One Hundred Sixteen
Featuring Mariners-related rants, raves, and analysis.
Friday, December 19, 2003
I haven't seen anyone else link to this, even though it's two days old, so here goes. ESPN's Rob Neyer agrees that Bavasi is a bumbler. Regarding the Omar-for-Carlos almost-trade, he writes:
There simply isn't any way to spin this positively for Seattle's new general manager, Bill Bavasi.
It's early in Bavasi's tenure, and we should probably give him a few more weeks before we decide he couldn't make a profit selling ice cream in the Sahara. But from where I sit, he's not off to a brilliant start.
The mainstream media appears to be catching on to the idea that Bavasi lacks basic skills in business and talent evaluation. Maybe the blogosphere isn't just the radical fringe.
What's the shortest tenure ever for a GM? Does anyone know?
I modified the template to make it slightly different than the blogger standard--it was getting awfully hard to tell some of the blogs apart. Added new links too.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Links are everywhere to the news that Ichiro has been re-signed to a four year deal that is likely north of $10MM/year. From a business perspective, this needs to be taken in the context of his non-baseball value. From a purely baseball perspective, I have to wonder...for just a little more, could we have had Vlad? I was not in favor throwing $16MM a year at Vlad while the Mariners had lots of other cheaper options to get to the same place. Now that most of those options are gone, and it appears that his market value may be more in the $12-$14MM range, I am belatedly hopping on the Vlad-wagon, here at the point where the probability is lower than the chance of a insightful article coming out of Blaine Newman.
Would the Cincinnati Reds take Garcia and Randy Winn in exchange for Ken Griffey Jr.? Sure they would.
You have got to be kidding me. I am amazed that anyone familiar with the game of baseball could write that sentence. Blaine, I suggest you review the terms of player contracts before hypothesizing about trades. There's a link to Griffey's bloated monstrosity of a contract off to the right.
Speaking of which, I applaud Levesque for yesterday's article critical of the Omar deal. Too bad, John, there goes your shot at a Bavasi interview, but it's refreshing to see the mainstream media get after management. Do it more often.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
How sad is it that we have to hope our GM doesn't get what he wants!!!! I'm glad you're coming back, Carlos.
I had intended the post below to serve as a kind of coda, a beginning to 116 days of self-imposed silence as a prelude to enjoying baseball without the burdensome chore of worrying about winning. But the first good news in some time has pulled me out of my mental retirement; I swear, I actually heard happy music in my head when the Vizquel deal fell apart. It was "La Cucaracha." I'll enjoy it while it lasts; you know as we speak, somebody in the front office is thinking about Roger Cedeno in center and a contract extension for Olerud.
Monday, December 15, 2003
First of all, I want to thank the 1,000 of you who have visited 116 since I last updated a week ago. It's astonishing to me that there is this much interest, and I'm flattered and awed. Like others have written, the M's blogosphere has become a go-to source for timely and accurate analysis that simply does not exist elsewhere. USSM is the first place I go in the morning. And how about our blogosphere--two or three new ones in the last week. For 116, this has meant it has been harder to come up with new insight or analysis that somebody hasn't already done better. Better for the readers, and who knows, perhaps someday a better-informed fan base will produce better decisions from management. Hey, a guy can dream.
It is no longer "too early" to pass some judgment on this off-season, and frankly it looks like 2004 won't be our year. Persistent rumors that Baltimore is about to sign Vlad would seem to indicate that three teams in the AL really, really, want to improve themselves next year, and one perennial contender isn't quite able to play in their league. On the bright side, all of these three are in the AL East, so we may still have a decent shot at the division. Barring big moves from Anaheim or Oakland, 90 wins could take it next year.
I think the Orioles overpaid for Tejada. Lee Sinins put it succinctly:
I'm not optimistic about Tejada's chances of being worth the money
throughout the life of the contract. It took him until his 5th in the
majors (2001) before he had a season with more than a dozen RCAA and before
he reached a positive career figure and it took him until his 6th year
before he finally had back to back double digit RCAA for the first time.
Meanwhile, his peak so far are 21 and 19 RCAA, which are good years, but
not really the peak that you want from a 8 figure player.
I will fault M's management for the Raul deal ( I think they overpaid) but who knows--a lot of people thought Boonie was washed up. The M's could get lucky, Raul could have a career year, and the next USSM feed could be serving crow to a lot of us.
I don't understand the Colbrunn/McCracken deal--I was looking forward to seeing a real Olerud/Colbrunn platoon this year, and pulling Olerud against lefties was at least a hypothetical opportunity. (Of course, Melvin probably would have left Colbrunn on the bench, to the detriment of the team, out of respect for the former batting champion and his $7.7MM)
I was wrong about dropping Rhodes, and in retrospect the swap for Guardado looks very positive.
I also like the Shiggy and Winn re-signings. Winn is now very tradeable. I'm disappointed that Spezio is the best we could do at third--but let's face it, this will be a huge upgrade. I hope Leone still gets a shot at third before he turns 30.
I'm still disappointed that we dropped Cameron, because we lost a great defender and merely replaced his offense, for a net negative.
Here's hoping that Bavasi still has a few tricks up his sleeve. But now I'm focusing on looking forward to my spring training trip, and remembering how nice it is to take a lap around Safeco and not miss any of the action. A day at the ballpark still beats almost anything, even if your team only wins 85 games.
Sunday, December 14, 2003
I was just starting to get a warm spot in my heart, despite a blogosphere that has lately been darker than Puget Sound at 4:45. Yes, I was please with a few developments.
1--Not mortgaging the team's future with a bloated just-cause-he's-Japanese contract for Matsui-2.
