Tag Archives: Rich Harden

2012 AL West Team & Winter Wrap-Up

Unlike NCAA sports, pro sports don’t come out with pre-season 1st and 2nd teams, but if the AL West had its pre-season team, this is how I think it would shake out. My selection process looks at last year’s performance as well as potential this upcoming year, and often I use the sabermetric WAR to break ties. Some of the picks are obvious (Pujols), and others are less obvious (DH), so of course I’d love to hear your thoughts too.

A quick analysis shows that Texas is the class of the division, with more 1st team selections than the rest of the west combined. Anaheim has good 2nd tier depth, solid pitching, and balance. Texas and Anaheim each have 8 1st or 2nd team selections of the possible 10 positional categories, and of the 14 pitching spots, a whopping 11 are Rangers (6) and Angels (5). The M’s are a distant 3rd, but a ways ahead of the re-building A’s, who are loaded with average players but no star power whatsoever.

I wanted to take this chart one step further, and visually quantify the separation between teams based on these picks. To do so, I’ve simply awarded 2 points for a 1st team selection, and 1 point for a 2nd team selection. Here’s how it shakes out on a bar graph.

Lastly, here are team by team offseason wrap ups, after the jump… Continue reading


Leave a comment

Filed under Mariners

M’s Quiet at the MLB Winter Meetings

Let me first say that I am a sucker for the annual MLB winter meetings. I love the rumors, love the trades, and the possibility of hearing the Mariners connected to a big name, like Cliff Lee last year. I follow it all on twitter, and I don’t miss a single tweet from the gurus. The winter meetings bring excitement into my life, a lot like the NFL draft. You can make your own judgments of me, but I love this stuff. So now that you see where I’m coming from, as a Mariners fan, you can understand my disappointment with this years’ winter meetings so far. I didn’t expect the M’s to be big players, unlike last year, but Jack typically makes a splash, and I have not heard anything noteworthy. I mean seriously, here’s the few M’s related tweets I’ve seen.

“AL West foes A’s & Mariners seem to be going head to head on at least 2 free agents, RHP Dennys Reyes, a reliever, and C Gregg Zaun.” – John Hickey

“Sources tell me Mariners are targeting Luis Valbuena for need at second.” -Shannon Drayer

“Sources: Strong multi-year interest for FA RHP Kevin Gregg. Offers from RedSox, Pirates, Nationals. Orioles, Mariners also in mix.” -Ken Rosenthal

“Jorge Cantu generating interest in San Diego, Seattle, Arizona.” -Tim Brown

“Rays and Mariners showing interest in free agent LHP Mark Hendrickson.” -Jon Morosi

“Mariners liked Rich Harden as a free agent last off-season — and they are interested now, too.” -Jon Morosi

“The Seattle Mariners have checked in on Eric Chavez as a possible low-risk 1B-3B-DH option if he’s healthy.” -Jerry Crasnick

On the excitement meter, these rate has major duds. I’m glad we aren’t signing guys like Jayson Werth for 7 years and $126 million, but I need something Jack! Last year, the M’s attempted to re-build and compete for the playoffs at the same time; a tricky task to say the least, and it obviously didn’t pan out. I think this year, given the strength of the Rangers and Angels, and the fact that we had the worst record in the AL last year, a major youth movement makes the most sense. Sure, Seattle could conceivably offer a package of Smoak, Pineda, etc. for a pitcher like Zach Greinke, and also sign Carlos Pena or another bat, and put together a pretty competitive team next year. But would that even be enough to challenge in the AL West? Perhaps, but it is probably best to hold onto our blue chips prospects rather than mortgage the future, and make a run in 2012.

I understand the logic, but it’s boring and frustrating. I want the M’s to be good…like NOW. Unfortunately, the waiting must continue. Maybe we will make a couple minor splashes in days to come, but the biggest moves are probably a year away.


Leave a comment

Filed under Mariners

The Rebuilding Process, Year 3

A couple weeks ago I wrote about Years 1 and 2 of the rebuilding process the Mariners are in, orchestrated by Jack Zduriencik. With year 2 nearing completion, let’s look ahead to year 3 of rebuild mode.

Following this 2010 season, the Mariners will likely find themselves less ahead of schedule than what had been anticipated going into this season. The 85 wins in 2009 will be followed up with something like 65-70 wins. The Mariners do not have much money coming off the books, and their best player from 2009, Cliff Lee, is wearing a Texas uniform at the moment. In some ways, things may look bleak for the Mariners after this season. However, looking again at the big picture of rebuilding in 3-4 years, I think the positives still outweigh the negatives because of the strengthened farm system, the lack of bad contracts, and a strong nucleus that are all signed (Ichiro, Felix, Smoak, Guti).

Rewind with me again to November 2008. The Mariners were a mess, kind of like the Seahawks are today, and similar to Husky football after the Willingham era concluded. In each case, our team needed to blow things up and rebuild. This happens in sports, and typically, rebuilding takes 3-4 years. Of course the Yankees can do it in 1 year, and the Royals or Pirates need about 10 years, but for a Seattle team in a good market, 3-4 years is about the norm. This season it appeared the M’s might be able to take advantage of a weakened division and some savvy trades, and take the shortcut from rebuilder to contender in just 12 months. But 2010 has not panned out, and while it looks like the M’s are going to have to start over again once this year ends, the reality is the foundation for rebuilding was laid a year ago, and Seattle is finishing year 2 of a 3-4 year rebuilding process.

In his “Wait ‘Til Next Year” series, Matthew recently broke down each position, and forecasted the roster heading into next season. Certainly a common theme in these posts is the uncertainty at multiple positions, but despite the question marks, the M’s will continue building around a solid group that will surely include Felix, Ichiro, Ackley, Gutierrez, Figgins, Saunders, Smoak, Pineda, Vargas and Fister. Others from the current roster will be back next year, and some will not, and additions will need to be made, either via trade, free agency, or growth in the farm system. Given how difficult it is to predict trades, let’s look at the unrestricted free agent crop for 2011, and specifically, free agents that may be realistic targets for the Mariners, give their needs. Yes, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Derek Jeter may hit free agency, but again, this list only includes realistic targets, at positions the M’s may have an interest.
Continue reading


Filed under Mariners