Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Brett's 2006 Improbable Offseason Plan

First off let me metion that I don't think that this will happen, though it would be rather excellent. Also, some names can be changed. For instance, I put Jim Edmonds on my proposed team because I don't believe Manny Ramirez will be dealt, as much as that would help the team. I'm probably a bit more giving with the farm system than most would be, and I'm also selling a few other GMs short. Also, I assume the M's have between $23-$28 Million to spend before these moves are made. That said, let's move on to the roster.

LINEUP:

CF Ichiro Suzuki
RF Chris Snelling
3B Miguel Cabrera
LF Jim Edmonds
1B Raul Ibanez
C Kenji Johjima
DH Elijah Dukes
2B Jose Lopez
SS Yuniesky Betancourt


BENCH:

C Guillermo Quiroz
IF Greg Dobbs
OF T.J. Bohn
1B Roberto Petagine (hey, he's still in T-Town)
SS/2B Oswaldo Navarro

ROTATION:

Daisuke Matsuzaka
Jeremy Bonderman
Felix Hernandez
Gustavo Chacin
Jarrod Washburn


BULLPEN:

Kerry Wood
James Shields
George Sherrill
Jon Huber
Mark Lowe
J.J. Putz

Now you're probably asking...how do we get from where we are now to that unstoppable juggernaut of a team? On to the trades!


Trade CF Adam Jones, UTIL Mike Morse, and C Rob Johnson to the Florida Marlins in exchange for 3B/LF Miguel Cabrera

This deal works because Miguel Cabrera is soon going to become too expensive for Loria and the cheapskate Marlins. Jones is a big selling point as another future superstar, Mike Morse is someone who can play for them now, and Johnson is a good B-, "maybe" prospect for them. I'm reluctant to give up Jones, but Miguel Cabrera is only a couple years older, and you know you'll get a .340/.430/.570 Line from him. I think, as much as I like Jones, he's expendable if it means getting Miguel Cabrera.


Trade 1B Richie Sexson, SP Cha Seung Baek, P Jake Woods, and $6 Million to Detroit in Exchange for SP Jeremy Bonderman.

This trade helps both teams greatly. Detroit basically gets Sexson and spare parts at half price. Detroit's strength is pitching with Verlander, Robertson, and Miner still in their rotation, along with Rodney and Zumaya in their pen. Detroit desperately needs a slugger with some patience. Sexson is an uprgade over Shelton or Casey or the ghost of Magglio Ordonez. He fulfills a definite need. Bonderman is my target of Detroit pitchers, but anyone in that rotation except for Rogers is acceptable to put in the trade.


Trade 3B Adrian Beltre, 1B Ben Broussard, 1B Eduardo Perez, and $6 million to Tampa Bay in exchange for OF Elijah Dukes and P James Shields.

This one is more of a longshot with Upton covering 3B for the D-Rays. Broussard and Perez, however, give the D-Rays a solid improvement over Norton at 1B. Beltre is better than upton Defensively at 3B, and if Cantu or Baldelli get dealt this offseason (Baldelli seems more likely) then Upton can make the transition to OF. I really like Adrian Beltre, but with Miguel Cabrera 3B is covered, and keeping him to DH or let Cabrera DH is too expensive with some other moves I'd like to make. Adrian's a great player. Don't get me wrong. I'm not on the Adrian hatin' bandwagon. Cabrera is just a clear improvement that makes him expendable.


Trade OF Wladimir Balentien, C Rene Rivera, OF Jeremy Reed, and SP Bobby Livingston to Toronto in exchange for SP Gustavo Chacin and C Curtis Thigpen.

Balentien is a B+ Prospect, Thigpen is a B level prospect. Thigpen doesn't have Balentien's power, obviously, but he has discipline and defense. Reed and Doc Livingston are expendable to this oranization. Rivera just needs a new home, and with Zaun leaving, they may need a backup catcher. (I use that term loosely in describing Rivera) Reed is a good Cattalanotto replacement for Toronto, and Livingston may become something good for Toronto, who knows. Gustavo Chacin is the prize here, he of the 4.24 FIP in 2005. Chacin is still only 26, and doesn't walk many. He was hurt this year, so he may come cheap, even and could end up being a good #2 or #3 starter down the road.


