What would a fair trade for Price or Samardzija look like?

price 300x250 What would a fair trade for Price or Samardzija look like?David Price and Jeff Samardzija have been mentioned in trade rumors throughout the offseason, and now that Masahiro Tanaka has signed with the New York Yankees, those markets might open up again. After missing out on Tanaka, the Mariners will certainly be in the running for a starting pitcher to add to a rotation that currently features Erasmo Ramirez as the No. 3 starter.

Price and Samardzija are similarly situated, as both have two years of team control remaining before they hit free agency. Right now, Price is by far the most expensive pitcher, as he is under contract for $14 million for 2014, and will likely command near $20 million in arbitration in 2015. An extension for Price, which he was reportedly unwilling to sign with Seattle, would likely cost in the neighborhood of $25 million per year. Samardzija looks to cost about $15 million over his last two years of arbitration, and while he wouldn’t be as expensive to extend, he won’t be cheap either.

Here’s a look at what a reasonable trade for either pitcher would look like for the Mariners. Hint: there’s likely a sizable gap between that and the asking price for Price or Samardzija.

Even at $35 million for the next two years, Price would be a bargain. The 28 year-old lefthander has been worth 13.4 fWAR over the last three years, 8th most among starting pitchers, and he’s averaged more than 30 starts a year in that time frame. Steamer and ZiPS project more of the same from the big lefthander with each system expecting +4 fWAR. Of course, there are concerns regarding Price such as his diminishing fastball velocity, and the drop in his strikeout rate (though he offset that by cutting his walk rate), and the arm injury that sent him to the DL in 2013.

Based on projections, Price could provide approximately $20 million of surplus value over the next two seasons. From there, his value would likely drop off significantly. An extension would probably be at least as costly as that signed by Felix Hernandez, and Price is older and not quite as good. Assuming a decline of half a win per year for his age-30 season and beyond, and you get +15 fWAR over the life of a contract extension that keeps him around through his age-35 season.

While Nick Franklin has been connected to trade rumors involving Billy Butler, he’s more valuable than that. Projections for him have a pretty wide range. Steamer projects slightly below-average offense and second-base defense, and just 0.1 fWAR over 206 plate appearances for the soon-to-be 23 year-old infielder. ZiPS projects slightly above-average offense and serviceable defense at shortstop, which comes out to 3.2 fWAR over 593 plate appearances. It appears unlikely that he can handle shortstop, but it appears that he could handle his own if given a full season’s worth of playing time. A +1-2 win player with slight improvement over the next five seasons would bring plenty of surplus value.

James Paxton impressed in his late-season showcase for the Mariners, though both Steamer and ZiPS suggest he might need more minor-league seasoning. Still, lefties with mid 90’s heat aren’t too common, and if his knee is healed up, he may be able to sustain his control improvements and realize his No. 2 starter potential. There’s more of an injury risk with pitchers than position players, but even if he isn’t ready for a full season until 2015, he should provide solid surplus value. A trade centered around Franklin and Paxton would be a fair offering for Price. It’s certainly a lot more than the Detroit Tigers got in return for Doug Fister, who has been Price’s equal over the last three years.

However, the Rays will likely ask for more than that from the Mariners. Early this season they reportedly asked for Taijuan Walker plus other prospects. Now, considering that dealing Walker for Price would be an overpay, Walker and others would be even worse. Only 21, Walker could likely contribute at least +1-2 wins at the big league level this year, and has ace potential down the road with a little more consistency in his secondary stuff and improved control. Given Walker’s current value and +4-5 win potential, dealing him for Price would be nearly as poor a trade as the Wil Myers – James Shields trade last offseason.

Considering that the Diamondbacks may be willing to surrender Archie Bradley, a 21 year-old hurler who isn’t quite as far along in his development as Walker but has a very similar ceiling for Price, it appears very unlikely that the M’s can trade for him unless they get desperate or the Rays come way down on their reported asking price.

jeff samardzija 1 300x201 What would a fair trade for Price or Samardzija look like?Reported asking prices for Samardzija have only been a shade lower than what the Rays want for Price. His ERA- of 103 over the last two years isn’t very exciting, but his peripherals and raw stuff are much more impressive. He sports an 89 xFIP- which looks like a much better indicator of his ability. Armed with a fastball that sits in the mid 90’s, only Stephen Strasburg and Jose Fernandez have a higher average velocity. In addition to the fastball, he has a devastating splitter, a good slider, and mixes in a cutter. Samardzija is 29, but due to his football background, he’s thrown fewer innings than Price.

Talks with the Toronto Blue Jays supposedly revolved around pitching prospects Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. They don’t have the ceiling that Walker does. Baseball America ranked the two No. 98 and No. 35 in their 2013 rankings, respectively. However, the smallish Stroman has taken a big step forward after a dominant season in Double-A, and could be in the big leagues in 2014. Sanchez remains the top prospect in the Jays system.

