Justin RuggianoThe Seattle Mariners added another right-handed bat to their roster today with the acquisition of outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for minor league pitcher Matt Brazis. The former Cub had a .281/.337/.429 triple slash during an injury-plagued 2014.

Intense trade rumors have swirled around the Mariners for the past 24 hours after Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reported that the Seattle was close to trading for a hitter.

Although  it’s uncertain if a larger deal is imminent, adding Ruggiano definitely addresses an area of need for Seattle; outfield depth and value. Since the end of the season, Seattle has parted ways with free agents Endy Chavez and Chris Denorfia and traded Michael Saunders to the Toronto Blue Jays.  On top of that, recently-signed Nelson Cruz is expected to be the primary designated hitter in 2015 and will only play the outfield sparingly.

The departure of Chavez, Denorfia, and Saunders provides General Manager Jack Zduriencik with an opportunity to upgrade a Mariners outfield that ranked near the bottom of the American League in 2014. Although Ruggiano only provided substitute-level value in 2014,  Saunders and Dustin Ackley were the only Seattle outfielders who exceeded his .4 fWAR.

Ruggiano, who is capable of playing all three outfield positions, provides manager Lloyd McClendon with additional roster flexibility. In 2014, he played 38 games in the corner outfield spots, while patrolling centerfield for 18 games. He could be used as a part of a right field platoon or team with Ackley in left.

The Austin, Texas native can also serve as a right-handed bat off of the bench; he had a .296 batting average during 29 pinch hitting appearances in 2014. Ruggiano has hit second thru ninth in the batting order, although nearly half of his 2014 plate appearances were in the two hole, posting a .327 batting average.

Throughout his relatively short major league career, Ruggiano has performed well against left-handed pitching with a career .836 on-base plus slugging (OPS).  He continued that success against southpaws in 2014 with a.305/.333/.512 triple slash, while posting a respectable .268/.340/.380 against righties.

The 32-year-old has made several trips to the disabled list (DL) during his career. In 2011, he lost 23 games to knee bursitis. In 2014, he had two stints on the DL missing 66 games due to groin, hamstring, and ankle issues. The ankle injury led to season-ending surgery in August.

Entering his second year of arbitration eligibility, Ruggiano is projected to make $2.5 million after earning $2 million in 2014. His addition will be more costly Denorfia ($2.1 million in 2014) and Chavez ($750,000).

Justin Ruggiano isn’t going to replace Michael Saunders and he isn’t the offensive boost that the Mariners or their fans desire.  But, he is a younger and better version of Denorfia and Chavez and he’ll improve the outfield’s depth and overall value provided he recovers well from his ankle surgery.

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  1. Yes he is all of that, but there’s plenty of clubs who value those traits too. SD doesn’t have a *need* for him right now and could use some extra depth after all the trades made. Keep in mind it was the old regime that extended him and said he wouldn’t be dealt. Things are very different in SD now. Would almost be surprised if he isn’t traded, at this point.

  2. Lets put it this way in regards to Smith. The Padres have TONS of right handed bats in the regular line up. Smith is cheap and a power bat that plays in the OF and 1B and can pinch hit. I would be surprised if he got traded. He most likely will be staying.

  3. Ripperlv,

    I totally agree. But the M’s would be wise to add more depth in the OF and 1B/DH so that Montero isn’t Plan B. We all agree that Montero has talent, but he’s squandered it. But he’s still young and could still turn into a good player.

    Having depth means you don’t have to count on him. If Montero corrects his deficiencies, shows up in good shape, and hits like he’s capable of doing, he could force the M’s hand by mid-season. But the important part is to create a situation where he has to win playing time, not get promoted by default because Morrison gets hurt (which isn’t a rare occurrence).

    Thats why I compare him to Hultzen. Both have talent, but both have HUGE question marks that makes it unwise to expect much from them. So you plan as if they don’t exist, and hope that you get a pleasant surprise.

