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

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    Branyan and Shelton will most likely platoon at 1B.
  2. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

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    Mar 30, 2006
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    Monster trade just went down.

    Seattle sends RHP JJ Putz, RHP Sean Green, OF Jeremy Reed, 2B Luis Valbuena to Cleveland and New York Mets for:

    CF Franklin Gutierrez
    OF Endy Chavez
    1B Mike Carp
    RHP Aaron Heilman
    RHP Maikel Cleto
    OF Ezequiel Carrera
    LHP Jason Vargas

    Franklin Gutierrez is one of the top 5 defensive outfielders in all of baseball. His glove is otherworldly good. As in +10 < X < 20 good. Even with an average bat he's an overall above-average CF. Endy Chavez is another fantastic glove. Think of it like this:

    With an outfield consisting of Endy Chavez/Franklin Gutierrez/Ichiro Suzuki, Ichiro is the worst OF on the field.

    Mike Carp has the potential to be an above-average 1B in a season or two. Aaron Heilman is a plus bullpen arm who could replace JJ Putz as the closer. LHP Jason Vargas is now the top candidate to be the bullpen's new LOOGY. Cleto is a young pitcher who put up fair numbers in a league where most of the players were well older than he was. OF Ezequiel Carrera figures to project as a fair 4th OF.

    This is a huge talent haul. Several above average players and a lot of great minor league fodder were acquired for a +2 win closer coming off an injury year, a +1 win 2B, a +.5 win 4th OF, and a ROOGY.

    Our new General Manager has come in and immediately made the best trade this club has seen in perhaps a decade.
  3. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

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    Mar 30, 2006
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    A couple more minor moves

    Seattle signed RHP middle-relief pitcher Tyler Walker to a 1-year, 750k major league contract. Based on his splits, Walker will likely assume the Sean Green Memorial ROOGY Pitcher.

    In the Rule 5 draft, Seattle selected IF Reegie Corona. He's a mildly interesting selection. Medium-upside, ceiling appears to be that of an average 2B/SS. Chances are he's more of the Willie Bloomquist 25th player. I suspect he'll be offered back to the Yankees by the end of Spring Training.

    Now, on to more pressing news...

    General Manager Jack Zduriencik has established a Department of Baseball research within the new Mariners front office. The department is headed up by Tony Blengino, one of the biggest proponents of sabermetric research in the game today. Among the first hires for this department is Tom Tango, author of The Book: Playing Percentages in Baseball. Tango is widely regarded as being the foremost minds in the field of sabermetrics and statistical analysis in baseball. I can't properly describe how huge this is, so I'll letDave Cameron of the USS Mariner tell you.

    If you wanted proof that the Bavasi era is dead, look no further than this. The Mariners have been an organization that has relied on ERA, wins, and RBIs for far too long, but now they have an entire front office department devoted entirely to sabermetric research. The new General Manager believes in this so he's replacing advance scouts with the new department.

    Let's take a look at the roster as it's constructed now:

    RF: Ichiro
    2B: Jose Lopez
    3B: Adrian Beltre
    DH: Jeff Clement/Kenji Johjima
    1B: Russ Branyan/Chris Shelton
    CF: Franklin Guttierez
    C: Jeff Clement/Kenji Johjima
    LF: Endy Chavez
    SS: Yuniesky Betancourt

    S1: RHP Felix Hernandez
    S2: LHP Erik Bedard
    S3: RHP Brandon Morrow
    S4: LHP Jarrod Washburn
    S5: RHP Carlos Silva/Ryan Rowland-Smith

    LR: RHP Miguel Batista
    MR: Tyler Walker
    MR: Carlos Silva/Ryan Rowland-Smith
    SU: Mark Lowe
    SU: Jason Vargas
    CL: Aaron Heilman

    Without any further changes, I'd project this team at about 78-83 wins. I'll try and explain more later this week using WAR (Wins above replacement) measurements.

