Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Neyer: Dispatch from the GM who traded Shin-Soo Choo

Ballsy Bill Bavasi.

Thursday, Bavasi e-mailed me:

  More than anything else, the trades that year were just good old-fashioned disasters.

  There was no specific pressure from above to make any specific move at that time. But I was not operating on the same platform they are now.  Without going into great detail ... When I got there it was made REAL clear they didn’t want any five-year plans … and that I’d get a mulligan in 2004 but, from then on they’d expect consistent improvement toward a postseason.  When I say “improvement” I mean relative to our record. So even though we operated under some pressure to tangibly improve on a regular basis, the Choo and Cabrera trades were a product of my own stupidity and good work by the Indians.

  By the way, I’m not complaining about the “no five-year plans” attitude.  Again, without going into detail ... I knew the score going in.

  We had good things to say about Choo at the time.  We certainly didn’t know what we know now—what a star he’d be—but our people liked him, knew he had skills, great make-up and a high sense of responsibility. We had good, smart people. I just blew it.

I’ve written a few times that Bill’s father Buzzie belongs in the Hall of Fame, and I believe he’ll be there someday. Bill’s probably not going to wind up with his dad in Cooperstown. But when somebody builds a Hall of Grace, he’s got my vote.

Repoz Posted: December 26, 2013 at 07:49 PM | 59 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mariners

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. JJ1986 Posted: December 26, 2013 at 08:27 PM (#4624421)
Even if his entire goal was 2006, Bavasi needed to trade for Broussard because his DH was Carl Everett, to whom he had given $3.4 million dollars coming off seasons of 94 and 84 OPS+.
   2. STEAGLES is all out of bubblegum Posted: December 26, 2013 at 09:04 PM (#4624428)
FWIW, i believe shin-soo choo had mandatory military service in korea hanging over his head. if he was any less of a player than he turned out to be, he would have lost 2 whole years of his prime to the (south) korean armed forces.


   3. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: December 26, 2013 at 09:27 PM (#4624434)
2 - it had less to do w/ his individual performance, iirc, than his national team's in int'l competition.
   4. The Ghost fouled out, but stays in the game Posted: December 26, 2013 at 10:33 PM (#4624443)
I tip my hat to Bavasi for not trying to cover for himself. I even think he's a trifle hard on himself saying he blew it. I do recall him mentioning the "no five-year plans" dictum in an interview not long after he was fired.

Lest we forget, the Asdrubal Cabrera for Eduardo Perez trade came that same season. Perez was even less useful than Broussard, and while Cabrera isn't a nine-figure player at this point, he's been worth 19.6 WAR to the Indians.
   5. Esoteric Posted: December 26, 2013 at 10:53 PM (#4624453)
Here's the thing about Bill Bavasi that always colors my thoughts about him: his skill as General Manager of the Mariners stands in exact inverse proportion to his personal character. Terrible at his job, and hence not missed, but literally everyone who ever worked for him will fall all over themselves to point out that he's one of the kindest, most considerate guys in the game. This letter to Neyer merely reinforces that.
   6. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 26, 2013 at 11:07 PM (#4624460)
Eso - I wonder if the niceness informs the failings as a GM. It strikes me as the type of job where being a cold hearted bastard probably serves you well and if Bavasi didn't have that in him...
   7. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 26, 2013 at 11:37 PM (#4624479)
Eso - I wonder if the niceness informs the failings as a GM. It strikes me as the type of job where being a cold hearted bastard probably serves you well and if Bavasi didn't have that in him...

Bingo--I hate to say it, but a little bit of the SOB and (maybe) dishonesty may be a sine qua non for being a successful GM
   8. Esoteric Posted: December 27, 2013 at 12:14 AM (#4624499)
Bingo--I hate to say it, but a little bit of the SOB and (maybe) dishonesty may be a sine qua non for being a successful GM
Well it sure hasn't helped Jack Zduriencik any, I can tell you that much.
   9. RollingWave Posted: December 27, 2013 at 12:41 AM (#4624508)
At least it's good to see someone admitting their bad decsions
   10. bobm Posted: December 27, 2013 at 12:46 AM (#4624511)
[3] 2 - it had less to do w/ his individual performance, iirc, than his national team's in int'l competition.

See http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/shin-soo_choo_wins_gold_stays_with_indians

South Korea’s baseball gold medal in the Asian Games on Friday allows Shin-Soo Choo to stay on the Cleveland Indians’ roster for next season instead of reporting to mandatory military service.

Anything other than a gold medal would have forced Choo, 28, into a two-year military training in South Korea, which requires men to complete the service before they reach the age of 30.

