Under GM Jack Zduriencik and scouting director Tom McNamara the Seattle Mariners have drafted well. Among the selections that have made some sort of contributions in the majors include starting third baseman Kyle Seager, regular left fielder Dustin Ackley, starting shortstop Brad Miller (No. 62, 2011) starting catcher Mike Zunino (No. 3, 2012), two frontline starting pitchers in James Paxton (Rd. 4, 2010) and Taijuan Walker (Comp A, No. 43, 2010), with Stefen Romero (Rd. 12, 2010) and Dom Leone (Rd. 16, 2012) also seeing big-league time. Others include Stephen Pryor (Rd. 5, 2010), Carter Capps (Rd. 3, 2011) and Nick Franklin, No. 27, 2009).

You can certainly argue that Ackley hasn’t worked out — because he hasn’t — and that the injury to 2011 No. 2 overall pick Danny Hultzen mean those selections weren’t the wisest. Ackley, however, was the consensus No. 2 player in that draft. Overall, the M’s have put together a solid group of draft classes since Zduriencik and McNamara came aboard prior to the 2009 season.

The Seager pick in Round 3 in 2009, among their better picks, is a fun story. As the club’s pick approached at No. 82 overall, the second pick in the round, McNamara asked his scouts in the draft room “where do we have Seager?!” One of the crosscheckers pointed and replied, “right here,” pointing to their board and saying “fifth round.” McNamara took a second to think and then said with confidence, “we’re taking him right here.”

Now, picture the draft room at Safeco Field, much like the draft rooms shown on TV for the NFL Draft. After a pick, the group shakes hands, smiles widely, some high-five, even in the middle or later rounds. After McNamara announced Seager was the pick, he went looking for those celebratory high-fives. There weren’t any. He’d gone off the board and as a group they had Seager a fifth-round talent. He laughs about it now, since Seager has been a terrific value and reached the majors inside of two years since signing.

That pick has certainly worked out well, and there are several similar choices, such as getting Walker at No. 43 in 2010, Romero in Round 12 and Paxton in Round 4 that same year. All are very good picks that appear to be huge values, especially considering where they were taken. What has not happened under this regime, however, is the drafting of a true star player. I’m not talking about a superstar, necessarily. How about a player that makes some All-Star teams and is above-average early in his career?

They missed out on the chance to draft right-hander Stephen Strasburg and couldn’t reach for Mike Trout in ’09, did not have a pick until 43 in 2010, and went for the quicker return in 2011 with Hultzen — which obviously hasn’t worked out so well. Even if it had, and Hultzen was doing his thing, he’s not an ace and really never had the ace-type potential clubs generally prefer that high in a solid-to-good draft. Zunino, in terms of value, could be a star. In terms of raw production, however, the Mariners don’t have that guy anywhere in their organization, and they need to get that guy at No. 6 this June.

Getting a future star doesn’t mean they have to take a high school position player. It doesn’t mean they have to take a hitter at all. If they select a pitcher, the end-result needs to be a No. 1 starter. A star. Whether it’s East Carolina right-hander Jeff Hoffman, Vanderbilt ace Tyler Beede or a prep arm such as Tyler Kolek or Brady Aiken, who are unlikely to get out of the top 3-4 picks, the M’s need to nail that pick.

The 2014 draft class is solid, led by the prep pitching class followed by the college arms. Few college hitters will garner top-10 consideration sans a pre-draft deal that saves the club pool money. San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer, North Carolina State shortstop Trea Turner and Oregon State outfielder Michael Comforto are the top college position players in the class. The top high school hitter is Rancho Bernardo High School (Calif.) C/OF Alex Jackson, a right-handed hitter with power, strength and enough athleticism to handle right field if he has to forget about catching. Olympia High School (Fla.) shortstop Nick Gordon is another potential consideration.

Whoever the pick is June 5, his timetable to the majors, risk, probability and even bonus expense — provided it’s within reason and doesn’t blow up the club’s entire draft — absolutely cannot be valued so much more than the player’s upside that the ‘safer’ pick is ultimately announced. The Mariners need a star-quality player out of their fourth top-10 pick in six drafts. The time to get the player that can help sooner was three years ago. I’m not suggesting anyone has done a poor job here — I have outlined above that they specifically have done well, but the players just haven’t turned out to be good enough, particularly when selecting this high. That isn’t to say they haven’t drafted the right players, at least for the most part.

Player development in Seattle hasn’t exactly drawn rave reviews as I ask around about how they do things, and that staff has the job of teaching prospects how to play in the big leagues. It’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that Ackley, among others, wasn’t handled properly by the minor league staffs. I’m not accusing anyone of anything of that nature. I’m merely suggesting it’s plausible. Either way, the end result has not been good enough. That has to stop if this organization is going anywhere under this ownership and this front office.

Other organizations are getting stars; athletic shortstops (Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor) and outfielders (Byron Buxton, George Springer) who get on base, show some pop and profile as high-impact talents. Corner defenders who profile as legitimate middle-of-the-order hitters (Baez, Kris Bryant), or are already (Trout, Bryce Harper). It’s time for the M’s to join that club. Thus far, Walker has been McNamara’s only upside play early in the draft.

