You Say Stop ... And I Say Go Go Go, Oh-oh No
Dipoto-watching: used to be "crazy." Now it's I dunno what.

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You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go go go, oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello

I say high, you say low
You say why and I say I don't know, oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello
(Hello goodbye hello goodbye) Hello hello
(Hello goodbye) I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello
(Hello goodbye hello goodbye) Hello hello
(Hello goodbye) I don't know why you say goodbye
(Hello goodbye) I say hello/goodbye

Why why why why why why do you say goodbye goodbye, oh no?

You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello

You say yes (I say yes) I say no (But I may mean no)
You say stop (I can stay) and I say go go go (Till it's time to go), oh
Oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello hello

Hela heba helloa
Hela heba helloa, cha cha cha
Hela heba helloa, wooo
Hela heba helloa, hela
Hela heba helloa, cha cha cha
Hela heba helloa, wooo
Hela heba helloa, cha cah cah [fade out]

....

Thanks again for the patience homies.  The issue this winter has been the intersection of (1) very low energy - taking time off work and so forth - and (2) The Reptilian Puppet Masters using Jerry Dipoto as a test case as to how brazenly they can behave in public.  Tough to jump back into M's blogging when Jay Bruce is the topic du jour.  But like we say thanks for the patience.

There's only so much of that we can ask from youse, so we've decided on the compromise of a few mini-posts each week, steadily, until Spring Training hits.  Hopefully via the 80% / 20% rocket liftoff principle that will lead to some Hot Stove roundtables and the discussion stubs will push Dr. D back into bidness?  :- )

....

Q.  What are Dr. D's thoughts on Yusei Kikuchi?

A.  See the title.  

Kikuchi in fact rekindles Dr. D's interest in the 2019 Mariners to the point that he feels a little sheepish about bailing - it's that heavy a deal for him.  You remember as Paxton was coming up, the Mainframe was absolutely smug about Paxton's "chances" because of my pet axiom about 94 MPH lefties.

I ain't gonna go do it again, but go look up the ten hardest-throwing LHP starters at any given time, say now, and you'll find a huge flotilla of winners.  And the cutoff for velocity isn't 94-97 MPH; it's more like 92 MPH.

So here with Kikuchi you've got a legit 94-95 guy, hitting 98, with a Rich Hill slider.  Here, if you haven't seen this article, please indulge.  The .gifs are swoonworthy, and you get to see the "Hill" slider for yourself.

.....

It's almost laughable how similar he is to James Paxton -- except he's max-effort, actually the far other side of the spectrum as to the effort he needs to power up.  That's okay.  It's half the reason he wasn't chased as hard as Paxton (the other half being that Kikuchi is technically a prospect rather than a proven MLB dominator).

So, I'm smiling again.

Kikuchi is a buy, a very hard buy.  He's going to be on a ton of winning roto teams in 2019.

.....

On another level, I've got a Mariner jersey to thrill to again, at least until Kikuchi proves us wrong, which he won't.  Since 1989 there has always been one of those; I count a long, cold 52 days in which we suffered without.

.

Q.  Do the quibbles about Kikuchi bother you?  He's had two seasons messed up with shoulder pain, and like Paxton, he walks some people.

A.  All pitchers are health risks.  The Mariners know more than I do, and their assertion is "seven year contract."  For what that's worth.

The .gifs make his command look at least as good as Paxton's, and the careful Japanese hitters inflicted a BB rate upon Kikuchi that was no higher than the 2013-16 Paxton would probably have wound up with over there.

Here are his stats for your convenience.  When he was right he was a 1+ ERA man in NPB.

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Q.  When Felix gets his head bashed in again and Elias or Sheffield steps in, that's 5 lefties.  Does having five left hand starters bother you?

A.  LOL.  Well, they'll find some way around five.  But how about another mini-stub...

.

Enjoy,

Dr D

Comments

1

Welcome Back Doc,

May your new shtick be as shticky as it was in the winter of 2012.