   11. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 27, 2013 at 06:39 AM (#4624543)
Well it sure hasn't helped Jack Zduriencik any, I can tell you that much.

there is a difference between being a rude pr8ck and refraining from having any emotional investment in your decision-making

the latter is perceived as being cold and distant. many people find it disconcerting

   12. Dale Sams Posted: December 27, 2013 at 10:41 AM (#4624570)
Given my videogame tendencies, *I* would be the worst GM in the game. Hell, I'd trade a guy at his introductory press conference if I saw something shinier in the audience.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 27, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4624601)
In addition to the Choo and Cabrera trades, Bavasi also:

Traded Carlos Guillen to the Tigers for Ramon Santiago. Guillen would put up over 18 WAR over the next five seasons.

Gave up a 2004 first round and second round picks to sign Eddie Guardado and Raul Ibanez. One of those picks turned into Glenn Perkins.

Traded Freddy Garcia to the White Sox for Mike Morse, Miguel Olivo, and Jeremy Reed. Garcia put up 9 WAR in the next 3 seasons in Chicago, all of the Seattle acquisitions flopped.

Signed Richie Sexson to a 4 year $50 million deal. Sexson posted 5.5 WAR over that contract, with all of that coming the first two years.

Selected Jeff Clement in the first round of the 2005 draft. Taken immediately after Clement were Ryan Braun, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitski, Wade Townsend, Mike Pelfrey, Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen, and Jay Bruce.

Traded Randy Winn to San Fran for Jesse Foppert and Yorvit Torrealba. Winn put up 12.3 WAR in five seasons in SF.

Traded Matt Thornton to Chicago for Joe Borchard. Thornton put up 11 WAR in eight seasons in Chicago.

Signed Jeff Weaver to a 1 year $8 million deal. Weaver was coming off a 78 ERA+ season in LA/St. Louis. He posted a 6.20 ERA in an amazing 27 starts in Seattle.

Drafted Brandon Morrow in the first round in 2006 because he wanted a reliever, passing over local boy Tim Lincecum who reportedly he also wanted to make a reliever. Also passed over Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer FWIW.

Trade Rafael Soriano to Atlanta for Horacio Ramirez. Soriano was a 3.5 WAR reliever over 3 seasons in Atlanta. HoRam was let go after one 7.16 ERA season in Seattle.

Signed Miguel Batista to a 3 year $25 million deal. Batista was 35 and had primarily been a swingman in his career. He was a 2.8 WAR pitcher in his first season in Seattle, and a -2.1 WAR pitcher the other two years combined.

Traded for and agreed to pay $12 million of the $16 million remaining on Jose Vidro's contract, to make him the designated hitter.

Selected Phillipe Aumont in the first round of the 2007 draft. The middle of the first round was rather weak that year, so can't blame him too much, but he did pass on Jason Heyward and Rick Porcello.

Traded Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, and Kam Mickolio for Erik Bedard. Bedard made 30 starts in Seattle over the next two years combined before hitting free agency. Adam Jones is a 3-time All-Star with 18.5 WAR in Baltimore.

Signed Brad Wilkerson a 1 year $3 million deal. Released Wilkerson five weeks into it after just 19 games.

Drafted reliever Josh Fields in the first round of the 2008 draft. Again not a ton of talent in the back of the first round of that draft, but he passed over Casey Kelly, Lance Lynn, Wade Miley, FWIW.

Signed Carlos Silva to a 4 year $48 million deal. Silva had posted a 5.94 ERA just a year before. He had never struck out more than 5 per nine innings. He made just 34 starts in Seattle, with a 6.81 ERA and a staggering -2.8 WAR before they shipped him to the Cubs.

He did some good things like sign Adrian Beltre and take a flyer on Jose Guillen, and some of that is just bad luck, but whew, what a track record.
   14. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: December 27, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4624605)
Jesus. Bravado was a terrible GM. He had a bad record in Anaheim, but not that bad.
   15. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 27, 2013 at 11:39 AM (#4624607)
but whew, what a track record.

A lot of that stuff was dumb at the time, too, and not just in hindsight. The Vidro trade was especially idiotic.
   16. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 27, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4624620)
Bravado certainly is not the Validation of baseball GMs.
   17. Darren Posted: December 27, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4624627)
In one of Rob's recent posts about Choo, he said he had a hard time finding reactions to the 2006 Choo trade (particularly Cameron's). I remember discussions happening here and I also remember how confused I was about why the USS Mariner guys didn't like Choo--he seemed like a really good hitter who would be at least a good starter to me, based on the stats. I did some digging and found this thread.