They’re at the mercy of the top five picks in the draft, but there are more than five five future All-Star talents in this class. College or high school, hitter or pitcher. It doesn’t matter one single bit. Find a future all-star.

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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.


  1. I feel confident the M’s can make a good selection @ 6.
    I don’t feel confident the M’s can find another bat, they had some chances. So if Morrison comes back he is behind our RF turned permanent DH, Hart. If we were to sign Morales, he would have to find time with Hart, Smoak, Morrison at DH and 1B. Of course we could bring up Montero who has shown some life, and add him to the mix. Or we could call up Chris Jones to play the OF because he’s a decent middle infielder who’s been hitting. This is where I don’t feel confident JZ can pull off some slick maneuvers.

  2. Edman, I get that nothing short of consistent 90 loss seasons will ever please you. So, let’s leave it at that.

  3. “I in no way implied that Jack was not responsible.”

    Yes, you did. Almost every comment you’ve made in this thread is a defense of Jack, blaming all the problems in the organization on nameless underling. Like Boeing, remember?

    “I didn’t start the whole Tony Blengino crap, Jerry did, in an effort to validate his contempt for Jack. A disgruntled, demoted employee who was bitter about it, is not a good witness.”

    I did bring him up, as he was one of several high ranking people in the organization who ended up disgruntled ex employees. That Seattle Times article was well researched, well sourced, and incredibly damning. It shined a light into a completely dis functional front office.

    If they were winning, it wouldn’t matter! But when a team fails, consistently, for a prolonged period of time, people ask why. That article provided part of the answer.

    You can keep speculating about how none if this is Jacks fault, how difficult his job is, and how all his underlings are to blame. You’re obviously heavily biased towards the fort office, and are essentially resorting to crazy conspiracy theories to defend him. But at the end if the day, it’s the GMs job to acquire talent and bring in the right people to help them succeed. That hasn’t happened. That’s an irrefutable FACT. This team has been a failure under his leadership.

  4. mutt, I in no way implied that Jack was not responsible. Did you bother to read when I said he was responsible for hiring Tony? And, instead of firing him, he demoted him. Maybe he should have fired him, but he brought him along when he came to Seattle, and probably felt some loyalty.

    I didn’t start the whole Tony Blengino crap, Jerry did, in an effort to validate his contempt for Jack. A disgruntled, demoted employee who was bitter about it, is not a good witness.

  5. Jerry,

    Just looking at the top 6 picks from 2000 to 2011 that is 72 players. 12 are upper level players 16 cup of coffee/small role players, 44 that as of right now have done nothing. Still a crap shoot with picking so high. The best chance to get a star by position I see is the #1 overall other than that, good luck.

  6. Jack hired Tony. So if Tony failed as you say, didn’t Jack fail in his hire? You continue with the attitude that Jack does no wrong. At least that is the impression I get in your writing. Based on this string of posts, the problem with the M’s is all Tony’s fault.

    At the end of the day, right or wrong, it falls on Jack on how the team performs. It is his team that is giving him wrong information as you say. He hired his top guys, so if they fail, he fails.

  7. mutt, you’re just making an exuse to put it all on Jack. You apparently believe that Jack has so much time on his hands, and is such an anal micro-manager, that he needs to put his nose into other people’s jobs.

    Wheither you want to believe it or not, Tony Blengino factored into moves like signing Chone Figgens. Tom McNamara told him if Smoak could hit a curveball or not, or could develop the skills to be able to hit one. Yes, I know Jack is personally involved in scouting, especially the important moves. But, he hires a staff to dig deep. That’s not his job. He expects, like all other GMs, that his people provide him detailed reports.

    Tony Blengino…..wait for it…..FAILED as a statistical analyst. There is no other way to put it. He was partially responsible for all of the moves Jack made while he was Jack’s second in command. Jack depended on him to give him accurate analysis. All you have to do is look on the internet. For every player, there are ten different analysts who will give you differents data. It all depends on how well they separate themselve from being a baseball fan. We all inject personal bias.

    When Tony provides details of how he disagreed with Jack regarding all the moves that he had influence over, I’ll listen. So far, all I read in what he said is that Jack didn’t respect him. And why would he, based on the moves that Jack made, that fell into so much criticism?

  8. Ed,

    Baseball is different than Boeing and the roles of the leaders. Jack should know the abilities, strengths and weaknesses of Chone Figgins. He should know if Smoak can hit a curve ball. He should know the details of the players he is considering to acquire or sign. Sure, he takes the input of his scouts and advisors, but he has to do some digging into the details like those who work for him. A CEO of Boeing will never have to do that, but a baseball GM in my view has to.

  9. Jerry, I get that nothing short of perfection will ever please you. So, let’s leave it at that.

  10. marinermutt, of course Jack does, in a general sense. But, your comment would be like blaming the CEO of Boeing for not recognizing an engineering defect on an aircraft. You can choose to blame Jack, but he depends on good data from those who he hired to be accurate. Do you think the CEO of Boeing goes to every department of the company to verify that all data is correct? Jack gets blame for hiring him, and trusting his input. Jack saw that the data that Tony was providing wasn’t good, and took appropriate action to lessen his responsibilities. Tony was offended by having to report to someone other than Jack directly. What more could Jack have done, other than to fire him?

