Had a busy day at The Real Job, so for now I’m going to bump this from March. Obviously the salary is no longer a big issue, and pushing Smoak out of the lineup is not an issue at all.
And commenter Brent also suggests a deeper look at the 2013 Mariner as well.
[And to do this we have to recapitulate the draft pick scenario. If another team signs Morales before the June draft, the Mariners gain a pick. If the Mariners sign Morales, they don’t gain a pick. If no one signs Morales before the June draft, they don’t gain a pick. So in two of three scenarios they don’t gain the pick, and the one scenario in which they gain a pick is, perhaps, increasingly unlikely. In that sense, the failure to gain the pick might not be too much to give up.]
So here’s our OPS+ chart with and without Morales:
|Career OPS+||vs. RHP||vs. LHP|
|Avg. w/o Morales||100||103||96|
And the same thing with our “Composite” of “non-random offensive contribution”:
|Career Composite||vs. RHP||vs. LHP|
|Avg. w/o Morales||100||104||91|
Morales helps, but from the right side he helps just by being average — among a group that’s mostly below-average. That’s useful, of course, but here’s the thing:
You can’t really pay Morales just for being an average hitter vs. LHP. Well, you could. But I don’t think he’d agree to it.
To get full value out of what you’d need to pay Morales, you’d need to play him vs. RHP too. But the only way to do that — given the defensive limitations — is to displace Smoak or Morrison.
And Smoak and Morrison are also good vs. RHP. So the net gain isn’t that much.
[Maybe you play LoMo in the outfield, but then you’re displacing Hart. I don’t think they’d play Hart and LoMo in the OF at the same time. So you’re back to square one.]
I think the Mariners have probably worked this through the same way and reached the same conclusion. Morales just doesn’t add enough to their current configuration.