Dave’s Plan

Dave · November 11, 2004 at 1:27 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote up my predictions for what the M’s would do this offseason. With the start of free agency only eleven hours away, now it’s my turn to extrapolate on how I would rebuild this team. I did a short suggestion write-up and a longer team construction post last year, and as you can see, the team basically gave me the finger, signing four players from the “Stay the Heck Away” category. I’m more optimistic that the team’s thinking this year is at least within the same stratosphere as my own. Keep in mind that this is entirely hypothetical, and I’m making a lot of assumptions on possibilities that we can’t know are true or not. An explanation of the moves will be found below the roster. All the salaries listed will be actual payout in 2005, rather than average annual value.

Position		Player		Salary
C		Olivo		0.4
1B		Ibanez		3.8
2B		Boone		9.0
3B		Beltre		9.0
SS		Reese		1.5
LF		Kearns		3.0
CF		Drew		10.0
RF		Ichiro		12.0
DH		Jacobsen		0.3
C		Wilson		1.0
Inf		Spiezio		3.1
Out		Reed		0.3
Util		Leone		0.3
Util		F. Lopez		1.0
				
SP1		Clement		6.0
SP2		Madritsch		0.3
SP3		Pineiro		4.2
SP4		Meche		3.0
SP5		Moyer		7.5
				
Closer		Guardado		4.5
Setup		Osuna		2.0
Setup		Sherrill		0.3
Relief		Hasegawa		3.0
Relief		Putz		0.3
Long		Atchison		0.3
				
Total:				86.1

Free Agent Signings:

Adrian Beltre: 7 years, $84 million, escalating from $9 million in 2005
Pokey Reese: 1 year, $1.5 million, club option for 2nd year at $2 million with $250,000 buyout
J.D. Drew: 3 years, $33 million, mutual option for 4th year at $14 million
Dan Wilson: 1 year, $1 million
Matt Clement: 3 years, $22 million, escalating from $6 million in 2005
Antonio Osuna: 1 year, $2 million, club option for 2nd year at $2.5 million, $300,000 buyout

Trades:

Ryan Franklin, Clint Nageotte, Shin-Soo Choo, and Julio Mateo to Cincinatti for Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez.
Randy Winn to Baltimore for Matt Riley

Explanations by position:

Catcher:

Olivo is neither as good as he was in Chicago or as bad as he was in Seattle. Considering the available options, giving him a chance to start is the best option. Dan Wilson’s return is simply a public relations move coming off a season where the team cannot afford to alienate any more of its fans. Finding a reasonably priced backup catcher who would be a significant enough upgrade on Wilson to offset the loss of goodwilll from sending Wilson packing is nearly impossible. Despite the fact that he doesn’t really belong in MLB, I would bring Wilson back for one last season simply as a gesture of good faith.

First Base:

I’m not a believer in spending big money on a position that is this easy to fill. Ibanez is a liability in left field with the glove, and his defensive limitations can be hidden, somewhat, with a shift to first base. This also allows for an easy platoon with Jacobsen against left-handers. Spiezio fills in as defensive replacement.

Second Base:

Boone’s contract is immovable, so you simply hope he performs well enough to be trade bait at the deadline. The acquisition of Felipe Lopez gives the team a legitimate option to turn to if Boone’s decline continues.

Shortstop:

The crop of free agent shortstops are simply not inviting. Pass on the overpriced and overrated and offer Pokey Reese a chance to play most every day for a pittance. His defense will be a boon to the pitching staff, and Felipe Lopez can provide offensive support if his bat fails to show up at all. The hope is that Lopez’s improvements are real enough where he can claim the everyday job during the season, relegating Reese back into the utility player role he was born for.

Third Base:

Yes, it’s overspending, but not to the point where it’s going to be a burden even if Beltre performs to peak level. There’s some built in risk, but the Mariners need a franchise talent, and 25 year old MVP candidates at premium positions aren’t available very often. Take the risk.

Left Field:

The Reds just don’t know what to do with Austin Kearns. He’s been working out at third base during the offseason, but that experiment isn’t going well. He can certainly be had for the right price, and the hope is that a package that brings the Reds an innings eater, a league minimum young reliever, and two solid prospects while saving them approximately $1 million in 2005 salary is enough to make the deal. Kearns has an all-star bat and is one of the few opportunities to buy low on a potential elite player. He’s simply a 500 at-bat season away from being a monster, and he will never be available for this little again. Reed spells Kearns and provides help as the fourth outfielder.

Center Field:

We’ve been talking up J.D. Drew’s bat for quite a while, and now that Boras has stated his willingness to play center field, he moves up the list. His range is adequate for the position, while his offense makes him a superstar. The health risks are definitely there, but on a three year contract, the payoff is high enough to justify the move. Will this contract be enough to talk him into leaving Atlanta? Probably not in a perfect world, but the Braves are feeling a severe budget crunch and may be hard pressed making Drew a legitimate offer. Reed and Ichiro’s presence on the roster provide insurance in case of injury.

Right Field:

Ichiro’s still pretty good. Kearns moves to right field when Ichiro needs a day off, with Reed sliding into left.

Designated Hitter:

Bucky deserves a chance to at least enter the season as the regular DH. At $300,000, there’s no risk, and he offers potential of average performance for peanuts. Leone should get some time here, as well.

#1 starter:

Matt Clement is a solid pitcher with enough positive markers that its reasonable to believe that he could take a Jason Schmidt-style leap. The best value pitcher on the market, and Safeco will only help him.

#2 starter:

Madritsch was one of the premier pitchers in the American League in the second half. While he’s as good as he’s going to get, the ability to keep the ball in the park and throw consistent strikes makes him a solid bet to be an above average starter for several years.

#3 starter:

Pineiro’s health is still a big question mark, but he’s a solid third starter if he can overcome the injuries. Matt Riley’s acquisition is entirely driven by the questions surrounding Pineiro’s health, and he would be first in line for this rotation spot should Pineiro not be ready to go on opening day.

#4 starter:

There’s valid evidence to expect Meche to be an above average starter next year. There’s valid evidence to expect him to join Scott Sanders in the Christmas-Tree-Hall-Of-Fame. There’s valid evidence to expect him to spend a significant part of 2005 on the disabled list. Hello crapshoot!

#5 starter:

Moyer’s done as an effective starting pitcher and is simply holding this place warm until someone not eligible for social security takes his job away from him. Hopefully, that’s Matt Riley, once Pineiro proves healthy.

Closer:

Guardado is not likely to be ready in 2005, but since he’s on the roster for $4.5 million and wants to pitch, you might as well try and let him. The M’s are out $9 million over the next two years anyways, so there’s little downside to hoping the rest-and-rehab plan pans out. Don’t ask me to hold my breath and bet on Guardado finishing the year healthy, though.

Setup:

The loss of Rafael Soriano was a crippling blow, and this team needs a right-handed arm that can provide solid relief work. Antonio Osuna has been one of the more underrated relievers in baseball for some time, but his injury history will probably keep him on one year contracts for the rest of his career. He’s a good risk.

Setup:

George Sherill pitched his way onto the opening day roster last year. He’s probably not going to be outstanding, but for $300,000, he’s a great fit as a late inning lefty reliever.

Relief:

Shigetoshi Hasegawa isn’t going anywhere with his $3 million contract, so you just hope that he can smoke-n-mirror his way to another decent enough campaign.

Relief:

J.J. Putz is overvalued by the club, but pitched well enough at times to earn an extended look. Again, for the league minimum, there’s very little risk.

Long Relief:

Scott Atchison actually pitched the best of the Tacoma relief corps but got little notice for it. Stuff isn’t good enough to be a great weapon out of the pen, but a career as the next Ryan Franklin is definitely within reach. A great swing guy for the league minimum.

The roster isn’t good enough to rebuild into a favorite to win the west in one offseason, so my theoretical moves are designed towards building a solid core to go forward with. Players on the wrong side of 30 are mostly avoided and holes that cannot be filled for the longterm and patched with one year contracts of semi-useful players. The emphasis is on acquiring talents who have potential to be performing at a level similar to their peak value in two to three years, which leads to the likes of Beltre, Drew, and Clement and away from Delgado, Sexson, and Varitek.

Realistically, the team listed above is probably going to win 80-85 games in 2005 with the chance to get into wild card contention with several positive breaks. It is designed to give opportunities to younger players at little cost, while allowing breakthrough minor league performers to move up without dumping a high priced veteran. With most expecting Felix Hernandez to be in the big leagues in late summer and Rafael Soriano potentially returning in 2006, the young talent would be in place to make a run in the latter half of the decade. By keeping the payroll flexibility in 2006 to add another impact player next offseason and building around players with a chance to sustain or improve their current performances, the M’s would set themselves up as a team on the rise. Honestly, it’s been about nine years since the team has been on its way up, and it is high time for this team to return to a place of hope.

Comments

139 Responses to “Dave’s Plan”

  1. U.S.S. Mariner » M’s sign Pokey Reese on January 4th, 2005 2:11 pm
    [...] ooom on the roster and to clear budget space. This is a terrific move. I’ve been stumping to sign Pokey for two years now. Yes, he’s a miserable hitter and the team can expect to h [...]

  2. Swing and A Miss on November 11th, 2004 1:41 pm

    CBS Sportsline rumors page stated yesterday that Braves may only have $4 million to spend. Drew will cost more than that and Braves need a corner outfielder, closer (if John Smoltz goes back to starting as rumored) and another starter. They may lose three of their five starters from a year ago, and the massive Hampton contract comes into play either this year or next for them. So, Drew may very well be up for grabs. He has very good speed. He stole a lot of bases this year. His health is his only real draw back. This guy seems to find all kinds of injuries. But, his bat would be a great pickup for the M’s. He could even say in right and move Ichiro to CF.

  3. Jagermeister on November 11th, 2004 1:43 pm

    Bravo! Dave for GM! I’m a little worried about all the injury history on this roster, but I like it. Well thought out, and perfectly reasonable. If we had a good enough GM, this might actually be plausable.

  4. The Real Metz on November 11th, 2004 1:51 pm

    Hmm…that would be pretty nice. I especially like the Reese move. He could be pretty good for our team. I feel like Beltre might make more than 9 mil, especially if we’re the team to land him. I would guess that Beltre wouldn’t play for a team as bad as the mariners for less than 8 figures per year.

  5. chris d on November 11th, 2004 1:51 pm

    I just read in a Gammons article on FA-”Boras gambling on owners”that Tampa Bay wants to cut salaries and are shopping Huff & Lugio. If this were true Lou would go through the ceiling. Any word on this?

  6. Jim Thomsen on November 11th, 2004 1:54 pm

    Extremely well-thought-out, Dave, and lacking the wishful thinking “let’s get-rid-of-our-problem-players-for-another’s-team’s-superior-talent” trades that poison too many scenarios posted here. From your cyber-lips to Howard Lincoln’s ear. This is honestly as good as I think the Mariners can do, given their intractable limitations of perspective. Within a context of pure politics and pragmatism, I can’t see a flaw here, other than I think the Mariners may have a higher opinion of Jose Lopez’s readiness to be an everday shortstop in ’05 than you do.

    Austin Kearns, to me, is the new Kal Daniels. Which, for a while, is pretty good.

  7. hans on November 11th, 2004 2:02 pm

    This roster looks fantastic.

    Unfortunately, I just don’t think it will be possible. I think Beltre will go for more than 12 million per year. I think Drew will go for more than 3 years at 11 million per. I would even be surprised if Reese, coming off of a World Series winner, goes for only 1.5 million. And I don’t think that the Reds would give up Kearns for that package.

    …then, of course there’s the issue of getting all those potential players to agree to come to the isolated and rainy northwest to play baseball. I just think there will be too many other teams in the running, too many options for players to land on other teams (like Schmidt, who declined an equal or better offer from the Mariners to stay with the Giants), too many foolhardy GMs with star-crossed eyes willing to overspend on “franchise” players like Beltre and Drew.

    If the Mariners were able to pull this off, or something like it, I’d be ecstatic.

  8. Grant on November 11th, 2004 2:11 pm

    Brilliant! I especially like the pick up of Austin Kearns, I agree that his value will be much higher very soon, and the Reds might be willing to part with him because they have Griffey, Dunn, and Willy Mo Pena. My only question is what do you like about Riley, has he put up good numbers in the minors, and what kind of stuff does he have?

  9. where's Rusty Kuntz???? on November 11th, 2004 2:12 pm

    What’s the facination with JD Drew? The guy had ONE good year. Until last year he was the definition of injury prone. I just don’t see how you can rationalize that signing JD Drew is much less of a risk then signing Delgado. Last year was the first time in his career that Delgado had an injury. A 32 year old 1B with one season of being banged up is just a risky in my mind as a 28 year old corner outfielder who has had one healthy season his entire career. I see no reason Delgado cannot do what Palmeiro has done in his 30′s.
    Dave, given your rationale you most likely would have advocated not signing Palmeiro at a similar age, i am pretty sure all Palmeiro has done since age 32 is hit 300+ home runs with close to 1,000 RBI’s.

  10. M.O. on November 11th, 2004 2:23 pm

    If we can get Kearns for that package, great. If not, it looks like there’s room in the budget to acquire a big bat at 1B, and leave Ibanez in LF. If the doctors think the shoulder is secure, I’m all for a 3-year deal to Richie Sexson ($30M) or Carlos Delgado.

    I agree with the pursuit of Beltre and Clement as top targets. If JD Drew goes for more than that, than I’m willing to let him go elsewhere. The nice thing about injury risks is that in Jeremy Reed, we should have a capable 4th outfielder.

    I really like the idea of grabbing Osuna as well.

    Well done, Dave!

