Agenda: Youth Movement
Gamel and Heredia deepen the roster, but fall short of a Fountain metaphor


If you are reading this, or perhaps, an off-blog Mariners fan has begged you to read it to him, then you are aware that Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz are good are pretty much the perfect #3 and #4 hitters.  They are perfect hitters except for the fact that at least one of them is likely to not be a perfect hitter in the medium term.

Hence Jerry DiPoto's recent comments that his vision is for a much younger roster.  Soonest.


[Birdwalk ensues]  Remind your friend that there are big problems with a "Lawyer-Committee GM," and, in fact, with any committee.  Committees are not agile; they can't decide in a 16-hour window to jump on a Hisashi Iwakuma opportunity.  The Founding Fathers actually decided that the U.S. government should be a committee, for the express purpose of ruling out agile hangmen and taxmen.

Also, committees do not have coherent vision.  No committee could have painted the Mona Lisa, could they?  Even a TWO-person BASEBALL-man committee might decide to score 513 runs via UZR in one season, and scrap the idea for .230-hitting RBI men the next season.  The Zduriencik years were seven years long, poetically enough, the same as the seven years of famine that made Joseph second to Pharoah on the throne.

Now we've got Jerry DiPoto second on the throne to an ownership committee.  For ill or for weal, Jerry DiPoto is agile and he is coherent.



DiPoto enjoyed Cano and Cruz, as did you, but he specifically pointed out that the M's position players were the oldest in baseball.  "We gotta get younger," he says.  Very nice indeed when your local team is leading by 14 at halftime and then goes to work frantically on adjustments.

This leads us to the question, Get younger how?

1) Zunino for Iannetta

2) 'Bach for Lind

3) Ketel One Error Per Week vs. a 32-year-old shortstop for next year

4) Seth Smith vs. some other outfielder

5) Nori Aoki vs. some other outfielder

It is true that DiPoto likes for young players to get plenty of time in AAA.  It is also true that the best place, and the only place, to learn major league baseball is in the major leagues.  The goal is not merely to get younger; the goal is that out of these positions (C, 1B, SS, RF, LF) you come one or two legit 100-RBI men in the 2018 season.  To take over for Cruz and/or even for Cano.

We all need to study art, literature and the Kansas City Royals for ways to come up with younger MOTO's.  As you know, DiPoto is waiting breathlessly for that One Big Insight that will unlock the Rangers' defense to the AL West title.


There was an interesting find on the 'net, can't remember where, that Nori Aoki had a 480-AB vesting option for next year -- and if your friend is paying attention, he noticed that Aoki was sent down twice during the 2016 season, limiting him to 460-odd AB's.

Grievance-worthy?  Probly.  Smart?  Sure.  Likely to carry over into a decline of Aoki's option?  Not so much, since DiPoto has waxed EK STAT IK over Aoki's performance late in the year.  As with Leonydas, Aoki "was right in the thick of things" as the M's played their best baseball.

The general consensus among the "accessed" is that among the M's 5 free agent hitters -- Iannetta, Aoki, Smith, Lind, and Lee -- Seth Smith is the one guy likely to be re-upped.  Going by the "get younger" mantra compass, though, and going by the fact that Seth Smith is merely a decent player who is getting pretty old, Dr. D isn't so sure.

What's your take on the "technological imperative" of getting younger?  Among the M's five free agents, Dr. D would probably plump for Nori Aoki as the most likely to be an M next year.





GregfromSpokane's picture

In order to effect a youth infusion, you need to acquire same A) from your farm system or B) from trades or free agent transactions.

In the farm system, the only guys I can see knocking on the door are O'Neil and Vogelbach. As far as trading is concerned, the M's

appear to lack fungible, desirable assets. The only players teams might be interested in, are players you'd probably want to keep, i.e.

Walker, Zunino, O'Neil. The M's star players are untradeable because of their contracts. So while I approve this message (getting

younger) I'm not seeing how this can be done right away. ;-)



Well...I'm dittoing a bunch of what you said.

Aoki is best bet to come back. Make that bet 1 to 2, no better.

I think DiPoto is in on getting younger.  I don't see how he doesn't (or won't) just assume (regardless of what he says) that he's going younger at 1B and in one COF.  

