Rockies Rumors

Dave · December 6, 2011 at 8:25 am · Filed Under Mariners 

While the M’s basically don’t leak anything and we usually don’t know what we’re up to, it seems likely that the Mariners and Rockies have had a few discussions about matching up in a potential deal the last few days. The Mariners have been tied to outfielder Seth Smith since last week, and in more recent days, rumors have also attached them to third baseman Ian Stewart, with the Rockies apparently showing some interest in taking Chone Figgins as long as the Mariners pay the bulk of his remaining contract.

So, just briefly, I thought I’d give an overview on my view of Smith and Stewart. The short version – yay on the former at the right price, meh on the latter.

Smith is a pretty solid left-handed bat who would upgrade the line-up and could form a nifty platoon with Casper Wells, but he lacks a lot of high end potential. He does everything decently – draws some walks, makes some contact, hits for some power – but doesn’t excel in any particular area, and has historically had significant problems against left-handed pitching. He’s also not a fantastic defender, so his value has to come primarily from his bat, and the bat is more good than great.

For bat-only players, they need to hit a lot to be stars, and even playing in Colorado, he’s yet to show that he can be a big time impact hitter. If the Rockies aren’t asking too much for his services, he’d be a solid low-salary left field option, but it sounds like they might want a pretty significant return for his services, and I wouldn’t see Smith as such a valuable piece that I’d want to give up a real part of the future to pry him away. If the cost is a few guys that the organization can spare, okay, but let’s not go too far overboard for an average left fielder who needs a platoon partner.

As for Stewart, I’d essentially just no thanks. There’s this idea that somehow Stewart has “upside” or “potential”, but I just don’t see that as a position supported by much in the way of evidence. Stewart isn’t exactly a kid anymore, as he turns 27 in April, and he’s been a pretty lousy Major League player during his first 1,500 trips to the plate. He essentially has a fatal flaw – contact rate – that serves to significantly limit his ability to produce at the plate, even though he draws some walks and hits some homers.

When you strike out in 28% of your plate appearances, you have to be ridiculously great on contact to be a good hitter, and Stewart just isn’t – his career ISO of .192 is fine for someone who hasn’t played half their games in Colorado, but given the context, it’s pretty mediocre. Lots of strikeouts and just okay power is a pretty terrible combination, and we shouldn’t be overly surprised that Stewart hasn’t been able to make the skillset work in the big leagues. I know it’s tempting to look at Stewart’s minor league numbers and believe that he just needs to make some adjustments, but remember that the Rockies Triple-A team is in Colorado Springs, and there’s a lot of air in those numbers as well.

Essentially, Stewart is a mediocre defensive third baseman who is among the most whiff-prone hitters in the sport and doesn’t do enough to make up for it. He’s worse and older than Kyle Seager, and since he’s left-handed, he offers no real potential for a job share situation. If he was free, I might consider giving him a bench job, but I wouldn’t have any interest in giving up anything of any value to get him.


28 Responses to “Rockies Rumors”

  1. Jordan on December 6th, 2011 9:20 am

    When I suggested Smith as a reasonable target a few weeks ago, it was laughed off and largely ignored; it will be interesting to see if the Mariners actually go after him.

    At the right price he’s a decent platoon partner, but his defense doesn’t really justify the bench spot in later innings. Obviously, he’s not a first choice. Unfortunately, these are the types of moves the Mariners need to make: baby steps. Sorry, for any Lopez references.

  2. greentunic on December 6th, 2011 9:29 am

    Agreed on all fronts Dave. Though if Stewart meant shedding SOME of Figgin’s contract? Makes me think.

    I’d still want Seager starting over Stewart.

  3. greentunic on December 6th, 2011 9:29 am

    Agreed on all fronts Dave. Though if Stewart meant shedding SOME of Figgin’s contract? Makes me think.

    I’d still want Seager starting over Stewart.

    (Edit, Sorry for the double post, don’t know how that happened)

  4. Jordan on December 6th, 2011 9:34 am

    Any thing more than dead weight is better than Figgins at this point. Dave, it sounds like you don’t think Stewart can provide any value. So I’m wondering if the Rockies have a prospect that we may/should target while dumping Figgins?

  5. JoshJones on December 6th, 2011 9:42 am

    If the trade is Ian Stewart for Figgins + single A prospect with them eating some of Figgins contract then it’s a great deal.

    I like Seth Smith, but his inability to hit left handed pitching is very evident. One thing to consider as it pertains to aquiring/signing an OF is the future of Ichiro.

