The M’s should consider these free agents

 I wrote last month that the Seattle Mariners should not go all kamikaze in the free agent market this winter, despite their sore need for improvement pretty much everywhere on the roster. The reason for that is because the club is not ready to take that plunge. Spending money won’t turn the club into contenders in 2014.

It’s unreasonable, to put it gently, to expect any team in baseball to ink the majority of the top free agents in any one offseason, which is what GM Jack Zduriencik would have to do to create an instant contender, is absurd. To expect the M’s to do it is beyond laughable. Not because I don’t believe they are willing to spend money, but because it’s about as realistic as the Texas Rangers winning this year’s World Series. [See what I did there?]

There are, however, players I see that the club should have some level of interest in this winter. Many whom fit the mold of the creative and “matchup” types Zduriencik spoke of Tuesday. Today we’ll discuss those that are free agents.

1B/DH
Kendrys Morales, 1B/DH
Zduriencik has already said the club will tender Morales the qualifying offer, which is going to be worth about $13.8 million. Doing so increases the chances the switch hitter remains in Seattle, as draft-pick compensation will scare away some clubs.

Morales isn’t likely to be worth nearly $14 million, but the residual impact of retaining Morales, particularly if they get something done early in the offseason, could change that.

I can’t imagine any of the clubs that might otherwise have multi-year interest in Morales making such an offer when they’d also have to give up a first-round pick. A two-year deal with Seattle is certainly possible, too, but not at $13 million per season.

Kevin Youkilis, 1B/DH
Youkilis has had significant injury issues the past few seasons, missing most of 2013. When relatively healthy, Youkilis can man first base, hit left-handed pitching — and if kept fresh can still hit right-handers some, too — and be a solid value on a one-year contract with a low base and aggressive incentives based on plate appearances.

It’s difficult to imagine Seattle being anywhere near the top of Youkilis’ wish list, but that’s another story, and something of which the Mariners don’t have any direct control.

Mark Reynolds, 1B/DH
Reynolds is another platoon possibility at first base, and like Youkilis can play third in a pinch. Reynolds may not be worth any guaranteed money or a 25-man roster spot, however, but there’s at least a decent chance he bounces back from a very poor 2013.

Mike Napoli, 1B/DH
Napoli isn’t much of an option behind the plate anymore, but could be a third catcher and a right-handed option at first base and/or designated hitter. He had a solid year with the bat and was very good versus left-handed pitching.

Napoli, too, is unlikely to seriously consider Seattle, and he’s not the kind of free agent worth overpaying.

Nelson Cruz, OF/DH
Cruz’s days as a first-division outfielder are probably over — his defense is only going to get worse as he ages and slows down — and his suspension this summer doesn’t help his market, but he has power and could be part of a useful OF-DH time share.

In no way, in my opinion, is Cruz suited for everyday corner-outfield use. If Morales is retained as the regular DH and occasional first baseman, Cruz doesn’t make any sense for Seattle.

Yoshio Itoi, CF
Itoi, 31, is considered to have an edge over Norichika Aoki of the Milwaukee Brewers, which is saying something. Aoki has posted two solid seasons offensively, batting .287 with a .355 on-base percentage and 50 stolen bases. Itoi is a better glove in center than Aoki, but throws well and can play left or right, too. He’s led Japan’s Pacific League in OBP in two of the last three years and batted .303/.382/.477 with 26 stolen bases this season.

He’s not a free agent, which means he’ll be posted. If the current rules for posting stand, it’s a blind, sealed bid, which means he’s going to cost some coin just to win the rights to negotiate with him, plus a contract. He’s a player I am told is worth being aggressive on to some extent, and the Mariners could use some speed, fundamentals and versatility.

One potential road block is Itoi possibly preferring to avoid kinda-sorta replacing Ichiro.

