This Offseason’s Mariner Inevitability

Jeff Sullivan · October 2, 2014 at 3:16 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

If you’ve ever read any of my posts before, you know I don’t feel certain about very many things. It’s probably one of the things I most believe in — essential uncertainty, I mean. I don’t know what I want to fix myself for lunch. I don’t know if I should go to the gym or go for a jog. At this present moment I’m not entirely certain where I put my car keys. So when I get a really strong gut feeling, or something along those lines, I pay attention to it, because those moments are unusual. And the gut feeling I’ve developed that’s grown impossible to ignore is that the Mariners are a couple months away from signing Billy Butler to an eight-figure contract.

My track record with these things is spotless. I thought it was inevitable the Mariners would sign Barry Zito. I thought it was inevitable the Mariners would get Corey Koskie. I thought it was inevitable the Mariners would get Jeff Conine. I thought it was inevitable the Giants would sign Bronson Arroyo. I thought it was inevitable the Mariners would sign Nelson Cruz. Remember that? None of those things happened, which tells you all you need to know about my feelings. But they all seemed so obvious, until something very different happened. Butler seems so obvious. We’ll see if something very different happens. But it’s obvious.

Point No. 1: the Mariners want a right-handed hitter. They’re prepared to raise payroll, and they want someone to slot in between Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager, and they have an opening at DH on account of Kendrys Morales was several piles of crap and he’s a free agent anyway. Butler has plenty of experience batting cleanup in Kansas City, that being his most common placement the last handful of years.

Point No. 2: I have to believe Butler’s going to become a free agent. People have loved him in KC, and he’s loved KC back, but he’s got a 2015 club option worth $12.5 million, and he just slugged .379. The only guy the Royals paid more than that this year was James Shields, and he made just an extra $1 million to be the staff ace. From the sounds of things, Butler would be willing to negotiate a smaller deal to stick around. The Royals might raise payroll because of their success and developing playoff run. But they’re going to remain a lower-budget operation, and they can’t afford to spend that much money on an aging and potentially declining DH, and as much as Butler says he loves it there, he’d probably leave for a multi-year guarantee.

Point No. 3: this should be obvious, but the Mariners have been all over Butler in the past. The Mariners showed “strong interest” early in the 2012 offseason. The Mariners were said to “covet” Butler in November 2013. This past July, even with Butler’s numbers down and the Royals contending, the Mariners checked in as they searched the world for offensive upgrades. The Royals coveted Yuniesky Betancourt, and eventually got him. The Mariners, with this front offices, have coveted Billy Butler, and it feels like they’ll eventually get him. He’s still the same kind of player, if maybe a worse version, and while Zduriencik might be turned off from having acquired Kendrys Morales when his numbers were down, that’s one case, and he sat out for several months, and Butler was a little hotter at the plate down the stretch.

So the Mariners have money and an opening. A player they’ve loved in the past is likely to become a free agent, which means they don’t have to negotiate any kind of prospect exchange. The Mariners aren’t the only team that’s liked Butler, but they’re forever looking for a reliable DH and Butler won’t be considered by half the teams in baseball, at a minimum. Some teams already have DH candidates. Some teams will try like hell to sign Victor Martinez, and some teams will be scared off by Butler’s statistical drop-off. The Mariners might be too in love, and while Martinez would obviously be the bigger upgrade, he’s probably going to get a bigger contract than the Mariners want to hand someone his age. Martinez has his own risks, and that market will dwarf Butler’s.

I don’t know the money, and I don’t know how much money I’d be comfortable with. Not a lot, but I’m conservative, especially with designated hitters who can’t field or run or apparently hit a lot of the time. Butler last season started swinging more than ever, in the zone and out of it, and that means fewer walks, and he’s also hit for a lot less power than he did in his peak. When you put it that way he’s a disaster, but he’s somehow still not even close to 29 years old, and there still is very real power in his bat. It just hasn’t manifested very often. Last season Butler was a below-replacement player, but the five seasons previous he was an average contributor, so, what do you do with that?

