Will Venable

Dave · January 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Over the weekend, the Padres acquired outfielder Carlos Quentin from the White Sox in exchange for a pair of prospects, and in the process, created something of a logjam of outfielders from players remaining on their roster. Quentin is expected to take over as the regular left fielder next to Cameron Maybin, and his presence turns right field into a job share between some combination of five players: Will Venable, Chris Denorfia, Kyle Blanks, Jesus Guzman, and Mark Kotsay.

In concert with the Yonder Alonso acquisition (which blocks off playing time at first base, where Blanks and Guzman could have also been utilized), Quentin’s presence essentially means that there won’t be room for two of those five players on San Diego’s roster, and in reality, only two of the remaining three will get much in the way of regular playing time. So, while the team could theoretically just send Blanks back to Triple-A to clear a roster spot, they probably are best off trading one of Venable, Denofria, or Guzman, since there won’t be enough at-bats to go around for all three, especially with Veteran Leader Mark Kotsay getting some playing time for unknown reasons.

Enter the Mariners, who are in need of another outfielder – preferably a left-handed hitter who could form a useful platoon with Casper Wells in left and offer enough defensive value to potentially earn some playing time in center field if Franklin Gutierrez doesn’t rebound from his disastrous 2011 season. It would also be nice if that player had a little bit of power, specifically to right field, in order to give the team an offensive boost against RHPs and to take advantage of how Safeco Field plays.

You may have already guessed, but I basically just described Will Venable to a tee. He’s not much of a household name, since he’s spent his entire career toiling in Petco Park, but the 28-year-old is probably one of the more underrated players in the sport. His raw numbers have been held down by the offensive sinkhole that is San Diego’s home park, but even a basic park adjustment shows that his .250/.321/.410 line is good for a 107 wRC+, meaning that his offensive performance has been seven percent better than average to date.

For left-handed pull-power guys playing in San Diego, though, a basic park adjustment isn’t the tool you want to use to project their performance upon changing teams. Petco is basically the inverse of Safeco, as its cavernous right field swallows up fly balls much in the same way that Safeco does balls to left-center, so LH hitters are disproportionately affected by the park. This is why the Padres traded for the right-handed Quentin and targeted Alonso – a left-handed batter with opposite fielder power – by the way. If you look deeper at Venable’s numbers, you can see potential for quite a bit more than he’s been to date.

Home: 622 PA, .226/.304/.383, 93 wRC+
Away: 682 PA, .272/.336/.435, 119 wRC+

When not hitting at Petco, he’s been about as productive as Nick Swisher (122 wRC+), Carlos Pena (119 wRC+), Andre Ethier (119 wRC+), or Jay Bruce (116 wRC+) was last year. I’m pretty sure everyone would be totally okay with the team acquiring any of those four to improve the offense, yes? While we can’t just take his road stats and extrapolate straight from that, especially given the somewhat small sample size, adding in Venable’s batted ball profile to our knowledge of what Petco and Safeco do to left-handed pull-power guys does offer additional confidence that he could thrive in Seattle.

Pull: 370 PA, .378/.377/.696, 195 wRC+
Center: 279 PA, .366/.360/.505, 140 wRC+
Opposite: 188 PA, .266/.259/.431, 85 wRC+

44% of his balls in play are hit to right field, and when he pulls the ball, he’s a fantastic hitter with a lot of power. Right field is the best place to hit the ball in Safeco, and the park has systematically rewarded players with this kind of skillset. For instance, Raul Ibanez has nearly this exact same profile on balls in play, and his career line at Safeco was .285/.357/.474.

Taking Venable out of Petco and putting him in Safeco would provide a significant boon to his home performance, and as noted, he’s already been a pretty good hitter on the road during his career. With continued judicious platooning (the Padres have ensured that 80% of his PAs have come against RHPs since he’s pretty lousy against southpaws, and the M’s would want to continue that trend), Venable could easily settle in as an Ibanez-caliber hitter.

