Dave · November 19, 2004 at 2:45 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Sort of Mariner related; big kudos to Bill Stoneman for the Jose Guillen trade he made today. A fantastic move for the Angels, which isn’t exactly good news for Seattle. In one fell swoop, the Angels:

1. Moved a player who had alienated himself from the coaching staff and drove a knife into his trade value by wearing out his welcome in yet another city. Guillen being traded was the mortal lock of the offseason.

2. Saved $3 million in payroll for 2005.

3. Aquired a player who should be reasonably expected to contribute a similar performance to the one he gave up at ten percent of the cost.

4. Got a solid utility-infielder prospect thrown in on top of it.

A gigantic home run for Bill Stoneman. He cut payroll, made his team better and younger, and simultaneously dumped a player everyone knew he had no interest in bringing to spring training. Contrast this with the way the Mariners butchered the Carlos Guillen situation last year, and its essentially night and day.

And yes, Jim Bowden is well on his way to breaking the major league record for worst week ever.


37 Responses to “Stoneman”

  1. Evan on November 19th, 2004 2:52 pm

    Is Bowden’s job actually to make the team worthless so Bud can stick it to the former Expos minority partners? I don’t get it.

  2. dw on November 19th, 2004 2:57 pm

    Apparently, the Expos are making a run at the ’62 Mets. Why was Bowden even allowed within 500 feet of a GM’s office?

  3. Jeff Sullivan on November 19th, 2004 3:03 pm

    Now I have a new bunch of suits in Washington to complain about.


  4. eponymous coward on November 19th, 2004 3:03 pm

    Yeah, Stoneman came out pretty well from the deal… while Bowden apparently has the 2004 version of Jose Canseco (have bat, will travel).

  5. Grant on November 19th, 2004 3:06 pm

    I think this was a much better move by Bowden than his first two, Guillen’s contract isn’t large and he’s a productive player. Do you really think that Rivera can perform up to the level that Guillen has been the last couple of years? I think it’s probably a good deal for both sides

  6. Dave on November 19th, 2004 3:11 pm

    Juan Rivera, 2004: .307/.364/.465
    Jose Guillen, 2004: .294/.352/.497

    The question isn’t “can Rivera perform up to the level that Guillen has been?”. They were essentially equal last year. Rivera simply needs to maintain his level of performance, which is certainly within the realm of possibility. Rivera is essentially the Jose Guillen of a year ago; a toolsy outfielder who is coming off a “breakout” season after a few disappointing seasons to start his career heading into the prime of his career. Even without financial considerations, I’d be tempted to take Rivera for 2005. Toss in the contract figures, and Rivera’s clearly the better option.

  7. Steve on November 19th, 2004 3:12 pm

    This also opens up the possibility of returning Erstad to center field if the Beltran bidding goes too high for Stoneman’s tastes. he can beg off on Beltran and go after a 1B insstead.

  8. The Ancient Mariner on November 19th, 2004 3:19 pm

    Sure, give Guillen credit for the last couple of years–last year, he hit .294/.352/.497, and the year before that, he hit .311/.569/.359–but before that, his OPS was in the .650-.750 range every year. Meanwhile, Rivera (who’s a guy I’ve liked for a while) got his first real shot and hit .307/.364/.465, and he’s two full years younger; plus, he’s cheaper, because he has less service time, and he doesn’t have the headcase issues. Throw in the fact that Guillen’s not a smart player, and I’d definitely rather have Rivera. Izturis is just icing on the cake.

  9. dw on November 19th, 2004 3:21 pm

    You could also have a Rivera/DaVanon platoon if you don’t want to move Erstad.

  10. stan on November 19th, 2004 3:27 pm

    I am surprised the Angels did not have to include one of their prospects to move Guillen…. Bavasi should be on the phone now to Bowden before the other GMs fleece DC further…. Izturis would have been a useful acquisition by the Mariners… By the way Dave, I have yet to hear what the Mariners received for Myers & Aurillia… Too bad Bowden is not the GM for Boston or San Deigo; if he was we might be looking at something valuable…. I don’t remember Bowden being this bad when he was with the Reds….