Sign Jim Edmonds to a two-year, $15 million dollar deal with incentives.

A left-handed power hitter with patience in Safeco? I'll take two, please. Unfortunately, only one is on the market. I know Edmonds said he'd retire before he came to Seattle, but he's older now and more mature than that. Also, he has a great working relationship with Bill Bavasi. There's really not much downside to this deal.


Pay $30 million for the posting fee and Negoitiating rights to Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Mr. Yamauchi handles the fee. Not on the M's payroll.


Sign SP Daisuke Matsuzaka to a 5 year, $75 million dollar contract.

Locking up Dice-K to as long a contract as possible is a necessity. Because no doubt, Boras will build a free-agency clause into his contract. Dice-K becomes the immediate ace.


Sign P Kerry Wood to a 2 year, $10 million contract with incentives.

Kerry Wood becomes a long man out of the pen, and a spot starter. It's a low risk, and if he can work his way into the rotation, it can be an absolute steal. It could tank too. It's medium risk, high reward.


Anyway, that's my plan for the 2006 offseason. Of course, if GMs behaved like I wanted them to, and we had this team, we'd have the 2007 Pennant locked up. So yeah, it may be a pipe dream...but man, it sure would be beautiful...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Halfway Report Card

Wow, it's been awhile since I've posted on here. Anyway, that's not the point. The point is, we're 82 games into the season, sitting at a wonderful 42-40 record, which is much better than most of us expected. We're sitting back one game behind the surprisingly lackluster Oakland A's, a half game in front of the Texas Rangers (Imagine where they'd be if Mark Teixeira's power showed up this year), and 5 ahead of those pesky Los Angeles Disneyheims of Angeland. It's safe to say this team is doing very well. Now let's break everything down Position-by-Position.

Catcher: A-

The only reason this position doesn't recieve just a complete "A" is because while Kenji's been tearing up the American League this year, Joe Mauer and Jorge Posada have been outhitting even him. However, Joh does have the least strikeouts of all regulars on the team. Also, Rene Rivera brings down the production of this position to about what I could do every four or five days. And that's saying something, since I'd be the only left-handed catcher in the league.

Also, Kenji's grounded into eight double plays this year, and it may seem like more, because a lot of them have been game-ending, rally-ending, or just plain inning-ending. It's all really nitpicking though, because a lineup of nine Kenji Johjima's would be creating 7.1 runs per game, more than enough to be in first place right now.


First Base: C+

To put it quite simply, Richie Sexson has been absolutely terrible till June. It looks like he's finally turning a corner though, and I have no doubt Richie is going to put up a cookie cutter Sexson season. With a 18.4% Line Drive percentage, and low .265 BABIP, a certain amount of this has been a lack of luck. Once more balls start falling in, he'll once again be the most feared part of our lineup. There's little doubt in my mind that he'll lead the team in Homers for the second straight year come September.


