Category Archives: M’s Transaction News

Randy Wolf Is Gone. Who Cares?

Apparently, anyone who claims to be a fan of the Seattle Mariners.  Except the Good Guys.

This afternoon, Randy Wolf was released by the Seattle Mariners because he didn’t want to sign some complicated contract (basically, if he wasn’t on the club for 45 days then he wouldn’t be owed a million dollars).  The Good Guys sat at their respective places, saw the news and celebrated!  We don’t have to watch some below-average lefty, who is not a part of the team’s near (or distant) future, make any starts as a member of our hometown team!  We saw this story last year with Joe Saunders, except Wolf is even worse!

The rest of Seattle fell into a panic and I still haven’t figured out why.  I know people really don’t like Hector Noesi and understandably so.  Blake Beavan isn’t our favorite guy either but both of these guys are on par with Wolf (sure, they might be a little worse).  They don’t have to pay either of those guys what they were going to pay Wolf.  Heck, there are other free agent options out there who are better than Randy ‘hang ’em and bang ’em’ Wolf.

Mostly, I just don’t understand the freak out but there are two points I want to make.  The 5th starter (where Wolf is headed) will only make 1-3 starts before Walker comes back.  Walker is about 3 or 4 weeks away but the Mariners only need to use the 5th starter once in the first two weeks because of off-days which will allow them to skip the spot the rotation.  Literally, they only would need to use that 5th spot once before April 15th (the day Walker could come off the DL).

The other issue people keep talking about is that the last 2 days have ruined the Mariners rotation depth.  I have two thoughts on this.  First, if a player is going to make a couple of starts and then decline to go to AAA, that’s not rotation depth, it’s just a stopgap.  Rotation depth is built in the minor leagues and the Mariners have done a fairly good job with this in recent years.  Secondly, no team is ready to have 2 starters out.  Look at Oakland, Texas, or Atlanta.  All of them have injury problems and their rotations are a bit of a mess right now.  Randy Wolf was the Mariners 8th or 9th starter.  That’s not bad.  They got rid of him because he thought he was good and got greedy.  He’s not good.  Sure, it would have been great to add a free agent arm this off-season but not for the contracts they were going for.  Some didn’t have any interest in coming here.

Everything is okay, everybody.  By next month, none of this will matter.  Roenis Elias is a fun filler in the 4th spot in the rotation.  No one knows anything about him so he could catch some teams by surprise for a few weeks, then the guy who finished 3rd in Cy Young voting can take his spot.  The 5th spot could be ugly for 1 or 2 starts and then the top pitching prospect in baseball can take his spot.  Things aren’t so bad.

Aaron Harang could be the Braves third starter to start the season.  Joe Saunders could be in the Rangers rotation until July.  The Mariners are in fine shape compared to these teams.  Go enjoy some baseball and stop freaking out about cutting a guy who hasn’t had an ERA under 5 in the last 3 seasons.

Andrew

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Thank You, Ichiro

Matthew just wrote a post about Ichiro below this.  It’s based more on facts and what it means for both sides.  This post is more of the emotional aspect and I just wanted to write a few words about the legend.

For the last month I’d been planning to write a post about Ichiro Suzuki.  I’ve been a defender of his this past year and I had grown frustrated with the media constantly bashing him while overlooking other faults in the organization.  Every time I tried to write the post though, I couldn’t get it out.  The truth is, Ichiro just has been very good in the last couple of years and I couldn’t write a strong enough piece to totally defend him.  I guess, more than anything it bothered me how Ichiro was treated.

I’ve never been one to truly care about how much a player talks to the media.  I didn’t like it when Chone Figgins repeatedly said, “Next question.” but that’s just because I don’t like Figgins.  Unfortunately, the media doesn’t like it when players don’t speak to them and where do fans get most of their information?  The media.  With that in mind, I think number 51’s career was tarnished a little bit.  Ichiro Suzuki was one of the Mariners most productive hitters this season.  He wasn’t good, in fact, he was bad, but there truly weren’t many better guys.  Yet, talk shows spent hour after hour debating his spot in the batting order.  National media members (Jon Heyman) tweet about the Mariners once a month and it’s usually to bash Ichiro.

