Was Mariners Offer an Overpay?

Dave · January 11, 2013 at 10:36 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Now that we have a pretty good idea of what the Mariners offered for Upton — a package of Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush, and Stephen Pryor — the question on most people’s minds is whether that was a good deal for the Mariners had Upton not rejected the trade. Or, should we be happy that Upton said no, as some people suggested after the pieces were reported?

I wrote up my thoughts on the relative value of Upton versus Walker/Franklin over at FanGraphs this morning. While some are going to compare it to the Erik Bedard trade, the reality is that this isn’t anywhere close to that kind of deal, because trading a pitching prospect for a hitter is a lot different than trading a hitting prospect for a pitcher. While people tend to simply lump all “prospects” into the same basket, that’s simply not an accurate way of viewing their expected future value, and while Taijuan Walker might have serious upside, he also comes with huge amounts of risk.

In the piece, I never suggest that this was anything other than a good deal for Arizona, and conversely, I don’t think this was any kind of bargain for the M’s. This was something like paying market value for a +4 win player, just like signing Josh Hamilton to a 4 year, $100 million contract with some vesting options would have been paying market value for a +4 win player. Either could have gone badly. No player’s performance is any kind of future guarantee, whether big leaguer or guy working his way up the ladder. Walker could turn out to be a beast, and Upton might never develop any further than he has already.

But, this wasn’t some kind of absurd offer to try and save Jack’s job of desperation. Throw those comments in the trash where they belong. Upton is a very good player, and the Mariners offered up some very good prospects in order to get him. It’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t change his mind and accept the trade, since they’ll still have Walker, Franklin, Furbush, and Pryor in that case, but it’s also a trade I’d have been willing to make. It’s a high price, but it’s not too high of a price.


74 Responses to “Was Mariners Offer an Overpay?”

  1. ivan on January 11th, 2013 10:46 am

    To answer your question in a word: No. Even though I like all the players who would have gone to Arizona, and even though the price was what I consider high, it was also fair. The M’s would have been dealing from a position of surplus to fill a recognized need. This trade would have made the team better, period.

  2. Badbadger on January 11th, 2013 10:46 am

    What I don’t get is why we didn’t just sign Nick Swisher, who would have cost us a single pick. I would definitely trade Upton and a #12 pick for Swisher, Franklin, Furbush, Walker and Pryor.

  3. sexymarinersfan on January 11th, 2013 10:51 am

    The more I digest this trade, the less I hate it. We were dealing from a point of strength in all phases. Walker was a couple of years away at best, while Franklin is blocked at SS/2B. We currently have three lefties in our pen, so giving up Furbush wouldn’t be too much of a loss. Pryor is a nice talented right arm, but we seem to have a plethora of those, plus Carson Smith is knocking on the door!!!

    Losing these four players would’ve definitely been an overpay. But that’s gonna have to be what it takes to get hitters to want to come here. Jack seems to try to be building a young nucleus around Felix. That’s what’d I’d do. To think if this trade went through we could have a future middle lineup of Upton, Zunino, Morales, Seager, and Montero.

    Depending on who the player was coming back, I’d hope to see this thing through.

  4. ivan on January 11th, 2013 10:57 am

    If Walker was the pitcher who would have gone to Arizona, that would have sucked, to be sure, but people should remember that the M’s have Pike, Sanchez, and Gohara in the system.

  5. jordan on January 11th, 2013 11:05 am

    I think it was a fair price to pay for Upton but I personally wouldnt make the deal simply because I feel that if we did we are still looking at a 3rd place finish with this team for a few years. I think we still need to be stockpiling prospects. not dealing them

  6. maqman on January 11th, 2013 11:10 am

    Upton would not perform nearly as well in Safeco as he has in Arizona, Franklin and Walker can be as good or better value to the club over the next three years and won’t cost them $13MM a year. The M’s will play .500 or better as is and will know better next off season what their real needs are and still have the money and prospects to fill them more economically. Furbush and Pryor are also valuable, not big time but not nothing either.

  7. Klatz on January 11th, 2013 11:14 am

    I think the price was high but not overly so. Walker is a great prospect with a high ceiling but high risk. Franklin’s good but likely not a superstar and his “likely” position is blocked at 2b, if you believe the assertion that he can’t quite cut it at short.

    If the Ms have to go for a shorter contract/higher cost contract to overcome Upton’s reluctance I’d rather they take Walker off the table.

    Unfortunately given the park, the Ms will need to overpay for free agents and trade targets with no trade clauses. Of course a lot of the reluctance should go away should the Ms start winning again. The team’s fortune depend heavily on most of the young core, Ackely, Montero, Seager, and Smoak getting better. And for the most MLB ready prospects to not fail, i.e. Franklin, Hultzen, Zunino, Paxton, Miller, and Walker.

    Overall I like the trade. But I hope the management doesn’t get desperate and really overpay.

  8. marinerjim11 on January 11th, 2013 11:17 am

    Now they should call the Marlins offer the same package for Stnaton and see if the Marlins will bite.

  9. thedude1987 on January 11th, 2013 11:27 am

    I guess the big question everyone is wondering is how much more would it take to pry Stanton from the Marlins? I couldn’t imagine they would want more than 2 more players in the deal. potentially another big three though and a major leaguer.

  10. Mekias on January 11th, 2013 11:28 am

    I won’t be angry if this trade ends up being made but I will be disappointed. It’s definitely an overpay in my view. I simply don’t think Upton will be able to produce 4-5 WAR in Seattle. I get that regression and “home field advantage” will adjust his bad road splits higher but they’re still FAR from exciting. Add that he’s a right-handed hitter in Safeco and it’ll be even more of a risk. Bringing in the fences won’t help righties THAT much.

    If we have to give away the last contract year (i.e. make it a player option) then it’ll be an even larger overpay.

    I’m not against the Mariners overpaying for a great hitter since free agents don’t want to come here but this seems more than I’m willing to give up.

  11. goat on January 11th, 2013 11:31 am

    So if you take the high end of the error bars on the future value of Upton and the low end of the error bars on the future value of Walker and Hultzen, they match. And the error bars are around 50%. That doesn’t mean $40 mil ~ $41 mil, unless you can convince a blackjack dealer that you should be allowed to look at your hole card before asking for another one.
    Before reading anything about this deal I would have thought it was fair. After reading the fangraphs article, I’m actually more convinced that this deal would have likely been an overpay.

  12. msfanmike on January 11th, 2013 11:54 am

    Swing and a miss on Hamilton and Upton … Okay – so what. All you can do is try. Fortunately you get 3 strikes in baseball.

    I agree with some comments above … Contact Miami and see how much more the pot might have to be sweetened for them to consider trading Stanton.

    I would imagine Miami’s interest has at least piqued a bit with the “news” that Walker might be available. It would be silly for them to not at least consider some ideas.

  13. omahajoe on January 11th, 2013 11:58 am

    I agree. This would’ve been a fair deal. Would’ve been a good haul for AZ and a nice package considering it appears they are determined to trade him. M’s would’ve traded the high upside of Walker for a much less risky impact bat. I belive 2012 was Upton’s floor with more upside likely.

    Since this deal appears dead. Next question is, so now what?

    Not any power bats left…and the M’s don’t appear to have the appetite to part with the 12th pick for Bourn.

    We still need a couple arms as well. Still have work to be done before breaking camp. Just not sure what Z’s direction will be now.

    I just hope the M’s don’t panic and offer too much for a lesser hitter (Willingham, Kubel, etc).

    41 days until M’s open spring training…

  14. TheMightyMariner on January 11th, 2013 12:06 pm

    I think it was too much for Upton. Glad it didn’t happen. Upton is a very good player with a lot of potential.

    We should be dealing that package for a guy who is already at ‘that’ level. Upton isn’t at ‘that’ level yet.

    It is tough being a Mariners fan :) . A decade of suck will make you a very unappealing destination for players.

  15. mca on January 11th, 2013 12:10 pm

    Although I really like Walker’s upside, I would be happy with this trade. I am, however, confused, if true, by the Mariners’ reluctance to surrender a draft pick (an unknown entity) to sign a free agent (specifically Nick Swisher, but I’d also consider this for Bourn) when they are willing to surrender several developed prospects (entities known to be highly regarded) in a trade.
    Is there something I’m missing? Do they just value Upton that much higher than Swisher? Or is this evidence that such suggestions were inaccurate?
    I feel like the Mariners would be really lucky to get two prospects as highly regarded as Walker and Franklin in 10 years of picking from the #12 spot. I know Jack Z is known as a great talent evaluator, but the value many fans place in that #12 seems to show overconfidence. These are the last 30 years of #12 picks: Snyder, Mark; DeLucchi, Ron; McDowell, Oddibe;Drew, Cameron; Hemond, Scott; DeShields, Delino; Fischer, Tom; Juden, Jeff; Ritchie, Todd; Glanville, Doug;Felder, Ken; Wagner, Billy; Garciaparra,Nomar; Morris, Matt; Seay, Bobby; Akin, Aaron; Everett, Adam; Myers, Brett; Borchard, Joe; Jones, Mike; Saunders, Joe; Milledge, Lastings; Weaver, Jered; Bruce, Jay; Kiker, Kasey; Dominguez, Matt; Weeks, Jemile; Crow, Aaron; Grandal, Yasmani; Jungmann, Taylor; Cecchini, Gavin
    Obviously there is some value in this list, but also alot of meh. Even if we think Z will pick better, I don’t think we can say he’d be able to evaluate talent better than the next 10 selectors following the #12 pick. These, though are the clear misses at 12 over the last 10 years (I don’t know alot about prospects, so I may have missed someone highly regarded who hasn’t made my radar yet): (Jason Heyward #14-2007) (Brett Lawrie #16-2008) (Chris Sale #13-2010) (Nick Swisher and Cole Hamels #16/#17 Denard Span#20 2002) (Billy Butler #14 2004). That’s really a pretty short list, and getting this right every time would require abilities that I don’t think any human possesses. Is next year’s draft supposed to be especially loaded?

  16. shortbus on January 11th, 2013 12:42 pm

    Now that Upton’s no longer an option making Plan B for acquiring an outfielder a failure, it’s time to implement Plan X.

    Step 1: Construct time machine. Put the Moose on it, he’s not that busy.

    Step 2: Go back to 2009. Do not sign Josh Fields.

    Step 3: Draft Mike Trout with the pick you get for not signing Fields.

