The Roster As It Stands

Dave · October 5, 2011 at 11:10 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Before we get too far into discussing what moves the team should be looking to make this winter, we need to take a realistic assessment of what talent is already on hand, both for 2012 and beyond, as the inventory already here will dictate where the organization should focus on acquiring upgrades. While the team has enough quantity in place to go forward with a “let the kids fight it out and see who wins” strategy, there’s not enough quality already in place to make that a viable strategy at every position. In reality, the M’s are going to have to make some decisions this winter about which of these kids should be part of the 2012 team, and at the positions where there isn’t a good solution internally, they’ll need to make some moves to bring in talent from the outside.

Given what’s already here, this is how I would view the team’s roster for next year in terms of reasonable expected amounts of playing time if the team is interested in putting a respectable team on the field.

Position – Player – Plate Appearances

Catcher: Empty
First Base: Justin Smoak – 600
Second Base: Dustin Ackley – 600
Shortstop: Brendan Ryan – 500
Third Base: Empty
Left Field: Casper Wells – 200
Center Field: Franklin Gutierrez – 600
Right Field: Ichiro Suzuki – 600
Designated Hitter: Mike Carp – 200

Reserve Catcher: Miguel Olivo – 250
Reserve 1B: Mike Carp – 100
Reserve MI: Luis Rodriguez – 200
Reserve IF: Kyle Seager – 200
Reserve OF: Casper Wells – 100

By my estimation, those 10 position players should be penciled in for approximately 4,100 plate appearances. A normal team gets about 6,100 plate appearances in a season, so the M’s are about 2,000 PA short. That’s basically three full-time players – no easy task to acquire in one off-season.

Looking at the chart above, it’s easy to see where the holes are. Catcher and third base are the biggest holes, and the only two options on the Major League roster are both better fits for a reserve role. Olivo’s a decent enough back-up and Seager could be a useful utility infielder who backs up everyone around the infield, but if either of them are starting on opening day next year, the team likely has a problem.

The other open position is something of a hybrid between LF/DH. Wells has enough talent to justify a job as the right-handed half of an LF platoon and could likely serve as the team’s backup in CF and RF, but he hasn’t shown enough to be expected to be a full-time player. The rest of the left fielders we saw on display this year belong in the minors next year, and I wouldn’t be comfortable giving any of them a job on the 2012 team at this point.

With Carp and Wells both penciled in for part-time jobs, the team could acquire one guy who could split time between LF and DH, and the three of them could essentially combine to handle those two positions. Knowing that they’d have some DH availability could give the team the flexibility to pursue a guy who might not be a great defender but has enough offense to make up for it.

If the team added three starting caliber players – one at C, one at 3B, and one at LF/DH – to that group of position players, you could actually have the makings of a decent group of talent.

Now, for the pitching.

#1 Starter – Felix Hernandez
#2 Starter – Michael Pineda
#3 Starter – Jason Vargas
#4 Starter – Empty
#5 Starter – Blake Beavan

Closer – Brandon League
RH Setup – Tom Wilhelmsen
LH Setup – Charlie Furbush
Middle – Shawn Kelley
Middle – Chance Ruffin
Middle – Josh Lueke
Long – Empty

Despite all the talk about pitching depth, the M’s actually have some problems on the pitching staff as well. Danny Hultzen and James Paxton are talented kids, and they might be options for the rotation in the second half of 2012, but you can’t count on them being able to carry a spot all season long. Behind Vargas, the team doesn’t really have any quality Major League starters, and they’ll likely need to add an starter this winter to fill out the rotation.

The bullpen could be mostly set except for one small fact – the team should be looking to trade Brandon League. Closers are generally overvalued, and headed into his final year before free agency, the M’s would be better off moving him and using his roughly $5 million salary elsewhere. Of course, they’re unlikely to hand the closer role over to any of the kids currently penciled into the setup roles right now, so moving League might necessitate a move for a reliever with a bit more experience who could be given the chance to close.

Put it all together, and the team is probably looking at needing to acquire a third baseman, a catcher, an LF/DH type, a starting pitcher, and maybe a solid reliever who they could make into a closer. Even if they move League and shed his salary, they’re still looking at something in the $20 million range in terms of budget flexibility, and they’d be looking at getting four players and a reliever for that.

Obviously, just targeting free agents and throwing money at them isn’t going to work – you can’t get four Major League regulars and a potential closer for $20 million on the open market. The only way to get that kind of quantity of talent from the outside is to focus on trading for players whose salaries are not set by public bidding. Of course, teams aren’t exactly looking to move their cost-controlled young stars, so the M’s will have to get creative to pick up players who can fill these holes without busting the budget.

Over the next week or so, I’ll talk about a few of the guys I’d like to see the team target who could fit that profile, and what types of players they might be able to land to fill those spots and stay under budget.

Comments

116 Responses to “The Roster As It Stands”

  1. robbbbbb on October 5th, 2011 11:22 am

    You don’t think Kyle Seager’s competent enough to hold down a full-time MLB job at 3B?

    What kind of projection would you expect for Seager in a full-time role? 260/320/390? And isn’t that a good enough bat to make him a league-averagish player at 3B? If so, why not hand him the full-time 3B job and let him run with it? Or find him a platoon partner?

    Otherwise, I pretty well agree with you. A Wells/Carp platoon is a decent player, especially if you bring in a third guy to spread the at-bats around.

    And you have to hope that Ichiro and Gutierrez bounce back.

    One more question: Of the (40 man) guys not mentioned in this post, who’s most likely to be a contributor to next year’s team? Trayvon? Adam Moore? Someone else?

  2. diderot on October 5th, 2011 11:24 am

    While the ‘acquire talent/play the kids’ argument will continue all winter, one place I wonder about is catcher.
    My initial thought is that rather than try to immediately replace Olivo as starter next (his last) year, we instead focus on acquiring someone like Mesoraco or Grandal for the future. If the Reds decide they really need to keep both, then Hannigan.
    If all that (plus Moore) falls through, we could save some money for McCann or Montero or Martin in the following free agent market.

  3. diderot on October 5th, 2011 11:30 am

    A Wells/Carp platoon is a decent player
    While this makes sense in theory, is it just small sample size that explains Carp hitting so much better/striking out less against lefties than righties?

  4. robbbbbb on October 5th, 2011 11:33 am

    Wells/Carp isn’t just a L/R platoon. It’s also an offense/defense platoon. Think of them as complimentary players in a lot of different ways.

    Wells is a helluva defender.

  5. Rick L on October 5th, 2011 11:38 am

    You seem to have forgotten Chone Figgins. Although he sucks, he makes too much money not to give him another try at 3B. Maybe split with Seager. So then you have $20 million for 4 players. Keep League and you have $15 million for three. Three 5 million dollar players. About 1 WAR apiece.

  6. robbbbbb on October 5th, 2011 11:46 am

    Playing Chone Figgins because you’re paying him too much is the sunk cost fallacy.

  7. wsm on October 5th, 2011 12:14 pm

    I don’t think adding a starting catcher is a very realistic expectation, even though I’d love to upgrade there.

    Migule Olivo’s season shouldn’t have surprised the M’s front office. They knew what they were getting when they signed him last offseason. I don’t see them suddenly deciding that’s not good enough anymore. Not unless there’s a clear cut upgrade opportunity, which seems unlikely.

    Olivo spent a lot of time hitting cleanup this year to suddenly go to a bench role.

    And I think Figgins probably has a role on this club. He probably takes that job you have Seager penciled in for. As a versatile defensive player with plus speed, he can be at least a little useful. Plus Seager isn’t at a point in his development where he should be relegated to 200 ABs. I’m in the crowd that thinks he should get a crack at the 3B job next year.

  8. wilchiro on October 5th, 2011 12:19 pm

    I believe that if Michael Young were made available again that he’d be a great pick-up. With Beltre, Napoli and Moreland doing well and Torrealba locked up to a multiyear contract, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rangers made him available again in order to lock up Wilson and possibly pursue more pitching.

    Young was 3rd in AL 3B WAR (minimum 500 PAs) and has always done well against Seattle.

  9. JoshJones on October 5th, 2011 12:27 pm

    -Trade figgins for a pitcher with upside who we could later flip if/when we fall out of contention. Ex: Kenishi Kawakami (ATL) or Carlos Zambrano (Cubs)

    I don’t see the point in trading/signing an outfielder who’s not an everyday 500AB guy. For example; BJ Upton, Logan Morrison. if were not going to do that then lets instead get a significant sample size from Wells/Carp/Trayvon in the outfield next season.

