The Simplest Argument Against A Big-Ticket Signing

Jeff Sullivan · November 7, 2013 at 3:50 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The other day, Ken Rosenthal expressed that the Mariners want Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo. On its own, that hardly says anything — every team would want Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo, and indeed each player will have maybe as many as a dozen serious suitors. They’re two of the very best players on the market, freely available, where by “freely” I mean “absurdly expensive and”. But we know the Mariners have money to spend, and we know they have a need, for both talent and excitement. We know they were linked to Ellsbury and Tim Lincecum for a while, and Ellsbury hasn’t signed a contract yet, and he has the loosest of area ties. It’s easy to envision a Mariners offseason in which they make a splash by spending big on a free-agent outfielder. Provided the outfielder lets them.

There are arguments in favor of such a move, and there are arguments against. Among the latter, this is the simplest. Let’s just use Ellsbury’s name. Let’s say the Mariners sign Ellsbury, and they get him at a six- or seven-year commitment worth $20+ million a pop. Ellsbury would project to be a valuable player. But he’d also be getting paid like a valuable player, as the Mariners would have paid the market rate, or realistically something a little higher than that. The real core of value is in the difference between what you should be making and what you are making, as a good player. With Ellsbury, there likely wouldn’t be a big difference. He’d make the Mariners X wins better, at the market cost of something like X wins.

It’s easy to just focus on names, and Ellsbury’s is a significant one. Hero in Boston, and all that. Widely hyped. He’d bring the Mariners some more star power. But teams are made up of names with salaries. Yes, if the Mariners were to sign Ellsbury, you could write Ellsbury’s name in for the next several years. But the same money could be put toward other names, multiple names. It isn’t a choice between the Mariners with Ellsbury and the Mariners without him. It’s a choice between the Mariners with Ellsbury and the Mariners with other acquisitions, at least in theory. Other acquisitions that would provide Y wins, at some other market cost.

There’s something to be said for talent consolidation, but the Mariners aren’t at the point at which they can worry about talent distribution. They still need to worry about just talent, and it’s not like they’re in pretty good shape across the board. Obviously, last offseason’s Red Sox went the way of spending on a bunch of different guys, and while that’s not the only model that could work, that’s a model that just worked. Don’t get caught up on Ellsbury’s name. There’s a lot more to the picture.

A pretty important factor: what tends to be the case is that big-time free-agent signings provide the most value toward the beginning of the new deal. Over time, the players get worse while the salaries remain high, and teams accept that because of the earlier years. As currently constructed, the Mariners look like something like a 70-win team. It’s hard to come up with any offseason plan that makes them much better than .500. The point being that the Mariners don’t look to be on the verge of something, new star or no. So a big-time acquisition now might spend the most valuable years on a team that isn’t good enough yet.

In theory, the Mariners would have some advantage from having so many cheap young players contributing on the roster. Performance from low salaries allows a team the flexibility to pay for performance from high salaries. In reality, the Mariners don’t have much in the way of established quality youth. It doesn’t help that the team can’t count on Dustin Ackley or Jesus Montero or Justin Smoak. It’s a nice thought, and it might come true, but it can’t be counted on like it’s automatic.

Of course, bad teams have to get better somehow, and money needs to be spent, since it doesn’t do anyone any good to have extra budget flexibility go back into the owners’ pockets. This is a simple argument, to which the simplest counter-argument is

  • who cares
  • do something

I know I’m tired of not caring. I know I want to be passionate about the Mariners again, and I know I’d be excited by a new Ellsbury or Choo. Ultimately we just want to feel, and it’s such a rush when the team makes headlines with an acquisition. It makes it so much fun to look forward, it makes it so much fun to daydream, and fans can worry only so much about crap like “being responsible”. But a business can’t stand to give in to emotion like that. You must stay the course of responsibility. If you get frustrated with under-performance and become irresponsible, that can make the problem only worse, kickstarting a miserable death spiral from which there’s little hope of recovery. Recovery, that is, without starting over again.

