Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Mariners


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Mariners Blog

Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

E-mail Geoff| Mariners Forum| RSS feeds Subscribe | Blog Home

June 26, 2008 9:13 AM

Ichiro going? Quite possible

Posted by Geoff Baker

Hello eveyone, glad to be back. A big thanks to Larry Stone for filling in while I finally had a bit of a break during a Mariners road trip. This team logs more miles than any other in baseball and it can catch up to you quick if you aren't careful. So, I've been gone since covering the John McLaren firing press conference and see that new manager Jim Riggleman has managed to squeeze a week of .500 ball out of this bunch. Pat on the back to Riggleman for that, considering this clubhouse is not the easiest to manage. Those of you still insisting the clubhouse is not the problem, well, there's not much I can say. When the insiders are saying it, when I've been trying to tell you that it is for the past two months, and when the team underperforms like it has, I suppose you can keep insisiting you have a better vantage point from your living room, but, well, you don't. Sorry. Not going to agree just to keep the blog calm.

Now, if the individual players on this team were performing close to their career norms, or their pre-season, computer projections, I'd be a lot more inclined to agree with those of you insisting this is a "talent" thing above all else. It's not. At the very least, this should be a team hovering around .500. It's instead on pace to lose 100 games. This is not a "talent" issue. This is a team where mediocrity has become ingrained. All the talent in the world will not change that. It's a team where major changes will likely be needed and for me, there is no better place to start than with the center fielder. This article that some of you linked to yesterday got me thinking about this question.

Yes, I know Richie Sexson and Jose Vidro have to go. I am assuming they will shortly.

Yes, I am well aware of all the good Ichiro has done for this organization. I've seen him, night after night, going through his pre-game stretching routine in the clubhouse while lesser players are guffawing on the sofa as they watch "The Wedding Crashers" for the 15th time.

But hey, if you want to get some players back, maybe save a bit of that $90 million committed to Ichiro last year, he's the guy to deal. His numbers are well below career norms, but they are still acceptable and pretty good average-wise. His defense remains above average. And hopefully, that will be enough to snag a trade partner. Because with the M's, he's just about outlived his usefulness.

First off, M's fans have to stop kidding themselves. This team is not going to contend in 2009. It is going to be broken up. Once you do that, Ichiro becomes replaceable. Do you really want to be on the hook for the bulk of $90 million to a mid-30s singles hitter who's no longer a sure thing to his .300 most months of every season?

Me neither.

I thought the best time to trade Ichiro was last year. The team took a chance, hoping it was going to contend moving forward. The chance didn't work out. I won't crucify them for their hope. But this is getting serious. As good as Ichiro is, it doesn't justify a non-contending team keeping him around strictly for marketing purposes.

Ichiro is not what Jason Giambi was to the Oakland A's seven years ago. He's not a guy who's going to carry his team on his back, rally the troops around him. He's a dedicated professional. But for me, not the kind of guy you spend your franchise money on. Not now. Maybe in 2001. Or in 2002. But today, in 2008, we've seen the best of what Ichiro has to offer. And it is not enough for this team.

You want a guy who can hit and bring some leadership intangibles to the table? For a reasonable price? The M's already have one in Raul Ibanez. He's not going to carry this team on his back either, but he can do some good -- on and off the field -- at a more manageable price than Ichiro can. As a DH next season. Or even a first baseman. Preferably as a DH.

As for Ichiro, if there's a team out there already loading up for a shot at a title, with some strong personalities on the verge of career years, Ichiro will be a fantastic supporting cast member. What he won't be, going forward, is a franchise player you build that team around. Not as a singles hitter whose numbers -- overall and with runners in scoring position -- have declined.

And not as a right fielder. As a center fielder, I can buy the value argument a bit more. In right field? No way.

The M's moved Ichiro to center at the end of 2006 because they knew it would benefit the team to have their singles hitter in a defensive position where his non-hitting value would be maximized. Where a power hitter could be inserted in right field.

Now, it's back to square one. And that's not good enough. Not for a team that could be about to embark on a rebuild. I get the feeling the M's are looking at this the same way I am. Here's why.

1. They were specifically asked whether "all players" could possibly be traded -- even Ichiro -- and did not hesitate to answer yes.

2. Moving Ichiro to right field makes little sense. Either now, or in the future. Freeing up a space for Ken Griffey Jr. to come in -- as a left fielder, while Wladimir Balentien or Jeremy Reed plays center -- would be as dumb a move as this team has made in years. This team needs to get better. Not stay the course. Bringing in Coco Crisp to play center, in a trade with Boston, would be more palatable. But the outfield power would be severely lacking.

Why would the team move Ichiro to right field then? To get his bat going, possibly to the point where he can attract more trade interest. Remember, he comes with a high cost. Getting signficant trade returns will not be a slam dunk.

3. This team will almost certainly trade Erik Bedard if it can. He was this team's big window to contention in 2008 and 2009. If you close that, there's no sense keeping Ichiro around for a playoff run in 2010 or beyond when he's already showing signs of declining.

4. John McLaren was Ichiro's biggest supporter. And McLaren had his biggest fan in Ichiro. The team just fired McLaren. It has moved beyond satisfying Ichiro's biggest wishes and is putting the team's future success ahead of individuals.

5. Frankly, this team doesn't have trade parts that are all that great. Sure, you can move Felix Hernandez and cut off your nose to spite your face. Ichiro is one guy who -- if you show some creativity -- could bring useful parts back without costing your team its future.

Hey, I've always been a big Ichiro fan. On a different team, keeping him around longer might make sense. But not now. Not on this team. I expect him to be shopped with serious intent.

Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

Submit a comment

*Required Field



Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Posted by bartkofoed

10:08 AM, Jun 26, 2008

If our ownership group uses the same criterea it used to give Johjima a 3 year extension, is it realistic to think they would even consider trading Ichiro. Maybe if they could get Ellsburry and Dice K from Boston they would pull the trigger.

Posted by Confused

10:08 AM, Jun 26, 2008

I guess I don't understand your position. Sounds like you wanted to trade Ichiro last offseason, but you were the one cheerleading for the Bedard trade which included one of the pieces to replace him in center?

What is it you are trying to say?

Posted by scrapiron

10:13 AM, Jun 26, 2008

The thing that scares me most is that we are talking about possibly the biggest trades in Mariner history: Bedard, Ichiro, etc. being conducted by a rookie GM!

Can we just make the minor moves like purging Sexson and Vidro, and use this season to try out our young talent to see what we have?

I'd feel a lot more comfortable making these major trades with our full-time GM in place so he/she can build the roster correctly from square one. Is there any possibility we can interview and bring in a new GM this season?

For example, the Dodgers have said they'd give us permission to interview Ng. Would they be willing to let us hire her now too?

Posted by HenryTracks

10:16 AM, Jun 26, 2008

I would love for us to shop Ichiro.. we wont be a winning team in the next 2-3 yrs.. which makes keeping him utterly pointless..

He's not gonna be a productive player when we eventually get this ship turned around in a few yrs..

Plus, everyone outside of Seattle, views this guy as a selfish, me-first player, who cares more about personal achievments than team success..

You Seattle folk will say that is ridiculous.. but im just telling you how the rest of the nation feels about this guy..

The following players should be sent packing:

1)Ichiro
2)Sexson
3)Vidro
4)Ibanez
5)Washburn
6)Batista

Im still unsure what to do with Beltre and Bedard..

We should also see what the heck we can do with Johjima.. maybe encourage him to go back to Japan..

Posted by Mike in pdx

10:18 AM, Jun 26, 2008

I don't see the confusion, Confusion. Last summer, the team was coming off an 88-win season that, although in hindsight was a mirage, was worth making a big push (Bedard) to take a chance at the playoffs. Well...it bombed miserably. Most people didn't know Bedard was the second coming of Carl pavano and that the team would have less chemistry than Michael and Lisa Marie. Now, things are different. So what Geoff says makes sense-there are few other trade chips and Ichiro's retrun is diminishing.

Posted by Bill

10:19 AM, Jun 26, 2008

It took Joba Chamberlain 5 starts over less than a month to transition from 8th inning setup man to pitching a 114-pitch shutout over 6 2/3, and the Yankees did it while theoretically in a penant race. Why aren't the M's doing this with Morrow and RRS in the midst of a lost season? Can't they call up someone from Tacoma to pitch an inning of relief here and there, not to mention move Batista to the pen while the young guns are getting stretched out?


Can they at least do it after the break if JJ is healthy?

Posted by BrianL

10:19 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Honestly, I just don't see it happening Geoff. Ownership will have Lincoln and Armstrong's heads if they traded Ichiro, and let's face it: he's far more valuable to us than he is to any team out there. His skillset is vastly undervalued around the league.

Simply put, the Mariners will not get a package that's good enough to warrant trading Ichiro. Nor will ownership even allow a trade like this to happen. We can discuss the merits of that at another time, but realize trading Ichiro is most likely not an option on the table.

(Don't be surprised if he's moved back to CF next season)

I'm also about to say something that, I'm quite certain, you never would have expected to hear out of me: This team has a shot at competing in 2009, and a legitimate one at that.

Let's take a look at what the glaring, horribly obvious flaws in this team are: DH, 1B, COF (otherwise known as the three easiest spots to fill in a lineup). The production out of these spots have been well under league-average. Heck, they've been well under replacement-level. You can grab some no-talent hacks from a AAA farm team and get better results (As we're seeing with Reed over Wilkerson right now). If you fill these three spots with just league-average players, the offense and defense improves dramatically. If you get anything that's above league-average, then the improvement will be very, very noticeable.

Also consider we have two SP spots that have glaring holes in them, the 4 and 5 starters in Washburn and Batista. We already have in-candidate options that most likely will be better than them: Ryan Rowland-Smith and Brandon Morrow (perhaps RA Dickey as well). Stretch them out and insert them into the rotation and there's another marked improvement. RR-S has shown he has the ability to get both left handers and right handers out with consistency. Morrow seems to have solved his control issues, and is just one secondary pitch away from being a successful #3 starter.

The AL West is still a weak division, meaning that things are likely wide open next season. If the right roster moves take place (and there aren't that many that need to happen), this team could be a surprise contender next season.

I know everyone thinks this sounds wrong coming from me, but let me just say it:

This team doesn't have to be blown up.

Posted by scottM

10:21 AM, Jun 26, 2008

From a strict baseball purest angle, I agree with your assessment of Ichiro, GEOFF. However, considering how many people point out that this an organization highly focused on its bottom-line, and Japanese owned with an affection for Japanese players (e.g., the Johjima extension), I just don't see that the M's will be trigger happy to unload Ichiro. He brings in too much money here. Like Bedard, in terms of underperformance, neither have lived up to the back of their baseball cards, but neither is a significant reason the M's are in this cellar-dwelling mess.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

10:24 AM, Jun 26, 2008

No offense Geoff - But you're "analysis" of the team this year has been all over the map. The idea of Ichiro leaving the Mariners is ludicrous. This team has lost an amazing market share during the past few years. The last thing they are going to do is lose the Japaneese market.

Posted by KirklandDawg

10:24 AM, Jun 26, 2008

I tend to agree with getting the most for Ichiro now and starting the rebuilding process.I also agree with Henry Tracks list and would 7)Cairo. But I really don't understand why Ichiro's hitting would be affected by playing center, right, or for that matter left field.

Posted by SWJ

10:25 AM, Jun 26, 2008

RE the Ichiro article. Sounds much like the tone of some of the criticism of Griffey just before he left: lazy in the club house, didn't run out plays, on again (brilliant) off again (so-so) defensively... but many locals forget that.

The club has a history of being unpredictable in its player management. Too quick a give-away on on Sherrill and perhaps Adam Jones, one year too late on Edgar Martinez, etc.

Trying to figure out what their plans are is a waste of time because one gets the strong impression that they don't know themselves.

Posted by BrianL

10:26 AM, Jun 26, 2008

KirklandDawg - Part of the argument is the wear Ichiro was getting on his legs in CF. When you have Brad Wilkerson and a flailing corpse flanking you in the outfield, center field becomes mighty, mighty large.

I'm not saying this is an excuse, it's just something I've heard.

Posted by jro

10:28 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Seems like there are two conversations that can be held around this:

1) Strategic evaluation of Ichiro, where he fits with this team now and in the future, etc.
2) Speculative evaluation of Ichiro as it relates to what this management will do now and/or in the future.

While the "strategic" conversation is more fruitful and logical, the "speculative" conversation is more appropriate right now. We're talking about a management team that is coming to grips with a failed strategy that they've backed for years, with both a GM and manager with interim tags around them.

Moving Ichiro right now requires a significant leap on the part of the front office. Even though he's down right now, Ichiro is still a special player.

I doubt they make the move.

Posted by scottM

10:28 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Haiku #8

Frankie's on the ledge
He won't get hurt if he falls––
M's on bottom floor

Posted by BrianL

10:30 AM, Jun 26, 2008

And really, lets be honest. No major moves are going to happen until the club hires a permanent GM. All Lee Pelekoudas is authorized to do are the "No Duh" moves:

1)Dump Sexson
2)Dump Vidro
3)Dump Cairo

Unless St. Louis calls and offers Albert Pujols and Colby Rasmus, Ichiro isn't going anywhere.

Posted by Jakob

10:31 AM, Jun 26, 2008

w/r/t clubhouse chemistry: this is blaming the symptom for the disease. Even Bloomquist agrees.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

10:31 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Scrapiron beat me to it. I don't trust Lincoln, Armstrong and Pelekoudas to get maximum value for Ichiro.

Additionally: Who can bat leadoff? Ignore Ichiro's down year this year for the moment; we can likely all agree that he hasn't been a solid leadoff hitter himself either. But. Name me 3 effective leadoff hitters in the M's organization, at the ML or AAA level. (Quiet, Novice. ;) )

And, I don't think I buy management's "anyone's movable" stance. I think it's part posturing to fans to let them know that the F.O. sees how broken things are. And part trying to send a message to an underachieving, lazy club. I don't think they'd move Ichiro.

Lastly, don't underestimate how beholden the ownership is to the casual fan. Diehards and baseball purists and Mr. X can see the rationale in getting rid of Ichiro. Random guy with a 51 shirt who goes to a game once or twice a year to hang out in the beer garden, won't get it. Japanese fanbase won't get it. Generic soccer mom (as opposed to informed fan who happens to be a soccer mom...) won't get it. Even if they trade for good value and get quality players in return, they'd lose a good-sized chunk of fans for years.

And how the hell am I going to explain to my 4-year-old that Ichiro isn't a Mariner? :) Seriously, he's been able to say "Ichiro" and "RaaooBanyes" almost as long as he could speak...

There's plenty of other moves to make, players to evaluate, etc. to effectively rebuild. Moving Ichiro just introduces one too many variables. Say what you will about his attitude or his possibly declining skills, moving him needs to be handled carefully, by experts. No earlier than late this offseason (after new GM comes onboard). Possibly mid-season next year.

Posted by Mike

10:34 AM, Jun 26, 2008

I agree with Brian. With a budget that might well reach $120M next year, it is easier to compete right away.

And I agree with Scrapiron about not trusting the current regime to do the rebuilding. Despite Bavasi's departure this is still the same organization that was happy to trade prospects for and give a wad of cash to Jose Vidro while Oakland and Tampa were filling their DH spots with low-cost, low-risk guys like Cust & Pena.

Posted by BrianL

10:35 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Chris from Bothell -

You've hit the nail on the head. There's no way we get a package that makes trading Ichiro worth it. Baseball aside, he's simply too valuable to this club.

There are so many other issues we need to address first, namely 1B/DH/CornerOF. I'm still adamant that if these three positions get shored up, we can contend next season.

Posted by eponymous coward

10:36 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Those of you still insisting the clubhouse is not the problem, well, there's not much I can say.

Now, if the individual players on this team were performing close to their career norms, or their pre-season, computer projections, I'd be a lot more inclined to agree with those of you insisting this is a "talent" thing above all else. It's not.

Let's unpack these statements a bit.

Richie Sexson was a miserable hitter for half of 2006, and so far, all of 2007-2008.

Jose Vidro was CLEARLY declining as a hitter from 2002-2006 before his career perked up a bit in Seattle in 2007. He just got back on the bus to retirement this year (oh, and he's playing, badly, though injuries).