I think what the Mariners do with that is sign the guy and see what happens. Jack Zduriencik has loved Butler in the recent past, and the more distant past, and he’s presumably about to become available. Lloyd McClendon saw a lot of Butler in the AL Central, and he saw the least of Butler in Butler’s worst season. All the pieces fit just so, and just because Butler isn’t yet thinking about his offseason doesn’t mean the Mariners aren’t. It’s the most obvious move I can think of. It’s a splash without taking up all of the team’s remaining resources, and it’s something the organization would feel really comfortable with, even though Butler does not have a very comfortable profile. There’s a reasonable gamble on Butler, and there’s a too-expensive gamble on Butler, and a year ago I would’ve assumed the Mariners would pay way too much. Now they’ve earned more benefit of the doubt, but Butler still seems like the easiest thing to predict on some terms.

Billy Butler will be a Mariner, just like Nelson Cruz was going to be a Mariner. I don’t feel certain about things very often. This one’s hardly even a gut feeling. This one makes me feel like I’m a man from the future. So, Mariners fans, get ready for a DH nicknamed after a breakfast. How many times could a man possibly be wrong, you know?

Comments

51 Responses to “This Offseason’s Mariner Inevitability”

  1. jorax on October 2nd, 2014 3:24 pm

    I think we can all agree with this super advanced statistical analysis: you’re due!

    Butler certainly doesn’t excite me, but I’d settle for “guy who doesn’t excite me” over “guy I wish would pull a hammy so we’re forced to not play him.”

  2. Paul B on October 2nd, 2014 3:36 pm

    A 29 year old who just had his worst season, where he was slightly below average?

    Sounds like a Mariner DH for sure.

  3. bookbook on October 2nd, 2014 3:36 pm

    Here’s my definite guy-from-the-future prediction. Kendrys Morales will be in Mariners’ camp next spring. If he’s an NRI, DJ Peterson ultimately makes the team. If he’s on a Willie Bloomquist special contract, Kendrys will get 200 PAs next spring to show that 2014 was a fluke.

    Heck, if he works out a bit, maybe a lasik surgery or two, the guy might even have a comeback season.

  4. shortbus on October 2nd, 2014 3:42 pm

    I can say with equal confidence that there is absolutely zero chance the Mariners sign Butler.

    First: in today’s interview on KIRO 710 President Mathers made it clear that Jack Z doesn’t want to make an expensive and long-term commitment for a DH. Their approach to filling this position has been consistent with this information. Butler is going to require a mutli-year deal that will not be cheap since at least one other team is likely to give him a decent offer. I would guess he will sign for something like three years and $35-$40 million.

    You can take issue with this approach, but I assume Jack believes that Montero is still an option and DJ Peterson will arrive some time next season or in 2016. No need to fill the DH spot by making a long-term commitment.

    Secondly: The Royals may make Butler a Qualifying Offer which means he would come at the cost of a draft pick. This would reduce the dollar cost, but Jack Z hates giving up draft picks. He therefore will look elsewhere to fill the DH role.

  5. thehemogoblin on October 2nd, 2014 3:54 pm

    What’s Future Jeff got to say about this one?

  6. Typical Idiot Fan on October 2nd, 2014 3:55 pm

    See, the truth is, Jeff KNOWS his “inevitability” feelings never come to fruition, so he’s basically putting his version of a voodoo hex on the Mariners ever signing Billy Butler. It is Sullivan’s own personal special geothermal powered jinx.

  7. msfanmike on October 2nd, 2014 4:26 pm

    Jorax, I think you nailed it.

    I would prefer to not see the team use FA money on a DH only player, but I think you nailed it.

    The FA pickings are pretty slim, but there are a few options for improving the OF while allowing for a rotation of everyday players through the DH slot. It means the team needs to commit to Saunders … Assuming he double dare swears to never get hurt or contract a virus. Or do whatever the hell else he did.

  8. evolvingcaveman on October 2nd, 2014 4:34 pm

    With the KC team option there’s no QO for Butler so it does make him a strong possibility. Will Cuddyer be better or worse than Butler next season? We have the Vmart (QO)tier, the Butler/Cuddyer tier and then we have the Kendrys, Morse, Hart type options. I’d love to have a productive guy at #4 even if it costs us lots of money as long as it’s a short (2-3year) deal.

