BY Art Thiel 04:44PM 08/01/2012

Thiel: Deals leave Mariners "hoping" — again

CEO Howard Lincoln was strong in his denial regarding selling the Mariners; too bad he isn’t as definitive when it comes to the commitment to win.

Mariners starter Jason Vargas needs to be signed to a multi-year contract to slow the demoralizing churn of quality talent. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Now that the  the non-waiver trade deadline has passed, here are the two most important quotes from Mariners executives regarding the next six months or so of the club’s future. Can you identify the speaker and the context?

“Absolute nonsense.”

“I hope so.”

One quote was unequivocal. One was wishful. But in the reverse of what most Mariners fans would like to see happen.

The first one was from CEO Howard Lincoln. In a rare appearance before the media, Lincoln took  charge of the press conference the day the Mariners traded Ichiro to the Yankees.

After the explanation of the trade and ritual thank you/farewell, Lincoln was eager to take the first question from ESPN 710 Mariners reporter Shannon Drayer, who earlier speculated on air what everyone in the room was talking about — Ichiro’s departure may signal the potential sale of the club by majority owner Hiroshi Yamauchi and Nintendo.

Eager to quash the speculation, Lincoln’s voice rose: “Absolute nonsense!” He went on to assure that all would continue as is, despite the departure of the hero from Japan who had agreed with the Yankees to drop most of his Seattle preferences  — yes, he would play left field; yes, he would hit eighth; yes, he would make nice with media; yes, he would do daily cartwheels in Times Square — in order to get the hell out.

The second quote was from general manager Jack Zduriencik, responding to a media question Tuesday afternoon after the Mariners made no further trades following Monday night’s swap of  marginal players for marginal players. He was asked whether the roster’s payroll as it stands now will make it easier in the off-season to bring veteran free agents to Seattle.

“I hope so,” he said.

The point? Would that the Mariners brain trust were as emphatic about a commitment to winning as they are about staying in place.

Lincoln’s robust riposte was ownership’s first public declaration following media and fan speculation that ownership wants to/needs to/should get out before they fall further behind the Texas Rangers and Anaheim Angels, American League West rivals that are operating with fresh cable-TV revenues while the Mariners continue to cut payroll with each passing year of Zduriencik’s term as GM.

It wasn’t that the 2012 season is creating such great disappointment. Given the cumulative personnel/financial mistakes the club was still carrying, no discerning fan had many expectations  coming out of spring training, a sentiment almost eagerly reinforced by repeated pleas for patience by Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge. But still . . . the A’s?

Ownership’s payroll decisions this year left the roster so lopsided — all the money going to veterans in decline, while 13 first-year players grappled with how to fill big-boy pants — that it turns out the club wasn’t able even keep up with the Oakland A’s and their major-league-low $55 million payroll.

It’s not as if the Mariners are hopeless. In Kyle Seager, Jesus Montero, Michael Saunders and Casper Wells, as well as unlikely finds such as Tom Wilhelmsen and John Jaso — and yes, for genuine comic relief, Munenori “Energy Boy” Kawasaki –  the roster has been upgraded inexpensively, to slightly below ordinary.

The thing that is so aggravating for most fans is that the margin for error with talent is so thin that the Mariners haven’t built anything consistent that can survive the inevitable mistakes.

In case it escaped your attention, the Monday transactions just brought another lost opportunity into view.

The departure of relief pitcher Brandon League for two middling prospects tosses probably the final lily on the grave of the Brandon Morrow trade. Serious fans know the sad saga — taken with the fifth pick in the first round of the 2006 amateur draft (five ahead of Tim Lincecum), Morrow struggled between the starting rotation and the bullpen before the Mariners, on Zduriencik’s watch, gave up after the 2009 season  and sent him to Toronto for League and a minor leaguer who didn’t pan out.

As a starter in 69 games for the Blue Jays, Morrow has had an above-average career, including 7-4 record with a 3.01 ERA this season. He’s sidelined temporarily by an oblique strain, but he figures to give the Jays years of quality service in the rotation. League, who had All-Star season in 2011, was never going to be anything but a closer, a position that, as Wilhelmsen proved this year, can be filled with former bartenders.

The Morrow flush continues a long string of despairing results from the one good thing that comes from being bad — high draft choices. Between Gil Meche in 1996 and Dustin Ackley in 2009, exactly no No. 1 draft choices have made significant playing contributions for the Mariners, and the Ackley impact in his first full season has been on the low end of modest.