Other than Walker, and the possible exception of D.J. Peterson, the Mariners don’t have prospects on the level of Sanchez and Stroman. I believe a team that is interested in Samardzija should be willing to pay at least as much as they would for Price, but a Paxton and Franklin combination is unlikely to get a deal done, even if the Mariners add in a lesser prospect. Including Mike Zunino as the headliner instead of Paxton or Franklin might make the Cubs willing to listen, but that starts becoming a bad deal for the Mariners.

A deal revolving around a package of low-level, high-ceiling prospects, would also make a fair trade for Price or Samardzija, but Victor Sanchez or Tyler Pike don’t carry the potential right now to make that trade. Unless the Cubs or Rays are willing to accept prospects that have less potential but are big-league ready or very close such as Paxton and Franklin, a trade for either of these pitchers would be a big overpay. ML-ready talent with +4 or even +5 win potential is too much to sacrifice for two years of a rental, even a good one.

Written by Chris Moran

Moran Chris3 What would a fair trade for Price or Samardzija look like?

Chris Moran is a second-year law student and assistant baseball coach at Washington University in St .Louis. He graduated from Wheaton College where he wore the tools of ignorance for the baseball team. Follow him on Twitter @hangingslurves

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60 comments on “What would a fair trade for Price or Samardzija look like?

  1. […] improve his walk rates from the 8.2 percent mark he’s pitched to over the last two seasons. Prospect Insider has touted Samardzija […]

  2. Gibbo says:

    Is Gallardo a target for us? Mid rotation guy now, brewers may have some interest in Smoak could a deal be done their, m’s would need to add more I am sure but now they have Garza, Lohse, Peralta and Estrada they may be open to moving him. Also I would be trying for Cain or Maybin both have injury issues but take Butler and Cain and send over Paxton, Franklin and Montero. Butler has value to the Royals but they could easily sign Cruz or Morales to replace some of that value. They have the OF cover and Franklin compliments Escobar and Infante in the infield.

  3. Snave says:

    I am also hoping Baker will be healthy, and if he is, great! Not the kind of player to pin a lot of hopes on though, IMHO. Nonetheless, I don’t see how he could possibly be worse than Saunders/Harang/Bonderman. So yes, if Baker can even be an average pitcher, it will provide some good help.

    The aforementioned problem with Rodney’s command is somewhat troublesome, and I don’t find that exciting, but he is an exciting pitcher.

    Great point about smaller moves… they often can be upgrades. From dismal to average? Yeah, I’ll take that.

  4. Snave says:

    Yes, my expectations are definitely tempered. I like the Baker signing for depth, and as long as they aren’t pinning a lot of hopes on him for 2014 and the guy is still able to pitch, he could prove to be an excellent addition. But given his reason history, I don’t expect great things. I will hope for that, but I don’t expect it.

  5. Chris Moran says:

    A couple things. The perception of Baker as just a crafty guy is off. He had at least average fastball velocity, and above-average swinging strike rates on his fastball. If he’s sitting 88, he’s probably Aaron Harang.

    Also, it’s entirely fair to refer to the severity of his injury when Tommy John knocked him out for two years. He only made three starts this year due to setbacks in his recovery. Getting TJ at 30 is a lot worse than getting TJ at 23.

    I’m not complaining about the signing, it’s a good move, and he’s only guaranteed $1.5 million. I’m just saying that people who think he will return to #2 status or who think the move is low risk, high reward probably need to both temper their expectations with reality and rethink their definition of high reward.

  6. rotoenquire says:

    I really like the Baker signing. The M’s are trying to find as many low risk high reward guys that they can. Baker if healthy is a crafty pitcher not really a for power pitcher. So loss of Velocity isn’t a real factor. M. Rogers was a velocity guy and his loss of speed is a concern. But, he is working on transforming the way he pitches and if put into a closer role could be solid as a 1 inning guy. There are a couple other guys that would fit in this as well.

    Odrisamer Despaigne SP Cuba
    James McDonald SP F/A
    Jeff Niemann SP F/A
    Andrew Bailey CL F/A
    Joel Hanrahan CL F/A

    Could be under the Radar guys the M’s look at.

  7. Jerry says:

    I don’t really agree. First, I don’t agree of the “severity of the injury”. Its the most common injury that pitchers get, and there is a pretty high rate of success. And if he is among that smaller percentage of guys that don’t come back, the M’s aren’t going to waste innings on him. Basically, the chances that he helps the team are solid, but the chances that he hurts the team are minimal. The fact that he hit some snags in his recovery last year and didn’t get back all his velocity is concerning, but that’s why he was cheap.

    If he returns to his original levels, he’s a ~3 WAR pitcher. I consider that a pretty damn good reward. I guess this is semantic, but I would qualify that as a pretty great return on an investment that maxes out at 4.25 million.

    Again, this is a semantic argument revolving around what “high reward” is. But from a cost/performance perspective, both of these guys will be bargains if they perform, and cost almost nothing if they don’t. In todays market, one WAR costs about 6-7 million. If Buck is a 1 WAR player, that’s a great return. If Baker is a 3 WAR pitcher, and costs 4.25 million, that’s an even better return. I realize that the difference between a 1 and 2 WAR player isn’t the same as the difference between a 4 and 5 WAR player, but for a team that gave a significant amount of innings to Jeremy Bonderman and Hector Noesi, that’s a great move.

    And there is basically no downside here. If Buck is terrible, the M’s can find another backup. If Baker can’t pitch, one of those young players gets a shot. The most likely downside of Baker is that he’ll get released or end up on the DL. If that happens, the downside is basically Erasmo Ramirez, James Paxton, or Brandon Maurer. That’s not all that bad.

    Alternatively, he could just be mediocre, sorta like Saunders last year. But in that case, he will likely be bumped out the rotation eventually. The M’s have a handful of guys with talent at the top of the farm system, and the likelihood is good that someone will be knocking on the door come midseason.

    Depth is awesome. We just added depth.

  8. Chris Moran says:

    Baker is more low-risk, low-reward. He’s pitched just 15 innings over the last two years. If he pitches well, incentives would kick in. I doubt they’ll get much given the severity of his injuries and the fact that his velocity was down three mph in his starts this year, but basically anything is a bonus.

    I think we’ve been over Buck before. He’s a backup catcher, nothing more. $1 million is fine, but if you give any weight at all to framing, he’s a replacement-level player. If you discount framing, he might be a +1 win player.

  9. Jerry says:

    “Nothing really exciting to me in any of that…”

    Why not?

    Baker is a GREAT addition. He’s an above average starter coming off TJ surgery. The M’s just signed him to a zero risk, high reward contract. He’ll either help the team, or he won’t make the club. That’s a good move.

    This signing, as well Buck, could be the best moves this team makes this offseason in terms of cost/benefit.

    Rodney is another VERY interesting player. The market for closers have tanked, as teams have finally figured out that relievers are volatile and closers can be found relatively cheap. However, I think there was a bit of a market overcorrection, as lots of very good relievers have signed for surprisingly modest money this offseason. Rodney is pretty good, and if the M’s could get him in the 1/6 or 1/10 range, that would be a great addition. He throws hard, has a track record of success, but is coming off a down year that was largely due to luck (his peripheral stats were good, minus a problem with command).

    I think we all need to keep in mind that, many times, these smaller moves end up paying big dividends. Its not as exciting as adding someone like Robinson Cano, but the M’s have a LOT of areas where simply improving from dismal to average will go a long ways. Depth is crucial. This year, the M’s are already a much deeper team.

    That depth will translate into more wins.

  10. Snave says:

    FWIW, Rosenthal says the M’s might be going the trade route for a SP, and it isn’t necessarily Samardzija or Price they’d be looking at. Also, the M’s are “in on” Fernando Rodney, and they just signed Scott Baker to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.

    Nothing really exciting to me in any of that… and less exciting is the news that the M’s are still in on Nelson Cruz.

    I suppose if the Mariners did sign Cruz, it could precipitate the trade of Smoak or Morrison in a package with other players for a starting pitcher. How much would the addition of one of those two really “sweeten a deal”? And who would be a better right fielder… Corey Hart on questionable knees, or Nelson Cruz? I find neither thought pleasant.

    Whatever they do, I think they need to add an outfielder who is good at hitting and catching the ball, and they need a solid #3-#4 quality guy to boost the rotation. Rodney would be an OK addition, I guess. According to Mather, they still have some money to spend, so we’ll see what happens.

  11. Chris Moran says:

    Their “established OFs” are all +2-3 win players that have albatross contracts. Kemp is a 29 year-old who has been a replacement-level player over his last 600 PA and certainly cannot play center. He’s owed $20 million per year through 2019. With the myriad of injuries he’s had, don’t expect him to return to 2011 form, or even 2009 form.

    Crawford is owed $20 million a year through 2017, and Ethier is owed $17 million a year through 2017, and neither can hit lefties (82 wRC+ for Crawford, 76 wRC+ for Ethier). Crawford is 32, and Ethier turns 32 before the season.

    With the possible exception of Ethier, I don’t think it would make sense to take the contracts of any of the above players even if the Mariners didn’t have to give up any prospects in return.