Kenji Johjima has played well over 1,000 games as a catcher in Japanese and MLB, and is over 30, and the historical record is that catchers who've played many games in their 20s don't do as well in their 30s. C is a very high-mileage position.

Jarrod Washburn, Carlos Silva and MIguel Batista are pitch to contact pitchers who need an outstanding defense behind them in order to look good. I think you'd agree the M's defense isn't?

Oh, and a bunch of sabremetric projections called this team out as a 70-75 win team. Not ".500", as you put it.

So I posit that the talent on this team isn't what everyone thought it would be (and it's still not, if you're insisting it's a .500 team).

Now, here's the kicker: I do agree that the clubhouse is a problem. Why? Simple. RIchie Sexson hasn't hit for a year and a half. The result is that Jeff Pentland's fired. Raul Ibanez (last year), Vidro and Miguel Batista (this year) have been allowed to play through injuries, and stunk up the joint while doing it, costing their team games. We basically gave away Cha Seung Baek, who hasn't pitched any worse than a number of other M's... because we're writing large checks to certain Mariners, and not to Baek. We dumped Brad WIlkerson, who's done OK in Toronto, but not Jose Vidro or Richie Sexson.

I don't particularly see that the Mariner front office knows how to win (at best, they are basically stuck back in 2001 and 1995- come ON, most of those players are gone),. and they have a serious case of letting veterans do what they want (such as letting them play badly while when injured), and not wanting to cut bait on large contracts. Certainly that attitude is infectious, I'd think- put in your time collecting your paycheck, mouth the right platitudes to the fans and you get to keep playing, even if it's on a bad team. It's also the front office attitude: say the right things to the fans while they hand you money for tickets for a terrible team.

As for trading Ichiro- he's not the problem in the clubhouse, as you pointed out. I would argue that leaving the Washburns to throw teammates under the bus and trading the Ichiros is probably the wrong way to go.

I also don't think a team with Beltre, Putz, Ichiro, Felix and Bedard is really THAT far away. You just have to do a much, much better job of identifying strengths and weaknesses than this front office does and did. You have to be willing to say "Raul, you're a DH". You can't bat a .220 singles hitter fourth. You have to realize that pitching to contact means you need really GOOD glove men up the middle, not just guys who occasionally look OK.

Posted by DistantFan

10:37 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Nothing against Ichiro. He's been a pleasure to watch play (this year, notwithstanding). But, shopping him around would be great. It's quite obvious, even to a novice like myself, that his play has dwindled. Certainly he knows it. And, if he is as selfish a player as so many articles and blogs have suggested, then I suspect he's hoping to be shopped around. Because what is the one thing all selfish MLB players have in common? The need for a World Series ring.

But, will the organization trade him? That's the real question. I do think for they might, if the trade is impressive enough. And considering how this year has been, I think anything is possible.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

10:38 AM, Jun 26, 2008

BrianL - Um, in addition to solving 1B/DH/RF, we also need to address at least 3 if not 4 of the starting rotation. Unless you think an 09 contender in the AL West can have a rotation of Felix, Silva, RAD, RRS and Morrow. :)

Posted by BrianL

10:40 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Chris from Bothell -

A rotation consisting of

1)Felix
2)Bedard
3)Morrow
4)Silva
5)Rowland-Smith

Is actually a fairly good one, which I would say is rather comparable to the rotation Tampa Bay is using right now.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

10:42 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Brian - You think Bedard's going to a) still be here in 09 and b) give more than 5 innings / 100 pitches per start and c) actually make an average # of starts? If Corcoran or RAD are going to need to come in for long relief next year as much as they have this year, might as well start them...

Posted by BrianL

10:44 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Let's wait until the end of the season before rendering a definitive verdict on Bedard.

It sure feels odd bhe the one defending him these days.

Posted by BrianL

10:44 AM, Jun 26, 2008

*It sure feels odd being the one defending him these days.

Yikes, caffeine to blood ratio dangerously low apparently.

Posted by Mike

10:49 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Chris-I'm assuming you are assuming a Bedard trade before next year. He might net a starter.

I'm curious about Yuni. Despite never drawing a walk his bat is okay for SS but his range seems to be gone. Do the Ms realize this? If so are there any teams that also ignore defensive metrics and might want him? If so, where do we find a SS?

The problems require a GM who doesn't think in such a linear manner as Bavasi seemed to.

And really Geoff, I do think the clubhouse issues are a symptom and not the disease itself. You seem to make the same assumption as the Ms that if a player was once good, that he is a good player going forward.

Posted by Nat

10:51 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Geoff, I realize you're always on the lookout for provocative topics and this one definitely qualifies there. So okay, I'll bite. But I gotta agree with jro, scottM, Brianl, and AKMarinersFan- it's not gonna happen with this FO. As BrainL said, Ichiro has more value for us than he's gonna have for other teams, bottom line.

And btw, welcome back! Hope you had a good break from all the crazies on this blog. Larry seems to be a little calmer than you and did an admirable job filling in. But you know how to ask the provocative questions and draw the crowds. Having said that, it would be nice if there was a moderator for this blog to squelch some of the more vitriolic and inane comments.

Posted by Mr. Sabermetrics

10:52 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Mr Sabermetrics respectfully disagrees with Mr. Baker's observations. Mr. Baker, you said earlier in the year that Felix wasn't being accountable YET I've seen him pitch like a bulldog night after night. So what if he doesn't want to talk to you. That is his right....

As for Ichiro. Mr. S has noticed Ichiro's flaws this year but one may have to contribute it to frustration. He doesn't look at all like himself out there. Ichiro, in his great seasons, has ALWAYS been the way you describe. Doesn't mean he isn't working hard.

Mr. S will say this to the management of the M's, DO NOT TRADE FELIX. If you want a fan revolt, go ahead, do it. If you want a stud pitching here for the next 10 years or more, give him his contract extension NOW.

Geoff, if the team wants to do the right thing and compete they need to dump Batista, Vidro and Sexson. Move Washburn to a willing NL team. Bloomquist is tradeable (especially if he keeps hitting in a starting role - I know, I know it's only weakly hit singles but NL teams could find him attractive) as is Rhodes. Move RRS/Dickey and Morrow to the rotation and call up one of the kids on the farm to relieve while giving one of the other BP guys a chance to close until JJ gets back (unless they put Fields on the big league team immediately).

Posted by BrianL

10:52 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Mike, I saw a stat a few days ago that made my head spin. Apparently, Derek Jeter has a higher RZR rating than Yuni.

You're right, Yuni's defensive value has absolutely vanished.

Posted by wag the dog

10:57 AM, Jun 26, 2008

If ownership is really concerned about the bottom line then they'll realize the winning impacts the bottom line far more significantly than any single player, no matter what country he hails from.

Ichiro may not be valued by other teams as highly as he is valued by the Mariners, but once again we're talking about a huge contract being paid to a guy playing for a team on pace to lose 100 games. Ichiro is so non-impact at this point that his presence doesn't even make the team marginally competitive. And if it takes 2-3 years to get this team headed in the right direction Ichiro will no longer even be in his prime. We'll still be paying him a truck load of money and he'll have little trade value.

I think a lot of times we, as fans, want it both ways. We want our sentimental favorites AND we want a winner. We want to get good players AND give nothing in return. It's just not gonna happen. Short term thinking is one of the very things that got the team to this point in the first place. Short term fixes with expensive, mediocre free agents. Is it really worth paying Ichiro $18million/season over the next 2-3 seasons while the team continues to stink? Wouldn't it be better to get something in return for him while he still has value AND have the money his trade frees up to use towards securing young guys like Felix and potentially making a strategic free agent acquisition?

Ichiro isn't the only skilled Japanese player out there. If the Mariners are concerned about maintaining ties (and revenue streams) with Japan, there are surely other players to target. If they're interested in winning and using that to elevate the bottom line they'll realize they have few chips to play so they better make the most out of the chips they do have.

Keeping Ichiro around during a rebuilding process, paying him millions to play for a team that won't contend and losing his potential trade value as he ages strikes me as foolish. Thanks for the memories, and for kick-starting our rebuilding process.

Posted by Weaver

11:01 AM, Jun 26, 2008

While you call out those of us who believe the Mariners are losing at a record pace because they lack talent by saying we're not close enough to the situation, I counter with the fact that you blame "chemistry" because you're too close. If you think this team has the talent to be .500 . . . well you're missing the forest for the trees.

From my couch, I can tell that the Mariners have three players with above league-average skills. Felix, Ichiro, and Bedard. You praise Ibanez for his "leadership intangibles." I criticize him for his abominable defense.

Your main point that Ichiro should be shopped is fair and should be explored. It just shouldn't be made whimsically. I just don't trust Lee Pelekoudas to make that call. Pelekoudas should shop Ibanez and shop Bedard. But he should leave the important decision regarding Ichiro to the guy the M's decide is going to lead the team in the future. That decision is too big for an interim GM (or a too-close-to-the-action blogger) to make.

Posted by CG

11:02 AM, Jun 26, 2008

On baseball merits alone, your argument is not bad. However, the goal of a baseball club is not to win, it is to generate maximum financial return for ownership. Ichiro's value is not only tied to his baseball productivity, it is also tied to the financial implications of having him as an attraction in the lineup. With him in the lineup, the M's give the greater public (in more than one country) a reason to turn on a TV set and, by extension, providers a basis to charge advertisers and cable networks.

Winning helps the finances of any team, but name brand (either of the team or a player) is just as important. Don't believe me? Ask yourself why NBC just extended their Notre Dame contract.

The ideal financial scenario is for the M's to find a way to field a winner while having Ichiro as part of the equation, even if he is an over-the-hill, singles hitting RF. Until they have exhausted every alternative to achieve that, do not expect them to move Ichiro.

Posted by fc

11:05 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Geoff,

This reminds me of when the Twins were forced to trade Rod Carew after twelve seasons. Goggle that and take a look at the five stiffs the Twins received from the Angels.


The M's can expect a similar deal.


Frankly, they are stuck with Ichiro. A trade will likely make this team worse than it is, and good luck finding someone to take on all of his salary .


As far as the club house thing, IMO all of the M's players are having career lows much like 2001 when a lot of players had career highs......hmmmmm, maybe Lincoln is paying the devil his due?

Posted by scrapiron

11:08 AM, Jun 26, 2008

You've got 3 catchers on the roster.
You've got Sexson and Vidro still on the roster.
Bedard has lots of trade value and doesn't want to be here.

And you want to start fielding calls for trading Ichiro? Don't you have other things to worry about?

Posted by Never

11:08 AM, Jun 26, 2008

They'll never do it.

Posted by Not gonna happen.

11:11 AM, Jun 26, 2008

They would never do it because Johjima isn't enough to support the large Japanese fanbase at Safeco and they would never allow a trade that could potentially lower attendance in any sense.

Posted by wag the dog

11:12 AM, Jun 26, 2008

"With him in the lineup, the M's give the greater public (in more than one country) a reason to turn on a TV set and, by extension, providers a basis to charge advertisers and cable networks."

How many people are tuning in now that Ichiro plays for a team set to lose 100 games? What if that type of losing (or just mediocrity as opposed to historic stink) continues? I suspect even Japanese fans will jump ship. I'd rather watch Dice-K win championships in Boston than Ichiro be out of contention by May.

Ratings are down. Attendance is down. It's no accident KOMO doesn't want to re-up for radio rights. How long until Fox Sports NW wants a cheaper deal? Ichiro doesn't change any of that substantially, imo. Winning is what is most likely to get people to tune in. Send the international scouts to Japan and find a new star if it's that important.

In a couple of years, when Ichiro is a mediocre veteran, Japan will have moved on to a new sensation and the Mariners will have nothing to show for it.

I've always liked the saying "better to trade a player a year too soon rather than a year too late."

Posted by twlenihan

11:14 AM, Jun 26, 2008

I think that I have to agree sending Ichiro packing. Yes, we will lose a ton of money by sending him away because no other team really wants to spend that much for him. The rest of the nation thinks he is a selfish player that does not really fit that whole "team" persona that many teams need, and I agree! Seattlelites are so eager to protect him, saying that Ichiro is incredibly valuable to the team and seen as underrated by the rest of the nation....but thats the problem!!! We, me being included, think that Ichiro will just pop back into that young player that we were blown away by when he first came into the league. Truth is, he has not done anything spectacular to get our hopes up in years. When was the last time you saw him gun down the runner at 3rd base from the outfield??

More over, what has he done for the community here in town?...I have not seen him EVER do any public appearances (and yes his english is broken, but word is he can speak english just fine). Our city needs players who are support the city and are engrained with supporting what the city has to offer....if they do not get players who will be able to do that, then why would any kid want to support a player who is no longer exciting and is not ever seen doing philanthropic events here in Seattle?

Posted by Kyle

11:16 AM, Jun 26, 2008

I dont know why you guys would want to get rid of one of our only good players. We could build around ichiro. You guys also seem to be forgetting about some of pitching. Batista let 8 runs go last night. I dont think you guys are looking at the big picture. Ichiro needs to stay, and he is definitly not selfish.

Posted by Capo

11:16 AM, Jun 26, 2008

I'm right there with you on this one Geoff:

I wrote this as part of an article almost two weeks ago:

"The Mariners are in a deep hole, and have no chance to compete with their current roster. Add to this the fact that several bad contracts exist, and this is a nightmare scenario for any new GM. Trading Ichiro is not going to be a popular move in Seattle. The fans love him, and regardless of the record, the team makes a boatload of money off him.

Looking deeper, he is a 34 year old leadoff guy making about $18 million a season. Although he is showing no signs of slowing down, Ichiro is not a superstar, nor is he a guy I'd want to build around (at this point in his career). Instead, I make him the centerpiece of a deal that makes the team better at multiple positions, while freeing up some money for possible FA signings in the coming off season."

The market for Ichiro is going to be small, but intense....NY, Boston, and probably LA.....LA is the best fit. My article was looking at possible trade partners, and my idea was bundling Ichiro, Betancourt, and Washburn to LA for Kemp, Loney, Pierre, and a prospect (Or Billingsley, if Colletti has been drinking).

It would have to be the right deal, but I'd trade Ichiro in a heartbeat if it filled 2-3 positions on the field with young, premium players who are under club control.....which would free up money to plug any obvious holes (like SS in my scenario).

Posted by BrianL

11:16 AM, Jun 26, 2008

twlenihan -

Bill James once said something that went along these lines:

"Bad teams (and fans) blame their best players."

Do you really believe Ichiro is one of this club's biggest problems? If that's the case, you obviously have not been paying attention to Richie Sexson and Jose Vidro at the plate, or Raul Ibanez in the outfield.

Posted by Dream weaver 2009

11:17 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Dream Weaver 2009

Posted by mariner1

11:19 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Trade the only guy with a work ethic and true heart for the game. While all the brothers play playstation on the couch. If only they had half the work ethics.

Posted by scottM

11:21 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Nat, I actually think the blog is in one of its calmer more rational modes of late. The bi-polar impersonator jerk seems to be gone. It's not troll-free here, but a pleasure of late, if talking about this turd of a team can be called a "pleasure."

Posted by NickBob

11:23 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Clubhouse cancers? Armstrong and Lincoln. The rest follows, otherwise it's cart before the horse time. This isn't chemistry, it's physics- "an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force." As long as the attitude that getting along is more important than getting ahead, this club will go nowhere good.

Posted by Mike

11:26 AM, Jun 26, 2008

If I thought Ichiro were on the verge of collapse as a player I'd be for shipping him out but his peripheral stats don't seem to be declining. But he does have more value at CF than at RF. Not that I'm totally against trading him but it better be something great. In that respect I think everyone should be on the table except Felix.

Posted by Swung On And Belted

11:29 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Geoff, you make a compelling argument, as do some of the bloggers who are against the idea. I have to agree that this decision is too important to leave in the hands of a rookie, interim GM. There is also no need to rush to trade Ichiro by the trading deadline. There are many more vital moves that need to come first. Let's take care of those first, and then see where we stand. Ichiro can just as easily be traded in the offseason, or at next year's deadline, or not at all. I'm not against trading Ichiro, but I'm not exactly excited about doing it either. If the FO moves and trades we make somehow all come together and we can contend, then I think Ichiro is still valuable to us. I'm not yet ready to say his numbers are in decline based on half a season.