    If Ichiro is gone next season were looking at Seth Smith, Casper Wells, Trayvon, Saunders, Guti. There’s a lot of holes if any of those are everyday players. As a platoon, it’s not a bad idea but i’d be concerned with where that puts our outfield in 2013.

  6. greentunic on December 6th, 2011 9:52 am

    Our outfield has more holes RIGHT NOW than it will in a Smith-included 2013 OF if Ichiro plays like last year.

  7. Westside guy on December 6th, 2011 10:00 am

    I dunno. If we’re not getting back some value, I don’t see any significant advantage to a trade where we eat most of Figgin’s contract versus a DFA where we eat all of his contract. So if the Rockies want pieces added just to give us a middlin’ bat… why bother?

  8. raul_podzednick on December 6th, 2011 10:23 am

    I agree with this analysis competely.

    I am not all that interested interested in Stewart and Smith would be fine at the right price.

  9. JoshJones on December 6th, 2011 11:15 am

    So Jeff Francis?

    No thanks. Jamie Moyer would cost way less and be just as productive.

  10. make_dave_proud on December 6th, 2011 12:12 pm

    Wow, this is sad. I’m not in the we-need-a-gigantic-hitter-or-nothing crowd, but the names being bandied about right now are just depressing.

    Given the team’s needs, this just sounds like throwing people on “the pile” for spring training.

  11. ppl on December 6th, 2011 12:56 pm

    I agree. Just say no to Ian Stewart.

  12. JoshJones on December 6th, 2011 1:10 pm


    The Mariners are the frontrunner for Fielder, tweets Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN.

    With all the speculation around andrew bailey I wouldn’t be suprised at all to see us acquire Bailey then trade League. Or find a way to trade figgins and shed some of his salary. Either way it it could open roughly $3-5M giving us enough money to aquire Fielder pressumed we have $14-16M to spend currently.
    My prediction is $180-200M/8years for Fielder. In Daves post about Fielder he viewed $20M a season as feasable, but $25M as too much.

    Like it or not, the M’s have a great interest in Fielder. Might be time to start figuring out what pieces to put around him over the next couple seasons.

  13. greentunic on December 6th, 2011 1:31 pm

    I’m sorry, but I’m starting to root for a Fielder signing. Though, admittedly, I did start to root for the Bedard trade a few years ago.

    I’m just starving for some talent on this team.

  14. Westside guy on December 6th, 2011 1:59 pm

    Like it or not, the M’s have a great interest in Fielder.

    I don’t think anyone here would object to the M’s signing Fielder – as long as the contract isn’t onerous.

    The problem lies in the expectations people have regarding his probably contract. Signing him for 7 or 8 years, for example, would likely come back to bite us.

  15. sonichound on December 6th, 2011 2:14 pm

    I like Seth Smith and agree that Stewart has outgrown his potential tag. I would like to see them get Fielder if for no other reason than to generate some interest in the team. He adds a big bat from the left hand side to a line up in desperate need of some pop. Give the Marlins a call and work out a deal for Ramirez with our excess pitching. You have a top 5 of Ichiro, Ackely, Ramirez, Fielder and Smoak. That looks like runs to me and if our pitchers pan out at all some wins as well.

  16. jock on December 6th, 2011 2:42 pm

    I’m curious if anyone else has made the tie between Jack Z’s comment about wanting a backup SS for Ryan and the M’s trying to bring in an average 3B to fill that job. Are they trying to move Seager to the bench INF player or something? I know Liddi is coming up somewhat soon, but it seems like Seager at least has time for a breakout season compared to some of the names going around to fill 3B.

  17. stevemotivateir on December 6th, 2011 2:47 pm

    ^The argument for and against Fielder has been done to death. It’s a wait-and-see issue now.

    Ramirez is not likely going to get dealt. The Marlins have a hole at 3rd as well, so it’s likely he’ll be moved to the corner with Reyes taking over at SS. That’s my guess anyway.

  18. rth1986 on December 6th, 2011 2:52 pm

    I think Smith is a nice, cheap addition. He’s projected to only make about $2.5 million next year through arbitration. For a 2 WAR guy, that’s pretty good value. He’d be a nice platoon partner for Casper Wells, and would allow the Mariners to explore a trade involving Carp.

    I agree with most of the posts about Ian Stewart. He would have been nice to have about a year ago, but with Seager around, there wouldn’t be much room for him. Maybe the Mariners prefer him over Seager and put Seager on the market?

  19. rth1986 on December 6th, 2011 2:59 pm

    And regarding the above post about having Fielder AND Hanley Ramirez – know that Hanley is due to make $15 million in 2012. It’s already questionable whether or not the Mariners could afford Fielder, nonetheless Ramirez, too.

