From Felix to Seager: How the M’s set the stage for success

 The Seattle Mariners entered the offseason with the expectation that significant moves would be made. After all, the club missed the playoffs by a single game in 2014, the first of 10 seasons that Robinson Cano will be paid $24 million. It was also expected that the M’s would pursue contract extensions with a few of their current players, most notably, All-Star third baseman Kyle Seager.

On Monday the Mariners reportedly agreed to terms on an extension that will keep Seager in Seattle for the next seven years with an option for an eighth year. The value of the deal, not including the option, is $100 million, making the third baseman one of three Mariners signed to a nine-figure contract. The other two being Cano and Felix Hernandez.

Seager, 27, had three arbitration years remaining before he would be eligible for free agency, including 2015. Certainly if he continued his pace for the next two years he could have cashed in on a much larger contract. Asking why he agreed to sign now is as simple or complicated as you want to make it. But the process that lead up to that point isn’t as simple as it would appear.

The Mariners weren’t much of a factor in 2013. There were several young players still making adjustments, veterans on the way out, and top prospects ready on the cusp of the big leagues. Seattle has typically been a place where star players depart rather than sign. Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., and Randy Johnson would all agree. When it came out that the M’s were involved in talks with Cano, who was the top available free agent last winter, many were shocked. When reports came flooding in that he was close to signing with Seattle, the baseball world literally froze.

Why the Mariners would want Cano was obvious, but how the team fit the player wasn’t quite so. Obviously the $240 million and ten years were likely the deciding factor that lured the All-Star second baseman away from the New York Yankees. They couldn’t be the only reasons, though. The potential for the spotlight had to be enticing for Cano as well, but perhaps this all stretches back another couple of steps.

At the conclusion of the 2012 season, Seattle had a predicament: Felix would be a free agent in two years time and the club had finished three consecutive seasons in the American League West cellar. Speculation that the M’s could look to move their ace began and the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, among other teams, were lining up their best package of prospects to offer. GM Jack Zduriencik maintained throughout the winter that he would not trade Hernandez, but as of December extension talks hadn’t amounted to much.

Fast-forward to February and the Mariners were holding a press conference to announce that Felix Hernandez would receive the biggest deal in history for a right-handed pitcher, seven years and $175 million.

The alternative to locking up one of the best pitchers in baseball was to trade him, and the club would have been justified in doing so. But unlike previous Seattle-superstars, Felix wanted to stay in the Emerald City, and made that clear in his commitment.

Not only did Felix’s commitment to the team and city speak measures, ownership’s did too. Prior to the extension the biggest contract handed out by the Mariners was five years and $90 million, given to Ichiro Suzuki in 2008. The King will earn almost double that by the end of his deal. Cano will earn nearly three times that number by the time his deal expires.

[pullquote]Seattle began 2014 with the 18th highest payroll at approximately $92 million. The season concluded with more than $106 million in payroll commitments. Including Seager’s contract, payroll sits at roughly $100 million including arbitration cases.[/pullquote]

The commitment to Felix signified a commitment to fielding a winning baseball club. It then becomes imperative that the front office continues to build the club, otherwise that’s just wasted capital. Plus, once you make the first major commitment, the second one tends to be easier. If you are already taking three steps in to the deep end, one or two more doesn’t seem so bad. The motivation is to make those first three steps count.

The Mariners could have dealt the right-hander and ended up being better off long-term, but we’ll never know that for sure. Let’s assume that would not be the case. Maybe one or two of the prospects becomes an everyday player, but that move would have set the team even further away from being in a position to lure a big-name free agent like Cano.

Would Robinson Cano have left the Bronx for Seattle had the Mariners not ponied up the bucks to Felix? It certainly is an interesting question. I don’t know how much Cano loves Starbucks, Pike Place Market, and the tropical Seattle weather but my gut says that he would not be a Mariner. After all, the Yankees were offering seven years and $175 million which is hardly chump change. Factor in the Yankee legacy and a team that’s always in the race and you have a very desirable situation.

