The Seattle Mariners should have some financial flexibility heading into the 2014 campaign. As it stands right now, the club is only on the hook for $34.3 million of payroll next season.

A hefty chunk of that, a figure of about $24.9 million, will be paid to Felix Hernandez. Hisashi Iwakuma’s bargain price of $6.5 million represents the only other significant figure as of now. Should the team’s payroll maximum remain around the $90 million mark, Jack Zduriencik’s one-more-shot season will begin with somewhere in the neighborhood of $56 million to spend on free agents, trade acquisitions and arbitration raises.

Speaking of the latter, unless the club acquires more arbitration-eligible players, they will only owe raises to Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders. Neither player took huge enough strides in their final pre-arb year to garner much, but they’ll both see modest bumps in salary. Based on recent history, neither is likely to get more than $2-2.5 million next season in their first year of arbitration eligibility considering their big league careers thus far. So, we’ll pencil each in for $2 million for this exercise.

That leaves $52 million to spend. Granted, they did offer Josh Hamilton and a truck load of cash that would have raised payroll significantly, and they could at some point have cash inflow from the ROOT acquisition. We can’t really count on any of that yet, of course, but there have been enough signs the last couple off-seasons that the club would spend big on what they deem the right guys.

So, you’re the general manager. I’m giving you that $52 million, plus a payroll increase of $15 million, to spend. That’s a total of $67 million in payroll you can add.

How would YOU spend the cash? Go totally wild here. Trades, free-agent signings, internationals. Whatever.

This is all just guess work, of course. We won’t know real figures for some time, and of course free agents or trade partners could say “no thanks.” But have fun with this and tell us how you’d upgrade the team.

Oh, and pick your manager, too.

(Note: This isn’t a complain about Zduriencik/Lincoln/Armstrong thread. Let’s just have fun with this one!)

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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. 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.

46 Comments

  1. EK
    Point taken. I just like low impact guys similar to Kelly Johnson who add more than one dimension. My question – if the M’s where to add Tanaka, Lincecum, Ellbury and Granderson, would they have a team that could compete in the AL West?

  2. Ripperlv,

    The impact guy I suggested was Tanaka. The rest of your criticisms are based on nitpicking each players weaknesses instead of focusing on what they can do and what they project to do in the future. Good teams find undervalued players, and put them into a position to succeed. The Seahawks do this very well. The M’s need to learn how.

    I do admit that my fake roster isn’t as loaded with stars as some of the other here, including yours. The reason why is that my ideas were somewhat limited by the constraints of reality.

    The M’s jus lost 91 games. They’ve been terrible for years. Teams that bounce back from that type of track record don’t o it by buying a team full of high profile players in free agency. They do it by finding value in minor acquisitions, trades, internal development, and smart free agent signings.

    If you are expecting to see the M’s sign Lincecum, Tanaka, Ellsbury, and Granderson….well, you should expect to be disappointed. You should start thinking about what you can spend that extra season ticket money on.

  3. what about trading walker, and two prospects to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp. Dodgers got plenty of outfield depth.

  4. Thoughts on signing Johan Santana this offseason? I think he could be next year’s Francisco Liriano. I was all for signing Liriano last year but the team chose not to spend $$$ last year after losing out on Hamilton…

    We could have had Liriano for a very reasonable price, and if think this year some lucky team will do the same with Santana. Wish it was us…

  5. Franklin as in Guitie injury risk is to great and you cannot rely on him at all.

    How about adding Joey Butler who was just designated for assignment by the Rangers. Just thinking out of the box.

  6. Very true. I really am more concerned with the M’s adding quality players and not pitch to contact innings eaters, and no field one dimensional hitters. We might have to overpay, but that is the fault of poor leadership. While free agency isn’t the only route, The good teams all take on some contracts. Just because the M’s made some poor choices, many free agents benefit a team greatly. That is the job leadership should do. The same applies for trades. But over the last five years, we don’t have a core group of players. As much as I like the young guys, they really haven’t proven much yet. They really should have and should be surrounded by some Quality veterans.

  7. I don’t see why two team-controlled players with upside *need* to go. I think both could be valuable trade chips, but Saunders could be a great platoon or fourth outfielder while Franklin has options and is 22. No rush here.

