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

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rudman: Ichiro’s In The Process Of ‘Winking Out’

Eugene Field to Safeco Field…Winking, blinking, and nodding off.

Last year, Ichiro’s WAR was -0.4.

That is a time-to-retire number. Many players of Ichiro’s historical profile have either shuffled away voluntarily or been shown the door after producing a WAR higher than -0.4, and approximately at the same age as Ichiro (38).

Ichiro’s WAR numbers, especially if you have marveled over him for the past decade, paint an inevitable decline that no shift in his place in the batting order is likely to stem. According to WAR, Ichiro hasn’t been an All-Star since 2009 (although he made the 2010 All-Star team), and actually peaked as a player in 2004, when he produced an 8.1 WAR at 30.

...If Ichiro doesn’t tie himself in knots trying for 200 hits, maybe he can make a more positive contribution than in 2011. But it doesn’t appear any upward bounce will be very high, problematic for the Mariners who owe him another $18 million in what will be the final year of his contract.

Ichiro has often said he would like to play at least until 40, perhaps a little longer. Here’s what I’d like to see Ichiro do: Play out his contract with the Mariners, return to Japan, and finish his career where it started, with dignity and a nearly unblemished major league career intact. As his WAR trend suggests, anything less won’t be pretty.

Repoz Posted: February 13, 2012 at 09:50 PM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, 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. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: February 13, 2012 at 10:55 PM (#4060330)
Many players of Ichiro’s historical profile have either shuffled away voluntarily or been shown the door after producing a WAR higher than -0.4, and approximately at the same age as Ichiro (38).


Are there "many" players of Ichiro's historical profile? The closest one the article provides is Lloyd Waner, who isn't all that similar either by BBRef Similarity Score (875) or by career shape (since most of his best seasons were before the age of 27, which aren't seasons that count for Ichiro in the Similarity Scores).
   2. RJ in TO Posted: February 13, 2012 at 11:12 PM (#4060335)
Sam Rice is always the one who comes to mind for me, as he was another average-driven hit machine who didn't arrive as a regular until later than usual.
   3. Select Storage Device Posted: February 13, 2012 at 11:15 PM (#4060337)
Here’s what I’d like to see Ichiro do: Play out his contract with the Mariners, return to Japan, and finish his career where it started, with dignity and a nearly unblemished major league career intact.


Thankfully, Ichiro! doesn't give dick-n'-balls about what you'd like or think. And if he goes back to Japan and hits .323/.360/.427, will we have to deal with rumors of him coming back?

Because essentially you are asking a guy to go back to AAA "where it all started." Dignity would be to retire as a major leaguer -- not back in Japan as a retirement tour.

#######.
   4. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 13, 2012 at 11:24 PM (#4060339)
Let's see, based on his season-by-season most similar players, you get three guys who played over a hundred years ago (George Gore, Mike Donlin, and Bill Everitt). Gore and Donlin had very long careers (Donlin's interrupted by his acting career), and Everitt had a sudden decline at 31, and was done at 33. You also have Taffy Wright from the 40s, who was still good at age 37, and went on to be really good for Louisville and Ottawa for four more years. And Wally Moses, who was still good at 39. And Al Wingo, who only had one good year anyway. And the only vaguely recent player, Ralph Garr, who was done at 34.

Also, BB-ref has way too high OPS+ numbers right now for some reason. Check out Ralph Garr.
   5. PreservedFish Posted: February 13, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4060340)
According to WAR, Ichiro hasn’t been an All-Star since 2009


Ooof.
   6. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: February 13, 2012 at 11:32 PM (#4060342)
Also, BB-ref has way too high OPS+ numbers right now for some reason. Check out Ralph Garr.


I was going to point out the same thing when I saw that Willie McCovey had a 243 OPS+ for his age 37 season, well below his career average of 279.
   7. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: February 13, 2012 at 11:37 PM (#4060343)
Ichrio a WAR of -0.4? Well then, that settles it.
   8. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: February 13, 2012 at 11:37 PM (#4060344)
What do we need GMs for anyway? An 80s software program can tell us who has a good WAR and a bad WAR.
   9. Gamingboy Posted: February 13, 2012 at 11:53 PM (#4060353)
Winking out? Racist.
   10. JoeC Posted: February 13, 2012 at 11:53 PM (#4060354)
Last year, Ichiro’s WAR was -0.4.

