It’s official; the Seattle Mariners have signed free-agent Jason Bay to a one-year contract for $1,000,000. Bay, previously an outfielder for the New York Mets will receive $500,000 if he winds up dispatched to the minor leagues. Bay comes off a season where he batted .234/.318/.369 for the Mets. The Mariners plan to use Bay as a designated hitter option.
The 34-year old is hoping that signing with the Mariners will be the fresh start he needs. For the past three seasons, he has struggled with the Mets, including spending more than a full season’s worth of games out of the lineup due to injury. In the past season, he batted .165/.237/.299 with 215 at-bats, 8 home runs, and 20 RBI.
“I am glad we were able to put this together and bring Jason back to the Northwest to continue his baseball career. This is a good opportunity for Jason as well as the Seattle Mariners.” Jack Zduriencik said according to the official Mariners release statement. “Jason has a history of being a productive Major League player and has participated in postseason play. We look forward to adding his experience to our young group of players.”
“Jason is a gritty, talented player with a winning attitude,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge in the same statement. “We know he has a passion for the game and we are looking forward to having him on the field whenw e get things going in a few months in Peoria.”
While Bay’s recent stats suggest he leaves something to be desired among ball players, historically Bay has been quite the sportsman. He is a three-time All-Star in the National League and American League – playing in 2005 and 2006 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and in 2009 with the Boston Red Sox. Over his career starting with the San Diego Padres in 2003, Jason Bay has a combined hit average of .269 with 211 home runs. In 2009 he brought home the American League Silver Slugger Award after a 151 game career high of 36 home runs and 119 RBI.
The hope is that the Seattle Mariners will add to their offense with this slugger. In order to make room for Bay on the team, left-handed pitcher Mauricio Robles has been designated for assignment, giving the mariners 8 more days to trade, release, or outright Robles to the minor leagues.
Given the decline in the past three years Bay experienced while playing for the Mets, and the weak defense he demonstrated, many fans are worried that this team member may not hold up his end of the bargain. It would be awesome to see Bay embrace the DH role and help propel the Mariners into a series of much-needed wins.
Do you think that Bay will perform well for the Mariners? Was this the right decision for the Seattle team to build up its team? Post your thoughts in the comments.
There has been a lot of talk surrounding the Mariners at the Winter Meetings. In fact, I’d say we are one of, if not the most talked about team in Nashville. The team is being linked to almost every hitter there is, and that’s not really surprising.
This is, talk is cheap. Now, I am confident Jack Z is doing everything within his power to add a bat. I can picture him running around Nashville like a crazy person, phone in hand, knocking on peoples doors, some that have nothing to do with the MLB. Unfortunately, activity does not always guarantee success. We all know how hard it is to lure hitters here, and that Jack and company will have to overpay to get someone here.
But at least we know he is trying, and that’s all we can ask for.
I am pretty neutral on this deal. I am all for reclamation projects, but I am not a fan of the guaranteed, major league contract that he was given. I am not sure that he has a chance to be much better than Casper Wells, who is the current 4th outfielder.
If other moves, hopefully for a real hitter, are made, then I have no problem with this move. But if he is the big signing for the offseason, I won’t be too happy.
Anyway, back to the rumors.
I am a fan of a move for Morse, but I don’t feel that he is the instant fix either. He has played mostly left field for Washington, but is not very good at there, and fits better as a 1st baseman who you can throw in a corner outfield spot if you need to.
There’s no doubt in my mind that he can hit however, as seen in his .303/.360/.550, .390 wOBA, 148 wRC+ line in 2011. That was his only full season, as he battled injuries last year, and didn’t get a ton of playing time in 2010. But even in those seasons he put up .340 wOBA/113 wRC+ and .377 wOBA/134 wRC+ in those seasons respectively.
I think he makes more sense coming in with a Swisher, Hamilton or Upton (who I will talk about later on), but by himself wouldn’t be too bad either. Washington is said to be seeking bullpen help, so if he could be had for one of Carter Capps or Stephen Pryor and a prospect not named James, Danny, Nick or Taijuan, I think Jack should jump all over it.
Hamilton is a guy who has grown on me. That may sound strange considering I am talking about a superstar, but I was really worried about him. And in many ways I still am. I am not a fan of him on more than a 5 year deal, and for no more than $25 million a year.
But I am now hoping the Mariners offer him just that. It is obvious now that you are going to have to overpay no matter what. So you might as well overpay for a star. Id rather give an MVP 5/125 than someone like the recently signed Shane Victorino 3/$39 million.
I also think that if you are going to go for it, then you should get another guy like Morse in addition to Hamilton. As great as he is, I think this team may be a little more than one bat away from competing, especially if the Rangers trade for Upton.
It makes a lot of sense to me. Swisher is an above average hitter, and can play both right field and 1st, which are our biggest holes on the team. He is a guy that is going to give you a .265/.365/.475 line year in and year out. Now, he is turning 32 this year, and would most likely command a 4-5 year deal, so its probably necessary to assume a small decline from that as time passes.
But his ability to draw walks and get on base is the best part of his game, and that’s very encouraging for aging guys. Plate discipline is something that tends to stick around, unlike speed and things of that nature. Even if he isn’t the best contact guy, he should continue to get on base, and provide at least 20-25 home run power for the next few years.
That, combined with the fact that he plays slightly above average defense at the team’s two weakest positions make him my favorite option. Like Hamilton, it is always best to get another bat through trade to come along with him, but he would be okay by himself.
If he can come here a 4/62, I think he makes the most sense out of anyone.
He does not make much sense to me at all. He is essentially Franklin Gutierrez mixed with 2010 Chone Figgins, and that’s not an exaggeration. He is one of the best defensive center fielders in the league (Guti) and gets most of his offensive production from his speed and decent on base ability.
If you compare Bourn’s 2012 to Figgins’s 2009, or the year before he signed here, it is scarily similar. But what’s even scarier is that Figgins was better. In 2012 Bourn hit .273/.348/.391 compared to .298/.395/.393 for Figgins. Figgins also bested him in WAR at 6.9 vs 6.4.
There is no guarantee that Bourn follows the same path, but I would argue that it is likely. Players that rely heavily, or solely in Bourn’s case, on speed, they tend to decline. I don’t think that is what Seattle needs. They need bats, and Bourn really doesn’t fit that mold, especially at $15 million a year like he will get.
If he were to come in with Upton or Butler, then I can see it. But even then, I don’t think he would be too much of an upgrade over what we have. It would be a poor use of money, and I think we would see Figgins 2.0.
Finally, there are still some Justin Upton rumors, but they have cooled down, at least involving the Mariners. It looks like the Diamondbacks and Indians are looking for an Upton-Asdrubal Cabrera trade, but need another team, or three.
So far it’s sounding like the Royals, Rangers and Rays are those other three teams and there are reports that deals have already been put into place. It is looking very unlikely that Upton will come to Seattle.
However, there have been reports that Seattle is interested in shortstop Dee Gordon. The only, and I mean ONLY, logical explanation for that is that Jack is trying to put together a package for Upton, knowing that Arizona wants a shortstop.
The problem with that is that Dee Gordon is awful. He is a below average hitter now, and most likely will never be better than average. That, combined with his below average defense make for a very invaluable player. Without his speed, he would not be in the bigs.
The Mariners have no use for him with a better version of him in Brenden Ryan, and Nick Franklin is not too far away.
Its a confusing and frustrating time. It is particularly frustrating to me because a lot of the rumors we are hearing are not very good moves as is. A move for Gordon is a waste. Bourn is not valuable to a team looking for power. We just have to stick it out and hope for the best.
The Baseball Winter Meetings, worthy of capitalization, began today in Nashville. Among other activities, owners and GMs hang out and talk about signing and flipping assets. Assets being players in this case. Jonah Keri of Grantland wrote a piece about which 10 teams are most likely to “make a splash.” Regardless of how you define “making a splash,” the Mariners are on the list as they should be.
