Perpetual Futility: The Seattle Mariners Fanclub

Discussion in 'Archive: The Arena' started by Lane_Winree, Mar 7, 2008.

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  1. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    Midseason Review:

    It's been bad. Right now we have the second-worst record in baseball, behind the Washington Nationals. Bill Bavasi (finally) and John MacLaren were fired for ineptitude.

    Grades
    Current lineup
    RF - Ichiro! - B+
    2B - Jose Lopez - B
    "LF" - Raul Ibanez - B
    3B - Adrian Beltre - B
    "DH" - Jose Vidro - F
    1B - Bryan LaHair - NA
    CF - Jeremy Reed - D+
    C - Jeff Clement - D
    "SS" - Yuniesky Betancourt - F

    Bench

    INF - Miguel Cairo - F
    Util - Willie Bloomquist - C-
    C - Kenji Johjima - F
    C - Jamie Burke (Occasional relief pitcher) - D-

    Starting Rotation

    RHP - Felix Hernandez - A
    LHP - Erik Bedard - C+
    RHP - Carlos Silva - F
    LHP - Jarrod Washburn - B-
    RHP - RA Dickey - C+

    Bullpen

    Closer - Brandon Morrow - B+
    RHP Setup - JJ Putz - C-
    RHP Setup - Sean Green - A-
    LHP Setup - Arthur Rhodes - B
    RHP Mopup - Mark Lowe - C
    RHP Mopup - Roy Corocran - B-
    LHP LR - Cesar Jimenez - NA
    RHP LR - Miguel Batista - F

    Players cut/optioned/traded

    1B - Richie Sexson - D-
    OF - Brad Wilkerson - F
    OF - Wladimir Balentien - D-
    LHP Setup - Erik O'Flahrety - F
    LHP Starter - Ryan Rowland-Smith - C+
    RHP Swingman - Cha Seung Baek - C

    Let's just get this out of the way...

    What went wrong?

    I give Richie Sexson too much of a dead-cat bounce. I expected him to hit .240/.300/.350 at least. He was much, much worse than that. Compound that with his terrible defense at first base and you had a -25 to -35 runs-per-season player.

    I didn't regress Jose Vidro enough. I expected a .260/.350/.320 line from him, but in reality he hit .226/.269/.336

    Read that again. Let that sink in. The DH had an OPS of .605. Good grief, that's awful. That's below replacement-level. You can find some random body at AAA and get better results. Vidro costs this team about 25 runs per year with his bat alone. Let's not even talk about the times he's taken the field to play defense.

    I didn't expect Miguel Cairo to take so many reps at 1B. So far he's put up a .246/.320/.298 line (the sad thing is that he's out-performing our "Designated Hitter").

    Brad Wilkerson and Wladimir Balentien were just plain awful. They couldn't play defense, either.

    Yuniesky Betancourt forgot how to hit and visited too many fast-food chains over the winter. His fielding range is gone. Let me put this into perspective: he's a worse defensive shortstop than Derek Jeter, and Jeter is awful! He has no value left, we could recall Tug Hulett and get better results.

    Raul Ibanez's defense has gotten worse. He's a +5 hitter, but a -25 defender. In total, he's a net -20 type of player. Between Raul, Vidro, Betancourt, Wilkerson, Wlad, and Sexon, the team lost a load of runs in the differential column. Of these players, only Raul could be described as providing average performance, but that's pretty generous given his defense. We've gotten below-average numbers from DH/LF/SS/RF/1B. Replace those guys with just league-average players and this team has fifteen more wins.

    Defense matters. Defense wins games, especially with a pitch-to-contact staff.

    On the pitching front, Erik Bedard has been hurt. When he has pitched, he's pitched well. Remember how I was against this trade? No? moving on.

    Miguel Batista and Carlos Silva have been awful. Just plain awful. They're giving up a ton of line drives and flyballs (wasn't Silva billed as being a groundball pitcher?) and have shown a complete inability to get batters out. The situation has gotten so dire that management sent Ryan Rowland-Smith (who has been a pleasant surprise) to Tacoma to stretch out as a starter. One of those two are about to lose their jobs.

    Erik O'Flahrety collapsed and pitched horribly, and since has landed on the DL. JJ Putz was hurt, his absence helping to tank the team early on in the season.

