31 January 2012

A Trade that Almost Was

A bit of interesting news broke today. When the trade for Pineda & Montero went down, several GMs around the league were stunned to find out that our former, young ace was even available. Alex Anthopoulos, GM of the Toronto Blue Jays, wasn't included in the surprised category. In an interesting article today in The Globe and Mail, it was hinted that the Mariners may have tried to acquire Toronto's young third baseman, Brett Lawrie.

If you didn't already know, Lawrie is a former Zduriencik draft pick from his Milwaukee days. It would've been an attractive move for Seattle considering the Mariners' giant, gaping hole at third base. Lawrie's first major league play came in 43 games this year and he raked. .293/.337/.495, 9 home runs, a .297 ISO, and .413 wOBA. Lawrie's 2.7 WAR was better than every position player outside of Dustin Ackely on Seattle's roster last year, and he did it in only 43 games. This move would have had Mariner fans drooling, and it may even have some a little depressed that it didn't happen. Don't be.

First of all Anthopoulos apparently was never going to make this move. Second, we don't know anything about the other pieces talked about in this potential deal. Lastly, the Mariners acquired a bat that is going to play in their park. There is reason to believe Lawrie's bat wouldn't. A picture says a thousand words, so lets take a look at this chart.

Lawrie is your typical power pull guy. He is going to hit some home runs out to center and right center, but the majority of his bombs will find their way to the left field seats. If you don't think that matters, let me show you another chart.

I won't leave you guessing; the chart above belongs to Adrian Beltre, another right handed, power hitting, third baseman who had his power swallowed in SafeCo up by being a pull-only slugger. Now, Lawrie also had a decent glove, so his only value isn't going to come from his bat. But it's all sounding so familiar. Lawrie would become Adrian Beltre-like. An under valued baseball player that unintelligent fans would come to hate and the Pineda trade would come out looking like a bust for the majority of an uneducated fan base.

In order to succeed as an organization, you have to build for your park. The Mariners are doing it now, stocking up on young power arms and acquiring hitters that will play well aiming for the shorter right field porch. I'm happy with the deal the Mariners made. It is always interesting to see what other deals were explored, but if the Mariners only explored two, then they made the right deal. Montero probably isn't a catcher, but his bat is big enough not to matter. Lawrie is a true third basemen, but his bat wasn't going to play well in Seattle's confines. The Mariners traded Pineda out of a desperate need for offense, you have to believe that they made the right deal.

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