Current Depth Chart

Dave · January 24, 2012 at 7:11 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Prince Fielder isn’t coming to Seattle, so you can officially cross him off the “what’s next” list of possibilities. You could have done that after the team traded for Jesus Montero, honestly, but now you can officially stop wondering if the team was really going to put four 1B/DH types in the line-up at the same time next year. The answer is no – they’ll settle for just three.

So, what does the line-up look like right now, and if the team wanted to make another move, where would the new guy fit in? To help show the current state of the position players, I’ve created a basic depth chart, based on the guys I see making the Opening Day roster as of today. For each player, their playing time by position is shown, and you can see how the allocation at each position breaks down from the top. Without further ado:

Position Player C 1B 2B SS 3B LF CF RF DH Total
Starters
C John Jaso 250 250
1B Justin Smoak 500 100 600
2B Dustin Ackley 600 600
SS Brendan Ryan 500 500
3B Kyle Seager 450 450
LF Mike Carp 150 400 100 650
CF Franklin Gutierrez 500 500
RF Ichiro Suzuki 600 600
DH Jesus Montero 200 400 600
Bench
C Miguel Olivo 200 50 250
OF Casper Wells 200 100 50 350
IF Munenori Kawasaki 50 150 200
UT Chone Figgins 200 50 50 300
Totals 650 650 650 650 650 650 650 650 650 5850

Since these are just to give you an overview of the current situation, the playing time projections aren’t anything overly scientific. In reality, some positions will get a few more PAs than others due to line-up position, but in general, each spot comes out to around 700 or so. The missing 50 PA per position can be assumed to be filled by guys who get called up from the minors when injuries strike.

Let’s start with catcher, since it’s both at the top of the list and perhaps the position with the most potential for change. I’ve got Montero slotted for about 50 games worth of playing time behind the plate, which is about the maximum I can realistically see the team giving him right now. They’re simply not going to ask him to both be the impact bat they acquired and handle everyday duties behind the plate, especially with the present state of his defensive abilities. I expect that they’ll handle him much like the Rangers handled Mike Napoli a year ago, working him in to the position slowly in the early part of the season until the pitchers get comfortable throwing to him. If he handles himself well during his once-or-twice per week appearances behind the plate in April and May, they may look to move Olivo during the summer and increase his workload behind the plate, but that’s the best case scenario. It’s also entirely possible that they realize early on that it’s just not going to work out, and he moves to DH full time.

That said, I’m not convinced that Olivo is going to be particularly happy about this arrangement, especially since Jaso is around to start some games against RHPs. Olivo wasn’t overly thrilled to be in a job share with Chris Iannetta in Colorado, and given his desire to play regularly, I doubt he’d be content with the current setup. So, I don’t think this is actually the group that makes it to Opening Day. If the team has an opportunity to move Olivo without picking up much of the $3.75 million he’s still due, I wouldn’t be surprised if they do it and replace him on the roster with Chris Gimenez. Gimenez is a Wedge favorite, would give the team a veteran who wouldn’t require as much playing time, and would give them a bit more roster flexibility since he has some outfield experience. And, replacing Olivo with Gimenez would likely cut a few million off the payroll, so if the team wanted to add another player but needed some funds to make the move, swapping out Olivo for Gimenez could help make that happen.

If there aren’t any takers for Olivo, the organization could just send Jaso back to Triple-A, since he does have an option remaining. In this scenario, Olivo would handle the bulk of the catching duty, with Montero getting his reps behind the plate when Olivo needed a day off, but this takes away the only left-handed catching option from the roster and hurts the team’s ability to get platoon advantages against opposing starters. Besides, I doubt the team traded for Jaso with the idea of having him hang out in Tacoma, so this is probably Plan C.

Right now, the plan is likely to carry three catchers with Montero getting most of his at-bats at DH. The most notable impact his acquisition has on the roster is that it definitively pushes Mike Carp to left field, which was somewhat expected given the way Eric Wedge was talking at the winter meetings. While Carp is a pretty horrendous defender out there, it seemed clear that the team was prioritizing offense, and they’d live with Carp running around the outfield in order to get more bats into the line-up. With Casper Wells the obvious choice as the team’s fourth outfielder (no, Trayvon Robinson isn’t a serious threat), Wedge has natural left/right and offense/defense platoons he can run, and I’d expect Wells to be regularly inserted into the game for defensive purposes. Combine that with some regular playing time in CF in order to keep Gutierrez from wearing down, and there should be enough playing time for Wells to show what he can do. He won’t be an everyday guy, but this alignment doesn’t box him out either.

The problem with this outfield group is a massive lack of depth. Gutierrez’s health problems and Carp’s defensive limitations essentially demand that the team carry five outfielders, but with three catchers and an expectation of a 12 man pitching staff, there simply isn’t room for a fifth OF. So, everyone’s favorite player Chone Figgins is actually something of a necessary piece right now. Or, at least, the need for someone on the bench besides Wells with the versatility to play the outfield. If the team swapped out Olivo for Gimenez, then they’d have another LF option, but they’d still be too thin in center. Unless the team was willing to ask Ichiro to cover CF on occasion, they can’t really go into the season with just two guys on the team who can cover center field. Figgins is still relatively fast and has experience at the position, so if the team kept him around in a utility role, he’d fill that void.

But, then, does anyone really want to keep Chone Figgins around? Especially if we’re talking about bringing in another player who could provide an offensive upgrade, a right-handed hitting third baseman to take Figgins spot would seem to be a natural choice. Seager isn’t ready to be an everyday player yet, and Kawasaki (or whoever the backup SS is) will probably need help covering the 2B/SS innings behind Ackley and Ryan, so Seager could still get plenty of playing time even if the team did trade for a guy like Mark Reynolds. But, if you trade Figgins and stuff for Reynolds, you’re back to four outfielders. At that point, you’d probably have to swap out Olivo for Gimenez too – it would be convenient if Baltimore wanted Olivo, but he wouldn’t be happy as Wieters backup either – in order to get the fifth OF, but that situation probably requires Ichiro to play center occasionally. It could happen, but I don’t know that it’s the plan the M’s would want to enter the season with.