As I remembered, Cameron didn't like him much:
Choo will be a useful major league role player for the next few years, especially while he makes nothing. I've been calling him Todd Hollandsworth with an accent for the past few months.

He's got a long swing and is vulnerable to pitches in. He doesn't hit breaking balls well. He can't hit lefties at all - like 8 or 60 or something in Tacoma against LHP's. This is a problem every year, not a new thing. He takes terrible routes in the outfield - just has no instincts whatsoever. His defense, even in the corners, isn't very good. And he's not much of a baserunner.

However, he can hit a fastball, has batspeed, an absolute cannon arm, and can run a little bit. His plate discipline is fine - he's probably too patient at times - and he'll draw his share of walks.

I've projected him as a .270/.340/.450 guy, which is a nice fourth outfielder who should play strictly against RHP's. If he's used right, nothing wrong with that.


This is not a gotcha, where I laugh at how wrong he was. What I find interesting is just how scouty the assessment was, at the expense of looking at results in many ways. I really do think that a lot of sabermetrics has grown too confident in using its eyes to evaluate a player.
   18. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: December 27, 2013 at 12:15 PM (#4624630)
This is not a gotcha, where I laugh at how wrong he was.


Not that there's anything wrong with that.
   19. SG Posted: December 27, 2013 at 12:15 PM (#4624631)
What I find interesting is just how scouty the assessment was, at the expense of looking at results in many ways.


A lot of those scouty observations are pretty spot on though.
   20. Jim Wisinski Posted: December 27, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4624685)
It's weird seeing an old comment like that from a time when .270/.340/.450 in a corner really was just a nice fourth outfielder
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 27, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4624692)
Here's the thing about Bill Bavasi that always colors my thoughts about him: his skill as General Manager of the Mariners stands in exact inverse proportion to his personal character. Terrible at his job, and hence not missed, but literally everyone who ever worked for him will fall all over themselves to point out that he's one of the kindest, most considerate guys in the game. This letter to Neyer merely reinforces that.


Allard Baird too. Heck, Baird may actually be a good GM who was put in a terrible ownership situation. But people seem to always say what a bright guy and what a nice guy he is. I think Poz in particular said Allard was always willing to talk, no matter how bad the team stunk.
   22. PreservedFish Posted: December 27, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4624698)
It's weird seeing an old comment like that from a time when .270/.340/.450 in a corner really was just a nice fourth outfielder


Was that ever true? The thing I take from that is that Dave Cameron said something stupid. In 2005 the Mariners had two guys hit something around .340/.450 - Raul Ibanez and Ichiro Suzuki - both played 162 games and were among the team's best hitters, each with an OPS+ around 115 and an oWAR around 3.0. It's just a bizarre comment. Someone easily could have and should have called him out on it.
   23. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 27, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4624704)
Someone easily could have and should have called him out on it.

TBF, he meant he was that kind of hitter as the strong half of a platoon and gave some of that back on defense. That's not a great player (though, of course, Choo turned out to be a smidge bit better than that assessment) though it could and was argued that Broussard wasn't even THAT good, and the M's were blinded by a fluky BABIP in the first half of 2006.
   24. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 27, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4624712)
This is not a gotcha, where I laugh at how wrong he was. What I find interesting is just how scouty the assessment was, at the expense of looking at results in many ways. I really do think that a lot of sabermetrics has grown too confident in using its eyes to evaluate a player.


1: Choo's minor league numbers were good, not great, .297/.385/.453
2: Choo can't hit lefties, seriously, .680 OPS for his career, he's got a .850 career OPS, a more normal platoon split would be 80 points, his is 250
3: His defensive numbers are bad

His criticisms seem mostly on, what he missed was Choo's ability to absolutely terrorise RHPs
   25. PreservedFish Posted: December 27, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4624716)
TBF, he meant he was that kind of hitter as the strong half of a platoon

I considered that and I carefully read Cameron's words. If that's what he meant, he should have expressed it better:

I've projected him as a .270/.340/.450 guy, which is a nice fourth outfielder who should play strictly against RHP's.


He didn't say "a guy that could hit .270/.340/.450 against righties" or "as a strict platoon player."

Note that I don't think that Cameron badly screwed this up or anything. On the linked thread Mike Emigh has the exact same take on Choo, and all the statheads at Lookout Landing seemed to have mostly positive takes on the trade. But that comment is strange.

