Hultzen signs

Mike Snow · August 15, 2011 at 10:23 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Mariners 1st-round pick Danny Hultzen signed just ahead of the deadline. It’s a major-league contract, so Chris Ray was released to make room on the 40-man roster. Ray seemed to be improving after a horrible start to the year, but has never really gotten back to where he was five years ago with the Orioles. He was most recently on the disabled list, and you can probably give the team the benefit of the doubt in making the call about how well he might recover and whether he could contribute in the future. While the bullpen for next year is hardly settled, it’s not like Zduriencik can’t bring in a lot of spare parts (which is what Ray was in the first place) and cobble it together again in spring training.

All of the other high picks except for 3rd-rounder Kevin Cron have also signed. In place of Cron, they get a compensatory pick in the supplemental 3rd round next year. Unlike the 1st and 2nd rounds, makeup picks for the 3rd round come at the end of the round, not in the slot immediately after the unsigned pick. While generally you would rather have them sign, it’s nice that the front office gets another shot at finding a good player. You lose a little in terms of present value (effectively, the extra development time the player would get compared to someone in next year’s draft), but that difference isn’t nearly as dramatic as it would be for a higher draft pick like Hultzen.


46 Responses to “Hultzen signs”

  1. Westside guy on August 15th, 2011 10:32 pm

    I keep thinking Carter Capps name is backward whenever I read it!

    Huzzah for signing Hultzen! Sounds like we could see him sometime next year (going by expectations anyway).

  2. marc w on August 15th, 2011 10:38 pm

    Whoops, made a post and then saw that Mike had taken care of it.

    The surprise of the night, at least to me, was that the M’s got Cavan Cahoes, the SS out of an American base in Germany. Thought he’d try to improve his stock at Chipola college, but I guess the M’s paid him enough to sign.

    As Larry Stone notes, the guaranteed contract given to Hultzen is the fifth largest in history, and the largest in the draft. For as disappointed as many were that the M’s took Hultzen over Bundy/Bauer/Lindor/whoever, you CAN’T chalk it up to signability. The M’s gave Hultzen more than the Pirates gave #1 Gerrit Cole.

    Hultzen clearly won tonight, the M’s won tonight… the night’s big loser appears to be Scott Boras, who tried to wait it out and get the best deal for Cole, but ended up getting upstaged by Hultzen’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen.

  3. Chris_From_Bothell on August 15th, 2011 10:38 pm

    Just as well on Cron. Sounds too close to invective used in Conan novels. Giggle factor is too high.

    Now a question: is Hultzen part of the rotation for the Ms, thereby freeing up other solid pitching depth to be used as part of trades? Or will Hultzen himself possibly be part of a trade package to shore up some of the offense?

  4. TumwaterMike on August 15th, 2011 10:43 pm

    Or will Hultzen himself possibly be part of a trade package to shore up some of the offense?

    Well we know he can’t be traded until 08-15-12.

  5. eponymous coward on August 15th, 2011 10:44 pm

    Or will Hultzen himself possibly be part of a trade package to shore up some of the offense?

    He can’t be traded until August of next year, so I kind of doubt it.

  6. marc w on August 15th, 2011 10:49 pm

    Hultzen’s part of the rotation plans, which gives the M’s some of the best pitching depth in the league – Walker, Paxton and Hultzen is as good a top three as anyone’s got.

    Cron would’ve been really, really nice to have. The M’s have tried to find a high-ceiling power hitting 1B/DH recently, but it just hasn’t worked out quite yet – Raben’s been hurt, Poythress doesn’t look like he’s the guy… it says something when they got Wily Mo Pena off the scrap heap to be the pure power bat because no one in the system really fit the bill.

    I’m just hoping that either Miller or Cahoes gives the M’s a credible SS. The M’s need someone to fill in when Wilson’s gone and Brendan Ryan’s all alone, and as nice as Nick Franklin is, he’s had a terrible year injury wise. Gabe Noriega’s back in the conversation, but they need depth, not just guys who can fill in here and there (Liddi, Seager).