  11. Grant on November 19th, 2004 3:27 pm

    Alright, I guess that was a pretty bad deal for the Grays, and Leone for third even said that Izturis has put up good #s in AAA. By the way does anyone know if the two Izturis’s are related?

  12. Dave on November 19th, 2004 3:29 pm

    Maicer is Cesar’s brother. Cesar got all the defensive talent, though. Maicer is viewed as a utility player who had a fluke season in Edmonton. He’s probably Jolbert Cabrera with a slightly better glove.

  13. The Ancient Mariner on November 19th, 2004 3:31 pm

    Dave, I disagree with that comment comparing the two. Rivera had two part-seasons, one of 83 AB (.672 OPS) and one of 173 AB (.772 OPS); the former is hardly enough to count, and the latter isn’t fabulous but is hardly “disappointing”; then, in his first chance at extended playing time, he hit quite well. That hardly compares to Guillen, who by the time he was Rivera’s current age had six seasons and 2,050 at-bats under his belt with a career line of .260/.303/.398 . . .

  14. Dave on November 19th, 2004 3:36 pm


    The comparison was more a type of player than a career retrospective.

    Guillen is an athletic corner OF with good range and a cannon arm with plus bat speed, good power, and no idea of how to control the strike zone. He relies on BA and SLG for his value, but has the skills to be a solid player despite his lack of discipline.

    Rivera is a corner OF with good range and a cannon arm with plus bat speed, good power, and no idea of how to control the strike zone. He relies on BA and SLG for his value, but has the skills to be a solid player despite his lack of discipline.

    Yes, its a little vague, and there are some differences, but as far as player types go, they’re two peas in a pod, to me.

  15. The Ancient Mariner on November 19th, 2004 3:42 pm

    I’ll certainly grant they’re the same type of player; it was your equation of their major-league performance (“a ‘breakout’ season after a few disappointing seasons to start his career”) to which I objected. Rivera has nothing in his past like the consistent record of failure which Guillen piled up, and I don’t think that’s irrelevant.

  16. Joshua Buergel on November 19th, 2004 3:43 pm

    Is it time to start thinking of Bill Stoneman as a top GM? I’ve never really thought of him that way, but instead as competent, but I’ve been thinking about that and I’m not sure that’s entirely fair to his track record.

  17. bob mong on November 19th, 2004 3:50 pm

    I dunno. I like Rivera, too, but Guillen’s hit 58 homeruns over the last two years, while Rivera’s hit 20 in his career.

    The age difference favors Rivera, but only a little.

    Stoneman did well, but don’t crap on Bowden too much – he actually got a quality player in this trade.

  18. Evan on November 19th, 2004 4:13 pm

    Yeah, but he lost a better one. Overall value of the Expos declines

  19. jim on November 19th, 2004 5:36 pm

    Will the Mariners have more wins than the Expos next year?

  20. ChrisK on November 19th, 2004 5:36 pm

    I must say, it’s fun to watch the other AL West GMs in action. What makes it interesting is that Stoneman, Hart and Beane each have different budgets and different roster strengths & weaknesses to work with. That’s not to say that all of their moves are necessarily good ones, but at least they aren’t afraid to be bold or (gasp) trade talent for talent. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of pitching Hart can get for Soriano this winter.

  21. Rob McMillin on November 19th, 2004 9:22 pm

    VORP-for-VORP, Bowden won this without question. For Stoneman, it’s all about betting on the come. If this means Alfredo Amezega never sees the light of day again in an Angels uniform again, it’s already a big improvement, and that’s how I think this trade needs to be viewed: as the Angels improving their bench. Juan is little more than a younger version of Jeff DaVanon, and Izturis is a light-hitting middle infielder in a system already awash in talent at shortstop. I don’t get the people who are claiming this as some kind of mad victory for Stoneman; it’s far more even than many believe.

  22. Jerry on November 19th, 2004 9:25 pm

    The M’s need to call Bowden about Nick Johnson or Brad Wilkerson. You never know.

  23. Dave on November 19th, 2004 9:27 pm

    VORP doesn’t adjust for playing time. On a VORP/PA basis, there’s no difference between Rivera and Guillen. Just on finances alone, I don’t see how anyone could argue that this isn’t a big win for the Angels.

