Weekend Mailbag – 7.29.06
Posted by Jason A. Churchill on July 30, 2006
In the latest edition of the Weekend Mailbag, we have inquiries about an Italian Stallion, Michael Garciaparra, Bobby Livingston and the trade for Ben Broussard, with the player to be named later being the main subject there.
For the record, the answer is no.
No, the Mariners are not sending a top prospect to Cleveland to complete the trade for Broussard.
No, the Mariners did not send cash to Cleveland in that deal – Cleveland sent 475k to Seattle to even out Broussard’s salary.
On to the mailbag.
Q: I keep hearing about this Alex Liddi guy in Arizona. Tell me about him?
A: Liddi is a 17-year-old right-handed hitting first baseman from Itlay, and may be the lead prospect that starts a heavy invasion by European countries.
Liddi is 6-4, 190 pounds and a pretty athletic defender, which may allow him to stick at third base. He has pretty good hands, adequate footwork and plenty of arm strength. He’ll need to improve on his prowess in charging bunts and slow rollers and making those throws, but hes barely old enough to drive in the US.
Offensively, Liddi has plus bat speed and pretty good understanding of what hes doing in the batters box. The Mariners expect him to hit for some power, and he could end up profiling offensively at the hot corner. He has the physical tools to make the move to the outfield if necessary, but that’s probably years away if it happens at all.
Hes raw, but very projectable, and the fact that hes slugging .478 in Peoria is impressive, even if its just rookie ball. He’s more than two years younger than the pitchers he’s facing.
Q: Jason,what does Michael Garciaparra’s future hold? Can he play in the majors?
A: I think Garciaparra, in due time, can play his way into a bench role in the big leagues. He makes good contact, can handle the bat and has plus plate skills, including a batting eye that rivals any in the system. He runs well, though he isn’t likely to steal a ton of bases, and defensively he’s turned into a solid second baseman.
He’ll work his rear end off and the Mariners love those types of players, even if the top two of those types that the organization has right now are both injury prone – Snelling, Garciaparra.
Garciaparra doesn’t have the power to start regularly in the show, but he’s a line drive hitter with enough offensive ability to make a living in MLB.
Q: How can anyone justify Bavasi’s trades of top prospects Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-soo Choo (and probably an even better prospect as the player to be named later) for two non-impact players?
A: Easily, and there are several ways to shove this down your throat, there Phil.
First off, Choo had no place in the Mariners organization and was not going to get a shot to play every day in Seattle, considering Adam Jones and Ichiro’s presence, along with Raul Ibanez and Chris Snelling.
Secondly, Cabrera is at least a year and a half away from the big leagues, and does not project to be a better offensive option than Jose Lopez. Cabrera is a defensive-minded player who can draw walks, and who may eventually turn into an average bat at the position.
He wasn’t going to supplant Lopez or Yuniesky Betancourt – EVER – and had no chance of any playing time prior to 2008.
So instead of allowing Choo and Cabrera to waste away in the minors and age, and therefore lose value, Bill Bavasi turned his .360 slugging DH into a .575 slugging DH – among the top few in production in the entire AL at the DH spot. They were weakest at DH, now they are not only better, but among the best in the league.
The bonus is that both Perez and Broussard will be back in 2007, and combined will cost the Mariners less than Beltre or Sexson – two players they will outslug.
And the PTBNL is not going to be one with the same talent as Choo, and certainly not better, either. It’s likely to be a role player from below AAA, SS/OF Mike Morse or RHP Clint Nageotte.
Oh, I almost forgot, neitherChoo nor Cabrera are top prospects. They wouldn’t rank in the top 8 of any of the top 10 farm system’s in baseball.
Stop believing the mass media.
Q: Are the Mariners done dealing, or is there more on the way? I think they should trade Gil Meche.
A: I think the Ms are done with major moves – unless the New York Mets or the Boston Red Sox give Bavasi what he wants in return, which is unlikely to happen.
Bavasi is asking for a hefty price for Meche, which is the right thing to do, but seems to prefer the idea of keeping the right-hander and making a run at the AL West with him as the top starter.
If Meche is not dealt, the M’s will offer him arbitration as a 6-year free agent, be willing to pay him the 6 million hes worth for 2007, but most likely accept the 1 or 2 draft picks when Meche signs a multi-year deal with another club.
The M’s were heavy into the trade talks for Carlos Lee before landing Ben Broussard, but unless something entirely out of sight comes into play in the next day or two, there isn’t anything large on the table.
The club could probably land another relief arm to help fill the hole left by the DL’d Rafael Soriano. Whether the M’s make a move there will depend on how long Soriano is expected to be out.
I’ve heard about two weeks.