Thursday, December 01, 2005

What to Do, What to Do (Part 3)!?!?!?!??!??

Well, it's taken me this long to throw together my thoughts on what the M's should do to build their 2006 club. Obviously my thoughts have changed quite a bit, mostly because of the actions that have already taken place, but also because of new discussions I've had around the blogs.

Without further adieu, I present my version of the 2006 M's. It includes what I believe is reasonable, as far as who the M's might actually be targeting, and at what cost.

I'll start with the offense:

1) RF Ichiro Suzuki (signed)
2) CF Jeremy Reed (signed)
3) LF Jeremy Burnitz (1 year, $4 million, with 2nd year team option for $4.5 million, $500K buyout. Lefty sock, decent OF that won't kill us, and could even be above average.)
4) 1B Richie Sexson (Signed)
5) 2B Jose Lopez (signed)
6) SS Yuniesky Betancourt (signed)
7) 3B Adrian Beltre (signed)
8) C Kenji Johjima (3-year deal $16.5 million total, 2006 salary: $5.1 million + incentives to bring to max of $5.5 million)
9) DH Raul Ibanez (signed)

10) Rene Rivera (signed)
11) Willie Bloomquist (signed through arbitration years: 2+ year $1.9-3.2 million total; $800 K in 2006; $1.1 million 2007; $1.3 million 2008 team option. His defensive ability in multiple positions and baserunning skills are indeed worth that much to me.)
12) Mike Morse (signed)
13) Shin-Soo Choo (signed)

I expect heavy criticism for "coveting" Burnitz. I don't like him, per se, but I do like him better than Jones. His defense is very solid, and a 90 point righty/lefty split in OPS (favoring righties vs. lefties), is MUCH more tolerable than a 215 point split. Then there's that whole contract length thing. No way Jones takes anything less than 3 years. Burnitz would jump at an option year, even if there's very little chance the M's exercise it. That would make it $4.5 million total for 2006 (since the option would be declined in 2006, in the M's funky accounting stuff it would count towards the 2006 budget and not 2007's ;-). That's a 10% pay cut over what he got from Chicago, and probably max what he gets. Even though he's in decline, he still could hit 30+ homers with 1/2 his games in lefty-hitter-friendly Safeco. That'll be double what we got out of LF in 2005, and, quite frankly, still more than what Jacque Jones (and platoon mate) would give ya -- with only a slight loss in defense.

I also know the bench still doesn't have much in the way of pinch hitting. Since Grover is convinced he needs a 12-man pitching staff, I don't see the M's doing much different here. My wildcard is Choo, who, really, I'm taking a total stab with here. I can see the M's getting a bench guy for Torrealba (who I'm assuming is traded before the season starts, hence listing Rivera on the bench), so Choo's spot is written in the lightest of pencil marks. Personally, I'd prefer Bohn, but he likely needs a full season in AAA before that happens.

Finally, I know with Part 1, I pretty firmly inked Torrealba in as the starter, but that was weeks before I knew about KJ as even a possibility (nevermind that I started this list with 10% of the season remaining). I obviously was wrong with Ojeda being his backup, too, but it was, in my opinion, closer to the 50.00000001% part of the "More Likely than Not."

Noticibly absent
: Greg Dobbs (Tacoma), Jamal Strong (leaves via minor league free agency). Bucky Jacobsen is already gone, and will not return. Please pray that he doesn't pull another David Arias on us (though at least we got something -- Dave Hollins -- for Arias).

Now on to the Pitching Staff

Starting Rotation (not in any order)
1) Felix Hernandez (signed)
2) Joel Pineiro (signed)
3) Jamie Moyer (1+ year deal; $3 million base, to reach $5 million with incentives; Team option 2nd year, same $5 million max, $500K buyout)
4) Kevin Millwood (4 years $45 million; 2006 salary: $8 million + $5 million signing bonus*; 2007-2009 salaries: $9, 11, 12 million team option, $1 million buyout)
5) Jeff Weaver (4 years, $32 million; 2006 salary: $5 million + $3 million signing bonus*; 2007-2009 salaries: $7, 8, 9 million team option, $750K buyout)

Bullpen (not in order)
6) Eddie Guardado (signed)
7) George Sherrill (signed)
8) Rafael Soriano (signed)
9) Jeff Harris (signed)
10) JJ Putz (signed)
11) Scott Atchison (signed)
12) Matt Thornton (signed)

AJ Burnett would be my first choice over Millwood. However, I see him getting 5+ years and at least $13 million per. The M's aren't going to spend that much on him. Considering Bavasi's amicable relationship with Boras, I see Boras sending two of his clients the M's way. Millwood, then, becomes the first target for the M's. It's not surprising at all to hear from Morosi, that indeed this is the case. I know the contracts are a little weird, and now to explain the signing bonuses (*). One thing that Lincoln has said is that the M's "close the books" from year to year. Money budgeted, but not spent, from one year does not, according to him, get carried into the next. However, he's also made it very clear that the M's owners do not pull profits out of the team -- that all the profits get poured back into the team. Interesting paradox, this is.