That’s kind of the thing with adding a regular DH – it does limit roster construction and force you to make compromises elsewhere. For instance, if the team wanted to acquire my boy Will Venable from the Padres to help cover some CF innings and work into the LF mix against right-handed pitching, they probably wouldn’t be able to make it work anymore. There just isn’t a roster spot for him now – you can’t punt Figgins without replacing the third base depth he provides.

And, even if the team did go back to two catchers or 11 pitchers (very unlikely, given the current rotation) to open up a spot for another OF/DH type, the playing time just isn’t really there. A guy like Venable would push Carp to DH, which is good, but that either pushes Montero to the bench (which is bad) or catcher (where Wedge probably won’t be willing to use him too often, especially early in the season). If the team signed one of the aging DH types still on the market, they’d simply be cutting into Montero’s playing time as well, and would probably represent a downgrade in production over what he can probably give the team.

In reality, the best position player roster spot to upgrade is the one currently held by Figgins, as he’s the guy on the team with no real future in Seattle and a decent amount of playing time to be reallocated elsewhere. The hard part is figuring out how you replace Figgins with a decent offensive player that can also cover both 3B and the outfield. Or, if the necessary depth at those spots needs to be two different players, how you make it work with just one somewhat open roster spot in the current configuration.

It’s not an easy puzzle to solve, honestly. I know some will say just dump Olivo, push Montero to the everyday catcher role, and you have the DH spot available, but that’s just not practical given his defensive limitations and the expectation of offense that he carries. To believe he can be both the team’s best hitter and a regular MLB catcher at this point in his career is simply asking too much.

At this point, I think I’d try to dump both Figgins and Olivo to get as much cost savings between those two moves as I could, and give Figgins OF time to Gimenez, as much as that’s not an ideal situation. That would allow the team to focus on acquiring a guy who could just split his playing time between 3B/1B, and would let them focus more on a bat-first player than a versatile defensive type.

In reality, I think a guy like Reynolds is the team’s best option at this point. The price shouldn’t be too terribly high, the Orioles would likely be willing to take Figgins back in the swap if the M’s eat most of the contract, and as a right-handed power hitter, he’d fit into the current roster situation without causing any ripples. He’s probably not a long term answer at third base, but he provides 1B/DH depth in case Smoak doesn’t hit or Montero proves more adept at catching than expected. And, since it’s just a one year commitment, the team isn’t locked in if he doesn’t adjust well to Safeco or his glove continues to be horrendous.

Given the current state of the position players, he’s the best fit that I can find. I’d still rather see the team spend the rest of their remaining cash on Edwin Jackson instead, but if the team is looking for one more move to upgrade the offense, Reynolds is worth considering.

Comments

91 Responses to “Current Depth Chart”

  1. Kyle in Illinois on January 24th, 2012 7:23 pm

    I must say, I love when I see there’s a new, in depth post up from Dave. :) Good work!

  2. seizethecarp on January 24th, 2012 7:27 pm

    Has there been any hint that the Orioles are looking to move Reynolds? Would love him on this team.

  3. mebpenguin on January 24th, 2012 7:28 pm

    If they move both Olivo and Figgins could they fit both Reynolds and Jackson on the roster as long as they backload Jackson’s contract?

  4. eastcoastmariner on January 24th, 2012 7:31 pm

    Quite the predicament indeed. It would seem as though the best possible course of action as far as roster construction/depth is concerned would be to trade Mike Carp, and in the process pick up an OF who is capable of playing CF, a la Will Venable. Unfortunately though, I just don’t see that realistically happening at this moment in time. Should be interesting to see what Jack has up his sleeve before Spring Training gets started in a few weeks…

  5. Logger on January 24th, 2012 7:35 pm

    This makes you miss Adrian Beltre, doesn’t it?

  6. jesseatcal on January 24th, 2012 7:36 pm

    A cheap third baseman who can also play OF with RH power? All we need to do is find the next Joey Bats! :)

  7. Dave on January 24th, 2012 7:36 pm

    Everything makes me miss Adrian Beltre.

  8. IwearMsHats on January 24th, 2012 7:39 pm

    Any chance we trade for Prince Fielder?

  9. Logger on January 24th, 2012 7:41 pm

    Besides Reynolds, are there any other viable 3B options that may be available? I cannot think of any off the top of my head, but perhaps a 3B that a team would like to trade due to him becoming more expensive. Since the M’s can take on salary, there could be a fit.

  10. Dave on January 24th, 2012 7:50 pm

    3B is kind of a barren wasteland in MLB at the moment. The names everyone always bring up don’t really make much sense.

    David Wright can opt out of his contract at the end of the year if he’s traded, but he can’t if the Mets keep him. So, there’s no reason for them to deal him – they can either keep him for 2012 and then trade one year of his services next winter, or trade one year of his services now. They won’t get any less in return by keeping him because of that option, so the motivation to trade him now is basically zero. Next year is a different story, and I definitely think the Mariners will be interested in Wright a year from now.

    Chase Headley is both overrated (check his road BABIP the next time you cite his “away from Petco” numbers) and there’s no reason for the Padres to trade him.

    Martin Prado’s power is strictly to left field and the M’s have nothing Atlanta would want.

    Casey McGehee would have been a nice fit, but Pittsburgh got him first.

    Daniel Murphy would be a nice addition, but I have no idea why the Mets would trade him. And, as an LHB, he’s not really a good platoon partner for Seager, so he’d be more of a Seager replacement.

