What Remains of The Hot Stove Part 1 of IDK

So it seems the contingent of 30 Large Wet And Self Important Adults who own Major League Baseball teams have decided the equilibrium price for labor has climbed too high for SuperDuperUltraWineClubOnLittleSaintJames membership, and have taken their hair plugs and gone home until the baseballguyrabble is pacified.

For me, this is a bummer! Secretly I get more enjoyment out of the constant gardening of roster construction than actual baseball, and I hope nobody finds this out. Oh no! It made it into an article that over 100 people may read!

Putting on the rose-colored glasses, the speed of light transactionaganza-to-pause-button creates an exciting opportunity to keep the Hot Stove burning at a simmer for what I predict will be 2-3 months. As Major League player transactions are in cryosleep until the lockout ends, let’s look at what remains and how it fits into Greater Marineria. Instead of doing a Giant Ass Omnibus Piece, this will be a series of undetermined lengths going from The No Brainers (this article) down to The Specialists (hey gotta shoehorn Billy Hamilton and Jarrod Dyson in somewhere).

You may be wondering to yourself, “Blog, what of those SuperHot trade rumor Dudes and Guys?!” and fair reader, I got ya covered. If a player has an MLBTradeRumors blurb within the last month or two, they’ll get a writeup and a “hurts for both sides” prospect cost.

As with all my quick n’ dirty summaries of players sword (ability at the plate for hitters, strikeout generation for pitchers), shield (walk generation for hitters, walk prevention for pitchers), and magic (baserunning for hitters, dinger prevention for pitchers) should give you a flavor profile of the baseball dude in question. Debuting this article is an excuse to work some Mystikal into your day, as SHOW ME WAHTCHA WORKIN’ WITH is a 10000 ft overview of pitcher repertoire tied to pitch values. 

You’re going to want to know a general outline of 20-80, the Super Duper Insider Lingo, which is tossed around by Self Important Folks Like Myself to describe baseball players’ skills. It typically follows what would be an even distribution of talent, and I think it is a pretty good way of thinking about baseball, and many things, in general.

With all that junk out of the way, let’s set the tempo to low and slow…

THE NO BRAINERS

BATS

Carlos Correa SS/2B/3B

SWORD: 60

SHIELD: 60

MAGIC: 50-45

I am willing to bet my laptop that if you’re reading this internet weblog, you at least have a begrudging respect for Cheatin’ Carlos (who would become CoolguyCarlos if he signed with the Mariners). Essentially a first base caliber bat who can more than hold his own at SS, and though he doesn’t steal bases, Correa isn’t a piano dragger or hubris drain on the basepaths. There are other internet weblogs for deep dives into what makes him amazing, but you need to know that he’s the best free agent available for pure American Doll Hairs in recent memory.

Anticipated Contract With +20% SorryForMather Tax

390 over 10 (39 yearly, roughly 22% of the luxury tax).

Can The Mariners Afford This?

The Seattle Mariners are currently paying $0 in Luxury Tax Payments and are roughly $105,750,000 away from reaching the Luxury Tax threshold established by Major League Baseball. John Stanton’s Net Worth is estimated to be 1.1 billion dollars, roughly 9300 times that of the median American.

Trevor Story SS/2B/3B

SWORD: 55

SHIELD: 60-70

MAGIC: 55-80

Two points to make here…

  1. The “Coors Dip” sounds like a big bowl o’ beer, which, I like a good ol Silver Bullet as much as the next guy but ick! It is also likely folks who naturally decline in their late 20s early 30s. Story’s anticipated exit from Colorado may hurt your fantasy team if you’re like a top gun level sicko, but his track record of above-average performance in park-adjusted (wOBA, wRC+) stats should mitigate any fear about his performance outside of the sudsy confines of Coors Field.
  2. Though the talk around Story centers around concerns as a swordsman, it glosses over his prowess as a defender and a magician.

Story finished 7th in the league in Ultimate Base Running (weighting non-steal plays) and 22nd in weighted stolen bases and, depending on your flavor of defensive metric, was somewhere between the 5th and 10th best defender at shortstop in 2021. All of this while playing through an elbow injury which likely hindered him both at the dish and in the dirt. Git’ R’ Done’ Gerard.

