CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Skewed Left: Washingto... (01/17)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (01/16)
Next Column >>
Transaction Analysis: ... (01/18)
Next Article >>
On the Beat: Final Fre... (01/17)

January 17, 2013

Transaction Analysis

Bring Me the Bat Man

by R.J. Anderson

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

OAKLAND ATHLETICS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Acquired C/DH-L John Jaso from the Mariners as part of a three-team trade; sent A.J. Cole, RHP Blake Treinen, and a player to be named later to the Nationals. [1/16]
Designated C-L George Kottaras for assignment. [1/16]

The A’s being opportunistic, now there’s a surprise. Oakland had no business aiding Seattle in its pursuit of more offense. Yet the A's finagled their way into the talks, financed the prospects portion of the deal for the Mariners, and in the process nabbed a big-league contributor of their own. All for one arm they rented from the Nationals and another whose future may lie in the bullpen.

Jaso is a souped-up version of Kottaras—who, by the way, should land on his feet with a new team as a bat-first backstop—coming off a banner season after altering his mechanics and philosophy. While Jaso’s offense used to center around contact and walks versus right-handed pitchers, his improved power production could be a game changer. Jaso’s smart speed is a nice bonus, and he’s keen on taking advantage of advancement opportunities. The positive superlatives stop there. Jaso is a below-average defender who doesn’t throw well, receive well, or block pitches in the dirt well.

The A’s will control Jaso for three more years and he could form a nice platoon with Derek Norris. – R.J. Anderson.

SEATTLE MARINERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Acquired OF-R Mike Morse from the Nationals as part of a three-team trade; sent C/DH-L John Jaso to the Athletics. [1/16]

Offense at any cost is not the Mariners’ official offseason slogan but it could be. Jack Zduriencik’s Mariners teams have had defense-first identities, in part because Seattle has become a safe haven for the first-class glove wielders and out makers of the league. Names like Franklin Gutierrez, Jack Wilson, Endy Chavez, Jack Hannahan, and Ryan Langerhans have glittered Seattle’s lineup card. In recent times, Zduriencik turned to Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, and Justin Smoak—young, promising hitters—to turn the tide and light up the scoreboard. Both ventures failed to produce wins, as the Mariners have finished below .500 in each season under Zduriencik except his first.

This winter brought a new strategy to town. Seattle is trading in its out makers for run creators—a tag that works in more than one sense like its predecessor. Kendrys Morales, Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay, and now Morse combined feature little defense to spare. The Mariners are okay with it provided these bat-first players bring the thump. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees with Ibanez and Bay, leaving the burden on Morales and Morse.

Morse is a big, strong man capable of handling his share. Although Morse bats righty, he hit 13 of his 18 home runs last season toward right or right-center field. And while Morse is indeed a big, strong fellow with power tendencies, he avoids the pitfalls of having a low batting average. Such is a benefit of foregoing deep counts and shunning walks; yes, Morse is no fan of the free pass. He’s walked in about 6 percent of his career plate appearances and walked about 4 percent of the time in 2012.

So long as Morse hits a lot of home runs and sustains a decent batting average he should be a productive offensive player. He’ll need to be, because the Mariners aren’t employing him for his ability to field whatever position he winds up at. Morse came up through the Mariners system as a shortstop, but he’s now limited to first base or the corner outfield. He’s grumbled about DHing before and it’s not clear that the Mariners should poke the bear; after all, can he be worse out there than Bay or Ibanez?

Like Morales, Morse will hit free agency at season’s end. Zduriencik is essentially trading three years of Jaso for one of Morse. It’s a risk borne from a dire need of offense and power. Perhaps it works out in the end. Right now, it looks like a short-term move for a team with a questionable short-term outlook. – R.J. Anderson

WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Acquired RHP A.J. Cole, RHP Blake Treinen, and a player to be named later from the Athletics as part of a three-team trade; sent OF-R Mike Morse to the Mariners. [1/16]

In exchange for sending Morse to Seattle, the Nationals received two prospects from the Oakland A’s, both with impressive raw arm strength. A.J. Cole is the more notable of the two prospect and he actually returns to the team that drafted him in the fourth round in 2010. The National originally shipped Cole to Oakland as part of the Gio Gonzalez deal prior to last year.

