Thoughts on first base

I’ve been thinking about the first base situation. Of course there are a lot of different solutions that can be applied to solve our problem.

Prerequisites of what I would like to think we are looking for:

The ability to show some power – Someone that has shown a past tendency to hit an ISO of +.170. Power is a good thing. Having someone that intermediates pitchers because at any time he could hit a pitch out of the park is a great asset. It changes a pitchers approach to a line-up and that is something we just simply don’t have.

Maintains a consistent weighted on base average above .330. While we do want power, we also need more than just the ability to hit the ball a long way. We need a hitter that is smart and patient.  Waits for his pitch and if it’s not there knows how to get on base in other ways than just hitting the ball over the fence.

Defensively able, not a great fielder but also not someone that is going to set the team back. People have started to  get behind the idea of an improved defense. Which is great and I love being part of the majority again. But, remember the theory that surrounds defense. A run saved is the same as a run scored. Having a first basemen that isn’t limited in range is huge.

I’m not talking about a player that is great defensively. But, I am talking about someone that is all around effective. The thing that we have to remember is stars like Fielder, Teixeira, Gonzalez and Morneau. They don’t just hit home runs they effect many different aspects of a team.

While we can’t be completely stuck on acquiring an Adrian Gonzalez type or Prince Fielder. We do have to know the talent set of players we are looking to acquiring and there are others players that can come in and do an adequate job. Just maybe not on a superstar level that we all long for.

There is also something else to consider…

While yes we have Mike Carp down at AAA, there is apprehension of what we could expect from his bat. There is yet another minor league player to take into this equation, Rich Poythress.

Poythress is a great power bat and I’m very excited about having him in the system. His ability to hit is greatly feared and brings to the organization a young capable impact bat in the high minors. He may even be just as or right behind being major league ready as Dustin Ackley (from a hitters perspective). *God please don’t strike me down*

Rich Poythress has shown he has a great ability to hit with his mop up of Rookie-ball pitching. He seemed to slow down towards season’s end with AA. But, with such a long season and really little conditioning i’m still rather impressed. This year he is most likely to start in AA and could potentially end the season in AAA.

We have all seen something new from the Mariner’s organization and their minor league development. Director of Minor League Operations Pedro Grifol has shown patience with youngsters. While there were a few promotions he allowed them to excel and challenged them when they needed it. I don’t see Poythress being thrust through the system. I believe they will be very sure of Ackley, Triunfel and Poythress progress as they promote. There is very little reason to rush them through the system no matter how exciting they are.

The best point in case is Michael Saunders. There were sites that was very excited about a possible Saunders promotion when Chavez was injured. However, instead of rushing the situation. Jack Zduriencik ingeniously crafted a trade to bring in Ryan Langerhans (awesome pick-up) and Saunders was allowed to progress and become ready on his own terms and promoted when the organization felt he was ready for the next step. This is a yet another HUGE step in the right direction for the organization as a whole.

Poythress still has A LOT of progress to make at first base defensively. There is apprehension that he may never in fact play first base and maybe stuck to being a full time hitter with the upside of his bat. There is speculation about every player and the only way we will know is with time.

But with the possibility of having both Poythress, Ackley and even Carlos available for the 2011 season. Brings to the table yet another reason to be careful and selective with the pieces we bring in. While I’m not worried necessarily about “blocking” any of these fine athletes. I believe that we have a GM that can move pieces on this team at will. I do worry about sunk cost. The players we do bring in now will have to maintain or raise their value for us to be able to reclaim adequate compensation. 3 yrs / 30 million for Adam LaRoche isn’t going to cut it. If he comes cheaper? Sure, I’d definitely been interested. But, at that price. Russell Branyan sure looks good.

I’m all behind bringing in someone like LaRoche. Heck he fits the criteria above. But, at the same time you have to consider the cost and worth of players. Is he going to bring you seven and a half wins over that time and if needed to be traded is another team going to take on a contract of that size? Probably not on both accounts. Okay is it worth over paying for those wins that may get us over the proverbial hump or having to send money to another team to take this contract similarly but not anywhere like Carlos Silva’s situation.

Just to throw out a few names because I love doing so and getting reactions. What do you think when you hear these names.

Jeff Larish- Detroit Tigers – Has been connected to the Mariners in several different trade rumors. This guy is definitely on Jack Zduriencik’s list. Dave Cameron even mentioned him as an interesting piece (although more down played compared to Matt Joyce) during the Putz deal. Tigers haven’t seemed to valued the cheapness or power he brings to the table.

Kila Ka’aihue – Kansas City Royals  – Buried forgotten prospect in AAA. Starting to get a bit old for the prospect tag 25 going on 26. Tons of potential. Love to see him get a shot.

Joe Koshansky – Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers have tons of talent within their pools and who better than Jack Z to know that. However Koshanksky grew up in the Rockies organization and played a bit of musical chairs to start the season. Great power, great strike outs. Reminds me a bit of Russ Branyan as a hitter.

Steve Pearce – Pittsburgh Pirates – Young, cheap, and has some power. Has yet to produce at the big league level. Pirates have a few other options as they step into the new year. Interesting name, despite his right handedness. Could he benefit from a change in scenery? Probably not. He seems to be one of those perpetual AAAA players. But it’s always worth a look.

I know these three aren’t the sexy names that we all have been hoping and who knows maybe a huge move is under way and we have no idea. But, lets remember there is hidden and misused talent on other teams just as there is in ours. Jack Zduriencik is the best guy to find that ability that is needed to fit our team.

Just somethings to think about as the new year draws closer. Hope you had a Merry Christmas. It’s my favorite time of the year!

Tags: Adam Laroche Dustin Ackley Endy Chavez Free Agents Jeff Larish Joe Koshansky Kila Ka’aihue Mariners Michael Saunders Mike Carp Milwaukee Brewers Minor Leagues Pedro Grifol Rich Poythress Royals Ryan Langerhans Steve Pearce Tigers Trade Rumors

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