For some reason, Ichiro has gotten the label of being a ‘selfish’ baseball player.  This stemmed from him not interacting with people and always hitting singles.  Think about how ridiculous this notion is now that he’s not here.  You had 2,533 hits for our organization and you are selfish.  What?  Former players didn’t understand Ichiro and then bashed him, because of that, after they’d left town.

Over the course of this year, there have been many things said about Ichiro that shouldn’t have been said.  Jay Buhner said recently said he would have vomited if Ichiro was signed to a good-sized extension.  We all understood the sentiment, but don’t you think he could have made it sound better?  A Mariner legend, who will never sniff the hall of fame, just insulted a future hall-of-famer, who played in Seattle longer than he did, in front of the whole city.  No one would have done this to Jr. in his last season even though he was producing at a much lower rate.

I think, over the past year, we’ve diminished the player Ichiro was.  He’s been the face of Japanese baseball and will continue to be long after he retires.  I ask you to forget all things that were said this past year about Ichiro.  He’s not selfish, he’s from another culture and just came here to play baseball the way that he knew how.  He was great at it.  He’ll be the 2nd player inducted into the Hall as a Mariner, right after Griffey, and he should be treated like that.  He’s a legend and we won’t see anyone else do what he did, ever.  2,533 hits in 11 and a half seasons.  Read that sentence again.

Remember Ichiro for his laser throw to gun down Terrance long.  Remember Ichiro for the day he broke Sisler’s hit record.  Remember him for the player he was as a Mariner, not the picture some of the media painted him as.

I’ve always hated the Yankees.  I’m like most people.  Now, I will root like crazy for them to win the World Series.  Ichiro truly deserves that.

I’m sorry if you ever felt under-appreciated here, Ichiro.  I hope you know that you are loved in this city and you’re a legend.  Go hit .320, win a ring, wear it to spring training and punch Jon Heyman in the face with it on.

Andrew

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A Couple Of Thoughts On The M’s

As I write this, the Seattle Mariners are on a plane headed to Japan.  A week from now, they’ll have two regular season games under their belt and will be headed back to the states for another week of wonderful spring training baseball (sarcasm).  I’ll try to catch us up on some Mariner news.  If you have anymore questions about the M’s put them in the comments and we’ll address them.

