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Five Moves the M’s Should Make (Soon)

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on May 9, 2006

These are the 10 moves I'd make today – trade details aside. [coming soon]

1. Make room in the rotation for Bobby Livingston or send him back to Triple-A

Until Joel Pineiro or Gil Meche is traded, Bobby Livingston should be in Tacoma. He's wasting away in the M's bullpen and while I'm sure he's loving that big-league pay check, pitching just 4 2/3 innings since April 19 is preposterous and detrimental to his development.

Livingston has the potential to lock down a rotation spot for 2007, and he is being grossly misused by Mike Hargrove and the Mariners right now.

This club has very few young assets, and it's about time they stop abusing the ones they do have.

2. Start clearing space in the bullpen for Emiliano Fruto

This means you, Eddie Guardado. It's time to start thinking about 2007 in the bullpen. Not because the M's have no chance at 2006 yet, because in this division they are still in the race, but because thinking ahead actually helps this year's club.

Calling up Fruto today isn't what I am suggesting. He's not quite ready. But come August, he's going to be ready to get a taste and I don't want there to be an excuse such as "there's no room, we have Bobby and Eddie."

Get Eddie some favorable situations to pitch in, perhaps enough to give him back his closer role and trade him off on July 31 to a contender needing a lefty setup man and insurance at the closer spot.

No haggling, just do it.

3. Re-insert Jeremy Reed into the starting lineup – including 1/2 of the games versus left-handed pitching

Anything Reed does for the Mariners will depend on his on-field performance. Whether he's included in a trade or simply earns a starting role, it will all depend on his bat coming around.

Sooo, he needs to play.

Get him 350 ABs the rest of the season, including a fair amount versus lefties, and see what value he can give the club, either in performance or as part of a trade – deadline or winter.

He's far too talented to stay this bad for so long. Bat him 8th, every day.

4. Trade away Carl Everett and Matt Lawton to make room for Shin-soo Choo and eventually Chris Snelling

I've been asked on the air every week of the season whether there is help on the farm for the struggling M's offense. Every week I have answered the same way.

"No. Choo is the most ML-ready bat but he's not going to give you more than Everett or Ibanez is giving you right now."

I still believe that but… Choo is also not going to hurt you much more than Everett is these days and while I don't think Everett is killing the M's, he doesn't have a future with the club beyond 2006 – and Choo may – so why wait?

And Lawton deserves to play and if he's not going to start three days a week, he should go, too. Besides, Snelling will be big-league ready by June and he's just as good at the plate as either Everett or Lawton.

Three players for two spots. Considering Choo's development curve, Snelling's injury risk and Ibanez's age and defensive shortcoming's (range), rotating the three players at two positions, left field and DH, is a pretty good idea.

And if the M's were smart enough to slide Ichiro over to center field, well, we'd have a different discussion altogether.

Choo in left, Snelling in right and Ichiro in center. Speed, defense and cannon arms abound. Not to mention that with the DH spot, it's a better offensive foursome then they have right now and it's also conducive to the future of the club.

5. Take advantage of the resurgence of Joel Pineiro and Gil Meche

Again, I don't mean trade them right away. Their value is still building after hideous seasons in 2004 and 2005. The longer they pitch well the more value they build.

There will be plenty of clubs interested in 27-year-old starting pitchers in July.

If Bavasi is willing to include young players such as Reed or Rene Rivera in a deal for Meche or Pineiro, the M's could snag a few solid young, ML-ready prospects or a combination of prospects and young major leaguers at positions of need.

[Suggestions for trades, in detail, coming later tonight.]

Right now, there are 20 teams that are either in first place or within five games of first place. That's incredible, and though it's just 30-35 games into the schedule, some of that parity is going to remain.

There could be 12-14 teams in the market for pitching this summer.

It's a good year for the M's to have a few young pitchers turn their careers around. If indeed that is what Meche and Pineiro are doing.

It sure appears that way.

Let's just hope Bavasi proves he can make the big trade as well as he makes the small one.

Photo Credits –

Jeremy Reed: Out of the Park Images

Joel Pineiro: Online Art, Inc.

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76 Responses to “Five Moves the M’s Should Make (Soon)”

  1. NWBaseball said

    I’d rather see Reed sent down if it meant he would play every day. I was beginning to think he was hurt. I also agree re: BLiv. There’s no reason to bring up young talent and then not play them regularly.

  2. Sending Reed down makes less than zero sense at this point because his value is at an all-time low and Jones is the future CF.

  3. slim said

    Livingston and Woods both need to be sent down – 4 lefty relievers is a bit extreme. Livingston, because he needs the IP. Woods, because there’s nothing in his record (major or minor leagues) that suggests he should be in Seattle. Appier is ready to hold a bullpen spot and should be a better long relief option than Woods. And the M’s need another potential set-up type righty in Fruto.

    The treatment of Jeremy Reed is reason #1 for Hargrove’s dismiss. Its inexcusable.

    Everett is probably untradeable. No team will want him to be a full-time player because of his vesting option, and his contract makes him undesirable as a bench guy. Hopefully the M’s are committed to giving Snelling ABs as soon as he’s ready and Everett can revert to the part-time role he had with the Sox last year. Lawton is expandable, but probably has zero trade value as well. And sadly, so is Petagine if they aren’t going to use him.

  4. Woods needs to go too, and he’s part of making room for Fruto.

    Everett is untradable until late July or August (likely clearing waivers due to salary), but his option is not so easily vested.

    Especially when he starts playing half the time when Snelling gets back.

    500 PAs (not 450 PAs or 450 Abs) isn’t automatic.

    Lawton has trade value, as does anyone who’s that cheap, but the return may be equal to 2Quarters’ trade value.

  5. johnb said

    These trades are simply to make room and see if we can get lucky with a few prospects in return for guys we won’t have on the roster in 2007.

    When you think about what we received for a Freddy Garcia, three players the Sox didn’t want anymore, we might do just as well, or better for Piniero even though he isn’t close to Freddy in value. The lack of pitching this year and the amount of potential suitors may yield a great return especially if a guy like Reed is part of the package.

    Let’s talk about Joel for a second, any chance the M’s decide to bring him back next year? Not exactly a lot of pitchers available that are better through free agency next year that we are going to have a shot at if his resurgence continues. Is this truly the new Joel Piniero, the kid that got smaller, lost velocity, and has now learned to pitch well with what he “naturally” has? Is this a permanent change, is he capable of continuing like this for the rest of the year and into the future, or is it something other teams will figure out the second time they face him? I have seen a lot of pitchers seemingly bounce back for a month or two only to fall back on the scrap heap after the cosmo’s realigned and lose value before the deadline.

  6. I think the decision on whether to bring back Pineiro or not will be dictated by three things.

    1. The way he finishes the season, of course.

    2. What he’ll accept as a one-year deal for 2007. The natural arby salary increase for a sub 4 ERA starter who goes 200 innings this year and made 6. 3mil is probably 8 million – or more. I don’t think there is a chance the M’s do that.

    3. What the Mariners are offered for him this summer. I think Joel could have a lot of value.

    Let’s pretend for a second that it’s mid July and Joel has made 17 or 18 starts and is holding a 3.72 ERA with the same rate stats he’s posting now.

    He’d be among the top few SPs available on the trade market after Zito and perhaps Jason Schmidt.

  7. slim said

    Freddy is a good example to look at for 6th year arbitration eligibles. Essentially Garica agreed to the same contract in his 6th year as his 5th – $6.5 million. Joel will probably pitch better in his 5th season (this year) than Freddy did in his 5th year (a forgettable up-and-down 2003), so he could seek a raise to $8 million or so and most arbiters would probably side with him.

    Is Pineiro worth that much? That’s debateable. $8 million is the going rate for your average middle-of-the-rotation starter these days. There’s a lot of 4.50 ERA guys out there in that ballpark. Pineiro could look really good at that price compared to the Miltons and Ortizes of the world. He fits in nicely with the Kris Bensons and Esteban Loaizas, and its only a one year deal.

    What will likely happen if Pineiro is not dealt this summer (which he may not be if the M’s are in contention), is that the M’s will keep him until the very last minute. They’ll hang on to him until the late December arbitration deadline. By then they’ll know if they can fill their rotation via free agency (Matsuzaka, Zito, etc.) and they’ll have to deal with Moyer’s status too. By the arbitration deadline they’ll know if Pineiro is expendable or not. At that point they can probalby trade Pineiro for a lesser prospect or a similar arbitration eligible veteran to fill a need.

    If they can’t find a replacement for Joel in the market, then I think they’ll be perfectly content to pay him his $8 million (this is, after all, the same organization that was willing to give Washburn $9 million)and take him into the 2007 trade deadline. He also is a good bet to garner a draft pick in compensation in the post 2007 free agent market. Some one will want to give him a three-year deal.

  8. KB said

    8 million is quite a bit for a Piniero—- if his numbers hold, you almost have to trade him.

    First concern: How would this affect our 07 rotation? We’d have Washburn and Felix, with perhaps a Moyer/Meche re-signing. We’d have to hope for Matsuzaka and count on at least one guy from within (#5 draft pick?). If we trade Piniero AND Meche, our options will certainly be limited.

    Not to mention the question of whether the FO would trade either guy if we’re still in contention.

  9. johnb said

    If they move Joel, it will be at the deadline, I think he will have the most value at that point providing he keeps pitching like this. If the change in Piniero is permanent I have no problem paying him 8 million in 2007 to stay. I think we are assuming a lot with the early sample.

    What about Moyer, so you think they bring the Ancient Mariner back for another year?

  10. I think unless it’s CLEAR that the M’s are contenders, paying Moyer 5 mil or more is ridiculous.

    Matsuzaka is the key for the M’s this winter, and what sucks about that is it’s no given that he’s posted.

    And there is NO CHANCE whatsoever that both Meche and Pineiro are retained after 2006.

    Just like last year it was Meche/Franklin… one had to go and it wasn’t out of the question that both went.

  11. slim said

    Paying Moyer that much is ridiculous, but it’ll probably happen anyway if thats the way Moyer wants it.

    Meche’s spot will most likely go to a youngster. Either Nageotte, Livingston, or maybe even the #5 draft pick in a perfect world. It’s hard to envision the M’s going with two “rookies” next year, unless one of them really establishes themselves this year.

    I think you can lock down Washburn, Felix, and “rookie” for three spots next year. That leaves the M’s to sort through Moyer, Pineiro, Meche, and the market for the other two starters. I can definitely see Bavasi bringing back Moyer and Pineiro after another frustrating December of being snubbed by the “marquee” names.

  12. I think Moyer/Meche/Pineiro’s future depends on the other two, starting with Jamie.

    If they want to bring back one of the righties, Moyer will probably retire.

    And no, I agree that only one spot can be a rook. That’s why DM is a huge potential addition.

    He’s legit.

  13. KB said

    Paying Moyer 5 million if it’s based on incentives ain’t so bad. He was decent last year, and is off to a solid start again in 06. One problem with bringing back Moyer is that our “Rookie” slot next year is likely to be Livingston… although we could survive on that for a year.

    If there’s a key, DM is it for sure. I’d rather keep Piniero than Meche too, but I’m sure other teams feel the same way.

  14. I think some of the clubs that are going to be in the market for a SP will prefer Meche because he’s cheaper now, half as cheap, and has no tag for next year.

    They could offer Meche arby as a free agent and either keep him for less than what Pineiro is making THIS year (6 mil)or get a draft pick when someone else gives him a multi-year deal.

    Someone is going to offer Meche a 2-3 year deal that he won’t be able to turn down and that idea makes it tough at the deadline.

    Is getting 1-2 prospects better than a 1st round pick?

  15. johnb said

    It all depends on who the 1-2 prospects are. You can get a pretty good player with a sandwich pick.

  16. In the average year, it’s debatable in both directions whether it’s better to have the average club’s No. 5 prospect or mid-to-late first round pick.

    With a strong, deep draft class, I guess I’d rather have the draft pick.

    But an average draft class, I’m not so sure.

    And it wouldn’t be a sandwich pick unless the club that signed Meche was a team drafting in the top 10 in June 2007.

    So, conceivably, the M’s could get as high as the 11th choice overall.

  17. KB said

    I guess it depends on the prospects, don’t it? At least Bavasi gets a little bit of leverage in those trade talks.

    One thing’s for sure, ‘Someone’ is going to overpay for mediocrity next year. There’s a reason Meche makes half of Piniero’s salary…

  18. Yep, and that reason is that he’s just not quite as good and couldn’t get a multi-year deal from the M’s (good job Gillick).

  19. taro said

    Excellent post. The only part I disagree with is that I’d keep Choo in AAA and DH Petagine until Snelling is ready. Choo is valuable trade bait and I wouldn’t want his shine to go down with a short-term struggle in the bigs.

    The Marlins could REALLY use some MLB ready OF prospects. Reed+Choo+Soriano is a good starting point for Willis or possibly even Cabrera. And ya, Reed needs to play for that to happen.

    “If Bavasi is willing to include young players such as Reed or Rene Rivera in a deal for Meche or Pineiro, the M’s could snag a few solid young, ML-ready prospects or a combination of prospects and young major leaguers at positions of need.”

    Unbelievable that those guys have so much value. Thats actually kind of exciting. Get it done Bavasi.

  20. slim said

    Meche probably hasn’t been good enough the past three years to rank as a Type A free agent, so he may only fetch a second round pick. I’m not sure exactly how they rank ’em. If its based on IP, he’s a type A. Anything else, and he’s probably a Type B.

  21. KB said

    Type B free agents bring back a 1st rounder if I remember correctly. Type A are a 1st rounder and sandwich pick.

  22. NWBaseball said

    I think it makes even less sense to let Reed rot on the bench. His value is plumeting as he sits.

  23. Edman said

    It’s extremely premature to worry about deals that won’t happen until August. It’s fun to speculate, but the standings will have a lot more to say, than wheither or not Pineiro or Meche are worth keeping.

    Personally, I think if Meche and Pineiro continue to pitch effectively, it’s more than stupid to trade either. There is this assumption that something better may lurk in the minors. You can never have too much pitching. So what, you’ve got guys fighting in the minors for a spot on the staff? Who says they have to make room for them? I’d rather they pitch so well that it leaves the M’s no other choice. Right now, NOBODY in Tacoma is pitching better than Meche or Pineiro. You trade either, and you restart the whole learning curve over again, with a new pitcher. You never progress that way.

    I agree on Fruto……there needs to be a spot for him sometime this year.

    I disagree on Reed. Until this team is all but out of contention, then you try and win. When the middle of the order is clicking, you can afford to live with the holes in Jeremy’s bat. But, at the moment….being a winning streak from the top of the division, you fight to win. And, that means the OJT ends for Jeremy. Best thing would be to send him back to Tacoma, where he can play everyday, and replace him with a utility guy.

  24. slim said

    Ruight now, this very second, Reed is the best man to play in CF if you want to win.

    Lawton and Bloomquist are only marginally better than Reed offensively at the moment. Bloomquist currently has a .680 OPS and he’s not anything close to a .311 hitter. His offensive spike is more flukey than Reed’s slump. Lawton is running an unforgivable .693 OPS when tacked onto his lead glove in CF.

    Reed’s defense (yes, he is that much better than Willie B in CF)is enough to overcome the gap between his .537 OPS and what the other two are giving you. Plus, Reed’s offense is only going to pick up once he starts playing more. Bloomquist is only going to regress towards his average self the more he plays. He’s been doing it for years. He’s had starting auditions at SS, 2B, and 3B in the last 3 years and flunked them all. CF will be no different.

  25. 2quarters said

    Hey JAC – nice article there in the PI today on the lefties.

  26. dnc said

    “Right now, this very second, Reed is the best man to play in CF if you want to win.”

    Exactly

  27. haikushoe said

    I’m not a Mariner’s fan, just a baseball fan, but I enjoyed reading the initial article and the discussion afterwards in the comments.

  28. Why would the M’s NOT trade Meche and/or Pineiro if they are out of the race at the deadline, Ed?

  29. Katal said

    It seems to me like the most logical thing to do would be to keep Joel and Meche until winter.

    Then, if DM isn’t posted, we have players to fall back on.

    Otherwise, even if Reed, Choo, and Snelling get plenty of playing time this year, and Beltre, Sexson, and Ichiro bounce back, we’re still going to have trouble contending next year.

    And if it turns out that we can sign DM, then great, we can go ahead and trade Piniero or Meche. There aren’t a lot of great pitchers available this off season, and I suspect that after Zito and Schmidt are signed away, there are going to be a lot of teams desperate to fill holes.