  4. Montero can hit. His problem is the headset seperator. Of course he has no value now, so there is nothing to lose. At worse he flops, and a few teams would take a flier. At best, he comes to spring training and competes with Morrison for the job. Maybe even a platoon with Morrison giving LoMo a few outfield starts. I expect he’ll be at Tacoma as depth and in a best case, knocking on the door as a call up. His time is running out but I havent given up on him.

  5. Once again, you misconstrue my whole point about Jesus Montero. Most have written him off completely. I still think he could compete for the backup 1B role and pinch hitter against lefties. In this alone, he would be a big surprise and a contributor. This is not me suggesting he will, even at best, be a major or big contributor. Stop being a jerk and putting words in my mouth, taking my position out of context, and now suggesting that I am backtracking. You’re a real work-of-art here.

  6. Gonzo,

    Nice backtrack attempt. I didn’t mischaracterize anything you said. You wrote, several times, that you thought the Ms would stand pat, and that Montero would be a big surprise contributor. I disagree.

    Regarding my ’emotional meltdowns’, while I certainly appreciate your concern for my psychological well being, I think you are vastly overstating my reactions to the Ms bad decisions. I’ve been a hard core Ms fan for a long time, including throughout the Bavasi era. If I had an emotional meltdown every time the Ms made a bad decision, I’d have died of a coronary a long time ago. I’ve been very critical of the team for the past few years (last offseason was an exception), but I don’t take this nearly as seriously as you seem to think. I can disagree with what they do without it being a ‘meltdown.’

    Resorting to personal attacks like that is classless and unnecessary. I could call you a brainwashed homer, but I don’t know you and thats not particularly useful. We are all rooting for the same team. I like to discuss things, and enjoy a good argument. I apologize if I overuse words like stupid or silly, but I try to restrict the use of those terms to ideas as opposed to people.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You might think I’m overly critical. I think a lot of people strain reason to make sense of bad transactions, or operate on the assumption that the people making those decisions are doing so based on some hidden knowledge that is beyond our comprehension. I don’t think the front office has earned that level of confidence. But please don’t make assumptions about my personal life and frame of mind.

  7. Roto,

    No man look at his career numbers they are horrible offensively. Better yet let me give you a comparison to career stats.

    Player A Career # 2068 PA .246/.309/.365 OPS .673 over 8 years and 561 games
    Player B Career # 3436 PA .270/.308/.364 OPS .672 over 13 years and 1151 games

    Player A Cameron Maybin
    Player B Endy Chavez

    Again Maybin has 8 years in the majors and only 2 seasons (2011 and 2012) were over 137 games basically full seasons. Heck his next two highest game seasons were 95 last year and 82 in 2010. Maybin while a solid get as you put is nothing more than a 4th outfielder at this point. He is hurt all the time has two “decent” seasons under his belt from 2-3 years ago. Dang man Ruggiano has better numbers offensively than Maybin and he isnt considered a starter. The defense is the difference between Ruggs and Maybin. Ruggs projected to make 2.5m in his second arb and if we got Maybin 5m this year 7m next year and up and up. We dont need a black hole in the OF we need a proven offensive player who wont kill you with defense. We have big question marks in LF in Ackley and I expect Jackson to be better than his awful tenure so far with the M’s is no guarantee either. A strong platoon is what we need in RF at this point and Maybin doesnt fit that build.

    As for you comparison to Utley and Stanton due to their injuries I dont even know how to respond to that. I guess Stanton and Utley have been stars if not the best at their positions and have actually put together some incredible numbers even while hurt. I dont get where you were trying to go with that but what has shown you in his recent past that he is worth the investment not only in money but in trade cost as well? Those two years you are referring to are his ONLY 2 years he has been better than replacement level in his 8 years in the bigs. While I get your view point in the value of Maybin I dont agree.

  8. I like Maybin too. The Padres have a bunch of interesting players who don’t fit into their current plans: Maybin, Carlos Quentin, Seth Smith, Will Venable, and Rymer Liriano. Wonder what it would take to get Smith and Quentin. We could use the depth, and Quentin could help if spread between DH, 1B, and RF.

    The Red Sox are still a possible match as well. Even after dealing Cespedes, they have a glut of OFers.

