Also, I want to say that if you want a link to another M’s site or blog to go up, or if we need to update a link, this is a great time to do it, as I’ve pretty much had the template open for hours doing things like testing shading of links, and it’s easy to work on the links while I’ve got the whole thing open.
Hey, I know the Atom feed’s busted. For whatever reason, blogger does not want to push it out now that we’re publishing off blogspot. Don’t know why. I’m working on getting it or a replacement RSS feed up as fast as I can.
Update: Atom feed is up. We’re crazy with the customer service.
I’m starting to roll out the changes to the template a tweak at a time now. They look more dramatic than they actually are — who’d have figured getting rid of that weird page background would make the whole thing appear so much lighter? Jeez, that’s almost too bright.
Heeeeeeeeeeey, which reminds me — anyone out there who knows of a really nice-looking blog I might do well to look up to for design inspiration, please drop me a line.
Jon Huber is the future consideration. He’s a 23-year-old arm having a decent year in A-ball with mediocre stuff. He’s the classic fringe pitching prospect. Sometimes, these guys turn into something. It’s got more longterm chances of helping the franchise than keeping Dave Hansen around.
The big deal is probably dead. I’ll post the details tomorrow after the deadline passes. It could be revived, but I’d rather not drive a nail in the coffin by spilling the beans early.
Dave Hansen is a Padre. “Future Considerations” coming to Seattle.
The big deal has probably fallen through…
If you believe in praying, start. There’s a chance the M’s could pull off a deal that would best the Kazmir to the D’Rays move from today. It’s a work in progress, so I’ve been asked (told, ordered, take your pick) to keep names out of it. If it goes down, it’s a better deal than the Garcia trade. Seriously.
Trading season has begun in a big way, and let’s all throw our hands to the sky and rejoice that we aren’t fans of the New York Mets. A quick recap of what’s gone down so far.
The Mets decided to mortgage their entire future to try and help save a 49-52 team that is in 4th place in the NL east and has no shot at the wild card. Not wise. In two seperate deals, they acquired three pitchers; Kris Benson, Victor Zambrano, and Bartolome Fortunato. Benson is a decent 3rd starter who is leaving at the end of the year, Zambrano is a back-end starter who can’t throw strikes, and Fortunato is a flamethrower with no idea how to pitch. For picking up a decent pitcher, a mediocre pitcher, and a minor league pitcher, the Mets sacrificed their top minor leaguer (Scott Kazmir), their top minor league catcher (Justin Huber), their third best minor league arm (Matt Peterson), a potential middle reliever (Joselo Diaz), and the man who started at 3rd base for them most of the year (Ty Wigginton). That’s just a ridiculous price to pay.
Translated into Mariner terms, this would be akin to trading away Clint Nageotte, Miguel Olivo, Jose Lopez, Aaron Taylor, and Bobby Livingston. You give up that much, you darn well better get Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen in return.
The Royals get Huber for Jose Bautista, who they claimed off waivers from Baltimore, who picked him from Pittsburgh in the Rule 5 draft. Not exactly a piece of big time value. Great deal for Allard Baird.
The Pirates get the aforementioned Bautista, Peterson, and Wigginton for Benson. A decent haul, but considering some of the other talent that the Mets shipped off today, they could have done a lot better. Kazmir and Huber would have been a better package.
The Devil Rays get Kazmir and Diaz for Zambrano and Fortunato. Unbelievable. Turning a mediocrity and a longshot into a top prospect and a decent throw-in. Chuck LaMar with one of his best deals in history.
Moving on to the other side of the country, the Dodgers sent Guillermo Mota, Paul LoDuca, and Juan Encarnacion to the Marlins for Brad Penny, Hee Choi, and Bill Murphy. This is all a precursor to possible Randy Johnson and Steve Finley trades, so we’ll wait to see where the carousel stops for these guys before breaking it all down. Right now, the Dodgers are the big winners, with the Marlins making themselves worse, older, and more expensive.
In other moves, the Padres picked up Brad Fullmer for a player to be named later. The old sentence that resided here has been deleted due to changing circumstances.
So, a brief rundown so far: Big kudos to Kansas City and Tampa Bay (are you kidding me?), with the Dodgers getting a thumbs up so far, the Pirates getting an “eh” for effort, and the Mets fans having good reason to burn down Shea Stadium.
While I wouldn’t compare him to Jason Kendall, Jason’s point is valid. Ichiro has some pretty big flaws in his game, mainly the humungous lack of power, that prevent him from being an other worldly player. And with his contract extension, he’s getting paid like an other worldly player. There aren’t too many ways around the fact that, for what he does on the diamond, Ichiro is overpaid.
However, there are two other points that are irrefutable in this case:
1. Ichiro makes the Mariners a ton of money, and probably would even if he made $25 million per year.
2. Ichiro’s a very good player, making up for the lack of power through copious amounts of singles, stolen bases, and defense. It’s really hard to be a top notch player without hitting for power, but Ichiro pulls it off.
