Some Thoughts
Looking Forward

So, here's what I think may happen.

First, I think the Ms will soon trade Edward Encarnacion, probably to the Rays, for more prospects. Hopefully Colin Poche will be one, and he will become the closer apparent. Any others will become immediate chips for the next move.

With Encarnacion gone, I think the Ms will trade with the Yankees again, getting Sonny Gray and Jacoby Ellsbury for, say, Ryon Healy and, probably, Ian Miller or Josh Stowers, and/or someone like Max Povse or Matt Festa plus international spending allowance room. The Ms are really running out of chips unless they make this a 3-way with the Rays with the return for Encarnacion going directly to the Yankees. The Yankees will want to save face with their return, but I suspect want to get rid of Ellsbury's contract enough to let Gray go too, similar to the way other dump trades have gone this year. And Healy may be better than Luke Voit or Greg Bird, even coming off a bit of a down year. The Ms will go ahead and use Ellsbury as the 5th OF, DH, and clubhouse leader, with the hope he will be attractive at the trade deadline to a contender.

Then, I think that almost inevitably, Kyle Seager, even with his "poison pill" extension, will get traded to the Padres for Wil Myers. If traded, Seager is owed $72.5M. Myers is owed $73M. The only difference is loading - Myers contract is to 2022, but is only $5M in 2019. Kyle's is also to 2022 with the extension, but he is owed $19.5M in 2019. Their career offensive performance numbers are remarkably similar (0.768 OPS for Kyle, 0.765 for Myers), but Kyle can play 3B well, which Myers cannot. Myers is 3 full years younger than Kyle, and may still have some ceiling left at age 28. The Padres, though, are openly after the best 3B they can find -- and, in spite of age, Kyle is that, and probably will be for the rest of his contract.

I also suspect the Ms will try to do a package deal with Seager and Leake, like the rumoured Segura-Leake for Myers+ trade discussions earlier in the off-season. Gray will take Leake's spot at the top of the rotation in any case. The Ms will pass on the money from the Cardinals plus some more to make the deal result in some Padres prospects also coming back. Of course, these prospects may also be used to send to the Yankees to get Gray, rather than give up someone like Kyle Lewis. I suspect Leake is not enough to get Francisco Mejia, but someone like Jacob Nix would be useful to either the Yanks or the Ms.

My guess is that Dipoto wants a young RH starter, which Gray still is at 29 with 5 years in the majors, to pair with Marco, and will take a chance on Myers stepping up as a performer on a young team (he's just a few weeks older than Mitch Haniger, but also has 5 years in the majors) with Ellsbury for a mentor at least for the first half of the season. By clearing Kyle, Leake, and Encarnacion from the payroll, even with Myers added, the future payroll room looks nice. Myers is entirely adequate at 1B, if not the hulking slugger normally envisioned, and can take the 5th OF / DH job when Ellsbury leaves and Evan White looks ready. He's expensive unless he takes the ever-anticipated step up, but his proven RH bat may be quite useful in a lineup that is currently very LH.

As to Jay Bruce, if some team shows even the slightest interest, I guess he is gone. Otherwise, he's another placeholder the Ms will try to flip to a contender at the deadline next year, when they call up Lewis or Filia to play LF. Swarzak is another potential deadline trade candidate, but his stock is pretty down now to return anything that useful. If the Ms can get Poche as a closer-to-be, Swarzak may be a good mentor there as well.

So, I expect Dipoto will continue the house-cleaning he has started, but things don't really look like a complete tanking tear-down. A rotation with Gray-Marco-Felix-Sheffield-LeBlanc is not notably weak if Felix can regain some moxie, and a lineup with Haniger, Myers, Ellsbury, Smith, Narvaez, and Gordon (with a good toe), is also not that weak. Add Crawford, Bruce and Gamel stepping back up, and it might be reasonably strong, if not as powerful as Cano and Cruz have made it the last few years. All but Bruce and Ellsbury still have time and room to grow into better hitters, though, so it's not like it's full of the whifftastic and the never-weres.

Then again, IFF the Ms can sign Kikuchi, that rotation starts looking REAL good! Sheffield can sharpen up in Tacoma while Felix either shows he's capable or becomes a very expensive mop-up reliever. By mid-year, with Dunn and/or Swanson coming along, there could be 5 studly-types in that rotation!

