Could M’s be a fit for Soriano?

15 alfonso soriano 300x194 Could Ms be a fit for Soriano?The New York Yankees dipped into the trade market on Sunday and acquired veteran starter Brandon McCarthy from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for 26-year old starter Vidal Nuno. To make room on both the 40-man and active roster, the Yankees designated outfielder Alfonso Soriano for assignment. The 38-year old has struggled this season, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggests that the Seattle Mariners would be a logical landing spot for the former All-Star due to his ability to still hit lefties. The M’s struggles against left-handed pitching have been well documented this season and they’re reportedly looking to acquire a bat to bolster an offense that managed just four hits against Hector Noesi and the Chicago White Sox on Sunday — so why not?

To start, Soriano is in the final year of the 8-year, $136 million mega-deal he signed with the Chicago Cubs prior to the 2007 season and is owed $18 million for the 2014 campaign. However the Cubs are covering $13 million of the cost and the Yankees are responsible for the remaining $5 million. If the M’s — or any club — were to claim Soriano, they’d be responsible for the remainder of his 2014 salary, but if they wait until he is hypothetically released, they can pick him up for a pro-rated portion of the major league minimum, which would amount to about $200 thousand.

So should Soriano be released, which seems the most likely scenario to occur in the next ten days, the cost of acquiring him shouldn’t be prohibitive for the Mariners. That can be considered good news since other trade options such as Alex Rios and Marlon Byrd still have several million dollars left on their respective contracts. Now, adding some payroll shouldn’t be a problem and Howard Lincoln has gone on record saying that the M’s have room to make an acquisition, but considering the limited financial flexibility that has come into play in recent months it’s likely a very complex situation. Attendance has been up at Safeco Field compared to last year, but we shouldn’t necessarily assume that that equals more cash being made available for payroll purposes.

Although Soriano has a measly .221/.244/.367 line and 61 wRC+ in 238 plate appearances this season, he has hit better against left-handed pitching posting an 81  wRC+. For his career, the former Texas Ranger is a .270/.319/.500 hitter and has hammered lefties to the tune of a 124 wRC+. Of his 391 career home runs, 101 of them have come against southpaws in half the number of plate appearances he’s had against right-handed pitching. There isn’t much to suggest he’s a better second half hitter than first half, although he did go on a bit of a tear for the last two months of the 2013 season after being acquired by the Yankees. It’s worth noting that considering his age and injury history he may require extra rest here and there throughout the remainder of the season to keep him fresh.

Back to the point of the 38-year old’s age potentially being a factor in his decline. He’s essentially split his time this season between designated hitter and left or right field for the Yankees so he wouldn’t necessarily require daily use of the DH spot. Considering UZR hasn’t hated his outfield performance — especially over the last several seasons — and he posted a 11.9 rating in 2012, there shouldn’t be too much concern over what he can still do in the field. He finished 2013 with a 7.0 rating and so far this season has received a -4.1 rating. He certainly would be a defensive downgrade from Dustin Ackley in left, but he wouldn’t be anywhere near as bad as Dayan Viciedo — another name being tossed around in trade rumors — would be.

Of course Corey Hart has been activated off of the disabled list and is back in his regular role as the Mariners’ designated hitter, but given his injury history it’s no guarantee that he’ll last through the rest of the season anyways. Given Ackley’s struggles and Hart likely needed regular rest, there’s probably a scenario where Soriano would fit. At the very least the M’s could have a solid right-handed bat available on the bench depending on what lineup starts that day.

Is Soriano the perfect option? No, but he does offer some upside at a potentially very small cost. Sherman also mentions in his post that his former teammate Robinson Cano could vouch for how great of a teammate he is, and the Dominican native would likely be welcome in the clubhouse that has several Dominican natives present.

There’s definitely some intrigue with the two-time Yankee, especially considering the fact he helped propel the Yankees to an 85-win 2013 campaign, but that club was still 6.5 games shy of a playoff berth. Obviously the best part about picking up Soriano is that it can be done for just money so the risk is very minimal, but it’s very possible the club could wind up losing Endy Chavez who would likely become the odd man out.

That’s not to say Chavez is irreplaceable and should be the deciding factor, but he does have the ability to hit leadoff,run the bases well, and play the outfield more regularly than Soriano would likely be able to. A tradeoff of the two outfielders is an interesting preposition, but that’s simply my own speculation that Chavez would have to be cut if Soriano comes in. It’s equally likely that the club sends down a reliever in such a scenario.

So, Soriano can hit left-handers, can somewhat play the outfield, comes cheap, and could fit the roster without too much re-shuffling. I can see why Sherman would make the connection between Seattle and Soriano, but it’s very possible the M’s would prefer to target a younger player to upgrade their lineup not just in 2014, but 2015 as well. That can lead to the question of who’d be the better fit between Soriano and Viciedo, especially since acquiring Viciedo could cost Seattle a reliever and a prospect. Again, that’s simply more speculation.

Overall the fit appears to be there for the veteran outfielder, but it remains to be seen if the Mariners’ management team feels the same way. It’s possible a club could work out a deal for Soriano, but considering his salary, it’s unlikely a team would be willing to give up something of value in return. Even if the Yankees were to eat the remaining salary — his salary minus the portion of the major league minimum would be covered by the Yankees and Cubs in the event he’s released — it’s unlikely they’d be able to get even a marginally interesting prospect back.

Should Soriano reach free agency and is interested in continuing his career, the M’s should definitely take a look. He’s no Alex Rios, but he definitely could provide a needed right-handed boost to a struggling Seattle offense..

Written by Tyler Carmont

Entrepreneurial student living in Vancouver with a love of all things baseball, hockey and rock’n’roll. Been riding my polar bear to Safeco for more than a decade. I proudly support all MLB players from the great white north, and long for October baseball to return to the Pacific Northwest.

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63 comments on “Could M’s be a fit for Soriano?

  1. Jerry says:

    rjfrik,

    Almost nothing you just said is true.

    “First you say .290, .350, .500 which would by far be the best player on the Mariners. And now you bumped it down to .280 average. What happened to your original statement? Obviously it looks better for you to bump it down.”

    It was a typo, not that it matters at all.

    As far as that line being “by far the best player on the Mariners”, that’s simply not true. Felix is having his best season. Seager (.279/.350/.493) has almost exactly that line right now, and Cano is hitting MUCH better than that at .334/.393/.462. Both of those players play plus defense at more valuable positions than Peterson is likely to play. In what universe does that hypothetical line from Peterson make him ‘by far’ the best player on the team? If you really believe that, you need to learn more about the sport.

    “And since you like rankings, here you go. John Sickels just released his mid season. Peterson is #40 and there are 10 players ahead of him that are in the major leagues and by the time the season ends, won’t qualify for prospect status. So in that respect Peterson is the 30th best prospect who is only in the minor leagues. Looks like he’s creeping into elite status just a little bit. Watch out!”

    Its great that Sickels likes Peterson more than other authorities like Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and Keith Law. Obviously, there is going to be differing opinions among people who do these lists. Sickels isn’t some crackpot, so thats great to hear.

    However, there are two holes in your logic in the above statement.

    First, your projection of Peterson climbing the ladder towards elite status following the graduation of some players to MLB neglects the obvious fact that the 2014 draftees will join that list. Of that group, at least 5-10 – including Rondon, Aiken, Gordon, Kolek, Holmes, Newcomb, Toussaint, Hoffman, Freeland, and our own Alex Jackson – will rank above Peterson. That will impede his steady climb towards elitenes that you outlined. Ooops.

    Second, your focus on Sickels – while completely dismissing Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Kieth Law, and others who don’t rank Peterson so highly – is a ridiculous case of cherry picking data to fit your rhetoric. Why do you ignore or discount any information that doesn’t support your point?

    Here are all the rankings that I’ve seen, including Sickels:

    Baseball America pre-season top 100: #85
    Baseball America mid-season top 50: #46

    Baseball Prospectus pre-season top 1001 #65
    Baseball America mid-season top 50: not listed

    Kieth Laws preseason top 100: not listed
    Kieth Laws midseason top 50: not listed

    John Sickels preseason top 150: 75
    John Sickels midseason top 75: 40

    MLB.com preseason top 100: 69

    The general consensus: he’s a second tier prospect. Thats not a bad thing. Just being ranked in any top 100 is great. But that is the difference between an elite prospect and a B prospect.

    In no way should this be interpreted as me bashing Peterson. He’s a good prospect, and I hope he turns into good player for the M’s. I’d love to see him outperform all the projections for him. But right now, he projects as more of a good everyday player than a star. He’s a great example of a B prospect: good, but not elite.

    “And just to show you I kind of know what I’m talking about and the people that I’m hearing info from are a little more reliable then your BA or what other publications you are hearing stuff from. JZ just went on record as saying Peterson is off limits and he has no intention of trading him. I wonder why? Maybe it’s because Peterson just might be that young, cost controlled, elite bat the M’s have been searching for.”

