The Rumor

From Prospect Insider:

I received a tip today from a friend of the site about a potential payroll-moving trade by Jack Zduriencik, and in following up on it, there might be something to it - or at least there may have been at some point.

What I dug up/have been told is that the M's are working on a trade that would rid themselves of either Jarrod Washburn, Miguel Batista, or even Carlos Silva to an AL Central team.

But Brandon Morrow and either Wladimir Balentien or Jeff Clement - or both - might have to be part of the trade, at least as far as I can gather.

Returning would be a young corner outfielder with solid defensive skills and one strong offensive season under his belt, and minor league prospects - at least one pitcher.

Normally, you wouldn't criticize based on a rumor.  But does ANYbody feel that this trade would be uncharacterically illogical for the home nine? :- )  It does put the Washburn fiasco into sharp relief.

We have been told, through club sources including those sourced through Baker, that the Mariners HAD Washburn's money gone.  And that Chuck Armstrong jumped in as Virtual GM, saying he thought the M's could get an extra prospect beyond what they were (absurdly) offered at the time.

So assuming you cancel out Clement against the outfielder, this trade rumor has the MARINERS GIVING UP BRANDON MORROW IN ORDER TO ERASE CHUCK ARMSTRONG'S VETO.

Hearken unto me, ye rebels :- )...

At this point the fault isn't Chuck Armstrong's.  At this point the fault is his supervisor's.


Again with the "strong defensive skills" coming in as ... um ... Brandon Morrow, Jeff Clement and/or Wlad Balentien go out.

I know nobody asked me, but if anybody did, you're talking about #3 and #5 overall draft picks here.  That is what is being de-prioritized against glovework, in this rumor.  (Certainly you can get "strong offensive seasons" WITHOUT gloves, without coughing up young ML-ready stars like these.)

The phrase "mortgaging your future" gets tossed around a lot, and I hate it.  But "MORROW CLEMENT WLAD," this time it applies.


=== Round Up the Usual Suspects, Dept. ===

Strong OF defensive skills with one strong offensive season, from the AL Central, would accurately describe three players:

1.  Denard Span is an exciting player with a fine eye ratio, some gap power and excellent speed.  He could evolve into a Brett Butler or even a Carl Crawford type at the high side.  Lefthanded and a nice fit for Safeco, and he hits grounders like Ichiro.

Don't undersell Span.  He's liable to be a star in the American League for quite a few years.  You could reasonably see Jeff Clement for him straight up (not that I'm saying I'd do it).


Carlos Quentin - Interestingly, UZR sells his defense muuuuuuuccccchhhhh longer than his actual RF's do (which is to say, he didn't catch many balls, but supposedly he had even fewer he could have caught). His SX's were 70 and 80 the last few years.  Obviously, I'm squeamish about an OF with modest speed and modest actual-balls-caught who UZR sells as a plus glove.  But then, you don't win pennants with gloves in the corners anyway.

"Strong" isn't the way to describe his 2008 hitting.  Manny Ramirez would have been fine with his season -- even in 1998.


3.  Matthew Joyce is an intriguing young lefty hitter with 160 (Prince Fielder, David Ortiz) PX's.  He is another guy who didn't actually catch a lot of balls, and who does not have a high SX, but who is liked by Fangraphs' UZR metric.  Since UZR is the preferred metric for Blengino, it could easily be that Joyce is a perp who fits the description.

Shandler advises his readers to be ready for Joyce to hit 30 homers in the AL *this* year.


If you're talking about LEGITIMATE defense here, you're talking about Denard Span.  I like the kid a lot.  Just not enough to give up a $1M 97-mph TOR starter for him.


I would not apply the above description to Delmon Young, who had a 90 OPS+ two years ago and a 102 OPS+ last year.  His fangraphs D looks poor, so we can assume Young is not in consideration.

The description certainly does not apply to Ben Francisco.  Though at this point, that wouldn't shock me, if they liked his defense.  I'm not saying they do.

