Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Anyone else out there realize that almost 1/3rd of the Mariners wins have been extra inning games? Just think how horrible our record would look without the extra inning wins. If we were contending for the division the extra inning record would be pointed at and used as evidence of our veteran leadership.

It was nice to see both Ole and Edgar come through with big hits tonight.

Monday, May 24, 2004

The M's PR department (Bob Finnigan) floats the trial balloon on the M's impending rebuilding. As always Bob fails to apply any independent analysis to the text he's been asked to reprint in the Times, therefore I'll do it for him.

Here's a list of the things the M's should start doing immediately.

1) Shop all middle relievers currently on the 24 man roster not named Soriano. Villone, Myers, Shiggy, Mateo all should be offered up for trade. Cut bait on Myers and Villone if no offers come in. Bring up a few of the young arms most ready for the bigs. Break them in as long relief until July.

2) Target contending clubs short on pitching and offer up Franklin and Garcia. You aren't going to keep Freddy past this year and Franklin's value will never get any higher. Wait until early July before engaging in discussion. Strike the final deal days before the trading deadline. Don't get caught up in an EBay frenzy trying to get the ultimate deal for Freddy. You (M's management) aren't smart enough to pull it off. Take a good deal and be happy with it.

3) Approach the deconstruction of the team with some intelligence and realization of who on the team has value. Players with value include Boone and Boone. Bret is the only player on the team signed to a reasonable contract with a history of production. All other moves will be salary dumps.

4) Approach all teams with salary dump ideas. All trades should be thought of as reducing cost, not value for value. Bavasi's off season deals eliminated any potential to play the veteran for prospect game. Our veterans are overpriced and not valued enough to take the high road. The objective is to free up cash for next year, not take on equivalent bad contracts that run for several more years (ie Jason Kendall).

5) The following players should be offered up in any salary dump deals. Ben Davis, Randy Winn, Rich Aurilia, Scott Spezio, John Olerud, Raul Ibanez, Quinton, Cabrera, Dan Wilson, Willie Bloomquist.

6) Do not negotiate or leak any deals involving Moyer or Edgar to the press until you have everything signed, sealed and delivered. If Jamie or Edgar is willing to take up a trade to a contender, negotiate the 10-5 waivers in private.

7) Don't release a player that has a short term contract that plays a position where you don't have anyone in the minor leagues ready to make the jump. Starting the service time clock on players several years away from contributing at the big league level is stupid. If Jose Lopez isn't close to being ready to play in the show don't release Aurilla just because he isn't the ultimate SS solution for the M's or even in the picture beyond next year. However, do take the opportunity to reward the AAAA player if you can. If you get an offer on Aurilla that will save some $$$ take it and use the opportunity to bring a guy like Mickey Lopez into the big leagues for his one experience in the show.

I went to yesterdays game (at least the 7 innings my 6 year old could eat her way through).

Several positive points are to be made...

1) Melvin brings in Eddie with the game on the line in the 8th inning.
2) Olerud actually hit an opposite field home run.
3) Randy Winn makes an actual good defensive play in center field.
4) Freddy Garcia continues to improve his trade value with 7 innings of 1 run ball.
5) Ichiro! racks up another few hits.
6) Dave Hansen actually drives a runner in from 3rd with less than 2 outs with a sac fly.
7) Pizza outside the park was really cheap (2 for $6) and it was really easy to scalp an additional cheap ticket for daughter #2.

Neagtive points

1) Lack of power continues to haunt the team as they hit into DP after DP.
2) Freddy still has control issues. 114 pitches in 7 innings with close to as many balls as strikes.
3) M's offense still revolves around the requirement to have an amazing set of circumstances collide in a single inning to generate more than 1 run. It requires 5 singles, a hit batter, a walk and an error to put a crooked number on the board.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

I just took a stroll through my Win Share report. Here are some fun figures:
MarinersShould be Mariners
Freddy Garcia  6

E. Guardado 5
Bret Boone 5
Ichiro Suzuki 4
Dan Wilson 4
Raul Ibanez 4
E. Martinez 2
J.J. Putz 2
Scott Spiezio 2
Ryan Franklin 1
Rich Aurilia 1
John Olerud 1
Ron Villone 1
J. Cabrera 1
C. Guillen     8

V. Guerrero 10
I. Rodriguez 9
Miguel Tejada 8

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

How many different ways can we say the M's suck? Even the great writers at USS Mariner have slipped into repetitive mode. I was hoping that we would be able to dissect games and discuss individual performance during the course of the season. Instead I'm left shaking my head at this train wreck of a team. There's no point in picking on Aurilia when Dan Wilson is the best hitter on the team. No point in dissing Shiggy when the whole pen blows. You know your team bites when comments like Eddie's "I wish I didn't leave the Twins" or Freddie's "I'd love to be a Yankee" don't even rate a curse.

The pill becomes increasingly bitter when you watch the engineer of the train step out, walk over a set of tracks, and hop into another engine. You look at your ticket and realize he's scheduled to continue driving you to your destination.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Back on December 15th I made this post (before Sodo Oh No) about the disastrous M's off-season. I thought I'd update my VORP chart from that post:

2003 Player 2003 VORP 2004 Player 2003 VORP 2004 Player 2004 VORP Proj
C Wilson -4 Wilson -4 Wilson 21
1B Olerud 20.2 Olerud 20.2 Olerud 10
2B Boone 75.8 Boone 75.8 Boone 24.8
3B Bloomquist 1.1 Spezio 14.6 Spezio 17.2
SS Guillen 24.2 Guillen 24.2 Aurilia -12.9
LF Winn 25.2 Ibanez 16.3 Ibanez 13.3
CF Cameron 28.4 Winn 25.2 Winn -1
RF Ichiro 35.8 Ichiro 35.8 Ichiro 9.1
DH Edgar 58.3 Edgar 58.3 Edgar 29.5
Bench Colbrunn 2.8 McCraken -12.5 Hansen 10
267.8 253.9 121.0

Wow. This is a total collapse that certainly matches well with what we are seeing on the field. To me the most egregious error is the swap of Guillen for Aurilia. At the time the best anyone could argue is that we would get the same level of performace (but for $1 million more). It hasn't quite turned out that way as Guillen's current projected VORP is 87.7. The GM is paid to get moves like this right. This is a major screw up - where is the accountability?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

I'm watching/listening to the Angels - Yanquis game. I'm sort of thankful that the M's are blacked out on mlb.tv. The announcers just mentioned that the Angels have at least 1 extra base hit in every game this season. Empirically that sounds impressive. I wonder if it is?

One thing I do know is that the Angels are better than the pundits expected them to be this year. Neyer and the others pointed to their record last year and said that, while improved, the team had too much ground to make up to win the division. The "casual" fan remembered a world series winning team in 2002 and noted the additions of Vlad, Colon and Guillen and predicted the Angels contend in the AL West. Well, despite a slew of injuries the Angels have the best record in the AL after 20% of the season has been completed.

Oh yeah, Anaheim is 4th in the league in home attendance, averaging 39,358 fans per game, filling their park to 87.4% of capacity. Curious to know how the M's are drawing? 8th in the league at 35,630 per game but even more telling filling the park at only 74.6% of capacity. The team also draws for crap on the road as expected for a team with only 1 "superstar". Bold prediction of the day, Angels numbers continue to go up this year while the M's attendance continues to slide. Man I'm really going out a limb there, eh? My second bold prediction of the day, it will take the M's management at least two seasons of sliding attendance before they figure out the correlation between having a good team and drawing fans to the park.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Congrats to...well, us. Sodo Oh No wins the inaugural MBSBL league by defeating 116ers in a game 7 of the blogsphere world series. Sodo comes through with a 10 run bottom of the 8th inning highlighted by a Jim Edmonds grand slam and a Greg Myers 3 run HR. Brenden Donnely was the sacrificial lamb.

The league was a lot of fun. I always learn a few things playing in these leagues. This season I really realized how important luck is. San Shin went 13 - 27 in 1 run games while Sodo went 34 - 22. On base percentage and slugging percentage are much more important numbers than batting average. Sodo was 8th in the league in team AVG but 3rd in runs scored. How? We were 3rd in OBP and 2nd in SLG. The exact opposite of your 2004 Mariners.

Get pitchers with the highest K/9 and best BB/K ratio you can find. If you walk less batters and strike out more batters than the other staffs you will allow less runs.

I had fun. We'll definitely do it again.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

How do you have 18 base hits and score only 6 runs? Easy, spread 17 singles around 11 innings.

Did ever a team cry out for the addition of a power hitter than the M's of 2003? Did we get a power bat in the off season? No, we got a bunch of singles hitters without even gap power on their resumes.

Some times you need to over pay to get what you need. When I plan a trip on short notice I "overpay" for my airline ticket. When you want that hot new car that's in high demand you pay over list price. When you need a power bat and you have the cash on hand you might pay more than the team without the desperate need. The M's needed power this offseason. Instead we got middle relief, aged nice guy veterans and an over priced Ichiro.

I went to Saturday's debacle. It was bad enough to watch Mussina expectedly mow down the M's but then to watch Meche get hung out to dry in the 6th by Melvin was the stomach punch of the day. The 6th inning started out with Gil having thrown 90 pitches. A-rod at the plate, He crushed a long barely foul ball down the left field line. Then he rips a shot down the line for a double. Meche is at 95 pitches, no one is warming in the pen. Giambi then rips a double to center field that almost went out. Q-man attempting to play center field tries to pull a Cameron and run to a spot and turn around for the ball, Unfortunately Q forgets the whole turn around part and the ball nearly hits him in the back. I'm pretty sure it would have put a 6 inch round hole in his chest if it did. No one gets up in the pen. Meche now at 100 pitches. Sheffield hits a screaming rope about 5 steps to Ibanez left. Raul inexplicably decides to dive over the top of the ball instead of just sticking his glove down to his side and catching the ball. Finally Villone now gets up and begins to warm up. Let's let Gil face one more batter though. Posada isn't tough is he? Gil throws a couple of breaking balls then chucks a heater down the middle and Jorge sticks it in between Ichiro and Q-man for the 4th run of the inning. Gil is now at 105 pitches and his day is over. Melvin is a bonehead. As soon as A-rod teed off someone should have been up throwing in the pen.

Oh yeah...last thing. On Sheffield's subsequent double in the 7th inning, Ichiro approached the ball like it was an explosive mortar. He couldn't have gone after it with less effort if he was in the 7th inning of a beer league game.

Cool. Some evidence has been found that not only was baseball played in 1791 - there was an ordinance passed against it!

Friday, May 07, 2004

You know the offense on your team is horrible when you're thankful that Dan Wilson hit into a double play instead of the myriad of other bad things that could have happened in that at bat. Ya fraking hoo, a game winning double play ground ball. I'm so excited. Despite Freddy's good numbers last night he really didn't pitch that well. The Twins hack at anything in the dirt and inexplicably let several hanging breaking balls go by. They looked like the M's did against Chan Ho Park. How the heck are those guys in the hunt in the AL Central?

You know as bad as the M's defense has been this year, the offense has been ten times worse. Only Tampa Bay in the American league has scored fewer runs. Remember it was just a few short years ago that the M's lead the major leagues in runs scored. That grand offseason idea of trading defense for offense only works if the players produce offensively.

I'm attending Saturday nights game. Meche vs. Mussina. Moose has traditionally been a M's killer. Not on Pedro level but darn close. The Yankees lead the M's in just about every statistical category except average and stolen bases, but then again who doesn't?

Sunday, May 02, 2004


7-15. 7-15.

I found myself rooting for the A's against the Yankees last night. Has my hatred of the Yankees now surpassed my love of the Mariners? I don't like being pessimistic. It upsets me that I've already given up, but I have. I just don't see how they will pass all three of the teams ahead of them. To get back to the 93 win mark they achieved the last two years, and that has a chance of winning the division, will require them to play at a .615 clip for the rest of the season. I just don't see it happening. The starting pitching is far to inconsistent, and with the Mariners offense there can be no off days for the pitching.

So I want to talk about the ultimate pessimist topic, becoming a seller at the trade deadline. What will the Mariners do if they are 15 out come July? They have several mediocre players signed to multi-year contracts (Ibanez, Spezio, and, yes, Ichiro). Will they be on the market?


Out of all the players on the M's I can only think of 2 position players that would be potential trade deadline acquisition targets by other teams. Boone and Spezio. Everyone in baseball learned from previous off seasons that players like Ibanez are available much cheaper and for shorter contract lengths than what the M's have left to pay Raul. He may be waved around but I'd be stunned if anyone bit.

Ichiro is impossible to get rid of. To the casual fan he is the "superstar" on the M's. They would take a huge PR hit if they even dangled him. Yamamuchi won't even let the M's explore the market for him. You saw how quickly one mention of potential loss of face regarding the subject of arbitration turned into a multi year deal. All this being said, the real stumbling block around Ichiro is that the league finally figured out that he provides very little value for $11 million a year. Singles hitting, non walking, non base stealing right fielders (even if they play ungodly defense) are simply not worth 1/2 of what the M's pay Ichiro. I've said it since 2001. He is a valuable player only if he hits .350 and steals 50 bases a year at the standard 75% success rate. He would be valuable if he hit .300 and had an obp of .400 but that's not his game. In his (travesty of all star voting, Boone should have won) year 2001 he had an amazing number of infield singles that he doesn't get any more. He never drives in runners from any base other than 3rd. The league adjusted to him and he's never adjusted back.

For pitching, Freddy will be dangled and every other pitcher other than Soriano and Mateo and Moyer should be offered up. If teams are willing to make value for value position player offers for Meche or Piniero I say take the deals. I expect a few teams to go hard after Boone, he's valuable, fairly paid and doesn't have much left on his current deal. I expect some team to need a player like Spezio and he may get dealt.

Too be frank there isn't a player on this team other than Soriano that I wouldn't trade away. Yes, that includes Edgar and Jamie. If a contender offers something for either of them and he's interested I make the deal. They deserve another shot at a ring.

The only players I want to keep are Boone, Edgar, Moyer, Soriano and Mateo. I only want 5 out of the current 26 man roster. That's a surprisingly small number for a team that was supposed to be a contender. It shows how poorly this team was assembled for $88 million (Don't believe the $95 million dollar lie).