August 6, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Boy, you weren’t kidding Derek, those are freaking amazing. Thanks mucho everybody! Like Derek said, we had no idea people would be this interested in reading our ramblings. This basically started out because the three of us emailed each other numerous times a day, until we finally said, “Hey, wouldn’t the rest of the world like to read this?” We were half-kidding (if not more so), but hey, it looks like you actually did want to read this. Wow.

So, uh… USS Mariner forever! And all that.

August 6, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

My cousin Scott has started a blog of his own, “The Other Zumsteg” where he’s already got a funny bit about the hot dog scam vendors at Candlestick used to run. I like Scott so much, I give him my full endorsement (in fact, I don’t think he should be selling himself short as the other Zumsteg, but that’s his choice). Check it out.

And hey, on another note — we have some stats, which I’m not going to give away except to say they’re a-fricking-mazing. I had no idea that so many people would dig this, and moreover, that so many of you would have this site bookmarked and visit regularly, and would spread the word to friends, relatives… pretty much anyone, I’m guessing. But we love you all, each and every one of you. Except that one guy who hates me in a weird and disturbing way. I’m not so big on him. Everyone else, though, thanks for reading.

August 6, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Mmm… Armando Benitez.

I have to echo Dave’s sentiments on this one. It’s a bummer that Jeff Nelson was shipped off because of his comments last week, but the M’s really did wind up with a better pitcher after all was said and done (as well as some cash to line the pockets of Misters Armstrong and Lincoln). Have a look at their career lines:

Benitez 30 3.03 6.03 4.79 11.83 1.04 188/295/323
Nelson 36 3.29 7.21 4.76 9.59 0.60 222/327/328

Both have their respective problems with walks, but Benitez blows Nelson away in pretty much every other category. I know some people are worried about Benitez’ reputation as a headcase and choker in big games, but let’s be honest here — Nelson isn’t exactly the most reliable guy either. We’ve all seen him lose his control on the mound, get totally rattled, and then shelled by the opposing team. And it’s not as if he was Mr. Automatic during his two stints as closer this season.

So… good job M’s, even if you made this move for the wrong reasons.

August 6, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

With Jeff Nelson gone, time for a special edition of

Derek’s Rate Stats of Doom

Dude outs abf h% hr% bb% k%
Joel Pineiro 455 636 19.3% 1.4% 9.1% 16.4%
Ryan Frankli 440 608 21.7% 4.3% 5.9% 10.9%
Jamie Moyer 437 613 21.2% 2.3% 7.5% 15.2%
Freddy Garci 412 610 24.6% 3.8% 7.9% 14.6%
Gil Meche 407 582 22.2% 3.4% 7.9% 16.8%
Julio Mateo 168 223 20.2% 4.9% 4.5% 22.4%
S. Hasegawa 158 207 19.8% 1.0% 3.9% 10.6%
Arthur Rhode 128 179 20.7% 1.7% 7.8% 20.7%
Jeff Nelson 113 161 21.1% 1.9% 8.7% 29.2%
Soriano 83 105 15.2% 1.0% 5.7% 34.3%
Kazu 59 85 22.4% 1.2% 8.2% 24.7%
Aaron Taylor 38 61 27.9% 0.0% 9.8% 14.8%
Aaron Looper 3 4 0.0% 0.0% 25.0% 50.0%

Leaders, good sense: hits Soriano, HRs Soriano, walks Hasegawa, K Soriano

Leders, bad sense: hits Taylor (Garcia), HRs Mateo (still), walks Taylor (Pineiro)

You can see Soriano’s astounding stats are due a little to excellent defense he’s had behind him, but also because he’s awesome. I’m not sure the team needed to pick up Benitez — they’ve got more good right-handed relievers than I have ties.

I’d also like to point out that having the Box stick to traditional roles and putting not-the-best-reliever in as the ‘closer’ can allow (without him realizing it) a better pen to develop, with superior non-closer types pitching the just-as-important middle innings.

