Posted by Jason A. Churchill on November 4, 2006
|PI’s 2007 Seattle Mariners
||Final year of 4-year, $44 million deal.
||Year three of 5-year, $64.25 million deal.|
|DH/LF||Raul Ibanez||Year one of 2-year, $11 million extension.|
||Year three of 4-year, $48 million deal.|
||Two years, $10 million.
|C||Kenji Johjima||Year two of 3-year, $16.5 million contract.|
||Felix Hernandez||Team Control
||Three years, $33 million*.|
|SP3||Jarrod Washburn||Year two of 4-year, $37.4 million contract.
|SP4||Adam Eaton||Two years, $10 million**.|
||Wade Miller||One year, $1.5 million***.|
||Two years, $7.75 million.|
||Two years, $6 million.|
||One year, $1.5 million.|
|Bench1||Jose Cruz, Jr.
||One year, $1 million|
||One year, $650,000.|
||Year two of two-year, $1.6 million deal.
|Bench5||Rene Rivera||Team Control
Rather than springing a 5-year offer for more than $12 million per season on right-handed bats and defensive liabilities Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Lee, I’m playing it safe by adding an underrated defender who is incredibly patient at the plate – and he bats left handed.I would certainly give the Cubs a call about Jacque Jones, but the two clubs probably don’t match up well in trade, especially when the Cubs need the same exact types of talents the M’s do.And that’s how I landed on David Dellucci. I had to look deep into his defensive game to realize he wasn’t bad out there at all, and wouldn’t be the worst center fielder in a smaller ballpark. He is aging a bit, however, so left field is solid fit for him.Dellucci is probably one of the most underrated players in the game, and if enough clubs realize that, the bidding could get ridiculous.
At 33, he isn’t likely to get any offers of more than three years, and I’m not against offering him that here in Seattle. Since 2004, he’s posted OBPs of .342, .367 and .369 and slugged over .500 twice – granted in two hitter’s ballparks in Texas and Philly.Dellucci is a pretty safe bet to post .350 OBPs and Raul Ibanez-like slugging percentage numbers – somewhere around .450 – while giving the club a little bit more in left field where Ibanez’s lack of range is a hidden detriment.
He’s not the true MOTO bat the club needs, but he’s a solid hitter and the type of bat the Mariners lack.
I like Snelling in the two-hole versus righties, and against lefties I’d use Johjima there, and bat Snelling in the lower third – but I do not remove Doyle from the lineup against southpaws until he gives me a reason to do so… and a few ABs is not enough evidence that he can’t hit left-handed pitching.
Beltre’s spot in the lineup is not what fixed his offensive game last season. He was struggling in April and May, and would have done so hitting second, third, sixth or tenth. I like him hitting behind Ichiro and Snelling/Johjima, and in front of the Ibanez-Sexson-Johjima/Dellucci portion of the lineup.
Having developing kids hitting in the eight and nine spots could play a key role in the success of the M’s offense in 2007. Betancourt is likely to dupe his ’06 output, which is more than adequate.
Lopez is much more capable of vastly improving his game, particularly in the power department. The club is trying to teach Celestino how to recognize what pitches he can turn on and which ones are there to poke into right field. If he masters this skill to satisfactory levels, 20+ homers and 40 doubles are not out of the question.
Jason Schmidt is a big risk. If you have spoken to me in the past six months, you know how I feel about adding Schmidt to this club. But in case you haven’t, or forgot, or want a reminder, here ya go.
Schmidt is a good pitcher. He’s likely to be good in 2007, and probably 2008, too. He’s not a great pitcher, not an ace, not a true No. 1, and he’s certainly not a lock to go 200 innings in any year.
He’s 34 in January, has a laundry list of nagging injuries to his shoulder, back and knees, and even though they have yet to rob him of large chunks of his career, the lethal combo of brittle health and advanced age aren’t to be taken lightly.
Having said that, I’d guarantee him two years at $11 million per season, which is a risk in itself, with a third-year option that vests with 400 innings pitched in the first two years, or 200 in year two.
He’s probably going to get four-year offers at $12 million per season from clubs like the Mets, Red Sox, Yankees and Orioles, but if he truly wants to return home, he might be open to a little less cash. A little. If the difference between Seattle’s offer and other clubs, even those on the east coast, is rather large, forget it, he won’t be coming here, and I won’t cry about it.
In the end, I’m just as inclined to pass on Schmidt as I am to sign him to a three-year deal, and not even force another frontline arm into the rotation.
Adam Eaton is a bigger risk than Schmidt, but he’s more of a slam dunk, provided the offer is somewhat fair, than is Schmidt. Eaton’s contract must be incentive laden, due to his recent history of time on the DL. When he’s healthy, he’s a solid arm, and one in which I’d be willing to take a chance.
Guaranteeing him $5 million per season doesn’t handcuff the club from other moves, and offering him incentives that can earn him as much as $7 million, plus a vesting, third-year option for innings pitched, might get him to sign on the dotted line.
He did, however, turn down a 3-year, $18 million extension from the Rangers, but that may be a simple middle finger to Texas, rather than a sign that Eaton is going to play hardball on a long-term deal.
He won’t be returning to Texas.
Wade Miller is one of my favorite low-risk, medium reward options, and I’m sticking with him, rather than saving more than $1.5 million and going with Cha Seung Baek as my No. 5 starter.
After shoulder surgery in September of 2005, Miller returned to the mound for the Cubs this past September and had some messy outings, but did flash some of his old abilities, posting 20 strikeouts in 21 innings. He did, however, issue 18 walks, which is a side effect of surgeries and could subside, at least somewhat, with more rest and rehab this winter.
I think he’s worth a shot, and I’d guarantee him more than a million bucks just to see what happens. Heck, the M’s have wasted more money on multi-year deals. Why not?
With Mark Lowe out, and possibly done for his entire career (more on that another day), the M’s probably have to hang on to Rafael Soriano rather than offering him up in trade. He and Putz get multi-year extensions instead of arbitration deals, and the pen is as good as most in the AL, once again.
Sherrill is solid and O’Flaherty may not be ready, but Huber throws strikes and is a better option than Mateo, who I have simply package in the Ben Broussard deal to obtain one solid prospect and one mid-level minor leaguer.
Looking at the entire staff, I thought I needed Speier to give me one more reliable arm, so Huber wasn’t thrusted into high-leverage innings before he was ready for them. Speier was very good for Toronto last year and is worth the money here, considering the possibility that the rotation doesn’t give the club a lot of innings, particularly in the early months of the season.
If Lowe comes back late in the year and somehow looks fine, or another minor league reliever looks ready (Steve Kahn, Emiliano Fruto, etc.), Soriano might be the main bait to obtain another arm or another bat if the M’s are in the race.
Cruz is a switch-hitter who can field, hold his own from the left side of the plate and serve as a pretty solid bench bat as a right-handed hitter. He’s likely to come pretty cheap after being DFA’d by the Dodgers last year and has always looked for a way to return to Seattle.
Bloomquist is Bloomquist, and if this 25-man roster was the actual one taken north next spring, he’d be serving in the exact role in which his skills as a defender and base runner are best used.
Hatteberg costs just about $400,000 more than Dobbs, and can actually hit the gaps once in awhile, and draw a walk. How about that? He wanted to sign here last year, and now there might be a fit if he’s ok with playing a few times a week, serving as the DH/1B backup and main lefty pinch hitter.
Cora gives the M’s a defensive middle infielder for late in games – remember how bad they needed one a year ago? He wouldn’t cost much and he’s realized he is a reserve and wouldn’t likely bark at the playing time.
He could also help Lopez continue his development at second base and we all know how good the Cora’s are in the clubhouse.
Rivera. Well, I entertained the thought of trading Broussard, Rivera and Mateo to the Reds for Javier Valentin and a C+ prospect, but the idea of having $8 million wrapped up in my catchers deterred me. I’d rather spend Valentin’s $2.5 million on Wade Miller, Cora, Cruz, Hatteberg, etc.
So I guess I’m stuck with Rivera, who one day might be adequate defensively, though he’s a career backup due to his lack of everything at the plate. Guillermo Quiroz, who is a free agent, is a better option, but I have heard he’s already close to signing in Chicago to back up.
This roster would cost a shade under $95 million and could cost as little as $88 million if the free-agent contracts are structured in such a way.
The starting lineup would make about $54 million, the rotation about $27. The Bullpen is starting to get expensive, but still comes in under $10 million, and likely even less than that with properly structured salaries for Soriano and Putz’s multi-year extensions.
The bench would cost just over $3.5 million and is light years better than that of the past few seasons’ reserve options.
All this without trading Sexson or Beltre.
Why didn’t I deal either player? Too much cash is going to be required to send Beltre away, and the return isn’t likely to help the 2007 or 2008 Mariners.
The available cash wouldn’t provide immediate help either, since there aren’t many worthy talents out there to give it to. I’m open to dealing either, but the market isn’t likely to bare the fruits I’d be looking for in such a deal.
This club, with all conservative expectations achieved, should be able to stay in the race until the final few weeks, if not find a way to win the division, which isn’t likely to get all that much better, with the possible exceptionof the Angels, who could ultimately add Miguel Tejada, Manny Ramirez or Alfonso Soriano, without sacrificing anyone significant from their current core.
Next Up:What I think the Mariners will ACTUALLY do this winter. Some of the players are the same, but… ummm…