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.


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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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”

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. 😉

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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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