  9. Maybin has been hurt the last two years. So he has good years in 11 and 12 then got hurt 13 and 14.. so he is not a good player due to injury years. Well heck with that logic Utley should have been cut 2 years ago and Stanton will be a flop now because he got hurt near the end of last year. If he is healthy and from what is out there he is. He would be a solid add.

  10. Roto,

    Maybin is horrible offensive player. His defense is solid but he is not worth his contract as a replacement player. He has had two decent seasons and they were in 2011 (137g .264/.323/.393 40SB) and 2012 (147g .243/.306/.349 26SB). He hasnt played more than 95 (last year) except for those two seasons as well. I wouldnt pay him more than 5m per if I would even go that high. He isnt really hasnt developed like most thought.

    Seth Smith is the target to get for the M’s out of the SD OF period. He is signed to a cheaper contract than Maybin and is one year less. It breaks down like 6m for 15, 6.75m for 16, and 7m option for 17 with a 250k buyout. Yes he is 32 this coming year and is only getting older but he has a established track record and smashes righty’s which is perfect fit for the M’s as the platoon RF with newly acquired Ruggs. For his career Smiths splits vs. righty’s is .277/.358/.481 with 77 of his 85 career HR. If you want to spend money and talent you get a guy that fits your needs more and Smith>Maybin no question.

  11. I would rather see Maybin he is a buy low guy. Right handed solid defence and a 32 hitter for the M’s. He is also signed to a very friendly contract. 5Mill in 14, 7Mill in 15, 8Mill in 16 and 9Mill in 17 with a 1 mill buy out. Also Maybin adds mad speed as a starter rather than a back up like Jones would be.

  12. Now the Friars are swapping catcher Hannigan for 3Baseman Will Middlebrooks of the Red Sox. The stockpile of catchers has just shrunk for SD.

    Would six years of Chris Taylor for two seasons of Seth Smith be a fair straight-up swap?

  13. “They need a SS and Taylor or Miller could net you a nice piece. Most here would want to trade Taylor 1st in a deal.”

    Yes. Don’t trade Miller. Trade Taylor or Marte over Miller, although the Friars are in a win now mode, so I think they would go for Taylor. What would it take to get both Seth Smith and an upgrade at catcher behind Zunino?

    Taylor, a decent reliever who is ML tested, and a solid prospect???

  14. “I’m sorry, but if you think the M’s are counting on Jesus Montero to be a big contributor this year, you haven’t been paying attention.”

    So, in addition to coming off like you’re having an emotional meltdown after Cruz was acquired, after Saunders was traded, and choosing to ignore the value of the M’s extending Seager, you put words into other commenters’ mouths. I never once suggested that I was counting on Montero to be a “big contributor.” Rather, I am not ruling him out as the last RH player on the bench to back LH LoMo and pinch hit against lefties, IF no one else is brought in for this role, and IF he is, in fact, getting his head out of his ass.

    Yes, your overreactions get old, Jerry.

    What is new and amazing this offseason are the SD Padres getting Wil Meyer, Matt Kemp, and SUDDENLY Justin Upton! All of the sudden, the trade of Seth Smith should be more realistic than ever. There is no reason that the M’s shouldn’t go hard for the lefty. Maybe, just maybe, there is something in the works already. Ackley, AJackson, SSmith, Ruggliano, Cruz, Bloomquist would be a solid outfield corp with good options.

    What will it take to acquire Seth Smith???

  15. Padres strike again. From reports Upton is headed to the Padres. That means the Padres have a lot of extra OF’ers now. Maybin and Venable not to mention Smith and Liriano. They need a SS and Taylor or Miller could net you a nice piece. Most here would want to trade Taylor 1st in a deal. But the Padres are primed for more trades. They also have an extra amount of catchers that could be an upgrade over Sucre.

  16. Gonzo,

    This is getting old, but I just have to say that there is nothing at all inconsistent with what I’ve said. The M’s are trying to win, I just don’t agree with their plan to do that. They might end up with a disappointing option in RF or DH (if they did decide to play Cruz there), but they will add someone. I think this is one of the safest assumptions we can make at this point.

    Speaking of assumptions, we are both making them. But mine are based on logic and everything we’ve heard from the team during the offseason. Yours aren’t.

    Its VERY clear that the M’s view themselves as contenders and are looking for outfield upgrades. I don’t agree with the specific moves they’ve made, but that doesn’t mean that they plan to go into the season with what they currently have. They’ve been clearly linked to Kemp, Upton, and Cabrera, but didn’t get it done. Its very obvious that the M’s aren’t confident in the status quo. Everything points to them making additional moves.

    You suggestion that they are done is an assumption that is : A) contradicted by everything we’ve heard on the rumor mill, and B) contradicted by common sense. I don’t think the M’s are well run, but they aren’t THAT stupid. If you’re right, they need to be fired and replaced immediately. Going into the season with what we currently have in the OF and DH would be idiotic. The M’s are in win-now mode. They are more likely to overpay for Upton than do that. Or Seth Smith, Norichika Aoki, Colby Rasmus, Dayan Viciedo, or Delmon Young. The M’s jettisoned our best OFer because they didn’t like him, but its also pretty clear that they don’t view Montero, Romero, and Jones as major contributes either. My rationale for that assumption: everything they did last year, and everything we’ve heard this offseason.

    I’m sorry, but if you think the M’s are counting on Jesus Montero to be a big contributor this year, you haven’t been paying attention.

  17. “This is all a moot point. The Ms WILL make another addition or two.”

    Sorry, Jerry, but I’m not missing your point at all. You assume what the M’s WILL do from here on out. Have you been blind to the last seven seasons when the M’s have stopped short of addressing our outfield inadequacies? Seven seasons of a substandard outfield and record setting ineptitude at the plate.

    All I hear is your bellicose reaction to this off-season by the M’s and suddenly you’re arguing that you are confident that the M’s will make another addition or two. So, if you’re so sure, then stop blubbering over The Condor going home to Canada until we see what the M’s do or don’t do to replace the hole his trade created. Stop whining over Cruz as our DH until you know what the outfield looks like, because you can’t have it both ways. Why cry if the M’s WILL address the things that so upsets you? Try to be consistent.

    The questions surrounding players like Jesus Montero, James Jones, Stefan Romero, or Chris Taylor are hardly moot until those moves you are certain WILL happen actually go down.

  18. Gonzo,

    You’re completely missing the point.

    The problem with Montero isn’t he fact that he was implicated in the Biogenesis scandal (although that certainly doesn’t help his case). The problem with Montero is that he isn’t very good at baseball, and hasn’t shown any willingness to do what is necessary to become a productive player.

    The other guys you mentioned – Cruz, Cabrera, and Braun – are good players. Nobody is singling out Montero unfairly because of PED use. If that was his only problem, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The problem with Montero is that his work ethic sucks. He’s fat and doesn’t work hard, and his performance has been terrible. He’s done nothing but regress since we acquired him. He can’t catch, and his hitting isn’t nearly good enough right now to justify time at DH or 1B. Until that changes, giving him playing time on the ML team is a waste.

    Montero still has talent, and the M’s are wise to keep him around and see if he can pull his head out if his ass. But if they do what you suggest, and fail to add any other hitters, then they are aggregiously incompetent. Montero has done everything possible to crap away all the opportunities he’s gotten. Expecting anything from him would be GM malpractice. If he shows up in great shape, has a huge spring, destroys the PCL for a while, then Morrison or Cruz get injured, then maybe. But the ms would have to be complete morons to not build more depth. You simply can’t count on him to help the team right now.

    This is all a moot point. The Ms WILL make another addition or two. I like Rasmus. Seth Smith would be a good fit. There are many other options: Aoki, Craig, Victorino, etc. Hell, even Delmon Young would be better as a bench bat. The Ms are just as unimpressed with Montero as the fans are. He has a lot to prove. The Ms will surely add depth so that they don’t have to count on him for anything. Not doing so would be really dumb.

  19. Not many places that need a starting cf, he may have to play rf no matter where he goes

  20. Ahh, Jerry,
    The point you miss is that my whole projection of Jesus Montero in the 2015 25-man roster is predicated on the M’s NOT making anymore moves. You may call them stupid or shitting in their own bed for this, but I’ve seen Hot Stove high expectations for the M’s to address the outfield since 2008, and this glaring weakness has yet to be fixed, especially not with expensive platoon Free Agents. Personally, I don’t think the M’s make anymore moves (but I would be happy if they did).

    Again, what the M’s are likely to do and what you approve of them doing seems to be causing you great angst. If Miller wins the SS spot, and WillieB is our very likely Utility Backup at SS, then Chris Taylor probably goes to AAA. If so, then I would expect Jesus Montero, if physically fit and hitting in ST, will be on the big team. Currently, there is no power hitting backup for LoMo. And even if Miller becomes a Zobrist-in-Training, then one can argue that Montero, again if he is productive in ST, makes as much sense as keeping James Jones on the roster.

    Pay attention: This discussion all changes if the M’s bring in another outfielder or 1st baseman.

    And Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Jesus Montero, Ryan Braun, ARoid and the others indicted were all cheats, liars and jerks in the Biogenesis Scandal. Singling out Jesus Montero for your wrath more than the others is hypocritical. Their lack of integrity here has nothing to do with how well they play. They have all been punished, and it’s time to move on. The M’s are NOT dumb to EXPECT more from Jesus Montero. He will be in better shape. The young man may never perform well in the majors, but let’s see what Spring Training brings, if indeed he is still with the Club and not traded.

  21. I agree sign rasmus now before the cubs or orioles do. He was physically not right last year and playing half his games on grass will help. I think he will have a year closer to his 2013 season. If he wants more than 2/20 move on but he wont cost any players and he could be the steal of free agency

  22. Although I would not mind Rasmus, he is an above average CF. Why would he move to a corner OF position to come to Seattle. He wil probably sign a one year deal in hopes that his market value can be restored. And to rebuild that value, he’ll probably want to stay in CF.

  23. Gonzo,

    “Expecting anything from him is just dumb.”

    Sorry if that came off as rude, but its true: Montero – at this moment – is a complete disappointment. The key word there is ‘expect’. I’m not saying Montero has no chance. If that was the case, the M’s should trade him for whatever value he might have, or just release him. As it stands, they might as well try to fix him. That’s not dumb. Perhaps he’s turned a corner. Its worth a roster spot to wait to give him a last chance.

    But you can’t count on him by any means. Thats what I meant by ‘just dumb’: he can’t be expected to help the big league club at all. He’s a nice to guy have around, but he’s a lottery ticket, and the M’s would be stupid to not have several other options – more probable options – ahead of him in the depth chart. Don’t take it personal, but you were penciling him in as our DH for a good chunk of next season. He’s an asset that hasn’t panned out, and it costs us little to try to help him develop the work ethic necessary to be a good player. But expecting that to work out isn’t smart.

    That is why your comparison with Melky Cabrera is so inappropriate: Melky has actually been a good baseball player. Montero hasn’t. You can expect Cabrera to play a major role on a club because he has a track record of doing that in the recent past. Montero has a track record of coming to camp fat, and describing his offseason training regimen as ‘…all I did was eat.’ His track record has been squandering his talent. Before you can expect him to be different, he has to show that that is the case. I hope that the things we’re hearing about him changing his ways are correct, but the offseason is full of those types of stories. Most of them turn out to be nothing more than offseason wishcasting. Expecting him to help the club is thus incredibly unwise. Sorry.

    As for me being mad at not being the M’s personal consultant, that’s just a silly comment. The entire blog is full of comments by people suggesting that player X, Y, and Z would be good fits. We all have opinions, and you are certainly entitled to your own. My opinion is that the M’s are in the process of shitting the bed this offseason. There is still time left to fix things, but the team has an opportunity to be really good next year, and they are instead making dumb decisions. Thats my opinion. Its one held by many M’s fans.

    Your main arguments for why this offseason makes sense can be more or less summed up thusly: perhaps the M’s know something that we don’t, and have some ‘grand plan’ that we just don’t understand.”