  7. marc w on August 15th, 2011 10:51 pm

    Carter Capps went 4 2/3 IP for Clinton in his system debut tonight with 6 Ks and 1 BB, giving up 3 R on 5 H. A lot to like in that line.

    Tyler Marlette sounded like he made a good impression on the M’s after taking BP at Safeco too, so all in all, a good night for the M’s/Jack Zduriencik.

  8. Klatz on August 15th, 2011 10:57 pm

    The PBTNL in the Fister trade will be named on the 18th? Would be crazy to hope that it’s Castellanos?

  9. gag harbor on August 15th, 2011 10:58 pm

    Is the reputation of the Mariners that a draftee can get bigger bucks? The Rays (for example) seemed to have been able to sign their picks for much (much) lower figures from each round.

  10. Avery Bowron on August 15th, 2011 11:05 pm

    Gag Harbor: The Rays picked at the end of each round, the M’s at the beginning. It would be expected that our picks signed for more. Big difference between #2 overall and #24 in terms of $$$.

  11. marc w on August 15th, 2011 11:06 pm

    gag –

    The Rays had so many picks, they had to think about signability. They didn’t go for guys who wanted over-slot bonuses, with the exception of pitcher Taylor Guerreri, who they eventually did sign. Their biggest over slot bonus was in the $400k range, whereas the M’s exceeded that with Hultzen, Capps, probably Cahoes and Marlette. It’s not so much that the M’s are known to give more money as it is that they signed more talented/less likely to sign guys.

  12. henryv on August 15th, 2011 11:12 pm

    Seems like Hultzen is a replacement for Vargas by 2013, or perhaps starter before that if Beaven and Furbush underperforms, or if he beats them out by 2012 or early in 2013.

    But I’d always trade almost any pitcher in the organization (besides Felix) for a great 3B or C.

  13. HighlightsAt11 on August 15th, 2011 11:14 pm

    Kevin Cron decided he’d rather be backup singer for REO Speedwagon.

  14. gag harbor on August 15th, 2011 11:15 pm

    What are the odds that Cron was the star of their draft and is the ‘one that got away’?

    Overall, I’m thrilled with the signing day success because 9 out of 10 and 43 out of 51 is pretty much a haul.

  15. gag harbor on August 15th, 2011 11:27 pm

    Good explanation Marc. What I saw was lower round M’s signees going for more than higher round Ray’s signees Avery.

  16. marc w on August 15th, 2011 11:43 pm

    Yeah, the M’s took some chances in the lower rounds with guys like Marlette, Cahoes, etc. Rays didn’t, but they didn’t need to – they had 12 picks very, very early. To get similar talent, the M’s had to get some signability guys in lower rounds, and they probably didn’t quite get what the Rays got, but in the lower rounds, I’m not surprised that they paid more. What shocks me is that Hultzen got more money than any 1st rounder. One of those years where you didn’t have a clear-cut #1 after Rendon got hurt, but I’m still surprised Scott freakin’ Boras wasn’t able to get more for the #1 overall pick.

    To be fair, Hultzen had a lot of leverage in his negotiations, which is a point a lot of people made when they questioned the pick. But hey, he’s signed, so yay Danny Hultzen.

  17. gag harbor on August 15th, 2011 11:49 pm

    Marc, which catcher has the highest upside from the M’s draft?

  18. marc w on August 15th, 2011 11:53 pm

    Tyler Marlette.

  19. TumwaterMike on August 15th, 2011 11:59 pm

    With all the catchers in this years draft, what becomes of Steve Baron?

