Forget Prince Fielder – Target Joey Votto Instead

Dave · September 19, 2011 at 7:51 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

A lot of people want the Mariners to make a big move to upgrade the offense this winter. Given the ineptitude of the team’s ability to score runs the last two years, it’s an understandable sentiment – no one really wants to see the team struggle to put up three runs a game again next year. Most of the focus on the offense’s weaknesses has been on the team’s relative lack of power, so in general, the expectation has been that the team would go for a guy who can hit the ball to the moon; specifically, Prince Fielder.

He fits a need. Jack drafted him when he was in Milwaukee. With the Red Sox and Yankees unlikely to be in the bidding, this is one of the few off-seasons where the M’s could probably win a bidding war for a coveted free agent hitter. There are reasons why you can make a case for the M’s blowing their budget to bring Fielder to Seattle, but if they do decide to make a big splash this winter (and I’m not sure that it’s the right path, but that’s another post), I’d rather they target another NL Central first baseman. No, not fellow free agent Albert Pujols – Reds first baseman Joey Votto.

Votto is what Fielder is hyped as but is not actually – one of the very best players in all of baseball. Their career WAR totals are actually very similar (22.7 for Fielder, 23.0 for Votto), except Fielder has an extra 1,600 plate appearances in his career. While they are pretty similar types of hitters, Votto is just better, and the comparison becomes somewhat comical when we look at areas like defense and baserunning. While Fielder is a good bat, Votto is an all-around superstar, providing value at every aspect of the game.

Of course, the Reds realize all of this too, and they won’t be in any hurry to move their franchise player. However, they have to see that the writing is on the wall, and Votto’s career in Cincinnati almost certainly won’t extend beyond 2013, as they just won’t be able to pay the market rate for a guy like Votto once he reaches free agency. He’s under contract for the next two seasons, but a talent like Votto is simply too valuable to let walk away for draft picks (which might not even exist by the time Votto hits FA), so at some point in the next 18 months, the Reds are probably going to have to trade him. They don’t have to trade him this winter, but with promising prospect Yonder Alonso looking capable of filling a potential void at first base, they could probably be talked into moving him for the right return.

Now, for a player like Votto, you’re not talking about a collection of prospects – to get him, you’d have to give up significant pieces off your Major League roster. For the Mariners to have any chance of landing Votto in trade, they’d almost certainly have to build a package around Michael Pineda.

I know, the last time I suggested that the M’s look into trading Pineda, a lot of you weren’t big fans of the proposal. He’s a quality starting pitcher making the league minimum, under team control for five more seasons, and is one of the few bright spots in the organization right now. He’s the kind of guy that most organizations won’t part with. And that’s exactly why the M’s could land Votto this winter.

You put Pineda on the table (and realistically, to get a deal done, you’d probably have to include a couple more players as well) and the Reds will listen. There aren’t many other teams out there who could offer up that kind of high ceiling talent who could also be a difference maker for the 2012 Reds. They lack high-end talent at the front of their rotation, and you could make a pretty decent case to Walt Jocketty that he wouldn’t be that much worse off with Pineda in the rotation, Alonso at first base, and $10 million extra to spend in free agency than with the configuration he has now, and Pineda would give the Reds the kind of long term value that two more years of Votto just can’t offer.

At the least, the Reds would be forced to consider a deal. Maybe you have to put Brandon League in the package as well. Maybe you have to add in a prospect or two. But if Jack Z calls and says Pineda is in play if they’ll talk about Votto, Jocketty isn’t hanging up.

I know many of you will say that giving up five years of Pineda is too high a cost to pay to acquire Votto when you can just sign Fielder as a free agent. But, in reality, I’d argue that the cost to acquiring and keeping Votto might very well be lower than signing Fielder.

Fielder is a Scott Boras client, and they’ve made no secret of the fact that they are looking for a contract that would pay Fielder like he’s one of the game’s elite. The Brewers reportedly offered a five year, $100 million extension and were told that they weren’t even in the ballpark, at which time negotiations ended and haven’t resumed since. Boras has instead made comparisons to guys like Mark Teixeira, who got $180 million over eight years from the Yankees, and given that he was able to get $126 million for Jayson Werth, it’s not hard to see Boras getting into the Teixeira/Gonzalez neighborhood for Fielder. In other words, you’re looking at something in the range of $25 million per year for the next 6-7 years.

Votto, on the other hand, is scheduled to make just $9 million next year and then $17 million in 2013 before he reaches free agency. Retaining him beyond those years will take a Fielder-sized contract (the differences between the two are primarily in things that the market doesn’t value, so Votto probably won’t get a significantly larger deal than Fielder as an FA), but having an MVP-caliber player at significantly discounted rates for two years gives the Mariners an opportunity to do something they probably wouldn’t be able to do if they just signed Fielder – potentially contend in 2012.

Yes, they’d lose Pineda, but they’d save $10 to $15 million in 2012 salary by paying Votto instead of Fielder, and that money could then be allocated to upgrading the rest of the roster. Yes, you’d have to use some of it to acquire a starting pitcher to replace Pineda, but Safeco Field gives the Mariners a huge advantage in acquiring useful pitchers for below market rates. Maybe you won’t get a power arm who racks up the strikeouts, but the M’s could replace Pineda’s actual on field production without blowing all of the cost savings and have enough left over to upgrade several of the other holes on the roster.

With Ichiro’s contract coming off the books after 2012, the M’s could afford to give Votto a monster extension next winter without having to massively expand the payroll. They aren’t in that position this off-season, as signing Fielder would essentially be the only thing they could afford to do, and they might even have to cut payroll in other places in order to fit him into the budget. By himself, Prince Fielder doesn’t make the M’s a good team next year, so just adding him to the current talent in the organization isn’t enough, but it probably is all they could realistically do this winter.

Votto, though, opens the door for real substantial improvement. By bringing in a lower priced superstar, the team would give themselves the flexibility to make real substantial improvements across the roster. They probably can’t catch up to Texas in one off-season, but there’s enough young talent in place that a few key upgrades along with Votto would give the team a chance to win next year.

And, in reality, this organization needs to start winning sooner than later. The fans continue to avoid Safeco Field (they’re down 200,000 in attendance compared to 2010), and engaging in another non-competitive season is likely to cut into revenues to an even greater degree. The M’s just aren’t in a position to bet the farm on the most unreliable asset in the sport – young pitching – but right now, that’s the area that the team has gathered the most talent. It might be fun to dream of a Felix/Pineda/Hultzen/Paxton rotation, but that’s the kind of dream that can blow up really fast, and an arm injury here or regression there, and all of the sudden, the team is in both short term and long term trouble.

