Joe Saunders for ONE Year? Deal me in, buddy
Now let's talk the 10% chance that he's Jamie Moyer

.

If Saunders is coming in as a 1-year bridge guy, then the entire conversation changes.  Pretty rare, as far as I recall, to get a guy like this to sign with you for a single season.

By "a guy like this" I mean a starting pitcher who:

  • Throws 200 innings every year (194 x 5 the last five years)
  • At a 100 ERA+
  • In the American League
  • Has been apparently getting a little better as time goes on, and was on a hot roll last we saw him
  • In other words, doesn't have warts, isn't coming off surgery, yada yada

I don't like Saunders' .500 SLG against righties, especially with the fences coming in out there in LF.  Still, he was really hot last  fall ... a 58:19 control in the second half, a 2+ ERA in September, and great in the playoffs.  Obviously Buck Showalter saw how hot (not lucky) he was and rode it, slamming him in there against Texas to everybody's amazement -- and having it pay off huge.

So there is the off chance -- 10%, let us say -- that Saunders has pulled a Jamie Moyer at age 31.  As we recall, the M's grabbed Moyer at age 31, 32, right in the middle of Moyer's first "hot" season, and then Moyer pitched like a Hall of Famer for the next 15 years.  Because the M's had body-surfed the very crest of Moyer's emergence, they had pole position and locked him up for the future.

I'd like to ask Zduriencik whether this type of thought is ever in his mind - hey, the upside scenario, he becomes Moyer, you're getting a lotto ticket into the bargain here.  

Saunders will never actually pitch in the style Moyer did; Moyer had ballet-type balance and the best command in the league.  Saunders would have to do it differently.  But some guys get good in their 30's, is the point.

............

Anyway, two years would have meant committing 60 starts to Saunders - blaarrrggggh ::wipes bottom lip::.  One year means committing zero to him.  Okkayyyyyy.

That gives us three scenarios:

  • LO - Saunders reeks, and you slam the kids in.
  • MID - Saunders has a 100 ERA+, and he acts as a buffer so that you can integrate the glamor rookies on your terms.
  • HI - Saunders does some kind of Jamie Moyer thing, and you reap the benefits.

So the STRATEGIC (not tactical) overview is that --- > you've got a grandmaster play by Zduriencik.  We got no downside here.  We win a pawn in all variations.  Write down the move, screw the Bishop into the square with gusto, and hit the chess clock.

...............

Compared to Jason Vargas, this #4 starter is pretty much a push to me.  Vargas has been a little better, but Saunders did have that hot roll going at the end of 2012 which is a little intriguing.  I call that a push.  As compared to Kevin Millwood, he's pretty clearly a better roll of the dice than that was.  (RIP Kevin and thanks man.  You showed 'em how it was done, brother.)

A ONE year deal on a 100 ERA+ vet who was on a roll when last seen?  No brainer.  I'll take one of those every season until my funeral.

BABVA,

Dr D

Comments

1

Waiting out the off season just paid off big-time!! All the GMZ naysayers who had written off the M's off season as a failure need to hit the re-evaluate button. GMZ now has veteran depth at every position.

2

I would much rather we just give the ball to Hultzen or Paxton, or both, in mid-May. Much rather......
But this definately kicks Noesi out of the rotation and means Beavan has to fend off those two guys to stay in the rotation. I won't have to watch Noesi and that is of some value.
180 innings/100 ERA+ is something decent to have........especially if the cost is really just one year.
Upside is pretty, downside is he flames out and we are just pitching a guy we already have.
Hultzen or Paxton get to have the full Tacoma experience, for a while. I prefer to think that if they are going to be ready in July they are ready in May....
But one year of Saunders doesn't chap me in any way serious.
A decent get. Must be a bonus or option involved.
Can we cut Raul to open up the 40-man space?
moe

3
EA's picture

One thing that being a Mariner fan has taught me is that the real LO scenario is more akin to something like:
Joe has a great Spring
Struggles badly out of the gate
Puts a couple of nice starts together
More stinkers to follow
A nice month gets sprinkled in there mid-season
More stinkers
A few nice starts to end the season after revealing he had mystery elbow pain earlier this year
Contract Extension!
Rinse and Repeat

4
CMB's picture

It's hard to find a player on this roster that isn't playing for a contract or future job.
I love me some numbers, but there's no stat for motivation. Is it April yet?