Another big investment, the Cliff Lee trade in 2010 that brought first baseman Justin Smoak and pitchers Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke, has not ignited the premises.

Beavan, who may prove to be a solid mid-rotation starter, is it so far. Lueke is gone after the Mariners whiffed on a sex assault charge in his background, and Smoak is back in the minors to fix a swing that can’t stay fixed. The trade’s outcome is another leaking tire that must be worked around.

No help was expected or obtained around the trade deadline, except salary relief. There was welcome relief from the grim prospect of ownership forcing on Ichiro a contract extension. Until he convinced Lincoln/Yamauchi to put down the knife they were holding at the club’s throat, it was really going to happen.

The recent run — a 13-6 mark since the All-Star break prior to Wednesday’s series finale against Toronto — is nice, but full of games against Kansas City. The danger is it’s another false positive, a stretch of good ball in a bad season.

What would be most welcome for Mariners fans is a priority of signing Jason Vargas to a multi-year extension that he has earned. He’s that rare Mariner who, at 29, is in his prime and wants to stay here.

It would also give help to give the general manager a reason to use words stronger than “hope,” when he talks of what this ownership plans to do about the stigma of being one of two teams never to have made the World Series.


YourThoughts

  • Jamo57

    Art, I’ve been thinking about the Ichiro trade since it was consumated.    A theory has developed in my mind since hearing Chuck Armstrong talk about how hard he worked on it after coming back early from vacation, but then said the players the Ms got in return were left to Jack Z ‘to work out the baseball details’.  

    We were told that the Ms were given a list of teams by the Ichiro camp that he would go to.   However I’ve been wondering if the destination of the Yankees was the only one really in play, and by moving Ichiro to the Yankees it allowed Yamouchi and Ichiro to ‘save face’ in Japan, or perhaps a different way to think of it is for the Ms (Armstrong and LIncoln or maybe Wedge and Z) to ‘save face’ with Yamouchi.   

    Chuck told us that the Ms had been offering to extend Ichiro prior to the trade request, and reports have made it sound like it was a pretty significant $$$ amount.   When Ichiro balked (or maybe it was the baseball people who balked, or both), it seems to me the only acceptable destination with the status appropriate for a national icon across the water would be the Yankees (internationally on par with Machester United and the Dallas Cowboys).   The only place worthy in Yamouchi’s eyes.

    I wonder this because in such a scenario the Ms might have had to keep lowering the cost of what they would take in return until the Yanks said yes, rather than having a number of pennant contenders bid the price up.   And we didn’t seem to get much (though a .261 hitter won’t bring you much anyway).

    Such a scenario would demonstrate an extra level of internal politics within the Ms that stands in the way of a winning organization. 

    Am I just a crazy, paranoid, battered Ms fan?   Or is my conspiracy theory feasible?

    • http://twitter.com/rossphimister Ross Phimister

      The Ms weren’t going to get anything for Ichiro no matter where they traded him. His on base% is below 300, which is unacceptable for a leadoff hitter, plus he’s only getting older. There are always a lot of defensive minded outfielders available, so there’s nothing to be disappointed about. There’s no conspiracy. Ichiro had 10 and 5 rights, so he could say no.  Ichiro asked to be traded to a contender, the Yankees stepped up and offered a couple fringe prospects and Ichiro said yes.

      • Artthiel

         Ross, no conspiracy suggested. They were lucky to get anything for Ichiro. Only thr Yankees would think they could rehab him, Ibanez style.

    • Artthiel

       No conspiracy. There was a small market, and only the Yankees have a history of success with players on the decline. Going to the Yankees saved some face, but Ichiro would and could have said no. The market was minimal. Addition by subtraction.

  • Jamo57

    Art, I’ve been thinking about the Ichiro trade since it was consumated.    A theory has developed in my mind since hearing Chuck Armstrong talk about how hard he worked on it after coming back early from vacation, but then said the players the Ms got in return were left to Jack Z ‘to work out the baseball details’.  