Now, we weren’t exactly known for our Ibanez love during his tenure here, so why would I be advocating that the team bring in a 29-year-old on a similar career path? Well, our problem with Ibanez was primarily on defense, as his glove gave back a lot of the runs his bat created, and he probably should have been a DH for most of the latter part of his career. Venable, on the other hand, is a top notch athlete and a pretty terrific defensive outfielder – 23% of his career innings have come in center field, and every decent defensive metric rates him as well above average in a corner and good enough to handle center field.

Venable’s defensive value and ability to hit right-handed pitching make him a perfect fit for the Mariners roster. The team could essentially use him along with Wells and Gutierrez as a three-headed monster in LF/CF, splitting up the roughly 1,400 plate appearances that will go to those two positions based on the opposing pitcher’s handedness and Eric Wedge‘s desire to keep everyone fresh and rested. He’d also be a nice bat off the bench on days where a left-hander starts and the team needs a pinch-hit option when the opposing manager goes to the bullpen.

Venable doesn’t have superstar potential, but if you get him out of Petco Park and into an environment better suited for his overall abilities, he’s probably a +2.5 to +3.0 win player. As a super-two arbitration eligible player, he’ll likely make a little less than $2 million for 2012, and the team would control his rights through 2015. He’s exactly what this team should be shopping for right now – an undervalued asset with upside who could provide value both in the short term and down the road.

Venable will provide a substantial improvement and roster flexibility for a low salary and a moderate cost in terms of trade. Ideally, I’d like to see the team try to get a package of Venable and Anthony Rizzo, which would give them both legitimate 2012 value and a potential power-hitting 1B/DH for the future, but even just getting Venable would allow the team to use Mike Carp at DH, his natural position. I know, I know, it’s not signing Prince Fielder, but it’s the kind of move that pushes the organization forward, improves the roster on the field, and allows the team to continue to upgrade other positions rather than putting all their eggs in one overweight basket.

With the holidays behind us, the off-season movement should pick up traction again. The Mariners should look to pick up Venable before another intelligent organization picks him off and reaps the rewards of saving him from San Diego.

Comments

53 Responses to “Will Venable”

  1. Liam on January 1st, 2012 9:19 pm

    I wish some less intelligent organization would hurry up and pay Fielder so the Mariners can move on to other things.

  2. IwearMsHats on January 1st, 2012 9:20 pm

    Come on Jack Z! FREE WILLIE!

  3. diderot on January 1st, 2012 9:27 pm

    Amen to this.

  4. lalo on January 1st, 2012 9:34 pm

    Come on Z! Do something! I´m really tired of hearing stupid Felix´s rumors because our team it´s awful…

  5. terry on January 1st, 2012 9:43 pm

    So now he obvious question Dave…. What would it take to get Venable? Venable/Rizzo?

  6. Dave on January 1st, 2012 9:58 pm

    Venable won’t cost that much on his own. Teams generally don’t pay a ton for platoon players, and his super-two status will ding his trade value a bit more. I’d probably dangle someone like Erasmo Ramirez (who was created to pitch in Petco), since they’re a bit short on upper level pitching talent at the moment.

    Rizzo’s going to cost a lot more. In the post I did about him, I guessed we’d be talking about the likes of Nick Franklin or James Paxton. Sounds like the Padres are shopping hard for middle infielders, so Franklin may be a piece they’d be more interested in. Depending on how hard Chicago is going after Rizzo, it might take more than just Franklin, but the M’s could potentially put together a solid offer that would get them both players.

  7. terry on January 1st, 2012 10:11 pm

    What’ are your thoughts on Smoak’s likely future production?

  8. MrZDevotee on January 1st, 2012 10:23 pm

    Liam
    You said: “I wish some less intelligent organization would hurry up and pay Fielder so the Mariners can move on to other things”

    The day may be close, one way or the other, as a Japanese source is reporting:

    “The Mariners are close to signing Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma”
    (reported by Nikkan Sports, via YakyuBaka.com).

