May 13, 2004

What to do with the M's?

The Beloved Mariners are 12-22 right now, 10.5 games out of first place, and now sporting their 3rd(?!?) 5-game losing streak. How much longer does this keep going? In the next couple of weeks, the M’s brass will have to make the decision: do we keep going or do we make radical changes. Even people who thought this team would contend knew that it was just about the last hurrah for this rather aged team. So what do we do?

Blow it up.

Check that: Blow it up real good. This team has been good but not great for too long now, and the slide is upon us. We need to be (to use a term I hate) pro-active about it.

The Keepers
He is the face of the franchise, and its most popular player. I can’t imagine the M’s ever trading him.

This comes with a caveat though. Edgar should be able to do what he wants. If a contender wants him come this June, the M’s should ask him if he wants the trade. He’s been the good soldier long enough, if he decides he wants to end his career somewhere else, so be it.

Joel Piniero
He’s a good, young and relatively cheap arm. Joel is struggling right now, but he’ll snap out of it. He’d bring a good return, but its not worth it.

Rafael Soriano
Much like Piniero, Soriano has struggled all season, but he’s young, cheap and talented. I would love to see him in the rotation, but it looks like he’ll end up a closer.

Gil Meche
Again, the team should keep a young and relatively cheap pitcher. I’m a huge Gil Meche fan, and I keep him just to see how he turns out. If he stays healthy, you have a gem.

The Kid Pitchers
JJ Putz, Travis Blackely, George Sherrill, Bobby Madritsch, Clint Nagoette…. All these guys should make the debuts this summer. Let us see what we’ve got. So far, Putz looks like he’s worth keeping.

Valuable Chits:
Eddie Guaradado
Maybe the best trade bait on the team. As a free agent signing, he can’t be traded until June 1st, but they should be lining up to get him. Eddie is a very nice player, but a left-handed closer really isn’t a priority any longer. USS Mariner had the right idea: send him back to Minnesota and get Michael Cuddyer as a very nice return. Switch him back to third and Viola! The Mariners actually have a young and talented bat in the lineup.

Freddy Garcia
I have never understood the desire to run Freddy out of town. Has he struggled? Yes, of course he has. His price tag has gone up too. I just find it difficult to justify getting rid of a 28-year old pitcher who entered the season with 72 wins and lifetime ERA under 4.00. I am a realist though, and it’s obvious the team isn’t planning on keeping him. He should bring some value.

Brett Boone
Boonie might edge out Ichiro as the teams most popular player, but a 35-year old 2B who makes $11 million is a luxury a rebuilding team does not need. I remember laughing at someone’s season preview (I think it was Hardball Times, but I can’t find it) stating that Boone could end up a Yankee. Well, the Yankees best prospect is Dioner Navarro, and catcher is a huge weakness in the system. Maybe it’s a start.

Randy Winn
Winn is off to a terrible start, and his defense in center has been atrocious, but he is a player who does a lot well. He would be a nice fit (hopefully in left, for his sake) for a team looking to add speed.

Everyone else falls into the same category: Very available but not very valuable. I believe Moyer and Dan Wilson qualify as 5 and 10 players, and therefore can deny any trade. The various other bullpen parts like Hasagawa, Villone, and Myers may have takers, especially after the All-Star break, but those deals would be minor. Ibanez, Speizio and Olerud are overpriced for their output and any deals involving them would probably mean the Mariners eating some contract. As with Everyday Eddie, Ibanez and Speizio cannot be traded until after June 1st. Rich Aurillia has been so terrible, both at bat and in the field; it would be very difficult to trade him for anything beyond additional bad contracts. Spare parts like Cabrera and Wee Willie are always available on the waiver wire.

The Mariners are terrible so far this year. Worse, they’re old too. Stripping the team down might get some valuable parts. Honestly, why wouldn’t they do this? To keep an aging team together longer? What is the point? What really worries me is the guy who assembled this team would be in charge of reassembling it.

Posted by Frinklin at May 13, 2004 06:00 PM
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