The cost of acquiring Votto might be a prized young arm, but the cost of signing Fielder and hoping all the young pitching pans out is even greater – if the guy who is already too big to play an adequate first base begins to have health issues, or if any of the young pitchers feel pain in their arms, there’s no safety net in place, and it’s organizational suicide for the next decade or so. The Mariners can’t survive Fielder turning into Mo Vaughn – they don’t have the kind of budget that would let them build a winner around that kind of busted contract.

Betting on a 300 pound DH and a bunch of young arms to develop is a strategy fraught with risk – even more risk than trading Pineda away and watching him develop into an ace somewhere else. Yes, you might be giving up some long term potential by moving Pineda, but getting a true superstar in Votto would be enough to justify pulling the trigger.

If this team decides the 2012 roster needs a big shot in the arm, I’d suggest that Fielder isn’t a big enough boost. He’s a nice player, but he’s not really a superstar, and he’s going to be drastically overpaid this winter. If the M’s are in the mood to make a big splash, they’d be better off paying the price to acquire Joey Votto, and then using the money they saved to build out a competitive roster and make a real run at winning in 2012. Give Votto a good experience in his first year in Seattle, let him play with Felix Hernandez and Dustin Ackley, show him how beautiful the area can be in the summer, and you might even be able to extend him next winter for less than what Fielder would cost you this winter.

Prince Fielder would make the M’s offense better, but he wouldn’t make the M’s contenders. If they want to really push this organization forward in a hurry, Joey Votto is the man to target this off-season.

Comments

80 Responses to “Forget Prince Fielder – Target Joey Votto Instead”

  1. 9inningknowitall on September 19th, 2011 8:27 pm

    If the M’s were to get Votto I would be excited and really impressed. I’ve never been impressed with Fielder and don’t really have a lot of faith that he will be solid if he signed with the M’s but Votto is the real deal.

  2. heddena on September 19th, 2011 8:29 pm

    Yeah, but how will Votto’s depression play in ol’ cloudy gray dank Seattle?

  3. Alec on September 19th, 2011 8:30 pm

    Would people object to a Pineda-Pujols swap? Votto is closer in talent to Pujols than to Fielder. In this case, the Mariners would probably have to include Smoak in the deal and try to get some more value back from the Reds or a 3rd team right? Or just DH one of them?

  4. Paul L on September 19th, 2011 8:41 pm

    You had me at:

    Fielder is a Scott Boras client

  5. Dennisss on September 19th, 2011 8:43 pm

    Holy moley Dave, it never even occurred to me that the Mariners could maybe get Votto. It seems too good to be true, even for Pineda, and yes, take League too if you want. I wonder if Cincinnati would think your offer is way too low.

    Votto — yeah, that would generate some excitement.

  6. MdW on September 19th, 2011 8:45 pm

    Pujols is a free agent at the end of the year, and the M’s are not exactly in the position to trade for a high priced rental.

    The Reds seem unlikely to be interested in Smoak, given that they already have Alonso at first. Besides that, trading Smoak at this point– to the Reds or anyone else– is certainly not selling high. Still, you can’t keep playing young players at every position in the hopes that most of them figure it out. It is harder to give up on Smoak than Saunders or Carp, but winning is nice too. And, yeah, DH.

  7. Alec on September 19th, 2011 8:53 pm

    I wasn’t advocating trading for Pujols, that’s obviously not on the table. I was making the comparison for someone opposed to a Pineda for Votto swap but would like to sign Fielder.

    I don’t really think Smoak hits well enough to be a full-time DH (although for us, yes, I guess he would be our best since Edgar). It just seems that since both players derive substantial value on the field, DH one is a waste. Alonso has played 3B a bit and Reds might be interested in playing Smoak at 1st and Alonso at 3rd. But yea, they don’t match up perfectly in a Smoak trade, and it would be selling low. Again, seems like a waste of skills to be DHing one though

  8. Dave on September 19th, 2011 8:56 pm

    Smoak isn’t exactly a great defensive first baseman. He can DH and be fine.

  9. juneau_fan on September 19th, 2011 8:56 pm

    You had me at stop obsessing over Prince Fielder. I don’t see why anyone who’s watched the game for any length of time can see that guy’s career going more than another three years before he flames out.

  10. just a fan on September 19th, 2011 9:11 pm

    This is a great idea. This is exactly the type of the deal the M’s need to make, and seems the kind of sneaky deal Zduriencik would make. The M’s need hitting, and nobody expects it to be a great slugger like Votto.

    He can be even more Zdurienciky and make it a three-way trade to keep Pineda, although I’d still be happy turning Pineda into an MVP 1st baseman.

    I like this.

  11. Rick L on September 19th, 2011 9:13 pm

    The obvious player to throw in with Pineda is Justin Smoak.

  12. just a fan on September 19th, 2011 9:14 pm

    Or Smoak could be involved in a trade for somebody else, say Choo or another LF/RF.

  13. robbbbbb on September 19th, 2011 9:15 pm

    I’d like to see folks look away from Prince Fielder, too. The Mo Vaughn comparisons are apt.

    But this line of reasoning leads us to questions about the futures of Justin Smoak and Mike Carp in the organization. Does (a healthy) Smoak have enough value at the plate to make him a full-time DH?

    And no, I don’t think that the opportunity to acquire Votto means that you should break a sweat over Carp. But then what do you do with him? Send him back to Cincy in the deal? Or just leave him in AAA as part of the team’s depth? (Is he out of options?)

    From a roster construction standpoint, one has to wonder what the M’s are going to do about their plethora of corner outfielders. That’s a really interesting question to me. They’ve got a bunch of guys who profile as possible major league players, and not enough roster spots to figure out who fits in the big leagues.

  14. AdamN on September 19th, 2011 9:28 pm

    I like your thought Dave, but what is the answer for a number two starter? We have no number two anywhere close to the majors. Are you thinking a free agent that is available that we could could sign this year potentially if we pulled off this trade?

  15. Dave on September 19th, 2011 9:36 pm

    Smoak, Carp, and Wells can split LF/DH between them. In an ideal world, Smoak steps up as a good everyday DH, and then you have a L/R and offense/defense platoon in left. There’s enough playing time to go around.

  16. robbbbbb on September 19th, 2011 9:41 pm

    And Trayvon? Or are you not sold on him as a major league player?

  17. Dave on September 19th, 2011 9:47 pm

    He’s certainly not one right now. I don’t know that he’ll ever be, but if he’s got a chance, it needs to include another year at Triple-A. At least.

  18. Captain Poopy on September 19th, 2011 10:05 pm

    So, Dave, what about Adam Kennedy as our DH answer? All joking aside, I love this write-up – and while I have been salivating over a potential partner in Yonder, I never thought as Votto as an answer. I love the idea. It would be a great fit, thanks for the article and I’m super stoked for you and your health.