    We were told that the Ms were given a list of teams by the Ichiro camp that he would go to.   However I’ve been wondering if the destination of the Yankees was the only one really in play, and by moving Ichiro to the Yankees it allowed Yamouchi and Ichiro to ‘save face’ in Japan, or perhaps a different way to think of it is for the Ms (Armstrong and LIncoln or maybe Wedge and Z) to ‘save face’ with Yamouchi.   

    Chuck told us that the Ms had been offering to extend Ichiro prior to the trade request, and reports have made it sound like it was a pretty significant $$$ amount.   When Ichiro balked (or maybe it was the baseball people who balked, or both), it seems to me the only acceptable destination with the status appropriate for a national icon across the water would be the Yankees (internationally on par with Machester United and the Dallas Cowboys).   The only place worthy in Yamouchi’s eyes.

    I wonder this because in such a scenario the Ms might have had to keep lowering the cost of what they would take in return until the Yanks said yes, rather than having a number of pennant contenders bid the price up.   And we didn’t seem to get much (though a .261 hitter won’t bring you much anyway).

    Such a scenario would demonstrate an extra level of internal politics within the Ms that stands in the way of a winning organization. 

    Am I just a crazy, paranoid, battered Ms fan?   Or is my conspiracy theory feasible?

    • http://twitter.com/rossphimister Ross Phimister

      The Ms weren’t going to get anything for Ichiro no matter where they traded him. His on base% is below 300, which is unacceptable for a leadoff hitter, plus he’s only getting older. There are always a lot of defensive minded outfielders available, so there’s nothing to be disappointed about. There’s no conspiracy. Ichiro had 10 and 5 rights, so he could say no.  Ichiro asked to be traded to a contender, the Yankees stepped up and offered a couple fringe prospects and Ichiro said yes.

      • Artthiel

         Ross, no conspiracy suggested. They were lucky to get anything for Ichiro. Only thr Yankees would think they could rehab him, Ibanez style.

    • Artthiel

       No conspiracy. There was a small market, and only the Yankees have a history of success with players on the decline. Going to the Yankees saved some face, but Ichiro would and could have said no. The market was minimal. Addition by subtraction.

  • Will

    For me, the Mariners are akin to the Space Needle, the Market, SAM and any movie playing at the Cinerama … they’re just another attraction in the city, only less enjoyable. 

    Players come and go, talent is traded, management seems third-tier baseball savvy and the M’s aren’t close to being in the same league with the Rangers and Angels.

    Flogging the tired story of what M’s management attempts, fails at or says … just doesn’t mean much anymore.  Didn’t a sports’ brainiac once say, “They are what they are” … and about sums it all up.

    • Artthiel

       Will, i sense story fatigue. I get that. Even Wedge referred recently to the repetitive style of losing as “Groundhog Day.” But unlike the other attractions, it is withiin the Mariners organization to change. They choose otherwise.
       

  • Will

    For me, the Mariners are akin to the Space Needle, the Market, SAM and any movie playing at the Cinerama … they’re just another attraction in the city, only less enjoyable. 

    Players come and go, talent is traded, management seems third-tier baseball savvy and the M’s aren’t close to being in the same league with the Rangers and Angels.

    Flogging the tired story of what M’s management attempts, fails at or says … just doesn’t mean much anymore.  Didn’t a sports’ brainiac once say, “They are what they are” … and about sums it all up.

    • Artthiel

       Will, i sense story fatigue. I get that. Even Wedge referred recently to the repetitive style of losing as “Groundhog Day.” But unlike the other attractions, it is withiin the Mariners organization to change. They choose otherwise.
       

  • Lou Novikoff

    The current ownership/Lincoln/Armstrong team has demonstrated many times that they are penny-wise, pound-foolish, and unwilling to pay for a competitive team on the field.  One point that many have missed:  Nintendo has fallen on hard financial times recently and may well have ordered Lincoln to keep paring payroll.  The Japanese management style is top-down, follow-orders,
    ask-no-questions and Lincoln has had many years to absorb it.  If you doubt that, note Armstrong’s statement at the farewell Ichiro press conference that the team had made a multi-year contract offer to Ichiro (say what?!?).  Jack Z. and fans must demand the team set a 2013 payroll of $90-100 million or get the hell out of the way.  Sad and continuing story.

    • Artthiel

       Lou, neither Nintendo nor Yamauchi dictate payroll or, except for Japanese players, personnel issues, Just not in their world. The Nintendo losses affect Yamauchi’s wealth, not the Mariners fortunes. But you’re right about top-down mgt, and the offer to Ichiro.