    IMO, Tony is much like many other data crunchers, who think that their data is beyond question. They bury their heads so far into the data, that they have absolute belief that is cannot be incorrect, or that there is any other basis by which a decision should be made. I get it, after years of reading Dave Cameron’s opinions. And, often times they get hurt when they feel their analysis flawed.

  11. I’d sure love to see a HS player picked with a ton of upside. Not that college players don’t or can’t have high upside, but I just want to see us go the HS route.

  12. The buck stops with Jack, not Blengino. Jack has the final say on the poor trades and signings he has made.

  13. Edman, you can say whatever you like about how poor Jack is doing everything he can to make this team great. But the results are clear.

    If I told you at the beginning of his tenure that we’d be in this situation six years later – with a roster that is terrible defensively, among the worst in the league offensively, lacking pitching depth, and with a farm system with little left to offer – would you have been satisfied? If I told you that the M’s wouldn’t contend until 2015 (minimally), would you have thought that was ok?

    All your rhetoric aside, this front office has failed. Their job was to build a winner, and they haven’t done that. On talent, this is a ~.500 team. Given the resources the M’s have, it shouldn’t take 6 years to build a mediocre club. All you rhetoric and excuses are just that: excuses.

    We can argue about what the M’s should have done, or should be doing. That’s at least debatable. But what is abundantly clear is that this regime has failed. That’s not debatable. At some point, there has to be some accountability.

  14. Rotoenquire,

    The success rate for the #6 pick is far better than first rounders in general. If you look at the top 5-10, it’s not nearly as much of a crap shoot. There has been lots of good research on this the last decade or so, particularly by people at Baseball Prospectus. Can’t remember the author, tho. Rany something?

    Picking that high, a team should expect to get a good ML player.

  15. Nailing a pick in MLB is not like it is in Football. Most #1 picks fail to make it to the big leagues. Looking over the draft history from 2000 till 2013 that is 1400 players taken. Of that number just over 200 have made it to the pros fro at least a cup of coffee. Of that number maybe 20 or so are mid level to upper tear talent in the pros right now. Nailing the #6 is a one in 1 in 70(ruff math) chance of picking a player who will even get a cup of coffee for his career let along be a star pick. In other words you could make 70 1st round picks and only 1 will amount to something. Some clubs have had 1-2 players in the 1st round only have a cup or coffee let alone lucky enough to get a bench player or bull pen guy out of that round.

  16. Think what you want, Jerry. I know you think you’ve got all the answers.

    BTW, are you talking about the same Tony Blengino that can’t find a job with a MLB team? Yes, he blames Jack, but if he was as brilliant as he thinks he is, why didn’t he show results when he had Jack’s ear? What was his position on all of Jack’s moves? Figgins? Langerhans? Fister? What, you don’t know, because Tony chose not to divulge the “advice” he gave Jack?

    IMO, he’s an inempt stats guy who has to blame Jack for his lack of results. Never once did he talk about how his opinions differed from Jack’s. He only implied that Jack ignored him, and he was pissed that Jack didn’t coddle him.

    I put no credibility to anyone who fails in an organization, then blames their boss, particularly if they provide no specific examples or proof.

    If Tony was as good as he claims to be, other GMs wouldn’t give a crap about Jack’s opinions. There is no “black list” in baseball. They would all take advanage of any opportunity presented to them. It is not a Country Club.

  17. Edman,

    Here is my ‘practical suggestion’: don’t make stupid moves for six years! And figure out why players perform like shit once they join the team!

    I realize that this might be a radical concept for M’s fans, but it does in fact happen with other teams.

    Its not that hard to rebuild an organization. Look a the Cubs. That team was old, had a decrepit farm system, and a LOOONG tradition of losing. But Theo Epstein got that club on the right track in 2 years. They have more young talent than the M’s after two years of rebuilding. It took him two offseasons to radically improve that club’s level of talent.

    The Astros are rebuilding the right way right now. They won’t be doormats for long. We can’t count on them to buffer us from last place much longer.

    This all doesn’t come down to wins. If the team is making progress, I’d be happy. But they make highly questionable moves all the time, and they almost always backfire. Thats a problem. If all the fans were wrong, and Jack was actually doing a great job, then we would have seen results. But Jack et al have been at it since 2008. That’s six offseasons, five drafts, and no progress! I’m not sure what world you live in, but if that type of failure is not OK.

    Despite what you say, I don’t expect perfection. But I do expect the M’s to not be terrible for years on end. Again, if you think that’s unreasonable, you’re brainwashed.

    I’m not an unreasonable fan. I just want to see progress and follow a team that shows that they have a good plan. The M’s aren’t doing that. In the first year of his tenure, Jack did great. Since then, he’s gotten progressively worse. Once I heard Tony Blegino vent about what happened inside the organization, it all made perfect sense. This club isn’t run well. The anecdotal evidence completely reinforces what we’ve seen: bad decision making and poor player development. Bad process. And (unsurprisingly), that bad process has fostered bad results.

