Just a pleasant thought, driveby.


Suppose the M's are set, at 3B and C, which I believe they are.  Zduriencik warns that Tui and Moore need to work hard, but these two kids, it's time to pitch them the ball.

Supposing 3B and C.  You're set, CF, RF, right?  You're set 1B with Branyan, 2B with Lopez.  

You've got Felix-RRS-Snell-Morrow, and Doogie, Bedard after that.

You can think DH but you don't have a hole there, with Carp and/or Jr-Sweeney.


You've now got almost $30M to spend after Russell Branyan's money.  About all you're really needing to think about is LF and SS.  


Specific plans are fine, and we got four months for 'em.  But one thing's for sure.  The M's can splash as big as they care to.


Edit to add, M-Pops came up with the hilarious (and awesome) suggestion of... Carlos Guillen?!   Pops notes that Detroit has Ryan Rayburn behind Guillen, that Guillen's coming off a down year, and... huh.

Guillen's BABIP was .350's during his glory years, .320's the last two before 2009, and then ... .267 last year.

Question there would be what you expect from Carlos vs. his sizeable salary, but if Detroit's sharing the salary, that's intriguing.


Dr D



Adam Moore (free)
Rob Johnson (free)
Russell Branyan (~$6M)
Jose Lopez ($2.5M)
Matt Tui (free)
Bill Hall (uncertain...~3M?)
Josh Wilson (free)
Mike Sweeney (nearly-free)
Mike Carp (free)
Michael Saunders (free)
Franklin Gutierrez (3M arb estimate)
Ichiro! (12.5M)
Ryan Langerhans (0.8M)
Dustin Ackley (free)
Starting Pitchers:
King Felix (~12M in contract extension's first season)
Ryan Rowland-Smith (~1M arb estimate)
Ian Snell (3M)
Brandon Morrow (free)
Doug Fister (free)
Jason Vargas (free)
Carlos Silva (12M)
Relief Pitchers:
David Aardsma (~1M arb estimate)
Mark Lowe (~0.8M arb estimate)
Sean White (free)
Shawn Kelley (free)
Chris Jakubauskas (free)
Choose any random minor leaguers...all free
So on the 40-man roster, the total payroll currently amounts to: 56.8 + 16*0.427 or 63.6 Million dollars.  Unless I missed someone really important that we've already committed to, that leaves us - EVEN INCLUDING a deal for King Felix - with substantial monies to play with and very few rsoter spots to fill.
We should probably consider signing a one or two veteran relievers to help anchor the bullpen, we should DEFINITELY sign Marco Scutaro or Jack Wilson to a fair-priced deal, and we need to be thinking hard about whether now is a good time to go after a big free agent in either LF or DH with all the money we likely have to spend there.  We should also sign at least one more veteran starting pitcher...either Bedard, Sheets or Harden are fits there...and maybe go after a better utility infielder than Josh Wilson.  I'm actually CREATING upgrade projects for which we can spend our money to find ways to spend it...that's how much we have to spend now.


Matt, I understand where you're coming from - "free" being shorthand for minimum.  And for a couple of "free" guys it doesn't matter.  But, when you list 14 guys as free, you're talking more than $4 million -- so your total talley can get a bit off.  It's also becoming league norm for teams to tweak minimum salaries up for returning control-year players, (good will). 


Read the lines below the roster itself, Sandy...I said the total figure was 56.8 mil PLUS 16 * 0.437 mil (the minimum)...which is actually closer to 7 million in cost.
And none of the players I listed as free are full returnees except Rob Johnson, Brandon Morrow, sean White and Shawn Kelley.  The rest either had a cup of coffee this year (doesn't count toward salary upping generally), or were highly ineffective (Saunders, for example).  Morrow being a giant question mark as is Kelley and Johnson recovering from injuries...I'm thinking they're not getting significant pay raises.


I did indeed manage to miss your accounting for the free guys.


:standing O:
So, just hypothetically, supposing you wanted a contract for Scutaro, a trade for Dunn and an incentives deal for a Harden/Bedard type.  By your sabrMath where does the payroll wind up vis-a-vis the limits...