5

Kelley, Noesi, Triunfel, and a non-40 roster arm for Domonic Brown, please. That would really top off the off-season. Morse, Saunders, and Brown in the outfield, with Guti rotating in against tough lefties. Felix, Kuma, Big Joe, the Eraser, and Bibbedy-Bobbedy Beaven in the rotation until Paxton and Hultzen are safely past super two. Pitchers and Catchers -- REPORT!!

6

But that does bring it up -- who's next for DFA? I'd sure like a trade rather than just give up Carp, or Wells, or Kelley, or even Noesi or Medina, for nada. We gotta find someone with a player that they'll give up that is worth three or four of our marginal guys. Who else is in a manager's dog house besides Brown that we might want?

7
ghost's picture

My guess is...we'll finalize the Saunders signing when we finish trading Carp to the Red Sox or some other interested team that whiffed on first base help. Heck...Carp/Kelley is a pretty neat little package to offer someone for a decent prospect or active right fielder with some blemishes.

8
ghost's picture

although that ws Bavasi...GMZ has yet to do that with any pitcher.

9
Lonnie of MC's picture

... disginations for assignment. Everyone who is currently on the 40-man roster will show up and compete. Those who don't make the cut and do not have any more options will get traded to another team for prospects. This is the baseball version of the wheel of life :)

12

I like the suggestion. Not sure how it would work in reality. Some would wait forever to be traded, nobody tangoing with Figgins for the minimum and no talent so far. I think DFA could be severely improved too. There may be something there with spinning the wheel.

13

I was leaning that way too. Still in the up scenario if we're looking to possibly keep him long term others have to go. Felix, Kuma, Erasmo, Pax, Hultz, Walker, Beaven, Saunders, Maurer (9, yeah 9!) is just too much for one rotation. In comes Carraway, Sanchez, Fernandez, etc...
Saunders one one year is very laudable. I'm having alot of trouble with a guess on the August 1st rotation though. April 1st seems easier now, but surprises could happen.
I'm going back and forth on the acquisition. It nearly guarantees that even a good spring from one of P/H/M will see them still sent out. There's always injury, trade or collapse to free a spot. Beaven and Ramirez may not be so secure, but I'd rather see both than Saunders. Oh well, depth is much better than dearth.

14

Can I get a wiiittttt-nesssss... 
Can I get a witness... talkin' talkin' bout mah bab-eh

15

Right now we got
1 Felix
2 Iwakuma
3 Erasmo (though he'll nominally be the 4)
4 Saunders
5 Paxton
And with any injury to Iwakuma, or whoever, you got Hultzen in next.  Pretty much Zduriencik's ideal -- the BEST of the glamor arms gets the 5 spot, with the runnerup going into the on-deck circle, no rush.

17

You can make the argument that Saunders is Beavan, from the other side, with one more K and one more BB per 9. And maybe a homerun better every 27 innings.
Something like that.
That's why there isn't a chorus of ringing voices celebrating this deal. 10% upside is quite reasonable. Same might be said about Beavan.
But they are both better than Noesi.
Unless we're a play-off team this year, early Hultzen and Paxton sightings make more sense.
But....it remains a decent get. Not much more than that. Unless we roll 7 or 11 on him.
moe

18
jellison's picture

The thought occurred to me, and is noted on another site, in the context of the trade for Morales the acquisition of Saunders is rather interesting. If Vargas and Saunders are viewed as interchangeable (both in performance and salary), and Saunders was available to any team willing to pull the trigger, why did the Angels trade Morales for talent they could have acquired without the loss of Morales? Either (i) the premise of Vargas and Saunders being interchangeable is fundamentally flawed, (ii) the market expectations for Saunders' contract changed dramatically between December and February, or (iii) the Angels made a fundamental strategic error. I would be interested in knowing your thoughts. Did the Mariners just acquire Morales for free?

19
M's Watcher's picture

I'm just happy that the talk of Noesi in the M's rotation can stop. Saunders mitigates risk with the others in the rotation after Felix, though I'm still hopeful that the kids force their way into the rotation sooner rather than later. Ready or not, they are more talented.

20

Very interesting point about acquiring Morales for free. Certainly looks that way to me. A similar point can be raised in the Jaso/Morse/Shoppach deal. If Shoppach is deemed in an overall sense to be the equivalent of Jaso (leaving aside the number of years under contract), did GMZ essentially just acquire Morse for free?

21

the first pitcher and position player in many decades.. guess we need to get used to using full names because there is more than one Michael too.