Posted by Nat

11:30 AM, Jun 26, 2008

scottM- oh, I completely agree with you on the blog atmosphere right now. But the crazies come out so randomly and unexpectedly. When that happens it dampens the pleasure as you say of blogging and definitely drives people away, and I mean people who generate some of the most intelligent discussions. But having a moderator seems to work on other blogs.

Posted by Capo

11:30 AM, Jun 26, 2008

its funny, listening to all the people who know a lot about baseball here (no, I'm not being sarcastic....).

All of you rightfully say on occasion that we have to blow it up, and when you do that tough decisions have to be made.......well, you aren't going to get something for nothing....and this is one of those tough decisions that will be the difference between the status quo and making the team younger, cheaper, and better.

Pelekoudas siad the other day that teams should be interested in our parts, because if the projections were right, then these guys would be performing much better......he's an idiot. Seattle overvalued, and overpaid a bunch of stiffs......people who understand baseball saw this, even casual fans saw this.......so our trade options are really limited.

While it would be nice to trade Sexson and Vidro for Josh Hamilton......that stuff aint gonna happen......to truly make this team better, we're going to have to make trades that are tough, and maybe unpopular. This team has to get much younger, much cheaper, and much deeper.


For all of you that think just taking Sexson and Viro off the payroll and add through FA....I don't even know what to say....probably the same people who want Teixiera......look, the payroll is gonna drop a LOT.....I would say to at least $90-95 million.....attendance is down quite a bit, and people aren't buying merchandise....so without cutting payroll and trading guys like Ichiro, Ibanez, Beltre, etc.....we are just spinning our tires.


Posted by wag the dog

11:33 AM, Jun 26, 2008

"I dont know why you guys would want to get rid of one of our only good players. We could build around ichiro. You guys also seem to be forgetting about some of pitching. Batista let 8 runs go last night. I dont think you guys are looking at the big picture. Ichiro needs to stay, and he is definitly not selfish."

How are we going to build around a player who is in his mid-30s at the time this team is finally headed in the right direction. You build around players in their mid-20s, maybe early 30s. Ichiro will be useless before the Mariners see .500 again.

And what about pitching? We aren't going to acquire any without giving something up in return. Thanks to Bavasi, we don't have much left to offer other clubs. If we want to address our heinous pitching we're going to have to part with something of value. Sexson isn't going to net us Cy Young.

I'd rather give up Ichiro than our young guys on the rise. IMO, Ichiro is on the downside of his productivity. Especially if he remains in an environment as toxic as the Mariner clubhouse. He might be resurgent with a winning club, but he's not going to be resurgent here.

And even if he suddenly started hitting .350, we'd still end up losing 100 games this season and we'll still be mediocre next year and probably the following year because there's little on the farm that will make an immediate impact and little in the way of every day players that will net us anything in trade.

Getting rid of Sexson, and company isn't going to right the ship because we have nothing of substance to put in their place. It'll just be more stick at a cheaper price.

Posted by scottM

11:41 AM, Jun 26, 2008

1) GEOFF: "First off, M's fans have to stop kidding themselves. This team is not going to contend in 2009. It is going to be broken up."

[it was only a month or so ago that GEOFF adopted this stance. Now he is an adamant soothsayer. How does he KNOW the M's will not contend. With an interim GM and a tight-lipped M's FO, how does he KNOW the team will be broken up.]

2) GEOFF: Frankly, this team doesn't have trade parts that are all that great.

[So if you have POOR trade parts and cannot obtain a return for those players that will IMPROVE the team, then why make the trade. People want to move beyond the Bavasi Give-Away era. Why not fill your obvious holes and look to compete in 2009? Keep Ichiro if there is not a great package in return. Keep Bedard if there is not a great package in return. Bavasi is gone, GEOFF. On the trade front, this team needs to be more shrewd. So, for this very LOGICAL reasoning that GEOFF speaks to but dances around, I agree with:

3) BRIANL: "There are so many other issues we need to address first, namely 1B/DH/CornerOF. I'm still adamant that if these three positions get shored up, we can contend next season."

I'm adamant about this, too. TRADE to IMPROVE, DON'T TRADE to UNLOAD. Blowing things up is nice for the 4th or July, but not just to see the fireworks.

Posted by Capo

11:43 AM, Jun 26, 2008

One more thing.....

When I, or others bring up trading Ichiro, or Beltre....its not because we don't like them (or love them).......its trying to be rational...sensible.....and trying to make the overall team better.

Guys, I know some think this is a situation where we can compete next year.....but thats not the case.....the farm system is devoid of any talent thats close to contributing, we have too many bad contracts (Batista, Silva, Johjima), and by plugging all the holes through FA....we're just going to keep treading water.

Trading guys like Ichiro, Ibanez, and Beltre is not something to be taken lightly....but its the best, and in this case, only way to bring in the talent that this club needs.......cheap, inexpensive and quality players who are under club control for a few years........that will get us back to competing, while at the same time giving us a chance to build up the farm system with quality players.

so many here are quick to point to Billy Beane as a model......why is he successful year after year? Part of it is the players he drafts and targets....but a big part of it is looking at his club rationally, and making those tough deals (Swisher, Hudson, Haren, etc)......sometimes thats what you have to do to get better.

Posted by Donovan

11:47 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Ok, now we are getting down to it. Provocative post as usual Geoff, though I'm very tempted to accuse you of just trying to pad the blog hit rate here. In any case, this is the stuff we should be talking about, not meaningless games against the Mets. As much as I love watching Ichiro play, I have to agree that you must listen to all offers for him, ditto everybody on the roster in fact, except Felix. I am very, very skeptical that there is a deal to be made for Ichiro, however, for the following reasons:

1) You only deal Ichiro if it results in a quantum leap in team improvement. You don't make a lateral move to free up salary with him In other words, somebody has to overpay to make the deal happen.

2) Ichiro will never be worth as much to other teams as he is to Seattle for marketing reasons alone. I'm not offering this as a justification to build a team around him, just pointing out that it makes it unlikely that teams will overpay. NYY and BOS have made inroads, and I suppose are the obvious suiters, but Seattle is still Japan's team. Will anybody offer enough for ownership to give that up? Doubtful.

3) He isn't having a stellar year by his standards, making it harder to get a premium for him. I don't personally believe that he is sliding rapidly down the slope of permanent decline, but his age and contract length make this issue a concern. How many trades can you think of with similar age (34), years left (4), and pay rate (18M per)?

I don't think the M's goal is to unload Ichiro's contract so they can start over building this team. Whether or not they should do that is certainly debatable (and no doubt will be debated the rest of the year), but I just don't see it. This organization is way too conservative to take that kind of risk. They have a profitable organization now. If that kind of move didn't pan out, the fan base would be devastated. Their only believable goal in trading Ichiro (in my opinion) would be to get a bunch of premium parts back that would result in immediate, tangible improvement, and I think that's a longshot.

I can see lots of teams inquiring, but I only see one team rich enough and reckless enough to put something on the table the M's would consider. The only possible chance of this deal is if Hank Steinbrenner decides that Ichiro is his guy, but Hank needs pitchers. If the Yanks are going to overpay for any Mariner, it is going to be Bedard.

I think the subtitle of this thread should be "quite improbable".

Posted by isaac_spaceman

11:48 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Geoff, I don't get why you put Ichiro in his decline phase but you think that other players' supbar performance is a clubhouse issue. Isn't it at least possible that people's frustration with their declining talent level is what's causing the ugly clubhouse, rather than the other way around?

Posted by Capo

11:49 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Scott, I don't get it man.......whats wrong with Geoff seeing whats happening and reacting to that? Look at ESPN, and several of those "EXPERTS" who predicted this team would win 90 and contend are now calling the M's a disaster, a terrible team, etc......and several of those guys were the same one calling Bedard one of the top three pitchers in baseball....based on one season.

Geoof is far from the only one to point out the flaws and problems......he's just decided to focus on what will solve the problems and make the team better.


People can change their minds.....

Posted by scrapiron

11:50 AM, Jun 26, 2008

"You're either rebuilding for something special, or you're on the verge of something special. To be in between is foolish."
--Billy Beane

Posted by scrapiron

11:52 AM, Jun 26, 2008

"Rebuilding for something special without a real GM in place is foolish."
--scrapiron

Posted by Donovan

11:58 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Inspired by Scrapiron, I'll offer the following addendum to his posts and mine:

An interim GM isn't going to trade Ichiro. Pelekoudas is a caretaker, and (in my opinion) is very unlikely to win the job. They had to promise he'd be a candidate or he would never have taken it on. I doubt we see much rebuilding this season, just jettisoning of parts that are not wanted or expected to leave on their own.

Posted by Capo

12:01 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"Ichiro will never be worth as much to other teams as he is to Seattle for marketing reasons alone."

Bzzzzzzzzz.......wrong answer. San Francisco, LA, and NY all have larger Asian communities than Seattle. I'd argue that all three would benefit even more from having Ichiro than Seattle does....especially when you look at how the national media does things.


"He isn't having a stellar year by his standards, making it harder to get a premium for him."

No, he isn't having a stellar season, but look at the team as a whole.......Potential trade partners will try to use his current stats to fashion a trade, its our GMs job to call BS. Ichiro's bat hasn't slowed, he hasn't slowed.....never been injured, hard worker,......there's just no reason to believe that he won't rebound quickly in a better environment.

"I don't think the M's goal is to unload Ichiro's contract so they can start over building this team."

you guys just don't friggin get it........its NOT all about getting rid of his contract. Yes, his contract really means nothing to us.....he is not the guy to build around, he cannot carry a team....he is a table setter.

TRADING ICHIRO IS A MEANS OF BUILDING THIS CLUB THE RIGHT WAY....BY ADDING YOUNG, MLB READY PLAYERS AT MULTIPLE POSITIONS.

Continuing to build this team the same way, through FA is going to get us nowhere......First, we have NO ONE in our system ready to contribute........so you are basically advocating adding talent by way of FA........which is what Giilick did, which stripped out ream of draft picks and our system of any talent.

I just don't get a lot of you.....you complain about the team being crappy, which it is.....but what are your plans for rebuilding it......look more than 1 yr down the road.....think about 3-5 years from now and how any move will impact the team.

Posted by BWare

12:10 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Okay, it's time for me to come in and lay down the law. People, here's how it is, and there's no room for debate. I am right, so just end the jibberish and accept my righteousness.

1) The M's are not far from being a competitive team. Tons of experts and analyst can't be collectively wrong in their pre-season assessments. True, the team has grossly underperformed; however, most of the underperformance is due to...

2) A LEADERSHIP PROBLEM OF THE WORST KIND! When the Mets take pennant contending talent and hover around .500, that's an underperformance problem. When you take pennant contending talent and become the worst team in baseball, that's lack of leadership. When Jose Guillen is touted as an exemplary leader, you know you have leadership problems. While it's true that a lack of leaders among players -- ala the Jose Guillen Leadership Model -- explains a good part of the leadership issue, the overwhelmingly larger issue is...

3) THE NON-EXISTENCE OF A WINNING LEADERSHIP CULTURE! This problem falls squarely on management and the FO. There has to be a working and competitive environment enforced where it is unambiguously clear, to each and every member of the team, what is expected of them - and that less than that will not be tolerated.

An off-the-wall example -- when I was an investment banking analyst, no one needed to tell me to come in early and work late. EVERYONE ELSE WAS DOING IT.

As aside -- Can't help to think what Bedard would've done after 5 innings (99 pitches) when the rest of the staff was giving 6+ innings and/or always pitching through situations that optimized bullpen use. Maybe if McLaren would have forced Bedard to pitch six and/or left the mound empty if he became petulant, the leadership message would have been loud and clear.

With the above in mind, here's what the M's need to do...

1) Buy into a leadership vision and culture by hiring a GM. This absolutely must be the first strategic move they make. No signings, no contract commitments beyond this season, and no salary absorption beyond this season's liabilities until a GM is in place with a vision and plan ready to go;

2) Let the trade deadline market dictate the long-term strategy. That is, if I can acquire at least 10 mid-to-high-value propspects -- with at least 2 can't miss players -- then I'd trade anyone and anything to get there, irrespective of what it would do to the team in 2009-10. Less than that, I'd simply let the contracts roll off the payroll and punt the game forward to 2009;

3) Identify potential free agent acquisitions ONLY AFTER youth have been earmarked for starting positions. This way, you can use free agents to fill holes with short-term commitments. Personally, I wouldn't sign any free agent beyond two years at this time; however, if the M's were successful in rolling off, say, $75 million in long-term commitments, then a splurge is a just reward under the circumstances;

4) Ichiro, Beltre, Hernandez, Bedard, Johjima and Ibanez are all in play; however a strict interpretation of the Rule of 10 applies (see #2). Hernandez, in particular, should net about 4-5 prospects, and Bedard snags about 2-3. Trade them as a package for eight prospects, and you're almost there. Beltre is good for two prospects by himself (with some salary subsidy by the M's)

This strategy will have the M's playing about .500 in 2009 with competitiveness expected in 2010. With some luck, 2009 might be in play.

Hope that helps...

Posted by Craig

12:12 PM, Jun 26, 2008

A couple points from a rare poster on the M's blog:

1. Geoff, lose the condescending overtones. Run the blog how you will, but the "you don't know anything from your lay-z-boy" argument is invalid, and rather insulting to fans. We're all sharing opinions, including you. It's not the first time I've read your posts, and basically thouight, "what a d*ck".

2. I don't see the team trading Ichi. While I've mulled over the other posts, and there are some valid points made for trade value and continuing degradation of his skills, I'd be surprised to actually see it happen with this ownership group. Or perhaps I'm just thinking of the GP-Sonics situation, and wishing the face of the team wasn't run out of town.

3. I'm sorry, but having Raul Ibanez as our number 3 hitter does not evoke a rush of excitement. Sure, he seems to be consistent, but he's better suited further down the lineup, at least in my opinion.

I don't claim to know as much as Messiah Geoff, or a lot of you on here who sleep, eat, and breathe M's baseball - it's just one opinion from a Seattle sports fan.

Posted by Seattle Dad

12:12 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Wow, really have to disagree on the Ichiro thing. Just from a marketing standpoint, you have the #1 marketing tool in Seattle! Look at the volume of business brought in by our margue player? Then the Japanese dollars/fans he brings in. He's not a leader, granted, he leads BY EXAMPLE! If 1/2 of the players on the team had his intensive regime of working out and his incredible dedictation to the game, we would not be in this fix, now would we? Sorry...Bedard, yes, what a disaster that was, Sexson/Vidro, gone. Ichiro, by the way, and by the numbers, still the best fielding outfielder in baseball, REGARDLESS of center or right field. Trade him, and who, exactly, are you proposing to replace him with? Gotta give this one more thought, my friend. :) Thanks.

Posted by The Centerfield Bum

12:17 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I agree with points 1, 3, 4 and 5 concerning the rationale for making Ichiro availble in a trade.

I disagree with item 2 because I think it makes total sense to have Ichiro playing in right field given the current roster.

The Reed / Bloomquist platoon in center has worked well, and both can essentially cover similar ground in the outfield as Ichiro; however, Bloomquist/Reed are not going to stop a runner going from 1st to 3rd on a single to right. Ichiro's arm does cut off that play, which is why it makes sense to have him in right field at this time.

The M's don't currently have a true right fielder on the major league roster; therefore, it makes sense to have Ichiro play that position until he is either traded or the M's acquire a real right fielder.

Posted by James from Walla Walla

12:19 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I mentioned in this blog 1-2 wks ago that I thought
San Francisco was the best place to trade Ichiro.
Being he won the MVP at the All-Star game there last year. Plus, they have a large Asian community to support his Star status. You can bet he wants to stay on the West Coast if possible. Remaining close to Japan would make travel easier coming and going. He could help fill the void that Barry
Bonds left. Maybe we can get Randy Winn in the deal? I really like him when he was here!! Great attitude and hussle!!

Posted by scottM

12:20 PM, Jun 26, 2008

from Capo: "whats wrong with Geoff seeing whats happening and reacting to that?"

Nothing at all, but as I pointed out, the argument of whether to fill your gaping holes or to insist that the team will be broken up is not so absolute as GEOFF made it sound.

My question to him is how do we, as a practical matter, insist that the team be broken up, then state that we have few good bargaining chips. This logically seems to advocate a TRADE-JUST-TO-BE-RID-OF-OUR-PLAYERS attitude.

