The most exciting Mariners off-season ever

I’ve never been able to construct an off-season plan. They’re tremendous conversation starts, and, that’s sort of why we blog, right? But you have about as good a chance of seeing any plan come to fruition as you do at winning the lottery, only picking six numbers takes a lot less time and costs you just a buck.

This isn’t to say I don’t value off-season plans. Others in the blogosphere had some great takes. I just personally could never bring myself to using so much brain power into such a futile task. Serious kudos to those guys.

But then, a series of tweets yesterday from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal got me doing a little thinking. Here’s the tweet that finally inspired me to do one of these things:

Mariners Baseball: A For Effort! Whoever thought up the term “A for effort” may have had lousy grades in English, methinks, but the saint loaned a wonderful phrase that we’ve all parroted for decades.

So, what if the M’s really do sign both Carlos Beltran and Nelson Cruz? If the Mariners value this type of player, I think I have a few suggestions that would really kick this thing up a notch!

With that in mind, I give you: The Most Exciting Mariners Off-Season Ever:

Look at all the veteran grit, war-tested players and — most importantly — dingers!

For the above exercise, I used a payroll of around $95 million. Who knows how much the M’s actually have to spend or how they come to the totals they do with their funny math, but that’s a number that’s been assumed as realistic by several folks.

The dollar values came from Cot’s Contracts for guys currently inked, Fangraph’s contract-crowdsourcing project and then some guess work on my part. fWAR values come from current Steamer projections, also pulled from Fangraphs.

I’m sure that some of this information is wrong. I have no idea if the conservative estimates makeup for the liberal ones. I doubt it’s a wash, but I bet this is somewhat close, which is good enough for funsies, am I right?

A.J. Pierzynski
Clearly, Mike Zunino didn’t get enough veteran rub from Henry Blanco. I’m not saying send him to Tacoma or even relegate him to only Sunday afternoon duty. He’ll share the load with Pierzynski. This is why I halved each of their Steamer projections, which were exactly the same. Two is better than one, you guys!

 Adam Lind
Acquired in trade from Toronto with $2 million in cash for Nick Franklin. The Blue Jays picked up Lind’s $7 million, but are believed to be open to fielding offers on him. Lind can play a little outfield, too!

The Blue Jays ran a quartet of second baseman out on the field last year of Ryan Goins, Mark DeRosa, Emilio Bonaficio and Maicer Izturis. Franklin is younger, cheaper and probably better than all of them combined. Perhaps their best middle infield prospect, Christian Lopes, is a long ways away just wrapping up a season in the low minors.

Lind has club options for 2015 and 2016 as well, so there’s not much risk here at all.

Ramon Santiago
Because this time, it’ll only cost us money and not trading away a never-will-make-it shortstop.

Scott Feldman and Roberto Hernandez
I’m going to keep this short: This team needs veteran starters at bargain prices.

Bullpen
I had to save money somewhere. This was easy, because the current M’s front office doesn’t really go out and spend on free agent bullpen arms. So, why should I? That would be unrealistic, and we’re going for realism here. And wins!

Conclusion
Is this team perfect? Well, no. It might even end up terrible. But let me ask you all one very serious question: Would you rather watch a terrible Mariners team with Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez or a terrible Mariners team with Carlos Beltran and Nelson Cruz?

That’s what I thought.

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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.

11 Comments

  1. I guess nobody gets it! Which makes it all the more funny. And sad.

  2. It’s better than Dave Cameron’s plan to me but I hope Cruz stays in Texas. Beltran I’d take but he ain’t coming to Seattle. Your rotation makes sense to me, it’s something like what I hope happens, although I’d prefer Colon to the Former Fausto. For the Kemp wishers, he’s had three operations in the past year. He had microfracture surgery on the talus bone in his ankle, it’s a weight bearing bone. He won’t be ready for spring training, might be by the time the season starts and he could possibly never be able to play again.

  3. Guys…. read the text under the roster table.

  4. Just to add a bit to the above…..

    I think the M’s have three valid options in terms of offseason strategies:

    1. Go for it through aggressive trades and free agent acquisitions. The goal would be to win now, while adding players who can help this team contend for the next 2-4 years. This could be termed the “Save the Front Office” strategy.

    2. Try to add to the talent already on the roster, addressing major weaknesses, and continuing to build from within. The goal would be incremental improvement, with a short term goal of a return to respectability in 2014, while setting the stage for a long-term contender (2015-2020).

