Morse Returns, Bay Goes Away

Dave · July 29, 2013 at 12:26 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

As expected, the Mariners activated Michael Morse from the DL today, and he’ll join the team in Boston for the series with the Red Sox. To make room for him on the roster, Jason Bay was designated for assignment.

This wasn’t too terribly hard to see coming. Bay was moderately decent for a few weeks at the beginning of the season, but has been awful the last few weeks, and had basically played himself out of the OF rotation. It was pretty telling that Endy Chavez pinch hit for him last week. Endy Chavez. When a washed up speed-and-defense center fielder pinch hits for you, you’re done.

Bay’s final line as a Mariner: .204/.298/.393, .305 wOBA, 92 wRC+, -0.2 WAR. He was basically a replacement level scrub, which is what all the pre-season forecasts projected him to be before the season began. Despite all the talk about his health and his career resurgence and his good spring training, Jason Bay was the 34-year-old version of Jason Bay.

It will be interesting to see how much time Morse gets in the outfield. You’d hope that Ackley and Saunders will be given the final two months of the season to make an impression and play themselves into the 2014 plans, which would only leave one spot and some extra time for Ibanez and Morse to share. But, even with Ibanez’s recent regression to planet earth, it’s still hard for me to imagine that he’s going to get relegated back to a reserve role. And, given how enamored the organization is with Morse’s skillset, it’s hard for me to imagine Morse not being in the line-up when he’s healthy.

So, don’t be too shocked if Ackley and Saunders end up sharing time in center field sooner than later, especially if Ackley keeps not hitting. The Mariners aren’t in a playoff race, but they’re clearly still prioritizing the present over the future, and Dustin Ackley isn’t a very good player right now, given that he’s still learning to play the outfield. With his lack of power and minus defense, he’s hurting the team, and if the Mariners are committed to this finish-at-.500-so-we-can-say-I-told-you-so plan, Ackley’s not going to stay in the line-up if he’s not producing.

In the grand scheme of things, though, none of this really matters that much. Ackley’s likely trade bait at some point, as he’s more valuable at second base than he is in the outfield, and Saunders looks more like a fourth outfielder than a starter on a winning team. Ibanez and Morse aren’t part of any future here. Endy Chavez shouldn’t even be part of the present. The Mariners need an entirely new outfield next year, so rearranging the ones they have now isn’t likely to have a huge long term impact.

Comments

44 Responses to “Morse Returns, Bay Goes Away”

  1. spuuky on July 29th, 2013 12:48 pm

    It makes me sad that Ackley will probably be traded in the off-season or whatever, because I think he will eventually figure it out and be valuable.

    On the other hand, I’m pleased that it’s because Nick Franklin has figured it out much faster (so far).

  2. Dennisss on July 29th, 2013 12:50 pm

    It seems pretty clear that the Mariners’ top needs in the offseason are outfielders, preferably all three spots.

    What has to cause a Mariner fan anxiety, though, is that they desperately needed outfielders last offseason too, and they ended up with Morse, Bay, and Ibanez.

  3. Eastside Suds on July 29th, 2013 12:53 pm

    Of course, this was inevitable. Seems surreal that we are jettisoning parts that were advertised as semi-major acquisitions by the front office only 6 months ago. Just shows the continuing underachievement by our FO. As we all expected, Z’s additions mostly have failed. Let the kids play and move forward!

  4. Eastside Suds on July 29th, 2013 1:00 pm

    If we don’t put the pedal to the metal and go HARD after Choo, Ellsbury, Pence etc….I think the fans will revolt. We need one and possibly two solid outfield FA’s to get this train back on the track to respectable competition for the division title. Plus at least one new established starting pitcher.

  5. spuuky on July 29th, 2013 1:10 pm

    Bay wasn’t a “semi-major” acquisition, he was a minor acquisition. I’m sure they realized that at the time, as well, regardless of what they might have tried to say (which I don’t really recall).

  6. Barrel on July 29th, 2013 1:22 pm

    Not that we are going to get much back, but would it really be hurting our current team that much if we traded any/all of these guys at the trade deadline:
    -Morse- (may be one of the worst defensive OFs I have seen)
    -Ryan- Could have some interest to the Tigers if steroid suspensions come down in the next two days.
    -Perez- I like him in our bullpen, but probably our best chip that could be traded.
    -Joe Saunders- Meh from both partners in that trade.
    -Ibanez/Morales- Would rather see Ibanez traded, but I think we would get more of a return on Morales, though with the soft FA class, I am not opposed to giving him a qualifying offer.