I would guess that each team’s fans want to “make a splash” in some way. Splashes are exciting, and more often than not, splashes bring with them more winning. But there are certain teams that should be more into splashes, and the Mariners are one of those teams.
It really comes down to a cost-benefit analysis. Splashes cost money, but provide benefits in terms of wins, and wins lead to playoffs (sometimes). Wins and playoffs lead to more revenue, and the splash cycle can restart with more juice. But there’s a catch. Five more wins for the Houston Astros or New York Yankees does not provide the same benefit as five more wins for an average team. One of those teams mentioned will not make the playoffs, and one of those teams will (probably) make the playoffs, no matter what splashes are signed.
But now think about a team like Seattle. Without any signings, Seattle’s expectation is probably about 75-to-80 wins. But as the A’s and O’s of 2012, along with the Mariners of 2010, have shown us is that variation in baseball is high. A good team expected to win 85 or 90 games can wind up with just 60, and some mediocre teams expected to win 75 can win 90+ and make the playoffs. That’s the variance of baseball, so consider these theoretical numbers.
1) Results from last year suggest that a team needs at least 88 wins to make the playoffs.
2) Say the Mariners are expected to win 77 games, plus-or-minus 10 games. 67 to 87 wins.
Though these are theoretical expectations so far, we can see that if they are true, the Mariners are unlikely to make the playoffs. If this were, for instance, a 95% prediction interval, then the M’s essentially would have a 2.5% chance of making the playoffs. Now let’s give Josh Hamilton to the Mariners, and increase their expectation by 5 wins, to 82. Now the range of expectation sits at 72 to 92, and a chunk of that expectation lives in Playoffs Land, which is inhabited by Revenue Fairies. This would increase the M’s playoff chances substantially, perhaps to 15 or 20%. Just think if we added both Hamilton and Edwin Jackson
In this scenario, the benefits of players like Hamilton, Justin Upton, Jackson, or whomever very well could outweigh the financial/asset burden in the near future. I’m not prepared to discuss the future beyond 2013, but I can argue strongly that the M’s are in prime position to make the most of free-agent signings because of their proximity to the “playoff bubble.” The Astros and Yankees are probably far from the playoff bubble, and should not make major changes. The Mariners are extremely close to the playoff bubble, and should take this opportunity to push themselves over the edge. Whether they sign free agents with monetary costs, or trade for MLB-ready talent with asset costs, now is a strategic time to maximize the benefits for our beloved Seattle Mariners.
It’s no secret that the Seattle Mariners are in big need of some strong offense. General Manager Jack Zduriencik is very active at the 2012 winter MLB meetings in Nashville, Tennessee.
Rumor has it that there are three prospects for pitchers for the Seattle team: Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, and Taijuan Walker who may be up for trade when the Mariners go batter-hunting. While the Mariners do have some funds freed up to pick up a free agent this year, they may still need to pull some trade strings to get someone who will work hard for their team. It boils down to a big decision for the Mariners’ team management: Trade away young, unproven prospects for players that have shown their stuff or spend more money on their payroll for the roster.
With attendance falling, and confidence in the team low, the pressure is on for Zduriencik to build a team that can compete. A lot more than bringing in the walls at SafeCo Field is necessary in order to develop a winning team. The question is, will the team be able to gain the members it needs in order to compete against big-budget teams like the New York Yankees?
If the Oakland Athletics could pull out of a slump to become the AL West Champions this past year under the logic put forth by the Billy Beane Moneyball tactics that changed the face of baseball, perhaps the Mariners need to start thinking in an out-of-the box way as well.Who will get on base, and more importantly, once on base, who will be able to get home for the all-important score?
Some of the players the Mariners are rumored to be interested in include:
- Josh Hamilton
- Justin Upton
- Mike Napoli
- Nick Swisher
- Cody Ross
- Ryan Ludwick
- Mark Reynolds
- Garrett Jones
A lot of this will be contingent upon how much the M’s are able to put forward financially and who they are willing to trade for the various players on their wish list. What do you think the beloved Seattle team should be looking at in order to get to a pennant win in the 2013 season?