  11. big chef terry on November 11th, 2004 2:25 pm

    too bad Scott Boras doesn’t speak for Ichiro, then we’d really have a center fielder….you could stick Bucky out there too, since his knee is all fixed up and defense doesn’t matter, or ss for that matter too…

  12. big chef terry on November 11th, 2004 2:27 pm

    also don’t take it personally about the team giving you the finger…they’ve got that act down pretty well…

  13. Dave on November 11th, 2004 2:29 pm

    Matt Riley was the Orioles top prospect in 1999 and 2000, shooting up through the minors with a 94 MPH fastball and a big curve. He made a fool of himself during spring training, earned a reputation as a first class prick, and then blew out his arm. He spent most of the last few years coming back from various surgeries and trying to prove that he’s grown up some. The O’s thought he was on the right path, giving him an extended audition at the major league level, but he continued to annoy his teammates and struggled with his command. They’re basically ready to give him the “change of scenery” trade.

    He has two solid average pitches with his fastball and curve, and his command is better than it looked in Baltimore last year. He’s a bit of maturity and some experience away from being a capable back-end major league starter, and the potential is still there for more.

    Moving to to J.D. Drew: His OPS+ (percentage above league average, adjusted for park and league context) since joining the majors:

    99: 92
    00: 122
    01: 162
    02: 110
    03: 133
    04: 158

    Drew’s been an MVP candidate in two of the past four years, an all-star caliber talent in a third, and a solid above average player in the fourth. He’s been worth an average of 7 wins above replacement the past four years. The statement that Drew has had “one good year” is simply false.

    Also, Rafael Palmeiro’s presence does not invalidate the fact that players across the board decline in their thirties. Signing a 32-year-old first baseman is a great way to overpay for past performance and end up disappointed.

  14. eponymous coward on November 11th, 2004 2:31 pm

    What’s the facination with JD Drew? The guy had ONE good year.

    Funny how a guy who’s had “one good year” has a career OPS of .904, and a career OBP of .391, and has more years with >25 HR’s (2) than Raul Ibañez (0).

    And before we turn Delgado into Rafael Palmeiro, look at his comps on Baseball Reference. Guys on his lists include:

    Mo Vaughn
    Jason Giambi
    Albert Belle
    Ralph Kiner
    Jose Canseco
    Darryl Strawberry

    Now, maybe he’ll be Fred McGriff…but you’d have to say there’s a non-trivial risk he’ll fade.

    I think I’d rather take my chances on the 28 year old.

  15. Mark O on November 11th, 2004 2:34 pm

    To #8
    How many guys have put up 300+ HR and 1,000 RBI’s after their 32 birthday? C’mon, now your talking about luck, longevity and a good line-up in from of you. What Palmiero has done is abnormal and you can’t expect other players to do the same.
    I really like the team but JD and Beltre, I feel like with both being Boras guys they will command more. At least Beltre. Kearns is a genius idea cause it works, Lopez is good as well. Pokey is a great gap stop until Lopez is ready. Well thought out plan.

  16. adam on November 11th, 2004 2:37 pm

    Where is Mateo, he is actually a pretty good reliever.

    If they pull that off, and they stay healthy that’s a 90 win team.

    1. Ichiro
    2. Kearns
    3. Beltre
    4. Drew
    5. Boone
    6. Jacobsen
    7. Ibanez
    8. Olivo
    9. Reese

  17. ChrisK on November 11th, 2004 2:39 pm

    Love the Kearns trade, but I don’t think Bavasi has the creativity to think out of the box…plus they are infatuated with Nageotte and Choo, and overvalue Franklin and Mateo. I would love for them to take this kind of risk but don’t believe they will.

    Winn for Riley would be a steal for us. I don’t think Baltimore is that dumb, though.

    Clement – do you think he has #1 starter makeup? On this team, yes, but on playoff-calibur teams I tend to look at him as a #2 or #3. Still, he’s a good pickup for the rotation.

    Great thinking and analysis. I wish Bavasi et al could give us some nice surprises like the ones you’ve proposed.

  18. Grant on November 11th, 2004 2:40 pm

    #8 – I think you have a good point about Palmeiro, but I would still prefer Drew over Delgado. His OBP this year was .436, that’s over 60 points higher than what Delgado put up this year. Drew also SLGed 34 points better. If they were the same age I would probably go with Delgado because he has a more proven track record, and fewer injuries, but they are not, Drew is four years younger, and a better defender at that. I think this year was the first time that we got to see what Drew can do if healthy for a full season, and there is reason to believe he could even excede the production he had this year, I feel like Delgado has peaked, but at the same time the perception of Delgado’s value by people that visit this site is a little lower than what it actually is. However Dave states that his plan not to contend instantly, but to put key players in place to make a stronger run down the road, and with that in mind Drew make more sense.

  19. Econ guy on November 11th, 2004 2:48 pm

    Dave,
    Great post. I would love to see the M’s put this team together. I especially like the Drew signing. This could be a great team in 2006.

    Do you know if the M’s have any interest in pursuing Drew? From the rumors that I have been hearing it does not seem like it is a sure thing that he winds up back in Atlanta. He would be a great fit for the M’s.

  20. Ty on November 11th, 2004 3:03 pm

    Hmmm… I like it. It’s a good plan. I still like Delgado at first, but hey, can’t have everything now can we? Does anyone know the chances of getting Drew? Sounds like a good fit…

  21. Steve Alliston on November 11th, 2004 3:06 pm

    Don’t put Bucky in front of Ibanez. As a guy who doesn’t handle breaking pitches too well but can crush a fastball he’ll benefit tremendously from batting in front of your best hitter.

  22. DMZ on November 11th, 2004 3:10 pm

    Are you arguing that Ibanez should be in front of Bucky, then, so Ibanez will see more fastballs?

    Also, if there’s a superior way to pitch to a batter, like say that he’s vulnerable to breaking pitches, pitchers will exploit that regardless of the batter’s position in the lineup.

  23. where's Rusty Kuntz???? on November 11th, 2004 3:36 pm

    #13 – I appreciate the stats you just threw my way. One stat. you didn’t include though is 104, 135, 109, 135, 100. Those would be # of games played by JD Drew from 1999-2003. So yes, while i agree that his career OBP and OPS are great, when you take into consideration that he was only on the field for 70% of his teams games during this time it all of a sudden makes me not want to throw $10 million per year his way. I was under the impression that most people on this site agreed that the M’s need to avoid at all costs paying for players who don’t produce and giving $10 mill. a year to an injury prone guy who will play in 70% of your games is right on par with our moves of last off-season (speczio, hasagawa, franklin, ibanez).

  24. Troy on November 11th, 2004 3:48 pm

    Sorry Rusty, giving $10 mill to Drew is nothing like those moves you site from last year because DREW CAN PLAY!!! None of those players have every approached being above average, let alone MVP caliber like JD. There’s no comparison.

  25. tvwxman on November 11th, 2004 3:53 pm

    Hey, a Rusty Kuntz sighting. My favorite baseball card of all time.

    Anyway, I like the lineup in a hypothetical sense, which is exactly what it is. However, the pragmatist in me shows that Jeremy Reed is missing from the starting lineup. In a practical sense, the kid has nothing to prove in the minor leagues, and has shown that he belongs as a starter in the bigs. They didn’t acquire him to be a 4th outfielder, which belies the problem of acquring another veteran OF.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the Kearns acquisition, and getting a chance to watch JD Drew down here in Atlanta, I’d love to see him in the middle of the M’s lineup. But I think that Reed has to start now in order to blossom next year. Now, if they can move Ibanez…..

  26. Dave on November 11th, 2004 4:01 pm

    Jeremy Reed’s 2004 season:

    Int’l League: .275/.357/.420, .268 EqA, .231 MjEqA
    PCL: .305/.366/.455, .272 EqA, .232 MjEqA,

    During his time in Triple-A, Reed was essentially an average hitter. His equivalent performance in the majors would make him a replacement level player. He was outperformed at Tacoma by four other outfielders; Jamal Strong, Hiram Bocachica, Greg Jacobs, and Vince Faison. Obviously, Reed is much younger than all four, and he still projects to be a solid major league player, but categorizing his minor league performance as showing that he belongs as as a starter in the bigs is not really true.

    Personally, I thought putting Reed on the major league roster was generous. Barring a big spring training, he certainly hasn’t forced his way to the big leagues yet.

  27. m2 on November 11th, 2004 4:05 pm

    I love reading USSM, but you guys (writers and readers both, generally speaking) are too overinfatuated with youth. I don’t have time to look it up while I’m at the office, but I’d be curious to know the breakdown of recent All-Stars by age — under-30 and 30+. Anyone care to track that down?

    I’m not suggesting the Mariners need to go get the likes of Griffey, Palmeiro, Delgado, etc, and I’m well aware of what the old teams we’ve fielded the past two years have done … but there are some great ballplayers in their mid-30s that shouldn’t be written-off just because of their age.

    And I also don’t understand the comment about Madritsch being “as good as he’s going to be.” Says who? That’s what a lot of GMs said about Jamie Moyer 10 years ago, and it’s probably what a lot of people said about a guy like David Ortiz 2-3 years ago. Madritsch seems to me like a guy who’s only going to get better the more experience he gets. Who knows what the future holds for him (or anyone, for that matter)?

    That said, I’d be quite happy if your plan came to fruition, Dave.

  28. where's Rusty Kuntz???? on November 11th, 2004 4:09 pm

    you are missing my point on Drew. we are talking $10 million per year to sign him potentially. For $10M a year you have to be damned sure you are going to get the guy on the field for more then 2 out of every 3 games. I don’t care what his batting stats are. The only guy i am paying $10M a year for with there being an above average chance he is only playing 2 out of 3 games is Bonds and i’m sorry but Drew is no Barry Bonds. The M’s can’t afford this gamble right now.

  29. gts on November 11th, 2004 4:49 pm

    Beltre, Drew, and Clement would be great free agent pickups, but it’s not going to happen. Suppose the M’s do get Beltre (unlikely because the Dodgers are pretty determined to resign him), another bat, and a #3 or #4 pitcher. The other bat would likely be Shea Hillebrand-type player and the pitcher would likely be nothing close to Clement. He will get a much larger contract than 3yr/22 million. Beltre and Drew and Boras clients, and few teams can afford to sign even one of the players. Rather than signing Beltre, the M’s would be better off signing Glaus (will cost much less than Beltre) and Drew. That would leave them some money to sign a solid starter and flesh out the rest of the roster.

  30. Ryan Carson on November 11th, 2004 4:57 pm

    I think WRK is starting to convince me about Drew….I was an original supporter of this idea. I guess my question for WRK is based on your thinking, which outfielder would better meet your criteria for the M’s needs? If we are in agreement with Dave that we are building for ’06 and beyond, then should this player be a bit younger, maybe with smaller numbers but with room to grow, that could be had for less $$? That being said, I’m not sure who that person is because I don’t think he exists in this year’s crop of free agents. Part of me thinks that just getting Kearns is good enough to fit into this strategy.

  31. Drabbones on November 11th, 2004 4:57 pm

    Moyer as #5 starter? What is the record for HRs allowed in a season? Eat the salary, keep him around for PR purposes, but quit torturing the fans. I’d rather have a minor league FA signed for #5. How about Mateo? Wilson Alvarez?

  32. Dave on November 11th, 2004 5:11 pm

    From 1996-1999, Jim Edmonds played 114, 133, 154, and 55 games. The Angels gave up on the “injury prone” 29-year-old and shipped him off to St. Louis. Didn’t work out so well…

    From 1994-1996, David Justice played 104, 120, and 40 games, leading to his change of scenery. He then plays 139, 146, 133, and 146 games and has four of the best years of his career.

    The list of “injury prone” players who suddenly stopped getting hurt is lengthy. There’s little to no evidence that suggest past injuries that are fully healed among position players will lead to more predictable future injuries.

    J.D. Drew might get hurt. There’s no reason to assume that he’s going to, however, or that he’s any more likely to get hurt than any other free agent.

  33. Graham on November 11th, 2004 5:25 pm

    I’ve just rounded up some stats off MLB.com and done some crunching. Assuming Dave’s plan comes into fruition, here is that team’s rate stats from 2004. Note: ABs, Hits, etc, were tallied seperately, then calculated, so outlandishly high September BAs (*cough Reed cough*) won’t affect them too much.

    …2004…
    Batting: BA/OBP/SLG/OPS
    Lineup: .297/.362/.484/.846 Wow. That scares me.
    Bench: .241/.306/.365/.671 Um. OK then.
    Team: .284/.350/.457/.807 I’ll take that.

    Pitching: ERA/KpBB/Kp9/HRp9
    Rotation: 4.47/2.19/7.01/1.36 They’ll get better. Probably.
    Bullpen: 3.98/2.19/7.62/1.11 A lot of that ERA is Hasegawa
    Team: 4.36/2.19/7.17/1.30 Slightly worrying

    That looks fairly good, batting especially. The pitching could go either way, but as Dave said, Hernandez and Soriano are due here in about year, so I’d actually be very optimistic if this scenario was to fall into place.

  34. Aaron on November 11th, 2004 5:25 pm

    I agree with Dave. The only time past injuries should be of concern is when they are likely to reoccur. Most of the time, though, an “injury prone” label is simply an opportunity to get a player at a discount. That’s exactly how Oakland got Erubiel Durazo. I remember at the time when explaining the risks involved, Beane said something to the effect of “We couldn’t afford him if he had been healthy”. David Ortiz is another example of a quality player becoming undervalued because of injury. Like Oakland and Boston, we also have the luxury of the DH to reduce the stress on his body. Drew is definately worth serious consideration and money.

  35. David J Corcoran on November 11th, 2004 5:37 pm

    Dave:

    A lot of things I like, some things I don’t.

    What I like:
    1.Pokey Reese. This has been the guy I have been pulling for as “Jose Lopez” insurance, but I would still award Lopez the starting job, barring a bad spring training. Reese can field spectacularly, and can hit. Rey Sanchez would be another option I wouldn’t mind seeing. If he can hit like he did at SafeCo in ’03 (which I most certainly don’t expect), all the better.
    2. Kearns and F. Lopez. Positively brilliant. We give up a decent BOR starter, an OK middle reliever, and a pitcher that has some work to do before making the bigs, and a good OF prospect we don’t need in our crowded outfield. I can see the Reds making that trade, too.
    3. Ibanez at first. Good idea. No reason to waste funds on Delgado/Sexson, and we gain nothing by essentially trading Winn for HIllenbrand.

    What I don’t:
    1. Reed as 4th OF? I would rather see him start in Tacoma than ride the bench in Seattle. Bring up Strong or something to play 4th OF. Actually, Felipe Lopez can be the 4th OF, no? He has never played OF, but it couldn’t be that hard to teach him. Or put Pokey Reese in the OF. A waste of his talents, I know, but it could work. Actually, with Ibanez at 1st, we could use him as the 4th OF, so when:
    Reed/Drew has day off, Ibanez LF, Ichiro CF, Kearns RF
    Kearns has day off, Ibanez LF, Drew/Reed CF, Ichiro RF
    Ichiro has rare day off, Ibanez LF, Drew/Reed CF, Kearns RF

    Ichiro would have to agree to occasionally play Center, probably no more than 10 games a season. I think this is reasonable.

    My Version of your plan (no salaries)
    Olivo C
    Ibanez 1B
    Boone 2B
    Lopez SS
    Beltre 3B
    Kearns LF
    Drew CF
    Ichiro RF
    Jacobsen DH
    Lopez, F UT
    Reese IF
    Leone IF/LF
    Spiezio UT
    Wilson C

    Also, if Bucky is a bust, move Kearns to first, Drew to left, and Reed into center.

    Like the pitching staff.

  36. Joshua Buergel on November 11th, 2004 5:39 pm

    Geez, I don’t know what happened there. I guess my cut and paste choked things.

  37. The Ancient Mariner on November 11th, 2004 5:41 pm

    Personally, given that none of Drew’s injuries suggest any sort of inherent weakness in his body, I’d be turning cartwheels if the M’s pulled that off. I don’t know if I believe that Bavasi has the vision to go get Kearns, but I’d like to.

  38. Ralph Malph on November 11th, 2004 5:50 pm

    Talk about misuse of statistics — and mixing up cause and effect.

    Losing teams don’t carry veterans. Losing teams trade their high-salary players. Losing teams bring up the youngsters. Hence, losing teams have a lower average age AS A RESULT OF their suckitude.

    And since when are All-Star appearances the best measure of performance, m2? All-Star appearances are a trailing indicator, an economist might say.

  39. Digger on November 11th, 2004 6:15 pm

    The GM is going to have spent a lot of money on some big time medical opinions before he goes with a plan like this. Both Drew and Kearns qualify as “injury plagued,” and there haven’t been a lot of players who have shaken that label to become legitimate stars. And Dave’s analysis of Beltre not being a one year wonder relies on a 2 year recovery from an appendectomy.

    And here we are with a medical staff that rejected a trade for the proven-durable Vizquel because of the doctors’ evaluations of his knee.

    It’s a risky business. Makes a guy like Winn who just plays every day and always has a .350 OBP seem like a steal for $3-4M.

  40. stan on November 11th, 2004 6:30 pm

    Dave, I like this line-up much better than the one you posted a few weeks ago with Shea Hillenbrand as the first baseman. Drew would give Beltre some protection, and except for Ibanez at first I don’t see any players that would be defensive liabilities. I acually think you are underselling the potential of your line-up. Oakland’s big 3 looked vulnerable to me for the first time last year and Texas will have to depend on a 40+ Kenny Rogers again next year. Unless Arte Moreno goes crazy on free agents again in 2005. I think the roster you have constucted could win the AL West. A few minor quibbles; I don’t think Leone is a major league player, Felipe Lopez from what I understand was a pain in the butt in Toronto, and Matt Riley is a head case too. I would definately trade Winn but I would just as soon keep Matt Thorton as bring in Matt Riley. Perhaps BoMel could convince the Arizona GM to trade something useful to the Mariners for Randy. All in all the lineup you have constructed would be a vast improvement over what we had to endure in 2004.

  41. The Ancient Mariner on November 11th, 2004 6:33 pm

    #41: Actually, there have been a fair number. Besides Edmonds and Justice, a guy named Molitor comes immediately to mind.

  42. Mike on November 11th, 2004 6:47 pm

    Dave, I’d love to have Beltre, but I just see Lincoln cringing when Boras asks for $84/7 years. I just don’t see it. I would see Lincoln agreeing to Glaus for 4-5 years $40-50 mil. I also could see them looking more at Delgado with Ichiro or Reed in Center and Ibanez in left. Winn will be gone, for Riley that would be a steal. I don’t see Mateo moving anywhere with Guardado’s uncertainty. Putz is just that. Low risk bullpen fodder. I don’t know much about Felipe Lopez, but if Franklin, & a couple minor leaguers lands Kearns that would be huge. Also, if they get Kearns I don’t see them pushing for Drew. I think the M’s will probably look to Jose Lopez before trading for Felipe. Love the optimism; just don’t see Lincoln cutting the checks.

    Lineup:

    Ichiro cf
    Kearns rf
    Delgado 1b
    Glaus 3b
    Ibanez lf
    Boone 2b
    Jacobsen dh
    Olivo c
    Reese/Lopez ss

    This lineup has power, but weak defensively and very little speed. I’d like to see a place for Reed in the two hole and bump everyone down a spot.

  43. NBarnes on November 11th, 2004 6:48 pm

    I’d be pretty stunned if Beltre’s deal paid him only 9 for 2005.

  44. Jon Wells on November 11th, 2004 6:56 pm

    #41 – Randy Winn a steal for $3-4 mil?!!??? I’m damn glad you’re not running the team!

  45. Dave on November 11th, 2004 7:04 pm

    Jon, I know you hate his arm, but Winn’s been a pretty good player for the last three years. He’s been worth, on average, about 6 wins above a replacement level player and ranked 4th among AL center fielders in VORP this year. Is he great? No. But on a team with quality players around him, Winn’s a nice piece. He just doesn’t fit into the Mariners current roster.

  46. Dave S. on November 11th, 2004 7:06 pm

    (I’ve been gone for a while, my computer crashed and I’m relegated to the school’s labs. As such, I haven’t been able to post on my blog, here, or Mariner boards for about a month.)

    Dave, I gotta wonder why Pokey Reese? And why $1.5 million for Pokey Reese? I understand the argument for defense at shortstop, and I’m probably a bigger Reese detractor than most people, but I don’t see the reason to pay $1.5 million for Reese and trade for Kearns and Lopez. Again, I’m not a big fan of Reese, so take from that what you will.

  47. eponymous coward on November 11th, 2004 7:09 pm

    Not to mention the fact that there’s a selection effect- good players (Barry Bonds) stay in the lineup as they age, bad ones (Jeff Cirillo) don’t.

    That, and the peak for players is around 28-30. Gee, what a shock, that’s about where the best teams are…

  48. Grant on November 11th, 2004 7:10 pm

    #41 – I disagree about Randy Winn

  49. David J Corcoran on November 11th, 2004 7:25 pm

    “Perhaps BoMel could convince the Arizona GM to trade something useful to the Mariners for Randy.”

    What about Willie Bloomquist?

  50. Paul Covert on November 11th, 2004 7:26 pm

    Stan (re. #39): keep in mind, of course, that this version is “what Dave would try to do,” while the one with Hillenbrand was “what Dave thinks Bavasi might do.”

  51. David J Corcoran on November 11th, 2004 7:36 pm

    Another thing to wonder:

    J.D. Drew can play center field, but do we want him there? I am not sure about his defense…

  52. Jerry B on November 11th, 2004 7:46 pm

    Interesting idea, Dave, very creative. I like the idea of Reese and Drew but don’t see that happening. Just wondering, from what I learned, Madritsch had just as serious injury and had surgery as Meche. But you and Derek kept insisting the doom day of Meche going down is coming soon for two years now, and yet no mention of a possible injury for Mad? He was abused just as bad as Meche. I am not a big fan of Meche, but is there any particular reason you two dislike him so much?

  53. Ty on November 11th, 2004 7:48 pm

    Hello David. Remember me? Long time no talk.

    About Winn – Randy has been a pretty good player the last couple of years… It wouldn’t be murder to keep him if thsi doesn’t turn out right. Nothin with Winn for 3-4 mill.

  54. chris d on November 11th, 2004 8:04 pm

    #4 I staed that Gammons thinks that Tampa wants to trade Huff. He seems to be a great fit for M’s. Even though he had a very poor start in 04 , he ended up with very good numbers ( .291, 360, 493), bats left, plays OF and 1B. He is not prone to injury as Drew and Kearns.

  55. David J Corcoran on November 11th, 2004 8:06 pm

    I would love to have Huff, but he is a joke in the Outfield, and doesn’t solve the CF problems.

    I would just assume give the CF job to Reed, myself. What do we have to lose, anyway? It is not like we are going to be contending…

  56. David J Corcoran on November 11th, 2004 8:07 pm

    But, re #4:
    Lugo would be a good utility guy….

  57. stan on November 11th, 2004 8:10 pm

    David J, no thanks to your offer of Willie B for Randy. I would not be surprised if Arizona becomes the destination for Willie and Hiram Bochachica though.

  58. Ty on November 11th, 2004 8:25 pm

    I agree about Reed. I still would like him in center.

  59. chris d on November 11th, 2004 8:40 pm

    What about Huff at 1B or Dh. Alternating with Bucky and Ibanez. Maybe if M’s pickup some of Ibanez’s salary Lou would take him. You could get 70 -80 HR between these two positions and then 40 more from Beltre. Put Reed as #2 hitter. Some runs are going to cross the plate for sure.

  60. chris d on November 11th, 2004 8:51 pm

    I just saw where the M’s are interested in Sosa- bad idea for $18mil, with his attitude and declining productivity. slugging pct. last three years 594, 557, 517. He is 36yr old. This would be a big mistake.

  61. Ty on November 11th, 2004 9:09 pm

    Rumor has it that it’s basicly already a done deal for Sexson to come to Seattle. I never actually read anything on it, but I have heard people saying it on the SeattleMariners.org board. Hmmmm… I would prefer Delgado, though.

  62. Chief on November 11th, 2004 9:10 pm

    Re #49. Finally a touch of realism. I like Dave’s lineup a lot. But, Howard is not going to pay for Beltre, Drew and Clement. We are probably going to end up with the Glaus and Hillebrands of the world. Does anyone out there remember the Tejada fiasco and the major disappointments of the last few mid-season trading deadlines? It is fun and exciting to do these dream teams but Howard and co. will burst our bubble in the next couple of months. Am I a pessimist? Sadly I guess so.

  63. James T on November 11th, 2004 9:14 pm

    A couple thoughts.
    1)If Julio Lugo is traded by the Devil Rays, they’ll just play Upton at shortstop. They burned some service time last year by bringing Upton up to the majors and then didn’t play him or put him at third. If they get something decent in trade, I’m not sure why Piniella should be upset at their eliminating one of their few situations of having more than one decent player.
    2)Pokey Reese is just tremendously brittle. You really can’t expect for him to be your starting shortstop for mor than 100 games. I’m a Sox fan. I watched every game this year. I remember three specific instances of Reese getting hurt. Once, he jumped up to catch a liner at second and hurt his foot when he landed. That cost him a few games. Another time he dove for a ball and hurt the same thumb he’d hurt in a previous season. Frankly, it looked completely innocuous but he was out for about six weeks from the combination of that and an injury that followed almost immediately. He hurt his ribcage or lat muscle, I forget which, in the course of completing a completely commonplace 4-6-3 dp. Oh, and Pokey couldn’t hit a lick this year. But when healthy he is one fantastic fielder. Amazingly fluid. Just a joy to watch pick up a grounder and throw.

  64. Ty on November 11th, 2004 9:14 pm

    That may be Cheif, but hopefully not so. If we could just get what we want for once in the offseason…

  65. Dave on November 11th, 2004 9:16 pm

    Argh. I guess the three seperate dismissals we’ve posted of the lame Sexson rumor isn’t going to do it. Maybe we should run a giant banner across the top of the page with flashing lights? Or have a constant barrage of pop-up ads with “RICHIE SEXSON HAS NOT AGREED TO TERMS WITH MARINERS” in bold letters?

    The rumors that the M’s already have Sexson locked up are not true. Since I’m rebutting crazy talk, the M’s aren’t going to trade for Sammy Sosa and they aren’t interested in Chan Ho Park. Remember, large grains of salt.

  66. Ty on November 11th, 2004 9:23 pm

    Ok ok. No need to get mad. Remember I just started on this site and I don’t know what you’ve been talking about.

  67. Alex on November 11th, 2004 9:24 pm

    You mean Richie Sexson hasn’t agreed to terms with the M’s yet? :)

  68. Alex on November 11th, 2004 9:28 pm

    I am waiting for the annual “Griffey is coming back to Seattle” rumors to start heating up here anytime now also, based on some of the stuff I am reading about Sexson and Sammy Sosa (?!?!)

    To whomever was talking about Sosa, can you please cite your source for that piece of information (link please)?

  69. Dave on November 11th, 2004 9:32 pm

    Tracey Ringolsby wrote a hack piece in the Rocky Mountain News today that linked the M’s to Sosa and Park.

  70. Ty on November 11th, 2004 9:33 pm

    The rumor about Sosa isn’t realistic. Not that I would want him anyway, but still.

    The Griffy rumors have already passed. I heard them a lot during the season.

  71. Rebecca Allen on November 11th, 2004 9:34 pm

    Boy, are you going to be disappointed. Didn’t the 4 “Stay the Heck Away” signings teach you anything? I sure got the message.

  72. Ty on November 11th, 2004 9:37 pm

    The writer of that Sammy Sosa story assumed we want Sosa because we need a run producing outfeilder. I bet the Mariners haven’t even shown remote intrest in Sosa.

