Center field was a position of disappointment for the Seattle Mariners in 2014. When the club acquired Austin Jackson at the trade deadline, a solution for the problem was believed to have been found. Not only for the remainder of the season but for 2015 as well.

Of course things didn’t go so smoothly for the former Detroit Tiger who posted just a 53 wRC+ in 236 plate appearances. But the consensus is that Jackson is a good bet to rebound in 2015. He certainly is a better player than his performance indicated.

Initially it was surprising to see the Tigers deal their star centerfielder. Even though David Price was the return, the club was deep in a pennant race and the loss of Jackson was noticeable in the outfield and the lineup.

It was a banner year in 2012 for Jackson who posted a 134 wRC+ with 16 home runs alongside very strong defensive play at a premium position. His numbers took a step back in 2013, but overall, it was another solid season by the numbers.

What exactly went wrong in 2014 is still up for debate. Jackson had posted a .273/.332/.398 slash line prior to the trade — all three marks being a couple of points below his career line. Upon arriving in the Emerald City, it appeared as if Jackson forgot his ability to hit for power on the plane. His ISO with the Tigers was .126 compared to .031 with the M’s. He didn’t hit a home run after the trade deadline either. His defensive play held up but he was dreadful offensively and never once moved from the leadoff spot.

Jackson is under contract for 2015 as an arbitration eligible player but will than be eligible for free agency. He won’t turn 28 until February and is poised to enter the free agent market at a prime age. Another poor showing could dramatically affect his value. Though his 5.2 fWAR campaign in 2012 is still in recent memory and hard to ignore .

There hasn’t been any reported extension talks between the two parties, yet. It’s more than likely that Seattle would like to see a rebound from their centerfielder before committing further years and dollars. By the time that hypothetically happens though, it may be too late. Jackson figures to be one of the better free agent outfielders available at the end of the upcoming season.

Considering the lack of center field depth currently in the Mariners organization it’s conceivable that the club could still look to extend Jackson this offseason. Let’s take a look at some recent extensions handed out to outfielders similar to Jackson in age.

Obviously Hunter Pence is a superior player to Jackson and was coming off a significantly better season than the Mariner had in 2014 — Jackson posted a 1.0 fWAR total in 2014. Despite the inflated free agent market, five years and $18 million per season seems like a huge stretch for Jackson. Though if he can put together a campaign similar to his 2012, those numbers could become a target for his agency.

Martin Prado is a bit of a different case given his positional flexibility. But he too was coming off a career year, and would receive a four-year guarantee. The $10 million average annual salary could probably serve as a benchmark for an extension now or a free agent contract in less than one year’s time.

Perhaps the best comparable on that list is Brett Gardner  The New York Yankees locked up their outfielder last winter after handing Jacoby Ellsbury a seven-year contract that pushed the incumbent centerfielder, Gardner, to right field.

Gardner has a career slash line of .265/.346/.390 compared to Jackson’s .274/.336/.402 line. Both have career wRC+’s of 103. Both are regular bets to swipe 20 bags, but Gardner has a pair of 40-plus stolen base seasons. He’s also a better fit at the top of the lineup with better walk and strikeout rates. Each has had some outstanding defensive seasons — Gardner with 35 and 23 DRS in 2010 and 2011 respectively and Jackson with 29 in 2011 — and both are generally regarded as above average defenders.

The Yankee outfielder was able to secure a $52 million guarantee over four years coming off a very good, but not outstanding season. He did produce a combined 10.9 fWAR between 2010 and 2011. Aside from an injury-shortened 2009 season Gardner has been a very consistent player. One thing we do know is that consistency tends to pay well in free agency.

Assuming Jackson does rebound in 2015 and produces a season in the 2.0-to-3.0 fWAR range he should be able to secure a multi-year contract with a similar valuation to the Gardner deal. Melky Cabrera received a three-year, $43.5 million deal from the Chicago White Sox this winter. That’s an outfielder who’s best season to date — 4.5 fWAR in 2012 — was cut short due to a PED suspension. Cabrera struggled mightily in 2013 due to what turned out to be a benign tumor in his lower back. He did rebound in 2014 for 2.6 fWAR and managed to cash in.