Second Base: A
Let's be honest here. Who thought Jose Lopez was going to slug nearly .500, hit .280, and have a OBP clip around .320? Well, soeone besides me and Dr. Detecto. Heh. If you thought that Kenji's 7.1 RC/G stat was good, Jose actually is a bit better, at 7.2 RC/G. No second basebman in the AL comes anywhere close to playing at his level, though it'll probably be revealed on ESPN just about 12 hours from now that Mark Loretta or Robinson Cano is the AL's all-star second base starter. More proof that common fans are stupid.
Third Base: C
Wow. Adrian Beltre sure surprised the crap out of everyone in June, didn't he? After looking like an absolute disaster at the plate the entire year, Adrian remembered whatever he did in 2004, or secretely re-inserted his painful bone spurs, because he's partying it up like it's 2004. And heck, a 21% line drive percentage means he must be getting somewhat unlucky. His defense is always a plus, and now that he's hitting now too, he may just be starting to earn his contract. Believe it or not, his OPS is higher than last year's, .719 compared to last year's .716. So it's negligible, and I'm still afraid this will be another mirage, like last July and August, but I'm hopeful that maybe the best has just finally been unleashed. I'm crossing my fingers.
Shortstop: B
Betancourt's doing just about what I expected him to do. He's been hitting with some doubles and triples pop, and even 4 HRs to go with his stellar glovework. Betancourt always seems to be getting a liner to left, or up the middle in the late innings with runners aboard too. He's not afraid of hitting with two strikes, and that there is what keeps him from being an automatic out, like so many thought he would be. I look for his Slugging to develop a bit more over the next few years, but his OBP will always be very, very batting average driven. If you're looking for patience, look elsewhere.
Left Field: A
Raul Ibanez has been more productive than Vladimir Guerrero this year. Just think about that for a second. More homers, about a .90 point higher OPS, and a higher OBP. 9 Raul's would be creating an astounding 7.5 runs per game this year. It seems like Raul has been on a mission to prove the M's blogosphere wrong since his signing, and now since his exstension. I'll admit, I was unhappy when Raul was given his 2-year extension, but man, I feel like I should eat my hat now. He's two homers from equalling his YEAR LONG total from last year. And he's slugging over .500. List of people who saw that coming: Blank. If you tell me you thought Raul would outdo Vlad's production 82 games into the season, that is a lie and you're a damned dirty liar for saying it. Yeah, I said it. When you look out to left field, and see Raul butchering a play, just laugh, because this year, Raul Ibanez is the team's biggest MVP Candidate, defense be damned. And hell, he made the catch of the year on Carroll's would be home run, so I have to cut his defense some Slack. Raul Ibanez: Mariners 2006 player of the year thus far.
Center Field: F
Jeremy Reed and Willie Bloomquist have been absolutely atrocious no matter how you look at them. Reed's defense is a plus, and his isolated power is okay, but having a center field platoon that OPS's about .650 is unacceptable. Centerfield is a black hole at the plate, and a liability in the field when Willie Ballgame gets the start. I still can't get Willie Bloomquist's god-awful, Oakland-aiding dive in the second series of the year, where he turned a single into a triple. It'd be okay if either of them hit enough to give up a run or two in the field, but they can't. I'd much rather see Shin-Soo Choo, Chris Snelling, Adam Jones, or even T.J. Bohn patrolling center field for us. Anything they can offer can't be worse than Reed's .668 OPS (2.9 pathetic RC/Game) or Bloomquist's .640 OPS (4.2 RC/G...I guess that means base-stealing and pinch running plays well for him). No matter what we do, anything is better than what we've got now. Time to deal, Bill. Even if you just get a bag full of Syphillis for Reed, I'd rather you put that in CF. It's too bad...I was on the "Reed will become Mark Kotsay some day" bandwagon...and now, regrettably...I have to jump off. It's a shame.
Right Field: A
Ichiro has been himself again this year, looking much like his 2004 version, which I think we all prefer to the 2005 version. Ichiro's actually ahead of himself as far as hits at this point in the season from 2004, so he's hotter than ever. Though he only has 17 XBH's this year, that's not what the typical, havoc wreaking Ichiro is all about. Also, (using my apparent favorite stat of the night) Ichiro has an amazing 7.8 RC/game. All this despite him hitting like Doug Strange with runners in scoring position, with a measly .232 clip. The guys around Ichiro can finally drive him in, and he's getting on base to be driven in again. Plus, he's just badass. He might as well just be the Fonz.