I am not going to be surprised if I hear Dipoto has signed Jose Iglesias as Crawford insurance, or Wilmer Flores to play 3B if Seager goes. Both are still pretty young (Iglesias is 29, Flores 27) and have been contributors in the past, if not offensive forces. And there's still a question if Freitas is going to be the B/U catcher, or they sign a placeholder like A.J. Ellis (player-coach?) or Devin Mesoraco. But the spots vacated still need some fill-in. For my Christmas present, Jerry could do another trade with Cleveland for a potential B/U catcher -- Sicnarf Loopstok*. Just hearing the Ms TV/radio crew pronouncing that would put some joy into the year!

I'm a bit discouraged by the "re-imagining", but if Dipoto continues on the same track I'm not ready to resign as an Ms fan. I personally suspect Segura showed during Cano's suspension that he isn't the best clubhouse citizen or teammate, so the trade with the Phillies was probably for the best once Cano was gone. And, if the ultimate return includes Gray, I'll personally consider the maneuver a success, in fact. With the prospects nearing MLB(tm) readiness like White, Bishop, Lewis, and Dunn, I'm actually pretty stoked for 2020, if not for 2019. We all should be a bit patient -- this actually might turn out nice!

Anyway, thoughts of a dry brain in a cold season.

Merry Christmas to all!! And may Doc receive the gift of health! I'm praying for him.

*From the Netherlands Antilles (Aruba), his father was Francis and in Dutch, loopstok is a walking stick or shepherd's crook. But he's also supposed to be a decent C prospect!

Comments

1

I think we would have to trade Bruce before adding the $47M of Ellsbury.  

Seager for Myers is a possibility.  I wouldn’t kick at that.  1B/DH/LF.....he would fit just fine.  Especially if Bruce is gone.  

Encarnacion is a goner for the first two prospects wiggled at us.  The Rays make sense.

Kevin Plawecki, a pretty fine catcher, appears to now be available from the Mets.  However, our Mets trade has likely come and gone.

I would love to get Gray.  I am not giving up much for his one year, however.  

Seems like I read that the M’s could start Crawford in AAA, yet he’s already exceeded rookie limits.  Hmmmmmmmm?

It makes sense to trade Leake now, at least for the team picking him up.  He’s affordable (courtesy of the Cards’ chipping $9M in), reliably durable and reliably decent.  He brings in prospects but not blue chippers.  I won’t be surprised if we keep him.  The 1B market is still decently loaded, that makes Healy hard to trade.  Trade Seager for Myers and stick Healy back at 3B.....and hold your breath.

I can’t believe DiPoto is finished for the winter.

2

Keith, I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas! Your brother the historian is included in those wishes!

All the above is obviously speculation, and went to posting more to help Doc than any thought that it might come to pass, but I'm glad you agree with the premises. BTW, Crawford still has 2 options left, even though he's no longer a rookie for award purposes, so both he and Sheffield can start in Tacoma - although no service time gains can result, maybe they can sharpen up their game a bit.

I also agree that my "plan" has to all go or none goes because of the amount of money that has to move to make it all work, and the number of LF/DH/1B candidates involved.

Sticking Healy back at 3B is worth considering, but if a decent young fielder can be found, it would be better for the young pitchers, Beside that, Healy might be part of what could convince the Yanks to give up Gray - his fielding at 1B was decent and there's still potential there; but Myers at 1B until White is ready makes more sense to me for the Ms. The Yanks, however, don't necessarily need the thump at 1B, they need adequacy and decent fielding only.

Either Plawecki or Mesoraco would make a good B/U catcher - they both have good reputations for handling pitchers, especially. However, Mesoraco is an FA, while Plawecki is still a Met for now, and would require a trade. So, if Plawecki is released, things even up, but, otherwise the Ms should move on Mesoraco soon -- lots of teams are looking for catching help right now, so it's musical chairs. Since Narvaez is more of an offensive talent, getting a RH bat with a good signal-calling rep is important. If the Ms are going to make games close, having a prime defensive catcher that can cover the 8th and 9th with inexperienced setup and closing pitchers might become important. Poche, for example, can get guys out with his stuff, but having a guy he trusts to call the right pitches could be really important to build his confidence.

I wholeheartedly agree on Gray -- getting him by taking Ellsbury's contract looks to me like the only way the Ms could swing it, if the reports on the Yankee's asking price are correct. Maybe one or two decent prospects/young players can do it with Ellsbury involved where they're asking for premium prospects for Gray alone.

What's kinda funny is, if the Ms would add Mesoraco and Gray, they could field a lineup and rotation almost entirely of top-100 picks from the MLB drafts - many of them !st rounders! That doesn't really sound like tanking!