Seattle waiting to negotiate an extension with their centerfielder is only logical. It’s equally likely that Jackson would prefer to have a better platform season for contract talks, too.

One thing that should be concerning for the Mariners though, is how aside Jackson, the organizational depth at center is very weak. James Jones saw regular playing time in center before Jackson was acquired, but the speedster doesn’t hit enough to play regularly and is better defensively in a corner spot.

[pullquote]Talk has been had about moving Miller to the outfield in the spring, but the shortstop position isn’t secured by someone else yet. There is also the chance that he struggles to handle the defensive side of the game like Ackley did early in his transition.[/pullquote]

Leon Landry, 25, figures to start the season with Triple-A Tacoma and really is the next player on the depth chart. He has 910 plate appearances at the Double-A level, but didn’t hit particularly well there.

There’s a chance that the M’s will look to acquire some middle outfield depth over the next calendar year. The jury is still out with regards to whether or not Jackson is the long-term solution in center. Gareth Morgan, the M’s No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft, could be a future solution. However the 18-year old is still very raw and has minimal minor league experience.

If Jackson does rebound in 2015, the Mariners should be happy to pay him what he’s worth for 2016 and beyond. More often than not players tend to head elsewhere upon reaching free agency though. Jackson is likely no exception to that.

There’s similar risk in locking Jackson up prior to the start of 2015 or letting him test the market after the season. One thing that works in the Mariners favor is the potential of a qualifying offer being extended to Jackson. This winter’s qualifying offer was worth $15.3 million and presumably next year’s will be around the $16 million mark. That’s inching closer and closer to Pence money.

If Jackson does have another poor season, a qualifying offer is very unlikely. But we have seen how similar good, not great players like Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales have been hurt by the qualifying offer.

As it stands, Jackson will likely begin the 2015 season in the leadoff spot. He would probably be a better fit lower in the lineup, but the Mariners really don’t have another option for the top of the lineup. Dustin Ackley and Chris Taylor saw time in the No. 2 spot last season, but don’t profile particularly well there either.

The lack of depth at center is concerning, but the lack of control over Jackson isn’t so much. There will be several free agent and trade options for filling the position if Jackson does decide to go elsewhere as a free agent.

Not to mention the fact there’s plenty of time this winter for a deal to take place that could factor into the club’s long-term outfield plans.

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Tyler Carmont

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34 Comments

  1. Jerry and Edman…wheres my popcorn…

  2. Edman:

    “Jerry, stop making the loss of Saunders and Maurer sound like they where huge moves.”

    I never said they were huge moves. The Saunders trade was dumb, because they hurt the club in an area where they were already thin to acquire something that was readily available: third tier starters. A trade doesn’t have to be huge to be bad. The trades where we moved Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo for a 1B platoon weren’t big trades. But they were bad.

    I’ve never said anything negative about the Smith trade, so stop putting words in my mouth. The Smith/Ruggiano platoon is a decent backup plan since the club wasn’t able to do anything more substantial. I don’t love that move, but its not terrible. Platoons work, and the two guys we picked up are well suited for that role. But its more of a decent backup plan that a stroke of genius.

    “And really, calling Happ a #5 starter is laughable, IMO. On the M’s staff, yes, because they have some solid starter in the rotation. But, in several rotations, he’d be a #4 or possibly a #3 starter.”

    JA Happ is a CLASSIC EXAMPLE of a #5 starter – or back of the rotation starter, if that category is less offensive to you.

    I use the term as a type of player. What role a guys actually fills in a real rotation is irrelevant. You could have a rotation of Felix, Kershaw, Price, Scherzer, and Sale, but all of those guys are #1 pitchers. Likewise, the best starter on the Rockies staff was Jorge de la Rosa, but that doesn’t make him a #1 starter. I use the term “#5 starter” as a general role a player projects to fill.