    And I LOVE the Will Venable idea… Perfect, not just upside “potential” but actual evidence of good production when extracted from his own personal hell of Petco, and cheap, and controlled through 2015? Sign me (I mean him) up.

  9. Gibbo on January 1st, 2012 10:39 pm

    Love that idea… where do you find park adjusted stats like that or what is the formula?

  10. Sports on a Schtick on January 1st, 2012 10:53 pm

    Will Venable for Erasmo Ramirez would be a great start to 2012.

  11. lalo on January 1st, 2012 11:26 pm
  12. ripperlv on January 1st, 2012 11:31 pm

    OK, let’s suppose Josh Byrnes likes and reads your stuff, and thinks you might be right. Now the price for Venable and Rizzo goes up. Not sure where Rizzo fits in but your Venable blog sounds good. Let’s just hope the Padres think your another saber geek. After the Quentin trade, I think we might be safe.

  13. Mariners35 on January 2nd, 2012 12:10 am

    I’m still waiting for some freaky 4-team trade from out of nowhere to get 2 position players and a reliever…

  14. SonOfZavaras on January 2nd, 2012 3:44 am

    “I wish some less intelligent organization would hurry up and pay Fielder so the Mariners can move on to other things.”

    Completely agree with Liam on this.

    Love the Will Venable idea. THAT’S the kind of understated move than a winning org makes.

    I’m not totally sold on Rizzo- or I guess more specifically, not sold on the idea we need to acquire a near-ready-for-the-bigs 1B. I still think we haven’t even seen a third of the production that a healthy Justin Smoak will produce (although if he doesn’t show much in 2012, then you have to start looking into making other adjustments there).

  15. rth1986 on January 2nd, 2012 6:30 am

    Venable is an interesting idea. Not crazy about him, but he’d be worth a flier. I’d dangle Beavan before Erasmo Ramirez, though. They are similar pitchers, but I think Ramirez has more potential.

    Still not interested in Rizzo. If we were giving up on Smoak, that’d be one thing, but productive DH/1B types are easy enough to come by (Cust and Kotchman aside..haha).

    Iwakuma seems like a nice pick-up on the cheap. Never seen him pitch, but his numbers are similar to Kuroda’s before he left Japan.

  16. ndevale on January 2nd, 2012 8:36 am

    Dave how would you rank these three LF options for the M’s, Venable, Crisp, Parra?

  17. eastcoastmariner on January 2nd, 2012 9:19 am

    Great post Dave!

    One concern though…looking at the blogosphere as a whole, I think we tend to see great idea’s such as this one (and the Rizzo post as well), and we automatically become so fixated on a player, only to be disappointed when said player is not acquired by JackZ and the M’s (which is typically a long shot to begin with anyway). So, what I’m trying to get at is since you’ve already outlined the type of player the M’s should be looking for (Cost controlled, left-handed OF with pull power and good defensive abilities), can you think of any other players in this mold in addition to Will Venable who would be viable targets for the M’s? This way we as a blogosphere could potentially focus on a small group of players, rather than Will Venable specifically, given it’s probably a long shot the M’s are the 1 team out of 30 to acquire him.

  18. Badbadger on January 2nd, 2012 9:34 am

    We definitely need a 4th outfielder, but Casper Wells doesn’t really need a platoon partner, or at least his major league splits are extremely balanced so far.

  19. Mariners35 on January 2nd, 2012 9:34 am

    Rth1986 – regardless of what we think of Smoak, Rizzo is good for depth. I may be blanking on someone obvious, but I thought the dropoff from Smoak and Carp to the rest of the 1b types in the org was big. Or at least enough to merit getting others in.

    Eastcoastmariner – Your post makes it sound like Mariner bloggers and fans are all just hanging on Dave’s every word, and incapable of independent thought. :) One could go spend a few minutes on fangraphs or baseball reference and simply dig up their own comparisons.

  20. Sports on a Schtick on January 2nd, 2012 10:02 am

    Casper’s 2011 splits (~100 OPS+ vs RHP, ~120 OPS+ vs LHP) seem more realistic. Either way I still think getting Venable for a decent arm is a great idea.

