Agree on all points in this post. For me, Morales is the key to run production -- the guy can flat out hit. A question: Do league rules prohibit the M's from trading Raul, having just signed him to a free agent contract, or do they have to wait for 1/2 season? BTW, I believe his salary is >$2M.
In January, SSI signed off on --- > the general idea of bringing in some vets who could get a "hard RBI" once in a while. There was a problem. That problem was that the kids were Overweight-and-Overwhelmed, as Tony would say.
It says here that this problem no longer exists.
Let's say that the spring offensive juggernaut is a complete mirage -- that none of it, 0% of it, is real. Justin Smoak is going to turn out to be a powerflush; his career will be a tragedy. Franklin Gutierrez is going to yak up his spleen in the fifth inning tomorrow and the M's will have to play 2013 with black armbands. Carlos Peguero will stop hitting 1-2 curve balls past the shortstop, and Casper Wells was always going to be worthless, and Jesus Montero turns out to be, well, Justin Smoak.
Even then, your fallback position is still this: you've got Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse. Even in the worst case, you've still got veterans who will get you your "hard RBI."
It just turned out that Bay and Ibanez won't be needed. That's all.
The guys hanging around the clubhouse tell you that the chemistry IS different. Ichiro isn't brooding in a corner throwing a damper over the room. Kids aren't seeing a morgue-like atmosphere when they come up. Everybody's popping tall, mostly because of Michael Morse.
Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez are now band-aids being applied to skin that shows no signs of a scar.
With Morales at DH and Smoak at 1B, you've got to get most of Morse's AB's in the outfield. Saunders' WAR is already around 3.0 per year. With Gutierrez healthy, he's your starting CF.
You've got three starters, and you've still got to get Jesus Montero at-bats at a spot other than catcher. You've got Casper Wells in his perfect role as the 4th outfielder. You're down to Bay vs Rauuul vs Peguero vs whoever as the 5th outfielder.
Wedge was asked about Peguero yesterday, after the game, and a reporter said, wow, he hit a curve ball for a clean single. Wedge said no, he hit a curve ball THE OTHER WAY for a clean single. He's on top of the curves now. One of his HR's came when he was BEHIND in the count. He's different now.
Peguero deserves his look. There's nothing more he can do. Tacoma? He tore it apart in 2012. Are you aware that he tore it apart in 2011 also? He slugged .558 in the PCL last year, and he slugged .562 in the PCL two years ago.
"Use his option" to look at .... what? Whether Raul Ibanez has any gas in the tank at age 41? WHY do you want to look at that?
Matty brought up the issue of Peguero's swing plane. Well, sure. It's a factor, and a good one to watch with Peguero. Russ Branyan had that angle. Big Papi does. Josh Hamilton does. It's nice to have a KBIZLT swing plane - it's a factor, but not an absolute. You don't shed Josh Hamilton because you love flat swing planes so dearly.
Peguero has a Josh Hamilton swing plane, and given that, there nothing more that Peguero can do. He's taken his HIT tool as far as it will go.
I don't know what the political code is here with Ibanez. Bay can be dismissed with no fallout; he was invited on the basis of "maybe you can make this team" and if a Carlos Peguero type shows he has leaped forward, then sorry. It's a numbers game.
Ibanez is making close to a million, and you talked him into coming here, so maybe you need to trade him or keep him. Politically. I hope not.
SSI's position is very simple:
(1) Given that Morales and Morse are here, given the fact that the vibe HAS been fixed,
(2) The younger the roster is on April 1, the better I'll like it.
Every vet they keep, beyond Morse and Morales and Iwakuma (and Felix and Gutierrez and Shoppach), is a grain of sand in Dr D's eye. As it turns out, this is a ballclub that has no business keeping deadwood around.
There's a Zen / Feng Shui use of the flotsam here, and that's to retire it.
I had no idea. From Cots:
Raul Ibanez lf-dh1 year/$2.75M (2013)
1 year/$2.75M (2013)
signed by Seattle as a free agent 12/22/12
may earn additional $1.25M in performance bonuses
I wonder what they'd owe him if they cut him early? All $2.75M?
If so, that cinches that. Ramification - Bay is either a non-issue, or else you've got to flush Casper Wells and send Peguero down to bludgeon away against PCL pitchers for a third season.
Need him for defensive replacement for Morse/Ibanez, assuming Wedge can execute said strategy.
Newly signed free agents can be traded with their permission.
