The 2012 "Maypole" Saber Schematic



Megadittos to G-Money's org overview, in this thread.  /cosign G.  It's a legitimately strange organizational situation.  

... EVERYbody has got to give it up for Zduriencik's talent development, and for me the signature decision was to draft Dustin Ackley and to move him to the 2B position. That represents Zduriencik in so many ways.


The Mariners usually contract some famous saberdweeb or other, to propose them a schematic for the next season's moves.  Maybe they should retain your services, Gordon?

Personally, I never understood why a Mat Olkin would want to submit an "offseason plan" in a vacuum -- not having full information as to which trade targets were available.  Of course, the $10k might have something to do with it.

... is it possible to script a roto draft the day before?  Of course not:  every single decision made by every other owner, causes your own decision to morph, from one minute to the next.  Always thought it was an oddity, a "winter script" submitted by a saberdweeb from one particular static moment in time.


That said, the 2012 Mariner schematic would start with 100 years of baseball history.  Which ballclubs had (1) an ML-ready influx of talent, and (2) an ML-here-already Death Valley -- that was on the Mariners' order of magnitude?

Which teams had six legit ML-ready blue chippers avalanching onto the diamond, and four nuclear 23-year-old arms in the rotation?

Of those teams, which organizations turned into dynasties, and which ones disappointed?   Were there commonalities in the orgs that turned talent pools into dynasties?


The 1970's Royals had an influx of talent similar to this one.  They traded for Hal McRae out of the Big Red Machine surplus, but mostly the Royals just kept developing hordes of Frank Whites, Amos Otises, Dennis Leonards etc.

Is it possible, in the 2010's, to stay as far ahead of the industry as the 1970's Royals and 1970's Dallas Cowboys were?  Probably not.


In the 1970's, the Atlanta Braves had been the background scenery for my Big Red Machine, the joke team that the legends beat up on.  In the 1990's, the Braves developed a mountain of ingrown talents including Justice, Glavine, Avery, Gant, and all the rest.

But that Braves team also brought in SEVERAL key veterans who meshed with the rookies -- Terry Pendleton, Lonnie Smith, Greg Maddux, Charlie Leibrandt -- creating one of baseball's great dynasties.  Maddux and Pendleton and co. served as a sort of maypole, around which Justice, Glavine, Gant and co. ran giggling.


The 1990's Indians would fit in this category.  Belle, Thome, Ramirez, Lofton, Baerga, Sexson, Giles, all out of the same org ... but John Hart set the maypole of Dennis "El Presidente" Martinez and Orel Hershiser firmly into the ground for the kiddies.  He also brought in Jack McDowell, Jack Morris, Dwight Gooden, and others.

The Old School (TM) guys talk about "veteran leadership."  But maybe dewey-eyed college kids, who reject experience and intuition out of hand, will be able to relate to the historical "Maypole" idea.


It would be an interesting exercise, to find out the best way to handle an organization drowning in an ocean full of ML-ready talents.  I suspect that one common thread would be, "pick a lineup and keep it together for seven years."  

If Jack's going to go get a couple of established MLB(TM) producers to serve as a maypole, around which the kiddies run with ribbons in their hands -- probably those stars should be guys who are going to be here throughout the decade.



Dr D


ghost's picture

Z is one of the greatest talent scouts I've ever seen. Not all of his deals have worked, but while he's drafting awesome talent (and signing IFAs to develop into monster talents) he's also making trades for underappreciated talents from other orgs. As G noted, the Mariners' huge influx of MLB ready talents right now is coming in about equal parts home grown goodies and trade rewards.
The Putz deal turned into Gutierrez, Vargas, Carp (!), Ryan, 1/3 of the haul from Lee (because Carrera was a part of the out pile for Lee to Philly)...
The Lee deal has netted Beavan (stoploss), Smoak, Lueke and (via Lawson) another interesting arm.
The Washburn deal gave us Robles (and Washburn imploded...never to be seen again...the instant he left)
The Betancourt deal got us Cortes
The Bedard deal got us Chiang and Robinson
The Fister deal got us Wells, Furbush (who I still think is going to be a LOOGY...and a good one at that), Ruffin and Martinez
We are as deep as we fast as we've gotten there because he scouts well before a draft AND before a trade AND before an international free agent signing in equal measure. He is the best rebuilding GM in NONE. The question is...can he get the veterans we need to turn into a dynasty?


He says we lead the majors in MLB+near-ready guys out of the 09-11 drafts, with 7.  Just his subjective view, but it fits with the impression.
Anyone recall drafting Catricala in the 10th round, after we already had Ackley, Franklin and Seager?