Not only did Cano play a significant role in the Mariners’ 87-win season, but he, along with new manager Lloyd McLendon, helped change the dynamic of the team. The clubhouse atmosphere appeared better than it had been in years and the success on the field brought back an energy and excitement. The Mariners were not eliminated from the playoffs until the 2 PM hour on the final day of the season before Felix exited the game to one of the greatest ovations Safeco Field saw all season.

The ship had changed direction and the M’s became relevant again.

In a way the Seager extension really started with the Felix extension. If the club had dealt their ace instead, there’s almost no way they are able to sign Cano. And without either of those two pieces, it’s doubtful the club has the success in 2014 that they did. Say the team finished with a record of 70-92. Does Seager still sign a seven-year extension? Does the team even consider putting out the $100 million? Or is Jack Z shipping off Seager to the highest bidder this winter? All hypotheticals, but not without their merits.

Certainly the chain of events isn’t as simple as the Seager extension not happening without the Cano contract which does not happen without the Felix extension. But if you pay attention, they are all connected.

Typically there are two things that can define a franchise in the eyes of a player: success and a commitment to success. Winning creates a desirable environment and usually a bigger budget for player acquisitions — fans are more willing to pay to watch a winning team. If a team isn’t having success in the standings, they have to make a statement in another way.

Take the Miami Marlins for example. One year after handing out big contracts to Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle the club dealt the pair and anyone else due a salary north of $2 million. As one can expect, considerable backlash fell upon the organization and the club was black-marked by players. The club refusing to agree to any no-trade provision wasn’t the problem. Signing a player to a long-term deal only to move on one year later? That’s just bad business.

So, after a surprising season in which the Marlins weren’t completely terrible, they made the biggest statement they could by giving superstar outfielder Giancarlo Stanton the largest contract in baseball history: 13 years and $325 million. It can take a long time to shake a bad reputation in this industry, and the Marlins have a long way to go, but in many ways the commitment earns back some credibility for the club. The commitment to Stanton can create a perception in the eyes of a free agent that this is a team committed to winning. In many ways, this is what occurred when Seattle extended Felix Hernandez.

The Mariners are in the perfect position to buy, similar to the winter of 2004 when a combined $114 million was shelled out for Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson. There’s a strong, young core, elite players locked up to long-term deals, and a fan base that’s energized for a playoff run. Not to mentioned all that RSN money that is about to start filtering in. And it will be a lot.

There’s clearly more motivation for the Mariners’ front office to spend big on payroll in 2015 and in the future. Between Felix, Cano, and Seager a whopping $415 million is committed. The onus isn’t on the club to spend the new TV money, necessarily, but there is urgency. Almost half a billion dollars is being invested into those three salaries alone. If you’re the one writing the cheques, you’re going to want to make sure that the investment is going to pay off. It becomes a lot easier to spend another $20 million when you are already $120 million deep.

Whatever success the Seattle Mariners have over the next several years can be traced back to the 2014 season, and then back to Felix Hernandez’ extension in 2013. Ownership made the commitment and the motivation for ensuring it pays off is evident. All three of the contracts are steps in the right direction: those wondering whether or not the M’s really do have money to spend this winter and are actually committed to winning have an answer. And that answer can be seen in three different nine-figure contracts.

What happens next is all a matter of opportunity and execution.

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Tyler Carmont

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26 Comments

  1. Of course I was being overly critical, nothing personal. Just sometimes some of you project like you are talking as an official voice formulated by others reporting on the hot stove league vice voicing your own opinion. Just a bit of a check. Cheers.

  2. “So if you knew Cruz would bring a WS Championship would you sign him.”

    No. I have an irrational fear of Nelson Cruz. He haunts my dreams. I suspect he’s a Sith Lord. Him playing or the M’s would be too much for my fragile psyche. a WS title would be great, but the end wouldn’t justify the means in this case.