    Step 4: Win.

  17. amnizu on January 11th, 2013 12:49 pm


    You’re ignoring the paradox that will create, Mike Trout will then have to come up through the Mariner’s farm system. Meaning he’ll likely be traded away for peanuts or fail to reach his potential while in the organization.

  18. vetted_coach on January 11th, 2013 1:11 pm

    It’s entirely plausible that Upton’s chief reason for rejecting Seattle has more to do with losing than with money. These guys know they will get their money, but winning pennants is much more elusive. It’s all about the rep. Upton will most likely never change his mind about the no-trade clause.

    If Jack is not just making a PR play, he will transfer the same offer to Miami for Stanton, who is a younger, better, player and who has less control of the situation. And the Marlins certainly would be interested in that collection of prospects.

    The safest bet is that neither Upton nor Stanton will end up in the Mariner outfield while Denial will continue to dominate the content of issues surrounding this team and its overmatched general manager.

  19. leftfield limey on January 11th, 2013 1:16 pm

    I have the same question as a couple of others on this thread, about the balance between Upton and 12th pick and Nick Swisher and the prospects offered up.

    I understand that Swisher is older and does not have the upside potential of Upton but his average WAR is not far off Upton’s over the past 4 years, is more consistent and we would get to keeep the prospects. Given the spare cash on payroll I do not see why the Swisher deal is not preferable especially given that the Mariners are unlikely to contend in 2013 which would be a “wasted” year of Upton.

    This of course assumes:

    1. Swisher would have come to Seattle

    2. Z was not planning something more (i.e. the Upton offer being conditional on Upton signing an extension)

  20. Badbadger on January 11th, 2013 1:18 pm

    Nick Swisher, Career wRC+ =120
    Justin Upton, Career wRC+ =116

    It seems clearly stupid to me to pass on Swisher for a #12 pick and send a big load of prospects for Upton.

  21. Gormogon on January 11th, 2013 1:24 pm

    I don’t know why, but I am getting the impression that the M’s are getting a bit desperate to get a good hitter into Safeco THIS year just to prove that moving in the fences will work so that in future years, adding free agent hitters will be a bit easier.

    Re: Stanton. If the M’s hadn’t already asked for Stanton with that package BEFORE agreeing to get Upton, they would be extremely foolish. Miami likely wants a big leaguer back in that action. Sounds like they’re looking for a 3B, so I’m guessing it would have to take Seager plus some of that package. Can Franklin play 3B if needed?

  22. MrZDevotee on January 11th, 2013 1:26 pm

    I thought from the get-go that this was what I’d expect a team like Seattle to have to pay for a talent like Upton.

    Teams don’t give away potential MVP’s for marginal prospects and a bullpen guy (except in the Cliff Lee deal, but that was a rental).

    Heck, the Diamondbacks were asking for even MORE from Texas (two top prospects, plus others). Texas turned them down right before they accepted our offer.

    At his current cost it makes sense to ask “why are they moving this guy”? There have to be real issues, because he’s under team control and they were willing to except a VERY young (ie- risky) pitching prospect as the major piece in return.

    Stanton would be way more fun for what we offered.

    (Perhaps the Mariners actually WERE the team that leaked this after finding out Upton was saying “no”– to let other teams know exactly what we were willing to offer!!!? This fish spit out the bait, but it’s still dangling there in the water!)

  23. MrZDevotee on January 11th, 2013 1:29 pm

    But wouldn’t you expect those two sets of numbers (Swisher’s and Upton’s) to pass each other by over the next 3 seasons?

    I certainly would. Swisher’s on decline, Upton’s on the rise…

  24. greentunic on January 11th, 2013 1:30 pm

    I’m simply not convinced of Upton’s talent outside of AZ. The article I read on how we shouldn’t take his road numbers too seriously did not have the evidence to convince me he’s closer to his performance at home.

    Not only that but I am seriously concerned about his intangibles and how that might affect his development. No I don’t know him and no I’m not in the clubhouse but enough people who DO know him have said as much and his brother’s attitude doesn’t do anything to convince me otherwise. And we’ve seen B.J. jog out plays on defense. I think there’s a cultural perspective not conducive to success there.

  25. Westside guy on January 11th, 2013 1:30 pm

    I don’t think it was an overpay. Fans tend to drastically overvalue their own team’s prospects.

    Of course, I could make the same comment regarding the team’s unwillingness to sign Swisher because they didn’t want to lose the #12 draft pick…

  26. stevemotivateir on January 11th, 2013 1:32 pm

    Upton will most likely never change his mind about the no-trade clause.

    You mean, like he did last year?

    If Jack is not just making a PR play, he will transfer the same offer to Miami for Stanton, who is a younger, better, player and who has less control of the situation. And the Marlins certainly would be interested in that collection of prospects.

    A PR play, really? GM’s don’t bluff with offers like that. And it should be obvious that a deal for Stanton would’ve been attempted before an offer for Upton was made. The fact that Stanton isn’t a Mariner right now, should tell you that Miami wanted more.

  27. Leroy Stanton on January 11th, 2013 1:32 pm

    It’s not merely a #12 pick in terms of talent, it’s also the #12 pick allotment. For example, Zunino’s signing for less than slot allowed us to sign several other players to over slot deals. Teams seem reluctant to part with that flexibility under this new system.

