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2007-2008 Mariners Offseason Plan Take 2

October 16, 2007

By Brett

Take 1 was a diary on Lookout Landing, and I’m not re-posting it, sorry. Anyway, here’s plan number two…

Let’s first take a look at the team roster as is (players currently under contract) and examine the problems.

  • C Kenji Johjima
  • 1B Richie Sexson
  • 2B Jose Lopez
  • 3B Adrian Beltre
  • SS Yuniesky Betancourt
  • LF Raul Ibanez
  • CF Ichiro!
  • RF Adam Jones
  • SP Felix Hernandez
  • SP Jarrod Washburn
  • SP Miguel Batista
  • SP Brandon Morrow
  • SP Ryan Feierabend
  • CP J. J. Putz
  • SU George Sherrill
  • MR Sean Green
  • MR Eric O’Flaherty
  • MR Ryan Rowland-Smith
  • MR Jon Huber
  • LR Cha Seung Baek

So there’s a look at what is likely to be the active roster (minus the bench) if the season started today. So let’s take a look at the glaring holes in our team right now.

First Base Production: Both offensively and defensively first base was a huge hole. Richie Sexson ran a pathetic .205/.295/.399 this year while playing absolutely atrocious defense. Broussard did an adequate job filling in, but isn’t the answer.

Outfield Defense: Raul Ibanez was second only to Manny Ramirez as a defensive outfielder. And he did it in the biggest LF area in baseball, costing us around 20 runs according to most metrics. Guillen had a cannon arm but was below average as well, so both corner OFs can be improved.

Left-handed power: Raul Ibanez was our only left-handed bat with any sort of power. This was hilariously depressing.

Starting Pitching: Well come on, we let Horacio Ramirez and Jeff Weaver get over 20 starts each. Any other team would’ve taken those two out of the rotation sooner. The Mariners however, are retarded.

Second Base Offensive output: Jose Lopez was one of the worst offensive second basemen in baseball last year. If not the worst. His defense was good enough to warrant his starting spot, however.

So with that quick glossing over the areas in need of improvement this offseason, I present to you my offseason plan…

  1. Trade OF Wladimir Balentien (this hurts), LHP Eric O’Flaherty, and 3B Matt Tuiasosopo to FLA for SP Scott Olsen
  2. Trade C Kenji Johjima, RHP Sean Green, and SP Tony Butler to CIN for OF/DH Adam Dunn
  3. Sign SP Curt Schilling to a two-year, $30 million contract
  4. Sign OF Jose Guillen to a three-year, $35 million contract
  5. Recall C Jeff Clement from AAA Tacoma
  6. Recall RPs Kam Mickolio and Austin Bibens-Dirkx to the MLB roster to replace Sean Green and EOF’s bullpen spots.
  7. Activate Arthur Rhodes from the 60-day DL to be the other lefty in your pen.
  8. Move Raul Ibanez to 1B vs. RHPs, and play Mike Morse at 1B vs. LHPs.
  9. Start Adam Jones in LF every day.
  10. Adam Dunn is the every day DH, Jose Vidro becomes the #1 bench bat and backup 2B, 3B, part time 1B.
  11. Option SPs Ryan Rowland-Smith and Brandon Morrow to AAA Tacoma to start
  12. Trade Richie Sexson to BAL for RP Chad Bradford

This addresses many problems, but before we get to that and why the signings and trades work, let’s take a look at our new roster.

  • C Jeff Clement
  • 1B Raul Ibanez/Mike Morse
  • 2B Jose Lopez
  • 3B Adrian Beltre
  • SS Yuniesky Betancourt
  • LF Adam Jones
  • CF Ichiro!
  • RF Jose Guillen
  • DH Adam Dunn
  • SP Felix Hernandez
  • SP Curt Schilling
  • SP Scott Olsen
  • SP Jarrod Washburn
  • SP Miguel Batista
  • CP Putz
  • SU Sherrill
  • MR Mickolio
  • MR Bibens-Dirkx
  • MR Rhodes
  • MR Bradford
  • LR Baek

Okay, so now you see the team, here’s why the deals work and why it’s possible that the deals could get done.

Let’s start with the Scott Olsen deal. Florida needs outfielders, and Wlad fits the bill as a young outfielder with talent who is cheap. Eric O’Flaherty gives them some needed bullpen stability. Matt Tuiasosopo helps the Marlins reduce the hurt of losing Miguel Cabrera at the end of the year. Tui may be good, he may not be, but having a replacement available in the farm system in Tui is a smart move for the Marlins. Florida has also reportedly soured on Scott Olsen as a person off the field, but he still has talent and Jason Churchill reports that talk of his character being a problem are greatly exaggerated. Olsen is young, cheap, and good, so this deal makes sense for both teams.