  12. mgvernon says:

    The Dodgers have four expensive outfielders and Joc Pederson on his way up. They won’t trade Kemp until he’s reestablished his value, if he can. If he does this in spring training they might be ready to deal one of them. What they will expect in return is dependent on how much of their contract the receiving team is prepared to absorb. Franklin may well be an attractive addition to their roster and the M’s could absorb the cost of one of their established OFs, especially since player contracts are only going up to the point that they are no longer unreasonable. Lacking any trade deal the next off-season should have some opportunities for improvements. If so the Mac the Manager will just have to mix and match from what he has available.

  13. davis09 says:

    I think a Smoak or Morrison plus maybe a minor league pitcher for Tabata would help both teams but he is right there is no way to get Marte without giving up Walker

  14. Chris Moran says:

    Sign and Trade would be blocked in the MLB so signing Morales and moving him won’t work. Morales, Franklin and Hultzen is not even close to Marte. Hultzen has very little value right now due to shoulder injuries, Morales isn’t much of an upgrade over a Sanchez + any lefty platoon. Franklin has value, but not even close.

    There is no way a team is going to trade a 25 year-old who has five years remaining of team control and has been very good in the MLB because they have a 22 year-old prospect waiting in the wings. Polanco is not going to replace Marte, they will coexist in the outfield along with McCutchen.

    Marte had a 126 wRC+ in the first half and 110 in the second half. He’s a great defender in the outfield and a great baserunner, even if his offense regresses significantly, he’s a decent player. The Pirates won’t trade a very good young player with five years of team control for Franklin and what is essentially garbage right now (Hultzen will have to be healthy and effective for a while to regain his value). Anybody who thinks the Mariners could get him in a package that doesn’t include Walker+ is vastly overrating M’s prospects, and the Pirates have no motivation to move him.

    I’m not arguing against myself with regards to Craig, I’m just saying that I think he’s not that great, and the Cardinals don’t have much incentive to move him. Sure he would be an upgrade over Morrison, but not nearly as much of one as you seem to think.

  15. Deep South Sound says:

    Why would Pittsburgh trade Marte? OK…
    Was last year real? Marte had dropped off the top prospect lists for the Pirates by 2013 and it seemed like he exceeded expectations with his performance last year. Was he figured out last year? Post All-Star performance was considerably lower than his first half numbers. Will he be the kind of player with nagging injuries like his hand last year?

    In addition to prospects, the Mariners may be the best team to satisfy the Pirates biggest need, 1B. The Pirates have been linked to Kendrys Morales but like most teams balk at losing a draft pick. The Mariners could resign Morales and move him without the Pirates having to sacrifice a high draft pick.

    I’m not saying that I think Marte’s available but if the Pirates already have Polanco waiting in the wings, I don’t think its stupid to think that if they could get a package like Morales (plus cash, plus saved draft pick), Franklin, and Hultzen that they would at least look at it. If you really think the Bucs are more likely to move Polanco, I’d be even happier to take him for that kind of package.

    Not sure I understand your take on Craig, Chris. Seems like you’re arguing against yourself. Are you saying Cards don’t move him because he’s a bad glove? He’s worth more because he’s a bad glove? Or, the Mariners shouldn’t want him because he’s a bad glove? I’ll assume it’s the last one. A quick look at all of the Mariners outfield candidates (and for that matter the outfielders they’ve rolled out the last couple years) and reliability, hitting ability, and defense are not their strong suits. How much worse can Craig’s OF defense be than Logan Morrison? It seems like the M’s are pretty much planning on rolling him out to RF with some regularity. At least you can project Craig’s bat. LoMo, not so much…

  16. Jerry says:

    So, to sum up your argument:

    “Nooooooo…….the sky is falling…….we’re all going to die!!!……spend money!!!!!

    That about sum it up?

  17. davis09 says:

    No way the pirates trade marte. They made trade tobata and they need a 1B . They should make a run at l. Cain or dyson with kc maybe john jay. I think they could put together a package for j.bautista- maybe paxton saunders and franklin to start with

  18. Chris Moran says:

    I wrote that article about a month ago. http://prospectinsider.com/outfield-trade-targets-for-the-mariners

    There is no way the Mariners can trade for Marte. Why on earth would they be unwilling to move Polanco but willing to move Marte, who is more or less what they hope Polanco will become? A fair cost for Marte is at least Walker and Franklin.

    I don’t see Allen Craig being moved, and certainly not for a price that would be palatable for the Mariners. He’s a +2-3 win player who will turn 30 during the season, and he’s a poor outfield defender.

  19. Deep South Sound says:

    So, if we all pretty much agree that it is not in the M’s best interest to ship our best tradable assets for a limited window pitcher like Price or Samardzija, how about a follow-up piece looking at potential OF targets. Since the logic follows that there is not a lot gained shipping young talent for a single season of a Brett Gardner or Colby Rasmus, I would appreciate a look at how our prospects match teams with the biggest bounty of young major league or major league ready outfielders.