  21. Seatt101 on January 2nd, 2012 10:42 am

    I am afraid I dont agree.

    Will Venable for a pitching prospect?

    Are saying that of all the young OF we have in the system none are likley to be better as an individual or as a platoon pair?

    2012 is a dead year – we are not going to win the WS let alone the AL West. So lets back Jack and see what he can get out of what he has traded for to date.

    The club has pitching in abundance but lacks run producers but has young farm hands by the truck load. Continue the “Z” experiment of finding out who is good or bad. I think Peguero will be a better player and I want to see more from others before we give up Ramirez, Beavan or any potential arm.

    As for stats I am not too interested on all the numbers. Safeco has a habit of making good hitters bad (which is why Ichiro’s numbers are so good) – after all we had Beltre who has been a run producer everywhere but Safeco.

    Just let the kids try out for “Z” in spring training – lets ship the best of them to the club and run with them.

    Dave – can we possibly have a personal review of what we have accumulated with drafts and trades to date. I wonder if everyone on the board is not as wise as you (including me). Perhaps if I knew a little more about “our farm” I might accept your Venable idea?

    Keep up the good work and have a happy and healty 2012.

  22. kinickers77 on January 2nd, 2012 10:49 am

    Trade for Venable; giving up Ramirez is worth it.

    Pass on Rizzo, though, and give another chance to Smoak.

    Yet, I’d say DH Smoak or deall him if you can sign Prince, though. He can be a huge piece for today and tomorrow. Maybe not 5 years from now but Z better have constructed a contender before then anyway. I know people don’t wan’t to “put their eggs all in his basket” but we have room for more after 2012 when other big contracts expire (like Ichiro’s).

    I have confidence in Jack Z as a good farm system guy. However, if he can’t turn this team into a legit contender by 2014 at the latest, with a top 5-8 player budget in all of MLB, he’s not a good GM. And sorry, while signing Venable is good, a team full of only Venables and less will not win.

  23. spankystout on January 2nd, 2012 11:11 am

    Venable is better right now than Saunders, Carp, Robinson, Peguero, and Wells. Also Guti and Ichiro aren’t locks to produce–so the M’s need more OF depth than a typical season.

  24. MrZDevotee on January 2nd, 2012 11:26 am

    Okay, holidays are over… Time for the serious business to happen…

    Ooh… Can you hear that? It’s John William’s “Jaws” music starting up in the far off distance, as Z stealthily circles the murky depths of the baseball offseason, sniffing out potential victims…

    A drip of blood here (the shallow Fielder market)… A helpless seal over there (Japanese backup shortstop Kawasaki)… An innocent swimmer ventures too far from shore (Wilson Betemit)… Then, an aging Beluga wanders by (Japanese pitcher Ikamura)…

    Up on the beach, playing volleyball a little too close to the water– Ryan Ludwick, Luke Scott, Cody Ross, Will Venable– if that ball goes in the water, and one of them goes after it!?

    Music mounting… water churning… a dorsal fin suddenly breaks the water, rising, a toothy head breaches the surface, screams of shock, bodies and blood EVERYWHERE – “da-duh-DA!” CARNAGE! CARNAGE! CARNAGE! Then silence…

    Your 2012 Mariners lineup

    1. RF Ichiro
    2. 2B Ackley
    3. CF Guty
    4. 1B Prince Fielder (+Smoak)
    5. DH Justin Smoak (+Carp)
    6. LF Casper Wells (+Carp)
    7. 3B Wilson Betemit
    8. C John Laso/Olivo
    9. SS Ryan

    SP King
    SP Pineda
    SP Vargas
    SP Ikamura
    SP Hultzen

    (I’m still of the mindset that we shouldn’t sign Fielder… But the stars are kinda aligning on that signing… The market is vanishing… You never know. For the right price, EVERYONE here wants him… There are hints of Boras starting to talk 6 years/$150million)

  25. kinickers77 on January 2nd, 2012 11:56 am

    MrZDevotee, that was hilarious. I love it.