    Finally, you’ve diverted this conversation entirely towards free agency and trades. The single biggest issue this organization has to answer is why they cannot manage to develop good players. The list of guys how have failed to reach their potential with this club is insanely long: Michael Saunders, Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, Erasmo Ramirez, Nick Franklin, Danny Hultzen, etc. Obvsiously, the door is still open with some of those guys, and Paxton, Walker, and Zunino just came up. But for some reason, the M’s top prospects don’t perform when they hit the ML level. Other clubs don’t have this problem to nearly the degree the M’s do.

    Look at the Cardinals, Braves, A’s, Rangers, Orioles, Rays, and Red Sox. Those teams don’t have perfect track records, but they at least have a decent track record of developing prospects into good ML players. The M’s are an utter failure in this regard. A big part of the reason for this – in my humble opinion – is that the team’s inability to put together a legitimate ML roster has led them to rush many of these guys, and they don’t know how to help them develop once in the big leagues. Once they reach the big leagues, they struggle.

    And because of that, the M’s have been one of the worst teams in baseball.

    Thus, your comments about the M’s needing to build a foundation are highly problematic, because its abundantly clear that they have no idea what to do with that foundation. To use your cement analogy, Jack doesn’t seem to understand anything about what a foundation looks like…….or how a wheel barrow functions…..or that you need to mix the cement with water…..or what a shovel is……etc.

    Again, I don’t demand perfection. I just want to root for a team – for once – that makes good decisions and is able to put together a good roster. Or at least an interesting roster. Jack has had 6 years to do that, and he hasn’t been able to do so. I’d love for him to prove me wrong. After Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s first offseason, I thought they were idiots. Their draft picks and trades made no sense. And they proved me wrong for two offseasons. They’ve demonstrated that their plan – while not exactly conventional – really works. Jack et al have done the opposite.

    I know you think the M’s can do no wrong. But six years to build a team that “isn’t too far from .500” isn’t acceptable.

  18. JAC, would it be possible to get a piece on surprise contributors like Landazuri, Pries, Lara, etc? Thanks!

  19. And to think, Jerry, youi made these stunning observations after just one month of the season.

    You managed to contridict yourself. You said, “Abreu and Tanaka are just more recent examples. If they don’t want to come here, then the M’s need to find someone who does.” Well, they did. His name is Robinson Cano. You know, the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove secondbaseman. You then follow up with, “The M’s either need to build a contender, or tear down the team and rebuild. Instead, they added an incredibly expensive (and >30 year old) star player to a shitty, flawed roster, and are getting predicable results.” It’s all in how you choose to paint a picture.

    How many GMs came in and turned a team completely around by being burdened with an ~ $90 million a year payroll for their first three years, and virtually no help in the farm system? His only hope was to build the farm system first, until he could get rid of the payroll he inherited from his predicessor.

    I’m not making excused for Jack, but I also understand that you can’t build a foundation without laying cement. Jack got one bag of cement and a wheelbarrow when he took the job. And from that, you expected him to build a mansion? And don’t lie to yourself, you DO expect perfection, or you wouldn’t write the things you do.

    Ultimately, Jack takes responsibility for it all. And, if he doesn’t show marked improvement at the end ot the season, it will end his tenure in Seattle. But, one month of the season won’t get him fired. Considering that he lost an All-Star caliber pitcher and a top pitching prospect before the season started, and the M’s aren’t too far from .500, I think it’s gonna be a while before he has to worry.

    There are things that need to be done, and he has five months left to show true progress. So, if you feel a need to complain, as you observe from the outside, so be it. But, I’ll listen to any practical solutions (not the we could have signed Tanaka and/or Abreu BS) before I will unsubstantial grumbling.

  20. Edman,

    OK, if you see a plan, then great. I think you’re alone there.

    What isn’t disputable is that that plan – assuming it actually exists – ISN’T WORKING. This team hasn’t gotten any better. Look at their record. Look at their standing in various farm system rankings. Look at the level of talent on the roster. Those are data. The M’s have made little or no progress in the last decade. You can’t refute that. If you do, you’re insane.

    Sure, sometimes smart moves don’t work out. But at some point, if most of your decisions turn out poorly, you have to stop making excuses. The other teams in baseball work under more or less the same restrictions as the M’s. For whatever reason – lack of a plan, poor execution of that plan, inability to develop talent, bad coaching, whatever – the M’s are consistent failures. Billy Beane works for an organization that has little money, plays in the worst stadium in baseball, and has very little fan support. But he consistently fields a good team. Why shouldn’t we expect that from the M’s?

    Even bad teams get lucky every once in a while. Even bad teams manage to compete a few times a decade. The M’s have only two years in the past 11 where they weren’t a complete afterthought by July, and both of those years were flukes. That level of failure just doesn’t work. There isn’t some magical loser vortex surrounding Seattle. I’m not asking for prefection. Just not consistent terribleness. Is that an unreasonable expectation? Nobody but you thinks that’s the case.

    Abreu and Tanaka are just more recent examples. If they don’t want to come here, then the M’s need to find someone who does. Its not rocket science. If the A’s can do it with their much more serious limitations, there’s no reason why the M’s can’t. Enough with the excuses.