August 6, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

This just in: The Mariners traded Jeff Nelson for Armando Benitez.

This is the rarest of trades; two contenders, in the same league, with a good chance of facing each other in the playoffs (and a matchup against each other this weekend), swapping players who are both likely to play fairly prominant roles in that potential playoff series. Make no mistake, this is a message trade. Had Jeff Nelson not criticized Mariners ownership last week, he would still be a Mariner. This would not a trade that was explored because of on-field performance (more on that below), but simply one to show the players who was in charge. Criticize the boss and you’ll be shown the door. This is a power play by ownership/management.

However, in the process of showing the team who is in charge, they stumbled over their own feet and ended up with a better pitcher. Nelson’s 3.35 ERA hides the fact that he allows inherited runners to score at astounding rates. Michael Wolverton’s reliever reports show that Nelson has allowed 6 runs more than an average major league pitcher this season. The only worse Mariner reliever in 2003 has been Giovanni Carrara. Of the current bullpen, Nelson was clearly the worst pitcher.

Benitez isn’t great, being worth about 6 runs more than the average pitcher so far, and he’s got serious control issues. He’s an improvement on Nelson, however. The key will be for Melvin to stick with what he has; Benitez isn’t as good as Hasegawa, Rhodes, Soriano, or the recent version of Julio Mateo. If the Box can ignore the feeling to use Benitez in the 9th inning of close games because he’s “a proven closer”, then this could be a good acquisition for the M’s.

However, let us not lose site of the fact that this is not a baseball trade.

August 6, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Last week, I promised an update on negotiations with 15th-round-pick (and 2nd round talent) Soctt Maine after his visit to Safeco Field and contract offer from the Mariners. Rather than just providing an update, here is the final story, including the unhappy ending, just to give context.

Scott Maine was considered a late-1st/early-2nd round talent going into the draft. For various reasons, however, he slid on draft day, as teams were unwilling to take the repercussions that come with paying over slot money in a later round. Before the 15th round began, the Mariners placed a call to Maine, asking if he would sign for 2nd round money if they selected him with their next pick. He confirmed that he would, and the Mariners selected him. This isn’t an oral contract, but there was obviously reason for optimism from Maine’s family. The organization showed interest, threw out a range, and Scott agreed to that number, and then they then selected him.

Maine held firm on his request for 2nd round money during the entire negotaiting process, while his status was put on hold as the Mariners signed their priority picks. At the end of July, the M’s asked Scott to come to Seattle, visit Safeco Field, and meet face to face where they would offer him a contract.

Maine flew to Seattle last week and threw a bullpen session for several M’s officials, including assistant GM Roger Jongewaard, scouting director Frank Mattox, and pitching coach Bryan Price. He felt okay about the session, though it wasn’t overwhelming. Upon its conclusion, the Mariners presented an offer for a little over $400,000. This amount is less than what 3rd round pick Ryan Feierabend received, and about 25 % less than what a 2nd round slot bonus would be. Scott wasn’t holding out for the moon, and would have agreed to a contract for less than slot, as long as it was still in the 2nd round range. The Mariners didn’t come close to that number, and have convinced Scott Maine that he would be better off playing for free at the University of Miami than to come up through the Mariners organization.

The junior college draft-and-folllow process would have been an option, but the Mariners handled negotations so poorly that he has no interest in signing, will take his scholarship to Miami and be drafted by someone else in 3 years.

This isn’t the first time the Mariners have misled and strung out players, and their reputation is not a good one. Getting drafted by the Mariners now means a summer of contentious negotiations, while you sort through the half-truths and wonder exactly why the organization selected you in the first place.

Whether Pat Gillick returns as General Manager or not, it is time to make a change at the scouting director position. With any luck, Frank Mattox has overseen his last draft with the Seattle Mariners. He’s already cost us John Mayberry, Eddy Esteve, and now Scott Maine, none leaving with kind things to say about the organization. It is time for a change.