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.
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.
The Mariners have become the center of the baseball news universe. Some of the news is bad (see Andrew’s post below), but most of it is quite good. This is going to be a fairly quick recap of the M’s moves so far, with a look at what else they might have in store. I would expect more moves within the next week, so I’ll have a more comprehensive look at the 2014 Mariners once the dust settles.
As I write this, there are three new Mariners. The big one is 2B Robinson Cano. He reportedly agreed to a 10 year $240 million deal last week, and will likely be announced in Seattle on Friday or so. A week later, I am still in a bit of shock that Cano is a Mariner. He is the best second baseman in baseball, and has been the centerpiece of the Yankees’ offense for the last five years plus. That he will likely play out the remainder of his career in Seattle is a testament to money, both as the deciding factor for most player and the amount of it the Mariners have to spend if they’re so inclined.
Cano supplants Nick Franklin and/or Dustin Ackley (trade chips, but not sure to be moved). As much as one might like those two guys, Cano is a massive, massive upgrade. He’s the first major line-up threat Seattle has had in years. His offensive game is reminiscent of Edgar’s, and he plays Gold Glove caliber defense. It’s likely the last 3-4 years of the contract will be a drawback, but I’m not especially worried. The immediate benefits are huge, and it’s likely baseball’s changing economics will render the dollar amounts less shocking by 2020 or so. This is a stunning addition, unlike anything the Mariners have ever done.
Today, two separate deals brought DH/1B/maybe outfielders. The first was a free agent deal for former Brewer Corey Hart. Continue reading →
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.
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.
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.