    So, Reynolds is probably the best option. His defense at third makes him a less than ideal option, but it’s a less than ideal situation.

  11. Logger on January 24th, 2012 7:56 pm

    Thanks for the info. In that case, let’s hope that at least one of Seager, Liddi, Catricala, etc., pan out.

  12. mebpenguin on January 24th, 2012 7:59 pm

    Ugh, Reynolds was 28 runs below average on defense last year! That’s not just less than ideal, that’s a train wreck.

  13. Dave on January 24th, 2012 8:02 pm

    His career UZR at 3B before last season was -19 in over 4,000 innings, or about -5 per season. Yes, last year was a trainwreck, but he’s not going to do that again. -5 to -15 is probably more likely, and if he’s only playing 500 innings at third while spending the rest of his time as a 1B/DH/PH, the defense won’t kill you.

  14. Mariners35 on January 24th, 2012 8:03 pm

    I have a good guess what you’ll say here, but assuming they move Olivo and bring up Gimenez for OF/3rd catcher, and dump Figgins for whatever, what about Liddi?

    Job share with Seager, lefty/righty matchups. Liddi doesn’t have versatility, but I’d rather spend 2012 being irrationally optimistic about seeing anything from Liddi than trying and failing to be rational about an occasional Figgins sighting.

  15. Dave on January 24th, 2012 8:03 pm

    Liddi isn’t anywhere close to being ready. He was a below average hitter in the PCL last year. He has some serious flaws that need fixing before he spends any serious time in the show.

  16. stevemotivateir on January 24th, 2012 8:10 pm

    I’m curious if Kawasaki will see any time at 3rd in spring. Really eager for spring, regardless of any other moves made!

  17. Logger on January 24th, 2012 8:11 pm

    Who do you see as the most realistic long term solution at 3B – Seager, Liddi, Catricala, or someone not currently in the organization?

  18. Dave on January 24th, 2012 8:16 pm

    Option D. I think Seager’s a Maicer Izturis type who is most valuable as a 400 PA infielder who plays everywhere. I don’t think Liddi is going to hit, and Catricala is a LF/1B who may or may not hit enough to be a regular.

  19. bookbook on January 24th, 2012 8:24 pm

    I should know this, but don’t…
    Could Seager fill the 5th OF role? I don’t want to turn him into Willie Bloomquist, but assume he’s got a bit of speed. would he be worse than Carp out there? (or Gimenez)

  20. Dave on January 24th, 2012 8:25 pm

    Hard to teach the guy a new position and have him as your regular third baseman. If the team decided to go with a guy like Reynolds as the more regular option at the position, then yes, I could see them giving Seager time in the OF as well and using him as super-utility guy to get him in the line-up more often.

  21. msfanmike on January 24th, 2012 8:26 pm

    Real nice post, Dave … Thank you. I really like the prospect of this season vice Olivo and Figgins and it sure appears that the team is positioning itself for that to potentially occur sooner rather than later. I hope they can pull it off through whatever combination of events works. Having a spot or two for rotating another rookie through might be the best thing they can piece together. Potentially having Reynolds as a stopgap would be okay, but I don’t think this team can afford any defensive players with a negative ‘oozer’. It’s just not an interesting brand of baseball to watch. Liddi is definitely not ready, but if there is any legitimate way to upgrade 3B – I would love to see it.

  22. Pig on January 24th, 2012 8:45 pm

    Nice post Dave. I don’t recall reading anything from you about Cespedes. Seems to be one of the few potential free agent bats under 30 left. If they went that direction they could move Olivo, Carp &/or Figgens for a future middling prospect & maybe even consider someone like Pierre if they need another cf option.

  23. Rod O. on January 24th, 2012 8:47 pm

    I’m sure no one will really like the other option and I’d rather have Reynolds, but Carlos Guillen is still out there if the M’s can’t get Reynolds. A less attractive bat but better position flexibility.

  24. Dave on January 24th, 2012 8:48 pm

    Cespedes doesn’t make any sense for the Mariners. Most projections have him as a .270/.320/.480 guy if he pans out, getting most of his value from power and defense. But, as a right-handed hitter, Safeco will limit his power, and with Gutierrez around, he’s not playing center in Seattle.

    Besides, I’m not even convinced he’s that much better than Casper Wells, whose career line is .263/.330/.471. If the team wants to play a right-handed power hitting OF with questionable plate discipline, I don’t see any reason why they should spend $50 million to replace Wells with a foreign version of the skillset they already have.

  25. lalo on January 24th, 2012 9:10 pm

    Maybe Triunfel can share time with Seager, I just saw him playing in winter ball, he has a heck of an arm, really impressive work at third base, gap power, great contact rates, he deserves an opportunity… check out this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0MRx4lmnJI

  26. ck on January 24th, 2012 9:16 pm

    Any chance of Ackley playing third base?

  27. Westside guy on January 24th, 2012 9:18 pm

    I smiled at the mention of jettisoning Olivo; but I felt a sharp pain between my ears when I saw 400 PAs going to Carp while playing left field.

    I know most (non-USSM) fans don’t adequately value defense, so they either won’t care about his defense or will manage to think he’s great because ROOT will keep replaying his one diving catch from last year. But as much as I cringed watching Michael Saunders at bat… that’s exactly how much I cringe watching Carp play left.

  28. Mariners35 on January 24th, 2012 9:37 pm

    Westside – Carp playing left is not as cringe-worthy as Ibanez playing left. I think there’s such a visceral reaction to poor defense in left in the post-Ibanez era, that the bar gets set a bit too high sometimes.

    Is Carp’s defense going to be so much worse than his bat that it will be a huge net negative? I.e. is Carp truly a 1b/DH only, for the rest of his career, and he’s only shoved into left to keep his bat in the lineup at all?

