Mariner Squalls 04/11/14 + Minors: Navigating the Logjam

3481344198_4960e42717_b== How jammed is the logjam? ==

It’s still early, of course, but will holding on to the current core of young Mariners get too expensive? And will it cause the next generation of prospects to wither on the vine, rot and lose value?

It’s a legitimate question raised by longtime M’s analyst SABR Matt, who is a real-life statistician and has consulted for MLB teams.

Of course, you always have to assume that things happen.  Franklin Gutierrez gets an extension and gets sick.  Danny Hultzen‘s shoulder.

But there is a point at which a young nucleus will “get really expensive at the same time.”  So here’s the chart:

2015 2016 2017 2018
Michael Saunders Arb-2 Arb-3 FA
Logan Morrison Arb-2 Arb-3 FA
Justin Smoak Arb-1 Arb-2 Arb-3 FA
Dustin Ackley Arb-1 Arb-2 Arb-3 FA
Kyle Seager Arb-1 Arb-2 Arb-3 FA
Erasmo Ramirez Arb-1 Arb-2 Arb-3
Danny Farquhar Arb-1 Arb-2 Arb-3
Brad Miller Arb-1 Arb-2
Mike Zunino Arb-1 Arb-2
Taijuan Walker Arb-1 Arb-2
James Paxton Arb-1 Arb-2
Nick Franklin Arb-1 Arb-2
Abraham Almonte Arb-1 Arb-2

I could be wrong, but I don’t think they’ll fret too much about moving on with Saunders, Morrison, Ackley and Smoak as they get more expensive.  And, while there isn’t a massive bounty of outfielders in the upper reaches of the system (yet), there are plenty of guys lined up at other positions and as trade bait.

If you assume that those first few rows won’t be jamming up the pipeline, you postpone the crunch until later in the decade, but my what a crunch it is!

Miller, Zunino, Walker and Paxton all on the same arb timetable — and Franklin and Almonte, too, if they’re still around (and Hultzen would have been as well!).

That will take some careful planning, and Matt’s right that the organization will be careful about adding expensive commitments as they navigate it.

And Franklin won’t be last MLB-ready guy to find there’s no room at the inn.  In that regard, the M’s will need some Billy Beane-type trading skills in order to utilize their resources to meet their needs.

===

Daily Prospect-palooza

  • Tacoma lost to the mighty Chihuahuas again, but the story was in the bullpen, where Brandon Maurer appeared in the 5th inning, and, by the time he’d left after the 8th, his line was:

3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

Maurer, of course, missed much of the spring with back issues, and has been used solely in relief so far at Tacoma.  And, considering that he’s now about the eighth or ninth option for the MLB rotation when everyone is healthy, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him stay there.

Carson Smith added two more strikeouts in the 9th, so the Rainiers had 11 in the final four and 1/3 frames.

  • We’ve been big Tyler Pike fans right from the start, but the young lefty continues to give up a high level of walks.  Still, he’s 2-0 with an ERA of 1.80 after Thursday’s win.
  • As maqman pointed out in a comment, Deej has 6 errors at 3b already.  Yowch.
  • Did you just go back up to that chart to see when Justin Smoak hits free agency?  I did.
  • Have we mentioned Emilio Pagan as our “next Dominic Leone“?  Did we mention that Pagan got a cameo in spring training and retired Trout-Pujols-Freese in a 1-2-3 inning?  Thursday: 3.0 IP, 4 K for his second save.
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4 thoughts on “Mariner Squalls 04/11/14 + Minors: Navigating the Logjam

  1. I believe Seager’s arbitration starts in 2015 and he becomes a free agent in 2018 (service time of 2.085).

    There’s no real concern for me about young players in the minors being blocked. Mariners fans have to stop acting like a great season in the minors means that a player deserves to be in the majors. We’ve pushed far too many young guys to the majors before they are ready. It would be nice, for once, to let them figure things out in AAA instead of at the major-league level. No one is banging down the door at AAA except possibly Nick Franklin. That’s an unfortunate situation but it’s not like he doesn’t have things to work on down there (i.e. hitting lefties & making better contact).

    • Having Franklin in Tacoma is a reassuring insurance policy should Cano, Miller, Ackley or Seager go down with an injury. Our rotation and bullpen depth is also a big plus for the team’s ability to remain consistent throughout the season.
      A half-full view is that having Kuma, Walker and Paxton out of action early in the season should help preserve their innings accumulation until the back end of the season.

    • Problem with Franklin working on hitting lefties in AAA is that – last season anyway – there were so darn few of them. You can play half a season there, and look at your sample size and it’s still way too small. Oh well, what a great problem to have – our top prospect blocked throughout the infield. I can see us putting together a Detroit-Seattle Fister type deal sometime this season, only in reverse and Franklin will be the lynchpin, so the recipient team will get a better return than we got. But we will fill a hole, and fill it in a major way.

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