    I like that lineup too, except I’d like to get Venable too and then put him and Ackley in the 2 & 3 slots, don’t know which would be which, though. Move Guty to 6th because Wells would be out then.

    And that rotation could be very nice.

    Prince for 6/$150 would be doable I think for us.

    Wow, if this all worked out, I might actually be a bit excited about seeing how the Ms progress in 2012.

  26. ClayDV on January 2nd, 2012 12:38 pm

    Thanks for the food for thought, Dave. I was getting mighty hungry. Gosh I love reading these posts.

  27. MrZDevotee on January 2nd, 2012 12:40 pm

    Kinickers-
    Thanks. Couldn’t help it. “Jaws” was on tv late New Year’s Eve and I’d forgotten what a fun movie that is… Just serious “cinematic moments”

    The tin can/styrofoam cup crush
    The “whose got better scars” battle
    The slap (mourning mother)
    The head in the hull of the sunken ship
    The leg with sneaker hitting bottom in the pond
    “Show Me The Way to Go Home”

    Was trying to transfer some of Spielberg’s mastery to Z’s offseason plan… Make it more fun to watch!

    Basically that little lump of “volleyball” players I put on the beach would, each in their own right, be a welcome addition in my eyes. They all offer a pretty solid LF/1B/DH sort of aspect that would/could make Carp and/or Smoak tradeable for further prospects to stockpile, if the Fielder signing miraculously occured.

    I think that’s another benefit of having a viable minor league system that for the most part we’re overlooking (because it’s different than what we’ve known). Z is attempting to build a prospect base that is ever growing, so when key free agent acquisitions happen we can actually trade the “potential” in up and coming prospects, for more prospects further away from the majors… Afterall, “potential” is a solid, factual thing to sell as a commodity. Unlike the “real outcome” of some of that potential which is a bit of a dice roll, and turns “sure things” into worthless assets.

    Now, in the past, we were gunshy about this, because during Bavasi’s time his WORST attribute was not having enough depth in the minors, so any trade of a high prospect basically left the pantry bare. (He forgot to have a garden out back, per se… Or at least to feed and water it.) BUT! If we have some true talent evaluators in our system, then we can leverage potential and “prospect prognosis” as a selling point when we’ve seen glimpses that the potential may bust– before the guys have actually lost their lustre thru the rest of the league (personally I think the Yankees are attempting this with Montero at the moment)… And then we trade them for a few additional younger unknowns, and again leverage the situation, all over again, depending on how THOSE guys pan out. We can only do this if our OWN prospect/draft system is flush and ever-advancing, and builds a good reputation.

    It’s a system we haven’t been able to tap since Gillick was around… A guy who built success thru doing this at the major league level– selling our stars (Griffey, RJ, etc.) for a quantity of solid players, who might in their own right break out and play above average…

    (Insert photo of the classic M’s video “116″)

    I was just supposing that if you play this game at the prospect level you don’t even need bonafide MLB stars, because if you have the luxury of some hype around some prospect you can sell his “potential” for a quantity of further away potential (but you have to be EXCELLENT talent evaluators to do this– which I’m betting on in Z’s case, based on the Brewers improved system)…

    So yeah, sign the right guys, and we can flip (in the housing market sense) a guy like Carp or Smoak for the next crop of Carp and Smoaks, more years away. And then leverage THAT crop, into the next crop, repeat, and suddenly your garden is making the occasional HUGE tomato or pumpkin (Fielder-esque image pops out of nowhere). For cheap. And suddenly Miracle-Gro pays millions for the right to put a HUGE green and red logo in centerfield at Cheney Stadium.

    (Can you tell I’m getting excited about seeing where the offseason turns from this point on. Something about Jan.1st makes baseball feel like it’s back “in season”.)

  28. Gibbo on January 2nd, 2012 1:03 pm

    We need a quality LH outfield especially with the doubts over the current 3. If you add Venebles (or a similar type) then we really have 4 OFérs that can compete for playing time, I just dont have fait inn the current AAA OFérs.When was the last time we looked at our team and could say in most positions we have players other teams would want? We are getting close to that which is a great result.