    Use your favorite defensive metrics, I have no preference….

  29. GM42 on January 24th, 2012 9:48 pm

    I don’t remember a team with so many players whose potential performance would seem to vary wildly. Much of that is to be expected with so many young players, but a lot of them come with an additional layer of uncertainty. How much of Smoak’s poor season can be attributed to injury? What do we make of Carp’s weird transformation as a hitter? Even vets like Ichiro and Guti feel like huge wildcards. Ryan and Olivo seem like safe bets to do what they do (ugh on the latter), but the rest of the roster seems like one giant margin of error. That’s to say nothing of the pitching staff, which comes with its own significant list of question marks. Should be a very interesting year, for better or worse.

  30. DAMellen on January 24th, 2012 9:50 pm

    Why would dumping Olivo lead to making Montero the everyday catcher? Can’t we dump him, let Jaso play about 110 games, and give the other 50 to Montero? That’d give us an extra roster spot without putting any extra pressure on Montero.

  31. Dave on January 24th, 2012 9:55 pm

    If you do that, what exactly do you do with that roster spot? Sign an LF/DH? You’re just benching one of Carp/Montero, and there aren’t any LF/DHs any better than those guys on the market. Trade for a 3B? Okay, but now you have Figgins and nothing to do with him, so the open roster spot doesn’t do you a lot of good.

    Dumping Olivo and giving the playing time to Jaso might open up a roster spot, but it doesn’t open up any playing time for the new guy.

  32. DAMellen on January 24th, 2012 10:03 pm

    I thought the idea was to swap out Figgins for Reynolds (or whoever) and still have room for a fifth outfielder. Maybe I missed what you were saying.

  33. stuafoo on January 24th, 2012 10:47 pm

    Just as an aside, Olivo doesn’t have a no-trade, right (god, I hope not)? Why does it matter where we ship him off to?

    Out with the old, and in with 2013!

  34. eponymous coward on January 24th, 2012 11:13 pm

    Maicer Izturis is a ~2 WAR player his last 6 years in MLB, without playing full time (with the two down years being injury years).

    It seems more the case that Izturis is bouncing around the infield because a) he can, and b) the Angels had guys like Figgins or Callaspo who were credible infielders. There doesn’t seem to be a huge hole in his game like “complete joke against lefty pitching” or “my God the defense sucks”.

    Anyways, if that’s a realistic projection for Seager, as an Maicer Izturis/David Bell/Mark McLemore IF tweener who’s able to bounce between 2nd and 3rd without being a disaster, chipping in 2-3 WAR over a season, I don’t see why Seager can’t hold down 3B in 2012, given that the option presented is a player whose biggest strength is going to get completely killed by Safeco (Reynolds is a pretty extreme RH pull hitter), and whose defense is below average if not the complete trainwreck of 2011. So I’d prefer Edwin Jackson myself (to be honest, I’d REALLY prefer Roy Oswalt).

  35. dekjo on January 24th, 2012 11:15 pm

    Is Adam Moore’s chance at a pro career essentially dead now?

  36. Gibbo on January 24th, 2012 11:23 pm

    The other issue with only carrying 2 fathers if you start Jaso, and Montero needs to change from DH to C during the game you lose your rights to have a DH, I.e. Pitchers hit.

    Thanks for the update Dave, I like the team and feel that it could still sneak 80 wins. I think really we need to add upgrades at 3B and LF. The other issue is the real lack of depth with position players in the minors.

  37. Adam S on January 24th, 2012 11:47 pm

    The “lose the DH thing” comes up all the time and seems overblown to me.

    If you were going to regularly PH for your C in the 7th or 8th, then it could be a concern that you always have the pitcher spot batting two innings later and maybe next inning if C/PH leads off and you send 5 men to the plate.

    But if it’s just to insure against injury, you’re talking about carrying a 3rd catcher so that once or twice during the season you don’t wind up with your pitcher hitting. Seems silly to waste a roster spot for that. Given an injury that knocks out the starting catcher for more than the current game, you call the third catcher up from AAA ASAP.

  38. just a fan on January 25th, 2012 12:42 am

    If the M’s trade for Reynolds, why stop at making Seager the 5th OF? Let’s teach him how to catch, and be the 12th man in the bullpen. Think of all the roster spots we could save!

  39. vj on January 25th, 2012 1:13 am

    Dave, what about Carlos Guillen for 3B, as mentioned above? Anyway, very handy chart right there. I did some back of the envelope WAR estimates and this is what I got:
    Jaso, C: 1 WAR
    Smoak, 1B: 2 WAR
    Ackley, 2B: 3 WAR
    Ryan, SS: 2 WAR
    Seager, 3B: 1,5 WAR
    Montero, C/DH: 3 WAR
    Ichiro, RF: 2 WAR
    Gutierez, CF: 2 WAR
    Carp, LF: 1,5 WAR
    Bench: 3 WAR
    —————
    Total 21 WAR for the position players.
    Does that look about right?

    I was a little concerned that with Montero, the leam would be too right-handed, but given now see that with Dave’s lineup, we’ll have six guys who’d but left vs RHP. Smoak is a switch-hitter and Carp, Seager and Jaso can easily be replaced with guys hitting from the right vs. LHP. So, in this respect we’re good.

  40. vertigoman on January 25th, 2012 1:14 am

    I know these aren’t literal projections
    but
    No way Carp eats up as much or more PA than any other M.
    Wedge has not shown a tendency to platoon based on splits no matter how much sense it makes.
    I know it’s a loose estimate but I’d probably redistribute about 200 1B and LF PA
    Unfortunately, those would probably go to Figgins and someone like Jaso

  41. Paul B on January 25th, 2012 6:55 am

    Usually, the easiest way to upgrade a lineup is look for the holes and focus on getting a replacement.

