It’s no secret that the Mariners need to upgrade in the outfield. Despite hitting a major league best 84 home runs, M’s outfielders combined to produce a .242/.307/.405 line for a 95 wRC+. Additionally, with Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse receiving significant time in the outfield and Michael Saunders manning center, it’s no surprise UZR graded the Mariners as the worst defensive outfield in the majors. Overall, their outfield totaled -0.4 fWAR. Only three teams fared worse.

So far, the Mariners have acquired Corey Hart and Logan Morrison, both of whom can play the outfield in theory. But, with Hart’s double knee surgery, and LoMo being better suited for first base, they might make fans pine for the days of Ibanez. With most of the big-name free agent outfielders off the board, and sneakier acquisitions such as Nate McLouth and David Murphy signing, possible upgrades would have to come via trade, unless the Mariners think Nelson Cruz is a viable option. He’s not. The following are a few trade targets that the Mariners could pursue.

1. Cameron Maybin. Depicted above, Maybin is an ultra-toolsy centerfielder who has had trouble both living up to his potential and staying on the field. Still, he’s not yet 27, and he’s been above-average in his two full seasons. He’s owed $21 million over the next three seasons, with a $8 million team option for 2017. From 2011-12, Maybin produced a .253/.315/.371 line for a 96 wRC+. Combine that with 66 stolen bases and solid defense, and you get 6.5 fWAR. Knee and wrist issues have limited him in other years, and he hit just .157 in 57 plate appearances in 2013. If he can stay healthy, Oliver projects him for a .250/.323/.379 line for a 101 wRC+ and 3.6 fWAR. Given his currently low value, the Padres may be reluctant to trade him, but it’s an intriguing idea.

 2. Jon Jay. While he had a bit of a down year in 2013, as his wRC+ fell from 117 to 104 and his outfield defense suffered, Jay has averaged 2.7 fWAR over the past three years, which is more than Dexter Fowler. The 28 year-old outfielder has a career .293/.356/.400 line for a 112 wRC+. For his career he’s been slightly below average in center, which led the Cardinals to acquire defensive wizard Peter Bourjos. Perhaps Jay will play a platoon role for the Cards, as he owns a career 117 wRC+ against righthanders. But, with incumbents Matt HollidayAllen Craig, the aforementioned Bourjos and tooled up prospect Oscar Taveras crowding the outfield, Jay might be expendable. With three years of team control remaining, Jay would be a nice fit, and he wouldn’t cost one of the Mariners best prospects. Though he doesn’t have the array of tools that Fowler does, he’s been better through his first three years.

 3. Brett Gardner. Though the Yankees have stated that they have no intention of trading Gardner, that statement has to be taken with a grain of salt. The 30 year-old Gardner will hit free agency next offseason, and should earn at least $4 million in arbitration this year. He may not possess the wheels that allowed him to steal 96 bases from 2010-11 , but he still produced a solid 2013 season, hitting .273/.344/.416 for a 108 wRC+ and 3.2 fWAR. For his career, he’s averaged 4.8 fWAR per 600 plate appearances. Gardner is an excellent corner outfielder who can play a solid centerfield. Additionally, he runs the bases well, and owns a career .352 on-base percentage. Overall, he possesses a very similar skill set to Michael Bourn, though Gardner has been better in nearly every category.

4. Jose Bautista. This would be a major splash for the Mariners, and would likely require that they trade away either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. Though injuries have caused him to miss 114 games the last two seasons, Joey Bats has still managed to club 55 home runs and compile 7.2 fWAR.  Since 2010, Bautista has produced a .268/.390/.570 line for a 158 wRC+ while walking nearly as often as he strikes out. Even with the time missed, only Miguel Cabrera has hit more home runs. He’s also signed to a very team-friendly deal that calls for him to earn just $14 million over the next two seasons with a club option for the third. Both Steamer and Oliver project for him to produce between 4 and 5 fWAR. While rumors were swirling earlier this offseason that the Jays were discussing a Bautista trade with the Phillies that was centered around Domonic Brown, that gossip appears to be unsubstantiated. Understandably, the M’s are reluctant to part with Walker, who looks to be major league ready and has the makings of a future ace. However, they would have to think long and hard if the Jays were willing to part with Bautista, who I believe would be a significantly better investment than David Price.

Any of the above players would represent a significant upgrade to the Mariners outfield. With the exception of Bautista, they’re not splashy trades. However, they would be much better investments than Cruz, and it’s better than taking on salary by trading for Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier.