    “’I don’t have any interest in trading D.J. Peterson, I can tell you,” he said. “None at all.” Zduriencik reiterated the point later in the interview, insisting he wasn’t interested in making deals before the July 31 trade deadline that might hurt the club in the future. “In most cases, if someone’s asking you for D.J. Peterson, they’re gonna give you something short-term, but I just think he’s a very, very valuable asset for us right now,” Zduriencik said. “You never say never to anything, but I really don’t have any intentions or desire to trade him.”

    Here’s a news flash for you: what GMs say to the press isn’t whats really on their minds most of the time! What, exactly, did you expect him to say? “We’re down on DJ Peterson, and would gladly trade him for a rental player?” Don’t be so naive. If Jack would have said anything else about Peterson, it would have undermined his leverage in negotiations.

    If you have these great insider sources, ask them if any GM would ever give an honest appraisal of one of their best trade chips 2 weeks before the trade deadline. Or just use common sense. That interview didn’t mean shit.

    “Oh and n 80 games with the High-A High Desert Mavericks and Double-A Jackson Generals, Peterson is hitting a combined .319 with 21 home runs and 80 RBIs. Yeah, that doesn’t look very elite. We should ship him off.”

    Again, I never said we should ship him off. I’d rather the M’s keep their best prospects. I just said he wasn’t an elite prospect.

    If you want to talk about stats, lets compare Peterson with a guy who is undoubtedly elite: Kris Bryant. Both players were drafted the same year, and are the same age. Compare the stats:

    Peterson:
    A+ .326/.381/.615 .997 OPS 18 HRs in 273 ABs
    AA .303/.343/.500 .843 OPS 3 HRs in 66 ABs

    Bryant:
    AA .355/.458/.702 1.160 OPS 22 HRs in 248 ABs
    AAA .322/.404/.701 1.105 OPS 9 HRs in 87 ABs

    Despite being the same age and having the exact same developmental path – drafted from college in same draft – Bryant has put up better numbers in tougher leagues. Bryant is a legit elite prospect. Peterson is a notch below that.

    Thats not to say that Peterson sucks, as you seem to suggest is my argument. Peterson is doing exactly what he’s supposed to: hit. He raked in one of the most hitter friendly leagues in baseball, and seems to have adapted well to the jump to AA. He’s been hitting way better after some initial struggles in that league. But that’s whats expected of him as a polished college hitter.

    To assess the value of Peterson, lets look at another similar player: Hunter Renfroe. He was also a college hitter drafted one spot after Peterson. He’s a bit different in tools – better raw power, arm, and speed tools, less refined bat. But he’s put up similar numbers:

    Renfroe:
    A+ .295/.370/.565 .935 OPS 16 HRs in 278 ABs
    AA .218/.306/.418 .725 OPS 3 HRs in 55 ABs

    Like Peterson, Renfroe put up big numbers in the CAL league, and struggled initially after making the jump to AA, but has been good in his late 10 games.

    Peterson and Renfroe are VERY similar in terms of value, although in slightly different ways. Renfroe isn’t as polished as a hitter, but has much better tools and defensive profile. Peterson is more polished, but has a big lower upside. All things considered, I’d probably rather have Peterson (always bet on the bat!), but the two are very comparable.

    My question to you: is Hunter Renfroe an elite prospect?

    If you asked a Padres fan, they’d probably construct a weak argument for why Renfroe is an elite prospect, like the ones you came up with above for Peterson. Why? Because most people overrated prospects that play for their favorite team. Thats what you’re doing right now.

    I have no vested interest in badmouthing Peterson. I love the M’s, and follow their minor league system very closely. Peterson is damn good. But he’s not an elite prospect, and definitely should not be ‘untouchable’ in trade talks. No player should be ‘untouchable’. But he’s clearly not on the same level as someone like Felix (face of the franchise, legit ace). Peterson isn’t even the most valuable player in our own system. Alex Jackson is more talented, and Taijuan Walker is clearly a more valuable player. Thats my unbiased opinion.

    You can say whatever you want about your ‘inside sources’, but don’t kid yourself into thinking that Peterson is an elite prospect and untouchable in trades. David Cameron is doing his annual ‘trade value’ series at Fangraphs right now. You should read it. Its very interesting. Jack Z would trade Peterson for pretty much anyone on that list (a few exceptions towards the end of the list, IMHO). If he wasn’t, that would be a problem, because it would show an inability to accurately evaluate talent. He’ll go on record saying that Peterson is a future franchise cornerstone. But the fact is, it takes talent to get talent in trades. If the M’s do make a trade for a really good player – someone who is a difference maker AND will be with the team for a few years – it will cost us valuable commodities. That means guys like Walker, Paxton, Franklin, and….yes….Peterson. I doubt they will, but that’s the cost of doing business.

  2. rjfrik says:

    Jerry,

    First you say .290, .350, .500 which would by far be the best player on the Mariners. And now you bumped it down to .280 average. What happened to your original statement? Obviously it looks better for you to bump it down.

    And since you like rankings, here you go. John Sickels just released his mid season. Peterson is #40 and there are 10 players ahead of him that are in the major leagues and by the time the season ends, won’t qualify for prospect status. So in that respect Peterson is the 30th best prospect who is only in the minor leagues. Looks like he’s creeping into elite status just a little bit. Watch out!

    And just to show you I kind of know what I’m talking about and the people that I’m hearing info from are a little more reliable then your BA or what other publications you are hearing stuff from. JZ just went on record as saying Peterson is off limits and he has no intention of trading him. I wonder why? Maybe it’s because Peterson just might be that young, cost controlled, elite bat the M’s have been searching for.

    “I don’t have any interest in trading D.J. Peterson, I can tell you,” he said. “None at all.” Zduriencik reiterated the point later in the interview, insisting he wasn’t interested in making deals before the July 31 trade deadline that might hurt the club in the future. “In most cases, if someone’s asking you for D.J. Peterson, they’re gonna give you something short-term, but I just think he’s a very, very valuable asset for us right now,” Zduriencik said. “You never say never to anything, but I really don’t have any intentions or desire to trade him.”

    As I said before, unless Mike Stanton or some other big time, young, cost controlled HITTER, is coming back in a deal for Peterson, he isn’t getting moved. This was the information that was relayed to me months ago and JZ backs it up.

    Oh and n 80 games with the High-A High Desert Mavericks and Double-A Jackson Generals, Peterson is hitting a combined .319 with 21 home runs and 80 RBIs. Yeah, that doesn’t look very elite. We should ship him off.

  3. Shawnuel says:

    Jerry. I have been pushing the Souza idea for a couple days on another site. Here is what I originally posted: Many here believe that we need a bat or two to continue to compete for the Wild Card spot in the AL. I’ve seen many names bandied about…..Byrd, Rios, Willingham, Butler etc. I agree that we should pick up one veteran. However, here is another idea. The Nationals need a young SS. Desmond’s contract is up next season and all indications are he will test the market. They also have switched Ryan Zimmerman to the OF for the most part. This is causing a logjam in the OF, including the blocking of a few decent prospects. One in particular interests me. Steven Souza, an Everett WA native who ran into some trouble early in his milb days, has put together three successive seasons of .950 and above OPS, including a 1.063 this season. He grades out as an average defender. Slugging .615 with 14 HR, 21 Doubles and 21 SB. He has become a very responsible guy after a few seasons in the wilderness (including steroid usage and alcohol abuse) but his coaches now rave about his maturity. He is 25, so a little old. He is leading the IL in OPS and BA (.371). His pre-season ranking in the Nationals org was #14 but some of that came with caveats about his past. I would not be opposed to dealing Franklin, straight up for this guy. Add that to Byrd and Seattle could have a solid piece for the future who could make some noise immediately.”

    Now, I posited a deal with Franklin as the bait. I know Souza would not take a ton to get but his numbers are not any worse than Franklins have been. Do you think his age makes that much of a difference or perhaps the positional difference? If it would take less than Franklin to get a deal done I would LOVE that.

  4. Jerry says:

    Paul,

    I tend to agree, although Price would be here all of next year as well. And if he did leave (not a given) we’d get draft pick compensation. If the M’s did want an ace lefty, we could always just go for Jon Lester this offseason. But given the salaries pitchers of that caliber are getting these days, I think it might be best to just fill in the rotation around Felix with cheaper alternatives and keep Pacton and Walker.

    One guy who would be the perfect addition: Ian Kennedy. He’s been great in te past, but shouldn’t cost anything close to Price/Samardzija prices. And he won’t be a free agent till after the 2015 season. I think he could be a terrific bargain.

    For the OF, I’d talk to the Dodgers and Nats about Scott van Slyke and Steven Souza. Both are RH hitting OFers who are blocked in their respective teams. Neither are the type of guys who will cost a ton, but both are ML ready and project as solid regulars. And both can play decent defense. I know that M’s fans are a bit jaded about guys without long ML track records given how many busted prospects we’ve had. But those guys would be cheap – probably just a reliever – and could potentially be long term contributors.

  5. Paul Martin says:

    Trading our top prospects for Price MAKES NO SENSE!!! It gets you to a wild card game against Jared Weaver and the Angels. We don’t score any runs and lose despite an awesome King Felix performance (sound familiar!). Price never even pitches in the playoffs for us. You give up all those prospects and the guy does nothing for you! Top prospects only get moved for a solid bat (not rental player) under team control. I don’t see that player out there.

