Thursday, April 01, 2004

And your roster is nearly set 

Hiram Bocachica gets the shaft of not being on the 40-man roster, and heads to AAA Tacoma, while Willie Bloomquist may be our starting third baseman on opening day. A lot going on in Mariner-land as we get ready for Opening Day! Lets take a look at the cuts, performances and rumors going on today.

Bloomquist in, Bocachica out, Santiago ?
The Mariners sent five players to the minors yesterday and it was new fan favorite Hiram Bocachica getting culled. Because he was not on the 40 man roster, it was difficult for the M's to find a spot for him, and the fact that we love Willie Bloomquist and we are starting with 12 pitchers means there is really no room on the roster for Bocachica.

Interestingly, Ramon Santiago remains on the roster. Either the M's would keep only 11 pitchers, or else one of Dave Hansen, Quinton McCracken, or Bloomquist would have to go. Both Santiago and Bloomquist have options left, but I figure that Bloomquist's greater positional flexibility will let him keep his job, and Santiago will head to Tacoma.

Also going to Tacoma is our 2005 starting shortstop Jose Lopez, who had an excellent Spring, and if something happens to Rich Aurilia, we will see him in 2004. With Lopez and Leone in Tacoma, where will Bocachica and Santiago play? My guess is that Bocachica gets more work in the outfield and even first base, and Santiago gets work at 2B, SS and 3B, but we'll see. Santiago will stick if Scott Spiezio starts the season on the DL with back pain.

All in all, I can't fault the Mariners for this decision, as historically Bloomquist has put up better stats than Hiram. I just think that Bocachica has greater upside, and that his name is a heckuva lot more fun to say. I think that we have seen Bloomie's greatest contribution to the M's when he helped spark a revival that failed to get the M's into the playoffs in September 2002. I think we might get a similar spark from Bocachica, and that he could be the Mark McLemore for the M's. Now I guess we'll never know.

Davis Survives
Pat Borders heads to Tacoma to provide tutelage to our awesome AAA staff, and that means Ben Davis survives to start the season with the Mariners (barring a trade). Perhaps it is not a coincidence that the cut of Borders comes a day after Davis asks for extra work and catches a minor league game. Ben seems to get it, and lets hope his season gets back on track quickly.

Who's Hot
Raul Ibanez is on fire! After a 4-for-4 performance yesterday, he now has hits in NINE straight at bats. And looky here, Kevin Jarvis pitches two shutout innings and has not been scored upon for four straight appearances. Terry Mulholland may want to be updating his resume, since it looks like he'll be the odd man out. For those waiting on a Kevin Jarvis trade, methinks you'll have to wait until Jarvis performs well in the regular season (which he will). With similar pitchers like Glendon Rusch are getting cut and are available on the open market, its tough to sell a pricy Jarvis.

Other cuts
Aaron Looper and J.J. Putz head to Tacoma, and really there is nothing wrong with this decision. Mickey Lopez was in camp? Didn't even notice him.

Trouble! Sorry! by Milton Bradley
Yes, Milton Bradley is available after wearing out his welcome with the Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge. This is a guy the M's should SERIOUSLY entertain an offer to. He's 25 years old and seemingly reached his potential last year with a beautiful .321/.421/.501 line. All the talk about Griffey moving to center and Winn becoming a SUPER 4th outfielder (platoon with Ibanez/Olerud essentially)? Bradley can make it happen, without the injury risk. Is he a chemistry risk? Maybe, but one would think that the veteran-laden M's would be the best possible place for Bradley to go. The Indians have stated he will be traded within 72 hours. He is making a meager $1.75M in his first year of arbitration this year.

What do you offer the Indians? Quinton McCracken and lots of young pitching. Q for Bradley makes it a salary wash, so the Indians are essentially getting pitchign. Q is useless to the M's if they acquire Bradley, and the Indians need the pitching that we have coming out of our ears in AAA. Q & Nageotte for Bradley. Yes, that's top pitching prospect Clint Nageotte. Its time to cash in a pitching prospect for a hitting prospect who has made it and still has two inexpensive years left. Bargain away with other prospects, but if Nageotte makes/breaks deal, then let him go. Or overwhelm them with quantity of lesser prospects. But lets give this a shot!

Other Trade Rumors
Jason Kendall rumors are flying around the Pirates mainstream media and the M's blogosphere. I think that if they can get Kendall's average $ value over course of contract down to $5-6 million by including Jarvis, Davis, and taking cash, then its a deal we should do. The most entertaining (and optimistic!) pro-trade-for-Kendall analysis I've see is from Dr. Detecto at Top Forums.

Bring On the Bubba!
The Dodgers released Bubba Trammell because he was not a good fit on the team. Trammell put up two nice seasons in San Diego before heading to the dregs of the league, the Yankees, where he didn't get much playing time. Available for the league minimum, he provides a bat that has dinged lefties to an 819 OPS over the past three years. He would make a nice replacement for Dave Hansen. I'd recommend him over Q, but he can't cover centerfield, so he is a better choice for the Hansen slot. He could nicely rest Olerud or Ibanez against lefties.

In a perfect world, we deal Hansen & Q & some prospects for Milton Bradley, and pickup Bubba Trammell to be a bat off the bench. But if we have to dump Hansen, someone will pick him up, and it will effectively be a trade of Hansen for Bubba, and that's something we should be pursuing.

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