A Couple of Quick Notes on Free Agency

Dave · September 12, 2012 at 11:44 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Yesterday, I published a piece over at FanGraphs that looked at the relationship in 2012 between opening day payroll and team winning percentage. This year, it’s at its lowest levels since the days of collusion, there is more parity in baseball this year (related to team salary, at least) than there has been in 20+ years. There are more teams currently in playoff position in the bottom half of team payroll than in the top half. The top five teams in winning percentage all rank outside the top five in opening day spending, and only one of the top five by winning percentage even ranks in the top 15 of spending.

So, yeah. This isn’t a normal year, and this probably isn’t the start of any kind of trend, but the data is pretty clear – you simply cannot make a judgment about a team’s ability to contend by looking at how much money they spend on their roster. The ROI on additional spending above league average this year was next to nothing. In general, teams that attempted to contend through lavish free agent spending fell on their faces, and teams that made smart investments on undervalued players are doing very well. The lesson, as always – there’s a right way and a wrong way to build a baseball team. Throwing a lot of money at the biggest names in free agency is the wrong way. Anyone who tells you differently is simply ignoring the facts.

But, of course, that doesn’t mean that teams shouldn’t spend money in free agency. They just need to spend it on the right players. Last year, I advocated for trading for Joey Votto, or if that wasn’t possible, signing guys like Edwin Jackson and trading for a guy like Angel Pagan. The Reds, Nationals, and Giants have reaped the rewards of making those smart moves this year. The team has room in the budget to make some upgrades this winter, and they should absolutely use it. The main question is always “who should they spend it on?”

I’ll be rolling out my usual Off-Season Plan post here in a few weeks, but if you’re interested in perusing the various options, we’ve also created a pretty great tool for you to use – the 2012 Free Agent Custom Leaderboard. From this page, you can filter and sort to your hearts content, looking at all the various options that will likely be available for purchase this winter, and because it’s a sweet FanGraphs Custom Leaderboard, you can filter by age, ranges of years, position, for certain minimum performances, or pretty much anything else you want to do.

When you click through that link, one thing will probably stand out immediately – there is an absurdly deep crop of available outfielders this winter. Of the top 13 position players in 2012 WAR set to hit the market, 10 of them are OFs. Teams looking for a CF can pick between Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Angel Pagan, or Shane Victorino, or teams more looking for a bat in the outfield can aim for Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, Melky Cabrera, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Ludwick, Cody Ross, or Torii Hunter. And this doesn’t even include potential trade targets such as Justin Upton, Shin-Soo Choo, or Jacoby Ellsbury.

Put simply, this is the deepest group of available outfielders we’ve seen in years, and the idea that this is a bad market to be a buyer doesn’t apply to teams looking for help in the outfield. You know, like the Mariners. In fact, given their organizational weaknesses and the types of players available, this is perhaps the best kind of free agent market the Mariners could hope for. They’ll have a ton of options available to pursue, many of whom should come at reasonable prices, and won’t have the kind of leverage to be able to say they don’t want to play in Seattle. The Mariners need at least one outfielder, and this free agent class is overflowing with outfielders, several of whom would be great fits for the team.

Don’t buy into this notion that the Mariners missed their opportunity to spend when Prince Fielder went to Detroit. There are better options available this winter, and the team has a great opportunity to be rewarded for their patience. With some smart off-season maneuvering, there’s no reason that the team can’t get a larger upgrade by spending a fraction of the money this winter than they would have gotten from throwing a huge sum of money at Fielder last winter.

Comments

45 Responses to “A Couple of Quick Notes on Free Agency”

  1. drewgggg on September 12th, 2012 12:07 pm

    Is it wise to think that more free agents will lead to reasonable prices?

    There may be 12 free agent outfielders, but there are also 12 empty slots where those outfielders played in 2012 that now need to be filled.

  2. Dave on September 12th, 2012 12:14 pm

    That’s not really how the market works. Teams like Tampa Bay aren’t going to say “well, we lost B.J. Upton, so we need to go sign an equally priced free agent to replace him.” Arizona will likely trade Justin Upton and replace him internally with Adam Eaton.

    Not every team losing an outfielder is automatically going to be a buyer, especially with younger guys ready to step in and fill several of these roles.

