Kyle Seager, Taijuan Walker among few M’s keepers

 As the Seattle Mariners get ready to ride into the sunset of the 2013 season, there is much uncertainty with which the organization much deal, and significant changes could be on the horizon, including a possible search for a new general manager and field manager.

The end result of replacing those two, or even standing pat with both Jack Zduriencik and Eric Wedge, is improving the roster. Before the club can go out and seek improvements, they need to come conclusions on what they have right now. Their results, I am sure, will be different than mine.

Here’s where I stand on the current roster

Note: Only those under club control in 2014 qualify, and the injured and suspended suggest special circumstances that will ultimately deserve a full assessment of their own.

First-division Keepers
Keep these players, almost no matter what.

Felix Hernandez, RHP
Perhaps the most obvious, no-brainer roster decision of all time… probably because it’s not even a decision the club needs to make. They did that before the season with $175 million.

Kyle Seager, 3B
The only instance where Seager is made trade available is in a no-brainer package deal for a young, proven impact player under control for at least three seasons. As I stated in my M’s offseason to-do list, one of the club’s first tasks when the season ends is to lock up Seager long term.

Hisashi Iwakuma, RHP
While shopping Iwakuma is a good idea, just to see if his value is high enough to warrant moving him. He’s a keeper, though, and he showed why this season. The one concern with ‘Kuma was his durability, but he’s shed the shoulder concerns and surpassed 200 innings this season. A reliable No. 2, he’d fit nice as a great No. 3 if the club can acquire another, similar performer, perhaps a left-hander, to slide into the No. 2 spot after Felix.

Taijuan Walker, RHP
He’s still a prospect and has a little ways to go before he gets to where he eventually will, but he’s already solid and will contribute in 2014, likely from the get-go.

Mike Zunino, C
Zunino isn’t quite ready to perform at the plate, but he may be next year and consideing the lack of catchers in pro ball, the former No. 3 overall pick should be treated as an elite talent in terms of value.

Roster-worthy Keepers
These players are worthy of a 25-man roster spot, and to some extent regular play in the right scenarios of roster construction and roles.

Nick Franklin, 2B
Brad Miller, SS
Miller is merely passable with the glove at shortstop but his bat appears headed for the above-average range at the position, perhaps eventually into plus territory. Franklin remains a future regular at second base, despite his troubles with the strikeouts the past several weeks. Both may be the subjects of trade talk this offseason, and it may be necessary to include one in a trade to acquire offense.

Dustin Ackley, OF/2B
Ackley’s improvement in center as well as some real progress at the plate make him a pretty valuable uber-utility type. I’d put the super-utility tag on him if he could play shortstop, although that’d make him Brad Miller, which would cause a lot of confusion when the skipper pencils in the lineup card. Ackley and Michael Saunders are a bit redundant as left-handed hitting outfielders that don’t automatically warrant everyday play, so Saunders will not make this list.

James Paxton, LHP
I’m not sure it’s a good idea to have two rookie starting pitchers in the rotation to start the season, but Paxton has shown some guile to go with his pure stuff and may have enough value as a trade chip that he’s pitched himself out of Seattle.

Erasmo Ramirez, RHP
Ramirez, after starting the season on the disabled list, was a bit up and down early in his return to the big leagues, but he’s shown enough consistency to be in the mix for a spot in the rotation next spring. Ideally, he’s the swing man, and in such a role could be terrific.

Back-up Keepers
Keep these players as backup options if upgrades cannot be acquired, or if part of a time share or more fitting role.

Justin Smoak, 1B
Smoak, who is likely to make between $2-3 million via arbitration in 2014, has shown he can hit right-handed pitching. He left Detroit batting .273/.373/.497 as a left-handed batter. His struggles right-handed — .190/.268/.234 — are too deep to ignore, however suggesting he’ll be traded or will become the left-handed portion of a platoon situation. If the club had a right-handed option, too, first base, with Smoak, could be around average, perhaps better.

strong>Yoervis Medina, RHP
Medina has good stuff and put up OK numbers this season, but his control is below average and another go-round the league could be disaster for him. In a perfect world, Medina is the No. 7 reliever in the bullpen, but as long as he’s not relied upon to be the eighth inning guy, the M’s relief corps should be fairly safe from any implosions that may come.

