The End of Mike Carp

Dave · December 20, 2012 at 11:48 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Last night, we pointed out how acquiring Kendrys Morales does not necessarily mean that the team is ready to give up on Justin Smoak. There’s been a lot of focus on the fact that Smoak has an option left, and people have noted that perhaps the team would be better off with Mike Carp serving as part of the job share at 1B/DH and Smoak down in Tacoma playing everyday. The problem is, when you actually look at what Morales brings to the table, the reality is that Carp no longer fits on this roster in any way, shape, or form.

The Mariners are talking about Morales as an everyday player, and since he’s a switch-hitter, he’s being penciled into the middle of the Mariners line-up regardless of who is pitching. But, there’s a catch – Morales is a very different hitter from the left side of the plate than he is from the right side. Jeff will have more detail on this over at FanGraphs later this afternoon, but for now, we’ll just present Morales’ career platoon splits:

vs R as L 1370 7% 19% 0.290 0.345 0.514 0.224 0.317 0.365 127
vs L as R 392 4% 16% 0.250 0.286 0.416 0.166 0.266 0.303 84

To put that in context, a 127 wRC+ from the left side makes him the equivalent of 2012 Adam LaRoche, while an 84 wRC+ from the right side makes him the equivalent of 2012 Justin Smoak. Morales mashes right-handed pitching, but he’s pretty lousy against lefties, to the point where the Angels basically used him as a platoon player last year. 85% of Morales’ plate appearances came against right-handed pitching last year, the exact same ratio as John Jaso. The average hitter in MLB last year faced an RHP about 70% of the time, and the numbers aren’t much different for switch-hitters. The Angels severely limited Morales’ at-bats against lefties, to the point where he was platooned to the same degree that the Mariners platooned Jaso.

Despite what you’ve been told by some people in an attempt justify their inability to admit that John Jaso is actually a good player, big platoon splits don’t mean that a hitter is incapable of playing a significant part in an offense. It just means that you have to be aware of the splits, and you should probably make sure the roster is constructed in such a way that his days off can align with the days when he’s going to be least productive. For Jaso, that means making sure you have a right-handed catcher that you’re comfortable starting behind the plate. As a switch-hitter, Morales doesn’t necessarily need a platoon caddy in the same way, but his ineffectiveness from the right side does mean that the guys splitting time with him should be able to hit left-handed pitching.

And, unfortunately for Mike Carp, that means that he’s out. With Jaso and Morales, you have two guys who should be in the line-up against every right-handed pitcher, and then the third spot in the C/1B/DH wheel would go to Jesus Montero or whoever the other part-time 1B/DH is. The organization isn’t going to bench Montero against all right-handers, so this is probably a 50/50 job share at best for whoever the first baseman is. That guy’s going to have to get a decent amount of his playing time against left-handers, when Jaso will be on the bench, and giving Morales a day off will get him a break from his weak side.

As a lefty, Carp’s a lousy fit for that role. Yes, he’s hit lefties better than righties in the majors, but reverse platoon splits are almost always just a small sample fluke, and there’s no reason to push Carp into a role where most of his playing time is going to come against same-handed pitchers. The only sensible player for that role is someone who can bat right-handed, in order to maximize the value of the job share by giving Morales most of his days off against lefties.

Given the current roster, the alignment right now would include Jaso/Morales/Montero playing against most right-handers, and then Montero/Morales/someone playing against the lefties. That someone should be a righty, since you’re already losing Jaso’s bat and Morales is significantly weaker against southpaws. The Mariners probably aren’t going to platoon Morales, but they need to at least account for the fact that he’s not going to hit lefties as well as he is righties, and they can’t offset their vs LHP line-up by adding another lefty to the mix.

That’s why there’s room on this roster for Justin Smoak. As a switch-hitter, he can give you another right-handed bat against southpaws, but he also gives the option of getting another left-handed bat in there against tough righties on days when you want to give Montero a break from swinging at sliders in the dirt. He can get enough at-bats against both RHPs and LHPs to prove whether or not his September surge was a fluke or not, and if he performs really well, his role can always grow as the season goes on.

For Carp, though, he just doesn’t fit anymore. He didn’t really fit before, either, but now with Morales on board, he really doesn’t fit. Sending Smoak to Tacoma and putting Carp at first base works in theory, but not in practice. Whatever part-time first baseman the Mariners end up settling on to share time with Morales has to right-handed. At this point, the Mariners might as well trade Carp for whatever they can get. There’s no job he can even realistically pretend to be fighting for in spring training.


112 Responses to “The End of Mike Carp”

  1. Jordan on December 20th, 2012 11:59 am

    Do you think there is any realistic shot of packaging him w/ other players to land a real player? I.E. Paxton, Franklin etc.

  2. Dave on December 20th, 2012 12:03 pm

    No. My guess is he’ll be shipped off for a piece that fits a little bit better. Maybe send him to TB for a guy like Brandon Guyer (RH outfielder) or to TOR for JA Happ (LH starter).

  3. Nik Aitken on December 20th, 2012 12:06 pm

    Is there any reasonable data on having a player give up switch hitting when they have such large platoon splits? Or would that just exacerbate the issue most likely?

  4. eastcoastmariner on December 20th, 2012 12:09 pm

    Completely agree, Dave.

    While on the topic of roster construction, given the amount of teams that seem to be looking for a RH outfielder (Tigers, Mets, Yankees, Dodgers, etc.), can you envision a scenario where one of Guti or Wells is used to obtain a starting pitcher? Guys like Porcello, Capuano, etc. come to mind.

  5. Grant on December 20th, 2012 12:10 pm

    What do you think it would take to get Capuano or Lilly from the Dodgers? Do you see Carp having any value to them?

  6. Paul B on December 20th, 2012 12:36 pm

    You have to recall, though, that just this year the Mariners saw Carp as an everyday outfielder.

    They’ll trade Wells and put Carp in left.

    As dumb as that sounds, I would think it a real possibility.