    For whatever reason, the moves the M’s make turn out to be failures WAAAAY more often than successes. If you don’t see that, then you aren’t watching the same team as the rest of us. This team has been bad since 2003. We have the third longest playoff drought in baseball right now. The other two teams – the Royals and Blue Jays – are at least fielding interesting clubs. The M’s aren’t. That’s simply not acceptable. Jack has had 5+ years to fix this, and the M’s aren’t any better. That’s simply not acceptable. The M’s have money, a great park, and a great fanbase. There is no reason why they shouldn’t field a legitimate team.

    The M’s either need to build a contender, or tear down the team and rebuild. Instead, they added an incredibly expensive (and >30 year old) star player to a shitty, flawed roster, and are getting predicable results. Time for new leadership.

  21. And, it is not a “strawman” to comment on commentors who conclude that every free agent that is available, it acquirable by the Mariners. Read below how the M’s should have signed Tanaka and Abreu. There are more factors than money.

  22. I’m sure Einstein would not support a hypothesis supported by conjecture without science. The M’s have a plan, as every team does. You concluded that because they haven’t gotten the success that you hoped for, that they didn’t have one.

    They have one. None of us know what it is, other than to say that Jack has one major focus in his tenure. That’s to build an organization that has a strong farm system, than can backfill the Major League club.

    I’m sure he’d tell you himself, that he’s disappointed with players like Ackley, Smoak, etc., who didn’t have more immediate success. But, it was part of a plan. And, because it doesn’t meet your expecations, doesn’t make it less of a plan. If baseball was simple enough a sport that you just put the round peg in the round hole, and viola, instant success, then every team would be at .500.

  23. “I love the internet. GM wannabes conclude that every free agent that’s available, automatically could be signed by Seattle, because all factors, other than money, don’t matter.”

    This is a BS straw man argument.

    Nobody is arguing that the M’s need to sign everyone. I don’t want to speak for everyone here, but I just want the team to make smart moves and IMPROVE. That means getting good players and WINNING GAMES.

    There are lots of ways to win. Some teams focus on young players, like the Rays and A’s. Some teams focus on veterans, like the Yankees, Tigers, and Dodgers. Some teams do both well, such as the Braves, Cards, Red Sox, and (most recently) the Cubs.

    The M’s can adopt whatever plan they deem best, but there at least needs to be a plan. If you look at recent history, there are multiple ways to win games. But regardless of which plan they adopt, it needs to result in success at some point.

    This team doesn’t have a coherent plan, and (unsurprisingly) it hasn’t translated into good results. Why should any of us have any reason to believe that will change? Its the same crap, over and over, without any signs of positive results.

    Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

  24. Edman,

    Who said anything about the team being up for sale?

    The problem with the club isn’t ownership. Its the people in charge of talent acquisition and development. This club is failing in those two important areas, particularly the latter.

    Look at the track record: when players join the M’s – either via trade, development within the system, or free agency – they tend to underperform. You keep preaching patience, but at some point the organization needs to get these players to play up to their talent levels. At some point, its not just bad luck or random variation, but a pattern.

    You can’t put together a good team if the players on the roster keep playing like shit.

    I don’t understand your perspective on this. You keep defending the club despite a decade of poor results. Do you like watching shitty baseball?

  25. The past decade has been rough and at the MLB level may not look much better but remember the previous ten year period before that was fairly successful. That made being aggressive easier in the beginning of the current cycle. Today after a bad decade it is hard to be aggressive because the club is just attractive.
    The club is in better shape and has had more success in the minors and adding young talent. A perfect record no, but more success than the Bavasi era. If that translates into some MLB success and the front office gets a bit more aggressive it can set up nicely going forward and be a positive cycle much in the same way the past decade was negative. No idea if it will happen, the team has done a lot on the margins talent wise now can it overcome its own ugly past.

  26. Mike Axisa at River Avenue Blues reports that the Yankees have an interest in switch hitting 23-year old Cuban outfielder Daniel Carbonell. They scouted him during a workout in February and more showcase events are planned for the coming weeks. Carbonell is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, 23 years old. “Speedy and athletic with power and a strong arm,” says Ken Rosenthal. MLB recently declared Carbonell a free agent after he established residency in Mexico, so he can sign at any time. Carbonell hit .288/.378/.405 with two homers, six steals, ten walks, and eleven strikeouts in 127 plate appearances in Cuba last season before defecting. Because of MLB’s rules, Carbonell will be subject to the international spending restrictions if he doesn’t sign by July 2nd. Expect him to have a deal worked out before then. Talk about a guy the Mariners should be in on given our paucity of center field prospects. Open up the vault and help us out you tightwads. Video on Carbonell is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3OpgaDQpI0

  27. For the record, I think Engle is good at his job. He led the charge, but like most things, some caught up and passed him. You look at what other teams have done, and what Engle did while in Seattle, and he’s not the genious some claim him to be. Innovators get copied.

  28. magman, you’re free to believe what you will. I know what I read, and I leave the rest up to you. Because you didn’t know about it, doesn’t make it inaccurate. He helped (or ignored) inconsistancies with Jorge Soto’s age. That started him going down hill with the M’s.