The heartening thing about this signing is that it stamps paid on the invoice that the Mariners can't sign impact free agents  because they shipped off Cano.  Kikuchi is just what the doctor ordered.  As in, "Apply LH heat liberally to IP puncture wound and call me in the morning".

Now, about that bullpen. . .

3

Totally agree with Mojician -- great to have your melodious voice back leading the choir Doc.  And also agree about Kikuchi rebooting interest for the fanbase. Gives a sense of anticipation and reality to JeDi's stated desire for a quick turnaround.

5

Good to see that you're still going, Doc. Our primary hope is for your welfare.

Re: Kikuchi, it was indeed a pleasant surprise that he picked the M's. The unique contract looks ingenuous. Better to have a #2-3 starter in hand than have to develop (another) one. Give 'im a year in MLB to get his sea legs. If he can stay healthy and effective enough to average 25 starts in the first three years of his contract, that's a win.

6
tjm's picture

. . . yes. But. But, Big but. I'm not ready to jump back in the teal water. 

Love Kikuchi, but have no idea what DiPo is doing. If you sign him to a three-year deal worth more than they would have paid Diaz does that make up for giving Diaz away in a salary dump. Or taking Santana in another dump. At least I guess that's what that was. Then dumping him for Encarnacion. Colored me confused.

7

I think 100% of us would agree with that.  We're just clinging to a life preserver here.  :- )  If there's anybody who's confident the 2019 M's can avoid 100 losses, let us know.

But along with the shot at 100 losses I'm feeling like there's a better scenario too now.  That's all we're sayin'.  If we can talk ourselves into justifying some TV this year that's great.

.....

Do you think Dipoto's offseason is unprecedented Terry?  Honest Q to a master of the sport.

8
Nathan H's picture

The current lineup with projected wRC+

CF Mallex - 96 (after a 117 breakout year)

RF Haniger - 119 (after two seasons in the 130's)

3B Seager - 104 (with bounceback potential)

DH Encarnacion - 122 (Probably not on the team opening day)

RF Santana - 106 (After wrapping 1 and 1/2 seasons of 127 around 2 months of 66)

Ca Narvaez - 96 (Past two seasons, 100 and 122 with the better being more recent)

1B Healy - 100 (Momma said something about if you don't have anything nice to say...)

SS Crawford - 94 (Wunderkind natural shortstop with nothing but upside potential)

2B Gordon - 86 (After suffering his worst offensive performance since his first year as a full-time player...is he *really* donezo?)

 

With Vogelbach , Bruce, Moore, and Freitas filling out the bench.

That lineup ain't half bad!

PITCHING! Starters with projected FIP

Yusei - 3.95 (Fangraphs aren't projecting that, that's halfway between Kenta Maeda's and Miles Mikolas' second years)

Marco - 4.18 (Worse than his 2018 3.43)

Leake - 4.56 (After 8 years of consistent 3.80-4.20 actual performance? That's a...weird....projection)

LeBlanc - 4.81 (without Zunino...I'm scared, here)

Felix - 4.73 (-_-)

 

Dipoto has consistently pulled solid releif corps out of thin air so, whatever beefs with him may exist, can he get the benefit of the doubt that Rosscup, Alaniz, Brennan, Tuivailala et. al. will pull out another one?

 

That's a solid line up, quality starting pitching (stretched thin), genuine minor league pitching depth, and what's bound to be an average bullpen. I'd give 'em 80 wins. Easy.

9

But figured that required Trading Mitch and Marco in this tanking era. Having all these decent veterans back in trades that will help win games isn't making this look like a losing team.  Not high draft pick losing, anyway. 

10
tjm's picture

And honestly can't fathom what he's doing. Up until now, all of his hyper-activity had done what he said he wanted to do - build the roster's depth significantly. Of course, he furthered the decline of the system in doing so, but we got most of a season of contention out of the deal. Now? Who knows.

The salary dump stuff is especially confusing since this is a very well-to-do franchise. Not to mention trying to make sense of his explanations of what he's doing, which seem to be beyond duplicitous. And I like the guy!