  8. john s,

    I would say that use to be true for Smoak, but he’s shortened his swing substantially.

  9. Lets not pretend Ellsbury is the end-all be-all perfect piece for this team. He has only played 150+ games in 2/6 full MLB seasons, and that speed isn’t going to be elite forever. He has a lot of what this team needs, and he would only cost a 2nd rounder, and is a great fit for 2014/15, yes. However, even that assumes he stays healthy those years. And, thereafter, 20+ mil per season is expensive for a .280/.333/.420 LF who adds 25 SB, which is what he will likely be from the 2016-19 seasons, when he is even less likely to be healthy that he previously has been in his career.

  10. Amen, maybe 100%.

  11. This is just continuing the same losing approach we’ve been using for the last 4-5 years, in other words, a recipe for disaster. The Mariners need some good players to build around, They are building role players with no core. Ellsbury (great player) or McCann are players you can build around. In the last 5 years if the Mariners would have picked up one core player each year, we’d be in good shape.
    Chris Young had a .717 OPS vs. lefties this year with a 0.5 WAR to platoon with Ackley who had a 0.4 WAR – wow that’s a potent punch.
    Cruz is an outfield liability, to say the least. At Safeco, he’s probably the same player as Morales. Do we really need two no-field DH’s? At least Morales is a switch hitter. Neither is worth overpaying for. You could throw Blanks into the same category unless you plan on him taking over 1st. Blanks of the 0.3 WAR and wopping .305 OBP. Jonny Gomes is another no field Ibanez clone. Brian Dozier, whom I like is a 2B, just like Franklin and Ackley and he had a .312 OBP, where is the upgrade? I think your proposed lineup is absolutely terrible and I would not pay to see it. And I don’t see where you have any plan for the future.
    The Mariners have ONE decent starting player named Seager. Smoak/Ackley/Saunders/Zunino/Flanklin/Montero have not demonstrated they are even everyday players. Miller has shown something. Zunino needs more time but probably should have spent the season at AAA, but still hasn’t proved he’s an everyday guy. Smoak fits in if he is surrounded by better players. I do like the Tanaka idea. Hate the Hughes idea unless he’s the #5 but he did give up 170 hits in 145 innings. Maybe Safeco would help a bit. But he’s not a #3 or #4 in my opinion.
    Ellsbury of 5.8 WAR, 52 SB, .355 OBP is a legitimate star who deserves to be paid. So what. The M’s have money. He is also a leadoff hitter, of which the M’s don’t have. He’s a great defender, of which the M’s desperately need. But I will say if you go after just Ellsbury and nothing else then it’s a waste of time. I do remember the Yankees going after Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Teixeira in 2008 off season and being world champs in 2009. Yes they were not good this year by Yankess standards with lots of injuries, but yet almost made the playoffs, and were way better than the M’s.
    The Mariners have a protected 1st round draft pick. If Ellsbury and a few others aren’t work a 2nd round pick then this is the wrong game. So the M’s will be protecting their draft picks. Matter of fact, free agency helps them keep draft picks. It the trades that kill us. Remember what we gave up for Upton? Thank you Upton for saving JZ, or maybe not. We need some core players to build around, we have role players. If you think we are going to get those core players, those stars from our farm system, then please go buy season tickets, field level. Me – I will not get season tickets again until I feel I’m getting value for my money.

  12. I dont know who is trumpeting giving up ANYONE of serious value to get Ethier… If the Dodgers are willing to eat A LOT of that contract, then maybe I’d give up someone of moderate value, but even then not a Miller/Walker/Zunino type, and maybe not even Paxton.

  13. Franklin and Saunders both need to go and not be a part of the OF mix next year. Need a total OF rehaul 75% different than the begining of this now past season for the M’s.

  14. The cost could be around 50-70 Mill for Abreu. He is considered the BEST F/A bat avail and for sure the best 1B bat avail. He is also 26 about to hit that magic age of 27. He is a top get, that is why all the TOP teams are looking long at him. It will be a bidding war.

  15. Why is everyone still wanting Ethier? I don’t really like him and for that price. And it would cost you Walker or Paxton to get it done along with 2 other prospects or proven bats. Say Almonte and Smoak or Ackley and Capps along with that top 2 pitcher. No thank you.