    JA Happ is a TEXTBOOK example of a #5 starter. He’s a solid guy for eating some innings and adding depth, but he’s not even a league average starter. People keep talking about how well he’ll do in Safeco, but that is true of any flyball pitcher. Flyball pitchers aren’t exactly rare commodities. I think Happ will help the team, but he simply wasn’t worth Saunders, especially given the availability of solid position players in MLB right now.

    JA Happ is a lefthanded version of Aaron Harang. Those types of pitchers are very easy to acquire.

  3. kaehlaone,

    One additional thing: if Moncada isn’t cleared before July, or decides to wait till after that signing deadline, the Yankees would be prohibited from signing him. That’s a legitimate possibility.

    In fact, if the M’s really like him, they should try to get him to sign after the deadline. That way, the M’s could still be able to sign other international talents this year. They presumably already have been negotiating with July 2 prospects for the next signing period, so this would allow them to still sign those guys and not back out of already existing commitments.

    The M’s won’t likely do this, because they are typically very risk averse when it comes to adding talent. But they should.

  4. kaehlaone,

    I’ve also been following the Moncada situation, and there is no reason to think that he is leaning toward any one club. Every team in baseball sent scouts to see him, and only a few have stated that they aren’t going to be involved in the bidding. The M’s aren’t one of those. Some players might have geographical leanings, and all people have idiosyncrasies, but there hasn’t been anything to come out of his camp that suggests that the M’s wouldn’t be viable options in the bidding. There is no basis whatsoever to assume that Moncada has any bias against the M’s.

    Moncada is 19, and this is his chance to be set for life. He and his agent will most likely take the biggest offer. At the very least, the M’s shouldn’t act like sissies and assume that he wouldn’t want their money. We aren’t Tampa Bay. They should do everything they can to show him – and any other top talent – that this is a good place to play.

    Lots of people simply assume that every good player is going to sign with the Yankees. Its lazy, and simply not true. Yasmany Tomas signed with Arizona. Yoenis Cespedes signed with Oakland. Jose Abreu signed with the White Sox. Those teams didn’t simply assume every top international prospect was going to the Yankees. The M’s – and M’s fans – shouldn’t make the same erroneous assumption. That’s the way that losers think.

  5. It’s tough to accurately compare a lot of free agent signings because there’s so many factors involved that we have and haven’t considered. You make an interesting point with Chavez. The only thing I can think of offhand is that he’s essentially been a No. 4 OF/replacement level player for several seasons now. There isn’t much upside with him. A guy like Hart could hit like it’s 2011 this season and teams are still willing to take that chance.

    There may be more in play (past power numbers?) that is taken into consideration. May be worth digging deeper into.

  6. Text background is better but whatever happened to black text on a white background? What the content says is important not its visual appearance. I don’t understand why positions have to be written in a different color, which is also hard to read with the new background. Guess I’m artistically deprived.

    Mariners Invest in Offense; But Will Austin Jackson’s Bat Rebound? by Alec Dopp at Gammons Daily is well worth a read at http://www.gammonsdaily.com/mariners-invest-in-offense-but-will-austin-jacksons-bat-rebound/

  7. No argument the M’s are deeper, but could add some depth. Happ has the ability to be effective in Safeco and the M’s potentially have one of the best platoons in baseball in RF. If Jackson plays good he gets an extension, if Jackson plays great, he prices himself out of the budget, and the M’s go with Jones in’16.

  8. Jerry,

    Let me start by saying I don’t post anything without having research and/or thought behind it. It has long been known the Yankees are one of three teams heavily interested in Moncada when he is cleared. Further, Moncada is subject to international spending rules and the Yankees are going all in this year as they won’t be able to sign top guys next year due to the level they exceeded the limits this year. I also don’t think that the highest bid necessarily wins and there also is a point where the cost has to be mitigated with the penalties for future signings.