    However, as Dave points out, “It’s not an easy puzzle to solve” with the M’s roster.

    Maybe the way to improve from here would be to look for an upgrade anywhere in the lineup, trading League to pay for the upgrade. That assumes a team that would be willing to give up a potential star player for a stopper plus the Mariner player at that position.

  42. MrZDevotee on January 25th, 2012 7:50 am

    From what you’ve written, Dave, it seems like Figgins actually gives us the versatility to be able to look to still upgrade EITHER 3b or LF… Whichever we can find a better replacement for. I think Carp is the odd man out, not because he isn’t good, but because he DOES have value and other teams looking at our roster would probably see him as the best player available who isn’t a lock at a position. And his 1B/LF versatility makes him a better commodity too. His unusually high BABIP last season makes him a lovely “sell high” candidate.

    Ideally, somebody looking for a C and LF/1B could do us a big favor by taking on Olivo and Carp, who combined would be a better value than trying to move Olivo by himself. BOTH of those guys are sort of riding a wave of better reputation than they deserve at the moment (Carp because of his BABIP, and Olivo because of his – ridiculously low, granted – team leading RBI/HR combination).

    Given that his playing time is definitely going to go down from last season, it’s probably “now or never” to move Olivo.

  43. djw on January 25th, 2012 8:16 am

    Dave,

    When you described Carp/Wells as a potential “offense/defense” platoon in left, I was puzzled. Is there really a good reason to think Carp is likely to be a better offensive player? Their respective track records doesn’t suggest much difference, and the projection systems fangraphs is currently publishing project Carp at 333/342 wOBA, and Wells at 337/338–no difference. Also, Wells seems to be becoming more disciplined at the plate, whereas Carp is getting worse. Are the projections missing something important here? Even if you think Carp’s more of a 345+ guy and Wells is more in the 325-330 range, would that really make up for the difference in defense and baserunning? Perhaps if the platoon splits are really big, I could see it, but on an offense/defense basis I’m afraid I’m missing something.

    It seems to me the most sensible role for Carp on the team as currently configured is to DH when Montero catches, Spell Smoak one every two weeks, and maybe spell Wells against a tough righty occasionally, while giving the team a strong pinch hitter in the other ~100 games. Unfortunately, Wedge is allergic to pinch-hitting, so it’s hard to see how to maximize his value.

    It seems to me on the current configuration the best role for Carp would be as a

  44. qwerty on January 25th, 2012 8:18 am

    Something tells me that Guti is being watched very closely this year.

  45. Dave on January 25th, 2012 8:18 am

    The M’s like Carp more than we do. I agree that he’s likely to be less valuable than Wells overall, but the reality is that Wedge sees him as the team’s regular left fielder.

  46. ivan on January 25th, 2012 8:27 am

    I think Wedge sees whoever hits better as the team’s regular left fielder.

  47. DarkKnight1680 on January 25th, 2012 8:59 am

    Should have tried to sign Hairston before the Dodgers did.

  48. Madison Mariner on January 25th, 2012 9:02 am

    Turns out that Mark Reynolds isn’t a 1-year rental in the strictest sense.

    He’s under contract for 2012 with an option for 2013, yes. However, his situation is similar to the one we had with Jose Lopez, who was under contract through the end of 2010 with an option for 2011. After the option was declined, Lopez still couldn’t be a free agent in 2011 because he only had 5 years and change of service time and thus was arb-eligible. So, the M’s traded him to the Rockies in exchange for Chaz Roe right before the non-tender deadline(and the Rockies tendered him a contract for 2011).

    Reynolds currently has 4 years, 138 days of service time through 2011. He’ll have over 5 years(but less than 6) at the end of 2012, so even if whatever team has him–the O’s, M’s, or someone else–declines his 2013 option, he’ll still be on the 40-man roster, eligible for arbitration one last time. Thus, in that scenario, he could be:

    a. Traded to another team before the tender deadline(leaving it to them to tender or non-tender him) or..
    b. Tendered a contract(and either go to arb or avoid it) or
    c. Non-tendered(making him a free agent).
    d. Or, the option could be picked up as well, making him a player under contract for 2013.

    Just an FYI. ;)

  49. DarkKnight1680 on January 25th, 2012 9:03 am

    What would it take to pry Emilio Bonifacio away from the Marlins?

  50. TumwaterMike on January 25th, 2012 9:08 am

    Hell, Wedge sees Dave as his regular Left fielder. “The balls hit to left, Dave takes out his engineers calculator, does a quick perambulation and instantly moves to the spot where the balls is and makes an outstanding cover the shoulder catch. The crowd goes wild.”

  51. Yannigan on January 25th, 2012 9:34 am

    If Dave is close to right about Olivo getting only 200 AB while playing catcher, my level of optimism for the upcoming season has increased dramatically.

    I tend to be optimistic overall. With this young core of hitters, what are the optimistic slash lines for Ackley, Carp, Montero, Seager and Smoak for this coming year, given their projected regularity in the lineup?

  52. robbbbbb on January 25th, 2012 9:42 am

    (1) I like the idea of getting as much as possible for Figgins/Olivo, but they’re boat-anchor contracts. I’m not sure there would be a taker if we put either of ‘em on waivers.

    (2) I’m puzzled why you think the M’s need a third player capable of playing CF on the 25 man roster. I understand the need for a regular backup for Gutierrez, but Wells seems to fit the bill. If the M’s run into trouble and need another player for center, Trayvon Robinson will be right down in Tacoma. That’s what AAA depth is for, right?

  53. Mariners35 on January 25th, 2012 9:50 am

    Ivan – Dave is alluding to comments Wedge made at the winter meetings. Wedge flat out said that Carp is as of right now the everyday left fielder.

  54. Dave on January 25th, 2012 10:16 am

    Trayvon Robinson is awful. If he’s playing in Seattle, the team did something wrong.

    And, it’s not just injuries you need to worry about. You can’t really project Guti as an everyday guy right now, so you need to plan on resting him once or twice per week. On those days, Wells starts in CF, and you basically no reserves. Want to pinch-run for Carp? Sorry. Want to take him out for defensive purposes late in the game? Sorry. Tough lefty on the hill that day? Sorry.

  55. diderot on January 25th, 2012 11:13 am

    So, barring something no one can foresee (except Jack), it seems there’s an 80%+ likelihood that this is the roster we start the season with. I’m OK with that.
    Some random responses/thoughts:
    –I oppose the Reynolds idea not just because of his defense, but because of his strikeouts. The last thing this team needs is someone to further increase our league high total in strikeouts. Put the damn ball in play!
    –Trayvon in center is much worse than Carp in left.
    –I don’t think they’ve totally given up on Figgins. If he’s OK in spring training, I think he gets five or six of the first eight starts at third, since we’ll be on the road, where he won’t get booed. If he starts hot, he’ll continue to get significant playing time. (I’m not hoping for this, just speculating).
    –Couldn’t agree more with GM42′s comment last night–I can’t remember any team with more variance in potential performance between individual ceilings and floors. This is going to be an interesting year of auditions and dress rehearsals for next year.

  56. Mariners35 on January 25th, 2012 11:21 am

    I don’t think they’ve totally given up on Figgins. If he’s OK in spring training, I think he gets five or six of the first eight starts at third, since we’ll be on the road, where he won’t get booed.

    Perhaps they can play Figgins exclusively on the road and Seager exclusively at home…

  57. stevemotivateir on January 25th, 2012 11:29 am

    Figgins had a good spring last year, then choked when the season started. I still think the team is more interested in trading him.

  58. kinickers77 on January 25th, 2012 11:32 am

    Beautiful chart, Dave. Well, I mean beautifully laid out. The names on it don’t thrill me that much except Ackley, Montero and Smoak.

    Do you think Todd Frazier would be a good guy to pursue from Cincinnati? I know you thought he’d be a good secondary piece back when you brought up trading for Alonso. But would Olivo or Figgins fetch Frazier alone, perhaps. Hanigan can’t be their long-term answer at C there, right? And I’m sure Olivo would be more attractive in such a hitter-friendly park because of his power.

    Or perhaps would it be worth it to trade either of them for more minor-league depth?

  59. diderot on January 25th, 2012 11:52 am

    “I still think the team is more interested in trading him.”

    Absolutely agree. But I doubt anyone else is interested. Let him play at his career norms for a couple months, and maybe someone bites.

  60. qwerty on January 25th, 2012 12:16 pm

    If TrayRob is so bad…Why can’t Figgins learn to play CF? (more than 50 AB’s i mean)

  61. Lantern on January 25th, 2012 12:22 pm

    Dave you are mostly realistic about the differences between the saber-metric community and Wedge. But what makes you think Wedge will play platoons so often? Did he use platoons in Cle? Here he has stuck with the “regular” “veteran” “everyday” guy over a platoon, or promising younger players. I can see Figgins and Olivo playing a lot more than your projections, and Jaso and Wells not playing much at all.

  62. Valenica on January 25th, 2012 12:24 pm

    Just use Wells in CF on Guti’s days off and have Figgins be back-up LF/3B/2B. I don’t know why you’d give Figgins time in CF when you have Wells. Give Figgins the Izturis role and start Seager at 3B. If it doesn’t work make some moves at the deadline.

    Also there’s no way Figgins brings in Frazier, Reynolds, Hanigan, or whatever.

  63. Madison Mariner on January 25th, 2012 12:29 pm

    “Hanigan can’t be their long-term answer at C there, right? And I’m sure Olivo would be more attractive in such a hitter-friendly park because of his power.”

    No, he’s not–Devin Mesoraco is. Mesoraco is the reason that:

    a. Fellow top catching prospect Yasmani Grandal was expendable in the trade for Mat Latos.
    b. Veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez was allowed to become a free agent and not re-signed.

    Between Mesoraco and Hanigan, the Reds are set at catcher for the forseeable future–unfortunately for us. I think there may be a few teams who could still use a veteran backup catcher, although I’d have to go check out the MLB.com depth charts to see what teams have what catchers, first. :)

  64. cjudnich on January 25th, 2012 1:41 pm

    Here is a thought, albeit probably not terribly realistic. Given the work ethic that Mike Carp displayed last year. Making himself a better hitter than anyone expected and trimming down in order to make becoming a left fielder a feasible scenario. With his background as a first basemen and being right handed. I wonder if he could turn himself into a third baseman. That puts Smoak, Carp, Montero, Olivo and Wells all on the field at the same time. Or trade for Mark Reynolds and we don’t have to worry about it. Just an Idea…

  65. CCW on January 25th, 2012 1:47 pm

    “David Wright can opt out of his contract at the end of the year if he’s traded, but he can’t if the Mets keep him. So, there’s no reason for them to deal him – they can either keep him for 2012 and then trade one year of his services next winter, or trade one year of his services now. They won’t get any less in return by keeping him because of that option, so the motivation to trade him now is basically zero. Next year is a different story, and I definitely think the Mariners will be interested in Wright a year from now.”

    1) It is my understanding that Wright has a $1mm buyout of the team option so, if he wanted to get out, he could do so, regardless whether he was traded.

    2) It is my understanding that the Mets have said they are willing to trade Wright, that in fact they don’t view him as worth his entire salary at this time. If that is the case, then it seems like the team option is even more irrelevant.

    Wright seems like a not-impossible trade target.

  66. Dave on January 25th, 2012 1:53 pm

    Wrong on both counts.

