What the Teardown Was... and Wasn't
Alllllll aboard

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Sorry about the duplicate.  This is the right one.  :- )

....

Floating around Lookout Landing, USSM, John Sickels/Minor League Ball?  Even SportSpyder, Fangraphs' individual trade reviews and scouring the earth for those Bud Light commercials where a no-nonsense king scales the walls of a prissy King of Clubs?

 There was nothing, anywhere, that consolidated the M's teardown and made sense of the operation as a whole.

Oh, sure, there was snark, such as "what person of average intelligence could process this" but in terms of a real code-break of this WWII transmission?  Nothing whatsoever.  .... Which leaves Dr. D with a blank check to offer his own opinion as to what this is and isn't.

.....

IT'S NOT A CHANCE JERRY DIPOTO DESERVES.

Since when does a GM get to ride in, decorate his office in mahogany and stainless, trade all of the previous GM's assets for his own preferred assets -- and then two years later wander into the boardroom saying, "well, that whole thing blew chunks, let's try it another way?"

Zdurienciek was GM in 2015; they made Dipoto GM in 2016, or three years ago, and Dipoto immediately sloughed Logan Morrison, Brad Miller, Seth Smith, Austin Jackson, Mark Trumbo! in nine New York Seconds, Ketel Marte, Taijuan Walker, Dustin Ackley, Roenis Elias, J.A. Happ, and MANY others ...

.... for the purposes of bringing in a "younger, more athletic, more usable roster."  QUOTE, UNQUOTE.

This failed miserably.  Long flourish on the signature.

........

So why does THIS guy get to come in again and oversee the re-imagination?

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IT'S NOT A CLUBHOUSE OVERHAUL THAT SCOTT SERVAIS DESERVES.

I mean, Pete Carroll had a mini-mutiny take place and they let him clean house.  But there was an important difference there.  Hmmmm.... what was it.... just had it here on the tip of my tongue.... taps chin....

OH YEAH PETE CARROLL WINS.

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A LOSS OF HOPE?

More to investigate this later, but why should this re-vamp equal a loss of hope?  To Dr. D that's just snark.  The two guys the M's got from the Yankees might easily compile for WAR than Paxton's 3.6.  The catcher they got has 3.6 WAR in his last 189 games.  Jay Bruce could bounce back.  Dee Gordon could.  Nobody expected anything from the A's; why does a :: shrug :: and a mutter guarantee no surprises from the M's?

.......

Still and all, the D-O-V Mainframe decisively and unhesitatingly puts down its own verdict here.  As you know, it's not because Dr. D is eager to criticise.  As you know, it's not because Dr. D can't find the bright side of things.  (As you know, it could be provoked a bit by the James Paxton feeblemindedeness.  Do all the rest of it without that.)

D-O-V's verdict:  the 2015-2018 era was just another several years' worth of Mariner dysfunction, deboard the merry-go-round, next riders on please.

The most useful chart we found, believe it or not, was the simple depth chart on the M's website, at the top of the article.

Respectfully,

Jeff

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Blog: 

Comments

1

Yes!  The Doc is still fogging mirrors.  The depth chart above does look pretty good.  . . . . .For the hitting staff.  The pitching staff looks absolutely horrible.  The starting pitching will be bad until Felix retires, and the bullpen looks like complete toast. 

I think it is clear that JeDi finds spending money on pitchers distasteful, as the team has always been a few starters short of the deep runs that it wanted to make. 

2

Jerry got to build around an immovable core not of his design. All of his redesign last time was, by force, required to take that into account. There have been successes and failure in there, but I don't see most of our prior Big Four as guys Jerry would have sought out.

Now, he's finally getting to chip away at that core. Cano's and Cruz are gone (more for timeframe/window than anything else), Seager will be gone once the new shift rules re-establish his value, and Felix has a year we've already given up to go. 

Let's be honest. If the AL had looked different this past year, we'd be lauding Jerry for the results he got... even WITH the 89 wins (which, in the absence of so many super teams, would not only-be a playoff-worthy number but likely more like 93 wins). Negative run differential? You kidding - Servais would be Manager of the Year! Some of this is out of Jerry's control, and we'd have been more than content in a normal season. Pivoting to rebuild right now is a bold move, and the correct one with our priuor core where it was. When it comes to the *specifics* - well...