    - 3rd base/SS should be our focus. My preference is 3rd. Pablo Sandoval/Alex Gordon/Mike Moustakas in that order.

  10. eponymous coward on October 5th, 2011 12:49 pm

    So, basically, Kyle Seager is the new Willie Bloomquist? 200 PAs a year as a utility infielder?

    I’m not buying it. That’s wasting a player. Basically, I think Seager’s probably the new Kevin Kouzmanoff (but batting LH)- nothing flashy, probably a little less power and a little more walks/batting average, but a decent ~2-3 WAR regular at 3B. His minor league stats blow Princess Willie’s away, and he raced up through the minors to the majors without looking lost at any particular pro level, which is exactly what you want someone who’s capable of significant contributions at the MLB level to do.

  11. KingCorran on October 5th, 2011 1:12 pm

    300 PA for Carp seems more than a little on the light side.

  12. Ibuprofen on October 5th, 2011 1:28 pm

    - 3rd base/SS should be our focus. My preference is 3rd. Pablo Sandoval/Alex Gordon/Mike Moustakas in that order.

    Alright, just be prepared to lose Pineda, Paxton, or Walker at the very least in that trade then. 3B comes at a premium these day.

  13. pdxMsfan on October 5th, 2011 1:28 pm

    Seems like C is the least problematic of the problem spots, especially if Olivo can put up numbers more in line with what he did in 2008-2010. He was clearly awful this year, but maybe this is just a down year for him? Or at least I’m hopeful it was.

    Looking forward to future posts in this series about specific players.

  14. groundzero55 on October 5th, 2011 1:29 pm

    Olivo spent a lot of time hitting cleanup this year to suddenly go to a bench role.

    Are you saying he should be batting cleanup in 2012?

    3rd base/SS should be our focus. My preference is 3rd. Pablo Sandoval/Alex Gordon/Mike Moustakas in that order.

    Why would SF move Sandoval? They are pitching-heavy and hitting-light right now and they seem to want to build their team around Posey and Sandoval now, as they should. I like Gordon but he has not really played 3B since 2009 – none at all in 2011.
    I hope Adam Moore is healthy enough to take over the catcher position, at least for a year after which we jettison Olivo and make a move on McCann.

  15. rickyabc on October 5th, 2011 2:05 pm

    I don’t see any way the M’s sign a catcher in free agency. Hopefully they can pick up a young catcher via a trade to push Olivo (and hopefully take his job), but I don’t see any money being spent there.

    Agree that Seager should be a utility player for next year. Maybe he grows into a full-time role, but going into the season with him as your 3B seems like a reach.

    I like the Carp/Wells loose platoon. I suspect the M’s see Carp as an option for full-time DH.

    As much as I hate to admit it, I don’t see the M’s making a huge push to “go for it” in 2012. It will be more a try to win with the young guys we have and got for it in 2013. 2013 should have Paxton/Hultzen, a less expensive Ichiro and Ackley/Smoak as estabished stars. The offseason to go for it will be after 2012.

  16. wsm on October 5th, 2011 2:10 pm

    Are you saying he should be batting cleanup in 2012?

    Nope. Just saying a manager like Wedge isn’t going to change his opinion on a player that quickly. If he likes Olivo enough to bat him that high, chances are good he’s not going to be priority #1 for a replacement.

  17. groundzero55 on October 5th, 2011 2:15 pm

    I don’t think it really matters what Wedge thinks of anybody. Z makes the decision to replace or not to replace.

  18. wsm on October 5th, 2011 2:29 pm

    I don’t think it really matters what Wedge thinks of anybody. Z makes the decision to replace or not to replace.

    Ultimately, it Jack’s decision. But you’re crazy if you think Wedge doesn’t carry a lot of influence on those decisions.

  19. ripperlv on October 5th, 2011 2:47 pm

    Center Field: Franklin Gutierrez – 600
    Right Field: Ichiro Suzuki – 600

    — Therein lies our problem, 1200 weak hitting PA’s. And I would much rather have Olivo take a full time spot behind the plate with at least a hope of driving in a run than watch Gutt and Ichiro trying to (hopelessly) square on the ball.

  20. timandren on October 5th, 2011 2:54 pm

    Fielder is not going to come here and if he did we’d be making a mistake on that amount of years + money.

    A package with the likes of Paxton, Seager and Triunfel or something comparable might get us in the conversation for Votto. We need someone to build our offense around with Ackley.

    Given that Votto is pretty unlikely too. Do you see ANY scenario where it’s worth going for David Ortiz?

  21. The_Waco_Kid on October 5th, 2011 3:09 pm

    I’d like to see Seager play every day. I see how Carp and Wells make a good platoon, but I also think they are possible every day players. I agree catcher’s a problem, but I bet they go with Olivo again. I think we should be cautious of big signings because there’s too much uncertainty on this roster. We don’t know where our biggest area of need is.

    1B/DH: Maybe Carp and Smoak both turn out to be legit starters, or just one, or they could both fizzle.

    OF: We don’t know how good Wells is and if he can get healthy. We don’t know how far off Trayvon is. Can Guti get healthy and hit well for an entire season? Will Ichiro bounce back or is he done?

    A lot of these questions will be answered in 2012, particularly Ichiro, Guti, Smoak, and Carp. If we sign an expensive 1B/DH and it turns out Carp and Smoak are great but Ichiro’s retiring and Guti can’t stay healthy, we’ll wish we spent that money on an OF. This lineup needs improvement, but we don’t know where yet and we can’t bank on Smoak/Guti/Ichiro but write off Seager/Carp/Wells.

  22. Shizane on October 5th, 2011 3:13 pm

    Some catching targets off the top of my head:

    Ryan Doumit – Local kid, switch-hitting catcher with some pop. No way the Pirates pick up his $7.25M option for 2012.

    Chris Iannetta – Seems like every year there are rumblings of him losing his job or being traded. Would have to trade for him, as he is under contract through 2012 (with a reasonable 2013 option). Given his performance over the last couple of years, is he a younger Miguel Olivo + walks – strikeouts?

    Jesus Flores - It is clear that Ramos is the future in DC and Flores has made recent comments that he is frustrated at the lack of playing time. He will be 27 at the start of next season and would at least provide a semi-interesting, young-ish player at the C position (though he is a RH hitter). We would need to make a trade, as he is still under team control.

    Chris Snyder – Like with Doumit, there is little chance that the Pirates pick up his $6.75M option.

    Of these options, I would prefer Flores (for upside) or Doumit (for proven offensive-minded veteran).

  23. thurston24 on October 5th, 2011 3:14 pm

    Ripperlv,

    I wouldn’t call Guti weak hitting. He had a fair amount of power before he got sick and lost a lot of weight. Given a healthy off-season without ailment, he will likely gain back his strength and probably drive the ball hard again.

  24. Shizane on October 5th, 2011 3:18 pm

    Also, I expect Bedard to re-sign with the Mariners, so I think we can cross #4 starter off our list.

  25. JoshJones on October 5th, 2011 3:50 pm

    I also expect to see the M’s push hard to bring bedard back.
    I like the idea of brining in Ryan Doumit. Between C, DH, and the Outfield he could be a nice piece of glue on next years team.

    The giants would definetally listen if we started with an offer of Liddi/Paxton/Trayvon for Pablo Sandoval.

  26. Chris_From_Bothell on October 5th, 2011 4:30 pm

    Wilhelmsen for closer, Bedard for long relief, Adam Moore auditioning for starting catcher with Miggy backing him up.

    That leaves the glaring needs to be filled as 3b, LF and another SP. Possibly 2 SP if Pineda needs to go as part of a blockbuster.

    Curious how the # of PAs were arrived at.

  27. Chris_From_Bothell on October 5th, 2011 4:46 pm

    Center Field: Franklin Gutierrez – 600
    Right Field: Ichiro Suzuki – 600
    — Therein lies our problem, 1200 weak hitting PA’s. And I would much rather have Olivo take a full time spot behind the plate with at least a hope of driving in a run than watch Gutt and Ichiro trying to (hopelessly) square on the ball.

    Perhaps there’s some offense to be found by trading for a RF and relegating Ichi to split time at LF/DH.

    If 2011 was an aberration, then a bounceback in 2012 makes him a perfectly fine contributor at DH. And if 2011 was just the new norm, then expanding the search for offense to include RFers can’t hurt…

  28. JoshJones on October 5th, 2011 4:48 pm

    oh and 200 AB’s for luis rodriguez. Doubtful. He had 117 this season with all the injuries and us giving him a chance to show us something.

  29. timandren on October 5th, 2011 4:49 pm

    Where do UZR sample sizes stabilize?