    The team has a $1 million buyout on 2013, so if they don’t want to pick up the option for next year, they don’t have to. Wright has no ability to get out of the contract unless he’s traded, at which point the option would convert to a player option.

    If you google for David Wright and trade rumors, you’ll find a bunch of articles that talk about how they’re not moving him this winter. Here’s one, for instance.

  67. ivan on January 25th, 2012 2:04 pm

    Mariners35 said:

    “Ivan – Dave is alluding to comments Wedge made at the winter meetings. Wedge flat out said that Carp is as of right now the everyday left fielder.”

    I’m sure he said it, I’m sure he meant it, and I’m sure that’s his plan. But nevertheless, the opportunity is there for Wells if he outhits Carp. Hell, if Mike Wilson or Johermyn Chavez outhit Wells and Carp, the opportunity should be there for them, too.

    I like Carp, I think he has some upside as a hitter, and I’m hoping for the best from him. But he isn’t that established that he shouldn’t have to compete for a job. I hope the other LF candidates are good enough to provide that competition.

  68. eternal on January 25th, 2012 3:02 pm

    Z said yesterday that Guti has gained almost 20 pounds since last October (or sometime last year). That would certainly be promising. Dave – Do you have recent information that he is still unhealthy or is this firm belief that he isn’t an everyday player based on last year’s health / your knowledge of IBS? Just curious.

  69. djw on January 25th, 2012 3:38 pm

    Dave, thanks for the clarification.

    But nevertheless, the opportunity is there for Wells if he outhits Carp. Hell, if Mike Wilson or Johermyn Chavez outhit Wells and Carp, the opportunity should be there for them, too.

    One thing I’ve never understood is why so many fans are so sure about stuff like this. You have no idea how much spring training is going to matter in terms of playing time early in the season. You can’t trust what teams say, because they always say the same stuff, but it’s clearly BS a significant percentage of the time (but not all the time). You’re just speculating, but treating your speculation as fact.

  70. goat on January 25th, 2012 4:03 pm

    I came to a similar conclusion regarding the sudden usefulness of Figgins based on the new roster construction. I don’t see Reynolds as much of an option, however, unless Carp is involved in a deal to free up some of those 1b/dh at bats you refer to. I do think Carp is likely the best potential trade piece to free up some roster flexibility, perhaps especially now with Fielder off the market and teams potentially looking for a 1b.

    I echo the interest others have mentioned regarding Carlos Guillen. And I’m still clinging to a bit of (perhaps irrational) hope that Saunders improves this year enough to force himself into the discussion again.

    Minor note: Kawasaki’s total should add up to 200 AB based on your table. (Like the table, btw)

  71. djtizzo on January 25th, 2012 4:14 pm

    Come on man! F*** Mark Reynolds! Ryan Theriot would be a better option than the “King of Whiff”! I’d rather see Carp get traded (along with the guys that you mentioned that are expendable) for sombody that the M’s can use and count on.

  72. JoshJones on January 25th, 2012 4:15 pm

    As usual players aren’t big on playing in Seattle. And although the $$ signs usually have the final say, i don’t see the M’s throwing money anywhere.

    JackZ and this organization intends to build this team right. I’m a fan of going after Mark Reynolds or even David Wright but the Mets are going to expect a lot for Wright and Reynolds has a lot of question marks (strikes out a lot, will his power translate to SAFECO, his defense wont be as bad as last year but it’s still bad).

    So who else is there?
    I think JackZ has every intention of locking up another position on this team that would be under team control for years to come. Just as he did with Montero. The Royals needs pitching and we have the 3rd pick in the draft this year. The Marlins have Bonoficio, Hanley(doubtful though), maybe Logan Morrison(whom we were in on initially).

    Suring up 3rd or an OF position. That should be our last target this offseason.

  73. CCW on January 25th, 2012 4:26 pm

    On David Wright… I blew the description of the option. Thanks, Dave, for clarifying.

    On the possibility of the Mets trading him, there are rumors they might and team denails that they will, but it’s all just rumours, which amount to bullshit, essentially. They might trade him, but it doesn’t sound likely, at least not right now.

    I still think that the problems Dave sets forth with roster inflexibility are much more likely to be solved through trade than free agent acquisition. Jack Z has shown time and again that he isn’t afraid to trade. I seriously doubt he’ll spend much money on a free agent. That isn’t the most efficient way to do things, and Jack knows it.

  74. cjudnich on January 25th, 2012 5:23 pm

    Jack Z has found, as we all have noticed that until we produce a consistent winner on the field we are not going to have much success trying to lure Free Agents. Safeco has proven to be a place where power hitters go to die. Unless you have prodigious power that is, and even those guys don’t want to come here either. So that being said we will have to build almost exclusively by way of draft and/or trade until we’re consistently contending for at least division titles. Unfortunately that means sometimes dealing the young guys that so many people are so fond of in order to get serviceable or better MLB ready players.

  75. Jeriod on January 25th, 2012 5:42 pm

    Dave I cheated I didn’t read all of the posts above, and not sure if someone has brought this up. Now that Miguel Cabrera is moving to the hot corner, that will make Inge expendable. Any chance we could trade for Inge to be a nice veteran 3B for us.

  76. cjudnich on January 25th, 2012 5:50 pm

    I think they still need Inge. Miggy’s body can’t absorb 150 gms at 3B. He and Prince will split time at 1B/DH and Inge will remain the primary 3B. That will keep both of their big boppers fresh and probably more productive if that’s even possible.

  77. cjudnich on January 25th, 2012 6:02 pm

    Edit: He says he’ll move to 3B for Prince. I just don’t believe his body can handle it. Besides it lets Leyland keep Inge in the lineup.

  78. Valenica on January 25th, 2012 6:12 pm

    How would you feel about getting Jorge Soler, 19 year old Cuban OF? Rumored price is $15-20M, with a bunch of teams on him. Apparently if he signs before July 2nd the international spending cap ($2.9M) won’t be enforced. This could be the last time we can blow a wad on international.