    Also signing Iwakuma gives us good rotation depth and means you easily start Hultzen at AAA.When you bring up Hultzen you could trade away Vargas, if he isnt gone already.

  29. Madison Mariner on January 2nd, 2012 2:05 pm

    “8. C John Laso”

    Somewhere, in an alternate universe, John Laso–a brilliant physicist who always wanted to play pro baseball–built a machine that would allow him to slide between alternate universes. He finished it and–determined to test it out–was successful, arriving in our own universe.

    His somewhat stocky build allowed him to make up his mind that he would be a catcher, so he went about investigating his chances of becoming a catcher in this so-called Major League Baseball. To his chagrin, there was already a catcher named John Jaso, who had just been traded from Tampa Bay to Seattle. What to do, he thought…and then it struck him.

    He would have to infiltrate the consciousness of each and every Seattle Mariners’ fan until he convinced them that the catcher he had traded for was, in fact, not John Jaso, but John Laso. It might take a long time, but it just might work.

    It looks like it is! ;)

    (Just a long-worded way of pointing out that MrZDevotee has been misspelling Jaso as Laso in the last few threads.) ;)

    Up next: The alt-universe version of Ichiro…Mr Sukuzi!

  30. just a fan on January 2nd, 2012 2:10 pm

    Part of the reason the M’s had trouble with offense the past few years is a lack of depth. When Ichiro and Gutierrez were terrible, they had nobody to spell them. When Smoak was hurt, there was no 1st baseman to replace him (OK, there was Carp, but one man cannot handle 1B, LF and DH by himself).

    Accumulating talented OF depth should be a top priority. Lack of depth and lack of average players has been as much of a problem for the M’s offense lately as lack of elite players.

    If the M’s do sign Iwakuma, Erasmo Ramirez is very expendable. If Venable is as good as Dave believes, there’s no reason not to move non-elite pitching for an average bat.

  31. eastcoastmariner on January 2nd, 2012 2:15 pm

    Mariners35 – That’s certainly not what I was trying to imply. I’ve done more than my fair share of research regarding who I think should (or shouldn’t) be considered targets for the M’s (much like how Dave outlined Will Venable as a potential target). However, rather than rosterbating my thoughts on here like most commenters seem to do, I figured it might not hurt to ask the question I believe I already have the answer to, in the hope that Dave responds and his opinion lines up with that of my own. I’m not suggesting anyone hangs on every word of Dave’s, but his opinion is probably worth more than any other person in the M’s blogosphere (at least to me anyway), so why not seek it out whenever possible?

  32. Johnny Slick on January 2nd, 2012 5:11 pm

    I for one really do not like moving Nick Frankling for a Rizzo type of player. Okay, Rizzo is further along and there’s a really good – perhaps better than even – chance that Franklin won’t stick at SS but at this point it seems to me that iffy players with high upside like that are exactly the sort of guys this team should be keeping. If the Pads will take less than him – not that there’s a lot in the organization that I’m aware of up the middle outside of Franklin and the equally unmoveable Carlos Triunfel – then yeah, that’s a nice move. In the meantime, let them sort out who can play 1B for them. One possible scenario is to go after Rizzo in midsummer or later, when a partial to full year of Petco depresses his numbers and (hopefully) makes him less attractive to our “natural NL rivals”.

    As for Fielder/Smoak, I’m pretty sure the consensus on this site was that if the M’s signed Fielder they’d be getting rid of Smoak. Fielder’s going to demand to not DH except occasionally and too much of Smoak’s potential value is wrapped up in his ability to field first base.

    Also, one of the nice things about having a young team is that just getting a year older is likely as not to improve them by several wins and fill some of those gaping holes from last year, or at least answer some questions about those holes.

  33. sergey on January 2nd, 2012 7:44 pm

    Ok Nationals, Just get Fielder already and let Seattle fans move on with their lives… The sooner the better! And lets set up the team to compete in 2013!

