The Sodo Mojo Triumvirate’s First Annual Rountable Discussion (Part Two)


Harrison: Nick Swisher! that’s what i’m talking about … this conversation just got even better.   I do agree with you the philosophy that Jack has tried to instill in this group is just simply get under valued players and expose them, use them, and now the next question is what next? He kept both Branyan and Aardsma through the trade dead line so i’ll be really interested to see how he uses their value to better this team.

Taylor: Conceptually, the biggest hurdle for a well-run organization is the 90-win hump. The M’s are exceedingly well built right now, but they’re still an 84-86 win team. That doesn’t scream “playoffs,” especially not in the AL. And honestly, I’m not sure how to get over that hump. I think we need to get more value out of our farm system for that to happen. Developing a Nick Swisher is far preferable to giving up value for a Nick Swisher from another organization. Polythress, Nick Franklin, and Dustin Ackley are the sort of players that turn into 4-5 win stars.

Griffin: And Michael Saunders, I would think. If they’re able to work with him enough this off season and spring that he feels comfortable facing big league pitching by the time 2010 rolls around, he could be a big addition to this team. I mean, look at who our left fielders have been this season – Endy Chavez (all glove, doesn’t bring much to the plate), Ryan Langerhans (great pickup, but doesn’t have much of a bat), Bill Hall ( A little bit different than the others, but he hasn’t proven to me yet that he’s ready for a full time job anywhere), and then you come to Michael Saunders.

He clearly is totally comfortable in left, and he clearly has fantastic range. He hasn’t hit much in the bigs yet, but would you expect him to? Not only does he have a total of around 100 PA’s, but over half of them have been against lefties. I think Don Wakamatsu is a good manager, but they really have not given Saunders the ideal opportunity to succeed this year. We know he can hit, and we know he’s going to hit, and I think we could see some of that as soon as next year.

As for Nolasco or Harden, it’s no secret that I would absolutely love it if we acquired either of them. Since, as you said Taylor, a lot of people over in Florida are probably viewing Nolasco as a bust right now, he’d be a lot easier to land. Felix-Nolasco-RRS-Snell-Silva/Fister/Morrow/French/Vargas rotation? Sign me up.

Taylor: I agree 100% on Saunders. If he can live up to his potential, our outfield will be absolutely golden for a long time (re-sign Ichiro!).

I’ll bring up a new topic — Jose Lopez. Do we keep him, trade him, or feed him to Silva? Honestly, I think this year’s numbers are a bit of a fluke. He has 24 home runs and counting, only 8 of which are “true” home runs based on their landing spot. His UZR is decidedly “meh,” and we know his defense isn’t miraculously going to get any better. In an ideal world, the M’s would have Chase Utley waiting in AAA to take over his spot, but unfortunately we lack a legitimate second base prospect. It’s a weird situation. The M’s could probably land a talented starting pitcher in return for Lopez, like say Ricky Nolasco (Lopez has more homers than Emilio Bonifacio! Look! Look!), but we just don’t have anyone to take his place.

If Zduriencik can land JJ Hardy, I wonder if we could slide him over to third for a year. His defensive skills are phenomenal, and a Hardy-Wilson-Lopez-[First baseman]-Moore infield makes me shiver with baseball-driven delight. In that situation, I would want to hang onto Lopey for at least another year. I’m not sure why, but I would.

And I assume we all agree that Erik Bedard will never play another game in a Mariners uniform, correct?

Griffin: You’re talking about moving Hardy over to third, and not Lopez, right? Well, as nice as that infield would be, I don’t see us keeping Wilson in any respect if we acquire Hardy. So, I think if we were able to land Hardy, the ideal infield might be Lopez at third, Hardy at short, and Tui at second base. This of course will depend on whether or not the organization thinks Tui can handle second base – if not, maybe him at third, and Lopez at second. That infield could work exactly the same if we were to keep Wilson and not acquire Hardy, of course.

There’s still a lot to be seen, though, when it comes to Tui’s defense. As for Bedard, I’m inclined to say yes, but there’s always the possibility of signing him to a 1 year deal laden with incentives, and just hope we could get him back mid-season. I don’t think that’s going to happen though – he’s probably thrown his last pitch with the Mariners.