    In regards to the offseason, you can frame things however you want to, but taking things out of context is simply not accurate. First off, most of us do not have nearly the concern you do with The Cruz signing…it’s the cost of business these days. I would also agree with Edman that the approach to fixing the outfield was creative and definitely improved from last year. If you want to complain about trading Saunders by diminishing Happ, I would say that it devalues your argument. First off, Happ is not our #5 starter and more importantly, he adds a 2nd left handler to the rotation allowing Elias to be depth.

    Let me frame the offseason this way. If,before the offseason, we knew we were going to add Cruz to DH at less than $15M per year, keep virtually every young player/prospect in the organization, and essentially trade Saunders/Maurer/Brazis for Smith/Ruggiano/Happ would you consider that good or mediocre? I know what you feel…I would argue that was a good offseason that improves the team at a very reasonable cost both in retaining talent and $$.

    Last thing, how is this team not as deep as last year? I think this team is clearly deeper in the rotation and in the position players while still being very deep in the bullpen. The fact is that we will still have one arm in AAA that would be in most ML bullpens…that is depth.

  9. So, even at best the white letters on green grass background (with occasional baseballs). I figured it was an intentional effort to keep those of us over 40 from reading the comments 🙂

    I know the blue you have right at this moment is less interesting, but it works much better.

  10. Thanks Tyler for the explanation. I still don’t see how Hart will survive in the field, on a team with no DH, but maybe a becomes a great pinch hitter. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, with the Cubs preferring Denorfia to the outfielder they traded us. After all these moves went down I wondered what was next, was some team going to give 2.5 million to Endy Chavez? :). After all, he outperformed Hart, Morales, and Denorfia last year…

    I agree with Edman that Happ is going to have a really good year on this team and in this ballpark. I also agree with Jerry that there is no room for Aoki our roster, not going to happen. Jack probably has some money to spend to take on salary around the trade deadline and we just need to start the season and see how our question mark players do (Ackley, Jackson, LoMo, Miller/Taylor) and make any needed adjustments then. We still have all our major trade assets, no real “bullets” have been fired by Jack which leaves us in a good position moving forward.

    Would also love to see a depth signing of a Cuban Moncada, but Jack has consistently said he is not going to spend a ton of money on unproven talent. He has never been in the running for any of the long list of high priced Cuban players that have come into the league.

  11. Jerry, stop making the loss of Saunders and Maurer sound like they where huge moves. Nobody in baseball knows exactly what they’ll be in 2015. You can speculate all you want, because you seem to think you have some special formula. Which Saunders will show up? Maurer had a great stint as a reliever, but was a miserable flop as a starter. Many fail to mention that in September, Maurer’s unhittable stuff, became more hittable. So, was that because they figured him out? Which Maurer goes forward.

    And really, calling Happ a #5 starter is laughable, IMO. On the M’s staff, yes, because they have some solid starter in the rotation. But, in several rotations, he’d be a #4 or possibly a #3 starter.

    You just expect to be blown away by every move, or it is a worthless trade, in your tunnel-visioned eyes.

  12. Jerry, along with spending money, I’d like to see the M’s make smart moves, and I think they have done just that. They don’t need to make flashy moves to still be good moves. The idea that Aoki is somehow a smarter move than signing two outfielders who are productive complements to each other’s weaker sides to me, is brilliant and creative move. Because of the lack of FA outfielders left on the board, he’s going to be overpaid by some disparate team.

    Spending more money on a high profile player isn’t the answer. Oakland has made similar type moves, and been in the playoffs with those teams.

    It to me, is utter nonsense to make flashy moves, for the sake of making flashy moves. They need to make complimentary moves.

  13. Kaehlaone,

    Why do you assume the Yanks? They haven’t gotten involved in the Cuban guys at all. If you want to make assumptions about teams, I’d guess the Cubs, Red Sox, or Dodgers.

    Or, you could operate on the safer assumption: he’ll sign with whoever gives him the biggest bonus.