  19. Keo on September 19th, 2011 10:10 pm

    Is the thinking that Pujols would just be too expensive for Seattle?

  20. Liam on September 19th, 2011 10:17 pm

    The Mariners probably couldn’t afford half of what Pujols will get.

  21. dantheman on September 19th, 2011 10:17 pm

    Trade Pineda?? You can never have enough pitching. And no, even with the truly dreadful offense that the Mariners (past and present GMs) have put together, trading away some of your best pitching is a bad idea. The Fister trade was great….for Detroit. The Mariners’ rotation is rapidly becoming another problem area.

    Most likely Votto, or any other hitter, will under perform with the Mariners. You need more than one legitimate hitter in the middle of the lineup. If the Mariners were one hitter away from being a contending team a trade like this might make sense. But the Mariners are about to lose 90+ games AGAIN and are far, far away from the lineup they need to make a trade like this feasible.

  22. Captain Poopy on September 19th, 2011 10:29 pm

    Dantheman,

    I would much rather have an impact player that’s an everyday hitter than a player that pitches once every five to six days. We have many pitchers that are coming up that look like they could be ones or twos… what type of hitters do we have in the minors? Most of them are great at power and SOs.

    Trading Pindeda makes tons of sense to me, and I have advocated it for a while for two reasons; minor league SP depth, and pitchers arms going belly up.

    As far as 3/4/5/6 hitters next year (with Votto) we have Ackley, Smoak, Votto, and Carp all filling those roles. With Votto, we’d have a pretty good hitting team, and finally (most likely) get out of last place.

  23. dantheman on September 19th, 2011 10:37 pm

    [Pineiro]

  24. bubba_gump on September 19th, 2011 10:47 pm

    “Felix/Pineda/Hultzen/Paxton rotation, but that’s the kind of dream that can blow up really fast, and an arm injury here or regression there, and all of the sudden, the team is in both short term and long term trouble”

    If this is a worry with Pineda, wouldn’t be an even larger one without him? Also, you mention Ichiro’s money coming off the books in 13. Does anyone actually believe that he isn’t getting a “Jeter” deal?

  25. Captain Poopy on September 19th, 2011 10:48 pm

    RRS was never going to be a TOR pitcher, neither was Ken Clarke (although, I think you mean Cloude?). Piniero had a few good years and went south, but he’s still a serviceable pitcher. As far as our minor league depth, we have Hultzen, Paxton and Walker. Paxton and Hultzen have a shot to be up next year… we wont contend, but as long as we’re continually building, we are all happy.

    3-6 hitters: Who knows if they all have Sophomore slumps. They could also excel, it’s not unheard of.

    And, Mr. Negative Nancy, if you’re so against Dave’s plan, why not come up with one of your own that makes sense?

  26. brian_sun on September 19th, 2011 11:05 pm

    ” As far as our minor league depth, we have Hultzen, Paxton and Walker. Paxton and Hultzen have a shot to be up next year… we wont contend, but as long as we’re continually building, we are all happy. ”

    Captain: Do you remember Ryan Anderson, Gil Meche and Joel Pineiro? How did that work out? Anderson was definitely considered a TOR guy, Gil Meche was probably considered a #2 or #3. Pineiro was probably considered a #3. But that never happened in Seattle. So I am not counting Hultzen or Paxton yet. But I am all for trading Pineda, League for Votto. I just think that Cincy is going to ask for more, way more than those two. Too bad, we don’t have Fister to package in the deal any more.

  27. Westside guy on September 19th, 2011 11:30 pm

    So… people are being too calm and rational in the comments – let’s fan the flames a little higher.

    Let’s say Jack Z calls Walt Jocketty, and proposes a Pineda-centered trade like Dave suggests. Then Jocketty comes back and says “we love Pineda; but we want to win right now and, while he’s good, his best days are a few years down the road. But tell you what – we’ll trade you Joey Votto for Felix Hernandez, straight up.”

    What do you do if you’re Jack Z?

  28. nwade on September 19th, 2011 11:36 pm

    I’m all for this trade, but brian I think Fister + Pineda would be overpaying…

    For those who say our pitching sucks now, here are our opponents’ final scores for the month of September: 4,9,3,8,7,1,3,1,3,4,2,9,3,1,0,7,3,6

    Yes, those 7′s 8′s and 9′s are not good. But look at all the numbers between 0 and 4. Those are FINE pitching performances. No, our rotation isn’t a bunch of superstars; but they’re serviceable for now and should improve over time (either through experience with the younguns that are up now, or with Paxton/Hultzen/Walker). And Dave *was* arguing that we go out and get another pitcher as part of this whole deal, too – wasn’t he? What about Bedard or something like him? I wasn’t a huge fan of his, but ya know when he was healthy he was pretty darn good for this organization (certainly better than Furbush/Beavan/Vasquez – although I think one of them has a chance to stick next year. I just hope that one sticks and does well).

    No one likes to see the pitching get weaker, but you have to give up something good in order to get something good. I see this as shuffling the weak area of the team back and forth between pitching and hitting; but if you can make steady improvements with each shuffle, you’re moving forward. There’s simply no way with the current salary and contracts to keep ALL of the pitching we have and pick up a bunch of impact position players.

  29. nwade on September 19th, 2011 11:40 pm

    westside guy – I don’t know what decision I’d make, but if I were Jack Z the *first* thing I’d do is call the Yankees. Casually mention I’m thinking about moving Felix. Then cackle with glee and hang up. :-)

  30. everett on September 19th, 2011 11:48 pm

    Trading for Votto is the sort of thing that I can only dream about. I’d happily give up Pineda in a deal for Votto. Give me the everyday player over the pitcher every day. For all you complaining about how all our pitching prospects haven’t panned out, consider how many of those problems are injury related. I’ll take my chances on Votto’s health over Pinedas. Plus, as mentioned, pitchers like signing here in FA, hitters, not so much.

  31. Westside guy on September 20th, 2011 12:22 am

    Hehe, nwade. That would be hilarious!

  32. groundzero55 on September 20th, 2011 12:29 am

    Does (a healthy) Smoak have enough value at the plate to make him a full-time DH?

    Nobody said a DH has to bat over .300 and drive in a hundred runs…technically, as long as a DH is hitting better than a pitcher would, he is doing his job.

    Considering Smoak is a big part of our youth movement, trading him as part of a package would somewhat be a step back from the value we would get from acquiring Votto. Votto wouldn’t be able to singlehandedly push the M’s into the postseason. Remember how everyone was saying “Smoak needs some protection” earlier in the year? I think a Smoak/Votto tandem is a very legit punch in the middle of a lineup…if Carp is in there and continuing to hit, even better.