Role-player Keepers
These players should be kept around to play a reserve role or to fill in due to injury. Nothing more.

Abraham Almonte, OF
He handles the bat well, is passable in center field and has the arm to play the corners in short stints. He won’t hit for power but he runs well and can be a solid No. 4 or 5 outfielder. His skills fit nicely with Ackley’s ability to be the backup second baseman and Nick Franklin’s ability to back up at shortstop, giving the club some very valuable flexibility.

Danny Farquhar, RHP
Charlie Furbush, LHP
Both Farquhar and Furbush performed well this season and can do so again in 2014. Relievers are unpredictable, however, and in no manner should they be protected from trade packages. Farquhar is far from the worst closer option, so if he’s throwing this well next spring, he may very well deserve the job.

Carter Capps, RHP
Capps has as much work to do as any reliever on the roster, particular in terms of command within the zone. He throws a lot of strikes, so his general control is fine. Leaving pitches up and not locating versus left-handed batters is exposing his lack of an effective pitch type to offer lefties. Spring will say a lot, but Capps may end up starting the season in Triple-A Tacoma.

Brandon Maurer, RHP
Maurer and Capps very similar in some ways; Maurer has all the pitches to be effective, even against left-handed hitters, but his delivery is inconsistent — he’s had stints where he’s fallen too hard to one side off the mound, and where he hasn’t used his lower half enough. We’ve seen how good he is when he’s on — No. 2 upside — now Maurer just need to become consistent mechanically. My bet is he starts 2014 in the minors.

Keepers? No

These players should not return to the 25-man in 2014.

Joe Saunders, LHP
Saunders can handle the No. 5 role, but the club has that handled internally with youth and can go out and get cheaper veteran options. His option is mutual, but the Mariners will, and should, decline.

Michael Saunders, OF
It doesn’t help that he’s arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, but Saunders is likely to be playing in another organization next season. I like Saunders, quite a bit, but we’re probably at the stage with him now where he’s not an every corner outfielder due to his bat, and not ideal for center field because his defense is slightly below-average. In the right situation, Saunders will make the M’s regret not surrounding him with better outfielders so he could have been used correctly, but it’s a move they should make. Trade is the route, as I wouldn’t non-tender any useful player for such a low salary (probably between $2-3 million.

Tom Wilhelmsen, RHP
Wilhelmsen was, for a short time, one of the better closers in the games. Now he’s an arm I can’t see making the team out of spring training next season without significant progress. If he gets even 70 percent back to where he was, he’s a big-league reliever — not a closer. And I have already discussed why he should not be transitioned into a starting pitcher.

Lucas Luetge, LHP
Luetge is a good arm to have around, and he’s improved versus right-handed batters, but his control is still spotty. His delivery is fine and he has three pitches — I’d like to see him start in the minors, if only to get him more work to prepare for a relief role in the majors.

Chance Ruffin, RHP
Ruffin is a nice back-up relief option to have, but starting the 2014 season with him as one of the seven relievers probably shouldn’t happen — unless he’s the No. 7 guy, a role which may be better played by Medina or Ramirez. There’s decent stuff here, and better command than a year ago, but he’s still a bit short on consistency to simply pencil in as a 25-man roster guy.

Hector Noesi, RHP
Not only is Noesi an arm that should not be in the majors, but he should be DFA’d this offseason. Another organization may be able to teach Noesi how to throw a breaking ball, but it’s not happening here, and some really solid pitching coaches have tried.

Bobby LaFromboise, LHP
I like LaFromboise as a third lefty in a deep bullpen, but fastball command is keeping him from more. Right now he’s org depth, but don’t sleep on him.

Carlos Triunfel, SS
Triunfel’s bat just hasn’t developed despite the physical tools and at 23 — 24 in February — chances are it won’t. He’s a good option to have in Triple-A, however, but even as a reserve, at least for a good team, he leaves some meat on the bone offensively.

Franklin Gutierrez, OF
Gutierrez is a worthy roster player when healthy. But he’s unreliable and the M’s will decline his 2014 option next month. That doesn’t mean he can’t come back on an incentive-laden deal that guarantees him a smaller salary, but if I’m the M’s I’d look around for better options before bringing back Gutierrez, and if he comes back he’s a part-time player, starting versus left-handers only.

Free Agents
Oliver Perez, LHP
Perez was lights out in the first half but has regressed after the break. I could see him being brought back, but he’ll likely find a little more money on the open market.

Endy Chavez, OF
Chavez could be brought back on a minor league deal.

Humberto Quintero, C
Henry Blanco, C
Both veterans are free agents and aren’t good fits for the Opening Day roster. The Mariners, who will be going with Zunino as the No. 1 catcher, should not pretend Zunino is ready to hit .275 with 20 homers while starting 120 games behind the plate. I’d spend a little money to get a catcher with at least some sort of recent track record of decent performance, and I wouldn’t hate the idea of A.J. Pierzynski, either.

Raul Ibanez, DH
Ibanez, as a I wrote earlier this week, should be thanked immensely for all he’s done and wished well on the free agent market. There’s no role on most teams (none, in my opinion) for a pure DH who doesn’t hit well enough to play everyday — and may not be able to do it due to age. David Ortiz is different. Victor Martinez is different. Billy Butler is diffeent. Heck, the next guy on this list is different. They are the only four “everyday” designated hitters in baseball.

Kendrys Morales, DH/1B
Morales may come back, and even at around $14 million for one year, the M’s should jump on it. It’s difficult enough to get players to sign in Seattle. Overpaying, particularly for one season, is necessary to some extent. The club can probably get Morales for two years at a rate that makes some sense. He’ll play the market, I suspect, being a Scott Boras client and all, and could find riches in Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Minnesota, Chicago, Oakland or Texas, most of which offer winning on top of money.

Photo of Kyle Seager by Jason Miller/Getty Images

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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.

38 Comments

  1. Edman,

    So, you cherry pick one example of a guy who didn’t work out (and even that is debatable) and ignore all the other examples of people who excelled. Ben Cherington, Jed Hoyer, Chris Antonetti, Neal Huntington, Josh Byrnes, and John Mozeliak are counterpoints. I could add others to that list, too. Well-run franchises tend to produce quality GM candidates.

    Funny you mention DePodesta, since he actually did a good job in his limited time as GM of the Dodgers. You should look up his track record of transactions. If that is the best you can come up with to support your point, you might want to reconsider your argument.

    You are correct that there is no guarantee that any of those guys I listed – or others I didn’t – would succeed in Seattle. There is a risk that they’d fail.

    But Jack has already failed. We KNOW he can’t turn the organization around in a reasonable amount of time (five years!), because it already happened. This isn’t one of those situations where going with the devil you know is wise.

  2. FTR, it’s Jason McLeod, not Justin.

    Forst is entrenched in Oakland. He’s basically the GM without presidential power — Beane, the GM in title, has that.

    I don’t hear great things about Thad Levine’s potential as a GM.

  3. No good Manager is going to come into this situation. JZ is a dead man walking, unless he makes the playoffs next year (which he won’t) then he’s gone IMO. Whoever comes in to replace Wedgie will be a lame duck coach. A one and one guy. I’m sure it will be someone internal.

  4. JackZ wasn’t on national Radio that was Wedge as stated above. I don’t know how many top notch managers would want to come into a situation with a lame duck GM. Add to that a national perspective that the ownership is up in the air. Do they really want to bring in a young rookie manager? Going to be an odd off season.

  5. I don’t see how Wedge is brought back. He really showed us no reason to keep him. If Jack is staying then someone else has to take the fall, and that is Wedge. Plus his health is an issue in and of itself.

    The season isn’t over yet, so of coarse Jack is going to support his manager when interviewed on national radio, don’t read anything else into it…

  6. JackZ has said that Wedge would be back. Add to that on XM MLB Network Wedge was on today and sounded as if he was going to be the manager next year.