Starting Rotation: C+
I like Jamie Moyer as much as the next guy, but how long can he last? I'd say he's good for the rest of the year. Also, if Meche keeps trusting what Johjima calls, he'll win 15 with a mid-3's ERA. Pineiro's gotta go. Francisco Cruceta anyone? I'd take his 11K's per game. Washburn is playing like the overpaid #3 starter he is. Look for low to mid 4's for an ERA at the end of the year. He's good, but not $9 million good. Felix is the biggest surprise in a bad way, but his K's are high and his Walks are low...he's just giving up an abnormal amount of HRs. As a groundball pitcher, he doesn't give up many fly balls, and the fact that 22% of his fly balls are sailing over the fence is just terrible luck, andi s bound to go down. If we're going to make the playoffs, Felix, Jamie, and Gil are going to carry us there, with a little help from Jarrod.
Bullpen: B
We have the best three relievers in baseball in our pen. George Sherrill, J.J. Putz, and Rafael Soriano (a potential fixer to the #5 starter problem) are baffling to hitters. High K's (11+ per 9 for J.J. He also has a 54/7 K/BB ratio), low walks...they're dominating. Unfortunately, with Julio Mateo, Sean Green, Eddie Guardado, and Jake Woods being the guys that bridge the gap to the three relief aces, you'd better hope the starter goes at least 7 innings every day. Otherwise, things will get reaaal interesting every game.
Manager: F
Mike Hargrove managed to win in Cleveland and pad his resume through the immense talent of Jim Thome, Albert Belle, and Manny Ramirez. One game in particular sticks out to me this year. It was a game against the Twins. Jose Lopez, the teams best hitter at the time, was asked to lay down a sac bunt in three seperate Plate Appearances. Raul was asked to do it once, even though he hasn't bunted successfully since 2003. Eddie Guardado came in in extra innings, with the tie on the line, and gave up a walk-off home run to Lew Ford. Those five decisions are unforgivable--not to mention the reason we lost that game. I could go on, but I'd be writing till the next game started.
Overall: B+
The team has been a great surprise to many fans this year. And you know what? We've got what it takes to win this division. Eduardo Perez (if he's used...file today's lack of PH'ing vs. Lefties in the Manager section) gives us some vs. lefty firepower for an already potent offense, and Joel's likely last start with Seattle allows us to upgrade to ABJP (anyone but Joel Pineiro). It's going to be an exciting second half.
Keep your eyes open,
Brett

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What should happen:


More later. For now, my contest entering photo:

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Second Base, and how to spend $11 Million Dollars

Very few things in life are certain, but one of them, no doubt, is how hard it is to be a Mariners fan. There's some shaky logic going on in the upper-echelon of Mariners Management right now, which has led to two increasingly difficult to understand decisions. I'll start with the lesser of these evils.

How Does One Spend $11 million?

In the offseason of 2004, we payed Adrian Beltre $12.5 million a year, after he had a season of a .334 average, 48 HRs, 121 RBIs, with a .388 OBP and .629(!) Slugging percentage. We nabbed the elite player in the league that year for a little over double what Ibanez is being payed. Ibanez is a very predictable player. He'll probably never hit less than .280 or more than .300, and his OBP will always be about .350. He'll hit between 16-20 HRs, and slug in the mid .400's. We payed Beltre double what Ibanez will make because they have upside. You pay a star $10-15 Million a year because they can carry a team.

Beltre had a VORP of 89.1 in 2004, compared to Ibanez's 30.1, and while Beltre had much more fluctuation (15.1 VORP in 2005), his ceiling is much higher. You pay the money to the player for that ceiling. Ibanez's 2005 VORP was 39.5, and he was being payed around $4 million. Now compare that to Coco Crisp, who's making almost nothing and posting a VORP of 39.3. The thing is, Ibanez is a nice, consistent bat to have, but you don't need to spend $5.5 million dollars to get that kind of a bat. I'll go out on a limb now and say Jeremy Reed has an excellent chance of becoming a 30 VORP player at a fraction of Raul's cost. Adam Jones, Jeremy Reed, Shin-Soo Choo, and of course the moster of a hitter Chris Snelling all have the talent and upside to replace Raul Ibanez at a fraction of the cost.

