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.
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.
That won’t do McHugh much good — they’re in OKC through 2016, right?
For McHugh probably not, but the Astros got the raw end of the deal when Round Rock which is a 30 minute flight from Houston was taken by Ryan to the Rangers. They are going to purchase New Orleans’ team,which is the Marlins I think, and move it to the Woodlands.
Also most AAA teams aren’t near there parent clubs. The Yankees is in Columbus, the Marlins in New Orleans, the Mets is in Vegas are the ones off the top of my head. Besides that flight from OKC to Houston can’t be more than 90 minutes.
Yanks are in Scranton now, they change hands so much that distance doesn’t really matter as much as it used too
My bad on the Yanks that was off the top of my head. The only local AAA clubs I can think of besides the Rockies are the Gwinnett Braves.
Mariners AAA is in Tacoma 20 minutes south
Actually the Indians are in Columbus. But yeah, that’s true. The point isn’t that it’s a slight to the Astros, though. The point is that the difference between the Astros’ and Rockies’ situations could end up having an effect on McHugh’s life in ways we normally wouldn’t think about.
if Belt keeps trending upwards like he has been, an extension at those numbers has the potential to be a steal
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.
I’m really interested to see what offers Tanaka ends up getting…
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.
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.
Do the Mariners upgrade the starting rotation or do they spend their money on hitters.
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.
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.
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.
If say rotation. Contrary to popular belief, they were I think 12th or 13th in ERA.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I met Kevin Goldstein once at a Newberg Report night in Arlington. Very nice guy. Glad to see his baseball eyes and brain are reaching their full potential.
Mets traded McHugh to the Rockies for Eric Young Jr, who ended up winning the SB crown in the NL. EY isn’t a great player, but every Met fan knew what that trade went down that McHugh was never going to be anything. I still don’t get why Colorado made that deal. Someone would have given up something of value for him I would think.
Because McHugh had this one good start where he pitch like 8 innings scoreless against the Rockies!
Eric Young JR had no spot on the roster and the Rockies like pitching more than a back up outfielder !
Maybe Tanaka wants to play on the west coast. The Mariners have a pitchers park. The Mariners have a new TV contract and they have more money. I don’t think Tanaka signing with the Mariners is that far fetched.
Before anybody goes all-in on the idea of signing Tanaka, they should read Verducci’s article in S.I. entitled “How will Masahiro Tanaka’s workload impact his value in MLB?”
I wonder if Tanaka has a team picked out? All they have to do is come close with the money and he goes. Hopefully he grew up an Ichiro, kaz Sasaki, Kenji Johjima & Played with Iwakuma so that would count for the ‘heart’ vote.
I would love the M’s to sign Tanaka but they could probably go after Garza and Cruz for the same price if not cheaper going that route.
I know they could use another bat but Im not a fan of Cruz. He is a poor defender with a high K rate that is coming off of a ped season. The Ms already have to many DH type players
He’s like Jesus Montero in the outfield as Andy Dirks would also be a good pickup w/ Porcello or Scherzer from the Tigers and also make the move to get Cliff Lee and Papelbon even if Nick Franklin gets dealt to the Padres w/ Headley heading to the Phillies after a day, two, or week later. That will be some good moves in spite of possibly missing out on signing Tanaka.
I’d rather the Mariners sign Ervin Santana than Jimenez
Me too. Jimenez has had some rough years where he couldn’t command the baseball. Santana has been much more consistent.
Rather make a trade to get more help in the outfield, starting pitching, and a closer in couple moves as listed above that may help the Mariners contend for the division and/or Wild Card spot.
Honestly I wouldn’t touch any of Garza/Santana/Jimenez. Garza has been hurt in each of the past two seasons and wasn’t even that great when on the mound. I wouldn’t want to bank on a declining 30 year old with durability issues and realistically a #3 ceiling at best. Santana has been a back-end starter his entire career with exceptions to ’08 and last season when he was in his contract year. He was also horrendous as recently as ’12. Jimenez was lights out the second half of last year but 1/2 of a season doesn’t make a player worth a 4+ year contract. Especially when he has been a lost cause since ’11 and still has flawed mechanics.
If any of these guys were to sign a 2-3 year deal then sure but 4-5 years just screams albatross. If Tanaka ends up costing too much then I hope the M’s just go the trade route, or sign a cheap back end guy and focus on adding hitting (via trade NOT Cruz).
Tanaka will come down to mariners Yankees dodgers rangers…tanakas 25 and will take the largest contract offered cause he’s going to kick back some to Rakuten. I still say the mariners should trade for chase Headley and one of the padres young controllable arms for nick franklin and some others; extend Headley move him to 1st and trade Smoak for bullpen help. Trade whatever young arm the mariners got from the padres in a deal for price which will keep walker out of the discussion. I’m sure the rays would love burch smith/Robbie Erlin and a guy like Hultzen over just Walker.
Trade Smoak w/ Erasmo Ramirez, Tyler Pike, John Hicks (instead of Zunino), and Julio Morban or Leon Landry to the Tigers for Porcello (to be a number four or five starting pitcher) & Andy Dirks for outfield help. Then, trade Nick Franklin, Tyler Pike, Dustin Ackley, and Stefan Romero to the Phillies for Cliff Lee & Jonathan Papelbon.
Mariners Starting rotation would look like:
Rick Porcello/James Paxton or Erasmo Ramirez (whichever don’t get traded)
Paxton or Ramirez/Porcello
Plus, adding Jack Hanrahan as a closer would be a good idea should Papelbon not be available from the Phillies but only Lee & Brown. How ’bout that idea after the couple trades and what players should be traded from the Mariners to those two teams?
Scherzer is the same as David price and the tigers will do anything to resign him given the fister and Fielder deals. Porcello isn’t worth the prospects. I’d say trade Smoak and other pieces to the phillies for lee papelbon and Dominic brown. Move Morrison to 1st and then move brown I to the outfield. It would cost an arm and leg but gotta go all in.
Totally agree on Lee, Papelbon, and Dominic Brown rumors. Porcello for Anthony Fernandez & catcher Marcus Littlewood for Double A catching depth would also work instead.
2014 Mariners Starting Rotation on Opening Day would work as:
1) Felix Hernandez
2) Cliff Lee
3) Hisashi Iwamura
4) James Paxton or Erasmo Ramirez
5) Rick Porcello (upgrade over Harang/Joe Saunders)
Hanrahan as closer
Farquhar as setup man
Furbush, Medina, Maurer (if not traded to the Phillies as part of Cliff Lee/Brown trade or Orioles for Reimold if losing out on the roster spot in the outfield), Ramon Ramirez, etc. as long/middle relief.
Other option for the Mariners is to acquire Rick Porcello or Max Scherzer & Andy Dirks from the Tigers in exchange for Erasmo Ramirez or Tyler Pike, Brandon Maurer, John Hicks, Justin Smoak (who can start at first base to give Cabrera or Castellanos by moving Miggy to third base on a day off at times & insurance for Victor Martinez if he has another setback on his injury from a year/two ago or trade Smoak to the Pirates for a descent return after this trade), and outfielder Leon Landry or Julio Morban. What pieces will it take for the Mariners to acquire those two players by packaging in return to the Tigers?