The Roster As It Stands

Dave · December 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The Mariners are very clearly focused on adding an outfielder who can hit, and Josh Hamilton looks like their preferred option. They’ve also talked about upgrading the back end of the rotation and adding a third catcher. They just signed Jason Bay, and so far, they haven’t gotten rid of anyone besides Trayvon Robinson. So, let’s take a look at what the current roster looks like, and what pieces might fit together based on who is acquired.

Position Player Salary   Position Player Salary
C John Jaso $1,300,000   SP Felix Hernandez $20,700,000
1B Justin Smoak $550,000   SP Hisashi Iwakuma $6,500,000
2B Dustin Ackley $1,500,000   SP Jason Vargas $6,500,000
SS Brendan Ryan $3,000,000   SP Erasmo Ramirez $500,000
3B Kyle Seager $550,000   SP Blake Beavan $500,000
LF Michael Saunders $550,000        
CF Franklin Gutierrez $7,500,000   CL Tom Wilhelmsen $500,000
RF       RH Carter Capps $500,000
DH Jesus Montero $500,000   LH Charlie Furbush $500,000
        RH Stephen Pryor $500,000
C       LH Lucas Luetge $500,000
IF Robert Andino $1,000,000   LH Oliver Perez $1,500,000
OF Jason Bay $1,000,000   RH Josh Kinney $700,000
OF Casper Wells $500,000        
        Cut Chone Figgins $8,000,000
        Declined Miguel Olivo $750,000
Total   $66,100,000        
 
Optionless Player     Optionable Player  
1B Mike Carp     OF Eric Thames  
IF Carlos Triunfel     RH Hector Noesi  
        RH Shawn Kelley  

There are two currently open roster spots, though since Bay and Wells are mostly redundant, odds are decent that the team only carries one of those two, so it’s probably more like three open roster spots on offense. And maybe a fourth if the organization decides to replace Blake Beavan with a better pitcher, which they should, because he’s bad.

If we set the pitching spot aside for now, that leaves the team with three roster spots, and in need of a starting right fielder, a guy who can catch, and a corner infielder who can push or replace Justin Smoak, depending on the size of the leash that the team wants to give him for 2013. And, realistically, an outfield that depends on the simultaneous health of Franklin Gutierrez, Jason Bay, and maybe Josh Hamilton is ridiculously thin, so you could argue that the team is likely to need five guys capable of playing outfield on the opening day roster.

And that’s why you see the Mariners checking in on such a wide variety of players, ranging from Josh Hamilton down to Dee Gordon. For as much as everyone talks about the team just needing to upgrade the offense, the reality is that the Mariners can’t just squeeze a couple more 1B/DH types onto this team. They need an outfielder, and they need a catcher, and they need a corner infielder.

One possible solution to this roster crunch is to add a guy who can cover several of these spots by himself. For instance, one of the advantages of adding Nick Swisher is that you can slot him in as your right fielder while also ensuring that the team has a guy who can easily take over first base if Justin Smoak flops again. Jack has also talked about finding a catcher who can do other things besides catch, but in reality, there just aren’t very many guys like that.

Ryan Doumit, Chris Gimenez, Yan Gomes, and Jordan Pacheco pretty much comprise the entire list of catchers who could also represent some kind of depth at either the infield or outfield, and Doumit/Gomes/Pacheco are probably out after Jack talked about wanting to add a “defensive catcher” to complement Jaso and Montero. Don’t get too excited about that option.

So, if we assume that the third catcher is pretty much going to be just a catcher, that leaves them with two spots for starting RF and reserve 3B/1B. And that’s why I wouldn’t be totally shocked if they ended up acquiring a guy that they haven’t yet been linked to – Mike Olt.

Olt is reportedly being dangled to the Mets as bait to get R.A. Dickey to Texas, and he’s been rumored to be part of the three or four team trade that involves the Rangers, Diamondbacks, and either the Rays, Mariners, or Royals, depending on the incarnation of the moment. When word broke at the meetings that the Mariners were part of those discussions, the report suggested that the Mariners would acquire Derek Holland, but it was left unexplained why the Mariners would help the Rangers land Justin Upton in a deal where they didn’t add any hitters themselves.

My guess — and it’s just a guess — is that the Mariners are involved in those multi-team discussions because Olt is the Rangers best piece of trade bait but there isn’t an obvious fit for where he should land. The Mets already have David Wright at third base, and after the Lucas Duda experiment, they probably aren’t too excited about another IF-to-OF conversion project. The Rays already have Evan Longoria, and they value defense more than any other team in baseball. The Diamondbacks just signed Eric Chavez to be their third baseman for 2013, a sign that they’re willing to go with a stopgap until prospect Matt Davidson is ready for the big leagues in a year or two.

Just like the Mariners prospects aren’t a great fit for a trade with the Royals, Olt’s not a great fit for the teams that Texas is apparently trying to strike a deal with. But he would be a pretty interesting fit for the Mariners.

We’ve talked about how the team is absurdly thin at third base behind Kyle Seager, so talks of moving him to second base are essentially a non-starter because it’d be creating a bigger hole than it would fill. Right now, if Seager got himself hurt, Robert Andino would be the team’s starting third baseman; Andino has a career wRC+ of 67. If Seager got himself hurt on a day when Andino was already subbing in for the brittle Brendan Ryan, the team’s third baseman would be… a random fan who brought his glove to the park, apparently. It’s safe to say that the Mariners need a guy who can play a little third base.

And, as we saw last year, Wedge is willing to use Seager as a second baseman on days when Dustin Ackley gets the day off, so a right-handed corner infielder could essentially serve as a back-up for Ackley as well. While the Mariners might not have a gaping hole at third base, they do have infield at-bats to give out, and they’re in need of another first base option behind Justin Smoak. If the team lands a pure outfielder rather than a 1B/OF type, Olt could provide the infield depth the team is looking for, while also giving Jack the kind of cost-controlled young hitter he’s willing to move a young arm for.

And that’s why I could see the Mariners getting involved in a three or four team trade with the Rangers. They make some sense as a third wheel in a Rangers-Mets trade that ships R.A. Dickey to Texas, as they could offer up a package of young player who could potentially have more value to the Mets than Olt would — Nick Franklin would probably interest them (or Tampa Bay, if the deal was for Shields instead of Dickey) as a second baseman, and they’ve been collecting upside arms like James Paxton for the last year — and might have enough extra guys on the roster to sweeten the deal for Texas if need be. As you can see above, Mike Carp and Shawn Kelley are likely on the outside looking in, and I don’t think Jack would hesitate to let the Rangers have Carp as an Olt replacement if they wanted a corner bench bat back in the deal, or give them Kelley if they wanted another relief arm for the bullpen.

All winter long, we’ve been hearing that the organization was looking to make a prospect-for-prospect swap, turning one of their young arms (and/or Nick Franklin) into a guy who can step in and fill a hole on the big league roster right away. Most of the focus has been on Wil Myers, but Olt might actually be an even better fit.

Texas has more reasons to trade him, and his positional flexibility makes him a better fit on the 2013 roster if the Mariners are also planning on signing a full-time outfielder. Where acquiring Hamilton would force Myers to beat out Saunders/Gutierrez for a job, Olt would be unaffected by the signing of another OF, as his playing time could come at 3B/1B/DH, and he’d give the team depth behind Smoak, Seager, Ackley, and Montero while only taking up one roster spot.

In-division trades aren’t that common, but we’ve already seen the Rangers ship Justin Smoak to Seattle, so they’re clearly not afraid to deal promising young hitters when they feel like the Mariners are enabling them to get the kind of ace starter they’re looking for. The Mariners don’t have that kind of starter available right now, but they might have the pieces to help Texas land a guy like Dickey or Shields.

If they can expand the deal to also bring Derek Holland to Seattle, well, awesome, because he’s a good fit here too. But I’d be willing to bet that the Mariners insertion into the talks with Texas weren’t primarily about bringing Holland to Seattle, but instead, would be Jack trying to land Mike Olt as another young offensive building block for the future.

Whether it happens or not, who knows. But given the state of the roster and the kinds of players we know that the Mariners are shopping for in free agency, Olt looks like a pretty good fit. If Texas ends up trading him, I wouldn’t be too shocked if he ultimately made his way to Seattle.

Comments

89 Responses to “The Roster As It Stands”

  1. _Hutch_ on December 9th, 2012 4:13 pm

    Olt’s K rate scares me.

  2. Leroy Stanton on December 9th, 2012 4:21 pm

    Triunfel is out of options?

  3. Dave on December 9th, 2012 4:23 pm

    So your hope would be that the Mariners could acquire a young power hitter with a good approach at the plate who can also play a capable third base and doesn’t strike out? I mean, yeah, I’d love to have Evan Longoria too, but I don’t think he’s available.

    Literally every player on the planet comes with some warts. You pick and choose which warts you can live with, and you pay a price that accounts for those warts. You can’t just pass up on all imperfect players because they are imperfect.

  4. marcus_andrews on December 9th, 2012 4:31 pm

    Dave, do you have any concerns about Texas’ seeming willingness to trade Olt? It seems that they make the guys they’re very confident in (Profar, Andrus, etc.) unavailable completely and that doesn’t seem to be the case with Olt. Is this just about Texas seeing the positional value of the SS and not having an obvious spot for Olt or is it possible that they seem something in Olt that concerns them?

  5. Dave on December 9th, 2012 4:33 pm

    Think of Olt like their version of Franklin. He’s a good prospect who is blocked at the Major League level, and there are reasons to think that he’s not a sure thing to succeed in the Majors – mainly, his contact rate. Are you worried about Franklin because the Mariners are willing to trade him, or do you think it’s just because they already have Ackley and might be able to get more value from turning him into a player at another position?

  6. greymstreet on December 9th, 2012 4:39 pm

    Dave, love the idea. Very creative. Just looking for some clarification on what you think it would take (roughly, obviously) to land Olt. I wasn’t sure if you meant Franklin or Paxton or Franklin and Paxton and Kelley and/or Carp…

  7. _Hutch_ on December 9th, 2012 5:04 pm

    Point taken, Dave, and I’m not opposed – swapping a position of depth (in the org) for a position of scarcity and adding much needed power makes a lot of sense. And high-power, low-contact isn’t necessarily the kiss of death, it’s just a bit worrisome. I guess this comp doesn’t hold too much water if you buy into his coming out party this year, but it’s worth noting that not even Chris Davis (he of 30% k-rates in the majors) had Olt’s K levels in AA. (22% to Olt’s 24%). I suppose Olt’s ability to take a walk offsets that a bit, I’ve just got a knee-jerk reaction to seeing K numbers that high in the minors.

  8. marcus_andrews on December 9th, 2012 5:11 pm

    Thanks for clarifying, that’s what I figured but I just wasn’t sure. I know you allude to the fact that Olt could spell a lot of different people if he were on the roster, but do you think he would be, essentially, a starter just without a “main” position?

    I think a super-sub role where you give almost everyone (Ackley, Seager, Smoak, Jaso/Montero) days off could get him in the lineup most days but I would think if we traded for him we would want him playing as often as possible.

    I really like the idea of Olt on our team and echo Greymstreet’s question about the cost. If we’re looking at Paxton and Carp, I can live with it but much more than that and I’d be nervous that it’s overpaying for a guy who hasn’t found too much success above AA yet.

  9. Arron on December 9th, 2012 5:22 pm

    Not to nitpick, but Robinson isn’t the only Mariner lost…FIGGINS!!!

  10. sexymarinersfan on December 9th, 2012 5:56 pm

    Arron you beat me to it! How could you forget about Figgins?!!! Lol

  11. eastcoastmariner on December 9th, 2012 6:07 pm

    Good point, Dave. I don’t think any of us would complain about getting a hitter like Olt. However, with that in mind, I know Catricala and Liddi probably aren’t solutions to the 1B/3B problem, but do you think the Mariners might view Romero as a potential solution?

  12. ripperlv on December 9th, 2012 6:16 pm

    Mike Olt meet Justin Smoak. Sorta scary, can the Rangers hook wink us again? I have no compelling argument other than the slightly sick feeling that is coming over me. Actually, Dave makes such a good point, it’s hard to argue. But JZ has talked about some experienced bats, so the Olt discussion kinda surprised me. Hamilton and Olt. That is worth what – 6-7 wins? Whatever happens this winter, I just want to feel that we have a team that at least can make a run at the playoffs if they perform a bit better than expected, sans Oakland A’s.

  13. eastcoastmariner on December 9th, 2012 6:21 pm

    And is Olt really blocked at the major league level like Franklin is with Ackley at second base? With Young off to Philly, and Moreland at 1B, I’m just not convinced that if the Rangers were really sold on Olts potential and wanted to get him some at bats (like what they’re doing with Profar), they couldn’t afford to do so

  14. kinickers77 on December 9th, 2012 6:42 pm

    Dave, I totally appreciate how intricate you see things. I love coming to see what new thoughts you have and what analysis you can give on what the Ms ARE doing and what they SHOULD BE doing.

    This Olt idea is intriguing and I didn’t think about it before this post.

    But… like others, it does make me nervous. Texas has Beltre at 3B and he’s well past 30, not a long future left for him. It’s hard for me not to think Texas doesn’t value Olt very much if they’re willing to shop him. Working him as their new 3rd basemen and moving Beltre to DH-land as he ages would make sense to me if they really believed in Olt. Like others have said about them making both Profar and Andrus work, if they were high on Olt, they’d it doesn’t seem that hard to make room for him.

    I remember being super pumped when we got Smoak and was surprised they were willing to deal him when they didn’t have that strong of a long-term answer at 1B (Moreland? I guess they had Chris Davis at that time too… but he turned out to be a bust). Turns out Smoak’s been a let-down and I’m just afraid Olt would be too if they are willing to deal him.

  15. ck on December 9th, 2012 7:02 pm

    The M’s schedule shows 29 April games with only one off day. Starters Arms won’t yet be stretched; seven man bull-pen mandatory in April – Wedge will give Jason Bay at least 100 PA’s to see ‘the look in his eyes,’ so if M’s can sign Swisher, and a catcher, they will be at 25 ( with Wells on team ) and Andino must back up all infield spots until Jason Bay’s status is clarified.

  16. asuray on December 9th, 2012 7:14 pm

    In case anyone was wondering, and I know you all were, there are six players who have put up a 20%+ K rate, 10%+ BB rate, and an .800+ OPS in their age 22-24 seasons in the Texas League since 2006: Koby Clemens and Corey Brown (2010), Chris Carter (2009), Brandon Boggs and Chase Headley (2007), and Joe Koshansky (2006). Clemens, Boggs, Brown, and Koshansky were never really prospects. Carter just put up a .369 wOBA for the A’s, albeit in his age 26 year. Headley is probably the best comparison, though Olt is a better regarded talent. If he can put up Headley numbers, I’ll take that.

  17. kennyb on December 9th, 2012 7:23 pm

    First of all, the team didn’t “lose” Figgins, that was no loss.
    As far as trading with Texas goes: It seems that many people here think we shouldn’t do it because Smoak hasn’t turned out so well so far, or because if Texas is shopping him he must not be very good.
    I guess if we follow that logic the Yankees will never trade with the Mariners again because Pineda got hurt? Or because we got Buhner while they got Phelps?
    Can’t traded for him because Texas must know something we don’t? Well, good luck trading Justin Upton, Arizona. No one os going to want him now.

  18. justinh on December 9th, 2012 7:32 pm

    I would totally be down with Olt and you summed up the belief the Mariners and Royals don’t exactly mesh well in a great. However, Myers played some third base and I’ve been told he looked really good in doing so. Obviously I’d rather have Myers than Olt but beggars can’t be choosers.

  19. Dave on December 9th, 2012 7:36 pm

    If you follow the “he reminds me of this failure, so no thanks” mindset, you can’t acquire:

    Speed guys – too much like Figgins
    Power guys – too much like Sexson
    Contact guys – too much like Vidro
    Infielders – too much like Lopez and Betancourt
    Outfielders – too much like Bradley
    Catchers – too much like Olivo
    Pitchers – too much like Silva, Washburn, and Batista
    Prospects – too much like Smoak

    Over the last 10 years, the Mariners have had a failure at basically every position, and every kind of player. You can literally come up with a similar bust for any player the Mariners would acquire.

    You don’t run a team out of fear. You recognize that every potential acquisition could go well, or badly, or anything in between. You make your best guess based on the information you have at hand. Mike Olt is not Justin Smoak.

    Oh, and Adrian Beltre is one of the best defensive players in the game. He’s not moving to DH. Not now, probably not ever.

  20. henryv on December 9th, 2012 7:48 pm

    As stupid as this sounds, I think this might be the exact right year to “overspend” on free agents.

    With the incoming TV deals going through the roof, I (think I) can foresee teams raising their payrolls significantly over the next decade. Contracts at $6M per year might begin to look like steals. And that might be the price you have to pay for guys. But if a win goes up to $8M per over the next 4-6 years, and you sign a guy long term (:cough: Felix :cough:) now, you might end up with longer term value, even if it doesn’t appear that way now.

    Or maybe all the MLB teams decide to have a giant screen competition, until the Marlins finally go all out and replace the playing surface with a giant LCD that can morph from looking like a field into showing Brazilian Carnival dancers.

  21. Zorganak on December 9th, 2012 8:01 pm

    Wait, can someone clarify why Triunfel is out of options? Didn’t he just get added to the 40-man last off season to avoid being opened to the Rule 5? That has to be a typo, right?

  22. kinickers77 on December 9th, 2012 8:17 pm

    Good point, didn’t think about Beltre’s superb defense. That’s valuable for sure. Probably wouldn’t DH ever. That does bring up a good question, though.

    Dave, when players decline with age, what seems to go first, their defensive skills or their offensive skills? I’m guessing offense.

    Still, with Beltre at 33 years old and hardly a clean health history as it is, I don’t really see the Rangers dealing their only other 3B option I see on their depth chart (am I missing someone?). And they’d be stupid not to predict Beltre gets hurt at some point next year; he gets hurt every year. If all that is true and they’d still trade Olt, to me that says they don’t value him very highly and hey, they know him the best.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t trade for him, we should if the price isn’t too high. But if we did, I know better now to not get too excited because I did with Smoak and that just made the let-down worse.

  23. caldog on December 9th, 2012 8:19 pm

    Well we all can forget about Myers coming to the Mariners Royals just traded him to the Rays

  24. 300ZXNA on December 9th, 2012 8:56 pm

    Ugh, friggin KC. Why won’t they make a sweetheart trade like that with us. Friedman notches another one on his belt . . .

  25. Mariners35 on December 9th, 2012 8:59 pm

    Liddi can play utility corner infielder.

    …what.

  26. djw on December 9th, 2012 9:12 pm

    I really want to push back against this line of thinking that suggests that we shouldn’t “trust” the Rangers, because they have some kind of special knowledge that Olt isn’t as good as he appears to those outside the organization.
    This reminds me of the silly but somewhat common assumption made by some political journalists that candidates’ internal polls somehow contain must contain more/better information than publicly available polls. There’s really no good reason to believe that the organization to which a prospect currently belongs has some sort of magical ability to tell exactly how they’re going to turn out. Major prospects like these are scouted aggressively, and any information about lingering injuries will probably come out in the physical. Besides, if teams were as good at using inside information as some commenters here seem to be suggesting, it would pretty much never make sense for anyone to trade for a prospect, as teams would use inside information to sell off their duds before it became apparent to everyone else. The Rangers’ informational advantage over the Mariners when it comes to Olt’s likely development in the future is minor.

  27. Captain Lars on December 9th, 2012 9:45 pm

    Do the Mariners now consider Franklin only an option at second base and no longer a prospect at shortstop? If that was true then I understand him
    being blocked by Ackley unless, as some have suggested, that they consider moving Ackley to the outfield where he played in college which could open up second base for Franklin. I love Ryan’s defense at shortstop and understand its value but I can’t see a player hitting below the Mendoza Line, with no power, being a starter on many major league rosters. If Franklin’s still considered a prospect at shortstop then I wonder why we’re constantly hearing his name come up in trade talks. It seems to me that he would be a prime candidate to compete for the job at shortstop as soon as 2014.

  28. Zero Gravitas on December 9th, 2012 10:04 pm

    I’m struck by how low the committed salaries are for position players this year. Figgins would have made more than anyone on the team save Felix. This actually makes me feel good about 2013. At least there are no obvious gigantic albatrosses taking up valuable roster spots.

  29. tmac9311 on December 9th, 2012 10:29 pm

    I’m too puzzled that Triunfel is out of options, though I trust Dave is more aware of the M’s than myself. Does this mean we can expect him to be on the bench next year? Or is Z ready to part with this guy? I would imagine he could fill the 1B/3B role, although poorly.

  30. Westside guy on December 9th, 2012 11:23 pm

    Wow… I thought Bavasi was some sort of special advisor to Cincinnati – but clearly he’s got Dayton Moore’s ear.

  31. vetted_coach on December 10th, 2012 12:41 am

    I tremble to think that Mike Saunders has a position in the starting lineup while Casper Wells battles for a roster spot. Wells is a superior outfielder to Saunders (not even close), and had he been granted the same opportunities as Saunders (who played regularly through something like 4 for 60), his offensive superiority would not be questioned. The Mariners obtained Wells for Doug Fister, then didn’t have the balls to act like they’d acquired a real outfielder.

    This organization cannot be trusted to evaluate, negotiate or transact with the big boys. Jack Z Joke has been a disaster, unless it’s suddenly the GM’s role to draft and develop a minor league system without ever generating a competent major league product. Or are four consecutive seasons of pathetic offense not quite enough?

    All the theory and schematics are hogwash. Where the fuke are the athletes already. The only progress this FO will see in 2013 is the Houston Asfros added to the AL West.

    Too gutless, too clueless.

  32. 300ZXNA on December 10th, 2012 12:54 am

    ^^

    Posting drunk?

  33. bookbook on December 10th, 2012 1:10 am

    Defense peaks crazy early (like 21 or 22, for a plurality of noncatchers).

  34. justinh on December 10th, 2012 1:28 am

    Ah Vetted Coach, are you really serious? Saunders played CF last year so often bc the only other guy that could play it decently was Figgins. Saunders is no question a better defender than Wells. Saunders is an adequate CF if your in a bind, but his best fit is in LF. Sure he made a couple errors in CF last year and it may have brought down his defensive value, but put him in LF and he could be a 4 WAR guy. Furthermore, Saunders made huge strides this year and is poised for a breakout season. He actually hit lefties at a better clip than righties. There is a reason quite a few teams bring up Saunders. Take him out of Safeco last year and the guy was a .800 OPS player.

    What we don’t need to do is play young guys at the big league level and just because an initial lack of success deal them to another club. Saunders is a true 5 tool player and next year after he hits .260/.335/.475 everyone will be talking extension.

  35. ripperlv on December 10th, 2012 6:32 am

    When I said Mike Olt meet Justin Smoak, it was mostly in jest. I do believe the Mariners need to be agressive and take some chances at some point. I mean, really, the alternative isn’t exactly working out. I believe in JZ, and I hope it puts it together.

  36. Puffy on December 10th, 2012 6:56 am

    One option at catcher is Saltalamacchia, whom the Red Sox have been shopping all winter. He’s had excellent power numbers over the past two yers. He’s a switch hitter who really only hits well batting left-handed, but the swing would probably play well at Safeco. He has played some 1B before.

    On the other hand, other than the 25 HRs, he’s got huge warts on his offensive approach, as power is about all he does well. He’s also not known as a good, or even average, defender. He’s also reaching the expensive arb years.

    So yeah, he should be on the list of possibilities for that C/1B/DH slot, if the Mariners don’t find a FA who fits the bill.

  37. MightyMax13 on December 10th, 2012 7:42 am

    What about signing Youkilis to a two year deal? He fits this 1B/3B discussed above. He seems like a possible bounce back candidate after being a 3-4 WAR guy over recent years. Yes, he was only at 1.3 WAR last year but that was with a BABIP of .268 (his usually BABIP is .300). I could see the Ms going after Youkilis plus an OF bat. What do you guys think?

  38. MrZDevotee on December 10th, 2012 8:03 am

    It’s baseball guys. Win 55% of your games and you’re the best team in the league, win 45% and you’re in last place.

    Now if we could only get our expectations, or emotions, to fit neatly in that middle 10% somewhere.

    AND moving in the fences IS gonna make a difference to our offense– (8th in runs on the road last year– which I repeat often, but it deserves repeating).

    And let’s see what Z ACTUALLY DOES before we bemoan any of those hypothetical moves. We’re all gonna be bald by Christmas at the rate we’re pulling out our hair.

  39. Leroy Stanton on December 10th, 2012 8:30 am

    55% is only 89 wins.

  40. ThanatosK on December 10th, 2012 9:41 am

    I hate to suggest it cuz we all love him so much but….can you imagine what the Royals would have given us for Felix?

  41. amnizu on December 10th, 2012 10:17 am

    Dodgers just signed Greinke, that frees Texas to focus on Hamilton and probably pushes a 3 year deal out of the realm of realistic.

  42. jjracoon on December 10th, 2012 10:39 am

    What I see in that forecast is 66,100.00 less 8,750,000 for a team playing payroll of 57,350,000
    that only has need of two or three players to complete their roster. IF you cant land three significant upgrades then the players dont want to come here OR management has squeezed the purses too tight. My feeling is they should suck up the 8 million plus and let JZ have 35-40 million to work with to get Swisher, Youklis and a starter upgrade. Get it done before anymore Myers, Greinke, Upton types drop off the table.

  43. MrZDevotee on December 10th, 2012 10:43 am

    I stand corrected, Leroy… (I didn’t do the math, I just guesstimated)

    Basically, I was generalizing around the AL West, which is one of the tougher divisions… Where .580 won the division and .460 was last place. Or AL East, where it was .580 and .420, top to bottom…

    But 60% is closer to “best in the league” as I wrongly wrote. True.

  44. jjracoon on December 10th, 2012 10:49 am

    Now that I’m done ranting, it does feel like every GM is reading your entries Dave and going “man that Cameron guy has good ideas”. Constantly after you mention someone the Mariners should pursue that person is grabbed by another team. I’m expecting to see a trade for Olt to someone else by the end of the week!!!!!

  45. eponymous coward on December 10th, 2012 10:52 am

    I’m too puzzled that Triunfel is out of options, though I trust Dave is more aware of the M’s than myself. Does this mean we can expect him to be on the bench next year? Or is Z ready to part with this guy? I would imagine he could fill the 1B/3B role, although poorly.

    You’re talking about a guy whose highest career slugging percentage in the minors was .406, in the Cal League, where Willie Friggin’ Bloomquist slugged over .500.

    Triunfel is useless on a MLB roster until he shows he can hit better than he has in 2500 minor league plate apperances. End of story. It’s not a big deal to lose a guy whose minor league lifetime OPS is under .700, even if he’s only 23 next year.

  46. eponymous coward on December 10th, 2012 11:01 am

    And yeah, I see that if payroll stays stable from last year, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be upgrading the rotation AND adding a bat. A solid #2-#3 capable of 200 IP while preventing runs at league-average or better would be nice insurance if Vargas doesn’t hold up with the new Safeco fences, even if it’s a one year deal- if it turns out that 2013 isn’t your year, you have an instant asset you can do a deadline trade with.

  47. goat on December 10th, 2012 11:14 am

    I’m assuming that Olt becomes less of an option after the Greinke signing and the Young trade. Trading for a decent prospect to make him a backup doesn’t seem all that great even before these trades though.

    I think we already have some prospects that could fill that role if necessary: Liddi and Catricalli. And I don’t think moving Seager to 2B on Ackley’s days off will be quite as important with Andino around.

    And I think there is one more player you could add to the C/other position pile: Brandon Inge. And he mostly plays that position it seems we don’t have enough backups for.

  48. eponymous coward on December 10th, 2012 11:38 am

    Neither Liddi nor Catricala were all that great in Tacoma last year, either.

  49. djw on December 10th, 2012 12:37 pm

    You’re talking about a guy whose highest career slugging percentage in the minors was .406, in the Cal League, where Willie Friggin’ Bloomquist slugged over .500.
    Triunfel is useless on a MLB roster until he shows he can hit better than he has in 2500 minor league plate appearances.

    You oversell him–he’s also hopelessly inept at every defensive position. He’s not the answer to any question worth asking. Whether he continues his MiLB career in the M’s organization or elsewhere isn’t relevant to a discussion of the M’s system as it relates to the future of the major league club.

  50. TherzAlwaysHope on December 10th, 2012 1:44 pm

    The Skipper thinks Jason Bay is gritty and will be good for the kids. Oh, great.

    ““Jason is a gritty, talented player with a winning attitude,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. “We know he has a passion for the game and looking forward to having him on the field when we get things going in a few months in Peoria.”

  51. goat on December 10th, 2012 2:01 pm

    Liddi or Catricala would be the third string 3B. Possibly not even necessary unless somebody went to the DL.

  52. Westside guy on December 10th, 2012 2:02 pm

    I have to remind myself of this, but – remember what the manager’s role is. He’s supposed to be supportive/protective of his guys, not necessarily give his frank opinions to the media.

    I worry a bit about this too, TherzAlwaysHope, but it probably makes sense to hold off judgement until we see what actually happens with Bay. When they first announced his signing, Wedge’s comments contained a lot of “if”s… so he might actually have a realistic view of what to expect from the guy.

  53. Zorganak on December 10th, 2012 2:19 pm

    I know Triunfel isn’t great or even good at this point. I don’t really care if he’s the next Willie Bloomquist or the next Troy Tulowitzki I just want to understand why a 23 year old who has been on the 40-man for one year and whose only MLB service came in the September call ups is out of options. It’s more about understanding the rule that makes this possible than caring about whether the team loses him or not. Can anyone explain it, or no?

  54. Jordan on December 10th, 2012 2:44 pm

    Although I can’t give the specifics and won’t look them up for Triunfel, it has to do w/ a player’s service time and length w/ the team not their age. Since he was 16 when we got him, I believe that is around 7 years.

  55. Bremerton guy on December 10th, 2012 2:46 pm

    The Ms need to sign SOMEone who has power or the fan base –what’s left of it– is going to desert them, and they’ll be playing in front of a lot more empty seats. Michael Bourn would not, in my view, be a significant upgrade. I’m hoping it’s either Hamilton or Swisher, because I don’t trust Z to make the right trade with our young arms. In my book, the good will he earned from the JJ Putz trade is just about gone. The Fister for Wells trade, and the resulting refusal to let Wells play, is just one of several moves (another: Morse for Langerhans) that make me gunshy. So I guess I’m on the same page with V-Coach.

  56. wallmoon on December 10th, 2012 3:02 pm

    I’d like to see the Mariners give up on Guti; one good year hitting and then injury-ridden. Sure, he’s a great fielder, but let’s see if we can get Bourn for center and lead-off, and let Ackley bat 2nd.

    I’m OK with giving Saunders and Smoak good last shots to be consistent, but both should be on short leashes.

    Hamilton or Swisher for RF would be nice. This would upgrade hitting and the batting order chemistry. If Smoak falters, Swisher or Montero at 1b.

  57. Westside guy on December 10th, 2012 3:19 pm

    Wait… you’re lumping Saunders and Smoak together?

    Did you not watch baseball in 2012?

    Saunders, 2012: wRC+ 108
    Smoak, 2012: wRC+ 85

    That’s not looking at defense AT ALL – Saunders hit somewhat better than the average outfielder.

  58. amnizu on December 10th, 2012 3:23 pm

    Guiti’s main addition and value is defense. All he needs is to get back to a replacement level value in offense he’ll more than justify his contract in CF. In 2010 he didn’t exactly knock the cover off the ball and he still had a 2.1 WAR season thanks to his defense. Don’t give up on him yet he is still cheap compared to his potential performance.

  59. eponymous coward on December 10th, 2012 3:51 pm

    The Ms need to sign SOMEone who has power or the fan base –what’s left of it– is going to desert them, and they’ll be playing in front of a lot more empty seats.

    Uh, you may not have noticed, apparently, but the M’s played in front of less fans per game since the early 90′s- and the Seattle metropolitan area has added a million people since the 1990′s.

    At this point, I think it’s likely that we will be behind Oakland in attendance come 2013, given their playoff appearance. I doubt flashy FAs will change this: attendance is a LAGGING indicator of team quality (the 1995 M’s didn’t have a great attendance year, the M’s best attendance year was 2002).

    As for “power”- if the team hits like the 1906 White Sox and wins a World Championship like the 1906 White Sox, the fans will show up. Worry about how the good the players are, then worry about DINGERS!11!!111 I would be fine if we got Bourn and an outstanding pitcher as our FA haul.

  60. Bremerton guy on December 10th, 2012 4:57 pm

    eponymous -

    I have noticed; that’s why I said ” … the fan base -what’s left of it[.]”

    Bourn is not the answer. He trailed off miserably in the second half of 2012. Take a look at his splits. If it’s between Bourn and Swisher, there’s no comparison. Plus Swisher can play first base if Smoak reverts to his past pre-September 2012 performance.

    In any event. If the Ms wind up with nothing more than Bay and Bourn for offense help, they better get out of the gate fast because the city is fed up with management and won’t have any patience for yet another irrelevant year.

  61. eponymous coward on December 10th, 2012 5:09 pm

    My point is that I don’t think the fan base can really implode much more than it already has. Attendance is not likely to go below 1.6 million no matter what.

    I also don’t consider one three month period for a 29 year old player dispositive in establishing his future value. So he regressed to his career mean in the second half. This is some kind of massive shock, or proves he’s a bad player going forward?

    And you’re kind of forgetting that the rest of the league gets a vote on whether or not the contract we sign Swisher to is reasonable and prudent, by bidding against us, possibly. If Bourn came to us on a clearly better FA deal than we’d get for Swisher, it would be silly to overvalue power over player value. Swisher’s maybe a better fit for the roster, but not at any price, and the team is not so overladen with talent on the roster that they should be tailoring signings- Bourn and a good FA pitcher on good contracts instead of Swisher on an overpay? Yes please.

  62. Bremerton guy on December 10th, 2012 6:11 pm

    Nope. I’m not forgetting. The team has the money and needs to spend it, if only to give the fans a crumb. If Swisher is willing to come here on a four year deal, the Ms should make it happen.

  63. stevemotivateir on December 10th, 2012 6:32 pm

    “If Bourn came to us on a clearly better FA deal than we’d get for Swisher, it would be silly to overvalue power over player value.”

    Hard to imagine Boras allowing that to happen.

  64. _Hutch_ on December 10th, 2012 6:43 pm

    “I’d like to see the Mariners give up on Guti”

    What do you propose doing with him? With the combination of the injuries and the contract his trade value is going to be pretty negligible, with most offers being people hoping to buy low. He actually looked like some semblance of himself when he played last year (105 wRC+ with GG defense). The team shouldn’t be banking on a full season without a Guti-brand Freak Injury©, but it’s got to be what they hope for. I’d like to see the team add two starting corner OFs and platoon Saunders/Guti in CF, but that’s looking increasingly unlikely with the Bay signing.

  65. eponymous coward on December 10th, 2012 7:15 pm

    The team has the money and needs to spend it, if only to give the fans a crumb.

    How about giving the fans the most wins possible with the best players possible?

    If Swisher is willing to come here on a four year deal, the Ms should make it happen.

    No, the M’s should make the best team possible. Swisher + Blake Beavan < Bourn + a better pitcher, if it comes down to that. Swisher is not the better player at any and all prices and contracts, especially on a team that doesn't really have an outstanding rotation going into spring training- Felix is good, they have a couple of midlevel guys in Vargas and Iwakuma, a promising sophomore in Ramirez, but a very solid #2-#3 guy makes this team better- it would give them 5 solid rotation guys and insurance.

    I've seen M's teams in the 1980s hit jacks and nobody came, because they were bad. Team quality should always trump a specific need like power. Plenty of teams have done OK without a lot of homers- the Angels under Scioscia regularly finished in the bottom half of the AL in homers hit during their good years, just as one example.

    Power is one way to score runs, but it is only one way to score runs- and keeping the other team from scoring runs works too.

    Hard to imagine Boras allowing that to happen.

    On a one year deal if he thinks the market would improve? Sure he would.

    I just don’t believe in getting dogmatically attached to an approach. Get better players, however you can.

  66. djw on December 11th, 2012 5:37 am

    The Ms need to sign SOMEone who has power or the fan base –what’s left of it– is going to desert them, and they’ll be playing in front of a lot more empty seats.

    Bremerton Guy,

    The notion that the fan base will respond positively to signing a particular kind of player, rather than, you know, winning, is absurd. If Bourn were to contribute more wins than a hypothetical alternative power hitter, he’d do more to (eventually) bring back attendence. If the team were to start winning, there’s no evidence to suggest that fans will not care how great of a role home runs are playing in bringing about those wins.

    If your argument is that Bourn isn’t as good as his record suggests-that his 6.4 WAR season last year and 20+ WAR over the last 4 years are unlikely to predict his future performance-go ahead and make the argument. Why is Bourn unusually likely to fall off a cliff for a 29 year old? Or why do you think WAR gets his value wrong? Be specific.

  67. bluemoonking on December 11th, 2012 6:09 am

    I have a couple of questions…

    1. Could and should the Mariners have traded Felix to KC for what Tampa Bay got plus a little more sense I get the feeling that Felix does not want to sign if the team is not going to be relevent in the next year or two?

    2. Should Jack Z’s job ride on what he does or does not do this off season? The fans need something to feel good about… I am sick and tired of being prudent… Just because they were better than the year before, if the other teams improve more than you did, what is the point?

    3. With what I read about the lack of major league potential currently at Tacoma, why has Jack not taken chances with more players that once were prospects? Adam Lind? There have been others…

  68. wallmoon on December 11th, 2012 6:12 am

    I realize that hitting isn’t everything, but it is the Mariner’s big problem, so my question is simple:

    Which Mariners (if any) would be regulars for Texas or the Angels?

  69. stevemotivateir on December 11th, 2012 6:41 am

    “On a one year deal if he thinks the market would improve? Sure he would.”

    In Seattle?

  70. bluemoonking on December 11th, 2012 7:49 am

    I don’t see a regular from the Mariners starting on either the Angels, Texas or maybe the A’s… Not now anyway. The Astros could give this team problems.

  71. gwangung on December 11th, 2012 8:41 am

    Which Mariners (if any) would be regulars for Texas or the Angels?

    I find this an irrelevant question to ask, given the extreme nature of Safeco last year. Makes it hard for pros to evaluate players let alone amateurs like us.

  72. eponymous coward on December 11th, 2012 8:56 am

    Which Mariners (if any) would be regulars for Texas or the Angels?

    I don’t see a regular from the Mariners starting on either the Angels, Texas or maybe the A’s…

    Y’know, we’re discussing a team that won exactly one more game in the regular season last year than Oakland A’s did in 2011.

    Or perhaps I should say “the 2012 AL West champion Oakland A’s”.

    Mind you, this roster as it exists today isn’t going to win anything, but all the doom ‘n gloom is getting rather old. The organization has made progress the last few years. It’s not enough and the curve gets steeper, but it is progress.

  73. JasonJ on December 11th, 2012 10:07 am

    I would be satisfied if the M’s went 82-80 in 2013. It’s boring but realistic and it offers hope for 2014 when we could actually have a core group of young but experienced players who have all the grit and veteran leadership that Wedge requires.

    I just hope that whoever Jack Z. signs this winter is still contributing at a high level in 2014 and that they haven’t killed our financial flexibility. All 3 of the outfielders available scare me in different ways but I am coming around on Bourn due to his age and defense (and shrinking market). Yes, he’s eerily similar to Figgins but they aren’t the same guy. He’s averaged over 5 WAR over the last 4 years, and while he’s not Rickey Henderson, he provides a reliable top of the order guy who provides stellar defense and should be able to keep it up at this level for at least 2 more years.

  74. Mariners35 on December 11th, 2012 10:47 am

    Which Mariners (if any) would be regulars for Texas or the Angels?

    Rather than make excuses for the team by citing Safeco park effects, or dodging the question by comparing to earlier teams, one actual answer might be gained simply from looking at Fangraphs WAR values for last season.

    If 0 WAR is a replacement-level player, and 2 WAR is a league average player, then depending on what you consider the bar for a regular on another team…

    Players of 3 WAR or more: Felix, Seager.
    Players of 2 – 3 WAR: Millwood, Jaso, Saunders.

    Ichiro was a 1.9. Brendan “The Real AL Gold Glove Winner” was a 1.7 and that was all defense.

    That’s it. The Rangers had 11 players with 2 WAR or more, 7 with 3 or more.The Angels, 9 with 2 WAR or more, 5 with 3 or more.

    WAR is not the end-all-be-all stat, but it gets a lot closer to objectively measuring how many players on last year’s M’s would have been good regular players on other teams than the non-answers you got previously.

  75. eponymous coward on December 11th, 2012 11:10 am

    In Seattle?

    You’re right, a Boras client would never sign a deal with Seattle.

  76. ThanatosK on December 11th, 2012 11:25 am

    I think the point is not that a Boras client wouldn’t sign in Seattle. For the right multi-year deal and big money (like Beltre) then sure.

    The point was that if Boras was going to have his client sign a one year deal to show that they’re really good and make lots more money the next year in a multi-year deal….then Boras wouldn’t do it in Seattle. He would advise them to go somewhere that gets a lot more publicity…like say Boston….like Beltre did.

  77. Westside guy on December 11th, 2012 11:29 am

    I think the Figgins comps are pointless. Yes, Figgins collapsed completely – but no one saw it coming. Players of his type generally don’t fall off a cliff when they hit 30/31!

    Even someone who is similar to Figgins is almost certainly not going to collapse like Figgins.

  78. MrZDevotee on December 11th, 2012 11:52 am

    I was just writing the same thing Westy… EVERY TEAM in their most careful considerations would have been happy to sign Figgins the year we did. A renowned leadoff hitter coming off his best year. Nobody saw his cliff dive of a fall-off coming.

    I’d say a guy who has the same stats Chone did when we signed him is closer to a “must sign” than someone to avoid.

    It makes no sense to let one nightmare of an anomaly be the basis for future decisions.

    Am I excited about signing him? Not really. But I don’t see the reality of him being “another Figgins” even if I squint and look real hard.

  79. MrZDevotee on December 11th, 2012 12:54 pm

    So, making a HUGE huge assumption, but assuming Bay somehow miraculously becomes an everyday player again… And starts the season in LF…

    Is our RF Wells, or Saunders?

    And if we sign Swisher, does that make either Wells or Saunders our 4th OF?

    Is Saunders the forgotten guy here? Or perhaps we assume he’ll play at least half-time in CF, and another 1/3 or so in LF/RF?