  • As I said, the Mariners are on their way to Japan at the moment which means that they had to cut their roster to 30 for the trip.  Kevin Millwood (who we’ll discuss later) is not on the trip but will be in the starting rotation to start the year.  Him and Japan don’t get along.  This all gets a bit confusing as far as the rosters go for this trip, so stay with me.  I think I understand them.  30 players are on the trip and they’re all allowed to play in the exhibition games against the Japanese teams.  I’d have to take a look at the Japanese teams rosters but it’s hard not to imagine that the Mariners carrying Casper Wells AND Carlos Peguero for these games won’t give them an insurmountable advantage over the Tigers and Giants of Japan.  Unless they are actually Japanese tigers and giants.  Anyway, back on track.  After the exhibition games the Mariners then have to cut down to 28 players for their games against the Oakland A’s of Japan.  That has to be the day Guillermo Quiroz is dreading.  Of those 28 players, only 25 of them will be able to play in the actual games against Oakland.  Kevin Millwood, and any other players they left at home who they expect to open the season with the big-league team (there probably aren’t any), must count against the 28 players but not against the 25.  So, the Mariners may have a different 25 players available in the season opener than their first game stateside.  It’s a bit confusing, really and probably not worth your time to understand.
  • Anyway, here’s the 30 guys going to Japan by position:  Starting Pitchers – Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Hector Noesi, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez (although he may be used in the bullpen for the M’s) Relief Pitchers – Hisashi Iwakuma, George Sherrill, Tom Wilhelmsen, Shawn Kelley, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League, Chance Ruffin, Steve Delabar, Charlie Furbush Catchers – Jesus Montero!, Miguel Olivo, John Jaso, Guillermo QuirozInfielders – Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley!, Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins, Kyle Seager, Munenori Kawasaki, Alex Liddi  Outfielders – Mike Carp, Michael Saunders, Ichiro Suzuki, Casper Wells, Carlos Peguero.
  • So, you have those 30 plus Kevin Millwood to choose from for your final 25.  We know the starting rotation (Felix, Vargas, Noesi, Beavan, and Millwood), so I would imagine Erasmo Ramirez starts in Tacoma.  I think Furbush will also start in Tacoma.  Then, the M’s will chose between Luetge, Delabar and Ruffin for the last 2 bullpen spots.  I think Ruffin starts in Tacoma.  That puts the team at 12 pitchers and 28 players.  Quiroz and Alex Liddi will almost surely start in Tacoma.  So, I’d say the last roster spot comes down to Peguero and Wells.  I really hope that the front office picks Wells and I think they probably will.  There’s your 25 man roster.
  • I mentioned the starting rotation above and don’t really have any objections with those 5.  Blake Beavan is a little boring and Iwakuma is somewhat intriguing but I was never high on Doug Fister either and he proved me wrong plenty of times.  Beavan is in the same mold and could do the same.  Marc at USSM had a good article on the argument today.  Really we don’t know if any of these guys, aside from Felix, will be here the whole year.  Vargas has always been a subject of trade talk and the others could just be passed by better, younger pitchers.  For now though, I think these five will do.
  • Last time Matthew posted on the M’s, Michael Saunders was a big topic of conversation.  Since he has hardly done anything in the games (blame Matthew).  He finished the spring with a lower batting average than he had last spring.  I’m not saying he didn’t improve because I think he did, I’m just not a belie
    Bad Guy of the Day

    Bad Guy of the Day

    ver yet.  Here’s to hoping he proves us wrong.

  • Spring training stats are meaningless, so stop looking at them.
  • Today, Jon Heyman who reports for CBS Sports had an article on Ichiro.  The main idea was that Ichiro should not be back on the Mariners next year because he holds too much power over the organization.  To put it plainly, I think it was a ridiculous piece.  Yes, there needs to be a discussion about what the M’s should do with Ichiro and maybe they should let him go.  They definitely need to agree to a smaller contract after this year but that’s because of his age and performance last year.  Heyman mentioned his on-field performance but chose to focus on issues that came up in the 2008 season.  Heyman had a ‘source’ (Carlos Silva, anyone?) who said Ichiro caused problems in the clubhouse because of his egos.  All of these things were mostly taken care of in the 2009 season and have been non-issues since.  By the way, the person who called Ichiro out during the 2008 season was Carlos Silva, who said Ichiro was selfish.  Ichiro hit .310 that year and had 214 hits.  Carlos Silva was 4-15 with a 6.46 ERA that year.  Heyman finishes the article by saying Ichiro refused an interview before his spring training game and still treats himself like a superstar even though he isn’t playing like one.  He has never granted interviews before the game.  There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact I’d say that means he’s focusing on the actual baseball being played, which is something Heyman needs to do.
  • All of that to say, be cynical with what you read in sports especially when it comes to the national media.  Heck, be cynical when it comes to what you read here, if you think I’m on Ichiro’s side too much I understand.  There’s enough good Mariner blogs that don’t form opinions of players without actual stats supporting them.  Jeff Sullivan and Matthew at Lookout Landing are the best at this, and the best at trying to understand things from all the points of view.  Try to do that as well, it’ll make you a better fan.
  • The last bullet holes I have are just informative things around the blog (I doubt anyone has made it this far in the reading anyway!).  If anyone’s interested in forming a fantasy baseball league, I would gladly be the commissioner.  I don’t know if any of the other Good Guy writers will join but if you want to leave a comment or email me at andrew.long09@northwestu.edu.  Also, we will be watching the season opening game next Wednesday live at 3 AM.  If any of you are interested in joining us, shoot me an email and we’ll try to have a good time watching some very early morning baseball.

