If M’s need to resort to trades this winter, things could get bad if history is any lesson

By Terry Benish

Special to The Sports Paper


From the hall of fame baseball writer Peter Gammons comes the story behind this link: http://www.gammonsdaily.com/coffee-and-clippings-peralta-is-right-player-right-price-for-cardinals/

This morning the Cardinals made official the weekend rumors regarding their signing of Johnny Peralta, shortstop with a bat, to a four-year deal. Lots of questions shot at them like salt from blunderbuss about Peralta’s 50-game suspension last summer and, to paraphrase the Cardinal response, that was in 2012 and we’re not worried about that.

From a positional leverage perspective, when you have a shortstop or second baseman with juice it allows you to relax elsewhere.

The Seattle Mariners have indicated winter priorities to others: No. 2-type starting pitcher (Matt Garza?); closer and two frontline power hitters.

Baseball Prospectus’ work on free agents by position kind of suggests the seriously good free agents are getting locked down or are locked down with new deals, and now the winter meetings are even here. Snooze you lose. I only see Mike Napoli and he won’t come to Seattle.

So that suggests trading is what is in front of Mariner fans in the next six weeks. So far what the Mariners have to show for themselves is a new manager, fired coaches and new coaches ‑Howard Johnson (hitting), Rick Waits (pitching), Andy Van Slyke (1B), John Stearns (3B).

Who is available to trade? 1. Not Felix 2. Iwakuma 3. Rest of pitchers on 40-man, including James Paxton and Taijuan Walker. Paxton’s ears should be burning. 4. Mike Zunino catcher. Dustin Ackley, Nick Franklin, Brad Miller and Kyle Seager. Justin Smoak too. Absolutely nobody wants Ackley or Smoak which means M’s will trade superior players and keep drek. 5. Michael Saunders.

Let’s look at last two plus years of Mariner trades: 1. July 30, 2011 they traded RHPs Doug Fister and David Pauley to Detroit for OF Casper Wells, infielder Francisco Martinez and LHP Charlie Furbush. Result: The trade is heavily in favor of Tigers. Furbush is a seventh inning guy, and likely will be released when club control expires. It was a terribly bad trade.

Wells was mishandled, too.

Second trade: January 23, 2012 is when the M’s Michael Pineda was traded to Yankees for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi. In 2011 Pineda was Mariners best pitcher. He has been hurt since deal. Montero and Noesi seem to be abject failures.

Third trade: Jason Vargas for Kendrys Morales. Morales didn’t have a special year for M’s and is now a free agent. Vargas signed four-year deal with Royals.

Fourth trade: The M’s traded Ichiro to New York Yankees for RHP D.J. Mitchell and RHP Danny Farquhar. Ichiro has been done for a while. Farquhar was closer last couple of months for M’s. General manager Jack Zduriencik announced was looking for somebody else. Mitchell released. M’s think deal is over.

Fifth trade: They traded Michael Morse to Orioles for Xavier Avery. Nothing going on here.

Sixth trade: The M’s traded Robert Andino to Pittsburgh for cash. Nothing going on here.

Seventh trade: They traded Alex Liddi to Orioles for international slotting considerations.

Eighth trade:  First baseman/outfielder Mike Carp went to Red Sox for cash. Carp played 86 games as platoon and fill in guy for Red Sox with a .885 OPS. He now has a World Series ring now. Brutal offhanded throw away to clear questions about why Smoak is playing.

At the end of the day this reflects a general manager who acted as if he had pitching to burn, and threw away a nice player in Carp ‑ not Babe Ruth mind you but a nice player. Carp has always been superior to Smoak.

When you go zero for eight, to be charitable to Zduriencik, you believe you’re on a two-month and a wakeup before you’re fired, so good long term decisions are out the window.