  30. ripperlv on October 5th, 2011 5:04 pm

    I think catcher is the least of our worries. The problem is Olivo is not a #4 clean-up hitter, no matter his position. FanGraphs has the following catchers in the same tier:

    Chris Iannetta
    Russell Martin
    Jonathan Lucroy
    Geovany Soto
    Miguel Olivo
    Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    Kurt Suzuki
    Carlos Ruiz
    John Buck

    In order to upgrade your looking at major dollars or a major trade. Just get offense where it belongs, like RIGHT FIELD and every other position, bat Olivo 7th or 8th like he should, No Problems. What did we get from RF, nothing. CF, nothing. I hope Gutt comes back. I don’t think Ichrio has much left. I’m willing to go with the kids, but if we do get free agents. Get someone good, not Chris Iannetta. Get someone the Yankees or Red Sox would get. Sign Fielder for 6 years – that gives you some time to play with. Don’t give me Gaby Hernandez, I’d rather have Mike Carp. Get some great talent, or don’t get no one.

  31. rth1986 on October 5th, 2011 5:04 pm

    Bedard for long relief? Getting Sandoval from a team that badly needs offense? Don’t see those things happening.

    The targets that I think are most realistic (as well as most appealing) are guys like Ryan Hanigan, Chase Headley, Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta, Angel Pagan, Chris Denorfia, and Ryan Doumit. The bigger targets could include David Wright, Hanley Ramirez and maybe Logan Morrison. Pitching isn’t too important. Would love for Z to pick up an undervalued pitcher, but a guy like Jeff Francis would do the trick. I’d be fine with Furbush holding it down until another option comes along, too.

    Personally, I’m a huge Ryan Hanigan fan. He has to be one of the more underrated talents around and he’s under contract for very cheap. He really has no weakness in his skill-set apart from below-average power. I’d push hard for him, because it’s likely he’ll be traded somewhere this off-season.

    Also, I think Headley could be a great fit. He can swap between 3B and LF, while allowing unproven guys like Seager, Wells, and maybe even Liddi to get some playing time in between.

  32. PackBob on October 5th, 2011 5:47 pm

    Seager could use more minor league time. And anything to get Olivo out of the middle of the order.

  33. sjudy on October 5th, 2011 7:21 pm

    We may make a push to bring Bedard back and we may not. Here’s a name to think about: Joe Saunders. To me, he’s a slightly better version of Vargas but someone who could flourish in Safeco and reset his career. The D-Backs don’t sound super interested in retaining him, so why not kick the tires?
    Or, and this has been brought up, the Figgins for Zito dump. I’m down with this but thinking of a Zito vs Hamilton matchup does scare me enough to almost make me wet my pants with fear.
    For 3B, take a look at Edwin Encarnacion of Toronto. He’s clearly not in their long-term plans and even if his average is Figgins-like, at least he can hit the ball out of the park. Right now, our biggest need is a guy that can hit it out. No hitter is feared on the Mariners. We have small ball players. It’s time for someone to put on the big boy pants and hit the ball out of the yard.

  34. rth1986 on October 5th, 2011 7:40 pm

    Get someone good, not Chris Iannetta. Get someone the Yankees or Red Sox would get.

    The Red Sox have been rumored to have interest in Iannetta for some time. Plus, Iannetta is definitely more in the ‘good’ category for catchers. Not elite like Mauer, Posey or Santana, or great like McCann or Avila, but he’s way better than Olivo. It’s not hard to imagine him turning a corner and becoming a great catcher.

    As for the other suggestions…Joe Saunder has to be one of the more overrated pitchers in recent years. He’s had shiny W-L and ERA numbers in recent history, but nothing to back those up. Furbush is better than him. I don’t mind the Zito-Figgins swap except for the extra years (and pricey vesting option) with Zito. SF would have to offset a LOT of salary to make that reasonable. I might rather take on a year of Zambrano and have more money after 2012.

    I like Encarnacion idea, although his extreme pull power might not play well in Safeco and he’s a poor defender.

  35. AckAttack on October 5th, 2011 7:44 pm

    Joe Saunders sucks. I think with how down the leagues offensive catcher production is, we don’t need to acquire a big time catcher but Doumit would be nice. As dumb as it sounds, i think we should sign Dontrelle Willis to a minor league contract with incentives. The outfield and third base situation is a mess.

  36. Ibuprofen on October 5th, 2011 7:55 pm

    Seager could use more minor league time.

    Why? His ridiculous minor league stats show that he has nothing to gain from beating up minor league pitchers. Sticking him back down in AAA would be pointless. Any progress he makes is going to be at the major league level.

  37. MrZDevotee on October 5th, 2011 8:48 pm

    Dave
    I agree with your assessments of the team’s needs/areas of upgrade– but then reality kicks in. Just by math alone, we’re not going to sign another catcher or a new 3B…

    I’d LOVE to do it, mind you, I just don’t think management will do that. If you DO do that, then you’re throwing another $5 million (probably) at Catcher, to have 1/10th of our payroll be locked into league average catching. And what sort of upgrade would we really be looking at there, in a guy on the market, who’s willing to come play for Seattle? He’s probably gonna be right handed, and that puts an asterisk next to whatever sort of offense he’s gonna bring with him to Safeco.

    With Figgins it’s even worse, salary wise… It would basically need to be a power guy, which is gonna cost BANK, on top of the “bad” bank we’re already spending there! If it’s not a MASSIVE power upgrade, then it’s not really an upgrade of value versus what we could get from Seager (good defense, league average offense) for basically nothing… To be worth it, we’d need probably a 3+ WAR guy for roughly $3 million or so– so it would involve another risk-laden ‘upside’ guy, and we all know how fans are dealing with those purchases these days.

    If you want less risk, we’d be throwing somewhere around $14-17 million at 3b, plus $8-10 million at C… That’s tricky. If everything went well, you’d be looking at upwards of $50 million or so for a good 3B, slightly better than average C, Ichiro and Felix… Ouch. Unless we somehow can throw out 1/2 of Figgin’s salary in a “dump” trade of him, it’s gonna be either Figgins or a yungin’ (Seager) at 3B next year…

    Your 2 choices for upgrades, much as I want them too, just don’t mathematically make sense for a team that has no idea if it will be able to contend, because that idea would be SO dependent on complete success by whomever you decided to bring in to fill those positions.

    I think we’re far more likely (and affordably) going to make a move around a twosome of LF/DH/1B capable guys, plus a starting pitcher. And they probably won’t be major impact guys– but hopefully high-mid-ground players, with good OBP and solid Defense. If we can move another position guy in one of those deals, THEN we also might work a new position into the equation (SS, CF…?)

    Again, I’d love to be able to use the dry erase board and get rid of the names Olivo and Figgins, too. But one is way too expensive, and like it or not (as awful as he is) the other put up the highest standard slugging numbers on the team last year, for not very much money.

    For Chrismas we should all ask Santa for the miracle of “vastly improved Seager” (not that he was bad) AND “especially vastly improved Adam Moore”… ‘Cause I think we’re stuck with them as the only alternatives at 3B and C.

  38. niterunner on October 5th, 2011 8:51 pm

    Sign Sizemore for LF and trade for Wandy Rodriguez.

  39. justcruisn on October 5th, 2011 9:53 pm

    What about Figgins????

  40. rth1986 on October 5th, 2011 11:58 pm

    Here’s a crazy idea: Carp at 3B. Think anyone in the front office would go for that? Certainly would give the M’s more flexibility.

  41. The_Waco_Kid on October 6th, 2011 12:20 am

    bat Olivo 7th or 8th like he should, No Problems.

    First, Olivo’s turning 34, so his weak hitting (and fielding) will probably get worse. Second, his only contribution was power. If some of those HR turn into flyouts, Olivo becomes worthless as a hitter.

  42. maqman on October 6th, 2011 5:56 am

    Olivo is rated as a type B player by the Elias Sports Bureau, in other words he is a top 20 percent catcher. His contract pays him $3.5MM next season, he lead the team in HRs and RBI this season, he’s a leader on the field and in the clubhouse and the pitchers like throwing to him. The team drafted several catchers this year and still don’t know if Adam Moore is going to become a big league catcher or not. Acquiring a better catcher for next season would not be a timely or cost effective move.

  43. ivan on October 6th, 2011 6:04 am

    I don’t want to see either Joe Saunders or Jeff Francis pitching here. Pitch for pitch Beavan and Furbush are as good or better.

    I’m OK with Seager at 3B, and maybe Triunfel soon. If they need to go get a LF, they should inquire about Grady Sizemore. Trayvon needs another year in AAA; that much should be obvious.

  44. eponymous coward on October 6th, 2011 7:05 am

    Olivo is rated as a type B player by the Elias Sports Bureau

    Elias rankings are not particularly good measurements of player quality. Better measurements like Wins Above Replacement show that Olivo should be a backup on a good team. Since the point of Dave’s post is to find ways to make the Mariners a good team, he thus correctly is judging Olivo to be a backup.

    he lead the team in HRs and RBI this season

    He also had an on-base percentage of .253. On-base percentage is the single most important component of offensive value (yes, we know, dingers, well, you’re wrong).

    Also, RBIs are more a function of where you are in the batting order than an indicator of the quality of your offensive performance.

    The team drafted several catchers this year and still don’t know if Adam Moore is going to become a big league catcher or not.

    None of those catchers save for possibly Moore will be contributing to the 2012 Mariners, and Moore’s not a particularly young player any more. In addition, Moore’s a catcher coming off a year lost to a knee problem. So I wouldn’t be putting a lot of eggs into that basket.

  45. Paul B on October 6th, 2011 7:55 am

    What about Figgins????

    I expect him to get a look in spring training, with a good chance of being released before the season starts.

    If he does look good in spring training, he may become a utility player.

  46. Paul B on October 6th, 2011 7:58 am

    I am hopeful about both Guti and Ichiro. They both hit well from August on (Guti didn’t play in most of Sept, though.

    We’ll have to see. I don’t think the Mariners have a choice other than to hope they bounce back.

  47. Paul B on October 6th, 2011 8:05 am

    Acquiring a better catcher for next season would not be a timely or cost effective move.

    Replacing a catcher with a 79 OPS+ with someone who can get on base, and maybe even stop more pitches behind the plate (11 PB + 58 WP, lead the league in catcher errors, third in passedballs) would actually be an effective move, if a catcher could be obtained.

  48. groundzero55 on October 6th, 2011 8:40 am

    It’s very possible, and shouldn’t be very expensive either. C is actually an easier position to fill than 3B is.

  49. RaoulDuke37 on October 6th, 2011 10:27 am

    I always look forward to your offseason posts Dave. I really hope the team does something dramatic, but not stupid, (Fielder) to improve the team. Another offseason of “incremental” improvements or Olivos and Ryans might just finally push me away.

  50. JoshJones on October 6th, 2011 10:29 am

    Jesus Flores (26yrs old)
    Ryan Doumit(30yrs old)
    Chris Iannette (28yrs old)

    All should be under consideration. Doumit has shown an ability to hit for .AVG and has flexibility(C,OF) but Iannette is a few years younger with a better .OBP

    My prefference, Doumit, because of his flexibility.

    Getting a verteran upside pitcher such as Erik Bedard and signing a catcher to split time with Olivio such as the ones listed above would be low cost moves that the M’s should highly consider.

    Upgrading at 3rd/SS should have no effect on these moves. We should be looking to do so either way.

  51. JoshJones on October 6th, 2011 10:46 am

    EPONYMOUS COWARD,

    We get it. You don’t value HR’s/Power/ or as you like to call them Dingers. Every post you have typically encompasses that theme. WE GET IT. Everyone just happens to disagree with you. WE NEED DINGERS. None of us want to spend irrationally to get them. But upgrading from Kyle Seager to a guy with a little more pop is something most of us are willing to do.

    And your consistent knocking on Olivio is a little pathetic. At the begging of the season when we went on that streak of wins Olivio was a major reason why. In SAFECO a guy who can hit HR’s has more value, especially when it’s on a team with a good pitching staff. Thats why the D’backs too a chance on Willy Mo Pena. That’s why the Mariners took that same chance. Management realizes that having a guy who can put a few more over the fence then his competitor has value. Over the past 6 years he’s averaged 114 games a season.

    Talk about durability from the catching position. First on the team in HR’s and RBI’s which is something you apparently think is worthless. So how about 3rd on the team in runs scored and 2nd on the team in AB’s this season. He needs platoon partner who can actually hit the ball. Adam Moore was supposed to be that guy when the season started.

    Durability/Dependability out of the catching position is a major issue for most teams. Olivio can be a very useful player he just needs a platoon partner.

  52. Ibuprofen on October 6th, 2011 11:21 am

    WE NEED DINGERS.

    No, we don’t. They’d be nice to have, but what we really need are players who can make contact and drive the ball to get on base at a consistent rate. Our biggest problem this season was striking out and not getting on base.

    Carp and Smoak both provide a good amount of pop in the middle of the line up. They won’t put up 40 home runs, but 20 to 25 isn’t out of the question. You’re also forgetting about Casper Wells when he’s healthy. He could easily put up 15 to 20, if not more, home runs if he starts in LF, which I believe he should be.

    If you’re wanting to get more pop out of 3B or LF just be prepared for it to cost a lot, because power in those positions aren’t easy to pry away from other teams, and we sure as hell aren’t going to be signing them in free agency.

  53. eponymous coward on October 6th, 2011 11:29 am

    Did you notice the part where Olivo had a .253 on-base percentage last year?

    Here’s some stats for you to put how bad a performance that is into perspective: Mario Mendoza, the guy who George Brett turned into a punchline (“the Mendoza line”), you know what his OBP was for his career? .262.

    Ray Oyler, owner of a lifetime .175 batting average, owner of one of the worst stat lines ever in MLB? His lifetime on-base percentage is .258.

    Yes, Olivo has power, but he has horrible strike zone judgment, and it means he’s not a good hitter overall, because he walks back to the dugout after a K too often when he’s not hitting a dinger, and nobody scores a run until someone gets on base. Between that and his passed balls, he’s a backup.

  54. The_Waco_Kid on October 6th, 2011 11:30 am

    Josh, you say platoon guy, we say backup, maybe we’re not disagreeing as much as we thought.

    Olivo’s 19 HR were nice, but at the cost of a .253 OBP. That is the point of OPS. Power is worth a lot less if you also get out a bunch. It’s probably moot because Olivo will almost certainly be our main catcher next year and in 2013 he’ll almost certainly be gone.

  55. G-Man on October 6th, 2011 12:08 pm

    Ah, yes, whither Figgins? I like the idea of a problem-for-problem trade, but it takes two for that dance.

    I think Dave is right on in terms of needs, but can we make it a two-year improvement program? Getting a catcher or 3B that has a shot at being MLB ready by spring 2013 (or even June 2013) might be easier than getting a help-immediately player. And like so many others who’ve commented, I want to hold out hope that Seager or even Liddi might prove sufficient for 3B, and see if Carp can continue what he started. On the down side, 2012 might show if Smoak is really an everyday player.

  56. Westside guy on October 6th, 2011 12:16 pm

    I do try to stay out of these pissing matches, but oh man…

    Miguel Olivo had 62 friggin’ RBIs this year. If that led the team, that shows just how pathetic the team was offensively. Seriously, that is nothing to brag about. His average was .223 – with men on base, it went “way up” to .226, and with men in scoring position… .225. His RBI line, even as mediocre as it is, was strictly a function of where he got to hit in the order most of the time.

    Let’s look at it a different way. Miguel had 62 RBIs in 507 plate appearances – that’s one RBI per every 8.17 trips to the plate. Josh Bard outperformed him by this metric, with 11 RBIs in 86 PAs (one RBI every 7.81 PAs)!

    Miguel is a significant step up from Rob Johnson, and I mean that seriously. But don’t kid yourself regarding what we have in him.

    For the record – I think RBIs are a worthless metric when it comes to evaluating players at all… but I wanted to point out the inherent problem with the argument, even if one accepted them as being a reasonable metric of performance.

  57. JoshJones on October 6th, 2011 12:21 pm

    The_Waco_Kid

    Agreed. He’s our starting catcher next year. My point is we lost the guy he was supposed to be platooning with causing him to play on a much more regular basis. More than likely causing him to hit against pitchers he shouldn’t have been hitting against.

    Career .243AVG/.279OBP/.421SLG/.700OPS
    2011 Season .224AVG/.253OBP/.388SLG/.641OPS
    2010 Season .269AVG/.315OBP/.449SLG/.764OPS

    I think there’s several factors that led to a dip in those numbers(worked well with the pitching staff/lose of Adam Moore). It’s almost like his durability and dependability are working against him.

    He proved to me that he is worth having as a starting Catcher and giving 300AB’s. But he needs a guy to platoon with.

  58. Badbadger on October 6th, 2011 1:05 pm

    A lof people, apparently Dave Cameron included, seem to see Seager as no better than a utility guy. I curious where that comes from. He has great minor league numbers, what is the basis for thinking he can’t start in the majors?

