The short answer for what’s at the top of the wish list for the Seattle Mariners this winter is obvious: bats, offense, runs, whatever one wants to call it. As has been the case for much of the Jack Zduriencik era and beyond, the club enters the offseason with the need to upgrade the offensive corps. The club’s 634 runs scored tied them with the Boston Red Sox for No. 18 in Major League Baseball and only the St. Louis Cardinals reached the playoffs while scoring fewer runs than did Seattle.

There are just a few spots on the field where everyday upgrades are not necessary, but there are others where the chances significant resources are put into better personnel is neither wise nor very likely. Those include second base, third base, and for different reasons shortstop and catcher. Robinson Cano is the answer at second base, obviously, with Kyle Seager now one of the better third baseman in the game. The Mariners are very likely — and wisely, due to the lack of options on the free agent market and ultra-high cost via trade — to stick with what they have at shortstop (Chris Taylor, Brad Miller) and behind the plate in former No. 3 overall pick Mike Zunino.

There are, however, several others places to add necessary pieces. Before we get into specific pieces, let’s identify those areas.

Resources
Seattle Mariners 2015 Payroll Commitments
2015 MLB Draft Order
2014-15 MLB Free Agents

Rotation
One of Seattle’s biggest strengths in 2014 was their starting rotation, but there will be holes to fill heading into next season. Chris Young is a free agent and may look to maximize his salary on a one-year deal after a strong comeback campaign, although there’s reportedly mutual interest in a return to the Emerald City. King Felix Hernandez isn’t going anywhere and his second in command, Hisashi Iwakuma, is also under contract for 2015 with an affordable $7 million club option that reportedly was exercised last week. Iwakuma is a candidate for an extension beyond 2015 and locking up the 33-year-old should be among the priorities for Zduriencik.

The club entered this past season with the hope that top prospects Taijuan Walker and James Paxton would be able to provide two-fifths of the big league rotation. That wasn’t the case as Paxton missed significant time with injury and Walker struggled early with shoulder inflammation and then finding consistency once he was healthy. There’s also the case of surprise rookie Roenis Elias who is coming off a strong campaign that ended with some concerns over his elbow, though the team refuted claims that they were of any significance.

[pullquote]Seattle had 10 different pitchers start a game in 2014 and four made 28 starts or more. Healthy seasons from Paxton and Walker should replace Young’s 29 starts if he moves on this winter.[/pullquote]

A rotation consisting of Hernandez, Iwakuma, Paxton, Walker, and Elias is strong on paper, though there are legitimate concerns surrounding the latter three hurlers. When Paxton was healthy in 2014 he was a capable No. 3 starter and should he stay healthy in 2015 the club can expect 190 innings of that quality of work. Walker finished the season with a strong September and got some work in the Arizona Fall League in October. The stuff is absolutely there for the top prospect, but he’ll have to put a disappointing year behind him and move towards his top-of-the-rotation potential.

Elias struggled with command and eventually fatigue in 2014 but that was to be expected. Another year of experience should do the young left-hander wonders, but the question that will be asked is whether or not he’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments next year to stay on top of major league hitters.

If the club retains Young it’s possible that Walker starts the year in the bullpen or at Triple-A, but it’s likely the club would prefer to have him a part of the big league rotation. Erasmo Ramirez provides insurance for the rotation though he has had his share of struggles in the past. The Mariners have two bullpen arms that may have an opportunity to be stretched out in the spring for the rotation in Tom Wilhelmsen and Brandon Maurer. It seems unlikely that Wilhelmsen will transition to a starter, though he did pitch strong in several extended outings in 2014. Maurer came up through the system as a starter but excelled in the bullpen in the second half. It’s likely he gets at least one more shot at cracking the rotation, though he may be better suited to his role in the pen.

Seattle doesn’t need to add premium talent to the top of their rotation and may already have some in the form of Walker and Paxton, but it’s not impossible that they take a run at Jon Lester, or one of the other top starters available. Adding a pitcher like Lester, and to a lesser extent Brandon McCarthy for example, could make it easier for the Mariners to move a young pitcher in a deal for middle-of-the-order bat, if the free agent market dries up on them. If Seattle is to acquire the power hitter they covet via trade, it’ll likely be at the expense of one of Paxton and Walker, though there’s nothing to suggest that the club is intent on trading one of them at this time.