3

The Rockies are another team interested in Edwin. They have a guy - Reid Humphreys, their #14 prospect per MLB.com - who struck out 58 in 40 innings of A+ and AA with 26 saves. Closer apparent?

Their #11 is Phil Nevin's son Tyler, a 1B/3B type who OPSed 0.889 at A+. Since Phil now is 3B coach for the Yanks, maybe he'd work being sent on in a Gray trade.

And their #13 prospect is another 2nd generation kid, SS Terrin Vavra, whose Dad is QC coach for the Tigers. He OPSed 0.863 in the NWL (Boise) after getting picked last year in the 3rd round.

If the Ms could get those 3 for Encarnacion, or even Humphreys and one of the others for Yankee-bait, that'd be a nice next step in the Segura trade chain. 

 

4

Thanks!

I will send them along to Kerry, as well.  He will be in town, with family, over the weekend.  

I think Healy’s two-year slide from his gaudy rookie numbers make him difficult to trade, even if he is cheap.  Our best bet at freeing up 1B/DH/RF space is to eat Bruce’s salary and trade him.  Do that, essentially making him free except for the prospects a team gives up,  and you will find buyers for him.  

Poche was a beast last season and a mini-beast the season before.  If Encarnacion gets him, that is a great swap.  

5

Bat... thanks for the thoughts and dreams for the future. Unfortunately a couple so-called experts disagree on a couple minor points. 

Per MLB Trade Rumors, the Rays no longer have any interest in EE. Now that could be a negotiating tactic, but???

Per Drayer and Heyman, while the league values innings eaters like Leake... Leake was awful last year when looking at his peripherals so the M's will have to send money with Leake to get rid of him. The same is true for both Seager and Gordon and EE and..., so it sounds like the Dipoto will have to package up a couple prospects to sweeten the deals. The M's do have a surplus of OF's with all these recent deals - so many of the prospect names you mentioned will probably have to be used. There was even a report that the new catcher, Narvaez, may also be trade bait.

Lastly, per Drayer, it sounds like Dipoto is willing to wait to just pick up the crumbs to fill several of the open positions... so we should not expect any even mid-size signings to give this 2019 team any hope. 

6

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Tod! I hope the tariffs aren't biting your business too badly!

I read about the Rays moving on -- but given they are still rumored to have interest in Nelson Cruz, I kinda wonder ...

Meanwhile the latest has the Rockies interested In EE, but it's not clear how interested - but Reid Humphreys would be a nice get if they get serious.

Looking at other sites' ideas, I like the SodoMojo idea of going after Fullmer from Detroit, even if it might cost Kyle Lewis. That idea looks somewhat realistic. It also includes Healy, which clears some of the 1B/DH/LF jam.

I think Seager for Myers might still have some legs -- Myers just doesn't fit on the Padres and Seager would - the money is so even it may even complicate it, since Myers is younger and possibly more likely to be worth every $ of the money owed, where with Seager, that added year gives some heartburn.

I expect others are correct that Bruce and Leake are more likely to be mid-season deadline trades, along with Swarzak, if he gets some saves for the Ms. But I just don't think Dipoto is done surprising us -- Iglesias and Flores, for two, are likely to be low-impact signings that the Ms will have a good shot at.

Mesoraco, because so many teams are looking for catching, probably stays on the market until Realmuto is traded, then the musical chairs music will stop and there will be a flurry of C signings -- and that is probably his best strategy to get a bit of premium on a contract. But it looks to me like he is the best fit for the Ms if they keep Narvaez -- he is a complement to Narvaez's strengths and weaknesses. He'd be more than crumbs, but not an impact signing to most watchers.

I expect Dee Gordon will stay now that Cano and Segura are gone. And if both Seager's and his foot injuries heal, there may be good reason for some optimism for next year as pointed out by another SodoMojo article on how bad the Ms are likely to be -- if Kikuchi can be signed, and some BP arms acquired, it might not be horrible.

There's also a good article on LookoutLanding on Erik Swanson - more optimism as Christmas approaches!

7

Thanks for the quick response.

Yeah, the tariffs / fear of tariffs are taking a toll but business is still way up from 3 years ago.

I too wonder if the so called experts have any idea what is going on in Dipoto's mind, let alone what term crumbs means this year with so many teams again that really are not trying to win... so they are saving their money.

