One other thought after watching tonight’s awful loss after Randy’s perfect game: remember that guy in the Seattle Weekly who said he was going to force feed me my stats after the Mariners won the World Series? Do you think he’ll force feed himself the stats when they don’t? Because Baseball Prospectus 2004 is what, 600 pages, and that might not work out for him. Or is there no accountability in this world?
I worry that what the team’s contemplating as they look at blowing this year up and becoming “more athletic” is trying to dig themselves out of a hole by digging faster and deeper. The team’s been a little Ichiro!-crazy for years now, seeing him as the epitome of a Mariner. My fear is that they’re going to trade off what they have and instead of acquiring talent in quantity or depth, they’ll get the same kind of players they’ve pursued so far: athletic toolsy guys who can’t hit for power or take walks, and then we turn into the Devil Rays.
I guess we’ll see, but… more than digging out of a hole, it’s like Melvin trying to bunt his way out of the team’s run scoring problems. If the organization doesn’t understand that the cause of their troubles lies in large part on their organizational philosophy, no good’s going to come of trying to put together a team that’s even more aligned with organizational philosophy.
What happened to Ichiro! the base-stealer? I’ve entertained the thought that if the M’s punt the season, they should play wacky-ball: let Ichiro! run whenever he wants when they face a catcher with any kind of arm or release problems, just to be annoying. Bring up Strong and let him terrorize the catcher too. But can Ichiro! steal any more? He’s 7-and-5 this year, which is terrible, and his stolen base totals are way down.. by year:
29, 49, 35, 39, 11, 12, 21 (hmmmm)
56, 31, 34… 7? On track for what, 30, maybe?
And I’ve heard people say he looks a step slower down the first base line, though I haven’t heard anyone put times to it yet.
But what’s the scoop? I heard a theory earlier this year that the amazingly grueling Japanese training regimen destroys players early in their careers, so they burn out much faster, their joints gone, but I don’t have any data to support that… and yet I keep thinking about it.
This is too good to be true, right?
â€¢ Shortstop Rich Aurilia is gone, if not in trade then as a possible release.
â€¢ First baseman John Olerud faces the same situation with one added possibility – if he’s not traded or released, he could be sent to Seattle’s bench.
â€¢ Right-hander Gil Meche is on the trade market, a bargain for a rebuilding team that wants a potential front-end starting pitcher and is willing to move talent to get it.
â€¢ Outfielder/reserve Quinton McCracken has been made available, and it there are no takers, could be released.
These steps begin, somewhat, to get at what Dave suggested he’d do a few days ago if made GM.
Personally, I wouldn’t mess around with exploring the trade market for a guy like McCracken — you’re probably more likely to have to take crap back in return than you are to get any sort of useful player. Just admit the mistake, release him, and move on. Aurilia might, I suppose, have some value to an NL club (hello, Dusty Baker!).
I’d be pretty shocked to see them release (or trade) Olerud. That’s just not their way, particularly with a local veteran.
For the record, my house is 373 miles from Camden Yards. I could sign up for every cable package imaginable in my area and still not get the Orioles network beamed into my house. It’s a 7 hour drive from my house to Baltimore.
Yet, I can’t watch the game on MLB.tv because I’m in the Orioles home market. This is just awful marketing, keeping the game from people who want to watch it and have no other recourse. Stupidity at its highest, right here.
Randy Johnson just tossed a perfect game. Congratulations to the Big Unit, still one of the most entertaining players on the planet.
Usually, I can tell its time for a quick recap when we get a whole bunch of emails on the same subject. So, since a lot of you guys have been asking similar questions, here is my random overview of things we obviously havenâ€™t talked enough about.
1. Rett Johnson is still in extended spring, and despite Bob Sherwinâ€™s proclamation that heâ€™s â€œtwo weeks awayâ€, there is no timetable for his return to full-season ball. There is no guarantee heâ€™ll be assigned to Tacoma if and when he is deemed ready this year.