  3. bavasiisgarbage on September 12th, 2012 12:14 pm

    I haven’t seen the numbers, but could the increased parity be attributed to some outliers this year i.e. free-spending Miami not performing, or the A’s being “lucky”? Not that it really matters, but this year we have those two situations, the Phillies playing badly with a high payroll, and the O’s coming out of nowhere. To be fair, these are not necessarily all outliers, as there is a good explanation for some of these occurrences (injuries with the Phillies).

    Doesn’t matter to the overall argument you are making (perhaps Miami is a perfect case-in-point to your argument), but those are potentially confounding variables I guess.

  4. ManifestDestiny on September 12th, 2012 12:16 pm

    Gimme Nick Swisher. PLEASE.

    Or, if the Giants non-tender him, Hunter Pence could be an interesting pickup for the right price.

  5. dchappelle on September 12th, 2012 12:23 pm

    Wow, that leaderboard is awesome. Great stuff.

    The power of the fangraphs stat section is so great that I now feel like I need my own “how to” manual for it. I bookmarked a few of your previous posts on the subject.

  6. shortbus on September 12th, 2012 12:39 pm

    I want the M’s to be the Nationals of 2013 or 2014. A team that has some established talent, some exciting young talent that’s expected to develop and adds smartly via free agency and trade to come out of nowhwere and make a pennant run.

    Now we don’t have a position player with as much potential as Bryce Harper, but we do have several young studs with nobody standing in their way (except each other) on our current roster. What the Nationals did at once position with Harper we can do with two or three positions. Similarly with Strasburg…we can potentially add two or three good young starters and make a similar improvement to the overall rotation.

    The missing piece is the kinds of FA’s Dave is talking about. The Nats went out and added LaRoche last year and Jackson this year. Economical guys who fill roles. Then they used some of that minor league talent to add Gio Gonzalez. The M’s have about a million stud second base candidates it seems. One or more of those could help net a player who can help us sooner if the M’s don’t find room for them at a position.

    The M’s are now in position with the talent and the salary space to make the final moves to get to contention. No reason not to add one of those pieces in the outfield this year while the getting’s good.

  7. SonOfZavaras on September 12th, 2012 12:39 pm

    I think a baseball player with a name like “Angel Pagan” is all but born to play in Seattle.

    But, oh, that defense. He’s reportedly putrid in the field. Oh, that middling power.

    Still, is he better than what we’ve got?

    And I’ll echo dchappelle’s comment: that leaderboard IS awesome.

  8. Ibuprofen on September 12th, 2012 12:47 pm

    What kind of haul would it take to land Ellsbury from the Red Sox? I’ve wanted him on the M’s for a while.

  9. msfanmike on September 12th, 2012 1:05 pm

    Read Dave’s post in regard to Pagan’s defensive abilities. They are a lot better than you might have been led to believe. Pagan would be a good addition. Ditto Swisher (but way more expensive). There are several FA OF’s that could help the Mariners next year.

    In regard to Eaton possibly replacing Upton in Arizona … that is what I would do if I were Arizona – Eaton is really good! He might become the next Ellsbury – but with a much better arm. Perhaps that is over-stating it a bit, but man … he would be a great guy to have if the trade winds prove to be a more fruitful opportunity than the FA route.

    I would imagine the Mariners top rated minor league system will be an enticing target for the Diamondbacks once the Upton trade talks start in earnest. The Mariners can trade from a position of strength with their Pitching and 2B/borderline SS Prospects.

  10. SonOfZavaras on September 12th, 2012 1:38 pm

    Could Upton make a good transition to the American League?

    And is there a way to get him without including one Taijuan Walker in the deal?

  11. msfanmike on September 12th, 2012 1:44 pm

    I don’t know, but a lot of people have that same question.

    I would actually be more interested in Eaton if the Upton “talks” (assuming they have any) did not bear fruit. I would guess that Arizona would not be interested in dealing Eaton if he is the likely replacement for Upton (who they seem more than willing to want to trade – for whatever irreconcilable reasons that exist).

    Both Upton’s are question marks for me, personally, but Justin is probably less risk than BJ.

    I had read somewhere that the brothers might be interested in playing together at some point in their career. Maybe that point is fast approaching. Or, maybe it was just something they said.

  12. stevemotivateir on September 12th, 2012 1:57 pm

    Ah, the prelude to the off-season plan! I’ve been looking forward to it. Love the leader-board page. Certainly makes it easier to rummage through the garden!

    It’s hard for me to imagine the M’s moving forward with more than one of Thames, Robinson, Wells, and Peguero. But it’s harder to imagine other teams having much, if any, interest in those guys. I’m curious what you think might play-out with those names, Dave. Maybe that’s coming in your off-season plan post?

  13. nwade on September 12th, 2012 1:59 pm

    GMZ has made some stinker trades and signings; but overall with the regenerated state of the farm system and the current state of the big-league club I am happy to see that it appears as if we may be set up to take advantage of the market conditions and maybe (maybe) get over the hump and become a playoff-contending team again. I don’t care if we’re a superstar team – just being in the hunt for the playoffs in 2013 would be another step forward for the club! Question, though: Given last year’s market value (~$4M per WAR IIRC) and inflation, can we sign a multi-year deal with one of these outfielders *and* do something about First Base? I’m worried about arbitration (and possibly a renegotiation of Felix’s contract) eating away at the available cash. It still feels to me like we’re 2 players away from having a solid lineup… Or am I being reactionary and we could get a “free upgrade” by moving Montero to 1st (and hope that he’s good enough there) – even though that means Jaso shares Catching with some random player off the junk-pile? [Also, I must admit that I am concentrating on signings because I haven't a clue about what worthwhile 1B players would be available for trade during the offseason]

  14. BillyJive on September 12th, 2012 2:08 pm

    Nick Swisher please Jack. Send Leroy from Leroy’s Menswear on Pike Street down to New York with a couple of his Superfly suits!

  15. Westside guy on September 12th, 2012 2:09 pm

    I looked at that list today and started drooling. I’d prefer they go after one of the guys who can at least hold his own in the field… a couple of those guys might as well be holding a brick in their hand rather than a glove.

  16. Jordan on September 12th, 2012 2:16 pm

    Zunino will likely be a July addition as long as he doesn’t faceplant in AAA. Between Montero and Jaso, my hunch is the Mariners don’t look to upgrade 1b. Of course the right trade could still come along, but that just seems unlikely.

    With so many potentials in free agency, wouldn’t that lower the asking price of trade targets? This off season could very much be a frustrating game of patience. At some point the Mariners should match up well for a trade or two, but unless you’re getting a marquee player, why not just wait out the free agents’ prices?

  17. nwade on September 12th, 2012 2:27 pm

    Jordan – Yeah, but on the other hand do we expect Zunino to come in as a rookie and do a ton in his first few MLB months? Its probably a minor quibble, though. I’m more concerned about Montero being a plus-bat at C, but not enough of a bat compared to his peers at 1B.

    Of course, if I’m using the Fangraphs FA Leaderboard properly, there aren’t really any worthwhile 1B free agents this winter (not based on cumulative WAR over the last 1-3 seasons). So I guess I just have to hold my breath and watch what trades unfold. Patience is so harrrrrrd!

  18. stevemotivateir on September 12th, 2012 2:44 pm

    Jordan, I think Carp is the likely front-runner for the job at first, assuming they don’t acquire someone else -and I wouldn’t bet against that. Montero has yet to play a single game there and Jaso is just fine as a catcher. There’s no reason to suspect Jaso wont be behind the plate next season.

  19. thurston24 on September 12th, 2012 3:20 pm

    I woudln’t go after Nick Swisher as he said he is looking for a Jason Werth type contract. If the Mariners are going to spend that kind of money, I would rather spend it on Josh Hamilton.

    Personally, I would target a couple of young good outfielders. Maybe take a flier on Melky Cabrerra, if he was cheap enough.

  20. Ms4Life on September 12th, 2012 3:25 pm

    J-upton. Make it happen. Hell get both of them. Sign BJ and trade for Justin.

    Boom. Get it done Z.

  21. Thirteen on September 12th, 2012 3:30 pm

    I’m not sure I’d say the Reds made a good move in trading for Votto, when they already had him. And you can’t just list the good moves from the offseason suggestions–Chris Snyder isn’t looking so good last I checked. But yeah, the point is sound: make good player evaluations, have a good farm, THEN spend. I’m not sure you disagree with Baker as much as you think you do, at least on this point.

  22. nathaniel dawson on September 12th, 2012 4:27 pm

    drewgggg: Is it wise to think that more free agents will lead to reasonable prices?

    There may be 12 free agent outfielders, but there are also 12 empty slots where those outfielders played in 2012 that now need to be filled.

    Dave: That’s not really how the market works….Not every team losing an outfielder is automatically going to be a buyer, especially with younger guys ready to step in and fill several of these roles.

    I’m inclined to go with drewgggg’s assessment. I’ve always been confused when people say “there’s a glut of free agents on the market this year, so it’s going to be a buyer’s market”. But there’s also going to be a lot of teams that are looking to replace players lost to free agency, so there’s an equal demand for players. Yeah, some teams may decide to go with cheaper internal options (if they’re available), but there’s not only going to be the teams losing free agents that might look to the market to replace them, but there are always other teams that are lacking in available talent and are looking towards free agency to fill those holes.

    There’s somewhat of an aggregate pool of money that all the Major League teams have to spend on free agents each year, and a more or less corresponding pool of players available to spend it on. What really drives free agent pricing is the fiscal situation of Major League teams, and how much money they deem willing to spend on free agents. Good times for teams means good times for free agents, tough times for teams mean tough times for free agents.

  23. Dave on September 12th, 2012 4:57 pm

    Sorry, that’s not really how it works either.

    There isn’t just one market for talent. If the free agent market is particularly thin, the trade market rises up to meet demand. We saw exactly this phenomenon last year with starting pitchers – there was demand for premium young pitching that wasn’t available in free agency, so the Yankees, Reds, and Nationals traded young prospects to get the types of players they wanted, bypassing the free agent options and leaving a clear buyer’s market for anyone who wanted to scoop up cheap pitching. This is why guys like Edwin Jackson and Hiroki Kuroda had to settle for one year deals, even though they’re quite good. They got passed over by the teams with cash in favor of other options, and that left them looking for landing spots in a clear buyer’s market.

    The same thing is likely to happen to OFs this year. The Yankees only need one OF, and that’s if they don’t re-sign Swisher. The Dodgers don’t need an OF. The Red Sox are a question mark, given that they’re trying to get away from big free agent contracts. The Phillies probably can’t afford to add any more huge contracts. The Rangers might prefer to trade one of their shortstops or move Ian Kinsler to the OF rather than bidding up a player in free agency.

    There just aren’t going to be a bunch of aggressive teams with large payrolls driving high prices for outfielders this year. You’ll have the Tigers in the mix for one or maybe two guys, the Yankees in the mix for Swisher or a Swisher replacement, the Rangers maybe for Hamilton, and the Giants perhaps for a pricier guy if they non-tender Pence (adding another guy to the market in the process). The top two or three guys will probably get paid pretty decent money (though less than they’re hoping for, I’d bet), while the middle tier guys will then be looking around trying to figure out where they’re going to get paid.

    Pagan, Melky, Victorino, Ludwick, even B.J. Upton – these guys are going to have a tough time landing huge deals, even though they’re quality players. There are just too many of them hitting the market at the same time, and there won’t be enough buyers for their services to create real leverage.

  24. diderot on September 12th, 2012 5:05 pm

    My top target, with no one close, would be J. Upton.
    The problem is that it seems obvious that the D-backs top priority is shortstop, and if the Rangers dangle Andrus, it doesn’t matter what we offer. They can let Hamilton walk and come up with a fine replacement.

    If they don’t, then I say do whatever we have to.

    The top internal need is to teach Montero how to play first. He’s there against righties while Jaso catches, and he catches and Carp plays first against lefties. We can then figure who on our roster, or a good value among the free agent group, is the DH.

    Now, with the money we’ve saved by not signing a Swisher, we go out and use it for Greinke.

  25. stevemotivateir on September 12th, 2012 6:02 pm

    ^What? Montero against RHP, Carp against LHP? And blowing money on Greinke?!