    3. Be patient, add young talent, and focus on the future. This strategy would basically amount to an acknowledgment that “The Plan” hasn’t worked. The M’s would focus on moving guys like Iwakuma and Seager for prospects, and shift focus to acquiring a core of young talent. Given where the M’s are right now, this has basically already happened, so it would essentially mean selling high on a few guys, taking it on the chin in 2014, and formulating a plan that isn’t inherently flawed (like the 2012 offseason strategy).

    I’m fully in favor of Option #2. But any of the above are certainly justifiable.

    The problem with the above strategy is that it doesn’t conform to any of these possible options. Instead, the M’s would just be loading up on older veterans and overpriced players who make sense mainly for teams that are looking for that “one last piece” to make a major run to the world series. Pierzynski, Beltran, Cruz, and Lind are all decent enough players, but they are all old (with the exception of Lind), and are complementary pieces for a good team. Plus, Pierzynski and Beltran are near the ends of their careers, have made plenty of money, and are likely to be looking for a chance to win. And Cruz is a TERRIBLE fit for the ballpark as a RH pull hitter, and a TERRIBLE fit for the team as a player who seems like to be overpaid and will cost a draft pick.

    The M’s aren’t in a position where they need to be trading young players and draft picks for solid-yet-unspectacular guys in their mid-30s. And those guys are very unlikely to want to play for the M’s given the current state of the team and where they currently are in their careers. Bad fits, all around.

    The M’s need a good plan. They adopted a terrible plan last offseason. The moves you suggest here are a continuation of what they did last offseason, except they would be paying a MUCH greater price in years, dollars, and young talent.

    I know you did the above “plan” based on the assumption that the M’s really could sign Beltran and Cruz. However, if the M’s actually did this, it’d be clear evidence that this front office is absolutely unfit to run a major league baseball team.

  5. I’m confused. Is this “Most Exciting Offseason Ever” facetious? Do you really want to see this happen? Or is this just an example of what the team might realistically look like?

    If this happens, I’d be PISSED! Nelson Cruz would be a nice option if you could sign him cheaply, but he’s 34, the numbers being thrown around are getting absurd, and he comes attached with draft pick compensation. Beltran is 37, and also costs a pick. Both are too old to help the club when the kids develop. If you MUST add veterans to the lineup, why not just spend more on Ellsbury or Choo, both of whom might actually help the club beyond 2014. Lind is incredibly inconsistent, and you’d be buying high on him. Trading Franklin for him is a HUGE overpay. And Feldman and Hernandez are just low upside place holders.

    I don’t mean to be rude, but this plan SUCKS. Pretty much a perfect storm of bad roster construction. It would make the team older, terrible on defense, while adding old players with no upside. Worst yet, the M’s would be punting two draft picks, a very good prospect, and lots of cash to build a bad roster. Just terrible. This is exactly what I hope they don’t do.

    The only thing good about this possibility is that it would likely result in Jack, Lincoln, and Armstrong losing their jobs.

  6. It’s a pipe dream to think Beltran would ever come to Seattle. 37 year old on his last legs coming to a bottom dweller when he could get a two year contract with a championship contending club? Umm yeah.

    We should hope to god Cruz doesn’t come here. You think Morse was bad, Cruz would be as bad a signing as the Chone Figgins signing. Have you seen Cruz’s numbers away from The Ballpark in Arlington? Horrendous.

  7. how about a 3 team trade ackly to redsox will middlebrooks to angels bojrous to mariners sign beltran to 3yr 45 sign nelson cruz to 2yr with option 30 bid 65 million on tanaka sign brian wilson to 2 yr 20

  8. I’m glad I can’t take this serious and I see your point. Answer to your question: Neither. And it’s kinda a scary question also.

  9. I thought that was Santiago’s job, to be the back-up 2B/SS/3B… If not, sub him out too, then.

  10. Romero cannot be a super-utility, or even a utility guy. In a pinch… a very emergency-style pinch, he can play second and he’s somewhat passable at third, but utility players can give value up the middle.

  11. Boy, that outfield is going to struggle to get to anything that isn’t a can of corn… In fact, I don’t see that OF being much better at defense than what was run out this past season.

    I also want better return for Franklin than a DH and salary relief.

    I like the rotation.

    If we have Santiago, I’d rather have Romero as the super-utility guy than Triunfel.

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