  7. cheechmo on December 20th, 2012 12:49 pm

    Grant: Carp doesn’t make $20 million per year, so why would the Dodgers want him?

  8. Gibbo on December 20th, 2012 1:10 pm

    I think Bays chances took a hit too (I know they werent already very good). But as you mention the need for a 3rd Catcher too it doesnt leave much wiggle room, so I would expect guys with no options be sent packing

  9. Typical Idiot Fan on December 20th, 2012 2:16 pm

    Well, since they still view Carp as a left fielder for some reason, they could platoon him out there with Wells. Thames is equally as superfluous right now as Carp is, so I guess it’s just who the Mariners think is a better player. Honestly, of the two, I prefer Carp’s slightly higher contact rate and desire not to flail at pitches out of the zone. I don’t know if Thames has options, but he could be sent down and the problem is resolved, but that does make Carp a rather shitty 4th outfielder.

  10. Bilbo on December 20th, 2012 2:52 pm

    Until they get another OFer, he’ll start in LF and platoon with Guti, with Guti in CF and Saunders (or Wells) playing LF when Carp sits.

  11. The Dreeze on December 20th, 2012 2:54 pm


  12. jordan on December 20th, 2012 5:28 pm

    If I were to guess, I think Z will try to trade Montero. I didn’t really see “uber-prospect” material out of him this last year, but he still might have some prospect shine at his young age. Maybe a package with Montero, 1 of the pitching trio, and others can get a deal going for Carlos Gonzalez?

  13. bubba_gump on December 20th, 2012 6:24 pm

    Wait, what happened to the “wins are wins” argument? Last year Carp posted roughly 1/2 game higher WAR than Smoak and is a full game better over their careers. Why ship Carp off when there is room for Smoak in Tacoma?

  14. justinh on December 20th, 2012 7:52 pm

    Dave u have never answered me in regards to my questioning whether or not you think Pat Gillick is still a terrible GM. I’d just like to see if you have changed your thoughts over the last six years. I’m not trying to slam you or anything but I remember getting into some heated discussions. We both agreed to wait a few years and see how things play out. I certainly understood your concern that Gillick left the M’s rather high and dry, but I think he did make this team competitive for a 5 year stretch and if Bavasi wouldn’t have given away a great deal of talent, the M’s would still have some good pieces.

    Thanks man.

  15. Eastside Crank on December 20th, 2012 9:07 pm

    Morales is too fragile to play 1st on a regular basis. He is going to end up being DH and butting heads with Montero over playing time. Morales is somewhat of an anti-Figgins; he cannot run or field but he hits like crazy.

  16. diderot on December 20th, 2012 9:47 pm

    Trading Montero now is a hideously bad idea.

  17. Balthazar on December 20th, 2012 9:49 pm

    Smoak .234/.304/.392 as R vs. L career 462 PA.

    Ahhh, no thanks. The only role Justin Smoak has on this roster is designated loser.

    Morales .250/.286/.416 as R vs. L career 392 PA
    Carp .300/.341/.435 as L vs. L career 138 PA

    Yeah, Morales has been used selectively against RHP in his career. Yeah, one can’t draw a firm conclusion from Carp’s career production against lefties. But the contention that Smoak offers anything against righties which Morales does not is insupportable. One gains nothing in ‘replacing’ the latter with the former, both lines are poor, and a wash over all. Keeping Smoak on the 25 man for the purpose discussed in this post is simply a waste of a roster spot for replacement level production.

    I’m mystified by the sudden, end stage, embrace of Justin Smoak in some quarters. Yes, he has excellent strike zone judgment. Yes, he still has bat speed. No, his swing path cannot and does not intersect with the path of a major league fastball in the strike zone which isn’t a total mistake pitch. No, his swing path cannot make effective contact with any good breaking pitch. Yes, Smoak is a little above average as a defensive first baseman, his somewhat stony hands notwithstanding. No, he’s not enough better to matter.

    Justin Smoak has had 1400 PAs to reliably demonstrate he cannot hit pitching at a major league level with his swing. The team tried to shorten his swing; it didn’t take. The fact that Justin occasionally has a big day in a massive hitter’s park _elsewhere than Seattle_, the fact that Justin occasionally has a ‘hot streak’ which is not distinguishable in any way statistically from sheer luck, are both immaterial in the face of a ton of evidence that the man can’t hit.

    I would have bet no nickel of mine that Saunders could retool his swing, but he did to the point where he will have a major league career. Unless and until Smoak can and does do the same, he has no business being on any 25 man roster in the majors. Smoak’s only conceivable role here is I-5 insurance in case someone goes on the DL, but frankly the guy has hit so poorly someone else should be brought in for that role who can actually produce a line against LHP better than Justin’s demonstrated career numbers. Smoak goes somewhere else ‘and turns into Mike Morse?” I don’t care, Smoak’s done nothing here.

    Smoak is a dud. Give it up. Let’s talk about someone who can actually help us win, for a change. Someone else. _Anyone_ else.

  18. greentunic on December 20th, 2012 11:30 pm

    Montero will have a better superficial year with the fences pulled in.

    A better real year, in terms of park factors… we’ll have to wait and see but I think he should improve in this regard well. I don’t want to sell Montero anytime soon. I still think too many talent evaluators liked his power and discipline, despite some flailing last year.

  19. MrZDevotee on December 21st, 2012 4:47 am

    I’m okay with this. Much as I was hopeful whenever he warmed up a bit, I was never really on the Carp support team. We all liked the guy, but he didn’t have the upside of say Saunders. He’s a one-tool AAAA guy with no real defensive position (a 1B by default), whose one tool is the most replaceable in baseball (a pull, gap hitter with a bit of power).

    He’s kinda the “R” in WAR. Literally. He gets to play when we can’t find the player we really want to put out there.

    Trying to find him some value in LF last year kinda says the M’s thought the same thing. He was always more of a “placeholder” than a daily player.

    Unfortunately, being a .250 guy with 20 HR and 75 RBI potential just isn’t enough to hang at 1B in the majors (said as a warning shot at Smoak, too).

  20. bigred on December 21st, 2012 6:04 am

    With the starting pitching options in free agency dwindling, what do you see the M’s doing?
    I have a hard believing the plan is to let some of the young guns break camp with the team. Will Perez get a chance to start? Trade for a lefty – is local boy Jon Lester available?

  21. Rick L on December 21st, 2012 7:34 am

    The job he can realistically fight for in spring training is left fielder.

  22. onetreehugger on December 21st, 2012 8:48 am

    Two things bother me about this ‘we have to have Smoak instead of Carp’ thing. One, do you really want to make a lot of decisions based on getting the maximum from Morales, who will only be here for one year?

    Two, this is based on Smoak hitting well this year. What do platoon splits and which-handed-batting mean when someone is hitting around .200? Does it really matter from which side he makes the out?

    I hope Smoak has a great year. Last off-season I said that I hadn’t seen anything that made me think he was going to be a really good hitter, and no one agreed with me. What about this year? I think he might be ok, but you need a lot from the first base position and if he’s not even an average hitter again, we should think of getting someone else for the position.

  23. davepaisley on December 21st, 2012 11:40 am

    Am I the only one that thinks (given the whole lack of Mayan apocalypse) the title of the post should have been “It’s the end of Mike Carp as we know him”?

  24. MrZDevotee on December 21st, 2012 12:11 pm

    “… And I feel fine.”

  25. roosevelt on December 21st, 2012 3:04 pm

    The end of the fish is greatly exaggerated.

  26. msfanmike on December 21st, 2012 3:05 pm

    I have been singing that damn song all day! I finally got it out if my head, came over to USSM for a respite and ….. BLAM!!! There it is!!

    Thanks for getting all “sophomoric” again, Mr Z … Thanks a bunch!!!

  27. MrZDevotee on December 21st, 2012 4:30 pm

    Don’t look at me… Paisley started it.

    (Plus, at this point, there’s nothing immature about REM songs… They’re old men, just like me. *laugh*)

  28. MrZDevotee on December 21st, 2012 4:34 pm

    I’d like to introduce you to your newest journeymen pitcher/reclamation project…

    Say hello to Jeremy Bonderman. (Just signed to a minor league deal)

  29. jordan on December 21st, 2012 5:51 pm

    Maybe if we’re lucky Bonderman will return to his 5ish ERA days of his prime!

  30. nickwest1976 on December 21st, 2012 10:47 pm

    Carp and a pitcher of some sort for Porcello? I could see the M’s getting involved in trying to get Porcello.

  31. bookbook on December 22nd, 2012 1:18 am

    Ruffin and Furbush for smyly

  32. Hutch on December 22nd, 2012 10:05 am

    This is all well and good, but we’re not really going to ditch Carp and sign Raul Ibanez, are we? Talk about a lateral move.

  33. msfanmike on December 22nd, 2012 11:26 am

    I heard Cody Ross signed a 3 year deal with Arizona today. Does that make Justin Upton a more viable trade candidate than he already was? I think it could – and I also think the Mariners could still put together an enticing offer for him.

  34. casey on December 22nd, 2012 11:38 am

    Yes – hard to know what the Dbacks are up to as they now have 5 or 6 starting outfielders. I think Gerardo Parra is a really interesting young player with a lot of skills and despite his shaky defence Kubel would be a nice middle of the order leftfielder for the M’s.

  35. _Hutch_ on December 22nd, 2012 12:07 pm

    If you’re operating under the assumption that Carp’s 2011 is an accurate representation of his potential and that his 2012 injuries kept him from getting on track, Carp and Kubel are the same player.

    Obviously the fact that Kubel’s shown it on a more regular basis gives him a leg up, but Kubel’s K rates are also trending way up and he just got off a season with the lowest contact rate of his career. Add that to the frustrating idea that Kubel has the Willingham thing – i.e., the team could have signed him to a reasonable contract last off-season but is now faced the idea of potentially giving up legitimate prospects for his services. No thanks. If they want to talk about Upton or Parra or (please God) Eaton, I’m all ears but I’m not giving up anything significant for Kubel.

  36. caldog on December 22nd, 2012 1:53 pm

    I haven’t seen his name mention at all, but what about Alfonso Soriano, I know that the Cubs are wanting to trade him, they would probadly eat most of his salary just to unload him.

  37. ThanatosK on December 22nd, 2012 2:32 pm

    Arizona Diamondbacks have apparently signed Cody Ross to a 3 year deal. Without even getting into how dumb that probably is for the DB’s, it might be a great thing for the Mariners.

    Arizona now has something like 43 quality OF’ers on their team. Let’s make em a trade offer.

  38. taylor.mariner on December 22nd, 2012 2:34 pm

    Bye bye Big Fish!

  39. Westside guy on December 22nd, 2012 2:51 pm

    Let’s not exaggerate, ThanatosK – it’s only 41 quality outfielders.

  40. stevemotivateir on December 22nd, 2012 4:24 pm

    I’d still prefer the M’s go after Swisher. I’m not buyin’ the reports/bs suggesting Seattle isn’t interested because he apparently didn’t make a stop here after Cleveland.

  41. californiamariner on December 22nd, 2012 5:22 pm

    Looks like we signed Ibanez.

  42. MissouriMariner on December 22nd, 2012 5:40 pm

    Why? Why? Why? Ibanez? Wow! This is depressing.

  43. Westside guy on December 22nd, 2012 5:42 pm


    We’ve got an awful lot of DHs now… Something’s gotta give.

  44. MissouriMariner on December 22nd, 2012 5:48 pm

    So are we going to apply for some type of exemption so that we can play multiple DH’s? You know like dh for the pitcher, shortstop, etc? Pathetic

  45. msfanmike on December 22nd, 2012 6:05 pm

    Well, he was the teams best hitter in ’08 and bringing back the memories from that season would be AWESOME!

    I suppose he could fill the role that Dave envisioned for Hafner, but that was so long ago – I can’t recall what the reasons actually were. It was also pre-Morales and pre-Bay, so … Whatever.

    There has to be some larger trade related move brewing, doesn’t there? Please!!!

    I like Raul and he has kept himself in great shape. He will hit a lot better than the last 40 year old Jack signed, but come on … He’s 40.

  46. stevemotivateir on December 22nd, 2012 6:34 pm

    What worries me, is the possibility of Wells disappearing. Was this really the best Jack could come up with? Imagine our outfield options including both Ibanez and Bay. Somehow, that just doesn’t do anything for me.

  47. msfanmike on December 22nd, 2012 6:57 pm

    Rest easy, Steve. 99 days until opening day.

    Oh, and pray- too.

  48. terryoftacoma on December 22nd, 2012 7:31 pm

    I smell Mr. Smoak spending some time in Tacoma and Raul and Morales sharing first. Although, Ibanez hasn’t played 1st base since 2010. If you look at the numbers Ibanez actually played 80 games in the outfield for the Yanks. That’s frankly crazy. I don’t see us signing anyone.

    Breathe.. Spring training quite a ways off yet.

  49. Typical Idiot Fan on December 22nd, 2012 7:36 pm

    What worries me, is the possibility of Wells disappearing

    Why would this happen.

  50. Westside guy on December 22nd, 2012 7:41 pm

    I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts Wedge is a BIG fan of this signing. Me, I’m getting pretty depressed about the organization and its future prospects.

  51. Jordan on December 22nd, 2012 7:46 pm

    I thought for sure the Ibanez rumor didn’t even pass the smell test; apparently my nose is all messed up.

    I guess I am now wondering if there is any value in letting both Montero and Smoak figure things out in AAA. The only way I can explain the presence of both Morales and Ibanez is they are both getting flipped at the deadline WHEN Montero and Smoak tear up AAA pitching.

  52. henryv on December 22nd, 2012 8:03 pm

    I think the m’s are functioning under the assumption that the mob rosters will have 30 spots next year or a trade involving Montero or smoak is coming.

  53. eponymous coward on December 22nd, 2012 8:37 pm

    So, that just happened. Yeah.

    Up next: Mike Sweeney? Because veteran grit. Also, too, clutch hitting.

  54. ThanatosK on December 22nd, 2012 8:52 pm

    Please oh please let this be because Raul wants to retire as a Mariner.

  55. LMF on December 22nd, 2012 9:11 pm

    I’m waiting on combatting emotion with facts part IV. I need that post.

  56. Hutch on December 22nd, 2012 9:28 pm

    This blog post was creepily prescient.

  57. Typical Idiot Fan on December 22nd, 2012 10:15 pm

    or a trade involving Montero or smoak is coming.

    And why would THAT happen.

  58. tmac9311 on December 22nd, 2012 10:15 pm

    maybe we’re gonna do something creative like have guti and saunders play left center and right center? 3 infielders 4 outfielders? I don’t know what we are going to do with 4 DHs on the roster. I know I should just assume ibanez and bay arent gonna make the roster, but I have a bad feeling that somehow they will.

  59. Seattleken on December 22nd, 2012 10:42 pm

    I must say that Jack Z has been extremely disappointing as a GM. While his prospect picks have been decent his ability to recognize major league value is brutal.

    His free agent signings have been laughable, and his trades are at best questionable.

    No GM of quality signs players who hurt the team, but clearly Bay and Ibanez are worse than the POOR players on the roster. I can just see it now Ibanez/Bay platoon in LF hitting .225 with 15 homers and 70 rbis batting 5th, costing the pitchers 40-60 outs a season in LF.

    Whatever unmeasurable veteran leadership brings will not be worth 4 million and two roster spots!

    Sadly its time for a change as hes had 4 year years and proven he doesn’t have a clue.

  60. lalo on December 22nd, 2012 10:59 pm

    WOW, Bay in LF and Ibanez in RF will be awful. Plus Montero, Smoak and Kendrys Morales in the same lineup… The slowest lineup in the history of the game.

  61. mauimsfan on December 22nd, 2012 11:09 pm

    There is no way Ibanez and Bay are the opening day starting corner OFs. How many scrap heap/reclamation projects/gritty vets can this team possibly take on? Oy vey.

  62. seattleslew on December 23rd, 2012 12:00 am

    If this is true, it’s a horrible joke, which wouldn’t be a big surprise.

  63. mrakbaseball on December 23rd, 2012 12:44 am

    Why do you give a major league contract to a guy who will turn 41 a few months into the season who didn’t hit outside of the Bronx last year? Why?

  64. taylor.mariner on December 23rd, 2012 2:04 am

    Honestly, I feel like we’re not really “competing” this season anyways, why not let a guy who has been a hero in Seattle, was drafted by Seattle, and played most of his career in Seattle, retire in Seattle? We’re gonna see if our longterm pieces fall into place or fall apart and hope that we can get someone with a lot of upside at the trade deadline.
    I can’t wait to yell out RAUUUUUUUUL and get my Ibanez shirt back out. Who knows what’s gonna happen by Opening Day anyways, the old men might have broken their hips and Morales could only have one leg left.

  65. eponymous coward on December 23rd, 2012 5:31 am

    Honestly, I feel like we’re not really “competing” this season anyways

    You mean like how the Oakland A’s didn’t “compete” last year, since they won one less game in 2011 than the M’s did in 2012?

    The difference is they didn’t clutter up their roster with broken-down junk in the name of “we need some gritty proven veteran leadership”- Bartolo Colon, the one 39 year old they signed, was OK in 2011, and a backend starter (and only $2 million last year to boot).

    Anyways, I hear the M’s are going to sign Mike Sweeney AND Jack Cust as well…

  66. Bryce on December 23rd, 2012 7:31 am

    And now Swisher to the Indians for 4/56. Seems like a massive bargain when compared to Hamilton. The M’s couldn’t have topped that?

    It really is beginning to feel like what they’ve done so far is about all they’re going to, unless they’re building up to some sort of major trade.