    My projection for the AL West is this:

    1st: OAK with approx. 84 wins
    2nd: LAA with approx. 83 wins*
    3rd: SEA with approx. 78 wins
    4th: TEX with approx. 74 wins

    *Now I know what you're all going to say. Anaheim won 100 games last year, how could they possibly plummet to 83 wins in 2009? The Hardball Times explains.

    Anaheim had a run differential of a meager +68. According to their Pythagorean win expectancy,the Angels played much more like an 88 win team. Why the 12 win discrepancy? Luck, for the most part. Probably from beating up on three lousy AL West teams.

    As things stand now, the Angels are a far worse team than they were in 2008. With expected regression from Vladimir Guerrero and Tori Hunter, as well as the loss of Mark Teixeira to free agency, the Angels should be expected to play 5-6 wins worse than what their Pythag record from 2008 indicated.

    (And as another note, +/- 4 wins is the the normal variation for these Pythag records. To show how accurate Pythag is, 24 of the 30 MLB clubs were within 4 wins of their expected Pythag performance, and 26 of the 30 clubs were within 5 wins. Over the course of a 162 game season, that's pretty darn accurate.)

    What does this mean? Really the AL-West is wide open. I'd say there's a 20% chance the Mariners could take the division if they can add one more 2-3 Wins Above Replacement player.

    And finally...

    Your neat link for the day, a new pitching metric called tRA

    In brief, what tRA does that ERA, WHIP, and FIP doesn't do is this: tRA isolates the pitche
  4. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

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    Mar 30, 2006
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    Just one more thing...

    Over the next few months I'm going to be using a metric known as WAR (Wins Above Replacement) quite a bit. It's a newer tool that is used to show just how valuable certain players are by factoring in both their offensive and defensive performances.

    For a basic primer, Graham MacAree over at Lookout Landing wrote this up.

    He also created a neat little chart to help you visualize what things like "Average, Replacement Level, and Above Average" looks like:

    [image=http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3130/3161088827_677f67c4da_o.png]
  5. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    So, on paper, how do the Mariners look this year?
  6. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

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    Dave Cameron over at USSM has the Mariners pegged at around a 75-win true talent team, but that's dependent on the Mariners being smart and never using Ken Griffey Jr. in left field or against left-handed pitching. To get the most out of the team, they probably should run with this setup:

    Vs. RHP pitching

    RF - Ichiro
    2B - Jose Lopez
    3B - Adrian Beltre
    DH - Ken Griffey Jr.
    1B - Russell Branyan
    CF - Franklin Guttierez
    C - Jeff Clement
    SS - Ronny Cedeno
    LF - Endy Chavez

    Vs. LHP Pitching

    RF - Ichiro
    2B - Jose Lopez
    3B - Adrian Beltre
    DH - Jeff Clement
    1B - Chris Shelton or Mike Sweeney (depending on who breaks camp with the club)
    CF - Franklin Guttierez
    C - Kenji Johjima
    SS - Ronny Cedeno
    LF - Endy Chavez

    That group would be averageish offensively but among the lead leaders in any defensive metric you can think of. An outfield of Endy Chavez, Franklin Guttierez, and Ichiro is probably the best defensive group in baseball. Heck, this is a group so ridiculously talented with the glove they might make Jarrod Washburn post a sub-4 ERA.
  7. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    Well, a good defense is always something to build upon. ;)
  8. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

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    Well, a run is a run. There isn't really one set way to win baseball games. The sexy way is to score a ton of runs, but the cheap way to do it is to build a capable defensive club.

    Moneyball is all about exploiting market inefficiencies. Back in 2002-2004 Billy Beane would find guys who could post high OBPs and pay them peanuts because no one else in baseball valued that skillset. Now defense (as measured by RZR, OOZ, and UZR) is the woefully undervalued skill. Let's use an example...

    Would you believe that Raul Ibanez (he of the 3-year, 30+ million dollar contract with the Phillies fame) and Endy Chavez are roughly equal in terms of value?.