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  1. Hi my pal! I would like to state that this information is astounding, good authored and may include almost all very important infos. I want to glimpse much more posts similar to this .

  2. If they were able to sign Tanaka, then take Walker and pieces and go get Stanton.

  3. Whatever else they can add or improve will be big but as it exists now this is a .500 team. Steamer projects them at 83.1 wins and there are realistic possibilities for improvement without further changes. The whole AL West has improved this off-season so gaining on the pack will be tough but the Astros will probably win more than two games against the Rangers this season so all of the division teams will be challenged. I don’t see the M’s contesting for the playoffs in 2014 but 2015 is a possibility. It pretty much depends on how our former prospects do as players. They can’t keep buying respect for $240M every off-season. I would hope we could get Tanaka but outspending the Yankees when they need him even worse than we do is going to be a low order of probability. I’d put our chances at about 10% of beating out all the teams that will go for him. I wish they had spent the $240M on him, he’s more likely to earn it.
    Two years of Arroyo for $25M would probably be worth it, we need at least one rotation piece. The rest are way over-priced. The price of Cruz and Morales is dropping by the day it seems but I wouldn’t want Cruz anyway but Morales is a handy bat to have around.

  4. Daniel Murphy is a 2B, and should not even be considered for an OF spot. Right now we have 6 OFers including Morrison/Hart and 6 infielders, project 2 catchers, which leave 11 pitching spots. If you want to improve the OF, someone has to be traded (or send down), and I think that a CF is sorely missing. I suppose Maybin may be the answer, but not so sure the Padres want to sell low, but still a gamble. Are the diamonds in the rough better than Almonte/Ackley/Saunders. I’m not so sure, I know Blanks is a no field type. I don’t think Colvin (another 1B/OF type) has done anything Saunders hasn’t with Saunders being the better fielder. Snider not known for his defense (or offense) but still some say he has both, is not a CF. But Snider does have upside and like Saunders has not played to his potential yet. Might be cheap enough, I do like this guy as a diamond in the rough. Sizemore of course was a star when healthly and could play a good CF, but can he even play? Can you carry both Sizemore and Gutt., I don’t know. But I really don’t see the diamonds in the rough adding any value unless you can come up with a bonafide CF. Either way, someone has to go.

  5. Author

    Ehhh, Colvin’s 2012 looks like it was all helium. Those strikeout rates are way too high. There’s not really any harm in adding him, but I don’t think he or Blanks or Snider does anything that the existing guys can’t. They’re all bat-first guys that haven’t hit particularly well. Tanaka would obviously be huge, but they might need another free agent arm as well unless they feel that Walker and/or Paxton are ready to contribute right away.

  6. Yeah, the M’s added some good vets this offseason. If they can do two things – add a good starting pitcher and avoid doing something dumb – this will be a positive offseason.

    But those vets won’t carry this team to the playoffs, either next year or 2015. Right now, we’ve got Felix, Cano, Iwakuma, and Seager as established, good players. To even get above .500, they’ll need to develop at least a few league average players from the group of Smoak, Saunders, Ackley, Morrison, Almonte, Montero, Miller, Walker, Paxton, Ramirez, Maurer, Hultzen, Morban, Romero, or whoever. Evaluating those guys will be a huge part of next season.

    Because of all those question marks, I think this team will have a wide range of variability next year. If they get lucky and a handful of those guys play well, they could be really interesting. If they don’t, this will be another rebuilding year. But no matter how things play out, I think this team is clearly getting better. They weren’t going to buy a contender this year. Getting respectable and figuring out who will help them long-term is enough. The M’s REALLY need to avoid the idea that everything must be accomplished this offseason.

    This team is in ‘get better quick’ mode, not ‘win now’ mode. That’s an important distinction.

    Thus, since that last outfielder just isn’t available on the free agent market right now, they need to resist the urge to do something Bill Bavasi stupid. If they can’t get fair value – and Daniel Murphy isn’t fair value – for Franklin now, they should just wait. Bring in some ‘diamond in the rough’ types, and hope for the best.

    If they could add Cameron Maybin without trading any of our best prospects, great. His salary sucks, but he would be a great add if he puts things together.

    Barring that, there are some potential diamond in the rough types that won’t cost much:
    -Tyler Colvin
    -Grady Sizemore
    -Kyle Blanks
    -Travis Snider

    Those guys won’t cost much (or anything in the cases of Colvin and Sizemore).

