Mirror, Mirror (Gordon Gross)
VERY Comparable Players, dept.


The problem we have is that we're doubled up basically everywhere on the field. We have too many players who can fill the same roles, with a similar talent level.

Pretty Boy version--------Evil Goatee version

  • Nick Franklin -------------- Brad Miller
  • Jesus Montero ----------- Mike Zunino
  • Danny Hultzen ----------- Erasmo Ramirez
  • James Paxton ------------ Brandon Maurer
  • Carter Capps ------------- Stephen Pryor

I could trade ALL the guys on the left, and replace literally ALL of them with the guys on the right, and we might never know the difference on the field. Heck, we might be better with the guys on the right.

We already had to dump Mike Carp, who was the evil goatee version of Justin Smoak. We threw out Trayvon Robinson for lack of room. Stefen Romero has loads of talent and will have trouble cracking the 25-man because Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager are in his way (which means one of them could go too if Romero lights it up in the first half).

Did I mention that all of those players are likely to be crammed into AAA this year if they're not on the big-league roster? The glass ceiling has arrived, and the prospects are bumping up against it.

If we offered the guys on the left for Stanton there would be people howling that it was an overpay and that we got schooled by Miami. Can it be an overpay if you don't miss anyone who left, while fixing the ONE thing the farm does not currenly offer and that's a MOTO power hitter?

Stanton's best years are ahead of him, by a wide margin. I think he can be had for less than that left-hand column, or at least for a little less major-league-ready talent. We could save one or two of those guys for a second deal, trade away a Sanchez or someone from the lower levels of the minors instead.

But we've spent all this time stocking backups to our top-100-type prospects who are every bit as good as (if not better than) the guys they're currently understudying to based on the major lists.

Gotta pull that lever before any of the would-be-kings stall and lose value. Pick the guys you want, trade the remaining guys who have the most value, and finish the roster makeover. It likely won't happen until next offseason, but I could see a deadline deal this year if the Marlins put Stanton in play. Can't let somebody else leapfrog us, not with the arsenal that we're sitting on approaching its expiration date.




There was some discussion on BJOL, how many ML teams you could create right now from Japan and Cuba.  I think they posited 4-8 teams that could play competently.  Maybe I'm remembering the discussion wrong...
For sure they posited that there were times in the 1930's and 1940's when you could form another 8-12 MLB teams, from outside the MLB pool.  Negro Leagues, and Lefty Grove types locked in the IL, and so forth.
I'm really starting to wonder if you couldn't take the 2013 Rainiers, and give them Felix, and have a team that could compete with the 2010-11 Mariners.  You know, if all 24 current M's other than Felix got into a small plane crash, and the next 24 came in.
Would the 2013 Rainiers, with Felix, win 60 games in the NL?  Are you talking about a (marginal) major league team touring the PCL this year?


It's been 15 years since the last expansion of baseball teams required splitting talent thinner. Since then a myriad of things have further expanded baseball's talent pool.
The population of North America has expanded by around 30 million since 1998, and nutrition and training methods have improved as well. The internet allows people to skip bad training in little league and high school, and take advice instead from youtube or take their kids to baseball trainers that are becoming more common.
Baseball teams are also acquiring more players than ever from the Caribbean, South America, and Japan. What's more, South Korea, China, Australia, Europe, and even India are developing improved baseball programs. If there isn't another expansion of ML baseball soon, the difficulty for any individual to achieve the Major Leagues will keep increasing until guys that would be All Stars now will barely be able to hang in there. Maybe that's the reason Jack is so reticent to part with prospects of any value right now.


I think it is funny that baseball teams still have 25 man rosters. The quality of the product would increase significantly and they might be able to keep pitchers more healthy if they added two or three roster spots. Recently, Doc was bemoaning how expansion of bullpens has nearly eliminated platooning. Roster expansion would revitalize platooning.
Baseball has had a 25 man roster since 1921. Think how much pitcher usage has changed since 1921, but not the roster size. Compare this to the NFL, where rosters have increased from 45 when I started watching the NFL in the early 80's to 53 today (I think these are the correct numbers). Typical MLB. Only the flat earth society adheres to archaic world views more strongly.