Dunn costs $10 mil next year, Scutaro would run us 8 mil a year probably and Bedard is going to cost virtually nothing upfront...he's going to be very lucky to get anything more than a few mil guaranteed.  I would encourage the Mariners to get TWO high-risk pitchers instead of one...try to get 35 starts from both of them combined...the net cost of which would be about the same as one legit #2 starter.
Say we signed Ben Sheets, Erik Bedard, and Marco Scutaro and traded Brandon Morrow to the Nationals for Adam Dunn straight our roster looks like:
Catchers (carrying 2 of the 3 active at any time)
Rob Johnson (min)
Adam Moore (min)
Veteran depth (e.g. Juan Castro - 0.5)
Infielders (carrying all six the full year)
Russell Branyan (6.0)
Jose Lopez (2.5)
Bill Hall (3.0)
Matt Tuiasosopo (min)
Marco Scutaro (8.0)
Josh Wilson (min)
Outfielders (carrying 4 of the 5 at any time)
Michael Saunders (min)
Ryan Langerhans (0.8)
Franklin Gutierrez (3.0)
Ichiro! (12.5)
Dustin Ackley (min)
Adam Dunn (10.0)
Starting Pitchers (carrying up to 6 at a time, but if 6, one is a reliever)
Felix Hernandez (12.0)
Ben Sheets (5.0)
Erik Bedard (3.0 - incentives pushing it to 8.0 if he pitches a lot)
Ian Snell (3.0)
Ryan Rowland-Simth (0.6)
Doug Fister (min)
Jason Vargas (min)
Carlos Silva (12.0)
Luke French (min)
Relievers (carrying up to 7 at any time...less if starters are in the pen)
David Aardsma (1.0)
Mark Lowe (0.8)
Sean White (0.5)
Shawn Kelley (min)
Chris Jakubauskas (min)
Any 2 additional minor leaguers (2*min)
84.2 mil to 89.2 mil plus 13*0.437 or 89.9 to 94.9 mil  Well within our budget.  With room to tack on at the trade deadline if we need it or to sign a veteran reliever or two to back up our young guns or to add additional outfield depth if you're not comfortable with Saunders.
The opening day line-up would look like:
Ichiro (RF)
Scutaro (SS)
Dunn (DH)
Lopez (2B)
Branyan (1B)
Gutierrez (CF)
Tuiasosopo/Hall (3B)
Hall/Saunders (LF)
Johnson/Moore (C)
I could live with that...I think Wak would enjoy that.
Also note...this team has a lot of depth to respond to injuries or poor performance.  Gutierrez gets hurt?  Langerhans can play center in a pinch or you can reach down and get Ackley or Zeke Carrera or Tyson Gillies.  Saunders not living up to the potential yet?  Lots of outfield options, starting with Bill Hall.  Branyan gets hurt?  Call up Mike Carp.  Tui can play 2B or 3B, So can Hall.  Scutaro can be backed up by Josh Wilson.  The catching triad has that spot covered just fine once we find our veteran back-up.


I wonder if you could get Dunn without coughing up Brandon Morrow?
Speaking of shedding Morrow, we saw that USSM's idea was to swap out Morrow, Lopez, and Jack Wilson for Danks, Orlando Hudson and J.J. Hardy, while signing Nick Johnson.
Leaving aside the 3-for-3 lateral move at SS-2B-SP, it was interesting to see the comments focus on Nick Johnson, who's a perennial health Q. 
There was not a single mention of Adam Dunn that I saw, in 150 comments, despite the fact that Dunn and Scutaro (along with perhaps JJ Hardy) are the most visible M's targets.  I don't know if that's editorial pruning of comments, or Dunn is persona non grata, or what.
Johnson becomes the focus for plans involving the new buzzword "non-defensive DH".  What's with $9M to him as opposed to $10M for somebody who was one of the top 10 hitters in the NL? 
I'm bemused.  :- )  If D-O-V becomes associated with a player, that player becomes persona non grata at the busiest cyber-Seattle sites?   Can't imagine Johnson over Dunn.


And BTW, If there's a way we can get JJ Hardy in here to take Hall's supersub job away and find another taker for Hall...that would be nice.  I like Hardy more than Hall...but I don't like him enough to start him at short.  I'd rather have Scutaro or Wilson (Jack) than Hardy as my SS for this particular team.
I'm not a huge Danks fan...but he does eat guaranteed innings and pitching to this defense, would be very solid.
We could probably get Dunn without giving up Morrow but I'm guessing it would cost us multiple lesser players.  I'd rather do the painless one for one since I'm filling up my rotation with lots of cheap high risk high reward power arms and we can't fill up all five rotation spots that way...Morrow becomes expendible in that scenario.

Patrick Troen's picture

Isn't he still with M's? He's argubly better then Carp and should be in the majors NOW. As for pitching spending Lock up the rotation for 5 years before the price skyrockets.