I think he's made his statement that we're going older at SS (or with O'Malley) to give Marte some significant Tacoma time.  But he's not spending too richly on that SS.

I like it.  A lot.  Use the Lind/Smith/Aoki (?) money to buy up at one corner OF and don't look back.


It is fairly easy to see that Jerry enjoys being a GM. I don't remember seeing him pitch, but I bet he was a lot like Moyer, with fist pumps and stare downs.

This is Dipoto's game time now, so I do not see any easy answers, because Jerry likes it that way.

I see Jerry re-signing both Aoki and Seth, and then trading Seth as part of a deal to get a young OF. Then, dependant on who Dipoto gets, he may keep Aoki, or try the same thing with him too.

Going off topic slightly... but I see Dipoto just gearing up for fun off season, with these above moves above and a lot more to come.

On the 40 man right now, the are 16 relief pitchers who will be pitching in 2017. Sixteen... and they all have MLB experience. Yes a few are free agents, and a few can get stashed in Tacoma, but we know one thing... they are not all going to be in Seattle come April. Thus, Jerry has some work to do... and he is smiling, because there is article after article being written how important Andrew Miller, K-Rod, Chapman, Allen, Wade Davis, Britton, Jansen and others are changing the game, and how expensive relief pitchers are going to be this off season.

The expected relief pitchers for the 2017 M's are: Diaz, Nuno, Scribner, Vincent, eventually Cishek and Zych, Storen if resigned, and some lefty - be it Rollins, Fry, or ??

That leaves the extra pieces at Wilhelmsen, Aro, Altavilla, Caminero, Martin, Zach Lee, Venditte, Sampson, Cook, and several in Tacoma and Jackson chompin' on the bit. Jerry has some chips, and he is about to get to work.

I wonder what Scribner would bring back if he was dangled? Or how about Vincent... it will be a lot more than what it cost the M's this past March.

Oh, the Tigers or Blue Jays want a young fire thrower that is cheap with MLB experience.... well would you like Caminero, Zych, or Altavilla?

Or the biggie... What could you get for Diaz?

Ohhh I know, Diaz is the next Mariano... and how could anyone think about trading away the future HOF'er Diaz... but if Diaz brought back Soler or Almora or Contreras  with a Schwarber and another near ready pitching prospect from the prized Cubs farm... I think we would forget Edwin fairly quickly.

Just noodlin'.


I hadn't really thought about the depth in the pen because I was focused on the height at the back end.

Diaz, yeah I'd listen to offers.  Hard to imagine there'd be one I'd have to take but it's possible.

I see the same regarding Aoki/Smith except that if Aoki is a resign situation he can't be traded until June or so.  Don't recall the exact time-frame.  In that situation he could be keeping a seat warm for O'Neill with a trade coming when both O'Neill and the right deal are ready.  Heredia might also be in the backup at AAA position. 


I must admit I would be very skeptical and leary of any trade including Diaz, but I'm just trying to prepare myself emotionally in case Dipoto does.

I thought I read somewhere that Dipoto was some how talking of still picking up Aoki's option even though it did not vest... but I'll admit I have no idea if that is legal or possible.

Lastly, if you want to read a good article(s) on the Mariner's current relief corp, Kate Preusser at Lookout Landing has a 2 parter called "Jerry's school for gifted". Just to whet your whistle, here are a couple stats she gives:

Dan Altavilla - MLB's 17th fastest slider - Also in top 30 MLB relievers with 25% K rate on his fastball.

Nick Vincent - MLB's BEST Whiff rate on fastballs at 37.17% - MLB's 10th best called strikes on slider.



Getting young is easy - it's getting young key contributors that's tough. Lind-Bach, Guti-Gamel/Heredia and Ianetta/Zunino all shed a healthy number of years but absent a real breakout, none of those young guys is likely to outperform the guy they are replacing year one, at least not by much. At least one of them is almost certain to fail. 

The team really needs to stick the landing on higher percentage of this wave (including Paxton, Walker, Zunino, Karns, Marte, Diaz, Altavilla, Bach, Gamel, Heredia and O'Neil) than we typically see from the M's. We need sustained front-line contributions from a decent number of those guys while they are young (and cheap) in order to get younger. 

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