    Regarding the offseason being mediocre, how many of you would have been super excited if I told you back in October that we’d sign Nelson Cruz for >$50 million, trade Saunders for a #5 starter few would have been familiar with, and gone with a Seth Smith/Justin Ruggiano platoon that would cost us Brandon Maurer?

    Its not terrible. Its not fantastic. Its mediocre. The team is a bit better, but not as deep as last year. Mediocre.

  14. The Denorfia and Hart deals don’t really surprise me.

    Denorfia had a track record of being a No. 4 outfield-type until he came to Seattle. Couple million for a bench bat is the norm. See Bloomquist, Willie.

    Hart signed a contract that is essentially a scaled-down version of what he signed last season. Hart absolutely struggled throughout 2014, but he’ll be another year removed from knee surgeries and a proper offseason and spring training could have him in decent shape for 2015. No suggesting he’s going to be a 20 home run bat anytime soon, but if he can be a decent pinch-hitter and occasional first baseman/DH, $2.5 million is a very palpable flyer.

    The Morales deal is puzzling, but really, we shouldn’t be that surprised. He was awful in 2015. Completely awful. But how much can we write that off due to a lack of preparation? Boras could sell ice to Eskimos, remember. For $17 million Morales only has to be a one-win player in each year to be worth market value, more or less. Not saying that I like the deal — I certainly wouldn’t have signed him for that — but if KC believes that 2014 was fluke, then it’ll probably be an OK deal for them. It wasn’t that long ago that he was a solid hitter.

  15. Can someone PLEASE explain something to me?

    How in the world did former Mariners Denorfia, Hart, and Morales all score there contracts this offseason?

    I mean seriously, Denorfia hits .230 (.195 for Seattle), Corey Hart is a broken down DH that hit .203 (and signs with an NL team with no DH). These two guys should have been non roster minor league invites but they get 2.5 and 2.6 million dollar one year deals.

    Then there is the fat Cuban Morales. The guy hits .218 with a bat that looked real slow. He turns this into two years and 17 million!!!! All three are total and complete head scratchers…

  16. Jerry..this offseason has not been mediocre but I understand you will never agree with that. My thoughts are we held onto almost every young player in the organizationand improved the lineup by 5+ WAR as well. Seems like a pretty good offseason to me. I also think the addition of Happ is better than most are realizing right now. I think he produces 2+ WAR which is more than I think you get from Elias, who likely starts the season in AAA barring injury.

    I know you love the Cuban guys but Moncada is almost assuredly going to be a Yankee and it’s not as simple as saying you want the kid…he has to want to lay in Seattle as well.

  17. Rotoenquire..it’s great to say he’d be the “perfect” 2 hole hitter but he still doesn’t fit this roster. There is nothing that definitively shows he is a better option than Ackley and he costs at least $6m per year. In fact, Ackley is projected to be better than Aoki this year thru Fangraphs and a Steamer. Seth Smith is not playing 1B either. I understand you like Aoki but adding him would be redundant and a waste of $$…his ship has sailed…let it go.

  18. At least the Ms have a year to deal with that problem later on. I think we actually have decent depth at that position. Miller, Ackley, and Jones could all play there if given more time to develop and learn the position (especially Miller). The SS situation will sort itself out, but Miller is a good bet to end up as a super utility guy or CFer if Taylor looks good at SS. And Jones could still be a long-term option. In the minors, he was a decent hitter who drew walks. If he can make adjustments, he could turn into a good lead off hitter. And don’t count out Ackley: he is decent defensively, and coud work there. He just needs to hit.

    In terms of the future, the team should add young talent who could develop into a long-term options. Someone mentioned trading for Byron Buxton (which is not happening). There is a guy who is the same level of talent who will be available soon: Yoan Moncada. He’s the best young player to come out of Cuba in a long time (perhaps ever). He’s got tools to play any position besides C and perhaps SS, and would be great in CF. And he’s only 19. The Ms would have to blow up their international budget, but they aren’t getting much from that well anyhow. Moncada is a unique talent. They should get him, then let everything else sort itself out over the next year.

