Both Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus wrote articles on how yesterday’s moves changed playoff odds for teams, including winners and losers. Thankfully, the Mariners saw a 9.4% increase in Wild Card odds and a 0.6% increase in WS win odds from Fangraphs! Please consider checking these articles out as they feature great analysis by the best in the business!
Well, the MLB trade deadline was today at 1pm and Mariners did not pick up Drew Stubbs! The Seattle Twittersphere was abuzz when it was announced that the Mariners not only traded for Padres OF Chris Denorfia, but also Detroit’s CF Austin Jackson!
Denorfia came at the cost of OF Abraham Almonte and P Stephen Kolscheen, both currently playing for AAA Tacoma. Jackson was involved in a three way trade with Tampa Bay for the price of Nick Franklin.
Alone, the Denorfia move seemed like a deadline bust as many hoped Trader Jack would seek to make an impact on the hitting side. Denorfia has been posting a .242/.293/.319 line in 2014 with a wRC+ of 76 (100 wRC+ is considered an above average hitter) and a WAR of 0.6. However, the impact of the Denorfia acquisition truly comes from his prowess and versatility in the outfield. His outfield UZR this year is 6.0 (compare this to Endy’s 0.3) and this includes playing in all three outfield positions. This flexibility will be very important moving forward as he could step in as a CF replacement for Jackson when needed.
While Denorfia’s 0.6 WAR may not seem significant, it is important to remember that the rest of our outfield has yet to truly impress. As of right now, Endy Chavez is posting -.2, Jones is at -.7, Hart (lol) is at -.7, and Romero is at a whole -1.0 WAR. Denorfia’s positive contribution is a medium-sized upgrade to an outfield struggling both offensively and defensively.
On the other side of things, Jack Z pulled off a last minute surprise today (I first heard of it 11 minutes before the deadline) in acquiring the staple CF of the Tigers’ lineup. Jackson adds many plusses to this team despite having a relatively down offensive year. The last two years, AJax (for all of you who don’t live in Michigan) has posted a 134 and 107 wRC+, respectively, while he has only been putting up 100 this year. However, looking at his right and left handed splits bring some optimism, as his wRC+ against lefties this year has been a killer 131!
Aside from his bat, Austin Jackson brings the M’s a competent CF who is still putting up a 1.2 WAR in spite of his down year. Thankfully, AJax is under control through next year when he become a free agent. This gives the Mariners a great deal of wiggle room as it allows Jonesy to head down and work on his walk rate and routes in center. At the end of next season, the M’s could take a long look at either extending Jackson or giving Jones the call as he should be close to complete by that time. James has the physical tools to be a great defensive outfielder, so having an opportunity to play every day in AAA will serve the Mariners well down the road.
With the addition of Jackson and Denorfia – and by saturday, Paxton – roster moves are coming fast. As mentioned above, the M’s now have center field depth and will probably be looking to send Jones down tonight or tomorrow. I know many of you fans love his big smile and baserunning antics, but this move will ultimately be for the better. As far as Denorfia and Paxton, it would make sense to send down an outfielder and a pitcher. Romero has already been optioned this year so he can be sent back down, and Leone looks to be a candidate for similar reasons. Having this sort of depth on the 25-man roster is huge for the team not only in 2014, but for next year and beyond.
However, the return of Saunders and Willie (WFB) Bloomquist off the DL will raises some big question marks for roster moves in the not-too-distant future. Willie is still guaranteed the better half of a 2-year 5.8 million dollar contract and Saunders is actually a good player so something will have to give. This is a tougher call as our outfield plus Saunders would actually be pretty damn good especially compared to just four hours ago. I believe that the return of these two will ultimately spell the end of the Corey Hart experiment as he has posted a -0.7 WAR over 222 plate appearances, which is dismal by a veteran hitter’s (also lol) standards. The guy was paid to come here and hit and he hasn’t, so he may just have to HIT THE ROAD, JACK! (triple lol).
As far as a second move, I could see this being the point where they make a call on the Miller/Taylor situation despite it being a pretty good platoon option. I’m not one to wish physical harm on other people but I have been watching The Sopranos lately. In any case, whoever is getting it done between Miller and Taylor will probably get the chance to finish out the season while the other might just get the boot back down to Tacoma. I’ve also heard some rumblings about sending Ackley to play some first base and DFA’ing LoMo (he’s played almost everywhere else so what the hell), but this is how Willie Bloomquists are made in the first place so ah maybe I don’t know what the hell. Sure, try it.
Jack really surprised many of us today (for the better, thankfully) and I for one am excited to see what we can do with a competent outfield. This team has some promise not just for the end of this season but for the next year seeing as they survived this deadline without giving up any of their top 10 prospects. All of the people screaming “SELL WALKER NOW” are probably changing their tune to “omg walker 4 life” and that’s a good thing. People being excited about the M’s is a good thing and we just took a series in Cleveland which is also a good thing. Today was full of good things you guys, and that is a . . . good thing.
P.S. – Feel free to post what you think the lineup should look like with our shiny new pieces and the return of Condor/WFB below! I’m interested to see what you guys think!
Author’s Note: I tend to use a decent amount of sabermetric statistics on this blog as I feel they are more accurate measures of player value. I do also understand that many may not understand what these values mean so I will be including hyperlinks to definitions of what these stats mean. Thanks!