That is a time-to-retire number.


It's not *that* hard to find multiple All-Star level players who had a replacement-level season at an advanced age and came back to have at least a couple more decent years.

Stan Musial, 1959 (at age 38)
Reggie Jackson, 1984 (age 38)
Barry Larkin, 2002 (age 38)
Fred McGriff, 2000 (age 36)
Craig Biggio, 2002 (age 36)

It's true, though, there are only one or two 3+ WAR seasons in the remainder of those careers.
   11. McCoy Posted: February 14, 2012 at 12:01 AM (#4060358)
Who knew that Pete Rose put up a 304 OPS+ in 1973?

But anyway Pete put up several "comeback" seasons.
   12. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: February 14, 2012 at 12:02 AM (#4060359)

Winking out? Racist.


Frankly, when I first saw the headline, I thought it said "Twinking Out." That certainly brought an image to mind...
   13. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 14, 2012 at 12:06 AM (#4060361)
Anyway, most players of ANY "historical profile have either shuffled away voluntarily or been shown the door ... approximately at the same age as Ichiro (38)."
   14. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: February 14, 2012 at 12:08 AM (#4060362)
Winking out? Racist.


Really? The racist police strike me as the same people that spend their days at the beach with a metal detector looking for buried treasure.
   15. bookbook Posted: February 14, 2012 at 12:24 AM (#4060366)
Lion, That was pretty obviously a joke. Inhale. Count to five. Exhale. It will be okay.
   16. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: February 14, 2012 at 12:36 AM (#4060367)
Well, the C02 on the planet has crowded out the oxygen, global warming is bad for comedy.
   17. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: February 14, 2012 at 12:57 AM (#4060373)
"[H]e hit a myopic .210 . . . and faded, like a rotten melon."


That's some sportswriting there.

Yeah, Ichiro had a crappy year by Ichiro standards, but he still had the third-best OPS+ among regulars on his team. I think I'll wait until the rest of the club starts playing a little better before I complain about the right fielder.
   18. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 14, 2012 at 12:59 AM (#4060375)
Not only that, but his last pre-All-Star Game pep speech consisted of three hecks and a balderdash.
   19. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: February 14, 2012 at 01:13 AM (#4060378)
Ichrio is still extremely entertaining. As #17 says, unless he is holding them back from a WS, it's silly to suggest he move on. Besides, I'm sure a 44 year old Ichrio in the midst of a -4 WAR season could figure out a way to be productive for 4-7 games.
   20. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 14, 2012 at 01:25 AM (#4060380)
The dWAR component is doing an awful lot of heavy lifting in -0.4 WAR here. It's a full win worse than any season he has ever had, and a full 2 wins worse than his career averages.

Now, it is certainly possible that Ichiro is toast. And he is almost certainly not going to be worth what he is paid. But just citing WAR here, without noting the defensive caveat, is incredibly misleading. Either it comes from somebody with an axe to grind, or from somebody who doesn't understand statistical analysis. Either way, not worth paying attention to.
   21. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 14, 2012 at 01:25 AM (#4060381)
Ichrio is still extremely entertaining

Spot on. Everyone here is happy to delve into stats which will paint a picture of a player's true value, however as a baseball fan, this dude is just fun to watch. Sure his chase for 200 hits isn't a quest for absolute value, but it's entertaining.
Maybe this is the year he turns into that 30 homer guy we know he can be!
   22. catomi01 Posted: February 14, 2012 at 01:31 AM (#4060383)
Ichiro could still hit .300 if he really wanted too.
   23. cmd600 Posted: February 14, 2012 at 01:44 AM (#4060386)
Sure, even bad players can put up "productive" games, whatever our moving goalposts definition of that is going to be, but if you can't be useful for more than seven games, then it is definitely time to move on. Both forms of WAR show a pretty steep dropoff in the field for him last year, and with the usual caveats about fielding stats, if that's truly the case, I really can't see him helping a team enough to truly deserve a guaranteed roster spot. And just because his teammates sucked more doesn't mean that he didn't suck. Nate Cornejo had the best ERA in the 2003 Tigers rotation, that didn't mean you could ignore him until all your other problems were fixed.
   24. PreservedFish Posted: February 14, 2012 at 01:55 AM (#4060387)
Nate Cornejo had the best ERA in the 2003 Tigers rotation, that didn't mean you could ignore him until all your other problems were fixed.