I just wonder that what a writer on Lookout Landing wrote about month ago has any merit... the writer pondered how much worse and for how long will MLB let the M's get before they decide to take control of the Mariners - just like MLB did to the Dodgers about 10 years ago.... because I do not see a bright light at the end of this tunnel yet... but maybe that is why I am called Tacoma Rain. 

8

This team might be no worse than last year‘s squad in terms of Pythag and expected wins.  Any sort of bounce by Gordon and Seager cover for the Segura loss and it looks like we have enough DH bats (right now) to be decent there.  We will likely be better offensively at Catcher, as well. And we certainly have a MLB quality OF.  

Of course, that all might mean we are a 73-win team, too. 

I am more and more convinced that trading Bruce (which means covering all/almost all of his two-year salary) is the key to making this a very successful off-season, at least in terms of DiPoto’s game plan.  There is a bit of a gambler’s throw with him; he is just one year removed from 36 homers and a bunch of walks, so we could hold on to him for a while and hope he finds that bat again, which enhances this trade value.  But if he doesn’t, he isn’t worth a bag of resin.  If we make him free, right now, then we can get a couple of mid-level prospects for him, including a MLB catcher.  

EE is very swapable if you eat this year’s salary, too.  It costs you $21M to buy the prospects you would get.  He would find suitors if we paid down $16M, too.  He has a $5M buyout in ‘20. 

Myers is owed $73M over the next four seasons (plus a buyout).  Seager is owed a maximum of $60.5M over three seasons (plus the buyout).  San Diego is loaded at OF, they are not at 3B.  This trade is there to be had.  

If you stick Healy at 3B, you could run a

Smith-LH-CF

Gamel-LH-LF

Haniger-RH-RF

Bruce-LH-DH

Myers-RH-1B

Healy-RH-3B

Narvaez-LH-C

Crawford-LH-SS

Gordon-LH-2B

Assuming you trade EE and do the Servais deep-six on Vogs, of course.

You would need a back-up IF (Dylan Moore?), a RHB 4th OF (Bishop/Andreoli), a BU C (Freitas) and a sort of Ute guy (Caleb Cozart) and you would be ready for “Play Ball!”   There will be truckloads of cheap guys soon available, too.  

9

Kyle is owed $57.5M if he stays with the Ms, but if traded, his $15M option year (2022) automatically vests (the "poison pill"), which means an acquiring team would owe $72.5M. Since Myers is owed $73M, it's essentially a wash IFF Seager ages well to age 34. Still think this one gets done because San Diego really needs a 3B and Myers proved it's not him.

As noted, their OPSs are very close -- Kyle is .258/.325/.441/.765, Myers is .253/.328/439/.768. Putting Myers at 1B gets a better bat than Healy in the lineup (again, it's a complete wash if Healy takes Kyle's spot at 3B). To the extent Healy does not field as well as Kyle, there's a hit, but it's pretty small. 

Myers is younger and there's that possibility he could step up a bit more offensively. I think everyone is pretty sure Kyle is and will be Kyle for at least a couple more years. When the decline starts and how fast it is is the $72.5M dollar question.

11

With T-Mobile's trademark color being hot pink / fuchsia, I wonder how that will incorporated into the M's...

Uniforms??? Out with the upside down Trident / throw-back uni's, and in with the Fuchsia accent color... so wristbands, socks, a teal & fuchsia nautical compass??? 

More Cancer Awareness weekends?

Does the Moose get a fuchsia colored tatoo, or just a new hair color?

Does this mean more or less T-Mobile commercials now during the games?

 

12

Looking at the concept pictures of what T-Mobile Park will look like, with it's pink lighthing, makes me want to throw up. Any sense of class is gone. 

Do we think this will add or subtract from the soccer mom ambience? As if we don't have enough of that?!

And I can't even imagine pink-themed uniforms on special occasions. (Shuddering, thinking of Nelson Cruz in pink.)

Did the board really think this would go over well?

At first I didn't like the name Safeco Field, but at least it rolled off the tongue. Try saying "T-Mobile Park" three times fast.

Woe is M's-land. Come to the ballpark. See a losing team. See the PINK! Yeah, that'll pack 'em in. Right.

13

Dipoto just signed a 30 year old left handed reliever and possible LOOGY, Zac Rosscup. The signing of Zac is not going to excite many here, or the regular M's fan.

However, Zac K's 11+ per 9 innings. Pretty good. The kicker... 22 plate app's versus righties - 10 K's. Then, 25 plate app's versus lefties - 10 K's. Better.

