In Jack Z we Trust
The Mariners pulled of the heist of the century acquiring Cliff Lee for pennies on the dollar back in December. Jack Z only surrendered Phillipe Aumont , Tyson Gilles and Juan Ramirez to the Phillies. Tyson Gilles was an Outfielder that was blocked in our organization behind Ichiro, Franklin Guiterrez, and the much more highly regarded Michael Saunders. Aumont the former first round pick of the Mariners started the season in Double A for the Phillies and has since slipped back to Single A and is looking more as if he projects as a bullpen arm in the future. Its safe to say the Mariners didn't give much for Cliff Lee, some might suggest that Brandon Marrow to the Blue Jays was an extension of the Cliff Lee trade, but either way Jack Z stole a CY Young winner and anything seemed possible during spring training. However, things didn't work out as planned but the addition of Cliff Lee allowed the Mariners to re-sign Felix to a longterm deal. Felix felt the M's were committed to winning and signed 5 more years with the franchise. If you knew nothing else about Cliff Lee trade besides that it allowed the Mariners to avoid a Roy Halladay situation and re-sign their 24 year old ace Felix to a longterm deal it would have been a wonderful trade. The hope and excitement Cliff Lee brought took talks away from when Felix would eventually be traded and instead gave a new focus to the most dynamic 1-2 punch in baseball since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. This was a team built to win in the playoffs and designed to win short series but was never given the opportunity.
Fast forward to July 9th and Jack Z is sitting at the poker table playing with house money. Any move Jack made, or didn't make for that matter would have been the right move; there was no losing in this situation. If Cliff Lee walked at the end the year the Mariners would earn two first round picks because he would have been assured Type A status. Looking back to this spring the Mariners would have gladly taken first round picks for Aumont, Gilles and Ramirez. In this case though Jack Z exceeded all expectations. Taking Justin Smoak straight off a division rival was very very impressive. Smoak is under club control for the next five years playing for practically peanuts. Jacky Z finally found the power hitting 1B the Mariners have coveted since he has taken over the GM position. Smoak a lefthanded stick who should be able to find success in Safeco Field were other right handed power bats such as Adrian Beltre or Richie Sexson have struggled. Not to mention he is a pretty decent defensive player and you should be very excited as a Mariners fan right now. The M's were able to get 3 other prospects but they are nothing to write home about. The most notable being pitcher Blake Beavan a former first round pick in 07. Beavan should find success in Safeco as a pitcher who will pound the strikezone similar to a Jason Vargas or Doug Fister this season, but again nothing to get excited about.
The Mariners have some real hope for the future right now, and some exciting young prospects to watch the next two years. Adding Justin Smoak fills just a giant need for the Mariners.
Feb 23rd Baseball America Top 100 Prospects
#11 Dustin Ackley 2b/OF
#13 Justin Smoak 1b
#30 Michael Saunders OF
#83 Adam Moore C
*#11 Michael Pineda, RHP (Mid Season Updated Top 25 Prospects)
the future is looking bright for the M's
Let the Michael Pineda countdown begin!