    Much more likely to see a minor move for a bat like Byrd or Rios.

  6. Jerry says:

    Ugh, now we move to semantics.

    And elite player is just that: elite. Upper echelon. Among the very best. If put on the spot, I’d limit that term to the top 10 hitters or pitchers in baseball.

    If you think a .280/.350/.500 line from a first baseman is elite, I don’t know what to tell you. Thats Adam LaRoche. Do you think Adam LaRoche is deserving of the title “elite”?

    Another semantic argument: upside. If a prospect has the upside of a .280/.350/.500 hitter, that means best case scenario. Dustin Ackley had the upside of a perennial batting champion. Chase Utley was his upside. Justin Smoak’s upside was a player like Mark Teixeira. That obviously didn’t happen. Upside is the best possible outcome. You can’t count on it.

    You say “If the M’s had that player right now on their team he would be the best player on their team.” First, thats not true. Cano is way better than a 1Bman who puts up that line. Felix and Seager are too. But more importantly, Peterson isn’t that player right now. If he was, he’d get you David Price in a trade. But he’s not. He has a chance to be that type of player, but he’s only in AA and has tons of time left in which he can fail to live up to that upside. It happens all the time. Thats why guys like Felix are worth so much: they reached that ceiling. Many don’t even reach the big leagues. Others never make the jump to good players. Still others have nice careers, but never reach their upside. Jay Bruce is that guy: elite prospect who turned into a solid yet unspectacular ML regular. For every Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera, there are dozens of guys who took the other trajectories.

    I don’t see how any rational person could argue that Peterson is an elite prospect. Again, look at any ranking put out by anyone who’s opinion matters. He’s consistently ranked around #50. Worthless? Of course not! Good? Absolutely! Elite? No even close.

    The original crux of this argument was what it would take to get David Price. I don’t see the Rays excepting less than Walker and Peterson, plus a few others (probably Franklin). That is the going rate. Jeff Smardzija and Jason Hammel (a rental mediocre starter having a good year) cost the A’s Addison Russel (who IS an elite prospect), plus Billy McKinney (their 1st round draft pick last year) and Dan Strailey (who is a starter sorta comparable to Erasmo Ramirez). That package is comparable to Peterson and Walker. Russel is the best player of the five, but Walker and Peterson are both better than McKinney. Overall, those two packages are pretty similar in value. That sorta sets the market for a starter right now, in what was widely seen as a pretty good trade for both clubs.

    However, David Price is a lot better than Jefff Samardzija. David Price was a #1 draft pick, a consensus elite prospect, and lived up to that lofty billing. If you want that type of player, you have to pay through the nose. He’s on a completely different tier than Samardzija.

    You and I agree that trading for Price – which likely means Walker, Peterson, and more – probably isn’t the M’s best option. But its not as lopsided as you might think. Why? Because Walker might – in a perfect world – become as good as Price. However, his stock has slipped a bit this year due to injuries and inconsistency. Like any prospect (particularly the pitching variety) there are many ways his career could go. Price is that elite player RIGHT NOW. You pay for that relatively lack of risk. The Rays know that.

  7. rjfrik says:

    Jerry,

    Are you following todays baseball? What is your idea of an elite player? Because in todays game, a pitchers game, a guy who hits .290, .350, .500 is an elite player and depending on circumstance an MVP player. You are saying that you think Peterson will never be elite, yet he will hit .290, .350, .500. If the M’s had that player right now on their team he would be the best player on their team.

    I think that is where the confusion is coming from.

  8. Jerry says:

    rjfrik,

    Wow, no need to get grumpy. I was just answering your question about what I was basing my comments on.

    If you feel like you have inside information that is more informed than the sources I cited, great! I don’t have any industry connections whatsoever, but find that the combined information from sources like Baseball America, Baseball Prospect, Kieth Law, and Jason, Chris, and the other authors on sites like this one provide a pretty accurate view on how the industry values players.

    And that’s what we’re talking about here: industry consensus. If the M’s or whoever it is that you talk to think that Peterson is an elite talent, then they clearly value him higher than the rest of the industry. In that case, that divergence of opinions will mean that he won’t be included in a trade. Its safe to say that other teams will view him similar to those sources I cited: a guy who is ranked somewhere between 50 and 100 nationally, and who projects as a relatively safe above average player that lacks elite upside.

    Your other comments are just mischaracterizing what I was saying:

    “If you want to believe Peterson is a lowly b level prospect, who isn’t elite and you are praying that can defend a corner out fielder spot so he can at least be average in the future, otherwise he has no shot, then more power to you. I will let you ride with your delusion.”

    First, there is nothing “lowly” about a B prospect. For me – and most other people – a B prospect is a guy who projects to be a good player, but lacks huge star upside (or, a player who has big upside, but higher risk to reach that level, which doesn’t really apply here). There is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes B prospects turn out better than you’d expect. Kyle Seager is a perfect example.

    Second, I never said anything about him needing to move to the OF to “at least be average in the future, otherwise he has no shot.” Nice try, but nobody said anything like that. Peterson’s bat – like everyone else – projects better in the OF. If he moves to 1B, the offensive standards are just higher there. This isn’t anything new.

    Third, about me being delusional, my opinion is far closer to the norm than yours. So who is most likely to be suffering from delusions? I think my comments were pretty moderate, well reasoned, and based on information from lots of credible sources. Its normal for fans to overrate prospects on their favorite team. I don’t mean to be rude, but I think thats exactly what you are doing.

    Finally, there is a huge massive yawning chasm between “untouchable cornerstone player” and absolute crap. You suggest that I think Peterson is worthless. Far from it. I mentioned Michael Cuddyer and Billy Butler as comps (the latter was a comp Jason used in the PI handbook). Those are good players! Michael Cuddyer has been a good player for a decade, and has multiple ~.290/.350/.500 seasons with 25-30 HRs. Butler is just as good, with better plate discipline in place of a defensive value. If Peterson eventually turns into a .290/.350/.500 guy with 30 HR power, thats great! Its not an elite player profile, but good teams aren’t built solely from elite players.

    I could say the same thing about Walker: as he’s progressed, he’s looking more and more like a good #2-3 guy instead of an ace. Thats OK! There aren’t that many aces in baseball. You can’t expect every guy with that type of upside to reach that level. Walker COULD become that type of pitcher still, but it would require everything going prefect in his development. His plus curveball was part of that original projection, and that pitch has gone backwards. But that’s OK. Not every guy with elite upside reaches it. If Walker simply turns into a guy like AJ Burnett or John Lackey or Ervin Santana, thats still a damn valuable player. Its not blasphemy to acknowledge that every M’s prospect isn’t going to be a top 10 player.

    Having a few franchise players (like Felix and Cano), a handful of very good players/occasional all-stars (like Seager and Iwakuma, and hopefully Zunino, Paxton and Walker), and solid role players (most of our bullpen, Saunders, Jones, Miller, etc) is a recipe for success. I hope Peterson and Walker – along with those aforementioned guys – turn into productive players. But they simply aren’t elite untouchable type guys.

    And if you want to get a guy like David Price – who is a legitimate ace pitcher – you’re going to have to give up some solid prospects.

  9. Shawnuel says:

    Sorry…i meant cutter, not splitter. And, more correctly, his pitch usage has changed. He throws the cutter much more often than the curve and he changed the type of curve he throws last season. Curto and others have mentioned it looks much less effective.

  10. rjfrik says:

    Jerry.

    You keep reading your publications and I will keep listening to people in the know. If you want to believe Peterson is a lowly b level prospect, who isn’t elite and you are praying that can defend a corner out fielder spot so he can at least be average in the future, otherwise he has no shot, then more power to you. I will let you ride with your delusion.

  11. Jerry says:

    Rjfrik,

    My comments on Peterson’s value are based on scouting reports and rankings published by various authorities on the subject, including the writers of the site. There is a very strong consensus that Peterson is a good but not great talent. He’s pretty much the definition of a B prospect, at least in the way most use that term: a guy who projects as a solid regular player, and maybe an occasional above average player. Michael Cuddyer is a good comp. A guy who can help most teams, but not a cornerstone player. That’s his upside. If he’s playing 1b, that hurts his value.

    And the ranking by the top authorities reflect that:

    Baseball America pre-season top 100: #85
    Baseball America mid-season top 50: #46

    Baseball Prospectus pre-season top 1001 #65
    Baseball America mid-season top 50: not listed

    Kieth Laws preseason top 100: not listed

    That’s broad consensus. Peterson has done well this year, but I don’t think he’s changed projections for him: a good hitter who projects as a solid regular, with a move to 1b likely. His upside is first division starter, or more likely a second division starter if he’s playing 1b.

    Listen, I don’t dislike Peterson. He’s a good prospect, and I hope he eventually turns into a solid contributor for the M’s. But nobody views him as a top prospect. I’m hoping he can play corner OF enough to be passible. Keeping him off 1b substantially helps his projections. But he’s just not an elite talent right now. Sorry.

