Public Service Announcement: #2 Draft Picks
Babies and Bathwater, Dept.


Q.  Is it possible for local fans to over-hype their own prospects?

A.  Asked and answered.


Q.  Are Seattle fans doing this with Danny Hultzen?


Look, gentlemen, if we were talking about Mike Carp or Alex Liddi or Kyle Seager or Carlos Peguero, that would be one thing.  But don't paint every prospect hopeful with the same "he's just a prospect" brush.  Each year there are four or five super-prospects.

You don't luck into a Danny Hultzen, dump $10.6 million on him, and then lose interest when he walks a few guys in his first pro year.  Draw a distinction between "the kids" and players who are legitimate super-talents.


Q.  In your mind, who are the M's legitimate "super-talents"?

A.  Dustin Ackley was also the #2 pick in the entire draft.  We're not talking about "in Jeff Clarke's" mind.  Ackley and Hultzen and Mike Zunino were, in their drafts, the BEST hitters and pitchers in the INDUSTRY.  Not among the best.  THE NUMBER ONE players.

Jesus Montero also came with a super-elite pedigree:  he was the TOP hitter in the minors, him and Harper, when Montero was in the minors.  Jack Zduriencik evaluated him as comparable to Albert Pujols.  You don't wander off and lose interest because the kid only hit .295 on the road at 22. 

Taijuan Walker is on a Felix Hernandez career path, give or take half a year.  Consider carefully what you'd have felt like, had we traded Felix at age 19?  James Paxton is better than Hultzen.

Trash the actual prospects, Carp and Liddi and Romero, if you want to.  But keep a sense of proportion on Hultzen, Ackley, Paxton, Taijuan, Zunino, and Jesus Montero.  Those players are a different breed of cat.

Nick Franklin, you could argue about.  But there's no arguing about the Six.


Q.  Justin Smoak was supposed to be elite.

A.  He was elite.  At this point, there's enough data return to downgrade him.

If your reaction is "Because of Justin Smoak, or Ben Grieve, or Delmon Young, or Sean Burroughs, or Andy Marte, I'm just not interested in 1-1 draft picks any more," then that's on you.


Q.  Would it be reasonable to trade Jesus Montero for Billy Butler?

A.  Shedding Jesus Montero for Billy Butler --- > could easily become a historically classic blunder in the Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio template.  Bill James once said, 90% of the worst trades in baseball history were like this:  giving up a super-talented youngster for a well-regarded, proven veteran.

Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen, Jason Varitek for Heathcliff Slocumb, Sammy Sosa for an aging Harold Baines... 

And in this case, Montero for Butler type concepts, you don't even expect (reliably) that Butler will give you a significant upgrade over Montero NOW.  You can't just use a "all-hope team" logic to paint Jesus Montero with the Mike Carp, Alex Liddi brush.  Montero is a top-10 BBA prospect.

And yet Billy Butler is a legit cleanup hitter.  Consensus is to shed Montero if you get Butler, but I'm totally opposed to that apples-for-apples swap.  If they grab Butler and keep Montero, that's good by me.


Jack Zduriencik's evaluation, at the time of the trade, was that Jesus Montero compared to Albert Pujols.  He's got to stick with that.  

My considered opinion is similar.  Jesus Montero did things with the ball, in 2012, that ARod and Junior didn't do.  He fought off jam pitches for line-drives to right center ... he got on top of 96 fastballs ... he kept the hands back and drove soft stuff to right field ... he showed the ability to square up literally every kind of pitch in every spot of the strike zone.  It's not a cliche.  I'm talking about watching him do it.

I don't say Montero's a guarantee.  I say he's the kind of young player you don't abandon for baubles lying on the side of the road.


Q.  Should there be untouchables?

A.  Pat Gillick was exceptionally win-now.  But he would create a list of 3-4 players that he simply refused to trade on principle.  He felt it would be a broach of his personal integrity to trade the teenaged Felix Hernandez or Jose Lopez -- yes, those were literal names on his lists -- for the ability to win this year.

The M's are now making noises like they'd package truly elite prospects, in bundles, for Billy Butler types.  Even Gillick wouldn't have done that.  When you have sailed past Pat Gillick in your win-now imperative, you have lost your compass.

