The Mariners need to improve their offense.
Call it redundant, call it obvious, call it whatever you like, it’s true. But twice in the last two weeks, NASORB writer Justin Schille has told me that he thinks that I should write an article about “bats” that the Mariners could trade for at the deadline.
Last Sunday, on my way home from the first competitive baseball game I’ve played in over the last six years, my dad text messaged me asking me for the results of my game (I don’t want to talk about it) and filled me in on the end of the Mariners game.
The fact that he’s only recently learned to text message definitely displays some of the urgency, the fact that he’s learned how to use punctuation while texting, and used perfect punctuation in this text, told me the need may have reached critical mass.
Later that night, while hosting 5th Quarter Sports on 89.9 KGRG-FM in Auburn, WA (www.kgrg.com, Sundays 10-Midnight, for those of you interested), my co-host Tone Young brought up the same notion, a notion he’s held since last year, and one that carried him to the belief that Jason Bay was the answer to the Mariners woes in the offseason.
Forgiving his “where there is a will there is a way” copout of an answer, which led him to the false belief that Albert Pujols was within reach (for a monetary price tag no less), Adrian Gonzalez be damned, led me to understand that this can’t be simply a single article.
I predict that the name that’s acquired, no matter how productive, will be uninspiring, but that’s not a fair statement without displayed precedent.
First, Jack Zduriencik is a complex general manager to predict. He’s shown reluctance to push max compensation across the table for one-dimensional offensive players. And almost to a fault, he’s become enamored with some of the top defenders in the league who come with much lower price tags.
While designated hitter may be the most glaringly obvious, and easiest place to upgrade, with Griffey there, Zduriencik has his hands tied until the middle of the season (when the Griffey promotions at Safeco end).
Whether Griffey leaves or not though, the change to DH would probably manifest in left field. Milton Bradley is the least positive influence on the team’s stellar defense, and a pedestrian hitter from the left side. He’d make a solid full-time DH upon Griffey’s departure, but would absolutely excel in a platoon role where he took most of the hacks against lefty starters.
Wednesday’s blowup notwithstanding, it may be hard to convince Bradley to take such a reduced role, though.
That stated, Zduriencik will probably be looking for a player who can competently play a position in the field. For the right player, I’d imagine that Zduriencik would be willing to compromise some of the team’s elite defense, but he probably won’t completely sell out from the philosophy that brought the Mariners a lot of success in 2009.
By my estimation, barring injury, there are four possible positions where the Mariners could and would look to improve: Left Field, Second/Third base, Catcher and First Base.
Second and Third base are included in the same category because the odd man out would clearly be Jose Lopez, unless there was an unexpected upheaval at DH, and if the answer to the team’s offensive woes were a second baseman, the team would have no qualms about moving Chone Figgins to left field or third base, whichever they felt helped the team best, despite claiming that Figgins would play only one position this year.
I compiled a list of players at each position who I think could be available if their teams fell out of contention by July. That’s not to say that all of these players teams’ will fall out of contention, though.
But I had some fairly strict criteria for the players even making the list, based on Zduriencik’s two years in Seattle (the next article will be the “elimination round,” and will be updated as necessary).
-On a major league roster at some point this year (So no Brett Wallace or Yonder Alonso)
-If over 30 years old, not signed to a contract longer than three years, preferably (not set in stone)
-If under 25 years old, must have some untapped potential, but no extended positive track record (unless extenuating circumstances, which will be explained later, exist)
-A competent fielder
-No Albert Pujols or Ryan Howard, or other franchise fixtures at any of the various positions listed
I also looked at the potential trade pieces that the Mariners may have. The list of prospects I chose were players who were tradeable, in my opinion. The Mariners cannot trade any player from the 2009 draft until one year after they were drafted, and most of those players will remain off the list for the duration of this process because trading draftees that early in their career isn’t common practice.
The prospects listed also need to have some sort of universal, Major-League-caliber value, whether it is potential or present skill, that another team may covet.
Without further ado, this is the list of trade targets and prospects. If I missed somebody, suggestions are welcomed in the comment section and will be added as soon as possible if deemed worthy.
Dioner Navarro, John Jaso, Kelly Shoppach, John Buck, Gerald Laird, Lou Marson, Branyan Pena, Brian Schneider, Rod Barajas, John Baker, Ivan Rodriguez, Dave Ross, Ramon Hernandez, Greg Zaun, George Kottaras, Ryan Doumit, Ronny Paulino, Eli Whiteside, Miguel Olivo, Chris Iannetta, Chris Snyder, Miguel Montero, Russell Martin
Carlos Pena, Nick Swisher, Nick Johnson, Travis Snider, Adam Lind, Luke Scott, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, Jim Thome, Miguel Cabrera, Paul Konerko, Matt Laporta, Travis Hafner, Mike Jacobs, Adam Dunn, Troy Glaus, Derrek Lee, Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Lance Berkman, Adrian Gonzalez, Aubrey Huff, Todd Helton, Travis Ishikawa, Brad Hawpe, Adam LaRoche, Connor Jackson, James Loney, Chris Davis
Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, Curtis Granderson, J.D. Drew, Jeremy Hermida, Felix Pie, Delmon Young, Andruw Jones, Carlos Quentin, Johnny Damon, Grady Sizemore, Shin-Shoo Choo, David DeJesus, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, Jeff Francouer, Cody Ross, Josh Willingham, Nate McLouth, Ryan Ludwick, Alfonso Soriano, Jay Bruce, Corey Hart, Brad Hawpe, Chris Young, Manny Ramirez, Andre Ethier
Second Base/Third Base
Kelly Johnson, Mark Reynolds, Ian Stewart, Russell Martin, Casey Blake, Ronnie Belliard, Mark DeRosa, Chase Headley, Pedro Feliz, Geoff Blum, Andy Laroche, Delwyn Young, Ricky Weeks, Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, Aramis Ramirez, Felipe Lopez, Eric Hinske, Chipper Jones, Ryan Zimmerman, Willie Harris, Christian Guzman, Jorge Cantu, Dan Uggla, Fernado Tatis, Daniel Murphy, Frank Catalanatto, Placido Palanco, Greg Dobbs, Jason Bartlett, Ben Zobrist, Jose Bautista, Miguel Tejada, Michael Cuddyer, Brandon Inge, Carlos Guillen, Mark Teahan, Jhonny Peralta, Andy Marte, Alex Gordon, Alberto Callaspo, Chris Davis, Mike Young, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Maicer Izturis, Reid Brignac, Willy Aybar, Alex Gonzalez, Marco Scutaro, Orlando Hudson, Alexei Ramirez, Chris Getz, Luis Castillo, Yunel Escobar, Mike Fontenot, Ryan Theriot, Juan Uribe, Stephen Drew, Ian Stewart, Clint Barmes, Rafael Furcal
Greg Halman, Michael Saunders, Michael Pineda, Adam Moore, Carlos Peguero, Dan Cortes, Maikel Cleto, Guillermo Pimentel, Carlos Triunfel, Joshua Fields, Dennis Raben, Jose Lopez, Derrick Saito, Johermyn Chavez, Mauricio Robles, Kanaoke Texeira, Mario Martinez, Alex Liddi