  20. marc w on August 16th, 2011 12:09 am

    I think the short/glib answer is “who cares” but honestly, he was hurt this year and has a bit of time to regain his prospect status.
    Honestly though, he’s going to have to improve a bit to be a defense-first C in the high minors, and I just don’t see that as a huge need. I think the pendulum swung a bit too far towards D-first catchers (coughJeffMathiscough), and Napoli’s explosion combined with throwing out 40% of base stealers (with zero PBs) shows that maybe you don’t need perfect fundmentals to be a good C. That’s good news for someone like Adam Moore, but he’s actually got to go out there and prove that he’s healthy and that he can hit MLB pitching.

    For Baron, he’s got to stay healthy, and show some of the pop he’s shown in spring training. I still don’t get how someone can take Neil Ramirez deep in March and then struggle to slug .300 in Everett or Clinton.

  21. just a fan on August 16th, 2011 12:14 am

    Steve Baron goes on to hit .267 with surprising power in the majors, and is the only current Mariner catching prospect to have a successful major league career. Baseball, man, I tell ya.

    Anyway, with Hultzen playing in the fall, he has a chance to compete for a rotation spot sometime before mid-season. What could Paxton + a couple minor leaguers (or rookies) net the Mariners on the offensive side of things?

    I dream of us landing the mythical slugger on the trade market this offseason. This signing might allow that. Please Mariners.

  22. marc w on August 16th, 2011 12:24 am

    I would love that, JAF. I don’t care who it is, I would take .267 with “surprising power” from anyone. Moore, Baron, Marlette, Hicks, whoever. It’s obviously been a problem area for the M’s, and Miguel Olivo is NOT the answer in either the short- or the long-term.

    The question of what Paxton+ or Campos+ has to be on Z’s mind right now. It’s tough to give up either one, but they’d probably fetch quite a bit. I mean, think of what Jarred Cosart or Zach Wheeler got for their teams. I think Paxton’s ahead of Cosart right now, but that’s not certain… and Cosart got Hunter Pence in trade.

  23. greentunic on August 16th, 2011 12:46 am

    So would it be insensitive to give Hultzen a nickname like “The Surgeon?”

    It would be fitting if he pitches like Cliff Lee, but ironically bullyish of us.

  24. BlazerD on August 16th, 2011 1:36 am

    The Surgeon! I love it.

  25. Breadbaker on August 16th, 2011 1:43 am

    The Curse of Jason Varitek seems to be with us forever. Or the Curse of Bobby Ayala (whose abject failure made us panic and trade for Heathcliff Slocumb in the first place).

  26. The_Waco_Kid on August 16th, 2011 1:56 am

    Catcher seems like the biggest problem area, both short and long-term. At 3B, we have more options for the long-term. I don’t know who we’d get at C though. I don’t think we passed over many good FA catchers to sign Olivo last year.

  27. Valenica on August 16th, 2011 2:42 am

    Catcher is a huge hole for almost any team right now. Any top tier catcher on the FA will get snatched up by NYY/BOS, so we need to either find one in the farm or settle for a mid tier Catcher in FA.

    3B is a big problem for us too, and will be for quite some time because our farm is empty at 3B in the near term and the FA market is just as bad for 3Bs as it is for C. Z foresaw this which is why he signed Figgins, but sadly it didn’t pan out.

    But this is about Hultzen, and while I hated the pick at the time, right now I think he’s the best pitcher in the draft, even over Bauer. He doesn’t K as much as others, but his control is almost Cliff Lee-esque. Plus, you really can’t hate a lefty change-up pitcher.

  28. Ichirolling51 on August 16th, 2011 8:57 am

    Well that’s about $8.5M more than we should have spent. It was a mistake to draft him then, and time has not made it any less of a mistake. We should have gladly taken the #3 pick in next years draft for him. would have been way more long term value than we can even dream of Hultzen being. All Hultzen is, is a Blake Beavan clone, and you’d want a little more than that at #2. I think he’s going to end up being a bust, at best maybe a #5 type starter, and the pick that is ultimately going to cost JZ his job, rather it’s justified or not.

  29. gwangung on August 16th, 2011 9:27 am

    All Hultzen is, is a Blake Beavan clone,

    That is terribly unperceptive. (For one thing, check which arm he throws with)

    Glad you’re not in the GM seat.

