Two new Bavasi look-alike contestants suggested by email: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) director Marcus Nispel:
and former outfield mainstay turned enthusiastic Mariner fan/announcer Jay Buhner:
In case you haven’t noticed yet, Baseball Reference has 2003 stats up now. Woo!
I don’t know about you, but I’m really bummed about this Ibanez signing. Not so much because I think it’s going to cripple the team — it’s not that much money — but rather because it points to a general lack of smarts on Bavasi’s part. Let’s see: They gave a three-year contract for a guy who’s going to turn 32 in June. They’re giving up a first-round compensatory draft choice by signing him so early and/or passing on guys who wouldn’t have cost compensation. They added a “bat” who posted a sub-.800 OPS last season despite playing half his games in a good offensive park. At his best, Ibanez is a solid platoon player. And yet, he’s being paid starter-type money. Have I mentioned his marginal walk rate?
This isn’t the player the M’s needed; it’s Dan Wilson all over again.
We’ve gotten a lot of email on this, so —
Peter Garrett, lead singer of Midnight Oil. I don’t see this, personally. For one, Bavasi’s head is much longer, more of an oval, while Peter Garrett’s head is round. Also, Peter Garrett is talented.
or what about
Mr. Clean? Same problem with head shape. Bavasi’s head, for comparison purposes, is sort of lozenge-shaped. It’s tough to find comperable heads. Closest I’ve gotten so far is
Goldberg, except Goldberg’s got better facial hair going.
Left field and Raul Ibanez: A review of peers
Many have said to us “Guys, it’s not that much money to pay a LFer.” And yet, it is. Let’s look at the various LFers (200+ PAs as LFs) who signed (didn’t go to arb, weren’t under team control) in 2003 and their relative-to-Ibanez performance, ordered by their 2003 value:
Who, Offensive value over average, $, contract length
Mora, Melvin, 23.5, $1,725,000, 1 year
Floyd, Cliff, 13.7, $6,500,000, 4 years
McMillon, Billy, -0.2, $300,000, 1 year
Catalanotto, Frank -1.9, $2,200,000, 1 year
Payton, Jay, -3.5, $1,850,000, 1 year
Hollandsworth, Todd, -8, $1,500,000, 1 year
Spencer, Shane, -13.9, $600,000, 1 year
And Raul’s 2003 stats with 2004 contract?
Ibanez, Raul, -11.5, $4,300,000, 3 years
Eeeeeeeeeyup. By far, the worst contract of any left-fielder in baseball. Any of those other guys FAs again and lefties? Yup. McMillon, Hollandsworth, right off that list, plus (not to put too fine a point on it) any of dozens of other random guys floating around in minor league free agency who would sign for the minimum.
This contract has me totally depressed.
On a more light-hearted note, I was inspired by an ESPN.com article on taunting today:
Besides, a master taunter can make his or her point without running afoul of the authorities. In 1984, the Cameron Crazies welcomed Maryland’s Herman Veal — who allegedly had sexually assaulted another student — with a shower of more than 1,000 panties and a sign that read, “Hey Herm, Did You Send Her Flowers Afterward?”
Not surprisingly, university officials demanded that the students tone down their act. So in response, the Crazies turned Duke’s next home game, against rival North Carolina, into a taunting master class. Some held signs that read “A Warm and Hearty Welcome to Dean Smith” and “Welcome Fellow Scholars.” Others wore homemade halos. After questionable calls, fans chanted “We beg to differ” instead of “[expletive].” And during Carolina free-throw attempts, students under the basket didn’t go nuts — they just held up small signs reading, “Please Miss.”
Excessive politeness as taunting — that’s just brilliant. I’m going to think about other applications about this neglected area of heckling.
Awful, just awful.
There seems to be a sentiment out there that the Ibanez signing isn’t bad because:
1. He’s left-handed, and the M’s needed a left-handed hitter.
2. He’s hit well in Safeco Field.
3. He can platoon with Randy Winn and be part of a solid tandem attack in left field.
4. He can spot John Olerud at first base occassionally.
1. He’s not anything close to the best left-handed bat on the market, nor did he sign as a bargain rate. There will be at least 4 available outfielders with the exact same skillset, who could produce even better than Ibanez, that will sign 1 year contracts for less than half of what Ibanez is going to get in 2004.
2. Sample size, folks. Ibanez’s numbers at Safeco Field mean nothing. They could also be interpreted that his dominance has come against Mariner pitching, which he will never get to face again, and thus could be expected to have worse numbers. That argument is lousy, too, but there’s no reasonable way to defend a contract on the basis of 42 at-bats.
3. Randy Winn is going to get at least $4 million in arbitration. If the Mariners really do keep Winn and Ibanez as an LF platoon, they’ll be paying $8.3 million to get league average production at a position that is remarkably easy to fill. That would be a giant waste of resources, something along the lines of the Wilson/Sasaki contracts.
4. Ibanez can’t hit lefties any better than Olerud can, so a platoon there is useless. Colbrunn should get all the 1B at-bats that don’t go to Johnny O, and Ibanez’s bat would be among the weakest in the American League at first base.
This is an awful, terrible, unbelievably bad contract, and there is no defending it. Toss in the fact that they’re throwing away a first round pick, considering KC has already announced their intention to not offer arbitration to their free agents, and this is bad management of Cam Bonifay type levels.
Raul Ibanez, post-Mariners
Ibanez is now 31. Kaufman played severely pro-hitter, too, which is worth keeping in mind. Splits:
2001: .200/.333/.450 v LHP, .286/.354/.498 v RHP (only 20 AB v LHP)
2002: .274/.291/.403 v LHP, .300/.363/.582 v RHP
2003: .245/.291/.392 v LHP, .319/.371/.485 v RHP
Ibanez sucks against lefties, to the point where he’s really only a league-average left fielder against righties. Overall, Ibanez put up a .268 EqA in 2003, which was 11.5 runs *less* over the course of the season than an average left-fielder.
If you paid full price for Raul Ibanez, you paid too much. The Mariners will be paying a cost that’s far too high, in both money and a draft pick, for an easily replacable commodity.
As a first move for Bavasi, this is a real stinker. That it also looks like the M’s are committed to blowing off outfield defense while not improving their offensive unit is scary.
By the way, Mike Thompson laid things out perfectly at the P-I blog yesterday. There is simply no reason to pay Ibanez this much money, because he isn’t any better than what we already had. If the plan is to move Winn to center and go with an Ibanez/Winn/Ichiro outfield, then the 2004 season is already in the toilet.
Bad, bad news. Not only have the Mariners decided to flush $13 million down the drain on Raul Ibanez, they’re going to do so before the deadline to offer arbitration, meaning that we are voluntarily giving our first round pick to the Royals for the right to throw our money away.
Awful deal. Just pure crap. Bill Bavasi starts his tenure where the previous management left off. Way to squash all the optimism we’d managed to accumulate with one single move Bill. Just tremendous.
Can we start endorsing Chris Antonetti as Bavasi’s replacement yet?