    For example, Pittsburgh has young OF’s and one of the best prospects in baseball apparently ready to come up now. The Pirates are unlikely to be willing to move the prospect, Gregory Polanco, but maybe they would listen on Starling Marte if the right package were presented. Marte could have a big impact on stabilizing the Mariners outfield.

    Is there any package that St. Louis would consider to move Allen Craig to the Mariners? In addition to Matt Holliday, John Jay and Peter Bourjous, the Cards have top Prospect Oscar Taveras ready to move up to the big club. Something is going to have to give there to make everyone fit happily and Jay looks like the better depth guy for the team to keep due to his positional flexibility.

    It makes it tougher to find the right match with those teams since they are generally among the best farm systems in MLB. Those types of players are ones that make more sense for the Mariners to ship top prospects for, though. Both are younger guys with some big league success but looking at compromised playing time with their current franchises. They are cost controlled and would also present more controllable time to make the loss of our prospects more palatable.

  20. mgvernon says:

    Robinson Cano, Brad Miller, and Kyle Seager all share a common trait, as none of the three ever appeared on a Baseball America top-100 prospect list. Source: Carson Cistulli at FanGraphs.

    If nothing else those three, Felix and Kuma are worth the price of admission. Walker, K-Pax and Erasmo are worth the parking, beer and eats.

  21. Tyler Carmont says:

    GMZ is a draft/scout guy, that’s what he did with the Brewers and that’s the kind of approach he brought onboard when the Mariners hired him. And for the most part, he’s replenished the club quite nicely. Of course his decisions haven’t quite accumulated into a playoff berth, but the Mariners are in a very enviable position at the moment given all the young talent and lack of long term commitments. Unless the team absolutely implodes, I have a feeling Jack Z will be back for at least one more year. If ownership was really done with him, they wouldn’t have extended him prior to this season considering Wedge’s departure as well.

  22. Ripperlv says:

    Ahhh basically, but that’s just for today. I did leave an opening “I seriously hope”.

  23. Edman says:

    So, your only real input into roto’s comment is that you’re a pessimist?

  24. Edman says:

    Agreed, that’s WAY to much to give up.

  25. Ripperlv says:

    Oh yeah, that will put em right over the top. No stopping em now. How do you spell “the Mariners still suck after making moves that no sense and wasting another offseason?”
    I seriously hope that JZ has a little something up his sleeve, but I’m thinking he ain’t got no game.

  26. Chris Moran says:

    You realize Felix is only 2.5 years older than Paxton? The idea that the Mariners should keep him because he can replace a declining Felix is ridiculous (especially since Felix is under control for just as many years as Paxton). If Paxton can be involved in a trade for a good pitcher, the Mariners shouldn’t label him as an untouchable. He is certainly not on the same level as Walker, and it’s not really that close.

  27. Rudolf says:

    OK. Franklin/Paxton is about the same as Toronto’s guys– maybe better–and you’re tossing in an MLB ready SP and a sweet 2nd round pick from last years draft in your package. That’s a s–t ton of talent. Way more than WAS gave up for Gio, more than Cinci paid for Latos, more than Fister ever cost– and the guy isn’t as good as any of them. Only an idiot would pay that ludicrous fee. And you made it up. And now you’re talking like Epstein confides in you.

  28. rotoenquire says:

    Was at Fan Fest today and Mather was sitting in the stands for some time. I got to talk to him for a couple minutes. The basics I got from it was JackZ from his end will get all he needs to build a winner. This was good news to me, I think JackZ is looking for value. S. Baker SP, B. Boesch OF, A. Bailey CL and a couple of the Cuban F/A that are out there and being able to sign with team the last few day’s

  29. rotoenquire says:

    NO that is what it would cost. Tor was asked to give up their 2 best prospects just to start in a deal.

  30. rjfrik says:

    I have no problem trading Franklin and Paxton for the “Right” piece. That’s the key. The M’s should want a young controllable piece back, preferably and OF. And if Paxton goes they better have two FA’s coming in to add to the rotation.

    It takes two to tango though and I feel that JZ isn’t getting the right offers for Franklin or Paxton. We are a few weeks from pitchers and catchers reporting and I’m afraid a market might not appear for the two and we will go into the season with the roster we currently have.

    JZ is going to have to pull a major rabbit out of his hat or his days are numbered, IMO.

  31. Chris Moran says:

    It’s not about continued development for Samardzija it’s just betting that his FIP and ERA get in line with his xFIP. If that happens, he’ll total 3.5-4 fWAR.

  32. Chris Moran says:

    Top two home run hitters left (assuming Morales is gone) and Morse, who has fifth in home runs. That is addition by subtraction, those three were worth 0.0 fWAR. Endy Chavez is pretty awful at this point, and his defense has declined a lot. Anything Gutierrez contributes is a bonus. Saunders would be ok in a corner, but poor in center. An outfield of Chavez, Gutierrez, and Saunders would be horrific.