  28. sexymarinersfan on January 11th, 2013 1:40 pm

    If I was Miami, I’d wait until the trade deadline, also the time when Mike Zunino becomes available for trade and start the conversation by asking for Walker, Zunino, Franklin, and any other 3-4 I want in your system!

    Of course, that’s what I’d do if I was Miami.

  29. built2crash on January 11th, 2013 2:47 pm

    I would’ve liked the trade if we were getting Stanton, but not for Upton, he seems like head case to me trying to get by on his talent alone.

    Also, I think banking on your young pitchers to build a team around is setting you up for failure, they are too fragile and too many things can go wrong– I’d gladly trade all 3 of them to get 2 good proven bats.

  30. terryoftacoma on January 11th, 2013 3:04 pm

    I was against the trade but the package was fair.

    We didn’t sign Swisher and probably didn’t get Upton. Didn’t happen so it’s time to more on. Lamenting what could/might have been doesn’t do anyone any good. Spilled milk is spilled milk. We keep trying.

    It seems that hitters do not want to come here. But if we look closely we should have known that. If moving the fences increases the fairness of the park. People might be more willing to come here. We won’t know that until the season is well underway. Winning would help,too.

    Yes. Z and Wedge are on their last year of contract and Z is trying to improve the offense. However, nothing he’s tried(unsuccessfully) so far is over the top. If some of the kids had stepped up last year like they were hoping if might have been easier for Z to get the pieces he needed here. That didn’t happen. Spilled milk,again. We move on.

    We have a beautiful ballpark in a beautiful part of the country. We have a lot to offer. People just need to realize that.

  31. casey on January 11th, 2013 3:39 pm

    Swisher is an average player heading towards the end of his career who got a final big contract.

    Upton is an elite young player with MLB time who you can build a future winning lineup around for many years ( the same as Ackley, Montero and Zunino are in my mind). Different quality on many levels (age, offensive skills, defence, speed, athleticism, potential for growth) from Swisher as I see it.

    Walker is the same type of prospect – but as many have said with our strength in starting pitching and not in the outfield the deal as reported made good sense for the M’s and their long term needs.

    Thumbs up to Jack on this one from me – just too bad he couldn’t get it done.

  32. roosevelt on January 11th, 2013 3:53 pm

    This will go down in history as the all-time best M’s trade that did not complete itself.

    Here, I disagree with Dave, I feel it was a gross overpayment of young talent for Upton. Remember, these players were made possible in the draft because the M’s had high draft picks… due to… being awful.

    Also, I do believe it is a desperate short-term move by the GM to save the GM’s ass during his final contract year.

  33. just a fan on January 11th, 2013 4:13 pm

    It’s hard to say this is an overpay when you see that one year of Shin-Soo Choo snagged Trevor Bauer, and two years of James Shields landed Wil Myers.

    Three years of Justin Upton for Taijuan Walker and Nick Franklin? That’s fairly in line with the other prospect-for-veteran deals, especially when you consider the upside and that Franklin is blocked at 2B by Ackley (among others). As excited as we are for Taijuan, he’s still 19 years old and anything can happen. Bullpen arms have value, but then they also kinda don’t.

    One difference also between this deal and the Bedard deal is that the Bedard deal filled one hole by creating another. Who was the CF after that deal? Wilkerson? I don’t even remember.

    (and roosevelt, Franklin was 27th overall, Walker was 43rd overall, and Pryor was in the 3rd-to-5th round)

  34. Flaco on January 11th, 2013 4:36 pm

    “We have a beautiful ballpark in a beautiful part of the country. We have a lot to offer. People just need to realize that”

    I’m sorry but this sounds sad…like “why doesn’t anyone like us?”

    This organization doesn’t have a very good history of winning that is the bottom line. It wont matter how far or how much closer the fences are if the teams performance is poor. Winning solves everything, and I doubt the distance of the fences has had anything to do with our losing ways. Put yourselves in the players shoes…would you want to play here?

  35. Ralph_Malph on January 11th, 2013 5:31 pm

    we’ve seen B.J. jog out plays on defense. I think there’s a cultural perspective not conducive to success there.

    Really? What “cultural perspective” are you referring to? I understand saying you are concerned about a particular player’s work habits, but when you say he has a “cultural perspective” that is not conducive to success, it comes across as something much more offensive.

    I guess it must have something to do with his “athleticism.”

  36. roosevelt on January 11th, 2013 5:31 pm

    Franklin and Walker are high draft picks. More importantly, they are recognized by most of baseball rating services as having a large upside. Also, don’t forget that Furbush (part of speculated trade) is our gold star return from the lamentable Fister trade.

    I think Jack’s strength is as a Scout of high school talent and then college talent– players that choose to refuse the initial draft opportunity. This is his calling.

    I congratulate Upton for turning down his “opportunity”.

  37. thedude1987 on January 11th, 2013 5:40 pm

    I feel like the M’s have to over pay for a free agent just so we have someone to try and lure these guys over here. Who do we have in the M’s organization to lure other stars? The next player the Mariners acquire needs to be someone to attract other players to Safeco. I bet if the M’s had Hamilton he would have been more okay with the trade.