  30. taro said

    I might even be willing to trade Pineiro if we’re contending at the deadline depending on how Livingston and Nageotte progress. Theres nothing special about a 4.5K 2BB pitcher, but he keeps you in the game. Hes a decent #4 if he can stay reasonably consistent.

    Meche, on the other hand, I’d trade tommorow if the return was nice. Livingston may already be a better pitcher.

  31. taro said

    Of course everything depends on the return but I’d really like to see the M’s lose both pitchers by the next offseason. Pineiro is a useful starter if he can continue to limit walks and avoid gopheritis, but we don’t need another Washburn for $8mil+ per.

  32. Jerry said

    The M’s HAVE to take any reasonable trade for Pineiro, Meche, Guardado, or Everett. If they can get Jamie to waive his no-trade rights, they should trade him too.

    The M’s need to rebuild. Bavasi understands this, and made some good trades the past few offseasons. They need to continue on this track. This year, the club could have a lot of tradable commodities. Meche and Pineiro are already being mentioned as potential trade bait. Guardado is pretty bad right now, but closers usually have inflated value. Since his deal is up, he could net us some prospects.

    Even if the return is not huge (this will be determined by the available players and the number of contending teams) the M’s need to move veterans for prospects. They HAVE to do it.

    Besides trade bait, the other upside of these expiring contracts is payroll flexibility. Lets not forget that Moyer (5.5+ mil), Guardado (6.25+), Pineiro (6.5), Meche (3.7), and Everett (4) all add up to over 26 million once incentives are included. That is a lot of cash money.

    If the M’s are willing to go up to their old level of $95 million (which isn’t as much as it used to be), they could use that money to sign…say… Daisuke Matsuzaka, Kelvim Escobar, and Aubrey Huff. That would go a long ways towards getting them back towards contention.

    Or, they could try to swing a trade that would bring them an elite, expensive veteran, perhaps using some relievers and prospects in a package. Any prospects they can get in the meantime – through mid-season trades – will just give them more ammo and more salary flexibility next offseason.

    This season is close to over with. The M’s need to recognize this and get to thinking about 2007. Soon.

  33. taro said

    Jerry,

    Huff stopped roiding in 2005. He’s hitting .180 so far this year. You want to avoid him.

    Otherwise I agree with your overall point, but I’m not sure Guardado and Everett have much value at all. I can’t imagine Meche having much value, but I guess thats how desperate clubs are for pitching.

  34. Willmore said

    Aussie Aussie Aussie
    Oi Oi Oi

    Snelling is in Tacoma … OI OI OI !!!

    http://ussmariner.com/2006/05/09/doyle-returns/

  35. johnb said

    Good to see Doyle back, won’t be long till he is back in Seattle. My guess would be by June 1st.

  36. You can’t “fall back” on pitchers that will make 8 and 6 mil each.

    Plus, if you don’t deal Meche by July 31, u get nothing for him but possibly a draft pick.

  37. Jerry said

    Taro,

    Huff started the season on the DL, and only has 40 ABs this year. Thus, it is far too small of a sample to make judgements on.

    Further, it is pretty lame to suggest that he was breaking the rules, when there hasn’t been any sort of informed accounts that he has done so. Not everyone who had an off year last year was cheating. It is pretty irresponsible to speculate like that.

    If you look at Huff’s stats over the years, he has been really good every year but 2005. From 2002-2004, he was a .300/.360/.510 guy. He was actually very consistent. How he does this year will be big. If he continues to struggle like he did last year, then teams should be wary of him. But you can’t make a decision on a guy after 40 ABs.

    If he does well, he would be a great pickup. The other power bats that I like are Craig Wilson and Carlos Lee. The only reason why I mentioned Huff is that he is a lefty hitter, which is a better fit for the M’s lineup. But Wilson and Lee look better this year, and could be better choices.

  38. dnc said

    Long live Yoda!

  39. Edman said

    The reason you DON’T trade Meche and/or Pineiro, is that IF they are pitching effectively…..you BUILD AROUND them.

    Is your assumption that, if they are pitching well, it will never last? Are you assuming there are better arms waiting in the minors?

    I’d rather bet that their success is lasting…..adding Washburn and Felix to the mix, then replacing Jamie next season. The rotation, for the next couple of years, needs to gain stability, as much as anything else.

    If either Meche or Pineiro are hovering around mediocre…..fine. But, this idea that you can “trade up” to better, is a risky way to run a baseball franchise. I just don’t buy into trading pieces, for the sake of trading. If someone is going to make you better at a weak position, fine.

  40. Marinerhomer said

    I don’t think we should trade both Meche and Pineiro. Trade one or the other preferable Meche. If we trade both who is are starting five next year. Felix, Washburn, Livingston(unproven), DM(no guarantees he is posted), Moyer(ancient), Lincecum?? Nageotte?? There just is too many question marks and I don’t see Zito signing here.

  41. Marinerhomer said

    By the way, Jason I love this site I look forward to reading it every morning.

  42. Goose said

    Check this shit out.

    The Minor League Splits Database

  43. Jerry said

    Edman,

    Why would you want to build around Joel and Meche. They both have sucked for the past few years. Really, the NICE way to describe them is ‘inconsistent’. However, inconsistency suggests that the players alternate between bad and good. Pineiro and Meche have been consistently bad for the past few years. This year is the anomoly.

    Watching both of these guys, I just don’t think that their success is sustainable. Pineiro has lost his stuff. He doesn’t throw hard anymore, and he is getting by throwing junk. Meche is also shaky.

    These guys just aren’t good pitchers. As #4 or #5 starters, they are OK. But both of them are going to be due big raises next season. Pineiro should get $8 million next year, and Meche should be looking at ~$5-6 million.

    Does anyone here think that Pineiro and Meche are a good value for ~$14 million?

    Plus, the club still has to resign both. Meche can leave this year, and Pineiro has one more year under team control. As M’s fans, we know that these guys are inconsistent to terrible. Why spend a lot of money on multi-year contracts to lock up guys like that?

    Here is what I would do:

    -trade Meche, Pineiro, Guardado, Moyer (if possible), and Everett at mid-season. Try to bring in a player or two who can help the club in 2007

    -give the guys in the system a shot during the second half of the season. Livingston, Cruceta, Blackley, Nageotte, Foppert, any players acquired via the trades, etc. They get some experience, and the M’s get a shot to evaluate them.

    -hopefully, one of those prospects can setp up and earn a job next year. Given the number of guys, that isn’t out of the question.

    Going into next offseason, the M’s would need two starters (to go with Felix, Washburn, and the youngster). There is a decent group of free agents available. They would need to add one guy from each of these groups (in rough order of preference):

    Group A: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Jason Schmidt, Andy Pettite

    Group B: Kelvim Escobar, Jeff Weaver, Jose Contreras, Ted Lilly

    Ideally, the M’s could add TWO guys from Group A. But they are likely to be looking for a hitter with some pop as well, and will need to spread the money to three guys. But if they could sign Matsuzaka and Escobar, they would be set for a long time.

    In this scenario, the M’s would still have a lot of decent arms in the upper levels of the system. That pitching depth will be important by 2007, when the M’s have a legit option to contend.

    This makes a ton more sense than hanging on to bad pitchers like Meche and Pineiro. Having pitchers who are that inconsistent is a huge liability. The M’s need to start over.

    Lets just hope that Pineiro and Meche keep pitching well. If they do, their stock will continue to rise. If that happens, the M’s will be selling high on these guys, and can actually get a B+ prospect or two back in the process. But they need to take advantage of the opportunity to sell high on these guys, because, if they pitch like they have in the past few years, both are untradable.

  44. Edman said

    Jerry,

    It’s that very attitude that make some teams constant suppliers of mature major league talent.

    You need some veterans on the club. Name the last team full of kids who won a World Series?

    I have to laugh at the idea of spending $14 million on Meche and Pineiro……yet, you advocate turning around and spending at how much on a Japanese pitcher with NO experience as a major leaguer?

    Great teams, even the Yankees, are built on home-grown talent as a backbone. Constantly tweeking can be as bad as not doing enough. You can’t create loyalty.

    Some of you fall far too in love with the idea of the “All Prospect” team…..than a MLB team.

  45. warner28 said

    Edman,

    You are right when you say that all prospect teams do not win titles but guess what.

    All prospect teams turn into veteran teams with a little patience and can become very good and remain good for a long time.

    Sprinkle a few veterans in here and there and you have a winner.

    I believe that when a team falls like the Mariners have free agency is the worst way to turn things around.

    You should aggressively develop and promote talent and take your lumps for a couple of years (hell we are doing this while spending a fortune on FAs) and than once that young team has reached a point of competitiveness (around a .500 team) you than fill any remaining holes with free agents on short term deals.

    The only free agents worth pursuing are stopgaps or superstars.

    Everything in between is costs too much and for too long.

    Too bad the Mariners have already invested so much in those in between free agents that they can no longer afford the superstars and stopgaps are not going to help much.

    We need to hope that Beltre returns to superstar form and we develop one or two or it going to be a long time before we contend again.

  46. Jerry said

    Edman,

    I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but almost everything you just said is wrong:

    “Name the last team full of kids who won a World Series?”

    Warner replied to this one, but many of the best teams in baseball have been aggressive about rebuilding in the recent past. The Indians are the most recent example. They traded away their entire team, rebuilt quickly, and are in a position to be good for a long time right now. The Marlins are the token example. They have won two WS and have torn down their team and started over twice. In two years, they will be good again. Other clubs that have done well dealing veterans: the A’s and the Twins are consistently good, despite very low payrolls.

    Really, the teams that do well through throwing money at free agents are a small group: the Yankees and Red Sox. Both clubs are able to do this because their payrolls are far beyond what the M’s will ever spend. Teams that have tried to use this same approach (vets over youth), and have not had success are the Phillies, Met’s, Dodgers, and (gulp) the M’s.

    “Great teams, even the Yankees, are built on home-grown talent as a backbone.”

    Huh? Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Jonny Damon…. your example refutes your point.

    I agree that developing talent is important. But in order to develop talent, you have to bring talent into the organization. How do you do that? The draft, international signings, and trades.

    Look at the Indians. They have a great core of young players in Travis Hafner, Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, and Jhonny Peralta. Over half those guys (Hafner, Lee, and Sizemore) were acquired through trades. Interestingly, all three came over in trades that were very unpopular when they went down.

    The M’s need to follow what the Indians are doing right now. In fact, I hope that they hire current Indians Assistant GM Chris Antonetti if/when Bavasi is let go. Hopefully he can turn the club around like the Indians.

    “I have to laugh at the idea of spending $14 million on Meche and Pineiro……yet, you advocate turning around and spending at how much on a Japanese pitcher with NO experience as a major leaguer?”

    The list of Japanese stars that have come over and done well (Ichiro, Hideki Matsui, Kenji Jojima, Tadahito Iguchi) is long, while the list of guys who have flopped (Kaz Matsui) is short. Plus, Matsuzaka has dominated in international competition against big league players. Health is the question mark here, not experience.

    “Some of you fall far too in love with the idea of the “All Prospect” team…..than a MLB team.”

    You are misrepresenting our position here. Nobody is saying the M’s are going to win with an all-prospect team. What we are saying is that the M’s need to trade away our mediocre veterans, clear payroll, and sign a few star players. Then, the prospects develop in the system, with some helping the big league club. That is how most consistently good clubs operate.