    Trading away Walker for two arbitration years of a pitcher is a bad idea, but if you think Paxton is too valuable to trade for Price or Shark you are valuing him way too highly. Paxton is four years older than Walker and hasn’t had as much minor league success.

  33. mgvernon says:

    Most of the young talent in our system has graduated or is about to join the big club. That’s a good thing, even though we will have to wait for a season or two for the next wave to move on up. If half of them last three years in The Show that would be fantastic. Some will fail and we will have more holes to fill. I don’t think Mather understands the bust rate on prospects. Our rotation, outfield and bullpen lack depth, I don’t think tweaks are going to get the job done. Cano is great but he’s still just 1/9th of the team. Our three best dinger dongers from last season have left. Cano and Hart will hopefully replace two of them. I love Endy Chavez, Guti and Saunders and they would be decent defensively in the outfield but I don’t think they will play much together out there. At least Hart and LoMo can’t be worse in the field than Raul and Morse were. Counting on our young prospects to fill 3/5ths of our rotation is scary and if any fail all we have to send out there are more prospects. Bad idea. Tweaks are not going to cut it, but neither is trading away Walker or Paxton for two years of a Pricey rental.

  34. rjfrik says:

    I just don’t see JZ signing any pitcher with draft compensation attached. They will severely gut their draft budget losing two high draft picks and the dollars attached, not to mention the draft picks themselves. It will hamstring them from signing a big guy at the top, they will have to sign a guy who’s not ranked as high to go below slot so they can spend in the third round. With that 2nd round pick, they can take at or above slot with their 1st and then go at or under slot with the 2nd and 3rd picks.

    Garza was the guy I was hoping for, but maybe they were concerned with his medicals. I really think they go the Baker/Capuano route or look for a trade to acquire a pitcher. I don’t see Jimenez or Santana in the white and teal.

    On a side note, every team in the division is better then they were last year and the Astros are about to become dangerous with a lot of young talent, money and the best farm system in the majors. As of today, it looks to me like the M’s are going to have a tough time in the future, unless the kids take HUGE steps into stars or good MLB players. The M’s have two guys in the top 100 prospects from the list that was just released my MLB, two!!! One is Walker, #6, who will graduate to the big league club this year and the other is Peterson, #88. That is it and it ranks as the worst in the division and the second worst in all of baseball.

    Unless the kids develop, whoever takes over the GM role in the next year or two is going to be sitting on a major rebuilding project, yet again.

  35. Ripperlv says:

    “Saturday, ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney tweeted that the Seattle Mariners are “bound” to end up signing one of three free-agent starting pitchers in Matt Garza, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez.” JC reported this on Dec. 1, of last year. Haven’t heard from Buster in almost 2 months.

  36. Chris Moran says:

    No chance Jimenez signs for 4yrs/$50 million, even with the qualifying offer. If the Garza deal settles for 4 yrs / $52 million, it’s because there are a lot of concerns with his medicals. It doesn’t set the market for Santana or Jimenez. It’s a tiny sample, but nothing anybody saw from Baker this year would give them a reason to believe he can return to his +3-4 win form, or even +2 wins. Capuano/Maholm would be good additions as I’ve stated before.

  37. Tyler Carmont says:

    The new “Cano Window” changes a lot of the Mariners’ plans. I agree they can look to improve next season once they have more info on some of their developing pieces, but the clock is starting now. Also, if Seattle just stands pat, what kind of message does that send to Cano? Money aside, he was probably assured of reinforcements and the whole “if you sign it’ll attract other free agents” thing, but that’s yet to materialize. I agree prices are high, but if Garza’s apparent 4/$52MM deal actually happens, that changes the market in a huge way.

  38. Jerry says:

    I’d love to have either guy, but those trades don’t make sense.

    The whole idea of acquiring a good veteran starter is to bridge the gap between Felix/Iwakuma and Walker/Paxton/Maurer/Ramirez. Removing one of Paxton/Walker from that group severely undermines the M’s rotation depth.

    If the M’s are going to be good this year, they need some big performances from those young pitchers. Sending them to another team just defeats the purpose.

    Instead, I’d offer Ubaldo Jimenez a very modest contract (4 yrs/50mil), then look into signing Scott Baker and Suk-Min Yoon. Then sign Cuban defector Rusney Castillo. Thats a good offseason.

  39. mgvernon says:

    I sure hope they are not even thinking of trading pitching away, we need all we have and can get. Felix and Kuma are going to start to decline at some point and we need to keep players like Walker and Paxton to augment, if not to replace them. Free market pitching prices are getting ridiculous. GMZ says he’s not giving up Walker and I applaud that. Franklin is our best trade chip and we can give him up without hurting too bad. There will be outfielders on the free agent market next off-season, we can wait. This team isn’t likely to be a contender, it’s better than last year’s team but so are all the other AL West teams. Giving up on our best prospects just when they are ready to come good is a bad idea.