  16. If you could turn Montero and player B for De Aza I am all for it.

  17. Love this plan, except that it’s a little too left-handed and I don’t like Garza. Doubtful that Garza would come that cheap too. The Montero for De Aza trade is very interesting.

  18. Yeah, the Red Sox dumped all of their bloated contracts, but the Mariners don’t have any bloated contracts. The Red Sox built their 2013 team largely on smart (but risky at the time) free agent signings. The Indians are similiar, though they made some smart trades as well.

  19. To begin, A couple of disclaimers:

    1) I’m going to start with a figure of $34 mil being owed next year, a figure that I’ve heard on multiple occasions.
    2) The goal is to try and keep the budget near $90 (I cannot see more being ok’d)
    3) I am going to skip signing any big-name FAs. The reason being I am not sure any will have very deep interest in coming to Seattle, and if they do, I’m not sure any player on this year’s market is worth a massive overpay (So no Ellsbury/Choo/Garza type names on this list).
    4) I am going to resist trading any major pieces that have seen significant time the past year or two. While I am not going to just hand people positions, I am not all-out pulling the plug on anyone on the 25 man roster, either. So, I am keeping Walker and Paxton, in addition to all the (previously highly thought of) position players that are pre-Arbitration or 1st year eligible. Note: The only trades I make involving any of the above mentioned-type players would be for a Stanton/Tulowitzki-type that is not likely to be made available.

    My plan…

    I) Resign Kendrys, 3/30: He is a professional hitter, can hit effectively from both sides, and can play 1B during interleague play. You could definitely do worse for a #5 hitter
    II) Extend Seags 5/30: Buy out his arbitration years and first year of FA at a price everyone can live with and allows him to hit FA while he is still in his 20s.
    III) Sign Chris Young 1/7: Versatile OF who hit lefties at an .800+ OPS clip
    IV) Sign Phil Hughes 1/7: Get him out of Yankee Stadium, and the NY spotlight, and I’ll bet he’s an effective 3/4 starter.
    V) Trade Erasmo to Minnesota for Trevor Plouffe (2 mil) and maybe a MiLB organizational-filler piece: I like Erasmo, but you never know if you’re going to get #2 or long-reliever stuff. He fits the Twins model of a pitch to contact type, so yeah, they’d be willing to give up a platoon righty to get him. In Plouffe, the Ms are getting a guy who mashes lefties, and can play 1B/2B/3B/LF/RF for short spurts.
    VI) Trade a live arm (Capps, Mauer, etc.) and Triunfel for Andre Ethier, taking on all of his contract (16 mil per): This is definitely going to be the most controversial piece. I know Ethier isn’t perfect, but he can still hit righties, isn’t uterly embarrassing in RF, and his getting rid of his contract is going to be a good option for the Dodgers, who want to be players again in FA. For moving him, the Dodgers acquire merely a couple of cheap, useful pieces as the #s 24/25 players on a roster built to win now, but that are more importantly cost efficient so $$$ can be spent elsewhere.
    VII) Sign Alexi Casilla for 4 mil: He isn’t spectacular, but he can adequately play 2B/SS/3B.
    VIII) Sign a backup catcher who can fill the void full time if it becomes necessary for Zunino to spend some time in Tacoma: 2 mil.
    IX) Sign a reliable bullpen arm for 2 mil: Name is irrelevant, just a guy who can mostly lock down the 8th inning and be serviceable in the 9th if necessary.

    Total added to payroll: 56 million for a total of ~$90

    Rotation: Felix/Kuma/Hughes/Walker/Paxton… The kids fight over spots 4/5, with Beavan and the like being available in Tacoma if it becomes necessary. (I’d be willing to add another name here in FA, if the price was right).
    Bullpen- Fill in the names as needed

    Lineup- I don’t want to do full 1-9 lineups, but here are your position players:
    OF: Saunders/Ethier/Young/Almonte
    IF- Smoak/Franklin/Miller/Seager/Casilla
    UT- Ackley/Plouffe
    C- Zunino/FA

    The moves above and the players acquired allow the team the freedom to match-up righty against lefty, and also field solid a solid defense for any matchup. The backups are also a lot better than what we have seen in years previous. These moves also allow for the Ms to make moves in the near future should the opportunity to present itself. It also gives the younger plays one more chance to prove themselves to a new manager, while hopefully being surrounded by better talent.

