Seattle Interested in Garrett Jones


Seattle is interested in Garrett Jones. – Photo by Mark Olson

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that the Seattle Mariners have shown interest in Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones (via MLBTR). Baker says that the Mariners and Pirates have had talks in the weeks leading up to these meetings about Jones. He adds the disclaimer that Seattle is talking with many different teams, but that actual names were involved in the talks.

One proposal Baker mentions involved Jones and Joel Hanrahan in exchange for first baseman Justin Smoak, catcher John Jaso, and starting pitcher Hector Noesi. Some of that deal would make sense for the Pirates, but some of it wouldn’t. Getting Smoak could give the Pirates a replacement for Jones, and a chance at a reclamation project with some upside. Smoak is pretty much where Pedro Alvarez was heading into the 2012 season, only Smoak carried his struggles through the 2012 season. He’s still got time to turn things around, and still has a lot of upside.

Jaso wouldn’t make much sense with Russell Martin under control for two years. The Pirates have Michael McKenry as their backup catcher. They’ve got Tony Sanchez in Triple-A, and wouldn’t need him until 2014-2015, depending on how long Martin is around. Jaso is coming off a big year at the plate as a backup, with a .276/.394/.456 line in 294 at-bats. He might be a better backup option than McKenry, who does have options remaining and could go to Triple-A for depth.

Noesi turns 26 in January, and is coming off a year where he posted a 5.82 ERA in 106.2 innings, with a 68:39 K/BB ratio. Baker describes him as a back-end rotation starter. I can’t see him making the Pirates’ rotation. A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, and James McDonald have spots locked down. After that, Noesi would be competing with Kyle McPherson, Jeff Locke, Vin Mazzaro, and Zach Stewart, and Noesi doesn’t stand out above those guys.

If the Pirates could get Smoak in a deal with Seattle, that could potentially be huge. The other two pieces in this rumor don’t make much sense. Jaso doesn’t provide a ton of value replacing McKenry as Martin’s backup. He would also cost more, as he’s arbitration eligible. Noesi would just add depth, rather than filling a need in the rotation. Even with Smoak, who has lost value with his struggles the last few years, that’s not the type of return you’d want to see for Jones AND Hanrahan.

I think the most important thing here is that the two teams are talking about these players, and to the point where names are being tossed around. Baker does note that it’s possible the Pirates abandoned the talks after signing Martin. He also comes to a similar summary that the key point is Jones is being looked at by Seattle.

If the Pirates did trade Jones and Hanrahan, they’d cut over $11 M in projected salary, taking them down to around $52.5 M, plus whatever salaries were coming back. That would give them room to add additional free agents.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Justin

    whether that would actually be an objectively good deal or not… can you imagine the backlash if they made that deal?

    but i think we can expect to see Hanny, Jones, or even both dealt this week. hopefully Gaby Sanchez can get back to his old numbers.

  • Stephen Brooks

    This would be a huge mistake for the Bucs. You have to ask yourself why not one, but TWO franchises were/are so eager to cut ties with a guy who hasn’t reached his 26th birthday. First Texas, now Seattle.

    An article in BP this past June reflected the scouting consensus that Smoak can’t tell a breaking ball from a ham sandwich, and there are strong doubts as to whether he has the tools to make it in the majors.

    Did we learn nothing from Jeff Clement? The Pirates have done the buy low thing enough (Jones, Tabata, Cedeno, Clement, Crosby, Milledge, LaRoche). They could do that when they were losing 100 games, but now is the time to add quality, not a lottery ticket.

    Right now the #1 priority should be getting a dependable #3-4 starter who can go 6+ innings every five days, keep the bullpen fresh and protect the young arms from overexposure.

    • Justin

      Buying low is what you have to do. like you mentioned, Jones worked out very well. Buying low and selling high is how things get done in life and in baseball.

      Hanrahan worked out well. JMac is working out relatively well. Mckenry is working out ok. Burnett worked out fantastically.

      And were the Rangers eager to cut ties with smoak? i mean… he was the main piece in their deal to acquire Cliff Lee. They probably weren’t excited about dealing him at the time. he still had star potential when he was dealt from their organization.

      But i do agree with you in that Smoak is not a guy who i would want the bucs to buy low on. too risky. I’d want more of a sure thing in a deal involving jones and/or hanny.

