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Trade Assets and Ideas: Part 2

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on May 18, 2006

After watching the first two games of the Seattle Mariners' series in Oakland, it's easy to see that the club is in need of a little of everything.

There's not enough good pitching, there's not nearly enough good hitting and there's not even a reasonable amount of managing that doesn't resemble that of a robot.

We'll gang-tackle the manager another day.

But the offense and the starting rotation are certainly not strong enough to lead the M's to contention deep into the season.

With power hitting and quality starting pitching the top necessities for the M's, it seems easy to fix – on the surface. After all, recognizing the problem is the biggest step.

Unfortunately, every team in the league is either in need of better hitting and starting pitching, or they have just enough that they aren't going to be willing to part with any of it.

So the Mariners have to be aggressive, overbearing and smart about restructuring the current roster.

With Felix Hernandez and Jarrod Washburn in place, 40 percent of the rotation is set for the next few seasons. But Gil Meche is a free agent at year's end and Joel Pineiro is scheduled to be the most expensive arbitration-eligible pitcher in baseball after making $6.3 million this summer.

Jamie Moyer has no business getting another multi-million dollar paycheck from the club.

I scoured the rosters of each team in the league and even dipped into the minors for a look, and here's the starting pitchers I came up with that the M's should consider over the next seven months.

Remember, If Daisuke Matsuzaka is posted, the M's will go after him with all guns blazing. That would leave two rotation spots to fill, and I'm not looking for an ace or No. 1 starter. I have to be reasonable in my search here. Teams aren't going be dealing away proven frontline starters, especially the relatively cheap sort.

I'm on the lookout for either medium-risk, high-reward pitchers that will accept a 1-2 year deal for Gil Meche money, or pre-arbitration pitchers that qualify as low-risk, medium-to-high reward.

I'd prefer not to add any over the age of 30-32, but a short-term deal for the right arm is fine.

Free Agents/Potential Free Agents (options)

Tony Armas, RHP – Was

Randy Wolf, LHP – Phi

Jason Jennings, RHP – Col

Tim Redding, RHP – ChiA

Arbitration Eligibles

Horacio Ramirez, LHP – ATL

Chris Young, RHP – SD

Brett Myers, RHP – Phi

John Patterson, RHP – Was

Others

Dave Bush, RHP – Mil

Oliver Perez, LHP – Pit

Bats –

I'm just looking for a little promise, youth and a 30HR upside. The outfield is where I start and end the search.

Free Agents

Carlos Lee, OF – Mil

Aubrey Huff, OF/DH – TB

Jermaine Dye, OF – ChA

Arbitration Eligibles

Aaron Rowand, OF (T-Opt) – Phi

Austin Kearns, OF – Cin

Others

Ken Griffey, Jr., OF – Cin

J.D. Drew, OF – LAD

Elijah Dukes, OF – TB (AAA)

Gabe Gross, OF – Mil

Tomorrow, I'll suggest some actual trades and explain the availability of the above players and what it might take to acquire them.

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21 Responses to “Trade Assets and Ideas: Part 2”

  1. 1996Coug said

    When I look at Dukes, I see A. Jones. I’d rather wait for Jones than try and trade someone for Dukes. How do you compare both players’ upsides?

    JAC- you’re my first read of the day, man. Keep it up!

  2. Dukes is a bigger, more polished player. At 6-2 and 225 pounds, he’s a corner outfielder who is athletic enough to fill spot duty in center but hit in the middle of the order.

    Adding Dukes would be a great get. I dunno if it’s possible, but TB does have a slew of outfielders.

  3. 1996Coug said

    225? I wasn’t aware he was that big. I guess I saw an old picture of him. I took him for more of an athletic type like Jones.

    I love Carlos Lee. The guy gets big hits. That’s what this team has needed since Edgar left. A guy who can rise and get that one hit that makes the difference.

  4. I like Lee, my worry would be that he’s going to 1) be 30 this June and 2) command bigtime dollars near Sexson range…

    I dunno if that makes too much sense for the M’s at this stage. It’ll depend on what the makeup of the roster is at the time. If Matsuzaka is wrapped up, maybe Lee puts them over the top in the AL West, therefore making Lee’s 4/48 somewhat reasonable.