Cole’s most impressive attribute is his big-time fastball that can sit in the 94-95 mph range and reach as high as 98 when he needs a little extra. His fastball doesn’t just draw attention for its velocity, but also for the natural sinking movement it displays. Both Cole’s curveball and changeup need to improve but he shows flashes of feel for both pitches and if everything comes together, he could have a very good three-pitch mix. Cole’s biggest issue is his lack of consistent command. He throws strikes regularly but doesn’t locate any of his pitches within the strike zone, leaving him far more hittable than his raw stuff suggests. The Nationals are very familiar with Cole and know what they’re getting in return: a potential high-end starter.

Although he is a lesser-known prospect, right-hander Blake Treinen offers intriguing raw stuff. A product of South Dakota State University, Treinen has shown velocity as high as 96 mph in the past, but rarely displayed that kind of heat in 2012. His fastball sat mostly in the 91-93 mph range and reached 94 during his outings. Both his breaking ball and changeup lag behind, leaving him far too predictable and hittable. Most scouts believe Treinen profiles better as a power-armed reliever where his fastball could play up and his slider may take a step forward. – Mark Anderson

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

Related Content:  John Jaso,  Michael Morse,  A.J. Cole

28 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

CrashJones
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

This was the deal that broke my "twitter cherry" as I was a part of the buzz, and even lets Athletics Nation know that there was 3 players, not 1 sent from Oakland( http://www.athleticsnation.com/2013/1/16/3884814/as-lose-a-j-cole-gain-john-jaso ). I of course had seen it on my twitter feed ( http://gregjohns.mlblogs.com ) before they had on there's, thus... POP! I have to admit, a lil buzz was felt by getting "the scoop" as it were, and lending a hand to getting the proper information out to the fans.

About the actual trade, when I heard that they gave up Cole I wasn't sure about it. Then I got to looking into Jaso, and I like the guy. Also, there was the backlash from fans over at Lookout Landing. For them to be so upset, it was a good sign.

The main selling point though was the beard factor(BF). With two catchers now on the 25 man with plus beards who can platoon and mash. That's pretty exciting stuff. Who needs defense? (kidding) Hopefully Melvin's tutelage will help them both in that regard.

As long as the PTBNL doesn't project higher then Treinen, then I'll be happy with this deal. The fact it made me go POP!, ensures that it's a deal I will never forget.

Jan 17, 2013 05:34 AM
rating: -31
 
Richard Bergstrom

The first time is supposed to be special but I think twitter is turning you into a slut.

Jan 17, 2013 09:46 AM
rating: -3
 
CrashJones
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Wow. This has still been a positive experience despite the negativity.

Jan 17, 2013 11:13 AM
rating: -5
 
John Carter

Does PECOTA take into account that a team may have completely transformed itself from a very good defensive team to a very bad one? Or, should we add a half a run or so to every Seattle pitcher's projection?

Jan 17, 2013 06:33 AM
rating: -1
 
John Carter

Well, not that bad - they still have Ryan and Gutierrez. . . dock their pitchers a two-tenths of a run? Who sits between Bay, Ibanez, or Saunders? Is Morse the DH or one of the other guys? How bad is Jesus Montero going to be?

Jan 17, 2013 06:40 AM
rating: -1
 
mwright

Great job by Washington scoring one very good pitching prospect and two other bodies for one year of Morse. Cole essentially erases the departure of Meyer in the Span trade as well.

Jan 17, 2013 07:43 AM
rating: 1
 
jsherman
(139)

Don't get this for A's or Seattle. Seattle already had too many 1B/DH types and Morse is pretty bad in the OF. As for Oakland, I can't imagine the difference between Jaso and Kottaras is worth Cole. Last year Jaso was traded for Josh Lueke, and now he's worth Cole plus?

Jan 17, 2013 07:55 AM
rating: 1
 
jmoultz
(440)

I don't get this either. Unless Cole is damaged goods in Oakland's eyes, is a frontline pitching prospect that's close to the majors worth a platoon catcher?! And they threw in a pretty damn good relief prospect as well?! I don't get this deal.

Jan 17, 2013 11:36 AM
rating: 0
 
PeterBNYC

Is no one paying any attention to the undiminished skills of Billy Beane?

Jan 17, 2013 08:08 AM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

Who is the angry dude with all the negatives? J Sherman made a good interesting point about Jaso. My question about PECOTA is a very good question. That, perhaps, I could have looked up the answer is not the point. Part of the reason for asking is to stir up the idea that it should be something PECOTA considers - and if it isn't, it is something that we should be sure to do ourselves when we consider a Mariner pitching projection.

Jan 17, 2013 08:13 AM
rating: -2
 
onegameref

Kottaras to the White Sox seems like a nice fit. They are looking for a LH bat and Gimenez as a backup catcher on a regular basis seems a stretch.

