M’s Reportedly Sign Joe Saunders

marc w · February 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I hesitate to post something so banal after the Felix extension stuff, but we’re going to have to do it sometime. Ken Rosenthal tweets that the M’s have agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent lefty Joe Saunders. If confirmed, that would be somewhat remarkable – I thought there wasn’t any way Saunders would sign with someone for less than two years, and thought three years was a possibility. This move may solidify the back end of the M’s rotation, and it gives them a left-handed starter. While we don’t yet know how much the Safeco reconfiguration will affect home runs, it’s still a decent match of player to park. That said, Saunders has had a long-standing problem with right-handed batters, as Dave talked about over at Fangraphs. He was solid in a pitcher’s park in Anaheim, so here’s hoping Seattle’s marine layer knocks down a few fly balls and allows Saunders to post a 1-2 WAR season in 2013.

In another move, the M’s officially added Kelly Shoppach to the 40-man, and made room by DFA’ing reliever Shawn Kelley. This was a surprise, given that there are players on the 40-man who don’t figure to strike out 9/9IP like Kelley did last year, but ultimately, this isn’t a major surprise. The M’s clearly thought Kelley underperformed his peripherals, as I wrote here (when they demoted him to AAA). Essentially, he’s posted solid ERAs/FIPs, but has had home run problems. Somewhat like Steve Delabar, Kelley’s struggled with long-balls to right-handed hitters – the kind of opponent a fastball/slider reliever like Kelley should annihilate. Instead, RHBs have a career .330 wOBA (and a .480 slg) against him thanks to 16 HRs in 316 batters faced. While HRs are a “true” outcome, HR/FB or HR/Contact is much more variable than something like strikeout rate, so some may see this as an overreaction on the M’s part. But the M’s weren’t going to give him high-leverage innings anymore (not with Carter Capps, Tom Wilhelmsen and even Josh Kinney around), so we’ll see what they can get in trade. I liked Shawn Kelley’s personality and his determination to make it back to the majors after elbow surgery (twice). I think he’ll land with another club and be fairly effective, but he was superfluous on the 2013 M’s.

[EDIT: Joe Saunders 1-year deal is apparently worth $6.5 million, with another $1 million in performance-related bonuses. That’s…that’s pretty cheap, really, and I’m surprised Saunders didn’t get something like 2/$10 somewhere. Maybe the incentives are really easy to attain, but 1/$7.5 is still pretty low. Dave guessed it’d be 1/$8, so he was very, very close, but a base salary of $6.5m is a screaming deal in this market, and way below what I would’ve expected.)

Comments

58 Responses to “M’s Reportedly Sign Joe Saunders”

  1. kinickers77 on February 7th, 2013 5:11 pm

    This means we’re probably done, unless Bourn’s price drops to a place good for us.

  2. thedude1987 on February 7th, 2013 5:16 pm

    I agree, I think the M’s are done unless they for some reason get the itch on Bourn.

  3. bigred on February 7th, 2013 5:18 pm

    The only way Bourn ends up on our team is if the M’s move Guti, but I’d take Frankie G. over Bourn any day.

  4. msfanmike on February 7th, 2013 5:20 pm

    Well, Saunders is a hell of a lot better proposition than the thought of Noesi being in the starting rotation … At least at this moment it is. Saunders really isn’t too much of a drop off from Vargas, and fills the one year stopgap need.

    In regard to Kelley, I cannot see the team letting him walk. He has to be part of a trade or trade package. I mean, he just has to be, right?! He has value and the Mariners have to have something cooking – for another starter with more than a one year future with the team.

    I keep hoping that something will occur with Bourn, too … However remote that possibility might be.

  5. Breadbaker on February 7th, 2013 5:32 pm

    I remember a few years back, Zduriencik describing a board that he had in his office that had the 40-man roster as of the day he got there, and crossing off the names of the people who had left the organization, one way or another.

    So are we down to Felix and Michael Saunders with Kelley gone?