Why not?
   25. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: February 14, 2012 at 02:06 AM (#4060390)
Look, the Mariners stink on ice. If there's something that the fans like for some reason, you have to keep it around until you're ready to bring on a winning team.
   26. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 14, 2012 at 02:44 AM (#4060393)
If only there were a way Ichiro could provide some sort of value or revenue to the Mariners besides his in-game performance.
   27. I Remember When Posted: February 14, 2012 at 02:55 AM (#4060395)
Look, the Mariners stink on ice.


Uh - maybe they should play on grass this season.
   28. boteman Posted: February 14, 2012 at 02:59 AM (#4060396)
Not only that, but his last pre-All-Star Game pep speech consisted of three hecks and a balderdash.

OK, I'll say that the three Hecks were Frankie, Sue, and Axl, with a balderdash from Mike. Was I close?
   29. Bug Selig Posted: February 14, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4060431)
Why not?


Because his arm fell off.
   30. AROM Posted: February 14, 2012 at 09:05 AM (#4060434)
"Nate Cornejo had the best ERA in the 2003 Tigers rotation, that didn't mean you could ignore him until all your other problems were fixed.


Why not?"

Because you cannot ignore The Great Cornejo! Do you threaten him? Bring him TP for his bunghole!
   31. BDC Posted: February 14, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4060481)
If Ichiro doesn’t tie himself in knots trying for 200 hits, maybe he can make a more positive contribution


Is anybody else bugged by this theme? (A version of it showed up the other day in the Figgins-to-leadoff article.) 200 hits in and of itself may not have any magical value, but getting base hits (specifically singles) is how the guy succeeds in baseball. It's also what he's historically great at. It's like telling Monet to stop tying himself into knots trying to paint those water lilies.

   32. bfan Posted: February 14, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4060517)
Except that to the extent getting 200 hits means not taking walks (trying to hit a 3-1 pitch that looks outside because a 1/3 chance of getting a hit is better to achieve that goal than letting the pitch go and walking), and not driving the ball (the just enough contact swing which puts the ball and play and gives him a chance to get on base, instead of trying to drive the ball, with a trade-off of contact for power).
   33. John Northey Posted: February 14, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4060535)
Hmm... if the Mariners played on ice now that would draw a few fans. Imagine baseball on ice - as long as the ball doesn't break the ice it would make for a lot of entertaining plays in the outfield. Imagine the attempts at base stealing and watching a guy start to slide into 2nd from about 3 feet off of first.

Also check B-R http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rosepe01.shtml - Rose now has two years over 300 for OPS+, never below 155 - maybe he should mount a comeback :)
   34. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: February 14, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4060553)
Who knew that Pete Rose put up a 304 OPS+ in 1973?

But anyway Pete put up several "comeback" seasons.


Steroids.
   35. BDC Posted: February 14, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4060575)
Except that to the extent getting 200 hits means not taking walks [...] and not driving the ball

Sure, but again, that's the man's talent. Every kind of success is a tradeoff. It's very likely that Ichiro would have had less success if he'd tried to remake himself in the direction of, say, Brian Giles (a more successful hitter overall. In fact, Jeebus, I just looked him up and Giles had a career OPS+ of 222, who knew.)

I just dislike criticism of the type "stop doing what works for you." You see this of a lot of players who had extreme forms of success; you even used to hear it about Barry Bonds ("what if he just swung at some of those close pitches, he'd drive in a lot more runs"). But maybe you can't have everything, and have to go with your own strengths.
   36. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: February 14, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4060627)
Wow, Babe Ruth had a 399 OPS+.