...I've obviously had some nits to pick with the recent trades, especially the all-but-impenetrable logic behind the urgency requiring THIS particular Segura trade. But I'm not convinced Dipoto is a lost cause in the big picture, although I want to smack him upside the head sometimes with a list of quality non-reclamation ree agents. The work he's done to get the next window already defined, even without cashing in Haniger (which I'm concerned is down to now or this year's trade deadline) is impressive, even if the means have raised legitimate questions.

3

Doc, SO good to read your analysis. You're been missed. And when I've been out of country (and therefore unable to comment), it's been hard to not have a great avenue to say so... but, I've appreciated each update you've made time (and found energy) to share. Merry Christmas to ya!

4

Been saying Mitch and Marco might need to be traded to help build depth quick enough if '21 is the goal.  That or make '23 the goal in which case why build around Mitch, Mallex and Marco?  I didn't create the alliteration here, the M's did.  This is a small window we're talking about here because Mitch and Mallex can become free agents after 2023 and Marco after '24.  If they don't get the rest together by then extending them would have been a mistake.

Can't find a 4 year rebuild even that doesn't start with very high draft picks, like Strasburg.  We won't be doing that si precedents are more like 7 years. 

5
SonicBOOM!'s picture

...just waiting to be commented upon!

Observations on the depth chart:

1. Mallex Smith may be doing quite a lot of running to his right

2. Mariners don't (seem to) see Jay Bruce in the 1B mix

3. Surely Santana has a better glove than Healy! (but Healy is listed #1 at 1B, while Santana is the $20M DH)

4. K Negron seems to be our primary backup- everywhere! (three IF positions; one OF position.) I hope at least they bring someone in to challenge him! I'm not sure whom that might be, out of our own high minors.) 

5. In fact, projecting to who would  be on an extended depth chart- middle infield depth looks exceedingly problematic. I see two Dominican shortstops amongst our top 30 on the farm- nobody above them! I hope our next round of trades addresses this major lack.) 

6. Bruce, Gamel both hit lefty- no platoon-partner prospect there. 

7. No way that Sheffield or Swanson starts the year with the Big Club. We need SPs!

8. I'll be surprised if David Freitas starts the year as our backup catcher. And, little depth in the upper minors at this position, either. I like Cal Raleigh a lot- saw him in Everett- but he's years away! 

9. I think Elias gets a chance to start. 

10. If Santana goes, looks like Vogs gets first crack at DH.

11. We're spending a lot of $ at LF, 3B, 2B, DH, SP SP and RP. (Otherwise, we're getting rookie-scale resources!) 

12. What do we want Jerry to invest in? (What does Sco0tt Servais want Jerry to invest in?) Could be a position, or a player. I think we all want Kikuchi (although I'm not convinced we need a 4th portside SP). Looks to me like we need SP (*2), RP (*6?), C, backup IF. How do y'all see it? 

 

 

6

...just waiting to be commented upon!

Observations on the depth chart:

1. Mallex Smith may be doing quite a lot of running to his right

2. Mariners don't (seem to) see Jay Bruce in the 1B mix

3. Surely Santana has a better glove than Healy! (but Healy is listed #1 at 1B, while Santana is the $20M DH)

4. K Negron seems to be our primary backup- everywhere! (three IF positions; one OF position.) I hope at least they bring someone in to challenge him! I'm not sure whom that might be, out of our own high minors.) 

5. In fact, projecting to who would  be on an extended depth chart- middle infield depth looks exceedingly problematic. I see two Dominican shortstops amongst our top 30 on the farm- nobody above them! I hope our next round of trades addresses this major lack.) 

6. Bruce, Gamel both hit lefty- no platoon-partner prospect there. 

7. No way that Sheffield or Swanson starts the year with the Big Club. We need SPs!

8. I'll be surprised if David Freitas starts the year as our backup catcher. And, little depth in the upper minors at this position, either. I like Cal Raleigh a lot- saw him in Everett- but he's years away! 