Wells is 2/18 with a homer off a 28 year old AAA pitcher. Today, he failed to make contact against leftie junk baller Chris Capuano, and then rolled over the first pitch from Chad Billingsley. By comparison, Bay is OPSing 2.000 without having struck out yet. If he can put his injuries behind him, he has a real chance to get back to a .900 OPS. At this point, both guys have to start moving in opposite directions for Wells to make this team on merit. Peggy is coming off striking out 35% in the Dominican League this winter, so I'm not about to anoint him anything either.
"And Raul must go!"
He was always in the way. Doc, you didn't even mention Franklin, Romero, Vinnie, Liddi...etc.
You're right, Pegs has nothing more to do at AAA. He mashes those guy.
The only way you can justify Raul over Wells is if you really believe all that Yoda stuff. I'm not into it. Well, I suppose you could just say that Andino is your real 4th OF. I'm not into that, either.
If we were prepared to bring Franklin up after 20 games and give him everybody's rest starts, AND you were saying
ex-nay to Andino at that point, then I suppose you could flush Wells....which would really not make sense even then,
because there is always going to be a pretty short over/under on how many games you get out of Guti before he hacks up that spleen. If you flush Wells AND Guti comes up gimpy...then you only have Saunders and Andino for CF. I would prefer not to put too much on Andino, thank you. So you can't dump Wells and Andino.
But Raul was always just in the way. We said so from day one.
But I don't see us doing the Rosanna Rosanna-Danna on Raul. You know the old (very) SNL line, "Never Mind!"
We're kinda all in on Raul, minus finding a trading partner.
If so, Wells goes (Ack!) and Pegs becomes our newest version of Mike Wilson, a lifetime Tacoma dude.
And if Raul is a lock, then we're really to a place where ST doesn't count, at all, for positional guys. Unless there's a Liddi/3rd Catcher question still out there.
Bay? Could you keep him even if he went all Bambino in Arizona? Not with Raul locked in. And if you jetison Raul for Bay, we're right back where we started.
When was the last time the M's wrote off $2.75M.
I think the issue for me Mal is CF. Bay doesn't go there, which is also why Raul doesn't make sense. And no way you keep both Raul and Bay. And it is unlikely you keep Bay over Raul, I think.
How much are you going to bet on a full season of Guti? Me? Not much. So...then Andino is the only other guy who plays CF. I suppose you can live with that.
I'm not getting paid to make this decision. Will be interesting.
Saunders and GUti can both play center...we don't need ANOTHER CF.
CF is not a legit reason to drop Bay over Wells. Wells is terrible...I'd rather see Bay than Wells if Bay is really gonna be back to his past form even somewhat.
I'm assuming Michael Saunders is going to be getting some time in CF this year.
And if Gutierrez does get hurt, Francisco Martinez and the newly acquired Abercrombie will be available for promotion from AAA. Plus, Bay did begin as a center fielder, so the idea of him supplying emergency back up isn't ridiculous.
I might be the only person outside of the Mariners organization not sweating the idea of losing Wells, but as a 4th outfielder type, it's hard to get worked up about when Julio Morban and Stefen Romero are coming up the pipe in a hurry.
After seeing Geoff Baker's piece on Ibanez and Dave Hansen - http://seattletimes.com/html/mariners/2020458372_mariners01.html - I'm even more convinced that Rauuul's best spot on the Mariners, all things considered, is as the 2nd hitting coach. I thought it before, but if he and Hansen have a good personal relationship, it removes the one possible hitch to the 2-coach system, which is conflict between the two on hitting issues. Particularly if Bay keeps hitting, that makes the most sense to me -- and if Peguero is going to hit, then Wells needs to be exchanged for some non-40 roster stuff. Hopefully Raul can transition smoothly and gracefully, seeing what the Ms have coming, and get his Ms ring as a member of the coaching staff. His contract could probably be left as is - it's a bit more than coaches get, but if he transitions gracefully, it's worth the dough.
As for backing up center, we've already got two of the better CFs in the game in Guti and Saunders. If somehow we lost both, Andino or Ackley could cover for a few innings, and then we see what one of the Almontes, or Leon Landry can do in an emergency, while we get an AAAA guy (Trayvon?) thru trade. The possibility doesn't seem worth losing too much sleep or thump over.
Besides, Landry and Hicks are two guys just getting set for the Seager-style rocket ride through AA and AAA. Loved Larry Stone's cut in his daily notebook :
"Besides Zunino, another young catcher, John Hicks, caught Wedge’s eye. Hicks, a fourth-round pick out of the University of Virginia in 2011, had a single for his fourth hit in seven at-bats this spring. Hicks has also made a strong impression with his defense.
