M's vs White Sox less one jose quintana type
and an un-pack of the deal that brought this happy scenario into play


... rather be watching the White Sox than the Astros or Cubs on Friday, that is.  Speaking as a James Paxton fan.

We link, you decide.  Here is a Paxton-Shields preview worth your time.  Plot spoiler:  if there's such a thing as an AL team you'd love to start your 2H with, it's lurking nearby.  Also, here's a ICYMI reminder that K-Pax' last start saw the return of Zeus, who is now 7-3, 3.21 despite the nicks, dings and youthful travails.  He's got a FIP of 2.85 and a WAR of 2.5, so Dr. D still waits breathlessly for the 5.0 mile marker later in the year.


Out of sight, out of mind?  Not at SSI.  Here's a quickie on Dan Vogelbach returning to the 2H with a 2-hit day; he's batting .283 but the real news this week was 'Bach's prodigious performance in the AAA homer derby.  Dr. D has had zero questions about Bach's hitting, none at all, other than power.  He's laying those to rest.

It's not like Danny Valencia is owning it at first.  StatCast has his "expected batting average" quite a bit lower than it is, and even if that's not fair, his WAR is 0.2 this year.  Valencia is helping the club, especially with the mitt.  But with Boomstick's ankle gimp, don't be shocked when 'Bach gets to looking really good in a stretch and he's bach up in a platoon.

And the Mainframe will be glad to see it.


Here there be the week's MLB Trade Rumors chat transcript.  In the middle of July that's a buzzy place ta go.


Ryan Divish has a piece up on the M's trade prospects over the next coupla weeks.  First, a fast quibble about the idea that a 3% improvement to the roster is the dealbreaker on a push for the Wild Card.  A move for a player would be great, but is it really the main factor in the M's possibilities?  You could gain or lose more than that with the emergence of an Andrew Moore, or the injury of a James Paxton, or the jelling of a Mike Zunino.

But still.  Divish has some exciting stuff, including the opinions of some scouts that the M's "might" have to include Gamel or Heredia if they want a TOR starter back ...  heh, heh, heh.  Good read there.  G'wan ahead without me.

Edit to add, I saw some quote by Dipoto elsewhere, to the effect that you sign free agents in December, and make your trades in July.  Huh.


Kate Preusser at LL is a fine writer and she unpacks the Quintana deal for us, with the idea of projecting what they have to pay for a top pitcher.

I'll zig against her zag here; she expresses sticker shock at the deal but is hilariously self-aware of her own propensity to sticker shock.  It leads the article off brilliantly.  To me, a #11 prospect with a #90 prospect, with two throwins, is a goooooood bit less than I expected Quintana to cost.  He's signed long term, four years, at one-third to one-half his value.  I thought the Sox were holding out for 4 prospects, not two, which was also to include a glamor name.

That said, the article has a good listing of the target-rich environment including Wacha, Teheran who is supposedly not for sale, and the rest of them.  Jeff Sullivan also has a breakdown of the Quintana deal; in this kind of situation he's usually as authoritative as it gets this side of Bill James.  Sully not only has the know-how but also has no axe to grind against either buyer or seller in these situations.  In this case he writes more briefly, admiring the Cubs' side of the deal.

The M's got 4 starters I like right now.  A Drew Smyly replacement would be ideal, but Dr. D would be almost as happy with an "impact" reliever and a willingness to shorten the game.







And ... how could you get a "MEH" for Jose blinkin' Quintana?  What's he making, $8 or $10M a year the next four years?  Each year warrants a very important prospect.  Don't understand it.

That must have been the top bid from the Sox' point of view.  Pretty befuddled here.  But hopefully it means the market prices are nifty from the buyer's angle?


I've never understood the rebuilding mentality that says you should trade out your best player, even if he is cost controlled durable and has three years and a QO left on his contract.  Teams justify this thing as rebuilding for the future, but evidently the future doesn't include the next three years.  

Also, What Matt said.  Since when are AA players worth very much?  The guys who crush AA usually have a decent chance of becoming ML regulars.  A couple of those guys usually don't translate to #1 staff ace and heart of the team.

If I was trading Quintana for the Mariners, I would want:




promising Spect or two.  

That sounds fair.  It also is about what Chris Sale was sold for.  Not equating the two, but Quintana is the best pitcher to be had this year.  Why were they in a hurry to sell him?


Let's see here...

The Mariners are facing a guy who's given up 10 homers and 19 walks in 36 innings for a FIP of roughly seven trillion.

Then they face a guy who's given up 19 homers and 38 walks in 78 innings for a FIP of roughly two trillion.

And then the dreaded TBD

So naturally, the Mariners will hit zero homers and manage a K/BB of 35 to 2 this series.


That would be one way for the M's to bounce back from their "underperformance," simply to bear down in the games where they have their enemies outgunned.  And yes it does start to appear that sometimes the problem is a lack of bearing down.