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/01/nationals-emerge-as-favorite-for-fielder.html

  34. pogicory1 on January 2nd, 2012 8:00 pm

    sergey

    Gasp! I would suggest refraining from posting ANY link from mlbtraderumors.com. DO NOT draw the wrath of the board moderators… That being said, I really do hope that the Nationals sign him. Lets get this Fielder drama over with already.

  35. pogicory1 on January 2nd, 2012 8:04 pm

    I really like the idea of giving Venable the RHP platoon job in Seattle. Not only is he a fantastic defensive player who might even take over in CF should Gutierrez falter, his skillset fits perfectly with that of Safeco. Another fantastic piece of journalism Mr. Dave! I would love to see this happen.

    LF/CF timeshare between Venable, Wells and Gutierrez and Carp straight to DH where he belongs!

  36. Mariners35 on January 2nd, 2012 9:22 pm

    Fielder has seen more changes of frontrunner than the GOP primaries… I also heard this morning that the Cubs were the frontrunner due to Prince’s stats at Wrigley. The Boras machine is in full spin cycle. Meh.

  37. qwerty on January 2nd, 2012 9:39 pm

    Seattle 101:
    You’re new to these parts, aren’t you?

  38. Valenica on January 2nd, 2012 10:13 pm

    Extreme extreme platoon bat means he’s not a long-term solution. 42 PAs against leftys last year says it all (with like 30 wRC+)…the Padres don’t trust him at all against leftys. Not sure I’d give up an asset like Erasmo (who’s only 21 years old) for a bat like that.

    It would be nice to have a decent backup for Gutierrez on Opening Day, but we could always stop gap with Carp in LF and Wells in CF with some vet at DH. I rather let Casper figure out his minor platoon split and Guti figure it all out while we’re still building.

  39. JH on January 2nd, 2012 11:01 pm

    “2012 is a dead year – we are not going to win the WS let alone the AL West. So lets back Jack and see what he can get out of what he has traded for to date.”

    Backing Jack involves trusting him to make future good moves for a team that does not currently have the pieces to contend. You may believe Peguero is better, but there isn’t one iota of evidence that supports that belief. Venable is better than any option we have in-house, and he’d be available for multiple years if he pans out. This is the exact kind of low profile move this team needs more of.

  40. JH on January 2nd, 2012 11:04 pm

    While we’re talking about Padres outfielders, I’d also consider Chris Denorfia a potential good fit. Under control for 2 more years, cheap since he’s never been a full time player, has hit equally well against righties and lefties, and can play all 3 OF positions. He’s a righty, so not exactly a perfect fit, but I think he’d be a nice little pickup from a team that doesn’t really need him.

  41. Snuffy on January 2nd, 2012 11:28 pm

    Color me a big Venable fan. I’ve been following him for the last 2 years. I like his speed, defensive ability and power. He can take a walk and has experience batting leadoff. He’s fully competent in CF range-wise but even though he’s spent much of his time in RF for the Padres he only has an average arm. Defensively he’s similar to Saunders with a tick less of an arm, and that’s no slam. That said, he’s no Gutti in CF either. Venable is late to baseball after spending his formative years concentrating on basketball, so he’s still developing and has had minor injury issues that have slowed his development. He has legit 20+ HR power, even in a platoon roll… if given a real chance to play. My biggest concern for Venable is lack of contact, although once he reworked his swing in late 2010 he has shown some improvement (but w/less power). He’s not been given much chance against LHP and he has been generally awful in small sample size PAs. It’s no exaggeration to say he could well be the best offensive OFer on the M’s vs RHP in 2012. I hope Jack can get him.
    BTW… I’m still a Saunders fan and am cautiously hopeful he can be of some value offensively but he may just need a change of scenery. I’d love to see both in the Mariner outfield vRHP.

  42. GLS on January 2nd, 2012 11:42 pm

    Will Venable is a great idea! Venable + Rizzo is an even better one. Gawd, I am so sick of not seeing any offense on this team.