    As for Puig, Engle most likely had little to do with his signing. They had been scouting him long before Engle was in place. International scouting with the Dodgers didn’t suddenly appear with the signing of Engle.

  29. I love the internet. GM wannabes conclude that every free agent that’s available, automatically could be signed by Seattle, because all factors, other than money, don’t matter.

  30. Edman,

    Yes it is a small sample size, but if you have ever seen tape on these players you could already see what kind of players they would become. I understand how the layman could say, “well it’s only been a month, let’s wait and see.” But our baseball division wanted to sign both of these guys desperately and I work with guys that know baseball and have been major players in the industry for a long time. And Abreu’s contract was just a steal, especially with the inflation of baseball contracts.

  31. At the start of the past off-season I wrote several posts saying they should go after Abreu and Tanaka. They could have had Abreu and as they did with Cano they could have outbid the Yankees for Tanaka but I agree he was attracted to the big city lights and the cost would have been high. GMZ has made some good moves with free agents with Kuma and Hart, he’s flubbed some too. I like his drafts for the most part, nobody gets them all right and the results are not in yet on some of his picks. His trades have been more wrong than right in my eyes. His manager signings have not been good. There’s still a lot to play for this season and this team should end up over .500, if not then Jack should be fired.
    Edman: I have never seen anything that suggested Patrick Guerrero was terminated for improper behavior. Maybe you have a source not available to others. Engle must be bad at international signings, like Puig for instance. What did he ever see in that guy?

  32. Better strap in, Jerry, because unless you’re Geoff Baker, I don’t see anyone who’s of the belief that the M’s are up for sale. It all starts there.

  33. Edman,

    Again being a team homer.

    Here’s a larger sample for you:

    2014: 11-14 .440
    2013: 71-91 .438
    2012: 75-87 .463
    2011: 67-95 .414
    2010: 61-101 .377
    2009: 85-77 .525
    2008: 61-101 .377
    2007: 88-74 .543
    2006: 78-84 .481
    2005: 69-93 .426
    2004: 63-99 .389

    That’s TWO winning years in the last decade, and no evidence of improvement. ZERO playoff appearances.

    I’m amazed to say this, but the M’s did just as well under Bavasi as the current regime.

    If you look at all aspects of talent acquisition over the past few years – drafting, intl amateurs, trades, free agency – there are more failures than success stories. The M’s aren’t good at putting players into a position to succeed. At some point, you have to stop making excuses for them and point out the obvious: what they are doing isn’t working! And it’s due to a bad process that (unsurprisingly) produced bad results.

    Good teams get talent in diverse ways. Good teams have the balls to make smart risks, and reap the benefits more often than not. Good teams put those payers into a situation where they can excel. Good teams bring in good people to run key parts of the organization, and when those people leave, it’s because they are getting hired by other clubs who hope to emulate that success. And they consistently win as a result.

    The M’s only add talent through the draft, and those players don’t often turn into good ML payers. The M’s are risk averse, and the few times they have made bold moves, they’ve gotten subpar results. The M’s have a pattern of good players failing after joining the team, both free agents, trade acquisitions, and minor leaguers. The M’s have a very public and embarrassing tendency to alienate their own employees, who leave to take lateral or worse jobs with other teams (and later tell Geoff Baker horror stories about how disfunctional the team is). And they consistently lose as a result.

    Maybe I’m just spoiled now because the city of Seattle finally has a well run sports organization. But at some point, a good process spurs good results. The M’s don’t have the former, and won’t get the latter until major changes are made. The Seahawks success just serves to highlight that. I don’t think this team has any chance for sustainable success under the current regime. And history and facts back that up.

  34. dwcoop, how many years of Major League experience does the average player take to reach that level? Don’t know? Then don’t make general statements about how long it should take. Like most Americans, if it doesn’t happen immediately, then it’s a failure.

  35. rjfrik, normally agee with your comments but Tanaka and Abreu is way to early to call these good signings. At the time, the thought was Abreu’s bat was slow. And Tanaka pitched all those innings and pitch count issues in Japan. Let’s review the signings in another year or so and see if they are still as good as you think.

  36. It seems at best premature to say the M’s have drafted well when none of those names mentioned would even be a second thought as an all-star. None have even played like major leaguers (except Seager — who’s not had a very good start to this season).

    If you are convinced that these were good picks, then the M’s either have been very bad developing them or very unlucky.

  37. rjfrik, one comment…..small sample size. It’s too early to make bold statements.

  38. I agree with Jerry, the M’s have to do a better job at targeting and signing (even if that means offering more then the competition for top talent) International players, especially top tier Cuban’s and Japanese professional free agents.

    Abreu and Tanaka were no brainers this year. Instead of signing Hart and trading for Morrison, go out and sign Abreu (who’s contract is an absolute STEAL) and provide proper protection for the guy you just signed for 240 million dollars. It wasn’t hard to see what kind of bat Abreu had, all you had to do was watch his film. For a team that was desperate for a hitter it made no sense to not go after the guy. Abreu is making 7 million this year, Hart will make more then that this year (because he’s on pace to hit certain benchmarks). Whitesox grabbed Abreu for 6 years and 68 million, I think you could have won the bidding on him for 6 years and 80 million and that still would have been a steal for Abreu.

