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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Seattle Mariners

Signed P Eddie Guardado to a 3-year, $13 million contract.

Anyone want to make an over/under on how long it is until Sasaki starts getting anonymous “fan mail” from Mariners officials that suggest he’d be happier back in Japan?  If that doesn’t work, Guardado will take over Arthurly’s alpha-lefty job with the Mariners.  Speaking of Rhodes, I think he’s going to bounce back well.

Guardado, Eddie - 2004 ZiPS Projection
W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
5   2 67   0   63   52   24   7 18 60 3.43

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 09, 2003 at 11:44 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Voros McCracken Posted: January 30, 2002 at 11:40 PM (#553485)
The point I'd like to make is that Gillick's current deals look an awful lot like the ones he made in Baltimore and Toronto towards the end.

First off, signing James Baldwin and handing him a rotation spot at this point in his career is not smart baseball regardless of what happens. He's strictly minor-league contract material and you have him pitch in AAA and see if maybe something happens. Some people are guessing that Baldwin may return to form, but he's never been much of any good. I've seen enough James Baldwin starts in my lifetime to know that I really don't need to see any more. Even when he'd get people, out he'd scare the bejeezus out of me.

You get guys like Ruben Sierra before they have the 2001 season, not after. You can't say that it was "strength conditioning" that caused his rebound in 2001 _after_ the rebound occured. It's an ad hoc explanation that nobody has any real idea if it's true.

You can't just ignore the fact that immediately after Gillick left his previous two posts, the teams immediately descended into some of the lowest moments in franchise history.

Gillick spent huge amounts of money while with both clubs (the Blue Jays were consistently among the highest payroll teams of the early 90s), and soon after his departure, those clubs were fielding teams with among the highest payrolls in the league, and sub .500 records.

It seems to me that Gillick didn't do enough good in not so difficult situations, to be considered a top flight GM. Would I rather have him than Kenny Williams? Sure thing! But I really wouldn't rate him as significantly better than Jim Bowden or Dan Duquette.
   102. Voros McCracken Posted: January 31, 2002 at 12:50 AM (#553333)
"I disagree with Vlad entirely... good moves are moves that work out well, bad moves are the ones that don't. How else are you going to judge?"

If you have 18 in black jack and hit and draw a 3, does it then become a "good" move?

Scouts don't receive the benefit of my doubt. I rely on information I know has been tested and evaluated for accuracy. Does that mean I'm using superior information to that of someone looking at a Major League scouting report? No, of course not. But then again, given the lack of information available from major league scouting reports, I very well might be.

Either way, I'm using the best information I have available to me at the moment, and so my judgments have to derive from there. To do otherwise would be foolish. So if our available information tends to indicate that a signing or trade is questionable, I see no reason to back down from there, since I really haven't been given any reason to think otherwise.

Basically I have no inherent problem with any method of evaluating players anyone proposes. What I do have a problem with are methods for which there haven't been any significant tests or trials done to validate their accuracy (or at least none that we have knowledge of) and then people expecting me to take it on faith that they're better than methods that have been tested and shown to be at least reasonably effective.
   103. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 31, 2002 at 04:57 AM (#553488)
I agree with Robert Dudek and Rob Harrison; and I'd also like to point out that Gillick and Piniella seem to be very compatible. Gillick so far in Seattle has had a way of making the right moves. He (to me) seems to be highly skilled at assembling good teams (as opposed to collections of good players), and I think that his outlook in that regard matches Lou's very closely, and for that reason, were I running the show in Seattle, given the choice to trade Gillick for Beane, I wouldn't do it.

Of course, until someone comes up with some objective criteria for measuring the ability of a GM, it's all subjective anyway.
   104. Robert Dudek Posted: January 31, 2002 at 07:53 AM (#553489)
I'm surprised that Voros makes the "where there is smoke, there must be fire" argument.

I've admitted that Gillick wasn't responsible for all the success of his teams, how can he be responsible for all the bad that happened afterwards?

The Blue Jays were building for '92 and '93 and they mortgaged a good chunk of their future to do it. Decade-long runs of success usually don't last another decade - all good things must end.

Perhaps Gillick's greatest error of judgement was thinking that Ash was a worthy successor. As Blue Jays fans are painfully aware, he was very wrong. Ash was no doubt a very competent assistant, but when the true test came he showed himself lacking in judgement.

The Blue Jays ownership was hands off. Gillick has never had to work with anyone as egomaniacal as Angelos - that was a special case. Maybe the Orioles' front office prior to Gillick's arrival was a docile, do the boss's bidding type. They sure didn't have much on-field success.

Point out a GM that has figured out a way to work with Angelos? Oh yah, Syd Thrift seems to fit the bill, if you like incompetent yes-men.

I've said that I don't particularly like the Baldwin signing, but it's a minor personel decision. If he doesn't pitch well, the Mariners have plenty of other options. He's there for back of the rotation insurance.
   105. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 31, 2002 at 03:10 PM (#553690)
What's Rob Dibble up to these days, anyway?
   106. Kurt Posted: January 31, 2002 at 03:27 PM (#553691)
Dibble makes a fool out of himself at ESPN.

The best was when he said he'd rather have Pettitte over Randy Johnson because Pettitte 'knew how to win in the playoffs'.