    Get a trade done!

  43. make_dave_proud on January 3rd, 2012 7:19 am

    How sad is it that a 4th outfielder for the Padres looks like an offensive upgrade to the Mariners?

  44. JH on January 3rd, 2012 7:30 am

    Remember that time that a backup 1B for a Brewers team that didn’t make the playoffs became the team’s best hitter a year later? Or the time that guy who couldn’t crack the Red Sox roster at age 28 went on to hit 46 home runs for the Rays a year later?

    Venable’s a good defensive OF with at least a league average bat. Think about him in terms of what he can do, not what his current role is.

  45. charliebrown on January 3rd, 2012 8:47 am

    Isn’t the fact that he is a 4th outfielder at least some indication of what he can do?

  46. gwangung on January 3rd, 2012 8:53 am

    Isn’t the fact that he is a 4th outfielder at least some indication of what he can do?

    Relative to other Padres outfielders? Sure.

    For what he can do for the Mariners? No.

  47. Snuffy on January 3rd, 2012 9:21 am

    Venable is currently seen as the RF starter vRHP. Their 4th outfielder is Denorfia.

  48. Valenica on January 3rd, 2012 12:11 pm

    He’s a starter but he needs a 4th OF who can hit leftys for him.

    Both Casper and Guti hit leftys well so it might be a fit I suppose.

    LHP: Casper/Guti/Ichiro
    RHP: Venable/Casper/Ichiro

    That should give us above average offense year round. I would hate losing Erasmo though – he’s only 21. I think he’s underrated a bit, even if his ceiling is probably like SP3-4.

  49. rightwingrick on January 3rd, 2012 12:20 pm

    Venable might be a nice pick-up for depth, but I’m not sure I would want to give up one of my top five upper-level minor league pitching prospects for him. Especially when the M’s have recently picked up well-regarded outfielders Wells, Trayvon Robinson (24), Chih-Hsien-Chiang (24), and still have some legitimate hope for Joherymn Chavez (23) and even Michael Saunders (who may be the best of the bunch if he can get it back together…he’s still only 25 in 2012).

    And there is no way in heaven that I’d trade Nick Franklin, who is our near-future shortstop and probably our highest ranking position player prospect.

    And I’m not sure why folks are so high on ANOTHER first base prospect, when two of our best prospects are Carp and Smoak, who both play 1B, and who both made progress last year.

  50. kennyb on January 3rd, 2012 1:27 pm

    I the M’s think Franklin can stay at short his value is high. If they think he needs to move then his value goes way down.
    It might be better to trade him before he proves them right if that’s the case.

  51. eponymous coward on January 3rd, 2012 4:24 pm

    And there is no way in heaven that I’d trade Nick Franklin, who is our near-future shortstop and probably our highest ranking position player prospect.

    Nick Franklin at age 20, Rookie/A/AA: .281/.352/.418
    Jose Lopez at age 20 (prior to MLB callup): .295/.342/.505

    I’m not seeing how Nick Franklin is just blowing his leagues away, to the point that he’s near term (meaning we should see him in the bigs in 2012).

    Yeah, Lopez panned out lousy, and this isn’t saying Franklin’s a bad prospeect not worth much, but if you’re projecting Franklin as having near-term impact, shouldn’t he be, say, actually one of the better hitters in his league?

  52. roosevelt on January 3rd, 2012 4:30 pm

    Interesting proposition. I looked at Rizzo’s marks last year with San Diego… hit one HR in 128 abs.
    Granted, he is young, but…

  53. MrZDevotee on January 3rd, 2012 10:48 pm

    KennyB-
    You said, “If the M’s think Franklin can stay at short his value is high. If they think he needs to move then his value goes way down.”

    Maybe not so ‘way down’ if he’s on a team devoid of a starting 3B, much less one with a decent slugging %. It definitely seems that’s where he’d most likely be moved if they determine he isn’t going to stick at short. And he would instantly become one of our upper propects at that position.

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