OK. Now You Can Gripe with Dr. D's Full Blessing
Texas deal was a lemon WHEREVER it goes from here

So the deal was:  Leonys Martin, platoon CF, and Anthony Bass, #12 pitcher on the staff, for

James Jones, CF who may be as good as Martin, Tom Wilhelmsen, CL/SU/Long, AND ... Patrick Kivlehan, #5 org prospect.

The stated idea:  a "more usable" roster.  (This shortly followed a swipe that DiPoto couldn't outline the differences between himself and Zduriencik because that would 'give away our advantage.'  You get it?  And it would give away Zduriencik's disadvantage.  Talk about over-promise under-deliver.)



I was never Patrick Kivlehan's biggest fan.  I'm not in the least personally annoyed that we won't be going through the 3-year process of finding out whether he's Jeff Conine.

But I don't care whether you rate a given farm system as upper-tier or lower-tier; giving up a top-10 org prospect is always a big deal.  Kivlehan was consensus top 5.  Off the M's own site just now:


Well, at least they didn't try to move Boog ahead of 'im
Well, at least they didn't try to move Boog ahead of 'im


Dr. D is famous for his ability to find "Devil's Advocate" rationalizations on practically any move conceivable.  But not this time, boys, not this time.  SSI would much, MUCH rather have simply installed James Jones in center field than powerflush Patrick Kivlehan as a way to make the statement that Zduriencik's athletes were a burden on society.  (Jones' lifetime slash is .240/.270/.300 and that's just him getting his feet wet; Martin last year was .220/.260/.310.)

Seriously, check Leonys Martin and James Jones two years from now.  And we coughed up Tom Wilhelmsen too!

EXEC SUM:  We gave away Tom Wilhelmsen and D.J. Peterson II for --- > a player we HOPE will be benched for Boog Powell.



Amigos assure poor frazzled Dr. D that Aoki will be a platoon player.  He's not so sure.  But even so, for the games he is out there he is a 100 OPS+ bat in a corner outfield position.  By definition that pan-fries Dr. D's oysters.  The Rangers, Astros and Angels are not in the habit of wielding soft journeyman bats at corner positions.

If he were a 24-Karat Certified Gold Glove in right field then you could argue about it.  (Dr. D would argue AGAINST it in that event.)  But here are Dewan's numbers for him in right field:


Aoki D
Aoki D


Now, Aoki's speed score is way high, especially compared to Nelson Cruz.  So I'm willing to assume that they will find some way to make a +5, +10 runs defender out of him in Safeco.

Still leaves you with two 150-lb. men in center field and right field.  This, gentlemen, is obsession.



SSI's opinion, first five minutes, was that Riefenhauser was and would always be a total non-factor.  You didn't think you would be allowed to miss this prophecy on a slideby.  Have a nice life, Reefer.



DiPoto's bias is that he'd rather have less walks and less strikeouts from his pitchers.  This is provocative and it is anti-sabermetric.  But we'll see where it goes.  We do have Safeco and we are going for gloves.  Dr. D will merely point out that this is an exercise in clock-winding ... back to the year 1909, that is.

That's not meant as a swipe; it's just an observation.  Used to be, John McGraw wanted his pitchers to put the ball in play and then he wanted his fielders to glom onto the ball.  Of course, in 1909 they used three dirty balls a game while playing at dusk; the bat handles were as thick as the barrels were; and ESPN didn't have a Home Run Tracker.

DiPoto is sort of the anti-Earl Weaver so this Justin De Fratus "avoid errors" medicine ain't going down smooth.  But in this arena, Dr. D will keep an open mind.



The pre-2015 Mariners were supposed to win the American League.  The top 15 players are championship-level.  But, in 2015, they played sloppy, got a bunch of terrible luck, and underperformed.

DiPoto isn't changing the top 15 players.  He's changing the 16-25 players who are around them.  He wants to change the culture, and do so by completing the Mariners' pitch-by-pitch "circle of toughness."  In concept it's profound.  In practice it could very well be the path to a real ballclub that wins 95+ games - as it was supposed to previously.