    Colvin in particular would be an awesome pickup. He’s a free agent, and will be 28 next year, so his future isn’t what it used to be. But in 2012 he hit .290/.327/.531, and he can play all OF positions. He’s the token AAAA guy, as he hit .293/.396/.518 in AAA last year, struggled after a promotion to the majors, then missed a bunch of time to injury. But he’s a good candidate for a platoon, can play multiple positions, and has some power and upside. He wouldn’t cost anything to pick up, and would give the M’s a bit more depth. If he hits, great! If he doesn’t, stash him in AAA. No worries. He’d probably jump at the chance to sign with the M’s given the wide open situation in the OF right now. And if that blockbuster trade pops up later in the offseason, Colvin certainly won’t hinder their flexibility.

    A great finish to this offseason: Tanaka, Rosney Castillo, Tyler Colvin, a minor trade for Kyle Blanks, and some bargain shopping for a reliever or two. That’s a solid offseason.

  7. Makes sense to me Jerry. Franklin is indeed of real value even if he struggled the last two months of the past season. He and most big league players struggle from time to time and he has shown he has more pop than expected for his size. It’s not guaranteed that he will become even an average hitter but I like his chances based on what he has shown to now. If he hits decent he’s going to be a valuable commodity, a young middle-infielder with six years of club control.

    How well the team does in 2014 will in part be determined by what they obtain and/or give up in talent from here on obviously. It will also depend on how our young players produce or fail, how the previously damaged vets produce, how Walker and Paxton do in their first year, if they make the team and whether the pleasant surprises outnumber the unanticipated problems. Who knows? Not me, but I’m looking forward to finding out. It’s going to be hard to gain on the other AL West teams, they have all improved too. We have a new manager that looks like an improvement to me.

  8. I agree with that, but the M’s still need to make reasonable inclemental improvements regardless if they are going to “contend”. They have a lot of tools – young players and money. I’m not saying that have to act now, I’m just saying those tools are a limited resourse, use them wisely. Also if there are any trades to be made, in my opinion, they will happen after the M’s are finished spending in free agency. I don’t think the money spout is turned off yet.

  9. The thing we need to be cognizant of is the M’s place right now relative to other clubs. Despite all the moves – and I’m assuming the M’s will add another good starter before spring training – this club is still probably at least a year away from being a legit playoff contender. The nice thing about Cano and potentially Tanaka is that they can be building blocks for the next 5 years, along with Seager, Felix, and Iwakuma. To be competitive, the M’s are also going to need major contributions from guys like Zunino, Walker, Miller, Paxton, and the young guys in the bullpen, plus hopefully a few surprises. I don’t think anyone foresaw how good Seager would be, or that Miller would emerge as a solid starting SS. The M’s really need a few more pleasant surprises, along with continuing development from the core of young talent. That won’t happen immediately, and forcing things towards an unrealistic timetable will undermine the team in the long term.

    The timetable we are likely looking at is respectability in 2014 and consistent contention beyond that. The REALISTIC goal is maybe 80-85 wins combined with major strides by younger players. That’s a solid, attainable goal: getting out of the gutter, building the core of a good team, and finding out who will be the central guys going forward. If they get lucky, they might even compete with Texas, Oakland, and LA. But that shouldn’t be the standard of success.

    Thus, trading a player like Franklin for someone who will be a free agent next offseason isn’t going to help the M’s when it really matters, and Walker plus other prospects for David Price is short-sighted. Although many on this blog don’t seem to recognize this, Franklin is a really good young player and a valuable trade commodity. If the M’s can’t get equal value for him, they should just wait. He could potentially be a major part in a blockbuster deal that nets the M’s a legit star later on. The WORST thing they can do right now is adopt a “win now at all costs!” mentality. Thats dumb.

  10. Besides being factually inaccurate as Chris pointed out, the failure rate of first round picks is entirely irrelevant to this discussion. Franklin has already gone through the minors and reached the big leagues. He’s not just some random draft choice: he’s already jumped through many of. The most important hoops. Citing numbers from random draft picks is irrelevant: Franklin is a ML ready talent.

  11. Author

    Cain or Pollock aren’t coming cheap. They’ll cost more than any of the guys in the article except for Bautista. Maxwell is a 30 year-old platoon corner outfielder.

  12. Author

    Those are made up numbers. 24% of the 2010 first round has reached the majors. The numbers are lower than that for 2011 and 2012 because it’s too early for most of those guys. Over 60% of the 2009 first rounders have reached the big league. If you want to look at success rates for draft picks, this is more helpful http://bit.ly/1cM1pmf

  13. No. I don’t think he’s major league ready, striking out 25% in AAA last year after terrible time @ Minn. I think M’s need bonafide CF, IMHO.