But if I'm replacing Branyan, I'd rather spend my at bats developing a guy I might be able to use later on.  Shelton's future is limited at this point.  Of course if you're playing to win in 2010, he might be the way to go over a short time period covering for an injury.
As for the rotation...I actually think it's better not to commit to starting pitchers unless you have higher than normal confidence in their health or a higher than normal need for the PR/leadership qualities they possess (the top top TOP aces...guys like King Felix, Roy Halladay, C.C. Sabathia).  None of the remaining Mariners are the types of guys I'd want to sign long term.  Best run rotations year in and year out that are filled with interchangeable parts that can keep the ball in the yard, miss some bats and let our defense do the rest.


Would you trade Adam Dunn strait up for Brandon Morrow if Dunn played for the M's and Morrow for the Nationals? I think that you are undervaluing the kind of return that Dunn would bring the Nats in trade and perhaps overvaluing Morrow a bit.
Dave didn't mention Fielder either, likely for the same reason. Or Halladay instead of Danks. Teams aren't giving those players away.


Doable, some plusses, (some minuses), but I've got some minor quibbles.
1) I just don't get this love affair with Scutaro.  At age 33, he has his first 100 OPS+ season.  Yes, he had a great 2009 season.  But he's 2 years OLDER than Jack Wilson.  He's coming off the best season of his career, while ALREADY heading into the "when does the decline hit" phase of his career.  This is like the poster boy for "sell high!"  You don't win by BUYING high.
Despite being two years younger, Jack has 3 MORE seasons with 140 games played than Scutaro.  Scoot also nearly doubled his walks in 2009.  The guy has a neon sign and rockets going off screaming CAREER YEAR!!! 
Okay, I get that he's been a bit more consistent than Jack W.  I understand the whole league transfer issue.  I could see an easy argument that he's EQUAL to Jack, (a tad better generically, until you add the age factor).  But, the real question here is -- Scutaro just had a career year, at age 33, at a very, very thin position.  He WILL be in a position to demand multiple years at high salary. 
Now, I'm not saying he would be a bad choice.  Plus defense, good bat for the position.  But, lest we forget, a big reason that Bavasi ended in the mess that he did was the horrid age mangement.  Is Scutaro in his age 34-37 seasons the SS that can bring a pennant?  Perhaps, but I'm not optimistic.  But, I'm certain he's in a much, much stronger bargaining position that Jack W. 
The reason I like a J.W. extension is because done well, it leaves open the door to upgrade, and move Jack W. to backup, (or more likely, move him on the open market).  I heavily suspect the size and length of any contract for Scutaro is going to make that much more difficult.  The key with Jack W. is to try and leverage the situation so you have the OPTION to go elsewhere if a stronger move presents itself for 2011 or 2012.  If my hunch is right, Scutaro and Jack W. are likely going to see their production lines converge in 2010. 
Aside from that, the Hall/Josh Wilson situation is the one I hesitate with.  I'd prefer having the lefty Hannahan as a legit platoon option for Tui, (if he's struggling).  I actually don't like either Hall or Josh Wilson, as their K/BB number are so utterly bad, I cannot see either having much success for the rest of their careers.  The club needs offense, and one place you can leverage extra offense w/o sacrificing much on defense is to get good bats on the bench.  Neither Hall nor Wilson fit that bill.  I'm really hoping Z has something up his sleeve to move Hall as part of an upgrade plan.


The Nats are depserate to unload Dunn at the moment...he can't play the outfield even a tiny bit.  And if I were the Nats...I would ABSOLUTELY trade one year of big Donkey for 3 years of cheap Brandon Morrowage.


The reason I'd rather have Scutaro than Wilson (marginally) is because I am looking for high OBP guys to stick between Ichiro and Dunn/Lopez/Branyan/Gutierrez.  We need a bridge to the middle of the order I tried to create and Jack Wilson is not it.
I agree that Scutaro isn't likely to hit as well as he did in 2009...but I don't think the walks were a stone cold's actually vanishingly rare to see guys have a careeer year based solely on their walk total doubling for no apparent reason and then have the walks disappear thereafter.  No...I think the walks demonstrate that Scutaro learned something about the strike zone or pitch recognition in 2009.
This club is in depserate need of walk takers.  Dunn is a start...but we'd need another high OBP guy high in the order...and that's not Lopez, or Jack Wilson or Franklin Gutierrez.
Otherwise...I pretty much agree that Hall needs to get traded elsewhere...I'm hoping we find a way to bring in JJ Hardy and swap Hall out elsewhere and I'd like to see us keep Hannahan as not only Tui's platoon buddy but also the back-up SS.  He handled the job fine the one game he got at short...he's got GREAT range at 2B and reason to think he wouldn't have good range at short.