  9. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

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    Mar 30, 2006
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    My rough stab at the projected starting lineups

    Vs. RHP

    RF - L Ichiro
    SS - R Ronny Cedeno
    3B - R Adrian Beltre
    DH - L Ken Griffey Jr.
    2B - R Jose Lopez
    1B - L Russell Branyan
    CF - R Franklin Gutierrez
    C - L Jeff Clement
    LF - L Endy Chavez

    VS. LHP

    RF - L Ichiro
    SS - R Ronny Cedeno
    3B - R Adrian Beltre
    2B - R Jose Lopez
    1B - R Chris Shelton
    CF - R Franklin Guttierez
    DH - L Jeff Clement/Ken Griffey Jr.
    C - R Kenji Johjima
    LF - L Endy Chavez

    Bench

    4th OF - Wladimir Balentien
    INF - Yuniesky Betancourt
    1B Platoon - Russell Branyan/Chris Shelton (Depending on who is starting)
    C - Kenji Johjima/Jeff Clement(Depending on who is starting)

    Rotation:

    1. RHP Felix Hernandez
    2. LHP Erik Bedard
    3. RHP Brandon Morrow
    4. LHP Jarrod Washburn
    5. RHP Carlos Silva

    Bullpen
    Closer - RHP David Aardsma
    Setup - RHP Mark Lowe
    Setup - LHP Tyler Walker
    MRP - RHP Roy Corcoran
    MRP - LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith
    MRP - RHP Jesus Delgado
    LRP - TBA

    THT projected record - 79-83 with a 15% chance of making the playoffs.

    My thoughts on the AL-West standings:

    1. LAA with 84 wins
    2. OAK with 80 wins
    3. SEA with 79 wins
    4. TEX with 75 wins
  10. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    I like the Mariners, and we follow them in Vancouver, but I can't say that they are very good. Like the Canucks.

    Anybody who has read Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" knows there was a previous Seattle team, the Pilots. They lasted just one season, and then moved to Milwaukee to become the Brewers. The One-Season Wonders. Bouton's view was that the Pacific Northwest was too civilized and had too many other distractions to follow baseball whole-heartedly.
  11. SueAsideRide Force Ghost

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    The Mariners are definitely a "filler team" (ie they never win the big championship), but they somehow managed to survive over the years. Obviously they have enough fans to keep going.

    I'll be dropping by Safeco this year.
  12. tom Chosen One

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    Mar 14, 2004
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    they were pretty much ready to leave before griffey came along. then their great '95 season pretty much saved seattle baseball and allowed them to build safeco.
  13. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    It'll be nice having Griffey back in Seattle this year, but the team's still not going to go to the playoffs. However, it should be a step in the right direction.
  14. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Have they nothing on the farm?
  15. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    The Bedard trade cost them some good farm prospects, but I have no idea what talent they have in the system.
  16. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

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    Anyone who believes that Pacific Northwest sports fans are too civilized have never been to a UW Huskies basketball or football game, or a Seattle Seahawks game. Northwest fans are just as passionate about their franchises as any other city.

    Though the Mariners haven't won a championship, they had a good string of success from around 1997 to 2003. Some of those teams featured the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez, Ken Griffey Jr, and Randy Johnson, some of the greatest players of all time at their respective positions. These were talented ballclubs, but things didn't break right one way or another. The 2002-2003 teams were 90+ win units that ran into an unstoppable Oakland Athletics juggernaut. Had the Mariners played in any division other than the AL West, they would have had a remarkable stretch of playoff appearances from 2000-2003.