Here’s maybe the neatest thing, though, at least for fans of bad teams, like us: while we can often identify what is and isn’t responsible front-office behavior, baseballing success isn’t determined just by responsibility. There’s this huge, huge element of luck, or at least unpredictability, that allows a team like the Giants to win two world championships during the Barry Zito Era. The Cardinals can make a World Series with a shortstop like Pete Kozma, and the Mariners can make a World Series with a somewhat irresponsible front office, so it’s not like signing Ellsbury would mean anything other than the Mariners signed Jacoby Ellsbury. All that would guarantee is that Ellsbury would suit up in the uniform. There’s not actually any telling how it would play out, and this gives more substance than you might like to admit to the “who cares / do something” crowd. Who cares? Do something. It might work out super. Maybe it won’t, but maybe the responsible course wouldn’t work out, either.

The Mariners are likely to go hard after Jacoby Ellsbury. They might sign him, and if they do, they’ll be committing nine figures. On paper, it probably won’t be the smartest thing. There would, however, be points in support, and we’d all be pretty fleetingly excited, and when it’s all said and done, welp, lots of stuff is going to happen that we didn’t see coming. The reality of an unknowable future can be used to justify anything, dangerously, but then there is a reason for that. There’s certain comfort in chaos.


34 Responses to “The Simplest Argument Against A Big-Ticket Signing”

  1. spuuky on November 7th, 2013 4:02 pm

    Well, yes, X wins for X-wins-worth of dollars is not “getting ahead.” But there are also practical limitations to this theroy in place.

    You can’t spend $1 on a nearly infinite number of dudes who provide tiny value even if it’s the best dollar/wins ratio, because there are only so many roster spots and only so many people who can play at once. One 5 WAR guy at $50m is more valuable than five 1 WAR guys at $10m each for that reason, most of the time; the exception being if you literally can’t find enough other players of value, which… well, the Mariners might be in that boat but I don’t want to feel that way.

    At any rate the 5 WAR guys are a lot rarer so you want to get the ones you can, and worry about filling up the rest of your spots with 1 WAR guys later.

    Now, whether or not you want to count on anyone in particular being a 5 WAR guy instead of devolving into a 2 WAR guy in the second year of his contract is another matter…

  2. Jeff Sullivan on November 7th, 2013 4:18 pm

    How long is he going to be a 5 WAR player? How long are you going to need to commit to him to get him signed?

  3. bat guano on November 7th, 2013 4:42 pm

    “Comfort in Chaos”

    A fitting Mariner slogan for 2014? I like it a lot better than “Anything Can Happen”

    Nice read Jeff. Thanks.

  4. Breadbaker on November 7th, 2013 4:46 pm

    Boston buying a lot of guys isn’t equivalent to the Mariners buying a lot of guys unless you think what they currently have is equivalent to Pedroia, Ortiz and Ellsbury and all they have to do is fill in the pieces (the front end of our rotation is certainly the equivalent of theirs, but the analogy stops dead after that). You need 5 WAR guys, whether that means Ellsbury (who is probably going to be paid as a 5 WAR guy who will stop being one in a couple of years) and we don’t have a whole bunch of them.

  5. spuuky on November 7th, 2013 4:50 pm

    Yes, your question is exactly what I addressed in the last mini-paragraph. I don’t know how you make that determination, and if I did I might be seeking a career in MLB.

  6. ripperlv on November 7th, 2013 4:58 pm

    Does Dave’s plan with a 6 year $90 million dollar contact for McCann fit into the responsible pile? He going to be a 30 yo 2.7 WAR catcher. Not trying to be a smartass, just trying to get a read on the cut off, in your opinion.

  7. thinkfull on November 7th, 2013 5:57 pm

    Great read.

    Sure, Ellsbury may only be worth 3 WAR in a few years. Maybe even less, or he’s injured and worth nothing. In the meantime, we have added value to our team at a location we need it, and are maximizing the likelihood of becoming better in the near future, assuming the kids begin to play well.

    We have the roster flexibility and payroll available now- can we be sure the outfielder we need will be on the market in 3 years, or whenever the team is turning around? Do we just wait on our hands with marginal upgrades until we are an absolutely certain 70 win team, like the Blue Jays were this year?

  8. hailcom on November 7th, 2013 6:12 pm

    Good stuff, Jeff, but I am one of those who side with the counter-simple argument and want the Mariners to do something, not something crazy, but take a risk. Jacoby Ellsbury, to me represents that kind of reasonable risk. Part of the risk is the unknown performance level later in the contract. The Mariners have money–money from their fans who go to the park and watch on TV. I say spend some of that money now on known good major league talent. We need a good center fielder and a leadoff hitter with speed. I think we are lucky Ellsbury is on the market. Get him! Get our pitchers better defense behind them and more run production and see what can happen. Roll the dice if you want to keep fans involved and attending/watching games. The business model should be affected by the Root sports TV acquisition. Do something. Yeah, that’s how I feel. I would like very much to look forward to seeing Ellsbury leading off for the Ms next year. Any player acquisition involves risk. I’d rather have Ellsbury and keep James Paxton (rather than trade for Dexter Fowler) and roll the dice that way.

  9. bermanator on November 7th, 2013 6:31 pm

    “But a business can’t stand to give in to emotion like that.”

    OK, but a business also has to have people show up.

    And no, I’m not saying people would pay tickets to see Ellsbury, specifically, or that big contracts lead to attendance boosts. I’m aware of the data. I’m more worried that playing it safe and making minor, cost-effective but low-profile moves that improve things only on the margins will leave Seattle looking like Houston as far as TV ratings and fan interest goes.

    Look, Jeff, I love your writing, both here and on Fangraphs. And Dave’s and DMZ’s too. That’s why we all come here. But look at the last posts from each of you, and it reads like they’re being done out of an obligation (to USSM, to entertain the audience, or whatever your motivations are) and that the passion for the Mariners isn’t there (Dave said that explicitly, obviously, but it reads like it’s true for everyone). I suspect that’s true for a lot of folks, both here and in the RAUL RULZ! category. What do you do, as Mariners management, to overcome that lethargy? If not this, what?

    I always like Dave’s offseason plan, but I enjoyed it this year more than most because I think it reflects the reality of what ownership and management has to be worried about. Seattle either has to win some games or it has to spend even more effort on the Lincoln “create a ‘fan experience’ that will draw people even if the talent can’t” approach.

    Look, it’s ownership and management’s fault that the well has been poisoned among the smart baseball fan portion of the fanbase. That’s all on them. Now they have to figure out how to keep the passion for the Mariners from dying of thirst. I’m morbidly curious to see what approach they take.

  10. casey on November 7th, 2013 6:35 pm

    I’d rather we spend the big bucks on pitching. Even if the M’s sign both Choo and Ellsbury they are not going to compete offensively with the Red Sox, the Tigers, the Rangers, and Angels. The way Pittsburgh, Oakland, Atlanta, even the Rays have been successful is superior pitching and defence.

    The Mariners have the makings of an elite rotation with Felix, Kuma, and Walker. Add Tanaka or Kuroda and maybe Vargas to this and you have rotation that would pitch you deep into most games regardless of your offence.

    Our bullpen was awful in 2013 but add a couple of quality bullpen guys to the current young arms (Wilhelmson, Farquarhson, Capps, Carson Smith, maybe one of Paxton or Ramirez) and you have the last 2-3 innings taken care of.

    Then shore up the defence (Fowler is a cheaper version of Ellsbury, but could be Gerrardo Parra, or Cain or Peter Burjous). Move Ackley back to 2nd to give crazy legs Miller a calm middle infield partner.

    The offence won’t be great but again the Athletics did what they did with a middle of the pack offence in 2013.

    Finally I still think Montero has a role in 2014 – he is too talented a hitter to not push Smoak for playing time at first and dh.

    Phew – I know long winded – apologies for this partial rant.

  11. bermanator on November 7th, 2013 6:36 pm

    I ran out of time to edit my earlier post, but…

    “But a business can’t stand to give in to emotion like that. You must stay the course of responsibility. If you get frustrated with under-performance and become irresponsible, that can make the problem only worse, kickstarting a miserable death spiral from which there’s little hope of recovery.”

    Is it your contention that they are not in that miserable death spiral now?

  12. eponymous coward on November 7th, 2013 7:45 pm

    The way Pittsburgh, Oakland, Atlanta, even the Rays have been successful is superior pitching and defence.

    The Mariners scored 624 runs last year. Every single one of the teams you mentioned scored more than that, even the ones in the NL (who were batting pitchers instead of DHs).

    The Mariners have the makings of an elite rotation with Felix, Kuma, and Walker. Add Tanaka or Kuroda and maybe Vargas to this and you have rotation that would pitch you deep into most games regardless of your offence.

    Remember Felix, Cliff Lee, Doug Fister and Jason Vargas at the top of the rotation in 2010? How’d that work out? (The M’s were actually 3rd in the AL in ERA that year.)

    The offence won’t be great but again the Athletics did what they did with a middle of the pack offence in 2013.

    Oakland was 3rd in the AL last year in runs scored, .031 points above MLB OPS. In what universe is 3rd out of 15 “middle of the pack”?

    The Mariners have a talent deficit, as Jeff said in his blog post. You name it, offense, defense, pitching, they need it. They shouldn’t be particularly picky about how to improve the team… as long as they improve it instead of a sideways move (trading defense for dingers like last year, for instance).

  13. MrZDevotee on November 7th, 2013 8:10 pm

    After the McClendon post the other day it got me to thinking– “I wonder if free agency will go differently this offseason”?

    There’s the “old school” angle that has some negative connotations, but does it also possibly have some POSITIVE effects– on free agents? For guys who are ALREADY developed and just want to play baseball? McClendon has a RECENT history of success with a team known for some of the best hitters in baseball, and they’ve been considered World Series contenders.

    Despite the argument for or against whatever his contribution was to the Tiger’s success, McClendon would seem on the surface to be a more attractive manager to veterans and free agents than a guy who was only known for getting some young guys to win for a year (Wedge in Cleveland). And his Pittsburgh days are also different than Wedge’s losing seasons… McClendon had little to work with (especially on the mound) while in Pittsburgh, while Wedge actually started losing with the same team he had taken to the playoffs.

    I’m not saying it WILL make a difference, mind you. But with McClendon being pushed as a “likeable guy” who gives 100% of himself, with an excellent reputation around baseball (including Leyland being amazed the past 2 years that nobody hired him), I’m curious to see if some free agents that aren’t DH’s are interested in coming to Seattle this year, because of our new Manager, his reputation, and connections he might have recently to talent back east…?

  14. Badbadger on November 7th, 2013 8:25 pm

    Let me say up front that my view of baseball reality is usually wrong, but I’m not ready to take it as read that Ellsbury is going to get 20 millions a year for 6 or 7 years. He’s a slap hitting glove guy, and although he’s a really good slap hitting glove guy that’s not historically been the kind of guy people dig deep into their wallets for. He’s also been injured a fair amount, so people might shy away from giving him 7 years. His offense has also probably been inflated by Fenway park.

    I heard Larry Stone predicting he’d get more like 90 million on the radio the other day, and that seems closer to right to me. I personally don’t have much trouble with the idea of giving him 5 or 6 years at 15-18 million. We did that with Ichiro and that didn’t kill us.

    Personally I’d like to get Choo and swing a trade for Peter Bourjos. Not a bad outfield, and if the infielders can come along and a couple of our pitchers turn out, then you just need to come up with a DH and maybe a first base platoon or something.

  15. Longgeorge1 on November 7th, 2013 8:28 pm

    Trades will not work for this team. In theory you trade a surplus for another teams surplus and both teams fill a weakness. Trying to just outsmart the other guy just doesn’t work unless of course you are trading with someone who is trying to get greedy. We don’t have a surplus to trade from so all we can do is weaken one area to try to strengthen another. You would think that with the draft position we have had for so many years we would have many more good young major league ready players. If a team is going to improve through the farm system it needs a good farm system. I put the responsibility for that on the GM. I agree with the desire to improve through the farm system. We need to have a GM who can organize one. Z has not as of yet shown the ability to do that. I look forward to many more years of futility and blame the field manager.

  16. islandan on November 7th, 2013 8:59 pm

    The Red Sox also got very lucky with their “spread the wealth” approach to acquisitions last year. Almost all worked out very well (Carp, Napoli, Victorino, Koji, yes even Dempster, as an innings eater, wasn’t craptacular, just mediocre behind 4 good starters), and those that didn’t work out (Hanrahan) had capable replacements. Plus don’t forget Mr Comeback, John Lackey. Everything pretty much went right in Beantown.
    I don’t trust the Ms taking this approach, as it would likely more resemble the Bavasi era, overpaying for over the hill players and never were’s. The rebuild in Seattle will also have to take into account the suckitude perception of FAs who will want to play in higher profile markets, and better overall teams.
    Seattle will have to largely build around their kiddie core, and continued development of draft picks and pitching. But I would argue that overpaying for Ellsbury would be well worth it. Signing a relatively local boy, highly regarded, who is a top end talent, makes a statement to the season ticket holders and the entire fanbase that the Ms are finally committed to making things right, one step at a time.

  17. casey on November 7th, 2013 9:46 pm

    The Mariners struggled at so many facets of the game in 2013 that there is a tendency to say they need everything – and this is what I read non-stop on the blogs. The LL Plan was trade and replace the whole team. I think that is not realistic and results in rosters like the one we watched last year…

    I think there were 13 teams in baseball that allowed less than 650 runs in 2013 (about a 3.7 era). 12 of them had winning records. The only one that didn’t was the Marlins who had off the bell curve worst offence in baseball.

    Given that the Mariners have the foundation of a strong starting rotation and some talented bullpen arms it seems the most direct way to turning the team into a .500 plus team is put together a high quality pitching staff (say 3.3 era type staff). Improving the defence would help get there.

    Signing Ellsbury or Chew would also be nice. I think its likely they will get one of them and a middle of the rotation starter plus maybe a trade (something like Dave’s Franklin and Paxton for Fowler). Even if this happens I don’t see a team in the AL West that gets past 75 wins (they won’t outscore the Rangers and Angels and won’t outpitch the Athletics)…so my conclusion invest the big bucks in pitching first, have a better pitching staff than anyone in the West, get back to solid defensive baseball and hopefully the young Mariners offence grows to do what the A’s offence has done the past two years.

  18. PackBob on November 8th, 2013 12:38 am

    The business side is to me irrelevant, whether responsible or irresponsible. I have no way of knowing, only guessing, which they might be.

    But I do know without a doubt that I don’t want to see horrible defensive outfielders again. I’d like to see Ellsbury a Mariner to fix that. Run the bases. Steal some bases. Make it seem like real baseball.

    I’d just like the Mariners to have an interesting baseball team again, and I really don’t care at all how they get there.

  19. borris_g on November 8th, 2013 8:09 am

    The Reds have signed Brayan Pena so Ryan Hanigan could be available. I believe it would be a good pickup for the M’s through trade or if he is not tendered as a FA.
    Even though he didn’t hit much last season he could be good until Zunino comes from AAA (assuming he starts there as he should) and then a great backup.