But here's the lesson: Cameron was projecting Choo to become, basically, Broussard. An outfielder instead of a 1b/DH type, but about the same type of hitter, a reasonable platoon corner bat. My 20/20 hindsight take on the trade is not that Choo would obviously blossom - looking back he does indeed look like a probable 4th outfielder type - but rather that the Mariners, on their way to 78 wins and last place, with Richie Sexson and Raul Ibanez already in the fold, traded a decent prospect for a 29-year old platoon DH type. That's the stupidity of the thing. If you are talking about two players with similar batting profiles, but one is 6 years younger and a superior athlete, it should be obvious which one you want. All of the potential was on one side of the deal, and they gave it away to plug a minor hole for a nonexistent playoff race.

It reminds me of a trade the Mets made that drove me crazy, and I ended up being right about: Jason Bay for Steve Reed. Bay was killing it in the minors but he was too old for his leagues and widely projected as a 4th outfielder. In truth I was just as upset about losing Josh Reynolds, a mediocre pitching prospect. I had no idea what Bay would become. But the Mets were on their way to 75 wins and last place ... Steve Reed was a ROOGY in his mid-30s, and the Mets already had a ROOGY named Scott Strickland. They were plugging a minor hole for a fictional playoff race, and giving up players with potential, however meagre, to do it.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 27, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4624718)

1: Choo's minor league numbers were good, not great, .297/.385/.453


A .385 OBP is better than "good", unless he was in a crazy hitting environment.
   27. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 27, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4624726)
What I thought at the time of the Choo/Broussard trade was that I didn't expect him to develop enough power to be more than a 4th OF - and that is exactly what he did do. I didn't see 15-20 HR power coming out of that skill set. Cameron's comment on his swing indicated the same thing.

-- MWE
   28. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 27, 2013 at 03:10 PM (#4624751)
A .385 OBP is better than "good", unless he was in a crazy hitting environment.


It projects to about a .340 in the MLB which is good not great
more to the point, he slugged .442 in 280 AAA games, just .375 his half year in the IL

his first year in the PCL he hit .282/.382/.431, the league hit .278/.350/.442, .382 OBP but most decidedly not a "great" minor league line, that projects to a below average MLB hitter.

But here's the lesson: Cameron was projecting Choo to become, basically, Broussard.

Broussard had better minor leagues numbers (in context).

Choo has ho much better in the majors than he did in the minors, he has hit much better in the majors than most guys with comparable minor league track records- he has improved more than most, rather than making fun of Cameron (as fun as that may be), I would think the question to ask would be why?
Was it anything anyone SHOULD or even COULD have anticipated? Was it something that could be gleaned from a stat line, or watching tape after tape of at bats?
Lasix?
Hard work, more BP?
Less work? (Reputedly David Wright really took off in the minors after coaches had him curtail his PRE-game workout regime)
Changed his bat?
   29. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 27, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4624753)
It's weird seeing an old comment like that from a time when .270/.340/.450 in a corner really was just a nice fourth outfielder

Was that ever true? The thing I take from that is that Dave Cameron said something stupid.


MLB LFs hit .278/.334/.436 in 2005.

A .270/.340/.450 corner OF in a neutral park really was a tad below median regular or a good 4th OF-
of course .270/.340/.450 in Safeco was a bit better than the same line in a neutral park- that line (all other things being even) would make a solid regular in Safeco
   30. The Ghost fouled out, but stays in the game Posted: December 27, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4624756)
One can say that a trade that improves a sub-.500 club a tad isn't worth doing if it hurts future years because it won't get them to the playoffs, but the higher ups usually don't see it that way. Ownership wants improvement to boost public interest now, and GMs want to save their jobs.
   31. Darren Posted: December 27, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4624759)
A lot of those scouty observations are pretty spot on though.


His criticisms seem mostly on, what he missed was Choo's ability to absolutely terrorise RHPs


Well, yeah, but that's the problem with amateurs doing scouting (and the problem with a lot of scouting): you look at a few issues that you can spot and draw way too large of a conclusion about it. Choo was so terrible in the outfield--yet he's been a perfectly fine defender until this year. He couldn't hit breaking balls and his swing is too long and he couldn't handle inside stuff--then he hit 300/400/500 for the next four years after this was written. He can't hit lefties--but he manages a high 700s OPS against them for several years after this is written. As a result of overreacting to each of these (as well his problems with generating power), Cameron tags a repeated 5-WAR player as a 4th OF.

Sometimes statheads should just stop watching baseball games and get their heads back into their spreadsheets.

   32. greenback likes millwall, they don't care Posted: December 27, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4624766)
It's the problem with anybody doing scouting. God help me, but I think that's kinda the point of Moneyball. There's definitely value to be had, but it's tough work.