  6. BackRub on February 7th, 2013 5:32 pm

    Interesting to see how much he’ll get. If 2/15 offer from Twins was correct, then one would think this deal would be for at least 80. Which would actually push our payroll to around ~90 million given the 5 million pump in Felix’s salary this year.

    Big fan of this move; only lock into 1 year and our team improves by basically 3 wins over a full year of Noesi.

  7. doinsumwork on February 7th, 2013 5:33 pm

    Saunders had the 3rd most movement per pitch f/x last year and pitched in 2 of the most hitter-friendly parks in Arizona and Baltimore. He has a career 6-0 record at Safeco with an ERA in 2′s. Obviously that is “old Safeco” and against the M’s offense, but he is a great pickup for one year. I completely agree he is every bit as good as Jason Vargas and he also gets a ton of double plays. With the Safeco-factor, the M’s defense, and still being a FA next year I really think he could post a 3 WAR season and be a nice guy to help Hultzen and Paxton eventually.

    While this is peanuts compared to Felix, I believe you have to look at the offseason as being a success overall. Zdurienzik didn’t give too much to anyone, mortgage the future, but he managed to make this team better. I happen to think Texas and Oakland are a little overrated at this point, but the Angels are looking strong. Bottom line is the M’s should be above .500 and additions via trade and call ups could possibly make the M’s competitive.

  8. BackRub on February 7th, 2013 5:35 pm

    Should say 8 million above.

  9. ck on February 7th, 2013 5:56 pm

    Shawnn Kelley will pitch in MLB this year, and the last few cuts from the M’s spring training will also find MLB teams that will sign them this year, as the overall 25 Man and 40 roster improves. The progress has been too slow, and MLB wins are the goal, but the M’s are finally making progress with the quality of their overall rosters.

  10. greentunic on February 7th, 2013 6:16 pm

    This will allow the M’s to take their time as needed with Hultzen and Paxton as well.

    I too am hoping that Kelly will be part of a deal.

  11. henryv on February 7th, 2013 6:26 pm

    Just 1 more starting pitcher being signed from not having to watch Blake Beaven pitch.

    Either that, or one of the “big 3″ actually making a mark early in the season.

  12. brewerkev on February 7th, 2013 6:27 pm

    Shoulda just kept Vargas.

    Shawn Kelley, thanks for everything, You will be missed.

  13. ivan on February 7th, 2013 7:58 pm

    If you liked Horacio Ramirez, you’ll love Joe Saunders. Thank goodness this is only a one-year deal.

  14. Typical Idiot Fan on February 7th, 2013 8:03 pm

    Horacio Ramirez and Joe Saunders aren’t the same pitcher. Saunders is much closer to Vargas than Ramirez.

  15. marc w on February 7th, 2013 8:28 pm

    Definitely remember that, breadbaker. Think there aren’t many left who were on the 40 man in 2008, but some, like Erasmo Ramirez, were in the org. Remarkable amount of turnover.
    Also depends on whether or not you count Morse…

  16. ivan on February 7th, 2013 8:36 pm

    “Horacio Ramirez and Joe Saunders aren’t the same pitcher. Saunders is much closer to Vargas than Ramirez.”

    Saunders = Ramirez using the IBI, the Ivan Boredom Index, which no other method of measurement has ever refuted. :-)

  17. kwozzymoto on February 7th, 2013 8:45 pm

    I came across an interesting stat in regards to Saunders. Since 2006 in 55 ip at Safeco field he has only allowed 7 earned runs for an ERA barely over 1!

    Now I know some really awful Mariner offenses had a lot to do with that, but you could also say that’s probably a good enough sample size to come to the conclusion that he enjoys pitching at Safeco and should have no problem replicating Vargas’ production and possibly exceeding it.

  18. Dave on February 7th, 2013 8:58 pm

    No, you can’t say that.

  19. kwozzymoto on February 7th, 2013 9:25 pm

    “No, you can’t say that.”