Mariner Central pointed out that the description could fit Shin-Soo Choo.  ROTFL!


It's just a rumor, obviously.  In order to get something as good as Span or Joyce, much less Quentin, you have to give up something good.

Clement straight-up for Span or Joyce?  I wouldn't like it, but accept the rationality.  Clement and Morrow for the RH Quentin, plus $$$$ ?  I wouldn't like that either, but again accept the rationality.

Right now, I'll hope for better than that.  :- )  If anything in fact is in the works at all.

Good stuff Jason,

Dr D


shields's picture

"So assuming you cancel out Clement against the outfielder, this trade rumor has the MARINERS GIVING UP BRANDON MORROW IN ORDER TO ERASE CHUCK ARMSTRONG’S VETO."
This is how a lot of people are seeing it, but you're missing a big chunk of the rumor:
"Returning would be a young corner outfielder with solid defensive skills and one strong offensive season under his belt, and minor league prospects - at least one pitcher."
While that doesn't sound like much, it could contain as much value as you'd like it to. If Seattle were to trade Silva, Morrow and Wlad to the ChiSox for Quentin, Poreda and Richard/Allen/etc, it doesn't quite look like "giving up Brandon Morrow in order to erase Chuck Armstrong's veto."
I guess we'll see.

KingCorran's picture

This is one time where Z's negotiating prowess might come into play. Balentien and Clement are more replaceable to this team than Brandon Morrow is (Quentin beats Wlad and we've got another stellar C 'spect in Moore)... how about offering both of those two instead of Morrow, along with Silva/Washburn? You could run a Quentin-Gutierrez-Ichiro outfield, sign Abreu for DH/OF4, and put Poreda into your minors system. Heck, I'd throw in just about any non-Morrow-or-Aumont pitching prospect in to make that happen (and I reserve the right to veto another name if I'm forgetting someone).
Abreu nets a draft pick or two when he goes, your OF is set until Ichiro's contract expires, and your future rotation (assuming we let Bedard walk for picks - keeping him is a whole 'nother coup) runs Felix-Morrow-Aumont-Poreda-Olsen/RRS. Plus you have a much more competitive 2009 lineup.

M-Pops's picture

I would be very dissappointed if Z dealt Wlad or Clement this winter. Their respective stock is as low as its probably going to be for the rest of their careers.
Both players are capable of doing more in the majors than they showed last season, and should be given the chance before being shipped off, hastily.
Don't mind making deals, but cashing in the "blue chips" while their value is lowest doesn't make sense to me.

KingCorran's picture

The question is, how do Balentien, Clement, possibly a minors pitcher, and Washburn compare to Quentin, Poreda, and (effectively) Abreu? The years and dollars are comparable for Washy/Abreu, and I know which of the two I'd rather have. Quentin seems like quite the find as well.
I don't know. Morrow, well... no, he shouldn't go. But what if Z can negotiate back one step so that he stays? Is that really such a loss, when you consider what you get in return? Maybe I'm just overvaluing Quentin.

kweloper's picture

If you can go out and get Delmon Young you do it. Yesterday. That's strictly my opinion on a guy can already hit the ball the way he does at such a young age. I don't care if his defense isn't supreme. He is a stud. Bad rep? Who cares? As Jack says: 'Talent prevails'.
Now if you have to move Morrow to do it...? no. Solid starter...don't agree on TOR Doc.
if you have to move Clement to do it...? no. Left-handed powerful, walks at a premium position.
if you have to move Balentien to do it...? where do I sign? Right-handed power gets lost in the Safe, can't hit a curveball, strikes out too much.
Minnesota HATES Delmon Young. To them he is a bad seed. If we have to send them Washburn, Balentien and Adam Moore because that's what it's gonna take then do the durn thang already.
None of this applies in the real world because chances are it won't happen. Remember back in reality Jack wants defense and left-handed hitters so if them tings don't apply I don't think he'll be pulling the trigger. Lotsa room out there in left-field remember?