  59. Pete Livengood on October 6th, 2011 1:18 pm

    FWIW, Badbadger, I didn’t take Dave’s post as being an indictment of Seager as a player with no upside or no better than a utility guy. I read it as an indication that Dave thinks he isn’t ready for more than that role, on a team capable of contending, next year. I do think there is a difference, and for the most part I am of the same mind, even though I see Seager as a kid with some longer term upside.

  60. just a fan on October 6th, 2011 1:37 pm

    So the plan is we should trade Brandon League because closers are overvalued, but then we will need to grab a veteran reliever who can close. ???

    Obviously you’re admitting the team needs a “closer” a sentence after dismissing our “closer”. Why not the one we have? Unless he is part of a Votto or Shields type deal, moving League to move him is just foolishness.

  61. just a fan on October 6th, 2011 1:48 pm

    No, we don’t. They’d be nice to have, but what we really need are players who can make contact and drive the ball to get on base at a consistent rate. Our biggest problem this season was striking out and not getting on base.

    I think what we really need is some guys that get on base, some guys who hit some dingers, and some guys that do both.

    Hopefully Smoak can give us a little of the last category. 30 DINGERS AND .375 OBP IN 2012, LET’S DO IT JUSTIN

  62. eponymous coward on October 6th, 2011 2:15 pm

    I read it as an indication that Dave thinks he isn’t ready for more than that role, on a team capable of contending, next year.

    OK, so let’s assume that Seager, despite spending 1/3rd of a season looking like a reasonable facsimile of a MLB regular, doesn’t deserve to be one, despite this:

    Seager in MLB, 2011: .258/.312/.379
    All 3B in MLB, 2011: 252/.317/.390

    (Note that this isn’t park/league adjusted, but it broadly agrees with WAR: Seager’s 2011 grades out as ~MLB average at 3B if you project it out to a full year.)

    But OK, fine. He’s not ready to hold down a MLB job on a contending team.

    So, how would making him a utility infielder for 2012 make him more “ready” for a job in 2013? What skills is this going to give him that he doesn’t already have? Why do that, as opposed to sending him to Tacoma and signing some gritty veteran for $500K-$1M to be a utility infielder (and likely better able to play short than Seager)?

    I might note that Dustin Ackley didn’t break camp in 2011 as a utility infielder, though he easily COULD have- and it’s not like it would have hurt the 2011 team’s chances. So why is Kyle Seager different?

  63. Badbadger on October 6th, 2011 2:34 pm

    FWIW, Badbadger, I didn’t take Dave’s post as being an indictment of Seager as a player with no upside or no better than a utility guy. I read it as an indication that Dave thinks he isn’t ready for more than that role, on a team capable of contending, next year. I do think there is a difference, and for the most part I am of the same mind, even though I see Seager as a kid with some longer term upside.

    Well I don’t think Seager is a sure bet superstar or anything, but he looks OK so far. I didn’t see any glaring holes in his game after his call up. It took him a while to start hitting doubles, but he did get there. What specifically about him do you think he still needs to work on?

    As it stands, our outfield could be a disaster next year. I’m not sure that third base is our foremost need. It would be nice if someone could project what is going to happen with Guti.

  64. groundzero55 on October 6th, 2011 2:35 pm

    I think we need dingers. Let’s call up Peguero and Halman again, make sure Wily Mo is in the lineup, sign Branyan again and also convince Sexson to come out of retirement.

    Who’s with me?

  65. robbbbbb on October 6th, 2011 2:35 pm

    And there’s always the chance that Seager takes a step forward in his second year in baseball. Maybe he ups his contact rate a bit, or improves his (already solid) strike zone judgement. In that case Kyle Seager becomes an above-average 3B.

    When the floor is a league-average player, you play the guy. This thread has convinced me that 3B is not, in fact, a hole on next year’s M’s. Give Seager 600 PA and go find a utility infielder to take up those extra 200 PA.

  66. The_Waco_Kid on October 6th, 2011 2:46 pm

    He proved to me that he is worth having as a starting Catcher and giving 300AB’s. But he needs a guy to platoon with.

    Fair points. I know the plan was to play him with Moore and that fell through. My problem is that Olivo got 477 AB this year and I am worried that next year he will be closer to 477 than 300 and will hit in the middle of the order again. If he were hitting 8/9 and had only 300 AB, I could live with that.

    Note that you and Dave are disagreeing over 55 PA (assuming Olivo walks 5 times in 2012)

  67. JoshJones on October 6th, 2011 2:49 pm

    Maybe we should just spend all the money on CC Sabathia and CJ Wilson. Everyone seems to be happy with our 8 outfielders and kyle seager at 3rd.

  68. bfgboy on October 6th, 2011 3:40 pm

    Trade Figgins to Chicago for Zambrano and cash,
    tie the cash into the posting fee for Darvish,
    trade Pineda, Robinson, and League to Cincy for Votto and Mesoraco, trade Saunders, Taijuan Walker, and Carlos Triunfel to KC for Gordon. Lineup becomes

    RF Ichiro
    2B Ackley
    LF Gordon
    1B Votto
    DH Smoak/Carp
    LF Carp/Wells
    C Olivo/Mesoraco/Moore
    SS Ryan/Seager
    3B Seager/Liddi
    CF Guti

    1. Felix
    2. Darvish
    3. Vargas
    4. Zambrano
    5. Beaven/Paxton

    CL Whilhelmsen
    SU Kelley
    SU Leuke
    LHP Furbush
    RHP Ruffin
    RHP Cortes/Delabar/Gray

    The money works as after arbitration, we have 18-26 million coming off (depending on what you read). After posting fee, Darvish will only be getting about $7 a year, Votto with arb will get about $7, and Gordon will get a raise to about $6, and Zambrano gets $6 more than Figgins (but one less year…yeah!) When Votto re-ups, Ichiro and Zambrano come off the books ($36 mil!), and Paxton/Hultzen/Jose Campos (Felix jr.) can fill out the rotation. AND solid pick in pitcher-heavy draft (Mark Appel) next year gives possible rotation re-enforcements for 2013!

  69. nwade on October 6th, 2011 3:56 pm

    Obviously you’re admitting the team needs a “closer” a sentence after dismissing our “closer”. Why not the one we have?

    Because the one we have is about to start making more and more money. Why not save some cash and improve our collective pool of talent by trading him while his value is high, and use someone lower-cost for closing?

  70. ripperlv on October 6th, 2011 4:05 pm

    I think the M’s have 3 stars – King, Pineda, Ackley. That’s it. We have a little depth at pitching including some prospects on the way.

    I can’t think of a position player other than Ackley that doesn’t need an upgrade. Carp may be a professional hitter, and we always need those. But really, honestly, we got a long ways to go before we can slug it out with the Rangers/Yankees/Red Sox. I don’t see trading for Jesus Flores, Ryan Doumit, Chris Iannette doing anything except making a slight upgrade. It’s like putting new concrete on I-5 and expecting the traffic problem to be fixed. Now, that Votto idea excites me – that’s what I’m talking about.

  71. Mathball on October 6th, 2011 4:08 pm

    Agreed. He’s our starting catcher next year. My point is we lost the guy he was supposed to be platooning with causing him to play on a much more regular basis. More than likely causing him to hit against pitchers he shouldn’t have been hitting against.

    Career .243AVG/.279OBP/.421SLG/.700OPS
    2011 Season .224AVG/.253OBP/.388SLG/.641OPS
    2010 Season .269AVG/.315OBP/.449SLG/.764OPS

    Right now because of money/availability Olivo, realistically maybe our best option at C. My questions are that, Would Olivo be more effective if he had more rest days? And would Wedge see it that way or does Wedge think he should man up? I think it is more realistic that we get our catcher of the future and play him twice a week and hopefully Olivo will be closer to career numbers when he plays.

  72. Chris_From_Bothell on October 6th, 2011 4:15 pm

    I think we need dingers. Let’s call up Peguero and Halman again, make sure Wily Mo is in the lineup, sign Branyan again and also convince Sexson to come out of retirement.
    Who’s with me?

    I think we need OBP. Let’s get Kotchman back from the Rays, re-sign Cust, and put Ichi and Figgy 1-2 in the lineup no matter what. Who’s with me?

    …see, I can do strawmen too.

  73. Valenica on October 6th, 2011 4:50 pm

    Our needs are SP > C > LF = 3B = DH > SS = CF.

    SP has some really good prospects coming up next year, so we just need guys on one-year contracts who could potentially be flipped, or just stick with Beavan/Furbush. Or hey, Darvish.