  20. onetreehugger on November 8th, 2013 8:21 am

    it seems like the usual Mariners way will be to pursue Ellsbury while everyone else they might want instead is taken by other teams, then see him sign with someone else. and we’ll be stuck with everyone no one else wanted.

    Why would he come here? He’s going to get a load of money anywhere he goes, and winning is so much more fun than losing, aren’t some of the rich major leaguers willing to give up a little money over a period of years for the fun of winning? Or maybe that’s just the kind of thinking that’s kept me from every being close to rich.

  21. Alec on November 8th, 2013 10:24 am

    I’m fine with Ellsbury for a few reasons. One, he’s actually good. We have a shortage of good players. That’s not enough though. The real reason I am fine with Ellsbury is I don’t trust the FO with player evaluation, they are going to spend money on someone, and it could be much worse. It’s sad that we’ve been reduced to this, but at least here is a case where he is at worst the lesser of two evils.

  22. Westside guy on November 8th, 2013 11:12 am

    … he could be good until Zunino comes from AAA (assuming he starts there as he should) …

    Zunino is not going to start next year in AAA.

    Zduriencik has already stated that Zunino is going to be our starting catcher in 2014. I imagine a number of you also heard him say this, unless you’d (understandably) tuned out before the end of this past season.

  23. bermanator on November 8th, 2013 12:31 pm

    “Why would he come here? He’s going to get a load of money anywhere he goes, and winning is so much more fun than losing, aren’t some of the rich major leaguers willing to give up a little money over a period of years for the fun of winning? ”

    Because a guy like Ellsbury thinks that if he comes to Seattle, winning will come along with him. See Jayson Werth in Washington.

    Not that Werth is solely responsible for the Nationals getting better, but he didn’t sign there expecting to lose — he expected to be a part of getting the team to win quickly. That’s the mindset most of these guys have.

  24. JasonJ on November 8th, 2013 1:00 pm

    I wouldn’t worry about spending too much for Ellsbury simply because the M’s won’t get him. He will be the 2013/2014 version of Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton.

    Ellsbury is considered the 2nd best FA behind Cano. Teams are flush with cash right now and most are more desirable than Seattle for a whole variety of reasons (less travel and winning baseball come first to mind). Someone will bail JZ out again and I think that the off-season will be very similar to previous years.

  25. Snuffy on November 8th, 2013 1:11 pm

    Choo was terrific against RHP in a hitters park but hit 125 OPS points lower (.251 BA) on the road. Here are 3 LHB’s and their 2013 OPS/HR’s vLHP… One of them is Choo.

    .654 4HR
    .664 1HR
    .612 0HR

    The bottom guy is Choo, the middle one is Ackley and the top guy is MSaunders. And Choo is not an option in CF where his is well below average. He wants WAY more money than should reasonably be offered. PASS!

  26. ChrisFB on November 8th, 2013 1:28 pm

    I’m done with playing armchair GM by second-guessing what should or shouldn’t be done with salaries. The Angels throwing all the money at some of the best players available, as well as taking on contracts of some of the worst… the success of the A’s… the things Boston and New York do year-in, year-out… I think this gets into “Baseball: Nobody Knows Anything” territory. I tune out complaints about the M’s payroll now. Get quality players, however you can, period.

    I am vastly more interested in seeing what, if anything, the M’s do about the coaching at the high minors and major league level. No amount of money in the world spent on free agents, or the payroll of traded-for players, will teach Smoak, Ackley, Zunino, Nick Franklin, Sergio, Erasmo, Walker, Paxton, Hultzen, etc. how to be major league players.

    Apart from any budgetary rosterbation and amateur accountant hour some folks might want to indulge in, or apart from surprise-importing 3 or 4 high quality players through trade and free agency, what this team really needs is to learn how to grow its own major league talent. As the last few years have shown, having a farm that is highly rated by BP, BA, Fangraphs, etc. doesn’t mean a damn when that doesn’t turn into major league results.