  • Lou Novikoff

    The current ownership/Lincoln/Armstrong team has demonstrated many times that they are penny-wise, pound-foolish, and unwilling to pay for a competitive team on the field.  One point that many have missed:  Nintendo has fallen on hard financial times recently and may well have ordered Lincoln to keep paring payroll.  The Japanese management style is top-down, follow-orders,
    ask-no-questions and Lincoln has had many years to absorb it.  If you doubt that, note Armstrong’s statement at the farewell Ichiro press conference that the team had made a multi-year contract offer to Ichiro (say what?!?).  Jack Z. and fans must demand the team set a 2013 payroll of $90-100 million or get the hell out of the way.  Sad and continuing story.

    • Artthiel

       Lou, neither Nintendo nor Yamauchi dictate payroll or, except for Japanese players, personnel issues, Just not in their world. The Nintendo losses affect Yamauchi’s wealth, not the Mariners fortunes. But you’re right about top-down mgt, and the offer to Ichiro.

  • jafabian

    I don’t see the M’s going after any major free agents.  I think the debacle of Richie Sexson and disappointing seasons that Adrian Beltre had scares off ownership and with Ichiro gone few veterans will want to play on a young, rebuilding club unless they’re desperate to stay in the majors.   Right now veterans would take a backseat to an up and coming prospect.  With Ichiro here that would show that management does value veteran players but his trade shows that the M’s are definitely in a youth movement.

    And except for Sexson and Beltre ownership has never gone hard after a big name free agent.  They’re very conservative in their spending despite their claims that Safeco Field would give them the resources they need to be active in the free agent market.  I’ve always wondered if ownership had a choice between having a losing club that made $15 mil in profit or a playoff participant club that made about $1.5 mil in profit in their respective seasons which club would they prefer?

    • Artthiel

       Spending on veteran FAs is always a risky endeavor for any team. But the Yankees and a few other clubs can bury their mistakes. The Mariners, with Carlos Silva and Chone Figgins, still burn deeply as they should.
      The Mariners owners until the last three yerars have spent enough to win. They just haven’t spent wisely.

  • jafabian

    I don’t see the M’s going after any major free agents.  I think the debacle of Richie Sexson and disappointing seasons that Adrian Beltre had scares off ownership and with Ichiro gone few veterans will want to play on a young, rebuilding club unless they’re desperate to stay in the majors.   Right now veterans would take a backseat to an up and coming prospect.  With Ichiro here that would show that management does value veteran players but his trade shows that the M’s are definitely in a youth movement.

    And except for Sexson and Beltre ownership has never gone hard after a big name free agent.  They’re very conservative in their spending despite their claims that Safeco Field would give them the resources they need to be active in the free agent market.  I’ve always wondered if ownership had a choice between having a losing club that made $15 mil in profit or a playoff participant club that made about $1.5 mil in profit in their respective seasons which club would they prefer?

    • Artthiel

       Spending on veteran FAs is always a risky endeavor for any team. But the Yankees and a few other clubs can bury their mistakes. The Mariners, with Carlos Silva and Chone Figgins, still burn deeply as they should.
      The Mariners owners until the last three yerars have spent enough to win. They just haven’t spent wisely.

  • 1coolguy

    Given their win steak @ 7, how many of these have been since the Ichiro trade?

    If this keeps up, I see the makings of a good article on whether Ichiro was a plus or a negative.
    It appears he may have been a drag on the club and since he is gone, perhaps Art can investigate whether there is any truth to this.

    • Artthiel

       1coolguy, I will defer to Larry Stone’s blog item in the Times. He said the uptick is more coincidence than cause, not to mention mediocre opposition.I do think most players and certainly Wedge aare relieved that they no longer have to work around Ichiro’s privileges. He just doesn’t fit on this team, and it’s addition by subraction

  • 1coolguy

    Given their win steak @ 7, how many of these have been since the Ichiro trade?

    If this keeps up, I see the makings of a good article on whether Ichiro was a plus or a negative.
    It appears he may have been a drag on the club and since he is gone, perhaps Art can investigate whether there is any truth to this.