  40. Rudolf says:

    What about Shark is reliable? You mention bad starts as infrequent, but so are the great starts. Where in his entire development process has he limited base runners, or kept them from scoring. He’s 29 years old. This isn’t Kyle-crick-work-out-the-command issues. How much development are you anticipating?

    I sure wouldn’t want to march this guy out in game two of a playoff series. I see advantage opponent in that situation.

  41. Chris Moran says:

    Neither “consistency” or “homer problem” are at all reliable year-to-year. HR/FB ratio has a year-to-year correlation of .090, and the Shark has an average GB%. Saying he has a home run problem based on two years of an elevated HR/FB rate is worthless.

    In-season consistency doesn’t correlate to overall performance, and per-game consistency is itself inconsistent on a year-to-year basis. Once again, a few bad starts in a two-year sample doesn’t have much predictive value for future seasons, and there’s decent evidence that with overall performance, having a high-variance pitcher is better (though identifying a true high-variance pitcher isn’t so easy).

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/consistency-is-inconsistent/

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/finding-value-in-pitcher-inconsistency/

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2013/12/20/5209082/fun-with-pitching-correlations-pitching-statistics-fangraphs

  42. Rudolf says:

    You’re giving him way too much credit. He has good stuff with not so good command and a bit of a homer problem. He’s not consistent. You’re shamelessly overlooking that. A poor start here, there, then some average starts, a bad month, a good stretch. He isn’t as good as his stuff and he regressed last year.
    Sanchez was a legit ace last year. Up till then he was pretty good. Lester is not an ace, at least not like price, Felix, lee, sale. Shark is not Lester. Maybe he could be. You’re basically saying he is him.

  43. Chris Moran says:

    One stat. Ok, the last two years he has a top 10 swinging strike rate, a top 10 strikeout rate, a top 5 fastball velocity, and a good FIP-. The only stat that he is poor at is ERA, and over two years, basically everything else is a better measure of ability. A poor start here and there shouldn’t change that, and except for July (4.77 xFIP), he was at least decent every month.

    Lester and Sanchez are legitimate aces. You say 1/3 the experience, everybody else says less mileage on his arm.

  44. topherdig says:

    Yes, I agree….wait until season unfolds and see what is available and see if M’s need that star quality pitcher. May have to wait for market to develop for Franklin, Ackley, or Smoak or LoMo…one or all of them need to go.

  45. Chris Moran says:

    Philly would ask for at least Walker in return for Hamels, as well they should. His contract might look bad for a couple of years, but for now he shows almost no signs of decline, has been extremely durable, and has a great pitch mix for future durability. If he was a free agent now, he would get very close to the contract he has, which is 5 yrs/$112.5 million plus an option for 2019.

    As for Cliff Lee, well Ruben Amaro Jr. was asking for three top prospects and wasn’t willing to eat cash when he was shopping him at the deadline. He’ll probably come down from that, but I’m sure he’ll ask for Walker. No reason to believe the Mariners could get either of those guys at a discount.

  46. Rudolf says:

    Easily a solid number 2? Based on xFIP? It’s one stat! Gimme a break.

    He gives up hits and walks. He’s never posted the whips of those pitchers you mention. He doesnt have their control/command. He’s prone to horrific starts, in stretches at times, something those pitchers, (and “solid #2’s”), seldom suffer. He’s flat out inconsistent, alternating between very good, decent, and horrible.

    Look at his game logs. Did Haren, Oswalt, weaver, or shields ever oscillate like shark? Maybe a down season here and there, but they have many seasons on the books. At best Shark is like Lester or Anibal Sanchez, with 1/3 the experience at the same age. At absolute best. To say he’s more is to dream as if he’s a prospect. Just because hes dominant at times and has big strikeout games does not make him more than what he does overall.

    Hopefully we can agree hes not an ace and will probably never be one. Lets see him consistently keep runners off the bags and have a really nice season before we annoint him a “solid #2″. That’s his ceiling. Right now he’s part #2, part #4, and because of the hype he underwhelms. An underwhelming #3.

    And the proposed package of players who may all outperform him is crazy talk.

  47. Ripperlv says:

    I don’t think either pitcher is available (I wish they were) – a rumor started by our friend Jon Heyman.
    Here’s a couple quotes from Amaro and Sandberg who were said to be listening to offers for Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, a pair of true aces and two of the only highly paid players who have been healthy and performed to expectations the past two years.

    “I think they’re silly,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said about the rumors, “but that’s OK.”

    “I don’t believe they are true,” manager Ryne Sandberg said a few minutes earlier. “We’re trying to add pitching.”