    What would constitute a trend then for a road ballpark? In 8 starts spanning 5 seasons he’s had 5 starts of 7ip or more with 1 or less earned runs. Better than any other road ballpark he’s pitched at in his career.

    I’m just saying he’s had quite a lot of success the times he’s pitched at Safeco and it isn’t crazy to think that it could possibly bode well for his future here.

  20. Dave on February 7th, 2013 9:34 pm

    It’s not crazy. It’s just wrong.

    There’s no such thing as a 55 inning ERA sample that tells you anything, really. A decent sample size for ERA is something like 500 innings, since ERA isn’t a very good measure of a pitcher’s performance. You’re dealing with 10% of that.

    Then, you have the obvious problem that can’t just be waved away – every start in Safeco has been against the Mariners offense. The Mariners have had very bad offenses lately. He will no longer get to face the Mariners when pitching in Safeco. You’re assuming the primary variable has been the park. In reality, the primary variable has almost certainly been the opponent.

    Finally, future Safeco isn’t past Safeco. They just brought in the fences, specifically to help right-handed power hitters. Right-handed power hitters are Saunders biggest weakness. We have no idea how Saunders skillset will match up with future Safeco, but we can be pretty sure that he won’t get as large of an advantage as he got from past Safeco.

    Basically, the number you’re citing is irrelevant, and using it to make the claim you’re making is an incorrect use of statistics.

  21. Westside guy on February 7th, 2013 9:36 pm

    So does this pickup mean we an put those frightening Dice-K rumors to bed now? ;-)

  22. kwozzymoto on February 7th, 2013 9:41 pm

    Well, I apologize for attempting to get more excited for a really unexciting pitcher than I probably should. I was fully aware of the Safeco dimensions changing and the fact that it was a small sample size, but that was outweighed by my desire to believe that the Mariner version of Joe Saunders could be something more than the same old boring Joe Saunders he’s always been. Consider my hopes successfully crushed.

  23. Dave on February 7th, 2013 9:48 pm

    Not trying to crush your hopes. Hopes should just be founded on things that are real, not on statistical anomalies.

  24. maqman on February 8th, 2013 3:02 am

    Hopefully now some of the doom and gloom merchants will be quiet for a while.

    Dave, do you want to modify your last chat prediction at Fangraphs that the M’s will only win 75 games this season and end up missing the playoffs by 15 games?

  25. Breadbaker on February 8th, 2013 3:04 am

    Basically, the number you’re citing is irrelevant, and using it to make the claim you’re making is an incorrect use of statistics.

    If only we could flash that message into most broadcast booths before we get another Elias style statistic of that sort. Also, the Safeco Diamondvision, which once flashed that some guy batted .278 in the last 20 games when his season average was .275 or something.

  26. ndevale on February 8th, 2013 3:12 am

    Hi and thanks for the post. Obviously you are better informed than me, but I just don’t buy that they are dumping Shawn Kelley. There is just no way that he is waiver-wire fodder. I expect a trade. Anyone else?

  27. Paul B on February 8th, 2013 7:06 am

    Also, the Safeco Diamondvision, which once flashed that some guy batted .278 in the last 20 games when his season average was .275 or something.

    I’ve seen that sort of thing a lot.

    Things like when leading off an inning, or with runners in scoring position, or whatever, and the number they are touting is basically identical to their season or career number.

  28. Paul B on February 8th, 2013 7:09 am

    Dave, do you want to modify your last chat prediction at Fangraphs that the M’s will only win 75 games this season and end up missing the playoffs by 15 games?

    Because the M’s signed Joe Saunders? Really?

  29. Westside guy on February 8th, 2013 7:54 am

    Justin Smoak is hitting .332 with a man on second and two outs when the night is overcast and the moon is waxing.

  30. bongo on February 8th, 2013 7:55 am

    The difference between Noesi and Saunders is well within the margin of error of the prediction. At best we’ve gone from a 75 win team to say, 78.

  31. Westside guy on February 8th, 2013 8:34 am

    Saunders adding three wins over Noesi is a best case scenario. One or two is more likely – my money’s on one.