Honestly, if he were in a Roto league with me I'd be calling the guy ten times a day cuz I know I'd get what I want.

11

My son and the younger crowd (30ish types) who I try to hang with are on DiPoto’s side. I’m the old curmudgeon. I see no reason why I should get back on this Merry go Ride of rebuilds. But I’m a fan, and rooting for your team is not a matter of reason but of the heart. That’s why I do it, and why I’ll be back. But as a matter of the heart, this hurts: Cruz, Cano, Segura, Sugar, KPax. Now Safeco Field itself. Would anyone rename Wrigley Field Facebook field? Perish even the consideration. Is the name “America” on the block for the right amount of cash? (Hmmmmmm....might pay for a wall.)

So, I’m floating on a door in the North Atlantic. But, this thing is made in Japan, and...well, it’s a pretty good door,

And with SSI, Doc, and the denizens, I will weather through.  

12
Hanjag's picture

I posted on another fan forum local about this. Felix may break camp with the team but if he continues the down hill slide? The thing is I find hi sstuff fully capable of being a 95 to 110 ERA+ style innings eater. That is a formula for 1.5 to 3 WAR and HOF probable with 3 to 4 years of that level production. 

 

That said he could be out of it about the time Sheffield passes super 2 status. Leake is another possible salary dump prospect grab. Leake is as solid a bet as any to do what would be my positive Felix formula. Pat down Leake a bit more for a cash strapped team in need of innings from a # 5 and you should get a decent prospect.

If you look at the depth chart it has both Justice Sheffield, and R. Elias ahead of the next RHP Erick Swanson. At this point I call it slightly less than 50-50 that we have a 5 man all lefty rotation at some point in 2019. I am a bit concerned. I get the lefty heavy hitter-pitcher idea because Safeco-TMobile discriminates against RH fringe power more than Left handed hitters. That favors left handed hitters and pitchers. However: Z tried this with hitters and we saw the weakness throw a loogy in there and he slaughters 5 left handed hitters in a row and pitches 2 critical innings. Same sort of thing with all left handed starters. You may get the Safeco advantage but then you go on the road. Not to mention enemy teams can use their right handed platoon time shares in and get in a groove playing 3 days in a row. 

 

I always liked having contrast between starters

power LHP Paxton

control RHP Leake

Power RHP Young Felix

control LHP Moyer-Hill

etc

Curmudgeons

I love the outfield 

This is the best outfield with the most potential we have had in years.

RF Haniger is an allstar level player 6.1 WAR in 2018

CF Mallex Smith 3.5 WAR 2018 .367 OBP 115 OPS+

LF Domingo Santana NO PT in 18 with Cain, MVP Yelich, and Braun **2017 30 HR 15 SB 2.9 BWAR 

.278.371.505.875

126

 Former top 10 prospect SS Crawford is a high floor type who could make 1 little adjustment and go from 1 or 2 WAR to 3-4-5 very easily. Good D, and plate disciplin

Narvaez is another high OBP guy and a left handed hitter so good makings for a leftyy-right platoon.

EE is no Nelly Cruz but he could have a renaissance 1st 1/2 and get traded if they are not up in the division by 10 games.

Kyle Seager 2019>2018

Dee Gordon 2B 2019>2018 Both former all stars and around 30 not 40

Even if EE is traded V-Bach, Healy, and Bruce should be ok. But I think there is room to sub Healy @ 3rd, when switching Seager to 2B and Dee covers SS. Also when one of the top 3 OF need a day Bruce subs and Haniger rotates to center. This is because I think V-Bach should be able to contribute a big stick from DH. 

Kikuchi largely replaces Paxton 

THE BP took a hit but if you look back at Diaz vs Altavilla their scouting report is largely the same.

 

My best scenario is the M's have a hot 1st half led by Swarzak, Dee G, EE, Seager, Leake, Bruce.  This allows you to snag 2-3-4  more top 100 types plus some more top 100 to 300 types. 

 

My .02C

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