West Notes: McHugh, Astros, Mariners, Giants

Pitcher Collin McHugh has published a fascinating chronicle (at ESPN New York) of his year in baseball, which includes stints with the Mets and Rockies. McHugh ended the calendar year by getting claimed by the Astros, and at the end of his article, he lists what seem to be the key differences between the two franchises, at least for someone in his situation. One of the more interesting of those is that the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs is just 45 minutes from Denver, while the Astros' Triple-A team in Oklahoma City is six hours from Houston. That's not something a fan would consider, but it's part of the reality of life on the fringes of the big leagues. Here's more from the West divisions.

  • The Astros announced that they've named Kevin Goldstein their Director of Professional Scouting. They also named Stephanie Wilka their Specialist of International Operations and Associate Counsel, and Pete Putila their Coordinator of Baseball Operations. Goldstein, who joined the Astros organization in 2012, was previously a writer for Baseball Prospectus and ESPN.
  • The Mariners want to add a top-notch starting pitcher, and the Robinson Cano signing demonstrates a kind of "urgency" or "desperation," so their pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka could get wild, Jeff Sullivan of USS Mariner writes. The market for Tanaka could reach the point where paying his price no longer makes sense, though, and if it does, it might be better for the Mariners to sign someone like Ubaldo Jimenez for half of what Tanaka will cost.
  • It's unclear whether the Giants might consider signing Brandon Belt to an extension, but if they did, the Anthony Rizzo, Allen Craig, Paul Goldschmidt and Billy Butler deals might provide a basic framework, writes Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles. Belt is a Super Two, which means the Giants control him for the next four years, but at arbitration prices. Brisbee suggests a fair deal for Belt might be something like five years and $42MM, with an option for 2019.


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47 Comments on "West Notes: McHugh, Astros, Mariners, Giants"


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Jonathan Sumners
1 year 6 months ago

The Astros are in the process of transitioning their AAA club to the Woodlands once their contract is up with OKC. It’s only in OKC because Nolan Ryan took Round Rock with him when he joined the Rangers.

Member
norcalbb
1 year 6 months ago

if Belt keeps trending upwards like he has been, an extension at those numbers has the potential to be a steal

Member
greggofboken
1 year 6 months ago

Really fantastic piece by McHugh. For all the tepid response his appearances seemed to merit, as a writer he did a tremendous service. It’s sad, though understandable, to read of the learning experience that led to the bloom coming off the rose, and his calling becoming more of an occupation. It really does make you want to root for the guy.

Member
Riaaaaaa
1 year 6 months ago

I’m really interested to see what offers Tanaka ends up getting…

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northsfbay
1 year 6 months ago

I would like to see which teams bids high on Tanaka and who he wants to play for. According to rumors you have the Yankees, Cubs, D’Backs, Mariners as serious bidders. More teams can join in.

Member
Lefebvre Believer
1 year 6 months ago

Sign Jimenez for half the cost of Tanaka, and you probably get half the production too. The Ms aren’t in position to try and piece together a contender with “value” signings. They need impact players. Any free agent they bring in they’re likely going to have to overpay for anyways, so it’s better for them to go big and at least have that potential there to actually do something for the first time in 12 years.

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northsfbay
1 year 6 months ago

Do the Mariners upgrade the starting rotation or do they spend their money on hitters.

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Lefebvre Believer
1 year 6 months ago

Probably spend for one, and trade for the other. Preferably spend for pitching, and trade for an outfielder, because I don’t like what’s left on the FA market for outfielders.

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johnrhee
1 year 6 months ago

Making couple trades w/ the Tigers & Phillies (separate moves) will help the Mariners and those two teams in the long run on top of this upcoming season for Detroit & Seattle as playoff contenders, esp. saving Jack Z’s job security just like the Pirates made moves to save Neil Huntington from being on the hot seat.

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Shane1885
1 year 6 months ago

I’m pretty sure every M’s fan would agree with that I’m just curious what outfielder to go after. Kemp would be nice just don’t know about his health, Marlins won’t trade Stanton yet. I think Jon Jay would be a good fit or even Colby Rasmus although his track record has been up and down thru his career.

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RyanWKrol
1 year 6 months ago

If say rotation. Contrary to popular belief, they were I think 12th or 13th in ERA.

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John Donovan
1 year 6 months ago

You really must be drinking the Kool Aid if you think Tanaka is going to double the production of Ubaldo Jimenez. But I guess your opinion counts too.