  9. Westside guy on October 2nd, 2014 4:45 pm

    Well, Jeff, I’m not sure you should ding yourself for Nelson Cruz. JZ went out of his way to talk about how he’d love to sign the guy. It seems like a reasonable assumption Cruz simply did not want to play half his games at Safeco.

  10. ivan on October 2nd, 2014 5:31 pm

    Nonsense. We all know Stanton’s coming here.

  11. Liam on October 2nd, 2014 6:42 pm

    If there’s a market for Butler on a multi-year deal, the Royals should just pick up his option (1/$12.5M) and then trade him.

  12. qwerty on October 2nd, 2014 9:54 pm

    I have the same feeling about Melky.

  13. LongDistance on October 2nd, 2014 11:57 pm

    I sometimes wonder if Jack’s talking up a player isn’t the product of some sort of convoluted bluff theory / Trojan Horse on his part. Sort of a GM hip fake (if Jack had hips).

    This, of course, can’t be proved. Or, at least, only partly. True enough his heavy hints of desire don’t actually materialize in anything. But we don’t see — conjuring evidence of genius — the surprising alternative materialize either.

    What we see often enough is a variation of Who-The-Hell-Knows? Smoak/Hart Hail Maries … or WFB.

    And, no, Cano didn’t fit this. That was a Lover’s Leap.

    P.S. Ivan, I like your Stanton reference. It has just the right touch of absurdity. But, of course, to make that acquisition effort seem anywhere near believable a GM would have to pretend to be buying the entire franchise from the FO down to the peanut vendors, and proposing to move it to, uh, Atlantic City … which of course would mean needing to add an AL club in, uh, Connecticut or somewhere. And not even Jack’s Wheeler Dealer Theater of the Absurd (mixed with flashes of Greatness?) could pull that off.

    Although … on the other hand, who really understands Jack Zduriencik?

  14. JMB on October 3rd, 2014 12:07 am

    I dunno, there’s not much I wouldn’t give up for Stanton.

  15. Sowulo on October 3rd, 2014 1:58 am

    It’s not like the Marlins haven’t already sold the farm several times in the past or anything…..

  16. Longgeorge1 on October 3rd, 2014 8:21 am

    Jack prefers DHs that are injured AND over the hill

  17. Longgeorge1 on October 3rd, 2014 8:27 am

    1. Get a center fielder (A real one)
    2. Rotate Ackley, Saunders. Cano, Seagar, Taylor, Miller and LoMo as your DH

  18. davepaisley on October 3rd, 2014 11:30 am

    Morales is a much better bet to bounce back than Butler, and he’s a switch hitter with no platoon splits (2011-2013 identical .786 OPS), so I wouldn’t put him in the Corey Hart washed-up class just yet.

    Fielding ability is identical to Butler’s – zero.

    This past year was a weird aberration, I’m sure. Can probably be had for a modest sum (more modest than trading for Butler + salary), especially given the weird crappy year.

    Then spend real money/chips on an outfielder that can hit.

  19. Dobbs on October 3rd, 2014 1:05 pm

    “and a year ago I would’ve assumed the Mariners would pay way too much. Now they’ve earned more benefit of the doubt”

    Is this saying we didn’t overpay for Cano then?

  20. Jerry on October 3rd, 2014 1:17 pm

    There are a few common assumptions in many of the comments that I don’t think are warranted:

    First, why do people think that Butler will command a big, multi-year contract? This is a DH who is coming off a .271/.323/.379 season, with negative WAR. No team is going to break the bank for him. He’s a buy-low candidate.

    Second, he won’t get a qualifying offer, because he’d be a strong candidate to accept it. If the Royals want him back, they would just exercise his option (which is a few mil less than a QO). The Royals will either exercise the option or let him go.

    Third, why does everyone seem to think he’s a terrible idea? I see him as a pretty good option for the M’s. Butler has a good track record, and is only 28. He might be done, but he also might rebound. He’s sorta like Cory Hart. He’s got question marks that will drive down his price, but he could be a bargain. Sometimes those work out, sometimes they don’t. But these types of additions make sense.