  20. I’d rather see the M’s take a more measured approach, protect their draft picks, and continue to build around their young players. Here is who I’d go for:

    1. Masahiro Tanaka – SP

    This is the guy who I’d really go after, if he is indeed posted. Given his age and skills, he’d be a great addition to the rotation.

    2. Undervalued SP

    There are several interesting names that will be available. The risk/upside guy is Josh Johnson. The safer bet is Dan Haren. Rick Porcello would be awesome if he becomes available. But my favorite overall is probably Phil Hughes. He’s pitched a lot better than his ERA would suggest, and a move to Safeco would help his issues with HRs. Big concerns here: modest money, short term deals, and no lost draft picks.

    3. Undervalued OFer (maybe two)

    I’d avoid the big name guys who will cost a lot in years and dollars, like Choo, Ellsbury, and perhaps Granderson. Hunter Pence just set the market high, and all of the above likely cost a draft pick. One really interesting guy is Nelson Cruz. He could be available for a reasonable price and likely won’t cost a pick. Itoi could be a fit too. Beyond that, I’d watch and see who becomes available through trade or nontender. Some big names might be out there by this winter, like Justin Upton last offseason. If someone like Matt Kemp was being shopped, I’d consider it. But it comes down to cost. For instance, I wouldn’t have made the trade the M’s worked out for Upton, but I’d definitely do the deal the Braves worked out for him.

    Some good players might become available this year. Two interesting names: Chris Young and Kyle Blanks. Young has been a very good defensive CFer and decent hitter in the past, but after two down seasons probably won’t have his 2014 option picked up. On a reasonable contract, he’d be a good pickup. Kyle Blanks is someone who the M’s have been linked to in the past. He’s still young, and can play both OF corners and 1B, plus he hits lefties really well and could be platooned.

    4. Extend qualifying offer to Morales

    Why not? It’s just one year, and he was solid.

    5. Undervalued Reliever

    The M’s used to be great at picking up quality arms off the scrap heap. They need to do that again. At least one solid addition to the bullpen would be nice. I think guys like Wilhelmsen, Capps, Farquar, and Pryor could easily rebound and be excellent. But adding some good arms to the competition would be smart.

    6. Platoon RH hitter

    Ideally this would be someone with positional flexibility. The M’s have been terrible at utilizing platoons in recent years. That should change. Picking up someone who can fill in at 1B, DH, and the OF corners would be great. Someone like Yan Gomes, Brian Dozier, or Jonny Gomes. Casper Wells had that skill set, and it would be interesting to reacquire him. Kyle Blanks was another similar player we’ve been linked to in the past. Mark Reynolds is another. Having guys like that to spell Smoak, Morales, or other LH hitters is a great way to get cheap production, maximize the value of players, and keep people fresh.

    Why these moves? The M’s aren’t close to contention, and making desperation moves now isn’t smart. They have some good players and lots of young talent. None of these moves would seriously block guys like Smoak, Saunders, Ackley, Walker, Paxton, etc, but it would give the M’s more depth and competition. Plus, players like Hughes, Cruz, Morales, and Crisp could turn into trade bait by midseason. It would allow the M’s to improve, while not mortgaging the future or tying up the club with shitty contracts.

    These are more the TYPES of moves I’d like to see, but here’s an example of how such a team would look:

    Morales/Cruz DH
    Zunino C
    Smoak/Blanks 1B
    Franklin/Ackley 2B
    Seager 3B
    Miller SS
    Blanks/Saunders LF
    Young/Saunders/Ackley CF
    Cruz/Blanks RF

    Rotation: Felix, Iwakuma, Tanaka, Hughes, best of Paxton/Walker/Ramirez/Maurer

    Playing time would be based on performance, but all those guys fit on the roster. The position players would provide flexibility to utilize platoons. Plus, the OF defense would be better. The pitching depth would be excellent. But mainly, this team would be a step in the right direction without relying entirely in huge free agent acquisitions. No lost draft pucks or albatross contracts. This would put the M’s on the right direction towards building a long-term winner.