   107. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 31, 2002 at 03:40 PM (#553692)
I guess Johnson's a quick study on that kind of stuff.
   108. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 31, 2002 at 06:20 PM (#553335)
Re: Robert Dudek

I disagree with Mr. Dudek when he says, "It's just hubris on the part of 'so-called' analyists to think that they can determine whether a move is good or bad in advance." The people making decisions for major league baseball clubs are people just like us, and they are paid large amounts of money to try to determine in advance whether hypothetical moves are good or bad. How will it affect our performance to trade Player A for Player B? Is Player C capable of delivering adequate performance against major league-caliber opposition? How well will Player D be able to perform after he recovers from his injury? The people in the front offices make decisions like this every day, and they have no special access to knowledge of future events. They use predictive models, even if those models aren't internally consistent or based on statistical data. That their models are in some cases drawn from different sources of information than ours does not make our models less valid or useful than theirs. I have just as much right to draw conclusions about the world around me as an other human in the world. The idea that I can, with effort, become better at drawing conclusions than any other human in the world seems to me more like optimism and faith in man's capacity for self-improvement than like hubris.

When judging events in the past, _of course_ actual results are the most important determining factor as to whether a move was good or bad. If something works, it works, and if it doesn't, it doesn't. The fact that it worked once, however, does not necessarily mean that it is likely to work again. A good example of this type of situation is the coin flip to determine the receiving team at the start of overtime in a football game. A captain can call heads or tails. Say, hypothetically, he calls 'heads' and is correct. He made a good decision, and no other external analysis will change the fact that he achieved an optimal outcome.

It would be fallacious of us to assume, however, that his past record of successful coin-flips will mean that he's likely to do just as well if placed in a similar situation next year. We look at his methodology for reaching the decision and try to determine whether his logic was valid. Our hypothetical player might have been thinking about being hungry as he walked to the center of the field, and chosen as he did because 'hamburger' and 'heads' both start with the letter H. He might be a superstitious guy, who always chooses heads because he picked heads the first time he was faced with the question and chose correctly. Neither of these approaches are ones that will likely be unusually successful in the future, and in either case it would be fair of us to say that the player might not be destined for an unusual history of success in the future. On the other hand, the player might have noticed as he was walking out that the referee was using a Belgian eurodollar for this particular coin flip, and he might have remembered reading in the news that the Belgian eurodollar is struck asymmetrically and prone to coming up heads ( , down toward the bottom). If the latter is the case, we can follow his methodology in choosing heads and conclude that he might enjoy some advantage over the first two players in the future.

No methodology is perfect, of course. In their next coin-flip, the first two might be right again, and the third might be wrong. Future research might reveal that the Belgian eurodollar is, in fact, only biased when spun, and not flipped. We have to be willing to modify our models when we find ones that are more effective. If Boone repeats last season's production for the life of his contract, I will be perfectly willing to
   109. Robert Dudek Posted: January 31, 2002 at 07:06 PM (#553336)
"If you have 18 in black jack and hit and draw a 3, does it then become a "good" move?"

Yes it was a good move because you won. But I wouldn't try that on a regular basis because you'll get burned.

The problem is that acquiring players is not like playing Black Jack. Players are all different. Yes there are some commonalities, but never enough so that you can test the potential acquisition of Ruben Sierra in a sufficient number of trials because Ruben Sierra will behave differently than any other player.

Gillick has access to information that Voros doesn't and he probably isn't looking at the information that Voros has in the way that Voros is. So, in a world of incomplete information, we should refrain from making absolutist statements about what is a good and not so good signing.

In Black Jack, a skilled player can calculate their odds of winning in any given scenario, but in baseball there is no way that anyone can ever know what the true chance of success is for any given decision.

In Black Jack there are only two possible results: a win and a loss (or a tie). In baseball, a move can succeed or fail over a wide range. Moves are closely connected with other moves, so they can't be viewed in isolation.

I challenge Voros to provide data for the success rate of acquiring a Ruben Sierra type player for a team that has won over 200 games the last two years and needs to fill a hole in the outfield.
   110. jwb Posted: January 31, 2002 at 07:06 PM (#553695)
The short, happy 2001 of Randall Kirk Meyers:

08/28/01 Randall Myers -- New Contract
   111. Robert Dudek Posted: January 31, 2002 at 07:30 PM (#553337)

Why don't you roll out your model and let me take a look at it?

What bothers me most from so-called "stat-heads" (and I have been called one several times) is that they seem to assume an accuracy for their models that is completely unjustified.

In general they tend to overvalue youth and undervalue experience. They tend to ignore defense because they can't measure it very well.

Bret Boone has shown himself to be a good defensively player. No one expected him to hit like he did last year, but he was far from the worst hitting 2B prior to 2001. Players do not age in identical ways and I have yet to see any model take things like conditioning into account, something which ought to have a huge impact on the aging patterns of every player.

Why do you think your model for judging player acquisitions is better than whatever criteria the Seattle Mariners use? Show me the model you use to evaluate player acquisitions, if you have one.

GMs have to make hundreds of decisions every year. Some turn out very well and others very badly. Gillick's clubs succeed so that must mean that the organisation as a whole is making, on balance, good decisions.

I think that Boone's 2001 season ought to give stat-heads pause for thought regarding how limited the significance of their predictive models really is.
   112. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 31, 2002 at 07:32 PM (#553338)
<i>If Boone repeats last season's production for the life of his contract, I will be perfectly willing to
   113. bob mong Posted: January 31, 2002 at 10:55 PM (#553698)
"The club did not re-sign him this year, and it appears that at age 39, Myers' career is over."

news from Jan 25, 2002:

And what the hell is wrong with Norm Charlton? I don't think Gillick overpaid for him - he had a 3.02 ERA last year with a 5:1 K:BB ratio.
   114. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 18, 2002 at 01:02 AM (#555457)
Anderson tore his labrum. The shoulder is an intersection of the scapula, the clavicle and the humerus. The labrum is an area of tissue right around the socket and when the labrum is torn, it lossens the socket's grip on the humerus, which can lead to a bunch of nasty dislocations when the arm is used.
   115. Colin Posted: April 18, 2002 at 02:19 AM (#555941)
I had been wondering if Wright - long a guy I've rooted for - had possibly the worst major league debut ever for a hitter. He gets called up. On Sunday he debuts, goes 0-3 with a strikeout, a double play and a triple play. Then gets demoted.

Not exactly the way he envisioned the culmination of the dream worked toward since childhood, I imagine.
   116. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: April 19, 2002 at 05:49 AM (#555947)
However, the Major League Rosters are far too pitcher heavy (11 or 12) lately (The curse of the LaRussa micro-manager). Does Seattle really need another pitcher body? The demotion cannot have done anything to help Wright's psyche.


You're right that the Mariners don't need another pitcher in general (though they were fairly spent after that extra inning game; they used everyone except Pineiro, who they used the next day in the rain). If Piniella wants another lefty in the bullpen, ahem?

How about John Halama with Pineiro in the rotation?!

Seattle has plenty of depth in the bullpen. They have essentially seven starters and four other good relievers (not counting Fitzgerald).

Piniella was very upset when Wright gave away a bunt before hitting into his double play. For what it's worth, Wright took the demotion very well.
   117. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: April 21, 2002 at 07:06 AM (#555949)

I've always though Halama had some good potential, and I don't mind him seeing some rotation time. But I don't want Pineiro stuck in the bullpen all year.

I understand that Piniella decided to skip Halama's spot Friday, so that should have been another bullpen option last week. Also, next week, Halama's not going to start; it's going to be Franklin instead. If this is a joke, I don't get it.

It's not that I have any objection to Franklin and Halama getting some starts. I just don't understand why they're getting precedence over Pineiro.
   118. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 03, 2002 at 03:12 AM (#556289)
And yet, no mention of the Josias Manzanillo-Mendy Lopez transaction. Curious...
   119. Shredder Posted: May 03, 2002 at 03:35 AM (#556291)
Hey, Mike Cameron is good. Mike Cameron is really good. Mike Cameron is really, really good. But lets not blow this feat out of proportion.

1) It was off the Sox pithcing staff, and lets face it, they really won't be whole until the return of Rocky Biddle. (Sorry but I couldn't resist the opportunity to plug the only Temple City (CA) Ram to make it to the Major Leagues).

2) The last guy to do it was Mark "Hard Hitten" Whiten, and I don't know that I would have elevated him to the level of minor deity.
   120. Voros McCracken Posted: May 03, 2002 at 04:20 AM (#556297)
DIPS boy?

Oh you're lucky you're a couple thousand miles away...

Yeah Lopez wouldn't be a bad idea for a Shortstop.
   121. Greg Franklin Posted: May 03, 2002 at 06:08 AM (#556298)
It's a better moniker than "DIPS Muffin" or "Dollar Hotel Boy".

The 4-HR game by Horner in 1986 was kind of strange because it was one of the very few Braves games TBS didn't televise. Ted Turner's precious Goodwill Games pre-empted it.
   122. Fadeaway: The Baseball History Podcast Posted: May 03, 2002 at 06:24 AM (#556299)
The 4-HR game by Horner in 1986 was kind of strange because it was one of the very few Braves games TBS didn't televise. Ted Turner's precious Goodwill Games pre-empted it.

Memories can be funny things, Greg, but I am absolutely positive that this is wrong. TBS did televise the game. I was out in my front yard playing basketball and my dad called me in to watch Horner's last at-bat. I grew up in El Paso, so TBS was the only way we were gonna get Braves games. This one was definitely televised.
   123. Greg Franklin Posted: May 04, 2002 at 01:03 AM (#556309)
Eric, I trust your memory more than mine, but the 1986 GG ran from July 5 to July 20, 1986. The Horner game was on a Sunday, most likely a day game ... perfect for pre-empting with weekend sports.

From the AJC archive I found a Primer-worthy piece, heavily excerpted.

   124. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 08, 2002 at 03:01 PM (#556314)
And the Josias Manzanillo-Pokey Reese transaction departs unlamented. Whee, ain't this fun?
   125. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 06, 2002 at 02:39 PM (#556975)
Yep, he's just like Lenny Dykstra, all right.
   126. Jb Posted: June 06, 2002 at 03:49 PM (#556977)
I love Chris Snelling, and I want you to love him, too.

- Jb
   127. Greg Franklin Posted: July 25, 2002 at 03:38 AM (#557934)
If Creek is this year's Norm Charlton, that's not really last man in the pen. It's more like secondary LHP in the pen, primary LHP if Rhodes gets his arm or psyche hurt (cut out the taunts, you Angels. That's just cruel!). It seems TB regularly used Creek as a multi-inning reliever, so he has a chance to be more versatile than the typical LOOGY.

Mark Watson, the previous contender for Charlton's job, was dumped (Designated-For-Assignment) to make room for Creek on the roster. Watson was a major contributor to the Friday night disaster vs. Anaheim.

Back to Creek: Ugly ERA and HR/IP, but great K/IP rates this year. He pitched 6 IP vs. Toronto and gave up 14 ER, accounting for over half his year's total of 27. The peripheral stats seem to indicate he's really a ~4.50 ERA kind of pitcher.
   128. Bob T Posted: July 25, 2002 at 04:01 PM (#557938)
Wow, fans of rivals of the Angels are showing signs of fear about them! Who would've thought that?
   129. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: July 26, 2002 at 05:41 AM (#557943)
I think Creek is a cheap option to try, and probably doesn't preclude any other M's moves.

Exactly, Glenn. I don't know why some are treating this like the Official Seattle Mariner Transaction of the 2002 Season.

Ancient Mariner,

Pretty much agreed, but in my opinion, the best use for John Halama is the way he was used in tonight's game. Let's hope both he and Lou keep it up.
   130. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: August 10, 2002 at 11:21 PM (#558365)
Let me say first of all that I think that Baseball Prospectus's MLEqA numbers for minor leaguers leave a little bit to be desired. However, they aren't *too* bad and are one of the best available barometers of how a minor league player has actually hit.

Jose Offerman, 2002 EqA : .242
   131. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: August 10, 2002 at 11:55 PM (#558367)
Before the Killer B's came around
   132. bob mong Posted: August 19, 2002 at 03:55 PM (#558467)
What about van Dusen? What kind of prospect do you think he is?
   133. bob mong Posted: August 19, 2002 at 09:00 PM (#558472)
Yeah, I saw that CH thread. Just came from there, actually :).

I like van Dusen too (I was already aware of his pitching line; it's pretty good); I was just wondering what Dan The Oracle Man had to say about him.
   134. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: November 08, 2002 at 06:20 PM (#559215)
I wouldn't be the least bit suprised if his final year becomes one of those goofy 210/370/280 seasons.

Tim Raines 2002

.191/.351/.258 - 22 walks, 17 hits, 89 AB.
   135. Eli Hungerford: Cityboy Crypto-Elitist for hire Posted: November 08, 2002 at 08:17 PM (#559216)
How does one "drive" a walk, exactly?
   136. bob mong Posted: November 08, 2002 at 10:37 PM (#559218)
Edgar has said that this (2003) will be his last year, though he did leave the possiblity open to continuing beyond it.

If the Mariners win a championship, or if they tank in 2003, I'm betting he is done.

If they get tantalizingly close again and he has a reasonably good (healthy) season, I think he might be back.

Today's Seattle Times has the story:

And if all goes well ? if he feels good, has a solid year and the future looks exciting for the Mariners ? maybe, just maybe, the contract he signed yesterday won't be his last.

"I believe this will be my last one," Martinez said. "But it's always a possibility, if it all goes good ... I'd like to leave a window open. I don't envision it, but you never know."
   137. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: November 09, 2002 at 10:41 PM (#559221)
This team could get real old real fast...

This team *is* real old, already. They were the oldest team in the AL in 2001, brought in Ruben Sierra, replaced Bell with Cirillo, and the younger guys they are picking up aren't really all that young... Valdes was 29, Baldwin 30, and Randy Winn coming in for next year is already 28.
   138. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: November 11, 2002 at 05:52 AM (#559261)
Hell, the Padres should bring him back to share duties with Wiki Gonzalez. The Mariners obviously aren't making him the starter, so maybe the Padres can get him back for less than the got for him.
   139. bob mong Posted: November 11, 2002 at 05:01 PM (#559262)
The Mariners obviously aren't making him the starter, so maybe the Padres can get him back for less than the got for him.

Actually, the Seattle Times reports:

"Wilson, who reportedly was told in negotiations that Davis would take over a larger share of the catching duties, is listed as Seattle's No. 1 catcher."

In 2002, Dan Wilson caught in 115 games and got about 350 AB. Ben Davis caught in about 80 games and got about 220 AB. My guess is that is closer to a 50/50 split next year and, in 2004, Ben Davis gets most of the playing time.

Davis had vastly superior caught stealing rates (.439 to .283) and a lower staff ERA (3.99 to 4.12).

Again, the same Seattle Times story reports different:

"The Mariners' earned-run average when he [Wilson] was catching was about 2.50, with Davis about 4.30."

I don't know where they got those numbers, though, since is reporting the numbers you listed.
   140. jeff angus Posted: November 11, 2002 at 05:49 PM (#559264)
Davis is a perfectly fine back-up catcher when his inability to hold on to tough pitches is not important. His hitting is spotty, and that's a compliment.

Undoubtedly, the Ms had hoped that getting Davis would erase the need to keep Wilson (or trade for a major-league standard catcher). They tried, Davis failed. This is not to mean Davis will never master the position or hit well enough. He just looks a few years away if he's gonna get there.

Late in the season, Davis looked a little better with his release being a little quicker(still remarkably weak on bad pitches). He still looks clueless out on the field when the action is fast. And his bat started to show some potential. Rumor is, too, that he's not particularly good as a game-caller, but that's just rumor. But this is an aging team that *may* have some hope this season or next, and certainly doesn't have time to wait for Davis to learn to be adequate at a key defensive position. It doesn't mean they need to trade him. If he gets 40-50% playing time, insufficient playing time won't be the reason he fails to learn.

Wilson is a very good defensive catcher, an adequate bat for a good defensive catcher, the pitchers think he's a good game-caller, and he doesn't lose you close games in late innings by looking like the back-up goalie for the Mighty Ducks like some other aforementioned back-ups. Plus he & his wife are the most community-involved mariners, and in a podunk place like Seattle, that community involvement sells pricey seats and boxes.

I'd agree with the relative merits if Davis hit like a Greg Myers or something, but he doesn't. In the M's overall budget, $7MM/2 y. for what Wilson *does* bring to the table is not a problem.
   141. jeff angus Posted: November 13, 2002 at 12:55 AM (#559269)
Good note, Glenn. You were right, I cited the wrong back-up, I was off-base. I was looking for a back-up who is as shaky with the leather as Davis, but who one wouldn't cringe at as a pinch-hitter.