Jose Dariel Abreu, the 27-year-old (who is probably 30+) Cuban defector isn’t a fit, either. He’s not Yasiel Puig and the asking price for a risky play like that is asinine. He’s not athletic and by most accounts he’s likely to hit .250 with 20-25 homer power but may have problems getting on base enough to warrant a middle-of-the-order tag. The Mariners have no business bidding for such a player.

Outfielders
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
I like Ellsbury as a player. I’d like to see him manning center field for the Mariners. I do not believe he’s worthy of $65 million or more over five years, and that’s likely where he’s headed after Michael Bourn, an inferior player, received 5/$55m a year ago.

Ellsbury’s talent and performance in 2013 suggests he’s well worth $15 million per year. Sadly, he hasn’t consistently played at such a level and he’s had multiple stints on the disabled list. The M’s cannot afford to spend huge dollars on a player that’s probably going to play 120 games per year on average at best, and could be done as a regular before the end of the deal.

If Ellsbury holds out into late January and the Mariners have retained Morales and added other pieces that suggest they could make a 10-plus game improvement, spending on Ellsbury to add another 3-4 games to that might make some sense. There’s a limit here, however, and Ellsbury isn’t likely to be amenable. He’s a Scott Boras client, and I’d bet he signs with the Dodgers.

Chris Young, CF
Young is going to have his $11 million option declined by the Oakland Athletics and despite a terrible 2013 could have value at the right price. He can play center, runs well and has good raw power. He’s never hit for average and will always strike out, but in the right role — part-time player facing mostly left-handed pitching — Young could rebound and be a bargain.

Rajai Davis, CF
Davis is a solid player and could fit well as a platoon partner for Dustin Ackley or Michael Saunders in center field. He can steal bases, works counts and can get on base some. This may also be what Abraham Almonte turns into, but Davis is proven version.

Hunter Pence is already off the market — before he ever was on it — and Shin-Soo Choo is an absolute no-no for the Mariners, particularly with Pence setting the market for outfield bats at $90 million over five years. Here’s why.

Catchers
As I mentioned in the above-linked piece from a few weeks back, I would not simply hand Mike Zunino the “everyday” catching job and run him out there for 120 starts.

Dioner Navarro
Navarro is merely adequate defensively, but he has a solid bat for the position and as a switch hitter with something to offer from both sides, the veteran can play more than did Humberto Quintero and Henry Blanco and serve as a legitimate offensive option three days a week.

A.J. Pierzynski
Pierzynski, like most veterans, isn’t likely to have any interest in Seattle, but he’d fit for me, since I’m not planning on Zunino catching six days a week.

No, Brian McCann is not an option.

Middle-infield reserve
Ideally, this is a player that can play shortstop, but if the club retains Brad Miller, Nick Franklin and Ackley, they don’t need to spend a roster spot on middle-infield glove. If Miller, the starting shortstop in this scenario, gets hurt or needs a day off, Franklin can slide in at short and Ackley can play second base.

Nick Punto
Clint Barmes

Both Punto and Barmes are examples of solid part-time middle infielders if the club builds the roster differently than the scenario above.

Starting Pitchers
Ervin Santana, RHP
Tim Lincecum, RHP
Phil Hughes
Dan Haren
Hughes could flourish in a better environment for fly ball pitchers and Jorge De La Rosa, if he hits the market, could give the M’s a proven southpaw to balance the rotation some. Santana is likely to be too pricey for what he’ll be worth, but he’s definitely an arm I’d consider.

Lincecum, not unlike Santana, could be tendered, making it more difficult to lure him away from San Francisco. He’s a prime candidate for a one-year deal as it is, giving him a shot to perform better and get a more lucrative multi-year offer. I’d love to grab Lincecum off the market for a year or two and see what happens, but he’s not going to be short on interested teams. Whether or not he’d give the Mariners a small “hometown” discount is unclear.

If Haren’s medicals check out, bringing him in on a low-base, incentive-laced contract could make a lot of sense.