    You realize, Montero’s a RHB, Carp a lefty, and Jaso is capable of catching regularly until Zunino is ready, right? They can find a back-up catcher to fill-in here and there.

    Greinke’s the only real ‘ace’ on the FA market. He may not command a ton of dough, but he wont be cheap either, and the M’s have plenty of internal options. I really don’t see any of those suggestions happening. I am hopeful for Upton, though.

  26. diderot on September 12th, 2012 6:26 pm

    Steve,
    Yes, I say Montero against everyone. He’s 22. Give him all the plate appearances he can handle.
    When a lefty’s throwing, just pick your poison–Carp or Jaso in the lineup. I admit neither one is optimal, but they’ll do until Zunino’s ready.

    My point is to leave the regular DH spot open for the value play. Gomes? How’d you like Big Papi in the middle of the lineup for a couple years? He says he’s not asking for anything longer than that.

    And yes absolutely to Greinke. If it’s true that he wants a low key environment, you can’t get one more out-of-the-way than here. And in our park his HR/FB should come down, potentially putting him in Felix range. He’s the spiritual successor to Cliff Lee.
    (And if we land Upton, one of Paxton/Walker/Hultzen is going to go, along with Franklin–controversial, I know, but a deal I would do).

  27. stevemotivateir on September 12th, 2012 7:23 pm

    Well, I don’t think too many people would be on-board with that. You have the splits backwards and all three have yet to show they can hit same-handed pitching regularly. I’m not against any of them seeing same-handed pitching, I just wouldn’t maximize those AB’s.

    Gomes? No. Ortiz? No. Doubt he leaves Boston anyway. An older DH with nothing else to offer isn’t appealing. A veteran first baseman who can DH part-time, would be. That would have to come via trade, though.

    Greinke…. of course I’d love to see him here, as most probably would, but he really doesn’t makes sense, because of the (likely) cost, and the fact that we have plenty of young pitching on the rise.

  28. nathaniel dawson on September 12th, 2012 7:50 pm

    There are always going to be players who “slip through the cracks” and get below market deals for their talent level. And others that end up with much more than what you think they’d be worth.

    I suspect the same will be true for the outfielders this winter. Some will get huge deals that make you blink, while others are going to wind up with what seems a paltry deal for what they offer. By and large, I’d be willing to bet that as a class, they’ll end up getting just about the going rate for their services.

  29. diderot on September 12th, 2012 10:10 pm

    “You have the splits backwards and all three have yet to show they can hit same-handed pitching regularly. I’m not against any of them seeing same-handed pitching, I just wouldn’t maximize those AB’s.”

    Of course if we had options against lefties other than the three guys I mentioned then that should be considered–but I don’t know who those people might be. LaRoche might be a logical target for first base…but he’s also a lefty. Napoli? He’s really an older version of Montero’s skill set.

    But my main point is to ty to combat people who are already condemning Montero not only to DH…but also to some kind of platoon thinking.
    Yes, he’s chased a lot of balls off the plate from righties…but look at his K% over the season–way down. Line drives are up. And if not for a dismal .218 BABIP in August, we’d all agree we’re seeing him bloom before our eyes.

    I say he’s the best young hitting talent we’ve had since A-Rod, and I want as many ABs as possible for him so he learns as fast as he can.

  30. diderot on September 12th, 2012 10:20 pm

    And just to back that up a little on Montero:

    1st Half: 245/281/376/657
    2nd Half: 299/340/446/786
    Last 14 days: 394/400/486/885

  31. Thirteen on September 12th, 2012 11:31 pm

    I dislike the Justin Upton idea. Yes, let’s get the righty with the career 92 wRC+ away from Chase Field, the biggest launching pad outside of Colorado, and then bring him to Safeco, never mind that the Diamondbacks reportedly want major league infielders like Seager or Ackley for him!

  32. Jordan on September 13th, 2012 12:12 am

    I only like Upton at the right price which is true for just about any deal. With a surplus of free agent options, it doesn’t make much sense to get Upton unless you’re dealing from surplus.

    Two quality additions in the outfield, an additional starter and re-signing what they already have… Plus the Mariners improve so much just by subtracting Olivo, Figgins, Smoak, Mune, Trayvon, Thames etc.