Ichiro is overrated by traditional fans, underrated by statistical analysts, overpaid for what he does on the field, underpaid for the attraction he is at the gate, and simultaneously an immensely valuable player who fails at the things that make most players immensely valuable.
He’s one of a kind, and totally unlike anything else in the game. But make no mistake, he is a tremendous player, and all three of us are glad he’s on the roster. We’d just like it a little more if he played center field.
Thanks to everyone who wrote in offering their congratulations. I’ll apologize in advance for not emailing you back… it feels weird just getting away for five minutes to make this post. To answer the most common question I got, no, I don’t think he can pitch yet. That said, I figure I’ll start grooming him to be a left-handed reliever before too long — Tony Fossas found work for years.
A month or so ago, Derek and I were sitting at Safeco enjoying an afternoon game. I don’t recall the day, opposing team or outcome, but that’s not relevant to this story. The guy sitting behind us, again in a context I don’t recall, happen to mention Pirates’ catcher Jason Kendall. His buddy immediately chimed in with, “That’s the worst contract in baseball. They’re paying him $10M a year to hit singles.”
Our first reaction was to quickly come up with a handful of contracts worse than Kendall’s, which we did without much effort. My next comment was that while Kendall is overpaid, he’s not awful — he gets on base and plays a defensive position that’s hard to fill with somebody who hits. In case you’re wondering, Kendall is hitting .310/.392/.387 this season, and he’s only making ~$8.5M, not $10M.
At this point you’re probably wondering what I’m getting at, so I’ll move it along. Ichiro, as I’m sure you’ve heard, has a 21-game hitting streak going for himself, during which he’s raised his average from .319 to .347. Good for him, eh? Just how many extra base hits do you suppose he has during the streak? You may be surprised to learn the answer is three. That’s right — three, all doubles, during this hot streak.
I’m sure you see where this is going. The M’s are paying a good chunk of money to a “singles hitter,” who, unlike Jason Kendall, doesn’t draw walks. Ichiro’s hitting .347, which is great, but his .390 OBP is basically the same as Kendall’s .392 mark. Ichrio only has 23 extra base hits all season, or roughly 15% of his season’s hit total. That is a truly horrible mark for a major league hitter, no matter how good he may be at other things, and keep in mind he’s playing a position (right field) out of which you’d like to see a bit more offense than catcher.
No, I’m not saying the M’s should trade Ichiro for Jason Kendall tomorrow. I’m just saying… well, I’m not sure, really. In a season where just about everything has gone wrong, it doesn’t make sense to rip the guy who’s hitting .347, does it? Nah.
Keeping Villone wouldn’t be so bad. After all, his performance in the rotation makes him, the #2 starter on the team? Moyer’s season hasn’t been as bad as it looks on the surface. His K:BB ratio is 37:85, for instance, and Villone’s is 38:50. After that, what do you do with Pineiro out? Moyer-Villone-Franklin-?-?
Personally, I think you go Madritsch-Blackley even over Meche. For reasons Dave got into, Meche isn’t likely to be sticking around much longer, and since the team’s started the service time clock on these other guys, better to let them take their lumps. Meche could even run long relief for them.
All of that assumes Villone continues to wildly outpitch his historical level of performance. Ugh.
Good win last night, though. Anything in extra innings is nice, even if you wish they’d put it away much earlier.
Also, uh, hopefully unrelated category:
“Top al Qaeda man captured” on day Kerry accepts presidential nomination. The New Republic reported in early July that the Bush administration was pressuring Pakistan for a long time to produce an al Qaida arrest during the Democratic convention. The arrest actually took place last weekend, and they didn’t release the news until yesterday. That’s, um… what’s the argument for the defense here? Do you go for the “Basic Instinct” defense (“There’s no way we’d be crazy enough to go ahead and do something like that after someone published an article saying we were planning to do that”)?
The Seattle Times carries the company line today, quoting Bavasi as saying it will be a “boring deadline”, that the M’s won’t do much, and that there will be “nothing earthshaking”. They also quote an annonymous member of the front office saying they’d “have to be overwhelmed” to trade Ron Villone. I’m not getting too worked up about the M’s posturing; they’re just playing poker and saying the things they feel need to be said to drive up the value. If tomorrow comes and goes and Villone is still on the roster, then we’ll launch into a tirade.
The part about this article that annoys me is the discussion about the Mariners receiving compensation for Villone if he leaves via free agency at the end of the year. The only way this could occur would be if the Mariners offered him arbitration, which they refused to do with Arthur Rhodes or Mike Cameron last year. Offering Villone arbitration would be a complete disaster. The market for his services wouldn’t come near what he could get in arbitration with a shiny 2.xx ERA, and he’d probably take the M’s to the cleaners for $4+ million. There’s absolutely no way you risk Villone accepting arbitration.
In the end though, I expect him to be moved. I’m disappointed the Mariners haven’t taken a proactive approach to moving Guardado, Boone, Franklin, and Winn, but I’m not surprised. The reality remains that the Mariners are at the bottom of the pack when it comes to forward thinking creative minds in the front office, and until we insert some fresh blood into the organizational discussions, we’re likely in for a long process of mediocrity.