Selling The 2011 Mariners

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While yesterday I talked a little bit about the Mariners acquiring talent (specifically, Geovany Soto and Matt Kemp) in order to take a shot, not just this year, at the division.

Remember the blog post itself was put together under the pretense that the Mariners decided they were going to go for it or even NEEDED to go for it. The thought itself was what I would do if I were in the drivers seat. I’m not necessarily advocating that they should do that or make any of those specific moves. I think that I didn’t make that as clear as I would have liked or should have was missed based upon the comments via the blog/email/twitter.

The other available option is the “selling” option. Now I think I miss titled this as it’s not so much selling as it is more of a re-appropriation of funds and investing in the future opposed to the “now”.

I’m not saying that the Mariners need to trade everyone or that everyone has trade value. But there are situations within this roster where the Mariners could and need to take advantage of in the coming days. The fact is that this team isn’t built particularly well outside of the rotation and there are upgrades across the diamond that can and should be made when available.

It seems frustrating to take a step back when it feels like we are so close but the truth is that with the injuries to the Rangers that “it being so close” is just an illusion or a mirage. A step back also allows us to do two things at this point. It reminds us of the our current goal (consistent division contenders… plural!) and can enable us to take a better path than just charging ahead (not trading pieces that key to the five year plan).

In a dose of reality the Rangers got Josh Hamilton back last night and subsequently beat the life out of Chicago. While Chicago is not a great team the Rangers were pretty dominate last night and are getting better with the pieces that are returning. The Athletics aren’t a bad team and could very well come back and challenge the Rangers and then I’ll certainly admit to underestimating the Angels rotation. That rotation has kept them in the mix and is the sole reason they have an outside shot.

All things considered this is the Rangers race to loose and should they falter there are two teams that are better than we are to immediately step into position. Because of that the worst thing that we could do in this situation is pull a 2006 and trade away quality pieces of our future to get better in the short term just because we are hung up on a fantasy.

Today there was even an article published on ESPN Sweetspot about the Mariners needing to go after Carlos Beltran. Now if the all the Mets really wanted was Kyle Seager and some cash, I’d have to admit I would think long AND hard as that is steal. But Seager is quality depth and why would you throw that away on a 4 month rental in the middle of race you really can’t win. It may not be quiet the equivalent to Edguardo Perez but it’s not far off either.

The Mariners have some moves to make and opportunities to give… check it out after the jump.

What to do with Jamey Wright, David Pauley and Brandon League

Jamey Wright is the first guy that the Mariners need to look at and evaluate what his role is with this organization long term. This past season Wright came back to the Mariners on a minor league contract and will be a free-agent at the end of the season.

While he is having a good (maybe even great?) year, relief pitchers in general are rather fickle and with being in the big leagues for over 16 years this type of performance isn’t a normal from Jamey and while his pitches do look sharper the Mariners need to take advantage of their investment in him and get something in return for his services.

A good comparison for Wright would be the Pirates and last year’s trade of Javier Lopez to the Giants and  just like Lopez, I expect Wright to get a guaranteed contract. It may only be a one-year deal worth a few million dollars but it’s not going to be another league minimum deal. The Mariners are best served by flipping him for some depth or a lottery ticket.

David Pauley just completed his first full season and is under club control for another 4 years. Not only that but he provides starting pitching insurance and is almost certain to start come middle of August/September whenever the club decides to shut down Michael Pineda.  No reason to move him as he provides multiple uses does them decently and oh yeah he’s cheap.

Lastly, there is the age old argument that a team that is not in contention doesn’t need a closer. This would be the only argument that I can see for trading Brandon League. He’s simply the teams best reliever – and you can point and argue all you want about the blown saves in Baltimore and Cleveland – when this guy is on HE IS ON!

Now could the Mariners go August and September using high leverage situations for Cortes, Lueke and whoever else is in the bullpen and get by? Sure they could. Any games blown would just give us a better draft pick and stock our farm system. But that hurts the franchise relation with the fans and furthermore if the Mariners plan on taking a step towards the 2013 and faintly compete in 2012 they will need something beyond just a recovering Aardsma and two young flame throwers.

If the team deems it necessary they can always flip him next summer, along with David Aardsma.

I will say though while I wouldn’t shop League for the right deal I’d sacrifice a little bit of next year for a better chance at 2013/14.

The right deal for me is a package like the Nationals got for Matt Capps. A close to major league ready talent B+ type prospect.

My starting place for each team would be: Christian Friedrich (Rockies), Ehire Adrianza (Giants), Lance Lynn (Cardinals), Juan Francisco (Reds), Cody Scarpetta (Brewers), Jarred Cosart (Phillies),  Kyle Skipworth (Marlins), Arodys Vizcaino (Braves) and that’s just the National League.

Needless to say the asking price is high and few if any of the teams would even consider paying it.  But if they do… hey awesome. If they don’t . Meh… I’m content to keep League around. It’s the other teams job to change my mind.

The Value: Erik Bedard

There is a lot of different opinions on Bedard, but mine is simple: they need to move him. I know that a lot of people are hung up on what he might be for this team next year and how he could come back cheap next year but he’s a free-agent next year and this is a business there is no guarantee that it’ll work out. At this point, based on my research he may not qualify as a Type B Free Agent which would be the Mariners would get absolutely nothing in return.

If he really likes playing here he can come back in the off-season. But, it’s about what is best for the organization right now and that’s getting something in return. I believe and I maybe crazy that the Mariners get a very useable part return. I’d prefer pitching but that’s just me.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Boston wasn’t sniffing around right now and if that was the case I have to think the Mariners would be crazy not to try and pry from them a combo of Drake Britton and Lars Anderson or Josh Reddick.

