Friday, November 23, 2007

Miguel Cabrera as a Mariner?

Part 1: Angels Gearing Up for Big Season
The Mariners should be desperate to make a big move this offseason. Nothing was planned, but unless Bavasi makes something happen the Mariners will need devine intervention to compete with the Angels. The Angels were damn good last season, sporting the 3rd best record in all of baseball. As if that wasn't good enough GM Tim Reagins went out and got starter Jon Garland from the White Sox, strengthening an area that wasn't even a concern. Days later they added free agent center fielder Torii Hunter in another surprise move. A GM makes two moves that no one expected, that can only mean they're planning something huge. I already mentioned how these moves get them set to acquire Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins, but if that doesn't pan out they have one hell of a backup plan: long time target Miguel Tejada. Either of these guys would transform the Angels into the best offense in the league. Here's how the Angels lineup could look by the end of the offseason:

Chone Figgins
Gary Matthews
Miguel Tejada (BAL) or Miguel Cabrera (FLA)
Vladimir Guerrero
Garret Anderson
Torii Hunter
Kotchman, Morales, McPherson, Wood (whoever doesn't get traded)
Mike Napoli
Macier Izturis

The beauty of this lineup is the defensive flexibility. If Tejada comes in he'd play either 3B or SS, if Cabrera comes he'd play 3B or 1B. Luckily Figgins and Izturis can play pretty much around the infield. Since I do not follow the Angels closely it's hard for me to speculate on who would round out the lineup at 1B or 3B (depending on which Miguel is brought in) and catcher. No matter what, this is a lineup you don't want to mess around with. How does the Mariners' lineup stack up? It doesn't. How does the Mariner' starting rotation stack up? Not well. The Angels should have a rotation that goes something like this:

John Lackey (19-9, 3.01 ERA in 33 starts)
Kelvim Escobar (18-7, 3.40 ERA in 30 starts)
Jered Weaver (13-7, 3.91 ERA in 28 starts)
Jon Garland (10-13, 4.23 ERA in 32 starts)
After that it is unclear, as Ervin Santana is a definite trade candidate. But just those first four are impressive enough to compete for the best rotation in the league. Their bullpen isn't so bad, either.

Part 2: A Big Idea (Prevention and Defense)
So what can Bavasi do to keep up? He'd have to start big and go bigger. Like I said, he wasn't planning on changing much, and that was somewhat acceptable before Reagins starting shaking things up. If Bavasi wants the Mariners to compete in 2008, he'd have to make some moves outside of his comfort zone, and outside of the fans' comfort zone as well. The best thing he could do would be to sweep in and steal Miguel Cabrera away from the Angels in a blockbuster move.

Mariners Get:
SP Dontrelle Willis
3B/1B Miguel Cabrera

Marlins Get:
OF Adam Jones
P Brandon Morrow
2B Jose Lopez

Ok, now you've got your big bat and middle/back of the rotation guy. The next move would be to drop Sexson and add your top of the rotation guy.

Mariners Get:
SP Erik Beddard
OF Jay Payton

Orioles Get:
1B Richie Sexson
OF Wladimir Balentien
RP Eric O'Flaherty
$8 million

Now you have a starting rotation that looks like this:

Erik Bedard
Felix Hernandez
Dontrelle Willis
Miguel Batista
Jarrod Washburn

And a starting lineup that looks something like this:

Ichiro Suzuki, CF
Jose Vidro, DH
Raul Ibanez, LF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jay Payton, RF
Kenji Johjima, C
Yung Chi Chen, 2B
Yuni Betancourt, SS

The rotation would be among the best in baseball and the lineup would do alright. Objections: You can't trade away our future in Adam Jones and Wlad Balentien! You're trading future for future here. Miguel Cabrera (24), Erik Beddard (28) and Dontrelle Willis (25) are still early in their careers and could be Mariners for a long time. Adam Jones is 22 and Wlad is 23.

Could this ever happen? Doubtful, I'd give it a 0.1% chance, and both trades would probably require a little more from the Mariners to work. It is possible, however, and I wish Bavasi would look at pulling something like that.

The Seattle/Florida trade would be very difficult to pull off, and was more wishful thinking than speculating, but the Baltimore trade wouldn't be as hard. Say that goes through, now you have an ace and a void in the middle of your lineup. With Sexson out of the way you could deal for a left fielder, first baseman or a DH, or look into the free agent market. Who's available (not named Giambi or Bonds)? How about an outfield of Adam Jones in left, Andruw Jones in center and Ichiro in right? It could be the best defensive outfield in the league, but Andruw Jones isn't the guy you want in the middle of the lineup, and agent Scott Boras won't allow him to be a bargain after a poor showing in 2007. Adam Dunn or Ken Griffey of the Reds could work. Dunn, like Sexson, is a high strikeout guy. He was brought up before, but having both of them in the same lineup would be suicide. If Sexson is dealt, Dunn could be a real option. Griffey would be a fans choice, but he is not as productive as he once was, and his asking price is said to be too high.

What will Bavasi do this offseason? Probably sign Hiroki Kuroda, maybe a veteran reliever as well. What should he do? MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN, even in a tough market. If you want to win you have to be better than the competition.

If you read all of this, you are amazing! ER-BED


Patrick said...

Unfortunately I don't think Bedard is going anywhere. He's really all Baltimore has anymore that people want to see on the field. Even Miguel Tejada has lost his thunder not only as a hitter but as a morale booster. The front office in Baltimore is too conservative to take a chance on a Richie Sexson and is too blind to realize they need to rebuild. Instead, my feeling is that they will hold on to Bedard and try to sign him again thought I doubt they will(he's signed thru 08).

I also believe that Kuroda and a reliever is what we'll be getting this holiday season. We'll have a good shot at the wildcard if we play like we did last season. The Yankees have lost Joe Torre, the Twins will probably lose Johan Santana.

Micky said...

Is Eric O'Flaherty trade bait or what. Your blog is teh only blog I've seen that has mentioned him as a tradeable player.

Anonymous said...

Bavasi said on a recent conference call that "no one is unavailable".. so why not O'Flaherty? He later took a step back and said there are a couple players unavailable, but only guys that have been with the team a while. Likely Ichiro, Felix and JJ Putz. O'Flaherty is good, but he is replaceable and if he can make a deal work, why not?

Of course this blog was kinda pointless as it was a lot of wishful thinking and pure speculation.