League & Delabar Traded; Mariners Continue Rebuilding

Today is my birthday, but I got one of my presents early this year. Wrapped up with a bow on his head, the Mariners sent Brendan League to the Dodgers for a pair of minor league prospects. The Mariners also completed a deal with Toronto that sent Steve Delabar away, continuing their trend of giving away players during this home stand.

Greinke to Angels

Brewers GM Doug Melvin wasn't kidding when he guaranteed that they would trade Zack Greinke. He's now a part of the Angels, in exchange for a trio of AA prospects - SS Jean Segura, RHP Ariel Pena, and RHP John Hellweg.

Hanleywood

I was about to go to bed last night when my Twitter feed lit up with a deal between the Dodgers and Marlins. 3B/SS Hanley Ramirez and LHP Randy Choate are now in LA in exchange for RHP Nathan Eovaldi and RHP Scott McGough.

Ichiro

Ichiro got traded to the New York Yankees for RHP Danny Farquhar and RHP D.J. Mitchell. Let's get the most uninteresting part out of the way, scouting Farquhar and Mitchell.

Danny Farquhar is a diminutive 25-year-old reliever that has bounced around some, clocking some very brief time in the majors in 2011. He was a 10th round draft pick in 2008 out of the Lousiana Lafayette. Farquhar consistently posts solid AAA numbers, and maybe he could produce some decent innings in an MLB bullpen. However, Farquhar is what he is, organizational depth.

D.J. Mitchell is an undersized right-hander (though not as undersized as Farquhar) out of Clemson University. He has an ERA over 5.00 in the rather pitcher-friendly International League (AAA). He was also a 10th round draft pick in 2008. He is now 25 years old, and for the most part has posted decent enough numbers to get steadily promoted through the minors. He looks like organizational depth.

In other words, the Mariners got nothing for Ichiro (with all due respect to Farquhar and Mitchell). These are pitchers who could contribute, but in much the same way that Josh Kinney currently contributes to the Mariners. These are the kinds of pitchers that Jack Zduriencik is able to consistently find as minor league free agents to fill out his bullpen. They aren't the type of guys a team really needs to trade for.

Then again, with all due respect to Ichiro, the Mariners did not give up a highly valuable contributor at this point. Ichiro is a 38-year-old outfielder in the final year of his contract. His performance dipped considerably last season, and it hasn't rebounded much, if at all. Overpaid, over-the-hill superstars just months away from free agency due do not cost much to acquire, shockingly enough. From the Yankees perspective, that's the kind of player they just acquired.*

*Maybe. Ichiro's road numbers are much better than at home (.297 batting average versus .214), as is the case with virtually every Mariner. Perhaps Ichiro will be a decent hitter for the Yankees. Time will tell.

From the Mariners perspective, and particularly Mariner fans, we just lost a franchise icon. We lost this:


And we lost this:


Plausible Vargas Trade

I won't make a habit of theoretical trade proposals, but one popped in my head today that makes enough sense to actually happen. Jon Morosi reported this morning that the Cardinals might have interest in Jason Vargas. Take that rumor for what its worth, given the trade deadline is near, and the Mariners never say much about their discussions with other teams. It certainly makes sense that the cardinals would be looking for starting pitching, and it makes equal sense for the M's to shop Vargas. He has been a valuable starter for the Mariners, but he is due a pay raise in the offseason, and several young hurlers in the farm system are close to the big leagues.

My proposed deal: Jason Vargas for Matt Adams, straight up or with some other players involved.

Death of Signability?

I want to love the new MLB draft salary system. It makes sense to me. Each team gets a pot of money based on the slotted value of their draft picks. The team can use however much money they want on whomever they draft, but they have a finite cash amount to play with. The system allows for some freedom and creativity, but makes the draft more of a draft again, instead of a contest to see who is most willing to sink a ton of money into it. Hopefully, signability is no longer a buzz term come draft time.

The early returns give me cautious optimism.

Two Hopes for Noesi

The Mariners sent down RHP Hector Noesi to Tacoma today, and called up OF Carlos Peguero. The Mariners do not need a fifth starter for a while with the All Star Break coming up, and that's likely a factor in this decision, but the fact remains that Noesi got sent down. He is the owner of a 2-11 record with a 5.77 ERA this season - hardly unassailable numbers.

I hope that the Mariners sent down Noesi with two things to work on. He is far from a lost cause. I will start with a pretty picture (click on it for a bigger version). The explanation of the graph follows:


2012 All Stars by WAR

Instead of debating who should and should not have made the All Star team, I decided to make an infographic. It is a simple scatter plot, with a player's career WAR on the x-axis, and their WAR so far this season on the y-axis. The colored boxes signify quadrants, which I will explain more after the graphic. You can also click on the picture for a larger view:


The quadrants are not evenly sized because I divided them based on the medians for career and season WAR, respectively. Career WARs varied greatly, with more players lower on the scale. This makes sense since it takes time to accumulate large career WAR totals, and some All-Stars are young, while others are grizzled veterans.

Season WAR is one way to measure how great the player's current season is. Career WAR is a way to measure their past performance, and the kind of reputation they have earned/accumulated.

The following are the All-Stars listed by quadrant, along with a suggested way to interpret what each quadrant represents: