wrote up yesterday it provokes some interesting thoug..."/> wrote up yesterday it provokes some interesting thoug..."/> wrote up yesterday it provokes some interesting thoug..."/>

A Brief 2012 Outlook


Looking at what Keith wrote up yesterday it provokes some interesting thoughts about where this front office is headed. I can’t help but think that what is really important going forward is an open mind concerning the roster and this team. I’ve talked a lot about how I’m not as concerned about competing this year as much as I am next year and most assuredly the year after that.

Most likely at this point the current product out on the field is a true 75 win team and they will most likely come very close to that. But, there is going to need to be a jump in talent level going forward. Specifically on the position player side of the house. Wells, Robinson and Chaing are all good steps in getting solid talent with the potential to be at least average major league hitters. But, with Gutierrez having issues and Ichiro quiet possibly on the down turn of his career there leave some legitimate question marks in this line up and while having average hitters is a good thing, they need something beyond the Ackley/Smoak duo to make this line-up more potent. Carp is certainly showing signs of being a good hitter and while I expect him to continue hitting to think he will be a middle of the line-up bat for a playoff caliber team isn’t realistic at this point.

After the jump I put together what the Mariners potential roster looks like as of right now for the 2012 season.

It’s going to be interesting to add guys like Alex Liddi, Kyle Seager, and Trayvon Robinson to the equations. Not to mention pitchers such as Erasamo Ramirez, Anthony Vasquez, James Paxton, Mauricio Robles, Dan Cortes, Stephen Pryor, Andrew Carraway and there are even possibly more to add to that list. The Mariners have depth and it’s fringe quality. Meaning they aren’t all above average players but each could be able to bring some type of value to the team, in the short team and some in the long term through a variety of roles.

The way I see it, the Mariners are most assuredly in the position to where  going to have to make a move in the next 12 months to get a legit star player that can help Ackley carry this line-up and there aren’t a lot of options out there. The Mariners may – and most likely will – have to give up a package that’s a bit uncomfortable to bring in someone of that is a difference maker within the line-up. Who that is can be speculated by so many but what is the most important thing for the Mariners going forward is roster control.

Really, this is what is most important through the current free-agent market, the ability to control team costs. Of course this is what Geoff Baker and others have talked ad nauseum about so I really don’t want beat a dead horse. That being said years is the real free-agent currency opposed to money. Sure, you’re going to have to give up a dump truck of money for who you want but really what makes the difference when chasing a free-agent is the length of the deal you are offering. That’s shaping up to be the case for Jose Reyes.

  • FACT: The Mariners currently have only one player under contract for beyond 2013 and that would be Felix Hernandez. Franklin Gutierrez has an 7.5 million dollar option/500k buy out that could be exercised.

The Mariners are one of the few teams out there that if they wanted too they could committ money towards the future and while we are still getting over the Chone Figgins contact the fact remains that we are going to have to take a chance on a free-agent or two in order to complete this team. Somewhere the team can’t consistently be affriad of the someone not working out scenerio, there are some chances that have to be taken. But, it doesn’t mean you spend your money irresponsibly either. Looking at next year there are a couple of additions and with what some of the younger guys can hopefully produce we are looking at a potential 80 win team with an decent shot at being a +.500, not to mention just being altogether more interesting.

If the Mariners plan on keeping payroll at the rough 85 million there isn’t going to be much wiggle room this off-season. Their best bet in acquiring a said bat is attemping to trade League and his over 4 million dollar salery in an effort to free up a bit of space to go after a guy that already has an established contract.  The Mariners can give up a league minimum contract to whoever plays third base whether that is to 2012’s version of  Adam Kennedy – who only made 775k this year – or even if all you do is give Kyle Seager the job it doesn’t take away much in the way of payroll flexibility. Maybe the front office hasn’t had enough and give the job back to Figgins. Basically it comes down to the Mariners having a couple of solution internally for third base and the designated hitter spot should they want to save some money.

As for the three pitcher roster spots. It’s possible as mentioned above that there could be a few guys internally that could fill in the back part of the rotation. Meaning you would move Vargas into the third spot, Beavan into the fourth spot and put either , or maybe even in a crazy sencerio James Paxton could even fit into the final rotation spot. As for relief pitchers, they have a few internal options as previously discussed and finding a few cheap and varguely interesting flame throwers with shotty command never seem to be an issue for the front office.

Ultimately if you flip League for some prospect depth it gives you nearly 15 million dollars to go after a bat. All the holes on this roster can potentially be filled either internally or rather cheap, now whether or not you want to use only internal/cheap options is for another discussion that I’m sure could lead into throwing things and ending with “You’re stupid!” shouted from either me or someone at me.

So, what was the point? I guess there wasn’t really any specific point rather just a series of observations based upon the current roster and a set of scnerios that were running over and over in my mind. It’s always nice to have a blue print layed out in front of you as a supporter of any team. Seeing, even vaguely, where a franchise is headed helps you have confidence in the leadership. This can’t always be done just by looking at the current win-loss record or even the daily line-up. Sometimes we have to look beyond and wade through the crap.

Who knows what is really going happen with this roster over the off-season, this is purely a projection. As many of the beat writers have poitned out there are a surprising amount of out fielders and starting pitching depth and who knows what it could all turn into, if anything at all. Maybe it could all change before the winter General Manager meetings and the team strikes big or on the other hand, maybe the Mariners sit tight spend hardly anything, keep the guy they have and see if they can’t get one of the big names in the 2013 free-agency class.

As I said sometimes it’s just nice to see the framing of the future.