But that Texas deal, slap me silly.  It wouldn't have been that MUCH of a difference to give them D.J. Peterson for Martin.  Good news is, Boog Powell may be very close to replacing Leonys Martin.  Most obviously terrible M's deal I ever remember, except the Fister one.

Bah humbug,

Dr D




...until we see what happens with Kuma and first base.  

But have we acquired anyone yet who was previously penciled into a starting lineup or rotation for next year?  


Even that would simply be retaining a player we had last year, when we were terrible.  And here we are trying to botch that.



Jones has been off to a little bit of a rough start in his debut.  

Zduriencik's idea was always that, if a player had the tools, you could l'arn him at the big league level.  That's my operating premise here:  that there is no reason that James Jones should be a lousy outfielder.

But yeah.  DiPoto sees Leonys Martin as a Gold Glover and I've got to acknowledge that point.  Even if Martin *is* just a 2-month placeholder for Boog Powell...


I think that ousting a guy after 2 months could be a big play in helping the Mariners succeed.

It's better than the 1 1/2 years they typically get in Seattle to prove their suckage.

Otherwise, we're just running the Ackley, Smoaks, Rodney's and Figginses out there day in and day out and wondering how we missed the playoffs...


seasons of AAA, are you sure there's any reason to believe he'll be better than lousy after a few seasons in the majors? I posit that Zduriencik's model of larnin' in The Show is exactly why he got fired. Of course, there were many other failures, but had Ack/Smoak/Zunino et. al. not been rushed to the majors before they had properly ripened, perhaps they would've succeeded.

Perhaps not ... but had they, Z would still be the GM. Mos' likely, anyway.

Nevertheless, aside from the Martin thing, I pretty much agree with the tone of this piece at this time. Telling myself, "wait and see ... wait and see ... "

OBF's picture

I think we get too attached to some players' stories.  I really LIKE the Bartender and Kivlehan because they have cool stories, I WANT them to succeed as Mariners!

However that makes being objective about them hard...  because my desire to see them become the next Mariners star is greater than their actual potential to be said star.

Does anyone remember Vinnie Catricala?  He was another player that a lot of us REALLY liked and thought would go on to do great things...  But alas the game of baseball is HARD, and now Vinnie is helping serve and protect as one of Sacramento’s Finest Cops...

Looking at their BBRef pages, it sure seems like Stefen Romero is probably the better player and has more potential than PK.  Yet, if he had been the PTBNL instead we probably wouldn’t have noticed, or it would have been a shrug.  Heck, Matt would have cheered :)

OBF's picture

Tells you more about the dismal state of the Mariners farm system than it does about Kivlehan.

Also...  how does PK get rated higher than O'Neill??

Interesting enough Martin was ALSO the #5 ranked prospect for his org, although that was in an absolutely STACKED farm system and was #79 in all of baseball, this being back in 2012 when Martin was still in the minors.


Kivlehan ranked as our 5th best prospect shows just how fallow our farm system is. Will we be ranked bottom 10 or bottom 5 this offseason? Heck, I'd rather we made room to add Tyler Goeddel in the Rule 5 draft or stash Carlos Tocci on our bench for a year than hold out hope for Jones, Kivlehan and Romero. I can see Dipoto continuing to anger people with all these trades of favorite names, but he should keep going and flip 50%+ of this team over and try something different.

jokestar's picture

I know that the thin air in Arizona makes a lot of curve balls not curve. I suspect it's the same in the hot, hot Texas heat. The bartender played half his games at Safeco and most of the others not in Arizona or Texas. Will playing half his games in Texas play havoc with outstanding curve ball? 

Taro's picture

I think its a good deal. 

Martin was a 3+ WAR CF in the two years prior to 2015 almist entirely due to his defense. As he is still in his athletic prime the only time you were going to get him is on a down year.