  12. Nighthawk180 says:

    Shawnuel,

    Walker has been hurt with tendinitis of the shoulder very true but so has Hernandez early on in his career too. Did he try to come back too fast the first time possibly is there something wrong in his should maybe but the MRI didnt show anything. He has the velocity he has had but his command has been a bit wild. That is to be expected since he has thrown a total of 55 innings this year so far. Im curious where you heard he stopped throwing his curve and replaced it with a splitter. I havent seen him throw one and as far as I know he throws 4 pitches. Fastball, Cutter, Curve, and Change up. Not disagreeing with the splitter thing but dont know where that came from. As for the change in mechanics he looks pretty close to what he was doing last year but Im sure there are some changes hence his control issues of late. Again though he only has 55 innings total this year and no spring training so those innings he has thrown are basically his spring training innings. Kuma has recently even gone through a rough patch after starting out great and seems to have found himself again as well.

    Franklin yes his star has faded some sure but at the same time 2014 #’s have to be put in context. His first call up he practically sat the bench the whole time with I think were 3 starts spread out over the 2 weeks he was up and some late inning replacement type situations. The second call up is where most of his numbers have come from and yes they were not pretty. 21 SO in 52 PA and 6 hits total is not gonna cut it. The triple-a numbers are fantastic 40BB v 49k’s and a triple slash line of .298/.396/.487 and he has according to some tweets from jason has improved a little bit at SS and we know he can play 2b. The real knock on him is the M’s dont have a place to put him and again his MLB #’s this year are not pretty so it makes it pretty obvious that he is trade bait and that wont help his value any either.

  13. rjfrik says:

    shawnuel,

    I never said that Alvarez WAS the next great Cuban outfielder, I said “he very well could be”, implying that there is no definitive on the statement. He has the potential to be one of the next great Cuban outfielders, IMO. And stats don’t always show the whole picture, that’s what scouts are for. Alvarez has started to develop the ability to hit breaking balls with regularity, something that the stats can’t show you. That is a big thing. On top of that, what the guy is doing in AA, a pitchers league, is impressive. He has one of the better all round stat lines in the league. But he’s still a gamble and that is why I believe Franklin and a MLB relief pitcher could get the job done. The orioles are in the market for relief help and a starting second baseman. Hell, Franklin very well could get the trade done by himself depending on how much the Orioles value him.

  14. Paul Martin says:

    Walker has had injury problems and didn’t light up the big leagues this year, he is still a top prospect, but he needs to show he is healthy and back on track before he would be considered a top trade chip IMO.

  15. Shawnuel says:

    I, personally, value Peterson a little more highly than Jerry does but understand his reasoning for considering him B level. Peterson has to prove that his current 2014 #’s are not just a California league mirage. If he ends this half with similar production in the Texas league, he moves to A- level in my eyes. If he were to stick at 3B, which is VERY unlikely, and not be a butcher with the glove, I would move it to a straight A. 1B prospects lose a bit of value just because of positional difficulty. Ironically, DJ, at 1B, might be more valuable to Seattle than most other teams simply because of the roulette of incompetence (excepting Morrison’s current hot streak) M’s fans have been forced to endure at 1B the past several seasons.

  16. Shawnuel says:

    And an .819 OBP is hardly “tearing up” AA. Plus, how is a 13/35 BB/K rate so much better than last season’s 8/22? If Alvarez really is viewed as the next “great” Cuban outfielder, only a rampant homer could see Franklin and Coffey as enough to get him. I think you’d have to throw in a Medina/Leone level talent in to even get Baltimore to respond.

    Regarding Franklin and Walker. Current/recent production has to be considered just as closely as 2013 prospect status. Walker has A) been injured, B) changed his throwing motion and switched from a devastating curve to a modestly effective splitter, C) caught the eyes of scouts who think his current mechanical change is a harbinger for future arm trouble. D) Not been particularly effective since his rehab in AAA. Franklin’s weak performance in MLB in the second half of 2013 and in his time up here in 2014 have definitely taken the luster of his prospect sheen. Neither guy is viewed, currently, as highly as they were last season or even in pre-season.

  17. Shawnuel says:

    Alvarez is striking out less but still can’t take a walk. .309 BA and .332 OBP? Yikes! I’d hate to have seen his approach before this season.

  18. rjfrik says:

    And since you like under the radar trades Jerry, here is one for you. M’s acquire Daniel Alvarez (The cuban defector who signed with the Orioles in 2013) for Nick Franklin and Todd Coffey.

    The Orioles are looking for a starting second baseman and a bullpen help. Alvarez is tearing up AA and has greatly improved his approach at the plate. He very well could be fast tracked to the big leagues and become the next great Cuban outfielder.

  19. rjfrik says:

    Jerry,

    No offense man, but you are WAY undervaluing Mariners prospects. Walker is considered in the industry as a future ace, not a #2. Where do you even get that stuff? From a publication or your head? I’m seriously curious. And I don’t understand what your infatuation is with undervaluing Peterson, a B level prospect? No. Not at all. As I’ve told you before, Peterson is regarded as our top prospect by the current front office. He’s not going anywhere unless it brings back a young, controlled, star position player.

    Yes Franklin has lost some luster, but he still would be a regular second baseman if he wasn’t on the M’s and blocked.

  20. Nighthawk180 says:

    Jerry,

    If anyone here is under or over valuing prospects I believe its you. Yes they are not cant miss prospects but Franklin and Peterson are both top 50 prospects. Heck Peterson in 3+ months has jumped 25+ spots in the rankings since the start of the season. I believe that is the biggest jump of all prospects. Very few prospects are blue chip “cant miss” prospects but those two are very valuable but are more valuable for the M’s especially Peterson with his potential to help us in the near future. Walker himself is one the top pitching prospects in all of baseball too so I dont think you are grasping how well these prospects are valued.

    Rudolf made some great points in regards to previous blockbuster type trades and what prospects were involved and how many of them there was. You dismiss them because you view our prospects differently nothing wrong with that but if anyone is undervaluing prospects it is you. Yes some of us will and do overvalue some of ours but at the same time the ones in question are not considered B prospects. Victor Sanchez are a B type prospects. B type prospects are passable to maybe average type players that do what they are suppose to do with replacement level production. For a pitcher to be called a B type his absolute ceiling would be that of a #3 stater with more of a 4/5 starter or strong relief arm.

    Middle of the order bats that play at third or 1b (peterson), bat with decent power and decent hitting approach that has the ability to play up the middle at a yound age (franklin), and a not yet 22 year old with less than 4 full years of pitching on his arm prospect that has already made the Majors and is projected to be a potential TOR starter (walker) are not B prospects. They except for maybe Walker are not blue chip “cant miss” types but they are definitely valuable.

  21. rudolf says:

    Jerry, I disagree. Teixeira was equal to Price, same contract status, not that long ago. The braves paid what was considered a premium, an emphatic return for the Rangers. That return was a closer, a middle of the rotation starter, a fairly high upside shortstop in A-ball, and a catcher whom showed promise but many had doubts, (and went on to be mediocre, a part-timer). The Rangers supposedly killed it on that deal.

    You call Walker a #2-type starter. In March he was dubbed the best pitching prospect in baseball by many. Or close to it. Peterson looks like a 30-homer 1B to a lot of scouts and should be in the show in the next 12-14 months. And Franklin is probably a solid 2nd baseman for someone by next season. There isn’t a lot of doubt in that group. They all look solid with substantial upside.

    As good as Price is, players with 1.5 years left do not get that kind of return. And a team with pitching as its strength would be hella stupid to burst wide open and pay exorbitant fees to add unto it’s strength.

  22. Jerry says:

    Rudolf,

    I agree with you that trading those types of guys for Price could be a bad idea. However, I think you are overvaluing the M’s prospects. Their actual trade value just isn’t that high.

    David Price is on the short list of best pitchers in baseball. Walker is a good prospect, but has had arm trouble and projects more as a #2 starter. And Franklin and Peterson are the definition of B prospects: good, but not close to elite. They project more as solid regulars. Maybe the M’s value them at the same level, but I definitely don’t think the rest of the industry does.

    It’s normal for fans to have inflated ideas of the value of their favorite teams prospects. I think that’s the case

  23. rudolf says:

    Walker, Franklin, Peterson would be stupid. I don’t doubt the Rays would ask for that, but we would not give them that. No one would. Look at the trades of Teixeira, Garza, Lee, Adrian Gonzalez, Halladay, Dickey, Johan Santana: None of them include a top-5 pitcher, a top 35, and a top 50-ish, all at or close to the major leagues. Teixeira was supposed to be a big haul… not as big as the above mentioned trio. Miguel Cabrera was more valuable than Price, and he was willing to sign an extension, and he required two big prospects, not three. Price will cost $20 million next year. He’s not a big bargain!

    I don’t know where people are getting this (Walker, Franklin, Peterson), package, but it’s silly and it needs to go away. Walker + Franklin + lower level guy would be enough. And it would still be a bad move.

  24. bookbook says:

    I remember when Scott Van Slyke first came up, he was regularly dismissed as not a prospect–just an artifact of Albuquerquee, Goes to show how little we know until we know.

    Van Slyke would be a great get, for now and the next few years. Byrd and Willingham and Rios would also be nice-ish. Appropriate for this year where we’ll still likely run into Oakland’s dominating ways in the playoffs.

    Soriano and the Sox turn around options would be worse than making no change at all.

    For 2015 and forward, I harbor irrational hopes for Peterson and Kivlehan and Morban (all three of whom are better prospects than James Jones ever was–though worse than the Ackley/Smoak/Montero juggernaut. Back to the theme of what we do/don’t know about prospects…)

  25. Jerry says:

    Here are two other interesting options for the M’s. One huge deal and one under-the-radar move.

    The Dodgers have a huge glut of OFers. The one guy who isn’t often mentioned is Scott van Slyke. van Slyke is currently hitting .272/.405/.536 in part-time duty for the Dodgers. He’s a RH hitter who has played 1B, CF, and LF in LA. He has played a lot versus lefties, but has decent numbers against RHPs too. He not a top prospect, and at 27 has modest upside. But he’d be cheap and probably obtainable for a reliever when the Dodgers promote Joc Pederson. I mentioned Matt Kemp earlier, but the Dodgers best option if they want to win (which is clearly the case) is Kemp in LF, Pederson in CF, and Puig in RF, with two insanely expensive bench OFers in Carl Crawford and Andre Eithier. The latter two are entirely untradable. Eventually, the Dodgers have to call up Pederson. He’s too good to rot on the vine in AAA, and he can actually play a solid CF. That would push Van Slyke off the roster unless the Dodgers essentially eat all the money due to Crawford or Eithier. I doubt they do that. Thus, van Slyke could be an interesting optiuon for the M’s and a nice sleeper.

    The Dodgers are supposedly looking for relievers, so that could be a matchup. Van Slyke could be a nice under the radar addition. And he’d get a chance to play with his Dad in Seattle. Could be a good match. And he’s not arbitration eligible till 2016.

    The other option:
    Blockbuster trade with the Phillies for Marlon Byrd AND Cliff Lee.

    Everyone is talking about David Price, but Lee is just as good, and would cost considerably less if the M’s were willing to absorb his salary for this year. However, thats a LOT to ask. Lee is due the remainder of his $25 million salary this year, plus $25 million next year. His 2015 salary is high, but its not too much more than Price will command in his last year before free agency. The problem: Lee also has a vesting $27.5 million option (triggers if he pitches 200 innings next year) with a $12.5 million buyout. That option is the big deterrent: if Lee collapses (he’ll be 37 in 2016), he’ll cost a lot to ditch. If he’s solid but unspectacular, he’ll cost $27.5 million. Even if he continues to pitch to his capability, he’d still be very expensive.

    But…..that financial obligation limits his market, and since he is just now coming off the DL, he shouldn’t cost anywhere near what the Rays will be asking for Price. Who knows what the Phillies might do this year, as they are a team that doesn’t like to rebuild. But if the M’s could absorb both the Byrd and Lee salaries, they might be able to avoid dealing their best young players. It would be a salary dump for the Phillies, similar to what the Red Sox did a few years ago. But, given their current situation, that might be smart.

    I think Price is the better pitcher, but Price will probably cost Walker, Franklin, and Peterson. Thats a tough pill to swallow. Lee, on the other hand, could be available for a lot less. It would be a huge salary increase. Byrd and Lee together are due ~18 million this year and 33 million next year. But both would substantially improve the club in 2015 without the M’s having to commit to long-term contracts. Not a bad option. And it would be a clear and loud response to the A’s recent moves.

    I loved watching Lee pitch for the M’s. I could see him continue to be a good pitcher into his late 30s. Risky, but worth it IMHO.

  26. Jerry says:

    Snave,

    Fair enough. But Hart has a pretty good track record. If he is close to healthy, I think his numbers will get better. But that is a big if.

    My point was to question whether or not he’s that much different from guys like Willingham. Obviously, I’d rather have Willingham, but I’m just not sure if its worth the cost of trading for him. The big downside of Willingham, apart from his injuries, is defense. Swapping Hart for Willingham seems like a modest upgrade, which is fine if the price is also modest. If Willingham takes playing time from Ackley, its also a considerable tradeoff. Our strength this year has been run prevention, and Dustin Ackley helps in that regard. Swapping Willingham for him would have repercussions beyond just this offensive numbers.

    In a lot of ways, I think Marlon Byrd makes a ton of sense. But he also comes with some caveats. Both Willingham and Byrd will cost talent to acquire, and will push other guys (probably Hart or Morrison) into marginal roles on the team. Both guys are both pretty old, and Byrd has put up his best numbers in pretty notable hitters parks (Texas and Philly). I would be concerned that his numbers would take a huge dip in Safeco. Byrd makes sense because he would mainly be taking time from Ackley. Byrd kills lefties, and is a decent defender too. Again, it comes down to cost.

    I wouldn’t give up much for Willingham. He’s an older rental player. If they could get him without trading any of our top assets – Walker, Paxton, Peterson, Franklin, Guerrero, Wilson, ect – that would be fine. But I’m not sure that that would get it done. I guess I don’t have a good idea of what Byrd might cost, since he has an additional year on his contract.

    At this point, I think its highly likely that the M’s will end up with one of the OFers likely to be available – Byrd, Willingham, Cuddyer, Rios, etc. I’m just hoping that the M’s don’t punt good players for the wrong upgrade.

    One other option: I wonder what Matt Kemp’s price might be right now. The Dodgers still have an outfield logjam, and Joc Pederson very much deserves a promotion. Pederson might be an immediate upgrade over Kemp, Either, or Crawford right now. They also have Scott van Slyke. The M’s could be a good match for either Kemp or van Slyke.

  27. Snave says:

    Re. Hart, rather than “when” he gets back on track I think it’s more of a matter of “if”. He’s only been back for six games, but there are no extra base hits since then. Also a number of K’s and LOB. Up until May 18, his OPS was only .647. If they want to improve their offense and win games, how much more can they keep giving him regular ABs?

    Similarly with Ackley, I think it’s not a matter of “once he gets on track” but a matter of “will he ever get on track?” I don’t believe Soriano would be that big of an improvement over Ackley.

    The team has a chance at a playoff spot this year. As infrequently as that happens, I think the M’s should be going for it. They’ve been sitting idly by while the A’s and Angels have made deals, and now those teams are distancing themselves from the Mariners in the AL West. Are the M’s going to sit idly by some more while the teams who are right on our heels for that last WC spot make deals to improve themselves? Seems we’re maybe two or three players away from being serious contenders now instead of the usual six or seven. So let’s do something to help the offense.

    A one-game playoff is still the playoffs. Let’s get there.

  28. Jerry says:

    I agree with Maqman to an extent. But there are ways this club could improve incrementally without butting the teams ability to build a long term contender. However, the question is whether or not those moves additions would be a substantial upgrade over what we have now.

    We’ve talked about Ty Willingham and other RH bats. But are those guys really better than Corey Hart? I think Hart is a lot better than this. He could be a big contributor to this club in the second half when he gets back on track.

    Likewise, a pitcher would help, but is going after Price worth losing a Walker plus other prospects? And are mid level starters who might be available any better than Paxton or Ramirez (who still has talent)?

    I still like the idea of trying to pry Carlos Quentin and Ian Kennedy from San Diego. Both are good players who would help this club now and next year. If they could swing that deal for a package including Ramirez and a reliever (maybe Carson Smith), or some of or stalled talent, it would make a lot of sense. Quentin could get time in LF and DH, with Hart splitting time between DH and 1B. And Kennedy would give us a proven, legit #3/4 starter. Most importantly, both of those guys will help the team next year as well. One very modest upgrade would be Johnny Gomes. He kills lefties and had good power. And he would cost much.

    But again, would those be substantive improvements over what we have now? Could we do something like that without trading a player or players who could really help us going forward? And would it just be best to stick with what we have and save that money for someone better next ocean (Jon Lester?)?

  29. maqman says:

    Soriano isn’t worth a roster spot at this point in his career. I’d rather keep DJ Peterson than give him up for Butler or Cuddyer. Good hitters who are young and under team control are now the new gold standard and they don’t have to be Trout , Tulo or Stanton. They can pick up a rental like Willingham from the Twins for less than one of our top 10 prospects. In the past two drafts the M’s have brought in some good bats. They will take some time to work their way up through the system and some will bust but until we know which is which we should hang on to them. The A’s and Angels are better than us right now, the second wild card slot is about our best shot this season. Mortgaging the farm to try and change that is selling out our future.

  30. ripperlv says:

    Soriano is not an upgrade. But he’s practically free, so that’s why I believe JZ will go after him, if in fact, Alfonso has any desire to add his non-production to the already compiled little-production lineup. But since he is free, and has performed well in the past, you could say he has plenty of upside. And besides, if any team can compile no-field, medicore hitting DH’s, well dag nabbit, it’s the Mariners. Go Mariners.

  31. Jerry says:

    If your inside info that Peterson is untouchable is true, that begs the question: why? Like I said before, he’s a good prospect, but not someone who shouldn’t be available in the right deal. I think his upside is Michael Cuddyer or Billy Butler. Good players, but not elite guys.