Matt Garza is another starter on the market, but as the biggest “name” I’d bet on him receiving far too much money per year for far too many years, and the Mariners don’t need to spend outrageous dough on the rotation.

Wandy Rodriguez has a $13 million player option that comes with a $2.5 million buyout, but he appears to be wearing down some and for what he’s likely to cost, I don’t see much upside for Seattle.

Ubaldo Jimenez is not a name I’d consider at all, nor is Josh Johnson or Scott Kazmir. Ricky Nolasco is a No. 3 starter who may get No. 2 money this winter. I’ll pass.

Relief Pitchers
Among the closers on the market are Grant Balfour, Fernando Rodney, Ryan Madson, Joel Hanrahan and Joaquin Benoit. Joe Nathan can opt out of his deal with the Rangers and try his luck on the market.

Hanrahan and Madson are big injury risks — there’s no telling if either will pitch in 2014 — but an incentive-laden deal or one that comes with zero guaranteed dollars could make a lot of sense, depending on their present medicals.

Brian Wilson, RHP
Wilson has returned from Tommy John surgery and looks fantastic for the Dodgers right now. The M’s could be an ideal landing spot for Wilson if he wants to be guaranteed the closer’s job.

Matt Guerrier
Jason Frasor
Carlos Marmol
Francisco Rodriguez

Any of the above four could make sense if they are paid as a setup man. Marmol and Rodriguez have closing experience and showed some mettle in 2013 — Marmol was solid for the Dodgers after the trade — and Guerrier and Frasor have a lot of experience in the seventh and eighth innings.

Next: Possible Trade Targets

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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.

29 Comments

  1. Not sure what Hart has left in the tank. If the guarantees are next to nothing, it’s a no-lose situation. Otherwise it’s a risk. You have to choose wisely.

  2. What about Corey Hart on a 1 year deal with incentives like Napoli got from the BoSox?

  3. 1) For me, Itoi doesn’t have to be better than Aoki–if he can play above average center and get on base, I’m all in. But what was the ‘trade’ reference made above?
    2) I’m just going to trust that Jack can put the bullpen back together with whatever pieces he judges best (on the roster now or newcomers).
    3) Despite injury issues, I would take a flyer on De La Rosa. And I would set an internal ceiling on what we’d pay for Nolasco, go hard, and then drop out once the ceiling is reached (which it probably will quickly).
    4) Dusty Baker? Maybe the only thing that would turn me against Jack.

  4. Jerry, it’s extremely noble of you to step up for the Public Relations Department, and tell them to ignore what the press thinks…..or for that matter, the general public.Look at all the crap you and others have written here about roster decisions.

    I agree, in a perfect world, that’s how it plays. There is no baseball Zanadu.

  5. ….or, you could take offseason press coverage out of the equation in the decision making process.

    Getting headlines for making big free agent signings doesn’t last. Toronto and LAA have “won” the offseason recently. How did that work out for them?

    The best way to get positive press is to run a club in the best manner possible, and make smart decisions the result in WINS.

    A surprising number of sprts writers don’t know shit about baseball. Focusing on press coverage isn’t a plan. Do you want Geoff Baker to influence the teams direction going forward? Winning is the key. If you win, none of that shit matters. The M’s need to make SMART decisions – not popular decisions – and let everything else sort itself out.

  6. It’s the price for playing the Free Agent game. Overpayment is always a risk. You don’t make an investment, fans conclude that it’s because you’re being cheap. Nobody gets good press for not taking risks. But, the get a lot of bad press for seeming unwilling to take risk.

    So, it’s play the game of free agents, or try to explain why you made no effort so signed the premium free agents. It’s done here, as well as other sites. Being fiscally responsible is bad press.

  7. I feel much the same rotoenquire. Though I don’t really like Choo because we have enough guys who can’t hit a lefty. And don’t forget Gaylord Perry and king beers in Perry’s Perch.

    Nick Carfado gave a weak link of Ryan Braun and JZ. Time for a new rumor.

