Tag Archives: Seattle Mariners

Brewers trade Adam Lind, get three young, high-ceiling arms

A team can never have enough pitching depth, a thought-process Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns is clearly well-aware of. On Wednesday, Stearns shipped veteran first baseman Adam Lind to the Seattle Mariners in return for three right-handed starting pitchers who are still in their teenage years.

I guess Stearns wasn’t kidding about making the club younger.

The three new Brewers’ pitchers, Daniel Missaki (19), Carlos Herrera (18) and Freddy Peralta (19) have all shown the ability to rack up high-strikeout rates during their limited time in the minors, meaning their ceilings should be considered relatively high. The only thing better than a young hurler who can strike batters out is three young hurlers who can strike batters out.

Stearns had plenty of nice things to say about the newest members of his squad.

“We are excited to add three young starting pitchers, all under 20 years old, to our minor-league system. All three possess quality arms with an advanced feel for the strike zone.”

Stearns also said the opportunity to acquire three teenage pitchers was “unique” while also admitting there is risk.

Missaki, considered the best arm of the three, has made 24 appearances (20 starts), split between Rookie Ball and Single A, as a professional ballplayer. Over 11 starts in Rookie Ball in 2014, he boasted a 2.76 ERA and an equally impressive 3.14 FIP.  But more importantly, he struck out over 26% of hitters faced while only walking 6.8%. His walk rate even improved when he was promoted to Single-A ball this past season.

At 6’0″, Missaki is a bit undersized for a pitcher. He’s also not a blow-it-by-you type of pitcher by any means as his fastball sits 89-91 mph, but he has a solid changeup and curve that he’s able to work in. Does he remind anyone else of Mike Fiers?

Missaki underwent Tommy John surgery this past May, so it might be awhile before we see his arm in action down in the minors next season.

Like Missaki, Carlos Herrera has a fantastic knack for throwing strikes. In his only season as a minor leaguer, Herrera struck out 8.21 batter per nine innings while walking just 1.46 per nine. That turned into a remarkable professional debut season (3.26 ERA and 3.00 FIP). Herrera will enter and finish the 2016 season as an 18 year old, so there’s still plenty of time to grow as a player and improve his pitches.

After an excellent rookie season in the minors in 2013 and a disappointing season in 2014, Freddy Peralta was absolutely dominant this past season. He made 11 appearances (9 starts) and posted a 10.58 K/9 and 1.26 BB/9, equaling a 25.3% K-BB%, which is a great tool to use when projecting a player’s future.

Peralta can get up to 94 MPH, and as former FanGraphs’ prospect writer Kiley McDaniel wrote, has “a clean arm action and delivery with a chance to start.”

To sum up, the Brewers are now in possession of three young and talented arms, and the price for them was relatively low in Adam Lind. At 32 years and expensive, Lind was never going to be a part of Stearns’ vision for the team. Almost everyone in baseball, including Lind, knew he was going to be traded sometime this offseason. The Brewers will, however, miss his ability to get on base and play above-average defense at first.

While I like the talent the Brewers acquired, I was expecting them to land a third baseman, which is still a glaring hole on Milwaukee’s roster. Mariners’ third base prospect D.J. Peterson‘s name was thrown around for a few days leading up to the trade, but Seattle may not have wanted to pay such a high price for a one-year rental.

The Brewers acquired three pitchers who could have bright futures, but we must be aware of the fact that there’s a ton of risk involved. These are, for the most part, unknown and unproven prospects with small sample sizes. But nonetheless, this was a good trade for Milwaukee.

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The Seattle Mariners stole Rickie Weeks

The Seattle Mariners committed theft when they stole Rickie Weeks from the rest of Major League Baseball. Weeks is worth more than $2 million, and I welcome a discussion with anyone who says otherwise. Even as a platoon player, as he was in 2014 and will likely be this season, Weeks is undervalued at that price. But, I guess Weeks needs to prove his worth; at least that’s what his one-year deal screams.

In the middle of the 2014 season, the Brewers asked Weeks to try the outfield. He refused. But, when looking at the Mariners depth chart, it lists Weeks as an outfielder/infielder. Why the change of heart? What made Weeks willing to make the switch from ground balls to fly balls? For starters, Weeks was of belief (and so am I) that he was a better second baseman than Gennett. He also knows he’s nowhere near Robinson Cano‘s skill level. He wants to play baseball in 2015, and if that means lacing it up in the outfield, so be it. He’ll have the entire spring to hone his outfield expertise, something he didn’t have when the Brewers approached him. Playing positions other than second base will up Weeks’ future value, so there’s really no reason why Weeks would decline the Mariners this time around.

To the dismay of many Brewers fans, Weeks was a better hitter than Scooter Gennett in 2014. The platoon worked wonders for Weeks’ offensive game, as he posted a career-high 127 wRC+ and reached based just under a 36% clip. Against just southpaws, though, his wRC+ shot up to 142 with a weighted on-base average of .381. And while Weeks feasted on left-handed pitchers, he still managed to have success during the rare times in which he saw an at-bat versus a righty.

The Mariners plan to platoon Weeks with Dustin Ackley in left field, with the occasional start at second. This is the best possible situation for Weeks. He needs another solid season of hitting to show his true capabilities. Last season was a good start.

Weeks’ defense is something that continues to plague him. Over the last three seasons, Weeks has a DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) of -62. That ranks dead last among second basemen who have played at least 2500 innings at second base since 2012. Maybe moving to the grass is exactly what Weeks needs.

I still believe Weeks is more than a platoon player, but MLB teams don’t seem to agree. The Brewers will surely miss Weeks providing Gennett relief from left-handed pitching, and their unwillingness to re-sign him or find another righty second baseman will prove costly in the end. I mean, $2 million for a player like Weeks is like paying $10 for a PlayStation 4; it’s a steal.