    I get the feeling that no one player wants to be the lone addition to try and break the curve. I feel like there is a lot less pressure for a star to step into a stacked lineup and just be a piece and not have to feel pressured to carry a team. If a star is expected to step into the Mariners line up, they are expected to be a big cog.

    All the weight of success seems to be the farm growing as normal and what Kendrys can bring to the table this year. I expect to see some player at least flirt with .290 this year. I think everyone agrees that Franklin seems like trade bait. Maybe Ackley needs some competition.

    Jack is on his last year Its his time to gamble. Let’s see what cards he’s fishing for on the river.

  38. greentunic on January 11th, 2013 7:26 pm


    If you’re trying to imply in a passive-aggressive manner that my post was referencing Uptons race, I can assure you that you are mistaking.

    There is a reason I referenced his brother. Not because he is also black like Justin (which I think you were trying to get at without saying it), but because he is his brother. I suggested there may be a cultural point of view these two brothers share that does not lend itself to the greatest work ethic or a value on teamwork. It may be upbringing or shared experiences or I may be wrong of course. But no, I dont think black players dont try hard. Plenty of evidence against that.


  39. Sports on a Shtick on January 11th, 2013 9:29 pm

    I think it was an overpay considering it’s pretty much assumed Arizona and Upton will part ways. Somehow that leverage turned into the M’s offering market or slightly-above market value for him.

  40. Hunter S. Thompson on January 11th, 2013 9:41 pm

    Franklin and Walker weren’t that high of picks, they were late first round or sandwich round picks. They have value, but its not the same as what we would give up if we signed a free agent with compensation this year. They were great late first round finds by Jack. Paxton is a fourth round pick. You get draft picks every year, alot of them, and sometimes if you are very lucky, they turn into players like Justin Upton.

    This wasn’t a great deal for the M’s but it was by no means an overpay, two bullpen arms, good bullpen arms but still fairly easily replaceable. A possible league average 2B if he actually delivers on his ceiling and a potential Ace, or Rick Ankiel, or Little Unit, or Gil Meche, Roger Salkeld, Erik Bedard, Felix, Rafael Soriono. Walker has all the tools but his range of out comes is so huge its almost scary. Superstar pitching prospect are a way larger gamble then this trade would have been.

  41. Ralph_Malph on January 11th, 2013 11:30 pm

    greentunic- I guess it was the word “cultural” that threw me. I assumed you meant black, or “urban” culture, pick your euphemism. If I misread you I’m sorry. I’m not sure what culture you were referring to.

  42. Breadbaker on January 11th, 2013 11:57 pm

    My mind goes back to 2002 and 2003 and all the prospects we held on to whose parachutes did not open while we missed the playoffs with 93 win teams both years. If we’d left those players go in trades, we might have that flag flying in centerfield at Safeco instead of in Anaheim.

  43. GLS on January 12th, 2013 2:58 am

    I haven’t read the Fangraphs article but I believe Dave when he says this wasn’t an extreme overpay. At the same time, I think I prefer it this way. I think this team is on an upward trend. It’s a young team, but young players get better as they approach their peak years.

    I don’t buy into the reasoning that Franklin is blocked at 2b. First, we don’t know how Ackley will perform. Secondly, and more importantly, the question really is will he hit? If it turns out he really can hit in the major leagues, then you find a position for him. The exact same concept applies to Miller and Romero.

    An area of concern is first base, not so much this season, but in 2014 and beyond if Smoak doesn’t establish himself.

  44. Jopa on January 12th, 2013 6:47 am

    I think it’s a considerable overpay and I hope the trade doesn’t go through. My opinion is centered around Upton only having three years of team control and zero chance of staying with the club beyond that. They’ll get two years out of him without a sniff at the playoffs, then they’ll trade him for much less than they just gave up.

    I hope Upton and his agent agree with what I had posted earlier, that his next mega-contract will be significantly smaller if he plays his next three years in Safeco with a losing team.

    I would add that contributing to my opinion is the non-extension of Felix. Maybe the M’s are certain they’ll sign him. If not, I’d keep Walker. If they extend Felix, this trade becomes more palatable.

  45. greentunic on January 12th, 2013 8:15 am


    I reread my original coment and “culture” was not the best choice of words. I should have said a fundamental “attitude” or “mindset” that the brothers share.

    Shouldn’t have gotten defensive. My bad.

  46. oldschool on January 12th, 2013 8:55 am

    Of course Upton refused a trade to the Mariners. His entire career is at stake. If he gets traded to the Rangers, he could hit .300/35hr/125rbi per year and be an all-star. If he is traded to the Mariners, he would maybe hit .280/20hr/90rbi per year with no all-star games. Then he becomes a free agent at age 27. Which player do you think is more likely to be in the 7yr/$25mil per year range? Moving in the fences at Safeco will be only of marginal help. The cold, heavy marine air is the prime cause of the hitting woes, combined with no player having any protection in the line-up. It is a catch-22 that feeds on itself. The only way the Mariners might land Upton is to “buy-out” his free agency, and offer him a 7yr/$20mil per year extension, to guarantee him the kind of career coin he could have if he goes to Texas.

  47. kinickers77 on January 12th, 2013 8:58 am

    Everone seems to agree the relievers aren’t major players in this so I’m only gonna focus on Walker and Franklin.