  8. For me as a fan some sort of splash needs to be made. Bandaid baseball in Seattle has happened way to much and I for one am tired of seeing it. Not with this group who has not done it right. I would rather se Choo over Ellsbury, Itoi over Raja, Tanaka over anything in house or in the free agent market. Hart or Abreu both would be great. And trades dumping our waste Smoak, Montero, Saunders, Saunders and Guity. For better back up, role player types. Do more, I am tired of the crap I have seen over the years. And I as a fan deserve more. I have been rooting for this team from the begining. Jack Pecante at 2B, S. Trout pitching, Gorman hitting the long bomb. Hated when Spike Owen was traded and Davis hold a special place in my heart. Cried when Dave K. Got traded and Hendo became an A. I am tired and want better from my home team. PERIOD!!!

  9. Totally agree.

    A lot of the young players barely saw the field & we witnessed a lot of subpar play from veterans getting a lot playing time. Getting full seasons from Miller, Franklin, & Zunino. I tend to believe that Saunders can past a .750 OPS & play decent in an outfield corner. Ackley too can post a .750 OPS IMO after he showed an improved capability at dealing with pitches on the outer half of the plate & his OF defense will improve though I’d like to see him still log some serious time at 2B.

    Ellsbury > Ibanez/Morse/Guti
    Navarro > Blanco/Quintero/Shoppach/Sucre/Bantz
    Lincecum > J. Saunders
    Walker/Paxton > Harang/Bonderman/Maurer/Beavan/Noesi
    Pryor/FA > Capps/Loe/Ruffin
    Full season of Miller/FA > Partial season of Miller & Ryan/Andino/Triunfel

  10. Baseball history says just about anything is possible. Since we don’t know who will be on the team or managing it then all we have is guesswork. I’ve been putting up a fair amount of content on Mariner’s potential off-season targets in my Mariners Mini Morsels feature over at Casey McLain’s http://www.nasorb.com/ site which requires many hours of digging out information. Today, among other bits I found out that Nelson Cruz is getting a QO from the Rangers, Johann Santana has started throwing again (but like Jason says he’s pretty much a no-hoper). Tim Hudson will shortly start throwing and is not expected to get a QO. Carlos Beltran will probably justify an over market contract for two years and a draft pick for his QO. Jose Abreu should pick a winner before too long, (supposedly today is the offer deadline) the Marlins and Giants are on him heavy and he is reputed to be a nice guy (who may be older than reported supposedly, but I expect MLB to insure he isn’t). The conflict between Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels in the Ranger’s front office is hotting up again after Daniels fired the bench coach Ryan hired and Dusty Baker said they should fire him when the Reds wanted to fire his hitting coach, nice to know loyalty still has some adherents in the game. They evidently took him up on his suggestion.

  11. A few more free agents I like:

    SP- Tanaka & Josh Johnson

    With Felix, Iwakuma, Walker, Paxton, Hultzen, Maurer, & Ramirez all under club control through or past 2015 I’d hestitate to spend big money on a lengthy deal to a free agent but a nice one or two year deal for a starter with playoff rotation stuff is a more than worthwhile proposition. Tanaka may be the one exception. Like Itoi he is not a pure free agent so he’ll require a posting fee. At 25 he will be young & is a fairly low risk signing as he is comparable to Iwakuma even if he does not have Darvish’s high octane stuff. If the price is not too prohibitive he could be a nice, young piece for the club.

    Johnson just had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow so his control problems this year are partially explainable. If the medicals look good he could be a nice one year bargain.

    RP- Chad Qualls & Jesse Crain

    In a bullpen with a lot of big arms who throw a lot of fastballs getting one of these two hard-throwing slider/sinker type guys would help give the bullpen throw a different look at opponents. Carson Smith will take this role & run with it soon but likely not to start the year since he hasn’t hit AAA yet.