2--Signing Winn to a reasonable contract.
3--Improving the team by effectively swapping Rhodes for Guardado, without paying much extra for the priviledge.
4--Not getting totally screwed with the Hasagawa contract.
All of the above, combined with an apparently genuine effort to go after Tejada, had me in a mood to forgive the Cammie debacle (I'll be on a slow burn over Ibanez for a while though.) I first typed Ibanex, which would make a great name for a biotech company. "Ibanex. Leveraging biology to cure tomorrow's diseases by creating a shining future for caring about others. Today." Now, the Colbrunn-for-McCracken deal is just a rumor, and at this point the odds seem to favor Tejada wearing M's uniform more than McCracken. But really, just the idea of it is enough to destoy what little goodwill the new/old management had built over over the past week.
Colbrunn is a quality hitter who can destroy left-handed pitching. Why he didn't play more before his injury is one of the great unanswered questions of 2003.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
The blogger beast just ate 800 words of analysis on the Jason Kendall contract (A word of warning to fellow bloggers: if your spell check is acting funny, copy your text to another file before your get too far, then log in again. Arrgh.) Bottom line, Kendall's contract is much, much worse than Cirillo's, and even if they took Sasaki too, any trade would have to include big-time $$$ to offset the difference. The supporting analysis was presented with many rows of numbers, contained numerous witty and/or cynical comments (including jabs at A-Rod and Gillick), had several links to relevant external web pages, and was quite enjoyable to read. Wait'll next time.
Monday, December 08, 2003
Matsui's going to the Mets. Check out this line from Newsday:
Plus, as Matsui didn't want to sign with the Yankees because of the presence of Hideki Matsui, he likely felt the same way about the Mariners with Ichiro Suzuki. Kaz Matsui enjoys media attention and didn't want to be overshadowed by a Japanese player more popular than him.
Looks like we missed out on the chance to sign a prima donna who wants top-line pay for projected-middle-line performance, and who stole 13 bases in 23 attempts last year. I offer my unqualified support and hearty congratulations to Mariners' management for their decision not to pursue him. (It feels good to write that.)
I like the part about enjoying media attention. Wonder if he'll still feel that way after a year in NY.
Remember that night game in mid-September when the M's, BoSox, and A's all had ninth-inning comebacks, but we lost in extra innings and they both won? That was the night I ran back and forth between the M's game on TV and two different GameCast windows on my PC. That was the last time I held any hope for the 2003 series, and at the end of night, when it was clear the playoffs wouldn't happen, I felt tired and drained.
This feels worse.
Many of the casual fans I know ended the season saying things like Shiggy rules, Rhodes sucks, Cameron is whiney and strikes out too much. I hesitate to write this, but it almost seems like management is pandering to widespread public opinion on this one.
The Shiggy deal isn't horrible. Over the weekend I started a post that rambled into issues about the lack of consistency of ground-ball outs and the risk of overpaying based on a few flukey months. But when I look at the contract details, I don't feel like we got taken like we did on on the Ibanez deal. (I'm concerned about the third year in there, though.) Shiggy deserved a raise, but I'm glad it wasn't huge.
The Rhodes non-tender I don't understand. Expect the announcement of overpaying for a mediocre lefty reliever any minute now.
Cammie will be missed. I hated it as much as anyone when he'd go 0-2 to start three at-bats in a row, and then take the called third strike a few pitches later. But walks don't draw cheers the way strikeouts draw boos, and that was Cameron all the way. If you want to get on base, you have to watch that close pitch on the outside corner go by sometimes, and Cammie was not afraid to watch. Next year, watch for the same fans who wanted Mike run out of town to say things like, "Huh, I thought Winn would have got to that one."
For Matt over at JAMB: Occam's razor. There's no need to invent a racist conspiracy for what simple hero-worship will adequately explain. Buhner hit 40 home runs in three consecutive seasons. His only company at the time was Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Duke Snider. I'll wager a similar performance by Cammie would have earned him a contract.
And then there's Borders. At least we can coin a new phrase for bad decisions made on behalf of an executive's buddy: "Bordersesque." Try it: "Offering Dan Wilson a contract extension was Bordersesque in ineptitude."
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
C'mon, now even the ski season I was looking forward to is in jeopardy!!!
I just re-read my last couple posts and sorry if they've been depressing. I did post something happy not too long ago (Quote: "one of the best baseball cities in the world"). And on a personal note, I'm lining up a business trip to Phoenix in March. Roger Angell wrote once about spring training in Arizona: it's a shame the regular season has to come along and mess this up. I can't wait.
Monday, December 01, 2003
This is where the action is. Too lazy to click? I'll save you the time: the link does not point to anywhere near Seattle, Washington.
The disappointment at being on the sidelines while other teams improve themselves is palpable. Just about every M's blog has hit the same theme, theme, theme, theme, theme. It sucks to watch the 2003 ALCS participants conduct a clinic on how to go to the world series. The Yankees needed a right fielder. They went and signed the best one available. The Red Sox needed another top-notch starter. They went and signed the best one available. (I will omit the obvious punchline.) These guys weren't signed by teams trying to get above .500, they were signed by teams that were already damn good and are spending major bucks to push their teams over the top. Hence the sturm und drang; such behavior is almost inconceivable to M's fans.
In a note of comic relief, the Yanks signed A. Boone for almost $6MM. Let's see, that's about $2MM for an average third baseman and $3.75MM for one very timely home run. Congrats, Aaron! One other piece of good news so far: the A's haven't yet pulled anything out of their hat. But it's early.
Have I mentioned I'm looking forward to a good ski season.