    Joking aside, the M’s apparently had a 1 year, 7.5 mil contract with an option for 2015 agreed to with Cruz last year, and ownership nixed it. They would have to eat SERIOUS crow to sign him to a much bigger and longer term deal, and go well past any offer Baltimore has on the table. As you say, this is me speculating, but I think any deal that would get Cruz in an Ms uniform would be a bad decision.

    “If you knew Tomas was a bust would you pass.”

    Yes

    “If you knew the Dodgers would take a significant part of Kemps salary would you bite.”

    Depends on the definition of “significant,” and what it would take to get him. But yeah, he’s a viable option.

    “If the Braves would take Elias for Upton would you take it.”

    Hell yeah. You’d have to be an idiot not to. The Braves would have to be idiots to do that, tho.

    “Please don’t talk like you are a know it all without knowing it all. You have no idea what the M’s are discussing, nor with whom, or at what price – everything you say is pure speculation, and rumors are just that!”

    I never claimed to have any idea what Jack is up to beyond the rumors that are circulating. Those rumors arent exactly shocking: the Ms are actively looking for a RH hitter. I just don’t think Cruz is that good. I do know he’ll cost multiple years and a draft pick. I don’t think he’s worth it, even at more modest numbers (e.g. 3/36). I think that money is better spent elsewhere. That’s my opinion.

    “JZ may be a lot of things, but I think he has proven he is frugal, and won’t spend money unless he is convinced it’s a good deal.”

    I don’t think Jack is that frugal. He is relatively conservative, though. Especially in trades. I’ve been critical of him in the past, but he did fairly well last offseason. I’m hoping he keeps it up. My biggest concern now is the potential for desperation moves. The Ms are good now, and have a decent system in place. But their needs – at least as the org seems to see things – simply do not line up with the market right now. Thats unfortunate. Maybe I’m just shellshocked, but I hope he avoids selling the farm or overpaying for a guy like Cruz to put us over the top. Instead, he should go with the market – way deeper in pitching – and remember what got the Ms back to respectability: good drafts, pitching, and defense. For this current market, I think the best plan is to further improve on those strengths, add a decent guy to the 1B/DH rotation, and some good role players who can help address our biggest deficiencies.

    A smart GM would work on improving the club for the long term and setting us up to contend for the next several years. This is where Jack gets to show us that he’s a good GM.

  3. @ripperlv.

    This is a site were u can chat and speculate and comment as an M fan of what you would like to see. This is also a site that many people know there stuff. We read reports, thisten to interviews and take what bits make sense past the normal chatter to get an idea of what is going on. The M’s behind the scenes are known to NOT want to really deal with a.Person who has failed a drug test for PHD. Montero paid for it all last year with him being on the fringes even after a decent season in the minors. And 4 years is what will take to get it done for Cruz. Heck NO! JakcZ is too smart for that .

    The Braves are asking for a better deal than they got for Heyward on Upton. That would mean Walker, Jones, and one of our top 3 other pitching prospects. For a rent a player? NO.

    JackZ has a rep for demanding the world for our guys. Look at the Jackson trade for a prime example.

    The M’s have anyplace from 40 to 50 Mll to spend. The team will have to overpay to bring players in such as with Cano. JackZ will do something or get somebody ere not talking about. Why I mentioned Jay Bruce, Brandon Moss, Ethier, Nava, Kang. We dont know 100% but we do see paterns and when you have multiple news outlets saying th same thing on there own investigating then I listen.

  4. So if you knew Cruz would bring a WS Championship would you sign him. If you knew Tomas was a bust would you pass. If you knew the Dodgers would take a significant part of Kemps salary would you bite. If the Braves would take Elias for Upton would you take it. Please don’t talk like you are a know it all without knowing it all. You have no idea what the M’s are discussing, nor with whom, or at what price – everything you say is pure speculation, and rumors are just that! JZ may be a lot of things, but I think he has proven he is frugal, and won’t spend money unless he is convinced it’s a good deal.

  5. If Cruz was used as a full-time DH, technically he would be exactly what the Mariners need. But I know what you’re saying, Jerry.