Is that even possible?
   37. Randy Jones Posted: February 14, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4060652)
Wow, Babe Ruth had a 399 OPS+.

Is that even possible?


career 315!

Something is broken with BB-Ref's calculations for older players' OPS+. I checked some active players and their numbers look correct.
   38. Copronymus Posted: February 14, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4060770)
When I checked earlier today, Barry definitely had 2 seasons over 400, but it looks like that's fixed now so maybe the fix is moving slowly backwards in time? Actually, right now Jeff Bagwell looks right but Barry Larkin's got a lifetime 212.
   39. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 14, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4060781)
Concur with previous posts. Trying to get Ichiro Suzuki to take a flyer on a new hitting style offers all the promise of Mel Stottlemyre getting Dwight Gooden's pitch count down.
   40. Karl from NY Posted: February 14, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4060933)
An 80s software program can tell us who has a good WAR and a bad WAR.

How about a nice game of Global Thermonuclear WAR?
   41. Karl from NY Posted: February 14, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4060945)
Wow, Babe Ruth had a 399 OPS+.

Is that even possible?

Depends on where league average is. 400 OPS+ requires that you record marks of 2.5x league average for both OBP and SLG, or a similar combination. If league OBP were .320 and league SLG .400, you could get there with OBP .800 and SLG 1.000. If league average is sufficiently high, there's not enough "headroom" on the scale for 400 OPS+ to be possible, but given that SLG can theoretically range up to 4.000, you'd need league average SLG to exceed 1.000.

But even Ruth surely didn't really hit 399 OPS+.
   42. Sweet Posted: February 14, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4060971)
Something is broken with BB-Ref's calculations for older players' OPS+. I checked some active players and their numbers look correct.

The only possible explanation is that Sean Forman is on steroids.

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

NewsblogFan Returns Home Run Ball to Ishikawa; Receives World Series tickets
(14 - 6:51pm, Oct 20)
Last: JJ1986

NewsblogCalcaterra: So, if you’re not a fan of the Royals or Giants, who ya got?
(72 - 6:49pm, Oct 20)
Last: Cat8

NewsblogOT: Politics, October 2014: Sunshine, Baseball, and Etch A Sketch: How Politicians Use Analogies
(2754 - 6:43pm, Oct 20)
Last: zenbitz

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(8361 - 6:42pm, Oct 20)
Last: Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee

NewsblogPitch from Zito helped sell Hudson on Giants | MLB.com
(4 - 6:39pm, Oct 20)
Last: Willie Mayspedester

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - October 2014
(270 - 6:31pm, Oct 20)
Last: Spivey

NewsblogMorosi: Could Cain’s story make baseball king of sports world again?
(97 - 6:24pm, Oct 20)
Last: BDC

NewsblogAngell: Gigantic
(36 - 6:22pm, Oct 20)
Last: Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip

NewsblogESPN: Brian Roberts retires
(22 - 6:19pm, Oct 20)
Last: Captain Supporter

NewsblogCould the Yankees ever be Royals? Young and athletic K.C. is everything that Bombers are not - NY Daily News
(23 - 6:13pm, Oct 20)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogOT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(841 - 6:13pm, Oct 20)
Last: DJS and the Infinite Sadness

NewsblogSielski: A friend fights for ex-Phillie Dick Allen's Hall of Fame induction
(60 - 5:53pm, Oct 20)
Last: RMc is a fine piece of cheese

NewsblogWhy Royals great Frank White no longer associates with the team whose stadium he built - Yahoo Sports
(17 - 5:35pm, Oct 20)
Last: Zach

NewsblogDealing or dueling – what’s a manager to do? | MGL on Baseball
(8 - 5:17pm, Oct 20)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogHitting coaches blamed for lack of offense - Sports - The Boston Globe
(12 - 5:17pm, Oct 20)
Last: RMc is a fine piece of cheese

Page rendered in 0.3610 seconds
52 querie(s) executed