Talking Heads

Dave · September 6, 2004 at 5:21 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Howard Lincoln, being wrong:

“We have been very fortunate to have had four straight years of winning baseball,” Lincoln said. “This has been a bad season and no one saw it coming. Nobody expected anything like this, but now we have to pick up the pieces, not look back at all those wins, and address the future.”

Here’s a few snippets from when the blogosphere predicts the season to come

Chris Caldwell:

5. I’m most disheartened about the M’s chances this year because… of the loss of Cameron and the subsequent defensive downgrade in the outfield.

David Cameron:

5. I’m most disheartened about the M’s chances this year because… they haven’t been good enough the past two years, and this is the worst team they’ve run out there since the late 90’s.

Jeffrey Howard:

5. I’m most disheartened about the M’s chances this year because… of management. Plain and simple. While there have been good things (Moyer, Ichiro!, Boone (kinda lucky), and the farm system) the moves of the front office have been, not only poor, but alarmingly poor.

Bob Mong:

5. I’m most disheartened about the M’s chances this year because… the offense is very close to a collapse.

Steve Nelson:

5. I’m most disheartened about the M’s chances this year because… they’re going to suffer breakdowns of key position players, without quality replacements.

Patrick Sheehan:

5. I’m most disheartened about the M’s chances this year because… they’re two injuries away from scoring less than a eunuch on the Isle of Lesbos.

Bill Wilmot:

5. I’m most disheartened about the M’s chances this year because… every single everyday player is on the downside of his career!

Derek Zumsteg:

5. I’m most disheartened about the M’s chances this year because… our front office doesn’t have the answers to questions they should be asking.

And, from one of Derek’s posts here on April 7th:

Here’s my in-a-nutshell prediction for the team as we head into the season: This is a 85-win team that can swing 5 games either way through your normal in-season luck, and could beat Oakland, who is clearly doesn’t look like a 100+ win team right now. But I don’t think any contending team is better poised for a total, utter collapse than the Mariners: this looks like a team that can win 90 if things break their way and might be scraping for 75 if they go break the other way.


1. How many games with your 2004 Mariners win? 87.92.

2. Who will win the AL West? Oakland.

3. How will the M’s finish their season? Second in division, no playoffs.

Glad to see that “no one saw it coming” and “nobody expected anything like this”.


16 Responses to “Talking Heads”

  1. DMZ on September 6th, 2004 5:34 pm

    85 wins. Man, that was embarassingly optimistic of me. I should be known as the optimist of the Mariners blogosphere.

    Seriously, though, we should note as the M’s head on their way to lose 100 games in a season (making this the worst Mariners team in 20 years, since the 1983 team where the best hitter was Steve “Not Dave” Henderson) that one of the reasons that the general prediction looks bad is that once the team decided to bag it, the rest of the season’s a wash. Garcia’s presence in the rotation would have meant much less pitcher-juggling, for instance, though it also would have meant Olivo’s starts went to Wilson/Borders.

    The only person I know that was really down on the M’s chances was Gary Huckabay, who in the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for this year picked them third, ahead of the Rangers (by the way, want to see a bunch of smart people look really stupid? look up anyone’s pre-season predictions). Gary also said (and I can’t find a link for this) that he thought the M’s would have a losing season and it would be bad. I can’t remember anyone else that thought things would go downhill so fast. But then, Gary’s way smarter than I am.

  2. David J Corcoran on September 6th, 2004 5:42 pm

    Damn. That’s embaressing. Now I remember why I don’t blog.

  3. David J Corcoran on September 6th, 2004 5:43 pm


  4. David J Corcoran on September 6th, 2004 5:47 pm

    And for a guy who hates Bavasi, I sure sounded like a puppet.

    *insert sarcasm* Thanks very much for showing me that post.

  5. Jeremy on September 6th, 2004 6:27 pm

    5. I’m most disheartened about the M’s chances this year because… Raul Ibanez will be the worst free agent signing in all of baseball.

    While he hasn’t been the worst free agent in all of baseball, it is fair to say that you aren’t going to win a championship with players such as Ibanez.

    There are some out there who think that we (the blogosphere) are idiots. Well, the fact is, we’ve been proven right. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

  6. Bill on September 6th, 2004 6:49 pm

    Well, actually Dave, Howard may be right on this one. Indeed, it seems nobody did see this coming. In looking through those predictions, the absolute lowest was for 81 wins, with the vast majority of predictions consistently coming in between 86-96 wins. We have to believe the Mariners expected themselves to be roughly in this area: “competing for a division title” with no guarantees about actually making it to the postseason. It’s an astounding feat, but I think everyone, blogosphere included, may have missed the boat on just how bad things would get. Now, I do think the blogosphere recognizes what went wrong (whereas I do not think the Mariners do), but when Lincoln says NOBODY EXPECTED THIS, he is probably correct. Clearly the moral here is that the blogosphere simply isn’t pessimistic enough 😉

  7. Jeff Sullivan on September 6th, 2004 7:04 pm

    I predict that the 2005 Mariners will win 20 games, while management introduces Kick-A-Puppy-Fridays for home games.

  8. DMZ on September 6th, 2004 7:52 pm

    Bill — I disagree. Once you toss the towel in and punt Garcia etc., all bets as to actual finish are off — you have to give everyone a mulligan on their exact W/L predictions. I even have sympathy for the guys who predicted 90+ wins because they thought they’d be in contention and make a trade that would help them.

    That said, we should be clear about this — reading that particular set of predictions, you can see that many people had the hints of what would happen: that the offense was old, the defense degraded — but did not predict the severity of the collapse.

    For Howard to say that no one say this coming is ridiculous. Many people saw the particulars of how things would go wrong — we only errored in how awful they would be.