It projects to about a .340 in the MLB which is good not great

I'm going to guess that Choo wasn't platooned in the minors, so a guy who can't hit lefties should project better than a raw MLE would suggest, assuming he plays for a manager (or a meddling GM) that understands platoon splits.
   33. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 27, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4624767)
Sometimes statheads should just stop watching baseball games and get their heads back into their spreadsheets.

I wonder if it's not a case of your eyes being informed by your knowledge of the stats. You look at Choo's minor league stats which scream to you .340/.450 at best as a platoon player then you watch him in person looking for the physical reasons he's a .340/.450 platoon guy and then it becomes a circular loop of reasoning. He's got a long swing, of course. He's fast but not baseball fast, of course...
   34. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 27, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4624769)
One can say that a trade that improves a sub-.500 club a tad isn't worth doing if it hurts future years because it won't get them to the playoffs, but the higher ups usually don't see it that way. Ownership wants improvement to boost public interest now, and GMs want to save their jobs.


The Mariners were 3 games out of first place when they traded Choo. Granted, they were under .500, but when they were coming off back-to-back 90 loss years, I'm sure they felt like they needed to do something to take advantage of a wide-open AL West, and they were able to improve their club without trading any top prospects. John Sickels had Choo rated 7th in the M's organization before the season with a C+ grade. Baseball America also had him rated 7th.
   35. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 27, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4624770)
It reminds me of a trade the Mets made that drove me crazy, and I ended up being right about: Jason Bay for Steve Reed. Bay was killing it in the minors but he was too old for his leagues and widely projected as a 4th outfielder.


I didn't even recall getting that much for Bay...

Bay was playing in a terrible hitter's park in a terrible hitter's league- league was .251/.327/.368, Bay was hitting .272/.363/.437 (the next year Wright hit .270/.369/.459 in the same place) Bay was promoted to AA and hit .290/.383/.477.

But Bay was traded away 3 times before establishing himself in the majors- the last time he was thrown in the Brian Giles trade because the Padres wanted to keep Xavier Nady more

   36. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 27, 2013 at 03:37 PM (#4624777)
It's weird seeing an old comment like that from a time when .270/.340/.450 in a corner really was just a nice fourth outfielder
Ha! My thoughts exactly.
   37. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 27, 2013 at 03:39 PM (#4624778)
I'm going to guess that Choo wasn't platooned in the minors,


he hasn't been platooned in the majors either, 1/3 of his PAs are against Lefties and he sucks rocks against them.

It's really hard to platoon guys the way Earl Weaver used to if you are gonna carry 12 pitchers

The Indians started platooning him or trying to, but he hit them decently in 2008/09 so they kind of got away from it after 2009- and he's been pretty terrible against LHPs ever since (and getting worse- one of Bill James' early discoveries that no one quite believed was that Platoon Splits tend to get worse over time, and Soo has been pretty much sub-replacement level against LHPs the last 3-4 years)
   38. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 27, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4624779)
Sometimes statheads should just stop watching baseball games and get their heads back into their spreadsheets.


A spreadsheet wouldn't help you to project Choo.

   39. greenback likes millwall, they don't care Posted: December 27, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4624785)
he hasn't been platooned in the majors either, 1/3 of his PAs are against Lefties and he sucks rocks against them.

Yes, he got better [ETA: against RHP]. But I don't see how that's relevant here.

It's really hard to platoon guys the way Earl Weaver used to if you are gonna carry 12 pitchers

I'm old enough to remember some of the position player dreck that was on major league rosters in the 1970s, and what's changed is you don't have stuff like third catchers, two backup shortstops, and whatever Ed Armbrister was supposed to be. On an NL roster there are spots for a 4th OF, a backup catcher, a backup middle infielder, and then two spots for whatever suits your purpose. One of those two wild card spots has to go to a DH in the AL, but there is plenty of room for a RHB OF, and decent corner RH OFs are not that hard to find.
   40. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 27, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4624792)
It's really hard to platoon guys the way Earl Weaver used to if you are gonna carry 12 pitchers



That's not really an excuse though since the Mariners traded Choo so they could have a Ben Broussard/Eduardo Perez platoon.
   41. puck Posted: December 27, 2013 at 04:45 PM (#4624824)
Drafted Brandon Morrow in the first round in 2006 because he wanted a reliever, passing over local boy Tim Lincecum who reportedly he also wanted to make a reliever. Also passed over Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer FWIW.

He shouldn't feel too bad on this one. He could have drafted Greg Reynolds 2nd. And 4 other pitchers were also chosen before Kershaw:

1. Hochevar
2. Reynolds
3. Longoria
4. Lincoln
5. Morrow
6. Miller
7. Kershaw
   42. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 27, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4624829)
Yea, I wouldn't get on them too hard about draft stuff, although it does look bad to pass over the local boy who wins two Cy Young Awards. It was also kind of stupid Bavasi wanted to make Morrow a reliever, even though Morrow is more valuable as a starter.