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Chat: 8/3/15 7:02am
Interests: Strange Money (204063)
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-08-04 02:48

Re: Carson Smith and BTB pitching. May not be a conditioning issue (Smith is a former college starter IIRC). Just might be the way his body reacts to the tissue damage/inflammation related to throwing a >90 mph high spin slider at max effort. His recovery might take 48 hrs rather than 24. IOW might not be fixable.

2015-08-03 23:38

B-R has Rasmussen at 5'10".

2015-08-03 23:35

I think Lloyd was right about Carson Smith a couple of months back pointing out that he can't really go out there on back to back days the way Rodney can. It makes me curious what sort of off-season conditioning regimen someone like Carson Smith would use to build up his endurance.

2015-08-03 21:55

Only this team can almost blow that lead. Even with Felix.. no lead safe this year. As mentioned though..baseball tgere just isn't fair at times. I guess the playing field is all even, but not really and more of a crap shoot than not

2015-08-03 21:41

BTW - what is Rasmussen, 5'4"?

2015-08-03 21:37

Also looked like the CO air was stealing bite from everyone's offspeed stuff... Is Felix also "worse than overrated" based on his performance? Their starter also couldn't get a slider to bite for the life of him... welcome to mile high! Carson definitely looked tired and his slider didn't move, but he was poised, he didn't walk people to make it worse and... he got the save...

2015-08-03 21:34

I can certainly see why they were leery of him getting too much exposure. Looks like he's tired and overthrowing to me. Good way to get hurt.

2015-08-03 21:29

Well, Matt, I'll give you one thing... Your opinions are never luke-warm, either hot or cold... although also almost always... "worse than useless" ;) a month ago you were lauding Smith as uber closer and untouchable... So he had a mortal week... so sue him

2015-08-03 20:57

Carson Smith is worse than useless as a closer. He is probably one of those guys, like Nelson, that just can't do it.

2015-08-03 20:56

Carson Smith needs a week off. Or two. He's as scary right now as bad Rodney.

2015-08-03 19:26

HAHAHAHAA...Zunino getting greedy - for a WALK. Throws the bat away on ball three. :)

2015-08-03 18:33

Baseball in #Denver is a joke.

2015-08-03 18:32

7-1....I bet Felix can handle this.

2015-08-03 17:48

Brown: M's fired Wakamatsu mid-year.

2015-08-03 17:47

This is a pretty good article on Chapman's adjustment from Cuba... http://espn.go.com/m...

To be honest, I have a hunch that the M's have trouble growing players that aren't classical in the sense of family and friendliness. Felix is the epitome of this; he has a wife, two kids, a dog and is extremely media friendly. Cano also seems fairly family oriented, especially with his parents.

But flip it over to Sasaki, or any number of players that have had media or family or any sort of outlying trouble, and their exits can be seen from a mile away. Sasaki was only afforded a dignified, but very Japanese, exit.

2015-08-03 17:45

Ackley look-alike playing CF for the Rockies!

2015-08-03 17:07

Crap runs downhill...look at the top.. maybe this is beginning of the end for upper management.. will now within next few weeks.

2015-08-03 16:47

Right. I have no issue with Nuno getting the start but if they are just now talking about changing a culture of entitlement, well, that's a little odd.

2015-08-03 16:34

McC sez 'We are trying to change the culture here' with respect to Roenis Elias? That's way harsh as a public comment. It's also way harsh on himself, if the culture needs to begin changing at the year-and-a-half mark. Not annoyed; mystified. McC's frustration and "visible sinking feeling" aura in the dugout ... it's quite a contrast to Pete Carroll imposing his personality on everybody around him including the media.

2015-08-03 16:28

Ya I see more likely them staying.. just cuz really the end is pretty close at this point. I do not see the Ms making a run at .500 though. Nothing has shown them to have that in them this year. No.matter the strength of schedule. If Lloyd and Jack are here come end of Aug.. they certainly will play out contract. If memory serves me Ms coaches usually play through contract also.

2015-08-03 15:41

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the addition of Montero etc, a weaker 2nd half schedule, that the M's go on a bit of a run, maybe even get back to .500 by seasons end and as a result Lloyd and Jack stick around.

2015-08-03 14:49

I think they are in fact going to stay the rest of the year. Because the gettings will be better for their replacements in the off-season.