Have you seen Adam Dunn's UZR for 2009?  He's at -30, -35 runs defensively these days.  There's no DH in the National League.   The man can't play in the field.  Everybody including the Nats is aware of this fact.
Dunn is the new Frank Thomas:  as a DH he can help you win a pennant.  The NL is not an option for him.
At times, I'm not clear on whether folks consider Dunn absolutely useless, or an MVP candidate that would cost us Felix Hernandez...
But if the reason that there's a moratorium on Dunn mentions :- ) is that it's not realistic to plan trade offers for him, I wouldn't think that John Danks would be the centerpiece of a roster strategy...
Fact is, if we're opening up *trades* for discussion, Dunn has got to be just about as easy to acquire as any other quality player you could name...


Wanting to boost team walks is admirable - I'm with you there.
As for Scutaro's 2009 not being fluke?  He set career highs in pretty much every single stat there is.  You want the full list?  Okay, here are the list of stats where Scutaro set a career best (at age 33). (ignoring partial seasons)
PAs, ABs, R, Hits, 2B, HR, RBI (tie), SB, CS, BB, K -- BA / OBP / SLG / OPS
RC (by 28) - OPS+ - BtRuns (only time ever positive) - TotA, SecA
K/BB - AB/SO - GB/FB (0.58 lowest ever, by far)
Okay - maybe at 33 he had an epiphany.  And Maybe Beltre had an epiphany in 2004.  I'd lay 5 to 1 odds on the 25-year-old having the better odds of having just "gotten it".


I said the WALKS he took in 2009 were probably not a fluke, Sandy.  THere's a big difference.
Walks are very stable from year to year normally...or at least...EYE ratio and BB/PA tend to be stable.  It's very very VERY rare for a player to double his walk rate and then not have that be a real improvement that at least partially remains.

Taro's picture

Scutaro has a lot of profit potential as well and the downside is still a big upgrade. 
His eye ratio has improved every year since 2004, so its possible hes just one of those late bloomers. He has the potential to be a Mark McLemore type that can play an average SS (which would make him a star player like in '09).
2 years, $15-16mil or so with a club option and I like that gamble.

M-Pops's picture

Carlos Guillen is blocking Ryan Rayburn in Detroit.  He signed for the next 2 years at 13 mill per.
Guillen just had a down season after several up seasons (BABP, injuries).  He is 33.  How likely is it that Guillen has a greater VORP than Silva next season?
Might Det be interested in a swap?  I would rather Guillen shared 3B/2B duties with Tui/Lopez than Hanahan.
Might Guillen still have some value?  His eye (k/BB) looks fine. If he has healed from last season's injuries would you be interested in a Silva/Guillen swap?  I might.   

Anonymous's picture

Guillen could do his best McLemore impression, playing acceptable 3B/SS/2B with a plus bat. 
If Jack has some extra $ lying around at the end of the offseason, I say do it.  I would prefer Guillen over Hanahan, anyway.
With the Reds #1 'spect in Alonso ready to step in, do you think the M's could get Votto for Morrow and say Halman/Orta?  His name would look great on the lineup card in front of Branyan.
After all, the Rangers got Hamilton for Volquez and a AA reliever. 

shields's picture

The Reds wouldn't trade Votto for Morrow, Halman AND Orta.  Teams don't let go of pre arbitration 25 year olds who OPS .981 for nothing, no matter what unproven prospect is waiting in the wings.  It would take a truly premium package to land Votto.

Anonymous's picture

KC adds White Sox 2B Getz and 3B Fields, creating an interesting situation with incumbent IFs Callaspo and Gordon.
IIRC, Taro was high on Callaspo as the M's 2B a while back.  Seems like a good fit for Safeco and more of a known commodity than KJ.
Does Gordon fit as one of those "post-hype" guys, or is he just lost until he proves otherwise?
Should the M's have interest in either one? 


I'm almost certain that was not the point of the trade.  I catch a few Royals broadcasts, and they think that Callaspo is already one of their best hitters and a potential future all-star.  He hit .300/.356/.457 at age 26 this year.  Without spending much time, Getz doesn't look anywhere close. 
Gordon had to be sent to AAA to regroup, but he got on base at a much better clip when he came back up.  They aren't acting like they're ready to give up on him.
Fields could be insurance if Gordon flops, but so was Teahen.  So seems to me more of a lateral change-of-scenery for both than anything else.  And I guess since Gordon and Teahen both hit LH, Fields gives them more platoon options.

M-Pops's picture

Idea floated by Dave at a different site for a Carlos for Carlos, 3-team swap including Pierre...
Funny, but I would still do it.  Thoughts?

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