If you want the Mariners to increase payroll, to try harder to win, then argue for that.  But don't argue that Montero, Zunino, Ackley and the Big Three are overrated.  They are not.


Dr D





Well we could, if we wanted to forego all trades or free agents and just start kids all over the place. For the third year in a row.
It's not "giving up" on Montero to trade him for Butler. It's moving a good player to get a good player. Yes, they happen to play the same basic position. But Butler IS doing what we want Montero to do. When will Jesus do it? Could be this year, could be 3 years from now. If we don't make the trade and it takes Montero 3 years to get comfortable at DH and rake like he does as a C then Zduriencik is out of a job, Felix is gone, and we're still talking about the next Jason Bay addition.
Timetables matter. I'm still of the opinion that 28 year old Smoak is gonna be destroying a ball for somebody - it just won't be us. It's taking him too long to put it together.
Replacements matter too - it's Jack's fault that we're not using Montero as a catcher going forward. He's the one trying to add Russell Martin and Mike Napoli and who drafted Zunino as the heir to the throne. He punted Pujols The Catcher off the position. Can't keep Montero if there's no place to play him.
Maybe he can play 1B. Personally I think he'd like that more than DH. He seems like a guy who wants to be in the field, not stuck on the bench except for 4 or 5 plate appearances a game. I'd be trying to make Montero into Paul Konerko right NOW, if we aren't gonna let him catch and aren't gonna trade him AS a catcher.
But no team will give you anything useful if you take your 6 best prospects off the trade list. Well... we might trade Doug Fister for a handful of scrubs, but SMART teams try not to give up the best player in the deal. If Hultzen, Walker, Paxton, Montero, Zunino, and Ackley are off-limits, what's your pitch? "Here, take this guy who just lit up the Cal League from High Desert, like everyone ever. Or maybe this guy, who is either a SS or a 2B and should probably stop switch-hitting. Or maybe our 5th best pitching prospect, who won pitcher of the year in AA, like Beavan. Or hey, Beavan..."
We have better prospects in our top 10 than we used to. The days of trading JC Ramirez, Aumont and a junk CFer for Cliff Lee just because all of em were in our top-10 list are OVER.
So if we're gonna make a trade, then we do it with the knowledge that every top-10 prospect we trade might be Rickie Weeks, or Billy Butler, or Jered Weaver. That's the problem with a good farm system. And this is why I'm not trading 4 of our top 5 prospects, plus Montero, to get Butler and Myers (thread from earlier).
If we don't like the chance of ever losing a good player, then we'd better keep all our prospects. Of course, since we have a top-10 every year that's awesome, even though we promote a handful every year, we're gonna run out of places to play them. And you might notice that RA Dickey won a Cy Young this year - he used to pitch for us. Travis Blackley was a nice part of Oakland's run to the playoff, and he was ours too. Morse, As-Cab, Choo, Morrow... former Mariners are making an impact all over the league.
Players play well for other teams. As long as we have as good or better players on our team, who cares? The problem with trading a great prospect (or prospects) is getting junk in return. If you trade Mike Trout for Felix Hernandez, that's not a problem right? For this offseason I would prefer to sign Reynolds (and Hamilton, while we're spending other peoples' money), keep Montero, and flood the remainder of the team with all this talented youth. Ackley/ Seager/ Montero/ Hamilton/ Reynolds/ Saunders/ Zunino/ Franklin/ Guti looks pretty good to me.
Then position Romero to play the OF when Guti's contract is up and call it a day. Simple.
But if we wind up trading Franklin, or Paxton, or whomever to fix this team, then that's a call that will hopefully bring a great player here. Not a decent player, but a great one. Our great minor leaguers deserve to be swapped for a great major leaguer, I would think.
And if that happens, and we don't empty the coffers in the process, I'll have trouble complaining about it. Get great players, whether through promotion, trade, or free agency. That's all I'm asking.
Again - simple. *laughs*