Tags: 2013 Season, Baseball General, Danny Hultzen, featured, Jack Zduriencik, Major League Baseball, Oakland Athletics, Popular, Safeco Field, Seattle, seattle mariners, Trade Theorys, winter meetings
We got the Winter Meetings going on this weekend and as you hear mentioned consistently by just about every media news source this is often a place where the ground work for the “big” off-season deals begins to be laid. JJ Putz, Cliff Lee both deals started at this point and while one was consummated here and one wasn’t both get their roots from here.
I’ll be honest and a bit of a buzz kill I really still am not sold that any “big” really happens this off-season. While it certainly is appealing considering the state of the roster it just doesn’t make sense with the large amount of question marks facing this team. From Justin Smoak and Mike Carp to Franklin Gutierrez and Casper Wells. Not to mention Alex Liddi, Trayvon Robinson, Kyle Seager and Adam Moore.
As I pointed out earlier Greg Johns highlighted a few Jack Zduriencik quotes he also made out a sort of shopping list for the team. I figured I’d throw out a few thoughts on the list.
Tags: Bobby LaFromboise, Brendan Ryan Luis Rodriguez, brian moran, Casper Wells, Cesar Jimenez, Dexter Fowler, erik bedard, kevin millwood, Michael Saunders, Munenori Kawasaki, nick franklin, Off-Season, Seth Smith, Travis Snider, Will Venable, winter meetings
First off, I’ll just make a list of all the players that the Mariners have been in some way linked to over the last two days: Koji Uehara, Matt Diaz, Rich Harden, Gregg Zaun, Eric Chavez, Hideki Matsui, Jack Cust, Miguel Olivo, Luis Valbuena, Josh Willingham, Mark Hendrickson, Jorge Cantu, Kevin Gregg, and Dennys Reyes.
That should be a pretty good representation of why you shouldn’t pay attention to every rumor you here – the fact is, the smart front offices are likely to “kick the tires”, on pretty much everyone out there. How else are you going to make sure you’re evaluating all of your options? That’s why I’m only going to expand on some of these names.
Matt Diaz – The Mariners could really use another decent outfielder, and Diaz might be a fit. He’s 32 years old, and only one year removed from a .384 wOBA, .390 OBP season. As for defense, he projects as something like an average fielder left or right field. We know how much trouble Michael Saunders has with lefties, so it might not be a bad idea to bring in a RH outfielder to platoon him with.
Rich Harden – After being awful and unhealthy with the A’s in 2010, Harden would likely come at a much cheaper price than he did a year ago. He’s as fragile as ever, but I doubt that the talent is gone. Potential for a low risk, high reward move here.
Gregg Zaun – Even at nearly 40 years old, Gregg Zaun is still a decent backup catcher. He missed most of 2010 with injury issues, but prior to that he had been a pretty consistently average hitter who can draw some walks. From what I’ve heard, the interest is mutual here, and I’m sure the team would love to bring in a veteran backup for Adam Moore, so don’t be surprised if this is a deal that happens.
Miguel Olivo – Pass. Terrible fit for Safeco Field, terrible plate approach.
Luis Valbuena – If you remember Luis Valbuena, it’s probably because he was part of the 2008 trade that brought Franklin Gutierrez to Seattle. He was a decent middle infield prospect at the time of the trade, though since heading to Cleveland he’s been absolutely awful. He is, however, still only 25 years old, and there’s no doubt that the talent is there. The team would likely bring him in as a stopgap at second base, and if he could succeed in that role, they’d have a nifty, young infielder.
We also signed 17-year-old Dominican shortstop Esteilon Peguero to a $2.9 million deal. Jay Yencich’s write up on him is here, and it sounds like he’s an excellent offensive talent.
No other moves yet, but I’ve got a good feeling about tomorrow.