By Outsider Steve
Is it me or does anyone else feel like the Mariners are on the verge of something exciting?
Alright, so maybe it's just me. So please allow me the time and try to convince the masses out there in Marinersville on what the Mariners are about to embark on. For three years now, Mariners GM Jack Zdureincik has had the dubious honor of fixing an organization so broken that most industry figure heads thought it would take at least five years before the Mariners would be even able to financially compete, let alone see results on the field. Only three years after taking over as GM, Jack Zduriencik is sitting on the cusp of the biggest off-season in Mariners history. I do know one thing is certain, win or lose, there will be some major fireworks going off over the Sodo this winter. In order to see those fireworks we need to discuss some truths about the Jack Zduriencik era.
Jack Zduriencik just hasn't had the financial luxury up to this point in his tenure as Mariners GM to radically improve the ball club. It wasn't Zduriencik's fault that ownership slashed the payroll by 18 million dollars in his first season. In the three years Zduriencik has been in charge, he has had an average payroll of 94,890,230 million dollars. Compared to the 96,271,463 average per season in five seasons that former GM Bill Bavasi had. That's a difference of 1,381,233 million dollars extra that Bill Bavasi had at his disposal. In the 2006-2007 off-season, Bill Bavasi's payroll shot up from 87,959,833 to 106,460,833. A difference of 18,501,000. Which is precisely the figure Zduriencik stand to inherit this off-season. If you add that figure to this seasons payroll, this is what the team payroll would look like in 2012; 113,124,194. Which is still 4,542,291 million dollars shy of Bill Bavasi's all-time high payroll of 117,666,482 in 2008. The bottom line is payroll will be increasing. Ownership needs to realize they have a financially responsible GM in place, and that is okay to add more to the pot.
The Mariners have put together a nucleus of young talent with tremendous staying power. On the offensive side, Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, Mike Carp, Kyle Seager, Trayvon Robinson, and Casper wells are hitting a combined .252/.319/.415/.735, 42 HR, 140 RBI, 348 Hits, 144 Runs, and all play positions that were/are in desperate need of improvement; 2B, 1B, DH, 3B, and OF. On the pitching side Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda, Jason Vargas, Brandon League, and Tom Wilhelmsen have quietly form a solid base in which to build upon. Those five have combined to go 35-41, 3.53 ERA, 586 K's, 1.178 WHIP, and a K's/BB ratio of 3.01. Three of the five have been selected to the All-Star game, and Hernandez has already has a Cy Young on his resume. Those are just 11 of the active 25 man roster. Not even including the likes of Blake Beaven, Charlie Furbush, Shawn Kelley, Josh Lueke, Chance Ruffin, Dan Cortes, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Danny Hultzen, and Alex Liddi. Who could all very well make an impact in 2012.
What will the Mariners have coming available;
- Milton Bradley = 12,000,000
- Carlos Silva = 5,500,000
- Yuniesky Betancourt = 1,000,000
- Jack Wilson = 5,000,000
- Josh Wilson = 179,000
- Jack Cust = 2,000,000
- Jamey Wright = 900,000
- Adam Kennedy = 750,000
- Luis Rodriguez = 600,000
- Total = 27,929,000
Isn't that a fantastic number to see? Even if you factor in arbitration, the number is still going to remain in the 18-20 million dollar range. That number allows flexibility in spades. Which is more then enough to add a power bat in the OF and at 3B, upgrade the catching position, and add a solid starter to the rotation mix.
Lets' forecast shall we. Let's say the Mariners make one trade and sign two free agents to open up the off-season. we will say the Mariners sign 3B Wilson Betemit (.268/.335/.445/.779, 62 HR, 242 RBI, 466 Hits, 221 Runs), who has never made over 4 million dollars in one season, to a 2-year 8 million dollar deal. Then let's say Zduriencik make a trade for Kansas City Royals LF Alex Gordon. Who still has two years of club control, but is still arbitration eligible. Because Gordon posted career highs in every statistical catagory, .303/.376/.502/.879, 23 HR, 87 RBI, both parties figure out a way to agree on a mutual figure of 5 million dollars for the 2012 season. The Mariners then sign a starter like a Paul Maholm, Jason Marguis, or a Javier Vazquez. Who would all come at a reduced price. Something to the tune of 1-year at 1.5 million. Just in those three deals the Mariners have used up only 10.5 million dollars. That would still leave Zduriencik nearly 8 million dollars left to improve the bullpen and the catching position.
I'm being 100% honest when I tell you guys that next years team will have the look and feel of a winning ball club. It's just a matter of putting your eggs into that basket. I know it's a hard thing to do when you have seen the team go from bad to worse in a span of less then two seasons. But it is going to get better. That you can bank on. It's just a matter waiting it out for another six months...