    For me Abreu 1B, Itoi CF and Tanaka SP if the M’s could get all or 2 out of 3 that would be huge. Then do a trade if Tanaka is one of the International players the M’s get. Sending pitching for a RF or LF bat. The M’s have a few #4 type OF’ers Almonte, Saunders, Avery with Almonte being in the lead for next year as the 4th OF or even a starting OF depending on who the M’s add.

    Smoak, Guity and both Saunders should all go..

  7. I hope Jack doesn’t do something stupid this offseason (a la Bavasi in his final year) thinking he has to mortgage the future in desperate trades to save his job. He got a “free pass” this year and won’t get another one. He is unsigned beyond 2014 and I am sure he will feel like if the team doesn’t win in 2014 he will be gone. With this weak crop of free agents, I just don’t see them going to be able to compete next year. I wish they would go the international route to sign a couple players but I never hear Seattle attached to any of the Cuban or Japanese players out on the market right now.

    Jack got real lucky Upton vetoed the trade last offseason. I am sure he is anxious to make a big trade/splash, I just don’t know if I trust his judgement.

    He is really in a tough spot, we will just have to wait and see.

  8. Exactly !!!

  9. Who cares what Bavasi’s record was? The horrible state of the farm system should be enough.

  10. Pitchers are always one throw away from an injury. Better he takes care of it now, rather than three years from now. It will certainly affect the off-season, if Hultzen requires surgery. Jack will need to go get another arm, which he probably had planned anyway. Good news is that he has money to get it done with.

    Jack staying doesn’t bother me, as long as he recognizes that Wedge is not the guy to transition young players to MLB players. It would probably be better for Wedge anyway, he’s had one stroke, he doesn’t want to risk another.

  11. More “good” news…Hultzen leaves fall league with mire shoulder issues and Jack Z will survive another disappointing season.

    Thoughts on these recent events?

  12. You mean like the Dodgers did in hiring Billy Beane protigee Paul DePodesta? He was suppose to bring his success with Billy Beane to help reform the team. How well did that work out? So, maybe thinking that magic is somehow transferred by osmosis isn’t always a good plan.

    It’s not as simple formula as some think it is.

  13. I wouldn’t put a lot of weight into those types of announcements.

    The M’s have no reason at all to announce that they are interested in selling the team right now. Even if they were, they aren’t going to go public with that type of information in the last few weeks of the season and right after the majority owner passed away. It would be a huge distraction, pretty classless, and wouldn’t help them in marketing the team.

    As a side note, I still don’t understand why so many fans hate Lincoln and Armstrong and the silent ownership group. They were in charge during the heyday of the team, played a roll in keeping the club in Seattle, and got Safeco built. Its not like they run the club like Jeffry Loria. And why does everyone seem so convinced that they have an abnormal degree of influence in the decision making. Look at the GMs we’ve gone through: Gillick, Bavasi, and Jack Z had very different M.O.’s in running the club, and all seem to have had a significant amount of autonomy in the decision making process.

    Unless there is some inside information that I’m not aware of, I don’t think Lincoln et al are all that bad. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather see a front office that is composed of ‘baseball people’ instead of corporate executives, but I don’t think we can pin all the teams woes on those two men.

  14. Nice bit of bitching, interlaced with creative writing.

  15. Edman,

    Why do you think there is a lack of qualified GM candidates available? There are lots of very well run teams out there with talented people. Although I don’t know a ton about their specific skill sets, some of the names that often come up as candidates include:

    Thad Levine, asst gm Rangers
    David Forst, asst gm A’s
    Al Avila, asst gm Tigers
    Justin McLeod, vp scouting and plater development, Cubs

    I’m sure there are many other names too. I’d just look at well-run teams like the A’s, Rangers, Cardinals, Braves, and Red Sox. Good clubs usually have talented people in upper level positions. The M’s just need to choose the right one.