The rotation is in good shape and arguably is one of the club’s biggest strengths heading into 2015. However, no team can have too much depth in that department and the M’s should look to add a couple arms that can be stockpiled at Triple-A in case of emergency while the limited number of pitching prospects in the lower levels develop.

Bullpen
The bullpen is one aspect of the club that can maintain the status quo and arguably be just as strong in 2015. Joe Beimel is the lone reliever set to hit the open market and despite a strong platoon split, wasn’t used as a specialist. His 2.20 ERA in 45 innings may be difficult to replace, but his 4.18 FIP was nothing special and easily can be replaced on the cheap with another veteran. Beimel has expressed a desire to stay in Seattle, Lucas Luetge is one possible in-house answer.

Closer Fernando Rodney is under contract through 2015 and is expected to anchor the back of the relief corps again. Danny Farquhar and Yoervis Medina will likely return as set-up men with Charlie Furbush and Dominic Leone in the picture as well. Rookie Carson Smith should also be a fixture in the 2015 bullpen after a strong September in some big situations. Maurer and Wilhelmsen were mentioned as plausible rotation candidates but are likely to continue providing middle relief innings. Medina, Wilhelmsen and Maurer are the three M’s relievers most likely to be moved over the winter, at least from the club’s standpoint, as Farquhar, Smith and Leone have shown enough to take over full-time setup duties.

Outfield
Once glance at the M’s returning outfield crop suggests Zduriencik and company have to be burning up the phones for better options. It’s clear the Mariners prefer Dustin Ackley over Michael Saunders, so expect Saunders to be traded over the winter, despite the fact that Saunders is a better player. The M’s should not bank on Ackley, either, though, since they already are counting on Austin Jackson to return to form. The time for hoping and wishing on players has to be over with after the club showed promise with 87 wins this past year. Since it’s probably too much to ask for the club to find an everyday centerfielder that can hit, hoping on Jackson’s rebound seems more likely and wiser than praying Ackley’s second half (again) is what he’ll be for 2015.

Either way, the M’s have at least one spot open in the outfield. There will be talk of free agents and trade targets alike, but if one regular is not acquired this winter in some manner, Seattle’s outfield is likely to be their weak spot, yet again.

One outside-the-box idea, however, is to shop some talent (including Jackson) in a deal to acquire another center fielder that is more adept at making consistent contact, though as previously stated it is not an easy position to fill. Something tells us Lloyd McClendon would balk at the idea of trading Jackson, a player he’s familiar with from his days in Detroit, almost no matter the return, and despite the fact he’s not the player he was three years ago by any stretch of anyone’s logical imagination.

First Base/Designated Hitter
Logan Morrison may have done enough to warrant a regular job to start 2015, and it doesn’t matter if he’s considered the DH or the first baseman at this point. He’s a capable first baseman, albeit fringe-average rather than anywhere near Gold Glove caliber. That still means the club has no designated hitter. There is more than one way to fix this; One, Zduriencik can try and spend money to add a proven DH, or two, the club can acquire at least two outfielders and give skipper Lloyd McClendon some flexibility within his lineup.

[pullquote]The St. Louis Cardinals were the only team to make the playoffs with an average runs scored per game of less than 4.00 with 3.82. The Mariners actually scored a higher rate of runs per game at 3.91, but the AL playoff team with the lowest average was the Kansas City Royals at 4.02 runs per game.[/pullquote]

It could be argued that the Mariners are in an enviable position heading into the winter. The pitching staff is strong on both the rotation and bullpen fronts, though both still have room for upgrades. Up the middle the club has strength at the catcher, shortstop, second base, and center field positions — providing a bounce back year from Jackson — which are typically regarded as the toughest to fill. Unless another higher-end centerfielder becomes an option, the M’s can look to bolster both corner outfield spots and one of first base or designated hitter, depending on where Morrison fits.

Seattle’s lineup flexibility stems from have no fixed DH at this time. If an upgrade at first base is the target, Morrison can move to DH and spot start at first. If a veteran corner outfielder with durability concerns is brought in, they can take a regular turn in the DH slot to preserve their health. The M’s could double up on the veteran corner outfielders and enter the year with four regulars that rotate through the DH position — any number of lineup possibilities are plausible.

For the Mariners to sign any free agent who has received and declined the $15.3 million qualifying offer, they would have to surrender their first-round draft pick, which will be No. 21 in the 2015 amateur draft.

The hole in the middle of the lineup is obvious, but Zduriencik can’t forget about the top of the order. Despite the strong month from Jones and the addition of Jackson, the leadoff position was a mess for much of the season. After being acquired Jackson did not hit anywhere aside from the leadoff spot in a Mariner uniform despite spending much of his time in Detroit this year hitting in the No. 5 and No. 6 spots. The centefielder posted an 81 wRC+ as a leadoff hitter in 2014 and has a reputation for being a streaky player who strikes out often. Paired with the uncertainty of Ackley, the M’s could have an issue setting the table for the bats of Cano and Seager.

Certainly Jackson performed below expectations in a Mariner uniform and is expected to produce more offense in 2015, but what if he doesn’t? McClendon was married to his leadoff hitters until he absolutely had to make a change. Almonte spent three weeks in the role despite clearly being over-matched and Chavez had a prolonged stint in the role despite clearly being a below average player. Saunders and Jones took turns at the top of the order as well, but they may not be regulars in 2015. Taylor is the most likely in-house option to hit in the No. 1 or No. 2 spots given his contact abilities, but he may be a stretch at this point.

The term leadoff hitter is largely an irrelevant term, but it’s vital that those receiving the most plate appearances each game are able to get on base.

The one thing that the Mariners absolutely cannot do this winter, if they fancy themselves playoff contenders for 2015, is fail to upgrade at least one of the outfield positions. A threesome of Ackley, Jackson, and Saunders is a legitimate major league outfield but they are all question marks entering 2015 due to injury and production issues. One question mark out of three is manageable, but two questions marks out of three is recipe for another disaster … and three “we hope he hits” is downright criminal.

Depth
One common denominator among postseason clubs, and especially those that have success in October, is depth. They can play matchup against good bullpens, they can cover injuries with satisfactory or better secondary options and they have reserves that can do more than just fog a mirror. Bench play is important in Major League Baseball and while the Mariners need a plethora of starting lineup additions, they could use a key backup or two to add to what they’ll carry over from last season.

Some of the depth issues will occur naturally should the club add, say, an everyday outfielder, pushing a current projected starter to a reserve role, but don’t count on Michael Saunders being in Seattle come Opening Day. There’s nothing wrong with acquiring a player that has proven he can produce in a part-time or platoon role, anyway.

Conclusion
In the end, the M’s need a lot of help. Most of their needs are in the everyday lineup where there boast merely two solid to very good hitters joined by a bunch of ‘we hope he hits’ options. Outfield, perhaps times two, and either first base or designated hitter are the obvious spots in the field to add such offense. Whether it’s free agency or the trade market, the Mariners have a number of roster spots to upgrade which may include adding a premium starting pitcher. There are few untouchables in the organization from the big leagues all the way to their top prospects and they have no business worrying much about protecting their first-round draft pick. Expect a lot of rumors, but a lack of action by the Seattle Mariners would surprise the entire league. The M’s are motivated from top to bottom, ownership to field staff, and they aren’t all that far away, particularly if they’re lucky enough to get marked improvements from a few of the young players in addition to a few key winter acquisitions.

Buckle up.

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Tyler Carmont

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19 Comments

  1. “Listening” is a lot different than “seeking”. Virtually every player is available, if you’re willing enough to give up enough in a return. But, it’s nothing to get excited about.

  2. Well according to sources Colorado is listening to offers on Tulo. If you’re the M’s why would you stop at Tulo and if you are going to make a blockbuster trade make a real blockbuster trade.

    Send Walker, Miller, C. Smith, K. Martel and A. Wilson to Colorado for Tulo and CarGo.

    Dave Shoenfield suggested a Miller/Taylor and reliever for Cargo previously, so in essence Miller and C. Smith are for CarGo and Walker, Martel and Wilson are for Tulo.

    Colorado gets a major injection of youth and unloads two big contracts and Seattle gets 2 middle of the order bats. Of course this would be the ultimate going for it because Seattle’s payroll would jump considerably.

    But a middle of the order of

    Cano
    Tulo
    CarGo
    Seager

    Would be down right filthy. And you would still have King, Kuma and JPax as your #1-3

  3. If I were the M’s I wouldnt do that trade. Tulo when healthy is one of the games best players but he is always hurt. I think the combination of Walker and Miller would exceed the value of Tulo alone for this coming year.

    That seems like a fair trade though IHMO. The problem with it is then they would have to drastically increase payroll and still find a replacement starter for Walker. Both Miller and Walker make league min. where as Tulo makes 20mil. per season through 2019 and 14 mil in 2020 + option for 2021 at 15mil or 1 mil buyout.

    If Tulo can stay healthy he is worth way more than his contract but unfortunately he cant stay on the field. He produces at superstar levels but only for about 100 games a year. I would keep Walker and Miller personally.

  4. Any thoughts on Colorado listening to offers for Tulo and Gargo? I think the more valuable player is Tulo given the offense he gives you at a non traditionally offensive position and long term team friendly contract. I realize SS is not a team need, but neither was 2B when we signed Cano last year. Would Walker and Miller get the job done for Tulo???

  5. Docmilo,

    Walker and Taylor for Kemp????? No. Unless Corey Seager is coming back with Kemp.

  6. I followed a chat over on fangraphs this morning and what’s his name said he likes Miller more than Kemp. For the money and age, I do to. If Ramirez moves on from the Dodgers, could the M’s get a deal done with say Taylor and Walker for Kemp? I don’t know what the M’s would have to add, I would think that depends if the Dodgers send any money. I’m leaning in the direction of no DH and having guys that can play the field.

    The only reason I add Walker is I’m not sure he’s happy. Did he leave the AFL because he felt like he was getting showcased for a trade or did he just want to spend time with his family. I know with his mom’s health there has been some stress in the family the last few years so that could make sense, too.

  7. One other thing to keep in mind: the M’s don’t necessarily need to target elite guys at all their positions of need. We tend to think about positions of need and spots in the lineup as the main foci, but lifting up the floor of other areas also makes a big difference. The M’s could pick up a few wins just by addressing their biggest deficiencies, especially on offense. Patching weak spots and limiting bleeding can be just as useful as adding a big-name guy.

    Look at our biggest weaknesses versus the league average:
    DH:
    M’s:.206/.276/.335, wOBA: .274
    AL: .246/.317/.416, wOBA: .321

    1B:
    M’s:.236/.298/.385, wOBA: .304
    AL: .249/.322/.409, wOBA: .328

    RF:
    M’s: .246/.299/.368, wOBA: .297
    AL: .256./.315/.391, wOBA: .316

    CF:
    M’s:.234/.269/.290, wOBA: .251
    AL: .267/.328/.394, wOBA: .320

    LF:
    M’s:.246/.295/.389, wOBA: .303
    AL: .254/.321/.402, wOBA: .318

    That’s five spots in the lineup where we were well below league average. Replacing that performance with even league average production would be a huge upgrade.

    For example, getting Victor Martinez (wOBA:.411) to help at DH would be awesome. But even last year’s production from Billy Butler (wOBA: .311) would be a substantial improvement. He’s unlikely to be that bad again: his career wOBA is .351. Steamer projects .339. That’s above average. Likewise, getting Alex Rios would be a pretty notable improvement. Even in his terrible season last year, his wOBA of .309 is better than what we got last year, and his career average of .330 would be a nice upgrade. Those guys aren’t going to be the centerpiece of our offseason, but they’d be good bets to help us get better.

    The M’s have a core of pretty good players. If we can add one very good player, plus modest upgrades at the other positions listed above, we’d be in good shape. I expect offensive improvement from SS and C without any roster moves. But getting those areas of need closer to league average is the way forward. They don’t even need to necessarily be starters: a good platoon OFer and guys to rotate through 1B/OF/DH can help. Anything that can nudge production closer to league average.

    Fixing a few of our sucking chest wounds from 2014 is a great way to gain the 5-7 wins that would make us a legit contender.

  8. I’d go all-in on Tomas, then look into other options.

    Trades could be the way forward too: Matt Kemp and Carlos Gonzalez have been mentioned. One other guy who’s name has been mentioned as a possibility (not a rumor, just journalists speculating): Ryan Braun. He would be a great fit, and you know that Jack is familiar with him.

    There is so much more depth in pitching, though. Lots of interesting names.

    Jon Lester would be an interesting move. There just aren’t that many good bats available. Lester has local ties, and won’t cost a draft pick. Plus, it would make it a lot easier for the M’s to swing a trade involving pitching. Even if they didn’t: Felix, Lester, Kuma, Paxton, Walker! That would be the best rotation in baseball!

    Other starters that I think would be great fits: Brett Anderson and Brandon Morrow. Morrow would be a great swingman, making spot starts and pitching mostly from the pen. He can’t seem to handle a normal starters workload, but his arm plays waaaay up in the pen.