Jones is a pinch runner and the other pieces we dealt are a dime a dozen. We gave up a bunch of quantity that probably wont amount to anything.


PK seemed to have a really impressive learning curve. Very disappointed he was a throw in on such a limited player as Martin. 

Taro's picture

Personally dont think Kivlehan is that promising.

Even granting a late entry, high Ks, unimpressive performancein the minors, no glove.

 Im more nervous about dealing Miller than the excess we dealt here.


Why would you offer to include Kivlehan with the other PTBNL's?  It's like DiPoto was attempting to clear him out; it's as if they preferred Kivlehan gone.  Tom Wilhelmsen shoulda been plenty to get Leonys Martin, who wasn't going to play for Texas in 2016.

:: shrug ::

Taro's picture

Guessing he was the player the Rangers wanted to make this deal. Its a move I definetly agree with and I think more people will be converted when they actually watch Martin roam CF in Safeco.


Almost like he had said, "This guy isn't my type of guy.  He's gone!"


Dipoto was adamant that Clevenger is a MLB hitter, and he even used EXCELLENT hitter... and Dipoto expects Clevenger to play C and 1B and DH this year at the MLB level.

Thus, Kivlehan was not needed.


definitely needed another year in AAA, and he was never certain to make it. (But I liked his chances.) Certainly should never have been in the plans for the 2016 25-man.


agreed. The market over the past couple of years has been 1 non-outstanding-but-useful OFer for one useful-but-not-outstanding reliever.

It's a head-scratcher fo sho.


Minors eye: .36 Kivlehan.  .39 for Carter.  The difference between the two is that Carter slugged .500 or better at every stop in the minors.  In 5.5 minor league sasons he had 182 home runs.  Carter had three minors seasons in the 30 home run territory.  Ditto Mark Trumbo, another .39 eye guy.  the other difference is that kivlehan has only been in the minors for four years, while those other guys were in for five and six years before the call up.

Lifetime  minors triple slash line:

.277 .331 .480 .811  Trumbo
.279 .367 .486 .853 Carter
.288 .352 .481 .833 Kivlehan

Point 1: Carter and Trumbo are legit MLB first basemen.  If Kivlehan can play a glovier position, he is a very valuable dude. 

Point 2: JeDi just powerflushed Trumbo his ownself.  The Mariners had what we hope Kivlehan will become.  Who'd we trade Trumbo for again?

Point 3: Apparently, Chris Carter, he of the 500 foot homeruns, is being shopped by Houston for a bucket of balls or so.

Point 4: All of these guys beat the snot out of Justin Smoak.

Point 5: Kivlehan can run a little bit.  He's good for 15 sb and 5 caught stealings per year.  Trumbo is slow as a maple syrup drain in winter, and Carter isn't much better.  If a guy is somewhat fast, he ought to be able to man a corner.

Point 6: Kivlehan has that football player work ethic and that football arrested development history in his favor.  This probably is not a reason that Kivlehan has a higher ceiling than the other two guys.  I have no doubts that Trumbo and Carter are also diligent in the weight room.  One does not hit moonshots by accident. 

I guess Megatron sized RH hitters with 30 home run pop and not much else aren't that big of a deal.  Carter has three years of club control left, and that bat of his doesn't care about cold Aprils in Safeco.  If The Mariners aren't after Carter and don't like Trumbo, there is no way JeDi is hosting developmental tryouts for Kivlehan.  Still, it seems like the Mariners just gave Kivlehan away.  He is not a worthless player.  He may live to make the Mariners pay for the slight, three runs at a time.


And this post sums up my *feeling* that DiPoto wishes to *make a statement* about Zduriencik-type players.

I realize that can't actually be right; you really would be talking about a competence issue.  (You can't afford to have a favorite kind of chess piece when you are playing a real tournament.)  But that's my visceral reaction to DiPoto walking over and offing Kivlehan for no discernible reason.