  27. Athanasius on November 8th, 2013 2:45 pm

    The argument against making a big signing (such as Ellsbury) is predicated on the idea that making such a signing will preclude the Mariners from making other needed signings/moves that will improve the team. There is certainly a past precedent for that thought given that the team payroll has continued to shrink over the last several years. However, a continued shrinking/stagnant payroll is by no means a forgone conclusion (just as we do not know that it will increase).

    I’m willing to suspend judgement on whether a big signing is a good move, if for no other reason than we simply do not know how large the Mariners financial resources are, other than they are finite. There is reason to believe payroll will increase, even substantially, just as recent history suggests it will not increase. That’s the unknown context of a big signing being “responsible” or not.

  28. heyoka on November 8th, 2013 6:35 pm

    The argument against is solid.

    But Ellsbury would be more valuable than say…Carlos Silva.

    Choo seems like Mike Morse waiting to happen – I’m with the Mariners I’m bad, I’m with someone else, I’m good, I’m back with the Mariners I’m bad again.

    I think the Mariners should put 6 guys out there and just not have an outfield, period.

  29. shadowwatch on November 8th, 2013 7:26 pm

    The M’s franchise is worth more than ever. They have received a very favorable TV contract. Their payroll is $40-50M less than what it was under Bavasi. If you are able to sign Ellsbury for $20M/yr do it. You can’t build a team by waiting until you are ready to contend. The difference between winning and losing is often not that large. This team needs Ellsbury in a big way. If for no other reason, but for how he plays the game, how he has won, and the attitude he can bring to the young players.

  30. casey on November 9th, 2013 8:54 am

    I’m not sure we need Ellsbury but really like the idea that the “difference between winning and losing is often not that large”.

    I think most agree the Mariners were pretty awful in many ways in 2013 yet score 100 more runs and give up 100 less runs over 162 games and the Mariners are the Indians, the Rays, the Rangers – all teams with 90+ wins. Even 50 of each and you are sniffing at an 80 win club. A few key pieces could make a huge difference in 2014 (and I think trading Wedge for McClendon is a good start).

  31. casey on November 9th, 2013 9:37 am

    I think the preventing runs side of this equation is easier than scoring 100 more runs.

    Just looking at the stats the M’s got 91 starts from Bonderman, Ramirez, Saunders, Harang, Beavan, Maurer and Noesi. They were all +4.9 eras. Replace those 91 starts with 4 era starts and you save around 90 runs. Mix in some decent outfield defence and you should have a team that allows only 650 runs. And this doesn’t begin to address the bullpen which needs to be across the board better in 2014.

    How hard will it to replace those 91 starts with league average starts in 2014 (yes not that simple as most thought Saunders would give the Mariners those league average starts in 2013).

  32. MrZDevotee on November 9th, 2013 12:04 pm

    Well, so much for Dave’s off-season plan… Per CBSSports, the Rangers, Angels, Yankees and Red Sox are all in hard on McCann and he’s gonna be a very rich baseball player soon.

    Why can’t WE have nice things? (Sigh)

  33. 62Dodgers on November 10th, 2013 4:52 pm

    Time for ownership to put or shut up and just go sign Cano. Give him at least as much as they claimed they offered Hamilton last year, since Cano is worth at least that much. Now that would make a splash! If ownership does nothing again, time for fans to tune out and stop going to games so ownership finally gets the message. Otherwise, nobody to blame but the fans themselves.

  34. casey on November 10th, 2013 8:35 pm

    Hey Dodgersfan – I’m with you – if they don’t spend at least 100 million each on Cano, McCann, Tanaka and Ellsbury and then trade for Matt Kemp I will probably never watch these bums (oh yes that’s a Dodgers reference) again. How cheap can this ownership get; anyways already most of the way to becoming an A’s fan for 2014 – just need to get my AthleticsNation membership approved – the A’s are winners and that is the bandwagon I want to be on….that is unless they are not winners in 2014 cause their stadium stinks (literally).

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