Brent's picture

Remember, even though the NFL roster is 53, there are six who must be declared inactive each week for a game roster of 47. It usually works out to 22 offense, 22 defense and three specialists. That lets you deal with minor injuries that take a week or two to heal, since football doesn't do injured reserve like baseball does. There's no 15 or 60 day DL. Once you're on IR, you're done for the season. Only in the last year or two have they given teams an exception to the rule, and for only one time per year. If you go on IR before the season starts, you can come off it around week 11, or about three-quarters of the way through the season.
That said, while I understand your point about changing with the times, I'd hate to have given Tony LaRussa another three to five roster spots to play with. The pitching changes alone would make every game the length of a Red-Sox/Yankees game.
As to the Rainiers being a fraction away from being a 31st MLB team, I'd bet if they played the Astros they'd win a lot more than they'd lose.

ghost's picture

I'm not in favor of roster expansion for the above stated reason...the late innings of ballgames would become an absolute chore, and the quality of the games themselves wouldn't change much. You'd have a couple extra bench slots for platoon/pinch hit things, but it would be immediately cancelled by having a couple extra bullpen switches at your disposal. And there's a good chance that what you'd actually have is teams holding extra glove men, not extra thunder.
No...the answer is not roster expansion...the answer is team expansion. There are about 6 underserved markets right now that could use a ballclub...we don't have to use them all right away, but NYC needs a third team in the area IMHO, and the Carolinas need a ballclub, and I think there need to be a couple more western teams at some point.
Also agreed on the Rainiers. The Astros, as currently constructed, are, IMHO, a nearly marginal and perhaps submarginal team. I mean that literally. The margin is 48 wins. I think there's every chance the Astros in the AL can win fewer than 48 games.


Not possible to have "too many" quality arms, G. There we differ.
We have Felix, then we have Iwakuma and Saunders. One is gone in a year, the other could go all DiceK on us (unlikely, I admit),
That would leaver four rotation spots open.....Having the Big Three and Maurer, ERam plus Beavan gives us 6 to make 4.
It's fairly safe to assume one of the 6 breaks down and another self-destruct. 6 then = 4....and that isn't too many.
Hey, Ryan is gone by next year. Hey there Miller, welcome to SS. Franklin? What is a Lee Lacy worth to a team?
Romero is going to shove his way into consideration pretty darn quick. Maybe we have one too many 3B/2B types.....Maybe.
But having too many good guys is hardly a problem to lament about.


I'm actually kinda celebrating it. We haven't has this "problem" in like...ever.
Never ever.
But the Abbott-level pickup is always gonna be available. Washburn, Batista, Garland, Millwood... we can get those guys. If a kid doesn't work out we can stall with a vet for a year or two in the #4 or 5 slot til the next kids are ready. You only ever really need a Top Three to succeed in the playoffs, maybe a Top Two if you have two HOFers. Ask Arizona.
That's why the Fister trade will continue to kill me. How great do we look with Felix, Fister, Iwakuma, Erasmo and a #5 out of alllll the pitchers we have remaining? Ugh. But - as we've proven even without Fister - trading off an arm isn't exactly the end of the surplus on the farm. Next year Roenis Elias or Stephen Landazuri or someone will "break through" like Maurer did this year and Erasmo did the year before, to go from somebody who interests me and turn into somebody who interests Mariner Nation.
Jack is very, very good at this. We can't possibly have enough slots on the 40 man to hold on to every interesting hitter and pitcher just in case we might need the depth or because Hultzen might not work out for a coupla years. There's 15 Non-Big-League slots available. Have to keep the pipeline flowing, after all, or prospects that can't crack our roster will start to lose value.
Not this Spring... but soon-ish. So we'll get to make interesting decisions this year with an eye toward that. IMO, anyway.