    Qualls is threw his hard sinker harder than he ever has as a 35 year old averaging 94 mph & generating a 63.3% groundball rate. We lost a lot of one-run games that a double-play inducing groundball specialist might’ve helped prevent. Crain has evolved from a flame-thrower with flaws into a slider-heavy success. He missed the last few months of the season but if the medicals are good he could be a steal.

    1B/DH- Corey Hart

    Hart could easily return to Milwaukie. If he doesn’t he is another potential bargain. If he’s back healthy from his ACL tear then he could be good 30 home runs. He’s even a passable corner outfielder if he’s regained his speed though he is huge (6’6 240) so 1B/DH is his long-term projection as he ages into his thirties (32 when next season starts). There’s a little history with GMZ & McNamara. He hit twenty or more home runs in five out of six season from 2007-2012 & the one season he didn’t (2009) he played only 115 games but still managed a .753 OPS in a down year for him. He’s one of the more unsung players in baseball.

  12. Reasonable minds are going to have to disagree here. Yes, the Ms lineup is a mess, in fact, most everything on this team is beyond the first two starters. That being said, with a combo of solid trades and FA signings (international signings included), a non-horrible lineup is reasonable (and one that plays solid D shouldn’t be out of the cards, either). As for the rotation… Count me in the crowd that believes Walker and Paxton can be solid 4/5 starters, and with Felix/Kuma already established, a #3 makes that rotation ok. Add a good bullpen piece (with help in Smith & Leone on the way) and that unit looks ok. Thrown in a manager who knows what he is doing in regards to managing pitchers and a lineup, and that is a solid ball club.

    That is not a “nearly impossible” combo of events, especially if Jack truly has learned his lesson in regards to all hit nothing else types. Is that a 95 win team? No… But is 85 unreasonable? Nope. And, 85 win teams play meaningful games deep into September, especially with the addition of the 2nd Wild Card.

  13. OK. Thank you.

  14. Furthermore, this is a 71-win team that does NOT have its best offensive threat from 2013 under contract. Neither Baltimore nor Cleveland had that obstacle, either.

    The situations just aren’t the same at all.

    Nearly impossible isn’t dramatic at all. Not when you’re realistic and you know what you’re looking at when you see the current 40-man roster.

  15. The 2012 Indians and 2011 Orioles, for one, aren’t dealing with the 2013-14 free agent class. They also have two of the better managers in all of baseball. Probably two of the top 5. Aside from managers, though, let’s talk about those two teams.

    Not one significant free agent signing in terms of names or money doled out by the Orioles. Not one. Cleveland’s two didn’t perform very well in 2013 and they still made the playoffs.

    You don’t need to sign big-name/money free agents to get better. Though both were better in terms of MLB talent the year before they made the postseason, so they did not have nearly as far to go.

  16. JAC- While I agree the playoffs -even contending- are a long shot, I am curious what the 2011 Baltimore Orioles and 2012 Cleveland Indians had going for them that the current Ms don’t? Both of those teams struggled in those years, and then with a solid offseason made the playoffs the next year. Again, not saying I think that’s what will happen, but, to label it as ‘next to impossible’ seems a little overly dramatic to me.

  17. Dusty Baker is the worst manager in recent baseball history that has had success in terms of wins and losses when it comes to handling starting pitchers. If Baker is around Taijuan Walker for more than 10 seconds, I will personally see to it that it doesn’t get to 11. No. Freaking. Way.

    There’s also the fact that Baker has never had any level of success with a young team, and no matter what happens over the winter the M’s will still be pretty young next year.

    re: Paul

    It’s an interesting idea, but the comp to Liriano is not really relevant. Liriano has Tommy John surgery at 24. Santana has massive shoulder issues, and will be 35 before the start of 2014. On top of that, there’s no chance he’s healthy enough to start spring training ready to roll, I don’t care what the team or his agent keeps spewing.

    It’s the second time he’s had the capsule surgery. He may return and be effective to some extent, but he won’t be more than a No. 4 starter and I’d gamble he never approaches 190 innings ever again.