  30. SonOfZavaras on August 16th, 2011 9:38 am

    All Hultzen is, is a Blake Beavan clone, and you’d want a little more than that at #2. I think he’s going to end up being a bust, at best maybe a #5 type starter, and the pick that is ultimately going to cost JZ his job, rather it’s justified or not.

    Hultzen is a 6’2″ish lefty. Beavan is a 6’7″ righty. One works downhill plane with their secondary stuff, the other one doesn’t. And the 6’2″ lefty throws a tick harder than the 6’7″ righty. One went to college and threw for 3 seasons in a very high-level college program, the other signed out of high school.

    Exactly what about the side-by-side analysis of these two particular pitchers screams “clone” to you, Ichirolling51?

  31. TumwaterMike on August 16th, 2011 9:41 am

    Where do you think these guys will initially end up? Will any be going to the Arizona Fall League?

  32. TumwaterMike on August 16th, 2011 9:44 am

    Hultzen is also the same age as Beavan and Pineda. I think, given a good opportunity in the spring, Hultzen will be on next years opening day roster. If I remeber right, Z said he drafted him because he felt he was the most major league ready pither in the draft.

  33. SonOfZavaras on August 16th, 2011 9:46 am

    The surprise of the night, at least to me, was that the M’s got Cavan Cohoes, the SS out of an American base in Germany. Thought he’d try to improve his stock at Chipola college, but I guess the M’s paid him enough to sign.

    You and me both, Marc. I thought I was being a little daft in admitting my gut feeling that he’d sign on a different post (Jay’s minor league report for this week). I had absolutely nothing solid for that hunch. But it came to pass.

    If he’s the athlete that I’ve heard about, he may prove to be one hell of a “get” for the system.

    Overall, while I had some issues at the time with some of who we selected in the draft- and wish Cron had been swept into the fold?

    I couldn’t be more pleased with how things went. 43 out of 51 picks is a tremendous haul, and gives us a few extra chances to wind up with something good.

    I can’t remember any team signing THAT many from a draft class in…well, ever.

  34. Chris_From_Bothell on August 16th, 2011 9:49 am

    So are there now enough improved pieces-parts in the system to go after e.g. Upton, or similar caliber, in trade without having to lose Felix or Pineda to do it?

  35. TumwaterMike on August 16th, 2011 10:08 am

    Looks like Miller’s going to Clinton.

  36. Mike Snow on August 16th, 2011 10:18 am

    So are there now enough improved pieces-parts in the system to go after e.g. Upton, or similar caliber, in trade without having to lose Felix or Pineda to do it?

    There are enough parts for a blockbuster trade without leaving the system completely bare, yes. Whether you can pull it off without including Pineda – well, somebody has to be capable of headlining the trade. I’m not sure anyone else is close enough to “can’t-miss” status to qualify.

    You might be able to convince a team that Franklin or Paxton fills the bill. You’d have to be a persuasive salesman, though, because they still have significant unresolved issues (medical setbacks, will he have to move to second, and can he really switch-hit for Franklin, command and control for Paxton).

  37. jordan on August 16th, 2011 11:46 am

    I really wish Cron would have signed, but it sounds like he really just didn’t want to. Z said he made a substantial and more than fair offer to him. I am assuming that means he offered 1.5M or more. I have a feeling Cron is going to be a top 10 pick in 3 years.

    Welcome to Seattle, Hultzen. I didn’t love the pick, but I trust Z and his talent evaluators. He seems to fall ass backwards into a lot of things that make me think maybe it isn’t actually luck, haha.

  38. thurston24 on August 16th, 2011 12:37 pm

    I don’t often comment but I really have a problem with those who criticize the drafting of the team under GMZ’s team. Jack and his scouting director have appeared to be pretty successful so far at drafting. Frim Walker, Franklin, Ackley, Seager, Paxton, ect. The team has been pretty good at building the system so far. I know some people appear to say that they didn’t draft player X so the draft was bad/failure/disaster. I truly believe that the Mariners are better than a lot of teams in acquiring amateur talent. Can’t we remain positive in that we got a lot of really good potential talent and tall about what may come of that?