    I’d love to see the M’s get a guy who is best at talent evaluation, since that’s an area the current group seems to struggle with. And stealing a top executive from the Rangers or A’s would be cool, too.

  16. Message from Howard Lincoln interview today:

    “You fans think I am leaving? Where you hoping Nintendo would sell the club to an owner passionate about the game winning at all costs? Where you hoping the loss of our beloved Japanese owner would lead to some much needed changes?

    Well fans, I’ve heard your pleas, but SCREW YOU!!! I am not going anywhere! It is business as usual here. I have decided to fire Jack Zduriencik and take over the GM duties MYSELF! Once the season ends we will resign Rauuuuuul Ibanez for $8 million dollars. We also want to bring back Jason Bay and Miguel Olivo. I am also going to pick up the option on Gutierrez and pencil him in for 150 starts in center field. Now that FIGGINS comes off the books we will find our next token free agent signing that we will overpay and produce NOTHING. I know you fans would like to see Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo, but I am thinking about giving a big 4 year 36 million dollar deal to Mike Morse. You see, we had a handshake deal in place before we traded him to Baltimore for a bag of peanuts. Finally, to round out the season, we are going to gut our farm system by trading Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, and James Paxton to Atlanta for BJ Upton. We tried to trade all that young talent last year for that other Upton only to see the trade get vetoed, now we are going to get our Upton.

    Oh, and by the way, I know I promised season tickets would not go up, but I am putting some hidden taxes and fees attached to all tickets and raising beer prices and parking.

    I didn’t get to my current position without being ruthless when I have needed to be, and nothing has changed. Have a nice day!

  17. I would without a doubt go after Tanaka and Itoi next year and I would seriously consider going after Abreu. I think Abreu and Morales can switch back and forth between DH and 1B. Frankly I think I’m over the Smoak experiment. I think he’s a platoon player.

    Edman,

    Thad Lavine would be at the top of my list and I would interview A.J. Preller, Josh Boyd and Jake Krug of the Rangers as well. Bobby Evans, John Coppolella and DeJon Watson would be good choices and so would Tyrone Brooks, Ari Caplan and Mike Chernoff. There are a lot of bright young minds out there that come from great franchises.

  18. The Nintendo group does not figure to sell a profitable business like the M’s. Also Lincoln and Armstrong have such huge sway they are not going anyplace. Those things right there are why the M’s are in the spot they are in. And will not get out off until Lincoln Amrstrong are gone and a owner who is less concerned on profits and more concerned about winning. Until such time I do not see the team going any place but staying in the cellar or lower half on the AL. I hope that Nintendo is blowing smoke to up a price in the future. Not impressed right now at all.

    I would like to see Itoi, Abreu come to the M’s and even go after Tanaka. Then do a trade along what they tried to do for Upton. And be right in it next year. As of now I don’t see any of that happeneing.

  19. I agree with you rjfrik, but with news coming that Nintendo is not selling (at least in the near future) we are stuck with Armstrong and Lincoln hiring the next GM. I just don’t have much faith in these guys and wish they would do the right thing and retire. They are both in their 70’s and need to move on…

  20. I’d like to see that list of qualified GM, per your requirements.

  21. The M’s need to spend money next year. Period. Make big offers on the IFA’s. Grab a big FA or two. And after another 90 loss season the entire front office needs to be let go. New management and a new field manager.

    It’s time for some new blood. Someone hungry and aggressive, with baseball savvy and intelligence.

  22. How long to we allow Saunders ,Smoak and Ackley to compete as you say until we say we where wrong these guys arent good major league players? I for one am convinced also what was Bavasi record as a gm and what is Jacks after 5 years Jason?

  23. Dont players have to produce to stay around if we our happy with 240-250 guys not alot of RBI and in some case no SB no power? If so the Astros will even catch up with us and there a minor league team right now with very few M.L. players.I dont know who our what you bring in to fix this god awful train wreck of ten years but something needs to be done.I was thinking today what was Bavasi record as a gm and what is JZ? Neither was any good but just wondering out loud.