That extra $5.5 million could've gone to giving Millwood more money and risking that 5th year (which I wouldn't cry if he failed in his 5th year) for more upside than Washburn, at just a few million less is likely to ever give us. You know what to expect from Washburn, and Millwood's got much more of a range of performance, but he has upside and has proven he can be a #1 starter more than just one season, so as a GM, you have to take that risk and try to get the player with the most upside..not the most consistency. Don't bring up leadership. All the leadership in the world won't replace superstar talent. A hard worker is great, but I'll take talent 10 times out of 10. Let's just hope the money for guys like Zito, Carlos Lee, Derrek Lee, Nick Johnson, Andy Pettite, Mark Mulder, or Doug Davis. Talent>Leadership.


Bruce Banner, or The Incredible Hulk?

This second base situation is the dumbest thing the Mariners have put us through in a long time. The Mariners are going back to their "proven veteran" approach, rather than the last couple years idea of letting the kids come up and show their stuff. How do you expect our blue-chippers to develop when they spend season after season in AAA? They'll never learn to hit MLB pitching if they never face it. And while on the outside, Jose Lopez's numbers look unimpressive, keep in mind that he was able to smack 19 doubles in only 54 games and 190 at bats. And Lopez hit four balls that should have been Home Runs last year, though only two of them were recorded, one because of an amazing Craig Monroe catch in Detroit, and one because the umpires didn't see that the baseball hit the top of the yellow line of the wall, therefore making it a home run. Despite his .247 batting average, Lopez managed to slug .379, and if that 1 HR was added, that might have made all the difference in slugging .400 Also, remember that in his Late August-Mid September call-up, he hit .261 with 13 doubles and slugged over .400

What the Mariners obsess over is his "lazy" work ethic. They were all over Freddy Garcia about this too, but some players are just "Seven-o-clock players". They may joke and be lazy before the game, but when it's game time, it's all business and they produce. Working and having talent are two different things. If I may take a snippet from a popular Mariner-blog...

"Willie Bloomquist and Jose Lopez are at opposite ends of the talent spectrum. Lopez is as talented as it gets, and Bloomquist is as undertalented as an MLB player gets.

And yet, the Mariners are like the donkey who can’t pick between two haystacks, because Willie’s "Yes Sir" attitude means PRECISELY AS MUCH to them as does All-Star, even HOF, talent."

-DrDetecto

To the Mariners, it doesn't matter if Jose Lopez demolishes minor league pitching, and hits nearly 20 doubls in 54 games. Jose Lopez represents The Incredible Hulk. As a player, he' s a do it and do it now type (Hulk smash!) rather than a calm, mild-mannered scientist who make sure he's doing things right, like Bloomquist. And correct me if I'm wrong, but most comic book readers read to see the Hulk, not Bruce Banner, wouldn't you say? And as long as we're on comic references...I'll sum up Fernando Vina with one comic book character that represents his use in action: Aunt May. If Jose Lopez starts the season in AAA...come on over and we'll get the pillaging equiptment.

Dump the weak and aging!

Here's to a more competent 2006...even if the outlook is blurry.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Pathetic!

I know this is a baseball blog. But I'm sorry...the officiating in Sundays Superbowl XL was pathetic at best. They took away two of our touchdowns (Jackson's bogus offensive pass interference, and Stevens' reception to the 1-yard line on a phantom holding call against Sean Locklear) and gave them one (Roethlisberger's dive for the endzone). I'll keep this brief, but Pittsburgh--congrats...but I hope you feel as dirty about winning this game as any girl who has slept with Ron Jeremy. And that speaks for itself.

But on the bright side...Pitchers and Catchers are on the brink of reporting! It's nearly baseball season, and I can't wait. By the way, there's a quality piece of baseball analysis on Felix Hernandez' PECOTA, as well as a well-thought out positional roundtable of the starting second baseman over at USS Mariner. Give it a read. People...the season is almost upon us...and hope is in sight in the form one talented, chubby Venezuelan...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year's!