  14. You would have to give up more than you think to get cain or pollock.

  15. How would the community feel about Aaron Hicks? Was rushed and struggled a bit in his only MLB action, but still young and has tools galore. Minn has Buzton coming as soon as ’15, and little MI depth to speak of. Franklin for Hicks, straight up… Any takers?

  16. Jerry

    People are wanting to deal Franklin. I am not advocating trading him. I just don’t think the market is what you all think it is.. If it were he would ahve been delt by now for the dream guys you all say he is worth. Mets are asking for a young SS in return for Murphy. Just as Tor wants 2 young SP’s for Rasmus.

    Here is some info about prospects. Of the 1st round picks drafted in MLB from 2002 till 2012 only 19% become major leaguers. Of that 19% half become above average talent. The numbers for the top 100 prospects each year is not much better. You would be suprised how many teams miss on #1 picks.

  17. I like cheap, athletic and under-valued types like Lorenzo Cain, AJ Pollock or Justin Maxwell more than any of the above options. All of those players wouldn’t cost a good prospect and would allow the M’s to spend their remaining $ (however much that is) on a starting pitcher. Jack Z needs to get creative.

    Maybin might make some sense, but he’s pricier and can’t be counted on.

  18. That’s exactly right Gibbo. If Franklin had stayed down on the farm the whole year he would no doubt be a top 20 prospect and possibly top 10. He would have the same value as Montero had when the nets received Pineda for him, or Smoak when the Rangers received Lee for him. He would and should net a very good return. He should net a young valuable player, who is projected (like Franklin) to be a good, cost controlled MLB player going forward.

    Other teams know Franklin’s value, the key is for JZ to know this as well, so he doesn’t trade him just to trade him and receive less value then Franklins worth. I don’t think JZ will be fooled and it wouldn’t surprise me, if the right offer doesn’t come along, for Franklin to go down to AAA and play a little OF while we wait for a competitive offer.

  19. This comment is a great example of promotion bias, in which fans suddenly underrate a player upon reaching the big leagues.

    I agree that Pederson will probably rates around ~#30 on prospect lists.

    But where do you think Franklin would be if the M’s hadn’t promoted him so quickly?

    Don’t forget that Franklin hit ..325/.440/.470 in AAA last year. And that wasn’t empty, as he was young for the level and had great peripheral stats. If he hadn’t lost eligibility, his stock would be waaaaaaay up.

    Right now, he’s a more valuable commodity than Pederson. The two are very comparable: both “gritty” types who play above their tools, and with very similar track records. Franklin is just a year ahead of him, and has already made the jump to the big leagues.

    It’s strange that people overlook guys like this. It’s a strange sort of limbo between being a “Top Prospect” and “Established ML Player”. Not even Mike Trout dominated in his first taste of the big leagues.

    Why so many people miss this is strange.

  20. I think some are under valuing Franklin. @ Roto. You say Pederson is a top 30 prospect, well Franklin was around 60 last year at a position where hitting is scarce. If Franklin hadn’t got his feet wet last year what would he be, probably a top 20 prospect himself. Look back at his track record in the minors, he often struggled when he was promoted. I am not saying he is worth a Taveras, Buxton etc, but he is probably closer to a Pederson with something else possibly added. If you can’t get a quality OF prospect back why trade him because as others said he could become our super sub.

  21. The Yankees and Dodgers have both been talking about rebuilding their barren farm systems. The Yankees are just talking but the Dodgers are committed to it. You won’t get Pederson or the younger Seager away from them, it would be easier to get Kemp or Ethier by assuming their contracts and throwing in some B or C grade prospects. The M’s should be the same with Walker and Paxton, pitching is our greatest need in a pitchers park and real prospects are gold. We are lucky we have a decent farm system in the coming market. Putting up with the past four crap years is almost worth it. With all their money the Yankees will take more than four years to build a farm system of value. We should also bless Justin Upton for not liking Seattle and hope Z has learned his lesson from that near disaster.

    Ackley was an outfielder in college but switched to 1B his last season due to shoulder or arm surgery. He wasn’t asked to switch to 2B until he joined the M’s. He has good wheels and will do okay in LF or RF, preferably LF as his arm is not a cannon. I wouldn’t give up Franklin for any low value piece, send him down to Tacoma to learn the outfield. Given our casualty ward graduates roaming our outfield we need plenty of backups.

