M’s Draft Reliever, Pujols and Wilson Go To Anaheim

Dave · December 8, 2011 at 8:29 am · Filed Under Mariners 

A big morning here in Dallas, and not because anyone really cares about the Rule 5 draft anymore. The Mariners selected LHP Lucas Leutge from the Brewers (shockingly!) with the third pick in the Rule 5, but that’s not what anyone really wants to talk about.

No, everyone’s buzzing about the Angels, who signed both Albert Pujols (10 years, $250ish million) and C.J. Wilson (5 years, $75ish million) to significant contracts this morning. This clearly pushes the Angels up into the tier with the Rangers at the top of the AL West, and means the Mariners can pretty much give up hope on making some miracle run in 2012 that might let them steal the division. You can concoct scenarios where one team struggles and leaves the door open, but the Angels and Rangers are both so much better now that it’s hard to see both teams falling apart enough to let the M’s sneak in with a division title. Contending next year was already a long shot, but these moves basically close that door now.

For the future, I don’t like this as much from the Angels perspective. They’ve made a huge bet on a guy with significant risk factors, and there’s a pretty decent chance that having Pujols on the books is going to force them to let other talented players walk, perhaps leaving them in a worse long term position than if they had simply used this money to retain the good players they already had in-house.

I know people will look at this and say that the Mariners now need to sign Prince Fielder to keep up with the Joneses, but I’d argue that this probably makes that kind of move even less necessary now. The Angels decision to go for it in the next few years means that the added value from having a guy like Prince Fielder on the roster is lessened, as adding him is less likely to result in a near term playoff run and revenue boost. Instead, the team should be focused on maximizing their chances of contention in 2013, and they can do better by setting up the roster with quality players at multiple positions than by betting the house on one player who could easily be untradeable in a year.

This move isn’t any kind of death knell for the Mariners, nor is it a sign that they need to buck up and spend like crazy just because their division rivals have decided to do so. The Mariners simply need to continue to make smart decisions, add talent to the organization, and exercise some rational decision making rather than panicking and making an emotional response.

Comments

111 Responses to “M’s Draft Reliever, Pujols and Wilson Go To Anaheim”

  1. built2crash on December 8th, 2011 8:33 am

    How many years does Pujols have left? 4 maybe 5 good ones? 10 years is ridiculous for a player 31 years old.

  2. asuray on December 8th, 2011 8:36 am

    Agreed. Spending $150-175 million over the next 6-8 years on Fielder with the hopes of, at best, finishing third in the division is a lot less appealing than spending that money with the hopes of finishing second, which wasn’t appealing to begin with.

  3. kentroyals5 on December 8th, 2011 8:38 am

    Is there really much hope for competing in 2013, let alone 2014/2015? Unless some freakish amount of injuries hamper only Tex/Angels we seem boned for the next few years at least. /Debbie Downer

  4. currcoug on December 8th, 2011 8:39 am

    There is no sense in denying that the Mariners are in a deep hole now.

  5. dennismk on December 8th, 2011 8:40 am

    I totally agree with D’s comments here. I thought the chance to compete next year was a small one, what with the current lineups for both Texas and LA…with the addition of Pujols to LA, it truly makes any sort of Seattle pennant run in 2012 not really feasible. Setting the groundwork for 2013 and beyond (remembering Ichiro’s situation in 2012) makes sense considering what we need to address first.

  6. Valenica on December 8th, 2011 8:44 am

    What a splash! I hope Z realizes now this is the reality of AL baseball.

    LAA showing the perfect timing to adding big big pieces – 43 WAR team with salary to spare. While I don’t think this means we’re out on Fielder, I think it reduces the likelihood he comes to Seattle, as we’re even less likely to contend soon now.

  7. Sportszilla on December 8th, 2011 8:46 am

    Here’s the thing to remember about 2013: MLB is adding another wild card team that year, so the barrier for contention gets lowered a bit. That’s yet another reason (in my mind) to plan for that year instead of 2012, as we wouldn’t need to beat out both teams to have a chance at the playoffs.

  8. MrZDevotee on December 8th, 2011 8:47 am

    Dave,
    I just wrote that this was either a death knell for the M’s, or they’re gonna try to keep up with the Joneses (because Fielder’s value just went WAY UP, thanks to the Halos), on the last thread– NEITHER of which is a good scenario…

    THANK YOU for being calm, rational, and (unknowingly) talking me down off the ledge.

    I’m sure this DOES change Z’s strategy… Realistically, we move forward, continuing to build piece by piece, adding WAR in a more diverse fashion… Which is more affordable, and spreading the upgrades throughout the lineup.

    It just makes more sense, no matter how less sexy it is.

    And, to steal Scott Boras’ own words, Seattle fans will support a winning team. They’ve done it before, and they’re STARVING to do it again…

    If anything, we “tortoise” this thing out, and let the Rangers and Angels chase their hare tails and empty out the coffers…

    Suddenly, we know what it feels like to be Toronto, in the East… Although hopefully we’re modeling ourselves to be Tampa Bay (which we should do, at this point).

    **as a sidenote, Houston fans must feel absolutely dejected at this point… (slow, sad voice)”Wow… Can’t WAIT to join the AL West”…**

  9. Squooshed on December 8th, 2011 8:48 am

    While I agree this should not force the Mariners to go out and sign Fielder and I think these contracts are unlikely to be in the best long-term interests of the Angels, the signings do worry me.

    I worry that the willingness of the Angels and the Rangers to spend truly significant money pushes the Mariners toward a Toronto/Baltimore twilight type of existence. Maybe we can pull of the Tampa Bay strategy, but the light at the end of the tunnel seems a little dimmer and a little farther than it did last night.

  10. smb on December 8th, 2011 8:51 am

    I’m actually happy about this—I just don’t see any way that Pujols contract isn’t an absolute albatross for them for at least the last 3 years, maybe the last half of the contract. He’s a DH and IMO he’s already peaked, so given where the M’s are right now in terms of building a winner, I think this contract should be hurting the Angels competitiveness right about when we’ll be in position to most benefit from that. I’m also not exactly afraid of Wilson…he looked pretty bad in the playoffs this year, IMO.

  11. MrZDevotee on December 8th, 2011 8:51 am

    Only Positive Spin I Can Muster:

    “I would like to personally thank the Anaheim Angels for helping to increase our attendance numbers, and $$$’s, this season (via the Pujols initial American League tour).”

  12. FelixFanChris420 on December 8th, 2011 8:51 am

    Like you said Dave, it’s not a death knell for the Mariners, but boy does it FEEL like it.

    I know we need to build smart and do things the right way, and I’m all for it, but damn…it would be nice to be able to have nice things sometime

  13. Valenica on December 8th, 2011 8:56 am

    Yeah the Pujols contract will end up badly – just look at A-Rod and how he’s aged over the years. Even the 9 WAR players decline like normal players.

    We should not try to model ourselves after Tampa. We are not a small market team. When contending, our market is the same size as LAA and CHC. Once we build the contender, things will start clicking. It’s just how do we get there from this point? I still think Fielder is a possibility, since this doesn’t change how far we are from contention. It’s just harder to win the AL West now.

