Re: Right Field Solution
posted at 1/16/2012 11:41 PM EST
The Pineda/Montero swap does create another potential partner for the Sox. Depending on where Montero plays (C or DH), the Mariners now have an excess of OF. I assume for defensive reasons, their OF would be Robinson in LF, Gutierrez in CF and Ichiro in RF. This leaves Casper Wells and Michael Saunders on the bench if Montero is DH, and one of them on the bench if Montero catches. I know Ichiro is a potential FA after 2012 and Gutierrez is a FA after 2013, but both are also very important to that team (even when Gutierrez hits like he did last year). I would not be surprised if Ichiro was brought back for 2013 and possibly even 2014 given his popularity and performance.
Long story short, I would not be surprised if the Mariners would listen to offers for Wells. Wells is a decent hitter with good RH power. Defensively, UZR places him above average at all three OF positions, although small sample sizes could be skewing the numbers. His RH power abilities should make him attractive to Boston, however. He’s sort of like Cody Ross in many ways. If the Cook proves healthy, a factor the contract he received indicates that if he is not, will severely limit his time in Boston, the Sox have potentially 2 out-of-options pitchers who might suffer from a roster squeeze: Bowden and Doubront. Seattle isn’t typically in the hunt for pitching help, even in the wake of Pineda’s departure, and generally prefers offense. But they are undoubtedly amenable to acquiring tradable young pitching. And any young MLB-ready pitcher with a miniscule salary is tradable somewhere.
Of these two, I would have to think Doubront is the far more attractive. He has more control remaining, throws left-handed (which means opposing teams use more right-handed platoon hitter and pinch hitters to fall victim to the cavernous left field in Safeco if they keep him), and quite simply, is the better pitcher of the two.
As I don’t know Seattle’s long term plans or how 27yo Wells fits into them, it’s hard to say this matchup is obvious. However, I would hope the Sox look into it once the dust settles regarding their own rotation. They might even have to sweeten the package a little for Seattle (a potential deal breaker), since Wells was the key to the Fister trade and therefore has some benefit in the eyes of their front office. However, it is absolutely worth looking into from Boston’s perspective. The deal might be Doubront AND Bowden for Wells, as it is possible both are squeezed out of roster spots. And for Casper Wells, Fister trade or not, it is hard to imagine Seattle walking away from getting TWO young pitchers. At that point, Seattle might have to throw something back Boston’s way. Don’t expect it to be topflight talent. It would probably be an upper level pitcher like Edward Paredes, Dan Cortes or Chaz Roe – basically someone to help fill Boston’s pitching depth but still with option(s) remaining, and also readily replaceable for the Mariners. Let’s face it, they are not going to jeopardize their future to help the Sox too much, as selfish as that sounds.
Gutierrez should also appeal to Boston, although his $5.6mill AAV contract (through 2103 with an option) limits what Boston can send back. Doubtful Seattle cares to acquire Scutaro or Jenks, unless their goal is to simply get out of the future of Gutierrez deal ($5.5mill in 2012, $7mill in 2013, $7.5mill team option in 2014 with a $500K buyout). This is possible, given Gutierrez’ 2011 offensive performance, but unlikely because as I said before, he brings a lot more to the table with his defense.
But a Doubront(and Bowden?)/Wells(+?) deal would be beneficial to Boston, despite the depletion of young pitching depth. Would it be for Seattle, short and long term?