  67. casey on December 23rd, 2012 7:55 am

    almost too stunned to post (and trying not to overreact)… thought that Bay was this year’s version of Carlos Guillen but with Ibanez signing it’s clear they are serious about these old farts playing left field. Think you could stick Stefan Romero in left and get more production if you truly wanted the bargain basement approach to another season.

    For the first time I am really questioning whether there is the game plan to put a winning team on the field.

  68. californiamariner on December 23rd, 2012 9:25 am

    Swisher 4 years for 56 mil. If he was willing to go to Cleveland, then surely he would have went to Seattle. Mariners should have been in on him.

  69. Typical Idiot Fan on December 23rd, 2012 9:45 am

    If he was willing to go to Cleveland, then surely he would have went to Seattle.

    There is no reason to assume this.

  70. Bryce on December 23rd, 2012 9:58 am

    “There is no reason to assume this.”

    You’re right. He might well have taken less to go to Cleveland. With equal offers you make more $ here, because OH has a state income tax. Over $250k it’s about 6%. If the M’s were in on him and he turned them down, he probably would’ve been one of the only professional athletes in the history of mankind to take less $ to go to Cleveland, but it’s possible. Likely? I seriously doubt it. But possible.

    But did the M’s even try? I thought Swisher was the best fit of anybody. Dave was talking about a 7 year $100 plus million offer in his offseason plan. He even essentially called him a bargain at 4/60. So if he’s going for 4/56, then the M’s have to get into the bidding and make him take less to go somewhere else. It seems like they weren’t in on him at all.

    It just feels like nothing major will be done this offseason to improve the team. That’s not good news. I don’t understand what this team is doing, unless they’re trying to shed long term deals and keep payroll down so that they’re an attractive buy for new owners. That doesn’t seem to be a good strategy if they want to stop hemorrhaging attendance.

  71. Paul B on December 23rd, 2012 10:01 am

    Well, if Carp did have any kind of a role on this team, he doesn’t now that they have Raul.

  72. Paul B on December 23rd, 2012 10:02 am

    I think the Mariners have actually gotten worse this off season. Getting Wedge players like Raul and Bay is just asking for trouble.

  73. Johnny Slick on December 23rd, 2012 10:05 am

    The Indians also went heavily with a “you grew up here, now move back” sales pitch. Forget income tax; it’s very possible that was what tilted matters for him.

  74. stevemotivateir on December 23rd, 2012 10:09 am

    “Why would this happen.” (in reference to my comment about Wells disappearing)

    Wells is out of options. The team isn’t going to carry Guti, Suanders, Ibanez, Wells, and Bay (barring injury). Bay would seem to be the least likely fit, but given Wedge’s reluctance to play Wells, and his inability to recognize who his best players are through spring, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we ended up with Bay and Ibanez platooning left.

  75. Wolfman on December 23rd, 2012 11:29 am

    “The Indians also went heavily with a “you grew up here, now move back” sales pitch. Forget income tax; it’s very possible that was what tilted matters for him.”

    It didn’t work with Lebron James. I have to agree with the posters regarding Swisher. They should have gone after him. Bay and Raul feels like they are again going on the cheap and they can’t afford to do that.

    I hope this is leading to a Bourn signing PLUS a good trade. I like JZ but the shine is starting to come off a bit. He needs to make some good moves. Morales was a decent start…but just a start. Go get some actual talent now, Jack!!

  76. ireportyoudecide on December 23rd, 2012 1:33 pm

    At least the owners will make a profit next year. This is why I was upset when they didn’t sign Fielder last year, it has become obvious they aren’t going to spend the money on anyone. It’s one thing not to sign Fielder or to a lesser extent Hamilton for $25 mill a year if you are going to spend $25 mill somewhere else. They are just pocketing the money though. Pathetic.

  77. G-Man on December 23rd, 2012 1:53 pm

    Seattle Times says Raul reportedly gets $2.75 million plus $1.25 million in incentives. I hope he’s worth it.

    By the way, someone gave him one tenth-place vote for 2012 AL MVP.

  78. G-Man on December 23rd, 2012 1:54 pm

    “Getting Wedge players like Raul and Bay is just asking for trouble.”

    Good point – their platoon may be the second coming of Miguel Olivo.

  79. californiamariner on December 23rd, 2012 2:05 pm

    People kept saying he wanted to go to a winner, Cleveland is obviously not that. So, there’s no reason to assume he would have had no interest in a team like Seattle. That was my point, sorry I didn’t write out a full explanation and I left myself open for your snark response.

  80. stevemotivateir on December 23rd, 2012 2:39 pm

    Did Jack really address our outfield by signing Bay and Ibanez?! If someone had told me this would happen before the off-season, I would have laughed and called them names, while throwing things at them for their stupidity.

    Signing Bay didn’t alarm me at the time. I figured he just squeezed Thames out and probably wouldn’t make the club anyway. But now, I’m really wondering if he has a legitimate shot. The bar doesn’t seem to be set too high.

  81. Seattleken on December 23rd, 2012 2:50 pm

    Its obvious as long as the Mariners are turning a profit the status quo is fine. They managed to drop a big contract in Ichiro and replace them with Ibanez that makes lets them pocket 13+ million.

    Sadly it was a pipe dream thinking they would put that money into a free agent.

    The team salary is almost half of what it used to be, league revenues are going way up and the Seattle ownership is getting richer and richer.

    I have two teams I follow in great depth and have since 1977 Seattle and Toronto. Its not even close on which franchise has done better for the fans. Both AA and Jack started with a ruined teams and in four years Toronto has built a team for the fans, Seattle built nothing but a con game of old memories.

    And in 6-12 months when Felix says no to 5/125M (because he knows he can get 10/260 from a winning team) they will say we did our best and will trade him. I will then hope its someone other than Jack making that deal. If hes there we wont even get what Tampa got for Shields we will get a hyped athlete from a big market that will be lucky to pan out.

    Jack sold us a con, hes not a balance of new stats based models and old style scouting. Hes just another old style scouting hack who owners like that is getting taken behind the woodshed by modern GMs who know what they are doing.

