Don’t think I’ve gone all crazy…I only stole the “Win Now > Win Later (maybe)” subject line from the great Jonah Keri, who just so happened to have written on this very subject yesterday at Fangraphs. The past two weeks we’ve kind of bickered, debated, argued and made our cases for how the Mariners should deal with the possibility of being in a pennant race in 2011.
I’ve been very opposed to the Mariners making any “big” outside moves specifically to make a run at taking down the defending American League Champion Texas Rangers (I hate that they can say that…). But with reading Keri’s post it’s made me think, while not necessarily speaking about the Mariners, he made some solid points to consider.
Now understand that he was speaking in regards of the ESPN/Fangraphs draft so there are things within the article that you certainly can nit pick about. But I think at it’s core the article is good for us to review given the situation and the state of affairs with Seattle.
Given all the information now available to us, have we as baseball observers now reached a point where we too cavalierly eye a prospect’s ranking, come up with a peak WAR value, and project his career performance?
I spent two years writing about the team that probably places more emphasis on drafting, developing and keeping their prospects than any other. They understand than in an uneven playing field, you do what you can to survive and thrive. Since bidding for elite six-year major league free agents is a losing game for many teams, you go the other way.
But. Could the Rays have improved their chances of a World Series title if they’d traded for Cliff Lee or someone of that ilk last season? Sure. Would it have come at a very high cost in young talent, thereby carving into the lifeblood of the organization? Probably. Would it have been worth it anyway? Very possibly.
I still am tossed to and fro with the doctrinal debate of whether or not Alex Liddi is an every day major league player (and if he’s a third basemen or first), I hate to say I’ve given up entirely on Michael Saunders but things aren’t looking too good and then you have the enigma of Carlos Peguero who, to me, looks like the second coming of Rob Deer. A guy with huge power and potential to hit 30+ home runs but that’s it, he won’t help your team in any other way. Whether that is in the field, getting on base and then of course he’ll strike out a ton.
I’m not against trading prospects but as I’ve stated it has to “make sense”. It’s not that I don’t think a move shouldn’t be made because the Mariners are too far away. Rather, I’m of the persuasion that the Mariners could be that ever ambigious one bat from the playoffs.
But then again that belief comes with an assumption, the cavet that Ichiro is Ichiro, Chone Figgins won’t completely suck (only just a little), and left field can be be figured out by someone who’ll do more than swing-and-miss and play defense like a corpse (Greg Halman PLEASE tell me that those curve balls you have hit the last few days aren’t a fluke). That’s still a lot of things that need to go right on top of trying to nail down the positional ambiguity of said potential “bat”.
Everyone likes to continue making the reference of the 2011 Mariners to the 2010 San Fransisco Giants. The problem is that the Giants got a lot of late help from Cody Ross, Pat Burrell and even Mike Fontenot had a huge August (even if he was worthless later on in the year). They also made a couple of bullpen moves. Ultimately they paid a combined 6 C+/- players to get the pieces they needed to make a run.
If the Mariners want to make a “surge” much like the Giants did late in the year they’re going to have to make some shrewd gambles and it’s going to have to work for them.
Don’t forget in the middle of a pennant race they also traded one of the best defensive catchers in baseball and their starting catcher July 31st for a shaky bullpen pitcher and a B- prospect. Of course they did that with the young stud Buster Posey just itching for his chance. Brian Sabean, while not the brightest general manager (and obviously with his comments, as a person too) in the bunch, made some savy baseball moves but with the exception of Burell he had to wait until July.
The Mariners may end up in the same situation. We don’t have prospects to give up though we have a few C +/- guys that are expendable, maybe some redundant depth right around AA. But that’s it, there isn’t a lot to play with here for what we are trying to build towards in the future. So we wait for July and if we really have a chance we make some low non-headline type moves. A wavier pickup, a team with a cost cutting trade.
I’m sure with the teams’ struggles in Chicago and last night in Detroit they may start looking to make a move earlier than the last week in July. I’ve started thinking a Jeremy Hermida (who’s crushing AAA international pitching in the Red system) in some way could makes sense. Maybe the front office really goes all out rolls the dice by signing Miguel Tejada for a league minimum contract after he gets released by the Giants.
The immediate difference that I see between the Giants last year and the Mariners this year are the Giants took risks and they worked out. There are some risks that are going to have to go right once in a while for the Mariners for a real division race to pan out.