2. Dioner Navarro, the next in the long line of overrated Yankee top prospects traded away that never amount to much at the big league level. While heâ€™s the prospect mentioned in every potential Yankee trade, from Carlos Beltran to Freddy Garcia, he is not an impact prospect, and there is no way Iâ€™d swap Garcia for him straight up. If you read the Baseball Prospectus roundtable discussion on the bookâ€™s top prospect list, youâ€™ve heard most of my arguments against Navarro.
Heâ€™s tiny, and Iâ€™m not convinced his body could hold up to catching long term. He swings with the authority of a catholic schoolgirl. He has no room to add muscle mass and heâ€™s about as strong as he can get on that frame. His plate discipline is solid, but heâ€™s not going to be an offensive force who draws the â€œpitch-aroundâ€ walks, and I donâ€™t expect him to be a prolific on base man at higher levels. His 2003 performance was a product of an inflated batting average that heâ€™s never shown any ability to sustain, and its clearly the outlier in terms of the rest of his career. Toss in legitimate skepticism that he’s really 20-years-old, and there’s an awful lot of question marks surrounding him. I know he’s a favorite in the statistical community and the Yankees are hyping the heck out of him, but buyer beware with Dioner Navarro.
3. No, I don’t think the M’s should callup Jose Lopez and let him play shortstop. For those who think Rich Aurilia can’t play shortstop, you haven’t seen the 2004 version of J-Lo. For a player once regarded as a defensive whiz, he’s let himself go in a non-dieting Oprah kind of way, and he’s just not a middle infielder anymore. His plate discipline still sucks, and he isn’t likely to be an improvement on what Aurilia has been providing. He belongs in Tacoma, refining his game, waiting for his time to come. It isn’t this year. It might not even be next year.
4. Yes, it’s a frightening thought that the M’s have decided to get ‘younger’ and ‘more athletic’. They might as well call a press conference and announce that they’ll be trading for everyone in major league baseball with any kind of resemblance to Jolbert Cabrera. Because what this team needs is more utiltity players with low on base percentages…
5. In regards to Larry LaRue’s piece, I just don’t see the M’s pushing that panic button. I could see them putting Aurilia on waivers to see if anyone will take his salary, but releasing him after two months? Releasing Olerud and McCracken, swollowing their $10 million dollars in salary just to create roster spots for Jamal Strong and Hiram Bocachica? I just don’t buy it, but hey, maybe I’m wrong.
6. No, I wouldn’t explore trading Ichiro, mainly for two reasons. He’s still a revenue producing monster for the organization, and I have no doubt that his extension had as much to do with keeping the cash cow in town as it did keeping him in right field. And, really, who would trade for him, considering his widely publicized struggles and enormous new contract? The M’s have tied their hopes to him, and pulling a classic “sell low” right now would be foolish. The best thing to hope for is that the singles keep falling, the batting average keeps rising, the Japanese fans keep coming, and he creates a potential market for himself in the offseason. Dealing him now would do more financial and public relations harm than any good, especially considering how little he’d likely fetch in trade.
7. Rob Neyer’s column on Beltran was nuts. Beltran’s pretty clearly the second or third best player in the American League right now. It’s nearly impossible to overpay for a guy with his offensive performance who can also play a legitimate center field and is entering his prime.
8. Yes, I still love my camera. No, my photoblog isn’t dead. Server crashed, should be back in a few days.
New GM Watch
May 18th edition
a brief comparison of GMs in their freshman year at the helm of their teams
Paul DePodesta, Dodgers, 22-14, .611 [last year .525]
Dan Oâ€™Brien, Reds, 20-17, .541 [last year .426]
Bill Bavasi, Mariners, 13-24, .351 [last year .574]
Hey, with Glaus out for the season, do you think the Angels might want Spiezio back? Maybe give us… I don’t know… Mathis? Cough cough.
Seriously, it’s time. Blow this team up. Play the youngsters. Let’s at least be entertainingly bad if we’re going to be bad.