“Perception is strong and sight weak. In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.“
Jason mentions it below, our inbox is getting lit up by Boone supporters, and Mike Thompson states that Boone is on fire in his latest post. Is it true? His splits by month:
The recent hot streak is erasing three months of miserable baseball that Boone brought to the field. Perception is threatening to overtake relaity. In comparison to the rest of his season, his July looks spectacular. In reality, it’s still a pretty big step down from the Bret Boone we’ve seen the past few years. July of 2004 would rank as his second worst month in 2003, ranking ahead of only August of last season. He only had three months worse than this July, his best month of 2004, in 2002. In his past 16 months of baseball, his ’04 months rank 16th, 15th, 12th, and 10th on the Boone scale of established production.
Even with his recent power surge, Bret Boone is showing decline. He’s not going to revert back to the MVP candidate we had in 2003 or 2001. At best, he’s the inconsistent mediocrity we had in 2002, mixing in good stretches with abysmal periods of out-making. If we give Boone complete benefit of the doubt and assume he’ll keep up his July pace for the rest of the year, he’s going to be worth about 25 runs above replacement for 2004. At $8 million, that’s 3 runs per million. That’s just not a good way to spend that much money. $8 million should get you about 40-50 runs above what a replacement level player would provide. And this is the best case scenario, assuming he doesn’t cool off for the rest of the year.
Bret Boone is due $9 million next year, and the odds of him being worth $9 million in 2005 are between slim and none. The Mariners have an opportunity to capitalize on his short term value to eliminate their long term problem of his contract. No doubt, they should take it. The $9 million Bret Boone is going to make next year could easliy be spent on younger, better players who will help the team not only in 2005 but in years beyond. The Mariners best chance to rebuild quickly is to buy multiple all-star talents from this crop of free agents. Having Bret Boone on the payroll greatly prohibits their ability to make the big splash necessary in free agency.
Hot streak or not, Boone should be dealt. Let’s not let a 40 at-bat sequence that appears to be the revival of the Boone of Old fool us; we simply have Old Boone instead.
Another fun one to watch tonight. Boone appears to have found his stroke in the last week or so, eh? This doesn’t happen often, but I completely agree with Bill Krueger — Ken Macha must have been on drugs to allow lefty Mark Redman to face Boone in the 8th having already thrown 100+ pitches. I believe he had Chad Bradford ready, just the sort of pitcher to frustrate an aggressive hitter like Boone. Ah well, a win’s a win.
We are now 9 days from the trade deadline and the rumor mill is in full effect. Based on some interesting and surprisingly frank conversations I had with some folks yesterday, here’s the scoop as far as I know:
Players Who Will Be Traded
- Ron Villone. It’s just a matter of where. The M’s will probably hold out until the 30th-31st with him to see if anyone decides to make a late push after failing to get Johnson/Benson. The M’s aren’t going to get a ton in return, but the offers have been mostly in the range of one semi-intriguing prospect.
- Mike Myers. This could happen soon. The M’s will likely settle for a fringe prospect with the contending club picking up the rest of his salary.
- Dave Hansen. Like Myers, this could go down in the next several days as well. He’s the classic bat-off-the-bench addition that several teams are looking for. Like Myers, he’s probably going to bring a longshot prospect in return. Occasionally, though, those longshot prospects turn into David Ortiz.
Players Who Might Be Traded
- Randy Winn. There are several teams interested and willing to take the rest of his contract as long as they don’t have to give up much in return. The M’s haven’t decided whether to move him or keep him around. They should move him, but it’s probably 50-50 at this point.
- Bret Boone. The release rumor was stupid. There is some interest in Boone, especially if the M’s eat a chunk of his salary this year. However, the M’s don’t feel that its vital to move Boone. They believe that, if they still want to dump his ’05 contract during the offseason, they could find a taker for him. They’ll deal Boone if they get an offer they like (a good prospect or not having to pick up any of his salary), but that hasn’t shown up yet. At this point, I’d bet on Boone not being traded.
- Eddie Guardado. The M’s don’t want to trade him, but his contract is rather unique, containing mutual options for both 2005 and 2006. As I was told, Guarado can opt out of the contract that pays him $4.5 million next year, leaving the Mariners holding an option on him for $6.5 million (same deal in ’06). If the M’s decline that option, he’s a free agent. Without some assurances that he’s going to stay, the M’s may move him rather than risk having to overpay or watch him walk. However, their preference is to keep him around, and they may try to buy out that option before the deadline.
Players Who Won’t Be Traded
- Jamie Moyer. The M’s don’t want to rebuild their entire staff next year, and with Jamie’s 10-5 rights, a trade could be hard anyways. They won’t even try to move him unless he comes to the team and says he wants out. But that’s very unlikely. He’s almost certainly sticking around.
- Edgar Martinez. The M’s wouldn’t trade him even if there was a market for a 41-year-old DH who isn’t hitting. There isn’t, thankfully. Edgar rightfully retires as a Mariner at years end.
- Dan Wilson. The rumors out of Minnesota have no legs. The M’s have no interest in trading Dan Wilson.
- Scott Spiezio. No one will take that contract. He’s back next year.
- Shigetoshi Hasegawa. Ditto.
- Raul Ibanez. The M’s still love him. He’s not going anywhere, and there’s not much interest.
Expect between 3-6 moves, not including the Olerud deal, which could go down today or tomorrow (M’s pick up vast majority of contract, get a fringe prospect). The M’s probably won’t get more than one decent prospect in return (likely for Villone). The house clearing is nearly over.