9. I think Elias gets a chance to start. 

10. If Santana goes, looks like Vogs gets first crack at DH.

11. We're spending a lot of $ at LF, 3B, 2B, DH, SP SP and RP. (Otherwise, we're getting rookie-scale resources!) 

12. What do we want Jerry to invest in? (What does Sco0tt Servais want Jerry to invest in?) Could be a position, or a player. I think we all want Kikuchi (although I'm not convinced we need a 4th portside SP). Looks to me like we need SP (*2), RP (*6?), C, backup IF. How do y'all see it? 

7

A bevy of on-the-cheap, high risk, high reward FA signings... so we can trade the hits off to desperate contenders, and absorb the misses a year at a time.

Seager given a chance to re-establish his value in a post-shift world, then shipped off for shiny things.

Felix has a respectable year, and latches on to a contender on a new 2-3 year deal.

We pick up lots more young talent from EVERY available avenue (that doesn't diminish our own), aimed aquarely at 2021.

8
Hanjag's picture

The only problem with this core build-up is that it was wrotten at the core. AKA the King. All the starters 2 WAR and up last year except for -1.3 WAR Ace Felix.

Felix 5 WAR +/- 2

Paxton 3.8

Marco G 3.6

Leake 2.3

LeBlanc 1.7

Total 16.4

If that is paired with Felix when he was earning "The King" moniker. From 2005 to 2015 Felix had put up 49.2 WAR.

 

My gut feeling is that if Felix was still strong we double down and add a Paul Goldshmidt maybe even add another TOR type to pair with the Mariner teal colored glasses Felix to match or exceed the other super rotations. 

The Super Uber closer continues to be Diaz but he is wrapped with Colome, Nicasio, Pazos, Elias, Tuivailala, Altavilla, Festa, Armstrong, etc STud BP that can really only be matched by the Yankees. (6 WAR)

Finally add a Paul Goldschmidt or add one of the available outfielders and all 3 portions of the team would be ranked top 5 in baseball:

Player *position*bats from* 2018 WAR 

1 Haniger RF R 6.1

2. Segura SS R 4.3

3. Cano 2B L (3WAR in 1/2 season) 6

4 Goldschmidt 1B R 5.4

5. Cruz DH R 2.9

6. Seager 3B L 0.8 (6.9 2016) for purposes 3

7. Zunino C R 1.9

8. Brantley OF L 3.6

9. Span OF L 1.9

Total 35.1

The Bench we Keep Dee (L)as a uber super sub pinch runner in a re-imagined Zobrist type(2018 .6WAR 2017 2.8) . We keep the left handed catcher sub (C)Hermann(L) (2018 0.5 WAR ), either Gamel (L) (0.5)or you have Heredia(R) (0.1 in 18 but 1.1 in 17) maybe both at different times. 

Combined say 3 or 4 WAR.

 

Near 60 WAR and yes a super team member. Instead after Dipoto came on Felix the franchise nose dived.

9

Take a look at those players you listed. Pretty much all of them were mediocre or worse. The only who was truly good was Taijuan Walker and he netted two impact players who are far better overall. The key players from 2015 were all retained. Paxton, Felix Seagerr, Cano, Cruz, etc were kept.

What is surprising isn't that Dipoto was allowed rebuild after trading away flotsam and jetsam, but that he was allowed to tear down after an 89 win season.

10

It is going to be tough to trade them both for anything of value, the 1B/DH market being overloaded, as it is.

Bruce’s true value is that he hits homers vs. RHP.  His career ISO vR is .230.  Cano’s is .239, Cruz is at .238.

Bruce doesn’t hit for average, doesn’t have a good glove, doesn’t hit LHP that well (.709, with a .226 Avg.) but he does dent the cheap seats.  That skill usually doesn’t go away at at 31.  But after 27 vR homers in ‘17 and an .883 OPS, last year it was 6 (in only 254 PA’s) and .688.  

He’s a good candidate for a bounce back.  But we have to hang onto him for 80 games to let him establish that fact or make him real cheap right now.  Those 80 games collide with Healy, Vogelbach (out of options, I believe) and Gamel.  You could kind of do a 4 person rotation, if you use Bruce equally in LF, at 1B and DH, but then Santana doesn’t fit.  

The market for Bruce is wider because he can shag balls in the OF, but we have to be willing to eat a whole bunch of his salary.  

