Echo Box - Nucleus
Jay Bruce has 153 PA's so far, kiddies

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Moe Dawg gives us a beefy post on the idea of a nucleus for the 2019-2021 Mariners:

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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. - Moe

Second chance link:  Here y'go amigo.  The gist of it is that Vogelbach was always going to hit, always showed pitch selection with a compact swing and power.  After he got to the upper minors and continued to bash, he became the blue-chip prospect type that usually turns into a true producer in the bigs.  His only problem was that he never got a real chance.

Though Wishiker opines that probably Servais blocked Vogelbach over Dipoto's preferences. - Dr. D

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The Mariners' 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.

Yeah, Fraley continues to interest.  He's batting .300/.375/.470 in AA and if you line up the M's minor leaguers by total hits, he's got 43 already for #5 in the org.

Wishiker sees Kyle Lewis as a potential Mariner in 2020 and therefore a trade of Haniger or Sunday Santana in the offing - Dr D

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The IF may be Seager, Crawford, Beckham, Healy.  I would prefer we keep Beckham going forward over Gordon.  I may be an outlier. 

I'm guessing not :- )

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 career-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. 

Agreed; it's like the kid in roto who wants to trade you everybody he has to cut anyway.  That's us with Bruce, Encarnacion, Gordon/Beckham and Healy ... except those guys are ML regulars.  It's an unprecedented situation for us and I can't imagine how it will work out, except to take back a middle reliever for each of them? - Dr D

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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.

I keep hearing about Shed Long as a future member of our regular lineup but I don't get that.  I'm not saying I've ruled him out; I'm just saying I don't understand why people (especially the M's) are so high on him; I lack the information.  Maybe one of youse mooks can enlighten me. - Dr. D

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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. 

This is where I tend to suspect a forest-for-the-trees scenario.  You go into the locker room and Bruce I'm sure "carries himself" like a team captain, has the right presence and all that, and your respect for the person causes you to make excuses for the fact that he's hitting a literal .187.  Like Moe sez, that's 153 at-bats and counting, that could have been given to Shed Long or Braden Bishop or Dan Vogelbach or Dylan Moore.

Granted, you've got a responsibility to put a team out there that isn't a complete embarrassment, but this team's OPS+ is 113, not 90. This team's problem is not the runs scored, and the difference between Bruce and Vogelbach or Moore is not going to sink you.  

Wishiker sees better trade potential than that for Bruce and Healy, especially if the NL is looking at the DH soon - Dr D

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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. 

Kikuchi again with another dominating start on Sunday, 6 5 3 1 2 6.  That gives him a 24:6 CTL in 26.2 IP with a 2-0, 2.03 record.  He and Marco are #15 and #18 in American League ERA, plenty to bag them TOR (top-of-the-rotation) status. - Dr D 

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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.  

Wouldn't that have us jazzed, a blue-chipper who sails in here at age 20 like the big boys.  On TV one night, Sims said that when you talk to Dipoto, he "really lights up" any time you bring up Kelenic.  Who is hitting .304/.385/.513 in class A, by the way.  Hope he moves to high minors AA as soon as possible. - Dr D

BABVA,

jemanji

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Comments

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on both sides of the ball.  Particularly impressive at 3rd in a couple starts which made watching Healy the all the more difficult for those who thought ShRed had looked good there.  He displayed nearly every skill you'd hope he possessed offensively as well.  Baserunning and some combination of read/ tracking/selectivity/contact did seem potentially lacking though.

I suggest that Julio could be sailing in along with Jarred at 19.  A matched pair of left and right shoes with plus to plus plus arms to go with the other skills they possess.  9 plus tools between them. 

Maybe Leake and LeBlanc should both be traded to clear room for a couple arms previously of NY farms.  Dunn, Swanson and Sheffield could need 2 spots to compete over before July.   I agree that if this is the stepback year, this is the year you should be letting those arms get their lumps and first adjustments.

EDIT to add: The 1st round picks under Dipoto all seem to belong in the discussion.  Lewis, White and Gilbert.

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So it looks like Healy has a bad back and may be headed to the IL.  Shed Long is being called up, anyway.

Beckham to 3B is the likely answer, with Long as the ute guy.  Fine and dandy, but let's give him some whacks and a LF start or two.  He should get an IF start at 3B and 2B.

It looks like Seager is upon the weekend, so any Long starts need to come in the next few days.

And can we give Vogelbach several games at 1B AND quit sitting him vs. LHP?

3

So I expect everyone who missed the spring looks of Long at third should get a chance to see him the this week.

Babe Vog hasn't ever hit lefties very well but he's got to keep working at it.  I understand off days against tough lefties but he has to keep facing easier ones in order to improve against them. 

4

That's my point Wish, let him learn.

If you look at his splits for AAA in '16-'18 you'll find this tidbit:  He didn't strike out an inordinant amount vL, about 25% of his PA's, (vs. 16.5% against RHP), but that his power numbers dropped dramatically.  He his 3 vL homers in '17-'18 in 247 PA's.  He needs to get some reps to learn to barrel it up.

5

In my opinion Bruce fits in RF, because Haniger should be our CF and Mallex Smith in AAA or 4th OF.

Smiths' splits in TB show he was a product of turf mirage. 20+ more singles scooted thru the quick infield, a few more rolled quickly to the wall. An OPS at Home almost .300 points higher than Away as a result with very little extra "power" actually present. Fitting the narrative, his "Away" numbers translate awfully closely to the guy he is in 2019.

If anybody has shown they don't  deserve their playing time it's Mallex Smith. His defense isn't .200 OPS points better than Bruce in RF, Haniger CF. So why cut Bruce put instead of Smith when Smith is clearly, imo, not part of the answer.

Give Bruce this season and beginning of next while you find a good OF to replace him.

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