Hope you had a better one than this guy!


Here's to a 2006 that doesn't include:

--Greg Dobbs being our left-handed power bat off the bench

--A Tyranosaurus Borders catching games-a team mate in which our DH doesn't believe in.

--Sandfrog suddenly rediscovering how to hit .265 with 15 HRs.

--Adrian Beltre hitting below .255 with less than 20 HRs and 90 RBIs

--Jarrod Washburn losing his luck, crashing and burning in Safeco

--Barry Bonds (Barroids) breaking Aaron's Home Run record

--Alex Rodriguez getting a world series ring

--Carl Everett's option vesting

Happy 2006, people!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Dropping the Ball and a half-empty Glaus.

Dropping the Ball

Get used to seeing this:

Millwood gets 5 years, $60 million. The fifth year isn't even guaranteed, it only vests if Millwood stays healthy, and pitches enough innings. How could this possibly be any more of a steal? Considering the M's offered Millwood 4 yrs, $44 million, it's only a $1 million per year increase to play in a park that will inflate his ERA at least half a point. His FIP was 3.77 last year, and Texas' defense isn't exactly stellar. The infield isn't strong by any means, though they don't have Alfonso "And he boots it!" Soriano at the second sack anymore. This doesn't bode too well for a groundball pitcher. If Millwood had signed with the Mariners, he gets a plus infield defense gobbling up those grounders, a big park for the few flyballs he allows, and, as a fairly good strikeout pitcher, he'd have it made. (7 K/9 is not shabby at all). Millwood will be the ace of that staff...but his performance will seem to drop off due to the below average defense and hitter friendly confines of Ameriquest field. Still, when we were once the frontrunners to get him, signing Washburn over Millwood (presumably because we panicked) is Bavasi's biggest error this offseason.












(get it? Error? Hah...hah...sorry, I thought it was funny...)

The Glaus is Half Empty

Troy Glaus will make or break the Blue Jays run at competing in the AL East. You heard it here first. They certainly have the pitching (Halladay-Burnett-Chacin and B.J. Ryan to close out games) but offense is still suspect. The only other legitimate power threat in the lineup is Vernon Wells. They've got plenty of 20 Homer guys, but Glaus is the only guy who may see the ocassional IBB or two. This also fills up the Blue Jays with about 24 1B/3B/DH types. So what to do? Keep Hillenbrand, Overbay, and Glaus. They have the most potent bats, and though their defense takes a hit at 3B, Coskie and and Hinske may net a reasonable 2B that can hold down Orlando Hudson's old stomping grounds. Unless it's a steal though, 2B will be downgraded. It's an impressive roster, but Glaus has always been injury prone. A year of a healthy Glaus (I guess it actually is possible. I was surprised when I found out too.), and the Jays contend for the division. If he goes down...then it'll be as Jays fans always have to say..."next year".

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Be Bold: The Offseason as it Should Have Been


It's been two 90-loss seasons. The fans are leaving, the players are getting bored, and a championship is drifting further and further away. Bill Bavasi knows it's now or never for him; if the Mariners don't contend next year, he'll be out of a job. Moves must be made.

Bavasi took the safe road.

Boldness was the path to success. The safe road was the path to mediocrity. Without further ado, I will present to you the "Bold plan for Mariner Contention in 2006"

(For contract figures, I will use U.S.S. Mariner figures)

Let's first take a look at where the Mariners stand on closing day 2005:

Off the payroll:

Bret Boone $9 million
Jamie Moyer $8 million
Dan Wilson $1.75 million
Ryan Franklin $2 million
Gil Meche $2.5 million
Shigetoshi Hasegawa $3.15 million
Jeff Nelson $300K
Aaron Sele $300K
Randy Winn $3.75 million

That gives the Mariners roughly $30.75 million dollars freed up.