    Otherwise, he’s not that type of hitter.

  5. 1996Coug said

    One thing’s for sure, Jason, I’m sure we’d get him to sign for Beltre money. Too bad we’re throwing that away.

  6. Jerry said

    Interesting ideas.

    I love the idea about Dukes as well, but he is a real douchebag. There was an article about him in BA a few weeks ago that included an interview. Even though the article tried to paint him as a troubled kid trying to turn his life around, he just came off as a total dick: talking about himself in the third person, trying to explain actions that are really unexcusable, showing a me vs the world attitude, and demonstrating a total failure to acknowledge that he should shared a huge chunk of the blame for the troubles in his life.

    That said, he is a rare talent. I would love to see the M’s pick him up. But the Rays will want young starters. That is exactly what we don’t have.

  7. slim said

    I have a real hard time getting on the bandwagon for any right-handed power hitters anymore. Its a lot easier to envision Lee, Dye, Rowand, and Kearns as Beltresque flops than it is to envision them continuing to produce at their current levels. Its hard for me to imagine any of those guys as .800 OPS players in Seattle.

    I’m not sure if Huff will ever hit again, for whatever reason.

    The M’s wouldn’t give Gross any more of a chance than they gave Borchard. He’d get buried beneath Snelling and Choo in the depth charts.

    Give me Griffey or Drew. Those two will produce whenever they are in the lineup. I’d rather have a half season of Griffey or Drew and a half season of Shin-soo Choo than a full season of Lee or Dye.

  8. Except that you’ll see Choo is involved in a lot these trade scenarios.

  9. 1996Coug said

    I’ll be the first to admit it…I’m still gaga over Griffey. Your first boyhood idol is a hard to give up. Just like first cars and old flames.

    Nothing may make less sense than bringing him back, but at least I’d be smiling ear to ear!

    The Curse of the Kid, I guess.

  10. CP said

    Love the blog Jason!!!

    Not only does this team need starting pitching and some power, it needs a personality. As Jason mentions, firing Hargrove and promoting Rohn would be a start….but how about a guy named Dontrelle Willis? A young, left handed starter with more personality than the current roster combined. Working in a home park like Safeco might be a good fit. Can you imagine the energy in the Safe with Dontrelle on the mound?

  11. Willmore said

    I’m assuming that getting Miguel Cabrera is too much to ask ? 🙂

  12. CP said

    Doesn’t hurt to think big does it? This franchise needs a jolt in a big way. The problem is, we probably don’t have the assets to get both, but we may have enough to get Dontrelle.

    Jason, do you think the M’s going after Willis is even in the realm of possibility?

  13. slim said

    I’d be all over Dontrelle. They can have:

    Rob Johnson (Olivo will be “expensive” next year)
    Adam Jones (they seem to have CF problems at the moment)
    and any one minor league pitcher of their choice.

    I’d even throw in Cabrera (to replace Uggla or move Miguel Cabrera back to the OF) or Choo if its a deal breaker.

    Willis still has three more years of arbitration eligibility, but he’ll be expensive.

  14. CP said

    I don’t think there is any way the M’s move Adam Jones in any deal, but it sure seems we may have the pieces other than Jones to make it work.

  15. Andren said

    You sound relatively confident regarding Matsuzaka. Who’s our competition? Is he likely to be posted?

    This has to be the number one consideration if he’s available IMO.

  16. StandinPat said

    Tony Armas Jr, huh? When I saw he was available last offseason I was saying the M’s should get him. Young and Improving and is twice the pitcher Meche is at half the cost. But if we are truly talking about Nationals Pitchers, I’d love to see Livan in an M’s uni. He’s had a piss poor start to the year and the nationals look like the are headed for the cellar, so we might be able to pry him from their grasp. Livan as a 3 or 4 giving you 230+ innings a year? That would be sick. Maybe they’ll throw in Nick Johnson for taking him off their hands.

  17. Willmore said

    Jason, while we are on the subject of trades, what do you think of these two hitters?

    Brett Gardner of the Yankees and Jake Fox of the Cubs.

