Buying Hard Into 2020-22
but just how hard, zat is ze question

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I had never bought much into the "wait for 2021" shtick that Dipoto has on the marquee, until Sherminator put it this way:

So you have Mitch for 4 years, but you're wasting 1, maybe two of them. Which by definition means that he is worth less to us than to someone else, someone competetive. For us he's worth .25 cents on the dollar next year, .75 in year two, and 1.00 in years three and four. So if he's worth 75% to us what he is to LAD, why not flip him for an easy profit?

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This is sound logic, as Sherminator is wont to offer us.

Well, sure, if you are TRULY doing that, if you are extending both elbows, grasping the plunger on the Wile E. Coyote TNT detonator firmly, and blowing the next two years a quarter-mile high, then of course you might as well slave-auction Haniger in chains also.  (Of course you might as well have not said that Marc-O and Haniger were the players you were trying to acquire, not shed, too.)

By exactly Sherm's logic you also slave-auction Marco Gonzalez ... and even Mallex Smith and any other young player who becomes worth 75% or less to us what they are to LAD.  In particular Yusei Kukuchi is worth more to other teams than he is to us; his arm has a lot of mileage -- and injuries -- on it.

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The M's have been getting mentioned in rumors for Sonny Gray, a 1-year rental, as Lookout Landing points out.  LL points out, also, the tasty little stats split that says Gray last year had an ERA a full -2 runs lower on the road than at home.

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Adding this all up, taking the square root and dividing by the answer to the universe, we come up with this:  Dipoto's next few moves will tell us a whale of a lot about whether he's trying to retain a sucker's chance in 2019.  Yusei Kukuchi, Marco Gonzalez, and Sonny Gray up top of the rotation would be one possible "42!" answer for us right there.  But there are many such permutations to watch for.

Sherm's logic, and the 2019 subplot, make the next month or two's moves an intriguing watch for me.

BABVA,

Dr D

Blog: 

Comments

1

Machado is 26.  There isn't a team in baseball who should not be at least making a call.  Who says you can't obtain an asset a year early???  Especially once you get yourself in position only to realize that the piece you need isn't out there?

I'm not advocating a particular player per se.  What I am advocating is not letting useful cash rot when it could be a forward payment for the next window - if you expect that window to open in 1-2 years.  Even if you don't contend in 2019, if the player you get early is someone you can "win your next championship with", then he's worth the investment.

I don't have an issue with punting for the moment, but I do have an issue if the cash you are saving is not invested into your next possession.  

I also don't mind if they don't land one of those guys, knowing there are 29 other teams out there.  But don't let the 2019 budget hamstring your ability to efficiently use 2020 dollars.  If you have the cash then with no players, then what does that buy you?

2

I am seeing currently for 2019, including payouts for Cano, Segura, etc., is $146,133,810 before having numbers for 35 players that could be a part of it.  Rather, that covers only 14 players on the MLB roster.  Just found Jose Lobaton there on MiL deal, hadn't noticed his signing.

What savings are they supposed to use later? (which is not how any team works anyway).  It is possible that 1 or more of the 14 on the books gets moved in the interim but they've traded several high dollar contracts without removing 2019 payroll.  It's entirely possible that even if they moved E3, Bruce and Leake other equivalent contracts would return yet again.  If teams out there were looking to add payroll there's still about 7 off the top 10 Free agents on the year available. 

Dipoto has said the way to build a championship roster is with a base of young talent then filling in around it with the right FA.  They might not know what they have and need until late 2020.  The next 3 years of FA classes are possibly more loaded than this year.  The 5.1 Billion (numbers not final) MLB 7 year extension with Fox Sports starts in '22, coming right in time for Free Agent Corey Seager and 6 other SS we'd love to have plus many others harder to currently gauge what they'll be then.  It's not like all we could pair up with is Sexson and Beltre in any of these upcoming years.  Nobody is signing Arb extensions anymore so multiple AllStar 27-29 year old guys are coming available every year.