    I’d rather see the M’s get someone like Victor Martinez (who WILL command a big contract), or add in other places and fill in at DH without a full-time guy there. But Butler could be a legit option.

    If the M’s deem him a good option, they could even trade for him. KC is VERY likely to just decline the option and buy out the last year. They would probably accept a minor prospect just to be able to avoid paying that buyout. Butler, on a 1 year deal, would still be overpriced, but could help the club if he returns to his 2012/13 levels.

  21. Badbadger on October 3rd, 2014 1:22 pm

    I’m not feeling the inevitability. The M’s may not be an advanced stat driven team, but I would be surprised if they didn’t notice Butler’s Rapidly eroding power numbers. Being overly fond of sluggers seems to strongly imply being overly not-fond of non-sluggers.

    I predict that we go after V-mart and don’t get him due to cost and him not being thrilled about playing at Safeco, then we resign Kendrys, whose bad year we explain away by the late start he had.

    The only way I think we get Butler is if no one else wants him and we sign him cheap on a what-if kind of deal.

  22. Jerry on October 3rd, 2014 1:26 pm

    davepaisley,

    I don’t know why you’d say that Morales is a better bet than Butler. They are both coming off bad seasons. But Butler is three years younger, and has a much better track record than Morales. Morales only has one really good year (2009), and has been simply decent for most of his career. Butler – when he’s good – is a better player.

    I know that we’re all more familiar with Morales, but I’d much rather have Butler if the money is similar.

  23. davepaisley on October 3rd, 2014 1:48 pm

    I’m not overly fond of either, but unless Butler gets cut, he’s going to cost us a trade chip (albeit one that’s not too valuable) and a $12M salary. That or he gets cut and we go dumpster diving again.

    His decline has been more typical, attributable to nothing in particular (neck injury?), whereas Morales’ numbers this year were an aberration that’s got a rational explanation (stupid agent who cost him $6+M and set his career earning potential back 2 years).

    Butler seems to fall more into the Bucky Jacobsen/Corey Hart class than Morales to me.

  24. eponymous coward on October 3rd, 2014 2:55 pm

    1. Get a center fielder (A real one)

    You realize AJax is under contract for a cool 7.5 million next year, right?

    I mean, I guess you can give up on him based on two months and send him out on the waiver wire or bench him, but then that’s 7.5 million dollars for nothing.

    Rotate Ackley, Saunders. Cano, Seagar, Taylor, Miller and LoMo as your DH

    You can kind of do that, but in essence this means you’re making the weakest hitter that group your DH (since they’ll have to play when the other players are DHing, presumably that would be Miller or Taylor).

    His decline has been more typical, attributable to nothing in particular (neck injury?), whereas Morales’ numbers this year were an aberration that’s got a rational explanation (stupid agent who cost him $6+M and set his career earning potential back 2 years).

    It might work out, but Morales is of an age (early 30s) where players with that skillset (slow DHs) fall off the cliff early, in a ballpark (Safeco) and a league (AL, third dead ball era) where it could all add up to him being a bust.

    Look at his comps at age 31, and his overall comps from 32 on…

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/friv/scomp_bat.cgi?I=moralke01:Kendrys+Morales&st=age&age=-32&compage=31

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/friv/scomp_bat.cgi?I=moralke01:Kendrys+Morales&st=career&age=-32

    None of those guys were very good after 31. Dropo’s LIFETIME WAR on B-R is 3.2, Jaha had one year of being good in 1999 with the A’s, a year with much higher offense (over a run a game more than 2014), with the rest of the time being terrible. So, we’re looking at maybe a 10-20% chance that Morales would be worth a 5-7 million dollar contract, and otherwise… he’ll be Corey Hart.

    I might be willing to do a spring training invite, but honestly, I’d rather we looked elsewhere.

  25. Badbadger on October 3rd, 2014 4:33 pm

    I sort of agree about Morales not being that exciting, but Butler…I don’t know what’s going on with him, but his power looks seriously gone. Maybe last year was a fluke but it does kind of look like he’s on a steep downward trend.

  26. qwerty on October 3rd, 2014 7:25 pm

    Melky & Cuddyer.