Also found this interesting....

As Tom Verducci wrote in Sports Illustrated last March, the Mariners went into the 2005 draft intent on picking Tulowitzki. Wrote Verducci:

Tulowitzki awoke on the morning of June 7, 2005, convinced he was headed to Seattle. The Mariners held the third selection. “A couple of minutes before the draft,” he says, “they’d called me and said, ‘You’re our guy.’ “

Instead, general manager Bill Bavasi and scouting director Bob Fontaine determined that catcher was a bigger organizational need and that a left-handed hitter with pop would fit perfectly into Safeco Field.

At home in Sunnyvale, Calif., Tulowitzki was hosting a draft party to which he had invited family, friends, coaches, “anybody in my life who had helped me in the game of baseball,” he says. “Anybody who took me to any games or threw me any balls.”

His phone rang. It was the Mariners, saying that they needed a catcher — during the ’05 season they would use seven — and were choosing Jeff Clement. A 6? 1?, 210-pound lefthanded hitter, Clement was second alltime in home runs for USC (46), behind McGwire. Baseball America rated him the 12th-most-talented player in the draft.

Only five months later Seattle signed Japanese catcher Kenji Johjima to a three-year, $16.5 million contract. Clement, who played nine games in the majors in ’07, is a career .276 minor league hitter with power, but he has work to do on defense. “Absolutely, we feel good about Jeff,” says Seattle G.M. Bill Bavasi. “He’d be on our club right now if Joh weren’t there. One thing we can’t do with Clement is have him sitting and waiting. We have [Richie] Sexson at first, [Jose] Vidro at DH, Joh catching, so it’s just too tough to get him at bats.”
   43. PreservedFish Posted: December 27, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4624845)
I mean, they did have Yuniesky Betamcourt already.
   44. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: December 27, 2013 at 05:30 PM (#4624851)
If you're going to draft a college guy to fill a need and then turn around and fill that need by signing another guy to a three-year contract, then I guess you need the whole "he's a nice guy" thing to fall back on. Sort of like having a good personality.
   45. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 27, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4624857)
The timeline is awesome.

Minutes before the draft: "Tulo is our guy! Call him!"
Arizona takes Justin Upton. No surprise.
Kansas City takes Alex Gordon. No surprise.
"Wait a minute, catcher is our biggest organizational need. Did anyone realize that until just now? TAKE CLEMENT!"
   46. Tiboreau Posted: December 27, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4624872)
Traded Carlos Guillen to the Tigers for Ramon Santiago. Guillen would put up over 18 WAR over the next five seasons.

Gave up a 2004 first round and second round picks to sign Eddie Guardado and Raul Ibanez. One of those picks turned into Glenn Perkins.


The 2003-4 offseason was interesting. Pat Gillick had ostensibly just stepped down, but still exercised an advisory role & the front office was still full of Gillick's men. I heard it said that many of the moves that offseason were either initiated prior to Bavasi's involvement--such as letting Mike Cameron & Arthur Rhodes go and signing Ibañez & Guardado--or mandated upon his arrival--like the Carlos Guillen trade.

IIRC, the Guillen trade was supposedly executed because the Mariners didn't want to pay his arbitration years, but some fans felt it was due to a prior DUI unfitting w\ the family-friendly image the organization seemed to be maintaining at the time. Bavasi initially tried to sign FA Miguel Tejada, but couldn't match Baltimore's offer & settled w\ Rich Aurilia.

One of the philosophical differences b\w Gillick & Bavasi discussed among Mariners fans that offseason revolved around roster construction--Supposedly Bavasi preferred a stars & scrubs approach while Gillick favored a balanced approach using the entire 25-man roster. Now this strikes me as a simplification, but one year later Bavasi would sign two players, each for more than he was allowed to offer Tejada. In addition to signing Scott Spiezio to play 3B after the failure of the Jeff Cirillo experience the moves of the 2003-4 offseason seemed to better reflect Gillick's philosophy at that--patches to cover the growing gaps in an aging roster.

None of this excuses Bavasi, of course, especially for the proceeding moves listed, many of which were ballyhooed at the time they were made. I've just found the analysis of the Mariners' 2003-4 offseason curious as an example of front office transition--or, at least, outsiders' analyses of a front office transition. . . .
   47. Darren Posted: December 27, 2013 at 07:22 PM (#4624906)
A spreadsheet wouldn't help you to project Choo.


