Dave D’Onofrio of the Boston Globe rubs some salt in the open wound known as the the Mariner’s season, saying: “On Feb. 12, the Mariners made the news official, announcing they’d come to terms on a contract with veteran hurler Joe Saunders that would guarantee the left-hander $6.5 million to pitch for them this season, with the chance for some bonus money and a mutual option for 2014. So in order to create space for Saunders on the roster, the Mariners designated for assignment 26-year-old outfielder and first baseman Mike Carp. Carp now has a .314 average, nine homers and a .938 OPS in 211 plate appearances this season. Carp has embraced — and thrived in — the role of a reserve. The base-clearer that crushed the Rays was his second pinch-hit homer of the year, and he’s now 5-for-17 with a .400 on-base percentage and 1.106 OPS in those pinch predicaments. Right now, Carp is a key member of a team that has a 9.5-game lead atop the American League East, has a magic number of 8, has asserted itself as one of the favorites to win a World Series over the past few weeks — and at some point in that quest, chances are good that Carp and his beard will be sent to the plate in a big spot. Based on what he’s done so far, there’s also a decent chance he’ll deliver.” All the lurid details can be found here.
By the numbers
In an ESPN poll released last week, more than 1,000 fans were asked what player would be the face of baseball in five years. The leading vote-getter: none, with 25%. Mike Trout got 8%, followed by Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, who will be 43 and 44, respectively. Babe Ruth, dead since 1948, got the same percentage of votes as Andrew McCutchen.
AL West Commentary
Bill Shaikin of the LA Times offers his take on a deal that will help make the rich Angels owner richer. Obviously, given his portfolio of albatross contracts, the poor guy needs all the help he can get. Shaikin’s view is explained thusly: “Angels’ owner Arte Moreno could pay off in a big way for the city of Anaheim. Parameters of a deal recently approved by the city council calls for the team owner to pay for a new or renovated stadium in exchange for the right to develop the parking lot, as good an agreement as Anaheim probably will get. For the 47 years the Angels have called Anaheim home, they have played in a stadium in the middle of a parking lot. If there is a pot of gold beneath all those parking spaces, the city of Anaheim has failed to find it. The time has come for the city to let Arte Moreno try. The Anaheim City Council made the right call last week, approving the parameters of a deal in which Moreno would pay for a new or renovated stadium in exchange for the right to develop the parking lot. Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, who cast the lone vote against the deal, spoke passionately against the concept of taking millions of dollars worth of city-owned land and handing it over to the billionaire owner of the Angels.
“Under their current lease, the Angels control how many parking spaces must be available for games. The Angels also can veto a variety of possible uses for the parking lot, from housing developments to fast-food restaurants. So the city might as well let Moreno try a development plan, lest he squash someone else’s. If the land were that easy to develop, it would have been done by now. If Moreno fails, the city keeps the Angels at no cost, in a new or refurbished ballpark. If he succeeds, Anaheim also gets new jobs and businesses, and from them at least some of the tax revenue the city failed to generate for decades. Moreno has guaranteed Anaheim nothing. But, as Moreno once told Fortune magazine, ‘Leverage is the American way.’ If the city were starting from scratch, with a vacant chunk of property, the deal on the table would not be the best one. In this case, with restrictions on the land controlled by the guy who might be able to develop it, and with the city neither willing nor able to pay for ballpark construction, this is as good as it gets for Anaheim.”
Mariner’s potential off-season targets
In a piece titled Top 34 Free Agent Starting Pitchers by Tim Dierkes at MLB Trade Rumors, he ranks the expected off-season’s best arms available. Click the link to see the whole list and all of his comments. A few that I see as possible considerations by the Mariner’s include: “#1.”Matt Garza – In terms of pure free agent starters, I think Garza will receive the largest contract this offseason. He’s ineligible to receive a qualifying offer because he was traded midseason. # 2 Masahiro Tanaka – Tanaka, a righty with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, is not technically a free agent but belongs here since he can be obtained by bidding the most (assuming he is posted). I don’t want to give too much credit to the unknown, but there are some who would take Tanaka over Garza, especially since Tanaka will pitch next year at age 25. #8. Scott Feldman – Ineligible for a qualifying offer, Feldman is in line for a multiyear deal. He’s re-established himself as a solid mid-rotation arm, and he’ll pitch at 31 next year. #15. Bartolo Colon – I reluctantly pushed Colon up to 15th, as over 300 innings of 3.22 ball since 2012 can’t be ignored. #17. Phil Hughes – Hughes was demoted to the Yankees’ bullpen earlier this month. He had a respectable 2.85 K/BB ratio in 26 starts, but the extreme flyballer also allowed 23 home runs. There’s a 4.00 ERA pitcher in there somewhere, especially away from Yankee Stadium, where he allowed 17 of those long balls. Hughes won’t turn 28 until June next year, and as the youngest free agent starter, the former phenom should be a popular one-year deal reclamation project target. #18. Jason Vargas #34. Randy Messenger – The 32-year-old is a sleeper MLB deal candidate this offseason, with a 2.83 ERA as a starter for the Hanshin Tigers from 2011-13.”
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that: “The Marlins are among a long list of Major League teams who are scouting Cuban first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu this weekend in the Dominican Republic. Abreu, 26, defected from Cuba, and he projects right now to be an impact bat. In 42 games this year, Abreu batted .382 with 13 homers. He belted 35 home runs in 2012. Marlins evaluators have been in the Dominican Republic all weekend, and Abreu has been doing private workouts for clubs. There is certainly a growing market for Abreu, and the question is whether the Marlins can win the sweepstakes for his services, since he likely will command at least $50 million. Abreu has not yet been granted free-agent status by Major League Baseball, so he isn’t currently entertaining offers. But Abreu isn’t the only player the Marlins are scouting in the Dominican Republic. There is an MLB showcase of top international teens taking place. Many of these players won’t be eligible to sign until July 2. Abreu isn’t the only player the Marlins are scouting in the Dominican Republic.”
So they said
“For me, he was just one of those guys who ran out of time. It’s not like there were two clubs that passed on him and he went over there and played great. There were 30 clubs that passed on him, and he went over there and found his niche. It’s kind of remarkable what he’s done.” – Bill Bavasi on Wladimir Balentien
Comment From Guest: Most lop-sided trade in recent history. Jones and Tillman and company for Bedard?
Steve Adams: That one is certainly up there. Teixeira for Andrus, Feliz, Harrison and Saltalamacchia comes to mind as well. Braves really wound up with nothing to show for that, even if Tex was good in Atlanta.
Comment From Brian: Are the Mariners contenders next year? If not, when do you think they’ll be?
Steve Adams: Again, we need to see what they do in the offseason or at least hear about their plans for the offseason first. I think they’re more than a year away based on the pieces they have now though.
Comment From Jayne: Do you agree with Buster Olney that Hughes could get a QO from Yanks!
Steve Adams: I respectfully disagree with Buster on that front. I don’t think it’s worth the risk for the Yankees. I do like Hughes as a buy-low for teams in bigger parks though.
Comment From Guest: Assuming Arroyo get a 3 year deal, how much?
Steve Adams: I’d keep it to two years for Arroyo. Something in the Blanton/McCarthy range seems fair to me, but I’m not a big fan of his skillset even with the decent ERA. Some team might decide he’s worth three I suppose.
Comment From Jacoby Ellsbury: What are my chances looking like to resign with Boston given my season and recent injury?
Steve Adams: I don’t think Ellsbury’s coming back to Boston, nor do I think his injury will hurt his stock all that much.
Comment From Dan: Do the Royals get to keep Ervin Santana due to the cost of a 1st round pick to sign him? Does this status lower his contract value?
Steve Adams: Ervin’s had such a good year that someone will sign him to a multiyear contract even with the QO. The Royals will get a pick for him… I don’t see them keeping him.