    • Artthiel

       1coolguy, I will defer to Larry Stone’s blog item in the Times. He said the uptick is more coincidence than cause, not to mention mediocre opposition.I do think most players and certainly Wedge aare relieved that they no longer have to work around Ichiro’s privileges. He just doesn’t fit on this team, and it’s addition by subraction

  • Fairmontdave

    Art, as always, probing and insightful.  Many of us have found love at the bar, and the Mariners have found that in Wilhelmson.  He may be a closer here for several years, having a 23 year old arm in a 28 year old, umm, ex-bartender.  Here’s to life, love and booty.
    Jack Z is easily better than Bavasi, and the ultimate village idiot, Woody Woodward.  I can live with this bad marriage. 
    But, Mariner management should find out what Billy Beane makes, and double it. I’ve had it up to there with the A’s finishing ahead of the Mariners, year after year.
    He probably wouldn’t take it, how could anyone work for Beavis and Butthead. 

    • Artthiel

       A’s years ago locked up Bean with a piece of the club. The Mariners tried, but wouldn’t dare give him equity.

  • Fairmontdave

    Art, as always, probing and insightful.  Many of us have found love at the bar, and the Mariners have found that in Wilhelmson.  He may be a closer here for several years, having a 23 year old arm in a 28 year old, umm, ex-bartender.  Here’s to life, love and booty.
    Jack Z is easily better than Bavasi, and the ultimate village idiot, Woody Woodward.  I can live with this bad marriage. 
    But, Mariner management should find out what Billy Beane makes, and double it. I’ve had it up to there with the A’s finishing ahead of the Mariners, year after year.
    He probably wouldn’t take it, how could anyone work for Beavis and Butthead. 

    • Artthiel

       A’s years ago locked up Bean with a piece of the club. The Mariners tried, but wouldn’t dare give him equity.

  • effzee

    There needs to be an article *specifically* detailing the horrible, destructive, un-baseball moves presided over by Chuckles and Howie, including all ill-timed public comments, quotes made by past Gms and managers, etc. There needs to be a huge expose on this that basically shames them into quitting. Especially Chuck. I understand Lincoln is the owner’s right hand man, but there’s no defendable rationale to Chuck’s continued presence. 28 years of “Leadership” resulting in the biggest pile of crap this side of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This simply can’t go on. Its literally cruel and unusual punishment to every real baseball fan in Cascadia.

    • Artthiel

       Effzee, understand your frustration, but all of us in the media have written versions of the story for years now. I recommend a new book, “Shipwrecked” by Jon Wells, who puts it all in one place very well.

  • effzee

    There needs to be an article *specifically* detailing the horrible, destructive, un-baseball moves presided over by Chuckles and Howie, including all ill-timed public comments, quotes made by past Gms and managers, etc. There needs to be a huge expose on this that basically shames them into quitting. Especially Chuck. I understand Lincoln is the owner’s right hand man, but there’s no defendable rationale to Chuck’s continued presence. 28 years of “Leadership” resulting in the biggest pile of crap this side of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This simply can’t go on. Its literally cruel and unusual punishment to every real baseball fan in Cascadia.

    • Artthiel

       Effzee, understand your frustration, but all of us in the media have written versions of the story for years now. I recommend a new book, “Shipwrecked” by Jon Wells, who puts it all in one place very well.

  • Michael Kaiser

    My big disappointment as of late is that the departure of Ichiro apparently has not opened up more playing time for Figgins.
    On a more serious note, though; it always scares me when Mariners’ players say they want to stay in Seattle.  What they really are saying is that they have put their rapture over the surroundings, Seattle, etc.  (an illness of its own) over the desire to be a winner.  Really.  Any player who wants to win has always known, with very few exceptions, and those exceptions comprise less than 20 percent of the Mariners’ history, that they are not going to win in Seattle.  So players who say they want to stay here are saying they want to enjoy themselves, not win.  In the bizarro world of Mariners’ baseball, we need to be keeping the players who want out and shipping out the players that want to stay.  

    • Artthiel

       Michael, players are always gratuitous in their comments about the home team. Here, and everywhere. Like the rest of us, they care about finding jobs and money. Saying anything bad about team and town only cuts their chances. Their agents are scrupulous about training them. See, LaLoosh, Nuke.

