March 31, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

A hearty “Welcome Aboard!” to anyone who might be reading the good ship USS Mariner for the first time thanks to this Seattle Weekly article.

March 31, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Hiram Bocachica has lost out on his bid to make the Opening Day roster. Also moved out of camp: JJ Putz, Pat Borders, Mickey Lopez, Jose Lopez. We’re now down to 30. Oh, and I guess this means Ben Davis makes the team.

Update: That 30 figure is misleading, because as far as I can tell, it includes two guys (Chris Snelling and Aaron Taylor) who’ll start the season on the disabled list. So let’s call it 28. Of those 28, two are invited players: Terry Mulholland and Mike Myers. The guy hanging around right now is Aaron Looper, but I think he’d need a minor miracle to make the club; if any extra pitchers are kept, I’d have to think it would be one of the lefties (Myers or Mulholland).

March 31, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Pitcher X, in case you’re wondering, is Jarrod Washburn. Bloomquist kills that guy — he’s 8-for-15 against him with two doubles and a triple, good for a .533/.533/.800 line.

My biggest complaint about Andriessen’s prospect list? No Shin-soo Choo. C’mon, that’s inexcusable.

In any event, I’m not going to worry too much about it. It’s gorgeous in Seattle today and I have the day off.

March 31, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

And, I’m not sure how I missed this one, but Art Thiel talks to Bavasi about statistical analysis, including the revelation that the M’s attempted to hire Craig Wright as a consultant, and are still searching for a statistical analyst after Wright turned them down. Overall, I don’t really disagree with too much that Bavasi says here, but I wish someone would push him when he throws out generic quotes.

“I have a hard time answering the question of how statistical analysis helps you below the majors. I’m going to return to squat — veteran scouts, not younger scouts” implies that he believes statistical analysis at the major league level is important, but we never hear which stats he feels are relevant. For instance, if he likes Raul Ibanez because he hit well at Safeco Field in 60 at-bats, that is totally different than if he has a list of comparable players who progressed after age 30 and sustained that level through their mid-30’s, and is anticipating Ibanez has made significant changes and will be able to repeat his prior performances.

There’s a huge difference between believing in statistics that cause you to play Willie Bloomquist at first base because he’s 8-10 lifetime against Pitcher X, and actually understanding what the sabermetric principles have established over the past few years. The Mariners might believe in statistics at the major league level, but I’m far from convinced that they know how to apply them properly.

March 31, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Some interesting, and starkly different, pieces in the P-I today.

David Locke quotes liberally from Baseball Prospectus, even using RAP, PECOTA’s projected standings, and saying that “Seattle native Derek Zumsteg of has all the answers”. Nothing to spice up a column like hyperbole. Hooray for Derek getting yet another mention in the paper. Of course, if Derek has all the answers, I’m rather upset that he hasn’t shared them with me yet. Either way, a sort of fun piece to see in the local dailies.

In his first piece, Dave Andriessen does a profile on Jose Lopez, which isn’t anything you haven’t read before here. The M’s love Lopez, he doesn’t get on base that well, and he doesn’t have a set position. He closes the article with one of the worst excuses for a “top prospect” list that you’ll ever seen in print, including names like Craig Anderson, Greg Dobbs, and A.J. Zapp. Adds bizarre comments like Felix Hernandez’s “90 MPH fastball”, Jeff Heaverlo being “ready to produce”, and called Zapp an “excellent fielder”.

In his second piece, Dave Andriessen does a profile of Bill Bavasi that makes me shake my head. A few of the gems:

There are entire Web Sites dedicated to how stupid he is, petitions calling for him to be fired. It’s the same thing that greets every GM for every team, though perhaps not at the same volume.

I’ve never seen anything like the backlash that came upon Bavasi during his first offseason. There is almost always a honeymoon phase, where fans give the new guy the benefit of the doubt. The offseason transactions were so obviously and universally stupid that he brought the wrath upon himself. This is not a common occurrance, and did not meet him at the press conference. The negativity came from a series of moves that can best be described as ill-conceived.

“If the general manager’s job was just to go out and pick a few free agents, we wouldn’t have to have those interpersonal skills and experience managing people and managing a budget. The general manager’s job is much bigger than what I think most fans perceive or understand.”

I agree with this entirely, and think that it is one of the main reasons that the game has been so resistant to the advances of statistical analysis. Billy Beane is not a good GM because he understands sabermetrics, but because he has the personality necessary to convince his entire organization that his way is the right way. General Managers have to be able to deal with people, and most of the hardcore statistical types are woefully lacking in those skills. I’m sure that Bill Bavasi has the personality that will allow him to get the organizational philosophies across to all those under him. The problem is that he doesn’t have the right philosophies.

Bavasi doesn’t emphasize a few statistics in the way Oakland GM Billy Beane does, but he is looking for a well-rounded roster. He appreciates power pitchers and speedy runners but won’t stockpile any type of player exclusively.

“I think you have to kind of mix and match,” he said. “In general, I’d prefer to have a veteran club that has enough youth to it to stay healthy. “It’s a game that takes into respect physical skills and also intellect, and that comes from experience. All of the good clubs have a real solid element of experience to them. We appreciate that and understand that.”

Power pitchers and speedy runners. That basically epitomizes what is wrong with the Mariners. They are completely sold on a particular style of player, regardless of how well a player does anything else. If you run fast, even if you completely suck, there’s a spot for you here. Slow, lumbering slugger? Please, apply elsewhere. We don’t need your kind. Bring us more Hiram Bocachicas and Eric Owens’!

That’s the recipe the Mariners would like to see over the long term. Lincoln has no doubt that he’s got the right man for that job.

“Whenever you hire someone, particularly for an important position like this, you always have questions as to whether you made the right decision,” he said. “That’s typical. But in this case, I have to say that this is one of the best decisions we ever made. He has been even better than either (team president Chuck Armstrong) or I ever anticipated.

“He’s an excellent communicator, he’s decisive, he makes quick decisions, he came in and took over very quickly. He is better in all aspects of his performance than we expected, as well as validating what I thought was the case, which was that he was the perfect fit.”

I have no comment, other than to pray that God is a Mariner fan, because otherwise, we’re headed down a hole.