Tag Archives: Brandon Morrow

The Rebuilding Process, Year 5

One year ago I asked your reaction following Prince signing in Detroit. One year later, I’m curious what your take is on Josh Hamilton signing with a division foe, for nearly $100 million less than Prince got.

This is my 5th installment in a series of posts I’ve done recapping and forecasting the Mariners Rebuilding Process, since Jack Z took over as GM. You can find the prior posts here: Years 1 and 2 Year 3 Year 4

Let’s recap the 5 year rebuild plan I laid out in October 2008.

    THE BLUEPRINT

2009, Year 1: Shed dead weight, Begin overhauling the farm
Summary: Traded Putz for Guti, Carp, Vargas, and managed to get rid of Silva, Betancourt, and Johjima, while also using 3 of first 5 picks on Ackley, Franklin, Seager.
Grade: A+

2010, Year 2: Shed dead weight, Continue building the farm (and lock up Felix)
Summary: Signed Griffey and Sweeney, locked up Felix and acquired Cliff Lee, then swapped him for Smoak. Could have done without the Morrow trade and of course the Figgins contract. Selected Walker, Paxton, Pryor in rounds 1, 4, 5.
Grade: B-

2011, Year 3: Bring the youth up, Evaluate potential, Acquire more young talent
Summary: Hired Wedge, traded for Brendan Ryan, picked up Wilhelmson at a local bar, and signed low cost vets such as Cust, Olivo, Kennedy. Fielded an even mix of youth and vets, but loads of young talent in the pipeline for the first time in forever. At the deadline traded Fister for Furbush and Wells. Hultzen chosen with #2 pick.
Grade: B

2012, Year 4: continue youth movement, achieve .500 record
Summary: Swapped Pineda for Montero and made some shrewd acquistions in Jaso, Iwakuma, Luetge, Millwood, Perez, then saw a young roster come up 6 games short of .500, while improving by 8 games from prior season. Picked Mike Zunino #3 overall.
Grade: A

2013, Year 5: add 1-2 big pieces, contend for playoffs
Summary: Thus far we’ve seen a few low cost signings in Bay, Ibanez, Bonderman, and a 1 for 1 swap of Vargas-Morales.
Grade: ???

I’ve said this before, but in 4 1/2 years on the job, Bill Bavasi set this organization back 5 years, minimum. Last year I stated

“For the first time on Jack’s watch, I think the on field W/L record is important. .500 ball is a reasonable expectation this year, which would be a welcomed site for our eyes.”

Well, The M’s flirted with .500 in 2012 and showed noticeable improvement, albeit without much offense yet again. Entering year 5 the talk of laying the foundation and replenishing the system should be over, and playoff contention ought to be close. Zduriencik has said as much if you’ve heard any of his recent interviews.

If the blueprint holds form, the M’s will be adding 1-2 big pieces this offseason, and assembling a playoff capable team in 2013. This sounds great but it is nearly January and almost all the big name free agents have signed elsewhere, and the only acquisitions Seattle has made are Robert Andino, Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, and a swap of Jason Vargas for Kendrys Morales. Not exactly blockbuster moves capable of propelling the M’s from 75 wins into contention. I suppose the big moves we hoped for are still possible if Jack can, for example, land Justin Upton and Michael Bourn, and add a veteran pitcher to round out the rotation. That would certainly be a competitive team, but is that the best route to take?

Given how the AL West is shaping up, it may be best to hang onto the prospects, add a couple decent pieces, and shoot for a respectable 80-85 wins in 2013, while waiting until next year to make the big splash. I don’t see a scenario, at this point, for the M’s to overtake Texas or Anaheim in 2013, and probably not Oakland either. So why go all in? I’m not suggesting Seattle give up any hopes they had for next year, just because the division rivals are pulling away, but I don’t want the M’s to mortgage the future to field a better team next year, but one that cannot be sustained.

Keeping a positive trajectory is crucial next year, seeing an improved offense is also important, but that’s about all we can reasonably expect in 2013. This puts real contention off until next year, and adds a year to the original 5 year blueprint, but taking the path that leads to sustained success is what is most important. We’ve seen the Washington Nationals do this, and Tampa Bay also, and with much less money. It may not be popular, given the fractured fan base, plummeting attendance, and a decade of bad baseball, but Seattle has never given a player a $100 million contract, and unless it is a Felix extension, I don’t see it happening for at least another year. And surprisingly, I’m fine with that.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mariners

Thank You Freddie Garcia!!!!!!

There is something very unique about being a Seattle sports fan. For me, the best way I can describe it, is that even in the rare moments of greatness, I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s like finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk, and after picking it up, you’re just waiting to get jumped. I guess that’s just how it is when you’ve yet to see your team hoist a championship. I’m fairly certain my local teams have lowered my life expectancy. And so, I’d like to offer a glass 1/2 full thought, which I for one could use, especially following an evening of flipping between the painful World Series (Lee vs. Lincecum) and the torture chamber that was the NBA opener for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

So, ever wonder how the M’s landed Felix Hernandez? Well here’s the jist, thanks to the always reliable Wikipedia-

Felix Hernandez was first spotted by Luis Fuenmayor, a part-time Mariners scout who saw him pitching at age 14 in a tournament near Maracaibo, Venezuela. Fuenmayor recommended Hernández to fellow scouts Pedro Avila and Emilio Carrasquel, who were impressed with the youngster who could already throw 94 mph. The Mariners continued to follow Hernández for over a year, but baseball rules prohibit teams from signing players to contracts until after they have turned 16.

After graduating from high school, Hernández finally agreed to his first professional contract. Mariners director of international operations Bob Engle signed Hernández as a nondrafted free agent on July 4, 2002. Hernández received a large signing bonus of $710,000, although he said the Mariners were not the highest bidder. Other teams trying to sign him included the New York Yankees, the Atlanta Braves, and the Houston Astros, with the Braves reportedly offering the most money.

One reason Hernández chose the Mariners is because his idol, fellow Venezuela pitcher Freddy García, was pitching for the team at the time.

Much has been made of the Mariners drafting Brandon Morrow in 2006, rather than picking the hometown boy, Tim Lincecum. A lot of fans count to this instance as another example of the curse of Seattle sports. I agree that watching Lincecum pitch stings a little, but keep in mind, 9 teams passed on him that in the 2006 draft, Seattle of course was one of the teams. But how do the Orioles feel picking Bill Rowell just before Lincecum? Or how about the Rockies selecting Greg Reynolds in front of Evan Longoria!

Actually, I find the 2005 draft much more painful as a Mariners fan. Seattle took Jeff Clement with the 3rd pick overall, and the next 4 picks were Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitzki. Wow! But hey, that’s baseball. It’s easy to remember these instances, and forget how we came to have studs like King Felix and Ichiro. Without having Freddie Garcia on our roster, it is very possible that Felix would have taken higher money and landed in New York, Houston, or Atlanta. So maybe we do catch some breaks! And that, is my glass 1/2 full thought today.

-Dan

3 Comments

Filed under Mariners