Seattle Mariners: Why the Team Should Trade for Matt Kemp

The Seattle Mariners reportedly had conversations with the Dodgers about incumbent outfielder Matt Kemp.

Kemp is reportedly not being moved, but the M’s should maintain interest in the two-time All-Star.

After the ambitious, low-buy acquisitions of Logan Morrison and Corey Hart, the team’s lineup will look something like this-

  1. CF Dustin Ackley
  2. 3B Kyle Seager
  3. 2B Robinson Cano
  4. DH Corey Hart (he only wears sunglasses when it’s sunny, just so we’re clear)
  5. 1B Logan Morrison
  6. LF Michael Saunders
  7. C Mike Zunino
  8. SS Brad Miller
  9. RF Abraham Almonte

That’s a pretty solid lineup. In terms of the division standings, that group would probably get you higher than the Astros, and should the pitching hold up, above the Angels. If Hart and Morrison can have bounce-back years, and (again) pitching forbid, the team has a good chance to surpass Texas.

Acquiring Kemp would vault them past Texas and the Angels. Something that seemed absurd four months ago. Oakland may be out of reach, but bringing in Matt Kemp would put the Mariners in a position to legitimately contend for a Wild Card berth.

The Dodgers’ outfielder would bring a perfect blend of, well, everything to the Mariners. Kemp’s defense would shine in still-spacious Safeco Field. Hitting him cleanup in the lineup listed above could be potentially lethal. Imagine this-

  1. RF Abraham Almonte
  2. 3B Kyle Seager
  3. 2B Robinson Cano
  4. CF Matt Kemp
  5. DH Corey Hart (he still only wears sunglasses when it’s sunny)
  6. 1B Logan Morrison
  7. LF Michael Saunders
  8. C Mike Zunino
  9. SS Brad Miller

Almonte is the “projected” leadoff hitter only based on the fact that he has the foot speed to create at the top of the order, and Ackley can’t play right field. A leadoff hitter would probably be the next item on the Mariners’ to-do list. Ackley could be traded in an effort to get one.

The Yankees, among others, have inquired about the former first-round pick.  Ideally, Seattle could flip Ackley and one of their lesser relievers for one of their incumbent outfielders, Brett Gardner. Here’s another lineup prediction with Gardner (bear with me on this)-

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Kyle Seager
  3. 2B Robinson Cano
  4. CF Matt Kemp
  5. DH Corey Hart
  6. 1B Logan Morrison
  7. RF Michael Saunders/Abraham Almonte
  8. C Mike Zunino
  9. SS Brad Miller

That lineup would contend with Oakland for the division. Not only could that lineup, coupled with the Mariners’ underrated pitching staff, contend with Oakland, but they could compete with the best of them. Outside of Detroit, St. Louis, Los Angeles and a regressing (for the moment) Boston, Seattle could have the most talented team.

This isn’t even mentioning former top-prospects Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak and Nick Franklin, all of whom could be shopped to add to the M’s bullpen or rotation.

Getting to this point won’t be easy. Seattle’s going to have to take on some money as well as give up a solid player or two to acquire Kemp. The other trades won’t be cakewalks, but should the Mariners do it, they could be looking at a playoff berth for the first time in a long, long time.

 

Tim Lincecum to the Mariners Proposition

The San Francisco Giants currently sit in fourth place in the NL West.  Six and a half games back in the division. That includes an astonishing multi-game deficit to the Colorado Rockies and only a few games separating them and the Swiss Cheese Baseball Team San Diego Padres.

Maybe this is all a continuation of the Giants’ master plan to win a World Series, flop the next year, and then win the next year’s title with another smorgasbord of bit players and trade deadline acquisitions.

Tim Lincecum currently sits fourth in the Giants’ hierarchy of starting pitchers. One spot below Barry Zito. Not an amazing place for a former Cy Young winner. Should San Fran look to offload their former ace in an attempt to gain pieces for next year, Seattle could be the place to look.

The Giants could do with upgrades in left field, right field as well as finding a suitable long term replacement for Marco Scutaro at second base. The defending champs also could use another starting pitcher, even if they decide to keep Lincecum.

The team could be intrigued by any of the Mariners’ young players who have yet to live up to their potential. Justin Smoak could apply, as well as Dustin Ackley, should he fail to establish himself as the Mariners’ everyday center fielder.

San Francisco could also have interest in Joe Saunders, or Aaron Harang. Saunders has provided a steady back-end-of-the-rotation presence while Harang has previously proven himself in the NL West the past two seasons, compiling 24 wins and posting an ERA that hovered near 3.50.

