Seattle Mariners: Exploring Potential Offensive Targets

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Kubel – As a slugging part of some really good Twins teams, Kubel secured himself in the memories of many as a studly hitter with impressive power. What Kubel actually is is a terrible all-around player who last year bottomed out as a hitter, posting a 61 wRC+. Remember, guys, 100 is league average. Jason Kubel can’t field or run or get on base, and in his most recent season he hit almost forty percent worse than the league. Oh yeah, and his BABIP last year was higher than his career averages. And he’s the exact kind of resume the M’s have pursued recently. This would be an abject disaster.

Raul Ibanez – Those sure were some nifty home runs last year, but if there’s anything the M’s should have learned from 2013 it’s that there’s more to baseball than home runs. Raul was godawful at everything in baseball last year except for hitting home runs, much like the team he played for. That team sucked and lost a lot of games. The worst thing the 2014 M’s could possibly do is not learn from the nightmare they so recently created for themselves. This would be like re-signing Ken Griffey Jr. all over again, except that some people would cheer the move because not everyone reads the writing on the wall.

Nelson Cruz – Cruz will be thirty-three next year and has a qualifying offer attached to him. The Mariners would give a draft pick to a division rival if they wanted to bring Cruz into the fold, and then on top of that they’d give him a multi-year contract at something close to $14 million/year. If a win is going for about $6 million this offseason, which it is, then they’d be assuming that Cruz can be worth at least two wins per year going forward, plus the added cost of giving an opponent their second rounder. Cruz has been worth more than two wins twice in his career – 2009 and 2010. At anything more than $9 million/year, Cruz is a significant overpay. Oh yeah, and he plays atrocious defense and can’t run the bases for beans. And he consistently posts crappy on-base percentages. Signing Nelson Cruz would be admitting that the front office doesn’t care about anything at all except home runs. That’s just such a deplorable way to build a baseball team. That is the kind of strategy that should have cost some people their jobs.

Andre Ethier – Unlike Cruz, who is not yet overpaid, Ethier is already overpaid. Also unlike Cruz, he’s been a pretty good player lately, as just last year he was worth nearly three wins. He’s a decent outfielder, though certainly below average. Oh yeah, and his power is evaporating, with his ISO sinking consistently each year since his .237 in 2009 to his .151 in 2013. Still, Ethier would be a nifty player for the short-term. But he’s signed through 2017 at a way above-market contract. He put up the lowest OBP of his career last year, and while .348 unbelievably still would have led the Mariners, it’s a bad sign for a guy who’s most valuable skill is getting on base. The Dodgers are almost certainly going to want either a real prospect, lots of salary relief, or most likely, both. Overall, there’s just no way this would be worth it.

Matt Kemp – Two years younger than his teammate Ethier, Kemp is also owed almost twice as much while being signed for two years longer. His peak is more recent, but his peak is also interrupted by a nasty replacement level 2010 and an even worse 2013. Because of his contract, there’s no way the Dodgers would be able to move him without absorbing significant money. His MVP-level 2011 is enticing enough without noticing that he was an excellent player in 2012, too. The upside is higher than Ethier, but again, the Dodgers are going to want real talent back. Not worth the bother.