On the last day of the 2008 season, the Seattle Mariners sent Raul Ibanez, Wladimir Balentien, and Ichiro to man the outfield. Two months later, their outfield appears to be drastically improved, adding Endy Chavez and Franklin Gutierrez last night in a huge deal that saw a dozen players change organizations. How much of an upgrade? Take a look at each outfielders' production in 2008 and projected defensive production in 2009.
One of the new M's will have to play center, I chose Gutierrez, but Chavez is just as capable.
We're not going to count Balentien against either year, but reduced playing time will help the Mariners overall. Plus, for now he's slated in as the M's fourth outfielder, who knows what could change in another month. Combine those totals and we get 3.09 for 2008 and 6.01 for 2009, or a difference of 2.92 WAR. That could swing up or down depending on a few variables. Most importantly, can Gutierrez improve offensively? And whether Endy Chavez is still as good as projected defensively. I'm inclined to answer yes to both. Here's a look at what Marcels projects:
That's with the projected PA, here's their RV/600 compared to last year:
The Mariners new front office is showing a competence long forgotten in Seattle. Jack Zduriencik's next challenge will be whether to trade Adrian Beltre or hold onto him for compensatory picks.