    (Or if we sign Bourn, and Guty moves to LF… is Bay in RF? And Saunders or Wells the 4th OF…)

  80. marcus_andrews on December 11th, 2012 1:33 pm

    While I completely agree that Bourn plus a starter is a better option than overpaying for a so-called “power” guy, I think there’s a compelling argument to be made that Bourn will get overpaid.

    Saying that Bourn has a similar skillset to Figgins is really just looking at speed. Bourn strikes out a lot. While this might not seem like a big deal, find 5 players that have built their games on speed, walks, and a high strikeout rate, with little power that aged gracefully. If we sign Bourn I hope I’m wrong but I think there’s a very strong argument that he ages poorly. Actually, to me at least, a Bourn signing would seem more likely to flop than the Figgins signing did.

    As far as the argument that a Boras client wouldn’t sign here on a one year deal, I don’t buy it. Especially Bourn because his game isn’t built on power. If Safeco has some magical power that turns flyballs into outs, you know who benefits from that? A rangey centerfielder that will get more opportunities and also hits a lot of balls on the ground. A RH power hitter probably doesn’t want to go to Safeco to recoup value, but a left-handed speedster who plays a great centerfield, I don’t see why Seattle is any worse than anywhere else. In terms of publicity, this isn’t the 60s, every GM can know what every player did. If a player has a great year in Seattle they’ll get more money than the same guy having a pretty good year in Boston. There is not some great inequity in visibility of players based on their markets for GMs and to pretend there is is just being dishonest.

  81. Westside guy on December 11th, 2012 1:41 pm

    BTW Curto noted that Power Sphere has left for Toronto’s AAA affiliate.

    MrZ – Dave’s supposition is if Bay stays, Wells will go. I suspect that’s what Wedge would lobby for.

  82. ThanatosK on December 11th, 2012 2:20 pm

    But Marcus, regarding the question of Boras sending a guy here for a year, the difference would be in the cumulative stats. Obviously those don’t determine the whole deal that next year but they do get looked at and they do factor into negotiating.

    If a guy came here and hit well and ended with a .315 AVG, 74 runs, 6 HR’s, and 43 RBI, and some SB’s….or could go hit well for a powerhouse offense and end with the same AVG, 116 runs, same HR’s, and 71 RBI while getting in the news more often, being on SportsCenter more often, having a larger market see him and buy his jersey, etc etc etc…

    Where would you send the guy if you were Boras and were looking for negotiating leaverage that quite literally could mean millions of dollars the next year?

    Not that I don’t love Seattle but if I’m Boras, I make a sweetheart deal to a large market, large TV coverage, team before I make a one year deal with a team that doesn’t make national TV as much and won’t pad my player’s stats.

  83. stevemotivateir on December 11th, 2012 2:27 pm

    @eponymous

    I’m well aware Beltre is a Boras client. Bloomquist was another and Ackley is as well.

    The point, was that Seattle isn’t likely his ideal place for a one-year deal to boost Bourn’s stock, or to even try to maintain his current value. I’m not saying it wont or can’t happen, I just don’t think it’s likely.

  84. gwangung on December 11th, 2012 3:32 pm

    While this might not seem like a big deal, find 5 players that have built their games on speed, walks, and a high strikeout rate, with little power that aged gracefully.

    Isn’t that most of them?

    Perhaps I’m reading this study wrong, but speedy players age decently well. Figgins would be an anomaly.

  85. marcus_andrews on December 11th, 2012 5:24 pm

    In the information age is how many run Michael Bourn scores in one year going to play a big enough role in his next contract enough to take a major discount this year? I just don’t think that many GMs are still that infatuated with counting stats that they would care about the 20 runs or so that it would effect. Dustin Ackley scored 84 runs last year, Bourn scored 96 in Atlanta’s high powered offense. Will the drop batting leadoff here be that big that it will torch his contract?

    Gwangung

    The difference between Bourn and most of the guys that that study relates to is his K rate. Look at Kenny Lofton’s K rate, Juan Pierre’s, Tim Raines’ etc etc. They’re all much closer to 10% than Bourn’s 20%. I like Bourn, I do, but I think the graceful age curve has more to do with guys that have offensive games that are contact driven. Zimmerman even lists “a strikeout rate over 20%” as one of the indicators that a player won’t age very well.

  86. GarForever on December 11th, 2012 7:12 pm

    D’Backs GM Towers says it’s now highly unlikely he trades Justin Upton after the trade they made with Cincy and the Tribe tonight. The Indians now could use another OF, and it sounds like they were our principal competition for Swisher, and the Rangers may now decide to make what deal they can with Hamilton: if we want either one, we’re now probably going to overpay…

    I’m trying to remain optimistic, but I have a sinking feeling that our big off-season splash is going to be (*ahem*) Jason Bay. Why does the “loser music” from The Price is Right keep playing in my head?

  87. lalo on December 11th, 2012 7:48 pm

    I will not be happy with Bay and Bourn as the big winter acquisitions, but probably free agents won´t come to one of the worst teams in the league. The worst part is that we have the best pitcher in baseball and he won´t win anytime soon.

  88. marcus_andrews on December 11th, 2012 7:55 pm

    While I think it’s far from a guarantee that Swisher signs with us the different reasons for the pessimism are funny to me.

    On one hand, people argue that his wife wants a major market so it won’t be Seattle, it’ll be a glamorous city like L.A. or New York, or even San Fran.

    Then there’s the other argument that he’ll want to play for a winner, so we’re out.

    Finally, there’s the argument that Cleveland will get him… Wait what? Cleveland is further from competing than we are and are an even less glamorous market.

    I hope that he decides to come to Seattle and while I understand your pessimism Gar, I don’t think Bay will be our big move. I see us getting at least one large free agent and picking up at least one outfielder. I wouldn’t be surprised if we sign Bourn, Swisher or Hamilton and failing that I think we’ll trade for someone like Dexter Fowler and sign a starting pitcher. I think that Jack knows that the fan base is itching for money to be spent and for some sort of addition and while I don’t think he’ll make a move just for the sake of making one, I think that he’ll improve somewhere.

  89. msfanmike on December 12th, 2012 12:52 pm

    This is still my favorite quote of the offseason. And, perhaps the most accurate one, too:

    “Miscreant” on November 8th, 2012 12:47 pm

    it’s all a bunch of propaganda. these cheap bastards ain’t gonna sign shit.

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