  22. Author

    The idea that some players are “Proven” is largely a myth. Maybe the error bars are not as wide with sme players than others, but there’s still a lot of risk involved with Murphy. Sure Murphy has a couple decent seasons of 2.8 and 3.0 fWAR, but he also has full seasons of 1.0 and 1.3 fWAR. He’s also a mediocre fielder at best wherever he’s played.

  23. D. Murphy as in Daniel of the NYM played 0, as in Zero games in the outfield last year. Why do you think that is? This is the same guy who had multiple blunders in left field appear on a Sportscenter’s “NOT Top 10” in 2012. He played 150 at 2B. Does anyone see a problem with this fomula? Why would you trade a 2B with nothing but upside (Franklin) for a 2B who has played a few games at LF/1B/3B, but who is a 2B for all intent and purpose? Why? Even with Franklins late season crash he had 2.3 WAR in his rookie year and is under team control until 2020. Murphy had a WAR of 3.0 in 2011 and never above 1.8 in any other year and is only under team control until 2016. Murphy is a nice role player but he doesn’t make sense for the Mariners and is not worth Franklin.

  24. I don’t think the Dodgers,Cardinals,Pirates,or any of the teams are going to trade any of their up and coming superstar outfielders for Nick Franklin. Those are players they are trying to hang onto. To get Pederson from the Dodgers they are gonna want Walker to start. They invested a lot in Guerrero to play 2B and still have Dee Gordon to play 2B/SS. Teams that need a 2B are who we should be looking at Toronto-Atlanta-Yankees etc. I believe the Yankees and Blue Jays both want Franklin so we should hold out for them to cave in. Bautista would be an amazing get and maybe if we sent them Paxton with Franklin it gets done. We could try to trade Franklin straight up for Anthony Gose or maybe we send him to New York for Gardner or even for Rasmus with an extension only making the deal work.

  25. @Jerry

    Pederson is a top 30 prospect. The M’s do not have anything that would net that unless it involved Walker, Iwakuma or Felix were involved in some way. That and the dodgers have no need to trade him much like the M’s have no need to trade Franklin.

    D. Murphy is an above average player and is proven, that is what has value unless there a top end talent such as Walker. Contracts are just part of the whole value. Talent is a larger part of it. Franklin has the potential to be a better player. But potential don’t mean he is a guarentee to make it come together. Look at our own team with Smoak or outside our team with B. Taylor or M. Bush.

  26. Instead of trading for one-year rentals, I hope Jack talks to the Dodgers about Joc Pederson. This could be a great trade fit.

    Although the Dodgers supposedly aren’t shopping Eithier or Kemp anymore, they still have a serious logjam of OF talent. Joc Pederson is coming off a very good season in AA last year, but will be blocked for the next few years barring injuries or trades of two players currently at the ML level.

    The Dodgers just signed Cuban Alexander Guerrero to play 2B, but there are lots of question marks surrounding him. Plus, they just resigned Juan Uribe to play 3B, and he is coming off a season that looks really flukey. He’ll be 35 next season, and is a prime candidate for a huge regression. The Dodgers also have Hanley Ramirez playing SS, and he’s a prime candidate for a move to 3B sooner or later.

    So, the Dodgers could definitely use some depth in the infield.

    Although Franklin put up better minor league numbers and has already gotten a taste of the big leagues, Pederson is a pretty comparable talent. Pederson probably needs a bit more seasoning in the minor leagues, but he should be ready sometime in 2014, if not right out of spring training. If the M’s could pull off that deal, they could add a few other guys for extra depth and see what happens in spring training.

    This is the type of deal that makes sense for the M’s. The M’s have a backlog at 2B/SS, and question marks in the outfield. The Dodgers have a backlog in the OF, and question marks in the middle infield. A prospect for prospect trade makes a ton of sense for both teams.

  27. I think Franklin is going to be a good player for many years. His struggles late last year are nothing, and he probably gained good experience. Make no doubt, Franklin has talent and he’s already better than Daniel Murphy. Now the Indians just signed David Murphy who’s a pretty darn good outfielder. I think you guys are talking about different Murphys. I also think if Franklin isn’t going to play SS or 2B, give him at shot at CF. A lot of CF’ers started at SS – Paul Blair, Robin Yount to name a couple.