1. Sign SP A.J. Burnett to a 5 year, $60 million deal.

The ace of the market, well worth $12 million per year. He got 5/55, and the Mariners have the money to step it up a notch. He's always been a good strikeout pitcher, doesn't walk too many guys, and is good for at least a 3.50 ERA. His worst year is probably better than the best year for most of the Mariners 2005 staff. He was the victim of some bad luck too, his real ERA was 3.44, but his FIP was 3.09, and he had an amazing 2.63 G/F (Groundballs per flyballs), which led to only 12 HRs given up in 209 innings.

Money left for 2006: $18.75

2. Sign C Kenji Johjima to a 3 year, $16.5 million deal.

Analysis and reasoning in post below.

Money left for 2006: $13.65 million

3. Sign SP Jeff Weaver for a 4 year, $36 million deal.

Jeff Weaver is clearly worth 9 milion dollars a year. Though his basic stats (ERA specifically) was above Washburn's this year, he deserves a $9 million per salary much more. Weaver got off to a bad start this year, going 7-6 before mid-June with an incredibly high 5.15 ERA. Weaver looked like Meche or Franklin in the early stages of the season, but some talks with his pitching coach must have worked, because he came out of it better than ever after his June 14 start, working to an 8-5 record the rest of the way and brining his ERA down from 5.15 to a respectable 4.22 Weaver also ate plenty of innings, logging 224, and striking out 157 while walking only 43. Weaver's a solid #3 guy to slot in behind Felix and Burnett.

Money left for 2006: $4.65

3. Trade LF Raul Ibanez, SS/LF Mike Morse, SP Joel Pineiro, OF T.J. Bohn and SP Bobby Livingston to Boston for LF Manny Ramirez and a mid-level pitching prospect.

First, the contract figures:

Ibanez: $3.75 million
Pineiro: $4.8 million
Mike Morse: $300K
T.J. Bohn: Below $300K (not a major league contract)
Bobby Livingston: Below $300K (not a major league contract)

Mariners total: $ 9.05 Million

Manny Ramirez: $20 million
Mid-level prospect: Below $300K (not a major league contract)

Boston total: $20.1-$20.2 million

This fulfills the Mariners need for a big lefty power bat. "But Manny's right handed, you dumbass!" you say? Take a look at these strange splits:

Manny vs. LHP, 2003-2005
.306/.424/.594

Manny vs. RHP, 2003-2005
.310/.396/.599

It's basically a wash. Manny crushes any living major league pitcher every time he steps to the plate. He may be a bit crazy, but we can tolerate him being a weirdo for that type of production, wouldn't you say? As posted by Dr. Detecto on Inside the Park, Manny's most comparable players are Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson. With someone who bats like Hank Aaron...who cares if he's left or right handed? He's virtually a lock for a .300 average, 40 Homers, and 120 RBIs.

Here, we have an amazing roster that looks like this:

C Kenji Johjima
1B Richie Sexson
2B Jose Lopez
3B Adrian Beltre
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
LF Shin-Soo Choo/Chris Snelling (when healthy)
CF Jeremy Reed
RF Ichiro!
DH/4th OF Manny Ramirez

Bench: Still crappy...

Rotation:
1. A.J. Burnett
2. Felix Hernandez
3. Jeff Weaver
4. Clint Nageotte/Jesse Foppert
5. (see below)

With our strength, the bullpen, still intact. Which brings us to the final big move of the offseason...

4. Re-sign SP Jamie Moyer to a one year, $3 million contract.

Quite simply, I like him, and he's a solid performer. But where does that leave the M's financially?

Money left: $-9.56 Million

The front office would never go $9.5 million over the budget to field a contender. They'd stay $9 million under to field an 85 game winner to get butts in seats. That's why what should have happened would have never happened. The Mariners are a top revenue team, and could easily afford a $100 million payroll...but the front office would rather make a little money barely losing than take a risk at making a lot of money by winning. The message here? The front office needs to buck up, and do something they've never done before.