    The Ms had a relatively conservative (and mediocre) offseason. Most expected them to spend big, and they instead added Cruz and a handful of roll players. They should have a bit of wiggle room left, which should help them focus on developing the young guys on the roster and lock them up in the future. Moncada fits into that long-term plan. This is the type of move that bold, smart clubs make. They probably won’t do it, since the team is way too risk averse and conservative. But the Ms should be proactive and take a chance on a guy who coud be the best player on this club in 3-4 years.

  19. Looking at it in a batting order view not just who plays what position.

    CF Jackson
    LF Aoki
    2B Cano
    DH Cruz
    3B Seagar
    1B Morrison
    RF Ruggiano
    C Zunnino
    SS Miller/Taylor

    Bench: Taylor SS, Smith OF/1B, Ackley OF/2B, Sucre C

    Bloomquist maybe on the bench with a trade of Miller or Taylor whomever is the odd man out in the SS battle.

    Aoki right now is a better OF bat and defender. He would be ideal as the #2 hitter he can hit the ball in the gaps and advance the runners. If in it to win it this year and next with the way the team is. Aoki helps that more than tossing Ackley out there. Ackley has showed glimpses but not consistent like an Aoki has and would over the next 1-2 years in a deal.

    Eventually you have to decide on whether you are going for the future or the here and now. The M’s look to be going for the here and now. So Aoki fits that bill. Prospects = Suspect in my book. You stocl pile them and maybe 1 out of 3 hits. You trade the excess when you have decided what will get you to the next level.

    Yankees Hitchcock trade keep Petite, Ausmus trade keep Posada and so on and so forth. Decide Miller or Taylor this spring and Ackley needs to be figured out as well. With Marte, Guerreo, Wilson, Peterson and others on the way in 2 years as many here think. Decisions need to be made.

    Winning here and now means moving guys and going all in(Aoki would be another all in move). If the M’s signed Melky and added Ruggiano and Smith. Ackley would be the odd man out. Still can happen. All logical and makes sense. Based on the M’s wanting to win now.

  20. If viewing the site on a mobile device there are huge issues. a black screen follows you as you scroll messing what you can read in an article. also it can direct you to random add on sites in station play. On a computer the white is not to bad to read with the green baseball field background.

  21. I’m not seeing the issue with text visibility, guys. If you have a minute, maybe show me a screenshot? Might show up differently for me than you.

    Thanks.

  22. I’m with maqman, this background is frustrating. If you are going to use it, make all text white. You can’t read most dark text. It’s rather annoying.

    In regard to Jackson, Detroit messed with him and moved him from the leadoff hitter, to a middle of the order option. It’s a mindset change.

    If he doesn’t work out in CF, you can look at other options, Why waste time worrying about what you don’t know? If he rebounds, he could be a key player in the offense. If he doesn’t, then the M’s can go find a better option. It’s really kind of silly to worry about it now.

  23. I don’t follow your logic here rotoenquire. I agree that we don’t necessarily have a longterm solution in CF but it is certainly not Nori Aoki. To be direct, Aoki is not a centerfielder any more than Miller is, and I never said they should play Miller there in any case.

    With the makeup of the roster, why would you spend $6M+ per year on him when I would think you could either invest in a RH bat for the bench that can play 1B, a backup for Zunino, or perhaps a LH bullpen arm? Where does he fit on the roster is my question, barring an injury? The roster makeup looks pretty straightforward to me right now.

    C – Zunino
    1B – Morrison
    2B – Cano
    3B – Seager
    SS – Miller or Taylor
    LF – Ackley
    CF – Jackson
    RF – Ruggiano and Smith
    DH – Cruz
    Bench – Sucre and (2) out of Miller/Taylor, Bloomquist, Montero, and possibly Romero

    Rotation – Felix, Iwakuma, Paxton, Happ, and Walker/Elias
    Bullpen – Rodney (CL), Farqhuar, Smith, Medina, Furbush (L), Wilhelmsen, and LH reliever TBD

  24. @kaehlaone

    Aoki makes a ton of sense and the M’s have the money to spend and then some compared to what Aoki will cost. So until he signs with someone he is a viable and logical option for the M’s.

