Spiezio finally comes through. Considering he’s like 1-42 with runners in scoring position now, I think the clutch label has pretty much worn off.
Now, Wilson pounds a 3 run double, and the M’s lead by 6. Big game from Wilson. The M’s needed a win like this. Now if they’d just stop freaking bunting.
If Winn bunts here in the 13th, I officially give up.
Bunting again?!?!$#$ I have no words. Fire them all.
Edit: Apparently, Winn was just trying to give me an ulcer. He’s now swinging away.
Hey, look at this, a closer coming into a tie game in extra innings. What do you think the odds are Guardado gets used in the bottom of the tenth? Yea, me neither.
Edit: Credit where its due, they finally do bring Guardado into a tie game. Yea, it took until the 12th inning, and they’d already used 4 other relievers, but we’ll take what we can get.
This might be the only scenario on earth where the smart move is to load the bases to face Alex Rodriguez.
If you didn’t know it before, you do now; bunting freaking sucks.
One of the more popular emails we get goes something like this:
Bill Bavasi gets fired. You are hired to take over his job. What do you do both immediately and in the long term to turn this franchise around?
Usually, I avoid exercises like this, because I feel like they bring the role of a GM down to the level of transaction poobah, when in reality, that is only a part of what he does. So, for the sake of this little exercise, let’s imagine that my first decision is to bring in someone capable of managing all the personalities in the front office, speaking to the media for me, working the 100 hour weeks, having his cell phone ring at all hours of the night, flying around the country and leaving behind friends and family, and basically handling everything besides roster management. Hooray for that guy, whoever he is. Let’s get him a raise. Now, back to the important question of what we do with this roster. There are some instant reaction moves we could make, but in the context of having a master plan, they’re just putting band aids on a mortal wound. So, developing an organization plan is priority #1.
1. After looking at the team’s revenues and payroll and getting assurances that I can spend at least $95 million on the 2005 roster, I call a press conference to announce that, while the 2004 team has been a disappointment and we will be going in another direction, we are fundamentally opposed to the classic “rebuilding” strategy and believe we can contend for the World Series crown in 2005. With a payroll in the top 7 in all of major league baseball, there is no reason for this team to not contend, and going through a season where losing 100 games to develop talent is unnecessary. We will attempt to both get better and younger, but we will do so without throwing up the white flag on 2005.
2. Announce the designation for assignment of Mike Myers, Ron Villone, Pat Borders, Rich Aurilia, and Quinton McCracken. If no team makes an offer for any of the five players, they will be placed on waivers. If any player is claimed on waivers, they will not be pulled back, and we will gladly take the money saved from the remains of their ’04 contract and apply it to the amateur draft budget. To fill the roster spots, Bobby Madritsch, George Sherrill, Ben Davis, Justin Leone, and Jamal Strong are being recalled from Tacoma. Madritsch will replace Gil Meche in the rotation effectively immediately, with Meche moving into Villone’s middle relief mode and Sherrill taking over as the lefty setup man. The plan is to groom Meche as a two inning relief ace, believing his stuff will take a bump without the weight of pitching deep into games. As he gets used to pitching regularly on short rest, his position in the bullpen will be increased to include higher leverage outings, with the goal of having him finish games by the end of the season. Jolbert Cabrera will assume the starting role at shortstop, Jamal Strong will fill in as a 4th outfielder, Ben Davis becomes the backup catcher, and Justin Leone will take over Cabrera’s utility player role.
3. Option Ramon Santiago to Tacoma and purchase the contract of Hiram Bocachica. No, I’m not a big believer in Bocachica, but he’s better than Santiago and would provide a platoon option for Ibanez/Olerud.
4. Call every GM in the game in an attempt to create interest for all players currently under contract beyond 2004. The goal is to find teams willing to absorb the contracts of Raul Ibanez, Scott Spiezio, Randy Winn, Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Ryan Franklin, Eddie Guardado, Bret Boone, and, if possible, Wiki Gonzalez. Some of these will be easier than others. Boone, Guardado, and Franklin should be viewed as assets which will draw interest from multiple clubs. Ibanez, Spiezio, Winn, Hasegawa, and Gonzalez are liabilities whom you don’t expect clubs to show much interest in unless they are paired with an asset.
5. In case you are wondering, Dan Wilson and Jamie Moyer are unlikely to waive their 10-5 rights, and we resign ourselves to being stuck with them. John Olerud’s contract is onerous enough that no team in baseball is going to have interest at this point, and since he doesn’t represent a commitment in ’05, nor is he blocking a superior prospect, removing him from the roster is not a priority.
6. Offer Freddy Garcia around with the hope of getting two position prospects, preferably Double-A or higher. The best fit appears to be the White Sox. Ask for Brian Anderson(required), Arnie Munoz, and Chris Young, but settle for a lesser third prospect like Joe Borchard, if necessary.
It’s only a start, but with some decent luck, you should be able to shed all but about $20 million in committed payroll going into 2005, after non-tendering Ben Davis and declining the option on Jolbert Cabrera. If you net a couple of nifty prospects along the way, all the better. However, this rebuilding plan is not going to be a Cleveland-style teardown where we’re running 15 rookies out there in 2005. With an expected $75 million to spend on the free agent market this offseason, we expect to be able to build a solid nucleus of all-stars that will be complimented by the effective and cheap young pitching that is already in place. When November rolls around, you should be looking at something like the following in place for 2005:
C: W. Gonzalez
Fifteen open roster spots and $75 million to spend. Oh, the fun we could have. Just a few ideas, though this is obviously early speculation, and several of these players could re-sign with their original teams:
1. Carlos Beltran is priority #1. Offer him a 6 year, $100 million contract, a slight premium above what Vladimir Guerrero got last offseason to reflect the likely interest from the Yankees and Red Sox.
2. Nomar Garciaparra is priority #2. With his injury issues, he won’t be able to command a long term contract, but he’ll still get a good amount of money. 3 years, $30 million sounds about right to me.
3. Offer J.D. Drew a short but high value contract, something like 2 years, $16 million. In exchange for not committing to him long term, you’re paying a price most teams likely won’t match and getting his prime seasons.
4. Make a run at Kevin Millwood with a 3 year, $27 million offer. If he bites, hooray. If not, go after another mid-tier starter like Matt Morris, Esteban Loaiza, Derek Lowe, or Matt Clement.
If all things go well, you get 4 free agents for around $42 million, with three of those being on the right side of 30, and none of them signed well into their decline phases. That leaves $33 million to fill out the roster with 11 more players, all on short contracts. Keep your flexibility from year to year, only committing long term to all-star caliber players. Build a bench of inexpensive, complementary players who fill roles. Fill out the bullpen with developing arms from the farm system or non-roster invitees who can be had cheap. Focus on acquiring players of special talent, and don’t pay a premium for players who are only marginally better than replacement level.
As long as the M’s maintain a payroll north of $90 million, they should be able to go into every season with an expectation of winning. The key to making sure 2005 doesn’t go down like 2004 is to create some financial flexilbiity to rebuild the roster, and hopefully, let someone else do the building.