  73. Alex on November 11th, 2004 9:43 pm

    Ahh thanks Dave. I just read the Ringolsby piece of tripe of an article. I can’t figure out why we would A) Want Park B) Want Park at that salary?

    I don’t know where he came up with the stuff about Sosa either. He’s the first (and only) source that I’ve seen that has mentioned the M’s and Sosa in the same sentence. The one name that he did mention in there that the Rockies might be willing to part with that interested me a bit was Preston Wilson. If my recollection of his skills is correct, he is Mike-Cameronesque, but a bit better than that. I recall him hitting for a bit more power and having a bit more speed than Cammy, but the same propensity for striking out and he is not quite the CF that Cammy is. I still think that he’d be an OF upgrade at this point over our current crop of OF’s, even if you include the Coors Factor in the dicussion…

    That said, I don’t know what his contract status is or what it would take to pry him away from the Rox…

  74. Dave on November 11th, 2004 9:49 pm

    Preston Wilson sucks. He’s got bad knees that have sapped him of the limited range he once had. His numbers away from Coors Field the past two years are .260/.316/.479 and .240/.309/.380. For the right to have him rehab and make outs, the Rockies are going to pay him $12 million in 2005, the last year of a brutal contract that is one of the worst in recent memory.

  75. Alex on November 11th, 2004 9:50 pm

    In response to #70:

    I see you post comments on here occasionally and all of the posts that I have read seem to be of the “naysayer” variety. Can I ask why you choose to take a vested interest in the Mariners if you are convinced that they will make completely wrong decisions? Why put yourself through such torture if you are resigned to the fact that they will do nothing but disappoint you? That seems awfully counterproductive to me.

  76. Alex on November 11th, 2004 9:55 pm

    Thanks again, Dave. I knew I could count on you to know your stuff about him. My recollections of him consist of his Coors inflated stats and the year in Florida where he struck out around 180 times.

    His contract would be a deal-breaker, all else aside.

    I meant to also ask, why would the Reds be looking to deal Kearns? Is it because he’s endured some injuries? Is it simply to make room for Wily Mo Pena? Does he have some serious shortcomings?

  77. Dave on November 11th, 2004 10:01 pm

    They love Wily Mo. Dunn is their best player and they’re financially committed to playing Jr, so Kearns is the odd guy out. If Casey wouldn’t have had a monster season, they probably would have shifted Dunn to first base, but now that they’ve picked up Casey’s ’06 option, thats no longer possible. They’ve got 5 guys for 4 positions, and Kearns is the odd guy out. He hasn’t exactly gotten along with everyone in the organization, especially during his outspoken complaints of being left on rehab assignments after he proclaimed himself healthy.

    I wouldn’t say they’re necessarily looking to deal Kearns. But he’s certainly available.

  78. The Ancient Mariner on November 11th, 2004 10:12 pm

    At a guess, it’s because a) Wily Mo’s their only true CF, b) Dunn’s their best OF, c) Junior’s contract is untradeable, and d) Sean Casey has 1B locked up. That makes Kearns the odd man out, since he didn’t hit well last season.

  79. Bela Txadux on November 11th, 2004 10:16 pm

    Well, well, Dave,

    Overall a very well-thoughtout approach, and I like everything I see regarding the incomers, although there’s one guy leaving on your list I’d prefer to see stay. As far as particulars, Osuna has been at the top of my list for a high-upside set-up arm, and would be a very doable sign. You seem very, very down on Guardado pitching, which leads me to a point regarding your posts that you generally seem to let the bad career performances of many players in ’04 weight a bit too heavily on your projections for their coming years in my view, but that’s what it is, my view. Personally, I see Eddie Guardado pitching next year, certainly by after the Break, and with moderate effectiveness at least since location not velocity has always been his game. Clement is very doable in my view, and hands down the best arm on the market, and I’ve been voting for him for awhile now.

    Drew is the sign I have been personally advocating for months, and I would count it as a great primary move if his is the _only_ major bat the Ms managed to acquire. I’ve always projected him as a CF for this team. He has been an outstanding offensive player when healthy for years now; the best player nobody knows (very much) about. I think the BJ Edmonds comparisons are very good, except Drew gets on base even more. He was healthy through a full campaign last year, so he _can_ pull it off. I think his next four years will be his best in the Bigs by far, although he should be counted on to be dinged up for one of them, maybe. Whether he is willing to play in the NW is the question, but Boras clients sign for the $$, and if the Ms want to be the top bid here, they most certainly can be. I, frankly, would rather have Drew than Beltran because while the latter is younger and has been healthier Drew’s offensive performane has been consistently superior, he’s lefthanded, and he will come cheaper on a shorter deal. To me, it’s that simple: J. D. should be one of the three priority signs for the Ms.

    Beltre: I think that signing Beltre is the single biggest risk in what you project and that the Ms seem very likely to attempt. He’s had one good year, and even so I think the years-and-$$$ you project for him in this post are the floor bid he will possibly sign for which is a long enough and expensive enough deal to be very high risk now matter how good a player is. That said, physically Beltre is the package, I like him far more than anybody on the market except Drew, and the Ms are a rich enough franchise to take some risk. Whether or not they should is debatable, but they _can_.

    I just love hearing “Austin Kearns, Mariners leftfielder.” This is the single best trade acquisition I have heard proposed on this blog at any point. The Reds have made (very, very foolish) rumblings about moving Kearns, and if there is any doable scenario that brings Kearns to Seattle. There is no better young player in the majors who could be acquired for this kind of price. The one thing I do _not_ care for in your package for him is trading Nageotte. Everyone seems to have totally given up on this guy, and I think he will make anyone who trades him away look very, very foolish in the long run. No, he’s not ML ready, but personally I think he’s a better bet than Riley. It’s just that Mariners-watchers and the FO are, well ‘disappointed.’ It’s true that a deal to get Kearns will almost certainly have to include a young power arm of some kind, but that said, I’d rather see the deal reconfigured to include someone else. Frankly, I’d rather see Winn-for-Riley (fundamentally a good call), and then _Riley_ put in the package for Kearns. Randy Winn would have good value for a potent offense who could put him at the bottom of the order for contact and speed, but that is not the Mariners, no.

    And regarding Felipe Lopez, I remember our prior converse regarding _Jose_ Lopez, and at the time my read on your projections for the latter Ms prospect seemed to spell out exactly who Felipe is right now. But still, Felipe would be vastly more useful than Ramon Santiago, so. I think Pokey Reese is a very good sign at SS; cheap, great D which is really needed, but not so good or expensive that he blocks any other prospects path. I’ve always been an Orlando Cabrera fan, but he has almost certainly priced himself out of any reasonable-value sign, and there’s no other SS on the market worth their projected cost and of a useful age, either.

    I’m all in favor of keeping Reed and Leone (who I still like) on the roster as back-ups. They’re cheap, hungry, homegrown, and at least as good as anything on the open market. Both could start if someone goes down, and they need to be facing ML pitching to accrue any trade value. I think you are, again, a bit down on Reed overall, and I’m not just star-gazing given his rocket-launcher September, either. Reed’s performance in Tacoma after the trade was well below anything he had turned in during the last few years: he definitely seemed to take the deal hard, and to have an adjustment problem, and it depressed his actual numbers in my view. Having said that, he’s no surefire star, and not remotely the value that Kearns is.

    Ibanez: he _cannot_ play 1b effectively anymore than he can play left field. But what I think the Ms should keep him into next year and then trade him at the break; his contract could be moveable by then. I would be happy to see Huff come here from Tampa to play 1b (badly) instead, but I don’t know where the Ms will get the scratch to trade for him if they do the Kearns deal, which is much better. 1b is likely to be a sinkhole for the Ms next year, but if we get it down to one position on the roster, I think that’s progress.

  80. LB on November 11th, 2004 10:38 pm

    #34: Pokey Reese can hit? If the Red Sox thought so, there would have been no need to bring in Orlando Cabrera. Let’s see, lifetime OPS is…, gee .659. But it’s worse: last two years he’s kept it well under .600. That’s bad, that’s Jeff Cirillo bad.

    He’s a black hole in the lineup, but he’s a real treat to watch in the field. And he will not sign with the M’s or anyone else to backup Jose Lopez (or anyone else). He says if he starts every day, he has a shot at a Gold Glove. If he wanted to be a bench player, he would re-sign with the Sox and see if he could get another ring out of the deal.

  81. Steve on November 11th, 2004 10:39 pm

    re #68: “Tracy Ringolsby wrote a hack piece …” Isn’t that redundant?

  82. The Ancient Mariner on November 11th, 2004 11:40 pm

    One note to Bela: since Nageotte’s from Ohio, the Reds might well be particular about him in any deal sending Kearns to the Emerald City.

  83. D'ohboy on November 12th, 2004 1:03 am

    Great hypothetical lineup. I think that Drew will be the relative steal of this year’s FA crop. I don’t know about the Reese signing. After repeatedly ripping the Jolbert Cabrera signing, it’s a little strange to advocate signing Reese. Both are 31, and make the same amount of money, while Cabrera hits .270/.312/.384 while Reese hits .221/.271/.303. Neither exactly tears the cover off the ball, while Reese is clearly the superior defensive player. The upside to Cabrera is that he doesn’t entertain any ideas about being an everyday player. Not that I’m advocating Cabrera or anything, I’m just saying that similar performance can be had for much less. 1 mil plus utility infielders aren’t a luxury the Mariners can afford.

    Speaking of what the Mariners can afford (or what they’re willing to spend), I fear the “something is better than nothing” attitude towards FA signings. Personally, if the M’s can’t land one of the big guys, I say cancel Christmas and go with young and cheap until Felix “El Rey” Hernandez shows up alongside a healthy Soriano. I don’t want to see Bavasi and Lincoln drop money on stopgap players like last year. I wouldn’t mind if the team sucks as long as they move forward with a strategy to be competitive within the next few years.

    One last thing–the whole “hometown connection” thing (IE Sexson to Seattle because he’s from the Northwest) is getting a little stale. When the choice is between two equal options, perhaps the hometown connection may tip the scales, but otherwise, most players follow their pocketbook due to the influence of their agents, who get paid by a percentage of earnings.

    To the Captain and Crew of the USSM, thanks for giving a die-hard hockey fan something to read during the lockout!

  84. Jon Wells on November 12th, 2004 1:11 am

    #81 said “One note to Bela: since Nageotte’s from Ohio, the Reds might well be particular about him in any deal sending Kearns to the Emerald City.”

    I feel compelled to point out here that not evey major league franchise operates like the Seattle Mariners (let’s acquire a local kid because a medicocre local guy is always better to have on the team than a superstar out-of-towner). If only Albert Pujols were from Port Orchard insstead of Willie F Bloomquist (who was picked several rounds ahead of Pujols in the ’99 draft)…

  85. Conor Glassey on November 12th, 2004 4:27 am

    Jon’s right – plus, it’s not like Austin Kearns is from another planet, he’s from Lexington, Kentucky – only about 2 hours away from Cinncinati!
    As far as Bloomquist goes – hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy to look back now and get pissed about Bloomquist being taken before Hank Blalock, Albert Pujols, and a bunch of other guys – but at the time, I would say it was somewhat defensible. Bloomquist did put up huge numbers during his senior year at ASU (.394/.495/.646), but while I was looking at his team’s stats, there was another player, Andrew Beinbrink, who put up superior numbers (.402/.508/.692) and wasn’t drafted until the 7th round – so perhaps Bloomquist was overdrafted.
    However, I would say that not drafting Pujols shows something about the kind of players the M’s like to have, but it really shows how much of a crapshoot the draft can be. Plus, drafting Bloomquist in the 3rd round didn’t really stop us from getting Pujols if we had wanted him – he didn’t go until the 13th round.

  86. David J Corcoran on November 12th, 2004 8:25 am

    Re Richie Sexson:

    In Yesterday’s P-I, Times or Tribune (can’t remember which), Bavasi was quoted as saying our reported interest in Sexson “couldn’t be further from the truth”

  87. Kearly on November 12th, 2004 8:58 am

    Dave:

    I think Reed is more than an average player. At the beginning of the 2004 season, he was ranked on several prospect ranking sites as a top 5 prospect in the MLB, including Baseball Prospectus and the Hard Ball Times.

    He consistently hits for average, has tremendous plate discipline, and can hit for average and OBP even without protection. Obviously, his .394 average and near .500 OBP is an exaggeration of what’s to be expected of him. He’s been compared to Tony Gwynn countless times, as he may not slug the ball like crazy but he appears consistent in the Minors and is MLB ready. I think Reed is more valuable than say his OPS would indicate. I doubt he’ll ever post an OPS over .850 during a full regular season, but high average and OBP can still be very valuable, especially in front of hitters like Beltre or Drew.

    For Reed to start, which could be difficult, we will need two things to happen; the first is to not add any more OF (Kearns, Drew, etc), then either have Ibanez play first or move either Ibanez/Winn/or Bucky(AAA), both tasks are difficult to do.

    Its for those reasons why I understand how you could have left out Jeremy Reed from your lineup (well, I guess you did include him on the bench).

    As far as the issues of Age and injury, I had a few dissagreements.

    On age, the Mariners were successful for several years with Veteran teams. Granted, age reared its ugly head in 2004; a year in which the M’s were the 2nd oldest team in the MLB. The oldest? The New York Yankees.

    Delgado may be 32 years old, which is technically past his prime. But 32 is not old. If we sign him to a 3 or even 4 year contract, we would most likely get 3 productive seasons out of the man (who puts up good numbers even when hurt last season), who has 30+ HR in each of the last 8 seasons and a career .389 average at Safeco with 1 HR every 12 at bats there. Ok maybe I’ve said too much about Delgado, but he’s not a player I’d avoid because he’s 32.

    We’re going to be a very young team next year. We’ll have vets Jamie Moyer, Shiggy, Bret Boone and maybe Dan Wilson, most of them likely being out of Seattle by 2006 (trades, retirement, etc). Most of the rest of the In the not too distant future, we’ll be looking for “gritty” vets to help balance a suddenly very young 2006 team. Because we are facing such a situation in the next few years, I don’t think age becomes such a negative determinant in choosing free agents. While I wouldn’t mind this team becoming the 2004 Indians in the next few years, I’d prefer for them to become the 2004 Red Sox.

    As far as injury, its not hard to make a very long list of players that destroyed their franchises by signing huge contracts and then collapsing from injury over several years (Mo Vaughn quickly jumps to mind). I’m not sure if players like Drew, Glaus, or Sexson are going to be injury prone in 2005, but history would suggest they are more likely than most. If reasonably priced, this may not be as big a deal, but with each probably going for annual salaries around 10 million, they become very dangerous players to sign. They still have strong upsides, but high risk/high reward gambles are usually reserved for the desperate. We are desperate, but does that make it the wise alternative?

    Realistically, I think we can afford 1 big risk this offseason. That risks’ name is Adrian Beltre. Last offseason we took 4 small-medium risks, two of which backfired badly. Considering how much damage 2 small-medium risks can cause, its probably unwise to commit to more than one major risk.

  88. Dave on November 12th, 2004 9:19 am

    I think Reed is more than an average player. At the beginning of the 2004 season, he was ranked on several prospect ranking sites as a top 5 prospect in the MLB, including Baseball Prospectus and the Hard Ball Times.

    And, without question, I think everyone at BP and the Hardball Times will admit that they were off base, and with another year of evidence to evaluate Reed by, they’ll agree that they’re projections last year were not realistic.

    With all due respect to the guys I like at BP, I don’t consider Rany Jazayerli (and especially not Aaron Gleeman for that matter) to be any kind of authority on minor league prospects. I’m fairly certain that both would admit that they were overzealous in their estimations of Reed’s ability last year, and hopefully they’ll learn from their mistakes.

    He’s been compared to Tony Gwynn countless times, as he may not slug the ball like crazy but he appears consistent in the Minors and is MLB ready.

    Outside of his anomolous run at Birmingham last summer, Reed has been consistent in the minors, posting lines along the lines of a .300/.370/.450 caliber. For a left fielder, that’s average production.If Reed could play center on an everyday basis, he’d have a chance to be a minor star. As a corner outfielder, his game isn’t going to provide enough thump to make him an elite player.

  89. Kearly on November 12th, 2004 9:48 am

    Dave:

    This second comment discusses your actual lineup.

    My basic guiding principal in composing my 2005 lineup is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I am guessing that the Front Office will use this same philosophy for composing our actual 2005 team.

    Our top 4 hitters with at least 50 at bats in 2004 were Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez, Randy Winn, and Jeremy Reed, all Outfielders. This group is defensively salvagable, as a Winn (LF), Reed (CF), Ichiro outfield defense is an above average one. Three of these four outfielders make about 4 million or less this season, and replacing them with expensive superstars, even if proven a wise decision (that player doesn’t flop or get hurt), would take away anywhere from 6 million to 10 million from our now small free agent pool, and thats if we succeed in trading away an outfielder or two. Also, and this is important, our current 3 starting outfielders have proven they can hit in a Seattle uniform, whereas a stud free agent who looks good on paper from a different league cannot say that. Because I feel our outfield can be strong without bringing in outside resources, and because any upgrade over our current outfield would mean taking risks and increasing payroll needlessly, I am pro-status quo on our outfield.

    So I would personally leave the outfield alone, its good enough for now. Lets think Outfield acquisitions once contracts for Winn and Ibanez run out. I have been strongly against trading Winn for a long time, but its beginning to look like a trade may be neccessary to make room for Reed. Trading Ibanez is also a less likely option. Reed could also get a spot by sending Bucky back down to AAA (thus allowing Ibanez to DH), but as the M’s need power, and Because Bucky is 29, he has a better chance of getting a starting job over Reed, who is still young and may have more use off the bench or in AAA than Bucky.

    I generally like your pitching selections.

    I understand why you would pick Reese, a good defensive insurance policy for Jose Lopez and “worst case scenario” he’s an expensive but useful utility player. Kearns confuses me a little. I’ve never seen him play but his numbers don’t exactly shock my pants off. Certainly you must believe he is poised for a breakout year. He is quite young (24). Back to Lopez, I’m unsure as to whether Lopez needs another year at AAA. He wasn’t in AAA for too long in 2004, but when he was there he put up great numbers, indicating to me that he doesn’t have much left to gain at the AAA level. I don’t think he’ll even be an average SS until 2006 or 2007, but I think getting MLB experience will expedite his progress quicker than say Tacoma.

  90. njenkin on November 12th, 2004 10:45 am

    Just a few points of clarification:

    –JD Drew has a chronically bad knee which is why Boras is touting his ability to play centerfield. The stopping and cutting required in right field aggravates the condition. So while the guy is not Pete Reiser he does carry a greater than normal risk of being injured. The other thing is that Drew may, and I write “may”, be a bit of a head case. He was driven to the edge of town in St. Louis and dropped by the curb. He flourished in Atlanta. Two great managers have had this guy and one couldn’t stand him (LaRussa) and one cajoled him into a great season (Cox). You can play analyst but to me that is something of a red flag because Bobby Cox produces results that literally ANY other manager cannot duplicate. A caution flag should be in order with Drew.

    –Kearns is not a slam dunk. The guy is a real talent. But he DOES keep getting hurt in odd circumstances and one cannot really begrudge the Reds frustration. Kearns has now suffered repeated hand/wrist injuries under benign circumstances with the result being he could not even hold the bat. I don’t know if the M’s medical staff has some strange and wonderous powers but Will Carroll raves about Dr. Tim K in Cincy and the that guy was stymied by Kearns issues. Right now they THINK he will be ok. And sure if you can pick him up for 10 cents on the dollar why not? But Austin is an enigma health-wise and a legit backup plan needs to be in place if his problems re-occur.

  91. forgotten schmo on November 12th, 2004 10:57 am

    Good work Dave. I agree on Delgado. I would like to get Reed in as a starter but he’s still young so maybe I’m just inpatient but I see him gaining some, not a lot, of power and beinng a solid player. My two biggest differences are I have a higher opinion of Jose Lopez and feel he should stay as a big leaguer, I’ll grant he does need a vet mentor around at this stage. The other Austin Kearns. He’s brittle as hell and hit poorly last year. Yeah he could stay healthy, yeah he has great potential but if you are going to take on injury risk I want more proven upside reward. Hey if you take on ijury risk have lefty pop to show for it. That leads me to a different trade with the Reds for Griffey but I know I know stop chasing ghosts. Damnit those ghosts hit the ball pretty far. Anyway great job and I respect that you looked forward on some spots rather than just the easy grab the best numbers of last year.

  92. Kearly on November 12th, 2004 11:12 am

    Kearly’s plan:

    Normally, I’d like to sign Delgado, Beltre, and Clement and call it an offseason, but those three signings alone would probably exceed our 2005 offseason salary. If I’m wrong, and we have over 20 million to spend, then this is exactly the offseason I’d have. Assuming the budget is less than 20 million, my lineup would hinge on a useful salary dump trade.

    The trade: Raul Ibanez and Ryan Franklin to Philly for 1B prospect Ryan Howard. The trade fulfills two needs the Phillies have. The Phillies will part with a solid prospect who has can’t crack the club thanks to Jim Thome. The Mariners benefit by eliminating two “extra” players from their team in addition to freeing up 8 million bucks, all while landing Bucky insurance, and potential future Delgado replacement.

    Ryan Howard is a left handed power bat with good OBP and OPS in the minors, and he’s only 24 years old I think. Howards defense isn’t great by any means, but it would probably be no worse than Ibanez at 1st base.

    Assuming such a trade comes to pass, and doom and gloom Phillies fans think it will (talks have already begun), it allows us to follow my original strategy. We sign Carlos Delgado, Adrian Beltre, Matt Clement, and one stud reliever (Mota (trade?), Kolb, Osuna, etc) to act as Eddie insurance.

    Some of the following estimates are perhaps optimistic. I think we can get Delgado for 3 years, 36 million. The only competetion for Delgado comes from Toronto (not a real competitor, they are only offering 9 million a season) and Baltimore (which already has Palmiero at 1B and a lot of big contracts in the infield). Today the Seattle Times said, although likely unnoficially, that Delgado is the M’s top overall target this offseason. Unless the GM for the Orioles loses his mind and offers Delgado a monster contract we can’t match, Delgado will be a Mariner. If not, Howard will start 2005 at first base and we’ll go after Drew with the money originally intended for Delgado. Reed would go to AAA and act as Bucky insurance.

    It seems the Market is outright spooked about Beltre. A lot can happen over then next month and a half, but early indications show a two team race for Beltre’s services. The Dodgers do not have the type of money freed up that we do, and if Boras insists that his client take the longer deal, it works out to our advantage. Imagine that, Boras actually helping us land a stud player. The Dodgers have made their initial offer to Beltre, 2 years 25 million. It won’t take a 7 year 84 million dollar offer, but should Bavasi make that exact offer, Beltre would probably sign within a few minutes. Unless the Dodgers somehow come up with the money to commit more than 50 million to retaining Beltre, we could probably land him for as little as 5 years 60 million. A hometeam discount will only get you so far when you are dealing with Boras.

    It kills me, but early indicators show the Front Office is targeting Glaus higher than Beltre, which implies they are not seriously targeting Beltre. I hope I a am wrong on this one.

    Clement with go for somewhere between 3 years 22 million to 4 years 27 million unless interest in him becomes very high, which is unlikely. For factoring in payroll I’ll use Dave’s estimate.

    As for a reliever, I’ll use your 2 million dollar estimate for Osuna. Kolb is a popular choice as well, as he has closer experience. I don’t know what Kolb would command, though.

    Lineup (with Delgado):

    RF-LH Ichiro
    CF-LH Reed
    2B-RH Boone (Boone needs protection. Drops to #5 if neccessary.)
    3B-RH Beltre
    1B-LH Delgado
    DH-RH Bucky
    C-RH Olivo (more pop, more 2005 upside than Lopez)
    SS-RH Lopez
    LF-S Winn (speed and OBP in front of Ichiro. Possible #2 hitter.)

    Lineup (With Drew)

    RF-LH Ichiro
    LF-S Winn
    3B-RH Beltre
    CF-LH Drew
    2B-RH Boone (Howard and Bucky are adequate protection)
    1B-LH Howard
    DH-RH Bucky
    C-RH Olivo
    SS-RH Lopez

    It’s kind of amazing how Bucky would hit as late as 7th in the second lineup, because thats just how loaded that lineup would be. Also notice how the lineup goes right-left-right-left through the first 7 hitters. Sure to give pitchers and spot relievers fits.

    Rotation:

    1.) Clement
    2.) Madritsch
    3.) Pineiro
    4.) Meche
    5.) Moyer

    Bullpen:

    Closer: Eddie G.
    Setup: Osuna/Kolb/Mota
    Setup: Atchinson (somewhat unproven, but impressive in 2004)
    Relief: Sherrill
    Relief: Hasegawa*
    Long Relief: Mateo/Putz*

    *Mateo, Putz, and Hasagawa would battle for 2 spots in ST.

  93. Dave on November 12th, 2004 11:14 am

    You know, I’m a pretty even tempered guy, but the next person who proposes a Ryan Franklin and Randy Winn for Ryan Howard trade is getting banned.

    Okay, not really, but stop. Stop. STOP!

  94. David J Corcoran on November 12th, 2004 11:21 am

    Can I say that Ryan Howard has holes in his swing like swiss cheese?

  95. Kearly on November 12th, 2004 11:31 am

    “And, without question, I think everyone at BP and the Hardball Times will admit that they were off base, and with another year of evidence to evaluate Reed by, they’ll agree that they’re projections last year were not realistic.”

    I dissagree. What has Jeremy Reed done in 2004 that was inconsistent with his pre-2004 analysis by BP and HBT? They knew he couldn’t hit for power. They knew he was a high average and OBP guy. He’s continued to do that, in fact, he’s become even better at it. What’s there to reconsider at this point?

    Also, I’m not so sure that a .300 BA and a .370 OBP is “average” in the outfield, especially if he’s in center. Only about 15-30 players in baseball hit over the .300 mark each year. By your definition, wouldn’t Ichiro be an “average” corner outfielder (career OBP at around .380)?

    “If Reed could play center on an everyday basis, he’d have a chance to be a minor star. As a corner outfielder, his game isn’t going to provide enough thump to make him an elite player.”

    Well, whats so terrible about being an a minor star? Especially for 6 years, 300k a year?

  96. Kearly on November 12th, 2004 11:42 am

    About Howard, under my original plan, he would have 3 years to work on his issues and still make the team at the still young age of 27 in 2008. And the trade would free up quite a bit of salary being made by “extra” players. By the way Dave it was Ibanez and Franklin.

    The current trade being discussed is without Franklin thrown in, I honestly had him in there for salary purposes. Philly could add another prospect or two if Howard’s problems are THAT big a setback.

    As I said at the very beginning of that comment, I would like to just go Beltre/Delgado/Clement and nothing else but I feel its likely we will need to dump salary to do so. Even if you don’t like the trade, it does free up the kind of money we’ll need to have an impact offseason this year; all while giving us potentially useful prospect(s). Not exactly a cardinal sin IMO.

  97. Econ guy on November 12th, 2004 11:53 am

    Ibanez and Franklin for Howard makes no sense for Philly. They would not make the trade and would have no interest in Ibanez.

  98. mfan on November 12th, 2004 12:09 pm

    Dave – Will you please, please move Beltre, Beltran and Clement to your “stay the heck away” category. If you load up that category with desirable players, I don’t see how management would have any choice but to sign at least one of them.

  99. Dash on November 12th, 2004 12:12 pm

    ESPN just posted their top 50 free agents and their predictions about where they’ll land. They predict Richie Sexson (currently a lock by just about all media outlets) and Jose Valentine to end up with the Mariners. Please say it isn’t so about Valentine and it’s just their writers throwing darts at a board again.

  100. David J Corcoran on November 12th, 2004 12:13 pm

    Re #98:

    Go back and look at their ’03 predictions. They are all wrong.

  101. Trent on November 12th, 2004 12:19 pm

    On the Ryan Howard craze that seems to be running rampant in Marinerland, let me ask everyone a couple simple questions regarding that issue:

    Would you trade Randy Winn for Bucky Jacobsen?

    Would you trade Jeremy Reed for Bucky Jacobsen?

  102. The Ancient Mariner on November 12th, 2004 12:31 pm

    Re #83: Jon, you misunderstand my point. If the Reds were to deal Kearns and Lopez for four guys Reds fans have never heard of, they’d have to make the case to the fan base. Franklin’s not hard, and Mateo had a good year in relief in ’03, but then you have two guys who’ve never done anything in the bigs, and you want to convince Cincy’s equivalents of Kelley and Thiel that these are guys worth getting. Well, if one of them is from Ohio, then you can say, “I saw this kid pitch in HS, and he’s a great kid with great stuff,” and a day or so after the trade you have a feature article where you interview him, his parents, his HS coach, his old neighbors, etc., you talk about the time he played a young Babe Ruth, and the fans feel a lot better about the deal.

  103. jj on November 12th, 2004 12:34 pm

    Trent at J for 3rd had a very interesting post also.
    ~Gil Meche, Shin-Soo Cho, and Jamal Strong for Brad Wilkerson

    I am not familiar with Wilkerson besides the stats I can find on line. For those who have seen his games, what’s your take on this trade?

  104. DMZ on November 12th, 2004 12:45 pm

    There is no way the ne-Expos would make that trade.

  105. David J Corcoran on November 12th, 2004 12:47 pm

    #101:
    Cincinnati alienates their fan base on a regular basis. No reason to stop.

  106. Paul Covert on November 12th, 2004 12:47 pm

    Am looking back at the Roundtable to see what BP actually said about Reed pre-2004:

    Rany Jazayerli, pre-ranking outfield prospects:

    Delmon Young
    Alexis Rios
    (gap)
    Grady Sizemore
    Jeremy Reed

    Jeremy Reed had numbers that were so good that frankly, I have trouble accepting them, and I think it’s clouding my analysis. … So why am I putting him behind Grady Sizemore? I have no idea. Nate, gimme some comps here. Am I justified in being suspicious of Reed’s performance?

    Nate Silver:

    PECOTA thinks he’s the best outfield prospect in baseball. The dude hit .400 for a couple of months, and he does everything you’d expect to suggest that the batting average is for real, since he runs well and rarely strikes out. He’s not a huge power guy, but his secondary average should be good enough to make him a real asset, even at a corner position. I think he’s top-five material, perhaps top three.

    Dave:

    Jeremy Reed is a polished version of Grady Sizemore. Better plate discipline, slightly less power, also no real chance to play CF in the big leagues. I can make an argument for either one being ahead of the other, but if pushed, I’d probably give the edge to Sizemore just based on date of birth.

    Nate:

    Between the two levels where he played, Jeremy Reed posted roughly a .270 EqA last year, while Sizemore was at .240. That’s an enormous difference, and saying that they are similar types of players obscures the issue.

    Rany, posting preliminary Top 50 after positional discussions:

    11. Jeremy Reed

    PECOTA convinced me that my fear of Jeremy Reed was irrational, so I’ve moved him up a fair amount.

    Nate: If I were doing the list completely on my own, I suspect that I’d rank the top 10 as follows:

    1. Mauer
    2. Reed

    Reed had the best year of any player in the minors last year and has a very high probability of being an excellent player. I think a top-five ranking would be a just reward, and consistent with our emphasis on performance rather than tools.

    Jonah Keri:

    I like Reed too, and was going to stump for him before Nate did. We can quibble over where in the Top 5 he belongs, but he does belong there. Nate talks about the importance of performance–but BP has also gone out of its way to reward players being young for their levels in the past (Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore, etc.), and Reed turned 22 in June and mangangulated Double-A. That doesn’t make him the next Robin Yount age-wise, but it does mean that he could be crushing major league pitching by his 23rd birthday, which isn’t all that common.

    Chris Kahrl: I’ll also parrot Nate’s comments on Reed and Justin Morneau; I’d like to see them move up.

    Gary Huckabay:

    Reed: way too low, should be top five.

    Dayn Perry: I think Reed should be higher than Young and Rios.

    Rany: I know that Marte looks a little funny in the #2 spot, but again, who’s better? Jeremy Reed? Possibly, but I’ll get to him in a moment. …

    So, here’s a wacky idea…how about Jeremy Reed as the #1 prospect in baseball? The historical record would favor him over Mauer. The performance record favors him over nearly every prospect in the game. He might well win a job in the spring…. I’m not saying it should happen. I am saying that he’s one of the few guys the majority of us like; it would be a *different* pick, but one more consistent with our message. At least think about it.

    Jonah: I like Marte and Reed more than Mauer, and if we’re sold on either guy, it’s worth making one of ‘em our #1.

    Tom Wylie: …Whereas I’m not aware of anyone who thinks (say) Reed has a shot at the Hall.

    Gary: I’d definitely have Reed above Weeks.

    Dave: If someone wants to overwhelm me with evidence that his numbers are unprecedented and history suggests he’s going to have a long career culminating with 3,000 hits, I’ll try to get on the Jeremy Reed, Top 5 Prospect bandwagon. But having watched him several times a week this year, at no point did I ever think to myself “This guy is a great prospect.”

    …If we could go back to 1995 and make Rusty Greer a top-5 prospect, would we? For me, Jeremy Reed is that kind of player, and there’s obviously the downside risk that he still only has a half-year of Double-A and no time in Triple-A. This is a sketchy track record for a top-5 prospect, especially one without a whole heck of a lot in the way of physical projection.

    Nate: Two of Reed’s top five comparables were Don Mattingly and Tony Gwynn. Yes, there are also some Darin Erstads and Mark Kotsays and Greers in the mix, but there is upside above and beyond that level of performance.

    Rany: All right, I get the picture. I’m comfortable with Reed as a Top-five player. But I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the notion that he’s the #2 prospect in baseball. As incredible as his numbers are, I don’t want to totally discount the fact that his game is largely based on batting average. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and if he had two full seasons like last year under his belt, I’d be comfortable with him at #2. But there’s enough variability in batting average over one season that we have to at least consider the possibility that he’s not going to be a .320 hitter in the majors, but only a .300 hitter.

    I don’t want to overstate my concerns, but put it this way: if I had to choose between Reed and Marte for my franchise, I’d choose Marte. Same with Weeks. I would probably go with Reed over Upton at this point, which is why I’m now slotting Reed in at #4.

    Joe Sheehan: Overall I’d have Mauer, Weeks, Greinke, Morneau (opportunity), Rios, Kazmir (needs innings) and Young lower; Reed, Upton, Matsui and Crosby higher.

    Dave: I don’t think we can make a real good case for Reed being in the top 5, but Sizemore being in the 25-30 range.

    Rany, in the final wrap-up: I would like to make a few general points about this whole process.

    The first is this idea that we’re “performance analysts”. All I can say is, I don’t consider myself a performance analyst, and hope I never do. I’m just an analyst.

    It’s true that performance analysis remains at the heart of what we do, but that’s because we have found, over the years, that the translated performance record of a player is the single best predictor of his future performance. Saying that we shouldn’t rank players based on their scouting reports because we’re performance analysts misses the point the way that people who think Moneyball was all about getting on base and drafting college players miss the point. Moneyball was about how the application of intelligence can help teams win more baseball games, and what we do is try to apply intelligence to understand baseball better.

    … THAT is what BP is all about: challenging the conventional wisdom, even the conventional wisdom that we helped create.

    ********************************************

    Personal comments on the above:

    (1) The #2 ranking for Reed pre-2004 wasn’t really Rany’s idea, but Nate Silver’s; Rany was talked into it by Nate, with support from Gary, Jonah, and a few others. Dave was more or less okay with the original ranking, but became a strong skeptic when the others started putting him in the top 5. (Derek never weighed in on Reed in either direction.)

    (2) The high ranking for Reed was driven largely by the PECOTA forecasting system. Now that they’ve had a year of experience with it, I expect the BP guys will be more cautious with it in the future.

    Derek’s comment on prospect-ranking methodology at the time was: “But I think taking input from that to make decisions is entirely valid, because it can provide us with ‘why’ answers to questions about which guy is ahead of which. I’d say we should rough-order everyone entirely on performance and then bump guys a limited amount based on what we find out from other sources.”

    I am in general sympathy with Derek’s view here, but would suggest putting it the other way around instead: Start with a BA-type set of rankings, and adjust for known biases in the scouting industry (e.g. over-rating pitchers relative to hitters). Or at least that would seem to me likely to give the best accuracy; if it’s not ethical to use other published sources as your inputs, then Derek’s proposal rises to the top of the stack for us non-professional-scouting types.

    (3) As for Reed’s value at the present time: BA’s post-season league rankings, based on manager surveys, put him at #5 in the IL and #6 in the PCL, based on half a season in each league. So I don’t think he’ll be dropping too much from his #25 overall ranking there.

    But still– here’s the list of outfielders ranked 25-35 by BA from 1990-98:

    Wes Chamberlain
    Mark Whiten
    Roger Cedeno
    Todd Hollandsworth
    Kenny Lofton
    Shawn Green
    Marc Newfield
    Bob Abreu
    Tom Goodwin
    Hensley Meulens
    Jermaine Dye
    Johnny Damon
    Jaime Jones
    Mike Cameron
    Carl Everett
    Michael Tucker
    Dermal Brown
    Midre Cummings
    Calvin Murray
    Midre Cummings
    Braulio Castillo
    Mike Kelly
    Richard Hidalgo
    Jay Payton
    Marc Newfield
    Alex Ochoa

    Of course a lot of these guys aren’t truly comparable because they got their ranking from being toolsy and having a good year in the low minors. But even so, I think it’s clear that a #30-type prospect is very, very far from being guaranteed even a solid career as a major league regular.

    I’d personally put Reed a little higher than that, maybe #20 or so. I’d expect that being a solid regular for five years or so would be a reasonable expectation for him. But I’m not counting on him as an all-star– it could happen, but no guarantees. As with Ichiro: If he hits .320 or better he’s a fine ballplayer, but if not he’s nothing special.

    (4) As for the question of what Reed has done that was inconsistent with the pre-2004 analyses: He’s hit below .400 in the high minors, which he’d never done before. More specifically, the high rankings were based on the possibility that his great run in 2003 might turn out to be mostly sustainable; and although he didn’t have a bad year in AAA, it didn’t sustain the Gwynnesque performance record that he appeared to be possibly putting together at the end of 2003.

  107. Dave on November 12th, 2004 1:10 pm

    Keep in mind that the published roundtable omitted a decent amount of back and forth talk. I was a lot more anti-Reed-in-top-five that it would appear from a cursory reading.

    Unfortunately, prospect evaluation has never been BP’s strong suit. That trend continued last year, and I was disappointed I couldn’t make more of an impact on the group during my time there.

  108. Paul Covert on November 12th, 2004 1:12 pm

    Thanks for the background, Dave. (No, I hadn’t been aware that the published roundtable was an abridgement.)

  109. Mike on November 12th, 2004 1:21 pm

    Dave, I went back and looked at your long term and short term lists from last year. If I read it correctly you had Tejada on the “stay the heck away” list. I realize hind site is 20/20, and if if’s and but’s were candy and nut’s it’d be christmas all year round. Do you feel Lopez is the long term answer at SS? Or should the M’s consider looking at some of the likes of Renteria or Cabrera? Nomar’s injury history scares me.

  110. DMZ on November 12th, 2004 1:29 pm

    I agree with Dave entirely.

  111. Jeff on November 12th, 2004 1:32 pm

    In ESPN’s list of the top 50 free agents, they (who wrote it the list?) have the Mariners signing Sexon and Jose Valentin. That was a joke about the Mariners signing Valentin, right?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?page=top50mlbfreeagents

  112. Jeff on November 12th, 2004 1:33 pm

    Sexson… sorry about that!

  113. The Ancient Mariner on November 12th, 2004 2:04 pm

    Re #104: No reason to keep it up, either.

  114. Todd on November 12th, 2004 2:05 pm

    While that ESPN list is a joke, signing Jose Valentine for reasonable price and a short term deal would not be a bad idea. Even though he is declining, he can still hammer righties for power, if not for average. Valentine has his uses, which can benefit a club as long as the price is right.

  115. furgig on November 12th, 2004 2:08 pm

    I agree on Valentin. If ALL the M’s do is sign Sexson and Valentin…um, lame. However, Reese vs. Valentin? Who cares? As a stop gap until we get something better, or as a bench player, Valentin can provide a few things. He does have an injury history as well, though, so don’t count on him for a whole season.

  116. zbully on November 12th, 2004 2:08 pm

    Anybody like Placido Polanco as a nice little signing this year to replace Boone next year? His numbers aren’t bad.

  117. Evan on November 12th, 2004 3:05 pm

    That ESPN list is insane. Who could honestly expect Billy Beane to sign Jeff Kent?

    And how is Tony Batista one of the top 50 free agents? Tony Batista this year had a VORP of 0.0. People talk about empty batting averages – Batista hits an empty 30 HR/100 RBI.

  118. Dave on November 12th, 2004 3:11 pm

    I think my favorite part was that the Braves, who are trying to figure out how they’re going to afford the raises due Furcal and Giles and are trying to restructure Smoltz’s contract, are going to sign J.D. Drew, Jaret Wright, Armando Benitez, and Bob Wickman. I’m not sure Atlanta could afford to fly those four into Atlanta for a press conference, much less pay their contracts…

  119. Jeff on November 12th, 2004 3:14 pm

    Defensively, wouldn’t Valentin approximate Aurilia? Todd, what would be a reasonable price? I thought Valentin’s ’04 salary was around $5m.

  120. msb on November 12th, 2004 5:11 pm

    #16; re: trading, I was heartened by remarks Bavasi made on KOMO last night:

    “You’re constantly talking about different types of deals, proposing different types of deals to the clubs where there *seems* to be a match with, there is always one little piece missing, or they can’t take on you’re money, or you can’t take on their money, or its a right hand hitter they’ve got and you’re looking for a left hand hitter. You’re always close, and as time goes by you have enough conversations, where you realize gee I remember a few days ago they said they needed XYZ and we’ve got it or we can get it from this other team and move it here, so you’re coming up with as much as you can– you have to be laying the ground work…. in general, when I approach clubs, there are guys that you know are not going anywhere, but you kind of have to ask about any one you can, you can’t leave it. If you can afford him, if you can afford the guy, and you think you might have enough talent to get him, you have to ask. Listen, all they can do is say no, and maybe get upset a little bit. You have to ask.”

  121. Todd on November 12th, 2004 5:52 pm

    Valentin is the anti-Aurilia in terms of defense. Above average range, but he is not as sure-handed, and his biggest defensive weakness is throwing accuracy. He did earn 5 last year. As for a reasonable price, let’s say 1.5 plus incentives. Too much beyond that and Valentin is no longer a value.

  122. D'ohboy on November 12th, 2004 5:53 pm

    The espn list is ridiculous, even at a casual glance. It would be a sad, sad day if Valentin ends up here.

    Given that several potential signees have questionable medical histories, is there anybody within the M’s blog community with some kind of sports med training who could give a cursory assessment of guys like Glaus, Drew, Sexson and Delgado? I don’t know much about the last three, but Glaus has had a torn rotator cuff and a frayed labrum (along with the standard niggling things like tight hamstrings), both of which have been recurring issues for him. Even from a layman’s perspective, this should be a problem for a third baseman.

  123. Grant on November 12th, 2004 7:01 pm

    I would mind having Valentin at short for 2-3 mil one a one year contract with a club option for a second, but his defense does worry me especially when he plays a critical position like SS. Does any one have his VORP compared to Pokey Reese, and VORP takes into account defense doesn’t it?

  124. KC on November 12th, 2004 9:43 pm

    This is from an Arizona paper today:
    “Kendrick said Arizona’s medical personnel estimated a 10 percent chance that Sexson could re-injure the shoulder.

    “If other teams are willing to make a commitment that leaves them with some financial exposure if he’s unable to play,” Kendrick said, “we can’t do anything about that.”

    Seattle — which could make an offer as soon as today — Baltimore and the New York Mets are interested in Sexson. Because he is a “Type A” free agent, any team that signs Sexson before Dec. 7 forfeits a draft pick to the D-Backs, so that could slow the process.”

    I would prefer the 10% risk over JD Drew every time.

  125. Bela Txadux on November 12th, 2004 11:08 pm

    Couple o’ points on the comeback, folks:

    On ESPN, guys their job is to get the maximum eybeball share for their site and broadcast outlets. It is manifestly obvious looking at what they write, and their whole approach for many years that their ‘commentary’ is SOLELY geared to get a hot-button “I can’t believe he said THAT!!” response out of their audience—so that you keep watching/clicking for the benefit of their advertisers. It is pointless to critique a ‘list of projections’ on espn.com, or waste time on Joe Morgan’s remarks, because almost everything on that site is designed to get the hook in _your_ snout to keep make you argue so you keep coming back. That list of 50 isn’t just laughable, it’s risable—and meant to be so, so you keep arguing over it. To the extent that any of these guys use actual ‘sources,’ the bias there is so extremely pro-player that it’s clear that players agents and selected senior players are their primary resource for rumors. And that’s just how that list of 50 reads, like a group of agents wrote it to spin the market for their guys. As far as I’m concerned, John Sickles is the only guy on that site who has a shred of credibility since Rob Neyer decided to stay well-remunerated and got with the company line there by junking any serious analysis. As for the rest, fuggeddabouttem.

    Regarding Nageotee and Cincinnati, if I recall correctly Clint’s name was in the mix on the trade-that-wasn’t for Aaron Boone at the deadline in ’03. When Gillick made comments at the time that the Ms FO wasn’t willing to ‘trade away top prospects,’ Bowden went and dealt Boone to New York largely for spite. They haven’t gotten all that much out of Claussen, have they? I’m reasonably sure that Nageotte is still very much on Cincy’s radar screen, poor year notwithstanding, and if a trade for Kearns could not be made without including Nageotte I would with great regret wave bye-bye to Big Clint, knowing that I’m very likely going to regret the deal. But seriously, I would think that a package for Kearns could be put together with another pitcher and still not include Felix el Rey, Jose Lopez, or Asdrubal the Lad. For example, take Dave’s breakdown but substitute Bobby Livingston for Nageotte; Livingston is a left and had a better year. I was also quite serious about swinging the proposed deal for Matt Riley, and then turning him around in a deal to the Reds. The issue with Nageotte is that he had a bad year and isn’t a complete pitcher yet; the issue(s) with Riley are that he’s been a non-team guy and had a major arm injury: who _acutally_ do you want to develop of the two? Again, Bobby Livingston or Clint Nageotte: who _really_ has more potential? Again, Cincy may be unwilling to deal Kearns without getting Nageotte back, but I’d far rather find another way to make them geek if its possible.

    Regarding Kearns, yes, he has been fragile and there is an injury risk, but his high end is very high if he can play 120 games or more. Guys like this simply are not made available unless there is risk or ‘management fatigue’ involved, and to get the upside one has to gamble on the downside. But think about the package Dave’s suggesting: Ryan Franklin, Julio, Mateo, Shin-soo Choo, [incomplete power pitcher here]. Who are you really giving up in order to gamble on Kearns’ upside? Franklin is as good as anybody in the back end of their rotation now, but I assume that this is _actually_ a Seattle salary dump, which is why it was structured as 4 going for 2 coming back. Mateo if healthy fits nicely into Cincy’s bullpen, and has no advantage over three or four guys currently on the Ms roster beyond the fact that he has more ML experience. Choo to me grades out as Randy Winn with the bat at best, but much better defensively; a true fourth outfielder, then, or OF starter for a downmarket franchise—like Cincy. Griffey is through, folks, he’s DONE; Cincy can’t trade him, though, and will need a caddy and successor better than Rueben Mateo; Choo fits the bill nicely for the ML minimum. Giving up Nageotte really hurts in the package, which is why I’m suggesting trying a different mix, but he’s the _only_ guy who would be going for Kearns who really has any serious longterm upside, and even so that’s all potential, Clint’s pitching badly right as of now, sure. In a major trade, it’s what you get not what you give if you do it right. Kearns has more upside than Nick Johnson; more than Casey Kotchmann; more than Adrian Gonzalez; far, far more than Sean Burroughs (seriously, what has Sean ever _done_? I can’t believe he’s still taken seriously as a high end prospect; he’s the second coming of Joe Randa). If Cincinnati will let Kearns go for a package of usefuls, this is so totally worth trying I’d sprain thumb dialing a cell phone to be the first to say “Yesandthankyou.”

    Regarding Glaus vs. Beltre, I really dislike the idea of signing ANYBODY to six years or more, let alone seven. If the market on Beltre drops to five or under, there’s really no way you don’t make the offer. That said, if it’s seven for Beltre or three for Glaus, I’d so much rather have Glaus it’s not even a debate. And Glaus may very well turn out to be the better of the two players no matter what. I don’t pretend this is a slam dunk either way, but that’s just it, it’s _not_ a slam dunk. It’s much better not to commit long-term guaranteed money to anybody if a viable alternative is available, and I certainly think that Troy Glaus is the lattter at least at 3B.

  126. Bela Txadux on November 12th, 2004 11:44 pm

    And a further remark on J. D. Drew,

    Drew _may_ be a headcase, but seriously LaRussa IS a headcase, there’s no way to any other conclusion if you’ve followed his career. Tony the Red has always been a penthouse/outhose manager, and there has always been a contingent of guys he’s run off his team everywhere he’s ever been; that’s just part of how he ‘motivates’ people. Furthermore, LaRussa has had Jocketty and his FO in his hip pocket for fifteen years: who do you think REALLY runs that franchise? The fact that LaRussa wanted Drew gone is in no way a black mark in my book; if anything it’s a plus. What we saw in Atlanta is that a consummately professional manager who treats his players like men and rewards performance got a great season out of Drew: _that_ is the yardstick which I use to measure the player, not the veiled opinion of a mindgamer like LaRussa. If Drew had had personnel issues in Atlanta, I wouldn’t want to touch him, but that wasn’t the case.

    Drew has chronic knee problems, yes. Ultimately, they will wear him down as a player in the field—so the wise thing to do is to limit his playing time in the field to about 120 games and monitor him very closely. But the issue is to keep his bat in the lineup: this is why a move to the AL makes SO MUCH SENSE, because he can DH for 30-60 games a year to give his knee as much recovery time as possible. And Seattle’s projected lineup would be perfect fit for this: Jacobsen for 100-110 games at DH, but Drew for 30-50 games against tough righthanders. This means that the Ms, should they get Drew, would need a reliable backup for CF who can actually make good use of the playing time that comes with 40+ games a year. At the moment, that would project as Reed, although I would prefer a real ballhawk, which in turn would be Shin-soo Choo if he’s still in the system (which probably he shouldn’t be, but). The issue with Drew is simply monitoring his deployment so as to keep his _bat_ in the lineup, and that is entirely a doable proposition. Attempting to play J. D. 140+ games on the concrete field mis-call astroturf in St. Lou was very costly to his career; his knee couldn’t take it. Is everybody monitoring the fact or in any way surprised that he held up better on a better field in Atlanta?

    . . . As long as Drew can limp to the plate and swing, I want him. It’s only when and if he can’t run to first that I see his knee as an issue. For a three-and-an-option at fair $$, that’s a good bet to me.

  127. Eugene Choy on November 13th, 2004 12:54 am

    Hey!!Rusty, Why worry about injury-prone player like Drew,Beltre,or Kearns. We had Jay Buhner and now he is in the Mariners Hall of Fame. Those players are more talented than Buhner.

  128. D'ohboy on November 13th, 2004 2:21 am

    I have a couple of comments/questions about the injury prone/age comments being posted in regards to potential acquisitions.

    There are three (maybe more) kinds of injury prone athletes. One is typical type A guys who overtrain and play through injuries and eventually end up on the shelf. Another is a guy who plays with reckless abandon and ends up getting a lot of different injuries (Lenny Dykstra anyone?). A third is a guy with a serious degenerative disease/injury that recurs in the same joint or muscle. While these archetypes all overlap to some degree, it’s the third guy who we absolutely need to stay away from. Rarely will surgeries or rehab ever repair them to their pre-injury status.

    Also, I have heard Dave refer to “age-related decline” beginning at age 31. I take it this concept has a basis in statistical analysis. I’m curious though, is this analysis based upon stats going back decades, or is it more recent? The reason I ask is that, given the modern athletes’ obsession with fitness, this decline might be starting later. In hockey, there used to be a similar decline in players at age 30. Suddenly, once the age of unrestricted free agency was set at 31, players started training much harder in the offseason, thereby extending their prime earning years. While it may be fallacious to compare two different sports, is it possible that something similar could be seen in baseball? I’m not arguing that players like Clemens and Palmeiro are the rule, or that the M’s should jump at signing Moises Alou, I’m just positing that in the 21st Century, age-related decline might be more likely to begin at 33 or 34. I’m curious to hear somebody’s take on this…

  129. N Jenkin on November 13th, 2004 6:30 pm

    I am fairly certain St. Louis is a grass field. The turf was removed some time ago if I recall correctly.

    I don’t necessarily disagree with the assessment of LaRussa. But I DO think it is important to note that Bobby Cox somehow gets max performance out of players other managers were unable to produce. It is what makes Cox special despite some of his post-season managerial tactical breakdowns. Do M’s fans think the atmosphere in Seattle is conducive to Drew succeeding? The vast majority of managers are incapable of implementing the talent arrangement described by Bela. That would require some degree of creativity.

    Another “knock” if you will on Drew is the “Contract Year Postulate”. Lots of guys “gut it out” in hopes of the big paycheck.

    I am a big fan of Drew’s skill set. But he lends one pause.

  130. Jerry on November 13th, 2004 8:59 pm

    Dave,

    I like that outline. In a lot of ways it is similar to the one that Jeff Sullivan recently posted on Leoneforthird. I like the idea of going for younger, 5-tool, but slightly risky players like Beltre and Drew. Those guys form a great heart of the order. I also like Clement, who would give the M´s a guy who can strike people out. I also think that at least one big trade is absolutely necessary. I had thought about Kearns given his situation in Cincy. I wonder how much the Red´s would really want for him. You would think that they would want a 3B prospect back as well.

    The outline on leoneforthird includes a trade for Brad Wilkerson, which is another great idea. Going after a player like Kearns or Wilkerson makes a lot of sense, and would help the M´s put together a good lineup beyond the big-name free agents they will probably go after. I like Wilkerson more than Kearns, because he doesn´t have the injury problems, is probably a better defensive player, is versatile, and is getting better. The fact that he is a lefty doesn´t hurt either. If the M´s could pick him up, he would be a big improvement in LF and could move to 1B if Ibanez is ineffective or can be moved later on. Kearns would be great as well.

    It is too bad that all of the rumors I keep hearing are really bad moves: Klesko and Burroughs (why?), Sosa (NOOOO!), and other crap. Lets hope that these are just rumors.

  131. Bela Txadux on November 13th, 2004 9:18 pm

    So N Jenkin,

    I believe that you’re right on the turf at Busch; I thought about that later overnight after I’d written it, and I believe I’ve got my years mixed up on that one. The ‘walk year effect’ is a very real risk in relation to Drew, no question, and I don’t doubt that J. D. played to the absolute peak he was capable of last year, yes, and that that may not be _consistently_ repeatable. But again, if you look at his actual numbers when he played, he really is roughly that good; the only difference is that he sustained enough playing time to finally have the ‘big year’ which had been the main thing lacking from his resume. So the idea for whichever team signs him is to do whatever possible to sustain him at maximum playing time; I simply suggested one obvious approach to achieving that end. There was a time when many players including prominent players were platooned; if the manager said, This is the Plan, it was the plan. Threre are even now many players who play multiple positions regularly through the course of the year. There are very few _stars_ who do this anymore, because now they have the contrat leverage as well as the ego to say, I’m bigger than the manager and the team, and no I won’t do that, and I’ll hold my breath until the fans turn blue if you try. This is why _stars_ don’t do this much anymore—but average players do this all the time, on many teams, every single year, and generally do it successfully if they are deployed to positions or roles they can actually perform.

    Drew should certainly lend one pause, no question; how much is at risk then, against what reward? Sigining him for more than three is a bad idea, sure. Signing him for even that many after age 32 would be really high risk. There should be some kind of de-escalator built into the contract if Drew has a major recurrence of the knee issues; I think that can be validly presented to the player, in return for which a bit more in a front-end bonus than he would otherwise. All that is what GMs and agents are for, getting the fine points of the deal balanced for mutual risk. Any team other than the Ms bidding for Drew’s services will face exactly the same risks, and will in all proability be asking for similar hedges against his knee, so Drew will have little or no leverage on it, while the Ms can sweeten the issue for him with a little extra $$ in their total bid; that’s how this is done.

    The vast majority of managers are no better than replacement level, as we see year by year, my friend, so their inability to implement an appropriate ‘player utilization plan’ is not something to let weigh upon one’s mind. The CF-DH split arrangement I propose is designed to extend Drew’s career, and sustain his ability to play at a high level. I think he’s likely to ‘get it.’ Anybody else can get with it, or get on the bus elsewhere. If the manager is not capable of persuading the players that this is a good plan (assuming that it is), than you replace the manager.

    It may be that Bobby Cox consistently gets better performances out of players other guys can’t, but I think you have this one figured backwards: it’s the other guys who are below grade, not Cox being so much above grade. I’m not saying this to diss Cox at all, I believe that you are right. My point is that at least half the managers in MLB at any one time are mediocre at best at managagin people, and that this is a principal function in why ‘troublesome’ players don’t perform well under them. It is hard for many fans to accept this—that most teams employ ineffective managers with some regularity, and that many teams every year have guys who are not help at best in the role—but that is my view of the matter from over thirty years of watching the game.

  132. stan on November 13th, 2004 10:22 pm

    Bela, I agree with your comments about Beltre but I am not nearly as impressed with Nageotte as you are. Of the guys I saw in Tacoma in 2004 I was most impressed with Blackley, Madritsch and Jose Lopez. I was not sure what to make of Bucky and Jeremy Reed looked like a good player but he did not have any one skill that really jumped out at me that made me think he would be outstanding. I saw Nageotte pitch for the first time in 2004 and I must say I was disappointed. I had heard the hype about him for a few years and I thought I was going to see a guy with a blazing fastball who would make batters look helpless. What I actually saw was a mediocre fastball and an almost absolute lack of command. The lack of command is something that can be fixed, though Clint did not look like he was the most fluid athlete and hence I would assume he would be tougher to coach. Perhaps he will put it together some day but I for one would not be upset if he was traded elsewhere. In my mind Blackely is a keeper though despite his performance in Seattle.

    Regarding Bobby Cox, one of the few players I can recall who did not get along with Bobby Cox was our very own Brett Boone. I am not exactly sure what to make of that because I respect both Brett and Bobby Cox. I guess baseball is just like life; you are not going to too see eye to eye with everyone.

    By the way, I really appreciate your posts. They are very well thought out and often they lead me to see things from a perspective I had not considered.

  133. N Jenkin on November 14th, 2004 10:01 am

    B. Txadux:

    Spare me the condescending tone. I was simply pointing out some elements concerning Drew that I believed were pertinent to any team considering signing the guy.

    J.D. Drew’s agent is Scott Boras. Do you believe that M’s management is equipped to negotiate with a guy who has repeatedly hoodwinked and flim-flammed just about every team in MLB?

    And your logic escapes me with respect to Cox. Everyone else stinks, he’s adequate, so all the M’s have to do is have an average manager and all will be ok? I have my doubts.

    Let me reiterate that I appreciate Drew’s ability. He is very good when he is on the field. But one year of success does not wash away a career littered with various “issues” health and otherwise. And that he prospered under the guiding hand of someone many consider the best manager of the last quarter century is more of a concern than anything else. Without the “ok” manager present it might well be that Drew reverts to his previous M.O.

  134. stan on November 14th, 2004 9:27 pm

    Actually N. Jenkin Bela’s posts are consistently the best of the people who leave their comments on this site. I know I enjoy reading them because they cause me to examine my own opinions about a game I have spent my life following.

  135. Jerry on November 14th, 2004 9:50 pm

    N Jenkin,
    “J.D. Drew’s agent is Scott Boras. Do you believe that M’s management is equipped to negotiate with a guy who has repeatedly hoodwinked and flim-flammed just about every team in MLB?”

    Why wouldn’t they be? Since Boras is representing Drew, Beltran, Beltre, and several other top free agents, I think it would be a huge mistake for the M’s to not deal with him. It is not like he is some hypnotist that can lure a normally saavy GM into a bad signing. He is just an agent, regardless of how long he is willing to draw out negotiations.

    Regarding Drew, you are right about there being some concern about his health. However, I think that the impact of Cox is being blown way out of proportion. JD Drew is a very talented, 5-tool player. He was one of the most highly-touted prospects in decades. He also has played at a very high level whenever he is healthy. I don’t see how Bobby Cox (as good a manager as he is) can really have a huge effect on Drew staying healthy. Really, given Drew’s tools and how he has played when healthy, I don’t think that his 2004 performance was totally out of line with expectations. In fact, he could reasonably be expected to play better. It is just a matter of staying healthy.

    He is a risk, but he is less of a risk on a 3 year, 33 million contract than Carlos Beltran is on a 7 year, 115 million contract. Both are elite players. Drew has more health issues, but the added years really negate Beltran’s consistency over the years. With Drew, you are not paying as much. I think that he would be an awesome addition.

  136. msb on November 15th, 2004 11:10 am

    as Jason has mentioned before. Bavasi & Boras have no problem working together.

  137. David Loewe, Jr on November 16th, 2004 1:41 am

    I’m puzzled by the “Boras has stated his willingness to play center field” comment.

    David J (aka JD) Drew has ALWAYS WANTED to play CF. He said that here in St. Louis. He just happened to have Ray Lankford (Drew has a better arm, making him more suitable for RF than Lankford) and then Jim Edmonds in his way here in The Lou and Andruw Jones in his way in Hotlanta. Drew, like Andy VanSlyke before him, has been playing out of position in RF because of the arm strength of other OF (Willie McGee in VanSlyke’s case) or CF superiority (Edmonds and Jones) of a team mate.

    Also, Busch went grass two years before Drew showed up in The Show. Drew’s injuries are not (Busch) turf related. Drew also played at a high level under LaRussa when not injured and Tony said he wanted him back, but felt that you had to offer good players in order to get good players. LaRussa and Jocketty were not happy about losing Drew, but he was their best trade bait to get pitching – something they needed here in The Lou after the disaster of 2003.

  138. Bela Txadux on November 16th, 2004 4:16 am

    So Stan,

    I, too, have a lot of hope still for Blackley long-term; his injury makes it much harder to figure where he will come down in all this, though. It _does_ mean that Travis is untradeable this offseason, which may turn out to be a great break for the Mariners.

    Regarding Nageotte’s ’04 season, if I was going to use it heavily in figuring where he’ll end up, I’d put a value on Big Clint at near zero: his year was terrible in almost every respect, as you had the ‘opportunity’ to view at more length than the rest of us. He never pitched with any command; his velocity wasn’t great; he wasn’t in the greatest shape; he made very little progress on perfecting a change-up. It was his worst year in professional ball. But guys do have bad years, and Clint was going to struggle when he reached a level of hitters who could hang in against his good pitches and nail his mistakes. My interest in Nageotte has three components, but a large helping of ‘hope-so’ on top of that. First, his slider is pure murder, a better out pitch than most pitchers ever, ever possess. Second, Clint’s fastball has terrific _movement_; velocity is only half the story with the fastball. Clint’s pitch moves so much he has trouble picking up the strikezone with it, or keeping it out of the fat part of the plate, especially when he falls behind in the count. I would far rather have a guy with great movement and try to see the coaching staff drill his mechanics and repeatibility until he _can_ pick up the plate than either a guy with great velocity but a flat trajectory or simply a mediocre fastball like, say, Ryan Franklin. Third, Clint has a good pitcher’s body, and has never had a major injury either to his arm or elsewhere, although as you noticed and his back trouble late in the season showed conditioning is and will be an issue for him. Repeatibility and conditioning are things that a pitcher can work on, and in principle improve if they want to do so enough. Clint now has a real challenge, as until last year he’s overmatched his league by season’s end; now he didn’t. Then again, promoting him to the ML team to start when he was obviously pitching poorly at his existing level was purest assininity on the part of the Ms FO. I suspect that they wanted to ‘see what they’ve got,’ but it did nothing for Clint but set him back and get him branded a ‘semi-failure.’ With his slider and a moving fastball and effective conditioning, he will eat up batters if he can consistently pick up the strikezone. He is NO guarantee to do that, but he has the potential to be dominating if he does. But if might very well take him five years to get there, that would not be unusual. He could become Brett Tomko, who never really has gotten full command of the strikezone because his stuff still moves too much. He could reach Matt Clement’s level, and Clement was in his fifth ML season before he was consistenly _effective_, let along dominating. I think Nageotte deseves a minimum of one more year to see if he simply had a bad year at the same time he reached a truely challenging level or if he’s actually plateaued. In the latter case, he may still make it but the evaluation on his worth changes dramatically.

    N Jenkin, a few thoughts. I, personally, do not see Cox as the best manager of the last twenty-five years at all, although I freely grant that he’s a very good one. Having said that, I don’t think it matters jack who’s the manager for Drew, although I didn’t speak to this directly in my previous posts where I’ve been interested in the differences of LaRussa and Cox, basically. Drew is and has always been a man who makes his own determinations as I’ve understood his career, regardless of what his managers and GMs think he _should_ do, and he has a history of producing with the bat if he is healthy under two extremely different managers. I don’t think that Cox had any great effect on Drew’s ’04 season; it was the man’s contract year, and he has a history of being motivated by $$$. My point with Cox managing Drew vs. an average (read not very good) manager managing Drew is that the poor managerial performance of many guys in the position drags down the average result and expectation—which has the side effect of making very good managers like Cox seem god-like and unique. Which they are not. Any reasonably good manager will find a way to use J. D. Drew if Drew is healthy enough to play. If somebody with a mediocre manager signs Drew, and the manager’s use of Drew becomes an issue, I reiterate that they should dump their mediocre manager and hire a better one—this would be in that team’s best long-run interest, after all. Rather than making Drew into a ‘problem,’ which I do not believe that he is, fundamentally. Regarding the best evidence of whether J. D. is a ‘problem player,’ I think Schuerholz’s take on Drew is the telling one. While the Atlanta GM has an up-and-down record on talent assessment in my view, he _never_ keeps attitude problems around any faster than he can find a taker; look at how Schuerholz is trying to move Andruw Jones. —But Schuerholz manifestly wants to re-sign Drew. That is the -30- on this argument, to me.

    Regarding whether or not my long-winded posts can be read as condescending regardless of intent, you seem to think that Drew’s health is a problem that cannot be managed whereas I am in the hopeful group that thinks fairly fundamental management and contract desicions can hedge that risk. Since you didn’t speak to those fundamentals, I repeated the obvious, which evidently you’ve considered and rejected or chosen not to raise. I suggest simply passing over what has no value for you in my posts, as I’m sure we can find enough commonalities otherwise to disagree in an interesting way without them. : )

    . . . And concerning Boonie and Cox, Bret had a massive ‘yah can’t teach me anything’ complex everywhere and anywhere he’d been until San Diego dumped him and he couldn’t get a multi-year. Then, suddenly as if by magic, he had an attitude adjustment. Cox clashed with Boone on merit as there was a great deal in Boone’s conditioning, approach at the plate, interaction with the team, and production that left things to be desired. Boone was just the kind of ‘problem player’ that Schuerholz has a history of dumping—and that’s exactly Atlanta did with Boone, they dumped him. But this is no demerit for Cox; he tried, but Boone simply wasn’t ‘manageable’ until he became unemployed.

  139. Bela Txadux on November 16th, 2004 4:21 am

    I also see it as no issue that Boras is Drew’s agent, quite aside from Bavasi’s smooth dealings with the guy unlike Gillick’s fear and loathing. If the Ms have their $$-and-year-and-hedge parameters in place, they can obviously do a reasonable negotiation no matter how much Boras tries to crank up and auction or put the team up on jacks to make off with the wheels. Boras’ approach only works when a team decides they’ll do anything to sign a player. The man has radar for a sucker, and he’ll milk any fool for the budget of a third-world country, sure. If Bavasi is a sucker, then there’ll be trouble. I suspect that he has a hard limit on his ante, though, so the team would likely be safe enough. It’s bad talent assessment which has really hurt the Ms more than Boras.