Now to Adam Dunn. I’m sure many of you believe that my package isn’t good enough to pry Adam Dunn away from the Reds. If the Reds weren’t crazy, I would agree with you. However, Krivsky is known to have a relief pitcher fetish (Majewski deal anyone?), his team has no catcher, and is in dire need of starting pitching. He also tends to overvalue batting average. Well, Kenji is a huge improvement over David Ross at catcher on defense, has a better average which Krivsky values, and has become a very good defensive catcher. Sean Green gives an empty bullpen one reliable arm, and Tony Butler has great upside. Cincinnati is said to want to get rid of Dunn as they can’t take his strikeouts and low batting average, so by filling three needs of Cleveland’s, it’s definitely possible that Wayne Krivsky would make this deal to get out from Dunn’s salary and improve his team in three areas. Dunn makes sense for the Mariners as he’s a big left-handed power bat and we can afford him. Dunn also takes plenty of walks, which our lineup needs. This deal, again, is win-win.

Signing Curt Schilling is a no-brainer. He ran a 3.87 ERA in Fenway park, which was good for a 4.33 FIP and 4.45 xFIP. He still gets strikeouts and doesn’t walk anyone, and his extreme flyball tendencies wouldn’t hurt him in a spacious Safeco field with Adam Jones, Ichiro, and Guillen tracking down his flyballs. He’s a legit #2 pitcher in Seattle’s ballpark. Not to mention he is a smart pitcher and mixes his pitches very well. Felix can learn a thing or two from watching Schilling pitch. Yeah, he’s got a reputation as a pompous asshole, but the guy can pitch and will never be afraid to tell the media the truth about the locker room.

Sexson for Bradford makes sense because Baltimore is a stupid organization looking for a power-hitting first baseman and may take a flier on Sexson for a middle reliever.

As far as the internal moves go, they make sense. With Kenji traded, promoting Clement is the best option you have at starting catcher, and he made big steps forward at AAA this year. He may be a little disappointing in 2008 but he’d be ready by June or July anyway, so he won’t be losing much development time. Morrow and Rowland-Smith have upside as starters but aren’t ready to start at the major league level yet. Some development time in AAA would help, and Batista, Washburn, and Schilling all have two years left on their deals so there’s a good chance one or two of them could be traded by 2009. Bibens-Dirkx and Mickolio are solid relievers and our best options to replace those we’ve traded.

So we’ve addressed why the deals work. Let’s see if it’s filled our team’s holes which we talked about earlier….

1B Offense: Raul Ibanez and Mike Morse are much more consistent than Sexson. Even with Raul’s terrible start he still managed to hit .291/.351/.480 which is a very solid firstbaseman. Plus, a former outfielder (even a shitty one like Raul) should have a little more range than Sexson and be a bit more agile on defense.

OF Defense: With Raul Ibanez going to first base it allows Adam Jones to start in left field. Adam Jones is probably worth +25 runs over Raul on defense, netting him at at least +5 above average. Guillen is the problem here, but with Jones, a natural CF playing in left field Ichiro should be able to shift more towards RF, not having to fear Jones not getting to something like he so clearly did with Raul.

Left-Handed Power: With the additions of Adam Dunn and Jeff Clement to the every day roster the left-handed power numbers are all but guaranteed to go up. With Raul, Dunn, and Clement we probably go from one of the worst left-handed power hitting teams to one of the best overnight.

Starting Pitching: Curt Schilling and Scott Olsen are vast improvements over Horacio Ramirez and Jeff Weaver, so there’s no way the pitching gets worse. Plus, with RRS, and Morrow in the minors starting, Tillman likely to make the jump to AAA half way through the year, Feierabend and Campillo in AAA, and Baek in long relief, we have some legitimate depth in the starting rotation should someone get injured. Olsen is a replaceable name, the idea of trading for a young, good starter with minor league depth is what matters.

Second Base Offense: No improvement here, I’m just hoping Lopez gets better. He’ll be 23 so it is just as likely as unlikely to happen. If he sucks, we have Bloomquist and Vidro on the bench who can step in for depth. It’s not ideal, but if this is the team’s biggest hole, that’s fine.

Also, after crunching the numbers for salary (to the best of my knowledge) this team only costs $116.19 million, which is only $6 million more than the Mariners spent last year, and a vastly improved team.

So there’s take two on my offseason plan. It’s likely not to happen as our front office is stupid, but I believe this plan is not filled with ridiculous moves, and all the deals are realistic as well as fair for both teams involved…however, I know the M’s will probably end up with Carlos Silva and Al Reyes instead…lame.

-Bretticus

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