    Also, you mention Ichiro’s money coming off the books in 13. Does anyone actually believe that he isn’t getting a “Jeter” deal?

    Depends on what happens next season. If Ichiro rebounds and hits .300+ and steals 40 bases again, he’ll get the deal. If he has another season like this one, I don’t see it happening. Moreover, it would be stupid to.

    Plus, as mentioned, pitchers like signing here in FA, hitters, not so much.

    Bingo. Trading might be the only way to get a legitimate hitter here, and also a good way to avoid the bullshit free agent market that is controlled by Boras. Free agency will work a lot better for picking up pitching.

  33. Brantid on September 20th, 2011 3:18 am

    It depends upon who the other pieces are besides Pineda. Our farm is just beginning to look good and if you subtract to much it isn’t looking good anymore. So, Pineda plus a couple of our excess AAA outfielders (Say Pineda/Robinson/Wilson maybe Pineda/Seager/Wilson), sure. Much more than that…no thank you.

    Which makes me most interest in your upcoming article…whether this is even a path the M’s should pursue. I am inclined to say we should hold off on anything like this for another year. Know what we have before we acquire more high dollar talent. But I am interested to hear your thoughts.

  34. asuray on September 20th, 2011 5:39 am

    So many starting pitchers like….Joel Piniero, Ken Clarke, Dave Fleming….there have so many over the years who were supposed to be good enough to be in the rotation for many years.

    And so goes the logic for looking into dealing Pineda while his value is still high. Pitching is a volatile commodity, much more so than established hitting. The chances are just as good, if not better than Pineda flames out after a few years than they are that he becomes a year-in-year-out ace in the Felix mold. His talent is such that he has a better shot at becoming a Felix-type than most any other pitching prospect in baseball, but the fact remains that it’s far from a sure thing. All things being equal, your better off with a 6+ WAR position player than a 6+ WAR pitcher, not to mention the fact that Votto is a superstar now, while Pineda only projects to be one.

  35. The Ancient Mariner on September 20th, 2011 6:34 am

    What are the odds that Pineda ends up more valuable per season than Votto? Pretty low — you’ve got a guy who looks like he’s settling in to a run of 7-win seasons here; I think Pineda can get there, but that would have to be the absolute best-case scenario for him, or pretty close.

    Votto only turned 28 a week and a half ago; he’s a good athlete, so far as I know, and he’s one of the five best hitters in the majors — even though Pineda’s younger, what are the odds that Votto’s productive career ends before Pineda’s? Darn low, I’d have to say.

    What are the odds our farm system produces an MVP-caliber 1B before an MVP-caliber pitcher? At this point, very low. We can’t count on any of our young pitchers being as good as quickly as Pineda, but we have a lot more top young pitchers in the minors than top young hitters. (Yes, Catricala looked mighty good this year, but that’s about it, and I’m hopeful he can at least play the corner OF.)

    All in all, I wouldn’t want to start shipping off prospects as well, but if Pineda + League (or something of that sort) would get the job done, I’d be glad to see it.

  36. mrb on September 20th, 2011 7:14 am

    Fielder seems like a bust waiting to happen. Basically, he’s too fat. He looks like Kevin Mitchell, who only managed 9 HR’s in the Kingdome hitting alongside Griffey, Buhner, Edgar, and Tino.

  37. wilchiro on September 20th, 2011 7:22 am

    He can be even more Zdurienciky and make it a three-way trade to keep Pineda, although I’d still be happy turning Pineda into an MVP 1st baseman.

    He turned JC Ramirez and Phillippe Aumont into Cliff Lee, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

  38. bubba_gump on September 20th, 2011 8:41 am

    Did I say “Jeter” deal….I meant to say Johjima. Oops!
    Ichiro is getting extended regardless of his performance in 12. His performance in 12 will certainly play a factor in length and size of the contract extension, but he’s getting extended…you can take that Yen to the bank.

  39. furlong on September 20th, 2011 8:43 am

    [broken e key]

  40. Mustard on September 20th, 2011 8:55 am

    Could you not go the next step and just try to pry Alonso away from them? He is in the classic “no place for him” spot like Thome blocking Howard. Would that not put you in a position to keep Pineda instead of trade him?

  41. eponymous coward on September 20th, 2011 9:17 am

    Rather than get hung up on the name, I really think this needs to be stressed.

    And, in reality, this organization needs to start winning sooner than later. The fans continue to avoid Safeco Field (they’re down 200,000 in attendance compared to 2010), and engaging in another non-competitive season is likely to cut into revenues to an even greater degree. The M’s just aren’t in a position to bet the farm on the most unreliable asset in the sport – young pitching – but right now, that’s the area that the team has gathered the most talent.

    This is why I think the “well, we won’t bother contending in 2012, let’s wait for 2013″ crowd here at USSM is just dead wrong about this. Right now, the M’s franchise attendance is not near the bottom of the league due to everyone else under them being the complete stiffs of the AL (KC, Baltimore), or being the teams that even when good won’t draw (TB, Florida, Oakland).

    We’re being outdrawn by Pittsburgh, folks, And Washington. Neither of which are particularly good teams.

    2012 has to be more than about “let’s not lose 90 games and play the kids”, because if we knock off another couple hundred thousand off the attendance… this team’s going to be Oakland with a bald version of Billy Beane.

  42. bookbook on September 20th, 2011 9:41 am

    The M’s unloaded some pitching talent in Fister and Bedard. I believe they’d consider unloading more for the right package.

    With Felix, Pineda, Hultzen, Paxton, Walker, Campos and others coming along, (and decent stopgaps in Beaven and Furbush), I hope we do convert some one into a true above average regular to support Ackley and… well, Ackley.

  43. DawgDays on September 20th, 2011 9:41 am

    I’ve been out of the loop for a bit. How has Bedard been doing for the Red Sox? If we trade Pineda in a package for Votto, could we sign Bedard and would that help fill the hole?

  44. groundzero55 on September 20th, 2011 9:48 am

    Bedard hasn’t been great…and he’s also been gimpy.

  45. ManifestDestiny on September 20th, 2011 9:50 am

    Interesting article. However, if Votto is available, the M’s would have some competition, primarily from the Blue Jays. Scuttlebutt at the trade deadline said the Jays/Reds were working on a Bautista-Votto swap, and this could easily be worked on in the offseason. If the Jays do dangle Bautista, it would make it harder for the M’s to get Votto.

  46. RRR on September 20th, 2011 10:01 am

    This is an amazing idea. Votto is an absolute stud. I would be happy to give him a Fielder sized contract- he’s a far better all around player/athlete (much less risk). He’s putting up consecutive 7+ WAR seasons and entering his prime (Just turned 28). Votto would get me to the ballpark more than twice a year!

    Thank you Dave for reigniting my Mariner imagination, and offseason hope.

  47. onetreehugger on September 20th, 2011 10:10 am

    Every time I hear about the Mariners spending a load of money or players to get a ‘proven hitter’ I get a terrible sinking feeling like a bad case of deja vu.

    Anyway, what I would really like to know is about including Smoak in the trade (maybe through a third team) or keeping him. I’m not a baseball expert, but I haven’t seen much yet showing Smoak to be a great major league hitter. He has a bunch of potential, but not mush actual production for having had over a year in the majors. Why do people take it for granted that he’s going to be a great hitter? Why would you want another DH hitting near the Mendoza line? Carp may have a lower potential than Smoak, but this year he’s actually putting runs on the board, which is usually worth more than a pile of potential. How long do we keep playing Smoak on the big league level and waiting?

    As for the trade, I don’t worry too much about losing some pitching because our great pitching performances are almost all wasted in 1-0 or 2-0 losses anyway. I personally enjoy losing a game 6-4 rather than 4-1 or 3-0 like this year. I would rather have some runs on the board than another year of pitchers with great ERAs and losing records.

  48. opiate82 on September 20th, 2011 10:11 am

    In free agency the M’s are always going to pay a premium for hitting and get a discount on pitching due to Safeco. The M’s need to find creative ways to add hitting, and you can only draft Dustin Ackley so many times.

    You want to land a premium bat you are going to have to offer up a premium arm in trade. It’s that or over pay for Fielder and risk crippling the organization financially for years if he goes south. Who really wants to spend another year watching this offense?

  49. TumwaterMike on September 20th, 2011 10:33 am

    Losing Pineda for Votto isn’t a bad idea. The M’s have pitching depth albeit inexperienced. BTW Jamie Moyer is going to try a comeback. Don’t know what he has left but it wouldn’t cost the M’s much to try him out. If he makes the team what an outstanding tutor for the young pitchers.

    Dave are you going to make a projection on the M’s 2012 roster with what they have now or with viable pieces they may get?

  50. goat on September 20th, 2011 10:54 am

    Great idea if we can pull it off. I’ve been thinking about possible trade targets from the Reds since the article this summer. But I never thought Votto would be a possibility. I also like the platoon idea for splitting time with the guys we’ve got now.

    As for the rumored trade with the Blue Jays, maybe we could throw in Figgins and make it a three way where we get Bautista back. (just kidding.)

  51. diderot on September 20th, 2011 11:06 am

    if the Reds agreed to a deal built around Pineda and pieces, it’s a no-brainer. But I think there’s zero chance.
    Jocketty trades for established names (McGwire, Edmonds, Walker, Renteria, Mulder, Rolen, Clark, etc.), not promise. To him, young talent is how you get ‘proven’ talent.
    But I think this will prove irrelevant anyway. I’m with those who think Jocektty takes the Cubs job as soon as the season is over, so that means trying to convince the replacement to trade the face of the franchise in his/her first few months.
    I saw two games in Cincinnati this summer, and judging from the Votto jerseys in the crowd, he seems to that fan base what Edgar once was to ours.
    So, nice thought (and yes, please avoid Prince at all costs) but I think this is just an academic exercise.

  52. Pete Livengood on September 20th, 2011 11:08 am

    Well, I like this suggestion a lot more than Figgins for Zito, and it comes with the extra benefit of moving people off of Fielder (that gives me the same kind of willies the prospect of signing Figgins did…whoever mentioned the scary Mo Vaughn comp is nailing it).

    Anyway, it’s hard to quibble with the target, even if the cost is something people might want to debate. Personally, I’d swallow hard and do it – but I wonder if the Reds would, just yet.

    First, they might want to see a bit of Pineda in Year 2 before deciding he can be the centerpiece of a trade like that. Second, with Votto still with two years of club control left, why trade him this offseason (especially to the Mariners, in light of concern #1)?

    I’d really rather try first to make that trade for pieces that haven’t already succeeded at the Major League level (like Paxton, or Walker), but I agree with Dave that this deal is unlikely to get done without including a proven piece like Pineda. I too, wonder if including a third team might make this a more attractive trade for us by allowing Smoak to be included, but also think it is stupid to sell low on Smoak (might be smarter to sell high on Carp with such a strategy).

    Bottom line, as EC said, is the business side of Marinerdom pretty well DEMANDS that something be done. I don’t really like the idea of trading Pineda, but I like the idea of Joey Votto a whole lot better than the alternative of Prince Fielder, even at the cost of Pineda, and can’t see “do nothing” as an option for the M’s at this point.

  53. Chris_From_Bothell on September 20th, 2011 11:32 am

    This is why I think the “well, we won’t bother contending in 2012, let’s wait for 2013? crowd here at USSM is just dead wrong about this. … 2012 has to be more than about “let’s not lose 90 games and play the kids”, because if we knock off another couple hundred thousand off the attendance… this team’s going to be Oakland with a bald version of Billy Beane.

    Hear, hear, EC. Which is why staying out of the bargain basement bin this offseason is absolutely vital. The Ms need to invest in higher quality players this winter. Trading for someone of the caliber of Votto is great start. So is not overpaying for the likely 2-or-3-good-years, 4-terrible-ones, albatross contract of someone like Fielder.

    That said, with Fister becoming a force in Detroit, the thought of needing to backfill both Fister and Pineda would give me great pause. If Z can pull off getting someone of Votto’s caliber in here, without losing Pineda or selling the farm, I’d be right back on the “In Z We Trust” bandwagon. Ultimately I agree that it would probably take Pineda to do it, though.

    The shopping list for the winter is growing. A Votto-caliber player, at least one more bat beyond that, and one MOTR pitcher (2 if Pineda has to go); yikes. Good luck, Z. Deploy your army of special assistants that you’ve been collecting like trading cards lately…

  54. Pete Livengood on September 20th, 2011 11:35 am

    I will also say this, though: the idea of giving up on Smoak/Carp at 1B/DH and going after another 1B (and yes, I realize that Smoak can DH, as can Carp, who can also play some LF), after only rookie seasons from both, smacks a bit too much of the kind of desperation we’ve seen too much of from the Mariners in this decade. I’ll concede the need for a move for a big bat (and most likely via trade rather than FA), but perhaps that bat ought to come in the form of an outfielder rather than a 1B? We have a rather large glut of too-similar outfielders, and if targeting a two-years out guy like Votto makes sense, then what about guys who I think are slated to be FA’s in 2013 like the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier, or the D-Backs’ Justin Upton?

  55. groundzero55 on September 20th, 2011 11:42 am

    I don’t want to see Carp in LF. Nor do I really want to see him at 1B regularly. He fits best as a DH who can also fill in at 1B and LF to give guys a day off every once in a while.