  24. I think a huge factor in all this is who is in charge next year.

    I’m hoping to see major changes in the front office and coaching staff. If that happens, next year will probably be a transition year, with the new people in charge evaluating the talent on the club and bringing in new coaches and player development guys. In that’s the case, next offseason and 2014 won’t be so much about fixing specific weaknesses. Instead, it will be about accumulating talent and developing players.

    Thus, I hope the M’s hold on to players like Smoak, Ackley, and Saunders, and just let them compete. I’d try to bring in other “change of scenery” types to compete for jobs as well, in addition to a few vets on short-term deals (like Dan , Josh Johnson, and Nelson Cruz) and maybe a few long-term additions who are young enough to help the team for a while (like Tanaka or Abreu).

    For a team in the M’s position – lacking talent to be considered legit contenders and facing a major change in management – I’d be focused on finding hidden gems, player development, and building for 2015.

  25. Concerned? About what? That he’s struggled the past month or so after being run into the ground by manager that is now trying to throw his GM under the bus?

    Not concerned in the slightest. All of his skills ticked up a notch this year. All of them. Good player. end of story.

  26. …change that, Seager is now at .264 after going hitless again today including 3 STRIKEOUTS! If it was my call, no extension for him. Let’s see what he does next year. Seager is still on my KEEPER LIST but he might just be an average MLB starter.

  27. Hey Jason, Seager’s batting average continues to drop, now down to .266. Should we be concerned? Do we have him a little overrated?

  28. Jason’s list is exactly the reason JZ needs to be fired today. Iwakuma is the only veteran First-division Keeper that JZ has acquired from outside the organization. Think about that for a second! Really! What the heck has he been doing for the last 5 years? I know that free agents might be a little difficult to get in Seattle, so I’ve heard. I don’t believe it. It’s about leadership. Half of the NFL would die to play for the Seahawks. The Sounders, hmmm, just signed one of the best, they sell out every game and didn’t even exist a few years ago. Who’s in first in the West? Have you ever been to Oakland? It’s the armpit of America and the stadium reflects that. We need a Branch Rickey, a Syd Thrif, a Bill Veeck, a Mark Cuban, some energy, some leadership, some salemanship. We need some serious help.

  29. The team will be able to add $70MM or more to payroll this off-season, with about $45MM coming off the books and the $25MM additional money from MLB from the national media rights sale. That doesn’t include their new regional network deal. They can afford to go after Abreu and Masahiro Tanaka who represent upgrades with elite potential, without requiring surrendering trade chips. Following the Red Sox pattern of signing mid-level, proven major league starters to reasonable cost and duration contracts would entail looking at outfielders like Hunter Pence, Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran, Marlon Byrd, Coco Crisp (there’s added value in weakening a division rival) and Shin-Soo Choo if his contract demands are not excessive – he’s a Boras client. Arms like Vargas, Fister, Bartolo Colon, Scott Feldman, Phil Hughes and Randy Messenger and possibly Bronson Arroyo could offer value for money. The Red Sox have also gone back to their policy of holding on to prospects and waiting to see which ones make it and which ones fail, admitting that they can rarely be sure of how a player will actually turn out. The high-risk, maybe high reward types like Lincecum, Halladay and Josh Johnson have too high of an albatross factor for my taste.

  30. I’ll put the list a slightly different way:

    1B–Smoak?
    2B–Franklin
    3B–Seager
    SS–Miller
    OF– ???, ???, Ackley, Almonte
    C–Zunino
    DH-Morales (if we can resign him)

    SP–Hernandez, Iwakuma, ???, Walker, Paxton
    In AAA—Hultzen, Mauer

    RP–Ramirez, Mendina, Furbush, Farquhar, Pryor (??)
    CL–???
    In AAA–Wilhelmsen, Luetge, Capps, Ruffin, LaFromboise, Smith

    So, when addressing the extreme need, the shopping list is two OFs that can provide offense, a #3 SP, and potentially a closer/RP. Upgrades could occur at…almost any position….I’ll say we are “set” at 3B and C and #1/#2 SP. But everyone else is fair game. We can’t really make a trade without creating another hole, except from AAA relief pitching.