  32. Paul B on February 8th, 2013 8:51 am

    If we are somewhat generous to Noesi and call him replacement level (he was a little lower than that last year), then Saunders would be worth about 2 wins. The same as what would be expected if the M’s had kept Vargas, btw.

    At least, if I use Fangraphs WAR. An argument could be made that it should be 1 win, or 3 wins, but whatever.

  33. Gormogon on February 8th, 2013 8:56 am

    Westside, Smoak would have to have about 200 ABs at those conditions to have a .332 average. The moon only waxes half the time. And no one is ever on second. Although if there were, then I’m sure there would be two outs. Granted, the sky IS always overcast. Basically,…

  34. marc w on February 8th, 2013 10:58 am

    ndevale:
    “There is just no way that he is waiver-wire fodder. I expect a trade.”

    I hope I didn’t give the impression that the M’s would rather cut him than deal him. I think they can work out a minor deal, but the fact that they DFA’d him illustrates that they don’t see him as a particularly valuable commodity. He’s got an upward trend in his strikeouts, and his FIP looks OK, so he’d certainly return something, but I’d guess the M’s would want someone not on the 40-man. They’d have to make another move to bring in Saunders, so maybe Carp and Kelley for a prospect.

  35. Shawnuel on February 8th, 2013 5:07 pm

    “@ProspectInsider: Looks like the M’s and Jon Garland have a deal pending a physical.”

  36. Sports on a Shtick on February 8th, 2013 11:05 pm

    Between Saunder and Garland the “floor” for the rotation gets shored up a bit. Still there is a glaring hole where a real “#2 starter” should be.

  37. MrZDevotee on February 9th, 2013 2:31 am

    I noticed the depth charts have been updated, as of Feb.8th, on the official M’s website…

    Our initial roster (backup in parenthesis) is listed as:

    LF Morse (Ibanez)
    CF Guty (Saunders)
    RF Saunders (Wells)
    3B Seager (Andino)
    SS Ryan (Andino)
    2B Ackley (Andino)
    1B Smoak (Morales)
    C Montero (Shoppach)
    DH Morales (Montero)

    That puts our bench at:
    Wells
    Ibanez
    Andino
    Shoppach

    Starters:
    King
    Ikawuma
    Beavan
    Ramirez
    Noesi
    (Saunders, Garland, Bonderman, Hultzen, and Maurer presumably in the mix for those last 3 spots)

    Bullpen:
    Wilhelmsen (CL)
    Pryor
    Furbush
    Perez
    Luetge
    Capps
    Kinney

  38. bookbook on February 9th, 2013 3:42 am

    King
    Ikawuma
    Saunders
    Ramirez

    4 near locks

    Beaven
    Bonderman
    Garland

    I presume 1 of these 3 is almost guaranteed to be the 5th starter, barring a trade.

    Tacoma’s rotation for the first half
    Hultzen
    Maurer
    Paxton
    Noesi
    Beaven/Bonderman/Garland

    So, Walker could use more time at AA. I’m assuming one of the three vying for 5th starter doesn’t stick with the org. Wouldn’t be surprised if both Bonderman and Garland have outs if they don’t make the M’s.

  39. frazfan on February 9th, 2013 10:53 am

    I really like all the recent news all things considered. Saunders is perhaps just a step down from Vargas, and Garland was no Felix the King, but he was a decent major league picture and deserves a shot. Look it how well Iwakuma worked out once he got back into shape. I doubt we’ll win the pennant this year, but I like what Jack is trying to do. I’m just glad that he seems to be filling our areas of need. True, some of the players are mediocre, but they’re better than the alternatives, which were often just plain bad.

    And Felix, well, the deal speaks for itself and I’m pretty happy about it. I’m feeling better about the Morse acquisition. I still don’t know about this Morse/Morales/Smoak/Wells/Ibanez/Bay logjam, but let’s watch it unfold and see what happens.