Butler, I've said, might be worth Walker and Franklin. And that has always been a "might." It's close.
Mostly I've called for playing the young guys as an investment in a pennant. move 'em up. Let 'em play.
Montero completely mashed LHP last year. He wrecked them. They begged for mercy. Oh, he did it at 22. Oh, he was an adequate catcher, too. Holy snot! What else is a 22-yr old to do? Subtract a Harper or Trout or a Stanton, how many other 22 (or less) year olds did that last year? It's a limited field.
I'm frequently frustrated with the (prevalent) idea that terrific young talent is nothing more than a terrific trade chit, with a somewhat reduced value because they only bring "potential" and not actualy production. Terrific young talent is all of the three. Hang onto as much of it as possible.
We should be finding ways to get the young guns on the field, soon, not ways to ship them elsewhere. If that means a positional change or two, so be it. Steve Garvey was a 3B, until he collided with Ron Cey at that posiiton. Alston easily found a way to play them both. Turn Franklin into a LF or 1B, if he isn't a SS or our 2B. Man, he's gonig to rip 2/3 of the pitchers. That ain't bad. Romero, too. Find a place for him.
Let's go with a bunch of the guys we've got. Some of them are special.


That's one thing ... a Montero and ? package could be argued for Butler... you're dealing a megatalented kid and getting back a player you will be very happy with...
At other websites, the idea is that you trade two or three of these six players for merely decent talent back ...


They wanted to keep Butler anyway, and we weren't gonna empty the system to add him. I'm cool with that. Like I said, I like Butler, but not at any price.
So who wants to bet that we whiff on Swish and Hamilton, and wind up adding Kubel as the big OF/DH add this winter? After all, let's not be hasty and risk too much.


I agree on our elite prospects - trading them for a 30-something anything seems foolish. Butler is younger, but I still don't think he provides enough more than Franklin very well could - and Franklin plays a position that we need upgrade at. But then again, Brad Miller is right behind and might be as good an overall player, if he's a better shortstop with a stronger arm. So Franklin is a bit of a tweener for us on upside & need. 
On the other hand, if Franklin and Erasmo Ramirez could get us Wil Myers, who would be one of our younger players, I'd do it, both because we need a RF that can hit, and again, Miller is also ours. If Vargas or Beaven were needed to sweeten it, I'd still say fine -- we would still get back a piece we NEEEEED for pieces we have in-line replacements for. If Stanton were available, I'd empty the locker - 2 of the 4, plus whatever else, but for a young top ten in the majors player, who plays a position of need. But to include any of the Six, or Franklin, or Miller, or Sanchez, for merely a good proven MLBtm player, especially when we really need to see if Smoak and Ackley can do a Saunders, and if Montero can settle in at DH, catching once a week or so, and if any (or all) of the four pitchers can make the leap to the rotation -- nah, I'd rather dance with those we brung. 
Looks like we're signing Bay. I hope he returns to form, but I'm doubtful. I'd be happy now if we traded some useful pieces (one of Pryor/CSmith, plus an A+ level B-/C+ 'spec like Jones?) for a Mike Morse or Logan Morrison, who can play left and back up first base and maybe provide grit in the clubhouse, and then call it a day unless a Myers or Stanton become available. I think Myers IS available, and that KC may exhaust their other possibilities soon. Erasmo and Franklin might look real good when the prices of free agent pitchers get set by Greinke and Sanchez, and Tampa Bay decides they need Hosmer and/or Moustakas along with Myers for their arms.  
If that would come to pass, I would hope that JackZ would spend his FA money on Sanchez, keep the draft pick, and trade the extra arms at the point in the season when other teams have a rotation hole, and maximize our return then. Or, see if Minnesota would give us Aaron Hicks for the arms. When Bay/Morse/Wells/Morrison start to fade, we'd have someone to compete with Landry for the spot.


Frankly, my dear Scarlett...well, you get the idea. Too many offseasons we have assumed that the scraps being sought (now Dee Gordon?!) are preliminary to THE BIG MOVE. Which, of course, never seems to materialize. Is Jack starting to perspire heavily? Is he going to be forced to prove that the only way to succeed in Seattle is to finish in last place for several years running and then hope like heck that enough of your high draft choices work out that you can keep the wolves at bay?


This is an odd year - lots of teams flush with new media revenue; lots of teams with a reasonable expectation of being within striking distance of the wild card. It's kind of a perfect storm for prospect under valuation and veteran over valuation. This is a tough off season to try and trade cheap, unproven players for expensive veterans. The economics of prospects have changed again.

pointsette's picture

Disagree that Miller is a better SS or has a better arm. I have seen both players in spring training. Franklin is more smooth and plays like he is from the Dominican. Miller is more like a Michael Saunders body type.
I expected more from Miller being older and out of college. Miller needs AT LEAST another year in the hot spot. With his 30+ errors this year would you want him playing SS at the Big League level next year? In fact, there isn't ANY interest in him from other teams. So, we need to sit on him for a while.