Then getting deeper, Zac had 17 appearances last year - from late July through Sept. He gave up runs in 3 of those outings. 2 were by HR, and one was a walk where the pitcher after Zac gave up a HR... so not bad. Then you see that last year, and in fact EVERY year, he has averaged more than inning per appearance. Good.

Like I said, Zac is not exciting... but he has potential... even as a 30 year old. But if he performs this year, then Zac could be turned into the 3B for 2024.

So is this what Dipoto is now looking for? Guys with potential, that if they perform then Dipoto can flip them for something?

I know I was looking at the players acquired as players for the future... but what if Dipoto has some of them slated for potential trade bait in 2019 or 2020? Does this make a difference on how you look at this current roster, and the potential free agents??

It does for me. 

14

Two thoughts on the Gamel for Santana swap: 

1.  I am a Gamel fan, no doubt there.  Santana’s upside is greater, with a bit of plate discipline.  So I can not kick at this trade. 

2.  So much for JeDi being a disciple/true believer of Eye.  Santana K’s at a terrific rate.  

Weirdly, if Santana K’s less and bashes 30 homers again, then we almost can’t trade him, even though he would be a sparkly thing to dangle.   If he bounces, then he becomes pretty valuable  for us in ‘21 and difficult to give up.  

15

I always liked Gamel, but getting a RH power hitting OF'er for him makes sense. Like you I don't like the K rate AT ALL....it's Zunino-esque. But at least this guy hits for a decent average and OBP.  

Times articele comments are speculating whether Santana was obtained because a Haniger trade is imminent or to serve as a platoon partner with Bruce. I don't suspect a Haniger trade is imminent, so the latter is likelyh in my book.

16

I don’t really see the platoon usage with Santana.

1.  He hits RHP (.794) nearly as well as LHP (.828).  Last season, he hit .816 vR, with a .301 BA, and only .539 vL. In ‘17, it was .861 and .893.  The dude hits RHP.  

2.  If he’s a chip we wish to hold going down the line, then you maximize his vR PA’s to see if you can cut down on his 33% K rate. Do that and he is something.

3.  If he is a trade chip, then ditto to #2.  But if he does that, you really can’t trade him.   

Santana has played 2648 innings but only 104 in LF.  

That said, with Gamel as our 3rd OF, then the 4th guy needed to be a RH bat.  Not the case anymore.

Now, let’s trade Bruce.  

17

MLBTR headline - Dodgers Seeking "Impact" Right-Handed Hitter

Edwin Encarnacion for Will D. Smith - Any balancing needed? How about Dennis Santana? (then Sign Ervin?) Maybe Jordan Sheffield? Cristian Santana? There are 6 Santanas in MLB - Carlos is gone, but there's a few more out there! But give Will D. Smith some time with Dan the Man and with Edgar, and 2020 or 2021 catching could be a strength.

Then see if Colorado or Tampa might have an interest in Bruce to get a closer type (although Dennis Santana also may have closer potential).

Do it, Jerry!

18

Now it seems the Yanks are looking to upgrade at 3B. If they don't sign Machado, they still might have some interest in moving on from Miguel Andujar, is spite of his potent bat. Might be a good fit if the Ms took Jacoby Ellsbury for Seager if Andujar was included in the deal. I still would like to see Sonny Gray in the Ms rotation - I wonder how much the Ms would have to add to Seager to get Ellsbury, Gray, and Andujar -- Kyle Lewis almost certainly, Vogelbach? Healy? Curletta? Ian Miller? Stowers? Festa? Povse? Probably have to be a 3-way using Bruce to get another chip or two, even if the Ms included everything beyond Smith that they could get from the Dodgers for Encarnacion.

There's probably not enough chips in the Ms pile to pull it off, but Seager seems to be like Brosius, O'Neill -- the type of player the Yankees used to get later in their careers, who would then provide steady, above-average performance to augment their stars. Ellsbury coming back to the NW and being the leader on a young team might put some vigor back in his step, too, where he is just lost in the NY firmament. He doesn't seem to be that useful in the Yankees OF, but he still has a decent bat. If taking his contract could get Gray and/or Andujar, 2020 would look really nice. And if he got a boost from playing somewhat regularly again, even if as a DH.....?

Probably just dreaming, but plugging in a young developing star like Andujar into a lineup with Haniger, Domingo Santana, and Mallex Smith would be another step to being competitive. And the Ms new infield guru, Perry Hill, might be able to help make Andujar better at 3B as well. Christmas is a time for dreaming, right?

So, dream that Machado becomes a Phillie and gives the Ms a chance!

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

shout_filter

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.