  28. That 400 inning sample is so small that it’s meaningless. That’s like judging a hitter on 50 PAs,

  29. Author

    Mariners fans might be overrating Franklin, but swapping him for Murphy or Rasmus would be nuts. Murphy is an average player that will be entering arbitration, Rasmus is a solid player with star upside but with just one year of team control. No way Franklin could bring in Polanco or Marte, but he’s worth more than a rental or three years of an average player.

  30. Author

    Thanks. I doubt Venable gets moved as the Padres signed him to an extension in September. Ackley still has a lot of work to be done in order to be a viable centerfielder. It’s only a 400 inning sample, but UZR graded him as the 4th worst centerfielder in baseball. We can debate the reliability of defensive metrics, but they’re not missing the extreme ends of the spectrum.

    If the Mariners get anything out of Gutierrez in 2014, it has to be considered a bonus. 2009 was his last productive year, and it looks like his defense has dropped off significantly since 2011. He’s almost 31, and the projections for him are awful, even based on a full season which is highly unlikely.

  31. I completely disagree. I think M’s fans undervalue Franklin because he struggled late last year. That was entirely predictable, since he was rushed to the big leagues. He was just 22, and had less than 500PAs above AA. Almost all players struggle with that type of challenge.

    If you think he’s worth David Murphy, you’re nuts

  32. I think you’re right: he will get paid big time. And that’s the problem.

    I’d love to have Rasmus on the team, but there are three great reasons why now is the wrong time to get him: 1: he’s playing for a contender, and would cost a lot; 2: he’s coming off a career year that looks unsustainable; 3: he’s coming off a career year one season before free agency, and would be stupid to sign for much below his current market value.

    I’m sure Rasmus and his agent are aware of what guys like Elsbury and Choo are getting right now, and is looking forward to an even weaker market next offseason. With comparable players like Ellsbury, Choo, Pence, and Granderson all getting over $15 mil, Rasmus could be looking for (and probably get) $20 mil per year.

    If the M’s did acquire him, he would have little motivation to resign unless he gets paid something approximating what he’d get next offseason. He’s only one year away from free agency, and is coming off a career year. In his position, a good year in 2014 will earn him a TON of money, but a mediocre year (more like the .225/.300/.400 seasons he’s had) won’t cost him too much. He’s already set up for a huge payday.

    Unfortunately, the biggest difference between last years .275/.338/.501 performance and the .225/.300/.400 performance the two years before is a very high BABIP. That’s almost definitely unsustainable. The most likely outcome is that he settles in somewhere in between. It will be interesting to see what his ZIPS projection is, but both Oliver and Steamer produced remarkably similar projections of .250/.320/.450. Don’t get me wrong: That’s a good player. By that realistic projection, Rasmus would be a 3 to 3.5 win player.

    The problem is, that’s a pretty similar projection to Franklin in 2014. But Franklin is 22, and has 6 seasons of team control yet. Oliver projects him to be a 2.6 win player next year (Steamer is way lower, based almost entirely in a low projection of 200 PAs next year). ZIPS projects him as a 3.2 win player. He certainly has upside for more. Thus, these two are pretty similar. Franklin is younger and has a greater chance of busting, but he also has more upside.

    However, Franklin will probably make the same salary in the next five years that Rasmus will get in arbitration this year alone. Hypothetically, if the M’s could get Rasmus for Franklin straight up, they’d be paying free agent price for a similar player in exchange for the most valuable commodity in the game: cheap, cost controlled talent. Sure, Rasmus would help the M’s win more games next year, but in the long run this type of trade is what gets GMs fired. It’s similar to the Bedard trade: mortgaging the future for an inconsistent and expensive vet coming off a career year. In that deal, the M’s would be getting $10 now for $8 this year, $12 next year, and $70 over the following four years. That’s a dumb trade. Only a crackhead makes that deal.

    Nick Franklin is a really good player. If they can’t trade him for a player of similar value at a position of need, they should just be patient and wait till midseason or next offseason. The key word there is VALUE. You don’t trade players. You trade contracts. Nick Franklins contract is worth far more than Rasmus’ right now.

  33. Interesting and well thought out ideas Chris. Maybin is similar to Gutt in that he is almost considered a lost cause but has so much talent. So his trade value is down and Padres hold on to him, which also hurts in that they need to keep Will Venable. Venable is a guy I think you could add to the list. Plays good outfield, has speed, has pop, can play any outfield position. I almost wonder if they would take Smoak and something for Venable in that I don’t think they are too high on Alonso anymore. Would love to see Gardner or Rasmus roaming centerfield. The Mariners have the prospects/young players, it’s just up to JZ to find the right match, which I’m sure is not that easy. I wonder if Franklin can transition to CF. Ackley did it in a flash. Franklin is probably the better athlete.