  21. I like this idea, but don’t think Garza will be available at this price. I think he’s the pitcher who’ll get overpaid this offseason. Probably at least CJ Wilson money (5yrs/77 mil).

  22. Are you serious?

    Remember last year, when the Red Sox liquidated all their movable huge contracts? They bailed on bloated contracts, then turned around and spent wisely on moderately priced free agents.

    If you want to make this argument, you should use the Dodgers as your example.

  23. Sign Matt Garza (4yrs/$48)
    Sign Geovany Soto (1yr/$2.9)
    Sign David Murphy (2yrs/$12)
    Sign Nick Punto (1yr/$1.6)
    Extend QA to Kendrys Morales or sign (1yr/$14 or 3yrs/$36)
    Trade Jesus Montero for Alejandro De Aza

    POS NAME WAR SALARY
    C Geovany Soto 0.4 $2.90
    1B Justin Smoak 0.5 $2.00
    2B Dustin Ackley 1.2 $1.70
    SS Brad Miller 2 $0.49
    3B Kyle Seager 3.5 $0.60
    LF Michael Saunders 2 $2.00
    CF Alejandro De Aza 2.3 $3.00
    RF David Murphy 3 $6.00
    DH Kendrys Morales 2 $14.00

    C Mike Zunino 0.4 $0.49
    IF Nick Punto 1 $1.60
    IF Nick Franklin 0.5 $0.49
    OF Franklin Gutierrez 1 $3.50

    SP Felix Hernandez 6 $24.90
    SP Hishashi Iwakuma 4 $6.50
    SP Matt Garza 2 $12.00
    SP Taijuan Walker 1.5 $0.49
    SP James Paxton 1.5 $0.49

    BULLPEN 2.5 $5.00
    REPLACEMENT LEVEL 47.7

    TOTAL 85 wins $88.15

  24. Boston says hello (not to say that the M’s are in the same position as Boston was this time last year). I agree that Seattle is unlikely to sign many of the top free agents, but they (should) have the money at least.

  25. The plans above all seem to be relying on free agency to fix all the M’s ills in a single offseason by spending TONS of money. There are two major problems with that approach:

    1. There are 29 other teams in baseball, and some of them will sign free agents. We can’t just sign 6 of the best players available. Expecting the M’s to sign more than one of the top tier guys is highly unrealistic, especially given the current state of the team.

    2. Buying a contender in free agency rarely works in the short term, and even less frequently works out well in the long term. Even if they could, it probably would end very poorly.

    It’s fun to think about what a perfect offseason would look like, but this team is a mess right now. They need a lot of help. This won’t get fixed in one offseason. If I were the M’s, I’d focus on building a more well rounded and deep club, looking for bargains, developing players already in the organization, making a good trade or two for players who could contribute in the long term, and adding 1-2 solid or better players in free agency to patch major areas of need. This team needs a major change of direction, and that won’t happen in one offseason. This is the start, not the finish.

  26. The greatest/best baseball hitter on earth? I don’t think so. The statement in itself shows how irresponsible it was to say. I doubt he comes close to Trout or Cabrera.

    I wouldn’t be horribly upset if they signed Abreu, but not for anything near $100 million. He’s go “over-hype” written all over him.

  27. Jose Abreu is now free to sign an MLB contract. Jonah Keri has referred to him as “the greatest/best hitter in the world.” I don’t have his exact quote available. I’m guessing he’s better than Wily Mo and Peguerro

    With Pence making the market both Choo and Ellsbury will cost over $100MM, get used to sticker shock.

    Signing Abreu would make our manager search a little easier. This team needs to make a statement and soon!

  28. It’s probably too early to tell what each team’s needs will be and how that will match up with Seattle for trades. Also, we’ll have to see which pending free agents re-sign before free agency. That being said, the following would be my main targets as of now. I hope the Mariners add through free agency and not through trades. They should absolutely try to hold onto as much young talent as they can. They have money to spend, so they should add to the payroll while keeping their young talent as depth.