There only one other catcher who seems as challenged at the position who would be an asset as a back-up: Jason Varitek. How about How about I re-phrase my sentence:
   142. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 06, 2002 at 11:27 PM (#560199)
Say what you like about Barkett, he was a godsend for the Pirates in 2001.

I'm glad Olerud's in Washington. Like you said, it's a good fit for everybody concerned. I wish he were better compensated, though; part of the reason he's so underappreciated is his oh-so-affordable salary.
   143. Mr. Crowley Posted: December 07, 2002 at 12:20 AM (#560204)
It's a trap!
   144. Mike Piazza Posted: December 07, 2002 at 05:53 PM (#560208)
I like all the gay jokes. It's refreshing to hear so many carpenters talk their trade.
   145. Mr. Crowley Posted: December 09, 2002 at 11:14 AM (#560348)
It's a trap!
   146. Jimbo Jones Posted: December 11, 2002 at 09:19 PM (#560212)
I love Johnny O, but he has been saying that he plans to retire after this contract. If this happens, I don't think he can be considered even a marginal HOF candidate. If he has a long career and ages very well, I think he might be worth considering--but that is at least in part due to my conviction that 1B defense is very underrated. Another of those years where he hits 350+ would help.
   147. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 04, 2003 at 03:32 AM (#562305)
LOOGY = Left-handed One Out GuY.

We need a FAQ.
   148. Jimbo Jones Posted: January 04, 2003 at 04:29 AM (#562309)
I don't know, 1.8 a year seems pretty reasonable to me.

Last three years:

vs. R: 313/387/556
   149. Jimbo Jones Posted: January 04, 2003 at 04:40 AM (#562310)
That should say that Durazo is five years younger, of course.

Shane (didn't see your post earlier) the concern you raise is legit, although they did know they were getting the Mayberry make-up pick. Still, the strength of their minor league system has been developing pitchers that were not highly touted 1st rounders (namely: Pinero, Soriano, and Heaverlo, obviously not Anderson)--heck, they drafted Soriano, who really looked like he had some seriously live stuff in his trial last year, as an outfielder. The strength of their pitcher development system has been underrated lately because of freakishly bad luck with injuries (also true for OF prospect Snelling).

The point I'm rambling my way towards is that first round picks are not the only way to build a good player development system, and the Mariners still excel at some of the other ways. I think the risk is worth it--the A's and Angels are not so much better than them that they shouldn't be trying to beat them. There will be a few years of serious downtime in the mid-oughts, but they still have 1-2 years in their window of opportunity. Of course, I certainly wish Culbrunn wasn't the only improvement they made........

(If you can't tell, Jimbo is starved for conversation about the M's this winter....)
   150. Darren Posted: January 04, 2003 at 04:41 AM (#562311)
Don't worry about Olerud. He's docile, from what I've read on ESPN.
   151. Jimbo Jones Posted: January 04, 2003 at 05:07 AM (#562314)
3B and LF are two big questions. If he can do either, it's a great signing. Otherwise, it's still OK. Anyone who watched him at all recently have anything to add about his potential for versatility? I really have no idea.
   152. fables of the deconstruction Posted: January 04, 2003 at 07:59 AM (#562317)
Colbrunn is essentially a firstbaseman. He played 5 games at 3B for Arizona last year. (18 total in his career.) I saw him at the opening game in Tucson last season on a rehab. He started at 3B, and can handle the basics there. He can't be what he isn't though. As far as OF goes, he played 6 games in RF in 1998 with ATL and COL. My guess is if he can catch flies, the M's can probably put him out in LF a few innings at a time.

   153. Jimbo Jones Posted: January 04, 2003 at 08:27 AM (#562318)
Hey Alex--at least we win the odd game.

Seriously, I am embarrassed for M's fans who engage in A-Rod bashing. Unlike another former superstar from our team, Alex served out his contract like a professional, and tested the market, as was his right. Turns out the Mariners didn't even make a remotely serious offer. I'll never understand why so many M's fans forgive Griffey, who basically refused to serve the contract he entered into in good faith, and despise A-Rod.
   154. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 04, 2003 at 01:51 PM (#562321)
Don't forget about Colbrunn's degenerative knee, either. Playing a more challenging position than first would likely be asking for trouble...
   155. Mikαεl Posted: January 04, 2003 at 07:18 PM (#562323)

The chance is far greater than 20%. 20% is about the chance of getting an All-Star. Regulars and part-timers come in at slightly higher rates, each.
   156. Colin Posted: January 04, 2003 at 08:00 PM (#562324)
Another 1B option for Atlanta passes ridiculously cheaply. Sigh.
   157. Danny Posted: January 04, 2003 at 09:02 PM (#562325)
Mikael, if 20% of first round picks become All-Stars, that means there are 6 all stars drafted in the first round every year. That seems ridiculously high to me, considering how many undrafted/foreign/lower drafted players become All-Stars. Every 10 years, 60 All-Stars are drafted in the first round? That's both squads.
   158. Aaron Gleeman Posted: January 04, 2003 at 09:19 PM (#562326)
I was just checking out Colbrunn's stats and it seems to me that he deserves to be more than a lefty-mashing bat off the bench.


vs Righties = .317/.398/.531 (309 ABs)
   159. Jimbo Jones Posted: January 05, 2003 at 05:44 AM (#562329)
I'd actually give up the defense if I thought he could stay healthy while playing 3B for more than four innings.
   160. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 05, 2003 at 08:56 AM (#562330)
I think this is a fantastic signing. Seattle had 298 AB last year by 1B and DH that weren't Edgar or Olerud, not counting PH. It was even 152 in 2001. To have this good a hitter picking up a big chunk of that?and also available off the bench?is great news.
   161. Greg Franklin Posted: January 06, 2003 at 05:39 PM (#562336)
This thread solidifies the usage of "wishcasting" to me. Some messages in this search seem to indicate Clay Davenport coined the term.