    It is a well-known fact that there are more talented prospects that do not pan out than ones that do. Walker and Franklin have talent but the odds of them panning out when we look at history are still low. More “highly touted” prospects have been busts than stars. So, it’s as simple to me as playing our odds.

    Upton has already “panned-out” to be an above average player, with the chance to be just as good or even better than anyone ever expects Walker or Franklin to become. Upton’s risk- level is a lot safer.

    Yes, it is a concern that’s he’s gone in three years but besides Beltre and guys that suck, doesn’t everyone usually say how much they love the city and fans of Seattle after playing here a bit? We tend to love our players and extend them a lot more grace than say Philly or Boston. If Upton came here, I think he’d end up really liking it just like most players do when they come here, especially as we continue to get better. I do beleve we are trending upward. If Upton sucks, he won’t like it and will want to leave but then we won’t want to keep him anymore anyway and we trade him before his contract expires.

    But personally, I don’t believe he’ll suck.

  48. currcoug on January 12th, 2013 9:50 am

    I am relieved the trade didn’t go through. I have a feeling we will look back on this trade, and thank Upton for nixing it…particularly in regards to Walker.

    If he isn’t dealt, we could see Franklin in the majors in the second half of 2013. One option is to trade Guti (and he had a promising winter season), move Ackley back to CF, and install Franklin at 2B. Of course, if Ackley puts up another season like 2012, the point might become moot.

    Finally, people bring up Upton’s home/away splits, but neglect to mention his troubling career numbers against RHP: .275, .345, .463, .808. Those numbers include 531 SO’s to 189 BB’s against RHP.

  49. ripperlv on January 12th, 2013 10:09 am

    As everyone knows, Ibanez superior leadership skills would have turned Upton into a superstar destined to the HOF. So obviously, it was an underpay by JZ.

  50. Flaco on January 12th, 2013 10:16 am

    I haven’t seen anyone here mention this interview with Hamilton. Forward to 10:25 he speaks about the Mariners “offer”


  51. Ralph_Malph on January 12th, 2013 10:21 am

    Greentunic — it’s cool. I haven’t seen enough of the Uptons to have an opinion so I accept your concern as legitimate. Maybe what Justin needs is some veteran leadership…….

  52. ck on January 12th, 2013 10:46 am

    Overpay? YES…several good prospects for a short contract with a good player.
    NO…the M’s must improve quickly, and must pay above market price either to free agents, or trade partners.
    Losings seasons, declining attendance, rivals huge TV deals, agents pushing their players into big markets, Mariners are the bottom of MLB barrel.

  53. vetted_coach on January 12th, 2013 1:40 pm

    Of course it was an overloaded offer. There was no risk because everyone knew it would be rejected by Upton. If Z meant business, he would transfer the same offer – plus Casper Wells – to Miami for Stanton. Miami would consider that offer, and Stanton has no control. But the M’a are not interested in a $15M/ year talent, so that won’t happen. Z does need to save his own rear end, so perhaps he will pare down the offer (remove Walker/Franklin) and obtain Kubel for Furbush and Pryor. Still an overpay, but the M’s offense, left as is, represents an embarrassment. I expect 70-72 wins. Bye bye, Jack!

  54. greentunic on January 12th, 2013 2:20 pm

    Lots of assumptions there. I’d love to believe the one that says Miami would consider that offer especially.

  55. Jopa on January 12th, 2013 2:37 pm

    Knickers—I’m not sure how old you are, but I’ve been following the M’s since day one and it’s shocking how very few of their players they’ve ever extended. Ichiro is somewhat of an exception because of the Japanese ownership willing to do whatever it took to have kept him.

    After Ichiro, Edgar is about the only star player that was extended. Present and prior ownership have all been very tight fisted. They extended Boone when he was on the juice and that was a huge failure.

    Often, these players did enjoy playing in Seattle, but ownership simply wouldn’t compete with other offers to keep them in town. This has been the case as far back as I can remember.

    I know Jack is feeling some pressure, but this is not time to go all Bavasi on us. Another year or two of stockpiling talent and they’ll be in a much better position to trade.

  56. Westside guy on January 12th, 2013 3:28 pm

    It takes to to tango, as far as extensions go.

    Griffey refused to stay. RJ made it abundantly clear he was unhappy here. A-Rod signed an extension when young, but he was a Boras client – they rarely extend (and Boras made it known he was against that first extension).

  57. kinickers77 on January 12th, 2013 4:23 pm

    I moved to WA in ’93 as an eleven-year-old who had grown up an Angels fan up until that point. The M’s magical ’95 season made them my new favorite and I’ve been following them ever since. I hadn’t started following the M’s blogosphere until last year so my knowledge about the farm and how baseball team operations tend to go is still pretty new.

    Anyway, I’ve gotten the impression players don’t want to come to Seattle but once they do, they enjoy their time here. Kinda like how much Felix loves it hear and says he wants to be a Mariner for life. I believe him. Or David Aardsma’s recent tweet about Upton:

    “Upton missed out big time not going to Seattle, great city, great fans. #doesntknowwhatheismissing”

    I’m not making any statements about our ownership, though. You are probably right that they don’t tend to extend players much. They lost Griffey, ARod, Johnson. All I meant to say is that even if Upton doesn’t like Seattle now, if he played here and a time for an extension came in three years, I think the city and fans will have grown on him enough that he would legitimately want to stay. But I don’t know if the FO would pay him what he’d rightfully demand, though. I would hope they would.

