Trade Idea: Upgrading Shortstop


Just one week ago the Seattle Mariners had a pair of stellar young infielders at the top of their depth chart for second base and shortstop. Both had completed their rookie seasons shoring up the middle of the Mariner’s infield, displaying outstanding defense and offensive potential. Brad Miller and Nick Johnson had both come through the minor leagues as shortstops, but both couldn’t occupy the same position, so Franklin was shifted to second because he seemed to profile better at that position. Then, suddenly, a bombshell exploded, apparently making one of the two middle infielders superfluous. The Mariners signed Robinson Cano.

Some might say that Franklin’s rookie season was not up to par, but his 12 HRs in 369 ABs showed good power potential, considering he played in an extreme pitchers park. Miller had a slightly better offensive rookie season, but Franklin’s defense (0.7 dWAR) showed better than Miller’s. (0.2 dWAR) Both came into the season as highly regarded prospects. Franklin was the M’s #3 prospect (#47 overall by MLB.com) with a 5 season minor league slash line of .287/.360/.459/.819, while Miller, a year and a half older than Franklin, came in at #9 with a slash line of .334/.409/.516/.925 in 3 minor league seasons. It appears that the Mariners prefer Franklin over Miller.

Now for the trade idea. The Mariner’s now have Dustin Ackley slotted in as their CF for 2014. In 2013, his first year as the Seattle center fielder, he posted a -0.3 dWAR. I would offer Seattle Juan Lagares for Brad Miller.

That would leave the Mets with a 2014 outfield of Young-Young-Granderson, and a stellar shortstop that would take us to Amed Rosario or beyond, with no strain on payroll. And it would give Seattle a potential Gold Glove center fielder who would hit no worse than Ackley and probably better. Moreover, it is said that Seattle is geared up to make a bid for David Price, and that rather than trade Taijuan Walker they would offer a package that might include Miller. But how attractive would Miller be to the Rays when they have Ben Zobrist at second base and super prospect Hak-ju Lee ready for shortstop. The Mariners could instead, decide to flip Lagares in a deal with the Rays, who also have a negative dWAR center fielder.


Ricardo said...

Ok, but who is goning to be our CF past 2014?

Anonymous said...

Ya know.....this is not a bad idea.


Chris Young is an excellent defender in CF as well so he would move there.

Anonymous said...

Although in fairness, Lagares was not a natural CF either.

Ackley was a good defender at 2B and at this point in time there is not enough sample size to confirm he won't be able to handle the position.

Plus Ackley has higher offensive ability then Lagares at this point in time.

Anonymous said...

i could live with that trade. Surprised Mets did not try to return Lagares to SS in winter ball on a trial basis....he made a ton of errors at SS as a teenager, but he has defensive tools to make him a good SS, and maybe the errors evaporate at his current age and maturity if he did SS again. And his bat is much more than likely to be superior to Tejada's.

Mack Ade said...


I still remember how frustrated Tim Teufel would get in Savannah when Lagares wouldn't position himself in front the ball on a grounder.

Latin kids that age were used to playing on horrible fields that were full of rocks. Ground balls just simply never went straight so most of what they would catch would be glove left or glove right.

Teufel was such a professional and I remember sitting in his office and laughing about how Lagares and Hector Pellot played the infield.

It drove Tuff crazy.

Daniel said...

Lagares was probably the best defensive CF in the league last year and you want to move him off the position?????? Almost all of his value is from his CF defense.

David L. Whitman said...

I absolutely wouldn't make this trade. You potentially have your CF for the next decade, why would you trade such a defensive asset? Especially on a team that will be dependent on its defense to back up and support the future pitching staff.

I'm sorry but even more than SS, is a CF as a lynchpin to a successful team. Young is fine for 2014, but what about '15, '16, '17? You've solved one problem by creating another long-term problem elsewhere.

Also with the direction that baseball is headed having a ++ defensive CF is more important than a SS who has Franklin's skill set, as impressive as it may be.

To me Lagares is just as untouchable as Syndegaard. As Granderson's defensive range skills decline, Lagares becomes that much more important.

Reese Kaplan said...

If you're not going to worry about offense, then Matt den Dekker was the guy everyone raved about for the way he played CF.