kweloper's picture

Abreu on a one-year $6-7m/per dealiyo to DH is pretty nice methinks. You know what you're gonna get, some pop, some patience and some sage yogi wisdom for the young VZ folks. I'd even take two if he would, but it sounds like he wants one more fat deal.

kweloper's picture

Ahhhhh. Even if Morrow had to go...
Felix-breakout year
Bedard-contract year
Silva-wasn't terrible with D behind him
Olson-FIP looks solid
RRS-who doesn't love The Hyphen™?


I wasn't missing that part of the rumor Jon. I was just assuming it was the same kind of non-impact prospect fodder that we got back for Putz. :- )
Sure: if you get back somebody's #3 or #4 prospect, then it's Brandon Morrow for the #75 or #100 or #150 prospect in baseball, plus Armstrong's veto (with Clement/Span canceling). What's next, Felix for the #32 prospect in the minors?
Will cheerfully concede that we have no business dissecting a rumor. LOL.

Saluboy's picture

This whole strudel all depends on what we're talking about.
IF we're talkin' Wash, Morrow, and Wlad for Quentin and Poreda (the best deal that I can find bandied about) you don't do it.
Compare: Quentin vs. Wladimir - No question Quentin wins. Wlad may be being undersold but, man, Quentin's a beast.
Poreda vs. Morrow - Abso-feaking-lutely Morrow. Run screaming into the night. Poreda's mechanics are shudder inducing. Quoth the inimitable Hardball Times "I'm willing to bet on two things on Poreda with the certainty that at least one of them will occur:
1) He will lose his mid-90s velocity rather quickly.
2) He will shred his arm"
Morrow's mechanics are picture perfect. Morrow's much MUCH more likely to be impactful, wouldn't you say?
YOU tell ME how much more valuable impactful pitchers are than impactful corner outfielders.
All this just to clear cap space? *shakes head* I don't think Z does it.


first Half:
Felix-breakout year
Bedard-contract year
Silva-wasn’t terrible with D behind him
Olson-FIP looks solid
RRS-who doesn’t love The Hyphen™?


Whoops! Sorry for the accidental submittal.
What I wanted to post is the idea that we need to look at two points in time: Start of season and trading deadline.
We need to have a roster that works for both scenarios.
Start of Season (Trading Deadline)
Ichiro-RF (same)
Lopez-2B (same)
Abreu-DH (trade? Clement)
Wlad-LF (Wlad if performing well, ? if not)
Beltre-3B (trade? Cedeno/Morse/Branyan)
Branyan/Sweeney or Shelton or Morse-1B (same)
Clement/Joh-C (same, add another C if Clement needs to DH)
Gutierrez-CF (same)
Juni-SS (same)
Felix (same)
Bedard (sign or trade, RRS)
Morrow (same)
Washburn (trade, Olson)
Silva (same)


I do think it's Delmon Young considering he's been rumored in other places... and whose two most similar by age comps are Tris Speaker and Carl Yastrzemski. I'm not big on trading Morrow under any circumstances, and I think we're much thinner on SP depth than people realize. However, Young is one of the few young stars who is worth rolling the dice on. If you're going through the top handful of under-25 position players to build around, he's definitely in the discussion.
Washburn, to me, is nothing more than an innings eater at this point. The M's #6 starter in place of Washburn should have no noticeable difference. If this trade allows you to replace him with Bobby Abreu, then that's a major plus.


Sorry to interrupt this thread.
Been trying to reach you dude. Dynasty keeper cuts were due. Please contact me! I'm about to give away your spot. I'm hoping you don't really want that! or go the group page please! Thanks.
On topic, I like that the M's are thinking boldly. I'm not liking that "salary" issues are cutting Z's legs out from under him thanks to our wonderful decisions by the upper guys.

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