Felix is here through 2014, and if we’re really, REALLY lucky, longer.  It’s hard to get pitching maypoles, but we have 3 years left of Cy Young winner and all-around consummate professional King Felix – plenty of time for Pineda, Hultzen and Paxton and whomever to find their sea-legs.
If you wanted a hitting maypole or two (veteran players with plus or plus-plus bats who will not hit a severe decline slope for several years), of which we currently have zero…
Who would you want?
I’d want an absolute stud if I could get one.  One Jim Thome instead of two Raul Ibanezes.  Reason?  It’s harder to develop the truly great player, but Jack’s developmental system SEEMS to have good players popping out all over the place (as Spec via Jason Churcill just reiterated).  I'd want to plug in the player I cannot get anywhere else and then draft and trade to get the good players to assist - and maybe become great.
But that's the question for me: can we go GET that one great player, or do we need two good ones instead?


He's still only 28 and he has never dropped below 6.0 RC/27 in 8 seasons.  Coming off a "down" (injury-shorted and non-All-Star) season, so the Mets might be more willing to move him, especially in light of their financial situation.  They did put him through waivers this month.
Of course, they will have to deny that it is because of their financial situation, so the return would have to be very impressive.
But, based on Churchill's chart, who else has the horses to make an overwhelming offer?  Maybe the Nats, but I thiiiiiiiiiink they are probably set at 3b.


There is no possible way.  He's 34 at least.  He was hitting cleanup in the bigs like when Bob Melvin was here.
Had the same hypnogogic jerk earlier this year when somebody told me that Miguel Cabrera was younger than 34.


And not just because he should have been a Mariner instead of this soccer player drafted 2 spots ahead of him if we wanted a HS infielder. (Don't get me started on Almonte vs. Stanton either, which I said AT THE grateful Jack is here now)
But David Wright? Great skillset, great guy, great player.  Not necessarily a great defender, but I can suffer through that somehow. ;)  Can't believe he's still not yet 28.  I know he's had some injury nicks, but I'd take his 28-34 years in a heartbeat.
On the whole, though, it brings up an interesting question:  would you rather have the pure-thunder offensive player or the great player who is positionally harder to replace?
Fielder plays 1B (or DH).  Maybe you can't get a 150 OPS+ player there too easily, but a 125-130 OPS+ player at those positions should be findable.  We might already have one.  Heck, we might already have TWO.
A 130 OPS+ 3B is harder to get....but less valuable at the plate than the 150 hitter.
Would you rather have the better hitter, or the hitter/glove position combo?
BTW, the Rockies are supposed to be very interested in Wright if he's actually on the market.  I think we can outbid em. ;)  Since Wright is beloved in NY, I don't like our chances...but I do like the target, if we were to pursue it.

Taro's picture

Wright is someone I wouldn't target at this point in his career. He seems to have peaked early.  He'll be entering age 29 season next year and has two (slightly expensive) years left on his deal.
The last 2-3 seasons have shown some offensive and defensive decline. His contact ability fell off 3 years ago, his D, and then his ability to hit the ball consistently hard. His swing also isn't the greatest fit for Safeco as hes not someone with light-tower power and is RH pull-hitter.


But he already plays in a cool-Spring, ginormous park that kills HRs - and has done just fine there, unlike some dude named Beltre did here.
He's been properly prepped for the Safe, and we need some good RH hitters in the lineup somewhere - Smoak can't do it all from that side of the plate.
David's been nicked up, and if you think he's about to fall off a cliff, then definitely walk away.  But we're gonna need Plans B, C and D in case whatever our Plan A is falls through.
Do we find out what injury-prone local boy Grady Sizemore can do in CF for us?  Try to pry Justin Upton away from a division-winner no longer in the rebuilding proces?  Take all the worst years of Aramis Ramirez if he hits the market? 
For me, if Fielder signs with the Cubs then I want to know what our trade options are.  If Jack then announced, "We just traded Taijuan Walker, Francisco Martinez, Kyle Seager and Dan Cortes for David Wright" I wouldn't call him an idiot.
Sometimes you don't get to take Plan A. :) 
Maybe we do nothing (or nothing major) to the lineup and let it ride with all the kids we're playing now.  I don't think that's what we'll do, and that makes me wonder where we might go to keep improving our offensive issue.

Taro's picture

Wright is still a good player (3-4 Ws), but hes no longer a great player, has two fairly expensive years left, and is a bad fit for the park. You wouldn't want to extend him, so you'd paying the stuffing out in prospects+$s for two years of him.
Ms need to find a Fister-type player to trade for. Undervalued, somewhat proven, with several years of control left. Wright would be paying for a name.