  14. GarForever on December 8th, 2011 8:59 am

    To clarify something I said in the previous thread…

    As I told my wife, a lifelong Cardinals fan this morning, if it makes her feel any better the Angels in all likelihood will live to regret this a few years down the road, and for that same reason I don’t think the M’s should drop sacks of money on Prince for the sake of responding in kind. I still think, though, that the M’s ownership needs to be willing to give the FO more room with which to work. For the next few years, for the M’s to compete effectively with Texas and the Angels, $94MM or so only works if the an overwhelming majority of their moves — however smart on their face — pans out, including farmhands getting to the bigs quickly and fulfilling their promise. And as we’ve seen in recent years, not every sensible low-risk, high-reward move does pan out, and beyond the first couple of rounds the draft is a crap shoot. You can make 1-year gambles on the Casey Kotchmans of the world all you like, to take but one example, for reasons that make perfect sense at the time. But that doesn’t mean the good season he’ll surely and inevitably have is going to take place while he’s wearing your uniform.

    And, as much of an albatross as Pujols’ contract may eventually be, by the time that’s likely to happen (the shadow of Albert Pujols is still a player most of us would like to have in the M’s lineup) all of the great, young, cost-controlled talent on the M’s will no longer fit those last two descriptions. If Carp, Ackley, Pineda, Wells, and Seager all turn out to be even more than we hope for, those guys start getting arb raises three years from now that are going to get pricey; granted, cheaper than equivalent talent at FA rates, but pricey nevertheless, and sure to take a significant bite out of a payroll south of 100MM. And, oh yeah, and there’s that Felix guy I’m sure we’d like to see hang around; he’s not getting any cheaper, either. But we can trade or let most of those guys walk in exchange for more, young, cost-controlled talent, and the perpetual rebuild continues…

    Ladies and gentlemen, your 2016 Seattle Pirates! (and there was much rejoicing…yay.)

    I’m trying not to overreact, but there’s no way outside of the gods avenging themselves on Arte Moreno for his hubris that this can be anything other than bad news.

  15. smb on December 8th, 2011 9:00 am

    I am going to placate myself by envisioning a 38 year old Pjuols flailing away at a mid to high 90s Tijuan Walker fastball.

  16. Bryce on December 8th, 2011 9:00 am

    I’m not sure I get the crowing about Pujols being an albatross in a few years. It seems to me that if that happens, the Angels will do what the Red Sox do — eat all or part of the contract, and move on to the next big deal. If your hope is that it’ll cripple the Angels, I just don’t see it. They took on Vernon Wells — the single biggest albatross of the few years — and it didn’t stop them today.

    The M’s are now in a real tough spot. If the direction they take is to not run with the Angels and Rangers financially, then there’s no point in keeping Felix, because he’ll just walk at the end of his deal.

  17. GarForever on December 8th, 2011 9:08 am

    I agree with Bryce, I think, as much as it pains me to think about the possibility of Felix elsewhere. The M’s would never get more for him than they possibly could right now, and if the team isn’t realistically going to compete at any point during the rest of his contract, there seems little point in keeping him from a purely baseball standpoint.

    Damnit.

  18. qwerty on December 8th, 2011 9:10 am

    They took on Vernon Wells — the single biggest albatross of the few years — and it didn’t stop them today

    My guess is Vernon Wells’ days as an Angel are numbered.

  19. qwerty on December 8th, 2011 9:12 am

    Dave,
    So maybe now’s the time to call FLA about trading Vargas? or Milwaukee about availabilty of Casey McGehee?

  20. MrZDevotee on December 8th, 2011 9:13 am

    More positive spin– this Lucas Leutge kid (we picked in Rule 5 draft) sounds pretty decent:

    Lucas Luetge has pitched to a 3.43 ERA, 1.33 WHIP , 8.0 SO/9 and 2.5 SO/BB in 125 minor league games in his four seasons in the Brewers’ system. He pitched the full season in Double-A Huntsville in 2011 in the Southern League (where the M’s also play, so they’ve seen a lot of him) and posted a 3.13 ERA (2.81 FIP), 1.25 WHIP and 9.0 SO/9 while limiting left-handed hitters to a .175 average.

  21. ivan on December 8th, 2011 9:14 am

    Scouting reports I see online say Luetge has a fastball in the mid-80s, curve is his out pitch.

  22. Westside guy on December 8th, 2011 9:20 am

    My guess is Vernon Wells’ days as an Angel are numbered.

    That may be true, but his contract won’t magically vanish. There aren’t that many stupid owners – and one of the ones that exists can’t take Wells for obvious reasons. ;-)

    On another note… speaking strictly as a fan of baseball, I’m looking forward to getting a few chances to see Pujols play over the next couple of years.

  23. Bryce on December 8th, 2011 9:21 am

    Qwerty – you’re right, Wells is probably gone. How? They’ll eat the deal, and move on to Pujols. And then when it’s time for Pujols, they’ll eat the deal, and move on. If the M’s aren’t willing to play in the same league financially, then they’re going to be in a death spiral. They won’t be able to keep people like Felix, which means attendance goes down, which means less $, which means worse players, which means lower attendance.

    Like I said, a real tough spot. They’re boxed in, and we’ll see how they get out of it.

  24. Typical Idiot Fan on December 8th, 2011 9:24 am

    Boy, I’ll say this: any division that has Dipoto in it wont be boring.

  25. KaminaAyato on December 8th, 2011 9:32 am

    I thought this signing would temper Brock and Salk’s pounding for Fielder.

    Nope, now they say that we have to open our pockets even further to try and buy players to compete in a division that has become more difficult.

    Why not wait until that Pujols contract becomes an albatross in a couple of years, sign a big player and thumb our nose at the Angels when they’re paying $25 mil/year on average for an aged 1B?

  26. Sports on a Schtick on December 8th, 2011 9:32 am

    The Wilson deal is a lot more sensible than the Pujols contract. Then again, flags fly forever.

    Hopefully this does not encourage the M’s to go overspend on Fielder.

  27. KaminaAyato on December 8th, 2011 9:34 am

    Hopefully this does not encourage the M’s to go overspend on Fielder.

    Well, if Brock and Salk were GM’s, they would spend the world for Fielder now.

    God I hate sports radio in Seattle. I thought we were smart here.

  28. timandren on December 8th, 2011 9:35 am

    Considering traditional age curves, the Angels will be paying as much for past performance as anything.

    The variables here will be inflation and how the Dodgers popularity plays into the fanbase. Most contracts should only be looked at from a metric like WAR but with Pujols there is a fan element and a certain boost in attendance, and more importantly a psychological element that sends a message to the other teams in the division and/or in the playoffs.

    Death knell? It’s certainly not what I wanted to wake up to this morning. Watch the video of Zduriencek that Baker posted. You can tell he’s feeling the same thing.

  29. JoshJones on December 8th, 2011 9:36 am

    This has created a great opportunity.

    Acquire Andrew Bailey then trade
    Brandon League to the Angels for Kendrys Morales.

    Instead of signing Fielder get Morales. He is 28, a career .284/.336/.502/.838. He could serve the same role Prince would have filled without handcuffing the organization and we could use the 20M to fill other holes.

    Genius.

  30. jock on December 8th, 2011 9:40 am

    The activity (today especially) by the Angles will hopefully wake owners/upper management up as to what we need to do as an organization to compete. We need to be willing (and able) to land and keep big name free agents. We can’t get by overpaying for guys like Olivo, Figgins, etc.

    I personally don’t like the 10 year contract on Pujols, and would be disgusted if the Mariners went that far. It locks the future of the Angles down and restricts it for way too long. The timeframe being discussed for Fielder (yea I went there) is much more reasonable, especially if you factor in that we need to look for 2013 or 2014 as the earliest start to the next “glory days”.

    At that point you have Hultzen, Paxton, Liddi, Franklin (or whichever of them will pan out) to support Felix, Ichi, Smoak, and Ackley, Pineda (whichever of them remain). You’re 2-3 free agents (Fielder, Kubel, someone next year), trades (Figgins, League), or bad contract drops (Figgins, Gutierrez) away from a solid team that can compete.

    Last year was about getting the young guys some experience and evaluating where we were. This next year should be about getting the core you are going to build around together, as well as fan and upper management support. Without that, any rebuilding you try to do just wont cut it.

  31. dogkahuna on December 8th, 2011 9:43 am

    Sorry, I’m not with the Chicken Little reactionaries on this–the M’s can’t outspend the Angels and Rangers.

    Stay the course. Make smart moves. Don’t alter plans because the Angels went out and over-spent.

    Welcome to the AL West Mr. Pujols–I look forward to watching you more often!

    BTW, no Seattle is not the same size market as Chicago and Los Angeles.

  32. IwearMsHats on December 8th, 2011 9:56 am

    So the mariners will be punting for the next 5 years waiting for Pujols to age and become a good but not great player? Excuse me while I vomit.

  33. bookbook on December 8th, 2011 9:57 am

    At 10 years/$220, I think Pujols is worth it. At 10/250+, I don’t.

  34. KaminaAyato on December 8th, 2011 10:02 am

    So the mariners will be punting for the next 5 years waiting for Pujols to age and become a good but not great player? Excuse me while I vomit.

    Then basically tell the M’s to spend like the Pink Hats and the Pinstripes, because that’s what you’re going to have to do to immediately compete in the division.

  35. kenshabby on December 8th, 2011 10:04 am

    The only hope the M’s have is to emulate the Rays’ system *and* hope that some serious mojo comes their way.

  36. BLYKMYK44 on December 8th, 2011 10:06 am

    Sure seems that the perspecitve of the fan base is that this now means we MUST sign a guy like Fielder.

    I’ve always wondered why there were so many bad moves and bad contracts in all of sports, but I guess I give way too much credit for people acting rationally in their home markets.

  37. KaminaAyato on December 8th, 2011 10:08 am

    Sure seems that the perspecitve of the fan base is that this now means we MUST sign a guy like Fielder.

    I’ve always wondered why there were so many bad moves and bad contracts in all of sports, but I guess I give way too much credit for people acting rationally in their home markets.

    I’ve had to turn off 710 and switch to KJR again. I thought Softy was blah-blah, but man Brock and Salk basically propagate the stupidness of the fanbase.

  38. smb on December 8th, 2011 10:10 am

    A mix of player acquisition techniques is obviously a must, and while I agree it’s probably generally better to sign one Type A to a long contract than it is to instead sign four Olivo’s and a Figgins for the same amount, I’d still much rather see us build through the draft and international amateur scouting than focus on signing the right “buy-high” FA to “make a run” or keep up with the Joneses. It’s cliche to the point of being a verb, but lets just Tampa Rays the hell out of this division until this kind of huge FA signing actually makes sense for us, too. I still think we’re on the right track.

  39. make_dave_proud on December 8th, 2011 10:14 am

    Instead, the team should be focused on maximizing their chances of contention in 2013, and they can do better by setting up the roster with quality players at multiple positions than by betting the house on one player who could easily be untradeable in a year.

    This is not an over-reaction to the Pujols/Wilson news, but let’s be honest — the Mariners are in a significantly deep hole, and it’s a lot deeper today than it was yesterday.

    2011 numbers:
    TEX – 50 WAR
    LAA – 42 WAR
    SEA – 24 WAR

    So far this past week, outside of Fielder, the discussion for other talent upgrades included Seth Smith (0 WAR) and Placido Polanco (1.8 WAR). Right now, I don’t see sufficient moves, potential or otherwise, to get the team into contention by 2013.

  40. Zeke on December 8th, 2011 10:19 am

    This reference to the Tampa Bay Rays is great, but let’s be realistic as well. The Rays were incredible lucky to have that many prospects pan out the way they did. As were the A’s several years ago with Mulder, Zito and Hudson. Moneyball is great and all, but pieces have to fall in the right place.
    I would argue that KC has had the same propect depth as the Rays at any given time, yet is just never came together. At some point, Alex Gordon and Evan Longoria were prospects of similar caliber, yet took different paths.
    I guess what I am saying is that the prospect development route to build a competitor is cheaper, but a little more dependent on luck.

  41. IwearMsHats on December 8th, 2011 10:21 am

    What does this mean for Felix? Will the Ms be competing before his contract is up? Dare I say he is a bit more available today than he was yesterday?

  42. Plim on December 8th, 2011 10:25 am

    All this talk about the Angels being hampered by contracts seems to ring hollow when you consider they are about to sign a TV ocontract that will pay them 150M per year.. They own their own radio station, they draw better than three million a year and they have plenty of room to raise prices if they need to — they currently have the second lowest fan cost index in all of baseball. Financially, they are a pretty well run franchise and their new GM seems to be a MASSIVE upgrade. This division got a lot harder for a long long time. Ownership in LAA and TEX is just significantly better

  43. eponymous coward on December 8th, 2011 10:26 am

    The problem I see is Billy Beane’s a pretty smart GM… and he’s not gotten close to putting the A’s in position to contend recently, either. You have to wonder if we’re really turning into Oakland North- team nobody cares about, salary dramatically lower than the big boys, and the future is all about not being terrible.

  44. pgreyy on December 8th, 2011 10:32 am

    I’d still much rather see us build through the draft and international amateur scouting than focus on signing the right “buy-high” FA to “make a run” or keep up with the Joneses. It’s cliche to the point of being a verb, but lets just Tampa Rays the hell out of this division until this kind of huge FA signing actually makes sense for us, too. I still think we’re on the right track.

    …which is really our only option at this point, really.

    Of course, this being the Mariners and their “bad luck”, one component of this (the international scouting) was just made much less of an advantage in the latest labor agreement?

    Disheartened, in general…that’s how this M’s fan feels–not specifically about Pujols, but just the realization of our team’s situation.

    It’s gotten to the point where I read about how the upcoming realignment will mean MORE interleague games and all I can think about is how that probably ruins some advantage that the M’s were counting on. Sigh.

    Seriously…we’re right in the hottest part of the hot stove league and I’m not thinking about the talent we might acquire to make the team better, because doing that doesn’t seem possible or likely.

    I’m more likely to complain about the nightmare that parking will be thanks to that really ugly Stadium Place building construction taking place at the same time as the viaduct deconstruction…than to dare to hope that the M’s will be able to field a team strong enough for me not to care about how inconvenient it may be to see some “baseball” this year.

    And that’s a bad way to feel IN DECEMBER.

  45. Bryce on December 8th, 2011 10:37 am

    I’m not sure people really want the M’s to go through what it took for the Rays to become the Rays. For them to get good, they had 9 years of last place finishes and 1 year of 4th place. That would decimate attendance here even more than what’s happening now.

    Obviously everybody wants to get to where they are now in terms of player development and management, but does anybody really think that 10 years of total dreck on the field won’t have an impact on the fanbase here? Tampa Bay can’t sell out playoff games. Their owner talks openly about how he thinks the franchise

  46. Bryce on December 8th, 2011 10:40 am

    Ack, posted too soon. I meant to finish by saying the owner talks about how the franchise is in trouble going forward. In terms of the on field product, the Rays are incredible. But in terms of overall franchise health, I worry about them.

  47. just a fan on December 8th, 2011 10:44 am

    I feel bad rooting for an early decline phase for such a great hitter, but hey, it’s his fault he went to Los Angeles of Anaheim.

  48. msfanmike on December 8th, 2011 10:54 am

    Poor GMZ is sitting in the corner rubbing two sticks together and trying to create a spark. In the meantime, the Angels GM walks into the same room with an industrial sized blow torch.

    Pujols is going to be productive for a very long time. Probably not for 10 years, but certainly for the next 6 or 7 years he will be beating the M’s brains out on a consistent basis. I love Pujols. He is my second favorite player behind Ichiro. It was a disheartening that he left the Cardinals, but we will get a chance to see him play more often – and that will be a good thing vice the kicking our asses part.

    In the meantime, NINTENDO … please give Jack a flint.

  49. Paul L on December 8th, 2011 10:57 am

    God I hate sports radio in Seattle. I thought we were smart here.

    Representing print media, Geoff Baker is even worse. His comments on Twitter this morning:

    Pujols shows that calculating player “value” in isolation can mislead. Teams spend what they feel it takes. No bang-for-the-buck awards.

    And what some see as “overspending” is what others will argue is the “value” needed to put entire puzzle together. Not a new concept.

    Calculating individual player value in isolation is a fun exercise, but the context is lacking. Every team, every circumstance is different.

    In other words, stats-based analysis is bunk, and instead teams should focus on tried-and-true concepts of “what they feel it takes”.

  50. greentunic on December 8th, 2011 11:06 am

    AAAAAAAAAAGGH!!!!

    I need to go cry now…

  51. momo2119 on December 8th, 2011 11:06 am

    I don’t know if I can stand 5 more 100 loss seasons. If Pujols and Wilson postpone our plan for going for it by 3-5 years, I don’t think Jack Z will be around to see it sadly. The rebuild process for the Rays took 10 years, are you willing to wait that long? No way I can stand another 10 years of mediocrity. Sign Fielder Please

    Desperate Mariners Fan

  52. Mahoney5500 on December 8th, 2011 11:07 am

    How can everyone just say that these deals are going to kill the Angels? They are going to be really good for the next 5-7 years, yet everyone is like “Oh just wait til year 8 of that contract, we will get the last laugh”. No we probably wont, they will be consistently in the playoffs and competing for World Series rings. Plus they will spend the money to reload. People sound like jealous ex boyfriends that just got dumped for a better, richer dude, and you you’re trying to talk yourself off the cliff and rationalize it. We do need to spend the money to keep up with them, because our owners actually have the money to do it. According to a lot of people we are just supposed to wait for Pujols to age now, so that will be in 2018. You’re telling me we are supposed to nickel and dime for 17 years since our last legitimate playoff team?

  53. Jon on December 8th, 2011 11:09 am

    Let’s all hope GMZ and, in turn, his ownership, are not shocked by today’s developments. They had to know, based on past behavior, that the Angels would not sit back and let Texas outspend and dominate the AL West. That being the case (and anything other than that would mean they are asleep at the switch), the M’s braintrust must have developed plans that considered the two-headed monster that is the AL West. Contending in 2012 (or anytime soon?) may seem unlikely, but the M’s cannot afford to kill their fanbase, which might happen soon (they are already on life support). I believe the M’s brass is well aware of the dilemma they face and knew full well that the dilemma was likely to get worse, which it has today.

  54. KaminaAyato on December 8th, 2011 11:11 am

    How can everyone just say that these deals are going to kill the Angels? They are going to be really good for the next 5-7 years, yet everyone is like “Oh just wait til year 8 of that contract, we will get the last laugh”. No we probably wont, they will be consistently in the playoffs and competing for World Series rings. Plus they will spend the money to reload. People sound like jealous ex boyfriends that just got dumped for a better, richer dude, and you you’re trying to talk yourself off the cliff and rationalize it. We do need to spend the money to keep up with them, because our owners actually have the money to do it. According to a lot of people we are just supposed to wait for Pujols to age now, so that will be in 2018. You’re telling me we are supposed to nickel and dime for 17 years since our last legitimate playoff team?

    Then say it, you want the M’s to spend like the Yankees and Red Sox.

  55. Jon on December 8th, 2011 11:17 am

    Bill Moos’ recent statement when he fired Paul Wulff seems apt right now for M’s, too:

    “We’ve either got to run with the big dogs, or admit that we’re a doormat. We can’t wait and embrace mediocrity”

    It is easy to take the analogy to far, but it is obvious that the Cougars, just like the M’s, cannot succeed by trying to do it like everyone else. But they have to commit to being aggressive in trying to succeed somehow. Who would have ever guessed that WSU, by hiring Mike Leach, could be an inspiration to the Seattle Mariners?

  56. Mahoney5500 on December 8th, 2011 11:26 am

    If we had the Red Sox or Yankees money, then absolutely i want them to spend like that. Id much rather see the money go into the team, rather than the owners pockets. Its not like we the fans get any cut of the money saved by getting good value for a player.

  57. JoshJones on December 8th, 2011 11:26 am

    Positives
    1. Pujols injury problems/age will catch up and affect him value and production.
    2. Overpaid for CJ wilson (in my opinion)
    3. The Angels starting 4 (santana, weaver, wilson, santana) cost roughly $53M.
    4. The Angels have a C+ bullpen at best.
    5. Tori Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Vernon Wells all on the downside of their career.

    Screw it. They are stacked. Trade League for Kendrys Morales and look to spend the $20M somewhere other than Fielder.

  58. KaminaAyato on December 8th, 2011 11:27 am

    The difference is (kinda) that in college sports you don’t have money involved (yes, I know the corruption that goes on, but for the most part the statement holds true). Each school has a certain amount of scholarships that they can use to recruit players, and when you’re not a big name school you use different ways to make your team competitive.

    Mike Leach did that by developing an offensive system that aired it out and brought in players who fit the system. He didn’t get the big names, he got the players who fit the system.

  59. Jon on December 8th, 2011 11:37 am

    Based on what many were saying, the Vernon Wells deal was going to cripple the Angels financially. Now we know it didn’t. So now we’re supposed to believe the Pujols deal will cripple them? The C.J. Wilson signing already seems to prove that wrong. Or maybe it is the combination of Wells/Pujols/Wilson that will destroy the Angels eventually. Yes, that’s it. I feel much better.

  60. IwearMsHats on December 8th, 2011 11:37 am

    Like the angels don’t want to use morales at dh? Hah!

  61. sokala on December 8th, 2011 11:40 am

    The 2012 new marketing slogan for the Mariners was just released this AM – “Beat Oakland!”

  62. ivan on December 8th, 2011 11:41 am

    The herd mentality is pretty strong around here today. Why not just chill out and watch some ball? That’s why they play the games, you know. Any team’s season can turn on a dime, for any number of factors.

    This team’s not that bad. It should get better. People’s expectations are all out of whack in this era of instant gratification.

    Because I’m older than dirt, I used to watch the 1952-56 Pittsburgh Pirates. Now those teams were BAD — far worse than the Mariners.

    But during those years they added Bob Friend, Vernon Law, Bob Skinner, Dick Groat, Bill Mazeroski, Bill Virdon, and, of course, Roberto Clemente, and they eventually won a World Series with those guys.

    Seattle has good young players and is adding more, and I’m confident that they will eventually be the core of a very good, exciting club in future playoffs, with Cy Young Felix and MVP Ackley.

  63. JoshJones on December 8th, 2011 11:42 am

    Like the angels don’t want to use morales at dh? Hah!

    Ever heard of Mark Trumbo? I suppose they could keep morales and trade trumbo. But i dont think they would sign Pujols and Wilson then rely on a Morales who hasn’t played in 2 seasons. We can afford to take that high upside risk. They are in a win now mentality. They should “platoon” Pujols and Trumbo at DH/1st just like the M’s are considering doing with Fielder/Smoak.

  64. spokanecougar on December 8th, 2011 11:46 am

    When have the Mariners made smart decisions? Sorry, as long as Dumb and Dumberer are in control of this team, we will forever be also-rans looking up at the big boys.

    Hope we all enjoyed the early 2000′s since we probably wont see success like that until this team gets a new owner.

  65. PackBob on December 8th, 2011 11:50 am

    What Dave says here makes sense, but that doesn’t make it any easier to follow a team that has been so awful, and it doesn’t guarantee a winning team down the road – whatever the plan. Some semblance of hitting on this team would make them a lot more enjoyable to follow. It should not be painful to watch a baseball game.

  66. make_dave_proud on December 8th, 2011 12:03 pm

    Why not just chill out and watch some ball?

    Mostly because that’s what we’ve been doing the past few years, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that 2012 is going to look an awful lot like ROOT Sports reruns from 2011.

  67. zackr on December 8th, 2011 12:22 pm

    Man, it’s going to be tough for the Angels to haul around those albatross contracts, especially while their pockets are full of division championships and AL pennants.

    Their front office is going to need to invest in some quality luggage.

  68. gerrythek on December 8th, 2011 12:33 pm

    I’m convinced that this means we are an also-ran team for at least the next 3 years – bummer. The only thing management can do which would convince me that they are committed to making the playoffs would be to let Ichiro walk at the end of his contract or else resign him at a VASTLY reduced salary.

  69. ck on December 8th, 2011 12:34 pm

    As a baseball fan, I think of winning, as having my favorite team become a perennial contender, and occasional champion. Sadly, M’s current ownership think of winning as a small annual profit, and growth of the team’s value. They accomplish that with lip-service to contending, and Wilkinson / Cust type moves.

  70. zackr on December 8th, 2011 12:36 pm

    Only estimates the Angels payroll at $175 mil.

    We’d like to believe that we are smarter than the Dipoto camp, but are we THAT much smarter? Sorry to be a downer, but I think not.

  71. Westside guy on December 8th, 2011 12:43 pm

    They accomplish that with lip-service to contending, and Wilkinson / Cust type moves.

    I don’t think signing Fielder would be a good move, but I also don’t want to see any more “find some guys who are probably washed up but if we’re lucky may find their stroke” moves either. However those two extremes aren’t the only options available.

    Until we see some solid moves starting to be made by Z, though, we’re probably all going to go crazy debating this stuff.

  72. zackr on December 8th, 2011 12:50 pm

    Yep, it’s tough to hang out for the M’s, in the middle of taking the stairs to the top of the building, while the Angels choose to afford the elevator.

    Thems the breaks.

  73. gwangung on December 8th, 2011 1:02 pm

    When have the Mariners made smart decisions? Sorry, as long as Dumb and Dumberer are in control of this team, we will forever be also-rans looking up at the big boys.

    2001 greets you.

    Boy, it’s hard to be Mariners fans when other fans are as dumb as this.

  74. MrZDevotee on December 8th, 2011 1:10 pm

    Crazy Owner winner…

    News is, Miami had offered:

    Pujols, 275 million
    CJ Wilson, 100 million

    To go with Reyes, Buerhle, Bell.

    Evidently some people think this IS INDEED a game to be played like Xbox360.

    (I also think we have DEFINITE PROOF that the 1% are doing just fine these days)

  75. Westside guy on December 8th, 2011 1:14 pm

    How can everyone just say that these deals are going to kill the Angels? They are going to be really good for the next 5-7 years, yet everyone is like “Oh just wait til year 8 of that contract, we will get the last laugh”. No we probably wont, they will be consistently in the playoffs and competing for World Series rings.

    If you have an ESPN Insider subscription, it’s worth reading Keith Law’s take on this deal. He brings up some very good points that boil down to “Pujols will likely be awesome for the next 2-3 years, but after that they are going to be regretting this contract”.

    Think back… how many of these mega-contracts have actually panned out? Was Texas happy they’d signed A-Rod even 3 years into it? How about Toronto and Vernon Wells?

  76. gerrythek on December 8th, 2011 1:29 pm

    Westside:
    I agree that this move may eventually hurt LA 7-10 years out. But does anyone seriously think we’ll make the playoffs in the next 3-4 years?

  77. Westside guy on December 8th, 2011 1:35 pm

    Gerrythek – I’m depressed about the Mariners’ short term prospects (next 1-2 years, not 3-4). But to be honest, I don’t think the signing of Pujols actually changed that much. Even if the Angels didn’t sign him, and we signed Fielder – I still don’t think we’d even sniff at a playoff spot in 2012. That’s the problem… I feel like a lot of people are reacting as much (or more!) out of frustration over the past several years as they are to what the Angels or Rangers have done.

    BTW here’s more exciting non-Mariners news from the winter meetings. I’m not sure why it hasn’t gotten more press coverage.

  78. BLYKMYK44 on December 8th, 2011 1:47 pm

    Is it a bad thing that reading Geoff Baker actively makes me dislike baseball? He is a really poor person to be covering your home team.