    Anderson is my favorite sleeper, though. He has trouble staying healthy, but when he pitches, he’s extremely good. With Walker and Paxton both lacking a track record for big innings or reliability, having 6-7 legit starters is a good idea. Anderson is ideal, and you could try to work out a deal with a solid base salary and easily obtainable incentives. He could be the best bargain of this offseason.

  9. Don’t trade the farm. I think JackZ with the Granderson trade proved he can get talent for not a lot. Signing Butler who has wonted for years makes a ton of sense. You add another OF via F/A and another SP and you go for it. If Kang from Korea could play SS I would love that. But I don’t see it happening. However Korean SP Hyeon-jong Yang is said to be posted soon and could play well at Safeco. Yankees and Angels are said to be in on him.

  10. Yeah, players can say whatever they want and it doesn’t mean much. As the cast with most, I’d imagine he’d want to play closer to home, but don’t try and tell me he doesn’t sign for the highest $ amount.

    Crawford at $10-15 million is still a waste of resources. Pass.

    Sure the M’s can afford whomever they want, but don’t expect payroll to take that sizeable of an increase. Lester and V-Mart are probably $40 million annually, meaning payroll probably sits $140-150 million. With what we know about the front office, that won’t happen. It’s very important to note that just because the team has an increase in revenue, that dollar amount isn’t automatically going to go into payroll. Team’s have shareholders that need some payback, not to mention other expenses as well.

    Hultzen is still rehabbing, no timeline. I expect they’ll see what shows up in the spring and go from there. Can’t expect anything at this point in time.

  11. Law may be right, but if he thinks those are legitimate contract offers, he’s dramatically underestimating the current market.

  12. Rumors out there that CarGo might be available and the cost might not be as high as some think. Dave Shoenfield thinks that one of Miller or Taylor and a reliever could get it done. I suppose you could trade a reliever for a minor league SP and still get it done if Colorado didn’t want a reliever.

    I do think one of Miller or Taylor is going to net you something this offseason.

  13. I finally think the M’s have a core to build around and that it is time to be aggressive, but not dumb.

    I like the idea of bringing in another OF, but I’d prefer to keep Saunders, unless he is in a package that gets us someone better. A good OF, Saunders, Jackson, and Ackley (maybe Jones), and you will likely get a reasonable OF and a good 4th OF off the bench.

    I am not as sour on Butler as others. It all depends on what we pay him, but I would be willing to chance that 2014 was just a down year. Tomas and Vmart are at the top of the list. If we get either, plus Butler (at reasonable price), it was a very good offseason in my opinion.

    I am not sure who is going to be available via trade that I would consider dealing Paxton or Walker for. We’ll see. But I would rather count on progression from Miller, Zunino, etc than include Paxton or Walker in anything but a very good trade.

  14. Seattle has just as much of a chance of signing VMart AND Tomas as they did in signing Jacoby Ellsbury AND Masahiro Tanaka last offseason. Not impossible, but highly unlikely and bordering a pipe dream.

  15. I saw the Keith Law top 50 rankings too. I have soured a bit on Law and don’t respect his opinion much anymore. I agree with you on VMart and Tomas though! I think we will be real lucky to get one of those guys. Are you willing to trade Walker or Paxton to get a bat? It will likely take that and a lot more to get a decent bat. As I said before, it’s simple supply and demand, and with no bats seamingly available, you are going to SERIOUSLY overpay (either via players and prospects in a trade or $$$$ to sign a guy that is a free agent). Just how much you are willing to pay is the big question I am anxious to find out. Should be a fun offseason.

  16. “From what I’ve read Tomas wants to play on the East Coast so he’s not an option for the M’s. ”

    Where did you read that? Links?

    Why would that be the case? Quick flights back home to Cuba?

  17. Keith Law just put out his top 50 FA list and it makes you want to throw up in your mouth a little bit when you read his bio’s about the guys the M’s are rumored to be in on.

    Let’s start at the bottom and go up.

    #46 Michael Cuddyer – Now it will cost us the #21 pick if we signed him and Law describes him as a bench bat or platoon guy who he wouldn’t give more then 3 million per year. ZIPS has him as a replacement level player for the next three years and is an injury prone, over the hill bat, inflated by Coors. Gross.

