Roundtable on Sandy's 2010 Roster, II

FLIP:  The top two specs in the org are a 1B and a 3B.  If you transition Branyan to DH, and actually give him some days off to avoid fatigue injuries, then you get your top two specs learning during the season you EXPECT will be the transition to true contender.  You use the Beltre savings to try and get Felix signed long-term, WHILE STILL ENTHUSED ABOUT 2009.

CHOP:  Again 3rd-order thinking on Felix :- ) and Sandy's saying, hey, don't worry if Tui and Carp don't come through in 2010.  It's the cost of building a contender anyway.

If you're high on Carp that is reasonable -- so is Zduriencik -- but I have serious reservations.  In 2009 the ball "clonked" off his bat and left me alarmed.  Maybe Carp's un-lively bat is precisely the reason the Mets were so ready to cough up a LH with such a good EYE as just one piece in a deal for a questionable reliever?

I put Tui and Ackley, along with Triunfel, firmly in the "blue chip" category; I put Saunders and Moore in the "very likely to get 2,500 AB's in the majors" category; healthy, I'm more interested in Dennis Raben than in Carp.

The point is, I'm not putting this kind of priority on Carp, though Jack Zduriencik is doubtless closer to Sandy's position than I am :- )



FLIP:  Tentative 2010 roster:

  • CA -- Moore/Johnson - (trade Joh ... please)

  • 1B -- Branyan/Carp

  • 2B -- Lopez

  • 3B -- Tui  (or swap with Lopez)

  • SS -- J.Wilson (is that a hedge, or what?)

  • LF -- Saunders

  • CF -- Gutz

  • RF -- Ichiro

  • DH -- Carp/Branyan

  • bench - Sweeney RH - DH

  • Langerhans - 4th OF

  • J.Wilson -- IF backup (but it'll probably be Hall)

CHOP:  One thing I don't get here.  Where's the payroll? :- )

We've subtracted $20M at 3b and C, and added nobody?   Jack pulled off the miracle, moved Joh, and we go with what's left?

If Felix signs a big deal, he's not going to make more than arb money ($10-12M) for the 2010 season.  Branyan does have to be paid -- a raise from $1.4M to (say) $6M.   That's $12M of the $20M.   But what about subtracting Washburn's deal and all that?


I hope the M's self-imposed salary cap is screwed on as tightly as this, that even if you move Johjima, you go status quo.  But maybe it is. 



FLIP:  In truth, it would've been easier for Z if the club HAD only gone 77-85, so the temptation to do another Bedard maneuver wouldn't be out there.  Moore, Carp, Tui, Saunders.  All four of these guys got some September ABs, and if you're thinking World Series, you need all four to blossom in 2010.  The odds are strongly against that result.  But, where do you gamble, and who do you tell they need another year in AAA?

CHOP:  Agree with the broad point here...

Let me quibble a bit.   The M's in 2009 were about .500.  To add nine wins, you'd need nice steps forward from 3-4 positions.








LF ...

Tui / Moore / Carp / Saunders -- I'd say it's more a 8-to-make-3 situation than a 4-to-make-4 situation.

But yeah.  Big strides forward occur when at least three players step forward beyond any regressions from the year before. 


FLIP:  IMO, 2010 is a perfect season for getting a realistic read on your near-ready talent.  But, to get a true read, you need to give these guys 300-400 chances, playing full time.  THEN, maybe you'll figure out which guys are really going to continue posting 1/5 eye ratios, and must be replaced.  Wlad got 430 PAs with Seattle before they sent him packing.

CHOP:  Here is where Sandy's Bobby Cox compass comes into clear view.  Makes perfect sense.    



FLIP:  So, this off-season, the choice of trading or dipping into the FA market ... those decisions all have ramifications for those juicy, near-ready prospects:  Moore, Carp, Tui, Saunders, (you could include Johnson and Ackley if you wish).  And what about guys like Halman and Triunfel?...

CHOP:  As above, Sandy brings into focus Capt Jack's big problem here -- he's got to weigh now-vs-later decisions despite the fact that he may not know that much about the "later" guys.

I think this accurately captures a major challenge for Zduriencik -- making the career-defining calls on players he didn't choose and is just getting to know.

It isn't roto, and you don't get to just re-rack the next year.  Zduriencik gets maybe one or two "generations" of young guys coming in, to make the right calls.