  79. MrZDevotee on December 8th, 2011 2:02 pm

    How to afford Prince Fielder (easily):

    Weekly $50-per-throw Geoff Baker/Mike Salk/Steve Kelley* dunk tank (all 3 on the same plank)

    That way, those guys can help pay for the horrible contract they think we should pony up for Fielder!

    (* I threw Kelley on there as a personal added thrill, getting an extra $200-300 out of me, by himself, easily)

  80. BLYKMYK44 on December 8th, 2011 2:20 pm

    I just thought that the job of the beat writer was to provide you insight to the team. Not hit you over the head incessently with his agenda. Almost every piece of “news” starts with this and then by the end of the article it gets to be about how teams realize you MUST SPEND MOAR MONIES or that YOU MUST HIT BALL LONG WAY to win.

  81. KaminaAyato on December 8th, 2011 2:30 pm

    I just thought that the job of the beat writer was to provide you insight to the team. Not hit you over the head incessently with his agenda. Almost every piece of “news” starts with this and then by the end of the article it gets to be about how teams realize you MUST SPEND MOAR MONIES or that YOU MUST HIT BALL LONG WAY to win.

    Amen. While the media (print and radio) bring up some good points, it’s really a facade that they immediately dismiss in favor of BUY! BUY! BUY! and POWER! POWER! POWER! and INSTANT GRATIFICATION! (I’d actually use a different word that gratification, but it’s not appropriate here – or anywhere for that matter).

  82. GripS on December 8th, 2011 2:44 pm

    Very unlikely things DO happen in baseball. To say that the M’s can’t possibly contend when we don’t really know what the roster will end up being doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    All it takes is a couple of players to get hurt. Another couple to have a really bad year and your dream team doesn’t look so dreamy anymore. Raise your hand if you thought the M’s would be contending midway through the season last year before it started? That’s right. You never know.

  83. Swungonandbelted on December 8th, 2011 2:46 pm

    I’m absolutely torn right now. The rational part of me says that Fielder is not the answer, and wouldn’t necessarily be the best utilization of resources for the M’s.

    The part of me who is sick of going to the ballpark and seeing fields of green…empty seats… because only 13k people showed up to see the M’s get smacked around again on any given night is at this point, fairly resigned to seeing that for at least the next few years.

    The rational part of me feels good when Jack Z. gives assurances that the M’s will step up when the time is right and open the checkbook to give themselves the boost they need. The now cynical M’s fan part of me doesn’t belive for an instant that there will ever be a circumstance where this will “actually” happen.

    Several people have mentioned that it now feels like the M’s are going to be perenial “also rans” in a category similar to Oakland, Baltimore, Toronto, sometimes showing up as above average, but not coming near the brass ring.

    I’ve been watching crap baseball from this team for almost 10 years, and while I believe in the rebuilding process that has been going on under Z’s watch, It really feels like any progress made in the past year hasn’t necessarily rolled backwards down the hill, but the hill just became a hell of a lot taller.

  84. BLYKMYK44 on December 8th, 2011 2:49 pm

    The now cynical M’s fan part of me doesn’t belive for an instant that there will ever be a circumstance where this will “actually” happen.

    - Not questioning you at all, but I just don’t get Mariners fans that think this. We signed Beltre/Sexon. When we had a decent year we gutted the farm for Bedard. After a so/so above average year we spent the money on Figgins.

    I’ve just never understood the part of the fan base that claims we don’t ever do anything or that we are cheap. It has always seemed to me that our biggest issue is that we spend our money poorly. Mostly in panic moves based on things like a decent 80 win season.

  85. spokanecougar on December 8th, 2011 3:05 pm

    gwangung, thanks for calling me a dumb fan when you don’t know me.

    You must also be a WSU fan, use to mediocrity and then accepts it. Thankfully we now have an AD at WSU that is changing the culture of the school and athletic department and wont accept apathy and mediocrity and went out and got the best coach available and that money could buy to lead his team.

    You don’t think some kind of change at the top like that would help the Mariners?

    Sorry, I am a fan that doesn’t accept .500 being a successful season as so many Mariner fans do.

  86. IwearMsHats on December 8th, 2011 3:11 pm

    I’m not advocating a Fielder signing or anything but I wish some fans would stop acting like jack z will spend money like bill bavasi if the ownership increases payroll.

  87. KaminaAyato on December 8th, 2011 3:17 pm

    Sorry, I am a fan that doesn’t accept .500 being a successful season as so many Mariner fans do.

    Sorry, we don’t accept people who don’t look at the whole process to see what they’re doing.

    If you look at what Pete Carroll did with the Seahawks, he churned the roster to field the best team he could immediately. From there, he is using the draft and trades to build the team.

    In reality, Z has been doing that, but in baseball, the turnaround time is much longer as players drafted take longer to reach the majors.

    Z has churned the roster so much that outside of Ichiro, Felix and Beltre – all the other players have been acquired by Z during his tenure. That’s the sign of a prospect poor minors.

    He’s done what he could to field the best team he could immediately in the majors while trying to quickly rebuild the minors.

    But no matter how quick you can build the minors, it still takes several years for those prospects to break through to the majors.

    We aren’t close to competitive because we’re at the point of really rebuilding with good prospects in the minors. You sign a Prince Fielder now, chances are you want to win now. And if you want to do that, you’d better open the faucet to 110% because you won’t have much time anymore to let the prospects develop like they should and you might as well buy your title like the Pink Hats and the Pinstripes.

  88. Valenica on December 8th, 2011 3:52 pm

    In 3 years, Smoak, Ackley, Felix, Pineda, etc. will all be at their prime, 26-28. In 3 years the Angels’ Pujols and Wilson will be 35, Texas’ Hamilton will be 35…

    Why so dejected? We were never going to win until all our players hit their prime. Fielder might have pushed that time table up a year or two, and he still could. Players decline at 33-34 just as hard as they do at 35.

    If anything this makes it easier for us in the long-run. Our young team will hit their prime when both TEX/LAA will be aging. I thought LAA would be competing with us as one of the younger teams, but they’ve gone older, so it’ll be just us in 3 years. Perfect.

  89. John W. on December 8th, 2011 3:57 pm

    Valenica:

    The Angels still have all those young players. Nothing has changed except we now have a BoSox/Yankees like team in our own division… If we don’t spend money, things are going to have to go incredibly right for us to win in this division.

  90. make_dave_proud on December 8th, 2011 4:08 pm

    If anything this makes it easier for us in the long-run. Our young team will hit their prime when both TEX/LAA will be aging. I thought LAA would be competing with us as one of the younger teams, but they’ve gone older, so it’ll be just us in 3 years. Perfect.

    Because both TEX and LAA are going to stand pat going forward and won’t develop any talent within their own minor league organizations?

    The M’s do not have a disproportionate number of outstanding young players compared to the rest of the league, much less TEX and LAA.

  91. make_dave_proud on December 8th, 2011 4:12 pm

    I’ve just never understood the part of the fan base that claims we don’t ever do anything or that we are cheap. It has always seemed to me that our biggest issue is that we spend our money poorly.