    The smaller moves typically don’t get made until the big pieces are determined. I still think Seattle can make a big move, but a couple smaller moves to bolster positions of weakness seem most likely. And as you said, that’s far from a bad thing.

  6. Nelson Cruz isn’t the epitome of what we need. He’s a one dimensional slugger, and will likely be overpaid because the one thing he does well is overvalued right now.

    The epitome of what we need is players who help us score more runs and give up less runs. How they go about doing that isn’t all that important. Focusing on one narrow player archetype as “what we need” is a recipe for desperate decision making.

    This is particularly true of the M’s. Last year, we got great production from the pitching staff and a handful of position players, but had several spots on the roster that were sucking chest wounds. If the “RH slugger” everyone thinks we need so badly isnt available, the team should just try to get those areas of major weakness up to league average. There are lots of ways to improve.

    Nelson Cruz would help the team hit more HRs, but he wouldn’t make us that much better. There are two readily available OFs who have better Steamer projections right now: Michael Saundrs and Dustin Ackley.

  7. Thanks, Kaehlaone. Yes…Tennessee, NOT Texas. I mixed up T states!

  8. Kaehlaone, if Cruz was available for 3/36 he would already be a Mariner. Rumor has it he already turned down 3 years and more money from Baltimore (a place he has publicaly stated he would like to resign with). To pry him away seattle would have to go 4 years and 60-70 million. Do you still want him for that price tag? I know I don’t…

  9. Cruz defence is suspect and the M’s stear away from guys who have been caught breaking the steroid rules.

    As to Tomas he will start the year with Arizona. And he has been listed as an above average defender and someone some clubs thought could even play Third.

    Abrue and Cespedes were supposed to be a fails by many major league scouts. I have seen tape on this kid and he has legit major league power and contact. .260 hitter with 30HR is not out of the question in year 1.

  10. Tomas is going to start the year in AAA so not sure how he would have been the impact bat everyone wants. He can’t play defense at all either although he may be a good ML player down the road. I also don’t see why Nelson Cruz isn’t higher on the wish list here. He is the epitome of what we need and can DH the majority of the time for us. It wouldn’t break the bank to get him, likely 3yrs/$36M at most, and doesn’t cost any players. I also don’t have any issue if they were to make a trade for Cespedes as long as the return is equivalent to the one year rental he is. I don’t think Iwakuma would be moved there unless the return was Cespedes plus other piece(s).

    DJ Peterson is, at best, a September call up this year and will almost assuredly start in AA Jackson. By the way, Jackson is not in Texas for the person who corrected above. In any case, don’t get caught up in batting average when evaluating Peterson…he is a legit Top 50 prospect in baseball and will be helping this team by 2016 latest.

  11. Peterson making the club out of spring.Is a long shot. However he could force the issue by mid season. Most prospects get the call from Dble A in resent years. So if his bat continues to blow up at that level he would get a call. The M’x are going to have to build from with in the orginization. Cano is the exception not the norm for the M’s in the free agent market.

    Trumbo now maybe available in a trade to DH. Arizona may have planned 6to signed Tomas and fill holes by trading Trumbo.

  12. Peterson did nothing in Tacoma at all. He wasn’t there. He ended the year in Texas. As Jerry stated, he “held his own” at best in AA. I believe it is wise for a prospect to be better than average in a league before considering a move up. I also could not agree MORE with Jerry’s point about not forcing the market. Just make improvements where you can. Finally, to those decrying M’s management for not signing Tomas………you realize that, in free agency, the player has a say in where he is going do you not? Jack can’t very well sign a guy if the player doesn’t want to be here. That could easily be part of the reason for whiffing on some of these guys. Rumors abounded that Tomas wanted to stay on the East Coast, Of course, that did not happen but the favorable weather and generous park factors in AZ certainly are inviting to a hitting prospect, unlike those elements in Seattle.

