The Sodo Mojo Triumvirate’s First Annual Roundtable Discussion.


Taylor: I’ll start.  Jack Wilson is not the answer at shortstop. JJ Hardy is.  Additionally, David Aardsma needs to get his ass traded. His value will never, ever be higher than it is right now. Besides, we have Mark Lowe, Sean Kelley, Josh Fields. We’re set.

Griffin: I don’t know that it would be the best choice to pick up Wilson’s option, and I’d love to have JJ Hardy, but I’d be happy to keep Jack through at least 2010 if necessary. Preferably, signed to a cheaper extension. Of course, if the two front offices are able to work out a reasonable deal for Hardy, I’d be ecstatic. But having the best defensive shortstop in baseball around instead isn’t too rough of a compromise.

Harrison: I agree with Griffin and if you look at Jack Wilson’s career BABIP (.296) and what he has done so far this year in Seattle (.253) He is a better hitter than most people give him credit.  He has been below league average for the past 8 years in K%, so all those strikeouts you saw in August isn’t going to repeat itself.  He is currently #1 on the UZR/150 leader boards with 15.8 near double what the next guy has (some person named Elvis Andrus…ever heard of him??).  I think there is also ALOT of pressure on him to perform. He dosn’t want to be associated with “losing” and he wants to show he can really make an impact on a good team.   I’ve been rather slugging about this pittsburgh trade this past July but, i am starting to be more and more optimistic.

David Aardsma does need to get traded. He has gotten so very lucky so far this year. HR/FB 4.5%, FB% 54…how does that happen? along with a BABIP .271 extremely lucky that his 4.39 BB/9 hasn’t come back to haunt him.  I really like what i’ve seen from Mark Lowe this year. I think he is more ready for the closers role than what he was this past off season. He has the stuff to do it and really he has done it better than Aardsma this year.   I think if you want to talk about Aardsma coming back you have to also consider Josh Fields who while he had health problems last year, I think could make an impact in this bullpen now.  However, the big concern would be health. He hasn’t pitched a full season and he still has control problems but i mean so does everyone else in the bullpen. right?

Griffin: If Aardsma does get traded this off season, I think it will definitely come down to Lowe closing with Fields in the setup role, for 2010 at least. Like you said he has the stuff – what more can you ask for than an above average slider and a fastball that can touch triple digits?

New topic – Brandon Morrow.  Dave over at USSM wrote a post yesterday that covered what I feel like a lot of us have been thinking. He just isn’t showing any improvement – since he was called back up it’s seemed like that long stint in Tacoma did absolutely nothing for him. That’s extremely discouraging, and at this point it seems very unlikely that he’ll be able to secure a spot in the rotation coming out of the gates next year. What are your thoughts on trading him while we can still get value?

Harrison: Let me preface my position on Brandon Morrow with the fact that I’m a Morrow Apologist. I really (as corny as it sounds) believe in him. He may indeed need a new organization and to “start” over but if you really think about what a drain the past two years and even the last three have been on him. Not to mention how much of a waste this year has been.  I want to see his talent cultivated for our use in the starting rotation, and I don’t think he’s far off from doing this. I believe he can be a future #3 (maybe even #2 if everything started clicking… but I do realize I’m completely dreaming on that note).  Furthermore he represents the best top level pitching product within the organization which isn’t saying a lot since, after him it would consist of Nick Hill, Dan Cortes, Doug Fister and maybe Gaby Hernandez (oh and maybe Derek Saito…). Not a really pretty picture and I hate the thought of trading a young guy who has potential because of he hasn’t quiet figured things out yet.

Morrow is 25 and the clock is ticking on him so a decision needs to be made and most likely it does need to be this year, but first before we decide on him we need to see what is going to happen with Felix, simply because a lot resides with his contract issues. Such as do we build around him or do we start looking for the future staff ace (again).  A lot of people have said they don’t see any improvement in Brandon ’s game. But still there are a lot of factors in the last week and I’m all about giving him the time to make adjustments. I don’t really believe anything needs to be done until mid next season, but of course by that time it’s maybe too late.  I think a lot of my apprehension stems from many of the trades made the last couple years and seeing all this talent playing for other teams. It just doesn’t sit well with me and I don’t want to add Morrow to that list.