  82. jordan on December 23rd, 2012 3:15 pm

    I feel like we haven’t seen anything from Dave simply because he is still trying to make sense of all this. How the hell did we not top Clevelands offer to Swish?

  83. RaoulDuke37 on December 23rd, 2012 3:22 pm

    According to twitter Dave is on a break. I wouldn’t blame him if he never came back.

  84. stevemotivateir on December 23rd, 2012 3:30 pm

    Dave’s probably working on part two of his off-season plan.

    I’m sure there’s some positives we’re not seeing in this. Just hard imagine them outweighing the negatives.

  85. LMF on December 23rd, 2012 4:44 pm

    Chill mouth-breathers, plenty of time and free agents left in the off-season.

  86. Hutch on December 23rd, 2012 4:52 pm

    Actually there’s approximately one free agent left.

  87. Flaco on December 23rd, 2012 5:23 pm

    I know Felix has stated that he wants to stay in Seattle, but I cant imagine why. I know we still have some time before spring traing begins, and the games still have played, but I dont really see why we wouldn’t trade Felix. We SHOULD be able to get some great(established) players for him…why not deal him??? I dont see where this organization is going…?

  88. Snuffy on December 23rd, 2012 5:23 pm

    What the Mariners really need is an older clubhouse leader who can help as a LHDH. In addition to Raul of course. Any chance they could go get Hedecki Matsui? Money and common sense are not a factor here.

  89. beadyeyes123 on December 23rd, 2012 9:13 pm

    Wow. It’s a one year deal people. If a player should be worried it will be Bay. He’s NOT guaranteed anything. All this Jack Z has lost esteem stuff needs to stop. Seriously. Swisher would have cost us a 1st round pick and sorry, I don’t buy into a guy who’s 32 and can easily decline over that contract.

    This is the year the kids take the step forward. We all know this. Why is it so hard to understand that our kids will need to put up this year.

    Oh and to those making it sound as if Bay and Ibanez will be manning the corners? Uhhhh Saunders will have something to say about that. Wells still has a place here but Thames probably will not.

  90. djw on December 24th, 2012 12:08 am

    I hope I’m as wrong about Raul Ibanez’s career trajectory as I was the last time the Mariners signed him.

  91. eponymous coward on December 24th, 2012 12:26 am

    This is the year the kids take the step forward. We all know this. Why is it so hard to understand that our kids will need to put up this year.

    In case you didn’t notice, none of our “kids” (Montero, Ackley, Seager) played OF last year. An OF of Guti/Saunders/Bay/Ibanez/Wells is a joke. You have one healthy OFer (Saunders, who’s not really a kid any more, and neither is Smoak, they are both 26 in 2013- at this point they are what they are), one great defensive player made out of glass (Guti), a guy who spent the last 3 years being Chone Figgins on the Mets (Bay), a guy who is at best a bench bat and shouldn’t play the OF (Ibañez), and Wells, who apparently is held in such high esteem by the organization that the they signed some other team’s version of Figgins and a 41 year old DH to challenge him for playing time.

    That’s one legit starting OFer out of three (and Saunders is all of one year away from being horribly, horribly lost as a player, so it’s not like we should expect him to be a lock, look at what happened to Ackley). Do you not understand why that’s a problem and why the team needs legit OFers, not guys off the garbage heap?

    Also, the team has 3 players whose best defensive position is DH: Montero, Ibañez, Bay. One of Smoak or Morales is going to be spending time at DH too, presumably. So we’re up to four DHs, on a roster where we’re short of OFers. Do you not see a problem here?

    That’s what’s causing angst: this roster had a gaping hole in that the M’s needed a quality OFer who’s capable of playing 140-150 games with average to good defense (and there is nobody in the high minors who is particularly close to meeting that definition, in case you are wondering). What we’re getting is a junkpile and a bunch of DHs. That’s why we’re all going “WTF Jack? You said there was plenty of cash, so are you planning to fix this, or are you going to try and tell us that Ibañez and Bay are legit OFers?”

  92. Seattleken on December 24th, 2012 5:35 am

    Nicely said eponymous coward and even when you look at the DHs signed in Ibanez and Bay you are getting players whose expiry date has past.

    There is almost no chance at this point in their career of them becoming more than a replacement level player. I’ll be surprised if they aren’t a negative WAR in 2013.

    Its clear these signings are about fairy dust in the form of veteran leadership, and giving the marketing department something to hype. If Ibanez is such a good leader make him your bench coach not a 3 million dollar, roster space squeezing joke!

  93. msfanmike on December 24th, 2012 10:44 am

    There has to be other moves forthcoming. There is no way this team is not properly assessing their outfield issues. Right?

    What they are willing to spend or trade to resolve the issues is another matter. The Ibanez signing (in and of itself) looks to be a fairly close mirror to the role that Dave had in mind for Hafner – as part of his offseason plan. The complication of the team signing a redundant player (Bay) has made things look worse than they probably will be.

    If the rumors regarding Porcellos availability – and what Detroit might want in return – are true, a player like Wells might have to be traded. We would probably feel a bit better if Porcello arrived by trade. It still would not resolve the dearth of outfield talent issues, but it might be a step toward that direction while the team completes its roster construction.

    The need for a quality Outfielder (with power or speed … It doesn’t matter, we need both) can be accomplished via trade or via “Bourn.” The team apparently does not want to lose a draft pick and they may or may not be willing to spend additional monies, but I want to believe they will spend some money on a good player. The team must understand their current PR issues and fan restlessness issues. I can’t pretend they don’t.

    There are rumors circulating (see mlbtr) in regard to how a team might be able to circumvent the draft pick compensation rules. Essentially, a team like “Cleveland” who already has a protected first round pick and has already surrendered its second round pick – could act as a sign and trade conduit – and be compensated for their “lost value” of a 3rd round pick by the team that is interested in the FA, but not interested in losing THEIR own first round pick.

    I would like to believe the team knows what it is doing and is “tracking” toward a master plan, but I understand the angst. On the surface, a lot of things don’t appear to make sense, but what we see now is not going to be the finished product.


