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Mariners Watching Starters

UPDATE: Hickey writes that the Mariners have also scouted Kyle Lohse, Matt Morris, Jason Johnson (thought he went to Japan), and Octavio Dotel.  However, a deal seems unlikely because none of those players are worth top Mariner prospects.

According to Jim Hickey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Mariners have been scouting all kinds of available and not-so-available starters lately.

  • The Mariners have been scouting the White Sox "religiously" lately.  If they saw Javier Vazquez beat the Tigers on Tuesday, they came away impressed.  (However, Vazquez can and probably would veto a trade to the AL or NL West).  They were on hand to watch Jose Contreras tonight; the Tigers had batting practice with him and his ERA is up to 6.22.  Did you hear that?  That was the sound of Contreras' remaining ounce of trade value evaporating.
  • As you know, the Ms watched Dontrelle Willis on Monday.  Compared to Contreras, Willis pitched well - four earned runs, nearly seven innings. 
  • The Ms also had a scout on hand to see Livan Hernandez twirl a gem over the Marlins on Tuesday.  Hey, at least he takes the ball every fifth day.  That has to be worth something.
  • Hickey says Seattle has also been monitoring the Astros, perhaps in hope of acquiring Dan Wheeler or Chad Qualls.  He speculates that Wandy Rodriguez would be a coup for the Mariners.  Wand-Rod has thrown up stinkers in his last two outings but tossed a complete game shutout over the Mets in the game prior.  He's inconsistent like that.  The Astros' #2 starter for 2008 wouldn't come cheap.


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is it too late for the Royals to re-sign Elarton and package him with Odalis Perez???


I would be thrilled if the Astros traded Wandy for some near MLB-ready talent. I doubt he has much more improvement over this year and I'm worried this is a career year (I'm an Astros fan). If his control slips even slightly, his ERA is back to 5+.

If the Astros can ship him off for at least 1 blue chip prospect, plus some minor pieces, that would be fantastic. Seattle would be a very nice match since they have 2 power-hitting outfielders that can handle center (Wladimir Balentien and Adam Jones), a near-ready catcher (Jeff Clement), and quite a few decent arms.

I think if the Astros can get full value for Wandy, they should jump at it. I doubt he'd play particularly well in the AL, but maybe he could survive in the AL West playing half his games in Seattle.


do you seriously think you are getting a blue chip prospect plus more for Wandy?? You are lucky if you get near a blue chip prospect. Anything they get for Wandy is full value and all 3 prospects you named are way to much for him.

Ahh, another person who overvalues prospects! No way the Astros are getting Jones for Wandy. However, one of the others would be possible. Wandy is cheap, fairly young, lefty, and under control for quite a few more years. What he lacks in upside, he makes up for in these other ways.

I am not really that high on Wandy (hence my belief he should be traded), despite a very nice K/BB ratio and WHIP that suggest his ERA is higher than it should be (the Astros play poor defense).

Still, if teams are willing to pay $7 million a year for Marquis, $10 million a year for Suppan and Contreras, and $17 million a year for Zito, then Wandy, is worth a blue chip prospect.

Do you seriously think the Astros should accept anything less than a blue chip prospect for Wandy given the state of starting pitching? What do you think he's worth?

Vazquez has a NTC to all NL and AL West teams. If he's going to be traded, it won't be to the M's or any other West team.

So then I assume Jose Contreras will be able to snag Clement?

*Ties paper bag around head*

idk, i'd love wandy to net the stros clement, but i think they would have to include more parts in the deal. maybe one of loretta/lamb/qualls/wheelercould seal the deal. i think if the stros were gonna trade him though, now would be the time to do it. high value is decently high and the pitching market is awful.

sorry bout the grammar^^. i think i'm a little more tired than i thought i was. lemme know if something sounds wierd.

Wandy and Qualls could probably net Clement and some cash.

On a semi-related note, what are Willis and Jennings going to make in FA?

I think Wandy and Qualls would be way too much to give up for Clement.

Clement hasn't proven he can hit major league pitching and is only hitting .268 in AAA. Granted he's young, showing good power, has a decent walk rate, catchers tend to develop as hitters later, blah, blah, blah. Still, he's just a prospect. Be could be Ben Davis or one of the myriad of Rockies catching prospects that failed to pan out.

Wandy has succeeded as a middle-of-the-rotation starter in the majors so far this year.

Wheeler was fantastic the past 2 years and very good this year outside of a horrible June. Seriously, his ERA in 2005 was 2.21 and in 2006 was 2.52. This year, his ERA by month: 3.00 (April), 3.09 (May), 10.43 (June), 2.61 (July). He has one horrible month that has ruined his ERA (he gave up 5 homers in 14 innings in June). But his K/9 is better than 2005 or 2006 and his WHIP is a very solid 1.19, despite the high ERA.