The Giants don’t want Smoak unless they are parting with Brandon Belt in a bigger trade, which is unlikely. Ackley and Saunders for Lincecum though, could entice the Giants to pull the trigger, but might not be enough. Should the Giants up the ante and ask for one of the Mariners’ “Big Three” pitching prospects, the M’s should think twice. I don’t think Seattle would sacrifice one of their young pitchers for Lincecum, even in a one-for-one swap.

Ackley, Saunders and a prospect somewhere between mid-level and blue-chipper for Lincecum seems an ideal trade for both sides. The Giants and M’s both get players who seem in need of a change of scenery, San Francisco gets a sturdy replacement for Big Time Timmy Jim as well as a prospect while Seattle gets a redo on the 2006 draft.

Why Michael Saunders Is the Most Important Player in the Seattle Mariners’ Lineup

Big name additions Mike Morse and Kendrys Morales might be viewed as the most important players in the M’s lineup. It might be the development of budding stars Jesus Montero, Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager. Or it could be Michael Saunders.

Michael Saunders who hit .727 (that being 8 for 11 for all of you who didn’t major in some sort of math at MIT) in the World Baseball Classic. Michael Saunders, who I gave the nickname Grand Torrido to despite “Torrido” meaning torrid in Italian and the M’s having one of the more prominent Italian players in the game of baseball in their organization: Alex Liddi. Whatever, Saunders is the most important player in the lineup and this is why.

He extends the lineup. Continue reading

Projecting the Mariners’ Opening Day Lineup

Due to the Mariners hot start in spring training, it makes it just about as easy to predict a lineup where the whole team struggles. None the less, the M’s will likely feel good about themselves going into the season thanks to their torrid spring offense and lack of a terribly-long flight to Japan.

The Mariners have a lot to look forward to this year. They will likely contend for a playoff spot, or at least a seat at the final table to determine that spot. They will unveil a new, slugging-based offense. They will play in the same division as Houston. And they will play in the same division as Houston. Continue reading

Hey, the A’s Did it, How About Us?

The Oakland Athletics had an extremely successful season last year. Maybe you didn’t notice. In a discussion where the A’s were probably relegated to the kiddy table, while big-boys Texas and Anaheim were supposed to contend for the division, the A’s won it. LA of Anaheim missed the playoffs all together, and Texas went out in a pretty unceremonious way against Baltimore in the new-fangled one-game playoff.

The team’s supposed strengths going into the season were pitching and, well, pitching. Albeit in an enormously large ball park where a game of cricket can be played down the right field and left field foul territories.

Oakland’s strength ended up being not only pitching, but also a tendency to hit home runs. And lots of them. The A’s were one of the better teams at the art of the long ball (7th in baseball last year.)

Last year as well, the A’s got the bulk of their power from their first base/ corner outfield/DH spots from a mix-matched group of role players and journeymen.

(Sensing a theme?) Continue reading

Can The Mariners Be Baseball’s Version of the Clippers?

Let me explain. Felix isn’t going to throw alley oops to Jesus Montero; Kendrys Morales isn’t going to get a never-ending highlight reel of clips for dunking on Ryan Dempster, and well you seem to get the point.

According the hoopsstats.com, the Clippers’ bench was in the bottom five in the league in terms of points, rebounds, assists and field goal percentage last year. The Clippers needed to improve the bench to get better.

Last offseason LA re-made their bench. They had 10 guys on the roster who weren’t regular starters last year. Only two of them are still on the team. The Clips main weakness was small forward depth, much like the Mariners lack of any power hitters. They went out and brought in Lamar Odom, Matt Barnes and Grant Hill among others. No one thought this would actually function and that the Clippers would struggle to give guys playing time, etc. But the Clippers have one of the better records in the league thanks to a bench that leads the league in bench scoring, and are in the top five in the league in rebounding, assists, steals and blocks.

The Mariners, you’ll remember, needed a new batch of power hitters. Middle of the order guys. Guys who could actually hit home runs on a consistent basis.

Seattle also wen the overkill route, dealing for Morales and Mike Morse as well as signing Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay. All of whom play some combination of the DH-First-Base-Left-Field Triple-platoon of positions all played by power hitters.

The Mariners are not only protected in case of injuries (which always seem to happen at the most inopportune times,) but are also able to play the mix-and-match game.

Eric Wedge can rotate Morse, Ibanez, Bay, Morales as well as incumbents Mike Carp and Justin Smoak through DH. He can also play all of them with the exception of Bay at first base, and all with the exception of Morales and Smoak in left field.

It gives the M’s the flexibility to lean on the hotter bats as well as easing off the colder ones.

So, can the M’s be baseball’s version of the Clippers?

It could happen.

What do you think? Could the Mariners be baseball’s Clippers with a mix-and-matching, strong-in-the-bench squad?