benihana's picture

Sure is nice to be the #2 orginazation in Baseball America's talent rankings: http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2013-organizational-talent-ranking...
But what I love the most is the depth at each position.
SP?  MLB has Felix, Iwakuma, Saunders, Beavan and Maurer - MiLB has Walker, Hultzen, Paxton, Ramirez followed by Fernandez, Sanchez, Gohara, Pike, et. al
RP? MLB has Willhelmsen, Pryor, Capps, Loe, Furbush, Perez and Lueke - MiLB has Smith, LaFramboise, Moran, Bawcom, Landazuri, Leone, etc., etc.,
3B Seager v. Romero
2B Ackley v. Franklin
SS Ryan v. Miller
C Montero v. Zunino
Where is the depth weak?  Outfield and 1B/DH.  Since 1B/DH is the easiest defensive position to fill, and can be filled on the cheap as we've seen with the likes of Morse, Morales, Ibanez, or Bay, not too worried about our lack of 1B prospects.  (Plus still hoping that this Smoak isn't a mirage.)  
So what do the M's really need? Outfielders. Centerfield is likely covered by a young Saunders or a healthy Guiterrez. Hopefully rushed prospect F. Martinez finds his place in CF.  But that leaves the M's with whom? Morban could potentially be a breakout star, Peguero may find some sort of here-to-for unseen plate discipline, but those are really long shots.
So sign a big superstar or trade orginizational depth for an outfielder? Sounds like a plan.  Oh wait, that was the plan.  Hamilton? Upton?  Gonna be fun to see who the next name on that list is.
- Ben.


But then I've been a huge Morban believer for a while. We have:
1) Julio Morban (21, has lots of natural power, might be a tweener center-corner OF and has been injury prone, but has scads of talent)
2) F-Mart (starting his age 22 season after being thrown up the minor league ladder too quickly, converted over to CF from 3B, runs like a deer with a great arm)
3) Leon Landry (23, multi-sport success at LSU, triples machine, Cal League power boost but also might be a bit of a tweener with a sharp, low-power stroke - think Randy Winn)
Those are three nice draws at a CF who can cover a lot of ground and hit for a decent average. None of them like to walk, really, but there are worse things.
I do agree we don't have a lot of corner OF/1B options, though, even in the low minors. Kivlehan might move to the OF but is staying at 3B for now. Ard did all right in short-season as a 1B, but he wasn't spectacular. DeCarlo is just a baby and has a long way to go to become a major leaguer. It's an area of weakness.
The last couple of drafts haven't had a lot of that kind of corner talent, though.
First Base:
2012: 2 nominal first basemen (HS) taken in the 1st sandwich round, then none til the 4th
2011: 1 first rounder, 1 second, then some okay options in the 3rd... and we drafted one (Cron)
2010: 1 first rounder (HS) then none til the 4th, where some sketchy college options showed up
2009: we took the first player listed only as a 1B (Poythress) in the 2nd round. Belt and Goldschmidt are the only guys doing anything so far.
It's been a dry few years for decent first basemen. Corner OF is much the same. We could have taken a flier on a high schooler, but we had other things to do with those early picks. I'm perfectly happy with Kyle Seager in the 3rd over some of the available first basemen.
We even traded to fix this problem, adding what should have been the best first basemen from the SERIOUSLY heavy first base class of 2008 in Justin Smoak. That draft had Hosmer, Smoak, Alonso, Wallace, Cooper, Davis and Dykstra all going in the first round. First round!
And none of them have busted out. Davis has been the best, probably, but his career OPS is hovering around .800. Not exactly a world-beater yet. Hosmer is the youngest so it's not really fair to judge him on the same level as the college kids who should have been more ready. But Smoak...
If Smoak does what he should be capable of doing, that first base hole in the minors isn't gonna matter.
If he doesn't?
Well there's always Dominic Smith, Kris Bryant, Colin Moran, Austin Meadows and others from both college and HS who might have some pop and fill a corner spot on either the infield or the outfield. At some point we'll get that last chink in our armor filled, right?

ghost's picture

...we could just sign Fat Ichiro to a long term extension if Smoak fails and call it good. :)


And there is another draft class coming! Conventional wisdom would have Jack & Mac leaning heavily on the highschool talent in this draft but I would not be surprised to see a number of college OF'rs drafted. I would also not be surprised to see a SP chosen with #12.
On the next episode of Hoarders, we go to Seattle...

pointsette's picture

......and 3B, 2B, or some where - sounds familiar to the Catricala theme a couple of years ago.
Franklin's doing just fine - came in his first year at 18/19 years old breaking 49 year old records and being the first pro to be a 20/20 player. He has proven himself each year. But, it's nice talking about the new underdogs.

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