If so, that's on Servais.  Rooting very hard for him.

The Other Billy Zoom's picture

...maybe I should have just gotten a good hand puppet.

The "IF-IF-IF SIES" are in full performance mode.

Pineda is out in NY, so watch for Yankee-Orcs trade for Sonny Gray.

The Cubs getting Quintana just puts more pressure on the Cards to get something done quickly.

Normally, if the Cardinals do anything at the deadline, it is with a day or two before sunset.

But they can't slip back another game or two ... it is win the division or goodbye, as the WC in the National is as tough as the American. And those Brewers.

I repeat, one of the top young Card starter prospects (Flaherty, Weaver ..  and now Pearce is outshining both of them) could move right into a starting role for the M's big club ... but it will most likely cost us one of our 3 top OF's (and I'm adding Haniger's name to that of the other two) ... and I want a solid AA reliever from among their 17 pitchers of their top 40 prospects ... they need an OF ready to play every day immediately, preferably a CF.

Greg LongJohns mentioned that Dyson, Cishek, and Valencia, because of pending F/A, could be traded in the next two weeks, but Johns is in that majority camp of a "proven MLB starter", and I do not believe that is what the M's GM is hinting at when he talks about 2018 and beyond.

Only if they had a chance to get Dyson back after this season would I trade him ... and I think that would be in any conversation they had with him.  Several times this season he is the one who has sparked a positive re-direction.

Cishek will bring nothing but a low prospect unless he is packaged.

Finally, I will not rule out the "core M" to go south to join the team with his brother ... I doubt it, but ... those Dodgers have a couple fine prospect starters and their 3B is somewhat open.

Why would they trade a core ex-golden glove guy?  Because, he is not that same guy of two years ago and they cannot figure out what has gone wrong ... and if it is a slow leak or the tread coming off.

And the final finally is obtaining the number one priority in the M's off-season, Shonei Otani, of the Nippon Ham Fighters, got his first start of the year on the mound just a couple days ago AND HE DIDN'T LAST THROUGH TWO INNINGS. That be excellent news, a positive negative.  Getting him will be tougher than getting a wild card this season.

It's time to untangle the strings in the battle of the bands.



IMHO this team is well-suited to spend some developmental time on a dynamic young #5 SP.  That would match up with our 2017 playoff chase and with 2018ff.  Don't mind the growing pains of a rookie in the 5 spot if it is truly investment, as opposed to shimming your problems with a Bergman type.

Any chance of getting your quick takes on the Cards' ML-ready starters Zoom?


Just as a pre-cursor... depending on which list you look at, the Cards have 16 to 19 of their top prospects are pitchers... and 12 are legit starters... ALL of which are already ranked as equal or better than the M's DeJong.


Alex Reyes - 22 year old...(just had Tommy John), but was #1 right handed starting pitcher prospect in baseball to start this year... enough said.

Luke Weaver - 23 year old with 39 innings at MLB level already. Better stuff than Moore, with as good of fastball control. AAA ERA is 1.93. Started year as #56 overall prospect and 1st round draft choice.

Marco Gonzales - 25 year old with 40 innings at MLB level, but also some history of arm tightness. Think former M's Vargas. Low 90's fastball with solid change up and curve. Former top 100 prospect in 2015, and 1st round draft choice.

John Gant - 24 year old with 53 innings at MLB level. Low 90's Fastball / slider guy with control. 3 to 1 K/W ratio with 8+K per 9 inning.

Jack Flaherty - 21 year old just moved to AAA. bigger, younger and higher ranked than Andrew Moore. Started year as #95 overall MLB prospect. 4 pitches that rate above MLB average that he throws at any time with solid control. 1st round draft choice.  

Mike Mayers - 25 year old with 10 innings at MLB level. Think bigger Gaviglio. Pitch to contact, but low 90's fastball with control.

in AA

Sandy Alcantara - 21 year old. The STUD. Think raw Taijuan... not kidding. fastball sits 94 -96, and touched 101 as a starter who averages 5 innings per start. Has power curve / slider and above average MLB change up that he is still trying to harness. Signed high $ contract out of DR.

Dakota Hudson - 22 year old. MUCH Bigger, younger and equally ranked as Andrew Moore. Fastball sits 93-95 and touches 97 with LOTS of sink, nasty slider, and MLB average change up that is getting better and better. 1st round draft choice in 2016!!!... and he started year in AA. he is averaging 6+ innings and a Quality Start this year.

Matt Pearce -  23 year old. As Zoom said, this is the guy winning the monthly awards on this AA team this year. Think John Lackey. He just appears to know how to pitch. Not the Andrew Moore control, but same mound presence. 3 solid pitches he throws at any time. Low 90's fastball. Has 2 CG this year, and 6 CG in minor league career.