  18. Of course you don’t, it’s not your money, and when Ellsbury misses 80 games in 2015 you won’t be responsible for doling out $70-100 million — $15-18 million per at minimum — nor will it be up to you to figure out how to replace him in the lineup while he’s on the DL.

  19. Most of the players you mention are “if” players or “one dimensional players”. I believe the Mariners need to get an everyday player or starting rotation fixture for the next few years, or else we are not adding value to the roster.

    Wrong. Clearly the opportunities to add legitimate everyday, full-time position players are not there. That’s the point we’ve been making for weeks, if not months. The second-best options is not NOTHING, it’s using platoons and looking for undervalued players.

    Of course, role players are needed via free agency, but if we don’t get an everyday player or starting rotation upgrade somewhere, then no long-term value is added to the roster.

    So? Again, just because you can’t add a 5-year answer in, say, right field, doesn’t mean it’s not sensible and downright wise to go the route of platoon types to fill 1-2 positions. You tell me a REAL way the Mariners add the types of players you are wanting without coming back and telling me about free agents. Fact, and I can’t emphasize the word enough: The FA market is not even fools gold this winter. It’s fools… aluminum, at best.

    This leads to the same roster every year with different faces and hoping a prospect pans out. If we get just one good free agent for a 4-5 year contract, then we can get another or two next year and at least build roster value each year.

    The Rays and A’s say hello. Fixture players at most of your regular positions is rare. Turnover is normal, natural and many times it’s necessary. Look around the league at how much even consistent winning organizations turn over there lineup. A lot. Most team change 2 or more everyday players every winter. EVERY SINGLE WINTER.

    I see a good free agent as a player with some offense and defense or a starter with a #2 or #3 upside and no older 32. Not that you were very specific, but who do you think the M’s should make a strong push for that will improve the roster long term? Or do you?

    Via free agency? None. It’s stupid — I repeat, STUPID — to spring for the best free agents just because that’s what out there. It only limits teams outside LA, Boston, DC and New York when the right FAs do become available.

    The 2014 Seattle Mariners cannot contend. It’s as impossible as impossible gets in Major League Baseball. If you aren’t resigned to that fact by now, get there. If they shock the planet and win 90, awesome, bonus, enjoy it. Prepare for another year of being home in October. They have ZERO chance to play meaningful games in September in 2014. No GM could do what it will take to get that done with this team right now.

    This piece was about free agency, nothing else. Trades are possible, and probable to some extent, but in terms of spending money, very few, if any, multi-year contracts will make sense for the Mariners.

  20. Granderson isn’t coming to Seattle. Seattle shouldn’t want him and he shouldn’t want to play for the Mariners.

  21. How about Johan Santana for the rotation? He could be this year’s Francisco Liriano…

  22. It doesn’t happen much, but Edman, I agree with you. Even if we do not compete next year, at some point the team needs to start adding pieces. Ellsbury would be a nice piece to add. Sure hope they don’t just add a bunch of guys on one year deals again this offseason…

  23. I concur with Edman. Should I be concerned about my sanity?

    There is no typical posting fee. I think Aoki was a couple million and the A’s went over $20 million for Iwakuma before failing to sign him.

    I know we aren’t talking trades yet, but Kyle Blanks makes a lot of sense as a platoon 1B. He also has tolerable defensive stats in the outfield. He’d be a good fit even if Morales returns. A straight swap for Saunders would even make sense with Padres needing a lefty to replace Kotsay and back up righties Maybin and Quentin. Both players are first year arbitration eligible.

  24. I’m big on Tanaka as I think everyone knows now. He’s the best player available and he is young but proven and will pay dividends for years to come. He won’t be cheap due to the posting fee which should be north of $50MM. He will also enable the Ms to package one of our young arms, Paxton, Walker, Ramirez, etc in a trade for a quality outfielder (no, not Stanton). Lincoln indicated that they won’t be getting the big new bucks from their new Root Sports deal in 2014, but they do get the $25MM increase from the new national media deal in 2014 plus more millions in shared revenues from the Rangers, Angels and Dodgers big regional media incomes, 34% of which is shared with all teams. Their current payroll commitments, counting MLB minimum players, is roughly $40MM so they have money to use.
    I like Dioner Navarro too as backup catcher, he’s got some pop and decent enough numbers. Abreu I liked but he’s too much of a luxury and risk on reflection.

    New subject: Dusty Baker for manager since he’s now available. The Nats might want him and the Reds may sign Bryan Price, another favorite of mine. As Gardenhire and Leyland don’t seem to be available Dusty has plenty of experience. I’m not sure a rookie manager is a good idea with our young team.

    Choo and Ellsbury? Think nine figures, like it or not. Cruz is staying in Texas.

  25. JAC (Or anyone with knowledge)- What is the typical posting fee these days for good-but-not-great players… 15, 20 mil?

    Next question (to JAC or anyone who has interest in answering)- Assuming that is the fee, what would then be an offer you’d be happy with, 3/21? So we’d be paying 3/41 for a starting CF and leadoff hitter… I could live with that.

  26. I have no problem with Ellsbury’s cost. There is no such thing as a perfect contract. The better free agents get overpaid. If you’re not willing to accept that, then don’t sign good free agents. I’d like to have in in CF, and he might want to come home to be closer to his family. But, Boston is going to try hard to resign him.

    Seattle has an opportunity to sign Free Agents, and not lose a draft pick. Now is the time to do it. So, if you consider a cost (whatever it is) to having a protected first round pick, that has to be considered as well.

    I’m all in for Chris Young as a RH hitter. Seattle got killed by lefthanded pitchers. It’s rather ironic, because a few years ago, the didn’t do well against righthanded pitchers.

  27. Jason,
    Most of the players you mention are “if” players or “one dimensional players”. I believe the Mariners need to get an everyday player or starting rotation fixture for the next few years, or else we are not adding value to the roster. Of course, role players are needed via free agency, but if we don’t get an everyday player or starting rotation upgrade somewhere, then no long-term value is added to the roster. This leads to the same roster every year with different faces and hoping a prospect pans out. If we get just one good free agent for a 4-5 year contract, then we can get another or two next year and at least build roster value each year. I see a good free agent as a player with some offense and defense or a starter with a #2 or #3 upside and no older 32. Not that you were very specific, but who do you think the M’s should make a strong push for that will improve the roster long term? Or do you?

    My thoughts are that the Mariners need to make a very strong push (extremely strong) for the posting of Masahiro Tanaka if available and get him signed. I didn’t think Itoi would be available because of the trade he was involved in. Easier said than done. I know I’ve mentioned signing a slew of FAs before, but that was just talk, this is my real belief that is best for the M’s long-term. You make a good point (too good) about Ellsbury because he just so much fun to watch, but so risky. Otherwise the pickings are slim, Santana, Jimenez who you don’t like, Hughes who I don’t like. So Jason, anyone who the M’s should really make a concerted effort to nab for long-term value?

  28. Ellsbury seems like the most likely option there, but not a price anyone will like. I kind of see his signing as the Ms version of what the Nats did a couple years ago with Werth – overpay to make a big splash and try to get people to take you seriously.

    If the team only made sound personnel decisions, the payroll would probably max out around $70 million, so going overboard for an Ellsbury type player shouldn’t stop them from making smart decisions elsewhere.

    Chris Young would be a great fit with Ackley and Saunders.

    I like Navarro at catcher. Kurt Suzuki could be another option there.

  29. I think Granderson should be mentioned also in the OF mix. Probably easier to get on a 4 year deal than Choo or Ellsbury. I like Rajai Davis and I think if they kept someone like Truinfel or Romero on the roster for the utility role that would work.

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