  39. gwangung on August 16th, 2011 12:53 pm

    I don’t think I have much of a problem with people saying that Hultzen was a bit of a reach. I do have a problem with people saying that he’s a disaster or never should have been considered–he obviously WAS considered in the top five for a number of teams. Even if he was a reach, I’m not convinced there was that much separation between the top seven players in the draft; a lot of it to me seems idiosyncratic as to team philosophy and what they value in their players.

  40. stevie_j13 on August 16th, 2011 12:55 pm

    I guess we can start dreaming about that Felix/Pineda/Hultzen/Walker/Paxton rotation in 2014!

    I wanted Bundy (and am glad Cole wasn’t available – not my type), but Hultzen looks solid and hopefully will be at least a #2-3 starter. I understand the pick fron Z’s perspective and prefer this kind of GM-on-the-hot-seat-and-needs-players-now move to the Bavasi equivalents. Good luck, Danny!

  41. gwangung on August 16th, 2011 12:58 pm

    I understand the pick fron Z’s perspective and prefer this kind of GM-on-the-hot-seat-and-needs-players-now move to the Bavasi equivalents.

    Hm. On a more philosophical note, is this something a GM may want to focus on in higher round draft picks? And rawer, but higher upside players are left to the lower rounds? Because Ackley was certainly a quick-to move player himself at #2….

  42. Valenica on August 16th, 2011 2:32 pm

    Z’s philosophy looks to be draft the best college player available in the top of the first round (Ackley, Hultzen), and go for more raw, upside guys in lower 1st (Walker, Franklin). Which makes sense, because you want projectable guys when you pick at the top, but those guys are all gone by the end of the 1st so you roll the dice on the raw high schoolers.

    And I don’t understand how people think Hultzen was a reach, almost every single mock had Arizona picking Hultzen at #3. And there is value in how fast they’ll move, when half our core is already in the majors and the other half are only 1-2 years away, drafting a HS kid like Starling/Lindor/Bundy who’s 3-4 years away doesn’t match the time table. Plus SP is still a hole. Can’t go wrong with having 5 #1-2s; just look at Philly.

  43. SadPanda on August 16th, 2011 4:37 pm

    I like the signing. Maybe a bit too much money but I’m not paying it.

    I’ve heard some compare Hultzen to a young Cliff Lee which could be awesome. Low walks lefty fits perfectly for Safeco. He may have a lot of trade value down the road as well. Let’s just hope he pans out which I think he will.

  44. stevemotivateir on August 16th, 2011 5:43 pm

    I’m glad they got the Danny deal done (no pun intended). But what really screams at me right now, is Vargas clearing waivers. Doesn’t mean they will (or have to) trade him of course, but man, the curiousity is killin’ me!

  45. UnderTheClouds on August 16th, 2011 10:35 pm

    I don’t think the Mariners had a choice but to sign Hultzen at his price. The M’s needed a strong draft class, and hopefully they got one. This organization has been the black hole on the Seattle sporting scene for the last two years now, for things both on and off the field, both under the team’s control and well outside the team’s control. They need to arrest the downward trajectory and win back a very frustrated fan base that has viewed the M’s as a running joke for much of the past several years. A high profile failure to sign their top draft choice would have wiped out the sparks of hope that have appeared since the excruciating losing streak. They had to sign Hultzen.

  46. wabbles on August 17th, 2011 2:18 pm

    “I guess we can start dreaming about that Felix/Pineda/Hultzen/Walker/Paxton rotation in 2014!”
    What makes me nervous reading that is remembering Bill Swift, Mike Jackson and Dave Burba for Kevin Mitchell (because we had an excess of pitching, we thought, but not enough offense). I hope we don’t repeat that mistake.

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