  94. MrZDevotee on December 24th, 2012 11:12 am

    Can we wait till preseason to sum up this offseason as the worst ever? Or to say we’re worse than last year? Or, hmmm, at the very least, wait till January? The beginning of February?

    And saying the M’s were never serious about spending money on free agents is ludicrous– they offered $150 million to Hamilton, to make him only the 3rd player EVER to average over $25 million a year in salary. And he chose someone else. So what?

    We obviously had to wait that out, to make other large offers, and those are the costs of going after the big boys.

    And now are we really talking about “If the Mariners didn’t go hard after Swisher, they’re not serious about winning?” That’s the only other guy I can see out there that would qualify as a “game changer” to this roster. And barely, at that.

    We were gonna use up the majority of our budget, and on top of that, give up our 12th overall pick in the draft? Okay, maybe, but deciding NOT to give up all that is a reasonable move too. Especially if there is another plan you’re pursuing (I’d take Morales over Swisher personally, especially at the cost difference, which allows us to go after other moves in addition).

    And on that subject, Morales was a great pickup, coming in for a mid-rotation flyball pitcher coming off a career best year, with the fences about to come in at Safeco.

    We’re done complimenting that move? Already? To go back to sour grapes? Really? Vargas was not gonna stay the same guy for us. He’s NOT actually a #2 starter, even… And at his real value (a #3, #4) Iwakuma pencils in as an upgrade in that regards.

    Call me an apologist if you must (that’s the token word of the moment for people with positive views of the team’s direction)… But I prefer the “half-full” approach. Adding Hamilton or Swisher would not make the glass full, but would definitely cost us the chance to add more stuff to the glass this season.

    Sure, I would have taken them on this team, but I don’t view that as BETTER than adding Morales, and then Bourn (or another OF via trade). Just different. Not better.

    I say it over and over again, but this ISN’T XBOX. You don’t get to sign whomever you want, and definitely not multiple whomevers you want. You have to find opportunities that actually exist, and make them fit. When, or if, they CAN fit.

    I mean, the tone of conversations going on seems to be that unless we signed Hamilton, Greinke, Edwin Jackson, Bourn and traded for Wil Myers (for some package of non-elite prospects) then GMZ is a failure. And the Mariners aren’t serious about winning.

    How hard is it to see that given the surplus of DH types there are other moves planned. Once we bring in a defensive catcher (a goal of GMZ’s) then Morales, Smoak, Ibanez, and Montero are actually just TWO guys. Someone has to make room. A move is definitely coming (or Smoak is head to AAA).

    And again, I’m not a fan of the Ibanez signing, as I would have preferred numerous other moves, but the idea that a guy who got an MVP vote last year, and started in LF for the New York Yankees for half the season, and was their best performer in the playoffs, isn’t worthy of being a part of the Mariner’s lineup, well, that idea is a joke. He had an OPS+ of 104, a .308 OBP, and 19 homers, with just 425 plate appearances. So what if he’s 40? We’ve got tons of “youth” who can’t touch those numbers.

    C’mon, guys. It’s not an awful offseason so far– it’s just not a DREAM offseason we all wanted. But is it too much to ask to think reasonably at this point, and wait for the rest of moves to happen before panicking? Let’s wait to see who shows up at Peoria before coming up with conclusions about the ineptitude of the offseason?

    Personally, I fully expect, with any luck, Michael Bourn will be part of this roster before long. The opportunities are dwindling, and the teams with the $$$’s to get him are dwindling too.

    Signs point to a significant trade (probably for a mid rotation pitcher) and a Michael Bourn signing, in the “get what we want” department.

    And if so–

    Bourn CF
    Guty LF
    Montero C/DH
    Morales 1B
    Saunders RF
    Seager 3B
    Jaso C
    Ryan SS
    Ackley 2B

    Ibanez in the DH/1B rotation
    Def C

    That’s solid, and the lineup is solid enough that there’s a lot of debate to be had at exactly how to fill it out 2-9.

    An upgrade to the pitching staff (perhaps a #2 starter), and we’re contenders in the Oakland/San Fran mold.

    With LOTS of kids worthy of callups this year to upgrade/support the pitching and fielding.

    We REALLY are on the cusp of something here.

    Or am I blind? Ignorant? Way off base? (Been called all those and more, plenty of times.)

  95. MrZDevotee on December 24th, 2012 11:34 am

    (oops, looks like Mike had the same idea– and used way fewer words to say it… Nice job, Mike!)

  96. Xteve X on December 24th, 2012 11:54 am

    The way I look at this move is if the M’s still sign Bourn, it becomes more palatable even if it’s more a nostalgia trip than something that actually makes them better between the lines. However if Bay & Ibanez are the only additions for the offense, and they wind up getting ABs strictly for their veteran-y grit, then it’s getting progressively more difficult to take this team seriously.

  97. msfanmike on December 24th, 2012 12:12 pm

    It may or may not be “this” simple:

    Cleveland: “hey Jack, Scott called … And he has an idea. If you don’t make a hard push for Swisher, we can help you get Bourn without losing a first round pick.

    Seattle: OK! Talk to you after Christmas! You know, I have to make a roster move the day after Christmas anyway, I have not yet done my shopping, my wife has 30 people invited over to spend the holidays and the fans are riding my ass. Yeah, let’s talk on Wednesday.

  98. eponymous coward on December 24th, 2012 12:25 pm

    Can we wait till preseason to sum up this offseason as the worst ever?

    Sure, but if we go into April and this is the roster, will you be rethinking your username?

    My take so far is that at best we’ve gone sideways, if not actually, really downwards (subtract Millwood and Vargas, throw Figgins on junkpile, add Morales and pick up Ibañez and Bay off of junkpile). Sideways isn’t good enough in this division. This is the same 75ish win team we had last year, with some more hitting and now with a weaker pitching staff.