    CF Ellsbury -> 6 years/$108 million
    LF Zobrist -> 4 years/$60 million
    **If this combo fails, sign Choo -> 5 years/$90 million and trade for either Bourjos or Pollock to be the CF
    SP Lincecum ->4 years/$50 million
    DH Morales -> 2 years/$22 million
    IF Barmes or Punto -> 1 year/$5 million
    C Buck or Navarro -> 1 year/$4 million
    Trade or sign reliable RHP reliever to help stabilize bullpen (Crain and Gregerson were nice options)

    I’d use Montero, one of Ackley/Franklin/Saunders, Maurer, Ramirez, Wilhelmsen, Beavan/Noesi (haha) and Romero as trade bait.

    Here’s the team I’d like to see:

    C Zunino/Navarro
    1B Smoak
    2B Franklin
    SS Miller
    3B Seager
    LF Zobrist
    CF Ellsbury
    RF Saunders
    DH Morales

    Bench
    C Navarro/Zunino, IF Punto, OF Almonte, UT Ackley

    SP
    Hernandez
    Iwakuma
    Lincecum
    Paxton
    Walker

    RP
    New reliever
    Farquhar
    Wilhelmsen
    Furbush
    Brian Moran
    Carson Smith
    Ramirez or Maurer

    I think that’s a much more competitive team, with tons of upside and some PNW flavor.

  29. Just putting it in Mariners perspective, Justin Smoak and Jeff Clement both have average at best bat speed.

    Without the bat speed it makes them cheat to catch up to the fastball and makes them susceptible to the breaking ball and pitches on the outside corner.

    Abreu’s hand eye can be otherwordly and he may be totally different, but not sure you shell out that kind of money for him.

  30. Meant Joey Cora.

    Well EK, it’s easy to knock someone, where’s your plan?
    It wouldn’t hamstring the M’s unless they use a self imposed budget that ensures they still rich while ensuring the team sucks, or the players are injured, or they have bad years. The Giants may have just ruined the FA route though. And yes, it would be extremely difficult to sign these guys, but we sure as hell are not going to win through draft alone, that’s why Wedge quit.

  31. Edman,

    Wily Mo Pena did not have the hand eye ability that Abreu has to adjust his swing. Bad comparison. How about bringing some insight that was not explained in the comment that you are commenting on.

  32. First, I would shore up the rotation by signing Ubaldo Jimmenez for 5 years 80 Million. I’d sign Tanaka for 4 years 36 million after a posting fee. I’d resign Morales for 4 years 40 Millon. Sign Mark Ellis for 1 year 2 million for our bench. Sign Corey Hart for 2 years 15 million. And to play RF, Shin-Soo Choo for 5 years 100 million. I’d trade Stefen Romero to the Padres for Gregerson, and sign Jesse Crain for 2 years 6 million.

    That’d give us a rotation of
    1. King Felix
    2. Iwakuma
    3. Jimmenez
    4. Tanaka
    5. Walker

    And a Lineup of
    1. LF Ackley
    2. SS Miller
    3. RF Choo
    4. DH Morales
    5. 1B Hart
    6. 3B Seager
    7. CF Saunders
    8. C Zunino
    9. 2B Franklin

  33. So was Wily Mo Pena. Bat speed is vital at the Major League level. It makes you a pure guess hitter. You act like power is always good. Baseball has a long history of guy who can hit the ball a long way. But, in today’s game, with nearly everyone throwing 95 MPH, bat speed is even more important than in the past.

  34. 2nd scenario:

    Miller-SS
    Rasmus-CF
    Beltran-RF
    Morales-DH
    Seager-3B
    Smoak-1B
    Ackley-LF
    Zunino-C
    Franklin-2B

  35. Badler at Baseball America, Bleacher Reports, CBS, XM on and on. They say his bat speed is a concern. but his sheer power and ability to put the barrel of the bat on the ball is great. ABreu’s power is unreal and has decent speed and D at 1B. He is a top tier bat better than Cespedes and not the upside of Puig, but right now better than Puig. Abreu has been the Cuban league MVP and was on pace this year to win it or be top 3 in the voting, till his season was cut short to play in the WBBC.

