Bob....er..Jerry the Builder
One brick at a time

Cody Gearin:  Two tumbs up!  He throw 60+ times a year, misses enough bats to get 8+ K's, doesn't give up a lot of hits and keeps it in the park.  OK, he walks folks.....he isn't Mariano.  But Gearin is a quality MLB reliever coming to a team rather short of them.  This might not be a terrific signing, but it is a solid pickup, all the same.

Tim Beckham:  He's basically free, is a quality glove all over the infield, won't be a FA until '21, and just two seasons ago hit 22 HR's.  I feel like this one is a steal.  I would prefer Crawford to be our SS from day one* (I hate dinking around with Super Two status), but Beckham will do quite nicely.  Well done, Jerry.  Mostly "Bravo!" on this one.

Dustin Ackley:  Welcome back kid.  I always felt that when Ackley found his inner kid, the North Carolina one, then he would find his bat, too.  I'm hoping he becomes the line drive, all-field hitter that he was for us his first year.  Pull and elevate is not his natural game. 

One brick at a time, we're putting a squad together.  It isn't THAT bad.

*Here is a great article, with video, of every error Crawford made last season.  Every one of the 8 errors he made were on throws to 1B; several of them should/coulda be dug out by better 1B play.  https://www.lookoutlanding.com/2019/1/10/18167099/j-p-crawford-made-some-errors-last-year-and-im-encouraged-mariners-shortstop-of-the-future-phillies

Comments

1

His fielding numbers have been much more bad than good, so I watched some videos and read more about him including posts from Baltimore blogs.  The line in one I saw that eventually summed it up for me was "there's no room for a utility player that can't play defense".  Keep in mind that's an Orioles fan.  It doesn't look like he's played good defense anywhere in the last 2 years;

https://thebaltimorewire.com/2018/08/07/baltimore-orioles-future-tim-bec...

I like Gearin just fine.  Ackley, I wrote some in the Slack chat earlier about: 

Looking again I really like Ackley to possibly hang around a few years at least as a bench vet. He's a good and smart baserunner (although we remember some incidents) who won't steal many bases but could get on at 9th maybe. If he looks like at least a quality AB off the bench in the spring I like the idea of him sticking around.

In 222 PA in PCL vs RHP he had 28BB/23K of .298/.387/.403/.791 last year.

9BB/10K Vs LHP .235/.339/.373 makes him seem useful for lineups with so many lefties...

2

Last season (sea below) he was indeed yucky at SS, but he got to a bunch more balls per 9 than the league average SS.  Before last season, he had been slightly worse than a league average SS.  

Last season, his first start at SS came on July 8th.  In his 13 starts between then and the end of the month he made 7 errors.  He made 5 errors in the 36 starts he made after that point. He had 148 chances in those 36 starts (309 innings)  That’s a .966%, just worse than the league average.  Once he became an every day SS (he had played 2nd and 3, exclusively, before then), he did just fine.  

And he is basically free.  Again, I want Crawford with the mitt on Opening Day, but it appears we save a season if he isn’t up for the 1st 28-30 days of the season, so he plays in Tacoma.  After that, you have Beckham as a utility guy who slugs .172 for his career.  

He’s a fine addition, for the role he will fill for us.

3

What they can get Marwin Gonzalez for.  3 years plus options?  That's my favorite solution, personally.

4

I like the Beckham addition on the cheap and on a good team he is better than the usual M's utility bat like Negron, Motter and others over the years. For now, I'm just interested to see him as the former #1 pick and how JP Crawford stacks up side by side in spring training with the eye test. We do have multiple other "bounce back needed" guys in our starting lineup but most have been successful before and the potential is there for a not terrible offense.

If Sheffield and/or Swanson can help this year you can squint and see a group of young starters with a shot at stringing together quality starts when added to Marco and Kikuchi. Add in a couple interesting arms coming behind them in the next season or two in Dunn, Gilbert and Ricardo Sanchez and the future rotation has potential at least.

Jerry just needs to work a trade of one of EE/Bruce/Healy/Vogs in my mind to fit everybody in, although Healy does have an option year left.

I'd like to finish things off by talking a good former closer to come in on a heavy incentive type contract. Get his saves with us to build his value and have/use as a trade chip if he looks great or just to lock down some wins so I don't yell at the TV.

Overall, the Kikuchi addition saved the season for me and makes the team interesting while holding the pitching(team) together as the prospects continue to grow.