I mean, I was advocating kicking the tires on trading something to the Cards for Matt Carpenter as he's got a great eye, a knack for walks, decent power (but nothing more than Seager, likely) and Zack Cox should be the 3B of the future in St. Loius.  But he's not a good defender either, and totally unproven in the bigs.  Which is why he might be gettable.
There aren't a lot of 3B who are any better than Seager, though, and can be had cheaply. If you just mean "get a good player who's cheap and under club control at ANY position" and not at 3B, I'd argue that we've done about all of that we really can in the "seriously cheap" dept.  For a few dollars more, I've mentioned Butler or Gordon, but Gordon's already talking extension with KC unfortunately.  I was hoping he'd hold a grudge against them for bouncing him around and he might be available.   We could look into Josh Reddick but I don't think he or (especially) Matt Joyce or others in that vein are gonna be gettable.
I think we're looking at trading for a hitter with a year or two left on his deal and extending him.  That's the Butler/Gordon/Zimmerman/Kemp/Ethier/Wright/etc zone.
I'm with you, I'd rather just spend cash and keep the prospects for us or trade for a cheaper, longer-term option.  If neither of those things is possible, though...
Who is worth paying for in dollars, years and prospects?
This is why Fielder just sounds better all the time to me - if Boras doesn't start at 10 years/200 million, I guess.  But if we can max out our current lineup of kids until the prospects are overflowing the positions AND have productive hitters in the primes of their careers holding down the important lineup spots, we can effect better trades and keep the pressure on the current lineup to produce.
We'll see what our strategy to compete in 2012 is.  Maybe it's "play all the kids, lose a few more games and get ready for 2013 to REALLY compete."  Maybe "add two good free agents or one great one and see what happens." Or maybe we decide to trade some of our collected assets for a more-expensive but still-productive 3-5 WAR bat under 30.
As much as I like Smoak and Ackley, and how glad I am to see Carp and co making an impact, I dunno that I want to see us just play all the kids and hope for the best.

Taro's picture

I agree with you that we need to trade some excess for an upgrade somewhere but don't want to see the Ms target an expensive 1-2 year stopgap vet. Wright in particular is barely worth the money hes being paid, much less premium prospects on top of that.
Its why the Fister move is bit maddening IMO. Thats exactly the kind of move we need to be making. Pawning off spare parts for cheap, long-term upgrades.
I also agree that Fielder is the most logical solution is we're adding someone expensive, but thats assuming you can keep the years under control with Boras as his agent. At 3B, developing Seager seems like the best percentage play for now.

benihana's picture

Trading for a player with 1-2 years left on their contract makes great sense for the 2012 M's precisely because of Ichiro's contract status.  18 million comes off the books after next year.  That's money that can be used to extend the Matt Kemps or Ryan Zimmermans of the world. 
Trading some prospect question marks for an all-star calibre player is exactly what Z should be looking to do - because of the money becoming available down the road.  Target the guy you want, and take the one or two years to sell him on Seattle and an extension.
We've got plenty of young MLB ready replacement level players, bring me the stars.
- Ben.


Every roto dweeb understands the idea of trading Carp, League and Ichiro for Albert Pujols, and then going about the process of replacing the merely "good" players off the waiver wire, in other trades, etc.


His performance is volatile since his huge age 23-25, but he seems to have a floor around 6.0 RC/27 ...
I wouldn't go giving him $20M per, but considering his recent ups-and-downs, if you could get him extended at that $15M level, that's one way to get a 'maypole' veteran for the 5-year run...
You'd always like to do better, get Edgar Martinez again :- ) but in the real world, David Wright looks like the kind of AVAILABLE position-scarcity banger the M's need ...
Provided that you are comfortable that his 2006-08 rampage was not roids-driven...


But having eaten the cake of Ichiro's HOF career from 2001-2010, I have a hunch that we're going to be in for three years of overpay at the end...
It's not just a home-country thing for Yamauchi-san; the Yanks go through it with Jeter, and am sure you could think of lots of franchise icons who bled their teams for several years after the elite production was kaput...
Personally expect Ichiro's AVG to bounce back in 2012-14 as he gets his head together, but this "WAR Grid" makes it abundantly clear that you shouldn't expect more than 2.0, 2.5 WAR out of a 39-year-old ... and that is assuming you are talking a HOF 39-year-old...

Taro's picture

Maybe (I do like Zimmerman quite a bit), but trading for and extending guys like Kemp and Zimmerman will take you further into their 30s than just signing Prince Fielder as a FA.
This is why I really wanted to see the Ms go aggresively after Justin Upton in the offseason. You need to buy low to land premium young talent at reasonable prices. Now Upton likely isn't getting traded.
Under that sense, if we are to go all out for superstar talent I'd rather target someone like Hanley Ramirez who is locked up for 3 years after 2011 (average salary $15.5mil per year). Hes having his '10 Upton season this year with a injuries and a dislocated shoulder.
The way Safeco plays it is better to be bat first in the middle infield than in the OF or even 3B (lots of space for doubles to get lost in the corners). HanRam could play a mediocre SS or transition to 3B depending on how Seager/Ryan/Franklin pan out.
Another buy-low I'm a fan of targetting (though not as much of an impact player) is Denard Span. The wrist injury and concussion late in the season creates a nice opportunity to land a cheap young CF with several years left in the offseason. Maybe Vargas+Trayvon or a bullpen arm.

Taro's picture

Wright has declined into too much of a Jason Bay skillset IMO (who knows the reason). Wouldn't touch Wright beyond those two years and those two years likely won't be worth the cost to acquire him ($+prospects).

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