Monday Morning Macchiato

Jason at Prospect Insider opines that Adam Dunn could send the M's $95m "salary cap" flying, if he offered to hit those 400-footers at Safeco.

He's right, of course. Padna and I have been pointing out, for many years now, that the Mariners float a budget in the press with the goal of "managing expectations." They don't want the fans to get their hopes up for an Adam Dunn, then receive a Nick Swisher, and deflate like a balloon.

Why the Mariners should care so much about the February blogging on their payroll has always been beyond me. Like Earl said, "Nobody cares in April whether you won a game in March." By April 12th, nobody's going to care what the M's payroll is or isn't.


Still, what this does do, is line us fans up to hope that the FA's start begging to play in Seattle. As Jason puts it,

But I don't believe for even one second that if the payroll sat at $95 million and Adam Dunn's agent Greg Genske called and said "Adam would be happy to be the DH in Seattle on a deal as short as two years, and all you have to do is match the average annual salary of his previous contract plus 10 percent" that Zduriencik would have to decline due to the payroll restrictions.

I don't believe for one second that if Ben Sheets was willing to take a one or two-year contract built somewhat on incentives, that Zduriencik would have to pass for any other reason than his own.

So, whattaya think? You believe Dunn and Sheets are going to call and ask to play in Seattle? The whole stratagem is a return to the old days of putting the responsibility to win, anywhere EXCEPT with the Mariners.


It is quite possible, however, that teams are semi-colluding to keep prices down, and that the M's are making noises to back that up. Compare this report on the Nationals complaining that prices are just too blamed high (!!), so they better look for trades. :- ) Unless prices come down, naturally.


It's a buyer's market that I don't remember since... at least since the owners were sued for collusion. It would be the worst winter in 15 years, to be passive about the resources available.


=== Hey, Cool, a Whole Division Under .500 ===

Bleeding Blue and Teal pointed out that the HBT simulations gave the M's a 24% chance to win the division. I guess their Power Ranking should be 9. :- ) Only 8 teams in the AL and NL have a higher chance listed -- and that's with 6 divisions.

I put ZERO stock in these simulations, because of:

1) The "25 Moving Parts" principle. It's hard enough to predict one player, much less 25.

2) The Angels aren't gonna win no blinkin' 80 games.

Meaning no offense, neighbor! :- ) but saberdudes hate the Angels (you know what I mean). The W/L column loves them. The Angels know how to to win, and they will. This ain't Strat-O-Matic.


=== Hot Stove Dept. ===

Youse guys have had lots of interesting trade ideas, based on the idea that the budget really will be $95m. Kewl. Keep 'em up.

After signing John Smoltz, the Red Sox are dangling Clay Buchholz for catching? Hey, do you know any team that has an extra catcher?

Buchholz didn't land with a Papelbon- or Lester-type bang, but he is primo. And young, and cheap.

Boston is very Japan-friendly. How about Kenji and Halman or Saunders, and a throwin. That solves a bunch of problemos.


Ouch. Epstein takes a dig at Jason Varitek's 37 years:

"Jason's still out there. As I said at the beginning of the offseason, he has been a really important guy here, to this organization. By no means have we shut the door on him. There's still unfinished business there, and also in the pursuit of a younger catcher." --

Johjima will be 33, which is four years younger. I read the quote as a slam at Varitek, not a demand for a non-arb starting catcher.


A smart GM doesn't limit himself to the trade that plugs his biggest hole. He pays attention to all 25 roster slots, and grabs any chance he can to make his team better. This Zduriencik guy is supposed to be the Real Deal. Let's see some of that Real Deal GM action. :- )


Dr D




shields's picture

I would think that the Sox are far too smart to want Johjima, and if they did, they would be giving up something along the lines of Julio Lugo, not Buchholz. Obviously, I hope I'm very wrong.

Taro's picture

Ya, no way the Red Sox would want Johjima. It would have to be something like Clement for Buchholz at the very least. They may want more, but that would have to be the starting point.
I actually wouldn't be that bummed out about getting Swisher, but I know I've beaten that to death so I'll just layoff on that.. Hes roughly similar to value with Dunn as an all-around player. I think that we should get BOTH.
I also agree that this is the WORST time to get gun-shy. The market is as low as I can ever remember it in the past 10 years - and theres a TON of talent available on top of that. It may be even as low as the '03/'04 offseason when Vlad got only $14-15mil per.


Johjima and spare parts for Bucholtz? Cute, Doc. And by cute I mean HUH????
I'd love to have Bucky...but, let's not go banoonoos and imagine Johjima has ANY trade value.
I'm still focused on Dunn, Hudson and Swisher.

Sandy - Raleigh's picture

Why Boston "might" consider Johjima ...
1) They have a knuckleballer to think about -- and Joh caught Dickey some in 2008. Only a few catchers in baseball have experience catching flutterballs.
2) They have a high value starter in Dice-K that might benefit from a Japanese catcher.
I think this is HIGHLY unlikely. I think James and Co. are smart enough to note the miserable BABIP with Johjima catching for Seattle and look elsewhere. But, I do believe Johjima could be on their list of candidates for the above two reasons. I think the money wouldn't be an issue whatsoever.


Not buying it.
Wakefield is a short term problem and whether DiceK benefits from throwing to Johjima is entirely way to be sure about that.
It's possible they'd take him, but it would be for something lame like Lugo.


You think James & Co. would be smart enough to notice Johjima's own offensive BABIP? And his HR scatterchart?
A lot of times, if you want an established starting catcher in trade, your options are very modest. If the Mariners make prospects the key to the deal, and send Johjima over as one of two or three pieces, there's no reason that every other team in baseball will view Johjima with the resentment that M's fans do.
Nick Swisher is an example. Fans in the cities he played in last year are saying "no way anybody would want him." But in Seattle, we're going, "Yeah, get him after a down year." Is your attitude that Swisher's performance is limited to what he did last year? Your attitude is, "No way he repeats 2008."
BTW, regarding the fact that Lopez, Betancourt and co. haven't paid attention to Johjima's pitch calls, have you noticed that other ML teams figure they can fix the players Seattle can't? :- )
Still and all, it's just hot stove. If Buccholz is being shopped for a catcher, Seattle is one of few teams that can give up their starting C.


Fair points Doc.
But Johjima is 34...not 28. Having a bad year at age 33 is normal for's not normal to have a bad year at 28 for outfielders. :)

Taro's picture

Joh's '08 was very unlucky. Still even adjusting for luck he wasn't very productive. Just averagish, which is fine and maybe the Sox would take him on (but I don't think they would). They definetly wouldn't give up anything of value for him.
Would you do Clement for Buchholz? Personally I do and don't look back, but whats you're opinion on that trade scenario?

M-Pops's picture

I would think that the Sox would want another piece to help them take another WS. Perhaps Mark Lowe?
Joh, Halman, Lowe for Buchholz?
Eh, I think there needs to be more there.

misterjonez's picture

Joh plus Moore for Buchholz. A short-term C solution in Joh, and a long-term C solution in Moore. Both are righty modest power-hitting catchers with average-ish defensive games (depending on how you rate Joh's *actual* defensive ability), and Joh would plug the gap for them short-term, while Moore is 1-2 years away from being an MLB catcher. Toss in Halman if you need to, and cover some salary if they want.

Taro's picture

I like Jonez' suggestion.
Joh+Halman+Moore+cash for Buchholz seems more realistic, and might be something the Sox bite on....Still the Sox do like 'specs with great strikezone control (Pedroia, Youkilis, etc.) over raw tools.. I wonder if that is something they'd go for.

Dan's picture

I really don't see the Sox taking Joh in any scenario. I just don't see him putting up any better numbers than Varitek, even in Fenway. And if the performance is a wash, then why would they ever embarrass Varitek like that? Benching him for a mediocre player, who doesn't have much upside. They just would never do it, I don't think.


think bigger. How about Beltre, Joh, Heilman, Moore/Johnson + cash for Buchholz, Lars Anderson, Lowell.
Boston: Missing out on Tex (which would have put Youk at 3b) they get a replacement in Beltre, a starting C in Joh, a setup man in Heilman and a C of the future in Moore/Johnson. Fenway suits Beltre and Joh extremely well. If Beltre walks they get his draft comp at the end of the year, which mitigates the losses of Buchholz and Anderson. They also move much of the salary they are taking on in Lowell.
Seattle: They get the players they want for Beltre (a top prospect 1B and SP), they move out from under Joh's deal, and they get a good 3B for 2 years in Lowell. This also frees up some cash for this year to pursue a DH/1B solution (think Dunn would take a 1 yr $15mm deal? ;-)

Taro's picture

The more I think of it, the more I think these deals are too heavily weighed in our favor... Buhholz was the #1-3 prospect going into the season last year. He throws low to mid 90s with good mechanics and has better offspeed stuff than Matsuzaka.
Its probably unrealistic to think we can land him without offering at least Clement, especially dealing with a team like Boston.


Ya. Buchholz is probably a better prospect in his time than Lester and Papelbon were in theirs.
He didn't EXPLODE on the scene, exactly, but we can't weight a partial-season debut too heavily. If (say) Aumont or Morrow had Buccholz' rookie season, we certainly wouldn't take it to mean we should rule out stardom.
That said, Boston did see something that caused them to go out and get Smoltz, and make Buchholz available. You wouldn't do that if you thought you had the next Felix.


So Bilbo, you go out of your way to swap Beltre for Lowell? Or you're thinking that's the key to the deal from Boston's standpoint?
Great point about Beltre's match in Fenway. Easy to imagine him returning to 35 homers or more. We should see if there's a match.
The more I think about it, the more I like a Beltre-Buchholz structure, and like you say, they have Lowell to throw back until Triunfel or Tuiasosopo are there.
KEWL idea.


Lowell makes the money work. Beltre allows Joh to be moved and brings Anderson into the equation. Looking for a win/win and this made the most sense. Could involve more cash/sweeteners from Seattle side, maybe take Lugo as well?

Taro's picture

"That said, Boston did see something that caused them to go out and get Smoltz, and make Buchholz available. You wouldn’t do that if you thought you had the next Felix."
Maybe, but they did trade Hanley Ramirez after all. I think Buchholz is a very high% shot at a top starter. They'll trade him, but only for a huge return.

Patrick Troen's picture

That's like the worst projection I have seen in baseball. I put my money where my mouth is and my mouth gave me $5k last season with the rays getting to the WS :)
Ok so my projection is most likely a All florida WS Marlisn and Rays Rays taking it in 5.
Although I'm also betting $50 on oakland because oakland really is a dark horse this year. M's are my 2010 bet if they keep retooling but their not ready to compete yet too many uncertainties.

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