    • whiteAngus

      lets go back to 2010 when the team lost 105 games: we were going to be an awful team no matter which failed prospect we aquired played 1B. when you do a complete rebuild, youre going to stink. look at what the Astros are right now. you are SUPPOSED to give heralded former prospects a look when you are rebuilding. you could find a rose in all those thorns. unfortunately, almost all of them were thorns for the Pirates.
      i do agree that the bucs need another SP, but remember that the Jones for Smoak thing is just a rumor right now. the bucs have aquired both Martin and CRobinson in the last week so this could just be left over residue from earlier talks.

    • lawdog

      I agree, this deal would make no sense at all. Its OK to buy low and sell high, but the players floated by Seattle for Jones and Hanrahan is not selling high. Its more like selling low buying low. If the Pirates are even considering this, I would be very upset. Its a naked salary dump.

  • Fred Langford

    A deal where we get Nick Franklin would be nice.

  • jalcorn

    That rumor makes zero sense. Sounds like something that someone in Seattle dreamed up. The Martin move indicates NH’s intention to win now and dealing Jones and Hanny for a huge question mark at 1B and two players that we don’t need would be ridiculous. I don’t buy it for a second. Now if Nick Franklin is involved, to borrow from Dr. Crane – I’m Listening.

    • emjayinTN

      j: I agree 100% with you that the names trotted out there by Seattle are not worth the effort. Nick Franklin would be a great sign because he will probably see Seattle late 2013. We have to have either he or Brad Miller. If we give Jones and Hanrahan I would have to have Franklin/Miller and RHP Carter Capps.

  • wkkortas

    I’ve never understood Smoak’s ballyhooed prospect status. He’s never been successful anywhere. He’s had almost 1500 PAs in the bigs, and hasn’t shown he can do anything particularly well. He’s never even hit in the PCL, for chrissakes. I can’t see where he has any value to the Pirates.

  • leadoff

    I think the signing of Martin tells us that the Pirates plan to content this year, if they were not planing on contending they probably would have gone with the Fort and Sanchez.
    As far as Hanrahan is concerned he has no trade value unless the Pirates pick up salary. Hanrahans 7mil salary overrides any player return the Pirates could get, if they move Hanrahan it would be a payroll dump IMO.
    As far as Jones is concerned other teams have made runs at him in the past, the Yankees wanted him badly and could not get the Pirates to trade him, so I would think if Jones goes it will be for a player that can fill a hole that they have now, not in the future.

  • lawdog

    I do not get Mr.Williams saying that getting Smoak would be “huge”. Uh, if it was for nothing, maybe. Aren’t we a little far along for a rebuilding deal? Jones is one of our best and most consistent hitters and he is in his prime. He makes 4.5 million next year, which is a very good deal in today’s game. So we would trade him for a prospect? Smoak’s numbers don’t seem all that good to me. I do not not see upside either, I see Andy LaRouche busted prospect numbers. We already took on a Seattle project with Snider, we do not need another one. The other two, a backup catcher and cannon fodder replacement arm.

    I am always alarmed when the Pirates float these stories to prepare the fanbase. For Mr. Williams to be anything but outraged over this rumor is a little weird. It sounds and smells like a possible salary dump. I wouldn’t trade Jones or Hanaran for all three by themselves, not alone together.

    • Tim Williams

      I said:

      “If the Pirates could get Smoak in a deal with Seattle, that could potentially be huge.”

      Immediately after that I said:

      “The other two pieces in this rumor don’t make much sense. Jaso doesn’t provide a ton of value replacing McKenry as Martin’s backup. He would also cost more, as he’s arbitration eligible. Noesi would just add depth, rather than filling a need in the rotation. Even with Smoak, who has lost value with his struggles the last few years, that’s not the type of return you’d want to see for Jones AND Hanrahan.”

      I don’t get outraged over anything in life, much less a baseball rumor. But I think it’s clear from the above that I don’t think the rumored deal would make sense for the Pirates.

      • lawdog

        Yes, sorry, outraged was a poor choice of words. lol

  • Steve Dimmick

    lets face it, JONES had a great year, i suspect a down year and not a great return. Rumor has it Baltimore is interested…maybe Jonathan Schoop or is he too much? Could play SS

  • elgaupo

    This is Dave Cameron’s article which pretty much somes up why I’d be in favor of this:

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