    It’d probably be either/or, although Ramirez would only fit at 3B for the M’s and his reluctance to change positions is the reason he could be on the market in the first place. That inflexibility, coupled with a league change and move to cold and unfriendly Safeco could make the move a disaster. I like Hanley a lot as a player, but he just doesn’t fit with the Mariners right now and wouldn’t be worth the cost.

    On a side note, I wonder if the Mariners are in on David Ortiz. He’s rumored to only have an offer of two years and $18 million from Boston. I’d much rather have Ortiz on a similar two year deal than Fielder on a 6+ year deal.

  20. MrZDevotee on December 6th, 2011 3:36 pm

    Maybe he’s just a good talker, but here’s a link to the transcript of Wedge’s interiew yesterday– he actually makes it sound like the Mariners are headed in the right direction… Talks about him and Ichiro on board with moving him in the lineup (possibly), about Guty being in much better health, with his weight up… Talks about some of the young guys… Cutting down the K’s this year…

    Talks about key position players coming in for an extra few weeks at the beginning of the year (including Guty and Wells) to get on a program with the trainers… Then give them a month off before Spring Training…

    Talks about Figgins moving more to the utility/McLemore sort of role on the team, rather than everyday 3B.

    A good briefing on the general feel of the team as Spring Training starts coming around the bend.

    Wedge Interview At Winter Meetings

  21. goat on December 6th, 2011 4:27 pm

    It seems like the Rockies would be interested in someone like Seager, based on the number of players they rotated through 2nd and 3rd last year (Lopez, Wiggington, Ellis, Stewart, I’m probably missing someone) and most of those guys are no longer with the team. Maybe they would take a bigger chunk of Figgin’s salary if we included Seager as part of any deal for Smith. Of course this would mean we’d have to be relatively sure of getting something done with either Placido or Guillen.

  22. terry on December 6th, 2011 6:42 pm

    Smith? Sure…

    A haiku:

    My My Cespedes,
    Mariners and Cespedes,
    Cespesdes Safeco.

  23. MrZDevotee on December 6th, 2011 8:06 pm

    The Mariners are planning to meet with Fielder tonight, says Heyman (on Twitter). He’s unsure of their chances to sign him, but says they “love” the slugger.

    I bet Mr. Fielder will be eating a few nice dinners this week, courtesy of various MLB teams.

  24. orin44 on December 6th, 2011 9:20 pm

    I actually disagree about Stewart. What I’ve seen and heard about Stewart is that he is very good defensively, with great range, and has even played second base. While he does have the contact issue, he has some pop. The right field line in Coors is one of the longest in baseball at like 350 feet, so coming to Safeco might translate well. If we could get rid of Figgins for him, I think that would be great. As far as Smith, I think he makes no sense because of Mike Carp is the same player with more potential. I would rather see the Mariners go after Carlos Quentin, who has real good power when healthy, as I don’t believe the Mariners will land Fielder.

  25. djw on December 6th, 2011 9:43 pm

    I know Liddi is coming up somewhat soon,

    You know nothing of the sort, because it’s not even remotely inevitable. The version of Liddi right now just doesn’t make enough contact to be a valuable major league player, given the rest of his skillset. He might yet prove to be an asset at the major league level, but the chances of that are (which not microscopic like, say, Tui or Peguero) solidly south of 50%.

  26. kinbote on December 6th, 2011 9:52 pm

    Chone Figgins and Juan Uribe have near-identical contracts remaining (9m/8m in 2012/2013 vs. 8m/7m/1m buyout).

    Ned Colletti has been quoted as saying he’s working on something “payroll neutral” for a former starting position player.

    Non-zero chance?

  27. Valenica on December 7th, 2011 1:48 am

    He might yet prove to be an asset at the major league level, but the chances of that are (which not microscopic like, say, Tui or Peguero) solidly south of 50%.

    If you look historically at rookies with 23%+ K%, and .190+ ISO over the last 10 years, they tend to work out into 4+ WAR about 30%~ of the time. This is without doing any age regression, so his chances might be even better, since Liddi was just 22 years old.

  28. futureoffantasy on December 7th, 2011 7:57 am

    I’m not saying I want the M’s to go after Stewart but just thought I’d throw out some random facts I stumbled upon:

    Stewart Career ISO is higher on the road than at Coors… what? Talk about not taking advantage of your surroundings.

    Stewart’s PA/HR is 10.9 when he plays 2b, compared to 30 when he plays 3b. This one is all about sample size (120 vs 1200). Doesn’t mean anything because of this sample size but I still thought it was interesting.

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