    CF is still a question mark too, don’t forget. Gutierrez is still around and who knows if he’ll ever be the same again.

    I like Justin Upton. I also like Alex Gordon and I think we could trade for either, Gordon probably needing less in return but not having quite the ceiling of Upton.

  56. The_Waco_Kid on September 20th, 2011 11:48 am

    Dave is right than Votto is a better target than Fielder for us. (I wanna read Dave’s “other post” about not making a big splash)

    I agree with Chris. I’m torn on giving up Pineda. This year, we’ve proven that no matter how good your pitching is, you need an average lineup to compete. Still, I would have felt better trading Pineda when we had Fister. In August, our bats put up pretty average numbers (a huge improvement for us) and our pitching failed us.

    Without Pineda, our rotation is promising, but not necessarily ready to compete. That makes trading Pineda seem like a “compete in 2013″ move.

  57. Chris_From_Bothell on September 20th, 2011 11:54 am

    the idea of giving up on Smoak/Carp at 1B/DH and going after another 1B (and yes, I realize that Smoak can DH, as can Carp, who can also play some LF), after only rookie seasons from both, smacks a bit too much of the kind of desperation we’ve seen too much of

    Something something Wedge preaching mental toughness something competition in spring training blah.

    Seriously, though, the Dodgers as a source of outfield upgrades is a good place to look. I don’t think Upton will be as easy to pry away with the DBacks doing so well lately.

  58. samregens on September 20th, 2011 11:57 am

    What an exciting idea! Thank you, Dave. I always felt sick to the stomach whenever hearing some people advocate giving big bucks and long years to Fat Fielder.
    This is the perfect antidote.

    I think I actually may like Pineda more than Felix, but getting Votto back would assuage the pain.

  59. Zorganak on September 20th, 2011 12:51 pm

    Anyway, what I would really like to know is about including Smoak in the trade (maybe through a third team) or keeping him. I’m not a baseball expert, but I haven’t seen much yet showing Smoak to be a great major league hitter. He has a bunch of potential, but not mush actual production for having had over a year in the majors. Why do people take it for granted that he’s going to be a great hitter? Why would you want another DH hitting near the Mendoza line? Carp may have a lower potential than Smoak, but this year he’s actually putting runs on the board, which is usually worth more than a pile of potential. How long do we keep playing Smoak on the big league level and waiting?

    The influence of small sample size is amazing. Smoak is a better hitter than Carp. Remember the beginning of the year when Smoak was OPSing in the 1.000′s? Everyone was raving about him and how he was our Adrian Gonzalez. His huge extended slump started after being hit by a pitch on the thumb, the team claimed no injury, but after coming back from when he FINALLY went on the DL for the face injury he has been hitting (.326/.369/.465 in September). I still believe his thumb was sapping his ability through the middle of summer, but he needs another season to prove it and trading him now is selling him way low. Smoak tore through the minors and is a legitimate big bat prospect, there’s a reason he was drafted in the first round. Carp on the other hand was taken in the 9th round and has repeated AAA for almost 3 complete seasons, if you want to get rid of one of them in a trade you’d better be suggesting selling high on Carp.

    Although I see no reason to mention either of their names unless the trading partner brings it up first. A 2-5 of some combination of Ackley, Votto, Smoak, and Carp looks to me like a legit middle of the order.

    Beware the small sample size demons. They can make Ronny Cedeno look good and Albert Pujols look bad.

  60. lubin_cuban23 on September 20th, 2011 1:11 pm

    Dave,

    Not criticizing but just curious. Do you not like Pineda and are overall not excited about his upside? Or is this mainly a stance against young pitching and how it often times does not pan out. Same situation when Felix was his age way back when, are you still for it?

    I am just curious because I remember you thinking he should have stayed down in AAA, you were worried that he would falter after a couple games, and this is now the second time advocating trading him.

    Totally not calling you out, I am truly just interested to see if you would treat Pineda the same as other top pitching prospects or if you are meh on his future. Thanks!

  61. SonOfZavaras on September 20th, 2011 1:25 pm

    To chime in with my two pennies- it’s a good idea, Dave. And one I like a helluva lot better than the idea of acquiring Fielder.

    (My brother and I vehemently disagree on this. He wants a legitimate offense NOW, if not yesterday. So do I, but not at that price and not at that tremendous risk- not when there ARE alternatives.)

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again- I am not not NOT a fan of getting Prince Fielder into our lineup. Yes, I know what he can do with a bat. But not for what Boras will want for his client. And not with that body that’s just begging to become more injury-prone. Let some other team be the sucker that sinks seven years and nine figures into the guy.

    I agree that if Votto is even a remote possibility, Pineda will have to be the centerpiece. For whoever replaces Walt Jocketty (whom I don’t believe is going to stay in Cincinnati).

    I was thinking of young, good players that could feasibly be gotten via trade myself. Somewhere around last season, I mentioned some ridiculous (in hindsight, even I have to agree) proposal to get Indians middle infielder Asdrubal Cabrera back into the fold. What I had going back to Cleveland back then was kinda “yeahhh…suuure- they’ll do THAT deal”.

    But I’m wondering if the market might not be ripe to re-visit the idea.

    Cabrera is reaching arbitration, and is about to become very expensive. And Cleveland has a number of other players in the same boat- Choo is one of them. In addition, they just gave up 2 top-drawer pitching prospects to acquire Ubaldo Jimenez- talent that they’re probably going to regret parting with before long.

    Having said all that, I realize this is not a rosterbation thread. So I won’t offer up players who we could send to Cleveland for an All-Star caliber shortstop who is barely 26 when 2012 starts. But- considering the improved condition of our farm system now- I’m wondering if it’s an idea with merit.

  62. Valenica on September 20th, 2011 2:03 pm

    Cabrera’s a pipe dream. Cleveland is trying to compete now (why else would you trade of Jimenez), so they wouldn’t trade their All-Star SS for prospects, even if he’s about to hit arbitration.

    Votto or Fielder + Pineda. Looking at it from a vacuum, Fielder + Pineda will win out in terms of value every single time. But what if we took that extra $27 million~ (Votto 2 years/$23 million, Fielder 2 years /$50 million) and spent it to get Yu Darvish? Votto + Darvish would beat out Fielder + Pineda, I’d say. And rumor is Darvish is looking to post this off-season. That extra $27 million could help us out bid the Sox/Yankees. Plus with Darvish around, there’s less incentive to keep Ichiro around after 2012 (and for your rosterbating needs, Matt Kemp can replace him). Plus we’ll still have that potentially killer young rotation.

    The biggest obstacle is the fact AA is wiling to trade 5 years of Jose Bautista for 2 years of Joey Votto. Which doesn’t really make sense, unless the Reds trade a bunch of their prospects, so I doubt it’ll be that big of a factor.