    Sure none of them are going to bring much in trade, but outside of Perez, anything with potential value is better then what we are gonna get when they walk at the end of the season. And I don’t see trading them affecting our run at .500 much.

  7. Westside guy on July 29th, 2013 1:24 pm

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of Ackley than Saunders. If Condor does well, it doesn’t really help Zduriencik much (since he was drafted in the Bavasi era) – and I’ve got to expect Z is still on the hot seat.

    I’m assuming we’re going to mostly see a Zduriencik signed outfield from here on out (Ibañez, Ackley, Morse). On the plus side the comedic potential is high; but odds are it’ll just mostly suck to watch them play. I’ll be glad to be proven wrong – but I don’t expect that to happen.

  8. rth1986 on July 29th, 2013 1:30 pm

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Gutierrez. Hopefully he’ll be activated and Chavez will be DFA’d. Personally, I would have rather seen Chavez DFA’d than Bay, but there wouldn’t be room for him with a healthy Gutierrez anyway.

    Chavez should not have had as many plate appearances as he had. Sadly, he doesn’t have the speed or defensive skills he used to have. All he provides is an empty batting average.

  9. phineasphreak on July 29th, 2013 2:05 pm

    I’d hate to see Morales traded, since we wouldn’t get adequate return. If he stays, we give QO, or offer a 2-3 year deal, which I think would be great to have him as our full-time DH. If he doesn’t sign, then at least we’ll receive a draft pick.

    If we want to bring back Raul, it would strictly be to put butts in the seats. I’d love to see him retire a Mariner and stay as some sort of mentor or specialist.

    The Mariners need at least two new OF going into next year, and it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll come from within our organization.

    Dave, I’ve liked Ackley all along, and would normally differ on your opinion on trading him, because I feel like we’d be selling low. Now, though, I’m not sure we would be. He might just be a good defensive 2b for his career. Maybe he can learn SS or 3b & be a utility guy?

    I think I’m surprised it’s Bay over Endy, because dingers. But I guess Bay has stunk it up recently. Good luck to him.

    In the nicest way possible, let’s hope Guti doesn’t put on a show after he gets back in the lineup and convince the FO to pick up his option.

  10. phineasphreak on July 29th, 2013 2:11 pm

    What about Morse back to Washington? They are starved for runs (recently), and he’s well-known within their organization. Morse and Perez for one of their OF prospects? Michael Taylor? Wishful thinking, I know.

  11. bubba_gump on July 29th, 2013 2:25 pm

    This made me giggle:
    “and Dustin Ackley isn’t a very good player right now”. As if to say he was.

  12. Ichirolling51 on July 29th, 2013 2:34 pm

    What do we do when and if Guti returns this year? That would relegate Morse to a 1B/DH role, in which case we would have 4 1B/DH types (Smoak, Morales, Ibanez, Morse). GMZ would be wize to try and deal Morse, or Ackley before the deadline, it would clear up the log jam we have there. What we can get for them at this point is another story, not sure anyone knows.

    Nevertheless, yes Dave you are correct, our outfield needs a complete overhaul next season. In the winter, I would let Guti walk if we are unable to deal him before then, and see if Julio Morban can take the CF job next year. I would also try to sign Hunter Pence, and give Saunders the RF job. Also, I think D.J. Peterson will end up getting moved to LF with Seager already on 3B, so he could be another option for the OF next year if Saunders (and Ackley?) struggle again.

    RF Pence
    CF Morban/Saunders
    LF Ackley/Peterson

    If Morban pans out, which is a big IF, then we could have a decently solid OF next season.

  13. greentunic on July 29th, 2013 2:39 pm

    Was there a ton of talk about Bay’s career resurgence? I didn’t even get that vibe from the sugar coating Root Sports. Pretty sire everyone saw that signing as it was, a Byrnes-like lottery ticket. If anyone thinks otherwise, I’d love to see a link.

  14. terryoftacoma on July 29th, 2013 2:58 pm

    I was actually expecting Chavez to be DFA’d not Bay. Not because Bay’s better but because we are still left hand hitting heavy in the outfield.

  15. Woodcutta on July 29th, 2013 3:02 pm

    Since being called up Ackley has hit much better than at the time he was sent down. He may not be lighting the world on fire, especially after that horrid Twins’ series, but I don’t think the M’s should give up on him yet especially if he continues to show progress such as hitting the pitch just off the outside corner of the plate.

  16. Athanasius on July 29th, 2013 3:13 pm

    “but they’re clearly still prioritizing the present over the future . . . with his [Ackley's] lack of power and minus defense, he’s hurting the team, and if the Mariners are committed to this finish-at-.500-so-we-can-say-I-told-you-so plan, Ackley’s not going to stay in the line-up if he’s not producing.”