PK would struggle with his eye on promotion to a new level but would then make huge strides after an adjustment period.  No guaranteed to make it in the show of course but certainly deserved more then to be a simple throw in. Clearly the Rangers value him. This is especially clear since they have released Jones.  He was a nice roll of the dice anyway, something I don't think we can easily give up in our thin farm system.  I guess we'll see.


And, as I often repeat, Kivlehan CAN plan a bunch of different positions.  Heck, he started at 5 of them last year and (minus 3rd base) was decent at the others.

I kind of like Doc's Conine comparison, although Kivlehan likely won't hit for average as The Barbarian sometimes did, but may have a bit more pop.

I quite like 3 of our AA/AAA guys:  Pizzano, Tyler Smith and Kivlehan.  Heck, Deej has stunk the minors up, compared to PK. 

In a one-for-one trade, Kivlehan for Martin likely makes some sense.  AS the way the swap turned out, I don't like it.  I still think we will go with a platoon in CF because Martin's vL bat is THAT bad.  But perhaps, Dipoto just figures his glove saves so many runs that we can overlook his vL dismality 45 starts a year.

Maybe I have too much of an attraction to versatile athletes (who can play CF) who can hit 20+ HR's.  Ah well, will likely get to see Kivlehan play when Texas comes to town. 


I'm hoping that Kivlehan becomes a perennial 30-100 man in Texas.  And all the way along people will look back and see a James Jones return on it.

Don't even know why this trade irritates me so much.  I wasn't a Kivlehan fan at all.  I think it's DiPoto's frenzied outburst of doing things according to his "style" now that he's out from under Arte.

In chess you cannot afford to indulge a style.  Any more than the Seahawks can afford to indulge ten straight power sweeps just because they love the look of it.  In any sport, you've got to exploit the opportunities as they come available.  It requires flexibility to do this.  This collection of moves is stylistically rigid.  Coherency is one thing, obsession another.

That's the word, I think.  These moves strike me as Indulgent.


Not claiming that DiPoto is lousy at his job.  Just that this trade is a howler.


I'm equal parts impressed by and afraid of DiPoto. Impressed with how quick and decisive he is, no question. Dude does not mess around, which I like. But I'm also afraid that the single-mindedness could tip over into obsession.

We've been calling for a Billy Bean wheeler-dealer type. I guess we got what we asked for.  


The Neo-M's might not like Kivlehan, but the launching box in Arlington might... It's interesting that the M's make him a throw in, where as the Rangers might be going WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!


The rest of your article...no quibble from me.  But Justin DeFratus is not a low K, low BB reliever.  He is MLB average in reliever Ks and walks many more guys than he should...averaging nearly 4 per 9.  So...he's not even a mistake-avoiding reliever.

I'm pretty annoyed at Dipoto today.  I hate all of the moves he's made except the Karns and Benoit deals.


And get him back to his 2014 form it will be a nice add to the bullpen. Maybe they see some mechanical flaw, like the White Sox did when the grabbed Thornton from us and sliced his walks nearly in half overnight. But if De Fratus continues on like 2015 it will be business as usual in the M's pen. I'm hoping some of the players they are targeting will get some focused coaching to unlock potential.


First off, Leonys Martin and James Jones are absolutely not comparable players. Martin is less than 7 months older than Jones yet has almost 1500 PAs in the majors and 9 WAR compared to Jones' 360 PA's and negative 2.4 WAR. Martin has proven capable of being an average or better player while Jones has been dreadful and likely will never be worthy of starting. If Jones is still around in 5 years he will be lucky. LATE EDIT- So the Rangers didn't even tender Jones a contract. That really says it all.

Second, Wilhemsen is totally expendable. He has a 8.5 K/9 and 4 BB/9 ratios which is nothing special for a reliever today, and right-handed relievers are the most fungible asset in the game. You should be looking to trade away guys like Wilhemsen while they still have value because their productive window is often very short. Remember Stephen Pryor? He was awesome! Until he got hurt and turned into a pumpkin. With non-elite relievers, the operating philosophy should be SELL HIGH.