Anticipated Contract With +20% SorryForMather Tax

180 over 6 (30 yearly, roughly 17% of the luxury tax).

Can the Mariners Afford This?

The Seattle Mariners are currently paying $0 in Luxury Tax Payments and are roughly $105,750,000 away from reaching the Luxury Tax threshold established by Major League Baseball. John Stanton is worth an anticipated 1.1 billion dollars, roughly 9000 times that of the median American. They could bring both Carlos Correa and Trevor Story under employ and be under the Luxury Tax and would likely keep Johnny Q Stanton’s net worth at Over 9000 (sigh, gotta get the low-hanging fruit here) times that of the Median American. 

Matt Olson 1B

SWORD: 70

SHIELD: 35-40

MAGIC: 45

The right half of the Oak-land Boiz (they’re just trying to maaaake it), Olson is coming off a career year in which he shaved darn near 15% off his K rate and went from outstanding hitter to downright scary at the dish. His formerly Gold Glove level defense backed up, but it could be both 1-year noise and not the end of the world if it’s an actual trend. Olson has become a cagey runner who swiped four bags last year and can go first to third when he reaches base. As a hypothetical Mariner, he’d enable the team to use Ty France much like the Dodgers use Max Muncy (a mishmash of first, second, and third base starts) and allow Olson to take some half days at DH. 

Anticipated Cost In Youngsters

Roughly George Kirby as a 1-for-1 trade.

Can the Mariners Afford This?

If the Seattle Mariners fail to bring home the AL Pennant in 2021, they will surpass the 1959-2005 Chicago White Sox and move into sole possession of the 4th longest Major League Pennant Drought since 1903.

ARMS

Carlos Rodón SP

SWORD: 70-55

SHIELD: 50-40

MAGIC: 45-55

SHOW ME WHATCHA WORKIN’ WITH: 50-60 Fastball, 55-60 Slider, 40-55 Changeup, 40 Sinker

As you can see with your 80 Grade Reading Comprehension And Goodlookingness, there’s some variance here! Rodon went from nontender to adding two ticks on his fastball, got his slider groove back, and darn near won a Cy Young in 2022. Sitting 86% Fastball+Slider usage, watching Rodón work is like seeing a closer go at it, but the tape keeps playing for 5-7 innings. There’s a 2017-2020 sized doughnut hole in terms of resume with Rodón, and it’s indisputable that he faded in the 2nd half, but there are few better on a per inning basis. With the Mariners alleged pitching depth, he should be target number one for whatever the rest offseason looks like as the team can stomach stretches where it’s gonna take more than 5 days to get to Scary Ass Rodón.

Anticipated Contract With +20% SorryForMather Tax

115 over 5 though estimates vary widely (23 yearly, roughly 13% of the luxury tax)

Can the Mariners Afford This?

The Seattle Mariners are currently paying $0 in Luxury Tax Payments and are roughly $105,750,000 away from reaching the Luxury Tax threshold established by Major League Baseball. John Stanton is worth an anticipated 1.1 billion dollars, roughly 9300 times that of the median American.

Clayton Kershaw SP

SWORD: 55

SHIELD: 70-80

MAGIC: 50

SHOW ME WHATCHA WORKIN’ WITH: 50-60 Fastball, 55-60 Slider, 50-60 Curve

You’re not learning anything new here. Kershaw is darn good. If anything, the most relevant NuKersh detail I can pass on is that he’s increased his slider usage as his fastball begins to dip in velocity. There was a slight dip in his otherworldly BB/9 numbers in 2021, but he’s still among the best pitchers at limiting free passes in Major League Baseball. He’d either be 1A or 1B with the Seattle Mariners and will pitch until he or his left arm decides that’s no longer in the cards.

Anticipated Contract With +20% Sorry4TheMather Tax

124 over 4 though a shorter deal seems like the consensus (31 yearly, roughly 17% of the luxury tax)

Can the Mariners Afford This?

The Seattle Mariners are currently paying $0 in Luxury Tax Payments and are roughly $105,750,000 away from reaching the Luxury Tax threshold established by Major League Baseball. John Stanton is worth an anticipated 1.1 billion dollars, roughly 9300 times that of the median American.

Luis Castillo SP

SWORD: 50-55

SHIELD: 45

MAGIC: 55-60

SHOW ME WHATCHA WORKIN’ WITH: 45 Fastball, 55-70 Changeup, 50-60 Sinker, 50-55 Slider

One of the premier attacking wizards in the game, Castillo overcame a rough start to 2021 and has firmly entrenched himself in that nebulous “Not quite an Ace but absolutely one of the 30 best pitchers” group. The name of the game with Castillo is generating weak contact, which he does to the tune of being in the top10 amongst starters in both GB% and Hard Contact %. Yes, there will be walks from time to time, but walking 3ish per 9 isn’t unsightly, and the overall package is fantastic. Castillo also has a track record of health as he’s made 30+ starts in each of the last three non-pandy seasons. One can dream of what he can achieve with the help of our friend Marine Layer, and he’d be either 1A or 1B in the rotation as currently constructed. You also have to wonder if there’s another gear here as his fastball sits at 97 mph and Castillo gets really good results from his lesser used sinker.

Anticipated Cost In Youngsters

All those nice things come at a price. With Castillo’s track record of success & health, contract status (1 more year of arbitration), and current skill level, the Reds wouldn’t be laughed out of the room asking for Noelvi Marte in a pure 1-for-1 situation.

Can the Mariners Afford This?

If the Seattle Mariners fail to bring home the AL Pennant in 2021, they will surpass the 1959-2005 Chicago White Sox and move into sole possession of the 4th longest Major League Pennant Drought since 1903.

If you made it this far, you get a treat…

MY FAIR VEDDER CUP OBJECT OF AFFECTION

Dinelson Lamet SP/RP

SWORD: 60-70

SHIELD: 45-55

MAGIC: 55-60

SHOW ME WHATCHA WORKIN’ WITH: 60-70 Slider, 45-50 Fastball, 40-45 Sinker, 35-45 Changeup

Ah, my sweet San Diegan Slider Goof, come to Mariber and find peace.

Putting it bluntly, the real world has been hasslin’ Lamet since he exited his last start of 2020 with biceps/elbow tightness. 2021 greeted Dinelson with a 10 Day IL-Exited start with forearm tightness-10 Day IL-2 Inning starts and a move to the bullpen-4 to 5 innings starts-forearm tightness and a return to the 10 day-picked up a hip injury on the 10 day-mixed results in a September full of 1 to 2 inning appearances knuckle sandwich. Health is an issue for Lamet as his frequent stints on the injured list have placed him 95th out of 165 in WAR amongst starters who’ve pitched over 250 innings since his debut in 2017.

So now that we’ve got the yuckies out of the way let’s get to the yummies.

Before having to exit said 2020 start, Dinelson Lamet was a Cy Young contender at best and one of the ten best starting pitchers on Earth at worst. 

From the dataset mentioned above, Lamet is 44th in WAR/Start; on a per inning basis, he bumps up to 36th. 

His fastball, which has performed around league average, is very fast (95-96 MH) and very spinny (88th percentile per savant), signaling the potential for improvement.

Yes, it’s two pitches (Lamet is 96% fastball+slider, some show me changeups and fastballs classified as sinkers), and yes, there are health concerns but my what two pitches they are and he has astounding command of them, keeping walks and hard contact down. For a team like the Mariners with pretty good theoretical starting pitcher depth, this is the kind of gamble the Mariners need to take to overtake Houston as a healthy Lamet potentially, even if for 50 innings with dreams for 100+, slots in as the 2nd starter as the Mariner roster as currently constructed.

Anticipated Cost In Youngsters

Surprisingly little. Let’s call the hypothetical trade Victor Labrada and Taylor Dollard for funzies. It may even be less than that after a scary 2021.

Can the Mariners Afford This?

If the Seattle Mariners fail to bring home the AL Pennant in 2021, they will surpass the 1959-2005 Chicago White Sox and move into sole possession of the 4th longest Major League Pennant Drought since 1903.

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