Would you rather have Chone Figgins and Adrian Beltre for the last five years or have A-Rod for that span?
How about Jason Varetik over Guillermo Quiroz, Jeff Clement and Rene Rivera?
Or Derek Lowe over Jeff Weaver and Cha Seung Baek?
Maybe even Adam Jones over Franklin Gutierrez?
Ok, maybe take back a couple of those. Varetik was blocked by Dan Wilson, and Jones over a healthy Gutierrez is a small upgrade if that.
But Lowe over those two and the countless other starters the M’s have rolled out? A-Rod over Figgins and Beltre? Granted Beltre was decent on the Mariners, but A-Rod is one of the better third baseman in the league.
Think about all the talent lost. That’s the underlying theme here. A-Rod is gone. So is Raul Ibanez, Rafael Soriano and Michael Pineda. And that’s just the Yankees to start.
Pineda can be kind of in another category from the standpoint that the M’s got Jesus Montero back, but then there are the questionable deals that at the time look OK and then look bad-to-downright-terrible down the road.
We’re talking the Asdrubal Cabrera for Eduardo Perez swap and Shin-Soo Choo for Ben Broussard. Then there’s the revered Michael Morse for Ryan Langerhans deal.
To be clear, none of the three guys Seattle got back are with the team. Perez is the hitting coach in Miami, Broussard is a musician and Langerhans is in Anaheim.
So think about Cabrera instead of Brendan Ryan (not saying Ryan is bad, but Cabrera is an upgrade offensively), Morse at first and Choo in left? That’s maybe a 10 game improvement. Who knows? Maybe Montero stays in New York and you get to keep Pineda. You’re talking about an actual decent offensive team. Maybe the Montero thing goes down, that’s a lot of offensive firepower from a Mariners standpoint.
Then there is the travesty that is Erik Bedard. George Sherrill and Adam Jones headlined a package to Baltimore. Both have made All-Star teams as members of the Orioles. Bedard made this many with Seattle. (Cue hand signaling a big 0).
Jones would probably be the best outfielder in Seattle at this point (barring an Ichiro rejuvenation). Sherrill is actually back in Seattle’s bullpen though.
Bedard was moved to Boston for some prospects that probably won’t add up to Jones, Sherrill and the gang.
So here is the thing. And again, this is all hypothetical, what if Bedard stays an Oriole? Or what if those Indians trades don’t happen? Maybe Morse stays. Maybe even A-Rod stays. Maybe the other guys aren’t traded. If all that happens then maybe they get some combination of Ichiro, Montero, Ackley, Jones, Cabrera, A-Rod, Choo, Morse and Varitek. That’s just the hitting.
Cliff Lee, Doug Fister, Freddy Garcia, Joel Pinero and Pineda are a possible rotation that might make the playoffs with a decent offense. And they are all former M’s. JJ Putz, Derek Lowe and Rafael Soriano are a possibly playoff-worthy back end of a bullpen.
The M’s got decent returns for Lee and Fister. Ditto Putz.
But Lowe and Soriano were the Morse-for-Langerhans equivalents of the pitchers here. Soriano went to Atlanta for Horacio Ramirez. Lowe went to Boston with Jason Varitek FOR HEATHCLIFF SLOCUMB.
It’s mind-boggling to see these trades. Obviously no one can see the future and see the end results. But Boston maybe doesn’t win as much without The Captain and Lowe.
So maybe these trades don’t happen and the M’s are not one of the answers to the trivia question-
“Which Major League Baseball Franchises have never been to the World Series?” (Alex Trebek voice).
So maybe the Mariners win a title at some point and we aren’t complaining about losing our only championship team in Seattle. (Ha, take that Stern! Even in an MLB piece I’m still after you.)