I realize that’s quiet a bit but with Bedard running off a incentive-laden minor league contract there is no over head (he’s cheap) and if he doesn’t break down (crosses fingers) he could to be worth over 3.5 war the rest of the season (at this point anyways).

Using the trade calculator and even assuming that Bedard is only worth 2.5 WAR the rest of the season the asking price is not as crazy as it seems.

The Middle Infield Chips: Jack Wilson /Adam Kennedy

I’m not asking much if anything for Wilson. The very best and even overly optimistic hope is that we get something like the Cubs got in return for Ryan Theriot (Evan Crawford). Basically a little better than a lottery ticket or long shot. Heck if we got someone elses’ version of Denny Almonte I’d be excited.

Adam Kennedy could be an interesting little role player for a National League team. I think he could bring back something a little better than a Matt Lawson. Like a Jeremy Horst, Austin Hyatt or Nick Noonan. Not prospects per say but interesting pieces that could eventually be something.

How does Chone Figgins shape up?

Everyone says that Figgins just needs to be traded. I guess I’ll agree. I mean, I hate seeing this free-agent signing not go well just like everyone else and I guess it’s because in reality there aren’t a lot of great options at third league wide. Sure you have Longoria, Zimmerman, Beltre, and I guess you could throw in the discussion Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Youkilis. The next tier is David Wright, Chi Though their defense is far less than the other three.   It’s either super star or … meh…

Figgins might not be a super star but he’s better than “Meh” and Dave Cameron’s article on him was 100% spot on. I don’t care if you like Cameron or not if Figgins is walking over 10% of the time then him not getting base hits isn’t as big of a deal. It’s still annoying but he makes up for it.

I’d like to see Gutierrez move into the #2 hole. Just a better hitter and teams will be less inclined to intentionally walk Ichiro to get to him.

I know the other popular answer is just sit Figgins and replace him with Adam Kennedy but I also wouldn’t mind seeing Luis Rodriguez out there too. Then of course you have Alex Liddi and Matt Mangini down in Tacoma (as well as the corpse of Matt Tuiasosopo… he who shall not be named) who are waiting for their chance. Though the question is whether or not any of the prospects can really pick it at third.

I know that Figgins has had a real up and down two years with us. I am still somewhat hopeful that he can turn it around but if the Mariners are tired of putting him out there and are ready to move on there are teams that wouldn’t mind having Figgins at the top of their line-up and playing every day at third to include playoff teams. The Giants, Cardinals, Indians, Tigers and quiet soon the Braves (this is a Chipper Jones joke… but serious isn’t that guy retired?) all on some level would be interested in Figgins.

Miguel Olivo vs. Chris Gimenez

This is my little fight. Everyone has some guy that they think should be getting a lot more time. Most people point to Luis Rodriguez, I point to Chris Gimenez. Of course there is a lack of catching and with the season that we are having it wouldn’t be a bad idea to see what Gimenez can do.

PAwOBAwRC+ISOBB%K%FLDWAR
Chris Gimenez350.284810.03617.10%21.40%0.30.1
Miguel Olivo1550.267690.0889.00%29.40%-20.1

So far this season you can see that Gimenez has in a small sample size been the better catch behind and at the plate. Now I understand what the Mariners are paying Olivo but despite that I think Olivo should only hit against left handed pitchers, otherwise let him ride the pine.

Gimenez should have an opportunity to try and prove himself. If another team “needs a catcher” see if you can’t flip Olivo. Just use Josh Bard as the back-up the rest of the way.

Carlos Peguero vs. Michael Saunders

Okay, reality check. Peguero is swinging at over half the pitches outside the strike zone. This is a big problem. (The normal rate is about 29%) While it’s easy to get excited about what he is doing it’s important to realize that this sample size most likely won’t last. Big league pitches make adjustments and take advantage of your weaknesses. It’s only a matter of time.

But, there is potential to be an every day player. Take a look at someone like Pete Incaviglia. This in my mind is the perfect comp for Peguero. While I don’t think Incaviglia is an every day player in today’s game I do think there is potential for Peguero to adapt that to today’s game. He is seeing more and more pitches each at bat and doing a good job waiting for a good pitch. Anything he comes into contact with he’s hitting hard (26% line drives, since being recalled the second time).

Right now Peguero is by far the best option, as opposed to Michael Saunders, for the Mariners going forward. He still has a lot of things to change and work on but he’s been rather unexpectedly exciting so far and he deserves to get a shot.

Poor Michae Saunders, the Mariners have two basic options. A) Trade Him or B) Keep as a 4th out field hope one day those talents grow into something. While he does have one option left they could have him go down to Tacoma and work on a few things (rake) up until around the All-Star game and then bring him up back and see how he does but I’m not especially high on him.

I’m sad. Michael Saunders makes me sad.

The bright side of things is that he doesn’t qualify for arbitration for another 2 years (after the 2012 season).  So it would make sense just to keep him around. If nothing else he is a useful pinch runner and fourth outfielder and there is hope that one of these days he “figures” things out at the plate and becomes something more. I put that at around 10-15% but… there it is.

Summary

In summation the Mariners have some options going forward. Both in potential trade pieces and potential internal upgrades. I don’t think they should “buy” into this year and/or give up any part of their future. They don’t have a terrible team (it’s not great but it’s not terrible) and there is a chance that they luck into staying into contention the rest of the year.

Maybe Jack Zduriencik is able to acquire a cheap upgrade only giving up pieces like Matt Tuiasosopo, Chaz Roe or something a long those lines. Basically a warm body. If that’s the case cool. Otherwise I’m content with having some fun exciting games. Winning 75-78 games this year, taking the about 13th pick overall in next years draft and going home.

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