And still nobody has explained to me why Jack Hannahan played first base on Sunday :- )


Dr D



I will again post my payroll figures and beg the posters to tell me where I'm wrong:
Ichiro: 12.0 mil (the rest is deferred! guys...)
King Felix ~12.0 mil
Carlos Silva: 11.5 mil
Kenji Johjima: 8.0 mil
Erik Bedard: ~8.0 mil (assuming extension)
Russell Branyan: ~7.5 mil
Ian Snell: 4.25 mil
Franklin Gutierrez: 3.0 mil
Bill Hall: ~3.0 mil that we have to pay
Jose Lopez: 2.3 mil
David Aardsma: ~1.5 mil
Mike Sweeney: ~1.0 mil
Ryan Rowland-Smith: ~0.8 mil
Mark Lowe: ~ 0.8 mil
Brandon Morrow: ~0.75 mil
Ryan Langerhans: 0.6 mil
Jack Wilson: 0.6 mil buyout
Subtotal: 81.6 million
League Minimum earners who will be paid ~0.4 mil each:
Adam Moore
Rob Johnson
Mike Carp
Matt Tuiasosopo
Dustin Ackley
Jack Hannahan
Michael Saunders
Josh Wilson
Jason Vargas
Luke French
Chris Jakubauskas
Doug Fister
Sean White
Shawn Kelley
Nick Hill
That's 6 million more.
So I've spent ~ 88 mil on a 100 mil payroll.  Why can't we buy a couple of mid-priced free agents to plug holes again?

Sandy - Raleigh's picture

No, I didn't mention FA dollars.  I also didn't mention pitching.  My attempt was to more or less set up a starting point template from where Jack likely begins.  Even at that, I made assumptions, (like Beltre gone -- the Wilson twins back -- maybe trading Joh). 
I was trying not to lobby for a particular decision tree - but primarily attempting to point out that whatever decisions are made will be without perfect knowledge.  Doc is weak on Carp.  If he's GM, then he's likely thinking 1B/DH for trade or FA fishing.  But, Doc has already noted that this is *HIS* read on what he thinks this guy can do.  Lopez got 20 HRs in the final 4 months of the season.  Many felt he was a lost cause back in 2007.  Imperfect knowledge is the key here.  With prospects it is ALWAYS "best guess" with emphasis on guess.
Yes, there is room to replace any one of those prospects with a mid-level FA.  But which one?  Say Beltre walks, and the club signs ... Troy Glaus, (I'm just sayin').  Tui heads back to AAA.  How much does Glaus actually help the club in terms of competing for a title in 2010?  I dunno.  Z doesn't know.  Tui *might* be as productive as Glaus as a rookie. 
Or, if you go out and get the sabrdrool Dunn.  You putting him in LF and sending Saunders back down?  Or, do you return Carp to AAA, (which REALLY makes that whole Putz deal troubling)?  Maybe you gamble on flipping Branyan over to 3B, which shoves Tui back into the minors.  There's lots and lots of options -- but whatever choice you make is based on guessing which prospects are MLB-ready.
The rotation and bullpen are once again another mountain of macaroni to sling at the wall.  Felix and RRS and Snell are probably pretty safe based on performance and investment.  But investment makes Silva a likely returnee to the rotation.  But, given the sheer number of AAAA arms in the fold, doing a many-for-one salary-relief trade with a poor club sounds like a plan.  Or, maybe you spend more dollars on getting Bedard back on a 1-year.
A rotation of: Felix, Bedard, RRS, Snell, Silva doesn't leave room for Fister or Morrow.  Okay, Fister was just a late season surprise, so giving him some more AAA time isn't a big deal, perhaps.  But, it's really getting time to either commit or cut ties with Morrow.  Are you really going to put French, Olson and Vargas ALL in the pen? 
If I'm GM, given the sheer number of players with uncertain production, I would lean toward maintaining as much payroll flexibility as I could for MID-SEASON trading.  By July 31, hopefully you've got a read on which prospects are likely to succeed, and who you need to move.  And if you hold onto that 8-12 million of payroll flex, then come July, you may be in a stronger position to deal for need than the competition who already maxed out their budget. 
My lineup is not a proposal of what should be done - but just a starting point for jumping off in whichever direction seems best.  The complexity is not in the choice of going after this FA or that FA.  The complexity is in juggling all of these REAL PEOPLE fighting their hardest for a job.  Branyan and Gutz and Aardsma blossomed.  Cedeno, YuBet, Wlad crumbled. 
The next decisions are harder.  As the talent pool in the organization grows, the ramifications of each choice will have greater ripple effects across the franchise.  In 2009, there were many choices where winning was almost guaranteed.  (Hard not to do better than Sexson and Vidro and Feierabend).  As the bottom run on the totem changes from a .500 hitter to a .650 hitter to a .700 hitter, the moves get harder and more riskly.  As the bottom pitchers go from having ERAs of 8.00 to 6.00 to 5.00, the choices get harder and riskier. 
14 team -- 4 get in.  It ain't easy to win in the majors, even if you are better than average.