  27. bookbook on October 3rd, 2014 9:56 pm

    The funny thing is that Hart may well bounce back with someone. Just don’t let it be with us!

  28. Woodcutta on October 3rd, 2014 10:29 pm

    I wouldn’t mind taking a shot at Aoki either. He had a solid year with the Royals but was somewhat of a disappointment after the year he had in Milwaukee. He could be a good/cheap #2 hitter or even hit in the bottom third of the order. If he’s cheap I think he’d be less of a risk than Melky and Cuddyer but with less offensive upside.

  29. ensignofcommand on October 4th, 2014 4:10 am

    Sign one of Scherzer, Lester, or Shields.

    Trade Saunders, Paxton, and Walker for Stanton.

    Three front end starters and three middle of the order hitters with plus defense out of 25. I’ll take those odds.

  30. djw on October 4th, 2014 8:13 am

    Morales is a much better bet to bounce back than Butler

    1. Morales is 3 years older than Butler. 2. In Butler’s down year, he was a virtually league average hitter (97 wRC+), while Morales was much much worse (72 wRC+).

    I don’t want either, and it wouldn’t completely shock me if Morales was better, but obviously Butler is, ceteris paribus, a better bet.

  31. Longgeorge1 on October 4th, 2014 8:54 am

    eponymous coward – I am not a big fan of DHs who can not play a position unless they can hit somewhere in the Martinez zone.
    Yes it is too soon to give up on Ajax, but if we had another centerfielder we would have an option in CF when Ajax goes Figgens on us. I am sorry but he just appears to be a guy that has lost his confidence and I think Detroit knew it when they let him go.

  32. Westside guy on October 4th, 2014 12:04 pm

    I’d love to see a league average outfielder added, and then Lloyd could rotate the four guys through three slots.

    But that’s got nothing to do with Butler, in any case. And Lloyd probably wouldn’t rotate the center fielder anyway.

  33. stevemotivateir on October 4th, 2014 12:31 pm

    If the M’s were to find an upgrade at center, they’d almost have to send $$$ in a deal to move Jackson elsewhere, unless they take a bad contract in return. Not impossible to do, but how likely is it?

    I’m kind of with George on having a DH that can offer some defensive value. Rotating DH duties certainly shouldn’t be ruled out, whether someone is added, or not.

    @ensign
    If you trade Saunders, Walker, and Paxton for Stanton, you’ve created a hole in the rotation. Stanton hasn’t been extended yet, so the risk of losing him after a couple years is significant as well. Signing one of the pitchers you mentioned still leaves you one (at least) short, but you will have committed a lot more in salary. Is there going to be enough resources to fill the remaining holes? Is there going to be enough to extend Stanton–if he’s willing to stay in Seattle?

    Kind of a moot point on my part, because there’s no way Miami trades him for those three. There’s nothing wrong with those three, but I would suspect they could milk another team for even more.

  34. Edward Baker on October 4th, 2014 1:34 pm

    Point 1. The Mariners need a rightie stick.
    Point 2. The Mariners need another rightie stick.
    Point 3. We could say that Kendrys Morales is shit on a stick, but it would be disrespectful to wood and excrement, so let´s go on to
    Point 4. Billy Butler is a better version of Kendrys Morales.
    Point 5. Go for Víctor Martínez.

  35. Edward Baker on October 4th, 2014 2:27 pm

    DJW: I´ll take Ceteris Paribus over Butler or Morales any day. What he did last with Lazio was off the charts.

  36. ripperlv on October 5th, 2014 10:01 am

    Hmmmm, Billy “butter bean” Butler, just not feeling the love.

  37. Sowulo on October 5th, 2014 7:38 pm

    Butler still 0-fer the playoffs. Good thing he is lifting his teammates on to victory!

  38. billr on October 6th, 2014 10:05 am

    Butler seems to me a “buy-low” option. Even at .270 he hits for better average than all but 3 full-time Mariners. He seems younger and less likely to be fully done than Kendrys.

    I was hoping for Victor Martinez and Melky Cabrera, but there is no way we are going to take the risk of signing both of them and leave no money for 2016 contracts… Victor Martinez will be expensive, and its probably a better investment to spend on a real outfielder.