  24. Bela Txadux on November 19th, 2004 9:28 pm

    On Guillen . . . the issue isn’t his career with the bat, or his glove, it’s the failed chemistry experiment he carries around under his hat that’s the issue (you can read that any way you want). Given starting roles on multiple teams, he has invariably played his way off of every one for _behavioral_ reasons, regardless of what he does while time is in on the field. He is a freakin’ disaster for a TEAM sport, and no one with beans for sense would _allow_ him to play for their team until he proved, outside of the majors and their minors, that he had his behavioral issues under control. Which he doesn’t and probably will not achieve any time soon if at all. The fact that Stoneman refused to let Guillen play for the Angels in post-season made it stone certain the hothead was sundried roadkill and would never perform in an Anaheim uniform again. Now, Bowden did have Guillen in Cincinnati, and thus knows his upside quite well, and Guillen only has one year left. Still, this is a ridiculous trade because if brings, with absolute certainty, trouble to the Nationals. I don’t see Frank Robinson tolerating peep one out of Jose, the Human Volcano.

    Chemistry _does_ matter; the subject of a different post, really, but worth mentioning here in passing. But like most sports performance chestnuts, it matters more in the negative than in the positive, to my observation through four decades. That is, teams with individual and team attitude problems are more likely to underperform than teams with individual and team attitude positives are likely to significantly overperform. To me, it’s mostly a question of distraction: bad attitudes distract players from using their skills at established levels whereas good attitudes allow players to use their skills to grade but don’t necessarily make them ‘better players.’ The metric-oriented criticism does seem to hold on the positive side, to me, that good chemistry can’t make players better than they actually are. I mention this because Guillen is the living definition of ‘bad attitude,’ and if any recent player (not named Griffey or Derek Bell) is capable of dragging his team down, he’s the man.

    Bowden is operating the Nationals (I _like_ typing that name) quite a lot like, well Omar Minaya. In his first year. Minaya was evidently given a mandate when hired to ‘maximize franchise value,’ and nothing does that like being in a pennant chase. Accordingly, Omar liquidated most of the prime talent the De-Spos had to, essentially, have Bartolo Colon pitch before 10K customers a night for half a season; the trade of Sizemore and Cliff Lee for Big B alone would be one of the worst, ever, and Brandon Phillips was considered an even better player at the time. When MLB did’nt sell the Spos, Minaya actually did and had to do a better job in the following years; he had NO $, no quality player was going to re-sign, so he had to trade guys at a discount in their walk year; he couldn’t take prime guys in the draft, either for signability reasons. Minaya’s later performance wasn’t all bad. It looks to me like MLB has now give BOWDEN, the same brief, to ‘maximize franchise value,’ to get ready for a sale again. What this means to Bowden and the old-school brick(head)s at MLB is, Bring in some Known Performers with some gaudy stats (masking graham cracker actuals) to ‘pump up the value of the roster.’ I don’t know that Bowden is actually as low IQ as these three acquisitions. What I suspect he is actually doing is trying to pack the roster with Solid Veterans to chump-out some idiot group of buyers in the DC area; rather like salting a mining claim with some ore dust. Seriously, whoever buys this francise should absolutely negotiate in the deal that MLB is obligated for the balance of the contract for any player Bowden signs or acquires if the guy’s cut. But the franchise is going to be decimated of _actual_ talent by the time the cut a deal. Bowden is going to trade away anybody of real value for the maximum accrued REPUTATION he can acquire. This is going to look very, very ugly to anybody who takes player values remotely seriously. A tragedy. Like a low-rent version of the sell-offs of the old Philly As. Sez me.

  25. Bela Txadux on November 19th, 2004 10:12 pm

    I will also add that I’m with Dave on Rivera vs. Guillen: they are, basically, the same, with Rivera being also a) younger, b) much, much cheaper, and c) with a better chance to still improve over his present level. This was an outright homerun for Stoneman, and the seal to the fact that he won _on talent turnaround_ is that he didn’t even have to throw anybody in along with Guillen. Bowden clearly _WANTS_ to acquire Guillen, and he let more talent go to get him. Why? Gaudy numbers to flash before sucker owner-candidates. It’s buyer beware, boys.