  48. Garry says:

    I’m favoring a trade with the Philly’s for either Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee. They have made aware they would trade one of them, but not send cash in the deal on their $22-25m salaries. Both are ”proven’ LHPs, and if Tanaka’s numbers where even close to Hamels or Lee’s numbers I think the Yankees would be estatic.

    For the $22-$23m Tanaka got…I’d rather go for the ‘MLB proven’ arm in Lee or Hamels. Also, for the price that they are, Philly’s will want prospects back in return, but no way would they even ask for a Walker or Price type prospect.

    Another option that we could see is wait until June or July 1st, and let the Philly’s confirm that they are out of contention, and grab one of them for a 1/2 year of their salary at $11-12m for 2014.

  49. Ripperlv says:

    I don’t doubt his talent. Matter of fact, that’s why I think he’ll go to free agency, he has nothing to lose and a lot $$$ to gain.

  50. Chris Moran says:

    Number 3 starter who underwhelms? No. He has an 89 xFIP- the last two years. Other pitchers in that range are Verlander at 86, Hamels at 87, Bumgarner at 88, Jordan Zimmermann at 94, etc. He has ace stuff with three good pitches. He’s easily a solid No. 2.

  51. Rudolf says:

    Really? You’d be okay with all that for Shark? He’s a number 3 starter who underwhelms. You’re putting together a legit package for two years of a pretty good player, and then you get to fork out the $80 million dollar extension. Just sign Jimenez and keep the talent. Way better plan.

  52. Paul Martin says:

    While I know less about Samardzija, it doesn’t sound like either team is ready to trade their pitcher unless they get a Wil Myers type overpay. This makes the discussion about what is “reasonable” for either player pointless. Neither is a realistic option…

  53. Chris Moran says:

    I have to agree with Tyler on this point. Gardner for Franklin improves second base slightly, but then you have two awful corners in Beltran and Soriano or Ichiro has to play a lot more than he should. And from the Mariners perspective, trading Franklin for Gardner is bad because Gardner is a +3 win player who will hit free agency next year. No chance the Yankees would include Mason Williams in that deal. Franklin for Gardner wouldn’t be in the best interests of either team.

  54. Tyler Carmont says:

    You make a good point, but I honestly can’t see them moving Gardner unless it was more an extremely massive package. NY brought Tanaka, Ellsbury, McCann, Beltran et al in to win NOW, and quite frankly, if you take Gardner out of left or right field, who do you replace him with? They just released Wells, Ichiro isn’t really an everyday player at this point, and Soriano is much better used seldom in the field. Plus, hypothetically, having two plus outfielders in left and center can make up for having a subpar performer manning right any given night.

  55. rotoenquire says:

    M’s just sign M. Rogers once a top end prospect that has had injury problems a lot of his career. At 27 and one of the best lively arms I have seen, I could see him given a chance as a set up man if not a closer. I think his starting day’s are behind him. But he is young enough to still have a chance to bounce back as a starting pitcher if given the chancer.

  56. rotoenquire says:

    Going to cost a lot more than that to get Gardner and Williams from the Yankees. Price is a dead subject he said he would NOT do an extension with the M’s he doesn’t want to come here. I like Samardzija a lot and if he would do an extension than we would have something to talk about.

    As to the cost of Samardija. J. Paxton, N. Franklin, A. Wilson, E. Ramirez may get it done. But I would not be surprised that the Cubs would hold out for Walker.

  57. davis09 says:

    I believe they would. Now that they have Tanaka they dont have to trade for a starting pitcher. From web sites and fan polls Franklin is the most talked about. They have enough OF depth to move Gardner and Franklin or Ackley are who they want. They know 1 year of Gardner is not enough to get either so throw in Williams and if Gardner walks there is a good chance Williams becomes a very good major league CF. If you got Gardner or Rasmus you have a year to sell them on extending. I bet Gardner gets moved for a 2B.

  58. Tyler Carmont says:

    Yankees aren’t going to make a deal like that. They’re all in right now, why would they subtract?

    Gardner, like Rasmus is a FA after the season, and with a weak market, it’s fair to expect both to go for broke and take the highest offer.

  59. davis09 says:

    I agree we need to use our depth to aquire a good outfielder since there is none available free agent wise. Sign arroyo and trade franklin /ramirez to ny for brett gardner and mason williams

  60. Ripperlv says:

    IMHO you don’t trade for either guy unless you’ve got the horses to make a run for the finish line. I believe the M’s are a long way from running. I’d rather sign a free agent pitcher, give up a draft pick and use the prospects for an impact outfielder. But even at that, I wouldn’t make a deal like we tried to for Upton.
    I feel both those pitchers are going to test free agency. I just don’t see a fit for the M’s. The price is too high for 3 or 4 wins. If they had 3 or 4 years until FA, then maybe a different story. I vote NO.

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