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Chat: 8/26/15 5:44pm
Interests: Baseball Film Money Music (212133)
DeflateHATE, by GLS

Boy how I wish D'quell Jackson never intercepted Tom Brady in the AFC championship game. After dropping back in coverage he was able to jump a Tom Brady pass and intercept the ball for the Colts. Not much else happened positively from there for Indy, as the team lost 45-7...Show more.

DeflateHATE, by GLS

Boy how I wish D'quell Jackson never intercepted Tom Brady in the AFC championship game. After dropping back in coverage he was able to jump a Tom Brady pass and intercept the ball for the Colts. Not much else happened positively from there for Indy, as the team lost 45-7 that day, but because that interception deflategate was born. This left me, and all NFL fans, the burden of the past 6 months hearing about psi levels in football. You see, that interception Jackson made left him wondering why the ball felt so different. He then alerted officials who rechecked the footballs to find the had been under inflated. Knowing that they checked their levels early, an internal investigation then followed. Jokes on social media were abundant, and everyone was talking about Tom Brady and the Patriots part in this all.  To date, not much has been ironed out. The case is still being settled in court through mediation. Brady is claiming innocence to all after the Patriots initially quickly accepted the 4 game penalty decided upon. The NFL seems upset that Brady never turned over his phone to go through text messages. Clearly the only one that would benefit from the under inflated balls is Brady, and while looking into facts it was easy to hate him for being the man responsible for what has been the most annoying NFL offseason to date.  As if Brady and the Pats are not hated enough, this just added fuel to an already blazing fire. For 100 seconds security footage showed an equipment assistant take the already checked game balls into a bathroom. This same assistant was the man Brady woukd soon be calling and texting back and forth after the story went out. Soon other information woukd come out including text about cash, shoes, and autographs. Clearly Brady was bribing the man to deflate these balls for his personal gain, yet we are still trudging through the court system as he tries to use his fame and fortune to exonerate himself entirely.  With the knowledge of Robert Kraft's strong relationship with Roger Goodell, and all the money the Pats must generate for the NFL it is hard to believe the NFL has gone so hard. Seems more than anything that they have no choice. I do worry it was more of a front though and something far more sinister is happening. I can not imagine Brady getting away with this, and maybe he should. How much can the pressure change the outcomes of games anyway?  Either way it's cheating though, Pete Rose has the most hits in MLB history and merely bet on games keeping him out of the hall. Brady is cheating too, and who knows for how long, but I don't see him missing out on the H.OF. Hopefully this will come to a conclusion sooner than later, but for now I remain deflated about the subject.Image via Flickr / Jeff_Golden- See more at: http://seattlesports...

...Show less
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-08-27 22:49

What's with that shout about video game talk? Not that I'm opposed necessarily, but there's no shortage of places on the internet to talk about video games. Is this something that KLAT is pushing to build out their community?

2015-08-27 18:16

Hopefully Rodney is just the start actually....more sacrifices need made..I can think of a couple others that need cleaned out

2015-08-27 18:10

Perhaps Rodney instead of bringing actual curse of the goat...will be a sacrificial lamb for both teams. Rodney equals end of both curses.. not sure, but glad it's iver

2015-08-27 16:54

Mariners trade Fernando Rodney to Cubs for cash and the Curse of the Billygoat.... so now we have a reason for the losing in the future.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/27/15 6:14pm
2015-08-27 11:05

No, I don't think .650 with defense is the floor. It is not established that Marte is more than an average-solid defensive SS, nor that he can/will hit .650. I believe it is entirely possible that he could settle in as a .260/.300/.320 player who is merely average on defense.

