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 are ambitious: Heard they'd like to find a way to add both Nelson Cruz and Carlos Beltran. Hey, they're trying.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 12, 2013
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?
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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