5

Generally I trust Jerry Dipoto- to develop a plan, to focus on executing that plan, to implement as much as he is able. So, I applaud his disposal of Robinson Cano's increasingly onerous contract. I believe he traded James Paxton, and Edwin Diaz, when he realized they each will be more valuable to contenders than to us over the next two years. I was not a fan of trading Jean Segura, and that trade looks questionable, but someone decided that he had to go, and that was that. I'm not inthe clubhouse, so I don't have the same view. And the Colome for Narvaez makes perfect sense. However...

My biggest concern is the aftermath of the Zunino trade. Our catcher handled the staff well, and added value through his impact on others' (pitchers') performances. That is a catcher's primary role. So, I'm sorry to see "Zoomball" go, and I'm anxious about replacing him with a young hit-first catcher. I want to see Jerry ssign a catch-first bveteran who can help develop these young pitchers, in whom we are investing so much, and help develop Narvaez in the process. I don't see anyone in the organization- including Freitas- who can play that role. 

Then we could do with another RHP starter, and several more LH and RH relievers. But acquiring a grizzled-veteran catcher seems like the critical move for 2020/21, not just for this year. 

6

Although they drafted 2 college catchers in '18 that have good combinations of offensive and defensive skills in RH Jake Anchia and SH Cal Raleigh.  Both of them played only for Everett in their first pro months.  Not at the same time.  Raleigh had 32 XBH in 62 college games this year (13 HR) in Div1 while Anchia hit 22 out, 8th highest in Div2, with 34 XBH in 51 games, winning the gold glove and BA's ranking of #1 Div2 defensive catcher.

Cal Raleigh signed at the last minute or so to hit .288/.367/.534/.902 from July 17 on. 

Jake Anchia had already picked up his season total 62 PA of .228.290.386.676 through the 10th of July, just 4 days after Raleigh signed. 

I can't fathom a situation where either would be relied upon before late '21.  Sickels had Raleigh as Seattle's 8th before the Mets trade, with an ETA of 2021.

Dipoto on Raleigh draft day "We feel the leadership, the switch-hitting—he’s a good offensive player with defensive skill—and we felt like he was one of the better pitch framers in the country. Big school in a big conference and it’s an opportunity for us to put a polished catcher in the system.”  He also got talked up by his college coaches for how he handled his young staff in his Sophomore and Junior seasons.

If we're dreaming on our Lefty catcher clobbering RHP in '21, consider that Raleigh particularly clobbered LHP in his first pro experience.  Only 32 PA for Raleigh, but 2018 totals

Raleigh .333/.469/.833/ 1.302 Vs LHP (LowA)

Narvaez .297/.371/.466/.837 Vs RHP (MLB)

Or, of course, Realmuto is due to be free to be expensive just before '21 along with Trout.

2019 and 2020 needs suggest a 2 year plus option makes a lot of sense for the Ms in a veteran RH catcher. 

7

Wish, you make good points. I'm a big fan of Raleigh: When I was in the PacNW last summer I spent an evening in Everett and enjoyed watching the Aqua Sox more than the parent club! Raleigh and Bobby Honeyman especially stood out. But, they both have a lot of levels to navigate, successfully, before they are going to be a solution for the M's. I'm anxious that P's and C's report in less than four weeks: we have a dire shortage of the latter (at the MLB level) and could do with more of the former. 

I assume Raleigh has a MLST invitation, since the team usually brings plenty of catchers. Anchia I have not seen. Who else is likely to be in camp, alongside Narvaez and Freitas and Raleigh? As I recally last year's Rainiers' roster- beyond Freitas, we had mostly 30-something year old "retreads"!

8

With Kelenic and Rodriguez in the outfield early.  Maybe the assignments don't work out quite how I'm hoping though.  I'll get some team sets again and take lots of video if it works out.

I've read that Honeyman has a high floor as a utility player but a low ceiling as a utility player by someone who sounded like he surprised them.  Another of those average across the board players with no plus-plus skill (that Seager once was) that might develop one eventually or play some MLB years without one anyway. 

9

Freitas, DeCarlo and Joe Odom probably being there.

DeCarlo is mainly being held back by still learning the position.  His experience at 3b and 1b is nice anyway.  I have little idea how his defense is at any of them.  If he is picking up Catcher, well, maybe that's the RH catcher in '20 or '21

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