Sunday, January 25, 2004

The Wheelhouse led me to this News Tribune story, M's should choose sanity, eschew Pudge and Maddux. It's kind of amazing to me that something like this could get printed. I mean how about this quote:
As tempting as it might be to have either in a Mariners uniform, it's just not necessary. Catching and pitching are not weaknesses for this team.

Well, one out of two ain't bad I guess. I don't mind if the casual fan thinks that Wilson is a good catcher. When you hear something constantly six months a year it tends to stick (e.g. "pitching and defense wins championships.") But, for a professional sportswriter to write in a article that catching is not a weakness of the Mariners is an outrage! Here is the contents of the email I just sent Mr. Beene.


Dear Mr. Beene.

I'm Mike Houser, one of the authors of the Mariners weblog Sodo Oh No ( I'm writing to pass on some information in response to your article, "M's should choose sanity, eschew Pudge and Maddux." In it you declare that catching is not a weakness of the Mariners. I did some quick research at Baseball Prospectus and here is a list of Major League catchers ranked by Value over Replacement Player (VORP) which measures relative offensive production compared to a generally available player (say from AAA).
Rank NAME            TM    AVG    OBP    SLG    VORP

1 Lopez_Javy ATL 0.328 0.378 0.687 75.9
2 Posada_Jorge NYA 0.281 0.405 0.518 56.5
3 Rodriguez_Ivan FLO 0.297 0.369 0.474 46.3
4 Kendall_Jason PIT 0.325 0.399 0.416 45.5
5 Lieberthal_Mike PHI 0.313 0.373 0.453 36.4
6 Varitek_Jason BOS 0.273 0.351 0.512 33.5
7 Pierzynski_AJ MIN 0.312 0.36 0.464 30.7
8 Hernandez_Ramon OAK 0.275 0.333 0.46 30.3
9 Myers_Greg TOR 0.307 0.374 0.502 28
10 Piazza_Mike NYN 0.286 0.377 0.483 23.4
30 Davis_Ben SEA 0.236 0.284 0.382 2
56 Borders_Pat SEA 0.143 0.2 0.214 -1.4
76 Wilson_Dan SEA 0.241 0.272 0.339 -4
(data via VORP by Position table at

Catcher is by far the weakest position on the Mariners and it's not close. Our current starting catcher is ranked 76th in the league and ranked below replacement level. A change to Pudge (ranked 3rd) would radically change the complexion of the Mariners lineup. It certainly would not solve all of the teams problems, most notably that their bench is universally unable to hit, but it would go a long way toward making the lineup more dangerous.

Mike Houser


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