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Lefebvre Believer
1 year 6 months ago

I don’t think it’s that big of a reach to say Tanaka could be what Jimenez was a few years ago. And with Jimenez there are a too many red flags. So yeah, roughly half the production isn’t a “Kool Aid” prediction necessarily. Besides, the upside of Tanaka is far more attractive. Even if Jimenez works out they’re looking at what? 80 wins? The day they signed Cano was the day they went all in. They can’t get passive now, it would be a waste.

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John Kreese
1 year 6 months ago

Tanaka for 6yrs/140 MIL or someone like Garza for 4yrs/60 MIL is a good argument. Especially if it means being able to spend more on the bullpen or the outfield.

Member
Lefebvre Believer
1 year 6 months ago

And Tanaka would be what, 31 at the end of that deal? For all the talk of getting value, I think perhaps people might be undervaluing Tanaka. How often do premier 25 year olds come onto the free agent market? Oh wait, that pretty much never happens. There’s a lot of maybes with a Garza or a Jimenez, compared to a very high upside with Tanaka.

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John Kreese
1 year 6 months ago

I agree that Tanaka is likely the real deal & that he’s only 25 is icing on the cake. But the M’s are more than a Tanaka from bring a real solid team. I disagree about the maybes with the other pitchers on the market. With Garza or Jimenez you know what you’re getting (and could pay accordingly). Signing Tanaka to a huge long-term deal does have significant risk.

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King Kyle
1 year 6 months ago

I’ve never understood this argument; adding x player won’t put y team over the top by himself so no point in acquiring him. How is this team ever going to get any better without adding talent to its roster? The fact that he’s 24/25 and would sign long term makes it all that much more appealing for a team like Seattle. They may not contend next year but they better within the next 6 or 7 or however long it takes to lock up Tanaka.

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Lefebvre Believer
1 year 6 months ago

There is indeed an unknown with Tanaka, but I really wonder just how big of an unknown it is. From all I gather he’s a better pitcher than Iwakuma, a guy who was an All-Star and was a top 3 finalist for the Cy Young. So with Tanaka you’re potentially looking at a legit #2. I just love that upside compared the other guys. Where else are the Ms going to get that kind of player without having to give up Taijuan Walker? Then they can still package Franklin to bring in an outfielder, then try to scrap together a bullpen. Tanaka is their best bet in my mind.

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zaneduarte
1 year 6 months ago

I don’t think we are far from competing and Tanaka could be a HUGE piece to getting there. Imagine a rotation that had Felix/Iwakuma/Tanaka/Walker/Paxton! Our pen would have Furbush, Pryor, Ramirez, Perez, Farquar, and Medina. Then look at our lineup- Seager, Cano, and Hart are a formidable trio that can wear out just about any pitcher. If Smoak, Ack, and Franklin continue to improve- we will be just as competitive as anyone in our division.

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AKA_brotherfox
1 year 6 months ago

What you’re not considering is the enormous workload Tanaka has already shouldered at age 24 – 1,315 innings. Only three major-league pitchers since 1961 have thrown as many innings before they were 25 — Frank Tanana, Larry Dierker, and Bert Blyleven; and only two in major league history threw as many innings as Tanaka as teenagers – Bob Feller and Pete Schneider. If you project his longevity based on innings instead of age, you’ll get a more realistic estimate of his likely shelf life. He’s still worth a risk, but most people are looking at his age and vastly underestimating that risk.

Member
Yankees420
1 year 6 months ago

If you include Kershaw’s minor league record, he’s thrown 1,399 innings since high school, and he’s only 8 months older than Tanaka. I’m sure there are more examples as well, that was just the first one I found with a current player. Your concern about his mileage could be legitimate, or he could just simply be this good. I read an interesting sports medicine article about a theory on pitching more often is the key to longevity, as opposed to light work outs capped off with an extreme amount of stress, i.e. the typical pitchers work week. Of course, now I can’t remember the name of it, but it was an interesting theory, one I especially hope to be true if the Yanks end up with Tanaka.

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johnrhee
1 year 6 months ago

Trading for both Porcello or Scherzer & Dirks, plus acquiring Cliff Lee & Papelbon in the proposal mentioned above would make sense for the Mariners, Phillies, and Tigers (separate deals). That may help the team to contend for the division or the wild card this upcoming season by being a playoff caliber for years to come if Tanaka signs elsewhere like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Rangers, or NY Yankees. Speaking of the Rangers, their window of opportunity is about to come to an end w/ some aging players on their roster on top of Prince Fielder.