    388/.542/.786 with 30 home runs and a 55/74 K/BB 3rd Voting MVP
    448/.592/.952 with 16 doubles, 37 home runs and a 37/66 K/BB MVP
    .394/.543/.835 with 18 doubles, 37 home runs, 103 RBI and a 43/80 K/BB 2nd Voting MVP
    .344/.479/.604 with 17 doubles, 19 home runs and 43/58 K/BB Cut short season
    .360/.385/.760 with three home runs in 25 at-bats WBBC

    I have also seen video and his bat speed is not great. But, his had eye work makes up for it suprisingly. Just what i see…

  36. I would like to see them trade with a team that has to many outfielders like Toronto or the Dodgers. Trade for Ethier and sign Granderson .Pickup a backup catcher like Navarro and sign the Japanese pitcher Tanaka. Resign Morales and that’s a nice blend of veterans and young guys.

    You could also switch it up on the outfield and trade for a player like Colby Rasmus who has pop and with the right hitting coach can be a real on base guy. Sign Carlos Beltran and play him at DH when Morales is at 1st and Smoak has the day off.

    Granderson -CF
    Miller -SS
    Ethier- RF
    Morales- DH
    Seager-3B
    Smoak-1B
    Ackley-LF
    Zunino- C
    Franklin-2B

  37. So, you’re essentially saying we should sign all the major names in free agency?

    That never works, and would handicap the team for years and wipe out the draft. Besides that, it’s impossible. There are 29 other teams. No single team can sign everyone available.

  38. Abreu is not that kind of hitter. Not sure who is feeding you that kind of information, but if I were you I’d stop picking up those phone calls.

  39. Batting order would be.

    Itoi
    Choo
    Abreu
    Seagar
    Miller
    Franklin
    Hart
    Almonte
    Zunino

    Ackley and Almonte can go either way between Bench and starter.

  40. Using the Pence signing as a basis for the off season.

    Sign Choo LF 5 years 95 Mill 19 Per
    Sign J. Abreu 1B/DH(Cuba) 7 years 50 Mill 7.15 Per
    Sign C. Hart 1B/RF/DH 3 Years 26 Mill 8.7 Mill Per
    Bid on Itoi(Japan) 12 Mill sign 4 years 18 Mill 4.5 Per
    Bid on Tanaka(Japan) 27 Mill 6 Years 40 Mill 6.7 Per
    Trade for T. Rosenthal RP/SP Stl. Sending M. Saunders OF, E. Ramirez SP.
    Trade for M. McKenry C, J. Harrison INF Pirates Sending J. Smoak 1B, C. Truinfel SS
    Trade for T. Blach SP, M. Kickham RP Giants Sending J. Saunders SP

    That is 46.05 Mill Salary increase
    That is 39 Mill Posting fees
    For a Total of 85.05
    It is 18.05 over the cap, however the savings next year make up for that fact. Saving 20.95 Mill the next season on that self imposed cap.

    C Zunino
    1B Abreu
    2B Franklin
    SS Miller
    3B Seagar
    LF Choo
    CF Itoi
    RF Almonte
    DH Hart

    Bench
    McKenry C
    Harrison INF
    Chavez OF
    Ackley OF/INF

    SP Felix
    SP Iwakuma
    SP Tanaka
    SP Walker
    SP Paxton

    CL Farquhar/Wilhelmsen
    RP Rosenthal
    RP Capps
    RP Kickham
    RP Pryor
    RP Ruffin

    Rosenthal could and should be a starter next season but using him as a RP for now, heck he could even close. All the trades are for cheap solid role player types and another young pitcher in T. Blach who has starter type stuff.

  41. I’ve been doing a feature over at http://www.nasorb.com/ call Mariners Mini Morsels 3 or 4 times a week and it includes a “Mariner’s potential off-season targets” with input about possible targets. For instance one guy who is worth a look is: The Brewers will exercise outfielder Norichika Aoki’s option, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports (via Twitter). Aoki’s option is only for $1.5MM (with a $250K buyout) and so, as McCalvy notes, the decision was likely an easy one for Milwaukee. Aoki has produced a combined 4.2 WAR in his two seasons with the Brewers, including 1.7 in a 2013 season in which he’s hit .287/.357/.368. The Brew Crew need arms and Aoki is above average.

    As for Cliff Lee I love him but think David Price would be better and cheaper financially but will cost good prospects, as would Lee He’s got two years of team control left.

