The Seattle Mariners have officially acquired Philadelphia Phillies ace and Cy Young winner Cliff Lee in exchange for top pitching prospect Phillipe Aumont, P JC Ramirez, and OF Tyson Gillies.
This is a huge moment for the franchise, and is almost certainly one of the biggest trades in club history. The blockbuster deal as a whole is arguably the biggest trade in the modern era of baseball. There has never been a trade in the history of baseball involving two Cy Young award winners in their prime.
This team means business, and the rest of the league is starting to take strong notice. These Mariners are no longer making moves out of desperation, or gift wrapping five top prospects for injury prone No. 2 pitchers.
No, not this team, Jack Zdureincik plays the hand he's dealt flawlessly. When they cut back spending last season, they made many smart low under the radar moves with the end result of a 24 game improvement with $20 million less in payroll.
This season they have more than $50 million coming off the books, trader Jack knew by cutting down, and restocking in his first season that he could lay the groundwork for All-Stars within the season (Jack Wilson), and be able to do virtually anything he wanted this offseason with his massive budget.
What the offseason docket features for JZ consists of the need to re-sign team HR leader Russell Branyan, replace Adrian Beltre, acquire a No. 2 and No. 3 pitcher, and inquire about bolstering C and LF.
All Star Replacement for Adrian Beltre, done.
Cy Young winning ace as the No. 2 pitcher, done.
Even with $50 million to spend, I do not think anyone envisioned Seattle grabbing Figgins, and Lee to start their off their spending spree, fantastic moves.
Now I implore the Mariners to ponder making another big acquisition, as the title implies, make a move to acquire Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez.
There are so many reasons and ramifications to acquiring him that make sense for the Mariners to seriously consider it.
In acquiring Lee, they were still able to hold onto all of their top prospects. This makes it possible for them to go out and make another big move with names like Carlos Truinfel, Brandon Morrow, and Michael Saunders still available as enticing trade chips.
With money to spend now, they could give Gonzalez the long term deal the lowly rebuilding Padres cannot afford to.
Locking up Gonzalez would then allow the Mariners to re-sign Russell Branyan and plug him in at DH, seemingly checking off another item on the offseason to do list.
His left handed bat is also much more suitable for Safeco Field, so for all of those Jason Bay haters, it means we would no longer have to go after him for his bat.
Gonzalez has a ridiculously affordable salary for next season at $4.5 million, with an option of $5.5 million the following season. This gives the Mariners added flexibility for re-signing aces' Hernandez and Lee to long term deals. Adding Jason Bay would now make it a stretch (still possible), to re-sign both of those pitchers now that the M's have acquired Lee.
If you look at the Major League roster, everything appears to be set in stone for the next several years. All of the Mariners top prospects are either blocked at the MLB level, or are positions well saturated with talent.
The INF will be set for the next few seasons once the M's re-sign Branyan.
The OF is set for a long time, even if Saunders gets traded, the team still has options on the open market.
The pitching staff is loaded, so dealing someone like Morrow wouldn't be an issue at all.
If the Mariners could swap a package of Truinfel, Morrow, Saunders, plus a throw-in or two, for Gonzalez, they should not be hesitating at all. It would be another trade that takes little to nothing from the MLB roster, and adds the games top young left handed slugger in the process.
Even if he left, much like Lee, they will get half the haul they unloaded for him back with what will be his Type A status, plus his production while he is here.
It's a can't lose situation, no impact to the MLB roster with minor league players being swapped, financial flexibility to give him his desired deal, if he left after 1-2 years they still get premium prospects in return regardless.
In an offseason where the Mariners can get more loaded then a Frat Boy, floor it, and lets make the Angels sh*t their pants even more.
I know I would if I had to see this front four 20 times a year:
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