I still would like any of Harper, Machado, Keuchel and Kimbrel, the pitchers potentially on high dollar 1 year deals.  I believe in this rotation more than most people do, but it's still a matter of having tradeable short term assets.  That includes acquiring Gray, who I'd inquire about getting relief pitchers Tommy Kahlne and Jonathan Holder, maybe even future Util Thairo Estrada (good defensive SS in AAA, great name).  Or could make it a one stop RHP shop, plunging into their minors depending what all is going.  19 of the top 30 here are RHP:

https://www.prospectslive.com/lists/2018/10/8/yankees

3

I'm with ya Russ on the idea that a step backwards need not be accompanied by reduced payroll. All that does is put a few years of payroll savings in the pocket of the owners.

If you're not going to go all out to win for a year or two (that's the step backwards) why not use your payroll budget to assemble whatever talent you can that will still be viable in a year or two. What's the point of forgoing payroll expense? Are we really to believe that savings is going to go into a kitty that will be raided as needed in a couple of years? Hogwash. Whatever payroll they are going to have in a couple of years, it will be whatever it will be and no more.  Interim savings will not be a factor. 

Whether the best investment is Machado, or whether it is stockpiling prospects by buying up contracts of established players, then flipping them while eating their salary, that's another question. I tend towards the latter because you don't yet know what you will need in a couple of years. If you end up with an excess of prospects in your system, then you start flipping two prospects for one that's even better.

You don't know which prospects will become core players in your future. I'd rather not tie up future payroll until that becomes more clear.

We expect that Machado will be a great player for quite a few years, so it's entirely reasonable to sign him if that's what you want to do. It's just not what I'd do.

4

And I'm not sure anyone is saying we "can't do this because we have to slash payroll now" either.  You're right in that if you somehow have 90% of Machado in a year or two, then maybe he isn't the guy.  But if the right guy is there, I would hope they'd try to get him a year early than a year late.  I hope it is at least being considered.

5

I'd prefer 1 year make good types and high dollar 1 year pitchers to flip.  Harper and Machado are intriguing but there's guys like Trout, Betts, Gregarious and Bogaerts available in the next 2 years as well as Gerrit Cole, Chris Sale, Madison Bumgarner and Rick Porcello.  Kikuchi made perfect sense partially because he's cheap, possibly under half the value he puts up.  If you're paying top dollar, get the right guy.

6
tjm's picture

. . . confuses me to no end. This is a "have" franchise, not a "have-not." Why we're shedding payroll and giving away players to do it makes no sense. I've quit trying to figure out what DiPo's plan is - I don't think he has one.

I completely agree that acquiring a long term asset now when the market seems to be suppressed makes perfect sense. An infield of Narvaez-Seager-Machacdo-Gordon-(one of) Healy/Vogs/Bruce could be quite good if we get the necessary bounce-backs. OF of Haniger-Smith-Santana is good without bounce-backs. So the offense could be slightly above league average. Frontline pitching (especially with Gray) would be solid, not spectacular, but good enough to fill time til the prospects are ready. Bullpen is still a mess but that in some ways is the easiest to fix. (I'm not going to mention it wouldn't need to be fixed if DiPo hadn't broken it. Wait, I just did, didn't I?) 

Machado fits at SS for three years then moves to 3rd where he is a virtual doppleganger for Beltre for the second half of his career.

8

I got 69.36 million for Cano, Segura, Paxton, Nicasio, Zunino, Erasmo, Vincent, Cruz, in '18 vs. 53.36 million for E3, Bruce, Swarzak, Kikuchi, Gearrin, Beckham and D Santana plus 12 million going to Cano/Segura/Span/C Santana in '19 contracts. That's looking like 4 million in savings, with quick and dirty math.

Many of the returning players will get pay raises this year anyway and that's ignoring bonuses that are prevalent in Kikuchi and LeBlanc contracts.  2019 payroll could already turn out higher than 2018.

9

Fangraphs just had Haniger as the 75th best bat in the game.  75.

He’s really good, not indespensable.  

Unless we sell the house for Machado or Harper, we’re not locking in a WC threat in ‘19.  I have no problem doing a Seager early-bid with Haniger right now.  But if that isn’t happening, we should shop him about and see what we can get.  LA Remains a logical partner. 

Haniger is way nice.  His trade haul may be way nicer in ‘21.