    Basically, what this comes down to is most of us arguing that the M’s need to change their philosophy to something that has worked for lots of other clubs, while you argue that they should continue on their present course. We all know how that has worked out thus far.

  47. taro said

    Jerry,

    This isn’t the court of law. Whether you choose to believe it or not, Huff was a roider. His performance this year will speak for itself.

  48. Jerry said

    And we should believe you because…….

    George Bush has herpies. See, I can do it too.

  49. Willmore said

    Jerry, expect a phone call from the NSA … they listen.

  50. Edman said

    Jerry,

    The one who fails to understand a position, is you, Jerry.

    What I propose is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what the M’s have done, since 2000. The concept that you get ahead, by taking the time to groom a guys like Pineiro and Meche…..get them to a successful level, THEN trade them off, is counter productive. Your ONLY response is that, well, they sucked in the past. BFD….past is past, now is now. IF they both are showing that they can be mainstays in the rotation, then trading them when they’ve finally reached that plateau, is beyond reasonable. You keep as much homegrown talent as you can, because they’ve grown with your organization, and likely will have more loyalty to it.

    You wanna say goodbye to Jamie, fine, I can agree that he’s not going to be part of the M’s future. You want to trade Carl Everett, fine. You want to trade Eddie, I’m good with it.

    But, you are gain nothing, trading Sexson. Who’s ready to step up and replace him? Choo? Petigine? Unless you get an uber prospect back, you’re creating one more hole that has to be filled, and will take at least two years to become productive, in most cases.

    Trade Beltre? Naw, I’m happy with him. He’s leading by example. I don’t care if he hits 20 dingers a year. I want his defense, his hustle, his desire. It’s going to pay off by moving Lopez to third? Why not wait until Beltre’s contract is done? Why have to go off and pay yet one more team to take him? Either way, you’re paying him. And, to think that this team improves by adding Punch-n-Judy hitter, Cabrerra, isn’t going to do it for me.

    Our farm system is deep enough. We’ve got Choo and Jones, in the wings. Yes, we could use a slugging firstbaseman to take Sexson’s spot someday.

    You want to discard the old vets, I’m with ya….to a point. Trading them just to trade them, is silly. Trading them to make room, makes sense. Choo takes over in left, if Carl goes, that makes sense, because Ibanez can DH. Jones comes on. Fruto can replace Eddie. Livingston can replace Moyer….though, I’m happy as is.

    Oh….BTW….the idea that Livingston is wasting away in the pen, is a bit silly. Many teams start young kids out that way. I don’t like the idea of him sitting, because the starters are going deeper. But, the pen is a great place for young starters to get their feet wet.

    You never build a foundation if you pull the timbers while the cement is drying. The toughest job in baseball, is knowing when that point is. Gillick was a bit slow on the trigger…..but, I don’t see Bavasi as someone unwilling to rotate out guys, if there is a kid who can replace him.

    Keep Meche, Pineire (if they are still performing), Felix and Washburn. Build around that. The idea that you have to clear a spot for prospects, is insane, IMHO. It’s their job to give Bavasi no other choice……not Bavasi’s to provide them opportunity. Opportunity comes with performance…..not speculation.

  51. Jerry said

    I agree with your reasoning about locking up home-grown talent. When you develop good players, you should try to keep them if it makes sense to do so.

    The problem is that Pineiro and Meche aren’t good. Their upside is mediocrity. Both have sucked in the past, and there is no real good reason to think that that won’t continue. You seem to think that these guys have turned a corner or something. Look at Meche’s stats. Post-injury, he has never had a good season. Not one. If you insist on relying on small samples to make long-term decisions, he hasn’t been good this year: 4.58 ERA, 5 HRs, 27/20 K/BB in 39 IP! He sucks. That is very close to replacement level production. Why on earth would you want to lock that guy up for a few years? This is a guy whose peripheral stats and his token success stats are both aweful. He is a bad pitcher.

    Pineiro is having a pretty good season, but again there is no reason to think that this is sustainable. Over his career, Pineiro has had short spurts of good starts surrounded by longer stretches of putrid, horrible pitching. He was pretty good from 2001-2003. But the last three years, all of his peripheral stats have gone down: K/9, K/BB, HR rate, OPS. This is totally 100% in agreement with scouting information. His velocity is way down from what it once was, and he is getting by throwing junk. His ERA is deceptively low this year, but look at his peripheral stats and compare them with his last few years. They are the same or worse. The only positive is his GB/FB rate.

    Now, what is the most likely explanation for Piniero’s recent success? Has he somehow learned how to succeed as a starter despite low K rates and High HR rates? Or is it simply another of his hot streaks? I am inclined to think that latter, because it is consistent with what we know about how peripheral stats translate into success on the mound, and it is consistent with his past performance.

    Pineiro is clearly better than Meche. Having a guy like Pineiro around as a #4 starter is useful. But not when you have to pay him 8-10 million/year on a long-term contract. That is what it will take to sign him. We already have an overpaid #3 starter in Washburn. Why pay the same amount to lock up Pineiro, who is not as good?

    The M’s need to sign a #1 starter. A guy like Matsuzaka, Mulder, or Schmidt would give the M’s a great 1-2 punch to go with Felix. If they add another good starter (like Kelvim Escobar) then it would push Washburn into the #4 spot. Then, the M’s fill the last spot internally. The whole rotation is better in this scenario, and the M’s would be spending only a little more money.

    I totally agree that it is smart to resign good homegrown players. But Meche and Pineiro aren’t good. Weren’t you watching last year? Or in 2004? Or this year? They aren’t good pitchers. The M’s should sell high on them now, give Livingston, Nageotte, and Foppert a shot to start, and focus on bringing in starters who are actually GOOD next year.

