    I think we have an 8 million option???

  27. Madison Mariner on July 6th, 2011 5:28 am

    I think we have an 8 million option???

    Actually, that was last year–Bedard and the M’s had agreed to a 1-year contract for 2010 for $1.5 million(IIRC) with an option for 2011(this season) for $8 million. Obviously, after Bedard didn’t pitch at all last year, the M’s declined that option and re-signed Bedard to the new, non-guaranteed year for 2011.

    (And I believe his 2011 contract became guaranteed once he made the 25-man roster out of spring training without going on the DL? Someone correct me if I’m wrong).

  28. auldguy on July 6th, 2011 7:50 am

    Or how about some addition by subtraction. Give Triunfel and Saunders to anyone who’ll take Figgins.

    Why do people keep thinking we could get rid of Figgins AND get a worthwhile piece in return? Triunfel plus Saunders might give us something worthwhile back. Triunfel plus Saunders and Figgins would mean we’re basically asking the other team to pay eighteen million for two prospects – no one is going to go for that.

    Figgins isn’t even replacement level anymore – he has little to no value.

    Does TIC have no meaning at all to you? Sorry, shoulda used an emoti..

  29. danelboones on July 6th, 2011 9:32 am
  30. eponymous coward on July 6th, 2011 10:23 am

    You’re assuming the line from this year is the limit for next year, right?

    I think it unlikely that attendance will pick up much if this team doesn’t actually have a pennant race in September… and if they aren’t going to add to the budget with the potential of adding attendance in a pennant race, why would they add salary in 2012?

    But being free of Bradley, Wilson, Silva, and Betancourt (still owed 1 million), will open things up considerably.

    Yes, that’s all accounted for above. Remember, Felix gets a big raise in 2012. Guti gets a big raise in 2012. Net, it’s probably around 15 million in free salary, because the Mariners are committed to around 55 million in salary in 2012, they’d have to pay out another 10 million if they stocked the rest of the roster with MLB minimum salaries, and if you add in Vargas (big raise in arbitration) and League (bigger raise because a) closer and b) All-Star) and so on, you’re probably over 70 million… so around 15 million free, assuming salary stays constant.

    That’s not going to get you Fielder or Pujols unless the contract is backloaded, or the market for those kinds of players collapses.. and that does NOT include Bedard’s money if you resign him. That’s how I am coming to “basically a Figgins-level acquisition plus some veterans”.

    2012 is not going to be some nirvana of cashflow, unless management decides they are going to raise the budget (and if that’s the case, they might as well start in 2011).

  31. stevemotivateir on July 6th, 2011 5:18 pm

    It’s actually closer to 20 million, even after arbitration (check mlbtraderumors for links to numbers)if you really get picky, but nothing is given. And you’re still missing the point.

    The Mariners will have an opportunity to free up space for a big name bat, not just by leaving things as they are with expiring contracts, but with other moves figuring in as well. That doesn’t mean they can or will get any name at any price. But you bet it’s a possibility they can land a solid hitter. Fielder isn’t out of the question. At least not yet. It remains to be seen what kind of numbers he’s looking for.

    If the Mariners somehow pull off a miracle and make a good run this year, you think they wont show a willingness to possibly spend a little in the off-season? A strong team will fill the seats.

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