WISHFUL THINKING = ruminating about an event that will never come to pass.

e.g. "If Greg Colbrunn could catch 20 games this year as a caddy for Wilson and Davis, that would be a nice boost to the Mariner catching position."

WISHCASTING = predicting that an event which will never come to pass will in fact occur. (The forecast need not be explicit.) Or, the invalid assumptions and extrapolations from past performance to achieve such a prediction.

e.g. "With Greg Colbrunn, a former backstop, catching 20 games this year as a caddy for Wilson and Davis, the Mariners could have one of the top catching corps in the American League."
   162. Bill Posted: January 11, 2003 at 05:14 PM (#562339)
"Responsible" is an interesting choice of word. What would you say are the major "responsibilities" of a baseball team owner? I would say:

1. A responsibility to your investors to produce a good return on investment.

2. A responsibility to the taxpayers of your municipality who built (or renovated in the Yankee case) your ballpark and provide you with other infrastructure and services to entertain them, provide a source of pride and civic identity and generate economic activity.

3. A responsibility to your paying customers to provide an entertaining and competitive team on the field.

You may have other criteria, but on mine the Yanks (as well as the Mariners and many other teams) are quite "responsible." I don't think the owner's responsibilities include making nice to other teams who are trying to beat you on the field and at the negotiating table.
   163. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 14, 2003 at 11:32 PM (#563257)
2002 was the 2nd-lowest number of PAs in John Mabry's career.

Furthermore, when used sparingly, Mabry's has the luxury in not facing left-handed pitchers, which makes his stats look even better.

2002: 26 PA vs. LHP, 203 PA vs. RHP
   164. strummer Posted: January 15, 2003 at 03:39 PM (#563270)
One of my problems with Mabry and players like him

By "players like him" I assume you meant to say Albert Belle.
   165. Bill Posted: January 15, 2003 at 10:53 PM (#563275)
Did John Vander Wal sign somewhere else? Or retire? If not, wouldn't he be the better choice for a lefthanded backup 1B/OF and PH?
   166. Greg Franklin Posted: January 25, 2003 at 04:56 AM (#564248)
Where is the value in Wright? The most prominent feature of his career has been his 1-1 BB-K ratio.

He's experienced protection for the 5th starter position, sure, but he's of the same caliber as the roundly denounced James Baldwin signing of 2002. Especially with that projection.
   167. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 27, 2003 at 02:28 AM (#564254)
That's a pretty unfriendly projection for a pitcher in Seattle, even if the guy in question IS Jamey Wright.
   168. Bill Posted: January 27, 2003 at 05:27 AM (#564255)
How could anyone pitching to a line like that even be projected to pitch 150 IP for a contender? He'd be gone after 50 with numbers like that.
   169. bob mong Posted: January 27, 2003 at 05:21 PM (#564256)
Pat Gillick's best move of the offseason.

I would nominate the John Olerud signing as his best move.
   170. Jimbo Jones Posted: January 27, 2003 at 06:13 PM (#564257)
The Colbrunn signing as well.
   171. Michael Posted: January 28, 2003 at 04:22 AM (#564258)
Let us revisit the question of best move in two months, I'm not ready to vote on that one yet, though I'm away from this one, to be honest. My vote for best move was the move he didn't make - Thanks for the exciting innings, Abbott and Halama, but I'm looking forward to growing back my fingernails now that you are gone.
   172. Dudefella Posted: March 19, 2003 at 04:23 PM (#565347)
Anyone know if Ryan Anderson's arm is still in its socket?
   173. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: March 19, 2003 at 04:53 PM (#565349)
FWIW, I happened to listen to the Cubs/Mariners game over the internet yesterday and Niehaus, et al. were making the point that the final spot was down to Meche and Wright. Meche looked good over the weekend (albeit against the Brewers), while Wright got shelled yesterday.
   174. bob mong Posted: March 19, 2003 at 04:59 PM (#565350)
Ryan Anderson is building up arm strength right now by throwing on flat ground. He is expected, barring unforeseen circumstances (wild, braying laughter), to be throwing off of a mound and in games at some point this year.

What I don't understand is why Ken Cloude got dropped from the running for the 5th starter slot - he is healthy, I assume (he pitched 1+ innings yesterday), he has pitched better this spring than either Meche or Wright, and he pitched better last year than either of them.

Does anybody know? Did he piss off Bryan Price or something?

2002 Stats
   175. PhillyBooster Posted: March 19, 2003 at 05:13 PM (#565352)
Can anyone tell me why throwing off of a mound is harder than throwing on a flat surface, or at least is always a 'next step'? Don't we raise the mound to help the pitcher and lower in to help the batter?
   176. Dudefella Posted: March 19, 2003 at 07:52 PM (#565353)
Caveat - I'm no doctor, nor do I have any special biomechanical insight, nor for that matter any special insight whatsoever, but...

It seems to me that throwing from flat ground could be "easier" simply because there's less to think about. When you're throwing from a mound, you're basically in a (hopefully) controlled fall, and you have to be at least subconsciously aware of things like how your feet are positioned, your leg drive, how your weight is balanced, how far from the ground your lead foot is...

