Everyone Else Can Be Had
Posted by Jason A. Churchill on May 4, 2006
It's hard work being this good at something. Truly, just ask anyone that is as good at something as I am at this.
Not many on the planet can match my skills in this field. It's fun walking around with my head held up high knowing that I am so much better at this than everyone else around me.
I'm the best there is, the best there ever was and the best there ever will be.
It's a great feeling. I am the man, the myth, the legend.
Okay, maybe if I was talking about being great at something cool. What I'm talking about, however, is how good I am as an M's fan at putting up with a bad baseball team.
We're all doing it. It's not that fun, and it's not something to be proud of, for sure.
After complaining so much, many recently began asking me a very important, and pertinent question.
What would you do to make the Mariners a good baseball team? Huh, genius?
Ah, finally, someone asks me. Now I get to respond.
First of all, let me say this. My way or the highway. That's the way I do things. Those who know me already have a good idea how I operate. I'd be no different in a role like this.
Bill Bavasi does not have this leisure, nor do any GMs in the game, with the possible exception of Oakland's Billy Beane, so I'm not in any way claiming to be some heroic player personnel master.
To me, it's all about philosophy.
I despise the quick fix. Always have. I've always hated the one-year contract for a veteran if he's costing more money than he's worth, unless the club is so close to championship contention that he fills an immediate hole that could be the difference.
Considering who is on the M's current roster, this is what I'd do… for starters.
Goodbye Mike Hargrove. You just aren't the man for the job. Good luck to ya, pal.
Dan Rohn, here is your audition. Good luck, we'll re-evaluate your status this winter.
Trade away Carl Everett, Matt Lawton, Roberto Petagine, Julio Mateo and Eddie Guardado, even if it means agreeing to pay half, or more, of the remaining salaries of Everett and Eddie both.
The club isn't winning today, won't win this season and it's not worth their roster spot to keep them around when they are simply not part of the future.
Lawton and Petagine are capable bench bats, but those are a dime a dozen these days. When the M's are ready to win again, they can go out on the market and ink a few benchies to back up the regulars.
For now, this team needs to find out how much its youth it can use for the long haul.
Exit the vets, enter Shin-soo Choo, T.J. Bohn, Hunter Brown, Greg Dobbs and Emiliano Fruto.
I'm OK with starting the clocks of Choo and Fruto, the two prospects of the group, because ultimately, Choo is on my list to include in a bigger trade down the road and his arbitration status is not an issue at hand.
Fruto is a potential mainstay.
Next, I'd start looking for a trade to make with Joel Pineiro and Gil Meche. The best time may not be right now, since both right-handers are going good and could build some decent value. But I wouldn't wait too long. I don't want to look up at my roster on August 1 and see either among the 12, yes 12, pitchers I have.
I keep 12 for now because I have more arms that need to be weeded out than bench players.
Exit the two 27-year-olds, enter Clint Nageotte and Francisco Cruceta. Cruceta to the bullpen, Livingston to the rotation.
I do not seek a deal for Moyer, unless he's open and willing to the idea. Unlikely. If Moyer is traded for prospects, Cha Seung Baek would take his place in the rotation.
For the remainder of the year, barring another deal in which I acquire a big-league caliber arm, my rotation is… Felix, Moyer, Washburn, Nageotte, Livingston.
My Bullpen is… Soriano, Putz, Sherrill, Green, Fruto, Cruceta and Woods. I keep Woods up to work through some kinks to get a good idea of whether he can be an effective relief option. He's only 24 and throws with his left hand. He'll have some value down the road if he can get through a few innings at a time.
My September call-ups include Adam Jones, Asdrubal Cabrera, Rob Johnson, Jeff Clement, Travis Blackley, and potentially my June draftee.
I head into the offseason looking for the following.
1. Three starting pitchers to join Felix and Washburn; one has to come from within. Livingston, Nageotte, Foppert, Cruceta, Baek, Blackley… one of them is the fifth starter.
Daisuke Matsuzaka may be posted, and if he is, I make damned sure I do what it takes to win the rights to the 26-year-old. He immediately becomes my second best starter.
The free-agent market is pretty bare, so I'd prefer to try and wiggle one off the trade wire. I would, however, be willing to offer Doug Davis (left) a three-year contract worth similar to what Washburn received, but I wouldn't make that deal until I knew what else I had in the bag to improve the team. Davis isn't a high-impact difference maker. He's a complimentary starter, not unlike Washburn.
Jason Schmidt may feel like coming home to pitch. I'd certainly look into that. But no arm, other than DM, is worth more than three years.
Seeking a deal for Carl Pavano, complete with a lot of cash from the Yankees is something I'd consider.
2. Bats. Plural. This club is two MOTO bats from contention. The only positions locked up are first, catcher, third and DH.
Since the club doesn't have a lot of talent to trade, it may be necessary to take on a contract that isn't so attractive. The free agent market is dry, save Carlos Lee, who would be a nice addition but is more likely to head back to Chicago, either Windy City club will be interested.
Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell (right), Geoff Jenkins and Ken Griffey, Jr have been mentioned before. All are hitters I'd consider with varying degrees of money involved.
Griffey would have to agree to play left and DH at a 50-50 rate. He's lost three steps in center and can't stay healthy playing the field everyday. Maybe he can DH and stay in 140 games.
The Reds are still going to have to pony up a lot of dough, unless Adrian Beltre is involved. Highly unlikely, but not out of the question. I'd think about it.
Because there isn't much available, however, I'm not going to be desperate. Unless Griffey, Jenkins, etc, comes super cheap, I'm not doing a thing. Burrell is a bit of a pipedream, but the best option out there. If the M's had the pitching to get him, I'd do it.
In the end, I'm probably not going to be able to add even one bat to the middle of my order. Instead, I decide against the Doug Davis or Jason Schmidt signing, and instead go with a younger, more economical pitcher. Let's call him Jesse Foppert.
But I'd still do the deal for DM.
So basically what's happening here is that instead of trying to force a winning team together by blowing millions of dollars and useful young talent on aging veterans, I'm allowing my roster to develop from within, and spending the money on the right guys.
Will the club win enough games to bring fans to the ballpark?
Not in 2007.
But guess what?
They aren't winning now, either. And when the club isn't winning, it's a killer to be spending 90 million on a 90-loss team while your attendance is dropping like a Ray Allen three ball over Bruce Bowen.
My philosophy is to draft, sign, develop and trade. I don't like the free agent market much. Why should I? It hasn't been good to me.
I'm keeping Johjima, Ichiro, Lopez, Betancourt, Felix, Soriano, Putz, Sherrill and the two best prospects.
Everyone else can be had. I'm doing this right.
My way, or the highway.
Photo Credits –
Daisuke Matsuzaka, Pat Burrell: Getty Images
Doug Davis: Associated Press