    C has no depth and no talent. We could try to acquire some from the Reds and Jays, but they’re unlikely to trade for the crap we have. Hunter Pence couldn’t even get Mesoraco. Iannette looks good, if the price isn’t too high. FA is a last resort, and honestly not much better than sticking with Olivo.

    Between LF, 3B, and DH, I think LF is the easiest to fill this off-season either through trade or FA. Logan Morrison or Andre Ethier is an option if we’re willing to pay, as are Willingham/Cuddyer/Ludwick in FA, but those guys are likely looking for long-term deals and don’t fit in the 2013-2015 time frame too well. Plus they all have as many question marks as Wells.

    I like Seager at 3B in the short-term, average bat and average defense for cheap. Carp at DH is fine, rather do that then spend $7 million on an old bat like Vlad/Matsui. Ortiz is always an option though if the Red Sox don’t resign for whatever reason.

    Brendan Ryan at $1.75 million is a steal and probably the last hole we need to fix, while Guti is locked up, with potential to bounce back offensively.

    I think we need to look more at trades than FA, and try to find some way to get Darvish. Darvish opens up trades for Vargas (who’s changed his mechanics for a good speed increase), as well as 2 of Walker/Pineda/Paxton/Campos, which could be used to get that C and LF we really need. And hey, maybe Joey Votto.

  74. Breadbaker on October 6th, 2011 7:43 pm

    God, the failure of this organization to develop a replacement-level catcher (other than Jason Varitek) since, what, Dave Valle, just boils my blood. Not to mention the parade of trades starting with Ben Davis. I think the reason so many were satisfied with Olivo 2.0 was that he wasn’t a complete embarrassment.

  75. groundzero55 on October 6th, 2011 8:11 pm

    Trade Figgins to Chicago for Zambrano and cash,

    I’d rather just have a bad player sitting on the bench, than a bad player/headcase who loses us a game every 5th day.

    tie the cash into the posting fee for Darvish,

    Who we still have not received definitive word on that he WILL be posted…

    trade Pineda, Robinson, and League to Cincy for Votto and Mesoraco,

    If Cincy’s GM approved that trade, he would probably be fired.

    trade Saunders, Taijuan Walker, and Carlos Triunfel to KC for Gordon.

    This one is a bit more realistic. And I like it.

    I think we need OBP. Let’s get Kotchman back from the Rays, re-sign Cust, and put Ichi and Figgy 1-2 in the lineup no matter what. Who’s with me?

    …see, I can do strawmen too.

    Since when is Figgy an OBP guy? Oh wait, not since before he was a Mariner.

    Still…I can guarantee you that your OBP lineup would win more games than my dinger lineup.

  76. lalo on October 6th, 2011 9:14 pm

    Trade James Paxton, Alex Liddi and Greg Halman/Trayvon Robinson for Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez.

    Trade for Grady Sizemore (Given his injuries and his salary ,$9M option for 2012), the price should be low, 1 or 2 minor leaguers…

    Sign Kevin Millwood or Jeff Francis , 1 year , 1 million

    Sign Josh Willingham, 1 year 10M

    The lineup would be:

    Ichiro
    Ackley
    Willingham (DH)
    Sizemore (LF, CF)
    Smoak (1B)
    Guti/Wells (CF)
    Moustakas (3B)
    Olivo/Salvador Perez
    Brendan Ryan/Nick Franklin

    The pitching:

    Felix
    Pineda
    Vargas
    Millwood/Francis
    Beavan/ Hultzen in July…

    League (CL)
    Wilhelmsen (Setup man)
    Wright
    Ruffin
    Furbush
    Stephen Pryor

    Bench:

    Mike Carp (DH,1B,LF)
    Kyle Seager(3B,2B,SS)
    Casper Wells
    Salvador Perez or Olivo
    Trayvon Robinson/Chone Figgins (9 millions)

    Suddenly, the 25 man roster is balanced

  77. MrZDevotee on October 6th, 2011 10:50 pm

    On a “positive” negative note–

    God Bless YOU, Doug Fister!

    Trading him away was worth watching the Yankees go home in the first round. That was absolutely a joy to watch. ESPECIALLY that warning track shot by Jeter. Oops. Nice out, D.

    Robinson Cano is out there somewhere tonight thinking– “where can I go and have a chance to actually WIN in October?” Poor guy. Weird times we’re in… SPEND SPEND SPEND… and lose.

    (Sorry, I’m just happy the rich kids got spit on by the hardballers from 8 Mile. Too “rich” in a different way…)

  78. Chris_From_Bothell on October 6th, 2011 11:21 pm

    Since when is Figgy an OBP guy? Oh wait, not since before he was a Mariner.

    Which was the whole reason they wanted to make him a Mariner. Unless you think he was brought here for his gap doubles power or something…

    Still…I can guarantee you that your OBP lineup would win more games than my dinger lineup.

    Go grab the OPS of each guy from the “OBP” lineup and the “dinger” lineup, as of the last time each guy was batting in a ML game as a Mariner. I think it’s closer than you think.

    Kotchman: 616
    Ichiro: .645
    Figgins: .484
    Cust: .673

    Peguero: .622
    Halman: .600
    Pena: .666
    Sexson: .694

    Pooh-poohing dingers! is as much of a silly strawman as the 2010 proved that building on OBP doesn’t work meme. All that’s been proved the last few years is that the Mariners just need higher quality players overall.

  79. groundzero55 on October 6th, 2011 11:50 pm

    Pooh-poohing dingers! is as much of a silly strawman as the 2010 proved that building on OBP doesn’t work meme. All that’s been proved the last few years is that the Mariners just need higher quality players overall.

    Um, yes, that’s why I don’t see what point you are making with the dingers talk.

    I might add, however, that when players fail at getting on base, it sort of ruins the entire OBP argument. Building on OBP is not a sham as long as it actually happens. Moreover, I don’t necessarily have a problem with the three true outcome type of player…I DO have a problem when it becomes only two true outcomes.

  80. cougarcountry on October 6th, 2011 11:58 pm

    I think it’s been so long since the Mariners have actually developed a decent hitter of their own that the fans and bloggers have forgotten what the process looks like.

    Seager, Carp, Wells. 500+ ABs. Most f those those other guys on other teams that look so shiney went through the same process.

    Cross your fingers and hope 1 or more are real components to put around Smoak and Ackley.

    This is what turning role players into contributors looks like.

  81. groundzero55 on October 7th, 2011 12:00 am

    As for all the Moustakas worship – I have seen several times now calls to acquire Moustakas to be our starting 3B.

    Here are a couple of lines from two active players this season.

    Player 1 – .263/.309/.367 OPS .675

    Player 2 – .258/.312/.379 OPS .691

    Both pretty similar, no? Player 1 is Mike Moustakas, and the numbers aren’t terrible, but overall Player 2 is a little better. You might know him; his name is Kyle Seager.

  82. cougarcountry on October 7th, 2011 12:11 am

    groundzero has it right. Folks are suffering from grass is greener syndrome, seems to me.

    Seager is worth playing every day. As are Carp and Wells. You gotta find out what they are- and no one really knows yet.

    The fantasy baseball/rotissiere stuff is fun and all, but unless Z can turn the Wells/Seager/Carp type guys into some 6 WAR young stud, the path to the promised land is turning some of those guys into that player other teams wish they had. Those players don’t appear out of thin air or strictly top draft picks. They come through a process both Wedge and Z seem pretty committed to.

  83. Valenica on October 7th, 2011 12:38 am

    Yeah, I don’t understand all this hate on Carp/Wells/Seager. 117/110/94 wRC+ is great for (basically) rookie seasons. Dustin Ackley, the chosen one, put up 117 wRC+. We need to give these guys as much playing time as possible and trust in our development team.

    And looking at Smoak’s monthly splits is really encouraging. Take out his injured July (12 wRC+, wow), and his wRC+ looks to be around 120, which is pretty great for a guy who basically just finished his first full year in the MLB (700~ PA, 100~ injured). I don’t think he’s as big a question mark as most people think.

  84. The_Waco_Kid on October 7th, 2011 12:43 am

    Groundzero:
    Moustakas had 365 PA and Seager had 201. I agree though. We got all these wildcards. Let’s figure out what we got. We won’t find out until they play more.