10

I'm not crazy about signing Manny Machado, based on what I've read and heard about him, and what I saw through the 2018 playoffs. I read Dipoto and others indicating thqat MItch Haniger is "a high=character guy". That means a lot to me:

First, as the veteran presence, whose attitude to the game and to life is rubbing off on all these prospects in whom we're investing;

Second because I'd rather lay down my hard=earned cash to go watch someone whose values I admire, than someone who is self-centered and negatuve. 

I'm still "all in" on swapping Haniger for some of the Braves' talent- a couple of RHSPs, Christian Pache and a RHRP, say- or swap in a promissing SS and C. But not if the freed-up funds get spent to acquire M Machado. I want to acquire guys that I feel good about rooting for!

11

Yeah. Who needs Manny Ramirez when you can have Willie Bloomquist at the plate?

Just kidding, SonicBOOM. I actually feel the same way as you all things being remotely equal. 

12

Daddy, yes! A roster full of WTB's! [jk]

Certainly we can push any principle beyond its usefulness. BUt, as you say- other factors being roughly equivalent- I'll take the guy I can rooot for, vs. the guy who makes my teeth crinkle up when he speak with the media (or, runs past first base). 

By thw way- Mariners have a new candidate for "Best Baseball Name Ever"! What does everyone think of Josh Stowers for Shed Long? (You didn't REALLY think Jerry was gonna sit tight on his existing roster- or, go more than two weeks without a trade- did you?! 

I think he's working hard to swap E3- guessing he's also hoping for a call from AA, of the A Braves, with an attractive offer for Mitch. (Sad that he's worth more to us "dead" than "alive"!)

13

I like my $200 million franchise players to slug at least .500.  Haniger had a better year last year than Machado.  So did Boomstick.  That's aside from the rumored character issues and the extreme price tag. Not sure I'd trade the two straight up, even with the new outfielders.

14

Lightning stroke from the LH side. Used to play C. We might be able to UTIL him for a strong bat to play like Mark McLemore. Or settle in at 2B, switch to LF. Really like this bat aside from the moderate C the Z issues. I think I posted about him here a couple years ago with some video. Sometimes the velocity off his bat looks like he's hitting a rubber ball. Hopefully he can keep the K's under control. Easy guy to root for, one of my favorite M's now along with Vogelbach!

18

I think Moe was the one. If G-Money is on the expert side of the prospect knowledge spectrum, I am on the opposite. Me, I focus on the big league roster. If a young kid comes up to that roster, that's when I normally start paying attention. Hey, it saves a whole lotta worryin'.

21

....suggesting the possible Dodger trade nexus.  It still exists.  They want to add a RHB to the lineup, with Pollock perhaps the FA favorite, if they can trade Joc Pederson.  I could see a trade where we, by adding elements, get Pederson and Verdugo. 

Fangraphs has their Mariner ZIPS projections up:  https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2019-zips-projections-seattle-mariners/

But you can shortcut it, if you're interested in predictions for our booming bats , by just checking below.  I've listed them from highest projected to lowest projected OPS:

Haniger:      .261-.331-.456  .787

Encarnacion: .235-.333-.445  .778

Vogelbach:   .248-.352-.421  .774

Santana:      .231-.324-.430  .754

Seager:        .246-.305-.427  .732

Bruce:          .233-.303-.427  .730

Healy:          .251-.287-.430  .717

They are bullish on Vogelbach, somewhat bullish (anticipating a small bounce) on Seager and Healy, neutral on Santana, and basically bearish on everybody else, especially Haniger and Bruce.  ZIPS clearly prefers Vogs over Bruce and Healy.

22

I prefer Vogue myself but feel that SLG would be disappointing.  I would like to believe in his age 25 AAA .290/.434/.545/.979 line as a high water mark or at least potentially approachable.  Encarnacion had lived in .500 SLG land for 6 years until last year's drop to .246/.336/.474/.810.  Dropping further would not be unprecedented but neither would a slight or moderate bounce.  Santana had 3 straight years with a better line until his time got reduced last year at 25.  Still that's similar to last years stats which leaves a lot of room for helium.  Healy I could see going either way easier than the rest which I see as more likely to top the projection. 

