3 Topics (but none deserving a full post)

Here’s your 3 for 1 special. 3 topics of food for thought, minus the food. Enjoy.

Ackley for A-Gon
A couple days ago on 710 ESPN, Kevin Calabro was making his argument for an Adrian Gonzalez to Seattle trade. His case was that this team plus Adrian Gonzalez would be an American League favorite to make the World Series, and likely a contender next year as well. The price is never too high for glory days like Calabro was painting, and no one could disagree with the excitement that A-Gon in Seattle would bring. But while most of us talk about a package including the likes of Saunders, Carp, Lopez, Fields, Halman, Triunfel, French, Matthew Long…Calabro says give em’ Dustin Ackley if that’s what it takes. At first, it sounds ridiculous, but the more I think about it, the more intrigued I am. Here’s why.

In Ackley, you get high upside (he was the #2 pick overall last year) and the potential down the road of say, Chase Utley at 2nd base. He is also under team control for 4-6 more years. In Gonzalez, you get a stud, who has already reached the potential we can only dream that Ackley may achieve. But he is only under team control for 2 more years. Money is not much of a factor because Gonzalez will only make $10.25MM from 2010-11. What is a factor is the value over replacement that Ackley and Gonzalez may provide. Ackley might be the starting 2nd baseman in 2011, and that’s probably an upgrade over Lopez. The same can be said for Gonzalez over Kotchman at first base. But just how big would the upgrade be this year, when essentially all the stars would be aligned to go for it with the Cliff Lee and A-Gon additions? Here’s what CHONE projections say.

’10 Dustin Ackley- minor leagues, +0 WAR
’10 Jose Lopez- 19 hr, 89 rbi, .283 avg, +2.6 WAR
’10 Adrian Gonzalez- 33 hr, 98 rbi, .280 avg, +4.2 WAR
’10 Casey Kotchman- 10 hr, 58 rbi, .265 avg, +0.9 WAR

In 2010, Ackley won’t be a factor, so losing him, at least for this season, is not going to impact the wins total. In future years, his value will likely only increase. A-Gon could add 23 hr, 40 rbi, and about 3.3 wins more than Kotchman, and both play terrific defense. Is that enough to enter “go for it” mode and give up Ackley? Probably not, but whose to say Gonzalez wouldn’t re-sign and stay in Seattle just as long as Ackley would? And what if Ackley doesn’t develop and reach his potential? In Gonzalez, you have a player who already has reached his potential.

Ultimately, there are too many unknowns to pull the trigger on this deal, though I’d bet San Diego would take a deal that included Ackley. If we knew Cliff Lee would be in Seattle next year as well, then maybe you risk it all to have 2 years of win-now baseball. But Lee past this year is no guarantee, and Ackley in the next five years is too enticing to trade for what may only be two years of Gonzalez. The Mariners aren’t quite into full win-now mode so mortgaging the future with the team’s top prospect would not be wise. But come mid-July if a bidding war is on for Gonzalez and the M’s, sitting atop the AL West, don’t have a package to make the deal, maybe Ackley becomes realistic bait.

What if…
I love day dreaming about “what if” scenarios related to my Seattle sports teams. In my mind there are two types of “what if” questions; negative outcome and positive outcome. The negative scenarios seem to stick with me longer. What if Howard Schultz had sold the team to a Seattle group stead of the Okies? What if a couple penalties went our way in Super Bowl 40? What if the Seahawks had kept Hutch. What if the Mariners had drafted Lincicum over Morrow? What if Holmgren, Leiweke and Paul Allen had gotten along? Of course there are positive “what if” scenarios too, where knowing the eventual outcome makes me smile. What if Ichiro had ended up with Los Angeles? What if the ’95 team never made their August push, would baseball be in Seattle today?

The two scenarios I can’t seem to get over are both “what if” questions regarding the Mariner’s 2008 season. What if Bavasi hadn’t made the Bedard trade? And what if the Mariners hadn’t swept Oakland to end the year? My theory is that if Bedard had not been acquired, the team would have likely still sucked, because Adam Jones, Chris Tillman and George Sherrill weren’t going to make up for many more wins than Bedard provided in ’08. And if we had not swept the A’s to end the year, we would have had the #1 pick in ’09, and Stephen Strasburg would be a Mariner today. Based on these two scenarios, our rotation going forward for at least the next 3 years would have likely been Felix, Strasburg, and Chris Tillman. Wow.

NHL vs. NBA
If I had it my way, Seattle would have the NHL, NBA, and a regular PGA tour stop. As it is, we have none. In the future, I think we will have one or two of these, and I’m beginning to want the NHL more than the others. My wife is a huge Red Wings fan, so I’ve watched more hockey since getting married 3 years ago than I did the previous 20 years. Playoff hockey is amazing. So is Olympic hockey, like the world just saw. A new arena is necessary for the NHL or NBA, so this dream is still years away, but similar to how the Sounders have been received, I think a hockey team would be a sell-out machine as well. In my opinion, it’s more entertaining than the NBA, and while a new arena could bring both leagues back to Seattle, I’d rather have hockey. Build an arena, and there would be 5 or 6 teams, Phoenix, Nashville, Florida, Tampa bay, Atlanta, to name a few, fighting to get to Seattle first.

-Dan

3 Comments

Filed under Mariners, Uncategorized

3 responses to “3 Topics (but none deserving a full post)

  1. NHL to Seattle! I really want this to happen.

  2. Joe Loughery

    The Ackley trade discussion really depends on how legit this team is in July. If the Ms are in first and will clearly make a run at the division, I say do it. With Lee and Felix in the playoffs, adding A-Gon could be the difference in a series verses the Yankees with all of their power. If the Ms are in the race, but NOT clearly making the post season, I want to hang onto Ackley. I am very high on him, I think he will be a stalwart at 2B for years.

    To me the Strasburg issue is one of the biggest blunders ever, may even trump the Hutchinson deal. All they had to do was lose some meaningless games to Oakland, and boom, we have Felix and Strasburg. But no, they went and won. It’s typical Seattle sports bad luck. It’s right there with not taking Lincecum.

    I agree on the NHL, but in my mind, it’s a package deal. If we somehow build an arena for the NHL team, I guarantee David Stern will get an NBA team here. The NBA wants to be in Seattle, the problem lies with us. I am not ignoring the obvious economic problems the NBA has, I am just saying if we build it, they will come, to quote my favorite movie of all time. Seattle is no question a 4 team town, we could absolutely support 4 pro teams. We have a ton of millionaires who live here, and people in this town love to spend recreational money. It is a total no brainer.

  3. Matthew

    I probably wouldn’t trade Ackley for him, personally. If you could do an extension as part of the trade, then maybe. There are just some other options likely to be available that can get you moderately close to Gonzalez that definitely wouldn’t cost Ackley, like Pena or Berkman maybe. Also, Ackley can’t be traded until a year after he signed. He can be a player named later, but that doesn’t happen very often with that high of a pick, for whatever reason.

    I don’t think it would cost Ackley, though. Looking at the big trades recently (Halladay, Santana, Haren), they haven’t costed teams their top prospect. It’s usually something like two of the top four, or a young major leaguer, plus some extras. And Gonzalez isn’t at that level and plays a much less valuable position. Also, if you trade him for Ackley, the Padres aren’t getting a lot more, and teams seem to prefer some quantity in these trades. You could always get a bidding war going, but I think something like, Lopez, Saunders, Triunfel, a young pitcher or two and some filler would probably get it done. Unless the Red Sox decide to sell the farm, at which point Ackley probably won’t matter anyway.

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