    Jeff Clement is struggling, but we knew this would happen. He's struggled each time he's been promoted to a new level, but typically figures it out after 2-3 months of regular playing time
  2. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    Quick note on the Rhodes trade:

    Excellent, excellent move. Trading a 37-year-old LOOGY for a young RHP who could be a good #3 starter is a great transaction.
  3. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    May 20, 2008
    star 8
    He was traded? I haven't heard about that.
  4. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    Traded to the Florida Marlins for RHP Gaby Hernandez. Good RHP with a 93 MPH fastball, plus changeup, average slider, and a developing curveball. Hit pretty hard at AAA this year, but the PCL is a pitcher's graveyard. Expect his numbers to turn around once he starts playing with Tacoma.

    Not an ace-type pitcher, but a very serviceable #3 starting pitcher, potentially dominant RHP reliever.
  5. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    Well, the Isotopes aren't the best team in the PCL, either. Anyway, nice to know that we'll have someone else to look forward to.
  6. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    Don't see a ten run inning everyday :p Ibanez had six RBI in one inning.......Twins middle bullpen is their achilles heel, but why, oh why march out the mop up guys in a one run game......lame.........and Gardenhire knew it.

    And yeah I've come to seen the light that Silva has lost whatever he once had. How many $$$$$ does Seattle have tied up in him and Batista I wonder?
  7. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    Silva is tied up for 48 million over 4 years. Batista is owed 9 million next season.
  8. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    Ouch. It sounds like they're in a real bind until some moves can be made. of course, with the trading deadline gone, the only real options are to release them or wait out and trade them before next season.
  9. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    They won't be too hamstrung. There's a lot of money coming off the books this year.

    In other news, some roster moves made today

    RHP Brandon Morrow is on his way to Tacoma to stretch out as a starter (FINALLY). RHP Jared Wells to take his spot in the rotation until Wednesday/Thursday when Ryan Rowland-Smith is available to start.

    "Designated Hitter" Jose Vidro was designated for assignment. Taking his place on the active roster is OF Wladamir Balentien. Expect Raul Ibanez to move to DH.

    It is also expected that with New York RHP Joba Chamberlain going down with what could be a serious shoulder injury, the Seattle Mariners will likely place LHP Jarrod Washburn on waivers in an attempt to trade him to the Yankees.
  10. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    Well, they might as well keep Raul around for a while; he still has talent. However, not for more than next season.
  11. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    I went to a Mariners game two weeks ago, and Raul made a nice catch to save a possible home run. However, I agree that Carlos Silva isn't that great this season, and that Yuni Betancourt is a porous defender (his error cost us the game, especially on his designated bobblehead night).
  12. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    That ball had so much hang-time that anyone could have stolen it. Raul is still an awful defender who is probably the worst in the AL now that Manny is gone.

    As for Silva, I'm fairly certain he's never going to be a groundball pitcher again. He's now the right-handed Jarrod Washburn. Overpaid flyball pitcher.

    And Yuni...Oh Yuni's regression depresses me in the worst way. His RZR rating has absolutely fallen off a cliff. The range his gone, he's never been accurate to first, and his armstrength is suspect. Compound that with his inability to hit and you've got yourself an awful, awful shortstop.
  13. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    Seattle is unfortunatly the perfect example of why comitting huge mony to mediocre players is never, ever, evvvverrrr, a good idea. Give the huge money to the Ichiro's, the Santana's, the true superstars of the game. But the lousey to mediocre guys like Silva. like Batista, like AJ Burnett, like Rondel White, are too huge a risk for the potential reward. Go with the young guys and pay the stars. Let the medium talent guys walk if anyone is foolish enough to give them stupid, crazy money.[face_beatup]
  14. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    This team's biggest downfall over the last eight years has been pitcher evaluation. They simply don't know what to look for other than wins and losses and ERA.

    Wins and losses are a stupid metric, and ERA tends to be flukey.

    That's why you need to look at a pitcher's GB%, FB%, and Swinging-Strike%. These are the three outcomes a pitcher tends to have control over during every pitch. Sometimes a pitcher puts up a good ERA despite having a lousy GB% and swinging-strike% while posting a really, really high FB%. ERAs with those kinds of peripherals aren't sustainable. Look at Jarrod Washburn, Miguel Batista, and Carlos Silva.

    How do the A's and Rays seem to pluck pitching prospects out of the blue? They ignore ERA.

    In other news, Brandon Morrow will be recalled and start next week versus the Yankees.
  15. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    Some September callups over the last few days:

    Luis Valbuena, 2B/INF - Somewhat of a light-hitting middle infielder. Average defense. Doesn't figure to stick, especially since Tug Hulett is a better bench option.