    The other factor is that Votto still has 2 years. The Reds don’t really have any incentive to trade him until next winter, and by then Fielder will be off the market, and Darvish might have posted already. But if a Justin Smoak or Mike Carp can convince them to do it early, it could happen.

  63. Jordan on September 20th, 2011 4:39 pm

    what is the answer for a number two starter?

    CJ Wilson? Someone Fragile (Bedard, Harden etc.)

    Regardless, replacing our pitching if/when Pineda is dealt is a secondary concern; you need to give up quality to get quality, and pitching still appears to be our biggest trading strength.

    Votto + Darvish would beat out Fielder + Pineda

    Great point, and as someone else already pointed out Z and co. need to think like this and avoid large item pickup at all cost. The problem is even after acquiring Votto, you still have to upgrade OF, 3b and C.

    I like several KC bats like Moustakas, Gordon, Hosmer etc. Would KC be interested in Vargas? Do the Mariners have any real trade chips beyond Pineda?

  64. UnderTheClouds on September 20th, 2011 9:11 pm

    I’d be willing to use Pineda as a centerpiece for Votto, but I’m very skittish of the idea of convincing Votto that Seattle should be his future home beyond 2013. Even if the M’s compete next year, there is usually a lag by at least a year in return of attendance numbers. Early 2012, Safeco will likely be a mausoleum, not the type of situation a young, premier player would be excited to find himself traded to. Seattle is Siberia, even compared to small-market Cincy.

    For me, I question whether that’s too big a risk to take. The worst case scenario, aside from catastrophic injury, would be that Pineda develops into a top of the rotation starter/ possible ace for 5+ years, and Joey Votto leaves after 2013 (or is traded during the final season). I think if the M’s trade a potential 5+ year TOTR pitcher, they need more than a premier position player who’ll be here only 1.5 to 2 years. If somehow the M’s could do a trade and sign deal, I’d do that deal with little hesitation.

    On the other hand, as has been pointed out, the M’s are at a significant disadvantage when trying to sign FA hitters, as compared to pitchers, so the natural strategy would be to trade pitching depth for hitting depth, and then be a more competitive player on the FA pitching market.

    Finally, we have to consider Jack Z’s timeline. As a casual fan, I’ll likely hope the M’s win for the rest of my life, so I’ve got a long horizon. Jack Z doesn’t have that much time. He’s reportedly signed for 2 years. Although he is building the talent level for long term contention, there is no doubt in my mind that this team has to show significant improvement next season, not just wait for 2013 and beyond. The M’s don’t have to be world beaters next season (or even Rangers killers), but they do need to stop this slide into irrelevancy. 13K fans, even for a garbage time game against KC, is embarrassing, and should be deeply concerning to ownership and upper management. Build for the future yes, but this team needs to start it’s upward trajectory now.

    I guess I’d lean towards “Yes” on such a trade, with fingers crossed. I think this would make or break Jack Z’s tenure as GM. He’s proven his ability as a judge of young talent, but building a complete team that contend for a title is something he has yet to do. The possibility of the M’s keeping Votto here longer than 2013 would really be no better than a crapshoot, but I think the team is in a worse situation than many realize, such that improvement over the next year or two, even if it cost Pineda, might be worth it.

  65. hansk on September 20th, 2011 9:55 pm

    Maybe we don’t even need another 1B/DH type, Fielder or Votto, no matter how good. I would rather give Smoak and Carp a chance, and try to improve elsewhere.

    A previous post indicated (and rightly so in my opinion) that 3B is the new biggest hole. I think the “Should we trade for Votto or sign Fielder?” question should be “Should we trade for Wright or sign Aramis Ramirez?” Unfortunately neither are LHB. Point being, I think an upgrade over Figgins is a bigger upgrade then replacing Carp/Smoak. Granted this is easy to say after Carp goes 5 for 5.

    Does anyone agree?

    (L) Ichiro RF
    (L) Ackley 2B
    (R) Wright/Ramirez/Youkilis 3B
    (S) Smoak 1B
    (L) Carp/Other DH
    (R) Olivo C
    (R) Gutierrez CF
    (R/L) Wells/Saunders/Carp/Other LF
    (R) Ryan SS

    Am I crazy to think that’s a half decent lineup?

    I think Wright is the best bet. He’ll be only 29 at the start of next season, and under contract for $15 mil. Assuming he voids the last year of his deal ($16 mil), he’ll be on the last year of his deal, and should cost considerably less than Votto. He’s also having a down year (.260 and 14 hrs), but his BABIP is just .307 compared to .340 for his career, so a bounce back should be expected.

    I’m not all too impressed with Ramirez, his hit chart indicates a lot of his homers wouldn’t make it out at Safeco.

    I would love Yonder Alonso if he could play 3B, though he might be more untradeable than Votto.

    Maybe Youkilis is attainable? This could also be a buy low situation. He’s 33 and his numbers are far below his career marks.

    Cuddyer would be an OK signing, assuming it’s only a 2-year deal, and less than $10 mil per, which I’m not sure he’ll do.

    I would expect Zimmerman, A-Rod, Beltre, Longoria and possibly Sandoval to be untouchable.

    What would it take to get Wright? They love him in NY. We could include Seager as a replacement 3B. What does NY need? I don’t think we’d need to include Pineda.

    Thoughts?

  66. ivan on September 20th, 2011 10:13 pm

    I bet they could get Justin Morneau without giving up Pineda.

  67. Axtell on September 21st, 2011 12:53 am

    To everyone who says you can’t have enough pitching, I point you in the direction of the 2011 SF Giants. Owners of one of the best rotations in baseball, in a similar park skewed to pitchers over hitters, and, like the Mariners, owners of one of the worst offenses in all of baseball.

    If we can trade a high-risk (young, high velocity pitchers are very high-risk) for a proven commodity like Votta, it couldn’t happen quickly enough for me.

    The way the young kids have been producing, adding in a bat like Votta would make this offense take a HUGE step forward.

  68. UnderTheClouds on September 21st, 2011 11:09 am

    Adding info for the person asking about Bedard, it hasn’t worked out well yet for Boston. He was pulled from a crucial start against Tampa Bay due to ongoing injury problems. Yesterday, he was pulled in the 3rd inning (not sure why, he only gave up 1ER), but it might have to do with the fact that he was served with paternity suit right before his start. Adding insult to injury, the process server was wearing a Yankees shirt:

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Red-Sox-pitcher-Erik-Bedard-served-child-support-papers-by-Yankees-fan-092011

  69. UnderTheClouds on September 21st, 2011 11:16 am

    I see Bedard gave up 3 unearned runs as well. Apparently, he was rusty coming off the DL, similar to his final start in Seattle.