Throwing from flat ground, you remove all that from the equation and can concentrate on how your arm and shoulder feel.
   177. Jimbo Jones Posted: March 19, 2003 at 11:19 PM (#565356)
bob mong--you're damned right about Cloude. I don't get it.

I agree with Jonathan that Soriano is likely the best of the bunch, but I also think he has the most to gain from a few months in AAA--let him work out any remaining kinks in his change-up and come up to the majors with a fully prepared three pitch arsenal. Frankly, I'm baffled as to why the M's started his clock last year (the BP comment from the book is an interesting theory, albeit speculative).

If Cloude can't have the job, I'd certainly rather see it go to Meche than Wright. BUT, I don't understand why the organization is so convinced he's got a future as a starter. IIRC, he could never go deep into games and was fighting "tired arms" basically the whole time he was with the club. Also, while he got impressive results for a 20/21 year old, he also had a K:BB ratio of just barely above one. While I'm not DIPS-literate enough to figure it all out, a quick glance at his lines suggests he was likely pretty "hit-lucky."

My point is twofold: 1) Meche was/is a prospect, but never as much of one as the Mariners seem to think, and 2) Meche has a much better shot at a successful career as a middle reliever than as a starter.

FWIW, my roster construction for the Mariners

   178. bob mong Posted: March 20, 2003 at 09:17 PM (#565360)
Actually, Meche did pitch some last year. IIRC, his ERA was 6+ in AA. (He did much better in the AFL.) That supports your point that Cloude is the most logical choice of the three of them.

You're right, and I knew that. I don't know what I was thinking. Here is his line in 2002:

AA San Antonio
   179. bob mong Posted: March 21, 2003 at 03:53 AM (#565362)
<i>The only real hitters in that lineup are the rookies, Blalock and Texeira.

Posted 6:07 p.m., March 20, 2003 (#18) - Buck
   180. Dave Sund Posted: March 25, 2003 at 12:55 AM (#565365)
Given that both Meche and Cloude are coming off of injuries, you pretty much just have to throw out Meche's AA campaign last year. If you look at their careers in the majors, Cloude has never been a good pitcher in the major leagues. And he was taken out of the running for the #5 starter spot very early in spring training, so most of his spring training stats were as a reliever. Meche had good location in his last few games, and really pulled ahead of everyone else.
   181. Greg Franklin Posted: May 09, 2003 at 09:06 PM (#565766)
I guess not, when he gets sent right back down to AAA to make room for Sasaki.

The Oracle was pretty oracular about Sasaki's 15-day waiting period. He pitched last night, don't know if his velocity has improved from when he got DL'd.
   182. Greg Franklin Posted: June 17, 2003 at 12:11 AM (#565367)
Apparently, Wright was indeed pitching this year in AAA with Oklahoma (Texas affiliate). He requested his release yesterday, which was granted.

What is this about? Did he think he was trapped behind all the high-quality arms on the Rangers' staff?
   183. John M. Perkins Posted: June 17, 2003 at 07:13 PM (#565368)
Speculation only, but possibly Jamey thought he deserved the Tony Mounce start.
   184. Hatrack Hines Posted: July 30, 2003 at 09:15 PM (#566980)
Don't worry, Slice. Duquette will probably just convert Kelly into a reliever.
   185. Dave Sund Posted: July 30, 2003 at 10:45 PM (#566982)
No interest in addressing?

I know that everybody gives Gillick a hard time, but when, on two consecutive nights, the Seattle Times says... there is "considerable interest" in aquiring a third baseman... and... Aaron Boone is so close to coming to the Mariners that the M's are looking at getting a long term deal... well, it just looks misinformed.

Rey Sanchez has hit into some REALLY bad luck this year (.231 BABIP)

Playing to his career averages, Sanchez is a better option than Mark McLemore is right now, and he brings a glove to the table, something the Mariners haven't had at shortstop in an entire month, which has murdered their pitching staff. Sanchez's defensive impact on this team is huge.
   186. NTNgod Posted: July 31, 2003 at 01:34 AM (#566985)
That I'm not comfortable with, I think you can get more with Freddy.

A guy with his paycheck, accompanying performance, and mental issues? I think you're overvaluing him JUST a tad...
   187. Dave Sund Posted: July 31, 2003 at 03:00 AM (#566991)
And I find Gammons to be completely full of crap... Considering the deal was so close that the M's called Boone's agent last night, I think this is just a bunch of GM gossip in order to drive up the price.
   188. NTNgod Posted: July 31, 2003 at 03:57 AM (#566993)
re: Freddy Garcia/Nixon deal

It's also been reported that the Red Sox were the ones turning it down, which would make more sense:

Other players have been discussed, but the club was believed to have turned down an offer from the Mariners to take right-hander Freddy Garcia in exchange for outfielder Trot Nixon.
   189. Alan Posted: July 31, 2003 at 07:42 PM (#566995)
And I find Gammons to be completely full of crap... Considering the deal was so close that the M's called Boone's agent last night, I think this is just a bunch of GM gossip in order to drive up the price.

Yep. Always fun to bash Gammons, even when he's right...
   190. bob mong Posted: August 07, 2003 at 06:35 PM (#567333)
I really can't believe the Red Sox didn't put a claim on Nelson. He isn't that expensive ($3M for the year, so I guess due about $1M for the balance of the season), especially for the Red Sox. Furthermore, he would probably immediately be the 2nd-best pitcher in the Sox pen if they did acquire him (after Kim). Considering how bad their bullpen is, you'd think they would be looking for help. And, if nothing else, it blocks two playoff rivals from making a deal.