  42. Fun stuff, Alex. Thanks 🙂

    • Trade for Cliff Lee @ 3/$75 = $25
    (Maurer, Almonte, and Sanchez/Diaz?)
    • Sign Curtis Granderson @ 4/$70 = $17.5
    • Sign Morales @ 2/$18 = $9
    • Decline his option and sign Guti to 1/$2.5 = $2.5
    OR sign Chris Young @ 1/$7 = $7
    • Sign Dan Haren @ 1/$5 = $7
    • Sign Joe Girardi @ 4/$20 = $5

    Eh, it’s around $70 mil for the whole gang if you spring for Young. Felix/Lee/Kuma/Haren would be a fun front four. That rotation takes pressure off the offense and the defense. Erasmo can be the swing man while Pax and Walker find their groove in Tacoma.

    Fun to fantasize about 🙂

  43. Same thing happened to me. I just re-registered my original nic.

  44. Just let me say I think the budget should be higher, but I’ll play the game. I’m sure there are plenty of holes in my proposition, but what the heck, here we go.
    First of all, we are going to overpay, because we suck and haven’t improved the team in 15 or 100 years or something. First I want a solid 1-4 in the rotation with one of the youngsters breaking into the rotation (may the best man win the job). We need outfielders because we don’t have one I would consider an everyday outfielder.

    Ubaldo Jimenez or Tim Lincecum 4/40-10. Both guys had a reasonable season and will get a 3 or 4 year contacts. Fit in nicely as a #4.

    Masahiro Tanaka 6/60-10- 6/85 after posting fee – 14.1 make a hard push for him, probably Darvish money. . Posting money, 25 million, doesn’t count towards luxury tax, like we need to worry about that. But that’s why Yankees will be in. Chance to get a good proven pitcher for many years a #2 or #3.

    Kelly Johnson 2/10-5 -LF can also play 2B/3B and platoon with Almonte. Career .335 OBP and has some pop, .427 career SLG.

    Jacoby Ellsbury 5/95-19 – Huge overpay and huge gamble, could substitute Nate McLouth for the cheap version. But this guy can play when healthy. 52 SB .297/.355/.421 and 5.7 WAR and a UZR of 11.1 in 2013. Might have to break that buget.

    Curtis granderson 3/45-15 – RF. Can steal a base, has plenty of pop, and defense still good for a Corner. A career .340 OBP and 489 SLG.

    Budget – under budget at 63.1, leaves plenty of money for back-up C and some RP’s and maybe a RH bat. Still need DH. Maybe we can sneak in Grady Sizemore, not RH but who cares. Cheap RH bat would be Mike Morse or Delmon Young (hey we haven’t had a head case in awhile).

    Manager – Alex Cora.

  45. BTW for whatever reason after trying to sign in as maqman for several days and not being able to, (although I could on other sites they host) I gave up and re-registered as mgvernon. I’m still the same familiar opinionated old fart, no worries there.

    The $25MM increase from the MLB national media deal is a certainty for next season. If you figure in the major league minimum players the team has about $40MM in commitments for 2014. Not mentioned is the fact that 34% of each teams local revenue is shared by all teams, including regional media income. Given the big deals inked by the Dodgers, Rangers, Houston, Angels, etc each team should get at least $10MM more from this source next season. The M’s got $45MM a year from their regional deal before they bought a controlling interest in ROOT Sports NW and according to Forbes magazine they will get $117MM from the new deal. What isn’t public knowledge is when those bigger payments kick in and how much did they pay, if anything for their interest.

    I would try to sign both Jose Abreu and Masahiro Tanaka. Abreu will probably take at least 5/$60MM and he’s worth it. Tanaka will take a posting fee in the $50-60MM range, but it doesn’t have to be paid if we don’t sign him to a reasonable contract, like 6/$60MM. Both players are 25-26, in their prime and the best two available this off season. Their is risk but they are well known, elite level players and better risks than the 5/$125MM the Angels paid for Hamilton. $180MM paid over six seasons is $30MM per season for two impact players, that’s not too rich for the M’s, they have the money and they will have more left over to sign Morales, another outfielder and Dioner Navarro as a backup catcher. Tanaka will also allow them to trade a good young arm to fill another hole.

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