Haniger will clear .500 SLG over this entire season and not be the only Mariner to do so. 

23

The Haniger pessimism seems a bit extreme.  Over 1100 PA.s and 2 seasons, Haniger has shown himself to be an .850 bat, slugging .490.  

24

Shout out to Moe, for spottungvthe pRallel opportunity: Haniger (or E3? or Healy) to the Freeway-Dodgers, in desperate need of RHHs.

Daddy- I'm just the opposite: I root for "the kids" from when they are drafted/signed up through the ranks of the minors. By the tine they are signing their $250M, 10-year contracts, I lose them interest: I can't relate anymore! So I'll be watching the likes of Dunn and Kelenic, Lewis and Gilbert, even Raleigh and Honeyman and Casetta-Stubbs, with great fascination, this season!

26

It must mean that the Dodgers are very confident that they can pull off a Joc Pederson trade.  Betcha we hear of one soon.

It also means (IMHO) that the Dodgers would have jumped all over a Haniger (who is a better bat than Pollock) for Pederson + trade, or one for Verdugo +.  I'm not sure they would have done both together, as I think about it, as Verdugo + would be a decent haul for us and then they would have still had Pederson (who has value) to swap out.

Hmmmmm?

Also, the M's have just signed former giant reliever Hunter Strickland.  I like this get, a lot.  Strickland walks guys (thus the higher WHIP) but he doesn't give up a bunch of hits and he keeps the ball inside the park.  His ERA always runs better than his FIP, because he doesn't give up many homers.  Last year's ERA may look like a bit of a tumble, but really the difference between '18 and '17 was one home run. 

He will have been signed for a decently cheap rate, and we may be able to jettison him (as he remains arb eligible) pretty easily.  Likely, however, we're not just giving him a one year contract.  Have yet to see the cost.  But I like this.

Oops:  Looks like it is a one-year deal.

27

After a flurry of activity in November and early December, Jerry has gone quiet (for Jerry). I'm guessing that, now that the music has stopped, his roster is different from what he was aiming for. In particular, I'm sure he felt he could flip E3 to TB or the Twins, and play some combination of Healy/Vogs/Bruce at 1B/DH. I believe he intended to carry Dee Gordon, who seems to be the team enthusiast and "big brother" to all the new recruits; I expect he's happy to see Kyle Seager re-establish his value through at least some of 2019. I suspect that Leake and E3 will be available to the highest (soonest) bidder. 

There are so many free agents, still floating around; I don't know that Jerry will have much opportunity to shift any more high-priced veterans!

28

To flip Encarnacion, we're going to have to buy down a big bite of his salary and then the return will still be marginal.  We might get a youngish relief arm, MLB ready, and something in the low minors.  We are not making a haul for him now. 

It might get better if we keep him until July, but you're still looking at a limited, mostly AL market.

30

His theory is based on how far a 10-year old can throw a football.  Ten year olds have hands somewhat smaller than Tom Brady.  And how much of an impartial scientist is a kid who says he hates Tom Brady and then designs a study that proves it.  And peer (10-year old) review is likely unreliable, too.  The school’s Science Fair review committee should be replaced!  :)     Probably Kansas City fans.  

Go Tom Brady!

Everybody else is fighting for a historical 2nd Place.  

31

Ah, c'mon moe. Give the kid a break. Besides, Tom Brady is...is...a nincompoop. A very talented one, but a nincompoop nonetheless. Go Rams!

:)

33

Lookout Landing lists Joe Rizzo, 3B, as the M's 27th best prospect but points out that the power imagined from his frame (he was drafted in the 2nd Round, out of HS) just hasn't developed.  I wondered why and went looking for some video.

Here you go:  Two examples of his stroke from HS and the summer after:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B9fSzlxipY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhFVU_nF4Vw

And here's a couple from his time with the M's Modesto farm team, last summer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfCVAogZUy8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqeClyHJi_U

He's dramatically lowered his hands at the plate and it looks like his stroke has become very "arm-y" and out of rhythm.  I like his HS stroke a great deal more.  It seem like he gets  much more hip explosion  and bat speed.

Anyway.....for your veiwing enjoyment.

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