It's far more likely that GEOFF knows more than I know about this situation, but logic suggests that not a great deal of wheeling and dealing will be done until the new GM is on board.

But back to the point that BrianL and I are making. With a core of:

Felix
Bedard
Silva
Morrow
RAD/RRS

Clement/Johjima C
Lopez
Yuni
Beltre
Ichiro
Reed/Balentien
Ibanez DH

JJ and the young bullpen

Then we add:

A new DH/FirstBase/Power Hitting Outfielder


Why can't this team compete in 2009?

Rationally, this question MUST be addressed prior to stating ABSOLUTELY as GEOFF did, that the team "is going to be broken up."

Posted by ethan

12:23 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Sports - the opiate of the masses.

Posted by Pete

12:24 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Geoff-

"...M's fans have to stop kidding themselves. This team is not going to contend in 2009."

That is a pretty strange thing to say coming from someone who believed this team had the talent to win 90 games and win the division.

...and from someone who said a paragraph earlier that "This is not a 'talent' issue."

I might agree with you here, but as you acknowledge, this is a .500 team. Under the right management, this team could contend in 2009. A good GM could overhaul this offense and make it good. As I've said time and again, a couple of bats in the middle of the line-up would go a long way to taking the pressure off players incapable of what they are being asked to do.

With a $100 million payroll, you can complete. Plain and simple. You have to spend the money correctly -- which the M's haven't done for several years now. But it can be done. With Felix, Bedard at the top of the rotation, a solid bullpen, Ichiro, and a few other useful hitters playing out of position (in the field and in the line-up), this team really is just a #3 hitter and a #4 hitter away from competing .... absent the clubhouse problems of course.

If a new GM shuffled the cards and put great hitters in RF, 1B, and DH, it really could work.

Posted by tikal002

12:25 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Not a talent problem?? Really?? No legit #3, 4, 5 hitter in the line up, and it is not a talent thing? Hmmm

Posted by Capo

12:26 PM, Jun 26, 2008

dude, don't include Bedard in any future plans......trust me, the M's regret the hell out of that deal and are going to move him asap.

That might end up as the worst trade in Mariner history.

Posted by Klatzy

12:26 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I'm not against trading Ichiro but you aren't going to get value for him. Yes he's got little power, but he plays pretty good defense although there are detractors out there who claim that he doesn't dive for balls, doesn't give 105% etc.

There's a public perception problem out there undercutting Ichiro's value, he's selfish, slap-hitter, etc.

On the other hand he brings a lot to this team, he's the face of the franchise currently and he's part of the draw. Imagine what the attendance would be without him?

If he's in RF it does bring his value down and it's better for the team for him to be in CF.

And really Raul? Better value to the team than Ichiro? He's a good hitter, but a bad defender. He's going to decline more than Ichiro. And Raul will end up at DH/1B if the team is smart. No way Raul is more valuable than Ichiro.

Posted by macdoubter

12:26 PM, Jun 26, 2008


...McLaren had his biggest fan in Ichiro.

No, Geoff, not bigger than you. What do you do with all the time now that you used to spend finding creative ways to evaluate the Mariners while pretending McLaren didn't exist as an instrumental factor in this team?

Posted by Pete

12:27 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Also, Geoff-

"Ichiro...who's no longer a sure thing to his .300 most months of every season?"

You're not the first to say that. It's been said every year for the last 4 years, and he's proved everyone wrong over and over and over again.

Posted by Capo

12:35 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"I might agree with you here, but as you acknowledge, this is a .500 team. Under the right management, this team could contend in 2009. A good GM could overhaul this offense and make it good. As I've said time and again, a couple of bats in the middle of the line-up would go a long way to taking the pressure off players incapable of what they are being asked to do."

This is not a ".500 team", this is a team on pace to lose 105-106 games

Thinking we are ONLY a couple middle of the order bats away from contending is exactly the thinking we don't need. (Like those middle of the order bats are so easily found, or available).

Guys, I'm sure almost all of you have been bitching since 2003 about this team and its construction....yet here you are posting that we just need to add 2-3 guys in FA and magically contend.

Not that many people outside the talking heads saw this team contending......its made up of horrible parts.......right now we have holes in CF, LF, 1B, and DH......not to mention the #2, and #3 spots in the rotation.......we have a horrible defense, we have no power......these are not issues that we are going to address in FA with a shrinking payroll..........and as I've said, adding through FA is going to cost us draft picks.....besides, we're going to have to overpay FAs to come here.

Everyone should be available in the right deal, everyone....if it makes the team better, younger, and cheaper....then trade them.......then, when we see what we have, sign a young FA or two.......not guys like Washburn, Batista, etc......but we need to stop building around that mentality......its mind boggling how many Billy Beane fans we have here....how many guys want our next GM to be Antonetti, NG, or Forst.......and yet you guys want to build the team like its been run up to this point.

Posted by Fred

12:37 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I love the commanding presence and snark you bring to your posts, Geoff, but I must ask the question:

What are your qualifications? You talk down to the rest of us here but you were as wrong as wrong can be about what this team would accomplish this year.

So, in short, where do you get off using that tone?

Posted by scottM

12:38 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Capo. As a practical matter, I do think that Bedard will be traded, because he is the best single chip they have to trade. But why trade him just to trade him? If the M's don't get legitimate value in return, and they do believe they can compete in 2009, then DON'T trade your legitimate #2 starter.

Posted by Brian

12:41 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Ichiro/Bedard to the W/Sox for Konerko,Josh Fields,Lance Broadway and Matt Thorton.

Posted by Capo

12:42 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Scott, I don't advocate trading anyone just to trade them.....but Bedard is a cancer, and needs to be dealt before any value he has left is gone......with teams like the cubs and dodgers in dire need of a starting pitcher, i'd be willing to bet he is traded as soon as he can string together 2-3 effective starts......

In my opinion, the sooner the better.

Posted by papahawk

12:44 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Ichiro needs to go. This team will be better without him. Getting rid of I-chiro will make this more of a team, and allow young players to become effective leaders. Having Ichiro around gets in the way.

But I'm not selling tickets...

Posted by Capo

12:45 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Hey guys, I don't think Geoff is directing any "snarkiness" or "condescending attitude" toward the regular posters, but probably toward the drive by guys and possibly anyone who emails him......at least i hope.

There are a lot of good, and differing opinions here.......cut Geoff a little slack. He gives us some good insight, and gives us good topics to debate.

Posted by gohuskies898

12:47 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I don't think that trading makes sense. He is one of the two people on this team that puts butts in the seats. Every time I go to a game there are many Japanese people screaming their lungs out for Ichiro. He is a superstar to them and he brings in a lot more money then we pay them.

You can't put the blame on him. He plays great defense and still has a pretty high average. Sure he only hits singles but so what, at least he hits.

I for one vote no on trading him.

Posted by David Gee

12:54 PM, Jun 26, 2008

This just sucks. I don't want to see Ichiro go. I want to be sure that he'll go into the Hall of Fame as a Mariner, which he likely will after eight great seasons here. But the fact of the matter is that he probably is declining. I remember when Junior and Randy Johnson were traded. Junior was still the top dog in baseball and Johnson was also still great, just tanking it for half a season. But if we do get a mind-blowing offer for Ichiro we might want to take it.

Posted by scottM

12:54 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Capo. I don't buy that Bedard is a clubhouse cancer. I do buy that he is unprofessional with the media and is on the fragile side and could be tougher. I've also seen that, when he is on, he is an awesome pitcher with a WICKED curveball. And, as I've pointed out before, we don't know how Erik Bedard might perform in the heat of a pennant race. He's never been in one. I do think that this organization is quite displeased with his immature attitude, but if the Mariners were competitive right now with the Angels and he was part of that mix, then his "dumbass' side would be tolerated. (Quote from Bavasi). The Bedard trade was bad because THIS TEAM was not one and two pitchers from contending. And again, that was NOT Bedards fault, so why make him the fall guy. The fall guy has fallen (and that, rightfully, is Bavasi).

Posted by DFA'd

12:59 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Geoff writes, “Ichiro is not what Jason Giambi was to the Oakland A's seven years ago. He's not a guy who's going to carry his team on his back, rally the troops around him.” OK, Giambi was a leader, but here’s the Geoff “chemistry” bias at work again. Giambi in 2001 was where Ichiro was last year— in his walk year. The A’s tried to throw a huge (for them) contract at Giambi, and the way things turned out for him, it would have messed up their franchise if he had accepted. The A’s missed his troop-rallying leadership so much that they put up division-winning seasons in 2002-03 with Scott Hatteberg at first. So something else was going on there— a winning clubhouse culture that survived Giambi’s departure, sure, but also an intelligently assembled roster of run-producing and run-preventing talent that happened not to cost all that much.

Let’s try that again: Ichiro is not what Jason Giambi was to the Oakland A's seven years ago. He's not a guy who's going to carry his team on his back by putting up ridiculous OPS numbers. And he’s not playing for an organization that has a clue how to build a roster around him (or with the personnel he might bring in a trade, the flexibility for which is already limited by his huge contract).

Posted by ricofoy

12:59 PM, Jun 26, 2008

McLovin Pelodoukas is going to trade Ichiro? I wouldn't trust him to trade Ichiro's baseball card.
Just what this team needs..another reject from the Argyros era calling the shots. You know after 29 years of being a pissant, he relished the chance to whack good friend McLaren.
Can this franchise just get some goddamn intelligent baseball people to run this team?

Posted by Capo

1:00 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"I don't think that trading makes sense. He is one of the two people on this team that puts butts in the seats."

Really???? Heres a little known secret I'll let you in on.....a winning team puts butts in the seats.

As to Bedard, Bavasi is the biggest reason for this mess......but it goes well beyond Bedard being fragile......or not working with the media (a common USSM argument)....The guy doesn't care.......its as simple as that. For all the talk about him being fragile.....lets not forget he came to Seattle with this reputation...its not something that just popped up....the attitude problem, the malingering......none of its new......so I don't understand why you guys were expecting anything different. All the stuff Bavidiot said in his farewell press conference had been said over and over again in Baltimore for the past three years.

Posted by scrapiron

1:17 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I just read where Brian Runge got suspended for bumping Jerry Manuel the other day. Totally deserved. It's about time MLB steps up and reprimands the umpires once in a while.

Posted by Donovan

1:20 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Capo - You and I disagree less than your deconstruction of my earlier post suggests. I wasn't listing reasons why I wouldn't trade Ichiro. I'd consider it strongly. I was listing reasons why the Mariners won't, and I'm confident that they won't, unless somebody offers them the world (which I can't see happening). I was talking about reality, not a perfect world. Maybe they would be better off cleaning the slate and starting over, but that just isn't going to happen, and if it did, would you really want Lee Pelekoudas at the helm?

I was also going to let this whole issue of "team leadership" and "clubhouse chemistry" vs. baseball ability slide, since it seems to be an emotional issue for some reason that provokes a lot of ranting and insulting slinging among bloggers, but what the hell. I think this team isn't winning for the simple reason that they aren't good enough to win in this league, not as individuals and not collectively. The whole clubhouse losing mentality argument is largely a smokescreen, perpetuated by the team management because facing the truth is more painful. "Clubhouse chemistry" is being used as a euphemism for "things that we can't explain and/or don't want to admit to", like the fact that many of these players will never again see a career average year and some of the ones who have good years ahead have frequent lapses in mental focus. The clubhouse chemistry argument suggests that all these guys need to do to start winning regularly is to just want it more, and I don't think that is true. They aren't winning regularly because they can't, not this particular bunch of players. The key question, and one I don't pretend to have all the answers to, is whether they could win with a few strategic substitutions, but I think the qualities missing have a lot more to do with baseball talent than attitude. Sure, these guys have largely given up on this season, and are having trouble with motivation at this point. Me too. That isn't the cause of their problem though. It is a symptom.

I also think the whole notion of a great leader inspiring a team of ordinary followers to accomplishments beyond their pedestrian abilities is Hollywood and comic book myth. This model doesn't really exist. Any player who requires a father figure or role model to achieve his potential isn't much of a player to begin with. Note that I'm not saying players aren't inspired by their peers. That IS what happens on winning teams, but the idea that you need one recognized leader to call the shots is bunk. You think Manny Ramirez is the hitter he is because he wants to win David Ortiz' approval (though I guess that would explain his lack of interest in defense)? You think A-Rod looks up to and someday wants to be just like Jeter? Or maybe the other way around? Good players do bond and inspire each other, through example and through competition, but it is a lot less hierarchical than fans sometimes make it sound. Every player should be a leader in his own way.

I don't want to get too bogged down in semantics arguments, but I think when a lot of M's fans say the team lacks leadership, what they really mean is accountability, and I'd agree with that. Accountability means leading by example and it means players policing their peers behind the scenes. Above all else, it means self-motivation across the lineup. If that's what you mean by leadership, then I'm in total agreement. We don't need Moses to lead us to the promised land. We just need some guys who can play better and have the drive to do it every night. If you don't have that, nobody can give it to you.

Posted by Lance

1:21 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Ichiro does need to move on for this team to start building back up to a championship level. He'll only slow the process. And, he's only going to demand a trade soon, anyway. May as well beat him to the punch.

But, how are you going to get someone to take on the remaining four years of an inflated contract? You won't. They won't get much for the guy with that deal tied to him unless they pick up a chunk of it themselves.

Looks like the chickens are coming home to roost over some extremely poor team philosophies, let alone decisions..

I'm not going to change my monikor to "Fire Chuck Armstrong", but I'm sure tempted to.

Posted by Adam

1:24 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I'm in the "Trade Ichiro" camp.

Respectfully, to BrianL - the question isn't Ichiro's worth to the Mariners vis-a-vis the rest of the league, but rather his value via trade NOW and his value to the team in 2010. That's how I see it, anyway.

1. Contention in 2009 is unlikely. I'm just being consistent here. I argued until I was blue in the face that the Bedard trade would not work because this team, even with Bedard, was not a contender. Now, heading into 2009, quite possibly without Bedard, and with the inherent problems on the roster that will not go away (Yuni, Johjima, Silva, OF holes), I don't see how you can argue that anyone can put the M's in the same league as Anaheim and Oakland come 2009.

2. Roster problems - To continue: if we can get league average production from our DH and 1B spots, we still aren't where we need to be to contend. Johjima will still be taking ABs. So will Yuni. So will whoever is picked to play LF and CF (I don't believe Ichiro is moved back to CF). Will Clement provide necessary production? Will the new GM figure out the importance of OF defense (not to mention recognize Yuni's declining defense)? Will the necessary overhaul of the bench take place.

That's a lot of questions to answer in one offseason. As such, 2010 should be the target.

Maybe I'm being pessimistic here, but here are the only above-average players on the 2009 Mariners:

Felix
Putz
Ichiro
Beltre
Morrow (as a reliever, jury out as starter)

That's it. Can the team contend with four or five above-average players? Methinks no.

3. Ichiro's performance is declining. Whether it's VORP, or OPS+, or WPA, save for 2007, we are seeing him decline. Whether that's because of having to do so much work in CF, I don't know, but it calls into question his durability - which so many believed was his greatest trait. But here's the thing. The man is 34. By 2010 he'll be 36. Are we going to be hoping that a 36 year-old RF/CF with declining production will be a centerpiece of this team? At $20 million per? No thanks.

4. He's worth more to us in a present-day trade: Given the fact that come 2010, Ichiro will be 36, and it will be more probable than not that he will be in decline (I think I've got general history AND Ichiro's own stats to back that up), I feel strongly that the players he brings now will be more valuable to this team (in terms of money, age, as well as talent) than his contributions come 2010 or beyond. For the same reasons that Adam Jones was a better fit for this team than Eric Bedard, a trade now is better for the team than Ichiro.

5. Ichiro still has prime trade value - I think the Chicago teams and the NY teams will have strong interest in Ichiro. They recognize his value on the field, but more importantly, they know his value off the field (i.e., $$$). He can bring good value.


So I'm for trading Ichiro, Bedard, Putz, Ibanez, anyone of value other than Felix and Morrow.

Posted by Lenny Randle's Breath

1:25 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Yeah, why not? Let's throw him on the pile of other former players we wish we still had.

No sir. He's professional, good, 200 plus hits a year. That is one crazy idea IMO.

Unless you're trying to say he's no good in the clubhouse.
I can't see that. Seems like he sets the example, no?