    The wheels came undone when Pat Gillick left and Bavasi took over. Gillick had mortaged the farm system for the success of 2000-2003 and Bavasi was simply inept.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the 2009 team will be the worst team fielded by new general manager Jack Zduriencik. He's already shown a good deal of baseball smarts by building a sabermetrics research department in the FO, dealing JJ Putz for a ton of young talent (and then he traded one piece of the JJ Putz trade for even MORE young talent), and taking low-risk, high reward fliers on players like Russ Branyan and David Aardsma. In two or three seasons, I imagine there's going to be a paradigm shift in the AL West, with the Angels falling towards the cellar and Oakland and Seattle fighting it out for the division.

    Edgar Martinez or Randy Johnson did more to save baseball in Seattle that year than Griffey did. Johnson put up 214 innings with 294 strikeouts in a strike shortened season, and Edgar Martinez put up a 1.107 OPS.

    The Bedard trade cost the team two top-tier starting pitching prospects in Chris Tillman and Tony Butler, top-tier relief arm Kam Mickolio, lefty setup-man George Sherrill, and prized CF prospect Adam Jones. This trade was so unfathomably bad for so many reasons. Giving up that much talent for ANY ONE player is ridiculous, especially when your ML team is so talent starved. Heck, giving up just Adam Jones for Erik Bedard (a pitcher known for a lengthy injury history) is a pretty stupid trade. I imagine the phone conversation between Bill Bavasi and Andy McPhail went something like this:

    *Phone rings*
    Andy: Ahoy-hoy
    Bill: Andy, it's Bill in Seattle. Is Erik Bedard on the market?
    Andy: Depends, what do you have in mind, Bill?
    Bill: Well we're thinking of offering Adam Jones-
    Andy: Adam Jones? This sounds like a pretty good-
    Bill: But Erik's pretty darn talented. We'll also throw in George Sherrill.
    Andy: ...Go on.
    Bill: Gosh, Andy. We really want Erik so we'll toss in Mickolio and Butler as well.
    Andy: I don't know, Bill. I've got to think a bit.
    *Andy puts Bill on hold*
    Andy: Hey Mr. Angelos, get this. Bavasi just called us and offered us Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Kam Mickolio, and Tim Butler for Erik Bedard.
    Peter Angelos: Bahahahahahaha. Can you wrangle any more out of him?
    Andy: Let's find out. You still there, Bill?
    Bill: You know Andy, I've been thinking. That Erik is such a good lefty pitcher. That was o
  17. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    It sounds like the problem is management.
  18. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    Many pro team problems stem from bad management and then get to the players.
  19. tom Chosen One

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    i would never argue otherwise, especially since griffey missed half the season. but at the same time he was the face of the franchise (and did hit 5 home runs and score the winning run in that memorable 5 game series against the yankees).

    but what griffey did mostly was play the game with joy and an infectious energy that gave mariners fans something to cheer for even before the success of the '95 season.
  20. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    They need to restructure management, then, and then try to improve.

    Is money a problem?
  21. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    The Mariners had the third-highest payroll in the Majors last year, so a shortage of money isn't the issue.
  22. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

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    The entire front office was blown apart over the off-season. The new hires include:

    GM Jack Zduriencik - Former scouting director of the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
    Assistant GM Tony Blengino - Former Brewers sabermetrician who will be heading up the Mariners' new department of statistical baseball research
    Amateur scouting director Tom McNamara
    Pro scouting director Carmen Fusco

    Also hired was consultant Tom Tango, perhaps the leading mind in sabermetric research in the game today

    At the field level, the Mariners fired everyone who was employed last season and hired:

    Manager Don Wakamatsu
    Bench coach Ty van Burkelo
    Pitching coach Rick Adair
    Hitting coach Allan Cockrell
    Bullpen coach John Wetteland
    First base coach Lee Tinsley
    Third base coach Bruce Hines

    Wakamatsu hails from the Texas and Oakland organizations and is considered to be a more sabermetrically inclined coach.
  23. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    The season is going fairly well so far. Let's see if the Mariners can keep this level of play up for the upcoming months.
  24. darth_gersh Force Ghost

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    That was a great game by Felix last night.
  25. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    The Mariners are doing OK this season; not great, but the season isn't already over them.
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