  85. MrZDevotee on October 7th, 2011 3:08 am

    More food for thought:

    Seager 96 OPS+
    Moustakas 86 OPS+

    For the season:
    Seager: .258/.312/.379
    (47 hits, 16 xtra base – 34% xtra base hits)

    Mous: .263/.309/.367
    (89 hits, 24 xtra base – 26% xtra base hits)

    Personally, Seager did nothing in his short time at the majors to tell me– “this guy can’t do this everyday.” Moustakas has had more “seasoning” in his progression to the Majors, and folks would seem genuinely happy to have him on the team, so the fact that Seager’s already putting up numbers in that same range should be reason for optimism– or perhaps we’re just all overwhelmed by the need to fix the Figgins debacle, and only a splashy type of 3B, who costs us even more money, will offset that “cost” in our minds (lest we forget, whoever we might bring in, we STILL have to pay for Seager, too)?

  86. jjracoon on October 7th, 2011 4:08 am

    What needs to happen is a visit from Z to Japan for a sitdown with Ichiro. Fans are going to want to see him try for 3000 hits so what needs to happen is a reduced contract. Renegotiate 2012 and add two more years with option for one more if not at 3000. Make it a 12 million a year thus giving Mariners another 5 million wiggle room in 2012.
    Z pulls off the deal of the year moving Figgins for a servicable player at equal or close money or at least half the money to fill one of the holes.

    Make the monster trade for Votto.

    Get Aramis Ramirez for 3rd (I know you all think he is too old and too expensive).

    Move Seagar to 2nd and Ackley to LF and lets get going winning some games.

  87. jjracoon on October 7th, 2011 4:20 am

    Lineup

    2010 Ichiro
    Ackley
    Votto
    Ramirez
    Smoak
    2009 Gutierrez
    2010 Olivo
    Seagar
    Ryan

  88. Bodhizefa on October 7th, 2011 4:40 am

    What needs to happen is a visit from Z to Japan for a sitdown with Ichiro. Fans are going to want to see him try for 3000 hits so what needs to happen is a reduced contract. Renegotiate 2012 and add two more years with option for one more if not at 3000. Make it a 12 million a year thus giving Mariners another 5 million wiggle room in 2012.

    You’re nuts, dude. If Ichiro’s decline is real, the fans aren’t going to want to see him ever again after 2012. I’d much rather have a winning team than take up a valuable starting roster spot with a guy who might break a record. I could give a crap about 3,000 hits, man. I want a winning team. And if Ichiro continues to suck in 2012 like he did this year, there’s zero reason for us to bring him back. Zero.

    I’d be very happy if we could get Ryan Hannigan. I’d be ecstatic if we could get Votto. Here’s hoping.

  89. djw on October 7th, 2011 7:57 am

    Pooh-poohing dingers! is as much of a silly strawman as the 2010 proved that building on OBP doesn’t work meme.

    Let’s be clear about why the “dingers!!!!11!!” crowd are being mocked here. They’re twisting themselves into pretzels to make Olivo look like something other than a large problem, and they’re doing so by counting home runs (and RBIs–all 62! of them) and ignoring everything else. This despite the facts that:

    1. He has the worst WAR and wOBA (by far) of any catcher in 2011 with over 300 plate appearance.

    2. His offense was so bad, he had a worse wOBA than Kelly Shoppach. Shoppach hit .176. Can anyone imagine Rays fans (if such creatures existed) would be trying to poo-poo the idea that giving him 500+ plate appearances in 2012 would be just fine?

    3. He’s 34 and he’s a truly awful fit four our park. These factors combine to make a bounce-back exceedingly unlikely.

    4. Our manager is likely to bat him much higher in the order than he should be.

    There may end up not being any good options to replace him, but if you’re deep love of home runs is convincing you this isn’t a problem, you’ve got a serious problem with your analytic approach.

    The sane thing, it seems to me, is to stop caring how we get better, and worry about how much we get better. There’s scads of research out there that allow us to weigh OBP increases against SLG increases accurately. Take the best opportunities available to improve the offense on both or either fronts, rather than worrying about which one.

  90. TumwaterMike on October 7th, 2011 9:17 am

    Did anyone besides me get giddy when A-Rod struck out to send the Yankees home? I hope the New York media roasts his smug ass the whole off-season. Great job Doug Fister, he deserves it.

  91. G-Man on October 7th, 2011 9:41 am

    Not yet mentioned as a C possibility – Russell Martin is a free agent.

  92. Ibuprofen on October 7th, 2011 10:25 am

    Not yet mentioned as a C possibility – Russell Martin is a free agent.

    I think I’d rather trade for Hannigan, but I wouldn’t be upset or anything if we signed him. I don’t think we will, but it’s not impossible. He kinda sucks defensively, though.

  93. Paul B on October 7th, 2011 11:40 am

    From a recent post on Fangraphs:

    One final, utterly unsurprising note: the least pesky player of 2011 (with at least 400 plate appearances) according to PeRt was Miguel Olivo.

  94. lokiforever on October 7th, 2011 11:45 am

    Tumwater Mike

    While I wasn’t giddy, a did have a sense of satisfaction. Not only did ARod’s strike out in the 9th end the game, but he also struck out in the 7th with the bases loaded.

    So yeah, he’s probably tring to keep a low pofile around NYC right about now.

  95. ripperlv on October 7th, 2011 11:52 am

    Forget about the catcher already. We have much more serious issues. Like a declining RF who even when he had great OBP didn’t do much for the M’s in the win/lose category. So what is a catcher going to do for us by improving the OBP a few points? Can you see my point here? Let’s get some all-stars or potential all-stars on this team.
    I mean look at the playoff teams:

    Fielder/Braun/Weeks/Hart
    Pujols/Berkman/Holliday
    Beltre/Hamilton/Cruz/Young

    - have I mentioned a catcher yet?

    Cano/Teixeira/Rodriguez/Granderson
    Pedroia/Ellsbury/Ortiz/Gonzalez
    Pence/Rollins/Howard/Utley

    And the Mariners:

    Ackley/ and no others match up at this point. Certainly no slugger on our list!!!
    Ichiro used to because of OBP. Others may or may not. But I don’t think an upgrade at catcher will fix the problem.

  96. Ibuprofen on October 7th, 2011 12:19 pm

    ripperlv, your post misses the point entirely. No one is saying that upgrading the catcher is suddenly going to make us a playoff contender, but it would help. And all those All-Star players you mention have a pretty damn good OBP. You can’t score runs when you can’t get on base, and Olivo cannot get on base. It’s easily one of the top positions we could use some improvement from, and a trade for someone like Ryan Hannigan fixes that problem pretty cheaply.

    And if you don’t agree with that, please come up with a reasonable way “to get some all-stars or potential all-stars on this team” that doesn’t involve crippling the franchise for years by overpaying for Fielder.

  97. JoshJones on October 7th, 2011 12:23 pm

    Agreed. Catcher isn’t something we should be worrying about. Next season Adam Moore/Olivio will be platooning together.

  98. MrZDevotee on October 7th, 2011 1:25 pm

    Tumwater-
    Honestly, I didn’t even know A-Rod was still a Yankee, I thought he was in a halfway house somewhere?

    (Thank you, I’ll be here all week… Try the lamb!)

    Actually my fave moment emotionally (as I stated in my post way up above) was still the “almost” homer by Jeter that was– ho hum– just a really really deep popup out. Satisfying range of emotions there.

    Fister rocks. Good for him.

    (8-1 W-L, 1.79 ERA, .84 WHIP since leaving Seattle).

  99. goat on October 7th, 2011 1:57 pm

    A few weeks before the end of the season, I did a search on Fangraphs for the top performing WAR at 3B since 2009, just to see if there were established options for upgrading that existed. Figgins was #12. Since 2009, Chone Figgins has performed better than half the people who have played 3B in MLB. Granted, all of that happened in 2009, but the point is that there aren’t a lot of options to upgrade for an established 3B out there. Other teams want someone at 3B, too. I don’t see any reason to overpay on 3B in either trade or FA if there are so many other holes to fill, especially if we have someone with potential like Seager as well as Liddi and the guy from the Fister trade that might pan out later.

    As for Olivo, the biggest bright spot I can see there is that if Olivo really does rank as a Type B according to Elias Sports Bureau, we can at least get a draft pick next year if we keep playing him.

  100. KaminaAyato on October 7th, 2011 2:54 pm

    All I’ll ask when people try to analyze the situation is to remember where we came from. Yes, the Bavasi era is over, his players are gone, but to me it’s over in the sense he’s dug out of that hole. There’s still work to be done.

    I mean if you look at our roster and compare it to the playoff teams, you see that with the exception of Felix, Ichiro and Pineda, every single person was acquired by Z via trade, draft or FA. How much of an indictment is it on Bavasi that Z had to go to that length (and time) to build a team on the field? Think about it, it meant that there was almost no one in the minors that Z believed would be a major leaguer. And in terms of building the minors, his major trading chips to build were JJ Putz, a rental Cliff Lee, Brandon Morrow and Doug Fister. Not quite blockbuster material (except for perhaps Lee).