  34. If the M’s can get Rasmus and an extension for Franklin, I’d make that trade. Rasmus was worth 4.8 fWar last year, and even with a decline in value projected for 2014, he’s easily worth $15 million annually. Not too mention, how many centerfielders who can hit 20+ HR a year and be very strong defensively, and are available? That’s a very minute list my friend. Franklin has great potential, yes, but with Cano, Seager, and Miller situated in the infield for the next 5+ years and Ackley still in the picture, getting a premier CF for Franklin would be an ideal situation.

    Rasmus has finally started to fulfill all the hype he had about him when he was drafted by the Cardinals. He’s greatly underrated, and if the Jays don’t re-sign him, he’s gonna get paid big time as a free agent.

  35. Ackley was drafted as a second baseman. He’s only played 25 minor league games in the OF, and those all came last year at the Triple-A level. Anything is possible with respect to Dustin’s future of course, but as of right now he’s a good defensive second baseman, but a poor defensive outfielder. He’ll be better than Raul Ibanez in left, but if he’s able to even be average in the outfield in 2014, that’ll be a huge plus for the Mariners.

  36. Think Franklin has value but not as much as you all are putting on him. Homer value. Franklin and a minor prospect may net you D. Murphy. Mets are looking for a young controlable SS.

  37. With Rasmus from everythign I can find online they want 2 quality SP’s who are young. Giants players such as Kickham and Mejia there # 5 and 10 prospects. To compare that would be us giving up Paxton and Sanchez.

  38. Six years of Fanklin is worth way more than Rasmus, even if you could resign him. That’s a bad trade.

  39. I said there was no way we get polonco for franklin. I heard itois club doesnt want to post him plus isnt he in his 30s ? Franklin for rasmus as long as we can extend him.

  40. @Shawnuel Murphy has played LF in the past. 60 games LF with an above .980 fielding%. 200 games at 1B and 300 at 2B all with above .980 fielding %. Slight power and speed with above average defence.

    @davis09 Try Walker to get Polanco and Pit does nto need Franklin nor a top prospect SP they have a lot of those already. As to Itoi he asked to be posted Japanese papers been talking on it. US papers only talking Tanaka right now. And that is right on Castilla but I look at the M’s being the team to beat in 15 with a greatly improved 14 season.

    @Gibbo Pederson is untouchable with what the M’s have unless they are trading King Felix and that ain’t happening.

  41. I would totally do 17 Mill per for 7 years 119Mill. Gibbo, I like the thought process, but think it would take a little more than Franklin to get Polanco or Pederson. Maybe not, just my gut talking.

    I am confused. Dan Murphy from the Mets? The 2nd Baseman? Does he play left field also?

  42. No way franklin gets you polanco. He is one of the top 5 prospects right now.

  43. Ackley was drafted as an outfielder with above average defensive skills. Nothing’s changed on that front. He’s just rusty. I don’t think he belongs in CF, but he should become an elite LF defensively.

  44. I am all for finding that diamond in the rough like they did with Guti. A guy like Borjous would have been perfect. But not sure there are many left around now. So maybe Maybin or Gardner arent bad options if the cost isnt prohibative. As for Polanco not being available, I think if you offered Franklin they would listen. If we trade Franklin it needs to be for a guy that is controllable and gives us the OF depth we are missing. So Polanco fits so too does Joc Pederson and both the pirates and dodgers have the OFers to cover lowing them if they are weak in other areas. You can the go into the season counting on Hart, Ackley, Guti, Saunders and say Maybin. The thing is with Guti we should go into it believing he will be injured and miss significant time. If he is injured and Hart and Morrison start playing the corners regularly then we are in trouble.

  45. Doesnt look like itoi will be posted but like de aza and ruf. Dont think philly wants to move darrin ruf and castilla wont be available until spring.

  46. Dyson in K.C. CF
    Terdoslavich Atl RF
    Reimold Balt RF
    Carp Bos LF
    Lake ChiC
    De Aza ChiW
    Kemp LAD
    Duda NYM RF
    Murphy NYM LF
    Ruf Phi LF
    Almonte NYY LF
    Denorfia S.D. RF
    Y. Itoi CF Japan
    R. Castillo CF Cuba

    All could be had and the m’s have the depth in the minors to add any of these players. Kemp would cost to much in my opinion. De Aza and myrphy could be solid adds and Ruf could be a cheap outside the box get.