    It’s as if many smart people in the M’s blogosphere had predicted an modest earthquake, and the M’s management denied any would happen. Then when a terrible earthquake happened, the M’s management claimed that no one had predicted anything. It’s crazy, a denial of what clearly happened.

  9. Jim Thomsen on September 6th, 2004 7:55 pm

    How ironic … I write a Seattle Weekly cover story in April in which Derek and I (along with Peter White and Stephen Nelson) rip the Mariners for being no better (and no worse) than an 85-90-win team. And we were damn cruel and sarcastic about Lincoln, Bavasi, et al. Little did I suspect their payback would be to make us look bad by making themselves look worse. Sigh.

  10. Pete on September 6th, 2004 10:08 pm

    In all fairness to Bill, while the management may have been in denial of the obvious signs of decline for this season, signs rightly pointed out by the Blogosphere ahead of the season, saying that the Blogosphere did indeed see all of this coming vastly overstates its prognostic ability. It’s a long jump from a predicted decline to 86+ wins and a historically bad 100+ losses, a far bigger jump than throwing in the towel at the All-Star Break should account for.

    The earthquake analogy is a good one, but claiming credit for seeing the disaster 2004 has become is like a Florida weatherman having predicted light rain for this past weekend, and then, after Hurricane Frances passed thru saying “see, I told you!”

    Meanwhile, of course and unfortunately, the Howard Lincolns and Bill Bavasis of Florida still haven’t found The Weather Channel on their TVs and can’t understand why their street is flooded.

  11. Chris Caldwell on September 6th, 2004 10:35 pm

    Thanks for leading off with me! Cameron for President!

  12. M.O. on September 6th, 2004 11:05 pm

    No one saw this demise of biblical proportions coming. Has anyone besides Ichiro exceeded their 10% PECOTA projections? Its like the M’s had a pool going on who could suck more than Bloomquist, and Ichiro was the only one to abandon the chase after making a fair effort in April. How else can you explain the sudden turnaround of players after they left the M’s.

    Truly an amazingly bad year. It will be an interesting offseason and to see if this was a fluke, or something that the M’s can correct quickly. You know where I’ll blog on that issue…

  13. DMZ on September 7th, 2004 2:59 am

    Nah, the weatherman analogy’s flawed, too.

    I think everyone who made the lower-end predictions like me would agree that we made some bad assumptions, and let our own faith in the team overcome our better sense.

    Edgar will continue to defy age. So will Moyer. Aurilia will be a modest upgrade over Guillen. Spiezio will be an overpaid but unremarkable 3B. Melvin will grow into his job.

    Stuff like that. I mean you can go back and read stuff and you’ll see that people saw the causes, the problems, and yet no one thought this team could be so bad. But after a couple years of having those same concerns and seeing the team rip off 90-win seasons, I think we all didn’t give them as much weight as we should have.

    I don’t mean to speak for everyone, of course.

  14. Terry Benish on September 7th, 2004 3:39 pm

    I for one in various places said 70-75 wins, but that’s not going to happen…it sort of begs the point to lampoon the guestimates for number of wins.

    There were a number of people who lamented the Cameron/Aurelia/Guillen/Winn mess that was about to unfold.

    I remain unconvinced that they can discern talent or career stage, nor how to put a team and lineup together. The middle of the order has had problems for sometime and they can’t get a three or four hitter. For years now.

    Recognition of the park by this GM and the necessity for speed in the middle of the field is a problem…

    At some level Howard’s letter resonates. You wonder if he’s this transparent or ignorant. Perhaps Chuck Armstrong feeds him these silly statements.

    He said the whole organization expected to compete for the division…unanimously. I just can’t believe that. Elsewise there baseball people/scouts and coaches are quite inept.

  15. John Mueller on September 7th, 2004 7:31 pm

    Not strictly on topic, but here are two interesting tables from a BP article I just read …

    Runs Allowed – Greatest Jump
    +239: Arizona
    +204: Seattle
    +174: San Francisco

    so much for pitching and defense … meanwhile Ms run production is not notably different from last year.

  16. Eric on September 8th, 2004 8:29 am

    Hate to say it, but Bavasi’s moves are not the primary source of the M’s decline. To recap:

    Replacing Ibanez with Cameron was a downgrade (though one that saved them $4 million /year), but it wasn’t a catastrophe, especially in teh first half when Cameron was hitting so poorly but the M’s still fell out of the race quickly.

    Replacing Cirillo with Spiezio was a wash even though Spiezio has been much worse than anyone had a right to expect.

    Replacing Guillen with Aurilia has been bad–but much worse than anyone had a right to expect. They were roughly equivalent players the last couple of years except for Aurilia’s better health, and Aurilia wasn’t so old or Guillen so young that their outcome this year was anywhere near likely.

    Guardado was a fine pick-up, clearly a big upgrade from Rhodes (who has been awful in Oakland).

    Those personnel moves weren’t huge WINNERS, but they weren’t obvious catastrophes a priori either. And most of the players he kept were already under contract (e.g. Boone, Olerud, Wilson, the pitching staff). And Bavasi tried to make some big signings like Tejada too–but was outbid by desperate teams. It’s hard to leave the collapse at his doorstop.

    Fundamentally, the M’s just played worse than anyone could reasonably have expected, simple as that. There were some indicators of a possible decline, but they existed last year too and no decline happened. And nothing suggested such a huge drop-off. Baseball is unpredictable, and you guys should stop acting like this was predictable. You didn’t give Gillick crazy credit for the 116 win season that was just as anomalous as this one. You shouldn’t give Bavasi (or Gillick) all of the blame for this season either. Sometimes things just don’t work out how you expect. We should just accept it and move on, and try our best next year instead of trying to pin everyone we can find with the blame.