with Doc-Sandy-Matt dialogue (trialogue?)
But, Doc, with due respect (all of which you have earned) please stop the "Jack Wilson is $8M" talk.  He knows he won't get $8M on the open market and the Ms know it too.  If he comes back, it will be because they negotiate a buyout of the option and an extension at close to market value.  Buying a one-year semi-solution for $8M and still not having anyone in the pipeline seems like the least likely outcome.  Buying a couple of years of stability at $4-6M per while Z seeks the SS version of Guti seems much more likely.
Speaking of which, a year ago no one was figuring that CF would be a non-issue and I don't recall loads of folks on the net saying "Z should really go out and get Franklin Gutierrez" -- but Z told the Mets he wouldn't pull the trigger w/o a CF and Guti was the one he wanted.
My guess is that Z knows now that SS is in a similar situation.  He knows Jack W. is not a long-term answer.  Much more likely than a one-year $8M option for Wilson is a "Putz-type" move with a "building block" SS as a part of it  -- and I anticipate that it would be Lopez or Morrow, or both, at the center from the Ms side.  (And I'm not trying to get rid of Lopez, I just think that's who they would move.)

Taro's picture

I like the idea of trading for players that can help you both now and in the future, like Z did with Gutierrez and Aardsma.
The Seth Smith, Dallas McPherson, etc types are worth pursuing, especially considering their cost, upside, and fit for Safeco.
I'm not a fan of Saunders considering we drafted Ackley and I feel it was a mistake to call him up from AAA in the first place (since it hurt his trade value). Carp isn't a guy I'd likely dedicate to as a starter just yet, but you'd like to seeif he has growth left in him in AAA. Tui is extremely interesting, but its easy to see the benefits of more time at AAA to get used to 2B and polish up that CT%.
Z's job is going to be to figure out who he believes in, give those dudes a shot, trade the excess for organizational needs, and then fill any extra holes with FAs. This is when we get to find out how good this guy actually is. :-)

Sandy - Raleigh's picture

Hannahan played 1B because Branyan was playing HALO.  :)

Sandy - Raleigh's picture

You note discomfort with Carp, because his hits are clunky.  Fair enough.  But, the problem for Captain Jack is this ...
Jose Lopez from '04 - '08 posted the following Isolated Power scores:
.135; .132; .123; .103; .146 -- that's 2,300+ PAs of assessment.  (.145 in the minors, btw)
In 2009, Lopez posted a .191 ISO.  From a sabr view, Lopez was VASTLY more clunky prior to 2009.
Carp shows a .168 ISO in the minors, and a .148 in his 65 MLB PAs. 
The super-duper huge problem is that players CHANGE.  Even if Carp is clunky "today", it does not mean he cannot have a hitting epiphany (or coaching tweak), that produces a major plateau jump in production like Lopez had in 2009. 
Does Z see a .200 ISO hitter in Carp, just waiting to blossom?  Does he think with one tweak Tui can improve his eye ratio by an order of magnitude?  These are the kind of things that good GMs have to be thinking about -- but the public never gets to hear about, (except after-the-fact success stories).  You might hear, "Oh, yeah, we knew that he had the inate potential to hit 30 HRs.  It was just a matter of unlocking it."  You never hear, "Well, we thought he was going to be a 30-HR guy, but we were just absoutely wrong.  (I recall speculation that Sean Burroughs was going to DEVELOP power some day.  Pity it was the power to press his remote control regularly).


But quite seriously, here's the difference:
When Lopez was posting low ISO's, I saw a guy feeling his way.
With Mike Carp, I don't see a guy feeling his way.  I see a guy with fully-developed pitcher stalking processes right now.  He waits for his pitch, and turns on it, the same way he's going to in 5 years.  And the ball still doesn't go anywhere.
I could be wrong.  That is my considered assessment of Mr. Carp.


You guys all seem fairly confident that Jack-Attack is going to just go, ok, 40% pay cut, no problem! 
You could be right and I hope you are.  Can you throw a couple of examples at me, of re-ups at -40%, recently?

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