  52. Edman said

    Jerry,

    If you believe that the grass is greener with Nageotte, Livingston and Foppert…..then you’ll be building on a structure of hope, not fact. Fact is, if Meche and Pineiro are pitching well, all the way up to the ASB, then they have something that none of the other three have……proven success at the major league level. All your replacements have is hope. You’d be lucky if ONE of them became a average ML starter…..and more likely one becomes mediocre at best, and two wash out.

    Look at the history of productive baseball players advancing from the minors. Every year, there are guys with greater potential than the afore mentioned, who wash out, and never see the majors again…..several who jump back and forth, year after year…..and a few that succeed.

    Sorry Jerry…..you seem to completely overlook that most successful pitchers in the major, start out horribly, until they learn their crafts. That is the reason you, and many like you, will never run a baseball team. You can’t get past your preconceived opinions, and concentrate on what the coaches and scouts tell you.

    If your staff tells you that you can reasonably expect Meche and Pineiro to continue…..then, you follow that. But, you don’t let past performance, especially in both their cases, where they’ve battled physical injury……determine how you’re gonna build for the future.

    Fans would run a team directly into the ground….because they lack patience.

  53. JH said

    Yes, Edman, because the successful teams in baseball are the ones who sign their mediocre home-grown talent to 8-figure deals when they reach free agency/3rd year arbitration status.

    Seriously, that’s what all winning GMs do. Beane, Epstein, Jockety, Schuerholz…ALL of them are succeeding by locking up talent that was good for them for a single year. If there’s one lesson we can take away from the teams that have won the most over the past few years, it’s definitely that roster turnover and using young players instead of expensive mediocre veterans is a losing strategy.

    Or maybe that’s not true at all.

  54. Edman said

    Whatever, JH……you’ve got it all figured out.

  55. JH said

    “you seem to completely overlook that most successful pitchers in the major, start out horribly, until they learn their crafts.”

    Wow. Not true. Not true at all. Nothing provided to back it up, and not true. Wow.

  56. KB said

    Having patience is important, but the past has to be considered here. Pitchers and hitters have historical tendencies. The thing about a guy like Piniero is that you can actually isolate the variables in his performance by comparing his numbers this year to the last several years. The numbers say he ain’t that much better and his performance is likely not sustainable.

    Besides, I believe the point is that the M’s need to acquire a legit #1-#3 starter, and instead of paying Piniero 8 million for another year, we can pay his 8 million + 2-5 million more for a frontline starter. I’d prefer that option. This is clearly a case where you look to sell high.

    The kids would basically just get an opportunity to audition for the rotation next year— specificially Moyer’s spot.

  57. Edman said

    JH…..get over yourself, really. Gasping.

    Yeah, OK, I overstated…..but it takes a while for most pitchers to learn to be effective. And no, I’m not going to pull up my round of stats, so that you can counter with yours.

    Believe what you want, and I’ll believe what I want.

    Currently, we have NOBODY in the minor league system ready to take Meche or Pineiro’s spots, as they are pitching now. Best hopes are Livingston and Nageotte…..with a couple of outside shots who need more seasoning in the minors.

    I have NO FAITH that Livingston or Nageotte could do what Pineiro or Meche are doing. We simply restart the training clock again…..and wait for them to mature.

  58. jp17 said

    I completely agree with Jerry and JH here. At one time Pineiro and Meche were the Livingston, Nagoette, young guy with no MLB experience.

    They got their shot because they had upside and were cheap.

    Now they have proven what they can do in the majors. They have proven they will not be worth a combined $14 million a year.

    We could go into next year with a mediocre Pineiro and Meche at $14 mill. Add Washburn (another bottom rotation guy) for how much is he making? $9 mill? Cant remember. Then there always is the chance we resign Moyer for $5 mill or so. Then you have Felix for cheap. Once again $25 mill for mediocrity.

  59. Again, there’s no shot that both Meche and Pineiro are back in 2007.

    They need as much dough available as possible to somehow add offense. They may even be forced to trade young talent, (C, SS, RP) , for a bad contract.

  60. Edman said

    Just love how you label Pineiro and Meche, as mediocre. Can’t get past the last couple seasons? Because, Pineiro is certainly anything but mediocre, and Meche may be turning the corner.

    Jason may be right, that one is going (most likely Meche). But, that will all depend on how they perform this year.

    If Meche wins 15 games, has a sub 3.75 ERA…..and Pineiro is even better than that…..is $14 million too high, still?

  61. JH said

    “Yeah, OK, I overstated…..but it takes a while for most pitchers to learn to be effective. And no, I’m not going to pull up my round of stats, so that you can counter with yours.”

    Ok, I’m sorry I was snarky earlier, but you really shouldn’t try to pass things off as proven facts and then recoil from the suggestion that you substantiate them. Plenty of talented pitchers succeed immediately. The ones who don’t and then gradually get better tend to have very specific areas that need improvement (Daniel Cabrera’s control, Jeremy Bonderman’s consistent release point, etc…).

    There’s nothing that suggests Pineiro and Meche are just now “learning their craft.” Pineiro was good for 2.5 years, then bad for 2 years, and so far this year he’s mediocre. That’s not consistent improvement. He’s lost his velocity and is throwing in the mid-high 80s, and his strikeout rate is nowhere near where it was in 2001-2003 when he was effective. He’s inducing more GBs than he used to. If that keeps up, the Ms’ infield defense should keep his ERA around 4.

    Meche’s walking as many batters as ever. His Fielding-independent ERA is a hair over 5, pretty much exactly where it’s been for the past few years. When he doesn’t locate his pitches, he gets hammered, and since coming back from injury he hasn’t learned to locate his pitches consistently.