    Itoi from japan would be the ideal get and not coast any minor league talent. Same with castillo who just defected from Cuba dn is one fo the top F/A now on the board. He is waiting for league approval whe he sets up his residensy to be able to be posted.

  47. There is no way the pirates trade polonco he is as good as tavares in st louis. It may make tabata available though. I think cain in kc and rasmus are great fits

  48. I would really like Gardner and Maybin too, both have downside looking at player control or reliability,but I do believe we need a strong CF to balance out the roster. Depth is a great thing and we definitely need it. Bautista would be awesome but probably costly. I have seen another move mentioned elsewhere that also sounded pretty good. Gregory Polanco from the Pirates, they have plenty of OFers and need a 1B, we would have to add but start with Smoak plus.

  49. I wonder how good Ackley will be given a full offseason to work on converting to the OF.

    The sample size for him last year isn’t enough to derive any useful conclusions based on defensive stats. He seemed serviceable out there based on just watching him, and you’d expect his jumps and instincts to improve. He has the raw tools and athleticism to do well there, and he clearly puts effort into defense based on how he did in the conversion to 2B.

    I’m not saying he’ll be great, just that it’s a possibility. Given the dearth of options available to the M’s right now, giving him a chance to play there isn’t the worst option. With Morrison not a legitimate defensive player, and the questions about how much Hart and Guti can (or should) play, Akley is a nic guy to have on the roster. He could easily be one of our best OFers next year.

  50. Author

    You might want to make a more comprehensive evaluation than just looking at OPS. Among players with at least 600 innings in center UZR grades Saunders as the worst defender. Broaden the search to 400 innings, and Ackley is the 3rd worst centerfielder. DRS says they’re both poor as well. Saunders’ steamer projection is for 1.0 fWAR in 611 PA. Jay is a passable defender, and Maybin is very good and they should both hit at least as well as Saunders.

  51. Batista and Maybin are both interesting, in very different ways.

    This is a bad year for free agent OFers. Unfortunately, next offseason is quite a bit worse: Coby Rasmus and Brett Gardner are the only impact players likely to hit free agency. Nick Markakis, Denard Span, and Alex Rios all have options that are likely to get picked up if they play decently. So the M’s would be unwise to expect to finish their shopping next year.

    We really need to fleece some team out of a decent player in an under the radar move. Sorta like the Indians did when the stole Choo from us. Get busy Jack!

  52. Yeah, unless Jack Z can pull off a brilliant trade, I’m wondering if just playing it cool isn’t the best idea.

    Right now, we’ve got two OFers with upside in Saunders and Ackley. I think Ackley could turn into a very good player either in CF or LF. And Saunders is league average and can play all three positions, with a little upside for more. Guti and Hart are huge question marks, but if either or both can get heathy, we’ll be in decent shape. Plus, it gives us some flexibility:

    Good defensive alignment: LF Ackley, Guti CF, Saunders RF.

    We had the worst OF defense in baseball last season. That’s a huge upgrade.

    Ideally, Hart surprises people and can play passable defense in RF, too. The best scenario is one where Guti, Hart, Ackley, and Saunders each get significant playing time, allowing them to utilize platoons and keep everyone rested.

    The M’s could hedge their bets and improve depth by bringing in some players with upside, like Tyler Colvin, Grady Sizemore, or Travis Snyder. Those guys would be cheap to free, and would help fill out the roster in Tacoma. Another guy who could be available is Melky Cabrera.

    Then, the M’s can evaluate where they are an potentially add someone mid-season. As teams fall out of contention or promote players, we could see solid veterans become available. Maybe someone like Nick Swisher, Michael Bourne, Jose Batista, Denard Span, etc. Last year the Rangers picked up Alex Rios for a modest cost, and he’ll help them out through next year. If the M’s of is terrible, they could always look to address it midseason.

  53. In a short season while dealing with a shoulder injury he had to play thru, Michael Saunders OPS as good as Jay and better than Maybin.

    Let Ackley and Saunders show what they can do and if they aren’t getting it done, make a June/July trade. These kids are cheaper and under team control for a while. If the M’s move Saunders and he goes all Jayson Werth on us, I wouldn’t be very happy.

  54. Tanaka has some interesting numbers floating around. 17 Mill per for 7 years 119Mill to sign. He would be 32-33 when the contract is up.

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