Tag Archives: Prince Fielder

2014 AL West Team

To be quite honest, creating a “Preseason All AL West Team” is a futile exercise.  If you are looking for an MLB season preview, full of sound analysis and predictions, this isn’t it.  But I’m a visual learner, and there is some value in seeing where the power is in the division, position by position.  Of course this isn’t an exact science, no predictions are, and only 2 players are selected per position, so you have a guy like Kyle Seager, the M’s second best position player, not making this list thanks to Beltre and Donaldson.   So ya, take this for what it is.  A quick snapshot of the division headed into 2014.  Although I should point out, by forecasting who has the most 1st and 2nd teamers, I correctly guessed the order of finish in the division last year!

My selection process looks at last year’s performance as well as projections for the upcoming season, and anticipated playing time. Some of the picks are obvious and others are less obvious, so of course I’d love to hear your thoughts too.

2014 AL West Team

Taking the visualization one step further, here’s a super scientific bar graph intended to show the separation between teams, by awarding 2 points for a 1st team selection, and 1 point for a 2nd team selection.

2014 AL West Graph

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by | March 15, 2014 · 9:05 pm

The Rebuilding Process, Year 4

You guys, Prince just signed wtih the Detroit Tigers. What’s your take?

I understand all of these stances, but let’s recap the big picture, as in the 5 year rebuild Jack inherited in October 2008.

    THE BLUEPRINT

2009, Year 1: shed dead weight, begin overhauling the farm

2010, Year 2: shed dead weight, continue building the farm (and lock up Felix)

2011, Year 3: bring the youth up, evaluate potential, acquire more young talent

2012, Year 4: continue youth movement, achieve .500 record

2013, Year 5: add 1-2 big pieces, contend for playoffs

I wrote about Years 1 and 2 of the rebuilding process, as well as
Year 3. Welcome to Year 4 Mariner fans. 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. The blueprint I laid out reflects what we’ve seen Jack say and do for 3+ years, and the M’s are still on track to contend within 5 years of Bavasi’s exit.

There are multiple ways to rebuild a baseball organization, and dozens of varying factors must be weighed. In 4 1/2 years on the job, Bill Bavasi set this club back 5 years, minimum. I’ve said this before, and perhaps my bias is too entangled to make this statement, but I honestly think Bavasi might be the worst GM a baseball franchise has ever had.
Side Note-

In a 1 year stretch, From December 7, 2005—December 7, 2006, Bavasi made 7 trades involving players that made a major league roster. Combined, Bavasi traded Yorvit Torrealba, Matt Thornton, Asdrubal Cabrera, Eddie Guardado, Shin-Soo Choo, Jamie Moyer, and Rafael Soriano, in exchange for Joe Borchard, Eduardo Perez, Ben Broussard, Andy Baldwin, Sean White, and Horacio Ramirez.

As for player signings, more than half of Bavasi’s signings were horrible. His 12 worst were Scott Spiezio, Rich Aurilia, Richie Sexson, Pokey Reese, Jarrod Washburn, Carl Everett, Miguel Batista, Jeff Weaver, Yuniesky Betancourt, Carlos Silva, Brad Wilkerson, and Kenji Johjima (extension). That’s a combined $225 million. In the end, 7 were cut, 2 traded, and 2 (Batista and Washburn) played out the full contract.

Jack’s record is not flawless either. The Figgins deal is awful, trading Morse for Langerhans hurts, and you could question the Morrow trade and Guti extension. But he has hit some real home runs, and given the state of the organization, I agree with the blueprint that Jack has committed to. This is not to say there aren’t circumstances that deviate from the plan. Heck, when Cliff Lee fell into our lap, we were thinking playoffs, just 2 years into this regime. I’m a firm believer in adding talent when you get the chance, whether you are 1, 2, or 5 pieces from real contention, and I’d imagine Jack agrees. The M’s may have been competitive in the Prince bidding, but alas, year 4 will not include Prince Fielder, nor should it at the price he ultimately got. So the original plan continues, and all things considered, the plan is on track. The splash that elevates the M’s from re-build mode to contend mode will come, it’s just a year away.

I’ll leave you with this morsel, on the heels of losing Prince. The Tigers have committed $338m for Prince/Cabrera/V-Mart. Seattle’s mini-version of Smoak/Montero/Carp costs $1.26m.

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Prince Fielder is a Tiger, Please Stay Calm

The subject of much (or should I say mass) baseball conversation this year can finally be put to rest.  Prince Fielder signed with the Detroit Tigers, who came out of nowhere to snatch up the first basemen paying the large (like the player) price of 214 million for 9 years.  Man, he’s payed like a prince!

I have long (another pun, but less obvious) been in the ‘sing Prince’ camp but today isn’t very disappointing since, well, look at that price!  That is insane.  The highest I’d have gone would have been 8 years for 165 million.  I’m a big (not as big as Prince) fan of Fielder, but that price just isn’t reasonable for this team.  It’s not reasonable for most of this team.

Yes, it’s disappointing that we won’t see Prince in an M’s uniform.  I’ve been picturing him hitting homers off the Hit It Here Cafe all off-season but that won’t happen until the Tigers visit.  This deal could have strapped the Marines for years to come and the re-signing Felix and the other young talent on the roster would have been much harder had this gone through.  Thing about Chone Figgins.  When he signed most people thought it was a good deal, myself included.  Now, it feels like he’s been here forever but still has 2 years left on his contract.  Of course, Fielder is much better than Figgins and will produce to an extent, at least.  The point is that by year 7 or 8 of his contract, Fielder could become crippling to the Tigers organization.  It may be worth it, but only time will tell.

The truth is, it sounds as if Fielder was never very interested in being here.  We don’t know how true that is, but take it for what it’s worth.  Hey Prince!  We don’t want you for that price either, so take that!

More thoughts after the jump.   Continue reading

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It’s Almost Mariners Time!

This has been a weird offseason for Your Seattle Mariners, but it’s surprisingly almost over.  Pitchers and catchers report to Arizona in a few weeks, with the season just over two months away.  Actually, since the Mariners open the season in Japan, their season starts a couple of weeks early.  Yes, the season opener will be at like 3:00 in the morning on the other side of the International Date Line.  Plan your lives accordingly.

Anyway, if you haven’t been paying attention or haven’t stopped to think about what the team looks like, I’ll try to help you out with a little fake Q & A.  I’m making up the questions and I probably won’t have any answers, so don’t expect too much, but this will still be a pretty good time.

Who’s new this year?

Well, Jesus Montero’s the big one.  More on him in a minute.  Then there’s John Jaso, the mediocre young catcher acquired from Tampa Bay, who could actually be a pretty big upgrade.  Not a lot after that.  There are a bunch of relievers who may or may not make the team.  More importantly, the Japanese pipeline is back open, with Hisashi Iwakuma likely to join the rotation and Ichiro’s workout buddy Munenori Kawasaki vying for a backup infield spot.  Iwakuma could be pretty good.  Kawasaki is good with the glove but unlikely to hit, so that’s nothing new.  They just signed Kevin Millwood for rotation depth as well. Continue reading

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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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Does Prince Fit? The Mariners by Position

Prince Fielder has dominated Seattle Mariners offseason talk thus far, which is saying something since their offseason really started back in June.  Offensively, it’s hard to imagine a better fit for the Mariners than Fielder, but there are other issues besides his bat, including but not limited to: money, weight, defensive position, and possibility of the Mariners contending in the forseeable future.

Every Mariner writer (and there are many good ones) has weighed in on the issue.  Other than those people who think that Fielder is going to fall apart next year, its hard to argue with any objections to signing Prince.  It’s going to cost a fortune, he’s not a great fit for the current team defensively, and there’s a decent chance that he could be breaking down by the end of the contract.  Most people agree on all of these issues to varying degrees.  Some are willing to accept them and still make a deal, others aren’t. Both viewpoints are completely understandable.