    The way you have to project the roster into contention from where it is now is to go “imagine Ackley, Saunders, Montero, Smoak and Seager plus a kid pitcher or two adding about 7-10 WAR to the team, plus unicorns and ponies and contention, YAY!” The reason why USSM readers are having somewhat of a collective freakout is that they know this is ridiculously optimistic, your basic KC Royals Spring Training pipe dream, where if everything goes right it all works out- but the chance of the M’s moving forward strongly goes up quite a bit if you add an established 3+WAR player or two to this group, so that EVERY player doesn’t have to hit their ridiculously optimistic upside.- only one or two players have to take a step forward.. and those players left out on the FA market are getting signed.

    You know, June draft picks in 2013 are awesome, but they aren’t going to help the 2013 team win a damn thing- and if the team’s decided they’re keeping their powder dry because they need the draft pick, and they won’t make trades because it’s not worth trading two apples for an orange…well, this roster plus what’s left over on Large Item Pickup Day ain’t gonna cut it.

    So, fine, we’ll see who else gets added. But if it’s just a lot of junk…

  99. msfanmike on December 24th, 2012 1:09 pm

    It’s hard to know how the team thinks, it truly is, but with the new rules for “slotting value,” the draft pick in and of itself is only part of the equation. The corresponding dollar value of the pick – and how that money might be spread over other draft picks – is also a consideration.

    To this point, yeah … Sideways for sure, but there is a limit to the amount of disappointment the organization can spread. At least I think there is. I want to believe there is, anyway. And for now, that will have to suffice for me. There is a lot of time left in the offseason and with the team already having some key Boras clients on the team, I can certainly envision some quid-pro-quo activities being pondered.

  100. stevemotivateir on December 24th, 2012 1:35 pm

    I don’t know about anyone else, but the rotation concerns me just as much as the outfield.

  101. MrZDevotee on December 24th, 2012 2:41 pm

    I pray to God there’s a deal in the works for a starting pitcher. And pretty sure Z likes a lot of what’s out there, if he was keen to ship out Vargas (closest to a #2 on this team).

    Agreed, if this is “it” come April, I’m on the freakout boat. Paddling hard. Changing my username to “Women & Children first”… *laugh*

  102. _Hutch_ on December 24th, 2012 4:21 pm

    I’m all about building for the future, the value of a good farm system, etc. but it blows my mind that the team would pass on signing a perennial 4-win player because of the idea of giving up the 12th overall pick in a draft class generally considered weak. Especially given the current state of the franchise, with attendance in freefall, other parts of the division spending big and only two more years of Felix left. If there was ever a time to make an investment in a free agent, this is it.

  103. Westside guy on December 25th, 2012 10:14 am

    Yuniesky Betancourt is still available.

  104. stevemotivateir on December 25th, 2012 5:18 pm


    You could argue that the Rangers have had a pretty rough off-season as well, after trading Young, losing Hamilton, and missing out on Greinke.

    But yeah, I agree with ya. It made so much sense, for so many reasons, to go after a guy like Swisher. I’m still a bit in shock over what we’ve seen.

  105. raul_podzednick on December 26th, 2012 8:47 am

    Why aren’t people more excited about Kendrys Morales?

    Is it because we didn’t sign him as a free agent?

    Needed a big bat, got a big bat!

  106. Westside guy on December 26th, 2012 9:31 am

    I like Moralez – but his acquisition did nothing to address the team’s needs in the outfield; and then the team’s moves to pick up a couple of Large-Item-Pickup-Day outfielders dampened any enthusiasm I had.

    BTW Wedge has apparently pushed specifically for picking up Raul this offseason and last – so prepare yourself to see lots of him.

  107. Paul B on December 26th, 2012 9:50 am

    I think Delmon Young is still available. He’s meh, but could be useful to the M’s. The M’s already have him in Wells, but Wedge apparently doesn’t like Wells (because Wedge can’t tell good players from bad players).

    Wouldn’t surprise me if the M’s crash and burn, Ibanez hits almost as good as Ryan, and Wedge is gone by July.

  108. JasonJ on December 26th, 2012 10:52 am

    Well I hope we don’t bring in Delmon Young. He’s not an improvement over anybody we already have. Although I don’t see how Bay and Ibanez are an improvement over Wells and Carp so clearly that isn’t the motivation by JZ. Must be the veteran grit thing that’s driving these moves.

  109. Westside guy on December 26th, 2012 10:57 am

    They’ve said it was “veteran presence” they were looking for, Jason… and I’ve got nothing against that. It’s just that I’d like to see that “presence” come in here with someone that’s still at the top of their game for a change.

  110. Paul B on December 26th, 2012 10:59 am

    Or at least someone who is better in some measurable way to the players they already have.

  111. JasonJ on December 26th, 2012 11:53 am

    You are correct. It is “veteran presence” but it’s more fun to associate some sort of old west “grit” to it. Picturing these old gunslingers showing up and willing the team to victory based on their presence alone helps me cope with these odd signings.

    Maybe my memory is bad, but wasn’t Wedge heralded as a manager who could get the most out of young players, based on his time in Celveland? Why is it now that he’s looking for veterans to come in and take AB’s away from the youngsters?

    Or maybe I’m reading too much into these moves and assigning a greater meaning to them when it’s possible that Ibanez is just more of the same dumpster-diving/bobble-head driven moves that we can’t seem to move beyond.

  112. terryoftacoma on December 26th, 2012 12:23 pm

    I would point out that Bourn would also cost us a first round draft choice. I don’t think he’ll be coming here.

    I see Smoak starting the season at Tacoma,maybe even Montero and I think Wells will be part of a deal for a starter.

    I’m not going to freak out about this because I didn’t think we would sign a big name anyway.

    Morales, Ibanez and Bay are all one year deals. If they produce even a little, they could be valuable as mid-season trades. You have to have something worth trading to pick anything of value up. We haven’t had anything but pitchers to trade for a while now.

    Sure these are not the outfield upgrades we wanted but face it they are probably better than the Robinson Figgins and company outfield we had last year. They may in fact be the best that wanted to come here. Which says a lot.

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