clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bucco breakfast: The Seattle teardown and a caption contest

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The accelerating teardown in Seattle made this question from the Ask BD thread increasingly of interest:

With Seattle and Cleveland (albeit from much higher starting points) cutting salary – has this changed viewpoints of what small market teams ‘can’ afford in non playoff years?

Posted by maddog41386

I’m not sure about Cleveland as they haven’t really done anything yet beyond discussing the possibility of trading a pitcher. Seattle has gone a lot further, though, deleting the best starting pitcher, second most valuable position player (by fWAR), highest salaried player and star closer from an 89-win team, while also reportedly spreading word that they want to be rid of their longtime third baseman.

I don’t know whether this is a payroll-shedding exercise, though, other than in the sense of freeing payroll to acquire other players later. Media reports and a brief perusal of Lookout Landing lead me to think that the Mariners just want to retool with a view toward contending in 2020 or 2021. They’re certainly trying to revive a bottom-rung farm system. There’s no particular reason to think they won’t eventually spend the money they’ve cleared from payroll; according to Cot’s, they spent over $170M on payroll in 2016 and 2017 (there’s no season-end figure yet for 2018). The Pirates have yet to reach $110M despite revenue that, according to Forbes, is only around 10% below Seattle’s.

Seattle’s moves look more like a team that realizes the mammoth task it’s faced with, being stuck in the same league, and in one case division, with the Astros’, Red Sox’ and Yankees’ powerhouses. It’s going to take an extraordinary level of determination for the Mariners, or anybody else, to put themselves in a position to compete on equal terms with those opponents. Whether they’re making the right moves is debatable, but the moves they’re making may simply reflect an understanding that a lot of risk and sacrifice is necessary to win in today’s game. That’s a sharp contrast with the Pirates, whose primary aim is to spend within tightly constricted limits to field a “nice little team,” in Billy Beane’s words.

Caption Contest

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Now’s your chance: Submit your idea for a caption for the above photo in the comments. If we get enough good ones, I’ll do a poll to select the winner.

Daily Links

Assuming the Pirates have, say, $10 million available to spend, what is the next move that makes sense? I feel like SS is their weakest spot, but the non-Machado FA shortstops aren’t that much better than the Newman projection. I have a “trade for Profar (who all of a sudden is only 2 yrs from FA), use that money on something else” bug in my brain.

Dan Szymborski

That’s kinda the problem, I think they just go with Newman in the end.

Of course, I seriously doubt Neal Huntington has anything like $10M to spend.

  • Many of you have probably seen this, but in a subscriber article at The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal writes that Huntington had the “inside track” to be San Francisco’s president of baseball operations if he’d wanted to pursue the job. Huntington, however, decided he had “unfinished business” in Pittsburgh.