  13. Happy thanksgiving everyone! Jerry, I agree with you that we can’t count on Peterson for anything in 2015, but why would he start in AA? He did nothing in Tacoma to deserve a demotion. I also wouldn’t read too much into his fall league struggles, just like I wouldn’t have pencilled him in as our starting 1B if he had hit well in the AFL. Like most young players he will also struggle his first couple years when he finally reaches the big leagues. But for a contending team, counting on help from Petersson in 2015 and maybe even 2016 is a stretch. That was why I was confused on the teams lack of interest in Butler after they failed to sign Victor Martinez. I have absolutely no idea what Jack plans on doing to upgrade the offense at this point.

  14. I don’t know why people keep thinking that DJ Peterson is going to help us soon.

    He hit well in High Desert this year, but that is one of the best hitters parks in one of the best hitters leagues in the minors. After a promotion to AA he merely held his own, hitting .261/.335/.473. That’s not terrible, but its not exactly killing it either. In the Arizona Fall League, he hit a blistering .169/.290/.288. The AFL is also a pretty extreme hitters league. For comparison, Patrick Kivlehan hit .280/.387/.473 and John Hicks hit .304/.396/.522 on the same team. For an advanced hitter drafted out of college in 2013, his performance up till now is simply solid, not spectacular.

    Peterson is a good prospect, but he’s by no means an elite prospect nor close to being ML ready. I think he probably needs another full season in the minors, starting at AA then likely getting a mid-season promotion to AAA. If he does well, that would put him on track for a September callup.

    People on this blog keep suggesting that Peterson is going to be a factor on this club in 2015. That’s not really realistic. Its FAR more likely that Patrick Kivlehan or Jesus Montero make an impact next year. Montero is a lottery ticket at this point, but at least he’s had some success in AAA. Kivlehan hit really well in AA last year, and probably should start in AAA in 2015. He’s this years Vinnie Catricala or Steffen Romero: the guy who outperformed his prospect status. Hopefully Kivlehan does better than the latter guys. Given his background as a football guy who focused on baseball relatively late in life, I think he’s got a shot.

    Peterson is a good prospect. He’s just not as good as M’s fans seem to think. Its not impossible that he’ll flip the switch and go crazy next year, and perhaps earn a promotion mid-season. But a realistic timeframe for him reaching Seattle is 2016. As a guy who likely will be stuck at 1B, he’ll have to really hit to be even an average player.

  15. Upton, Cespedes heck NO not for what they want on a guy with one year left on a contrcat.

    Tomas could be the steal of the free agent market and the M’s balked again on an international stud.

    The market for SP just sky rocketed with the Cubs offering 6 for 135 for Lester.

    Right handed bat may have to come from the farm in Peterson. Best bat to trade for that maybe worth the cost is Bruce or Gattis or Both. But only on a deal that favors the M’s and there young talent.

    Losihng out on Butler, Tomas could be something we fans complain about all year.

  16. The M’s are in a bad position right now if they limit their options to “RH power bat.”

    There are some options, but most of them are either one year rentals (Cespedes, Upton, Napoli), players with very limited skill sets (Gattis, Cruz), or scary contracts (Kemp). None of those are good options.

    I know that the team is under pressure to win, but making deals out of desperation (either bad trades or dumb contracts) is not the answer. The best fit for the team now is an impact RH bat. But that guy isn’t available right now. Instead of forcing the issue, they should just focus on improvements that are available.

    What I would do is invest in pitching – Jon Lester, Kenta Maeda, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, and Justin Masterson all make sense – then look for under-the-radar additions to fill out the lineup. I’d talk to Boston about Adam Craig and Jackie Bradley Jr. Then I’d talk to the Nats about Steven Souza (a swap for Chris Taylor makes sense for both teams). A great offseason: Maeda, Anderson, Craig, Bradley, and Souza, then spend the rest of the offseason budget on Yoan Moncada, who is the most talented player available, period. You don’t get a shot at a guy like that often.