Frankly, although I enjoyed the very pleasant surprise Lagares turned out to be with his glove and his arm, this is not the Big Red Machine where we can trot out a Cesar Geronimo because we're getting offense from Rose, Morgan, Perez, Foster, Concepcion and Griffey. A .250 hitter with the greatest defense in the world won't help them win if they continue to struggle to score runs as they did the past several years.

David L. Whitman said...

Reese-You are making the assumption that Lagares won't hit at all. He improved his hitting at each minor league level, which indicates to me he's still evolving as a hitter.

Met fans have bitching for years about having a legit glove in CF, and now that you have one, you're eager to trade it away??!!! I'm sorry but that is absurd.

The fact is having a CF like Lagares, who can cover so much ground, could allow us to get a slow footed power bat in one of the corner OF spots down the road. That's just one example of how his defense can help improve the offense.

den Dekker is not a starting Major League CF. If he was, don't you think teams would be inquiring about him in trades or the Mets would be shopping him. I'm sorry he's a 4th OF at best.

So you want to replace Lagares in CF with a 4th OF? Not only that, but a 4th OF who may not even hit better than Lagares. The Mariners aren't going to trade Miller for Lagares anyway. They'll move Franklin or Ackley first. Neither of them are the answer at SS either.

You get Lagares strikeouts under control, with his speed, there's your leadoff hitter too. He had OPB of .383, .334, and .378 2011-13 plus he has 100 SB in the minors. He's also hit over .300 a few of those seasons as well.

Wisely, the Mets also see Lagares as a building block of the future and not a trade chip.

greg b said...

D Whit i have to agree with you ,everyone seems to think Lagares cant hit but like you said his hit over 300 in the minors and his still young so his going to improve his aproach at the plate. Theres no reason he cant put up numbers like Carlos Gomez.

greg b said...

D Whit i have to agree with you ,everyone seems to think Lagares cant hit but like you said his hit over 300 in the minors and his still young so his going to improve his aproach at the plate. Theres no reason he cant put up numbers like Carlos Gomez.

Mack Ade said...


for better or worse, the Mets are done building their 2014 outfield.

the next addition will be Cesar Puello in some capacity.

You currently have three centerfielders all who play excellent defense. The projected pop of Puello's bat could constitute one of your current outfielders being benched.

That would be between Lagares and Young.

Who it would be would only be a guess right now, but teams like the Mets always play the guys they pay the most.

Sam said...

There's no way in hell the Mariners make this trade, with Franklin or Miller. My preference would be Franklin, who may not play the best SS defense but plays average there and that bat just has so much potential, especially at the position. No matter which one it is though, the Mets are gonna have to give up more than just a CF who, while playing Gold Glove defense, still hasn't show he can consistently hit MLB pitching. I think a package centered around Gee could probably get the job done, but it would most likely cost more than Gee alone, probably throw in a lower level pitching prospect too.

Herb G said...

Guys, face it. Unless Murphy is traded and EYJ is drafted to play 2B, he is your starting LF and Lagares is your 4th OF. Read Sandy's lips.

Ricardo - Post 2014, we could resign C. Young if he has a fine season, or Granderson could play CF until Nimmo is ready, or we could sign or trade for a CF at that point in time.

Christopher - Hard to say Ackley had higher offensive potential at this time. He had very short time in the minor leagues, and those stats are colored by the fact that 2/3 of his ABs were in the PCL. In the majors, in 356 games - almost 1500 PAs, he has failed to distinguish himself offensively. The only difference between him and Lagares is his higher BB %. If Lagares learns to be more patient, I think he'll eventually be offensively better than Ackley.

D Whit - It is much too early to annoint Lagares our CF of the next decade. Could he be? Sure! But his minnor league stats don't project to that much upside, while Miller's do. He could be our SS of the next decade.

No one is saying Lagares won't hit, but he has a lot more developing to do before you can say he is your leadoff hitter. He not only needs to get the strikeouts under control, he also needs to learn to work a walk, and then to get himself into scoring position by stealing a base. His 100 SBs were over the course of 8 minor league seasons, avg of 12.5 SBs/yr.

Sam - You may be right that the M's won't trade Miller for Lagares straight up. I don't think Sandy will part with one of his set starters this year, nor will he let a major prospect like Thor or Montero go, at least not in this trade. So perhaps Alderson needs to add a prospect like deGrom, Vaughn or someone similar.

Mack's Mets © 2012