  58. smb on January 12th, 2013 5:20 pm

    Any offer that includes Walker is too high a price, IMO.

  59. smb on January 12th, 2013 5:28 pm

    Regarding ownership and them not extending the handful of stars that have left and gone elsewhere, I’ll give them credit for at least attempting at times (they made Alex an offer, at least), and the Felix extension, but the track record isn’t very good. I’d attribute that to chronic undervaluation of under-contract talent and chronic overvaluation of their own skills and abilities in roster management and building a franchise to win above all else. I’ve never gotten the impression from M’s ownership that winning is their highest priority…”guest/fan experience” and making money seem to be the top priorities of the ownership group. It’s my single biggest beef with them, that they don’t understand that winning baseball games is the best medicine for their bottom line, both short and long term.

  60. Badbadger on January 12th, 2013 6:17 pm

    But wouldn’t you expect those two sets of numbers (Swisher’s and Upton’s) to pass each other by over the next 3 seasons?

    Maybe, but I also expect some good value from those prospects.

  61. bongo on January 12th, 2013 6:48 pm

    I am ok with this deal because the WAR benefits are positive to neutral until the 2016 season, and I need a watchable baseball team before then.

    “Walker was a couple of years away at best, while Franklin is blocked at SS/2B. ”

    [Bongo] I agree that other pitchers on the roster are much more likely to have impact in 2014 or before than Walker (Erasmo Ramirez, for one). My bet is that Walker spends all of 2013 plus a good portion of 2014 in the minors, and has no major impact the season he is called up. If Jack doesn’t get a decent team on the field soon, he won’t be Mariners GM in 2015 when Walker *might* have an impact.

    WAR estimate: 2013 (not on roster), 2014 (0 WAR)

    Based on Ackley’s 2012 season, he cannot be said to be blocking Franklin. Neither can Brendan Ryan if he continues to hit as he has.

    WAR Estimate: 2013 (not on roster), 2014 (1 WAR)

    “We currently have three lefties in our pen, so giving up Furbush wouldn’t be too much of a loss. Pryor is a nice talented right arm, but…”

    [Bongo] This, I agree.

    WAR estimate: 2013 (1.5 WAR), 2014 (2 WAR)

    Overall, in 2013 we only give up 1.5 WAR, and 3 WAR in 2014, and we potentially get a 4 WAR player for 2013-2015. The deal probably only goes slightly negative in terms of WAR dealt/received in 2015, and only a major negative (since Upton will probably be gone in 2016) in 2016 and beyond.

    If I were Jack, I’d be willing to look stupid in 2016 in return for the chance to remain a GM until then.

    Just sayin’.

  62. kennyb on January 12th, 2013 6:50 pm

    You want to send Franklin, Walker, Pryor, Furbush and Wells to Miami for Stanton?
    Me too! Unfortunately, Miami is not going for that.
    They are in a very similar position as Seattle, would you take that group for Felix?
    Put another way, the difference between Upton and Stanton is more that Wells.

  63. stevemotivateir on January 12th, 2013 6:54 pm

    After Ichiro, Edgar is about the only star player that was extended. Present and prior ownership have all been very tight fisted.

    Maybe you have a different definition of what a “star player” is, but most of the players I would call stars, were extended, including our current pitching ace, Felix Hernandez.

  64. bongo on January 12th, 2013 6:55 pm

    Adding Wells into the mix changes the equation significantly, because unlike Franklin and Walker, Wells can contribute in 2013 and 2014, and his contribution in those (and other years) is significantly more than Furbush and Pryor put together. For example, if we believe Wells is a 2.5 WAR player, then we have given up 4 WAR in 2013, 4.5 WAR in 2014 and as much as 7.5 WAR in 2015.

    Is Stanton really worth that much??

  65. bongo on January 12th, 2013 7:09 pm

    “One difference also between this deal and the Bedard deal is that the Bedard deal filled one hole by creating another.”

    [Bongo] This trade is way different from the Bedard trade because it makes the Mariners better for the first two years and only becomes a major negative in year 4 (2016). The Bedard trade did *not* “sacrifice the present for the future” because it made the team worse immediately. See:

    Of the players dealt for Bedard, Jones and Sherrill had impact the first year, and the combined WAR we dealt has been equal to or greater than received WAR every year of the trade, even including the prospects we received when we traded Bedard (e.g. Trayvon).

  66. bongo on January 12th, 2013 8:44 pm

    “Is Stanton worth that much?”

    [Bongo] To answer my own (stupid) post, yes, he is worth that much! Stanton only played in 123 games in 2012, and still was worth 4.2 WAR. He is only 23 and is likely to only get better if he stays healthy. So he could easily have an OPS of 1000, be an MVP candidate worth 4.5+ WAR in 2013, and more each year after that. Even with Wells thrown in, the trade would be WAR positive every year from 2013-2016. Stanton is a free agent in 2017.

  67. Jopa on January 13th, 2013 5:44 am

    @Stevemotivateir – Please name the stars that have been extended.