    Boston will probably limp into the playoffs as the wildcard. I hope Bedard can give them at least 1 quality start.

  70. johndango on September 21st, 2011 11:33 am

    @undertheclouds

    I don’t. Especially if we want to consider resigning him at all.

  71. UnderTheClouds on September 21st, 2011 12:24 pm

    I wish Bedard well but I hope the M’s don’t resign him. I think there will be sturdier, if less talented, options available in FA.

    The service of legal papers by the Yankees fan (who’s a lawyer, and bound by a professional ethics code) right before a start is disgusting. More a pr stunt. Apparently the guy bragged about it on his Facebook page. This guy sounds like the stunted adolescent, way too into his team, type, which is a stereotype that knowledgeable sports fans have to deal with at times.

  72. jordan on September 21st, 2011 3:17 pm

    So all I was hearing is we should empty the farm for a guy that we will have to sign to a monster deal after just a couple years.

    I would rather just sign someone to a monster deal now and not spend the farm on them.

    Disclaimer: I am not directly refering to Fielder. I don’t know what I think about signing him right now.

  73. Jethawkhorizon on September 21st, 2011 4:23 pm

    I like the concept of going after a MVP caliber hitter like Votto, and I think this trade proposal is fairly realistic, but I also don’t know if it’s worth gambling whether Votto will resign with the Mariners.

    If he doesn’t, the Mariners essentially give up 5 years of Pineda, among others, for two years of Votto.

    If the Mariners successfully resign him though, then the trade would be a steal.

    It would probably be risky, but then again, this team probably needs to make some risky moves if they want to truly contend.

  74. philosofool on September 21st, 2011 7:27 pm

    You know what I don’t like about Votto? This

    http://hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2011_623&type=hitter

    That’s his hittracker home run spray chart.

    He’s not a pull-hitting lefty; a lot of hit homers are opposite field shots. Shots to left field. Shots to left in a homer friendly ball park.

    Votto turned twenty-eight this month. His ability to hit homers has always benefited from a friendly home park. I have my doubts about his long term ability in Safeco.

    Screw Fielder, unless it’s about $19m a year. But I’m not sure about Votto. I’d be happy to see the M’s roll out Smoak and Carp as 1B/DH next year and invest their FA money in shorter contracts at RP, SP, and 3B. With Ichiro fading and question marks at LF, 1B, CF, 3B and a future hole at SS, I would prefer the M’s reserve their FA spending until 2013, letting 2012 tell us which of those question marks are simply “no’s”.

  75. NorthofWrigleyField on September 22nd, 2011 10:44 am

    Votto OPS (home) = 924
    Votto OPS (road) = 991

    That home run chart includes both of his home and road homers, so you would need one that denotes which are home and road to make any conclusion of how much GAB helps him when talking about something as specific as oppo homers.

    Either way, you’re talking about 8 more homers at home vs the road over ~2500 PAs (though the total XBHs are barely in his road stat’s favor).

    Votto is helped by GAB. It would be foolish to assert otherwise even if he does have a higher OPS, SLG% and significant % of his career homer total on the road, but he is awesome everywhere he hits.

  76. cougarcountry on September 22nd, 2011 3:49 pm

    I don’t think they’re in need of that much bat. A “B” bat instead of an “A+” bat.

    With Ackley, Carp, and Smoak, that’s actually a nice heart of the order. Then you add in a developing Seager (I see him as a nice top of the order hitter if he can get that OBP up…), a developing Treyvon, a healthy Guti (or Casper, whatever) that’s actually a lineup that doesn’t need much to make it formidable.

    These guys aren’t anemic anymore.

    They don’t need a top 10 hitter to make the lineup real.

    Maybe a top 30-50 guy- and conveniently enough it can be from the 1b/dh/ or LF talent pool- the biggest pool of such hitters.

    It’s not beyond Jack Z’s talents to get a .270/.350/.450+ guy from that pool without giving up a potential ace and one of the most prized assets in baseball (excellent,cheap young pitching).

    Keep the rotation elite, and find another decent slugger elsewhere. The M’s don’t need “ONE BIG BAT”. They need the youngsters to get a bit better, and then add “ONE PRETTY GOOD BAT” to complement a championship rotation.

    Then, they’re legit contenders with a rotation that can challenge anyone.

    At any rate, I think it’s worth it to sit tight and see if the young guys can be a supporting cast (Seager, Robinson, Wells/Guti) to what is a pretty good core. Then you just add in the solid hitter, not the all-star, and get to keep the ace staff.

  77. dan l on September 24th, 2011 12:33 pm

    Votto is going to be a Yankee.

  78. SeaTown Down on September 24th, 2011 6:13 pm

    This is a excelent article Dave,i completely agree with what you are saying, and id be more than willing to give up Pineda for a stud like Votto. However, i think we could maybe get Votto without losing Pineda in the process. The Reds roster isnt exactly built to win right now they have a lot of young players and with a few more young pieces could be a lethal team in a few years. Do you think Jocketty would be interested in a deal for Votto involving a few young upcoming prospects like Hultzen, nick Franklin, Robles/Cortes, and a guy like Trayvon Robinson who has leadoff man potential due to his speed. that would be a solid haul for the Reds and would give them a serious chance at winning in a few years. And the Mariners wouldnt have to part with Pineda.

  79. henryv on October 16th, 2011 7:13 pm

    It seems like this team desperately needs (in order) a 3B, a C, and a SP or two.

    Joey Votto would not only not solve any of these problems, but cause another one to be needed.

    Sure, he would be a big upgrade at one position.

    I wouldn’t have a problem with picking up Votto or someone like that through a trade. But I would be more interested in playing Seagar at 3B, and praying that Adam Moore can come back from injury.

    If Smoak, Seagar, Carp, Robinson/Wells, Beaven, and Furbush aren’t major leaguers, I don’t know that it’s going to matter what player (Votto or not) they pick up.

    Sure, you can pick up a few add-ons and have a guy or two compete with the kids for the jobs (Snyder and McGehee).

    If you’re in the race in July you should put talent on the block for a 3B or C down the stretch. But this year isn’t a good year for the M’s to be buyers in FA, given their needs.

    I’d be willing to pull the trigger on a deal later in the season, but I want to see the kids play, and see what we have.

    In 2013 we will have a lot of money to spend, and we will have a very good idea of what we have from this group of kids.

  80. henryv on October 16th, 2011 7:24 pm

    2013 Free Agents is a much more pleasant list when you look at catchers and 3B. There is also some very sexy looking SP.

    I just don’t this is the year to strike, given that 2013 seems to be a perfect storm for the young talent to be matured, the available money to be there, and the market to be primed to fill out the needs.

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