    If we could get Butler and Melky I’d be pretty excited for 2015 and feel like we finally had enough RHB to be better balanced.

  39. eponymous coward on October 6th, 2014 12:23 pm

    eponymous coward – I am not a big fan of DHs who can not play a position unless they can hit somewhere in the Martinez zone.

    You realize that Edgar Martinez has a legitimate claim to being a HOFer as a hitter, right?

    If your bar for a DH is that, it’s unrealistic. The solution is not to effectively make middle infielders your DHs. It’s to have more corner IF/OFers who aren’t complete disasters as fielders.

    Yes it is too soon to give up on Ajax, but if we had another centerfielder we would have an option in CF when Ajax goes Figgens on us. I am sorry but he just appears to be a guy that has lost his confidence and I think Detroit knew it when they let him go.

    Figgins was on a four year deal. AJax is on a one year deal. Big difference.

    Also, the FA market isn’t flush with CFers, so this means trading folks…

    If you trade Saunders, Walker, and Paxton for Stanton, you’ve created a hole in the rotation. Stanton hasn’t been extended yet, so the risk of losing him after a couple years is significant as well. Signing one of the pitchers you mentioned still leaves you one (at least) short

    With one of your “three font end” SPs being a guy in his 30’s with injury history (Kuma), you could be taking a pretty terrible risk of stripping out the depth in the Mariner farm system and suddenly ending up with a rotation of Felix, Kuma, Elias, and ????.

    Right now the rotation slots Felix, Kuma, Elias, Paxton, Walker, and THEN you get to ??? like Erasmo or Maurer or whoever gets on fire in spring training+NRIs. I have to say that’s not shabby.

  40. Jerry on October 6th, 2014 1:41 pm

    I think the best way forward for this team is to look for offensive help in free agency, then make trades to fill holes and maybe get a diamond in the rough.

    If we tried to make a trade for a premium ML player, we would have to move Walker and/or Paxton. Both of those guys are lined up to make major contributions to the team this year. If you move them, you just create another hole. That would probably necessitate bringing in free agent arms, which often aren’t a good investment. Right now, we’ve got five pretty good starters in Felix, Kuma, Paxton, Walker, and Elias. They need to add 1-2 guys for depth. Subtracting from that just creates new needs.

    The other trade assets we have aren’t enough to get a premium guy like Stanton. Peterson, Guerrero, Wilson, etc are good prospects, but they aren’t enough to be the headliners in a package for a really good position player.

    I think the M’s are in a good place to buy some help. Victor Martinez and Bully Butler are interesting guys at DH. Yasmani Tomas and Nick Markakis could be good fits in the OF. And there are some great mid-tier pitchers who should be available, including Brett Anderson, Francisco Liriano, Brandon Morrow, Brandon McCarthy, etc. The M’s should focus their big additions on free agents (Tomas and Martinez!), then supplement with a few smart buy-low guys and trades. That allows us to keep our young talent and not deplete our best current asset: dominant pitching.

  41. Longgeorge1 on October 6th, 2014 5:39 pm

    Cano and Seagar are both above average bats that need to stay in the lineup but need to be spelled once in a while. We have two serviceable SS’s, Miller has shown enough versatility to spell both. Ackley and Saunders are nice players with health issues and could also benefit from regular “days off” in the DH spot

    I prefer to not have my best bat sitting on the bench during half of the interleague and World Series games.

    I would prefer to have more serviceable players that I could platoon to create one very good player out of two average players much like the A’s do.

    When we see how the free agent market shakes out we could speculate on FAs and trades.

    I realize that we are heavy with LH bats, but weren’t we near the top against LH pitchers BEFORE we got Ajax, Denorfia and Morales?

  42. stevemotivateir on October 6th, 2014 7:05 pm

    With one of your “three font end” SPs being a guy in his 30?s with injury history (Kuma), you could be taking a pretty terrible risk of stripping out the depth in the Mariner farm system and suddenly ending up with a rotation of Felix, Kuma, Elias, and ????.