Be bold.

Kenji Johjima


Kenji Johjima:

This is by far the Mariners best offseason aquisition thus far.

Now, I'm no expert on the NPB, I'll tell you that right now, but there's no way you can look at this as a bad deal. Johjima's making chump change ($5 million per) and he's got the potential to be an all-star!

Even if he fails as the all-star he's always been in Japan, we can still probably expect about .270/.340/.420 out of him, which is a huge upgrade over last season's black hole behind the plate. Don't expect the .338/.432/.665 with 36 HRs that he put up in his last full year with the SoftBank Hawks, but the dropoff hasn't been too horrible every other Japanese player not named Kazuo Matsui. Personally, I project about .285/.355/.465 with around 22 HRs and a healthy amount of RBIs. Look for him to bat 6th after a month of Carl Everett occupying that spot while producing less. If you're interestested, here are Kenji's Japanese Stats.

So what do I grade this one? This is easily an A. Low risk, high reward, and even the downside is better than last year's production. Bavasi's best signing of the offseason.

Jarrod Washburn (and Matt Lawton mini)


Jarrod Washburn:

Another "safety" move. Though is giving a pitcher who's only logged over 200 innings twice in his career and had a history of arm problems really a "safety" move?

That's all I can think it is. It's safe because you know what you can expect from him, and you know what he'll give you. He'll give you a solid #3 or #4 starter. If only $9 million per year was still reserved for aces.

Makes losing a certain Mr. Garcia over $6.8 million per year look foolish, doesn't it?

While the stat community in general hasn't been friendly to Washburn, I prefer to take the middle ground. Scouts will tell you he's ace material. Afterall, he had a 3.20 ERA, right!? It clearly was luck that prevented him from winning more games, wasn't it?

Wrong. It was luck that kept his ERA below 3.75. Afterall, his FIP was 4.39 (Source: The Hardball Times ) For those who don't know, it stands for Fielding-Independent Picting, and accounts for everything the pitcher is specifically repsonsible for.

A skill that Washburn does seem to have--which no one has ever had before--is the ablilty to reduce Home Runs. It doesn't seem like a repeatable skill, but he's always done it. Between 2000 and 2005, his Home Runs allowed were 16, 25, 19, 34, 20, and 19. The 34 is the only anamoly there. Chalk that one up to bad luck. He's always been a lucky pitcher, and as a flyball pitcher, that luck should continue, since he's starting half of his games in Safeco Field.

Is he a good pitcher? Yes. Is the the answer for our need of top of the Rotation pitching? No. But he's pretty damn good, and is our second best pitcher in the rotation now. Statistically he's set for collapse, but he's always evaded statistical analysis...so I think he'll continue to be lucky. I rate this another C level signing.


Matt Lawton:

Matt's a quality signing, and he made major-league history in 2005.

He admitted to doing steroids while in a big-league uniform.

While he's lost a step on defense, and isn't an upgrade at any OF position, he gives our bench some legitimacy. Remeber seeing Dobbs, Hansen, Borders, etc. come to the plate last year, and you decided to stop watching the game early?

Now you have a reason to keep your ass on the couch. Matt's getting up there in years, he'll be 34 next season, but he was dirt cheap! $400,000 over one year, and incentives can only make the deal as much as $1.65 million dollars. It's truly a bargain to get a guy with such good OBP skills, moderate pop, and an acceptable average to sit on your bench for less than a million dollars. He's our first hitting backup since Mark McLemore.

As long as he's just a bench bat, and this isn't a precursor to trading future stud Jeremy Reed, I give this signing a B, because it may not improve anything significant, but it does address a small need.

More to be up late tomorrow/today. Expect a short write up on Kenji Johjima (I like the signing, but am not an expert in the NPB), what I would do if I were the M's, and the players the M's should try to sign one year from now. But that's later. Now...the bed calls.