    This wouldn’t give us a Victor Martinez caliber bat to hit between Cano and Seager, but that guy just isn’t available right now. But he is next year. Have any of you guys peeked at next seasons list of free agents?
    Justin Upton
    Jason Heyward
    Yoenis Cespedes
    Alex Gordon
    Ben Zobrist
    Dexter Fowler
    Mike Napoli
    Matt Wieters
    Matt Joyce
    Shane Victorino
    Chris Davis
    Adam Lind
    Gerardo Parra

    Even in half those guys re-sign – which won’t happen – that’s a MUCH better group than this year.

    I agree with the general premise of this post: the M’s have a nice core in place, and are ready to win. But I think they can build on that without making bad decisions just to fill a very specific need: RH power bat. That guy isn’t available now. Patience is a virtue. Instead, they should continue to accumulate talent and focus on the long term.

  17. Nice article Tyler but I disagree with the summation in that I don’t think the 3 contracts prove anything – yet – other than, like your first point, it’s a solid building block. But going along with that line of thought, then the Mariners would have pulled the trigger on Tomas. Or, If your still a believer the M’s are committed with desire and plenty of finances, then it’s something else. So I’ll just believe for now the M’s weren’t that impressed with Tomas and like their alternative plan better. I just hope if they trade they don’t mess up our depth, which is not deep. Starting to sound like “do ya wanna take a sea-Cruz.”

  18. I definitely agree with both of you that for $68 million, there was ‘limited’ risk. If Tomas was a 1-2 win player each of the six years, there’s market value. Ownership’s willingness to spend shouldn’t be questioned — see Cano, Robinson and Seager, Kyle. I think that it significantly, if not entirely, has to do with the team’s evaluation of the player. From what I’ve seen and heard, there’s those who love Tomas and those who see significant red flags. The Mariners probably fell into the latter.

    Signing one these Cubans is literally a shot in the dark. Factor in all the different changes from Cuba to the States — it’s the same crapshoot that comes with any prospect. Talent is talent though, and in terms of raw power, Tomas looked exceptional. But the recency bias with guys like Abreu and Puig could significantly burn a team. Some teams even have unwritten policies against signing international free agents. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Throwing $70 million on a lottery ticket is never an easy choice to make.

  19. Thans, Gonzo.

    I think that it’s tough to find the exact source of the player development problems. Jack was a scouting guy. The M’s needed help filing a system that Bavasi depleted. For the most part Jack has done that job. In a lot of ways what happens next is out of his hands, and in a lot of ways it isn’t.

    We all know that predicting prospects is a crapshoot. This could have literally been a stretch of bad luck with prospects. Statistically speaking that shouldn’t be the case and the club should have acted on the issue, but that’s besides the point.

    At the big league level the onus tends to be on hitting coaches. But it could also be pointed to guys in the video room and those who administer scouting reports.

    Seager certainly seems like the exception. Sure-thing Ackley hasn’t panned out yet, Smoak was a disaster, etc. I’m actually okay with young players taking a year to figure it out so long as they are showing growth in some ways. ie: learning to lay off that slider that’s down and away.

    At the end of 2013 I was of the opinion that the team needed a change in philosophy. Despite the improvements and success in 2014, I still think that in some ways. Whether or not it’s true the front office considers RBI’s to be vital is irrelevant. How each team interprets statistics and sabermetrics is subjective — we may think there’s a right way, but it’s not entirely fair to say that’s true.

    I love your last point. It’s very easy for us to be distracted from the underlying issue.

