Dammit, I was just going to post that. Couldn’t have said it better. Here’s another great one:
Is this the worst bench in major league history? If Edgar gets injured, what abysmal hitter will replace him at DH? And seriously, will any Mariners bench players get a pinch hit all year? â€” Jeff, Bellingham
B. F.: No question, the bench is thin at this point. But the bench was supposed to be one of the strengths last year, and barely came into play. The most likely DH if Edgar gets hurt would be outfielder Quinton McCracken. Another option is use Scott Spiezio at DH, and have Willie Bloomquist play third base.
Bench barely came into play…. hmmm… well, that’s just totally false:
McLemore got 309 ABs, more than any single player got at third or short, and more than half of what your normal, 150-something-game player would get
Ben Davis played in 80 games
Bloomquist played 89 games, more than Cirillo did
Mabry somehow got into 64 games
The M’s bench was a large part of their season last year, and anyone who tells you different was either not paying attention or… well, you can draw your own conclusion.
Larry Stone and Bob Finnegan are hosting a chat over at Seattletimes.com right now. I was going to wait until the end to highlight the dramatic differences between these two, but this jewel just can’t wait:
Who do you think will be most improved this year in the Mariners rotation? â€” Mark C., Seattle
B. F.: The smart guess would be Ryan Franklin, if he gets more offensive help than he had last season, which is what the Mariners spent the winter trying to assemble. The longshot guess would be Freddy Garcia, going into his free-agent season.
Pocket Lint suggested, presumably with a straight face, that Ryan Franklin is “the smart guess” to improve in 2004. Coming off a season where was 9th in the American League in ERA, despite having terrible peripheral numbers. His success in ’03 was heavily dependant on the outfield defense, which is now dramatically worse. Yet, apparently, Finnegan feels he’s the most likely to improve. So, folks, prepare for the Ryan Franklin, AL Cy Young award campaign.
I realize that critical analysis isn’t required in the job-requirements of a beat writer, but my God, is Bob Finnegan just completely immune to intelligent thought when it comes to the game he spends his life following?
In response to my post below, I received an email from Michael Srihari, who runs DugOut Dollars, a site with extensive payroll information for every team in the majors. I’ve never seen anything approaching the detail he takes in breaking things down, including projected payrolls for 2005 and 2006, details on the vesting options and buyouts, benefits, luxary tax rates, and anything else you could imagine. It isn’t perfect (he had Ichiro’s payroll number at $11 million this year when its really $7.5 million), but that will get updated soon, I’m sure. Overall, just a tremendous resource. When we finally get around to updating our links, he’ll be getting one.
That didn’t take long. The Times quotes Bavasi as saying “We’ve heard that Pudge has agreed with Detroit”. The Detroit papers are reporting a deal is close, and could be announced tommorrow. Barring some kind of Aaron Sele-type negotiation nightmare, I think we can safely assume Pudge isn’t going to be a Mariner.
Of course, Finnigan doesn’t stop there, and reverts back to Mariners-shill, never even thinking to question the lies he’s being fed.
Although Sasaki walked away from $8 million guaranteed for 2004, the Mariners figure there is only $7 million available to spend on player acquisitions. The Mariners say they were $1 million over their projected $95 million payroll budget before Sasaki made his decision.
The Mariners have historically counted contract buyouts against their previous years payroll, so you have to state Sasaki’s guaranteed 2004 money as $9 million. And, the Mariners continue the trend of inflating their payroll at any given opportunity. The actual amount, before Sasaki’s departure, was around $93.5 million.
Subtract from that $2 million for use on possible in-season acquisitions, it leaves $5 million for immediate additions to the payroll via trade or free-agent signings.
Ten seconds ago, they had exceeded their $95 million payroll. Now, they magically need to have a $2 million buffer for in player acquisitions because Sasaki left? If they didn’t need this buffer a week ago, they don’t need it now.
Subtract $1 million to $1.5 million for a reliever to replace Sasak with left-hander Ron Villone thought to be a likely possibilit and there is $3.5 million to $4 million for offensive help.
Ron Villone, versus left-handers last year: .267/.342/.475
Ron Villone, versus right-handers last year: .221/.313/.388
His three years splits revert back to the norm, but only because right-handers pummeled him in 2001 and 2002. From 2000-2002, he was downright terrible. Last year, he was slightly above average, but still was ineffective in the role that the Mariners are hoping he would fill. Based on his talents, he should be getting a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. A guaranteed major league deal for Villone is a waste of money, and paying him $1.5 million is akin to lighting your neck hairs on fire just to see what it feels like.
In reality, the M’s got a $9 million surplus. They can use Pocket Lint to spin it as many ways as they want, but there is no reason for them to not spend $9 million on improving this club. It certainly needs improving, and throwing $4 million at Ron Villone and Raul Mondesi won’t accomplish anything other than unify the mob that will march on Safeco Field.