Qualls hasn't been quite as good as Wheeler, but he is cheaper and under control for longer.

I don't think Wheeler or Qualls would be enough to get Clement, but Wandy should be enough to get AT LEAST Clement.

^Hard to say. Jennings could possibly get 3 yr. 27-30 mil depending on how he finishes out. Willis is harder to say. If he can post two solid seasons, he could make Zito like cash.

Wandy is a back of the rotation guy in the NL not a middle he isn't a 3 which is the middle he is a 5 maybe 4(Astros have him as 4 but the have a week staff). In the AL he is definitely a 5.

Wandy Rodriguez is 6-9 with a 4.46 ERA with only 98K's in 113 innings.So in the AL that is a 5-6 ERA. They are already getting that type of production(slightly worse) out of Weaver who was a good NL starter better than Wandy. I would not give up a top prospect who is a catcher(which are hard to find) for maybe a slight upgrade over what I have now. You can't risk the future on Wandy.

I think the Astros should wait and see how Wandy finishes the season before deciding whether or not to trade him (unless, of course, someone makes them an amazing offer). He usually fades in the second half of the season, so if he can finish strong, that would be a pretty good sign that he's maturing and getting better. If he fades again, then maybe see what they can get for him.

98 Ks in 113 innings is not bad for a lefthander at all.

I keep forgetting about the Vazquez NTC for some reason.

^Hard to say. Jennings could possibly get 3 yr. 27-30 mil depending on how he finishes out. Willis is harder to say. If he can post two solid seasons, he could make Zito like cash.

Posted by: buehrlebro | July 26, 2007 at 01:19 AM

exactly else another one could be buehrle's contract as a good showing for willis too.

I dont see Vazquez wanting to go to the West Coast

Jose Contreras is absolutely terrible. End of story.

Will someone please take Contreras? I can't watch him pitch anymore it is downright painful.

soxwin you make a compelling case...but i'm gonna have to say no to that one haha

Darn. Just had a great post that I'll try to re-create that a crashing internet explorer wiped out!

It annoys me when people write things like:

"Wandy is a back of the rotation guy in the NL not a middle he isn't a 3 which is the middle he is a 5 maybe 4(Astros have him as 4 but the have a week staff). In the AL he is definitely a 5.

Wandy Rodriguez is 6-9 with a 4.46 ERA with only 98K's in 113 innings.So in the AL that is a 5-6 ERA."

I like that you actually cite some statistics (showing you did minimal research), but your post is still deeply flawed.

Sure, Wandy started the year as the Astros #4. But he has clearly pitched better than Jennings and Woody. You might argue that Sampson is better than Wandy because of a slightly lower ERA, but Wandy has significantly better WHIP, K/9, and BB/9. This suggests his higher ERA is partly bad luck.

In fact, I have actual evidence that he has been lucky. His component ERA is 3.91 and his DIPS ERA is 3.94 (both from ESPN.com).

An ERA around 3.90 to 4.00 is nice, middle-of-the-rotation stuff.

In fact, you can certainly make the arguement that Wandy is a #2. You mock his 98 K's in 113 innings. But try these on for size:
(1) His 7.68 K/9 is 13th in the NL (min 60 IP), better than Zambrano, Maine, Snell, Lilly, Sheets, Penny, Cain, Lowe, Zito, Oswalt, and many others.
(2) His K/BB of 3.38 is 8th in the NL (min 60 IP). Better than Chris Young, Hill, Hudson, Lincecum, Penny, Oliver Perez, and quite a few of the other guys mentioned above.
(3) His WHIP is 1.27, good for 25th in the NL (min 60 IP).
(4) His DIPS ERA is 26th and his component ERA is 33rd (min 60 IP).

Is Wandy an ace? No. Is he a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy? Yes.

Combining this with the fact that he's lefty, young, cheap, and the crazy starting pitcher market, is he worth a top prospect? I think so. Probably NOT a guy on the level of Buchholz, Adam Jones, etc. But Clement and Wladimir Balentien aren't quite on that level and I think Wandy should AT LEAST be able to bring someone like that.

If he can't, then the Astros should certainly hold on to him and hope he continues pitching as well next year. Given his strong rate stats (it actually surprised me how strong his K/9 and K/BB were), maybe they shouldn't trade him at all.

Certainly they shouldn't trade him for a crummy prospect with the upside of say ... Wandy Rodriguez!