So, I'm throwing in some signing bonuses that could come out of 2006's budget, the leftovers of 2005 (since, if both of these guys sign in 2005, technically that's still 2005's budget, right?), or that secret "stash" of profits that they pull international signing fees and what have you out of. If you exclude the signing bonuses (yet include incentives, as the M's tend to do for public budgeting purposes), the total addition to payroll is $18 million for pitching and $9.1 for offense -- a total of ~$27 million.

Why Jeff Weaver? you ask... Well, I honestly believe Boras wants to give us two of his pitchers. I'm narrowing this down between Washburn and Weaver, and if given that choice, I'd take Weaver -- merely for durability's sake. Of course, if his client over in Japan does end up getting posted, for some unexpected reason, the M's will bid very, very highly for his services. Boras would know this, of course, at least as certainly as he can know it before picking out a nice pitcher from his portfolio. I'm about 90% confident, though, that Dice-K won't be posted this offseason. Maybe next year, when Moyer finally decides to hang 'em up...

As Choo is my 13th bat, and written in pencil, Matt Thornton is my 12th pitcher. He could be replaced several ways. Trade Gil Meche or Julio Mateo to Florida for Ron Villone, and have RV take Thornton's spot (Thornton, then, would be non-tendered/DFA'd).

Noticably Absent: Gil Meche (traded for prospects), Julio Mateo (traded for prospects); Ryan Franklin (Non-Tendered as quickly as you can say "Buh_" as in "Buh-Bye!"). These three moves probably whack close to $5 million off the budget (which would help defray the signing bonuses).

Final thought: I don't believe we'll make any major trades to bring in a starting pitcher or a LF/DH guy. We might pick up a bench bat, but are we really going to sacrifice a lot of our already-weakened farm system to pick up someone who might help for a year or two? I wouldn't. Nor do I think we should create holes (CF, 2B, 3B) by trading to fill another.

There. I'm done. Now it's your turn to slam these thoughts.


At 12/04/2005 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might have some helpful thoughts and things to contribute. But let me be a fanboy briefly.

Lefthanded sock? BAH! We need GOOD hitters! I don't give a flying you know what as long as they can simply hit!

Who do we need in left field to make me go to games?



A guy with that kind of personality, kick, and fun is just AWESOME. He'd bring flavor to the team. Charisma to the team. Chemistry to the clubhouse. And he's ungoldly with the bat. WOO!

THAT GUY is the one who'd get me to plunk my butt in those Safeco seats! WOO! WOOT!


(Sorry - had to! I just love that guy, since I'm originally from Massachusetts. Let me be baka just this once!)

Other than that not thought out, not coherent comment, at first glance these plans look decent. I'll critique if I come up with one.

At 12/04/2005 9:13 PM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

I would be the first in line to welcome Manny to Seattle. I'd most certainly ignore Burnitz in favor of Manny. However, I just don't see it as a possibility. I'd say it's 95% unlikely he comes to Seattle. From what I've heard, Manny never stated he wanted to come to Seattle, and even if he were all KGJ longing for Cincy on Seattle, there are many, many other obstacles to bringing him in.

For starters -- Howard Lincoln. He doesn't like guys who aren't Boy Scouts, whether that reputation is true or not. I'd personally say Manny's more of a Webelo in an Eagle Scout's body (he's really not as bad a dude as the New England media make him out to be), so that's not a big issue for me.

And then there's the whole money thing. If we were to go out and get Manny, it would be at the cost of pitching. Now, I also agree that it would be better to spend HOF'er money on an actual HOF'er, but no matter how ya slice it, the M's aren't going to spend that kind of dough. Even if Manny's one of the best hitters in the game.

Bottom line, though, I'm with ya on the Manny thing. If we can get it done and still find two SP's, then I say "whatcha waitin' for?!!?"

At 12/05/2005 9:26 AM, Blogger kc said...

I have been pushing for Weaver all along. He doesn't get injured, will log 200 IP behind (or in front of) Felix, and will come in at around 9 mil per.
Both he and Millwood would be awesome!
I also am inline with the Burnitz thinking. I have no interest whatsoever in Jones. Burnitz is an above average defender, has some pop, and is good in the clubhouse.
You have the best plan I have read so far - of those that are possible!

At 12/05/2005 1:27 PM, Blogger Snave said...

Good job! The rotation you propose looks awfully good with Gil and Ryan not there. Burnitz wouldn't be a bad addition. I would also prefer him over Jones. I'd bet Burnitz could provide 20-25 HRs and that he would be fun to have on the team. He is a fairly low OBP guy, and he does tend to fan a bit... and he'll be 37 in April... but he just might be the best we could do via the free-agent route.

At 12/07/2005 11:33 AM, Blogger IdahoInvader said...

Good to see you're smart enough to know we need TWO new starters and not just one. Only criticisms are that you list two bench/role players as unproven rookies who need to play regularly in Morse and Choo. Plus, you can't be serious about not finding SOMEONE better than that loser Matt Thornton to be in the bullpen.

At 12/07/2005 1:13 PM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

Thanks, folks, for all the comments!