    Keppinger would be a very nice infield addition. With a quality extra infielder it wouldn’t hurt the team to rotate and give players a day off, especially when a player is slumping.

  33. sexymarinersfan on September 13th, 2012 1:16 am

    No way does this team go after Greinke. Spread that around and bring back Iwakuma and Vargas. Let Hultzen, Paxton, Ramirez, Beavan, Noesi, and Carraway battle it out for the final spot.

    Sign an OFer like Gomes, Ludwick, or Ross and put them in left. Guti in CF, Saunders in RF, Robinson/Wells/Thames battling for final two spots.

    I don’t know if Montero can make the transition to 1B, nor do I know if the M’s want to try him there. If he could do it, it would be huge for us! I’m crossing my fingers that Zunino will be ready next year, but don’t count on it. Say bye-bye to Olivo and find a cheap back up, that plays better defense.

    Maybe Triunfel could be the backup with Figgins until Franklin is ready to be groomed. He certainly hasn’t done anything to deserve it. Maybe Keppinger or Theriot could be picked up on the market?

  34. greentunic on September 13th, 2012 1:41 am

    What kind of haul would it take to land Ellsbury from the Red Sox? I’ve wanted him on the M’s for a while.

    Unfortunately, I’m guessing way too much. Boras is doing his normal thing, already talking about how ‘special’ and ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ Jacoby is. He’s laughing behind Detroit’s back and will likely do the same when some team pays Jacoby $23 mil-per-year over 8 years.

  35. stevemotivateir on September 13th, 2012 7:34 am

    @diderot

    I’m not against the idea of trying Montero at first. I’m actually for it. But the point was, if you’re going to some kind of platoon there, it would make more sense to have Carp facing RHP, Montero facing LHP.

    All the guys you mentioned should see more consistent AB’s. But it would make sense to rest them on days they’re not facing the same-handed pitchers (unless it’s a guy with reverse splits).

    Montero has looked better since the all-star break. I was aware of that. I believe Greg Johns wrote a piece about that a while ago.

    @thirteen

    I read baseball articles from multiple sites, almost daily, as do many others here. I’ve never heard anything about Arizona asking for Seager or Ackley, so I’m real curious where you heard that from. If Arizona wanted either straight across for Upton, I’d surprised. They can do better than that.

  36. goat on September 13th, 2012 8:07 am

    Filtering for outfielders with at least 350 PA (because we already have enough part time outfielders as it is)

    Too expensive: Hamilton, Swisher, Bourn, Upton (if the rumors are correct.)

    Too old for longterm deal: Ludwick, Hunter (although either might be fine on a one or two year deal, they both look to be on the decline, and I bet someone will give them a deal similar to what Ibanez got in Philly)

    Too old for any deal: Ibanez, Ichiro

    Won’t perform as well in Safeco: Cabrera, Ross (Ross had a Fenway year. Cabrera is Endy Chavez without the PED)

    Too fringey: Pierre (could have put too old, but he’s always been like this)

    That leaves Pagan and Victorino. Both profile well at Safeco (switch hitters with decent defense). Pagan is a little younger and perhaps more underrated, so might be the best option, but either would be fine. It would make a pretty solid outfield along with Guti, and a Saunders/Wells platoon, with Thames in Tacoma ready to come up and platoon while Saunders plays fulltime if Guti gets hurt.

    If we want a corner/DH type, it might be best to get it in a trade.

    Let’s see how close I get to Dave’s list in a few weeks.

  37. 300ZXNA on September 13th, 2012 8:45 am

    Pagan on a fair multi-year and Melky on a one year contract would leave me tickled pink . . .

    Any idea if the M’s may target bringing in multiple OF’s?

  38. ripperlv on September 13th, 2012 8:45 am

    As I read this post, I get the feeling that the indicators hint towards an exciting Hot Stove League. JZ has demonstrated the ability to have patience, but he has also shown an aggessiveness when he sees what he wants. Figgins being the example when JZ signed him early into the free agency period coming off a 6 WAR year. The point is not the performance of Figgins, but of JZ’s aggressiveness when he sees what he thinks “is a good fit.”