    Justin Thomas, LHP RP - Other than the fact he's left-handed, nothing really to see. He's only here to take some pressure off the pen.

    Carlos Silva, RHP SP - Recalled from the 15-day disabled list. Promptly got shelled for 6 runs in 4 2/3 IP. Apparently he hasn't gotten over his recent bout of sucktitis.

    Brandon Morrow, RHP SP - Will start against the Yankees on Friday. Showed some positive signs in Tacoma, upping his pitch count and showing improved fastball command. Still needs to work on his breaking stuff and changeup command.

    Rob Johnson, C - Probably auditioning for the Jamie Burke Memorial Third Catcher spot for next season.

    Mark Lowe, RHP RP - Ankle is better, let's see if his fastball control is back.

    Matt Tuiasosopo, "3B"/INF - Awful defense, still suspect bat. He's not going to be ready for a while, and now you know why I want Adrian Beltre to be given a contract extension.
  16. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    I would like to meet any FO executive who thought that Brandon Morrow was better as a reliever than a starter and slap them.
  17. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    Well, it was only one start. Now, if he can rattle off several of those kinds of games . . . :D
  18. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    Morrow should never have been wasted in the bullpen. He was drafted as a starter, he should have been starting in West Tennessee last year and Tacoma this year.

    Building bullpens are easy. Finding good starters isn't.
  19. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    Reports are coming in that Erik Bedard has a torn labrum and is going to miss significant time next season.

    Remember all of those people who said that trading that much talent for an oft-injured left-hander was a bad idea?

    Yeeaaahhhhh... I'd like Adam Jones back now.
  20. darth_gersh Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2005
    star 6
    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8607982?MSNHPHMA

    This means you have hit rock bottom. No need for this kind of stuff in an organization.
  21. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    This entire mess is just awful, and probably has been blown far out of proportions.

    The man who "broke" this story is Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, a man noted for his irrational hatred of Ichiro and love for clubhouse chemistry. Geoff devours this chemistry stuff, believing it to be the root cause of winning, rather than a byproduct of winning. (This isn't the first time he's published a stupid article like this either, back when he was with the Toronto Star he published a piece entitled the "White Jays")

    Geoff has gotten into a sort of meta blog-war with the USS Mariner, a sabermetric based fan-blog that is extraordinarily well respected by the baseball community as a whole. Just last year USSM author Dave Cameron penned an open letter to then pitching coach Rafael Chavez encouraging Felix Hernandez to throw more breaking pitches. The next start Felix threw a two hit shutout.

    The problem with Geoff and the USSM is this: The USSM loves Ichiro, not for any real baseball reason but because Ichiro is an extremely amusing individual. Geoff hates the USSM because he's one of those people that detests sabermetrics, and as such, often goes out of his way to write articles that serve as a backhanded slap to the USSM's writers. This year, Geoff has made it his mission to discredit Ichiro.

    The article Geoff wrote makes it sound as if Ichiro is a serious clubhouse cancer. The tone of the article seems to suggest that Geoff thinks the hatred and violent threats leveled towards Ichiro were warranted. In short, Geoff thinks Ichiro is the biggest reason why the clubhouse is so fractured.

    Of course, this season he's also defended the antics and expressed a fondness for:

    Jarrod Washburn, who earlier this season blamed his early struggles entirely on Kenji Johjima instead of his own terrible fastball and slider

    Carlos Silva, who literally threatened to physically harm his teammates back in August while ignoring the fact that he has pitched terribly all year.

    Miguel Batista, who pitched through pain instead of going onto the DL like he should have (and boy his numbers reflect that).

    Geoff Baker hates talented players. Geoff Baker loves lousy players who are willing to talk to him and blame their teammates for all of their struggles.

    ***

    As for my take, there's something seriously wrong when a player anonymously uses the media to make attacks on a fellow teammate, especially when that fellow teammate is the club leader in everything but home runs. Bill James of the Boston Red Sox organization probably put it best:

    "Bad teams tend to focus all their frustration at their best players."

    This is a bad team, and Ichiro is by far their best player.

    Ichiro isn't the one who should be leaving, it's the cancers who "want to knock Ichiro out" who should be leaving. Frankly, they're lucky Ichiro has played as well as he has all season. If I were Ichiro, I probably would have stopped caring back in June.