  • Michael Kaiser

    My big disappointment as of late is that the departure of Ichiro apparently has not opened up more playing time for Figgins.
    On a more serious note, though; it always scares me when Mariners’ players say they want to stay in Seattle.  What they really are saying is that they have put their rapture over the surroundings, Seattle, etc.  (an illness of its own) over the desire to be a winner.  Really.  Any player who wants to win has always known, with very few exceptions, and those exceptions comprise less than 20 percent of the Mariners’ history, that they are not going to win in Seattle.  So players who say they want to stay here are saying they want to enjoy themselves, not win.  In the bizarro world of Mariners’ baseball, we need to be keeping the players who want out and shipping out the players that want to stay.  

    • Artthiel

       Michael, players are always gratuitous in their comments about the home team. Here, and everywhere. Like the rest of us, they care about finding jobs and money. Saying anything bad about team and town only cuts their chances. Their agents are scrupulous about training them. See, LaLoosh, Nuke.

  • One174

    Yes, this is about the M’s. After 26 years in the NW I now live in a sunny, warm state. I used to think the people up there had “Megan Black Disease”. It would be rainy and ugly all day. About 4:30PM there would be a sun break. At 5 Megan Black would come on her weather cast and gush about how it was a “Beeee-yoooo-tee full” day in the NW. After 26 years of mostly misery as an M’s fan, I think M’s fans have some variation of that disease. The M’s lose game after game, year after year, and what is the fan response? They wear yellow shirts and show up when Felix pitches. What they should be doing is refusing to show up at all until Howie and Chuckles fall on their swords. Whether Ichiro fails or succeeds, he is in a far better place now. As to the rest of it, the M’s will continue to give up future stars for pitchers who can’t pitch and batters who can’t bat. What Art did not mention is, how many of those first round picks between 1996 and 2009 are now thriving, or at least contributing, somewhere else. I don’t know the answer, but I bet it is an interesting one.

    • Artthiel

       Quite a few the draftees flourished elsewhere, but I flogged that horse previously.I do believe you’re right about some in the fan base. They are numb. As am with happy-talk weather.

  • One174

    Yes, this is about the M’s. After 26 years in the NW I now live in a sunny, warm state. I used to think the people up there had “Megan Black Disease”. It would be rainy and ugly all day. About 4:30PM there would be a sun break. At 5 Megan Black would come on her weather cast and gush about how it was a “Beeee-yoooo-tee full” day in the NW. After 26 years of mostly misery as an M’s fan, I think M’s fans have some variation of that disease. The M’s lose game after game, year after year, and what is the fan response? They wear yellow shirts and show up when Felix pitches. What they should be doing is refusing to show up at all until Howie and Chuckles fall on their swords. Whether Ichiro fails or succeeds, he is in a far better place now. As to the rest of it, the M’s will continue to give up future stars for pitchers who can’t pitch and batters who can’t bat. What Art did not mention is, how many of those first round picks between 1996 and 2009 are now thriving, or at least contributing, somewhere else. I don’t know the answer, but I bet it is an interesting one.

    • Artthiel

       Quite a few the draftees flourished elsewhere, but I flogged that horse previously.I do believe you’re right about some in the fan base. They are numb. As am with happy-talk weather.

  • billebob

    who did the M’s draft instead of Mike Trout?? Maybe they can sign Raoul and claim next year as bring back the memories??

    • Artthiel

       In the 09 draft, Strasburg went No. 1 and Ackley No. 2. Trout went 25th. So 22 others, including Billy Beane, whiffed too.

  • billebob

    who did the M’s draft instead of Mike Trout?? Maybe they can sign Raoul and claim next year as bring back the memories??

    • Artthiel

       In the 09 draft, Strasburg went No. 1 and Ackley No. 2. Trout went 25th. So 22 others, including Billy Beane, whiffed too.

  • Erin

    You missed one thing about the return for Cliff Lee:  it was Josh Lueke that got us John Jaso in a trade from Tampa.  So, the current return is Beaven (agreed, mid- to late-rotation guy at best, but potentially a serviceable part), and Jaso (currently the best hitter on the team, though that of course says  more about the bats on the roster than it does about Jaso).

  • Erin

    You missed one thing about the return for Cliff Lee:  it was Josh Lueke that got us John Jaso in a trade from Tampa.  So, the current return is Beaven (agreed, mid- to late-rotation guy at best, but potentially a serviceable part), and Jaso (currently the best hitter on the team, though that of course says  more about the bats on the roster than it does about Jaso).