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think this front office has done nearly enough to warrant that type of blind faith. They aren’t the Seahawks or A’s, who consistently make moves that seem strange yet more often than not work out. The M’s don’t have that track record. I spend a lot of my time and money following this team. I plan to exercise my right to criticize them when they do something that makes little sense to me. Regardless of what you say, I don’t go ballistic when they make stupid decisions. I just call it like I see it. I don’t get angry. But I do become disappointed. I’ve followed this team for a long time, and it pisses me off when they make decisions that don’t make sense. You can operate on the assumption that they know best. I’m not going to do that, though. Sorry if that bothers you.

  24. Ripperlv,
    Obviously, Rasmus does have negatives, which is the only reason why he might be a bargain. Defensively, he’s much better than any of the other players we are talking about. He’s an above average CFer. The OBP is the most problematic part of his game, as is making contact. If he’s hitting above .250, his OBP is acceptable (as it was in 2013). But he needs to work on his approach, definitely. Any player the M’s will be considering now will have warts. I just think that Rasmus’s skills (raw talent, power, good defense, youth) and the fact that he probably won’t require a big money contract make him the best compromise at this point.

    Obviously, that remains to be seen. Every year, one or two players fall through the cracks and sign for reasonable prices. Rasmus has real negatives, and might get a contract less than Rios (whose contract was pretty shocking). Maybe you’re right. He doesn’t fit nearly as well at $15 mil. I’d guess 2/20 would get him signed, though, and he’d be a good value at that price. If it gets stupid, the M’s can just look elsewhere. We’ll see what happens. But I’d definitely be interested at 2/20 or that neighborhood.

  25. “Expecting anything from him is just dumb.”

    Your tact is rather amusing, Jerry. I like your opinion about signing Colby Rasmus, but just because the M’s don’t treat you like their personal consultant before making moves, doesn’t mean we should follow your lead and go ballistic every time we don’t like or understand a particular transaction.

    We don’t know what went sideways with Michael Saunders, but he was in the doghouse to start 2014 when Lloyd didn’t play him much, and in two years he suffered two oblique strains. What is his workout regimen like? Were all his injuries flukes?

    There is this thing that some of us do in analyzing the M’s hot stove moves or non-moves called trying to put ourselves in their shoes. Yes, they are tight lipped, but there is much to glean from looking at their past behavior. Elite players will get paid: Cano, Felix, Seager. Mid-tier free agents, where we hope for upside, seldom get signed for multiple years, especially after Figlet bombed.

    But why shouldn’t we expect more from our asset, Jesus Montero, despite the newly turned 25 year old’s errant ways? We know he has been in the M’s doghouse all last season. We know he was read the riot act after the ice cream taunting incident. We know he has spent the offseason in Peoria with his wife and kid working out instead of overeating in Venezuela. The last part tells me that the Mariner Organization is “being just dumb” (your words) in trying to restore value from this young player who has always been able to hit ML lefties and was once touted as the best Minor League prospect in baseball.

    Whether he is being showcased for a trade or being rigorously groomed to play DH/1B this season is anyone’s guess. Melky Cabrera’s fake website to hide his Biogenesis connections was every bit as “dumb” as anything Jesus did. He cost the Giants 50 games of his play down the stretch of a playoff run. But he is given a second chance because of his on-the-field talent. Do we judge Jesus by a harsher standard because he didn’t pan out as a catcher and never showed he could hit RHP all that well? Seems hypocritical for anyone clamoring for Melky. Were you in the sign-Melky camp, Jerry?

    Jesus Montero walks a fine line between being a total bust or DH/1B bench player. Expecting the he is currently trying to salvage his career is not “dumb.” Expecting that the M’s will salvage value is not “dumb” either.

  26. Smith and Ruggiano is the platoon.

  27. Rios got 11 Mill so the market is wacked.

    Rasmus could get 15 Mill in this market and his known attitude and lack of OB5 makes him a no to me.

    I push Aoki because he is a plus defender he would be a solid #2 hitter and would be a better value. We can have all the guys people you want who have the ability to score runners. But you need guys who get on base. Jackson and Aoki batting 1 and 2 would be solid.

  28. I think you are taking a biased view on Rasmus, poring on what you like while ignoring the negatives. His OBP was a nightmare last year. His UZR was like a – 8.8. He has been very inconsistent. While he has a lot of skills and athleticism, try to be objective. The Cards couldn’t wait to trade him. More than a few rumblings exist about his attitude. All that said, I wouldn mind seeing him roaming the outfield. But there’s no way IMO that he agrees to a platoon situation. And I don’t know, but I expect he’ll get a bit of a market and will be overpriced. Lastly, Steamer doesn’t feel like he going to have a very good year.

  29. Just sign Colby Rasmus!

    Why he fits:
    -he’s a great defensive OFer
    -his pull power would play well in Safeco (his spray charts are very similar to Kyle Seager’s)
    -he’s only 28
    -he’d benefit from being in a platoon, and is a perfect complement to Ruggiano
    -he’s got a ton of untapped potential, and could benefit from a change of scenery
    -he’s already had success, including a 4.8 WAR season in 2013
    -he would give us a lot of flexibility, as he could take over in CF if Jackson continues to struggle or give us an insane defensive OF if he’s playing RF
    -he won’t cost much in salary or years, and won’t cost us prospects or draft picks

    Basically, Rasmus will help the team right now even if he doesn’t improve as long as he’s used properly: limiting ABs vs tough lefties. But he has upside to be way more than that. The guy has tons of talent, but struggles a bit due to a poor approach at the plate. He could flourish with the right instruction and in the right environment. None of the other guys currently available – Smith, Aoki, etc – have that upside. If the ms could get him on a reasonable salary – 2 yrs + option would be perfect – he could be an absolute bargain. Jackson is only under contract for this year, and isn’t exactly trending in the right direction. Rasmus could eventually take over in CF, leaving us the option to add another hitter next offseason (Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Gordon, ect). In the meantime, he’d be great in a RF platoon, and is the rare type of hitter that tends to do well in Safeco. And if he struggles, he’d still be a useful player.

    Do it Jack!

  30. “Cruz will see 25% to 50% of his games in the field, which makes a revitalized and more determined (and hopefully mature) Jesus Montero DHing as a potentially valuable surprise piece in 2015.”

    I hope you’re wrong about this. Cruz is a bad defensive player, and is just getting slower. If Cruz is playing RF a lot, it basically means something went wrong. Or it means that Jack failed to get a decent OFer. Even someone like Aoki would be a HUGE improvement over Cruz in RF and Montero at DH. The more time Cruz is playing in the OF, the worse off this team will be. They need to replace Saunders. Now.

    Montero needs to earn his way back. That means sending him to Tacoma until he earns a promotion. Expecting anything from him is just dumb.

    I agree with your point that he could still turn into a good player down the road. But he’s pretty much done everything wrong up to this point. The Ms need to give him a bit of tough love. He needs to take the offseason seriously, get into shape, and show that he’s willing to put in the work. He’s got talent. Now, he needs to dig himself out of the hole he’s dug himself by acting like an unprofessional dumbass. That means showing up in shape, a dramatic attitude adjustment, and a half season destroying the PCL.

    Although the situations are very different, I view Montero sorta like Hultzen: expect nothing, and hopefully they surprise us all next year and really help the team. But don’t count on it.

  31. I misread the numbers on Craig in MLBTR.com. He’s controllable for four more years. Three at $26.5MM and the fourth a club option at $13MM. Is he worth $9MM/year for the M’s? I’m doubtful that the M’s would bite on this amount for a platoon player.

  32. Yes, I get that Montero has had his head up his you-know-where. The accolades came too easily for great-hitting prospect Jesus; he was an idiot for befriending ARoid. Did ZMan’s Jesus-Come-To-Jesus meeting serve as a true wake-up call for this newly turned 25-year-old? The M’s certainly have made an effort to highlight his off-season resolve in staying in Peoria and getting in shape. Was this to showcase him? Seems plausible.

    That said, I would be delighted if the M’s are looking at Allan Craig with the RedSox. Take on his not outrageous salary (two years at $14.5MM or three years at $26.5MM) and the M’s create much more RH flexibility behind LH LoMo as well as in the Outfield corners.

    Send Boston a promising AA Pitcher along with Jesus Montero and bring Craig here. He fits very well with our remaining hole in this lineup.

  33. I don’t think anybody’s questioned his ability to hit; the question is whether or not he wants to. The record has been worn out on this guy, I know, he has no trade value. If he was a free agent he’d snag a minor league deal but so will Endy Chavez. The PED stuff doesn’t worry me as much as the showing up to camp grossly overweight and the rehab ice cream incident do. Those are things that I guess who doesn’t want ‘it’ does. I don’t want to speak too much about someone’s character when I have never had a conversation with him, but the league wide consensus is that this is a guy who doesn’t get it.

    A fresh start would do him well, but if you’re club xyz, why would you want to seal Montero a roster spot? It’s not as if he tore up Triple-A pitching last year. He was just good in spurts. I don’t like to ever write off a player, but we need to be realistic here.

  34. “Aoki in a few reports is a target of the M’s at about 2 year 16 Mill.”

    Explain the logic of this move. Aoki is a spray hitter (a tad bit like Ichiro) and has significant reverse splits. How would having a lefty with a righty-performing bat help the M’s in a platoon situation with Ruggliano or Cruz or to spell Jackson? Sounds like a blogger force-fitting what Aoki is expected to earn with the M’s, the team rumored to be in on every available outfielder this offseason.

    If the M’s are going to spend another $8MM this year and next, Colby Rasmus would make much more sense. I don’t see that happening either, though.

  35. I also think Montero is going to surprise. It just might not be with the M’s. I could see him being a part of a deal. He has talent as a hitter, especially against lefties.

  36. Aoki in a few reports is a target of the M’s at about 2 year 16 Mill. I would be fine with that as a fan. I still think Miller and Taylor could be part of a few deals one to bring in Desmond and another to fill a hole on our roster say a right handed 1B platoon guy.

  37. shawnuel,

    I agree on the mostly overlooked, Jesus Montero. However, if Brad Miller outplays Chris Taylor in ST the way he outplayed Nick Franklin last spring, then I see Taylor starting the year in AAA Tacoma and Jesus Montero starting the season in the last position player bench spot.

    I think the M’s like James Jones as a base running threat in late innings, but he won’t make the big team if we trade for a Seth Smith or sign a Colby Rasmus. My guess is that Smith won’t be acquired without giving up a piece like Chris Taylor, or even Brad Miller. As for Rasmus, I don’t think the M’s will be interested in spending very much for him as a platoon bat against Righties. Cruz will see 25% to 50% of his games in the field, which makes a revitalized and more determined (and hopefully mature) Jesus Montero DHing as a potentially valuable surprise piece in 2015.

    In other words, I think JackZ is through trading this offseason.

  38. Sign rasmus, he is a great defensive player who would be able to play a real cf if needed. Two rh two lh and cruz. He wont cost any prospects and he could be a huge buy low guy who can provide some pop

  39. Smith and Morrison are both LH hitters, Not an ideal platoon. I have a feeling that Montero is going to be up by May and platooning with Morrison. If he really is making strides in his conditioning and work ethic, perhaps we can get some use out of him after all.

  40. Either is an option. I think Smith > Aoki. I think the thought of a Smith/Ruggiano platoon (and Ruggiano could also spell Ack) is particularly enticing. They both are 32, and both have .836 lifetime OPS Vs opposite hand pitching. That’s a pretty good RF right there.

  41. I think Aoki would be a great get right now. So would smith to platoon at 1B and in the OF. I think you could get him for a couple minor leaguers mid level.

  42. Or maybe they’ll go out and sign Aoki as the lefty platoon portion. I wouldn’t think he would be all that expensive.

  43. Solid get for a low cost. Like It, it’s these small moves that can change a season.

  44. I don’t mind this deal. Now are we going out to get Smith from SD now that the Myer’s trade has gone thru? Would Taylor for Smith straight up work? SD lost their SS earlier this year. They have a need for one anyway.

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