    #45 Alex Rios – Won’t cost us a pick. Law suggest not paying him more then 2 million a year as a roll of the dice type player that is clearly done. He was the 12th worst qualifying hitter and 7 of the guys worse then him were either catcher or MI. Gross. He’s basically a replacement player.

    #24 Billy Butler – Won’t cost us a pick. A DH only bat who doesn’t hit HR’s, who’s body type and skill set make him age worse then others. He’s big, slow, un-athletic, provides no defensive value and is Jim Rice-ian when it come to grounding into double plays. *This is who we want as our #4 hitter!!* As his bat speed diminishes he won’t survive with walks or power, because he does neither. Law would give him a 1 year deal worth 6-7 million. I would stay far far away.

    #21 Nelson Cruz – Will cost us a pick. A mediocre RF/LF who’s defense is only going to decline in age. 35 years old and had a horrible 2nd half fade, that will most likely last into 2015. Played a full season last year for only the 2nd time in his career. Cruz is a dead fastball hitter and hit .230/.277/.443 on EVERYTHING else. Gross. Law thinks he will be paid handsomely, a big overpay as a middle of the order bat. Law thinks he shouldn’t get more then a 8 million, one year contract. I agree.

    #12 Vmart – Will cost us a pick. Law says he’s the best pure bat on the market and it’s hard not to agree. Walks more then 60% more then he K’s, that would be HUGE in our lineup and as a 4 hitter would move Cano into scoring position a lot with Seager up. His power will dip but he would be good for 40 doubles and 15+ HR’s for another 3 seasons with .300/.380/.470 along with it. IMO, he’s a perfect fit as our much needed cleanup hitter. We don’t need a HR hitter, just a hitter. Law wouldn’t give him a 3 or 4 year deal, but I would bet the house he gets one.

    #10 Yasmani Tomas – Will not cost us a pick. He wants a 100 million dollar deal, but no team is willing to pay that much. He’s 23 and will be a corner OF going forward. You would be getting him through all of his prime years. Law loves his power and his short approach to the ball. In fact he says it’s plus power. He sees him as an above average regular, with 30 HR power and low OBP. I see Cespedes and the M’s could use a Cespedes.

    Those are the hitters the M’s have been rumored, IN ON. There are only two guys I make a play on, Vmart and Tomas and it might be very hard to land either one. If you can’t get one of them to sign I think you have to look at acquiring bats through a trade. I would not go after any of the secondary FA’s I listed.

    The one FA I would make a play at is Colby Rasmus, with the same hope JZ had last year when he went after Logan Morrison. Colby is a good defender and can play in any 3 of the OF spots. He won’t cost a draft pick and like Morrison, has had a a very good year in the past .276/.361/.498. If our coaching staff can clean up his mechanics a bit, he could return to a 4 WAR player. IMO, he is worth a flier on, as he’s young, 28, has had good years in the past, can play defense and should come cheap. But then again, isn’t Saunders better then Rasmus? We might have one of the bats we are looking for on the roster.

    It’s going to be an interesting offseason.

  18. From what I’ve read Tomas wants to play on the East Coast so he’s not an option for the M’s. That means the M’s should really make a push for VMart. Let’s not expect another .900+ OPS, but how about a bit of regression to his old .850 OPS for 2 years?

    If Saunders is going for another OFer I think the M’s need to throw a bucket of talent after Matt Kemp to play RF. Or if you’re looking to fill the lead off spot, maybe go after Crawford if the Dodgers throw $5M or more a year into the deal. Nevermind I thought that. That’s not very smart.

    The M’s can afford Lester and VMart with their new TV money and it gives them a legit shot at wining the AL West. Miller and Taylor can battle for the SS job and lead off role. Miller had a nice bounce back in the 2nd half. Paxton/Walker/Elias can battle for the 4/5 position and the other can keep his innings limited in Tacoma to cover the 2nd half when one of the two slows down. Better yet? Create a rotation of the 3 between Tacoma and Seattle to limit the IP for all 3 of them.

    Moving Saunders now would be a mistake.

    Where is Hultzen? Do they keep him in an extended ST and hope he’s good for 100 innings late in the year in case we need another arm?

  19. If it means we get to keep Paxton AND Walker, does this offset the major overpay (4 years and 70+ million) to get Victor Martinez? Which is worse, giving up young, cheap, and extremely talented players or overpaying a free agent? There are not many options out there to improve offensively this offseason, and they all will be over valued due to supply and demand.

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