It would be nice to rebuild and clear off the horrible contracts on our docket, but there's a complicating issue that prevents that from occurring; nobody else wants our overpriced bad players either. For example, here's a list of the players that would eligible to be shipped out as part of a rebuilding process.
- Carlos Silva. Nobody's taking him.
- Jarrod Washburn: Needs to be traded no matter what, won't bring back value.
- Miguel Batista. Nobody's taking him.
- Erik Bedard: Injured or ineffective most of the year means you won't get nearly enough value back. Better to hold onto him for 2009 and hope he comes back to his dominant self, then trade him.
- J.J. Putz. Same as above.
- Kenji Johjima. Nobody's taking him.
- Adrian Beltre. Critically underrated and though it's progressing, his bad luck this year has hurt his case for reversing his reputation. Paired with his high salary I doubt you get great value in return and there's a better than decent chance he ends up as a Type A following 2009 so you really need to get good value back to forsake waiting for compensation.
- Ichiro. Never going to be traded unless he asks for it.
Getting back young value in return for your veterans is only half the battle in rebuilding though, there's also the case of shipping off those older players in order to make room for, and give playing to, the younger prospects. But again, we run into problems.
If we were constructing an ideal rotation for 2010 it would likely look something like Felix, Morrow and RRS followed by a pair of question marks. Problem is, it's not like we have anyone pushing to make a case for answering either of those. Feierabend is somewhat intriguing, but he has plenty of work left to do and other than him, there's what?
Washburn needs to go, but whither Batista, Bedard and Silva? Are they blocking anybody? I think only if all three are in the rotation next year and Batista's already been demoted to the bullpen this season. While I'd love to never have to watch Carlos Silva pitch again wearing a Mariner uniform, I think the worst you can say about him re: the future is that he's potentially blocking Feierabend from getting starts.
It's a bit more crowded in the bullpen, but bullpens are mostly fungible by nature and I think you have to take the time to try and re-build some of J.J.'s value before trading him because a good and healthy J.J., signed to a reasonable contract for a closer, could net you a lot. If you want to eat money and deal off Batista, then I would support that.
Kenji's already behind Clement on the depth chart so he's blocking... Rob Johnson? Meh. Again it seems better off to hope that Kenji can bounce back a little next year in part-time duty or else goes away on his own. Beltre is blocking Tui I suppose, but Tui could certainly use another year in Tacoma and he's only 22 so it's not like we need to press to get him in Seattle.
Ichiro, as stated, isn't and shouldn't, go anywhere.
So I'm left with confusion. If you're not going to be able to get back good young prospects in a trade, and you're not going to be able to open up blocked playing time for potential contributors, what's the point?