    It’s not the farm system you’d be stripping, it’s the current rotation! But the point’s the same. There is no inner-organizational depth. Stanton hasn’t been the model of health either, so there’s risks all around in a move like that. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  43. stevemotivateir on October 6th, 2014 7:11 pm

    Does anyone actually think there’s going to be enough funding to sign more than one big-name free agent?

    I certainly don’t, which is why I’m nervous that we’ll see Saunders shipped off for an outfield upgrade–Jack Z-style.

  44. MrZDevotee on October 7th, 2014 5:13 pm

    I don’t think we really have the depth to make a trade for a big-time MLB bat… At least not enough depth to still be relevant if we do that.

    And if those aren’t the guys we go after, then Paxton and Walker don’t have to be in the equation. I already think there would be people more interested in Peterson or Guerrero, or Wilson, etc. Not that I want to trade those guys, but if we target teams trying to free up payroll and rebuilding, for a Major League veteran, they’ll want multiple minor leaguers in return, instead of already starting MLB players.

    I think that’s a smarter way to go. Let’s not get too drunk on the idea that everyone is Robbie Cano… More of them are Prince Fielders, Chone Figgins, Carl Crawfords, Texeiras, and Josh Hamiltons (ie, injury prone or on the decline), if you’re going after guys already successful. AND you’ll be overpaying for them.

    The formula for success recently (A’s, Giants, last year’s Bosox, Cardinals, etc.) seems to be A) excellent rotation, B) solid bullpen, C) a couple excellent hitters, D) a bunch of solid guys who play defense, make contact and get on base.

    Those last guys are who we’re looking for… An outfielder, a DH who can field a position when necessary, and a utility man with contact/speed skills. (I’m willing to see what Morrison provides at 1B/DH with an offseason of further health and a full Spring Training.)

    Watching the Angels fail, with a massive lineup and damaged pitching only reinforces that idea…

  45. Longgeorge1 on October 7th, 2014 9:07 pm

    Let’s not forget that this team did very well against winning and play-off quality teams. Making any kind of changes should not be knee jerk over reactions.
    Also look at the A’s after they “locked up” the AL West with their trade deadline moves. I am not saying don’t make prudent changes as they become available. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.

  46. Woodcutta on October 8th, 2014 3:21 pm

    The A’s deadline deals were actually good deals for them but the players faltered down the stretch. That isn’t on the GM. Their rotation next year, without Lester, will look something like…

    Jeff Samardzija
    A.J. Griffin
    Sonny Gray
    Scott Kazmir
    Jarrod Parker

    The M’s NEED to do something of relevance this offseason or all the success of this season will mean nothing. I agree they shouldn’t overpay whether it be a free agent signing or trade but we have also seen what happens when this team stands pat.

  47. The_Waco_Kid on October 8th, 2014 11:09 pm

    Cuddyer would be cheaper than Martinez and would probably hit better than Butler, so that sounds good. I think we’ll sign one expensive hitter and then be done with significant offensive upgrades. Not counting when we trade Walker and Saunders for Kemp!

  48. mrakbaseball on October 9th, 2014 5:45 pm

    What are the odds Saunders is with the Mariners in ’15? Probably pretty low.

  49. Longgeorge1 on October 9th, 2014 8:14 pm

    ******The A’s deadline deals were actually good deals for them but the players faltered down the stretch.********

    Totally agree but my point was improving the team on paper doesn’t always translate on the field. We have a team that played well on the road and against good teams our issues may be more mental that a lack of talent.

    Saunders?????? What is the TRUTH?????

  50. LongDistance on October 9th, 2014 11:14 pm

    *** cue The Twilight Zone theme ***

    The TRUTH: Jack Zduriencik is the man in charge of this.

    Do you understand Jack Zduriencik? Does anyone, including Jack Zduriencik, understand Jack Zduriencik?

    For me, that’s the real inevitability for the off season. That the man in charge is unfathomable and unpredictable. Except–and it’s just an impression–that he seems to have a pie-in-the-sky approach, more subjective than objective.

    Which means: we’ll see one, maybe two total surprises (hopefully one of which will be a good one). And then there will be what resemble crossed fingers (this is where I’d pigeonhole Butler), groaners, or outright head-scratchers.

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