    Might one of these pitchers explode and move from a career of mediocrity to a Cy Young-caliber season? Anything can happen in baseball. It’s not likely at all though, and teams willing to invest more than 10% of their payroll on that kind of gamble tend to lose.

    Meche is no better a bet to be effective than Nageotte, Livingston, or Cruceta in the next couple years. Each one of those young pitchers will cost less than 1/10th what Meche will command in arbitration.

    Pineiro’s got a good chance to be league average or even a little better if his groundball tendencies hold up. At this point, that’s his upside, though. That may be worth $8 million for 1 season if there are no better options, but signing him to a long-term deal in the current market for pitching would be a bad idea.

    Maybe it will be different in your proposed situation where both of them rank among the top 20 starters in the league, but right now there’s no reason to expect that to happen.

    Felix is the kind of pitcher you build around. Meche and Pineiro are not.

  62. If he wins 15 with a sub 3.75?

    Let’s watch them both do that first before speculating the near-impossible.

    Or, we can just play that game.

    What if Carl Everett catches fire and is hitting .300/.400/.550 at the deadline? Why wouldn’t the Yankees send us Phil Hughes?

    Ok, that’s a dumb game.

  63. dnc said

    “You seem to completely overlook that most successful pitchers in the major, start out horribly, until they learn their crafts.”

    What happened to “opinions should not be presented as facts” CR?

    “That is the reason you, and many like you, will never run a baseball team.”

    Aren’t you tired of beating that condescending horse yet?

  64. Most successful pitchers in the majors start out horribly?

    That’s not true. Some may. But most? No.

  65. StandinPat said

    LF Choo
    CF Ichiro
    RF Ibanez/Snelling
    DH Snelling/Ibanez

    Is both and offensive and defensive upgrade over what out there now. Everett may have more pop now, but this lineup is gonna score runs off of rallies and both Choo and Snelling are much more likely to make consistent contact. 2nd, Trade Meche and put Livingston in his spot. He has about as good a chance to be successful as Meche does, but will prob go deeper into games as he throws alot more strikes. Plus, when next year rolls around and you need to fill a rotation spot you are doing so with only 1 rookie.

  66. taro said

    Jerry – Huff is visibly smaller and weaker. Just look at the guy swing a bat and compare it to his 2004 swing.

    Again, his performance will speak for itself.

  67. Edman said

    I stand by my statement……prove me wrong.

    Show me a list of all the minor league pitchers that are promoted, that don’t end up being sent back down, because they aren’t performing.

    I don’t need stats to tell me the number of pitchers that get a cup of coffee, then sent back down.

    You telling me that more than half off the minor league starters, that are promoted, perform at league average, or better?

    I’d love to see that one proved out.

  68. The difference between being league average and pitching "horribly" is immense, Edman.

    Enormous.

    And you should be proving your point.  You made it.  Prove it.

    But horrible and league average are not even close and that changes the entire point. 

  69. Edman said

    Dawg,

    No, I don’t grow tired of that statement, because I don’t believe myself, or anyone else who’s a baseball fan, to be smarter than those who actually do it.

    Remember all those “Trade Putz Now!!!!” posts……because some fans can’t separate emotion from objectivity?

  70. Edman said

    This is a useless argument. I’m wrong, you’re happy…..lets call it a day.

  71. DIQ said

    I disagree with almost everything you’ve said except for your last comment.

  72. Who are you talking to, Edman?

    I don’t see how it’s useless after I suggest it’s your responsibility tp prove that MOST pitchers began their careers by pitching HORRIBLY.

  73. Edman said

    Jason,

    It’s not really your comment. I wish I had time to go put the data together. I don’t have the spare time to get it done in a timely manner, hense, it’s useless to continue. There are more productive ways to spend our time.

    As Joni Mitchell noted, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve lost ’til it’s gone.”

    Nothing holds truer than a fans perspective. All the complaints about Willie Bloomquist ring loud…..until Seattle trades him, and we see the next Santiago appear. The concept that there is something better lurking in the minors may be true…..or, we may just want it to be true.

    The scenario you’ve laid out, may come true……but not until July, at the soonest. Livingston goes back to Tacoma, once Mateo returns. Reed may get demoted, if he can’t clear his head.

    But Everett, Beltre, Moyer, Guardado, and a few others are here, until there is no hope to play for the division title. The way all the teams in the AL West are playing……that’s going to be a while.

  74. I don’t know whether any of it will or not. But it SHOULD, hence the title.

  75. Edman said

    Jason,

    It “should” be done, only from a fan’s prospective. Bavasi’s job is to win the division title.

    He’s be drawn and quartered, if he in essence, gave up on the team in May. What you propose, would send the message that you’re ready to put up the white flag.

    Even if Bavasi saw things your way, there is no way the ownership group is going to let hims send that message….especially with falling attendance.

    Not many fans flock to the seats to see prospects….unless you’re King Felix.

  76. StandinPat said

    If we got rid of Guardado, Meche, Piniero, Lawton, Everett, and even Beltre for that matter, how does that signal us giving up? We have guys waiting in the wings who should atleast be able to perform as well as any of those guys have, outside of piniero, and possibly much better. You dont think that a SNelling for Everett swap might jump start our offense? None of those guys have been linchpins to our success so far this season, and who knows what you might get for them. What if you trade a couple of those guys for a major improvement at one position, and then fill the other spots with youngins who really dotn have to do much to keep up the current level of production? DOesnt that make us better? Isnt that the exact opposite of giving up in may? Istn that being proactive and improving the team when we are 4 games out and not 12 games in late july?

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