    Tanaka was another no brainer, he’s young, good and a front line starter that will anchor a rotation for a long time and I understand 155 million is a TON of money, but that is the going rate for a 25 year old ace. Unfortunately unless you really blew that number away you weren’t going to get him away from NY because of his wife.

    I understand that the M’s aren’t made of money but to win in this league you need to sign perennial stars when they become available at young ages and the only place those type of players become available is on the International Free Agent market. The M’s need to start tapping into this pipeline.

    And Edman, I agree with you that this draft isn’t important for Jack, per se, but it is important for the Mariners. The last time the M’s were in the position Bavasi blew the pick on a closer because he thought that Fields could be on the big league club in less then a year. I just hope JZ doesn’t make that same type of mistake. I’m really hoping Jackson falls into our laps and Tom jumps on the kid.

  39. JAC, thoughts on Indiana’s C Kyle Schwarber or Sam Travis sneaking into the top 10 picks?

  40. After a little thought, why is this draft critical for Jack? Many of you think Jack will be gone after this year. If so, why would it be critical for Jack. It is critical for the M’s, but apparently, how he drafts won’t save his job.

  41. Holy crap, Magman, where did your rationality go? Bob Engle, as good as he “was”, gets a lot of credit for signing Choo and Felix, but he also invested millions in kids who never got past AA. Bob Engle’s signees should be filling the roster, yet, they aren’t.

    Engle didn’t get let go, he quit. And why? Because he was upset that Patrick Guerrero got let go, for unethical pratices. That’s right, unethical. There are right ways, and wrong ways to do business. Patrick took part in age tampering.

    Engle was a good International scout. And yes, he takes a lot of credit for Hernandez and Choo. Who beyond those two, did the M’s benefit from, because of Engle?

    Bob didnt’ fill the minors with talented players. He had a couple of star players, but not much else.

  42. GMZ blew it when he let Bob Engle and Patrick Guerrero our Dominican coordinator get away, the Dodgers jumped at them. The new Dominican academy will help attract and develop players from the whole Latin American region and is a firm indicator of interest, it’s going to cost $2-$3 million a year to operate. Gohara from Brazil and Ramirez from Nicaragua show they are getting around. Choi from Korea and Iwakuma from Japan indicate a Pacific Rim presence, plus players from Australia, Holland, Germany and South Africa show their interest is wide ranging. They also sign players like Forrest Snow from independent leagues. Their scouting is good, management and prospect development skills not so much.

  43. I’m hoping they have a good draft. They need to add some premium talent. The draft and intl market are the best places to get elite players, and the ms aren’t really getting it done.

    I think the international market is where we’ve really shit the bed, though. Besides Gabriel Guerrero, Victor Sanchez and Luiz Gohara, we don’t have much in terms of intl talent in the organization. Who’s the last intl player who’s made an impact on this club? Michael Pineda? The only intl player on the Texan signed and developed by the ms right now is Roenis Elias. That’s PATHETIC.

    If you look back at our track record for developing top intl talent, it’s really bleak. Especially position platers. I know those guys can be high risk/high reward, but we aren’t getting anything from that area. Its worse now that Engle and his staff are gone. We used to do well on the international market, but I think that’s changed. That puts a lot of pressure on the team to acquire talent through the draft and free agency. We’ve only drafted well, and more often than not failed to turn those good drafted prospects into quality ML players.

    Good teams get talent through every way possible. Look at the Cardinals, Red Sox, Dodgers, and Cubs. Those are well run teams that get talent from diverse sources: draft, trades, intl amateur market, intl ‘big name’ market, and free agency. This team hasn’t done that.

    Unfortunately, it’s looking more and more like the ms will have another high pick in the 2015 draft.

  44. docsmith,

    I like Franklin quite a bit but I’d trade two of him, literally, for one Lindor or Baez. Baez has a 3B power but has a shot to stick at SS. All-star. Lindor is a surefire shortstop with similar offensive upside as Franklin. That’s not to rip Nick. I think he ends up a steal at 27 in 2009 and at the time most clubs had him mid-2nd. Kudos to TMC.

  45. eknpdx,

    Yes, it happens a lot, but most often with area scouts who have little to zero input how players are evaluated once they are in the system.