    Can’t speak for other fans, but I would venture to guess that most feel that JackZ is a much better talent and trade evaluator than Bavasi, and would really like to see what he could do for the Mariners with a little flexibility in spend.

    I, for one, think JackZ would be a better steward of the team’s resources than Bavasi ever was. And I think Jack gets a pass for the Figgins fiasco. While he was an absolute bust, he was *only* $9-10MM a year. For the Angels, that’s now a rounding error.

  92. smb on December 8th, 2011 4:14 pm

    There’s a kernel of truth there, you don’t have to extrapolate his comment to the extreme just to reinforce your own point…of course they won’t “stand pat,” but despite the fact that one albatross contract won’t stop Moreno from investing further in his roster, nor does he have unlimited funds to spend on players, and Pujols contract will have to eventually impede further spending to some degree. It’s more of a silver lining, it’s not all doom and gloom type of thing, so don’t take it as a “here’s why this signing is actually GOOD for the Mariners!” comment, because it’s not.

  93. beastwarking on December 8th, 2011 4:14 pm

    Ugh this hurts so much – I feel so dejected and reading Geoff Baker doesn’t help one bit.

    Yes he’s a blow hard who’s ego could rival that of a cartoon villain’s: but my god when he says the same thing over and over again it starts to sound true.

    But the only reason why I bring him up is because given some of the results, he does sound kind of right.

    The Angels were not hampered by that boat anchor that is Vernon Well’s contract, the Mariner’s acquired pieces like Smoak (I know injured, but irrational at the moment) and Wells (sold low on Fister) just seem really lackluster.

    To add to the pile of misery, any value we could salvage in international free agency got minimized to an extreme thanks to the CBA.

    So much of me wants to say fuck it and hope that the M’s sign Fielder and go after Darvish backed by the all might Nintendo dollar.

    Dave, you’re probably the most rational blogger I have ever seen and really, I think the Seattle media and blogoshpere needs your voice to quell the irrational noise that is floating around right now. I know I sure do

  94. smb on December 8th, 2011 4:18 pm

    At some point they have to win another ring, or Moreno is not going to just keep spending at this kind of clip—if the Yankees curtailed that strategy a bit when it didn’t eventually translate into multiple rings, what makes you think Moreno’s Angels are going to be any different? Big spending helps, but it’s not the be-all end-all of winning roster construction variables.

  95. Mariners35 on December 8th, 2011 4:18 pm

    What happens if the M’s just pitch around Pujols unless the bases are full? I mean really, is there a law that says people have to throw strikes to him?

    Yes, he’s a huge threat. Yes, he instantly upgrades the offense. But the rest of the Angels offense are not some fearsome juggernaut here.

    Also, didn’t everyone and their cousin pretty much concede, around this time last year, that the 2011 World Series was going to be the Red Sox and Phillies? How’d that play out?

  96. Valenica on December 8th, 2011 4:23 pm

    Right, have you seen the LAA or TEX system? Outside of Trout or Profar, they have no high impact players. We have 3 pitchers in the top 26. Probably 6 players in the top 100. Texas’ system is all about depth, Angels’ is actually worse than ours.

    The prospects now will be making the difference in 3 years as they hit their prime. Profar will be like 21 then, MLB ready. Trout, 22 with a couple years experience. But we’ll have 4 TOR-potential arms pitching and Felix. And the system we have right now, if developed, can easily take over the LAA/TEX teams in 3 years.

  97. BackRub on December 8th, 2011 4:56 pm

    Over the next three years, Angels will be paying
    82 million for 16-18 WAR from Pujols, Wilson, Wells and Weaver in a good case scenario for Angels. Assuming that 45 WAR is needed to compete, and Angels raise payroll to 160 million, they will have 80 million to get ~30 WAR. This won’t be easy for the Angels since they don’t have a ton of young talent, in Majors or minors, and many of their players will be entering final years of arbitration or free agency during this time period.

    The two signings today means that Angels will not have most, if not all, of the following players in 2013: Dan Haren, Ervin Santana, Tori Hunter,
    Howie Kendrick, Maicer Izturis, and Erik Aybar. Look at that list again- those players combined for 22 WAR last year. This is why people are saying these moves don’t ensure that the Angels contenders beyond next season(Of course, Angels
    wouldn’t neccesarily be contenders beyond next season without these moves either). As Dave said, it’s curious that Angels didn’t just decide to look up their own players.

  98. IwearMsHats on December 8th, 2011 4:59 pm

    Thank you Kamina and Valencia. You guys spoke some sense in to me and now I’m back on the rational side of things. :)

  99. eponymous coward on December 8th, 2011 5:58 pm

    The prospects now will be making the difference in 3 years as they hit their prime. Profar will be like 21 then, MLB ready. Trout, 22 with a couple years experience. But we’ll have 4 TOR-potential arms pitching and Felix.

    Right, just like Piñeiro and Nageotte were going to be rotation anchors? You can’t yadda-yadda-yadda people into the top of the rotation status until, well, they’ve proven they aren’t Erik Bedard/Mark Prior/Rich Harden (great stuff, glass arm once they get exposed to a MLB workload) or whatever. Our prospects look good, but looking good in the minors with lower inning workload is just not the same as 200 innings a year of looking good in MLB.

    You’re also assuming we’ve resigned Felix. His contract’s up after 2014 (so a little less than 3 years from today).

    Let’s just pose a hypothetical to illustrate the problem of where the 2012 Mariners stand after this signing: it’s late July 2012, we’re 10+ games back and buried in the division, someone comes a-callin’ for GMZ (played by you) with “hey, here’s some good prospects for Felix. You know you’re hosed this year, probably next year too, and you get to save $40 million and change in future salary. We’ll pay, we want the pennant NOW”. It’s a fair deal in terms of bringing back good talent for the future at the cost of hosing the team in 2012-2013.

    Do you take that deal? More importantly, does the ownership of a team that probably won’t draw 2 million in 2012 take that deal?

  100. Mariners35 on December 8th, 2011 6:07 pm

    EC, your hypothetical existed before the Pujols signing too.

  101. eponymous coward on December 8th, 2011 6:13 pm

    Sure it did (though the Angels took a pretty big step up with their signings today). But if you take the approach that “we’re hosed in 2012-2013″, the question of “Why do you have players on your roster that cost $20 million, then, when you could trade them for good prospects?” becomes rather relevant. (Ichiro doesn’t count because after his 2011 his trade value is approximately nil without sending a bunch of cash with him, and even then you’re probably better off letting him play out 2012 as a Mariner and evaluating things then.)

    You either have to believe you’ve got a window sometime reasonably close by, or otherwise, you’re paying 20 million to “keep faith” with a fanbase that has largely deserted you anyway.

  102. Mariners35 on December 8th, 2011 6:28 pm

    Ichiro’s got 10 and 5, so he doesn’t count anyway.