    I want a winner, and if you read my article, I believe that the draft is very important in having a sustainable winner.

    Does it mean we have to do nothing but let the players develop? Not necessarily. But I don’t think it means going big and signing someone like Fielder either because you’re in all likelihood paying a huge markup for a player. I really don’t know the tack to take because if you look at the playoff teams, they all did it in a different way (like we know the Yankees bought their team, but Detroit acquired a lot of players via FA too). But I believe Z has finally dug himself out of one hole he was thrown in and now has the 2nd hole to climb out of (which would normally be the first for most rebuilding processes).

    No one player will solve our problems. And looking at the talent Z had available to trade in the past you have to be realistic about what you can trade for in the future. Just keep that in mind is all I ask.

  101. djw on October 7th, 2011 8:01 pm

    a declining RF who even when he had great OBP didn’t do much for the M’s in the win/lose category.

    In his first 10 years with the Mariners, Ichiro Suzuki averaged roughly 5.3 WAR per season. For that 10 year stretch, there are two players who were more valuable: Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriquez.

    But you–you’ve figured out the flaw in WAR. There is something wrong with this formula, and it’s inflating Ichiro Suzuki’s value. I very much hope you’ll someday share your pathbreaking analysis with the rest of us.

  102. SODOMOJO360 on October 7th, 2011 9:38 pm

    If you’re wanting to get more pop out of 3B or LF just be prepared for it to cost a lot, because power in those positions aren’t easy to pry away from other teams, and we sure as hell aren’t going to be signing them in free agency.

    That’s why we should give Liddi a chance at 3rd. Seager is a 2nd baseman and needs to be traded. We have no pop in RF, SS, CF so we need some pop at 3rd. I know Liddi strikes out a bunch and might not be ready but maybe platoon him with Seager at 3rd at least. Liddi looked OK on defense and showed good power in his limited AB’s at the end of the season.

  103. groundzero55 on October 7th, 2011 9:47 pm

    If Liddi can find a way to get on base and strike out less than 40% of the time, I’m with you.

    If not, I’ll stick with Seager.

  104. jjracoon on October 8th, 2011 1:32 am

    You’re nuts, dude. If Ichiro’s decline is real, the fans aren’t going to want to see him ever again after 2012. I’d much rather have a winning team than take up a valuable starting roster spot with a guy who might break a record. I could give a crap about 3,000 hits, man. I want a winning team. And if Ichiro continues to suck in 2012 like he did this year, there’s zero reason for us to bring him back. Zero.

    You must be referring to rabid bloggers rather than the everyday go to a game or two a year fan.
    People are looking for heroes and since Edgar left there havent been a lot. Ichiro has filled that role and I am guessing if a poll was run to the general public as to keeping Ichiro around for a few more years, the vote would be in favor.
    Do I think 12 million is too much?? Yes but where the market is, I dont forsee him being much cheaper.

    If it wasnt for his salary then he would still be okay since his he was one of the top three hitters on team. Not much to be proud of but not an issue right now until other issues are fixed.

  105. ripperlv on October 8th, 2011 2:04 am

    ripperlv, your post misses the point entirely. No one is saying that upgrading the catcher is suddenly going to make us a playoff contender, but it would help. And all those All-Star players you mention have a pretty damn good OBP. You can’t score runs when you can’t get on base, and Olivo cannot get on base. It’s easily one of the top positions we could use some improvement from, and a trade for someone like Ryan Hannigan fixes that problem pretty cheaply.

    Actually you miss the point completely. but I understand. Good luck to you.

    In his first 10 years with the Mariners, Ichiro Suzuki averaged roughly 5.3 WAR per season. For that 10 year stretch, there are two players who were more valuable: Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriquez?
    And that proves what? That a singles hitter doesn’t belong in the group
    Classic example of why WAR doesn’t win ball games, players do. Been there, done that, if stats won games, Halladay would not have lost. Yes I follow sabermetrics, but it is not the end all, be all as I think most will agree. Especially during the playoffs, anything can happen.

  106. jjracoon on October 8th, 2011 2:06 am

    I was also looking at freeing up some more money for 2012 and what is to say Ichiro doesnt have a bounce back year and then get 17 million a year for a couple years more. Upper managment likes him and it isnt out of realm of possibility.

  107. ripperlv on October 8th, 2011 2:20 am

    I was also looking at freeing up some more money for 2012 and what is to say Ichiro doesnt have a bounce back year and then get 17 million a year for a couple years more. Upper managment likes him and it isnt out of realm of possibility.

    Good luck with that.

  108. ripperlv on October 8th, 2011 2:39 am

    BTW, the M’s need to add 38 WAR to make the playoffs.

  109. Steve Nelson on October 8th, 2011 12:14 pm

    Jamie Moyer will be ready to put on a uniform again this spring. I wouldn’t be the least surprised if he gets an invite to spring training as a non-roster invitee.

  110. JoshJones on October 8th, 2011 7:22 pm

    no offense people but I don’t wanna hear about Brandon Inge, Jamie Moyer, Jack Wilson, Adam Kenedy, or any other waste of space player that should be a small insignificant pickup. Im not saying we shouldn’t take a flyer on these guys or even sign them to a minor league deal. But after seeing a whole season of adam kenedy, jack cust, and jack wilson playing consistently I dont think I can take anymore speculation about guys who shouldn’t be playing on a team that’s “rebuilding.” Just let managment sign them or not and we can talk about them then :)

  111. djw on October 8th, 2011 9:02 pm

    That a singles hitter doesn’t belong in the group
    Classic example of why WAR doesn’t win ball games, players do.

    WAR give credits to singles based on an analysis–by all accounts I’ve seen, a sound one–of the contribution made by singles to winning baseball games.

    If you’ve got evidence that WAR is overvaluing singles, please share!

  112. Jordan on October 9th, 2011 5:27 pm

    BTW, the M’s need to add 38 WAR to make the playoffs.

    or 23.5 to get the Wild Card….

    Still, just so depressing :(

    I wonder how much regression to the mean can close this gap?

  113. Jordan on October 9th, 2011 5:50 pm

    Only looking at WAR the Mariners are not as far away as the numbers seem.

    They lost 4.2 from the group that includes:
    Cust, Pena, Peguero, Halman, M. Wilson, Saunders, Bradley, Langerhans, and Robinson.

    In that group I don’t see any making the team next year.

    They received 2.3 combined from Ichiro, Smoak, Seager, Carp and Wells.

    They received 7.3 combined from Gutierrez, Olivo, Ryan and Ackley.

    Kennedy and Rodriguez contributed 0.0 so that won’t factor in.

    Hopefully, it’s not entirely unrealistic to expect another 8 WAR from those groups. So with addition by subtraction and improvement from within the Mariners could be around 12 additional WAR and the playoffs! That’s just 2 blockbusters and few chips to acquire them.

    But seriously, even though the Mariners are not likely to add enough to contend, a .500 team is not out of the question. Here’s to optimism :)

  114. JoshJones on October 9th, 2011 6:31 pm

    anyone wanna give up the farm for longoria?

  115. Ibuprofen on October 9th, 2011 6:44 pm

    anyone wanna give up the farm for longoria?

    Go away, Bill Bavasi.

  116. Valenica on October 9th, 2011 7:25 pm

    Robinson can still make the team. I think if Wells or Guti doesn’t perform up to par, Robinson is next in line.

    We really shouldn’t look at building a team through just WAR, but the point is, the Rangers are the class of the AL along with NYY/BOS. If we don’t think we can compete with NYY/BOS for the WC, than we don’t stand a chance against TEX. We need a team that can compete against the Yankees, not against the Angels and their overachieving
    85 win self.

    I’ve been checking out some scouting heavy blogs and the take is a lot more interesting and more in line with what I think. We need to trust in Z and play his kids – not trade them and acquire damaged goods from other teams (ala Ian Stewart).

    We need power at 3B/LF and Seager isn’t the answer; neither is Aramis Ramirez however. Play Seager now and see if Liddi/Catricala/Martinez can step up to the plate. Play Wells and hope he hits like Carp, but if he doesn’t, don’t hesitate to replace him with Trayvon/Chiang/Catricala and see what they can do. We have Smoak/Ackley/Carp inked in – 2012 will be about Wells in LF/CF, Trayvon in LF/CF, Catricala at 3B/LF, and seeing what Seager, Miller, Martinez, Franklin, Chiang, Paxton, Hultzen, Furbush, and the rest can do. 2012 will be a lot like 2011 – and that’s okay. The rebuild is working.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.