    I fully agree with you regarding Felix, though I don’t consider this an “extension”, per se, but rather the buyout of his arbitration years in exchange for a two-year extension. It’s a type of extension, though I’m referring to a pending free agent who gets his one big contract. Even Felix has yet to be extended in this way.

    Let me be clear on this—this is an awesome technique for management. This is why I don’t trade a bundle of top prospects for a guy with 3-years of eligibility. I don’t consider your best prospects to have only six years of eligibility, I consider them to have eight years of eligibility because of what you pointed out with Felix—nearly ever young star player will accept that type of deal such that you really have them for eight years, not six.

    This is why I love what the M’s are doing so far. If I were GM:

    1) Never rush a player to the majors so you don’t waste their eligibility.

    2) Buy out their arbitration years, adding a two-year extension.

    3) Let most of them sign a big contract elsewhere for their post-prime years when they are 30+ years old.

  68. Jopa on January 13th, 2013 5:51 am

    @smb about nine posts above-

    Brilliant. Couldn’t have been said better. I share the same frustration.

    I’ll point out a couple exceptions. They refused to offer Randy Johnson an extension. He actually offered them a very fair extension and they declined, for fear of back injuries. He went on to be one of the best pitchers in the history of the game.

    Carlos Guillen was crushing it at Safeco and they dumped him.

  69. stevemotivateir on January 13th, 2013 6:15 am

    You really need me to name names? How about Buhner, Griffey, and Johnson? They all spent considerably more years than you seem to realize. Maybe you don’t wanna call those extensions, but they were.

    Most players don’t spend their entire careers with the same team. Some spend the bulk of their prime in one place, and maybe that’s what you were trying to get at, but you can’t say the M’s haven’t extended stars. And that applies to Felix as well.

  70. currcoug on January 13th, 2013 11:39 am

    In regards to the Bedard trade, it should be remembered that the Orioles subsequently traded Sherrill to the Dodgers for Steve Johnson/Josh Bell. Accordingly, in giving up the oft-injured, enigmatic Bedard…the Orioles gained Jones, Tillman and Steve Johnson.

    Moreover, the hole left by Sherrill arguably solidified the decision to make Morrow the closer, which was a mistake in the long run for Seattle.

  71. bongo on January 13th, 2013 4:18 pm

    For the Orioles, the Bedard trade was the gift that kept on giving.

    In April 2012, the Orioles traded Josh Bell to the Diamondbacks for a PTBNL which turned out to be Mike Belfiore, who turned things around in 2012 at Visalia (A+) and Bowie (AA).

    Steve Johnson by himself was worth 1.3 WAR in 2012, which was more than Bedard (-0.8 WAR for Pittsburg). Then there is Tillman (1.5 WAR in 2012) and Jones (3.4 WAR in 2012).

    Similarly, the haul that the Indians got by obtaining Shin Soo Choo and Asdrubral Cabrera was astounding. In 2012, Choo was worth 3.1 WAR, Cabrera 3.0 WAR.

    Put altogether, the 2012 value of the players our “trading partners” obtained in these two trades was 12.3 WAR and the 2012 value we obtained (Trayvon Robinson) was 0.4 WAR.

    Add 12 WAR to the 2012 Mariners performance and you get a *very* different baseball team to watch.

  72. MrZDevotee on January 14th, 2013 12:09 am

    Here’s a “happy” link–

    A completely petty, feel-good collection of video of Justin Upton hacking wildly at Mariners pitchers over the years, including back to back incredibly ugly swings at Noesi “stuff”…


  73. kinickers77 on January 16th, 2013 8:45 am

    Buster Olney just wrote an interesting piece and mentioned this quote from one nameless evaluator on this blocked trade:

    “The Marlins will move Stanton at some point, whether it’s before, during, or after the 2013 season, and he’s universally considered to be a better player because of his upside as a potential 50-home run monster,” the evaluator said. “Upton is a really good player, but there are questions as to whether he can be a superstar; there are no such questions with Stanton — and he’s less expensive and under club control for four years as opposed to the three years of Upton. Remember, the Rangers are a pretty good team even without Upton, and he comes with a lot of questions and that isn’t the case with Stanton.”

    I think the Mariners might want to thank Upton for blocking this deal because it allows them to keep crucial assets to deal Miami for Stanton when the time comes. Patience is key here. If we have to wait a year, I’d much rather have Stanton than Upton.

  74. kill55 on January 16th, 2013 1:34 pm

    The best comp for the reported Seattle offer would be Cincinnati’s trade of Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger to San Diego for Mat Latos. One difference is that the Reds needed a starter while the Mariners ostensibly need a big bat.

    Alonso, Grandal, Taijuan Walker and Nick Franklin were/are Top 50 or so prospects, although the Seattle pair is younger than the Cincinnati duo. Boxberger and Stephen Pryor were/are promising relievers of the same age. Volquez was a former All Star with only two years of team control while Charlie Furbush comes with five years of team control.

    Mat Latos was nine months younger at the time of the trade than Justin Upton is today. Upton has been valued at 17.1 WAR, including 6.4 and 2.5 the past two seasons. At the time of the trade, Latos had been valued at 7.6 WAR, including 4.1 and 3.3 the previous two seasons. Latos came with four years of team control while Upton comes with three years of team control.

    Perhaps the Reds overpaid for Latos, but the reported Upton trade proposal was similar.

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