    At some point the M’s need a definite idea on what Miller and Ackley will be to the team. Miller is still learning the OF and he is in no way ready for CF on a full time basis. Same goes for Ackley speed and arm don’t make a CF player. He still has a rough feel for the OF in what he has played so far. The CF is the leader of the OF.

    G. Guerrero has played CF a lot and would be a better long term solution right now for the M’s. Wilson is a corner OF player so is Ackley(right now). And Jackson is a few years away at least.

    S. Smith is a guy who I see learning the 1B position this spring and being a back up. Many have suggested the this while he was with the Padres still. He is a solid athlete(played QB if I remember right) he can handle 1B.

  25. I personally think that Miller might be able to make the transition to centerfield. He has the speed and arm there, the question is whether he has the instincts to play there. Ultimately, I expect that he wins the shortstop job this year and the Jackson bounces back to his career norms.

    Also, for the love of god, can we drop the Aoki suggestions…he’s not coming here, really isn’t a fit for the roster, and will cost money that we could use down the road. Let it go…please…lol!

  26. I find your choice of typeface colors and background make your content difficult to read. I presume that’s not a good thing for you too.

  27. interesting proposition, but I don’t think the Twins do that. TJ success rate is pretty good, but Hultzen is a wild card at this point. Buxton was also a No. 1 ranked prospect in all of baseball. MIN will take their chances that he can come back.

  28. Guerrero profiles as a corner outfielder. It is possible he could fit in the middle but very unlikely at this point.

    Bloomquist is owed over $3 million in 2015 so I doubt he gets cut. There’s a chance he isn’t ready for the start of the season, too. WB gives M’s a true utility player. The back-up at first base is important as the roster currently stands. Aoki could be a nice fit, but I have a feeling the club sticks with what they have in the OF unless they can find a significant upgrade via trade.

  29. How likely would it be to swap injuries 1st round #2 picks between the Mariners 2011 Hultzen #2 and the Twins 2012 Buxton #2??

  30. How likely would there be a chance of swapping injured 1st round #2 picks between Mariners Hultzen 2011 #2 and the Twins Buxton 2012 #2??

  31. Gabby Guerrero could be ready by 2016 if not late 2015. He is a solid CF talent and would allow the M’s to spend money in other areas the next offseason.

    I feel Jackson is due for a bounce back year. It would help with Aoki behind him in the batting order. Aoki is a legit #2 and can advance runners. He is as some have said not an Ichiro slap hitter. Aoki hits well to the gaps.

    It puts Ackley to the bench. The M’s need to trade Bloomquist if they can or cut him. No room on the team for him that I can see.

  32. Happy New Year everyone!!! I was really disappointed with Jackson last year but don’t have a good explanation for his declining numbers in 2013 and 2014 other than he isn’t the player be used to be anymore. I feel like a “rebound” year for him in 2015 is him hitting .240 to .250. Maybe we just acquired him a couple years late? I hope I’m wrong…

  33. Ackley started his OF transition in CF before moving to LF, I could see Miller getting a look or two there in the spring if that’s the route the club decides to go. I have a bit of a hard time seeing him in center as a realistic option though. Hard for me to really comment on it without seeing him play there, and it certainly can work, but I wouldn’t bet on it right now.

    As far as I’m concerned, Miller is the club’s starting shortstop in 2015 as it stands now. If Taylor blows management away during spring then I could see Miller and the outfield as a more likely scenario. Very possible that Taylor starts at Triple-A depending on how the rest of the roster shapes out.

  34. Do you think Miller has the ability to play CF in the future? I think he will hit. And he has decent speed. Wonder if they will look in that direction at all.

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