    Maybe it’s just me, but if I was a GM, I’d reserve the untouchable label for truly elite talents. But maybe the Ms just like him better than everyone else.

  32. rjfrik says:

    Jerry,

    I work for one of the biggest sports agencies in the world and under two of the biggest baseball agents in the world, Adam Katz and Joel Wolfe. So I guess I have a pretty good ear to the ground when it comes to baseball. When I tell you that Peterson is regarded as “untouchable” I’m not blowing smoke up your butt.

    It’s highly unlikely Tulo gets traded anyway, so it’s really a mute point.

  33. Nighthawk180 says:

    Correction this sentence should say “Im not understating tulo in anyway and Im definitely NOT overvaluing our prospects at all.” Sorry for the mistake. Cheers

  34. Nighthawk180 says:

    Jerry,

    I dont think you read what my post said. I am agreeing with you on your first proposal and thought that was a good one. I only said that I wouldnt go any higher for him regardless. Two top 50 prospects (one of which is top 15ish) plus a starting SS and potential in Mauer however you use him and Ackley is a solid if not great return for Colorado. Im not understating tulo in anyway and Im definitely overvaluing our prospects at all. Look at the A’s trade for 2 starting pitchers with relatively low salaries one of which is a TOR starter. They traded top 10 prospect, their first rounder from last year and a major league starter if I remember right. How is that really any different than your first trade proposal really? If you add the value of both starters they equal about 6+ war right?

    As for the payroll I wrote about that too. I said they could definitely afford to pay for him with all the extra revenue they have now that they didnt before with their top 15 payrolls they were rolling out for a few years in the mid 2000’s. The real question you have to ask just like what has been written about already in this thread is will the front office give the extra money they absolutely have for a Tulo move? Like tyler said what the heck was Cano signing for if they closed the pocketbooks right after besides Rodney? I have written about this many times on shannons blog about the teams salary restrictions they impose on themselves and the like. I hope you understand that I was agreeing with you Jerry not arguing why not other than the stubbs addition to the second trade proposal you made. That one was and is not worth it for the M’s in the slightest. I did break down your first one in regards albeit very loosely on what each player we are giving up in your trade is worth for our team and stated that it would hurt but not that bad really in the end and we could recover.

    Also I do know this is a pipe dream and extreme rosterbation on our parts for sure. I dont usually post about these kind of topics much anymore but thought your first proposal was a solid one and worth the time to comment on it. It works for both sides fairly well.

  35. Tyler Carmont says:

    You know, I’ve also been in the camp that didn’t understand the M’s splurging on Cano and then putting the chequebook away. Perhaps we’ll never truly know if it was ownership that nixed the Morales and Cruz deals or if neither wanted to sign in Seattle regardless, but Jack Z saying his payroll was maxed out is a convenient excuse. On one hand, he did put $13 million down for Corey Hart and $14 million down for Fernando Rodney so we can’t say the M’s have done nothing after signing Cano, but 3+ months into the Hart era and it certainly feels like they failed to help the lineup at all.

    The problem I saw after signing Cano was that the jury was still out on a lot of the guys penciled in for regular roles. Miller had a strong 2013, but was he ready to be an everyday SS in 2014? Would this be the year Kyle Seager finally broke out? Would Mike Zunino finally make the adjustments he needed to at the plate? Could Dustin Ackley transition to left field and bring the bat around? And what about Walker, Paxton, etc with the pitching staff? By no means do I hold a negative opinion over Cano — I’m a big fan of it actually and the excitement it’s brought to the city and club, not to mention what Cano’s contributions on and off the field — but it looks like in an ideal world Seattle would’ve been better off waiting a year to make their huge acquisition. Of course that’s way, way easier said than done, and if the club felt they had a legitimate shot to get a guy like Cano then I applaud them for taking the risk. But I think they put too much stock into Cano’s presence being a precursor for other free agents to flock to the city.

    Whether you buy into the theory of lineup protection or not is irrelevant, but if you watch an at bat for Cano, it’s obvious that pitchers are working him outside or down in the zone, but Cano is that good of a hitter that he can make the adjustment and keep driving the ball for singles and doubles. Obviously his power hasn’t been there, but I think that’s largely a case of him not getting enough quality pitches to drive out of the park. And when he does get a decent pitch to hit, he’s more interested to just getting a hit to get something going.

    Think back to Ichiro and all the raw power he showed at times, but instead, put the ball in play and racked up hits because one, in his earlier years he was a solid bet to steal 50 bases, but more importantly, that’s how he felt he could best help the team when. By no means am I trying to compare Ichiro to Cano at all other than they’ve both had the mindset of doing whatever it takes to help the club. When Cano gets a fastball on the inside half of the plate, he has no problem driving that into the right field bleachers. And until opposing pitchers find a reason to pitch him differently than they have this year, that’s not going to change. I don’t consider it a lost year if Cano only has 15 home runs and a .325 BA and .380 OBP, in fact I think that’s a very good year, but it only further pushes the point that this lineup needs another bat. We knew that much from the get go.

  36. Paul Martin says:

    I too saw the signing of Cano as evidence the team would bump up payroll. I also agree that with their revenue sources,150 million is a good number to stay competitive. Then they signed Cano and the national media started saying Jack Z was at the end of his budget and all capped out to make to make further moves. Despite the obvious need of another bat (or two) nothing was done. Maybe Jack Z just has to go to ownership and ask for more money, or maybe he already asked and was told no? If payroll doesn’t at least hit the $115 million mark for next year, there really won’t be any excuses.

    Regarding Tulowiski, I just can’t see a scenario where the Rockies trade him for prospects right now. Maybe there is a 30% chance it happens in the offseason, but not now. Fun to dream though…

  37. Jerry says:

    One more thing….

    A few of you mentioned payroll, and the problem with having multiple players making over $20 million.

    Things have changed!

    When the M’s were a good team between 1995 and 2003, we had a very competitive payroll. We also had great attendance. We spent at the level of the richest non-Yankee teams, and the club got what it paid for: consistently good baseball and HUGE attendance numbers.

    Then the M’s became a joke. The team that Jack took over was loaded with bloated contracts owed to bloated players (Carlos Silva!). The team needed to rebuild. In that situation, it makes perfect sense to cut back on payroll, ditch old veterans, build the farm system, and wait a new window of contention to open. They did just that. Ideally, the M’s would rebuild the organization and avoid getting into the situation again, and build a consistent winner.

    In the intervening years, the payroll slid down a bit while the rest of baseball started spending a lot more. During that time, we also signed a hugely lucrative media deal.

    I interpreted the Cano signings as a sign that the team was moving back into their old place as a consistently good team. I thought it was one of those ‘message’ signings – like Philly, Detroit, and Washington have done recently – where a team signs a marquee player to announce that their time as a nonfactor is over. The Cano signing seemed to me to be a signal that the team was shifting gears.

    Entering this year, we had the 18th highest payroll (or maybe 12th lowest?) in baseball, even with the Cano signing.

    Thus, I didn’t see Cano as a solitary move, but part of a new strategy. If it wasn’t, than it was a stupid decision. There is no reason why the M’s cannot and should not add payroll moving forward. Attendance is WAY up this year. The team is finally good again. And the M’s have to compete with the almighty Hawks and the oddly popular Sounders for the attention of Seattle sports fans. This is a critical juncture for them.

    Right now, we have a $95 million payroll. There are currently 7 teams (LA Dodgers, Yankees, Philly, Boston, Detroit, LA Angels, and San Fran) who are above $150 million. With the team’s market size, stadium, and media revenue, we should be up in the top 5 to 10 teams. There is NO REASON WHATSOEVER that we shouldn’t be in that $150 million club. Unsurprisingly, those teams I just listed tend to be good often.

    If the M’s front office guys are pinching pennies right now, someone should slap them.

    Adding payroll now will pay off bigtime with a pennant race and (hopefully) playoff appearance. More importantly, that potential pennant race and playoff appearance will give them an even bigger attendance bump next year. Going forward, they should be EXPECTED to steadily ramp up payroll to a level commensurate with their means.

    They went in big on Cano. Stopping now would just make this team a permanent joke.

    The M’s should be bold right now. Think about how much interest an addition like Cliff Lee or Troy Tulowitzki would create for this team. Instead of being a ‘surprise first half contender’, we’d be a legit playoff team. If not this year, than next.

  38. Jerry says:

    With all due respect, I think some of you guys (rjfrik and Nighthawk) are overvaluing our own prospects and understating how valuable Tulo is.

    The injury concern is real. But the guy has been a consistent 6 WAR player despite missing time. He has put up 6 WAR seasons 3 of the last five years, and has only one season below 5 WAR in that span. He’s already past 5 this season. He is ridiculously good. Any team he plays for should have a guy who is decent at SS on the bench or AAA for the inevitable times he gets banged up, but all that guy really needs to be is average.

    The Ms are also a good landing spot because we can use him at DH sometimes, and have guys in the system like Taylor and Marte who could be solid replacements is he goes down.