  20. rjfrik, you are preaching to the choir brother! When I saw the final numbers on Tomás I was really bummed out we were not more aggressive on this one. I totally agree with you on Abreu last year, on this site many were begging Seattle to sign him, and we were not in the mix. I’ll take it even further though, had we just signed Cespedes a couple years ago, we would not be discussing the idea of giving up quality pitching for a one year rental of the guy today! Jack has been unwilling to pay big bucks to unproven Cuban players, and his stubbornness is biting him in the ass!!! Oakland is the smallest of small markets and even they signed Cespedes! My hope was to add one solid, long term piece to the major league roster each year, and Tomás was the perfect fit this year and Jack just sat on the sidelines. Maybe he has a brilliant trade up his sleeve, but improving the offense is looking less likely each day. Could it be ownership is unwilling to gamble on these Cuban players? Do our scouts just not see the talent that we keep missing? I realize that one of these guys is bound to flop, but they just keep passing on the exact type of young offensive players they desperately need. With the TV contract and revenues in place, they need to start acting like a big market team. If not they will waste the prime years of Felix and Cano. You would think they would have learned, after wasting away the prime years of previous Mariner greats with nothing to show for it.

  21. So Tomas signs for 6 years and 68 million to Arizona. I mean. Come on. 11 million per for a 24 year old right handed slugger. Why Mariners? Why!? Offer him 12 million per year, 6 years 72 million or hell give him 13 million at 6 years 78 million and he would have come to Seattle. Play with Cano and Felix, on a playoff team. It’s hard to understand why the M’s were never really in on this guy. Same way they were never in on Abreu last year. Imaging Abreu at the 4 spot in-between Cano and Seager. We would have made the playoffs last year and who knows how far we would have gone. And the M’s wouldn’t be looking for right a right handed power bat.

    I could understand the reservations on this guy if the prices were around 100 million, like some were suggesting, but 60 million? In todays baseball, 11 million a year is a GREAT deal!!

  22. Paul,

    I couldn’t agree more. That guy was an ideal fit. Sucks he didn’t sign with us.

    Hopefully they still go the Cuban route and sign Yoan Moncada. Time for the Ms to start acting like a big market club.

  23. Tomás signs with Arizona. I really wanted him for Seattle especially at the 6 years 68 million he is signing for. I don’t like the other free agent bats out there. Sign a pitcher and trade for a bat. I don’t want to lose Iwakuma though, he is too important to the 2015 plans to give him up…

  24. I say trade whoever it takes to get Kemp, except no SP’s unless sign Lester to replace. Trade for Cespedes but not Kuma or SP’s.Sign KA Melkie Cabreera, Sign second tier FA SP. Keep Saunders and Cano, Seager, Miller, and anyone else can go.

  25. Nicely written, Tyler. Still, the biggest unanswered question for me during the JackZ era is whether Seager is the exception and not the rule in Player Development at the plate. Both he and Ackley came out of the University of North Carolina with established, sweet swings. Ackley along with MOST of the young players promoted to the big team since 2009, seem to start out hot then deteriorate into piss poor pitch recognition. There is a chronic tendency of young M’s hitters to lose the ability to recognize down and away sliders once MLB scouting reports identify this weakness. Over and over, its the same. Zunino is just the latest poster child with this horrid approach at recognizing such pitches. Clement, RobJob, AdamMoore all had the same problem. Balentien, Smoak, Miller, NFranklin all showed/show the same weakness. There are many more of Wedge’s “hunt the fastball” auditioning youngbloods (as well as under Wakamatsu and Lloyd) who still can’t lay off this pitch.

    Seager, with his short swing, has been the exception. Saunders took two plus seasons in the majors and rubberband therapy to figure this out. Ackley seemed to show signs of rectifying this problem in the 2nd half of last season. Morrison showed improvement from April-June to July through September. If Ackley finally arrives as a consistent hitter, and Zunino can cure this obvious vulnerability along with Miller, Taylor, Saunders(if he’s still here), DJ Peterson, Alex Jackson, James Jones, then Zduriencik’s “PLAN” will be deemed, at best, a success in fits and starts.

    I love this extension of Seager, but it’s not a reason to applaud the poor development of hitters on the M’s team during the Jack Let’s-Just-Fire-the-Latest-Hitting-Coach Zduriencik. The latest buck starts with Seager, but ends with JackZ.

  26. trade kuma for cespedes sign lester 6 120 trade ackley taylor elias for Upton sign McCarthy to a 3yr 30 million boom your team is set i dont believe any of these are unrealistic moves

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