I’m pretty firmly on the “Sign Prince” side, but I thought I’d step back to see where the Mariners stand, both for next year and the future.  I’m going to work through this positionally, probably out of order.  I’m not going to make an effort to talk about how to improve the position, unless I feel like it.  I’m just going to lay out what’s there and what is in the system that might help soon. Continue reading

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Mariners Offseason: Looking Ahead

The baseball offseason is underway, with the Mariners already making a few roster moves in the last couple of days.  Gone are David Aardsma, Luis Rodriguez, and Jeff Gray, at least temporarily.  While Gray was claimed off waivers, Aardsma and Rodriguez were released, so there’s a chance that either or both could be back.  With Aardsma rehabbing until at least midsummer, neither would be a huge loss.

Last offseason was surprising in its predictability.  I remember writing early on that there seemed to be a number of obvious moves.  The team had a lot of holes, and it seemed the best move was to upgrade each spot as much as possible.  I never expected Jack Zduriencik to do exactly that.  Usually the offseason brings surprises.  No one expected Cliff Lee to become a Mariner two years ago.  No one expected Vernon Wells to become an Angel last year.  Those are two extreme examples at opposite ends of the spectrum, but offseason moves are generally more unexpected than not.  Teams have so much more knowledge than fans do, about both themselves and players.  We don’t even know what the Mariner payroll will be for next year.  We can make guesses, but for all we know they might raise it to $125 million to sign Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes.  Not likely, but we just don’t know. Continue reading

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If I Were Jack Z

Happy Free Agency! I am a sucker for hot stove talk, MLB trade rumors, and general off season gossip. I get the feeling this could be an eventful winter for the M’s, and I am thankful that Jack Z will be calling the shots once again. That being said, I thought I would speculate on some potential moves the M’s could make over the next few months, and in doing, I’ve created my off season plan.

Before delving into the plan, let’s remember where the M’s are in, and the state of the franchise. 2012 will be the 4th year of Jack Zduriencik’s regime in Seattle. He inherited a major rebuilding project, no doubt about it. Top to bottom, the organization was a mess. For 3 years, Jack has concentrated on bulking up the farm, adding depth, and above all, talent. It took a couple years to shed the dead weight—bad contacts, bad draft picks, bad hires, and despite a couple setbacks (Chone), most fans understand the path the organization is on. It’s not as though losses don’t matter, but the record is not as important as the master plan, and Jack has not deviated from building the whole system, which is really the only way to sustain success. Even the Yankees and Red Sox, for all the money they throw around, build from within as good as anyone, and this has been Jack’s focus all along.

In 2012, wins and losses will matter. The grace period is gone, and the M’s had better start producing. A .500 record should be a reasonable goal, so considering the 2011 M’s won 67 games, where does Jack find an additional 14 wins this off season?

Let’s assume the M’s payroll is set at $90-95 million, which is on par for the past 3 years. $60 million is already guaranteed for Felix, Ichiro, Guti, Ryan, Ackley, Figgins, and Olivo, so Jack will have about $30 million to fill out the roster. Next, Jack will need to address the M’s 6 arbitration eligible players: Kelley, Vargas, Aardsma, L-Rodriguez, and League. If I were Jack, I’d non-tender Aardsma, but keep the others, for what will cost about $10 million total. Some would prefer to keep Aardsma, and trade League, but the money is virtually even between the two, and I think you need to keep one. League was an all-star closer, despite his brain lapses, so unless the trade market is high for a guy like League, I’d hang onto him. Finally, another $5 million will be tied up in about 10 spots, the kids like Smoak, Carp, Seager, and most of the young relievers who all make about $450,000. With the remaining $15-20 million, and still a few holes to fill, here’s the roster I would aim to assemble (click to enlarge).

Jump ahead to see how I’d get this team put together! Continue reading

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