Thanks for reading!

Andrew

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The Value Question

The Pineda-Montero trade is fascinating on so many levels.  Baseball just doesn’t see many trades of elite young players for each other.  If a Pineda or Montero gets traded, it’s for a more established star or, less often, for a package of younger prospects.  The failed Cliff Lee-Montero deal aspect just adds another layer.

When I first heard about the trade, my thought was that it was so obvious that I couldn’t believe it happened.  I remember even asking Dan and Andrew back in the summer whether they would make this trade straight-up.  To me, it seems like both teams are trading from a position of strength to fill a weakness.

Most trade analyses you’ll read have a different focus.  You can literally read for hours about whether Montero or Pineda is more valuable, whether Jose Campos or Hector Noesi is more valuable, about who did better in this deal.  All of those issues are interesting and highly debateable, which makes them fun and worth writing.  I think they occasionally miss the point, however.

The goal of a baseball team is not to add the most valuable pieces, or to win the value war in a trade or signing.  The goal is to build the best team.  Typically, the two go hand in hand.  The more value a team can get in a deal, the better.  If given the choice between Adam Dunn for $14 million a year or an outfield of Michael Stanton, Andrew McCutcheon and Jacoby Ellsbury for roughly a third of that amount, the choice is obvious.  You want the most bang for your buck.  You don’t want to spend huge money on guys who will underperform and you ideally want to underpay guys who are good and getting better.  That’s why building up an elite farm system is so important.

What is obvious in the macro view becomes highly nuanced in practice.  It’s not enough to just say that starting pitcher is a more valuable position than designated hitter, or that Pineda has more value than Montero because he’s had a year of major league experience.  Both of those statements are true and yet, they don’t matter too much for the Mariners.  The Mariners strength is their rotation.  They will miss Pineda, especially if he turns into a Cy Young candidate.  The difference between Pineda and Danny Hultzen, James Paxton or Taijuan Walker is potentially tiny, however.  That is compounded by the Safeco Field effect and the way it can turn mediocre pitchers into average ones.  In Safeco, pitching is nowhere near as valuable as hitting, and adding hitting is much more valuable for the current Mariners because they have so little of it.

Speaking of hitting, it’s not crazy to think that Montero could be the most productive guy in the Mariners line-up in 2012.  It’s not certain, of course, which is why there’s some risk here.  Still, where the gap between Pineda and Hultzen is small to non-existent, the gap from Montero to the Mariners best hitting prospect, be it Nick Franklin or Vinnie Catricala or whomever, is huge.  It’s debateable whether Montero or Pineda is more valuable in a vacuum, but I think it’s clear that Montero is much more valuable to the Mariners.

This offense is suddenly sort of interesting.  It will still likely struggle in 2012 as all of the young guys (hopefully) come of age, but with Ackley and Montero and Smoak and possibly Carp, they now have a heart of the order that could turn into something scary.  Now Franklin and Catricala and Wells and everyone else only have to be supporting players rather than stars.  The other fun aspect of this trade is what it allows them to do in the future, as Dave Cameron and others have pointed out.  It’s possible but highly unlikely they still sign Prince Fielder, but assuming they don’t, that potentially leaves them with a lot of money to spend in the near future.  Maybe they add a pitcher for a year or two, or maybe they wait until next year to find an offensive guy at a position of need like third base or outfield.  This deal potentially improves the Mariners immediately and sets them up to more easily improve in the future as well.

As with any trade, this one will not be determined good or bad until we see what Montero and Noesi, to a lesser degree, make themselves into.  It’s tough to see Pineda go.  I’ll never forget those early fastballs that looked like they were thrown at about 150 miles per hour.  This deal potentially gives the Mariners tremendous value, however, whether Montero is more valuable than Pineda or not.

-Matthew

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Pineda-Montero Trade Reaction

Earlier today I sat down and was starting to write a post on how we shouldn’t listen to any baseball reporters this off-season.  Part of it had to do with me being frustrated at the hysteria of Prince Fielder being in Texas.  The other part of me was frustrated with the Mariners for the lack of  moves this off-season.  Did I disagree with what they did?  No, but I was just bored.  Sports are entertainment, and it’s never fun when they leave you bored.  The last part of me was just hungry and didn’t even care about baseball reporters because I wanted to eat some chicken.  When I started that post, the Mariners made a trade.  Hey!  A trade!  After 4 months of peeking through the fence at Prince Fielder, the Mariners jumped over the fence, jumped on one of their horses, rode it into town, swapped it for another rancher’s horse, rode that horse back to the fenced-in area they owned, and had a glass of lemonade all in the span of about 10 minutes.  Sorry, about that.  I hope you followed.  My first point of this post, is that you shouldn’t take much of what these baseball writers say as gospel.  They get the reports right every now and then but tonight showed just how fast the unexpected can happen.

As for the trade, well surely you’ve read other people’s reaction by now.  There’s been enough time for you to form your own opinion.  But, if for some reason you’re indecisive on how you feel, and you’re up at 3 AM, a Good Guy is here to help!  I want to cover a few things before I get to my quick reaction.

It seems as if the opinion from people around Seattle is all over the place.  There are people completely against it, people who love it, and people who think it’s strictly average.  Dave ‘Softy’ Mahler had about a 10 tweet rant about how the ownership has to change now.  Mike Salk loved the trade.  (‘Softy’ wasn’t necessarily upset about the trade, but for some reason it sent him over the edge, just for the record.)  I want to caution you on who you listen to about this.  I believe that the Good Guys would have a more intelligent conversation about the Mariners than many of the Seattle sports radio guys.  That’s not to say they aren’t knowledgeable in other ways, but many of them aren’t experts on the Mariners and I think they’d admit as much.  Salk (from Brock and Salk) seems to try to understand more than any other.  Some of them just don’t care and don’t try to understand.  ‘Softy’ had no good reason for his rant and Jason Puckett is way off when he says that this feels desperate because the M’s should have just traded Lee for him.

That brings to my next point.  That very point of saying, why didn’t the Mariners just trade Lee for Montero.  For those of you that don’t know, that was very close to happening a few years ago before the Mariners’ decided on Justin Smoak instead.  It’s very ironic that they both ended up here now.  Anyway, it’s ridiculous to say they should have traded Lee for Montero so they could have kept Pineda.  When that traded happened, most baseball analysts thought the Mariners made the right move in getting Smoak.  Perceptions change over a year and a half and that is what has happened here.  Don’t think, “the Mariners made the wrong decision in getting Smoak, since they went out and got Montero now.”  They are 2 separate events and, though our mind’s link them together, they are independent of each other.  The Mariners got the best young hitter they thought they could get for the package they were offering and that had nothing to do with Cliff Lee and Justin Smoak.

Now, on to my thoughts on the actual trade.  I’m somewhere between liking and loving the trade.  Lookout Landing does a good job of summing up the pieces involved (much better than I could do, so read that).  I do think Sullivan may undersell Hector Noesi, who’s the pitcher coming over from New York, a little bit but there’s no way of knowing that.

Noesi seems like a good place to start since I just mentioned him a sentence ago and he’s the least known player in the trade as far as Mariner fans go.  He hasn’t pitched much in the majors, 56 innings last year and was nothing spectacular in doing so.  It sounds like the Mariners will lock him in as a starter to begin the season.  He seems like he’ll be a decent big league pitcher at least, and a few scouts seem to think he’s a very good pickup for the M’s.  Time will tell if those scouts are correct.  That’s a theme for this whole trade.