2015-08-03 14:38

Gnatto... hope you are wrong about Lloyd and Jack playing through contract... but definately should prepare for that. I am just hoping for the notification of otherwise, but don't see any movement there

2015-08-03 14:23

Why would you reward Elias's 7plus ERA with a callup? Jesus Montero had to lead the entire PCL in hitting (.346) before he got his second callup. Elias has been terrible in Tacoma since he was sent down. You call him up now, and what you are saying is that you can just mail it in in Tacoma.

2015-08-03 13:52

Regarding Nuno over Elias... this may be Jack trying to accomplish two things... build up Nuno's value, as well as making Elias hungry

2015-08-03 12:59

I think we may need to prepare ourselves for Lloyd and Jack to play out their contract.

2015-08-03 12:05

Toward the end of his last call-up, Elias wasn't very good...not just talking runs or K/BB/HR...I'm talking pitchability and repeating his delivery. He looked...out of sorts. Distracted.

There was a reason he got sent down. Happ didn't do any better, but they had to keep him up to showcase him for trade.

Honestly...I love Elias' potential and his pitch mix. And I generally like his poise out there. But I do worry that he was rushed emotionally. From desperate Cuban ballplayer who was largely overlooked to rotation mainstay with only a brief and lukewarm stint in A+/AA before his arrival.

2015-08-03 10:09

Sabr.. you may be on to something in regards to Elias.. look at Puig. Still trying to adjust to all the stardom. Don't feel it's anything racial.. just cultural. Esp in Puig regard in big city like LA, but still the #Money and dramatic change of scenary in #Seattle can def be attributed. Moe definately highlighted that he has been good though. Everyone's gunna have a shaky game here and there buy compared to most of the team he has been consistent.

2015-08-03 08:09

Too cryptic for me. It just soulnds like an "after the fact" continuing defense of choosing Happ in the rotation over Elias. Hey, it was a pick 'em perhaps....although I would have preferred we pick Elias. Nonetheless, Elias has been pretty good as a MLB starter this year, minus two terrible outings: In 7 of his 13 starts he gave up 2 runs or less. In 3 others he game up 3 runs. So in 77% of his starts, he went 5.2 to 8 innings and gave up 3 runs or less. He had one start of 5.1 innings with 4 runs. And then he had two terrible starts w/7 combined innings and 14 ER's. Take those 2 starts away and he's running an ERA of less than 3 over 11 starts. In his last 10 starts in '14 he gave up 2 runs or less (although 1 was a 4 inning outing and another was 3 innings. So basically he's got a 24 start run of impressive stuff. But I suppose he doesn't fit the M's "culture." Montero didn't either. I don't blame Elias for being frustrated. He's been better than decent in the Majors!

2015-08-03 08:05

I guess Elias got tossed from the game after he got taken out the other day, too. So maybe some frustration bubbling up for him?

2015-08-03 08:00

Right Matt, that's the sort of thing we don't have a window on. For all we know Lloyd's decision could be precisely the right one. By the way, this "change the culture" mantra, though in general a good thing, seems to be taken too far sometimes. Imagine how this season might have gone if Montero had been on the big club earlier and allowed to play his way into regular PT. But no, we had to bludgeon Montero's lesson into his head in a display of overkill while we watched LoMo flail against LHP.

2015-08-03 07:40

Maybe Elis took himself too seriously this year and acted too big for his own head? It happens sometimes with Cuban players (and no...that's not a racial thing...it's a cultural one)

2015-08-03 07:38

The "change the culture" comment by Lloyd did come across as a little #Strange. I'm sure for him there's a context that makes this a decisive factor for him. Some factors of that context may be opaque to us. But it's hard to fathom why, the team having rightly given up on making the playoffs this season, the primary consideration is giving Elias a chance to reestablish himself as a bona fide member of the rotation going forward (or a serious trade chip if needed). By the way, if McClendon wants to change the culture he should invite #Lincoln and Zduriencik to lunch and suggest that they all resign immediately.

2015-08-03 07:27

My lack of faith simply keeps sinking. If that's a true quote, that'll be my newest gripe after him using Marte at leadoff.

2015-08-03 07:10

Lloyd said that? What the heck does that mean? Maybe we need to start w/the manager's chair.

2015-08-03 07:02

I guess with Elias getting torched in AAA, Nuno gets the start on Tuesday. I got a chuckle over Lloyd's "we are trying to change the culture here" comments regarding why Elias wasn't being brought up.

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