    As for Felix, you’re paying 20 million to keep value on the roster. Rolling the dice on a bunch of prospects and betting that one of what you get back for Felix will equal Felix’s current value / past couple years’ value / projected next couple years’ value? Meh. Keeping Felix isn’t keeping faith with the fanbase, it’s not throwing away one of the only talents the M’s have. Even if you don’t agree with me on any of that, Felix’s contract isn’t up yet. The time to theoretically maximize his trade value isn’t here yet. Just like it’s early to speculate about whether Ichiro should be extended.

    Also, the Angels signing demonstrated that at some point it’s all monopoly money. 20mil per isn’t barely a dent.

    We were hosed in 2012 – 2013 anyway. This club wasn’t one or two players away Wednesday night. They’re still not one or two players away tonight. Keep improving wherever you can. Build on Felix, Pineda, Ackley and the upcoming starting pitching.

  103. jordan on December 8th, 2011 6:34 pm

    How much do you guys want to bet that we were the mystery team that “refuses to be publicly identified”

  104. make_dave_proud on December 8th, 2011 6:37 pm

    Keep improving wherever you can.

    It’s that “improving” part that is wearing on the fanbase, IMHO. Hard to sell “stay the course” when we begin to lose track of how many 100-loss seasons we’re running through.

  105. Mariners35 on December 8th, 2011 6:42 pm

    Hard to sell “stay the course” when we begin to lose track of how many 100-loss seasons we’re running through.

    Oh, I’m tired of the losing too. Tired of bargain-basement shopping too. But I don’t think the next 2 or 3 seasons are lost because a division rival bought one player, even if he is the best player on the planet. And I don’t think that the Angels spending monopoly money in the offseason is an indictment of the Mariners.

  106. Madison Mariner on December 8th, 2011 7:59 pm

    Texas’ Hamilton will be 35…

    Yes, he will be…but will he playing for Texas is the question?

    Keep in mind that he hits free agency after this next season(2012), and while the Rangers have been talking long-term contract extension, nothing is done as of now.

    Then again, if he does sign an extension and stay with Texas, that’s good–it means the Rangers’ front office would rather extend the current team and keep them together, and they will trade off prospects perhaps to acquire veterans? We’ll have to see.

    The Angels, meanwhile, will have Pujols, Trout, Weaver, Wilson, and….what else? A lot of their current roster may depart via free agency after 2012 and again after 2013(certainly, not all of them–they may retain Howie Kendrick, and Mike Trout will be a young, cost-controlled player in 2014), so the Angels may be looking to rebuild around those players, and that’s what scares me. Of course, it will be a mid-30s aged Pujols that their building around, and an older C.J. Wilson as well(admittedly, with not that many innings on his arm).

    So, the current dynamics of the division are by no means set in stone. Texas and LAA have money, yes, but what will happen as their current rosters hit free agency, and their current prospects are either promoted or traded? We have to wait and see for that. ;)

  107. Valenica on December 8th, 2011 9:19 pm

    Right, just like Piñeiro and Nageotte were going to be rotation anchors? You can’t yadda-yadda-yadda people into the top of the rotation status until, well, they’ve proven they aren’t Erik Bedard/Mark Prior/Rich Harden (great stuff, glass arm once they get exposed to a MLB workload) or whatever. Our prospects look good, but looking good in the minors with lower inning workload is just not the same as 200 innings a year of looking good in MLB.

    Are you seriously comparing Pineiro and Nageotte to our Top 4? Last I checked those guys didn’t have K%/BB% similar to Matt Moore’s like James Paxton, or completely shut down every top prospect in the AFL with rust like Hultzen, or destroy A-ball with 2 plus pitches as an 18 year old, or have a better K% in the Majors than Felix as a 21 year old. And I didn’t say they were locks to be Aces, but we have 3 of the top 15 pitching prospects in baseball, and Pineda. Guys with K% as high as ours tend to succeed at the MLB level unless injured(and if you want to go the injury route, let’s talk about CJ Wilson and his inverted W that will most likely need TJ surgery).

    As for trade Felix because we’re not likely to compete in 3 years – 1. you don’t know that, no one can predict 3 years worth of moves 2. $40 million isn’t that much money 3. Felix and other veterans have more value than their performance, like mentoring/clubhouse/marketing 4. you assume a team is willing to pay the 4+ Top 100 prospects it would cost for Felix (price of 1.5 years of Mark Teixeira).

    I would trade Felix for the right package – Jay Bruce, Mesoraco, Alonso – then get the cheaper, maybe as good, just as young, here for 5-6 years Yu Darvish to replace him. That’s Moneyball…trade your stars if it helps you win.

  108. Plim on December 8th, 2011 9:21 pm

    Angels have club options for both Haren and Santana for 2013. They also have nearly 50 million in contracts to old players coming off the books after next season. Torii Hunter is saying he will play for the minimum to stay in Anaheim as a back up after this year. Wells horrible contract is off the books after 2014.

    Angels played this perfectly, they have a ton of money coming off, a bunch of old guys going away, and a new regional TV deal that will pay them 150 million.

    Basically they will be making at least 200M off national and local media money without selling a single ticket, hot dog, or beer. Considering how well they draw and that the team has tripled its revenue since Moreno took over I don’t see how they won’t be able to pay their bills…

    This isn’t Tom Hicks banking on real estate to fund his sports teams, this is a businessman with a plan lining his ducks up in a row. Moreno didn’t to be a billionaire by being stupid.

    It’s annoying how well played this was.

  109. BackRub on December 9th, 2011 2:49 am

    Angels probably can’t afford to pick up options for both Haren and Ervin. Doing so would mean paying 110 million for 23-26 WAR (in good-case) from Pujols, Wilson, Wells, Weaver, Haren, and Ervin. Considering that they will need to replace/resign Kendrick,Aybar, and Izturis that year, there is no way they can spend that kind of money for 25 WAR. Unless their payroll approaches Boston/NY levels. Which isn’t going to happen.

  110. Plim on December 9th, 2011 12:20 pm

    Well, they are losing nearly 50 mil after 2012, Abreu (37), Izturis (30), Hunter (36), Ianetta (28), Takanashi (36).

    Aybar (27), and Kendrick (27),are FA’s after this season but they have Jean Segura (21) and Alexi Amarista (22) around and can let one of the two veterans go.

    Ianetta gives Conger (23), another year of development.

    Hunter gives way to Trout (19).

    Abreu gives way to either Trumbo (25) or Morales (28) whichever one isnt dealt.

    They don’t have to resign Haren (30) or Ervin (28) until the 2014 season which gives them time to either develop a youngster or see if they want to retain them both or one or the other.

    They have a lot more wiggle room and people in place than anyone seemed to realize. Basically they are losing all their old guys except for Wells (32), and the guys they would want to retain are still 30 or under. Obviously Haren would be 32 when they would need to resign him but thats not really old for a pitcher like him.

    They are MUCH better off than people are willing to admit. At worst they would have to deal with the sunken cost of Wells’ contract for the 2014 season then they shed 25 mil of dead weight. Given their revenues, they might not see that as a problem.

  111. firecap81 on December 10th, 2011 2:10 pm

    The Mariners simply need to continue to make smart decisions, add talent to the organization, and exercise some rational decision making rather than panicking and making an emotional response

    That’s a true statement if you remove the word continue from it.

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