Well good morning to you as well. Anything crazy happen this morning for you? Funny dreams? I never remember my dreams, either. Maybe that is because the past decade of Seattle Mariners baseball but it is more likely because of something even deeper and more repressed. Anyway, Jerry Dipoto doesn't remember his dreams either but that is simply because he never sleeps. Fired across the Lookout Landing News Desk this morning:
Source confirms: #Mariners in agreement with Aoki. Deal is pending a physical. First reported: @JonHeymanCBS.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 2, 2015
So, let's figure out what this all means.
Nori Aoki has sort of a cult hero status among the teams he has played for. Brewers, Royals, and Giants fans all seem to have loved him for his "how the hell did he do that" body and face contortions and reasonably acceptable level of play. He also seems like a fun dude. In all likelihood, he slots in as the Mariners everyday-ish right fielder and plays at a level where he feels about league average. That sounds sorta fun considering the outfield defense we have become accustomed to.
As of this moment, actual numbers have yet to be given for the contract, but what we do know is it is a one year deal with another option year. Aoki's contract last season with the Giants was worth $4M and you would expect his Dipoto-ized contract to be of equal or lesser value. Aoki is entering his Year-34 season and the defense should continue its downward trend. The bat isn't going to blow your socks off either, but in almost 400 AB's last season he managed a wRC+ of 112.
Being objective, I would say that this move is a good one for a low-cost, league-average-ish corner outfielder. It doesn't hurt that the guy seems totally lovable, as well. However, if this is the final piece of the M's outfield, color me unimpressed. Aoki is projected for 0.8 WAR by Steamer in 2016 with below-average defense and essentially a league average bat. With such a strong FA class at outfield, this feels...cheap? Add that with essentially kicking Mark Trumbo out of the house for the paperboy and the past twelve hours haven't made me fall head over heels.
Aoki will be a fine addition to this team and a player I'm sure we will all love. I have no idea what the 2016 squad looks like when they break camp, with or without Nelson Cruz and Seth Smith, but it feels like a big money player is being lined up here. Of course, a gaping hole exists at one of 1B/DH and that needs to be addressed as well as the starting rotation, but shit, Winter Meetings haven't even started yet.
In the meantime, watch this: