By now Seattle Mariners fans have read the reports that the club has some level of interest in Chicago White Sox slugger Dayan Viciedo and Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond. Viciedo batted .231/.281/.405 with 21 home runs in 2014 and boast a .254/.298/.424 career triple-slash. Desmond is coming off a bit of a down year at the plate, but is a very good player — among the best shortstops in baseball — and has something to offer in all three phases — baserunning, defense and hitting.
Both ideas are flat out stupid.
First, Viciedo is an awful defender by all measures and he’s not getting any better. His offensive production has dipped the past two years after some promising performances in smaller samples in 2010 and 2011 and a decent first full year in 2012 when he batted .255/.300/.444.
In no manner does Viciedo help the 2015 Seattle Mariners as a regular option, and it appears the club has a good handle on all that, per this piece by Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times.
Desmond is a slightly more complicated player to reconcile as a ‘stupid’ idea because he is a good player at a premium position. But he’s due $11 million in 2015 and then is slated to hit free agency. The name being mentioned in the reports is Brad Miller, a player the club has five years of control left.
Miller, 25, is likely to continue to get better. If you like him as much as I do, you feel really good about him becoming a 3-4 win player as early as 2015-16. Even if you have more doubts about his bat than I do, he’s a 2-3 win player moving forward. Steamer projects Miller as a 2.3 fWAR player next season while putting Desmond at 2.9. These projections are not gospel, but the wise man can see the risk in moving five years of a player like Miller for one of Desmond. It’s stupid. STUPID.
Yes, Desmond makes the M’s better in 2015. Miller very well could, too, because the chance he’s not better than the 2014 version are fairly slim, if not downright zero. The Mariners have no business treating 2015 like it’s their one-year window to win. It’s not, and trading solid young talents with years of control for one-year fixes shrinks the window exponentially.
[pullquote]Steamer projects Miller as a 2.3 fWAR player next season while putting Desmond at 2.9. These projections are not gospel, but the wise man can see the risk in moving five years of a player like Miller for one of Desmond. It’s stupid. STUPID.[/pullquote]
The idea of a contract extension for Desmond, like with the Justin Upton situation, doesn’t fly, either. The player on the brink of free agency rarely signs an extension, particularly with a new team after — or even right before — a trade. Desmond could sign to stay in Washington, a team and city he knows, but to expect him to ink a deal with the M’s is shortsighted. In the end the deal would be for one year of Desmond, plus a draft pick when he leaves via free agency. The “chance” he ultimately re-signs with Seattle next offseason does not add to his trade value. That cannot be quantified to any level.
The only way a trade involving Miller and Desmond makes sense from Seattle’s side if it’s expanded and the M’s include more young talent but add a controllable player that fits their immediate and future needs at the same time. None of that has been mentioned in any of the reports, however, and speculating specifics is just useless fantasy baseball stuff.
Neither Viciedo or Desmond make any sense for the Mariners. Viciedo can’t make sense. Desmond could if he’s part of a much larger trade, but there are no indications Washington is looking to gut their outfield or part with clubhouse leader and hometown son Ryan Zimmerman.
Mariners still stuck on handedness?
There are indications the Mariners still prefer to add right-handed hitting rather than exploring options that include left-handed bats, despite the addition of Nelson Cruz.
The current crop of players the team has been connected to are all right-handed, except for switch hitter Melky Cabrera, who is the equivalent of a very good right-handed bat.
Maybe that changes, and perhaps they do have some interest in a left-handed outfielder or two, but we haven’t heard that. When I asked a fee execs and agents about the market for Colby Rasmus, I had to re-inquire to include Seattle in the question. There is no evidence the Mariners have interest in Justin Morneau, Norichika Aoki, either.
Maybe the M’s just don’t like those players and/or the asking prices. That certainly is reasonable and it’s not like any of them are stars. It’s just curious that the rumor mill — which is not a complete or full list by any stretch — includes all of zero lefty sticks.
Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016.
Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.
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