I say blow up the infield. All of it. And then bring the fences in.

Posted by Faceplant

1:26 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Goeff,

This post assumes two things. One that this is really a .500 team. There were plenty of projection systems that pegged this team at under .500.

Maybe you should actually consider the possibility that you are wrong, and that this is NOT a .500 ballclub. That seems much more likely to me than trying to pin the underperforming on something that you have no way of proving. That seems like taking the easy way out instead of admitting that maybe, just maybe, the "statheads" were actually right.

As for Ichiro, we just aren't ever going to agree. I strongly believe that you (and many others on this blog) grossly undervalue Ichiro's offensive contributions, especially when he's on his game. And with his peripherals really showing no signs of regression, I'm not convinced Ichiro is in an actual decline.

Posted by Lenny Randle's Breath

1:26 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Oh yeah, glad you're back. Larry was fine. Just like your posts better.

Posted by scottM

1:28 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Capo on Bedard: "the guy doesn't care [...] the malingering."

I agree with everything else you said in your 1:00 post, but I'm not convinced of that he doesn't care or is a malingerer. For a brief moment when Felix belted his Grand Slam, the camera caught Bedard jumping up, pumping his fist and running to greet Felix. Maybe he really has been hurt. If I were Bedard, I wouldn't be too happy about how so many people are making him the fall guy for all that has gone wrong with the M's this year. Frankly, Bedard has underproduced at about the level that Ichiro has underproduced this season at the plat. It's not what we expected, but on the list of why this team sucks, they have sucked the least.

Posted by M's Fan in CO Exile

1:31 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Moving Ichiro would not only be foolish from the standpoint of the incredible bargain that his contract represents - Hey, why not get rid of one of the actual good contracts that Bavasi signed! - but would be a PR nightmare that would be worse than if the M's told Fans Barry Bonds was starting tomorrow. It's a foolish conversation, and the garbage that pours out of some writers' keyboards like the article I read yesterday (not you, Geoff) about how Ichiro is selfish, not a leader, and a problem on this team is ridiculous tripe. Those folks should be writing for supermarket tabloids and not a serious newspaper or sports media outlet. This team doesn't need a lesson in saving money on good contracts. It needs a lesson in not wasting money on bad ones. Ichiro is so far down the problem list that it isn't even worth discussing, in my view. Put and keep him in center. You re-build this team around Ichiro, Felix, Beltre and some of the youngsters. You get rid of the rest of the waste. Eat the contracts if you have to. Pandering to veterans or others who can no longer play will only make the process longer. We are beyond the point of caring about the size of the contract for the player who can no longer play. If you can't trade crappy players, release them. I'd rather lose the cash than see their useless forms causing roster construction problems next year.

Ichiro should not go anywhere. The debate isn't even that close.

Posted by BrianL

1:34 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Adam, we're never going to get a trade package for Ichiro that makes a deal worth it, period. His skillset is vastly undervalued across the league.

He's more valuable to us than he is to anyone else.

This is all a moot argument anyways. There is no way, not a snowball's chance in hell, that ownership allows Ichiro to be traded. If that were to happen, Mr. Yamauchi would have Armstrong and Lincoln's heads placed on a pike.

I still maintain this team can compete next season. This isn't Cleveland or Oakland. $117 million in the right GM's hands can turn this club around in a hurry. I don't have the best arguments available, but Dave Cameron and Jeff Sullivan have excellent posts written up on this very topic.

Posted by Capo

1:35 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Donovan, point taken......maybe i mistook what you felt with what you think the team will do....in that case I completely agree with you....the problems didn't all leave with Bavidiot, and the problems won't be gone until Lincoln and Armstrong are gone, or far less active in the operations of this team.


Scott, Google Bedard, 3 years ago, and two years ago all these issue cropped up.......to the point several members in the Oriole front office wanted him gone......he was accused by several staff members of malingering on more than one occasion. I brought this issue up when the trade was discussed, as i remember it happening......but evidently no one in the M's front office got my memo on the issue, and we're paying the price now.

Posted by Faceplant

1:36 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"3. Ichiro's performance is declining. Whether it's VORP, or OPS+, or WPA, save for 2007, we are seeing him decline."

But is that decline real, or not? His peripherals show no drastic regression. Is it his legs? Seems unlikely since he's still near the top among CF in OOZ plays, and is swiping bases at one of the highest clips of his career. Plus Ichiro's game is largely built around speed, and speed has always aged VERY well.

I'm not convinced this is a decline. His current numbers seem to be dragged down largely by a decrease in singles. Singles are easily the most unreliable hit there is. With Ichiro being prodominantly a singles hitter, he's prone to huge swings in performance from month to month.

Posted by James from Walla Walla

1:39 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Geoff Welcome Back!


For those of you that saw the incident where Felix hurt his ankle. Did any of you see how intently Bedard was watching Felix try to stay in the game for one more batter?? Felix is showing him and the rest of the Mariner pitchers that this is the kind of drive and desire that truly needed!! I hope it had an effect on him for the positive?? Time will tell!! We sure could use another Ace working his ass off to win for his team!!

FELIX I TIP MY HAT TO YOU!!!

Posted by Capo

1:40 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"I still maintain this team can compete next season. This isn't Cleveland or Oakland. $117 million in the right GM's hands can turn this club around in a hurry."

Right! And you think the budget is going to be anywhere close to $117 mil next year? It was that high this year only because the management team thought the M's could contend, and allowed them to go significantly over what was slotted.

As to USSM, LL, and others....They are right and wrong as often as most anyone else. i read their sites daily, and enjoy the commentary.....but most of the time, they are not posting anything new or groundbreaking, they are just looking at the same things from a different angle.....Also, before you snap, I'm not in any way trvializing their perspective, I do however think that you need to look at EVERY angle to form a good opinion.

Posted by Mike

1:49 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Lots of good dialogue here and whether it be Ichiro, Bedard, Beltre or Putz, you can make a case for dealing them if you get enough back and arguing each individual case is sort of fun but I think the market will tell you which of any of those guys to trade. We have 5 good players (the 4 above and Felix). Dealing any of them creates a big hole so if we did deal one of them we'd need to fill two holes in that trade, otherwise you just play Whack-A-Mole with your roster.

I'm of the opinion that we are not as far away from competing as our record shows. Our record is hideous because instead of our offense being carried by RF/1B/DH we get 3 big steaming piles of suck. Really, even league average hitters here would improve our record greatly. You need .850 from a DH and we get nearly .300 below that. If my boss rewarded performance like that with the clean up spot we'd have a bad lockerroom too.

We also have the worst D in the league. This makes our overpriced, pitch-to-contact hurlers even worse. Subtract half a run again from our pitching staff and we suddenly look better.

DH and 1B types are found all the time by teams (I referenced Cust & Pena earlier). A smart GM can find one and we can move Raul (unless a good trade pops up) to one of those positions.

We then need to move Ichiro back to CF and find another corner OF. A guy who could play D and put up just a .750 OPS would be huge. Dave Cameron had a post a couple days back on guys who would be relatively cheap alternatives who are currently blocked on other teams. We should spend the rest of this season deciding if Wlad is an option next year. Every day in the minors is a waste for him right now. We should also be evaluating Reed and keeping an eye on Saunders as well.

This team was built on the premise that it would repeat it's 104 OPS+ and vastly improve the pitching staff by replacing Weaver & HoRam with Bedard. & Silva. But the FO underestimated how hard it would be to replace Guillen's bat and assumed that aging hitters would not get worse. And again they ignored evidence that their defense was terrible and insisted it was good.

Surround Ichiro, Beltre, Clement & Ibanez with solid bats at 1B and RF and suddenly the offense can be above league average again.

Posted by Capo

1:55 PM, Jun 26, 2008

See, you guys that are saying "Well, we add a guy here and a guy there and we'll contend"....you are forgetting a couple of things.... First, Ibanez is getting old, and at some point his performance going to decline.

In a nutshell, its the same problem this organization suffers from, you expect all the problem children to rebound, and the guys who are producing to maintain their level of performance......but look at each person individually, and its easy to see this team is more than a year or two from competing.

As to the guys Cameron linked, those are cheap guys that are worth taking a look at, far from a given......it just means if they can be gotten at a bargain, then they'd be worth taking a look at.


Posted by Montana transplant

1:56 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Trading Ichiro . . . Japanese owneship will tell you to go to a place even warmer than Riggleman's seat cushion.
Brian

Posted by scrapiron

2:00 PM, Jun 26, 2008

How to fix the Mariners in 3 easy steps
Step 1 - Lee Pelokoudas:
DFA Sexson
DFA Vidro
DFA Burke

Step 2 - Jim Riggleman:
DH Ibanez
LF Balentien
CF Reed
C Clement
SP Morrow
SP RRS
RP Fields
(let these players play in these positions, every day the rest of the season, to see if they are a fit for next year)

Step 3 - Hire new GM:
Put everyone over 30 on the trade block. Thoroughly evaluate young under-30 talent you receive in return for rebuilding process
Let GM select new manager

Things not to do:
Don't let Pelokoudas make any trades
Don't let Riggleman play veterans over young talent to evaluate
Don't do these steps out of order.
Don't rush into the GM decision, it's the most important step of all.

Posted by fire_chuck_now

2:01 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Don't know why you'd trade Bedard and/or Ichiro before you have the new permanent GM hired.

Don't see Raul's leadership. Was it in lying about being hurt last year? Not volunteering to play DH while he costs the team outs every night?

Posted by Capo

2:02 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, but this is the kind of deal I'd trade Ichiro in....unless it is something that helps us immediately, and over the long term....I wouldn't do it.....we don't have to trade Ichiro.....

Ichiro Suzuki, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Jarrod Washburn to Los Angles Dodgers for Matt Kemp, Juan Pierre, James Loney, and Chad Billingsley.

The Mariners are in a deep hole, and have no chance to compete with their current roster. Add to this the fact that several bad contracts exist, and this is a nightmare scenario for any new GM. Trading Ichiro is not going to be a popular move in Seattle. The fans love him, and regardless of the record, the team makes a boatload of money off him.

Looking deeper, he is a 34 year old leadoff guy making about $15 million a season. Although he is showing no signs of slowing down, Ichiro is not a superstar, nor is he a guy I'd want to build around (at this point in his career). Instead, I make him the centerpiece of a deal that makes the team better at multiple positions, while freeing up some money for possible FA signings in the coming off season. Rafael Furcal is out an undetermined period of time, and the options the Dodgers have gone through and are considering are a huge sucking black hole in their IF and lineup. Betancourt is an above average SS, but I don't believe he is the talent many in Seattle think him to be (Remember, fans are always going to overvalue their own teams players, while undervaluing another teams). Washburn is a serviceable LHP who would benefit from a bigger park, pitching in the NL, and having a better defense behind him.

Kemp and Loney are young and under club control, meaning they are also cheap. They are both good talents who have had issues with Dodger "veterans". These two, along with Jeremy Reed, vastly improve the Mariner outfield defense, pushing Raul Ibanez to DH (maybe temporarily). Loney is not a classic power hitter, but his line drive swing translates well to Safeco Field, not to mention he's a huge improvement over the Richie Sexson and Miguel Cairo tandem the M's trot out there every night. Pierre slides into LF and gives the M's a viable leadoff hitter, while also clear a bit of salary from the Dodger payroll (Given the makeup of the Dodgers, they are built to contend this year or next, with guys like Andruw Jones, Nomar, Jeff Kent). Like the rest of the Mariner haul, Chad Billingsley is young, and has a lot to offer. He slides into the #3 spot in the rotation, behind Felix Hernandez and Erik Bedard (again, maybe temporarily).Seattle Mariners (estimated)
Ichiro Suzuki................... $17,102,149
Yuniesky Betancourt........$1,550,000
Jarrod Washburn.............$9,850,000

Total salary being traded......$28,502,149

LA Dodgers (estimated)
Juan Pierre....................$8,000,000
Matt Kemp...................$406,000
James Loney.................$411,000
Chad Billingsley.............$415,000

Total salary being traded......$9,232,000

As you can see, the Dodgers are taking on much more salary, but at the same time making themselves the favorite in the NL West. Plus, Ichiro will be a monster draw in a West Coast city that has a large Asian population. when Furcal returns, Betancourt can slide over to 2B, with Kent and Nomar "The Corpse" Garciaparra splitting time at 1B.

Raul Ibanez and JJ Putz could both bring the M's some good prospects in a deal. In my opinion, a closer is a luxury for a team fighting to avoid 100 losses, and a quality closer like Putz could bring an interesting return from teams like the Brewers and Braves, both of whom are contenders in dire need of a closer. Ibanez is attractive for a few reason, although he is a poor defender, he swings a good bat from the left side of the plate and can play LF, 1B, or DH. In addition, the team should immediately release Jose Vidro, Miguel Cairo, and Richie Sexson. they should then recall Jeff Clement and insert him at DH. This drops the M's payroll to around $80,000,000 going into the offseason, with only a few holes to fill (Closer, RF, SS, Bench)....and gives them a lineup that might look like this:

LF Juan Pierre
2B Jose Lopez
CF Matt Kemp
1B James Loney
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Jeff Clement
C Kenji Johjima
RF Jeremy Reed
SS Willie Bloomquist

Yes, Bloomquist wouldn't be my first choice (or 20th.......but at this point he can fill in for the rest of the season). The lineup has a good balance of LH/RH hitters, and while there aren't any big boppers, there is a lot of gap power and much better speed than we have seen from the M's in recent years.

How about the rotation? Here it is:

SP Felix Hernandez
SP Chad Billingsley
SP Carlos Silva
SP Ryan Rowland Smith
SP RA Dickey

Posted by Mike

2:02 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Capo---I agree that Ibanez is at risk to decline next year. If we can deal him to fill one of our other holes I'd be okay with it. He's posting a .786 OPS. It should be possible to find similar production from someone else who can't field...or we could try to find two someone elses and platoon.

Also I understood Cameron's post. But adding guys who seem to be better than what we have in the minors seems like a smart idea to me.

My big questions going forward are what the heck to do with Johjima? I doubt there is trade value. And Yuni presents problems all his own.

Posted by scottM

2:02 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"otherwise you just play Whack-A-Mole with your roster."


LOL

Posted by Capo

2:04 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Mike, I completely agree with you, and Dave.....good teams, and GMs are always looking at inexpensive options....it gives them more flexibility to fill other holes.

I'm all for the M's pursuing both of those guys Dave mentioned.

Posted by fred

2:08 PM, Jun 26, 2008

If Lincoln/Armstrong are so fearful of Japanese ownership that they would sign Johjima for three more years, at $8 milllion per, do not expect them to trade Ichiro---no matter what has been said.

Ibanez has value and should be traded to a contender now. Same for Bedard. Washburn and Batista would bring less value than Ibanez or Bedard but could bring something, and anything saved from their contracts would be a bonus. Sexson, Vidro should go for whatever they can bring. In all cases, Pelakoudas should insist on young talent in return. A good test of his competence after several years as Bavasi's apprentice.

Welcome back. You take more time off than Bedard. We thought you were a gamer.

Posted by ByeByeBavasi

2:08 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I agree bringing in Coco would make sense. Besides, I'd rather have Speed and great Defense, just look at the Rays OF.

Posted by James from Walla Walla

2:10 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I agree with the group that WE CAN contend next year. With Vidro and Sexson gone, lets see what we can do??

Ichiro CF/RF
Lopez 2d
Teixeira 1b (FA)
Holliday LF (FA)
Ibanez DH
Beltre 3d
Balentine/Reed RF/CF
Clement/Johjima C
Betancourt SS

Hernandez
Bedard
Ryan Rowland-Smith
Morrow
Silva/Dickey

I LIKE OUR CHANCES WITH THIS LINE UP!

Posted by Wall-E

2:15 PM, Jun 26, 2008

While I agree with most of your points Geoff, ownership is more inclined to base it's decision making on financial outcomes.

To trade Ichiro would significantly reduce M's market share in Japan.

I have read many financially based articles that justify Ichiro's salary based on TV rights alone.

What also does not make sense is that it's widely accepted that the M's are UNDERPERFORMING so why the fire sale? If the team does indeed have the talent to win then it makes no sense to dismantle every single part.

You can't run a team on emotion which is the status quo by today's analysts and sports writers.

Posted by scrapiron

2:19 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I apologize for being off topic, but I couldn't resist.

