Baltimore general manager Andy MacPhail talked about his philosophy for building a contender - 'grow arms, buy bats' - and used the San Francisco Giants and their World Series victory as Exhibit A.
The Giants built their rotation with homegrown pitchers Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Jonathan Sanchez. They put together an offense with free agent hitters like Aubrey Huff, Edgar Renteria, Juan Uribe, Andres Torres and Pat Burrell.
How's that formula look for the Seattle Mariners? Well, there's a good chance their rotation next April will include three homegrown starting pitchers in Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda and Doug Fister. A fourth, Jason Vargas, was acquired when general manager Jack Zduriencik traded J.J. Putz - a product of the Seattle farm system.
Now, about those bats. The Mariners have something of a foundation in Ichiro Suzuki, Chone Figgins, Franklin Guiterrez and Justin Smoak.
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What they need is a couple of productive bats from the free agent market. Mariners fans can salivate over the list of candidates - from Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth to Victor Martinez and Adam Dunn.
Lower your sights. And your price tags. Think names like Lance Berkman, Hideki Matsui and Miguel Tejada. Any of the three would improve Seattle's designated hitting.
The point is, the Mariners have pitching. Hitting can be acquirede piece by piece, and Zduriencik has already scoured the list and targeted a few free agents. Remember two years ago, when he signed free agent Russell Branyan, and the productive season that followed? Whether its through free agency, trades or waiver claims, the Mariners can find hitters his winter that are better than what they have.
Now, a few links and thoughts:
- Now that Daren Brown and Alonzo Powell are back with the Tacoma Rainiers, what about a pitching coach? Former Seattle bullpen coach John Wetteland would love the job, but so far has not been asked.
- A name you're going to see constantly this winter is first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, whose $6.2 million option was just picked up by the Padres. Unfortunately, San Diego won't be able to re-sign him beyond that - they can't afford him and admit it. Boston is among the teams that will pursue a trade - and the Red Sox won't be alone.
- Two years ago, Angels owner Arte Moreno was so angry with the antics of agent Scott Boras he pulled an offer off the table for Mark Texeira. Now Los Angeles is looking at free agents Adrian Beltre, Jayson Werth and Rafael Soriano. Guess who reprents all three?
- Think voting for a post-season award is easy? A few weeks ago, I laid out my American League MVP ballot. Now, Everett's Kirby Arnold details what he went through to determine the five pitchers that went on his 2010 AL Cy Young Award ballot. The surprise may be who he put second.