  46. As fans we want Jack Z to “nail the draft,” but as far as his job security goes it doesn’t really matter. Unless the team experiences a dramatic change, he won’t be back next year regardless…

  47. The 2011 draft was highly rated. But it didn’t work out for a number of teams with the top picks. 1) Cole, 2) Hultzen, 3) Bauer, 4) Bundy, 5) Starling, 6) Rendon, 7) Bradley, 8) Lindor, 9) Baez, 10) Spangenberg, and 11) Springer. Talent wise, Hultzen was a reach, but I remember a number of posts about “signability” taking Bundy, Starling and a few others off the table. I’d call Starling the biggest bust. Bauer may be putting it together now, but there have been skeptics in the last couple of years. Bundy had tommy john and I believe is still out (at least no stats on BA). Rendon is playing well now, but has lost time to injury so, we’ll see. Bradley’s ERA >5 in AAA. And while I don’t mean to be disparaging about Lindor and Baez, as they are top prospects, but there MiLB lines aren’t that different than Nick Franklin (OBP/OPS of 364/831, 334/881, and 361/741 for Franklin, Baez, and Lindor, respectively). That is great, especially considering the defensive value, but how much better are they than Franklin? Overall, Hultzen may be a bust due to his injury. We’ll see, but I’ve read “doesn’t look good” too many times. But, even in well regarded drafts, “sure fire” doesn’t necessarily happen. Just isn’t that easy. That said, I’d like to see a “high upside/best player available” draft pick this year.

  48. JAC, do you think talent evaluators preconceived takes on players before the draft effect their evaluations years after the players are drafted and rise through the ranks?

  49. You’re right Jason. For some reason I thought it was the 18th pick, it was the 20th right? And I also thought he signed later then Feb.

    Memory is fading, it seems like that was forever ago.

  50. Seattle would have had pick 21 for not signing Fields. Also, he signed in February of 2009, long before Trout had wow’d scouts. Entering the amateur season, Trout was just a good athlete. Wasn’t even in the early conversation for round 1. So, it’s unfair to tie the two together, making the Fields signing that much worse than it was with which to begin.

  51. Most clubs didn’t like Rendon’s medicals. Washington took a risk. Maybe it pays off. Maybe not. Had no issue with Seattle passing on him.

  52. mgvernon,

    Walker also fits that bill, Seager might, too. But not getting more out of the top picks is a bad thing regardless of what occurs in later rounds. Walker was a comp round pick. Paxton 4th rd, Seager 3rd rd… go get bigger value in the top 10 and this team is in a different position right now. Again, not all about the picks themselves. Player development has to do their job, too.

  53. Hultzen was a reach in most circles, sans the M’s circle and there was better talent on the board. Bundy was off limits but Rendon, Lindor, Bradley and Baez were all considered for the #2 pick and on most boards and rated above Hultzen. It wasn’t a gigantic reach but it was a reach and we are talking top talents, it absolutely kills a team to pick the one guy out of five that doesn’t make it, out of the top guys on the board. It sets the club back and that is exactly what it has done.

    Ackley was the universal pick at #2 in 2009 so you can’t fault the M’s for that. But a mistake was still made in the 2009 draft and that was to give Fields an offer in the 25th hour. It really made no sense, as a new GM you would think you would much rather have the 18th pick for you to choose “your guys” then sign a pick selected by the guy who just got fired. And the M’s were in on Trout that year and I strongly believe if they had kept the pick they would have had a VERY hard time not selecting him at #18.

    These are little things, but little ripples like that are exactly the types of things that turn you in to a perennial contender or not.

    Jason is right, this draft is crucial for JZ and frankly, it might be his last one.

  54. eknpdx,

    Jackson is by far the best prep hitter, but Gordon, Gatewood and perhaps Gettys have as much overall upside — they’d just come with more risk. Gatewood is probably a 3B or RF, not a SS.


    Yeah, there isn’t any SD I have run across or heard about that works harder than McNamara. And his people under him work their tails off, too, or they get sent packing.

    Hultzen was a reach simply because he didn’t carry the big upside. His ceiling was No. 2 starter. It wasn’t a terrible pick by any stretch. I wanted Francisco Lindor. I also wanted Rex Brothers or Matt Davidson in the comp round a few years prior, and didn’t love the Franklin pick by any stretch… this is why I’m here and TMC is a big-league scouting director.

  55. Ask me in June, Coug… I’ll have a much better take on that kind of thing at that time. I won’t see many of these players live so it’ll take until I can talk to those who have.

  56. JAC, what’s your take on the talent spread between Jackson, Gordon and some other HS possibles like Jacob Gatewood or Michael Gettys? I’m not finding enough info on them to distinguish the ceiling/floor expectations. Gettys is the one that I wonder about most.

  57. I love the Seager story. McNamara seems to be a guy who does his homework, and clearly doesn’t have a hands-off approach when it comes to letting his scouts do the work. I can’t imagine the amount of detail he must have to sort through mentally. I talked to Butch Baccula (sp?) at an Aquasox game. He indicated that McNamara spends a lot of time on the road, just before the draft. He must rack up the Frequesnt Flyer miles.

    About Hultzen, he may have been a reach, but it was a slight one. It wasn’t a big gap at all. If he hadn’t gotten injured, he’d be one of the top lefthanded starting pitchers in the minors. Pitching is volitile, hense the expression “you can never have too much pitching.” The rash of injuries this year is frightening. I know it’s just a matter of a bad-luch year, but it’s hard to keep that in perspective.

  58. Reasonable observation but picking the golden kernel from the highly hyped chaff requires some luck as well as skill. I would argue we already have a player who will meet the All-Star standard in Paxton.

  59. JAC- I was wondering if you had a list of 6-8 players in this draft that, barring injury, you would be mildly surprised if they didn’t reach said level you spoke of?

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