"They need to grab each other by the throat once in a while"
-- Bill Bavasi, on the Mariners lack of a tough guy in the clubhouse

Was this what he had in mind?

"I lost my cool and I grabbed him [GM Ed Wade] by the neck and threw him to the ground. I jumped on top of him because at that point I wanted to beat his (butt). Words were exchanged.”
--Shawn Chacon, on the altercation that got him a suspension

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

2:19 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I'll buy season tickets if they trade his royal highness.

He dogs it all the time not running out fly balls, or passed balls. He misreads at least one ball every game playing center field. He's lost a step in speed as he can't beat out as many infield grounders like he used to. His strike outs have increased every year since 2005. There's absolutely a link between his horrid spring and his obvious offensive decline this year, as his bat is slower this year.

If you watched runners this year, a lot of teams challenged Ichiro from center field and won. No one challenged him for years from right field in the past. It makes perfect sense to deal a declining player now than to be stuck with no buyers 2 years from now.

Trading Ichiro would add big time credibility to the fanbase and demonstrate the front office is committed to winning. Because right now no one believes Chuck Armstrong and Lincoln are serious about fixing this mess.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

2:23 PM, Jun 26, 2008

People are forgetting Ichiro's no-trade clause. All the rosterbation we're doing today doesn't mean a lick if he believes playing in SF, LA, NY, etc. is close to "punch myself in the face" levels. Or if he believes another team will compel him to play CF again regularly.

Also can't quite resolve how people are ticking off all the downsides to Ichiro, how his numbers are supposedly in decline... yet somehow this is going to be attractive enough to a contender to part with several quality prospects, prospects good enough to help the Ms contend in 2 - 3 years?

Posted by eponymous coward

2:29 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Tons of experts and analyst can't be collectively wrong in their pre-season assessments.

Go find me some analysts who predicted the Marlins winning two championships when they did. Analysts are wrong all the time.

Instead of trying to find BS chemistry reasons, why not assume the players weren't as talented as you think they were? Either is a reasonable hypothesis... but the second one has the advantage in that it can be backed up by empirical evidence that was available BEFORE the season started(in that the statheads called this team out as being a 85-90 loss team with offensive and defensive problems).

Posted by Mike

2:42 PM, Jun 26, 2008

It is entirely possible I'm wading into mathematical waters that are too deep for me but here goes. I'm hoping to show that replacing awful hitters with good hitters at just a few postions would make a big difference. Feel free to correct any errors.

Last year Jose Guillen posted a good, but by no means great, OPS of .813. His RC/27 was 5.8. If I divide that by 9 I get .64 runs that I assume Guillen was responsible for per game. If I assume my RF/1B/DH post the exact same numbers I get to 1.93 runs per game for the three.

Now if I look at the RC/27 for the Ms RF/1B/DH positions in 2008 and do the similar math I came up with those three guys contributing a total of .98. A difference of nearly a run a game. .95 runs times 78 games is 74 runs. Add 74 runs to the Ms and they are the third highest scoring team in the American League.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

2:44 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Resin - People like the ones who hang out here, are in the extreme minority at the ballpark. Most people who go to an Ms game are going there to see and be seen. I doubt your average soccer mom, tween-in-an-Ichiro-jersey, college kid in the beer garden, etc. is going to think like you do here.

You're assuming that your description of a fan applies to all the Ms fans. It doesn't.

Posted by msfan

2:46 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"Do you really want to be on the hook for the bulk of $90 million to a mid-30s singles hitter who's no longer a sure thing to his .300 most months of every season?"

Absolutely. As long as he keeps getting more singles than anyone in the game, has the best SB%, makes all star games, and gets gold gloves, he's good enough for me. You are kidding yourself if you think for a second the Japanese owner (the one who no doubt instructed the team to keep Johjima) is going to trade away a Japanese player that brings in the most in terms of licensing, jersey sales, and fan recognition. In terms of the bottom line and tv rights in Japan it's a no-brainer to keep him. Nice try though, trying to think outside the box. Just isn't going to happen, unless Ichiro demands a trade.

Posted by Damoose

2:58 PM, Jun 26, 2008

They only way bringing in Coco works is if the kid brings in the juice. I mean you can bring a Moose in a desert and he wont survive for a week... but if you take one step towards to Moose Knuckle.... well my friend... thats a recipe for disaster!

Pretty much that lays out this whole story right their. THink about it?!?!

Posted by Capo

2:59 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"Absolutely. As long as he keeps getting more singles than anyone in the game, has the best SB%, makes all star games, and gets gold gloves, he's good enough for me."

then, if thats the consensus.....people need to quit bitching about winning and be happy with a 70-80 win team built around Ichiro and a bunch of retreads.

I just can't fathom the rational here......Ichiro is not irreplaceable...he's a good player that if traded in the right deal could make this team much better.

I wish we could somehow keep this thread to look back on in 3 years, when the M's are winning 80 games and people are complaining about how much the team sucks, with a 37-38 yr old Ichiro still batting leadoff.

This is why the M's can never win, the FO doesn't have the balls to do what needs to be done.......and for all you guys that rave about the SABR community and Billy Beane, this is what separates us from them......they make the difficult trades while looking to the future.....we see a a huge hole at a couple positions and throw good money at awful players.

Posted by Dawn

3:01 PM, Jun 26, 2008

If they trade Ichi-rulz then what on earth would they do with the Ichi-Rolls?

Posted by Capo

3:05 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"Now if I look at the RC/27 for the Ms RF/1B/DH positions in 2008 and do the similar math I came up with those three guys contributing a total of .98. A difference of nearly a run a game. .95 runs times 78 games is 74 runs. Add 74 runs to the Ms and they are the third highest scoring team in the American League."

This is exactly why no one system can be used, disregarding every other.......if it were as simple as saying "We just need to find someone to fit this formula", then Toronto, LA (under DePo), Cleveland and others would be 50 games over .500 right now......instead Toronto is about to fire JP, DePo got canned, and Cleveland can't put it all together......you still gotta play the games on the filed to win.

As I said earlier, you can't expect all the guys that had great years to suddenly become those players again, and you can't expect everyone that sucks to be suddenly league average. In a strange way.....the SABR guys are almost like the 2001-2003 M's front office....expecting a level of performance thats not really reasonable from some, and expecting just to plug a few holes, and fix everything.

Posted by Chopper

3:08 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Damoose- Great point. I think that definatly is a recipe for disaster.

Posted by John

3:09 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Maybe if they could get Ellsburry and Dice K from Boston they would pull the trigger."

That is hilarious bartkofoed. If you thik the Red Sox would give up EITH Ellsbury or Dice-K even up for Ichiro...

Posted by Mike

3:15 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"This is exactly why no one system can be used, disregarding every other.......if it were as simple as saying "We just need to find someone to fit this formula", then Toronto, LA (under DePo), Cleveland and others would be 50 games over .500 right now......instead Toronto is about to fire JP, DePo got canned, and Cleveland can't put it all together......you still gotta play the games on the filed to win."

Huh? Having good hitters rather than bad hitters is not just a formula. Good hitters produce more runs than bad hitters. We happen to have put out terrible hitters at positions that are generally very productive offensively. I'm not arguing that you can guarantee anything. I'm simply making the point that if we replaced our terrible hitters with good hitters we would score more runs. Three Jose Guillen's instead of Vidro/Sexson/Wilkerson would have produced more offense. That's why I think it is feasible that with smmart moves we could compete.

Now if I've done the math wrong, that's another story.

Posted by Bill

3:19 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Is it true the M's can't trade anyone they've done bobblehead nights for?

Posted by luke

3:20 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I agree and Ichiro is a player you could maybe package some "junk' with him as well. I would give up Ichiro for a good, young pitcher and prospects so long as the other team took Vidro, Batista and maybe Washburn and I know I am dreaming but if they would take Sexson too that would be ideal. Point is I would trade Ichiro for the future but they gotta take some junk off our hands.

Posted by Shawn in Federal Way

3:25 PM, Jun 26, 2008

This failed season all started when McLaren announced Bedard opening day starter. The team must have received their bats from the Panzanian Rain Forest instead of The Big Forest of Hard Knocks and the only guy who happened to smuggle a bat back home was sent on his way because he was batter .400, good job on beating us Greg Norton. Sure glad there was no need for your services during the Wilkerson experiment or the Vidro re-Vidrolisation of the DH.

Then again this is the team that said RJ was done pitching 10 years ago and felt that A-Rod wasn't worth the investment and that the true face of the franchise must go on his way because why? He was getting too old? I have grown up in Seattle and for the past 28 years I have watched this team go from bad to good and back to bad.

Honestly I wish that one of these SCOUTS who found any of these gems; David Ortiz, Jason Veritek, Derek Lowe, Griffey, A-Rod, Jose Cruz, Jr. and the countless others the other pea-brained GMs have tossed away for the likes of Paul Spoljaric, Heathcliff Slocumb and Dave Hollins would be given the reigns of this team and told just don’t go over board. So yeah why not purge this team and get a whole new set of faces in here.

By the way, don't use the farm system to fill any vacancies like the A's, the D-Backs or the (OMG I’m going to say it) Rays. Whomever is down there MAY just be that good that the next idiot GM this team hires will send them packing to one of his old teams for a back-up middle infielder stuck in low ‘A’ ball for 3 seasons and a nice under the table bribe. FIX THIS TEAM!

Oh by the way, what was Batista's big secret?

Posted by lwl

3:27 PM, Jun 26, 2008

You wanted Bedard.
You defended Mac.
You defended Sexson.
You defended Vidro.
You wanted Wilkerson.
Now you say you knew all along there was a problem in the clubhouse and that you wanted to trade Ichiro last year. This is BS!
What did you smoke during your time off?

Posted by Faceplant

3:30 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"He dogs it all the time not running out fly balls, or passed balls."

No he doesn't.


"He misreads at least one ball every game playing center field."

No he doesn't.


"He's lost a step in speed as he can't beat out as many infield grounders like he used to."

An assesment based on what Resin? Have you timed him from home to first?


"His strike outs have increased every year since 2005."


From 66 to 77. That isn't statistically significant.


"If you watched runners this year, a lot of teams challenged Ichiro from center field and won."

You might have a point if The Hardball Times Outfield Arms statistics didn't say completely the opposite. According to Runs/200 Ichiro's arm was worth approximately 5.2 runs per 200 chances in 2007. That's fourth among all CF in baseball.


We get it, you hate Ichiro. At least stick to things that are actually true when you argue your point, instead of just making things up.

Posted by Wall-E

3:31 PM, Jun 26, 2008

What many of you emotional fans fail to recognize is that Ichiro = $ in revenue.

Revenue is required to operate a business. The M's are a business not a Nintendo Video game.

Please pardon the pun.

How else are the M's able to maintain a + 100 Mil payroll?

You are not demonstrating common sense. You are looking for a quick fix to a season lost and most likely another season lost in '09.

I don't care if Ichiro navigates a motorized wheelchair in right field as long as he brings in the revenue necessary to subsidize the remaiing payroll.

It's becoming obvious that the Ichiro haters never majored in business.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

3:35 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Chris- I agree with your opinion regarding the average fan at the park. However, times are a changin.

The last game I attended was a freezing cold night and Silva was pitching (he lasted less than an inning.) That was the most vocal I have ever heard the crowd in the since 2001. The crowd booed the entire first inning. They even erupted into booing Ichiro when he brutalized a routine fly ball in center, which I have never witnessed such a reaction towards Ichiro until that day.

Safeco Field is usually a graveyard when it comes to noise other than the 9th inning circus pro wrestling production that introduces Putz into the game or the mindless hat game or the boat races.

Overall, I'd have to say fans appear to be getting smarter and more vocal. But you are right there are fanatics in the crowd that won't be able to rationalize dealing him.

Posted by harley

3:38 PM, Jun 26, 2008

from what i have observed with the play of the mariners during the past two seasons---they are not focused.the players mind set is not with the game. if you look at their defensive play and batting skills---no wonder they are in the position they are in
trading this and that is not the solution
you have to get into the clubhouse and cutout the cancer--it is spreading and is becoming dangerous for this franchise

Posted by Adam

3:40 PM, Jun 26, 2008

But is that decline real, or not? His peripherals show no drastic regression. Is it his legs? Seems unlikely since he's still near the top among CF in OOZ plays, and is swiping bases at one of the highest clips of his career. Plus Ichiro's game is largely built around speed, and speed has always aged VERY well.

That's the $1 million question. His LD rates have gone down in each of the past three years, and his GB rate has gone up. Is his bat slowing? Tough to say, because in 2004, his best season since his rookie year, Ichiro's peripherals were quite similar to this year's.

I know how amazing Ichiro is, but when I see a clear (albeit relatively small) downward trend, I have to assume age is starting to catch up.

And if we all agree that: (1) Ichiro's best value is as a CF, and (2) perhaps his production is down this year because of the wear and tear of playing CF, isn't there a problem there? If the one place where his value is highest tends to hurt his production, isn't that a problem?

And while he's a fantastic player, do we want to deal with that problem when he's 36 or 37 making $20 million a year?

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

3:43 PM, Jun 26, 2008

We get it, you hate Ichiro. At least stick to things that are actually true when you argue your point, instead of just making things up.

Man up, or get get a Kleenex box, heck drown your sorrows all I care, at some point you have to accept your hero may be dealt.

Are you going to call Sports Illustrated, actual real life M's coaches, and myself all liars in a grand scheme to hate Ichiro. Get a grip.

Posted by statboys dad

3:46 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Wow have we really got to this stage, flush the toilet and let's see what we can get?
Who do we have to build around? Lopez,Yuni,Clement,Felix,Morrow,Putts??,
Now who is in the minors that is close? maybe two pitchers and??? So we really need something back from a trade. O/F power, 3rd and 1st power. I can live with Burke and Clement at Catcher.

Wow we are starting over....help!!

Where can dan Wilson help the most? Coaching or office?

Posted by douig

3:49 PM, Jun 26, 2008

the quicker he is gone the better imo 20 million for a non-leader primadonna is a waste of 20 million

Posted by Faceplant

3:51 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"And if we all agree that: (1) Ichiro's best value is as a CF, and (2) perhaps his production is down this year because of the wear and tear of playing CF, isn't there a problem there? If the one place where his value is highest tends to hurt his production, isn't that a problem?"

I'm just not sure I agree with that. I think you are ignoring the fact that Ichiro's skill set is one that historically ages VERY, VERY well. And given the available information we have (his stolen bases, his OOZ plays) I see no reason to conclude that he lost a step.


"And while he's a fantastic player, do we want to deal with that problem when he's 36 or 37 making $20 million a year?"

It depends on whether you think that Ichiro will still be a valuable player in his age 36 and 37 seasons. Ichiro isn't like Richie Sexson. He doesn't posses "old player skills". His skillset is one that historically ages well. I think people forget how valuable Ichiro has been, and are way too quick to dump him.

It actually reminds me of last year. Raul Ibanez had been terrible for over half the season. Like amazingly bad. The same people who want to throw Ichiro overboard (and I'm not talking about you here Adam), were strenously defending Ibanez last year. Just seems kind of Ironic.

Posted by Faceplant

3:55 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"Man up, or get get a Kleenex box, heck drown your sorrows all I care, at some point you have to accept your hero may be dealt."


Oh, I can accept that he could get traded. And if he was I would root for the players that he was traded for just as hard as I would any other Mariner. What I don't accept is your biased, made up, joke of an argument.


"Are you going to call Sports Illustrated, actual real life M's coaches, and myself all liars in a grand scheme to hate Ichiro. Get a grip."


I couldn't possibly care less what you or Sports Illustrated have to say. But I would LOVE to see where M's coaches said that Ichiro lost a step, or his bat slowed down, or he gets poor jumps on balls, or runners run on him at will.

When I confront you with actual data and the way you refute it is by vaguely citing Sports Illustrated, it's obvious that you don't have much.

Posted by Clinton

3:57 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Ichiro has most definately outlasted his usefulness. the only thing useful he can do for us now is bring in some fresh young talent in return for him in a trade. we should look into the dodgers or cubs minor league systems with interest and find some useable and hopefully at least two very good players in return for ichiro. a first baseman with power would be great. we will have about 30 million in payroll mistakes off the books next year please hire a gm with the ability to spend it wisely. i could have done better than bavasi in running the m's!