Austin Gomber - 23 year old. Left handed, BIGGER Andrew Moore with roughly 9K per 9 inning AND 4 to 1 K/W ratio. Great mound presence. Fastball sits 90-92 with GREAT command, with plus plus curve and above average change up. He has been an All-Star every year. No doubt he is MLB ready.

To say the Cards are STACKED with pitching is a MAJOR under statement.


Just to add to Tacoma's rundown -- Marco Gonzales' arm tightness required TJ and he's now on his way back, currently pitching at AAA Memphis. A cross between Vargas with 2-3 mph on the FB and Andrew Moore with the ++ pitchability. Word is his last couple of outings in Memphis have been MLB-quality.*

Although the Ms are already fixed for LHs with Paxton and Miranda, Gonzales is one of those heady, control-the-Zone players Dipoto likes. At one point before the TJ, he and Paxton were considered amongst the top prospect LHs, Paxton with more power, Gonzales with more craft. Because he's not yet 100% (but, as noted, still better than the Ms' alternatives), shifting Dyson for him with some balance pieces seems like a great stiffener for the rotation for 2017, with likely more to come.

Gonzales' dad is the Rockies MiLB pitching co-ordinator, so the kid has a lot of polish and a good head for the game.

* Some numbers from last 5 games at Memphis: 5W, 32IP, 34K, 7BB, 7R/ER, 22Hits,  2HR, 3HBP.  Seems to be doing alright after not pitching in April and having a mediocre May.


The Mariners are coming out of the all-star break using all of their best pitchers against a last place team and then their two worst pitchers against the best team in baseball (and also Paxton). The Astros have lined things up such that the Mariners will probably face McCullers, Peacock, and Morton (Musgrove and Fiers are going against the middling Twins).


If that's the case, the Astros are aiming for a 60%-60-60-60-60 type scenario while the M's aim for an 80-80-40-40-40 type scenario.  This used to be the problem with chess teams lining up their boards/slots against other chess teams.  The math can work out either way as y'know.

There's also the variable of getting Paxton (and Felix if his dry spitter is biting) the most starts possible, as with batting your best hitters (even HR guys in the 1-2 slots).

'course as a top-notch saberdude you're well aware of all this Matty :- )


My own priority -- sorting through all the variables -- is to get things kicked off the right way, try to get everybody caught up in the excitement of a dashing leap out of the gate ...

Or not :- )


I just loathe the Astros...ever since they barged into my division, they've OWNED the mariners. I just want to beat them.  LOL


I think the Cubs gave up two young guys who look like they could be pretty dang good.  Of course, we're talking "COULD" here, but they've established some farm league pedigree already.   I like Jimenez a lot!  He's playing up, age-wise, yet he hits and doesn't K at a bothersoe rate, not even close.

He's less O'Neill and more Lewis.

That said, the Cubs scored, big time.  Quintana eats innings, has an incredibly user-friendly contract, one that is essentially risk-free, and is pretty good.  Cubville must be giddy.

As to Vogs, I  wondered a few days ago if Valencia might be desirable trade bait for some one.  he's hitting lefties like he always does, and hitting RHP's better than his career numbers.

But for him to be trade bait, we have to sort of suffer through a mini-collapse.

And, since it hasn't come up, I find our use (or non-use) of Leonys Martin interesting.  He's sort of bashing the ball in AAA, and you could argue that there has to be somebody fairly interested in a guy like him down the stretch, but actually, I think we're holding on to him, so as to use him next year....either as OF #$ or as a ST trade chit.  He'll arb, but probably won't demand a princely sum. 

Could be that his values goes up with July injuries, as well.


Using the formulas by which we armchair GM's measure these things, Valencia's 0.2 WAR makes a trade very low risk.  Also don't see an important downside 'catastrophe' with Vogelbach playing 1B.  Vogs will C the Z just fine and put the ball in play all around the diamond.  To say nothing of the upside with a young talented hitter.  (Granted we're paper-mache' thin at 1B if something then happened to Bach.)

Dipoto has lengthened his lineup so it's not as if Valencia is carrying the club psychologically.

+1 Moe


As a person who basically just lets the M's stream in the background at work and ignores most of the numerics game, that's surprising.

And gonna be the trouble with trading Valencia.

He's had his share of climbing out of a pit and heroics.


I haven't looked.  Do you know the basic differences between the two WAR formulas Matt?

b-ref.com has Valencia's defense as neutral (0.0 dWAR) while Fangraphs gives him -0.5, -0.6 defensively.  But that's only half the difference.

Can't imagine that most GM's would evaluate Valencia's 1H as worthless.


In my opinion, Valencia's .2 WAR is accurate. As a 1B, his .755 OPS ranks him 25th of 27 qualified 1B. 

At .2 WAR, he also ranks 25th of 27 qualified 1B. 

You either need OPS from your 1B, or you need a new 1B.

We need a 1B.

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