Mariners Off-Season Gameplan

I like coming up with my own hypothetical off-season gameplan for the Mariners. As I sat down to think through this off-season, and mapped out what I would do, I ran into a slight problem. What I want is pretty much exactly what Dave Cameron already laid out over at USS Mariner. He hits all the areas that I would hit, and proposes signing players that I was looking at too. So, instead of producing a post from the department of redundancy department, I've elected to link to his, along with the couple following notes:

  • Dave is more optimistic about Lance Berkman's ability to bounce back than I am. The argument about his wrist and other peripherals is certainly plausible, but I don't think the wrist is the main culprit for his power outage. Berkman's ISO did not rise as the season went along (presumably as his wrist became more and more healthy), and it sunk dramatically when he switched from the NL to the AL. Granted, these are all small sample sizes, but he played enough to think that his home run rate should have climbed near the end of the season if his wrist was the problem. I don't see Berkman getting his power back, but his other skills still make him a good hitter, and a worthwhile acquisition at the price that Cameron suggests.
  • Since I'm not as high on Berkman, it's not surprising that I also think Cameron is a little optimistic when he suggests his roster can win 80 games. I think 75 wins is on the upper end of realistic. The difference isn't just Berkman. I'm a bit more pessimistic on Jason Vargas and Doug Fister, as well as the bullpen.
  • I think the Mariners can get more for David Aardsma and Jose Lopez than Cameron does in his hypothetical trade. Not lots more, but a little something more. He suggested trading a closer and starting third basemen for a couple backups. I would hold out for some bullpen depth. Not a future closer, but the kind of guy who can hang around AAA and be called up to fill a long relief role when needed.
If you really want to geek out, take a look at the win prediction tool in this Fangraphs post by Jeff Zimmerman. For what it's worth, using Zimmerman's tool with Dave Cameron's roster and my fast-and-loose projections, the Mariners are predicted to go around 69-93.

One thing is for sure: with so many openings on the roster, the Mariners are going to be acquiring a bunch of new players. It is almost equally as certain that those players are going to make the team better.