    Callis considers him better than Leonys Martin when he signed and on par with 2010′s top draft class, comping him with Starling. If we’re not spending money on payroll this could be a place we could spend it.

  79. Snake Hippo on January 25th, 2012 7:07 pm

    What about trying to get Jake Fox from the Orioles? He can “play” third base and catcher and “hits” right-handed, and would definitely come pretty cheap. If you give Giminez’s spot to him instead, then you have room for Darren Ford or Michael Saunders or someone else who can play CF. Granted, that would mean more games for Seager at third and Montero/Jaso at C, but it would improve roster flexibility.

  80. jeffs98119 on January 25th, 2012 7:30 pm

    Reynolds is so awful defensively that he’s essentially a replacement level player. If they can find a taker for Olivo, they could let Jaso catch and Montero DH against righties, Montero catch against lefties, and bring in a right handed DH to take Olivo’s roster spot–maybe Vlad Guerrero (Wedge would love his aggressiveness at the plate!). Or maybe Carlos Guillen–there’s at least the potential for roster flexibility.

    As for Figgins, he’s a $10 million version of Willie Bloomquist. I’m betting Z can’t find any takers, unless there’s a Milton Bradley out there.

  81. Johnny Slick on January 25th, 2012 9:50 pm

    Reynolds *was* awful last year as a fielder. Those numbers weren’t anywhere close to being in line with his career numbers though, where he’s not great but not horrendous (around -5 runs a year). So, was that noise or has he suddenly turned that bad? There’s a decent shot that the Orioles think the latter might be true and that’s why they could take a flier on Figgins.

    I really, really don’t like the idea of bringing in an aging DH to take up Montero’s back-up plan this year. If it turns out he can play catcher, then great, absolutely, next year the M’s should go after a cheap older guy. For now signing a guy like that does the opposite of having roster flexibility.

  82. ivan on January 25th, 2012 9:53 pm

    djw said:

    Dave, thanks for the clarification.

    Then he quoted me:

    “But nevertheless, the opportunity is there for Wells if he outhits Carp. Hell, if Mike Wilson or Johermyn Chavez outhit Wells and Carp, the opportunity should be there for them, too.”

    Then he said:

    One thing I’ve never understood is why so many fans are so sure about stuff like this. You have no idea how much spring training is going to matter in terms of playing time early in the season. You can’t trust what teams say, because they always say the same stuff, but it’s clearly BS a significant percentage of the time (but not all the time). You’re just speculating, but treating your speculation as fact.

    I don’t know what point you’re trying to make here. I’m speculating, to be sure, but I am certainly not treating that speculation as fact. Quite the contrary. Could you please clarify?

  83. lalo on January 25th, 2012 10:22 pm

    Juan Pierre would be a great addition, he had a .321 OBP, with less K´s than BB and 27 SB, (had 68 in 2010) he´s an interesting option, maybe 1 million would do it…
    And if Wedge is serious about moving Ichiro from the leadoff spot, Pierre can hit first, Ackley is more a #2 in my opinion…

  84. Steve Nelson on January 25th, 2012 10:36 pm

    @Jeriod on January 25th, 2012 5:42 pm

    Now that Miguel Cabrera is moving to the hot corner, that will make Inge expendable. Any chance we could trade for Inge to be a nice veteran 3B for us.

    That’s about like putting Jack Wilson at third base, except that Jack Wilson, when not on the DL, would provide better defense.

  85. Steve Nelson on January 25th, 2012 10:40 pm

    @lalo on January 25th, 2012 10:22 pm

    Juan Pierre would be a great addition, he had a .321 OBP, with less K´s than BB and 27 SB, (had 68 in 2010) he´s an interesting option, maybe 1 million would do it…
    And if Wedge is serious about moving Ichiro from the leadoff spot, Pierre can hit first, Ackley is more a #2 in my opinion…

    There are two important differences between genius and stupidity. One is that genius has its limits, whereas when stupidity reaches its limits it evolves to a new level of stupidity. A second is that genius can recognize when it is being stupid and stop itself.

  86. lalo on January 25th, 2012 10:54 pm

    Steve Nelson:

    Wedge said today that Ichiro won´t be the first bat in the lineup, he said that, not me.
    Ackley would be a waste there.
    Pierre can steal bases.
    I don´t want to see Figgins in the lineup.
    Shut the fuck up, this is baseball, not science, if you pretend to be smart saying things like that, you are helpless and idiot, get a life, retarded
    I know Pierre is awful, but Figgins is, too, and Carp can´t play LF…

  87. JoshJones on January 25th, 2012 11:03 pm

    @steve Nelson

    “There are two important differences between genius and stupidity. One is that genius has its limits, whereas when stupidity reaches its limits it evolves to a new level of stupidity. A second is that genius can recognize when it is being stupid and stop itself.”

    Three things:

    1) Juan Pierre is a fair name to throw out there. He’s a prime Mariners type of pick. Past his prime and a known commodity with little upside.

    2. Wedge has said several times that he’s unsure of Ichiro’s future as a leadoff hitter.

    3. You’re an idiot.

  88. the tourist on January 25th, 2012 11:07 pm

    Well this comment section has devolved. Anyway, gotta love people calling other people “retarded” while having very poor grammar.

  89. lalo on January 25th, 2012 11:12 pm

    Yes, I´m from Argentina, my grammar is not perfect, take it easy camarade, Steve insulted me, that´s all…

  90. the tourist on January 25th, 2012 11:15 pm

    There are better ways of responding to insult.

  91. Dave on January 25th, 2012 11:33 pm

    And this is why we shut off comments from time to time. Grow up or go away.

    Comment thread closed.