Tag Archives: Yuniesky Betancourt

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.

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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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Sorry For This…

It’s Monday, I’m sick, and a little bitter about sports. The M’s, and specifically Chone Figgins, are on my nerves. So to are the “Don’t feel sorry for Seattle” comments Skip Bayless made regarding the Sonics, and I’ve heard one too many callers bash on Locker. And then comes this lovely article from Jon Paul Morosi, in which he updates us on Jeff Clement.-

Clement was the No. 3 overall pick that year — right after Upton and Gordon, right before Zimmerman, Braun, Romero and Tulowitzki. The Seattle Mariners took him. There was a lot to like: He was a handsome, hardworking kid who set the national high school home run record while starring for the Marshalltown (Iowa) Bobcats. He won the Johnny Bench Award as the nation’s top collegiate catcher during his final season at USC.

Clement checked three boxes where the Mariners were deficient: catcher, power, left-handed hitter. The Seattle scouts were smitten by Tulowitzki, too. Tulowitzki told FOXSports.com contributor Tracy Ringolsby that Seattle had planned to take him until the night before the draft.

What changed?

“They said they had a shortstop in the organization, but no catchers, and therefore that made the pick easy,” Tulowitzki said.

Naturally, it all goes back to Yuniesky Betancourt.

Again, I’m really sorry for that.

-Dan

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Ian Snell DFA’d and Losing Trades

If you’ve followed the Mariners today, you’ve probably heard that Ian Snell has been designated for assignment.  It’s about time.  Ian Snell has been terrible the past couple years and was even worse this year.  Now, he’s gone and Brian Sweeney is up (more on him in a little while).

Ian Snell came over here last Summer in the Jack Wilson-Jeff Clement trade.  It seemed like a good idea at the time; Snell was a young starter who possibly needed a change of scenery and Jack Wilson was the shortstop who was going to captain the world’s best defense.  It hasn’t really worked out, to say the least.  Jack has been hurt more often than not since coming here and Snell has been terrible.  That leads to the obvious, and somewhat annoying, question, “Did the Mariners lose this trade?”  These questions usually rub me the wrong way.  This is because we are fans on the outside and the people who sometimes proclaim the trade as lost don’t know as much about the organization as they should.  Lets take a look at this example:

  • One team received a double-A starter who has a 5.92 ERA in 11 starts this year.  He is running out an 8.4 K/9 innings rate, which is really good but not much else seems to be going for him.
  • The other team received a shortstop who has been starting at the major league level.  This guy is hitting .281 and, although he has one of the worst UZR’s in the league, has a pretty solid fielding percentage.

Which team wins that trade?  Well, obviously the team with the shortstop right?  No.  That shortstop is Yuniesky Betancourt.  This is just one of many examples that show a trade can not be judged by an outsider without organizational knowledge.  The double-A pitcher I refered to above is actually a decent prospect.  His name is Dan Cortes and if he ever gains some control he could be in the majors.  Yuni sucks.  People don’t know these things when looking at stats, they only know them after reading scouting reports and watching them.  I think the Mariners made themselves a better organization by this trade even if Yuni is putting up solid numbers.  Can the same be said with the Royals?  I don’t know.  I don’t know enough about the Royals to make a fair judgement.  My first reaction would to be say no because of my experience with Yuni but that’s not fair to their front office.

So, back to the trade with Pittsburg last summer.  No, the Mariners did not win this trade.  Jack could come back and be a decent contributor this year and next but it’s probably not enough for me to say that this trade made the Mariners a better organization.  But did it make them worse?  Clement is hitting no better than Kotchman, .189, and has been moved out of the starting lineup.  Ronny Cedeno could put up the greatest numbers in the world and I wouldn’t regret trading him away.  Like Carlos Silva and Yuni, Ronny Cedeno wasn’t going to work in Seattle.  So, no I don’t think the Mariners lost this trade.  Clement could suddenly get better, he definitely has the brightest future of all of these players, but it sure doesn’t look like this will happen. 

Maybe no one won that trade.  It’s easy to see where both front offices were coming from in making the move.  So don’t think that this was a terrible move.  Jack Z wasn’t Bill Bavasi bad in this move.  He was just average, which is worse than usual with our GM.  It’s nice to say that.

A few more notes concerning this after the jump.  Continue reading

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Most Hated Mariner

Recently we did a NOT Y2010M! post. In it, Andrew compiled an entertaining line-up of dreadful players to suit up for the M’s in the past few years. I threw up 5 times after reading it. And again just now when I pasted it…

Catcher: Miguel Olivo
1st Base: Richie Sexson
2nd Base: Jose Vidro
3rd Base: Jeff Cirillo
SS: Yuni
LF: Willie Bloomquist
CF: Wladimir Balentin
RF: Brad Wilkerson
SP: Carlos Silva
RP: Miguel Batista
Manager: John McClaren

This got me thinking, heading into 2010, with most of the bad names gone, who is your least favorite Mariner? Let’s run a poll and find out! In case you care, my vote is for Garrett Olson, who I’m sure is a nice guy and all, but good lord he is bad. Everything is between 80 and 89 mph, nothing moves too well, and he walks a lot.

-Dan

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