2015-08-27 10:03

Regarding the Marte discussion: Grizz, I use Aybar and Andrus as the "floor" because they both OPS around .650 this year. Aybar's OPS+ lifetime is 93. Andrus is at .656 this season and has a lifetime OPS+ of 83. If Marte gives us that with good defense (and I think his speed is there with Elvis's), I think we'll all be somewhat disappointed. I think we all pretty much figure Marte will at the least meet those productive levels. We're arguing whether he can go beyond that. Heck, .650 with good defense - that's kinda what we got from Ackley

2015-08-27 09:26


2015-08-27 09:20

Ugh. Just looked for the first time at the overall MLB standings by winning percentage. In the AL we are "ahead of" (=behind) only #Oakland and #Boston. BUT. There are six, count 'em, SIX really bad teams in the NL, with winning percentages lower than #Boston.I'm not up on draft matters like most around here, but that puts us somewhere around ninth in the draft order if the season finished today.
Not to worry, though. I guess it probably doesn't matter much, since whoever we draft usually ends up busting anyway.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/27/15 6:23pm
Right..maybe it's better off we don't get a high one. Just throw a few guys on a board and toss a dart, or hell..maybe hire a up and Comer that's making good baseball decisions
2015-08-27 09:14

What ever happened to that new D-O-V site? It's sounding pretty good right about now...

2015-08-27 09:09

I guess we're all one big family now! Oh boy, a whole new group of people for TakingNotes and I to annoy with video game talk.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/27/15 6:24pm
Oh boy .
2015-08-27 08:57

Well welcome to all those whose shouts intended for some community other than this one are ending up here! We are a mostly genial and friendly bunch, but we are used to debunking things that, um, SHOUT for debunking.

2015-08-27 08:51

Well, I guess good morning, everyone!

2015-08-27 08:44

Composing of any real value is hard, demanding, often frustrating work. But when it all comes together, the sense of having created something wonderful is beyond description.

2015-08-27 08:42

Too bad our shout box has become a random dumping ground.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/27/15 6:26pm
Yes, what is happening today
2015-08-27 08:41

Too bad composing isn't the way to riches! That would be fun.

2015-08-27 08:39

I keep getting warnings about shouts being to long but it appears to me they show up anyway.

Also, if there is a hard character limit to shouts, perhaps it would be helpful if we could be presented with a character count as we type. Just a suggestion.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/27/15 6:26pm
I agree.. more than twitter though lol
2015-08-27 08:37

Composing is like any other artistic endeavor. A very few make a lot. More make much less than a lot. Some make a ilttle. And most who try never make anything to speak of. Few make a living.
Still, there are many excellent online resources if someone wants to take their shot. I recommend first getting grounded with a community like Virtual Instrument Control, a forum frequented by working and aspiring composers mostly oriented around #Film #Music, where the #Money is. Lots to learn, but personally rewarding if you have superior talent and the determination to persevere. Should you through perseverance get the right opportunity, who knows, maybe you will be one of the fortunate few.

2015-08-27 08:16

So, composing is an instant method to Make enormous cash online when you can create.

2015-08-27 08:16

So, composing is an instant method to Make enormous cash online when you can create.

2015-08-27 06:08

@all how do I get to the normal shout wall

2015-08-27 06:08

@all how do I get to the normal shout wall

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/27/15 6:28pm
Guess you should have taken that left turn in Albacurky...or however you spell that :)
2015-08-26 19:05

Copying over my recent shout from the column that was moved over minutes after I made it:

I think we need to go through a full spring training and first half of next season before we anoint Edgar as The Hitting Coach Who Saved The Mariners' Offense. Things look more promising now than they did earlier in the season, but #Baseball can be a deceiving game when it comes to short term effects versus long term effects. There is NO QUESTION Edgar was a generational hitting talent and he probably has few peers when it comes to knowing about hitting. So my caution is not a knock on Our Beloved Edgar. It is a caution born of long experience following #Baseball.

It is not common for a player to hit like Edgar hit. It is not common for a hitting coach to have a huge, long-term effect on the offensive performance of a team, even if in the short term players swear by that coach's effect on them. Let's give it some time to see if the one uncommon thing and the other uncommon thing correlate. If this was such a cut and dried thing teams would pay as much for such hitting coaches than they would for the very best players.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/26/15 8:50pm
Does he seem to be getting the key to the city already by most? I agree you need to atleast get a full year under your belt...just didn't know there was a lot of Edgar credit going around...or atleast on a more national level.
2015-08-26 17:44

Starting a conversation...