Just the week before winter meetings and the Mariners have made two transactions that will affect the everyday lineup.
The signing of Nelson Cruz was the big story. He will (hopefully) resolve the terrible issue the Mariners had at DH last year. That seems to be an easy task considering the awful numbers put up by the DH’s last year but overall I very much dislike the deal.
A 4 year deal with a player who is 34, someone who isn’t likely to age well, and was not durable to begin with isn’t destined to be the best deal. If he can provide value in his first two years and the Mariners make a playoff run it will be worth though.
The Mariners also trade Michael Saunders to the Blue Jays for J.A. Happ. This is another deal I don’t like. Not because I think J.A. Happ isn’t adding much needed depth or that it was a lopsided deal.
I’ll be the first to admit I might have overvalued Saunders. Thing is, he put up the best numbers in the OF for the team while on the field. The latter part of that sentence is where the problem came in. While on the field. I would have liked to see the Mariners give him one more chance.
Now that those moves have been made, where do they go from here? I say don’t stop. The Saunders trade adds pitching depth to the rotation but leaves another hole in the already weak outfield.
With Justin Smoak also gone, Morrison has likely locked down first base. The question I ask about the players above is: Can the Mariners make the playoffs with them in both corners of the outfield?
Ackley showed that when he has it together he can be really hot. But can he be consistent? Jones started out playing well last year, and then we saw him fall off hard. Romero had promise coming up but hasn’t had much success in the majors.
There are too many questions about the outfield. I think bringing in one more outfielder will put the Mariners in much better position.
The Mariners are being strongly linked with Melky Cabrera. The numbers and ability is there but that would cost the Mariners another pick and bring in another player that has been suspended due to drug violations.
The players I’d like to see brought in the most are Alex Rios and Matt Kemp. Rios is 33 and had a down year. Even being a Boras client I think he will come cheaper than expected given the numbers against him.
I worry about Matt Kemp with his salary and injury woes but after getting Cruz I fear the window will be open shorter than I imagined.
Bringing in one of these guys can solidify the lineup and then the Lloyd McClendon can give Ackley, Jones, and Romero chances to prove they can produce in the other corner.
If neither Cabrera nor Kemp is acquired then I think the Mariners need to get creative and find someone else.