  40. IdahoInvader on February 9th, 2013 3:38 pm

    Should Luetge really be considered a lock for the pen?

    At home in the old pitcher friendly configuration opponents’ OPS was only .585, but on the road it was a little over .800. But what’s really telling is after the break, opponents’ OPS jumped from .511 to .877.

    Sounds like he got much worse as the season wore on. With already Perez and Furbush from the left side, not sure he should automatically have a spot.

  41. henryv on February 9th, 2013 8:07 pm

    If Garland or Bonderman can even be slightly above replacement-level, we could utterly avoid a Blake Beaven or Hector Noesi start in 2013. Imagine that!

    Short of a really good LF/1B, this team has quietly filled in nicely.

    And I believe Trader Jack might just have a mid-season deal in him, if the M’s can keep up with that final wild card. I can’t believe I’m saying this. Or typing it. Whatever.

  42. eponymous coward on February 9th, 2013 9:27 pm

    http://seattletimes.com/html/mariners/2020326085_mariners10.html

    But the Mariners, for now, are sticking with a payroll of about $85 million — before incentive bonuses are factored in — and maintaining a plan that will require significant improvement by younger players if the offense is to sustain any growth beyond 2013.

    So much for “we’re going to expand payroll”.

    YOU GUYS ARE SUCKERS!

    I’m at least thankful that while it appears we’re looking at a ~.480ish roster (basically Oakland North, in one of the not-terrible-but-not-good years), none of the more questionable signings look like they’ll hurt the team long-term- at worst we’ve thrown 2013 away wasting time on guys who don’t project well like Raul, Morse and Bay, and the potential bad decisions can pretty much get purged in 2014 if it goes that way. So there’s that, and hopefully all the boundless spring training optimism turns out to be right, and we have Oakland North in a good year, and I turn out to be very wrong.

    Plus, hey, Felix.

  43. Celadus on February 10th, 2013 1:08 am

    “there is a glaring hole where a real “#2 starter” should be.”

    Same glaring hole as last year–Vargas wasn’t a real #2 starter either.

  44. Typical Idiot Fan on February 10th, 2013 7:28 am

    So much for “we’re going to expand payroll”.

    Are you implying they should have spent more on Joe Saunders?

  45. frazfan on February 10th, 2013 9:17 am

    Expanding payroll for the sake of expanding payroll doesn’t make any sense either. Personally, I would have like Hamilton, and I’m sorry Jack didn’t make a go at Swisher–outfield is our system’s weak link–but he’s piling on the rehabilitation projects and hopefully something works out. Goood ballplayers who get injured and have bad years sometimes figure it out again.
    Of course it’s nothing to count on, and this is the problem. There are s-o-o-o many questions going into spring training.
    Luetge slated to start in the pen because he earned the spot–he had a decent season last year. Of course he can always lose it, too. I’m looking forward to seeing what our pen can do. They had a good year last year, they’re intact without injuries, and they’re one year more mature.

  46. henryv on February 10th, 2013 9:28 am

    If the Mets can’t get Bourne’s compensation reduced, he is going to be sitting on the market at 3 years, and around $40M. Basically the cost of a 2-3 win player.

    I know we’ve hashed over this before, but damned does he look tempting knowing you can’t play Montero behind the plate every day, and you’ve got Ibanez over there not able to play anywhere in the field. And if Bourne is willing to take 2 years 30M, I think I’d have a hard time not giving it to him. I don’t see a single guy coming up that would take a spot from him for the next 2 years, and it would allow for the inevitable moment when a chunk of Kingdome tile falls, passes through a space-time rift and injures him just enough to make him available in 3-6 months.

  47. eponymous coward on February 10th, 2013 9:28 am

    Are you implying they should have spent more on Joe Saunders?

    No, I’m implying the talk about expanding payroll wasn’t all that serious. Otherwise we’d have guys like Bourn and Swisher signed.

    I think what’s been decided is “we’ll keep payroll about identical with last year, we’ll sign what we can on one year deals, and hope we get lucky on our one year deals and the kids develop”.

