In the ongoing saga of "Who should the Seattle Mariners sign or trade for?" I must confess that I'm getting a bit dizzy.
Based on all of the rumors coming out of the MLB winter meetings this week, are there any hitters that the Mariners aren't linked to?
Each and every day, it seems the M's are linked to a new player, as they're inspiration shopping one minute, the next digging for fossils in their desperate search for players that either can or could hit a baseball both in the past and future sense.
From the outside looking in, it might appear rather amusing, but for those of us who actually care about the M's, it reeks of desperation watching your team frantically search for a dance partner.
So who will the M's end up dancing with?
On Tuesday Geoff Baker at the Seattle Times reported that general manager Jack Zduriencik isn't desperate:
Zduriencik said he isn't desperate to add hitting this winter and won't guarantee the Mariners will come away with a top prize.
"At the end, maybe what we'll do is maybe we won't have a big splash," Zduriencik said. "Maybe this big 'out there' thing won't happen. Maybe (improving) positional needs more than (adding) this big bomb — or whatever you want to call it — will take place."
“At the end, if you cant get the offensive piece that you would like to have, or it doesn’t fit, or the cost is too high, then you still try to do things to make the club better,” Zduriencik said. “And if settling on a pitcher this year is the thing to do, then that’s not the wrong thing. It maybe doesn’t fit exactly like you want, but we still have a young staff. So, a piece to this staff would be good. And we’re very open to that.”
Times like this, I often like to take a crack at translating, but even I'm at a loss here.
What is right? What is wrong? What makes sense?
Fortunately, manager Eric Wedge was available to help and specifically discuss the issue of first baseman Justin Smoak to the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker:
“We gave him plenty of space last year to figure it out and ultimately had to send him out. He came back and ultimately, we saw what we wanted to see the last four or five weeks. Now, it’s up to him to take it on this year from Day 1 and understand that there has to be a level of consistency for him to be able to start each and every day.
“But rest assured. We’ll have something else in our back pocket if we need to give him a break or if it’s not working out, so that we’ll have somewhere to go.”
Not sure what the M's braintrust hopes to find in their back pocket, but I figure it might be interesting to throw one more name in the mix who could help—that oddly has stayed under the radar.
Immediately following the Miami Marlins' recent fire sale, it seemed that anyone and everyone could be shipped off for the right price. While everyone drools over Giancarlo Stanton, I'm left to wonder if there is a more cost-efficient alternative available for M's general manager Jack Zduriencik to inquire about instead.
It's not that Stanton would be a poor fit in Seattle; it's more the fact that a deal for him would require the "Herschel Walker" package, as Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports pointed out.
As tempting as that may seem, I'd rather Jack Z get a price check on outfielder/first baseman Logan Morrison.
What's so special about Morrison?
Let's just say for a team in need of any help they can get, Morrison is another young player with potential and positional versatility that the Mariners can find a home for.
But what about Nick Swisher? Isn't he a better option?
Depends on what angle you want to approach that question.
Swisher, at age 32, is a proven talent with a fair amount of success across eight-plus major league seasons. If we look ahead at Bill James' 2013 projections on Fangraphs, Swisher's top-line numbers look to be fairly solid, hitting .256 with 25 HR and 86 RBI.
Meanwhile Morrison is seven years younger, at age 25, with parts of three seasons under his belt, but he has never played more than 123 games in any one season. Yet, if we look at Bill James' 2013 projections for Morrison, they happen to look eerily similar to those for Swisher hitting .256 with 23 HR and 79 RBI.
Granted, these are just a few quick projected numbers, and how much credence you wish to put in them is at your discretion, but in either case, it would certainly be a nicer backup plan at first base for Justin Smoak, who Bill James projects at hitting .234 with 19 HR and 62 RBI next season.
Beyond the numbers and positional flexibility, what I also like about Morrison is that he has personality. Understand this isn't meant to come across as a knock on Smoak, more the fact that the entire team seemed to play tight for most of the year with the exception being the team's midsummer hot streak.
Morrison's character has got him into trouble with Miami's management, but if anything, you would hope that would knock down his asking price. And at the end of the day, I think the change of scenery provided by going to a city like Seattle would suit him.
Will Logan Morrison ball player and humorist solve all of the Mariners problems?
Of course not, as no one player can or will turn this ship around, but if Nick Swisher decides Seattle isn't his best option, I'd suggest a push for Morrison as a younger and cheaper alternative.
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