An interesting read, Dipoto's comments on Vogelbach. There is more than a bit of a mea culpa, "I blew it!" tinge from the GM.
The Mariner's core:
Next year's OF is pretty set, and it looks pretty much like this year's OF. At some point next season, Thompson-Williams and Fraley will knock on the door as Bishop has already done (he is rattling seats in Tacoma, again). I would bump Fraley to Tacoma pretty dang soon.
The IF may be Seager, Crawford, Beckham, Healy. I would prefer we keep Beckham going forward over Gordon. I may be an outlier. Gordon has restablished some trade value and next year will be his bi-annual bad year. Ship him off before that happens. Eat some salary. I will point out that Healy's 104 OPS this season doesn't light up many Top-10 1B lists. He's bagged a bunch more doubles than last season (he's on a carrer-high rate), and BB's (ditto), too. Beyond that, he doesn't look that much different than last season. Over the past 3 seasons, he's been barely a league average hitter. And he's going to be back to 1B. I suppose he could be used in a platoon with Vogelbach next season, but that means we have another DH on board, one without a split differential. We could DH Santana, I suppose, if one of the young OF's grabs the LF spot. Bishop, maybe? Don't know, but we would have to give him some reps in the bigs to figure that out.....and I sort of think we will jack him around.
Shed Long and Moore are safe bets to be on the squad next season. Could Long hit himself into a LF job? Again, not without some whacks this season. His bashing AAA season is fueled by a 1.188 OPS in 41 PA vs lefties. He's only hitting .206/.716 vs. RHP. He is OPSing .818 vs. older pitchers (MLB seasoned) in Tacoma, but that is also likely due to an unsustainable vL). Tim Lopes is the other Tacoma guy we have who might push the door open a bit.
And I think we're satisfied with our catching set-up for now.
Jay Bruce is basically untradeable. Since last season, he's hitting approximately .215-.295-.415. He costs $14M next season and he has no real position. We alreeady got our Kelenic for him; sooner or later we just let him go. If we are out of the WC race (as it seems to be), then every Bruce AB is costing somebody else a chance. Jay Bruce has hit above .256 in his career exactly once, back in 2010, whn he was 23 years old. This will be the 5th season that he's hit .223 or lower. He doesn't walk a lot. He's a crappy fielder. What he does is hit 33-ish homeruns. But to get him there, you have to play him. He doesn't fit into our OF, or at DH...or at 1B. Even if we trade EE, Seager is just about ready to move Healy to the left. Bruce still won't really fit and there still won't be a market for him, unless we absorb $14M in somebody else's dead salary.
Marco, Leake and Kikuchi are a nice trio....spending some FA money on another arm to go with them would be just fine. Swanson and Sheffield need to be MLB ready. Sheffield needs to be able to find the strike zone, but we need to just give him the MLB reps until he does. He's a 23-year old lefty. Let him learn on the job.
And I am all in on Kelenic making the bigs before he turns 21. He turns 20 in 59 days. OK, before September, next year. He's all folks said he was. YOung terrific talent needs to get to the bigs in a hurry. I am glad more and more teams are doing just that.