Jan 17, 2013 08:35 AM
rating: 3
 
John Carter

I was wondering why Kottaras didn't end up with the Mariners when this trade settled, but take a look at Mike Zumino. He had no problem with 57 PA of AA pitching after his promotion. I know it generally takes longer to develop catchers, but he's on a rocket ship to the Majors. They don't have any other Major League worthy backstop to back-up Montero. If they give Zumino the job, I would think that sends Saunders to the bench - which means to make up for Morse and Ibanez/Bay, Gutierrez will have to cover the entire outfield.

Jan 17, 2013 09:01 AM
rating: -1
 
delatopia

I think Zunino gets at least half a season in AAA for reps, plus why start his clock early.

Jan 17, 2013 17:25 PM
rating: 0
 
ScottyB

Can we stop pretending that Jason Bay is a viable option? I have to laugh when he is mentioned as a possible DH.

My guess is only 2 of Morse, Ibanez and Morales play every day. Morse mostly in the OF, the other 2 mostly at DH. Smoak gets the chance to stick at 1B (and Morales or Morse replaces him if he can't handle it), Montero is given every opportunity to be the primary catcher (and he can bump Ibanez as DH if he can't hack it).

That's not to much of a defensive downgrade for some needed pop.

Jan 17, 2013 10:10 AM
rating: 2
 
John Carter

You might be right, but obviously the Mariners thought Bay can still hit or they wouldn't have signed him to a Major League contract. Today's rosters do not have room for mere pinch hitters - let alone two them, if it is:

Montero c
Smoak 1b
Morse/Ibanez of
Saunders of
Morales dh
Bay ph
Ibanez/Morse ph

It may end up this way, but the Mariners must have been dissatisfied with Smoak and Saunders, or they wouldn't have picked up Morales, Bay, and Ibanez in the first place. They can send them back to the minors, can't they? And, recall them when the geriatric gang goes to the infirmary or the old folks home.

Zumino is their no. 1 prospect (Parks says no. 2, but Baseball America says no. 1). Zumino is better defensively, so long term Montero is a DH. It would still be a bit surprising to see Zumino the starting catcher in April and their choices for backing Montero are dismal. Hence, I am expecting them to sign someone like Torreabla or Shoppach. It doesn't look like they were keen on Kotteras.

Jan 17, 2013 14:08 PM
rating: -2
 
Chucko

*ZuNino
Not trying to be a dick, just pointing it out.

I think Smoak is out of options, and for all the meh he's put up in the bigs I still doubt they'd subject him to waivers.

Jan 17, 2013 14:52 PM
rating: 1
 
Chucko

Looks like the same story for Saunders, too. Hmmmm. I'll be curious to see how this plays out.

Jan 17, 2013 14:54 PM
rating: -1
 
John Carter

Please, no worries about correcting me. Thanks - now I know (I have trouble with small print).

Jan 17, 2013 16:21 PM
rating: -1
 
nolansdad

Smoak has an option left.

Jan 18, 2013 10:15 AM
rating: 0
 
mikebuetow

Today's rosters have *plenty* of room, provided the GMs don't backfill them with worthless pitchers.

Jan 17, 2013 22:31 PM
rating: 0
 
CrashJones
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Curious indeed Chucko.

Feels like the North Pole up there, -20 and dropping.

Let me get my bearings. I posted about my first neat experience with twitter. My guess is a few pissed off Mariners fans have been through here and have been throwing snowballs at my post. Give it up you guys! It's freezing! when I said it was a good sign you were upset at Lookout I meant he must be a well liked player. I don't take enjoyment from others suffering, but the chance to root for a good guy who was so thought of is exciting.

That being said. Raw deal you guys. Unless Morse sticks around and plays well(which is possible you know) then it doesn't look good right now. Strange moves being made by your G.M. No wonder so many of you are up in arms.

Remember though. Everyone had the A's picked to finish last last year. I did too. You never know.

Cole could turn out to be a #1, but the A's dealt from a position of strength to give Norris some room to breathe. Jaso looks to be a good fit. Yet, there's still this PTBNL. This could go wrong for the A's.

It looks like the Nat's may get the best of it in the end.

Or it may be you, Mariners fans. You now have 2 Beast Modes in Seattle and by years end this could be a feel good story. He was popular in Washington from what I understand.

The Nats don't get theirs until maybe next year or the year after. Both the A's and Mariners got players who will play now. I'm hopeful it works out well for everyone. Especially the A's.

Now please. Stop throwing snowballs.