It helped me! :)

Looking at his track record, I see a guy who hit really well in AA at 21, hit well at pretty much every level except a stumble when he reached AAA at 22. At 23, he went back to hitting really well and the Mariners dealt him. In the 2007 ZIPs, he was projected for .280 .361 .427 as a 24-year-old.
   48. Tiboreau Posted: December 27, 2013 at 08:10 PM (#4624945)
Here's the thing about Bill Bavasi that always colors my thoughts about him: his skill as General Manager of the Mariners stands in exact inverse proportion to his personal character. Terrible at his job, and hence not missed, but literally everyone who ever worked for him will fall all over themselves to point out that he's one of the kindest, most considerate guys in the game. This letter to Neyer merely reinforces that.

Yeah, seem to recall that as the core members of the 2001 Mariners aged & the team struggled Bavasi didn't merely dump them but made every attempt to trade them to contenders hoping a John Olerud, Bret Boone, or Jamie Moyer might be a spare part to assist their playoff run.
   49. Tiboreau Posted: December 27, 2013 at 08:16 PM (#4624947)
Lest we forget, the Asdrubal Cabrera for Eduardo Perez trade came that same season. Perez was even less useful than Broussard, and while Cabrera isn't a nine-figure player at this point, he's been worth 19.6 WAR to the Indians.

I remember! They were separate trades, but the Mariners essentially traded two prospects--Choo & Cabrera--for the Indians 1B platoon. Neither deal was liked, but the Cabrera for Perez trade was considered especially egregious.
   50. Tiboreau Posted: December 27, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4624950)
Trade Rafael Soriano to Atlanta for Horacio Ramirez. Soriano was a 3.5 WAR reliever over 3 seasons in Atlanta. HoRam was let go after one 7.16 ERA season in Seattle.

And Ramirez finished w\ a winning record that year, despite the 7+ ERA! 8-7, but going by memory I would've sworn it was more like 3-12. . . .
   51. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 27, 2013 at 08:20 PM (#4624951)
IIRC, the Guillen trade was supposedly executed because the Mariners didn't want to pay his arbitration years, but some fans felt it was due to a prior DUI unfitting w\ the family-friendly image the organization seemed to be maintaining at the time. Bavasi initially tried to sign FA Miguel Tejada, but couldn't match Baltimore's offer & settled w\ Rich Aurilia.


From what I remember, Guillen was regarded by upper management as a bad influence on Freddy Garcia, who at the time was the team's ace.
   52. vivaelpujols Posted: December 27, 2013 at 08:43 PM (#4624958)
I really do think that a lot of sabermetrics has grown too confident in using its eyes to evaluate a player.


Dave Cameron is not a sabermetrician, but a writer/analyst with sabermetric leanings. Sabermetrics specifically doesn't factor in subjective scouting opinions, unless it's doing so in a systematic way (IE creating a system that weights statistics and scouting in a consistent way and does so on some empirical or theoretical basis).
   53. vivaelpujols Posted: December 27, 2013 at 08:49 PM (#4624962)
Sometimes statheads should just stop watching baseball games and get their heads back into their spreadsheets.

I wonder if it's not a case of your eyes being informed by your knowledge of the stats. You look at Choo's minor league stats which scream to you .340/.450 at best as a platoon player then you watch him in person looking for the physical reasons he's a .340/.450 platoon guy and then it becomes a circular loop of reasoning. He's got a long swing, of course. He's fast but not baseball fast, of course...


Agree with both of you guys. It's very hard to separate process from results on both sides. If a guy strikes out on 3 pitches he's going to look bad regardless of whether or not he has a nice swing. If a pitcher gives up 6 runs in 2 innings he's going to look bad regardless of whether or not his raw stuff and control was good.

Ideally, scouts should not be able to see the outcomes and statisticians should not be able to look at the process. They should create their own independent assessments and than combine them later in the process.
   54. Curse of the Andino Posted: December 27, 2013 at 09:30 PM (#4624984)
Traded Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, and Kam Mickolio for Erik Bedard. Bedard made 30 starts in Seattle over the next two years combined before hitting free agency. Adam Jones is a 3-time All-Star with 18.5 WAR in Baltimore.


Be fair, Bedard put up 3.1 WAR in his two seasons in Seattle. Chris Tillman put up 6 WAR in his last two seasons for the O's, though it did take him three years to put it together (he's only gonna be 26 next year). Jones is at 20, Sherrill was turned into Mike Belfiore and Steve Johnson (two guys who might pan out, Belfiore as a LOOGY at least).

I'm biased, but I think Bavasi was a great GM, and hope he's one day lucky enough to head up a club with a rich farm system. Not Baltimore, but the Dodgers or something.
   55. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:40 PM (#4625310)
I'm biased, but I think Bavasi was a great GM


Really? Did you read the list of transactions above? Bavasi is a nightmare and has been since his Anaheim days....
   56. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 28, 2013 at 07:19 PM (#4625328)
To some extent, Choo and Kevin Youkilis had similar development paths. I was skeptical of both players for pretty much the same reason - they were players who showed limited power but who got through the minors largely with OBP skills, and those players don't typically have good track records of success in the majors. Both became successful major leaguers because they were able to add power to their repertoire when they got to the majors.

There's some truth to the idea that your eyes are informed by your knowledge of the stats. For me this is most true when I look at power, because park and league effects can be so pervasive that I have trouble digging out real power potential until I've actually watched a player more than a handful of times. I wasn't nearly as high on Giancarlo Stanton as were most other people until I saw him at AA in 2009 and 2010 and realized that he wasn't just taking advantage of friendly environments and pitchers who made mistakes.

-- MWE
   57. Esoteric Posted: December 28, 2013 at 07:42 PM (#4625338)
Really? Did you read the list of transactions above? Bavasi is a nightmare and has been since his Anaheim days....
Perhaps you weren't aware, but Curse Of The Andino is...an Orioles fan.
   58. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: December 28, 2013 at 08:16 PM (#4625352)
There's some truth to the idea that your eyes are informed by your knowledge of the stats.

That's why I don't pay too much attention to Tango's fan scouting project, though I like the idea.

Re: Choo and Youkilis, Mike - it depends on why they don't show more than moderate power - isn't it? Youk always seemed like a guy with solid pop to me, even when he wasn't demonstrating it as a pro. (Mind you, I was goofy for him since his U. Cincy days and can't be trusted here). The countervailing adage of 'power is the last tool to come' seems relevant here.

10/bobm: thanks. that's what i had in mind.
   59. PreservedFish Posted: December 28, 2013 at 09:07 PM (#4625377)
Sometimes statheads should just stop watching baseball games and get their heads back into their spreadsheets.


I couldn't agree with this more. On Fangraphs and Prospectus you can't swing a digital cat without hitting some reference to a player's "hit tool" or "arm slot." I get the impulse to integrate the scouting angle, but sometimes I don't really want it. I can get that elsewhere. But the real problem is that, while I can judge the reasoning of a stathead just fine, the arguments of a scout are impossible to evaluate from my perspective, and I usually have no idea if the author's judgment and acumen is worth respecting.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Dingbat_Charlie
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogVIDEO: Brewers, Pirates brawl after Carlos Gomez triple
(120 - 11:19am, Apr 21)
Last: Rennie's Tenet

NewsblogJ.R. Gamble: Albert Pujols' 500-Homer Chase Is A Bore, But That's Baseball's Fault
(4 - 11:18am, Apr 21)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogMorosi: MLB must evolve to let players express themselves without rebuke
(18 - 11:16am, Apr 21)
Last: John Northey

NewsblogDoug Glanville: I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway
(421 - 11:13am, Apr 21)
Last: The Id of SugarBear Blanks

NewsblogIvan Nova’s season in jeopardy after tearing elbow ligament
(12 - 11:13am, Apr 21)
Last: Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread March, 2014
(964 - 11:12am, Apr 21)
Last: ursus arctos

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-21-2014
(28 - 11:09am, Apr 21)
Last: Rennie's Tenet

NewsblogOTP April 2014: BurstNET Sued for Not Making Equipment Lease Payments
(1745 - 11:09am, Apr 21)
Last: Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora

NewsblogMinuteman News Center: Giandurco: This means WAR
(97 - 11:08am, Apr 21)
Last: tshipman

NewsblogBryce Harper benched for 'lack of hustle' despite quad injury
(109 - 11:01am, Apr 21)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogGleeman: Mets minor league team is hosting “Seinfeld night”
(162 - 11:00am, Apr 21)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogDeadspin: Here is a Chicken Playing Baseball
(1 - 10:52am, Apr 21)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogOMNICHATTER for APRIL 21, 2014
(4 - 10:48am, Apr 21)
Last: Rickey! In a van on 95 south...

NewsblogDaniel Bryan's 'YES!' chant has spread to the Pirates' dugout
(138 - 10:11am, Apr 21)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1953 Ballot
(1 - 10:04am, Apr 21)
Last: DL from MN

Demarini, Easton and TPX Baseball Bats

 

 

 

 

Page rendered in 0.7912 seconds
52 querie(s) executed