Third, Kivlehan might be a decent major leaguer eventually, but he's more likely to wash out. Most prospects don't make it, and Kivlehan is hardly someone who is likely to buck the odds. And since the team is trying to win right away, he isn't a good fit right now. Also, that some in the media had him at #5 in the org doesn't mean much. Each team has its own player evaluations, and they very often diverge greatly from the public consensus. When the M's traded for Cliff Lee, all M's fans assumed that Michael Saunders would have to be part of such a deal. But the Phillies didn't want Saunders, they wanted Tyson Gillies, a guy no one was hyping up. So I'm not going to pass judgment on how valuable a questionable guy like Kivlehan is without knowing what each team actually thinks of him. As for him being deliberately jettisoned just because he's a "Zduriencik-type player", that's really unsubstantiated. CJ Riefenhauser was traded away right after he was acquired, so I guess that means Dipoto doesn't like Dipoto-type players.

Fourth, about Nori Aoki, if there weren't any impact corner outfielders available in a trade for a reasonable price, then it makes a lot of sense to sign a solid veteran to a 1-year deal to serve as a stop gap next season. The M's still have a bunch of great young starting pitchers who can be dealt for a good bat, and now that Trumbo's gone there's both an opening in the lineup and more money to make that happen. And then after next season they can decide on a long term solution for right field. I don't like Aoki, but I like how the move fits in the big picture.

The way I see it, people are way underrating Martin and way overselling the guys who were traded for him. I also expect a good 1st baseman to be acquired, in which case we should wait to pass judgment because that might be an even bigger move than any so far. Bottom line, Dipoto has significantly increased the amount of major league talent without spending much money or giving up any key pieces. I think he's done a good job so far, even though none of the deals have been exciting.


CP Bell... thank you for your feedback, and I fully ackowledge you know more baseball than I.

As far as your high points though, there are areas I believe others can at least create a valid argument... and they deserve to be too.

1. Martin versus Jones... Yes, you are correct... especially now that Jones has been non-tendered. However, since Martin has never had a season OPS of 700, and Martin obviously regressed last year... there is no guarantee that martin is around in 5 years either. 

2. Yes relievers are normally  a dime a dozen and you should always sell high. However, since it is widely accepted that Tommy has one of the top 100 curveballs in the game today plus a lot of experience in closing rather successfully... I really don't think you want to hand your division rival whom already has more talent than you a potential final piece for their bullpen.

3. Kivlehan... you are right that he will likely wash out. However, Kivlehan was pushed to Tacoma prematurely because of a opening in Tacoma when Choi went down. Kivlehan struggled as expected, but unfortunately EVERY prominent position player in Jackson was struggling much more than Kivlehan so Kivlehan was left to fail in Tacoma. Given the chance to properly develop, who knows what Kivlehan may do... especially in the hitting palace of Texas. One other note... Kivlehan IS an athlete, and prior to last year, Kivlehan was progressing on getting more walks and less K's each and every year... which are supposedly attributes that Dipoto likes.

4. Aoki... again you are right. I am not thrilled with Aoki, but his OBP and lead off ability should probably help the Mariners provided he stays healthy.

Thus, while some or the rhetoric was high, I do not see it unwarranted or over the top.

Please feel free to dissect my words as well. 

SonicBOOM!'s picture

Like many of us, I tend to put extra value on the boys whose names I've searched for in box scores over the past few years. Kivlehan was a great story, and I enjoyed following him from Everett through the minors and back to Tacoma. He's an athlete, and a great personality, and I'm sorry to see him go. I conclude from this that 1) Dipoto doesn't give a hoot what anyone's sentimental feelings are for JZ's draft picks, or the long-time loyal sloggers in the Mariners' Minors; 2) Dipoto really values Martin in CF; 3) Texas really values Kivlehan (their GM said "Don't judge this deal yet", or words to that effect, when the trade was (mostly) announced. 