Jan 17, 2013 16:30 PM
rating: -6
 
delatopia

I think it's the extreme self-congratulatory nature of your post that annoyed people, including me. (I've never seen anything quite that one's-own-back-slappingly enthusiastic before, such that you may need to have your rotator cuff examined.)

The value of a scoop is greatly diminished when EVERYONE has a printing press at his or her disposal. So you beat someone by 45 seconds on a scoop? Who can verify that anyway, and does it really matter in this day and age?

Jan 17, 2013 17:30 PM
rating: 9
 
Richard Bergstrom

Reposting probably doesn't help.. besides, most people know that when a thread gets enough minuses to be minimized, it tends to stand out and get more attention.

Jan 18, 2013 13:13 PM
rating: -1
 
CrashJones

If you knew me you would know it was the enthusiasm of understanding twitter more and how it works more so then back slapping.

I understand how it could be perceived that way though.

I'm new to twitter, and here as well. I was sharing.

Anyhow, live and learn, learn to live.

Thanks for the response delatopia.

Jan 17, 2013 17:43 PM
rating: 1
 
delatopia

No harm. It's too easy to take +/- ratings here seriously (I do it more than I should), like they're any kind of genuine value judgment ... when it's mainly just a gauge of instant emotional reactions. Don't worry about it.

Jan 17, 2013 17:59 PM
rating: 2
 
CrashJones

I won't. I like clarification. Understanding.

I'm excited about life right now in many ways.

I like that someone will take time out to explain something to help someone understand.

I also like a name next to a comment.

I'm happy to be here. I discovered this site through Up & In, and I should have known as well, that here, I'm sharing with more then the Up & In crowd.

Looking back at that post I had numerous spelling mistakes, grammar was off... I was genuinely excited about how twitter can be used. I hadn't realized... and I have yet to totally of course. I wanted people to know that there were 3 prospects dealt, not 1. I don't like dealing with things not knowing all the facts, so it was neat to be able to speed the process along, even if it was only by 2 seconds. 10 seconds, whatever.

When I think of how useful that can be(plug your ears), when it comes to more important things then Baseball, it's kind of mind blowing. Exciting.

Once more. Thank you. I will sleep better now tonight ;) ... :)

Jan 17, 2013 18:16 PM
rating: 0
 
ChicagoOriole

It seems to me that Seattle is moving players so that 2013 is not a re-run of 2012, or am I missing something?

Jan 17, 2013 19:27 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

It's probably Zdurineck's last gasp. If the Mariners don't turn it around, he won't be around come 2014. That's why you had that crazy Upton proposal.

Jan 18, 2013 13:16 PM
rating: 1
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Skewed Left: Washingto... (01/17)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (01/16)
Next Column >>
Transaction Analysis: ... (01/18)
Next Article >>
On the Beat: Final Fre... (01/17)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Friday, May 29
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Thursday, May ...
Fantasy Rounders: San Diego's Marine Player
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: Context is King
Premium Article Daisy Cutter: How the Kipnis Got His TAv
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Another Day, Another ...
Premium Article Release Points: Where Have You Gone, Stephen...

MORE FROM JANUARY 17, 2013
On the Beat: Final Free-Agent Blitz
Premium Article Skewed Left: Washington's Winning Way with T...
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Thursday, January 17
In A Pickle: The Disunited States of America
Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Starting Pitchers for 1/1...
Fantasy Article Resident Fantasy Genius: The Losers Club

MORE BY R.J. ANDERSON
2013-01-22 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Doing the Lindy Hop
2013-01-21 - Premium Article Painting the Black: Buy Low, Porcello
2013-01-18 - Transaction Analysis: Something in the Way H...
2013-01-17 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Bring Me the Bat Man
2013-01-16 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Soriano Finally Gets P...
2013-01-14 - Premium Article Painting the Black: The Second Half of Ryan ...
2013-01-08 - Painting the Black: The Future of Basesteali...
More...

MORE TRANSACTION ANALYSIS
2013-01-23 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Reds Sign Jacob Consta...
2013-01-22 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Doing the Lindy Hop
2013-01-18 - Transaction Analysis: Something in the Way H...
2013-01-17 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Bring Me the Bat Man
2013-01-16 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Soriano Finally Gets P...
2013-01-09 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: The Nationals (Finally...
2013-01-08 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Hoping for a Berkmanli...
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2013-01-21 - The Week in Quotes: January 14-20
2013-01-17 - On the Beat: Final Free-Agent Blitz
2013-01-17 - Premium Article Skewed Left: Washington's Winning Way with T...
2013-01-17 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Thursday, January 17