The Seattle Mariners
are not very good at baseball are 42-51 and 10.5 games back of first place in the AL West. The Detroit Tigers despite ripping our hearts out are similarly not great at baseball are 46-46 and 9.5 games out of first in the AL Central. The trade deadline is Friday, July 31, and neither of these teams look to be buyers (Thomas raises hand quietly -- you never know what Dombrowski may do). The summer of our baseball discontent is upon us. But what if it weren't? What if, in this era of offensively challenged baseball, we walked into Rob Manfred's office and said, "Do we have a pitch for you?" What if we built a Super Team? And what better goofball to build it with than our friend and confidant in baseball sadness, Thomas Bunting of Bless You Boys? Watch out, American League, Seattle Tigers' baseball is coming for you.
Meg: Good morning, Thomas. I'm sorry to see that your baseball cynicism proved to be slightly less well founded than mine last night. You'd really think on a night when Mike "But what is hitting a baseball, though" Zunino goes 2-3 with a double, a walk and 3 RBI, that the Mariners would endeavor to win but NAH NOPE NEVER. Let's build this super team, and watch some better baseball, shall we?
The starting rotation is: Felix Hernandez, David Price, Hisashi Iwakuma, Taijuan Walker, Mike Montgomery? (Sorry Justin. Be good Verlander again real soon, ok? For Thomas. Do it for Thomas.)
The bullpen is Mark Lowe, Carson Smith, Charlie Furbush and a stack of printer paper.
Thomas: Anibal Sanchez is better than Montgomery.
Meg: Is he?
Thomas: And Kuma.
Thomas: If you check his track record and monthly splits.
Meg: Please stop.
Thomas: LOL. Anibal is pretty good. He had some fluky stuff in April, but has been relatively solid. He lead the league in ERA a few years ago.
Meg: I would point out that past performance is not indicative of current or future performance, and that it is tremendously disappointing that a noted stats man such as yourself would point to ERA, but fine. We'll have a six man rotation to keep everyone, including Kuma, healthy and until such a time as James Paxton comes back from the DL and forces us to make more realistic choices.
Thomas: Is Mike Montgomery good?
Meg: Yes? Yes. Yes? Yes. Pretty good.
Thomas: Doesn't he not strike people out?
Meg: The thing about Mike Montgomery is, no he doesn't and his strand rate is sort of terrifying. His LOB% is 83.6%. That's a pretty high number! It is pretty scary! We worry about it a lot! Especially because his K/9 is only 6.34. But he has also thrown two complete game shutouts and far exceeded expectations. His last start against the Yankees, he fanned 9 before poor bullpen management screwed over him and Kyle Seager, who surely deserved more. And honestly, compared to the disaster show of Alfredo Simon, you would kill for a Mike Montgomery right now.
Thomas: Living by the kindness of strangers is a dangerous pitching plan.
Meg: True. And while a stack of printer paper is certainly better at pitching than some members of the Tigers' bullpen (Thomas, your bullpen is terrible), we'll throw in Alex Wilson, Blaine Hardy, and Joakim Soria. Plus Joe Beimel, because every bullpen needs a wolverine who knows how to properly pronounce GIF.
Thomas: No Rodney?
Meg: Moving on. Infield. A Healthy Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Jose Iglesias, Seager. Brad Miller can be our super utility guy, a position for which he is grossly overqualified, but thems the breaks sometimes.
Thomas: Would probably give Robinson Cano the nod.
Meg: Love your optimism. Robbie is back so yes.
Meg: Thomas. You won that game. Chill. Now we'll look to a position of great sadness for Mariners fans. Catcher is a platoon of Alex Avila and James McCann. And with said platoon, Mike Zunino's biggest (only remaining?) fan is finally able to send him to Tacoma with some tasty Italian treats and a hope for a brighter tomorrow. Get well soon, Mike. Please?
Thomas: Poor Mike. The outfield: Austin Jackson, former Tiger, current terrible base stealer, pretty good centerfielder. J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes.
Meg: This is a competent outfield. Like, a pretty good outfield. Actually a really good outfield. I'm feeling a confusing feeling. It might be joy? I don't know.
Thomas: We could put Mark Trumbo in center? Or maybe Nelson Cruz? You know, if you'd like a more familiar feeling.
Meg: (makes sad Trombone sound)
Thomas: At DH, we sort of have an embarrassment of riches. Victor Martinez is heating up and Cruz is slowing down, but they're both awfully good.
Meg: The home runs have definitely quieted for Nelly, but he's still running a 153 wRC+ for the year. And imagine how his WAR will skyrocket when HE DOESN'T HAVE TO PLAY THE OUTFIELD EVERY DANG DAY. (takes deep breath) Ok. And then? DFA: A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE.
Thomas: J.D. is the best player on this super team, wildly enough.
Meg: Please explain yourself.
Thomas: I'm sure by WAR that's true. (Thomas is frustratingly correct about this). He has two home runs fewer than Mike Trout. And has been actually great in right field (sorry Nelson).
Meg: That's true! Wow 3.8! I knew he was good, but I didn't realize his WAR was that high.
Thomas: Yeah J.D. is a premium player. He's basically Cruz with more power and legit defense.
Meg: Pretty good pitching, great infield, really good outfield. Man, I love our Super Team.
Thomas: Miggy is the best player, along with Felix and Price.
Meg: Miggy-Felix-Price occupy the 1A tier, J.D. 1B, Kyle 1C.
Thomas: Iggy is probably better than Kyle if we are just using WAR.
Meg: Actually no. Allow me to tell you a tale, to tell a tale of Sweet Prince Kyle Seager.
(Thomas' eye roll can be seen from space and most certainly all the way from Wisconsin)
Kyle is has a 2.6 WAR, 115 wRC+, is the 7th rated 3rd baseman by WAR, and 3rd in the AL behind Donaldson and Machado. Great player, better person. Iggy is at 2.0, same wRC+, and Kyle is never hurt. (Meg knocks on all the wood, performs small ritual sacrifice of burning Adam Jones rookie cards.)
Thomas: Damn, guess so.
Meg: Sweet Kyle. And apart from Coming to Comerica, his July has been flames. 144 wRC+, .306/.377/.484, .333 BABIP, .372 wOBA.
Thomas: His OPS just never makes me interested. Never topped .800.
Meg: You're so wrong. I love him enough for both of us.
Thomas: That's surely true.
Meg: Thomas, he is a Very Good baseball player.
Thomas: Don't respect a man under .800. He is a good baseball player, I've just never been turnt by it. I'm saying I surely underrate him. And compared to Nick Castellanos, almost All-Star, he's clearly the right choice.
Meg: Very good, Thomas. He's very good.
Thomas: He's definitely good.
Meg: VERY GOOD.
(Editor's Note: This goes on for a while. We've truncated the discussion to make Meg seem less like a crazy person)
Thomas: That just leaves managment. While he's made some truly bizarre bullpen choices lately (Meg slowly rocks back and forth), I'd probably still go with Lloyd, because he's a reasonable tactician and gets firey and throws his hat sometimes, and players seem to like him.
Meg: I will keep some of our recent bunting (no pun intended) decisions from you and just say yes, among two at times meh choices, this is likely the best one. Plus he already has familiarity with the Tigers, so it would smooth the transition.
Thomas: Great! I love our super team. It has power, gets on base, pitches well, and isn't obviously weak anywhere. Now, are you ready for Jack to trade it all away for weird relievers and bad right handed power? Better yet, I'll have Dombrowski give Jack a call and this super team might come to fruition and you can inherit our wonderful farm system.
Meg: (phone line disconnects)