    Ahhh, I knew it was only a matter of time before the return of Simplistic, Assumptive and Reactionary Dave with his own special brand of argumentation that would get scoffed at in a high school debate class.

  17. Typical Idiot Fan on July 29th, 2013 3:17 pm

    I was actually expecting Chavez to be DFA’d not Bay. Not because Bay’s better but because we are still left hand hitting heavy in the outfield.

    Not going to matter. Chavez is gone the moment Guti is “done rehabbing”. Really both Chavez and Bay are expendable, whose days were numbered when Franklin came up and necessitated a shift to outfield for Ackley.

  18. californiamariner on July 29th, 2013 3:22 pm

    At least in theory it should be easier to find decent OF on the market than positions I feel comfortable with like C, 2B, SS, 3B (Zunino, Franklin, Miller, Seager). By the way, those 4 have combined for 6.4 WAR in 210 games. Heavily due to Seager (3.8 WAR in 103), but still nice results in a small sample for the others.

  19. GlenF on July 29th, 2013 3:55 pm

    Can Ackley catch? (tongue firmly planted in cheek)

  20. sawsatch on July 29th, 2013 4:07 pm

    Smoak- great numbers for a 2nd baseman. Trade him now while there is value in hand.
    Ackley- a future Mark McLemore or just wishful thunking?

  21. Typical Idiot Fan on July 29th, 2013 4:37 pm

    Smoak is a first baseman, not a second baseman, and having good numbers for a second baseman as a first baseman means he doesn’t have that much value. He’s doing fine right now, coming off a good month of hitting, but whether he keeps it up or not remains to be seen.

  22. Longgeorge1 on July 29th, 2013 4:42 pm

    We have an infield, a catcher, a DH and two pitchers. Everything else is replacement filler. Nothing else is worth anything or can do anything. It doesn’t fucking matter.

  23. sawsatch on July 29th, 2013 4:42 pm

    Excatly my point. Trade him and develop a 1st baseman. They are the folks who hit the ball beyond the warning track and over the fence.

  24. PackBob on July 29th, 2013 4:47 pm

    The way it has gone, the Mariners need about 10 extra outfielders to fill in for injuries. The excess may take care of itself. Guti is the only real center fielder they have, kind of.

    Morse is the real problem in that no matter where he plays he’s taking ABs from someone. Unless the Mariners are looking at offering him a couple years, and God I hope not, trade him for whatever they can get.

  25. sawsatch on July 29th, 2013 4:54 pm

    Mariners: the team without an outfield.

  26. stevemotivateir on July 29th, 2013 5:13 pm

    What’s funny is that everything we’re seeing was completely predictable. The plan to address the outfield even in the short term was a bad idea. And they’ll get to go through the same crap again next offseason -but with the stench of desperation.

    Bay sucked and got DFA’d. Chavez is playing like a 35 y/o past his prime. Morse is just as terrible in the outfield as he was the first time around, as is Ibanez. What a shock.

    This is a huge reason why Jack should lose his job. He’s taking a lot of praise and credit for Franklin and Miller right now, but somehow the most glaring area of need is being overlooked. And it’s been ignored for a while. Attempting to acquire guys like Hamilton and Upton at a high price doesn’t help his resume.

  27. henryv on July 29th, 2013 5:23 pm

    Saunders and Ackley are basically redundant, with Ackley having more team control, and more positional flexibility. He would be more valuable to a team as a 2B. But if you don’t get it, I’m not opposed to keeping Ackley as a 4th/2B/Pinch Runner.

    What is the good news is that the M’s have a TON of money to spend, and a new TV deal that should be giving them more income. The M’s should be spending well into the 3 figures number by 2015.

    The problem is that I don’t know that I trust Z to spend that money. He has shown a weakness at spending money, and his best free agent move was to get beat out by the Angels for Josh Hamilton.

    But I really want to see the M’s sign two of the big OF free agents, as well as a starting pitcher (if nothing else, Saunders again) to fulfill the expectation that only one of the pitchers will develop to be any good, and the other will be a 5th/6th starter.

  28. stevemotivateir on July 29th, 2013 5:31 pm

    ^We heard the M’s had more financial flexibility last offseason. We ended up with a payroll roughly 10 million less on opening day and a roster full of one-year has-beens.

    I’m sure the excuse has something to do with wanting to see what they have within the organization first, but like you, I don’t trust Jack’s ability to evaluate and acquire the right talent even if they do have the dough.

    Not sure what my point was. Guess that was my odd way of agreeing with you.

  29. Easley45 on July 29th, 2013 5:54 pm

    The Mariners are now more watchable than they have been in a very long time. They are very well positioned going forwards, in terms of payroll flexibilty, and depth in the farm system. It’s funny to me how many voices around here “don’t trust” the person who actually built it all.

  30. eponymous coward on July 29th, 2013 6:11 pm

    In the winter, I would let Guti walk if we are unable to deal him before then

    What sort of trade value does an OF who’s made out of glass and has a 7+ million option have? Negative?

    You let Guti walk in the offseason. You’re done.

    They are very well positioned going forwards, in terms of payroll flexibilty, and depth in the farm system.

    Right, because organizations with great depth in their farm systems usually don’t have an OFer under the age of 30 with a lifetime MLB OPS of over .700, and often convert failed MLB 2B to OFers.

  31. stevemotivateir on July 29th, 2013 7:03 pm

    It’s funny to me how many voices around here “don’t trust” the person who actually built it all.

    Oh, I think most of us have plenty of confidence in McNamara -and in Engle before he split. It’s Jack’s primary duties and failures that concern many of us.

  32. Westside guy on July 29th, 2013 7:05 pm

    It’s funny to me how many voices around here “don’t trust” the person who actually built it all.

    Given that those “voices” don’t say anything about his ability to develop a farm system, why is it funny? The guy to whom you’re obviously responding said he didn’t “trust Jack’s ability to evaluate and acquire the right talent” – obviously referring to free agent signings and trades. What does that have to so with building the farm system?

    His former job was to draft guys for Milwaukee. He did that very well, and seems to have done it well here. But there’s more to being a GM than that, and Zduriencik hasn’t shown he knows how to do all the other parts of the job.

  33. djw on July 29th, 2013 8:31 pm

    It’s funny to me how many voices around here “don’t trust” the person who actually built it all.

    What’s “funny” about thinking Zduriencik is good at some parts of his job, but not others? I am. You probably are. It’s not particularly unusual.

  34. eponymous coward on July 29th, 2013 8:50 pm

    Also, there’s nothing wrong with thinking “gee, let’s find a GM that’s good at ALL parts of his job, instead of good at one or two and mediocre to bad at the rest”.

    For all that talent that’s come up through Milwaukee, the Brewers have a grand total of one 90 win season in 5 years, 2 in the last 10. If that’s our ceiling (occasional good years, lot of mediocre to bad ones), are we supposed to think that in a division with the A’s and Rangers that’s going to be good enough?

  35. Eastside Suds on July 29th, 2013 9:11 pm

    Let’s not forget the Angels, who will never under-spend the M’s.

    The bottom line is that we are not a small market franchise! The league has said as much (by not including us in the new “small market” compensatory picks in next year’s MLB draft). So let’s not act like one. Z has to get his act together this winter and show that he is more than a one trick pony. I think it’s a foregone conclusion that nhe already has. But, with the young and promising base in place, he has the opportunity to bring some established “plus” players on board to augment the talent we now have from the farm.

    It’s put up or shutup time and he gets no more mulligans/ Personally, I’d like to see a change in November, but I would be surprised if that happened. As for Wedge, he is not the guy to get next year’s group over the hill. They may not be talented enough anyway, but Wedge has proven his worth as a manager and it’s high time we move on.

  36. Typical Idiot Fan on July 29th, 2013 9:12 pm

    Isn’t that what most teams have, though? Teams go through cycles where they’re competing, good, mediocre, and bad. During the Mariners main hey-day 90′s-2000′s they were good at times, mediocre at times, and finally got bad.

    Texas has been good lately, now delving into mediocre, heading to bad. The Angels were good, delved into mediocrity, and are now bad. The Athletics are on their upswing. How long any “stretch” lasts or “window” stays open is mostly up to the decisions of the GM afterward. Anaheim’s lasted a while, Texas’ has been relatively short, who knows where Oakland goes.

    So, if we’re going to hit our stride soon, and only for a couple of years, it might be good enough.

  37. Easley45 on July 29th, 2013 9:17 pm

    Jack Zduriencik has done much more than rebuild the farm system. If the M’s are fortunate and things go right, he just may have already put together a dynamic core of young, good, cost controlled players that Seattle can build on for an extended run of competitive baseball. That’s why they are so fun to watch right now. That’s the hope they inspire. The success or failure of the development of that core trumps the impact of transactions like Jaso/Morse, Ibanez, Wells, Carp, or Bay. That’s why the hand wringing and the calls for regime change over such moves are funny to me.