    - goat – You want to play Pagan or Victorino in a corner outfield spot in Safeco ???? That’s one good way to waste free agent dollars. Why don’t we just keep Ichiro?

  39. goat on September 13th, 2012 9:48 am

    both Pagan and Victorino have played all three outfield positions throughout their careers. If UZR is correct, neither one of them is an above average centerfielder, though both are above average at the corners. That seems to be something you would want with a big outfield like Safeco. They will likely get plenty of opportunities to play centerfield here anyways, if Guti’s health continues as it has. Plus he only has one more year. And their defense will likely decline somewhat during the length of the contract. So the answer is yes.

    They are five or more years younger than Ichiro, so that is why not to just keep Ichiro. He was better than they were in his prime, but those days are over.

  40. Westside guy on September 13th, 2012 10:11 am

    Well since Ichiro isn’t on the Mariners anymore, “keeping” him isn’t really an option anyway. :-D But as good as he was for so long… he’s not that guy anymore. He’s still a good defender; but we’re not short on those – we need a defender that can also hit a little.

    But I suspect they’ll try to make one good outfield addition, not several.

  41. thurston24 on September 13th, 2012 10:49 am

    Someone mentioned that Melky won’t produce because he’s off PED’s. I would disagree with that assessment as he already gained the strength he needs and can sustain it, though I wouldn’t go for more than a year because he could regress over time.

    I really believe that the Mariners need a couple of young outfielders on long term contracts. Saunders appears to be pretty good and can stay but we need two more for the next few years because the farm is bare on good outfielders. Trading for Justin Upton will probably cost too much so I would not go there but would look at others who will not cost more than $8 Million or so and try to get a four year contract. Just my two cents and probably isn’t worth that but I don’t really want more than four years on any contract other than Felix because players can fall so quickly after their primes. Felix is the exception because he knows how to pitch so well and has such good breaking pitches and the changeup that he can probably be successful throwing in the high 80′s like Maddux was (though no one will ever be like Gregg Maddux was).

  42. sexymarinersfan on September 13th, 2012 3:40 pm

    Until Greg Maddux got here that’s what they said about Clemens, Koufax, Gibson, Perry, etc.

  43. orin44 on September 14th, 2012 5:41 pm

    I would love the M’s to sign BJ Upton! I think he is still progressing as a player and may just be a late bloomer compared to his brother. Trading for Elsbury would also be great, but we shouldn’t sacrifice any top tier talent like Tajuan Walker to get him or Justin Upton. As much as I like them both, I think Walker is going to be Felix special.

    Hopefully San Francisco doesn’t tender the awkward, but good outfielder, Hunter Pence. Angel Pagan would also be another fine addition being a switch hitter with a little pop in his bat. We just need to make this lineup less heavy on the lefty side.

    I also read some people advocating for Nick Swisher who is a defensive liability and only puts up big numbers because he plays on a softball field known as Yankee Stadium with the short right field porch. No thank you!

    Meanwhile, I like what I’ve been seeing in Franklin Gutierrez. He’s been hitting the ball pretty well! Michael Saunders has looked good at times, but we should probably trade him while his value is at an all-time high. I also like Trayvon Robinson and Eric Thames, but not sure yet if they’re every day players. Casper Wells is also just a fourth outfielder that we need to either trade or make him just a bench player. That pretty much sums up the M’s outfield this year….a bunch of fourth outfielders!

    I also hope the M’s pickup a better short term solution at SS. I can’t go another season watching an automatic out in Brendan Ryan come up to bat. Nick Franklin will probably not be ready till after July and who knows if he is the long term solution at short stop or perhaps 2nd, with moving Ackley to the outfield maybe?? I think 1st base will be a revolving door of Carp and Smoak, with the M’s trying to still evaluate the both of them. I just hope Montero can play a little first!?!

    Either way….Go M’s!

  44. orin44 on September 14th, 2012 6:12 pm

    What about Marco Scutaro or Stephen Drew for 1 year fill-ins at SS?

    One outfielder not mentioned was Delmon Young. I know his character isn’t the best, but he has proved he can hit for power. He is probably a liability in the outfield, but no worse than trying Carp out there.

  45. low on September 17th, 2012 12:34 am

    I sincerely doubt that Pagan doesn’t resign with the Giants.

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