Just noticed this, Healy has walked only 41 times in 1032 career vR PA’s.  He walked about 5% of the time as a rookie but it has been only 3.7% the last two years.  He’s not been very good.  You could stick him in AAA and hope he figures the strike zone out, but you’re reduced his value in the meantime.  He’s more valuable if you actually use him at 3B some.

Finally, Santana is the best of that bunch....but not at all worth what he cost.  And he packs a big salary, nearly impossible to unload.  

Basically, eat salary, trade Bruce soon.  

If we don’t, we could have a decent offense but likely not one that overcomes the gasoline our BP is going to pour onto fires. 

11

Any salary we eat trying to move Bruce is probably equivalent to more salary we should have eaten with Cano, in which case we could have left Bruce out of the trade. Why bring Bruce on if you're just going to trade him and eat the same amount of salary as the extra relief you got on Cano's contract by taking him?

The assumption is that somehow you'll find a trading partner to whom Bruce is more valuable than he was to either New York or the Mariners.

I'm willing to be schooled on this, but it doesn't make sense to me to take on contracts in a swap where you'll just have turn around and eat most of the value of those contracts when you trade them.

12

Daddy, if I have a 10M house- or, a $120M ballplayer- I see a very limited market: almost nobody can afford to be interested. I expect Jerry has been thinking for the last- oh, three years 2.5 months (or so) "How am I ever going to offload this onerous Cano contract that Zd stitched me up with?!" When Cano's former agent took the Mets' GM job, Jerry felt his prayers had been answered in a way that required that sort of confluence of events. On the other hand, it may take more effort, but it must be easier to find a market for five $2M houses (or, five $25M ballplayers). You won't offload them all in the same deal, but eventually you might find a way to get rid of the bulk (unfortunate pun unintended) of them. I think I get- that's why Jerry is willing to sewap Cano for Bruce AND Swarzik AND prospects. He wants the prospects, but he also wants an easier set of players to sell.

(Like the old proverb.

Q: How do you eat an elephant?

A: One bite at a time.) 

13

I completely get (and agree) that it's easier to move multiple less expensive players compared to one massively expensive player. That's not my problem.

My problem is, if you have to eat most of Bruce's contract when you DO move him, why not save yourself the trouble and just eat that much more of Cano's contract instead of including Bruce in the trade? Then you don't have ANYone else to move. If easy is the test, by far the easiest thing to do is to not include Bruce in the trade at all. It's easier to move nothing than something.

It all comes out in the wash. Why go through all that just to create an awkward roster situation?

*** Edited to add ***

It seems to be one plausible answer is not player value or payroll at all. My guess is "diffusing" the eating of payroll into multiple transactions makes it easier for Jerry to sell his transactions to his executive masters. The total dollars eaten may be the same, but if it's spread across three transactions, each bite is more palatable to the suits than one big banquet of crow.

14

....is that there isn’t much of a market for him at his current salary.  Were there one, he wouldn’t have been part of the Cano trade.  So we’re stuck with him or pay $10Mx2 (an example, buying down a truckload of his salary) for somebody’s mid-level prospect.  Or you get an overpriced reliever and the mid-level guy for Bruce, a trade of contracts with a prospect thrown in.  

I would be fine and dandy (now that we have him and can’t easily dump him) if we used him and traded Healy; but I suspect it is Vogs who goes.  Healy and Bruce make a fine platoon and adding Santana makes a mix-n-match three to make two.  

15

Despite my wife being a descendant of Robert the Bruce, I'm ready to cast off the big guy. However... It seems like Dipoto sees him as his starting left fielder. He can't platoon with Gamel- I don't know how that works out for Gamel. But the 1B platoon could be Santana/Healy (whichever one is still on the roster, next week) and Vogelbach. I really want to see Vogs get his chance to hit semi-regularly- this could be his chance. 

Beyond Bruce, I'm not a huge fan of Healy. I like the idea of a younger, faster roster. I prefer Santana to Bruce/Healy- but I suspect Santana has more value, and Dipoto certainly is minded to get out from under Santana's salary, if someone volunteers to take him off our hands!

16

Leake for Homer Bailey and not enough prospect value to consider.  I thought they should include Bruce too just so he'd have wound up being traded for Bailey. 

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