  38. Eastside Suds on July 29th, 2013 9:19 pm

    I really believe the A’s will always be competitive because of Billy Beane. The Rangers will bounce back with Nolan Ryan and their ownership. And the Angels have Disney money. Let’s not kid ourselves. We are in a tough division, sans the Stros’. We had better up our game.

  39. GarForever on July 29th, 2013 9:26 pm

    Also, there’s nothing wrong with thinking “gee, let’s find a GM that’s good at ALL parts of his job, instead of good at one or two and mediocre to bad at the rest”.

    I agree in principle, eponymous, but thinking that and getting it are two different things, of course. Anyone who has never been a GM before, who knows exactly what you’re getting if you hire them for the job? It may well be that Z has hit his ceiling and will never be very good at luring the right free agents or consistently making good trades. But the biggest priority he was hired to fix, let’s give him his due: Bavasi left our farm system a smoking hole in the ground, and in the span of five drafts Z has done an outstanding job of not just making it respectable, but good. Again, maybe it’s time to hand someone else the keys, but let’s not forget what he HAS accomplished. He didn’t just start from behind the 8 ball; one could argue he wasn’t even on the billiard table.

    That said, and knowing that a GM who has never held the job before may or may not prove any better, for the sake of argument what current or former MLB GM would you all want to hire if you could have your pick, and why? Knock yourselves out — don’t worry about contract, etc., just name your dream GM for the M’s. I’m not being rhetorical: I’m really curious whom people would want to replace Z.

  40. stevemotivateir on July 29th, 2013 10:16 pm

    Jack Zduriencik has done much more than rebuild the farm system. If the M’s are fortunate and things go right, he just may have already put together a dynamic core of young, good, cost controlled players that Seattle can build on for an extended run of competitive baseball.

    The young core you’re talking about are products of the farm, which shouldn’t be solely credited to Jack anyway.

    The point is, again, there’s much more to the job than just drafting, and the other areas are a legitimate concern.

  41. Kazinski on July 30th, 2013 12:08 am

    Jack gets some legitimate flack from some bad trades, and he did lay an egg on the Fister trade.

    But anyone would have to admit he got a great return on the Cliff Lee trades, cause it wasn’t just one trade, it was at least two.

    He have up basically nothing to get Lee, Philippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, and someone else I don’t remember. He turned those nothings into half a season of Cliff ‘fuckin’ Lee, the value of which should not be ignored, because it was great having him even for so short a time. And Justin Smoak, and Beavan, and Lueke (who turned into Jaso, then Morse). That is quite a haul for what Bavasi gave up for Lee.

  42. Easley45 on July 30th, 2013 12:26 am

    “The young core you’re talking about are products of the farm, which shouldn’t be solely credited to Jack anyway.”

    Well, Jack did extend Felix. Twice. As GM, he chose not to trade him. I’m happy about that. He signed Iwakuma as a FA, and extended him as well. He got Wilhelmsen for practically nothing. If Gutierrez hadn’t been cursed, he would have been a nice building block to have. But we all know all the moves that have been made, and that’s not really the point, anyway. You discount the assembly of the players that have been drafted, but one of the reasons we get to see Seager, Franklin, Miller, Zunino, and the second tier guys (Saunders, Smoak, Ackley, etc.) all playing together on the same team is because Zduriencik chose to develop a home grown core. As the Angels have shown quite recently, there is sometimes substantial risk in big FA signings. It’s quite possible that Jack has avoided a few land mines over the past few years with moves that he didn’t make. Moves that might be tying up payroll and blocking the path of some of the younger guys playing now. Maybe you didn’t like the Fister trade, or the Jaso trade, or the Morrow trade? Well I didn’t either, but there were trades that I did like very much, and in terms of the big picture I think it’s hard to argue that the Mariners as an organization are not monumentally better off now than they were when Z took over, and they look poised to be even better going forward. Hell, none of Cerberus has even made the major league team yet!

  43. seagood3 on July 30th, 2013 6:14 am

    Ahhh, I knew it was only a matter of time before the return of Simplistic, Assumptive and Reactionary Dave with his own special brand of argumentation that would get scoffed at in a high school debate class.

    Amen

  44. stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2013 7:49 am

    @Kazinski

    Maybe you haven’t noticed, or choose not to pay attention, but most of the people here are fair in their evaluations. The deal for Lee was a good one. I don’t think anyone would argue otherwise. Signing Iwakuma was a great move as well. Even Bavasi had his positives.

    It’s when you look at everything as a whole, where the team’s at now and consider what they still need, where the argument for removal should be clear and understandable.

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