On another note, it is kinda interesting that Nelson has now made four different stops in his career - all with the same two teams (SEA to NYY to SEA to NYY).

Anybody know how much cash the Mariners got?
   191. bhoov Posted: August 07, 2003 at 06:41 PM (#567334)
Posted on sox therapy thread:
   192. bob mong Posted: August 07, 2003 at 06:50 PM (#567335)
And regarding Nellie's performance with inherited runners - I have doubts that that is in any way predictive. See Dan Werr's excellent post in the Clutch Hits thread.
   193. bob mong Posted: August 07, 2003 at 07:00 PM (#567336)
Theo really had two options. Claim Benitez or Nelson, causing the other team to pull them back. Thus effectively blocking the trade. Or let them do a deal that if anything weakens the Yankees.

First of all, Epstein might have his suspicions, but he couldn't really know exactly what kind of trade was in the works - how could he definitively know that it would weaken the Yankees? And who said anything about getting a reliever for nothing? Maybe he could work something out with the Mariners. But in any case, he should have taken the chance to improve the Sox bullpen.
   194. Eugene Freedman Posted: August 07, 2003 at 08:12 PM (#567338)
Waivers trades don't work like people seem to think. What happens is that players are placed on waivers. If they are unclaimed, they are available to trade to any team. There is no second crack to block the trade. Teams who claim players MUST take the player if the waivers are not reversed by the team owning the player's contract. That means they MUST make a corresponding 40 man roster move and 25 man roster move.

If the Red Sox claimed Benitez and the Yankees wanted, they could have stuck the Red Sox with him. The Red Sox would have had to waive, release, or designate for assignment one of their players.

Basically, the rule is, if you can't upgrade by claiming a guy, let him go. It could cost you in what you get, and it could cost you in what you have to give up.
   195. Steve Posted: August 07, 2003 at 08:36 PM (#567339)
Furthermore, he would probably immediately be the 2nd-best pitcher in the Sox pen if they did acquire him (after Kim).

Scott Williamson is a better pitcher than Jeff Nelson.
   196. bob mong Posted: August 07, 2003 at 10:30 PM (#567340)
Scott Williamson is a better pitcher than Jeff Nelson.

Why do you say that? It looks to me like he is basically a younger version of the Jeff Nelson: lots of Ks, lots of walks, average number of HRs.

But anyway, the real comparison is who Nellie would be replacing in the bullpen. And that guy probably would be Todd Jones or Alan Embree. Nelson sure looks like a big improvement on either of them to me.

Todd Jones is only signed through the end of this year, and has a salary of $3M. I.e., he is cheap enough to just release if you have to.

Cost to release Todd Jones (8.22 ERA): $900k
   197. scott Posted: August 08, 2003 at 12:02 AM (#567341)
actually, i think Jones is signed for league minimum, since he got dropped by another team. and in any case, fossum is replacing him now and he's gone.

as for the sox pen, i'm sick and tired of people talking about how bad it is when the sox had the 2nd best league ERA in July. almost all the guys that sucked at the start of the year are gone or are pitching well now outside of Mendoza. get up to date with your complaints, please.

   198. Darren Posted: August 08, 2003 at 01:38 PM (#567343)

As someone pointed out elsewhere, Benitez would have had to fly to Seattle only to turn around and fly back to NY in a day. In all likleyhood, Seattle told him to stay in NY so that he'd be fresh when they got there.

If the Red Sox claimed Benitez and the Yankees wanted, they could have stuck the Red Sox with him. The Red Sox would have had to waive, release, or designate for assignment one of their players.

Yes, but this would never happen. The Yankees would never hand the Red Sox a player 3 weeks after trading for said player. If the Red Sox claimed Benitez, the Yankees would pull him back and that would be the end of the story.
   199. bob mong Posted: August 08, 2003 at 04:54 PM (#567345)
You have to subtract rather than add here, bob m. If you're paying Jones $900k, but could replace him with Nelson for $1.2m, then the incremental cost is only $300k, and the incremental benefit is however much better Nelson is than Jones (i.e., huge).

That isn't quite right, because you have to pay Jones if you release him. If you trade him, that is another story.

bob mong, if you still want to know, I heard the M's got 900K or thereabouts. Not enough to make up the difference in the two salaries for the rest of the year.

Actually, that probably does make up the difference.

Nelson is owed about $1.2M (30% of $3.98M) for the balance of the season.
   200. bob mong Posted: August 08, 2003 at 05:02 PM (#567347)
Sorry for the double post...not quite sure what that was about.

as for the sox pen, i'm sick and tired of people talking about how bad it is when the sox had the 2nd best league ERA in July.

Yeah, but look a little deeper:

That 2nd-best ERA was 3.86 - not real spectacular, even if it was 2nd-best. It was well behind Oaklands 3.09 July ERA.

And furthermore, look how it was compiled: excellent performances from Kim (0.96 ERA in 20 IP), Martinez (1.77 ERA in 41 IP), and Wakefield (2.85 ERA in 41 IP).

But look who dragged it down - the usual suspects: Chad Fox (5.19 ERA in 9 IP), Alan Embree (5.59 ERA in 10 IP), Derek Lowe (5.93 ERA in 30 IP), Mendoza (7.03 ERA in 24 IP), and Todd Jones (7.11 ERA in 13 IP).

The bottom of the Red Sox bullpen still sucks - which probably won't hurt them in October, but they gotta get there first.
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