Posted by Jason A. Churchill on December 6, 2006
UPDATE: I know everyone is freaking out about the Bill Shanks report of Soriano-for-Ramirez, but check the THIRD comment in this post and you may feel a little better.
I know most of you – or all of you – have read the rumors of a trade between the Atlanta Braves and your Seattle Mariners. Everyone is reporting it as a possibility, and some have even mentioned a three-way deal.
To clarify, some reports are that Richie Sexson would go to the San Francisco Giants, Rafael Soriano would head to Atlanta to close, and the Seattle Mariners would end up with Adam LaRoche and Noah Lowry.
Some have the M’s ending up with Tim Hudson and Adam LaRoche.
For the record, I love both ideas, and just heard how serious those talks are right now.
“Extremely serious,” quipped one AL front office executive. “That’s the only thing they have been active on all day today.”
It seems the Mariners had a good idea they were going to lose out on Jason Schmidt, and built a trade scenario that returns a lefty stick and a starting pitcher to Seattle in the process. But that doesn’t mean the Mariners didn’t try for Schmidt. They just weren’t going to get in a bidding war for him.
“I heard what everyone has heard,” said the suit, a former GM in the NL. “I heard once LA came with three and 45+, Seattle and maybe even St. Louis went to four. But the money was different. Someone in Seattle told me they weren’t going to go past 12-13 mil for Schmidt, and if that is on line, that’s a 4-year deal for about 50 million. The Dodgers offered, what, 47 for three?”
Fact is, 3/47 isn’t the worst signing ever, but it’s not a good value at all. The Mariners are much better off getting LaRoche, who I really like, and Hudson, who’s owed just $33 million over the next three seasons, and is two years younger than Schmidt.
If Bavasi pulls off a Soriano+Sexson for LaRoche and Hudson trade, it’ll be the best trade the Mariners have made in more than a decade.
But there are apparently more players involved, though I didn’t get any more names, but was assured it wasn’t Adam Jones, Jeff Clement or anyone of substance from the big league roster.
For those who are luke warm on LaRoche, here’s what he is:
A left-handed bat and a legit defensive first baseman who’s just 27 and is due a big raise in his first year of being arbitration eligible. He’s probably on track to get somewhere in the range of 1.2 to 1.6 million, at the most.
LaRoche hit .285/.354/.561 last season with 32 home runs and 55 walks to go with 128 strikeouts in 149 games. He’s still developing and could become a borderline all-star first baseman in the next year or two. He’d be coming to Seattle at the absolute perfect time; he’s already established as a hitter, but he;s still developing his approach and refining his game, while remaining relatively inexpensive over the next three years.
LaRoche is a pretty darned good fit, only bettered by Manny being a Mariner, which isn’t happening, or the M’s snaking Mike Jacobs from Florida, which apparently has no shot of happening either, unless the Mariners are sending Jones to the Marlins, or Soriano+Reed.
Tim Hudson is now 31 years of age and while some think he’s done as a good starting pitcher, I disagree. There are several reasons that Hudson is a good idea for the Seattle Mariners.
1. He’s cheaper than Schmidt, Lilly, Padilla, and even Meche, who are all getting 10+ mil for at least three years, likely four for Lilly and Meche.
2. He’s still an extreme ground ball pitcher, posting a 2.22 G/F a year ago, and with the M’s infield defense being as good as any (esepcially if Sexson is swapped out for LaRoche), Hudson’s traditional numbers (BAA, ERA) will get the auto-improve treatment.
3. He’s still getting a lot of bats to hit out-like balls. Including the ground balls, Hudson induces a lot of broken-bat contact, as well a s adecent amount of not-so-deep fly balls.
4. His HR rate (25 in 218 IP) isn’t awful, though it isn’t good, either. But Safeco will certainly aid him with that problem, too.
5. In Hudson’s final few starts of 2006, one 6-inning, 1 ER start against the Mets and a throw-away loss to the Rockies, he was hitting 87-91 mph with his fastballs that still had good movement to each side of the plate as well as a lot of sinking action. His split is still a tuff pitch when located well.
6′ It’s not Gil Meche or Joel Pineiro — oh, and Hudson is battle tested versus the division.
If Bavasi can pull off this deal, look for the M’s to look to acquire a veteran reliever to pitch in the 8th innings, if they don’t get that in this deal.
Programming note: I’m working on the transcripts from Mike Hargrove’s day with the media from earlier Wednesday. Some boring, but a few interesting things. Instead of typing it out, however, I may just post a link to the PDF