I’m sorry to see Jose Campos go.  Over the past couple of years I’ve started to follow the Mariners’ farm system fairly closely.  I read a review of each team’s game every night and try to familiarize myself with the top players from every part of the system.  By doing this I start to like players I’ve never watched more than the one’s I watch everyday on TV.  Jose Campos was one of those players.  He’d be rated about the number 5 prospect in the Mariners system and has tons of upside.  He’s only 19 and who  knows what will happen because, young pitcher but if he stays healthy, look out for his name in 3 or 4 years.

Now for the big names!  Jesus Montero is said to be a world-class hitter.  The comparison I’ve heard the most over the last 3 years is Edgar Martinez.  Heyo!  Edgar!  Put him in the Hall of Fame, by the way!  That’s a good comparison.  He’s either a catcher or a DH.  Catcher would be awesome, but his defense is lacking and most doubt that he’ll be able to stay at the position.  As far as his hitting goes, he’s said to have good power to all fields (important for Safeco) and good contact ability.  Yes, he hasn’t had much time in the majors and that’s a little frightening.  Jack Z knows more than me though and I trust his scouting ability above all of his other skills.

Michael Pineda was fun.  It’s sad to see someone fun go and there’s nothing I like more in baseball than a big, young, flame-throwing pitcher.  Man, he was big!  I hope he only gets better, even if he is pitching for the Yankees.   He deserves it.  I’m not sure he’ll ever turn into an elite ace and I’ll leave it at that because most of you who read this know who he is and what he projects as.  Some of you will disagree with me.

I like this because the Mariners got a hitter!  My philosophy if I was a GM is to draft talent (don’t draft for needs) and accumulate it by international signings.  Then trade from internal positions of strength for positions of weakness.  This is exactly what happened here.  Yes, it sucks that Pineda is gone but I think we’ve got a good one in return.

Now what happens?  I have no idea.  I really think the Mariners are still going to go after Prince but I’m in the very small minority.  They have the same amount of money they had when you woke up last week.  No one knows how much that is but it seems to be a fair amount.  If they don’t sign Prince, I still expect some other big move.  I think it will be another bat, but a pitcher makes plenty of sense.  I’d go for Roy Oswalt!  After today, we just have to realize that we have no idea what will happen.  Speculating and projecting is fun, but the truth is that not much turns out how we have it planned in our brain.  In sports, all we can hope for is that our team improves and I think that the M’s are a stronger organization now than they were 24 hours ago.  Not everyone does, but I do.  And hey, there’s still that report that Prince is renting a car in Seattle this weekend.

Andrew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Deadline in Review

The trade deadline has come and gone and the Mariners were very active.  In case the folks reading this blog haven’t got enough of a fill on reading about the trades, or actually wanted to know our opinions, here’s one more review.  I’ll get right down to it, as straight forward as possible.  (If you want more, all the Mariner websites have some sort of reveiw.  Here’s Lookout Landing’s.  Here’s USS Mariner.  SSI has several posts about the new prospects.)

Trade #1:  What We Lost:

Doug Fister – Of the three players we’ve lost, Fister is probably the most valuable.  The most talented?  I would say no, but he is the most valuable because he is cheap and under team control for several more years.  Fister doesn’t have the best stuff and that gave him the ‘over-achiever’ label.  What he did have was excellent control and the ability to take advantage of good defenses put behind him.  Fister was always intriguing and I always enjoyed him more than Jason Vargas, just because he didn’t have plus stuff to get people out but still held down the number 3 spot in the rotation and was very successful.  Fister could be successful for a long time, I hope he is, or his lack of dominant stuff might catch up to him.  Time will tell, but he served the Mariners well in his 2 years with the big league club.