As to what type of value I believe league wide that he has within the trade market. I believe he could bring back a 2 WAR (or potential 2 WAR) type player (this would be about Jose Lopez esque value for those playing at home) I think there are teams out there that would be more than happy to throw him into their rotation and see what happens, but don’t mistake that for people being blind, I think there is some concern around the league with his progression and we aren’t going to get real market value for someone of his talent level. Agree or disagree, does he have more market value out there or [loses train of thought evidently]

I’m glad to see you guys talking about the rotation because I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days. Ever since I read the MLB preview on the Mariners @ Tampa Bay game (here in the next few days, in which it has RR-S starting) and it stated that Rowland-Smith has emerged as a “very reliable #2 starter”. Am I in the minority thinking that this is crazy? Don’t get me wrong I think he’s been awesome this year, but in the same way that Washburn was awesome.

Also, can we go into next year with the rotation we have now and expect to compete for a play off spot or do you think we NEED to have a viable #2/3 pitcher in this rotation?? It’s obviously not going to be Snell, he has so many issues and I expect him to get better over the next year but, I don’t see him as a solution at this time and I don’t think the front office ever did either it was more of a gamble/project player who has the talent but needs a lot of work.   So do we need to go out and get someone and if so who? I personally am not in love with the free-agency options and this leads to if we really wanted someone dependable that is going to require a trade. Who do you think is available and who do you see us dangling? (I realize there are a lot of questions in there but I’m an inquisitive guy, lol)

Taylor [feeling that he should write long paragraphs like Harrison]:

Here’s the great thing about the culture Jack Z has brought to the M’s —- there is no such thing as a “big-name free agent” for this team. I mean, I would love to snatch a Brian Roberts or a Chase Utley for second, but that’s not the way Z does it, from what I’ve seen.  Look at Hannahan and Bill Hall. When Beltre was out, the defense at third almost didn’t miss a beat. Those guys were pretty much free. Look at Branyan. He was a free agent, but no one wanted a “33-year old journeyman” on their team.

Z finds cheap value. I don’t know how he does it, but he does it better than any GM I’ve ever seen. Gutierrez was seen as a slick-fielding, soft-hitting, overall average player before the trade. Now he’s a legitimate star with a plus bat with plus power. Franklin Gutierrez symbolizes everything Jack Zduriencik believes in within a successful baseball franchise.

If there is a big-name free agent signing, I think it would be……Felix Hernandez. He’s only 23, guys. Give him 7 years and 90 million. He deserves it, and that’s where the money coming off the books from Wash and Batista should go towards.  However, I would love to see a trade for Nick Swisher. Stick him at first base and sign him long-term.

And, personally, I think the rotation has a ceiling. As presently constructed, it can’t be that amazing even if everything goes the Mariners’ way. RRS is probably good for a 4.10 or so tRA, unless he can keep up his amazing groundballing-y act. Felix is Felix. Snell is a medium risk, high reward candidate; I’d stick him in AAA for the first month of the season and, based on his results and Doug Fister’s results, make a decision in May. Luke French, assuming he lives up to his Washburn-y nature, has the potential to be the Jarrod Washburn 2009 of 2010. And hell, give Silva a chance. If he can be a league-average pitcher, our defense can make him look good; maybe he might even rack up some trade value and we could dump him on some less-than-savvy team. And if one of those guys fails, we have Vargas, Olson, Morrow — all decent options for the back of the rotation.

The only thing that concerns me is showing Felix that we care about getting better now. If he thinks we’re “building for the future,” he’ll take the next flight to New York after this season. If Rich Harden is available, Z needs to do everything in his power to pick him up. If the Marlins are stupid enough to think that Ricky Nolasco is a dud, GET HIM. A Felix–Harden/Nolasco–RRS–Fister/Snell–Silva rotation is a significant financial improvement over last year, and it’s a much better rotation anyway.