Posted by Wall-E

4:05 PM, Jun 26, 2008

This is an interesting blog.

What fascinates me is that the vast majority including the author completely base a players value on productivity.

What you are ignoring is marketability.

Emotions aside, that includes you Geoff.

Ask yourself a question?

Why did Arod end up in NY? Jason Giambi? The Who's who of Hall of Famers?

Do you think it was based soley on productivity?

Of course not. Players are retained or brought in to SUBSIDIZE payrolls as welll.

Have you ever heard of the YES Network? It's no different then most networks except it's subscription based.

It's business and many here completely base personnel decisions on performance which is NOT the case in the Modern game nor the M's organization which is the way it should be.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

4:22 PM, Jun 26, 2008

So, it's an off day. Close to the end of an off day, actually. Traditionally a time to make some moves.

- Why is Sexson not DFA'd?
- Why is Vidro not DFA'd?
- Why is Batista not on the DL?

Posted by Bruce P

4:36 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Well put Geoff.

Felix is the only one who should be treated as untouchable. I would, however, be open to hearing a blockbuster offer for him if that gives us three or four useful future pieces.

Next year may be much better than this year even with Ichiro et al gone. A youth movement and no attempt by the FO to pretend to stay around .500 to put people in the seats.

The fans will return to watch a team that has a future and everyone should be on the trade list for the right price. My only problem is: I don't trust this FO to know what the right price IS. They've shown me nothing.

Posted by Hohum

4:43 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Geoff, for being a big Ichiro fan, you sure don't sound like one. It's very ironic that you keep puling for Sexson and saying the M's needs to keep him (last year and a bit this year) when he was so bad for so long. Ichiro is certainly having a down year (for him) but it's been half a season and you want to dump him. I can see though that your one of those that love homer guys and don't care for guys that do anything else. Se la vie, right?

Posted by Bill

5:00 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Sexson's contract is done after this season. They're better off keeping him for the rest of the season since they don't have anyone else to play 1B.


Ichiro just signed a long-term contract last season. If someone else wants to pay that kind of money for a sub-.300, singles-hitting OF who doesn't want to play the position he's most valuable at I'm all for trading him.

Posted by scrapiron

5:01 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Chris - good points. Any while you're at it, why isn't Burke in Tacoma or DFA'd? Do we really need 3 catchers? Get Balentien back here playing everyday, and let's also see what Victor DIaz can do.

Or is Pelakoudas too busy trying to deal Ichiro?

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

5:03 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Note to Faceplant: Resin has every right to have an opinion regarding Ichiro regarding his decline and lapses in defense. You don't have to agree.

Posted by scrapiron

5:05 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"Sexson's contract is done after this season. They're better off keeping him for the rest of the season since they don't have anyone else to play 1B."

Bill, no they're not better off. They need to use this time to find someone to play first base for next year. Either put Ibanez or Johjima there, or call up LaHair and give him a shot. If all 3 can't handle the job, then you need to make sure that any trade talks involve a first baseman.

Wasting at bats on anyone that is definately not going to be here in 2009 (Sexson, Vidro) is not a smart decision.

Posted by JTS

5:06 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Take it from a long-suffering Oriole fan. A franchise player like Ichiro or Ripken can save an otherwise failing team. You can't build a team without money. You have to put fans in seats to make money. Ichiro puts fans in seats. Go to any event where kids wear jerseys; about 90% of the kids wear Ichiro jerseys. Trading Ichiro would set the team back for a decade or more.

Posted by newcollegefan

5:07 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Three division leaders in the National League:

Phillies (Moyer/Gillick)
Cubbies (Louuuuu)
Diamondbacks (Melvin)

Of course, none of those guys met the "image" of Seattle. How about that image now?

I don't trust anyone in the administration to make the decisions necessary to build a winner. As long as they make a profit, they're happy.

Posted by scrapiron

5:11 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Jason Stark's latest column has some nice Mariners nuggets. I'll summarize:

* Stark says the Braves are looking for a left fielder and Raul Ibanez might be a good fit

* Bill Bavasi talked to the Reds about bringing Ken Griffey Jr. back to Seattle, but Lee Pelekoudas isn't interested.

* The Yankees aren't interested in Erik Bedard, but the Phillies are. The teams have differing opinions on whether Bedard's surly demeanor would present a problem.

Posted by BWare

5:20 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I know this is a free speech blog, but it really doesn't add value to the discussion when obviously crack-induced trade proposals are thrown around with severe seriousness.

Hell, how about Silva for Crisp, Ramirez and Ortiz? That sounds great!!!

Anyways, I don't know how much is left on his contract, but maybe Houston would be motivated to trade Shawn Chacon straight up for Washburn. If the numbers make sense, why not? At any rate, Houston is clearly a motivated seller, so get on the horn and see what they'd be willing to take in a swap to be rid of their problem.

Posted by scrapiron

5:22 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Bware - The Astros just put Chacon on waivers. The Mariners can have him for nothing if they want him.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

5:30 PM, Jun 26, 2008

* Stark says the Braves are looking for a left fielder and Raul Ibanez might be a good fit

Interesting, I'll take Yunel Escobar please. Move Lopez to third and Betancourt to his natural position: second base.
That frees up trading Beltre.


Posted by Capo

5:31 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"Anyways, I don't know how much is left on his contract, but maybe Houston would be motivated to trade Shawn Chacon straight up for Washburn."

Don't undervalue Washburn.....I think he'd put up some decent numbers with a better defense behind him and pitching in a pitcher friendly NL park like Dodger Stadium.

LHP are always in demand, and I'd be willing to bet if we ate even part of his contract, we'd get a decent prospect in return.

Posted by Capo

5:32 PM, Jun 26, 2008

* Stark says the Braves are looking for a left fielder and Raul Ibanez might be a good fit

Interesting, I'll take Yunel Escobar please. Move Lopez to third and Betancourt to his natural position: second base.
That frees up trading Beltre.


Shoot, why don't we just ask for Chipper Jones??!!!

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

5:38 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Escobar isn't in the same universe as a HOF lock Chipper Jones.

Throw in Matt Tuiasosopo in the deal. Yunel would fill the hole of lead-off hitter when we deal Ichiro. That would be a smart trade. No way it happens. Lol.

Posted by Capo

5:46 PM, Jun 26, 2008

my point was the sarcasm.

Let me get this straight, you'd expect the Braves to give up their young stud SS in exchange for a poor LF (should be a DH) on his last legs?

Posted by kaseyswagger

5:47 PM, Jun 26, 2008

There is no way we trade him at the deadline thats just dumb.Maybe we shop him in the offseason but we are going to have to get back some of the best prospects there are in the game.I'm talking Jay Bruce,Evan Longoria,Ryan Braun type prospects.

Raul Ibanez and Erik Bedard are way more likley to go.Also Bedard was never our big window to the post season because he has not proved anything and offense is this teams problem.

If we had good bats in the lineup then we would win and there wouldnt be any club house problems there will be problems with any clubhouse when you lose not much when you win.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

5:52 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Don't undervalue Washburn.....I think he'd put up some decent numbers with a better defense behind him and pitching in a pitcher friendly NL park like Dodger Stadium.

I don't like his chances without an out-pitch. Campillo uses that change, even disgusting Jeff Weaver had a breaking ball. Besides, Washburn pitched in a big park as a fly ball pitcher here at Safeco right?

Posted by Faceplant

6:04 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"I don't like his chances without an out-pitch. Campillo uses that change, even disgusting Jeff Weaver had a breaking ball. Besides, Washburn pitched in a big park as a fly ball pitcher here at Safeco right?"

And a craptastic defense behind him.

Posted by zip waygone

6:14 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I agree.
1. we wont content for at least three years. Ichiro's game is built on speed. he will be a fine player, but a different player 3 years from now. His value is at its last plateau.

2. we have to ask who if anyonehas appreciated in value rather than depreciated in value? who among them can we afford to part with? from the vantage point of this question there is no better, more sensible trade than Ichiro.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

6:39 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Let me get this straight, you'd expect the Braves to give up their young stud SS in exchange for a poor LF (should be a DH) on his last legs?

It could be a pipe dream but they could call up SS prospect Diory Hernandez in Richmond. Or plug Infante at short.

They are also so desperate for an outfielder with Raul's numbers they may be willing to deal Escobar. Yunel isn't a good base stealer so he's not a great fit in the N.L.

Their best outfield prospects; Jordan Schafer isn't doing very well in AA this year or Brandon Jones in AAA. Remember, this is a Braves team under new GM management. Escobar certainly isn't an established player yet.

Posted by Wall-E

6:58 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Calm down young men.

Count to 10 and take a deep breath.

Inhale and exhale. That includes you Geoff with all the "insider information" which is irrelevant for the most losing team in MLB, 2008.

We all know players are not happy with one another in MLBs worse team. That happens because players do not like to lose and point fingers just like any organization.

Trading Ichiro makes no sense financially and will not solve the M's problems.

Remain patient, don't print anything you will regret later Geoff which ia a chronic condition for you.

Steve Kelly and you need to bang some drums or somethihng!

Posted by BWare

7:34 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"Bware - The Astros just put Chacon on waivers. The Mariners can have him for nothing if they want him."

Thanks for the update! Unfortunately, that means the M's missed out on yet another opportunity to unload some excess baggage.

If the 'stros were willing to cut him free for nothing, then surely the M's could've figured out a win-win trade proposal in a dead weight - malcontent exchange.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

7:38 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Gee Geoff, "I thought the best time to trade Ichiro was last year. The team took a chance, hoping it was going to contend moving forward. The chance didn't work out. I won't crucify them for their hope." How kind of you!

I'm pretty sure you where one of the many media types calling for the M's to win the division a very short time ago. Now you tell us you thought last year was the best time to trade the Icon. Hmmm.

Mr. Yamauchi would like to see you in his office in the morning to explain why the Ichiro trade will not happen. Jeez!

Way to stir the pot Geoff!

Posted by Andrew

7:59 PM, Jun 26, 2008

In 2004 when the M's lost 99 games, Ichiro set the record for hits so I don't think the team's performance effects him one bit. I do think we are a few players away for 09 though. I may sound overly optimistic but Sexson and Vidro not just didn't hit this season but brought the team down with them. With a manager that actually enforces his rules with everybody and a gm that can make the right trades, we could contend in a year.

And Billy Beane may be a genius but you say moves like Haren were genius? That's why Oakland will be a .500+ club but won't win another world series anytime soon. You can't be rebuilding evry year.

Ichiro for Josh Beckett and Jacoby Ellsbury or no one at all.

Posted by M Dogg

9:17 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Geoff, I will put your headline comment in the "I will believe it when I see it" category. From a baseball perspective it makes sense. From a business perspective it does not. Which is why I still believe the only way Ichiro gets traded is if he requests it.
A few points:
"As good as Ichiro is, it doesn't justify a non-contending team keeping him around strictly for marketing purposes." By "marketing purposes" are you including the Japanese TV contract and the busloads of Japanese tourists spending $$$ at the Mariner shop and Safeco?
"They were specifically asked whether "all players" could possibly be traded -- even Ichiro -- and did not hesitate to answer yes." Are these the same folks who stated Bavasi was doing an "outstanding job" a few weeks before he got the axe?
"I expect him to be shopped with serious intent."
Who gets to make the calll to Yamauchi telling him about this impending deal?
As I said I'll believe it when I see it. BTW- Welcome back!

Posted by wag the dog

9:34 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Assuming we're a few players short of contending, how do people propose we acquire these players? It would seem we need some power, some defense, some leadership and some pitching. I doubt we're going to get all of that off the free agent market and we don't seem to have a lot of ready now guys in the minors. That leaves the trade market and with little to offer, what do we expect in return?

Marketing is well and good but I'm confident kids who wear player jerseys and adults from various markets who contribute to the revenue stream in different way would be plenty happy to wear a Felix jersey and watch a winning team instead of keeping Ichiro around past his prime and past any hope of trading for something in return.

If we're truly a few pieces away from contending, those pieces have to come from somewhere and they're going to cost something. Blame Bavasi for giving away most of our players who could have fetched a ransom in return, but the roster is what it is and someone is going to have to get creative and bold if we hope to acquire any new guys who can address the power, defense, leadership and pitching issues.

Considering that Ichiro doesn't address power, leadership or pitching, I believe the $20 million could be better spent on different players.

The fever around Ichiro seems more due to a lack of other options than anything exceptional he's currently offering. The Mariners have few players on the roster worth rooting for. Ichiro is the default. And he doesn't seem to enjoy it nor bring anything extra to his status as the face of the team.

I really am surprised at how insistent people are about the Ichiro marketing angle. What's more marketable than a winner? In my book, nothing.

In 2001 it was a team effort. Lots of players to root for. Lots of jerseys of different players being worn. Lots of revenue. Lucrative tv/radio contracts. Show me a winner and I'll show a team with marketing options. The Devil Rays are more marketable than Ichiro right now. And they're getting a ton more press.

Posted by M's Fan

9:35 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Scrapiron: "why isn't Burke in Tacoma or DFA'd?" THAT is a great question. Not to mention a waste of a roster spot.
JTS: "Go to any event where kids wear jerseys; about 90% of the kids wear Ichiro jerseys." The kids baseball camp I watched this week was proof of that. Whatever you want to say about "marketing" Geoff, Ichiro is a money making machine for the M's, not to mention a personal friend of the owner. Lincoln will be gone before he is.

Posted by M & M

9:39 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"The Devil Rays are more marketable than Ichiro right now." I'd love to see proof of that. I would bet there are more Ichiro jerseys sold in an hour than Devil Rays' in a season. I would also love to see the Japan TV contract vs. the Rays' If anyone has those numbers, please share...

Posted by Ichirules

9:48 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Well, me and about 1,000,000 other Mariners fans will become FORMER Mariners fans if they shop their only talented player. You can argue all you want about what you can get for him, but I can trade my house for a handful of beans that might eventually feed my family. It's still a stupid idea. If you want to watch a bunch of no-name, maybe-will-be-good prospects kick a ball around, go watch the Rainiers.

Posted by wag the dog

10:30 PM, Jun 26, 2008

"Well, me and about 1,000,000 other Mariners fans will become FORMER Mariners fans if they shop their only talented player."

They'll be first in line to get on the band wagon when the team starts winning again. If you had a choice between supporting a Mariner team that LOSES 100 games WITH Ichiro and a Mariner team that WINS 90 games WITHOUT him, what would you choose?

"I would also love to see the Japan TV contract vs. the Rays' If anyone has those numbers, please share..."

Why are people so infatuated with Japanese television contracts? Who cares? I hasn't helped us win more games. Of course the D-Rays don't have a Japanese television contract. They do have 19 more wins and are stocked with several quality, young future stars who are under club control and playing for cheap.

As I asked before, if you're a Japanese fan, would you rather watch Dice-K win in Boston or Ichiro lose in Seattle? Ichiro's time as the dominant draw amongst Japanese born major leaguers strikes me as coming to a quick close. He's not as electric as he once was. He plays for a terrible team and there are more and more Japanese players in the majors competing for the attention of Japanese fans. The Japan connection is not the golden goose some make it out to be.

Posted by Nat

10:39 PM, Jun 26, 2008

M & M- good point. I was just thinking the same thing - that I'd like to see those numbers comparing Tampa Rays jerseys to Mariners jerseys with the name Ichiro on them.

Felix is the Mariner's biggest talent, but as far as marketing purposes go he is the (very near) future. Ichiro is still the present.

Posted by vertigoman

10:48 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Geoff,
Sounds like you forgot your own argument from (this past off season), that is, that the M's do not have to rebuild in the traditional sense. They are a high payroll high revenue team. Ichiro pays for himself and then some. The M's have not been without a marque player since moving to Safeco so it's not a safe bet that they will maintain their high revenue advantage without Ichiro.
If you're saying that Ichiro is the problem fine. His average is down to what, 290? However, you can also look at his BABIP, K%, BB%, LD% and assume he's doing fine. His average will get there.

Posted by vertigoman

11:05 PM, Jun 26, 2008

And also,
You've created a rumor. I've seen it on several sites today. Congrats! Another rumor based on nothing more than conjecture and boredom from a beat writer thinking out loud.
Geoff Baker's star is on the rise!

Posted by M & M

11:15 PM, Jun 26, 2008

wag the dog: "The Japan connection is not the golden goose some make it out to be." Really? Prove it. How much are the TV and radio contracts for Japan broadcast worth? (numbers please..) And please don't tell me Ichiro doesn't bring in Japaneses tourists. I work in downtown Seattle and see groups of them every day during the summer months.

Posted by Snave

11:18 PM, Jun 26, 2008

I think JTS has it right... Ichiro is the face of the franchise, he does put people in the seats. While the team needs to be blown up and started over from the ground up, I don't think they should ignore the fact that there has to be something compelling about the ballclub in order for fans to come watch games. In this case, watching Ichiro play baseball might be as close to compelling as it gets for Seattle fans. Trade Ichiro, and by what percentage would attendance drop? Granted, a rebuild would take a few years, but how soon would fans start returning to the ballpark? How much fan resentment would be generated if the team traded Ichiro?

That's from a business standpoint, and I don't think the business standpoint can be ignored here. Then again, if the team really wants to rebuild...

It would be interesting to shop Ichiro just to see what kind of package he would bring in return. I have to say that even despite that business aspect of things, if trading him brought the team a power-hitting outfielder and a starting pitcher along with a prospect or two, it might be worth doing. I agree with what Geoff was saying, that the best time to trade Ichiro may have already passed, but I think that other than Felix Hernandez, Ichiro ought to have the most trade value.

I want to see the Mariners keep Felix! Morrow too, for that matter. It seems like we are seeing growth from Lopez, and that it would make sense to hang on to him. Balentien and Clement have nice potential as hitters, and I think they need to have time to realize that potential. I think that might make a good core group to build around, with youth.

What would players bring in trade? Maybe:

Ichiro = power-hitting LF, middle-of-rotation SP, two good prospects at whatever minor-league level
Washburn could = a halfway decent prospect of some kind from a contender if he puts together a few more good outings
Ibanez could = a decent high level prospect from a contender if he plays well during the next few weeks
Bedard = one young player already in the majors plus two good prospects
Rhodes = a good low-level prospect from a contender if he continues to pitch well

Add the power-hitting LF, the MOR SP, the young player already in the majors, and the seven prospects to the youngsters the Mariners have coming up (i.e. Feierabend, Saunders, Balentien) and the team could be on a good track. It might or might not be totally awful next year, but it would be building toward being better.

I doubt Batista, Vidro and Sexson together would = a bag of baseballs at this point.

What young players are out there the Mariners could target in trades involving Ichiro and/or Bedard?

Posted by M Dogg

11:22 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Numbers? did someone say numbers?
Here ya go:
http://seattle.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2005/02/28/story1.html

The last quote is particularly interesting:
"Said Mariners CEO Lincoln: "If there was no Ichiro, there would be no broadcast of games back to Japan, and none of these companies would be interested in Safeco Field." "
Trade? Don't bet on it.

Posted by Mothy

11:25 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Trading Ichiro would be dumb, dumb, dumb. Sure, if someone offered just an amazing, blow you out of the water package for him you'd have to take it. But unless it was something even beyond what we gave up for Bedard it would be a big mistake. And unless some team hires Bavasi that isn't going to happen.
First, Ichiro is one of the best leadoff hitters in the game, and with his stolen base numbers this year there is no sign of him slowing down. He is durable, an excellent fielder, etc. etc. I don't think I need to tell you what he is because if you're a baseball fan who isn't aware that Ichiro is one of the best outfielders in the game right now, then you're an idiot. So he's a healthy valuable commodity who isn't easily replaced.
In addition he's THE superstar (Felix is great but only plays every 5 days) on the Mariners. To remove your teams superstar you better have good reason or it's really going to hurt your fan base- even more than them sucking. I've continued watching them this year even though they suck. I've been an M's fan all my life. But if this team traded Ichiro I'd be done with them. With Griffey and RJ I was ok with the trade because the players asked for them (plus there were other stars to continue to root for), but to just trade your only superstar just because he's the player you have who you can get the best return for? That's just dumb reasoning.
If we weren't going to be any good for the foreseeable future, maybe you could justify it, but we have ownership that's willing to have a $117 million payroll. If we make the right moves we can be competative again next year, and it's highly likely if not next year then the year after. Ichiro will still be an All-Star caliber player at that point. Why give the one piece of the puzzle we do have in place up?
And the payroll brings me to the last point. Ichiro makes us money. Us making money= having a bigger payroll. A bigger payroll= the opportunity to keep King Felix longer, sign the top free agents, and retain our stars. We take away Ichiro and we lose the steady stream of Japanese tourists flowing to Safeco Field buying Mariners products. That would be a hit to the greater Seattle community and a hit to the team itself.
So, Mr. Baker, in summation. This is your worst idea ever.

Posted by scottM

11:31 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Wag the dog. Your name says it. Why do you create a false binary that Winning and Ichiro are mutually exclusive? Ichiro in RF for the next few years is a plus to this team on the field and as a marketing attractions. The M's CAN win with Ichiro.

If Safeco Field stops drawing fans because this team goes into rebuild, then a downward spiral will mean that there won't be enough revenues for a healthy payroll.

This team can be systematically rebuilt without blowing the thing up, and without throwing in the towel in being competitive during the process.

Posted by Pudnocker

11:38 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Mothy - are you a parody of my nightmare Mariner fan, are you Chuck Armstrong posting anonymously, or do you actually think what you just said? Because what you just said is pretty much the opposite of what is actually true. So I am just curious. Thank you.

Posted by fromage

11:44 PM, Jun 26, 2008

The team does not need Ichiro to be interesting.
The team has Ichiro now, and is not interesting.
Winning games is interesting, no matter how it happens.

Posted by Chris in PDX

12:06 AM, Jun 27, 2008

This team is such an awefull mess with so many poor signing`s( Ichiro is great,but worth 20 mil. a year?!! And a 3 year extension for a catcher that none of the pitcher`s can communicate with)that it is impossable to figure out what they will do next.It wasn`t all Bill Bavasi`s fault.Howard Lincon and Chuck armstrong are a joke and all about the bottom line.Seattle is my team,represent`s my home city.But now that I live in oregon I think i`ll start pulling for a national league team that doesn`t have it`s head in the sand

Posted by Chris PDX

12:16 AM, Jun 27, 2008

Keep Sexson!!Keep Sexson!!!
I have been reading some post`s and what people forget is that if we trade him for someone`s leftover prospect`s that are of little or no use,what is the point! I mean we would lose out on draft pick`s for next year if we do that.Stupid.Unless we can get something of Real value keep him so we get those extra draft pick`s for loseing a player to free agency.We can bring up some potential replacement in sept. with the expanded roster and see what we have then.

Posted by seems reasonable

1:02 AM, Jun 27, 2008

Why not trade Sexson straight across for Carlos Delgado? Both guys are struggling in their current environments. Salaries are similar. The only thing I can't seem to figure out is when Delgado's contract is up. Looks like at the end of this season, with and option for '09. Not sure who's option. Neither team has anything to lose, and a ton to gain...

Posted by fire howard lincoln

6:25 AM, Jun 27, 2008

interesting.
I wish you and other writers would quit talking in generalities and step up and say the club house problem is this group and that group etc. They would in NY! Why not here.

FIRE HOWARD LINCOLN

Posted by eastcoast

7:36 AM, Jun 27, 2008

The three biggest trade chips that the Mariners have are:
Felix, Bedard, and Ichiro.. not necessarily in that order. Trading any of these 3 gets you at least 3-4 prospects, which includes some MLB ready talent. Felix won't be traded. Trading Bedard is a slam dunk obvious move (he'll have plenty of interest despite injury concerns and a surly demeanor). Trading Ichiro makes sense from a baseball standpoint, but not from a business standpoint. I don't think you can put a value on what Ichiro brings to this team from a marketing standpoint - cash and fan base. He is the face of the M's, and because of him, they have a fan base that is global. Personally, I would be OK with the M's trading him, but don't see the M's FO doing it. And has been mentioned previously, would not want to see our biggest trade chips being moved but a inexperienced and interim GM.

Posted by Mr. X

7:46 AM, Jun 27, 2008

Well, by looking at this thread, I've learned a lot of new things.

1. Ichiro will never retire, and we'll be able to count on Japanese TV contracts, bandwagon fans who are really just Ichiro fans, and Ichiro jersey sales from now until the end of time.

2. We haven't had 4 last place finishes (including this year) with Ichiro as the "face of the franchise."

3. We will never be able to sign another Japanese "superstar" player if we trade Ichiro, so we would never get one red cent from anyone living in Japan (one country) ever again.

4. Ichiro is earning his money in Right field.

5. Trading Ichiro for MLB ready prospects would not help the team very much, and having that extra 90 million to put towards signing or re-signing other players wouldn't help the team at all either.

6. Ichiro is still a Top 25 player in the league.

7. Ichiro shouldn't have been traded last year before he "robbed the bank" with that ridiculous contract. His value is much higher now.

8. Mr. Personality and his antics do not affect the clubhouse in any way, because his alleged production has resulted in so very many wins.

9. Ichiro is the most unselfish player in the game today.

10. Ichiro is the greatest leadoff hitter of our time, even if he had to break the hits record to get above a .400 OBP.

11. Real Mariner fans don't care about winning on the field, or anything silly like that. They care about how much money the club takes in. Increased ticket sales from putting a winning product on the field does not count, and a Championship is secondary to how much money one player brings to the team. We get more foreign money than any other team, which kind of makes us first place, in something.

12. Ichirobots will still be Ichirobots.

Posted by Mr. X

8:00 AM, Jun 27, 2008

Oh, forgot one.

13. Ichiro cares about the team, winning, and his fans. Especially the younger fans that he visits at school, just long enough to ignore them. Ichiro does not care about his stats, salary, housing allowance, plane tickets to Japan, or any of his other perks that the team pays for because he can't.

Posted by Mr. Z

8:06 AM, Jun 27, 2008

Mr X: Glad you have finally seen the light. What size Ichiro jersey will you be purchasing at the Mariner store later today?

Posted by Mr. X

8:13 AM, Jun 27, 2008

I'm going to wait until I can buy his jersey in another Team Store. I'll display it proudly while watching a winning Mariner team.

Posted by Mike

8:50 AM, Jun 27, 2008

Yep, because Ichiro is keeping this team from winning.

Let's look at the bigger problems on the team.

Our "DH" has an OPS under.600.

Our first baseman hasn't hit in two years yet we went into the season counting on him and DFAd our two possible replacements in order to keep an extra pinch runner.

We are paying and have paid millions of dollars to mediocre pitch-to-contact hitters.

We have the worst defense in the league.

Just AFTER our catcher forgot how to hit we rewarded him with a 3 year extension thereby diminishing the value of our most MLB-ready prospect.

Our middle infielders have 15 walks in 614 PAs.

Our bench may be the absolute worst in baseball.

The ace we gave up 5 players for is either hurt, soft or both.

Our lights-out closer is hurt.

Ichiro is indeed below his usual stat-line and if the return were good enough I'd be willing to trade him but he really is the least of our problems. Bill James said it best "Bad teams blame their best players."

Posted by drake

9:37 AM, Jun 27, 2008

I'm as big a fan as anyone with what Cleveland did to turn the franchise around, but in the real world of financial reality, the Indians have yet to fully turn it around. People forget that while Cleveland got amazing prospects in return for blowing up the team, they lost a lot of fans who are still slow to return. Even with their great run last year, they were only at 60% of what they were during their attendance peak from '95-'01 at Jacobs Field. Between that and not having a foreign TV market to lean on, their financial margin for error is small.

It seems that if you have a way to rebuild the team while still maintaining a large profit (ie, with Ichiro,) you can use payroll advantage to build the team much faster. Blow up the team to not compete until 2010, and you risk losing fans that won't come back for years following, even if you're winning the division.

That being said, if someone gives you what Ichiro is truly worth (on and off the field) and can make the trade someplace where Ichiro will let you (no trade clause!) do it. Value equals value. An interim GM isn't going to do it, though, and on top of that I just don't see anyone even approaching the on and off-the-field value (guaranteed All-Star appearances, merchandising, Japanese TV and advertising deals, attendance, etc.).

Saying everyone is available for trade is ultimately posturing, an interim GM attempting to establish an alpha dog presence with his fingers crossed behind his back (and assurances made to the front office that it's just that).

Posted by wag the dog

9:42 AM, Jun 27, 2008

"Why do you create a false binary that Winning and Ichiro are mutually exclusive? Ichiro in RF for the next few years is a plus to this team on the field and as a marketing attractions. The M's CAN win with Ichiro."

You'll have to point me to the place where I said the two are mutually exclusive as I'm certain I said no such thing. I simply don't believe that under the circumstances keeping Ichiro is the BEST way to build a winner. Really, it all comes down to execution. If some GM comes in and finds a way to acquire talent that can produce immediately to surround Ichiro, then sure, keeping Ichiro is reasonable.

But as I've asked repeatedly, what's the plan for adding the missing pieces? You guys can insult me all you want, but until you offer a reasonable plan for acquiring leadership, defense, power and pitching I think your "keep Ichiro" plan essentially leaves us where we are now - ownership makes money while putting a mediocre product on the field that the average fan is forced to overpay for.

"This team can be systematically rebuilt without blowing the thing up, and without throwing in the towel in being competitive during the process."

The last 7 years would suggest otherwise. And again, if it's possible, lets hear some reasonable plans. How would you do it? Who would you trade and what would we get in return? Who on this team besides Felix, Ichiro, Bedard and maybe Beltre has any real market value? What minor leaguers have demonstrated they can come to Seattle and contribute wins? What will convince quality free agents who have, over the last several seasons, shown little interest in coming to Seattle to change their minds? The 100 loses? The toxic clubhouse?

"And please don't tell me Ichiro doesn't bring in Japaneses tourists. I work in downtown Seattle and see groups of them every day during the summer months."

I'm sure Ichiro does bring Japanese tourists to Seattle. As do plenty of other things. And I doubt Ichiro is the only Japanese player capable of having a positive impact on Japanese tourism in Seattle. Some of you make it sound like the sky would fall without Ichiro. I'm sorry, but imo he's replaceable.

As to the argument regarding payroll - we have one of the highest payrolls in the league. What did it buy us? We haven't been to the playoffs in almost a decade. We're on pace to lose 100 games. Clearly, having money to spend isn't the only factor in determining success.

Would revenue decrease without Ichiro? In the short term, yes. But the Mariners aren't in danger of becoming a small market team, winning will help keep revenues healthy and some other player will come along to fill Ichiro's void.

Posted by karen

10:14 AM, Jun 27, 2008

have you lost your mind????This team will get even worse without him.I know there's some younger better players in the minors that can be brought up.but to get rid of the Mariners money maker would be just stupid.People come to see Ichiro,raul,Betancourt and Lopez and beltre.

Posted by David

10:52 AM, Jun 27, 2008

you don't trade one of your best players with 4 years left when you have a 117 million payroll. The Mariners can competed next year. Remember 1999/2000 turn around??? The priority should be to trade Beltre...

This team needs to improve there offense. That means high averages and more walks. If you can't do one of those you must go!!!

Posted by JV

3:39 AM, Jun 28, 2008

Can they toss on Kenji too?

Posted by P

9:14 AM, Jun 28, 2008

I agree with most of what you said, but Ichiro is not on the decline, one good 3 week stretch and hes at .330 again.

Posted by reggie702

9:15 PM, Jun 29, 2008

Ichiro make the Mariners so much money with his international superstar status. Trading Ichiro would be the biggest mistake the Mariners will ever do BUSINESS WISE. Ichiro is worth every penny in his contract plus more... because he brings in much more money back for the Mariners JUST IN JAPAN. Trust me, Ichiro will not be traded.

Recent entries

Jul 4, 08 - 03:16 PM
Detroit Tigers at Mariners: 07/04 game thread

Jul 4, 08 - 12:28 PM
Holiday optimism

Jul 3, 08 - 11:13 PM
Better opposition tonight

Jul 3, 08 - 08:56 PM
Detroit Tigers at Mariners: 07/03 game thread

Jul 3, 08 - 05:45 PM
Hernandez throws, Rowland-Smith blogs, Clement struggles

Advertising

Marketplace

Advertising

Advertising

Categories
Calendar

July

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    
Browse the archives

July 2008

June 2008

May 2008

April 2008

March 2008

February 2008

Advertising

Buy a link here