    Based on that, I think it is likely we’ll see Saunders back (maybe Truinfel off the bench). I also wouldn’t be surprised if we bring back Perez or otherwise count on one or two of our AAA relief pitchers to step up. Both of these would reduce the absolute need to 1 OF that can hit, a #3 SP and lots of rosary beads. This is less daunting of a list. Of course, the expanded list is a 1B, 2 OF, 2 SP, DH, 1 reliever and almost our entire bench.

  31. Yes I do see it as a stretch and agree its a tall ask to fix this team in 1 year but given the fact we actually have a decent rotation at 1, 2 and 4 assuming that we class Felix, Kuma and Walker in those spots for next year and then you add a mid range SP and perhaps a high risk/reward guy to round out the 5.

    But if the M’s have around $40M, maybe more if they spend some of their new found TV wealth which is a decent amount of money and we probably have some trade chips to fill out at least one OF spot and bullpen help then that $40M odd could if used wisely do wonders. That’s the issue I have is I think GMZ can’t actually construct a balanced roster and even if he did we probably don’t have a manager that would use it correctly.

    We probably only need to sign a 2 of tHe better free agents either local or international and then make some smart trades. But agreed am looking forward to seeing some off season plans as there is a lot of work to be done.

    I imagine trading Saunders, Paxton, Wilhelmsen Smoak plus some minor leaguers should help us get at least one or two decent parts back

  32. I don’t quibble with any of the classifications (although I’m going to keep believing Ackley permanently turned the corner in the second half, and will earn ‘first division keeper’ status next year).
    But my issue with ‘to-do’ lists is ignoring the fact of how few good players there are around–at least enough significantly better than what we’ve already got.
    Gibbo, I just don’t know how any GM in history could bring in all the improvements you suggest. The players to adequately fill those roles are going to be sought by at least half the other teams in baseball. I don’t see how we could expect to somehow kidnap all of them.
    Jason, I look forward to hearing your plan.

  33. Gibbo —

    I don’t, really, based on what is believed to the price range it will take. He’s not Yasiel Puig, he may not even be Cespedes. I’m told he has 30-homer power, but the hit tool might make him more of a right-handed Russell Branyan than a Kendrys Morales.

  34. Jason could you see the Cuban 1B Abreu as a fit to mix in at DH/1B

  35. I think there is enough talent and talent coming but this relying on “the kids” and supplement with “the vets” is the issue, winning brings a better attitude and to win you need quality, so just give us a quality team. How the hell are we in a state of having 0 OF’ers? I must admit I am tiring of this rebuild especially when we make so many poor decisions and like you say Paul it’s pretty depressing looking at the list. Although I do think if you make some smart moves it can be corrected,but if we make the wrong ones then we may be looking at the Astros passing us.

  36. Notice Smoak and Farquhar ARE on keeper lists, but they absolutely do not fit into the same category as the top 4… so they aren’t.

  37. It’s a big to do list over the winter looking at this summary. We need at least 1 decent SP that can bridge the gap and a mid rotation starter too. Even if we keep Morales. Think we need to get a decent 1B option and probably 2 everyday OF’ers. A decent reliever too could be needed and probably a guy that can cover SS and give seager the odd day off.

    That’s quite a to do list and not even counting a possible management change.

    The good thing is we have the money and probably trade chips to fill most of those holes, but my concern is I don’t know if I trust Z to build the roster appropriately and that’s the biggest concern of all. Anyone that builds a roster with an OF of Morse, Gutierrez, Ibanez, Bay and Saunders to start the year is chasing fools gold and I think he has shown his inability to sever ties at the right time with guys like Sweeney, Griffey…. Makes me nervous what he will do if they keep him on.

  38. What a depressing list! Just not a lot of talent here…

    I am ok with moving Furbush and Farquhar to the “keeper” and I think a cheap platoon partner at 1B moves Smoak over to the “keeper” list as well.

    Biggest surprise of the article was finding out Triunfel will be 24 years old before next season starts. The team should have cut him loose a couple years ago…

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