Never trust a fan's analysis of his own team's prospects. Just don't.

that's actually a pretty good argument mymrbig. it's documented that his peripherals are much improved this year over the last few seasons. his downfall though that he is still inconsistent. take his last start last weekend against the bucs, he had everything working for the first 3-4 innings, and got completely dismantled after that. he needs to get more consistent to be truly considered a reliable starter

however, he is improving. he'd be a pretty decent gamble for a contender looking for starting pitching depth. a move to safeco field might not be the worst career move for him either. he does strike out a lot of batters considering he doesn't have great stuff, and i think he'll ultimately be a reliable 3-4 down the road. i still think clement and balentien are a notch above wandy though. balentein is tearing up AAA and clement has really good power numbers for a catcher, despite the mediocre avg. seeing how the m's are looking for bullpen help though, i'd think that adding qualls or wheeler might get a deal done

Grrrr, I meant Wandy has been unlucky, not lucky...

beauhoopman - is that directed at me or someone else? Not that I take offense (or that it matters if I do, or that you would care either way), but the reason I want to trade Wandy is that I don't trust him to keep this up. I'm a skeptical fan! I was merely making the case that he has pitched better than his ERA or past history give him credit for. Like I said, his K/9, K/BB, and WHIP indicate a #2, but he's obviously not a #2.

If I actually believed he was as good as his K/9, K/BB, and WHIP, I would not advocate trading him. I mean, who advocates trading a young, cheap, lefty, middle-of-the-rotation starting pitchers? Only a fan that doesn't believe he is as good as another team might perceive him to be!

Oh yeah, and while I had fun bashing TheWrightStuff for his denigration of Wandy the Great, I obviously agree with him that Wandy isn't anything spectacular.

But truthfully, the Astros would be fools to trade him like he's a #4 or #5 SP when he has pitched like a #3 (or maybe even #2) SP. If the Astros can't get great value, then they should just take their chances with him next year. Giving him up for some low-ceiling prospects wouldn't make any sense.

So I completely agree with TheWrightStuff from the acquiring team's perspective (I don't know that I would give up Balentien or Clement for Wandy). But I don't think the Astros should settle for anything less.

Oh no, it wasnt really directed at anyone, I just find myself overvaluing White Sox prospects a bit too much, so I'm generally skeptical of that process. It was in no way personal.


A couple of things I want to point out here. First, the comments about Wandy being a 4th or 5th guy for the Astros is wrong-you were right for arguing against that. I'd agree with you that Wandy is probably a #3 guy in the NL, possibly on the fringe of being a #2 guy. The problem with him moving to the AL is he won't get to face the pitcher any longer, and that would hurt his peripheral numbers some. I'd be willing to bet that his WHIP and BB/9 would rise a bit even in Seattle, while his K/9 should drop slightly-facing a DH instead of a pitcher twice a game minimum makes a big difference. My guess is if Wandy moves to the AL, he'd be a #3-#4 type guy, pretty valuable but not a real star or anything. He would be under team control for 4 more years, only one of which is pre-arbitration. Depending on his performance, he may or may not be all that cheap over that span of time.

Now onto Jeff Clement. I was very skeptical of this guy for awhile, as I was unsure if his trouble was injury related/aggressive promotions or if he wasn't as good as advertised. I've changed my mind on him this year though, I do think the M's(as usual) were very aggressive in promoting him last year and that led to his struggles. You pointed out earlier that he is "only" hitting .268 this year(actually .265), he had a horrible month of April that drags him down. He's struggled after the AS break, but he had a line of .274/.366/.517/.883 before the break(including the horrid April)-very good numbers for a 1B or DH, excellent numbers for a catcher. While Clement is playing in a hitters league(PCL), he's in one of the tougher parks to hit in playing in Tacoma. Put him in the bandbox that Houston plays in and he's a 40 HR threat behind the plate. I don't think Wandy for Clement even up works, but adding an arm like Qualls or more likely Wheeler to Wandy makes a deal for Clement pretty fair. That said, I'm not really sure if Seattle is looking to move Clement as he's seen as the heir to Johjima behind the plate.

All in all, I think a Clement for Wandy/Wheeler deal could really help both teams, as Clement could step in at C the rest of the way for the Astros this year and the arms would help the M's chances of catching the Angels.


All good points, but there have been a ton of catching prospects that were supposed to be good hitters and either weren't or took a lot longer then expected before being good.

Don't get me wrong, Clement is having a very good year and his solid BB/K ratio suggests his AVG could be a little higher. The power is certainly impressive. Still, like all prospects, until he has done it in the majors, there is reason for some skepticism.

Also, while it is a great luxury to have a good hitting catcher, pitching is ultimately what wins games. And as big of a hole as the Astros have at catcher, I think their starting pitching is an even bigger problem.

If I was the Mariners, I don't know that I would do Wandy for Clement, maybe I would want something else thrown in. But if I was the Astros, I definitely wouldn't do Wandy and Qualls/Wheeler and probably wouldn't do Wandy for Clement, I would ask for at least one pitcher who is a good, but not top, prospect.


I understand your points, but from the standpoint you're going from, you wouldn't be making a deal involving Wandy if you'd be asking for more than Clement I don't think.

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