    I suspect I know which player (see: pitcher) threatened Ichiro. He's locked in to a 4 year, 48 million dollar deal.
  22. tom Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 14, 2004
    star 6
    i agree with what you said about ichiro, but i do think they should trade him. they need to completely rebuild, and he's the one guy who could actually land them some top tier prospects. of course management also has to consider that he's pretty much the only guy putting any fannies in the seats, so we'll see.
  23. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    No one in the league is going to properly value Ichiro's skillsets. A 34 year-old outfielder who's perceived as being a slap-hitter? Compound that with the fact that no one in baseball other than Billy Beane and Andrew Friedman properly value defense and there's no way the front office would get an offer worth trading Ichiro for. At best, the Mariners might get a James Loney for Ichiro straight across move, and that would be a terribly awful trade. We value Ichiro highly, but I can all but guarantee no one else in baseball does.

    Trading Ichiro is a moot point anyways, ownership would never let it happen.
  24. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    Some off-season updates:

    Re: General Manager Jack Zduriencik

    He's a scout at heart, but is more than willing to use all the tools given to him. Unlike his predecessor. Zduriencik has already established a department of baseball research within the club that is devoted entirely to statistical analysis and sabermetrics. That alone is encouraging. The last regime refused to look at any sort of statistical methods other than batting average, RBIs, and ERA (otherwise known as the worst metrics in baseball).

    Jack has already done work on the 40 man roster, releasing RA Dickey and Sean White in advance of the Rule 5 draft. Thus far he has proven that he's skilled at finding cheap, undervalued talent. He's signed 1B/DH Russell Branyan to a cheap one year contract and has signed Chris Shelton to (likely) be his platoon partner.

    Re: Carlos Silva's been put on a diet

    You know, for someone who ran his mouth so much, blaming other players for his problems on the field, Silva didn't do a very good job at ensuring that he was pitching to the best of his ability. Other than pitching through injuries instead of going on the DL, it's reported that Silva put on a whopping 40 pounds during the season. DURING THE SEASON. Trainer Rick Griffin has been assigned to oversee Silva's off-season diet plan.

    Remember how people were saying that giving him 4 years, 40 million wasn't a good idea?

    Re: Erik Bedard

    No one got a worse rap from the media than Erik Bedard did. Some assume it's simply because he was rather shy with the media and didn't like to offer interviews. When he went on the DL in July many people referred to him as being soft and not pitching through pain like a gritty veteran (gag) would. Turns out every one of those people owes him an apology. An MRI revealed a cyst in his throwing shoulder and slight fraying of the labrum. Had he continued to pitch, chances are the injury would have been much, much worse. From the looks of it, he'll be ready by opening day.

    No, he wasn't worth Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Tim Butler, Chris Tillman, and Kam Mickolio, but he didn't deserve the bad treatment the media gave him either.

    I'm looking at you, Geoff Baker.

    Re: Adrian Beltre

    For all the people who can't stand Beltre because he never reproduced his 2004 season, they might want to take a look at the team stats. Beltre lead the club in home runs despite a wonky BABIP (Batting average on balls in play) and LD% (Line drive percentage) correlation. Typically someone with Adrian's LD% (sitting pretty at over 21 percent) has a much higher BABIP than the .260ish he finished the season with. Whenever that happens, it tends show that bad luck was a factor and that you should expect a big bounce back season next year.

    The Bill James led Fielding Bible awards ranked Adrian Beltre as the top fielding 3B in baseball last year, outpacing Evan Longoria. It's estimated that Beltre saved 15 < X < 25 (Somewhere between 15 and 25) runs with his glove alone. That's huge. To put this into perspective, -5 < X < +5 is considered to be average. 0 < X < 10 is considered to be well above average.

    Defense matters as well as offense. The popular thing to do is to award contracts based strictly on offense, but when you stop to think about it, why don't we award contracts based on defense as well?

    Adrian Beltre has an above-average bat compared to his peers at 3B. He also has the best glove of any third baseman in the game. You factor that together and it becomes apparent that paying him 14 million a season is actually a bargain. Think about it this way: if Adrian Beltre reproduced his 2004 season every year he was in Seattle and played the same stellar defense, he should be making about ten million morethan Alex Rodriguez's 28 million per season.

    Adrian Beltre is a star player, but not in the traditional sense. No one likes to reward people based on defense. Again, the moneyball philosophy at work here. Defense has and may always be a vastly undervalued skill. Preventing runs is just as important as generat
  25. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    Well, Shelton also had that breakout start to the season two years ago. Although it probably wouldn't happen again, at least then you have Branyan to put in and not lose any production. A very smart move.
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