  18. Bretticus said

    What do you think of signing Nick Johnson to DH and fill in at 1B next year? Unless the Nats extended him (I heard rumor, but never saw any proof), I think he’s a good fit for Safeco…if LF isn’t too clogged for Snelling.

    I like the idea of Carlos Lee…30 HRs from a corner outfielder are a must. Trading Raul away makes this possible. Then we could relegate Snelling to DH.

    Armas and Wolf are good choices. What do you think of Pettite on a 2-3 year deal? He’s getting up there in age, but he could be a big producer for a few years, if he was willing to come to Safeco.

  19. Willis? No. They don’t have the trade pieces in the minors to get it done.

    Pettitte? He wouldn’t come here.

    Nick Johnson to DH or play 1st or both? Why? Sexson is signed through 2008 and Raul, the DH, is inked for two more years.

    I like Johnson, but he’s redundant here because he’s a DH/1B.

    Re: Gardner (NYY)

    He’s a good athlete, but he’s a 22-year-old speedster. He doesn’t hit for much power (only a +100 IsoP) and is in A ball still.

    He’s not very big, either, so the chances that he adds much pop is not good.

    He’s a fringy prospect.

    Re: Fox

    Fox is a right-handed hitting catcher who apparently is two years from being ready DEFENSIVELY – if he ever gets there.

    But his bat is fine and one scout mumbled that he might be “a league-average offensive catcher with a little upside in the power department.”

    But he’s in High-A ball and has a lot to prove.

    Neither of these players are anything the M’s should be looking for. They have these guys in their system already.

  20. Snave said

    This is an excellent blog, Jason! I will bookmark you on my non-sports mostly-political site.

    I think the Mariners need to begin by cleaning house a bit at the top, i.e. finding a new GM and also letting Dan Rohn come up and manage the team for the rest of this season. With Grover around I fear we’ll see Putz taken out of the closer role, and Bloomquist might get used more than necessary.

    I think the Mariners need to be shopping Eddie Guardado and Willie Bloomquist, as well as Everett, Beltre, Reed, Rivera and some of their guys in the minors.

    I don’t know what we could get in any deals, but I would think that if Eddie’s ERA behaves itself between now and the trading deadline, he could at least bring us some good prospects, and maybe more if he goes to a contending ballclub… and hopefully one with some prospects who are ready for the majors or just about ready, as JAC has suggested.

    As for Willie, I doubt there are any teams who would really be likely to give up much in a trade for him… although I do think it would be fun to find one.

    Everett is definitely doing just what the ballclub has asked him to do, and without a lot of controversy. I’ve been particularly impressed with him this season. Maybe he could provide the missing piece to some contending team’s puzzle.

    Speaking of contenders, I think that because the Mariners are still only a few games out of first, trade talk (although it’s always fun) may be a bit premature at this point. The more the team wins, the more likely we keep Grover, and thus the more likely Guardado reclaims the closer job and the more likely we are to see more of Bloomquist.

    Reed? Love his glove, but I think we need more power from his position. I think he might become a decent percentage-hitter, but I’d like to see us get a CF that can hit at least 20 HR a year. Beltre? Same goes, I love the glove, but… I cringe watching him try to hit. He’s like a Jeff Cirillo redux, but more expensive. Rivera? No place for him to go in this organization but sideways or elsewhere, really. Some young team might like him, because he really is a pretty good ballplayer.

    Ibanez? I think we need to trade Everett and keep Raul, moving him to DH full-time. then we need to find a power-hitting LF. If we can’t do that right away, let’s call up Snelling or Choo.

    I’m for keeping Raul because he has tried to take on the Edgar role, and he has done a fairly decent job of it. If there is a need for veteran presence on the ballclub, I hope they let Ibanez hang around.

    The Mariners have a lot of things to consider during the next two months. It will be interesting to see how they work to make the team more competitive during that time. I hope they make decisions that will make the team a winner sooner than later.

  21. eknpdx said

    Jason, you might have heard this from me before, but I can’t remember us talking about it.

    If all things remain consistent with performances, what is the value of Putz or Soriano on the trade market? And how does that value on the trade market compare to each pitcher’s value to the team?

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