I'd like to reiterate:

1) I tried to build this list with what I thought was reasonable, and what I thought the M's would actually do (not necessarily my "wish list" -- throwing in guys like Thornton and Choo)

2) My confidence level in this bench as being what the M's are going to do, is about 40%. If they are serious about Everett, I hope it's for the bench. I have no earthly idea who I want for the bench, nor what the M's are thinking.

3) I have Matt Thornton about 1/1,469,390,894.38427th of a step above Ryan Franklin in my "favorites" scale. However, the M's hold a much, much higher view on him than I do, and have invested a ton of money and time trying to get him ready for the bigs. That's why he's my 12th pitcher (and, really, my 25th roster spot). He's hanging on by a thread, only because the M's have a love fest for him. I'm not sure of Dobb's options situation, but I expect him to be in AAA, if not all together non-tendered.

4) We need three pitchers, total, including Jamie. If we don't get 'em, we're doomed. I've no confidence in any one of Foppert/Livingston/Nageotte being in the rotation to start the season. I would hope they'd throw Soriano back into the rotation before any one of these three. They may surprise us out of Spring Training (if I had to pick, I'd say Nageotte is the closest for the rotation), but even still, if any of them start the season in the rotation, it would've been a horrible, horrible offseason for Bill Bavasi.

If we miss out on Millwood, it'll be pretty disappointing, but I wouldn't horribly complain if we brought in Morris and Weaver. Certainly that's about 1-2 steps below Millwood + Weaver, but 3-4 steps above not adding anyone.

And, again, I still have no idea what we could get in the trade market. Jeff Clement or Adam Eaton would be decent. Unfortunately, though, I don't see us having much to trade to reel in decent starting pitching.

At 12/07/2005 2:38 PM, Blogger Snave said...

Agreed, unless we wanted to try and trade Beltre, Ichiro or Sexson... I'd rather see the M's keep those three.

I think the best route for acquiring pitching is the free agent market even though it's a bit thin, and the best route for getting a hitter or two might be via trades.

At 12/07/2005 3:07 PM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

"And, again, I still have no idea what we could get in the trade market. Jeff Clement or Adam Eaton would be decent."

Er, umm, dread! I totally see myself making this mistake a ton. Indeed we already have JEFF Clement. He's the catcher we drafted 3rd overall in June. MATT Clement, OTOH, is one of the two FA pitchers I would've liked to have signed last year, and is rumored to be on the trade market. He'd help this staff a bit, I'm sure...

At 12/08/2005 8:05 AM, Blogger Snave said...

Paul, I'm having a hard time staying Positive at this point... The way things seem to be going at the Winter Meetings, the Mariners might end up trading for Adam Clement or Jeff Eaton...

At 12/11/2005 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul -
I'm not sure which category it falls into
-What you want the M's to do, or
-What you *think* the M's will do
but, I can't see how you could justify spending so much on Willie Bloomquist. The guy is basically the definition of replacement-level. Sure, he's good at basestealing and is willing to play multiple positions, but I think we could do better with a random AAAA player off the scrap heap. Granted, I'm actually quite disgusted with the M's lovefest for WFB, but that's just my two cents...

At 12/12/2005 9:51 AM, Blogger Snave said...

I wouldn't mind Bloomquist so much if he was a better hitter. Having one guy who can play a whole slew of positions fairly well is nice, and can even be considered a luxury. I just hope that if the team keeps him he can bring up his OBP and OPS a bit and/or that he can be consistent at the plate. Otherwise, I'd rather use a couple of people who can play more than one position than I would use Willie to play a whole bunch. It seems like he is a streaky hitter, and if he has a couple of good games, then there is the temptation for the manager to juggle the lineup and give Willie a whole bunch of starts. At $950K to $1.6M a year, I think we might find someone who could do better for us. That's just my .02 worth, there could well be something about Bloomie that I'm overlooking.

But as Spock might say about keeping Bloomquist well-paid and active on the roster, "It is not logical."

At 12/12/2005 10:51 AM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

Well, actually, I think I was swayed in my judgement for Bloomquist in that, while he is the very definition of replacement-level talent, I'm not sure I know of anyone who I'd replace him with. And, as far as his salary goes, yes, this is what I'm thinking the team will give him. It's a little high in my book, but Jason Churchill and I discussed this a bit, and I don't think it's entirely unreasonable. Personally, I'd give him 3 years 1.5 million max, and no more than $1 million in any one season. However, the team likes him that much.

As much as we dog Willie, I do believe he's got some talent for baserunning, and he can play many positions decently. He's also got MLB experience now, too, and while he's not going to improve much with the bat, and (unless Doug Eddings is behind the plate) you can't steal first base, he could start every now and then and not kill you. I'm not sure I know of a player like that who would be any cheaper. I'm certainly open to suggestions.

Besides, if Christan Guzman can earn $4 mill per season, Wil-Blo can earn $1.5...

At 12/14/2005 10:08 AM, Blogger Snave said...

I guess you have a pretty good point there... Same would probably apply to the Angels' Horrendo Cabrera.

At 12/14/2005 3:09 PM, Blogger Mike L said...

Looks like it's Everett, not Burnitz we're getting. Sucks.


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