Kendrys Morales has always looked like a very scary butcher at a meat market. And maybe it’s time the Mariners hack up their check book and sign him already. And with the injury to Taijuan Walker, it’s time to continue the offseason that looked to be a spending spree and bring in Ervin Santana as the number three starter.
This is the sentiment of Jim Bowden, whose article on ESPN insider (subscription required) urges the Mariners to nut up and do what they need to do to compete for a wildcard spot this season.
As Bowden writes:
That’s why they should take advantage of the depressed markets for free agents Ervin Santana and Kendrys Morales, who can make them a wild-card contender.
I believe three years and $36 million for Santana and one year at $10 million for Morales should be enough to sign both of them. Zduriencik could easily mitigate any cash-flow concerns by back-loading Santana’s contract and perhaps deferring some of Morales’ deal.
Most experts have the M’s sitting around 81 wins this season. Vegas has the over/under betting line at 81.5. So to really compete for a playoff spot the M’s need to get to 90 wins. Those of you who aren’t math majors, that means 8.5 more wins need to come from somewhere.
If the Mariners signed Morales to the one-year $10 million deal Bowden suggests, he would get the team some of the way there. Steamer projects Morales for a 1.7 WAR, while Oliver has him pegged for 1.5 WAR. So right there that would get the M’s to maybe 83, 84 wins. Not quite there.
Now if the Mariners also ponied up and got Santana too, Steamer projects him for a 2.9 WAR in 2014. However Oliver has him at a much more pedestrian 1.4. If we split that difference we would be sitting at 85-86 wins this seasons– not nearly enough to get the M’s into the wild-card picture.
So what do I think of signing both Morales and Santana? I love the idea.
For the prices Bowden suggests, I would take those deals in a heartbeat.
Is money the issue? It shouldn’t be. If both players were signed, that wouldn’t even push the M’s over $110 million for the 2014 payroll. Earlier in the year it looked like the M’s were prepared to go as high as $115 million.