David Pauley – David Pauley was a solid reliever for most of the year for the M’s.  With that being said, he wasn’t part of the teams future and isn’t much to write home about.  He’ll provide some bullpen help for the Tigers and that was why he was a part of this deal.

What We Got Back:

Casper Wells – Casper Wells is a 26 year old corner outfielder who came up to the Tigers’ big league club last Summer.  In his debut year his OPS was at .901 in 93 at-bats.  This year his OPS is .765 in 117 at-bats. He’s hit 8 home runs in 210 at-bats in the big leagues but has shown good power in the minors.  He is primarily a corner outfielder but can also play center.  His defense will be average in center (maybe a little better) and plus in one of the corner spots.  He was a 4th outfielder in Detroit because they were in a pennant race but he’ll be the starting left fielder here for the remainder of the season.  He could into a a little better than league average outfielder.  At the very least, I think he’ll be a good 4th outfielder.  At the most, the Mariners may have found their left fielder for the next couple years.

Charlie Furbush – I’ll refrain from any Furbush for Fister jokes…. Charlie Furbush is a left-handed pitcher who is being utilized in the bullpen at the moment.  His fastball is 90-92.  He also has a decent slider and throws a change-up.  He has a deceptive delivery which has drawn comparisons to George Sherril. While he is in the bullpen right now, he will eventually see time in the starting rotation.  Furbush’s ceiling is a number 3 starter.  He’s 25 and has played in AAA and with the Tigers this year.

Francisco Martinez – Francisco is a 20 year old who has already made his way to AA.  He has drawn a lot of comparisons to Carlos Triunfel, which I don’t think is very fair.  Triunfel is a 21 year old who is AA but arrived there when he’s 19.  He was injured, fell off many people’s radar and is still in AA (but he’s putting up decent numbers and is still young).  I think it’s an unfair comparison because they speak of Triunfel like he’s a disappointment.  He’s not yet.  Martinez has been in AA for 2 years and has been solid but not spectacular in those stints.  This year he is hitting .282 with seven home runs in the league this year.  He projects to have solid power but so far his plate discipline isn’t great (that’s where the Triunfel comparison comes from).  Francisco could make it to the majors in the next couple years.  He was the 4th ranked prospect in the Tigers system by a few people, which is pretty exciting.

PTBNL – Cool name, huh?  This player will be one the Tigers’ top 2010 draft picks.  We won’t find out who it is until August 20th.  It should be a good prospect though.

Overview of deal:  Losing Fister is a big deal.  He could have been a mainstay in the rotation for a long time.  But, this isn’t like losing a Felix or Pineda.  Fister won’t ever be an ace.  Losing Pauley is not big deal at all.  With these things in mind, I love the return the Mariners got.  Of course, evaluating trades isn’t fair until a couple of years down the road but at worst the Mariners got back a good 4th outfielder, a good lefty reliever, and two interesting prospects.  At best they got back a starting left fielder who will hit 15-20 home runs, a number 3 or 4 starter, a third baseman with some power, and something else.  I like that upside, but I also like the practicality.  Even if things don’t break right we’ll get something out of this deal.

Deal #2 What We Lost:

Erik Bedard – I love Erik Bedard.  He’s the type of pitcher I could watch for days.  He thinks while he pitches and is crafty.  He’s has all kinds of talent and, when healthy, he’s one of the best pitchers’ in the league.  With that being said, I didn’t know how much trade value he had because of how often he is injured.  I’ll miss Erik but dealing him was a no-brainer because he was going to be a free agent and there was no need for him to be here.

Josh Fields – Josh Fields was a former first-round draft pick who is bad.  Really bad.  I don’t know why the Red Sox wanted him.  Maybe someday he’ll put it all together and not walk every other batter but we didn’t lose anything to be worried about there.