I'm conscious that, in any trade, at the time they shake hands there are always (at least) two parties who feel they've gotten the best of the deal. That might make me want to get to know my resources a bit, before I start grinding through them for other people's castoffs. But, Dipoto certainly came in with an agenda, and he's executing on it. 

Looking forward to an exciting Winter Meetings. Are King Felix, Robbie Cano and Nelson Cruz Dipoto-type players? (Is anyone safe?!) Stay tuned, friends!



Man, we're tough on what to look for!

He was terrible in May (.639).  Less terrible in June (.717)  But in every other month he was over .800.  Over his last 50 games he hit .288 with 8 HR's. 

After May, his eye improved each month (until just 31 PA's in Sept).  Over his last 90 days he was .313-.353-.545

He did that starting at 5 positions.  Check out his highlights:  He has easy power and it goes to RF, too.

Martin is a nice CF.  But he needs a partner.  And even UZR/150 only sees him as a nice CF.  Not a terrific one.  He's saved about 13 rns a season (UZR/150) over the past 3 seasons.  Craig Gentry, who the A's just outrighted would likely get you that.

IF Martin is an 80 OPS bat, I'm not sure he can chase down enough flies!

Go team.  I'm not jumping off the bandwagon.  I just think this trade looks less decent all the time.

We're now two players short.

We need a 1B or DH.  Or both, in some scenarios.

If Cano goes to 1B, then we're an IF short.

And we still need another guy to cover CF, unless it is O'Malley or Robertson or Powell.

And we're an arm or two short.

Lots to do.

Go Dipoto, but I will miss Kivlehan.

OBF's picture

because of the structure of this deal...  Kivlehan was *NOT* the "throw in".  As evidenced by James Jones immediate dismisall when the PTBNL was named.

If the origional deal had been PK, Tommy and a PTBNL for Martin, and then yesterday James Jones was named as that player we would not be having this reaction.

WHY they sructured it this way?  no idea, maybe Texas had a hard time choosing between Romero and PK and so JeDi gave them a month to decide between the two becasue he wanted to secure his GG CF.

Also...  no one has been able to explain to me why or how Kivlehan is any better of a prospect than Romero, and yet most people don't care for Romero at all (most likely because he has had a failed cup a joe and PK hasn't).  I can explain it...  I said it above, we LIKE Kivlehans story...  of course those are the prospects that always hurt us becuase we over value them and then are overly disppointed when they fail...

I wish PK luck, but I would rather have Romero (*I* am biased because i like HIS story...  Being a big Beaver fan, I am of course a fan of all former Beavs!).

Now hopefully Martin goes back to being the 700 OPS bat he was his first two years, and everyone forgets all about PK and TW because of our 4 WAR CF is hitting well and catching everything with in a quarter mile of the CF position :)

Sports Fan's picture

I don't think people realize how good Martin's D is. He prime-Gut crossed with Ichiro's arm and speed in CF. Hes going to put up rediculous defensive numbers in Safeco.

Hes proven he should never bat vs lefties, but very averagish vs righties. Platoon him with Gentry in CF and you basically have prime Guti.

The package DiPito gave up for him is well worth it IMO.

Taro's picture

I don't think people realize how good Martin's D is. He prime-Gut crossed with Ichiro's arm and speed in CF. Hes going to put up rediculous defensive numbers in Safeco.

Hes proven he should never bat vs lefties, but very averagish vs righties. Platoon him with Gentry in CF and you basically have prime Guti.

The package DiPito gave up for him is well worth it IMO.


1.  That he is THAT good in CF.  His reputation says he is.  Fangraphs says he is just good. 

2.  That he hits RHP.  Between '13-'14 he was about a .735 guy vs. RHP.  Last year it was .582.   .735 is kind of a decent Ackley.  Give me that, and I'll be happy.

3.  That we get a platoon guy for him.  Watching a .560 CF for 45+ games a year would be pretty depressing.

Kivlehan will contribute with the bat, somewhere.  He's versatile.  I like him, although teams trade guys like him all the time. 

But gimme the good Martin and I have no problem with the loss.

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