    Walker is a great prospect, but he’s a pitching prospect. Peterson is a good hitter, but he’s barely a top 50 guy right now. He’s more likely a solid regular than an elite guy going forward. I like both guys, but I’m trying to keep things in perspective. He’s not Addison Russell, who just got traded for a lesser player. If anything, I think that package I mentioned was a bit light.

    Oh, as a side note, I included Stubbs and Jones in the package to sweeten the deal for Colorado. I think the two are comparable players right now, but Jones is younger and far cheaper. Stubbs is well into arbitration now, and is getting costly. That was included to help make the deal more palatable for Colorado.

    Obviously, this is all extreme rosterbation. I don’t think Colorado will move Tulo. Again, he’s their Felix, and the Rockies haven’t generally been quick to sell marquee players.

    More likely targets would be Carlos Quinten/Ian Kennedy from SD or Ty Willingham from MINN. However, I wouldn’t give up anything of value for those guys. If you’re going to deal good young players, go big! Tulowitzki would be that type of player.

  39. rjfrik says:

    Jerry,

    The Peterson is considered an untouchable player by JZ. He’s not going in any deal, unless it’s for Mike Stanton. I still think Walker, Miller, Franklin and Smoak/C level prospect would get it done for Tulo. The Rockies would be getting back the middle of their infield and their number one starter, all of which cost next to nothing. They would be unloading 20 million off the books and get back three core players that are MLB ready and that would KILL in Colorado. Miller and Franklin would each blast 30 HR’s in Colorado and Walker is the type of pitcher that would actually hold up in the thin air. If Tulo really wants out, then I would have to consider this package seriously.

  40. Nighthawk180 says:

    Shawnuel,

    Yeah you are right as for his production and position his contract is very good as far as current stars contracts. It’s three fold though.

    First is he worth more than his contract is? Yes every bit WHEN HEALTHY.

    Thats the second part can he play healthy for the remainder of his contract. He has 3 “full” seasons out of his 9 seasons that are more than 143 games played.

    Last but not least its not how much he is getting paid in a vacuum its what he’s getting paid and the rest of the team is and is budgeted for. Currently if all incentives were to be met (they cant be Hart is most of them long DL stint) the payroll is just south of 100 mil. at 97 if i remember correct. Felix and Cano take roughly half of the teams payroll and adding another 20mil player is going to have a trickle down effect. What do we do with Seager when he needs a long term contract? Saunders will definitly be cheaper but he is going to cost some too. Iwakuma possibly extension what will that be?

    Having 3 players at least 20mil. is fine with teams that have the payroll for it but the M’s do not have that right now. Can they sure without a doubt afford it with the Root sport ownership and the national tv deal money whatever that is and increased attendance from a winning team and whatever that brings. The post I wrote was trying to outline some of value in trade for him and what his contract means to the M’s not just his contract (which is great value) because trades are not just about the players but their contracts as well along with many other factors.

  41. Snave says:

    FWIW, this year Stubbs has a slash line of .402/.621/1.022 at Coors Field, but on the road he’s .252/.330/.582. He continues to strike out at roughly the same rate this season as he has for his career. It looks like Coors Field and Stubbs are a good fit. One can’t say with certainty that his OPS would be back down in the high .600s if he was playing for a team with a less-friendly home ballpark, but when looking at his numbers for the past few seasons, I think that would be likely. A few years back I thought of Michael Saunders as a “poor man’s Drew Stubbs”. Now I’m thinking it’s the other way around, and I don’t know that Stubbs would really represent much of an upgrade to the Mariners’ roster

    Sure, I’d love to see Tulowitzik in a Mariners uniform. But as Shawnuel was saying, Tulowitzki has a good contract. And as others have said here, the asking price might be so high that the M’s wouldn’t want to take a chance.

    Getting back to Soriano, I don’t know how much he would help the M’s. His numbers are roughly the same as Ackley’s, and Ackley is arguably the better defender in LF…

  42. Paul Martin says:

    Memo to Edman: yes, Jerry is leading by example. He posts interesting trade ideas (regardless of how realistic they will happen, this is a place to toss around fun ideas around as M’s fans) and if he replies to someone else’s post, what he says adds value to the discussion.

    I wish I could say the same about the comments (personal attacks) you make on PI.

  43. Shawnuel says:

    And, yes…..Jerry is leading by example.

  44. Shawnuel says:

    Nighthawk, I agree with your points in theory but I have to say that Tulowitzki’s contract is WELL below market for his production. It averages out to a hair over $21 mil per season for 5 more. If you compare that to Cano at 10/$240……..well……..there is no contest over which is the better contract. At today’s rates Tulo’s deal is pretty sweet. There is ZERO chance the Rockies would send any money back in a deal, IMO.

  45. Nighthawk180 says:

    Jerry,

    I get that you value Tulo very high as do I but at the same time that is a bit much on the second trade proposal. Walker, Peterson, Miller, Jones, Whilhelmsen for Tulo and Stubbs ouch that hurts. Stubbs in the in the middle of a career year for him. His best full season to date was back in 2010 with a line of .255/.329/.444 with 168 so and 22 hr’s. The most hr he has hit since then was 15 with over 200k’s and worst overall stats. Last year was in Cleveland and hit .233/.305/.360. Im not sure he is enough an upgrade over what we already have albeit the power in CF. So I would stick with cheap James Jones and stick with the first offer you gave just for Tulo and no more.

    I say no more for the simple fact that for how good tulo is their are two very good reasons he should come a little bit lower than he should be. 1. His contract is very high and we already have 2 players on this team that make at least 24+ mil. and take up half of the current budget. While I feel the M’s could cover this and the rockies might give something like 3-5 mil the next two years or so to give us some relief but still thats a lot of money in three players. 2. He has been hurt a ton in recent years and only has 3 years of his 9 years at least 143 games or more. When he is on the field you are right one of the best players in the game but if you average his years (not counting his 25 in 2006) he averages 116 games a year. While looking at his career splits and stats I noticed that their is also almost a 20% reduction to all his stats away from Coors field. Coors field is a extreme hitters park and going from that to safeco and switching leagues wouldnt help him any. The Coors effect could also be applied to Stubbs this year too. Stubbs at Coors is hitting .371/..402/.621 and a horrible away split at .206/.252/.330.

    Having said all that I would love to have tulo no question but it comes down to can he stay healthy, can and will the m’s cover his contract, and will it not crush the future to acquire him. DJ is a future 1b for the m’s, miller has been hitting recently, Walker is finally healthy and is a young CHEAP stud with TOR potential, Mauer sure relievers are great trade bait if he can repeat his demeanor as a starter (obviously not stuff as it plays down as a starter) he could possibly start, and Ackley meh Ive been over him for 2+ seasons. Everyone was on smoak early but praising Ackley for his half season in the Majors and he has done nothing since. Never got it but that is another discussion all together. That is a huge package for a superstar when healthy player. We would have to fill other needs as you are giving 5 for one and 4 of those are mlb roster players and replacing one of those spots. So the openings are SP, LF, and RP. It would sting but we could figure something out.

  46. Edman says:

    And you’re leading by example, Jerry?

  47. Jerry says:

    Edman,

    Why don’t you quit being a blog troll and let Tyler decide which questions he wants to answer. As you can see from his response, he does just fine.

    Rjfrik,

    I thunk it will take more than that to get him. First, he’s he face of that franchise, and easily one of the top 5 players in baseball. Plus, he’s only 29, and signed through the next several years at below market prices. Those types of guys don’t get traded often. He’s also in the midst of a career year, plays great defense at the most important position on the field, and is an elite RH hitter. He’s the rarest of commodities. Besides Trout, Harper, McCutcheon, and Stanton, he’s the most valuable player in baseball. The only downsides are a $20mil salary (which he’s more than worth) that is prohibitive for some teams and his injury history.

    In a lot of ways, I think Colorados situation is a lot like the Ms with Felix a few years ago: great player stuck on a bad team in need of a rebuild. The Ms decided to stick with Felix and lock him up twice. If Colorado did trade him, it would put them into a Houston style rebuild. That’s probably the smart thing to do, but it would be incredibly unpopular. just like if the M’s had dealt Felix.

    I think the Ms – or any other team – would have to put together a huge package to get him. Not only would there be multiple teams interested in adding a player of that caliber, but the Rockies would not do it unless it brought them multiple good players. I think the one reason why the Ms are a good trade fit is because we could include multiple ML ready young players. Guys like Walker, Miller, and Franklin coud help them immediately, and that would help offset the fan backlash.

    A legit first offer for him would be Walker, Peterson, Miller, Maurer, and Ackley. The Rockies would probably be able to beat that. The one thing the Ms do have going for them is that Colorado would probably want to get him out of the NL West, and ideally into the AL. The Ms could also get creative: Tulo and Drew Stubbs for Taijuan Walker, DJ Peterson, James Jones, Brad Miller, and Tom Wilhelmsen? That gives the Rockies a ML ready starter with #1 upside, a cheap CFer, a cheap starting SS, a guy who can close for them, and a top 50 prospect in AA. Add one more guy, and they’d have to consider it. Unfortunately, the Rockies really need starters, and we don’t match up all that well in that regard.

  48. Snave says:

    I wholly agree with Maqman on this one. I don’t believe Soriano would represent a significant upgrade on the roster. If they see something that makes them think they’ll catch some “lightning in a bottle”, then whatever, maybe they’ll bring him in, but that would almost seem to me like a half-hearted kind of move.

    I tend to think the Mariners need to make definite upgrades if they want to stay with the A’s and the Angels. Seattle might be able to stand pat or make a minor tweak or two and still get that last wild-card spot, but that’s not a given. And since the M’s in a race, I think it’s safe to say their intent is not just to place, but to get the finish line first.

    The Angels weren’t what I’d call flashy and didn’t make much of a statement by adding who they did, but they did seem to strengthen their bullpen, which was a weakness… it still isn’t great, but it ought to be better now. The deal the A’s made was certainly a statement, as it can be argued that the best team in the AL just got better.

    What do the M’s do to strengthen their weak areas, and maybe to also make a statement to the rest of the division, to the AL, and to all of baseball that they’re serious about strengthening what they already have in place, enough so to possibly win the division? Why not? If they wanted to go all out for a player like Tulo, and if they could do it without completely mortgaging their future, I’d sure be for it. Same would go for getting 2-3 other players who might not be marquee names but who could strengthen the roster.

  49. Tyler Carmont says:

    Well that’s tough to say. I don’t think it’s fair to pull the plug on Hart a week after he returns from the DL. I agree he’s been a disappointment this year, but maybe we had our hopes a little too high in the first place? It’s obviously a difficult situation, but personally, I’m not ready to give up on him yet. For one, if Montero is your next best option, stick with Hart. At least until he completely implodes or hits the DL again. I still want to see Montero work in Triple-A for a while. Second, if the M’s were to release him they’d be responsible for basically his entire remaining salary, which doesn’t really benefit the club since they’re already tight for payroll. Which means the only reasoning for dumping Hart is back to point one, which was to clear a roster spot. And the loop continues.

    We’ll just have to see how the next couple weeks play out. I’ve probably appeared to be slightly in favour, or at least very okay, with the M’s adding another OF/DH type to balance out Hart and Ackley’s performances. As far as I see it though, Hart will finish the season with the club and will depart as a free agent in the offseason.

  50. rjfrik says:

    Jerry your package for Tull is a little over the top. It will take Walker (a top 10 prospect) and I think it would take Miller as well, but after that I could see one more prospect being added and it wouldn’t be a prospect the caliber of Peterson. I think Walker, Miller, Franklin would be fair for Tulo. If you want to throw in a busted mlber like Smoak then throw it in. But Walker, Miller and 4 more prospects is crazy.

  51. maqman says:

    A 38-year old once-was hitting .211 is not an upgrade.

  52. Edman says:

    Paul, I’m not sure why you think Tyler knows what the M’s will do with Hart. I understand you’re seeking approval for your opinion, but it’s not fair to expect Tyler to answer a question that he doesn’t have the answer for.

  53. Paul Martin says:

    Jerry, are you referring to this article? http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24608674/rockies-troy-tulowitzki-sounds-open-to-being-traded.

    I would love to have Tulowiski and would trade an Oakland A’s type package for him, but I have a hard time believing he is available…

    Never hurts to dream though! Too bad we never had a chance to draft the guy out of college…

  54. Jerry says:

    Seems like there is increasing chatter about Troy Tulowitzki being shopped.

    Tulo would be a PERFECT addition to this club: RH bat, in prime, plays premium position very well. He’d be a huge upgrade in the lineup and a modest upgrade defensively.

    I’m all for the M’s being patient and not mortgaging the future. But if they could pull off a blockbuster, Tulowitzki is the type of guy you go all-in for. He’d be a cornerstone player for the next 6 years. I’m sure it would cost Walker, Peterson, Miller and more, but wouldn’t that be worth it? Could you imagine a middle infield of him and Cano? We’d have Cano, Felix, and Tulowitzki in their primes for the next few years. Thats a core that you can build around.

    I think the M’s are one of the few teams that really make sense for him. We have (or should have) the financial flexibility to add a $20mil/year player to the payroll. We have a pretty good farm system, and could include a young, cost controlled shortstop in the deal. With Miller, Franklin, Taylor, and Marte, we could probably include two. It would cost a ton, but Tulo is one of the few guys who could really put this team over the top AND help us be a long-term contender going forward.

    Suppose the M’s could get him for something like Walker, Peterson, Miller, Guerrero, and Maurer. Or some other permutation that only includes MIller, Walker, and a reliever from the 25-man roster. We’d have this lineup:

    Jones CF
    Seager 3B
    Tulowitzki SS
    Cano 2B
    Hart DH
    Morrison 1B
    Saunders RF
    Zunino C
    Ackley LF

    Thats a damn good team. We’d be a bit thin at SP, but could potentially pick up a good back end starter in a separate deal. Maybe Ian Kennedy.

    I know this is a complete pipe dream, but if the M’s are going to make a deal, they should at least see if there is a match with Colorado. If you are going to mortgage the future, you do it for a guy like Tulowitzki.

    Just a thought.

  55. Paul Martin says:

    Tyler, how much longer before Seattle pulls the plug on Hart? If he coninues on his current pace come the trade deadline, I sure hope they get rid of him. I would rather have a platoon with Jesus Montero in it if an upgrade via trade does not pan out…

  56. Jerry says:

    I think this makes some sense. Basically, we need to ask a few questions?

    Is he better than Ackley? No. But he wouldn’t be replacing Ackley except against lefties.

    Is he better than Chavez? Honestly, I think those two are equally valuable, but in completely different ways. Chavez is obviously a better defensive player and base runner, although he is being used poorly by the team right now as a lead off hitter and quasi-everyday player. He’s a good bench OF, defensive sub, and pinch runner. Soriano would fill a very different roll.

    Is he better than our worst current reliever? THIS is the key question, because it’s most likely that adding Soriano would include sending a reliever down to AAA. One of the nice problems we currently have is that our entire bullpen is pitching really well. But we do have a lot of relievers on the roster now, and they could scrape by with one fewer for a while. The odd man out would probably b one of te younger guys who still have options, like Maurer, Medina, or Leone.

    So the obvious question is: who is more valuable to the team? An older RH bat who was a good player as recently as last year? Or one of our young relievers?

    It’s important to also note that adding Soriano won’t cost anything financially or in talent, and wouldn’t stop us from making other moves later. If it didn’t work out, the Ms could just return to the current roster easily. This would be an absolutely zero risk addition, but with some degree of upside (if he returns to his 2013 levels). It’s at least an interesting option.

  57. rotoenquire says:

    @adrich1

    Have to think he would come in at league minimum. If he doesn’t workcut him. Chavez isn’t a long term answer for anything as well. So we are riding a hot moment for him. He will come back to the center eventually.

  58. adrich1 says:

    I really cant believe my eyes – people WANT this? I’ve seen quite a few Yankee games this season + a couple of friends who are Yankee fans have said we’d be crazy to give him a shot.

    I get that we all want a move to be made ASAP (yeah, we all do) but Alfonso Soriano will not carry this team anywhere. There are better options out there and you need to see prospects as currency – keeping all our minor leaguers is pointless since at some point you wont have where to play them. Some will be stars, others useful, and others will fall flat on their faces. Some will play for us and some for other teams.

    Willingham, Byrd, Cuddyer, Rios are useful and can help but in the end if you really dont want to give up ANYTHING to upgrade at DH vs lefties – bring Montero back up first before bringing in Soriano and have 2 from Jones,Ackley,Saunders in the OF with Hart in RF. Remember, this is against lefties so having Hart out there wont be an everyday thing…and it’s only if he’s hitting.

  59. Scott Goin says:

    Soriano used to be able to hit left handers. At 38, it’s not certain if he can hit them any more. Career numbers don’t mean much at this point. I might be willing to put him in Tacoma and see if he still has anything left (like we did Nady) but I doubt Soriano would do that. I think he’ll retire rather than go to the minors.

  60. Tyler Carmont says:

    Like I alluded to, the M’s are going with a short bench right now so they could make room for Soriano or whomever by sending a reliever down. I’m not sure who that would be right now, but it doesn’t *have* to be Chavez that gets cut in this situation.

  61. Paul Martin says:

    I would rather have Chavez. I don’t see how we gain anything if we subtract Chavez and replace home with Soriano. The only way I would consider it is if the team pulled the plug on Hart, and decided to go with Soriano instead. That makes some sense to me, but I don’t think the team is ready to give up on Hart yet, despite the fact that he has brought nothing (but a few homers) to the team this year and looks done.

  62. rotoenquire says:

    In another thread I mentioned this as being a low risk high reward idea. I don’t want to see the M’s give up a bunch with how slim the pickings are in the trade market. Add to that what the A’s just got. Paying to much for a Wild card or one game play off chance at making it. Just not worth it in the long run. There is a difference between paying to go all the way and paying for a chance to barely make it in.

  63. Hackinator says:

    I believe that Soriano would be a good addition….we dontbgive up any talent for him and he is a threat at the plate against left handers.

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