“John Hicks is an athlete,’’ Wedge said. “You have to love the way he plays, whether it’s at home plate, catching, or at the plate hitting, and particularly on the basepaths. He’s a heads up player, he’s a smart young man. He’s been very impressive in this camp so far.” "
Wanna bet that by mid-season, he and Zunino are splitting time in AAA, as Shoppach's contract slowly runs out? (I doubt Paulino makes it through May in Tacoma). Poor Montero. He's really going to have to show both leadership and hitting to hold off those two.
If you have the option on Peguero, you have to use it. He does have something to prove against AAA, and that's maintaining the current upgrades to his game over an extended period of time. Won't hurt him none.
Saunders LF, Guti CF, Morse RF
Bay/Wells 4th OF
Still no room for Ibañez. He can't be the clubhouse leader Wedge desires if he's not a regular and
1) All the regular slots are all filled up with better players
2) He's a platoon player at this point in his career anyway
There is little chance that Raul hangs it up during this ST, unless he finishes hitting O-fer. He looks like a lock for the opening day roster. Guti's health (knock on wood) is always an issue, so we need to keep an eye on who plays CF in Tacoma. That spot is prime for an injury promotion at some time during the season. Wells is playing himself off the roster, so far, but are we kidding ourselves that he won't pass waivers to Tacoma? It looks like Bay vs Piggy for the last OFer spot, not Wells or Ibanez. At least Piggy can be stashed in Tacoma for another round until injury or trade calls him north. Bay makes it or he's likely done.
I've never seen a collection of die-hard fans so desperately clinging to such a mediocre player. :) Can you imagine if Yankee fans got involved in a crying fit when brass decided to powerflush, say, Francisco Cervelli or similar? I mean...do we really think Casper Wells is that good that we're gonna cry over losing his production while Bay is hitting .250 with good pop instead? And while we have four other guys scrambling down the ramp into the chute?
For a second there I thought I was at SSI. I must have made a wrong turn somewhere near LL and ended up at USSM...
Was assuming that we all understood we were talking about the CF after Saunders.
I was recently toting the CF field depth bag but I think Francisco Martinez has convinced me there's enough in the minors that in an emergency it should only affect the one game something happens in. A part of thatis many players are hitting very well. Another part is that Wells is very much not.
I'm cool with dumping Raul and Wells while keeping Bay or Peguero with Morse, Saunders and Guti. This roster is too hard to feel perfectly clear about who should stay. 1 backup infielder, 2 catchers, all the starters and either Bay or Peguero? Can we stick to 11 pitchers and keep them both? Peguero could be just down the road if anything happened with 1b, DH or any outfield, assuming the replacement DH or 1b would be from that OF crew. With the spring he's having would Bay decline assignment to Tacoma? Still, I don't know what's right. I want to keep them both.
Maybe most of the negatives of doing Raul could be mitigated if it were Bay that took his spot. He's a veteran, though much younger than Raul and a local guy. I am most concerned with the best team though and don't think Raul has a part here this year.
The pitching is really even harder. This is a perplexing amount of competition. So many are doing so well that there's just going to be tough choices from here.
Time for a 4 for 1 seems to have come even quicker than expected. There aren't needs anymore, just too many good bakers and not enough ovens. Replace a good baker with a great one and start the season. Where to upgrade is tough too. If Peguero is for real we've got 3 outfielders potentially locked up through next year (Guti's option). All the other positions but 1b have guys in the high minors awaiting their opportunity if the incumbents aren't producing.
It's tougher to tweak a talented roster to perennial contention than to add talent to a perennial loser. From here on out Zduriencik should have much more difficult choices and I hope he does well with them.
Gotta call small sample size here on the 2/18 point above. Wells has specific proven talents that make him very useful: he plays very good outfield defense including a respectable CFand he mashes lefty pitchers - .838 OPS lifetime. He hits poorly againt RHP - .675 OPS lifetime. He makes a perfect late inning defensive replacement for Morse/Ibanez/Bay and a good part-time starter against LHP, assuming the Sargeant will utilize him correctly to accentuate his strengths (a heroic assumption, I agree). Wells brings skills to the team that neither Raul nor Bay have. I personally am terrified of Morse in the OF in the late innings of a game with the M's ahead by 1 run. As noted ad naseum, the M's committed to wrong guy here - Raul. The M's should trade Raul back to the Yankees. If Bay is back, which has yet to be proven against MLB-quality pitching, then he should make the 25-man roster with Wells. My $.02.