What We Got:

Trayvon Robinson – Trayvon came to us via the Dodgers.  He’s a 24 year old who’s been playing for LA’s AAA affiliate in Albuquerque, which is a hitter’s park to put it lightly.  This discredits some of the 26 home runs Robinson has hit this year.  But, it doesn’t discredit them the way many people on the blogosphere are.  He hit 12 of those home runs on the road and Robinson still would be hitting home runs even if he wasn’t in a dumb park.  He swings and misses a lot, but still can take a walk.  Robinson is a center-fielder with a lot of speed.  SSI compared him today to Curtis Granderson and you can see the similarities in their swings.  Trayvon could be a September call-up.  I’m looking forward to watching him play and he could push Guti out of the door.

Chih-Hsien Chiang – Awesome name.  This guy is another outfielder, although he plays in a corner position.  Chiang is 23 and is absolutely killing AA pitching.  He has a 1.046 OPS right now in his second go around in AA.  He has 58 extra base hits on the year and will move up to AAA soon, I imagine.  He doesn’t have a lot to prove in AA anymore.

Overview:  This trade is great.  2 months of Erik Bedard in a lost season or a top-5 organizational talent along with another interesting prospect.  These guys may not work out, but Pete Carrol would be proud of the way Jack Z has built a competition for an outfield position.

All in all, it’s been a great deadline for the Mariners.  Even with all the bad luck the team has had, you have to think that one of these guys in the outfield competition will turn out.

The team has also won the battle for the coolest names dealing Doug, David, Erik and Josh for Casper, Charlie (Furbush), Francisco, Trayvon and Chih-Hsien.  That doesn’t even take into account PTBNL.  That name doesn’t even have any vowels in it.  There’s a chance the player they acquire may be named Chance.  But, if I was Jack Z, I’d just stick with this PTBNL guy if he’s focusing on coolest names.

I know it’s tough to be a Mariners fan right now but Jack Z has done a good job, he’s just run into a city full of bad luck.  I’m sure he wouldn’t use that as an excuse but the guy knows what he’s doing.  By acquiring all of these outfielders, I think he’s starting to try to make his own luck.

Andrew

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A Mariners’ Move!

The Seattle Mariners made their first real move of the off-season today, signing Jack Cust to a 2.5 million, 1 year deal.  Dan wrote earlier today about how underwhelming the Mariners off-season had been thus far.  There haven’t been any deals and the rumors have been just as lame.  So, getting an actual bit of news is nice.

Don’t get me wrong, Jack Cust isn’t exactly the most exciting news, especially with the Angels looking like the front-runner for Carl Crawford but I think this was a nice move.  Cust is a left-handed power hitter.  He’s been with the A’s the last few years and has put up solid numbers.  He’s an all-or-nothing type of hitter (like Russell Branyan) who strikes out and walks a ton.

Cust has had a drop-0ff in power the last few years.  His slugging percentages his first two years in the bigs were .504 and .476 (in 2007 and 2008).  The last two years his slugging percentages were .417 and .438.  His home run total has dropped a little bit.  These are the reasons to fear, but there are reasons to expect success.

Cust is a left-handed bat that could do quite well in Safeco.  Signing for 2.5 million is very cheap for a player who would have been the Mariners best power-hitter last year and who will most likely be their best power-hitter this year.  Cust will step into the middle of the lineup and actually give this team at least a little bit of a threat.

Will Cust turn this team around?  No, but he’ll be one of the small pieces that could turn this team back to respectability.  We don’t have much money to spend, but this was a low risk-high reward type of move that we’re used to seeing out of Jack Z.

In other news, the Mariners are reportedly on the verge of signing Miguel Olivo to a 2 year, $7.5 million deal.  When Mariner fans think of Miguel Olivo most come close to throwing up in their mouths, but the truth is he’s not near as bad as we remember.  And, don’t forget that Rob Johnson was our starting catcher a good share of last year.  We’ll have more on this move if it actually happens.  As of now, it’s nothing but rumors.

Believe big!

Andrew

 

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