    Expanding payroll for the sake of expanding payroll doesn’t make any sense either.

    How about expanding payroll to make the 2013 Mariners a better team?

  48. henryv on February 10th, 2013 9:41 am

    Give a reasonable proposal, EC.

    What is a good use of money on this FA class that would make the M’s better without costing them dearly (like a ton of money and a 1st rounder)?

    4 Years and $60M along with the #12 pick in the draft is a pretty steep price for a 32 year old.

    If there is a signing to be had, or one that should have been, I’d love to hear it. But most of the signings aren’t great fit for the M’s, especially considering the state of the division and the team.

  49. eponymous coward on February 10th, 2013 9:55 am

    Or, to put this another way: in a world where you didn’t have to worry about payroll, would you rather sign Jason Bay, Joe Saunders and Raul Ibañez, or Zack Greinke, Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher?

    Not that I’m suggesting that all three of those signings would have been possible, but it’s pretty obvious that once Hamilton/Upton washed out, the team decided to drop back and punt on making any long term additions to the roster- every signing/trade made this offseason after Iwakuma was signed was for someone who is not under contract to the team in 2014: Morse, Bay, Ibañez, Morales, Saunders are all one year deals. The M’s didn’t use those 2012-2013 offseason deal/signings to really cement anyone long term to go along with the kids, to the tune of $25ish million in 2013 salary.

    I guess we’ll see what happens.

  50. eponymous coward on February 10th, 2013 10:01 am

    (like a ton of money and a 1st rounder)

    I don’t think a first-rounder once you get past the top 5 is an exorbitant price to pay for lots of net present value. Maybe you lose out on Tim Lincecum, maybe you “lose out” on Matt Clement.

    But most of the signings aren’t great fit for the M’s, especially considering the state of the division and the team.

    The state of the team is that we don’t particularly have a lot of OFers, and it isn’t particularly apparent that we’ll be flush with them in 2014. How is adding one via free agency for a few years at a reasonable price all that bad a proposition?

  51. eponymous coward on February 10th, 2013 10:09 am

    I should amend that to say “lose out on Justin Smoak” (11th pick, 2008, obviously a couple of MLB GMs thought he was a talented player who’d pan out to be a good MLB regular… and we know how that’s gone so far).

  52. stevemotivateir on February 10th, 2013 11:31 am

    The state of the team is that we don’t particularly have a lot of OFers, and it isn’t particularly apparent that we’ll be flush with them in 2014.

    Or 2015, or 2016 for that matter. Really, it’s crazy just how thin the organization is with outfield talent.

    It made all the sense in the world to ‘spend’ on an outfield free agent or two. Instead, we go the cheap route with short-term deals, and ditch our best hitter in the process. And still failed to add a decent outfield glove.

    Maybe I’m crazy, but I fail to see how the M’s did anything significant to strengthen the core moving forward. The team should be a little better next year, sure, but it’s not hard to see how this could all blow-up.

    Hopefully luck will be on our side.

  53. MrZDevotee on February 10th, 2013 11:57 am

    RE: OF

    The M’s have been particularly unlucky in developing our own outfield talent… Guys just haven’t panned out…

    Peguero
    Trayvon Robinson
    Jeremy Reed
    Mike Morse (the first time)
    Mike Wilson
    Greg Halman
    Saunders (until last year)
    Ryan Langerhans
    Charlton Jimerson
    Wladimir Valentien

    The TWO guys who became prominent starting players in the majors were traded to other teams before it happened (Adam Jones and Shin Soo Choo).

    I think a mistake was made in thinking we didn’t need to worry about 2/3 of our outfield for the foreseeable future, when we instilled Guty alongside Ichiro in CF and RF. The idea was probably that at least ONE of the above guys could become a LF in the majors. And with any luck, the next best will be our 4th OF.

    It didn’t work out that way. And now we’re sorely lacking in OF talent.

    Although I have high hopes for Leon Landry. Kid can rake, has good discipline, and great defense.

  54. henryv on February 10th, 2013 12:00 pm

    And if you toss a bunch of money at a couple big price free agents on long or medium contracts, you now have lost out on the following 2-3 years of free agents, while having the potential to have two more Chone Figgins or Richie Sexsons on the team.

  55. stevemotivateir on February 10th, 2013 12:19 pm

    There’s risk in any free agent signing or move you make. That doesn’t mean targeting proven, consistent hitters, isn’t a wise move, or worth a shot. And it doesn’t mean you’ve lost out on anything in the future, because you don’t know what the payroll will be, or who will be available and at what price.

    I like the chances of success with a guy like Swisher at 14-15 million a year, a lot better than I do hoping for a rebound from a guy like Bay at 1 million, or swapping out our best hitter for a guy who offers zero defense, and is arguably no better with the bat.

  56. bookbook on February 10th, 2013 12:57 pm

    Romero is the most likely internal answer for the outfield (at a corner), followed by Morban.

  57. eponymous coward on February 10th, 2013 1:01 pm

    And if you toss a bunch of money at a couple big price free agents on long or medium contracts, you now have lost out on the following 2-3 years of free agents, while having the potential to have two more Chone Figgins or Richie Sexsons on the team.

    Or Adrian Beltres. Even Bill Bavasi could make some good signings.

    Oh, and you have noticed that Arte Moreno hasn’t decided to stop spending on free agents, right? The idea that the M’s can only make one or two significant signings and then they are done for a few years…well, that’s self imposed because of their salary budget (and letting Chone’s 8 million stop us from making signings is kind of laughable). Which is sort of getting back to my point of the M’s perhaps not really being very serious about expanding payroll, as we were hearing earlier in the offseason., and deciding to keep payroll stable and vamping for time while hoping the kids bust out.

  58. Typical Idiot Fan on February 10th, 2013 5:28 pm

    No, I’m implying the talk about expanding payroll wasn’t all that serious. Otherwise we’d have guys like Bourn and Swisher signed.

    How on God’s green Earth do you reach this conclusion. You’re pretty much stating that the only thing standing between the Mariners and Swisher or Bourn is money concerns. That’s it? There are / were no other concerns? No other impediments from the respective players ends? Nothing?

    You’re going awfully quick in the Geoff Baker direction for some reason. Let me ask you a hypothetical question: what if Josh Hamilton and his agent had accepted the 4 year 100 million dollar offer? What if Justin Upton hadn’t invoked his no trade clause? Where would your conclusions about payroll be then?

    In the former case, at the time the Mariners would have landed Hamilton they’d have been at roughly $70m already committed to 2013. Hamilton would have made that $95m, assuming no shenanigans with backloading the contract. That would put them already above where they’re at now by at least ten million. If you, and the ever convinced of his own stances regardless of any evidence Baker, are right, then the Mariners would never have even RISKED this deal with Hamilton on the off chance he suddenly decided he really liked Seattle weather. This is to say nothing of any other possible moves the Mariners would have made afterward.

    Upton is the same way. With Hamilton out of the picture and Morse not yet traded for, the Mariners probably had roughly the same amount on the books. While Upton wouldn’t have increased the payroll significantly for 2013, he would have beyond this point. Furthermore, it would have cost the one thing that Jack Z really does value in long term prospects. Again, there’s considerable risk here that Upton wouldn’t just change his mind and force everything to happen regardless of the Mariner’s true intentions.

    See, Baker makes absolutely sure in that article to point out that the Mariners KNEW that Upton had the M’s on his no trade list. I have never heard anybody in the organization say they know this for sure, but even if they did, so fucking what? Baker mentions it in order to continue fostering the idea that the Mariners were never serious about payroll increases or long term player acquisition. He’s trying to stir the pot on something he flat out knows fucking nothing about. The question is, why are you buying into his conspiratorial bullshit instead of tossing it aside as conjecture based on speculation and coincidental evidence at best?

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