  26. Bela Txadux on November 19th, 2004 10:59 pm

    And since the name of another, much better Guillen (, Carlos) came up, I’ll opine here that the trade of Carlos as one of the WORST TRADES I HAVE _EVER_ SEEN, by anybody, in any sport. And that was my precise reaction in the moment I read of the deal last year; just frickin’ terrible, beyond weak. Even before his breakout year, Carlos had real value, and the Ms traded him for two guys of _sub-replacement_ ability. They got absolutely zero out of Santiago, as was totally predictable, and have now written him off; the best that can be hoped of Gonzalez is outgoing filler on a deal to come. It would have been far better simply to non-tender Carlos, and say ‘he didn’t have a role with us.’ But the Ms screwed up: after they fumbled badly on Tejada, they panicked and resigned Carlos Guillen even though they had absolutely no desire to play him again; once on the hook for $$, they Ms FO _had_ to trade him rather than eat the contract. This entire sequence was the biggest bungle in, well, forever.

    Now, the roll-down-the-staircase on ejecting Carlos Guillen from the Ms roster may well reflect the fact that too many heads were involved, and the most important of those—Bavasi and Gillick—going opposite ways through the Ms front door. As I recall from previous blogging, Dave (or his contacts) lay most of this off on Gillick. I’m not in any position to trump that, although to me the ‘dump Carlos’ movement has never seemed to me like the way PG works a roster, exactly, and I more than wonder whether Those Actually Responsible are trying to blame the guy no longer around for the sentiment. The Ms had decided to get rid of Carlos in the worst way, and that is exactly what they did. Now, I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Carlos. His break out numbers should have been no surprise since he had shown increasing power when healthy and working deep in the count to pull the ball as he had at times in ’02 and ’03. At the same time, the fact that Carlos spent most of the last month of ’04 on the DL with an oddball injury was entirely predictable, as is the projection that the Tiges will get less than value over the term of Guillen’s contract. He breaks. A lot. And very easily. And he’s very, very slow to heal. A lot like Rondell White, actually, who did basically nothing for the Tigers.

    When we look back in 3-4 years, it will be evident, I believe, that the Ms were right not to sign Guillen long-term, and I say that as someone who likes Guillen and expects him to make significant contributions when he can get himself in the lineup. How the Ms chose to deal with the long-term problems Carlos posed was the textbook case in how GMs screw up, though. It still burns me, and will until the Ms work out a talent acquisition coup potent enough to wash out the taste. Like, say, trading a package of usefuls for Austin Kearns, or swapping Ibanez and Mateo for Nick Johnson, the latter deal of which might actually fly given the approach Bowden seems to be using. Yes, Bill Bavasi absolutely should be talking to Bowden on a daily basis about two-way and three-way deals. Bowden is in take-my-wife-please mode, and will pay for the motel time, too, so let’s get a piece of it while the getting is good!

  27. Rob McMillin on November 19th, 2004 10:59 pm

    Dave, I know that, but are we supposed to ignore the health risks of guys like Nick Johnson (or for a more Haloriffic example, Casey Kotchman)? Sure, maybe the MLVr’s don’t equal out. Without knowing the health risks involved, I’m not sure it matters.

  28. stan on November 19th, 2004 11:12 pm

    bela, not only bavasi should be talking to bowden but depo and kenny williams should be on the horn too…. how would you like an outfield of guillen, bradley and carl everitt…. those three should be in our nation’s capital…. sorry dave, dont want to turn this into a political blog….

  29. Bela Txadux on November 19th, 2004 11:15 pm

    Oh, and Macier Izturis gives the Halos a viable option at 2B given that Kennedy is out for most all of ’04. At the very least, Stoneman now has negotiating leverage if he tries to sign a bigger name for that position. At best, he has a super-cheap stopgap player for most of next year to give himself payroll flexibility for the big-name OFer the Angels will undoubtely now try to sign. And remember, the Angels had NO leverage whatsoever on moving Jose Guillen since he was manifestly never going to play for them again, a big-time attitude problem, and owed three-and-a-half. What a great, great deal Stoneman pulled here. Again, this is _textbook_ on how do do the job. Anybody who thinks Bowden ‘won’ this trade . . . .

  30. Moses on November 19th, 2004 11:39 pm

    I have been aggravated over the fact that our GMs never seem willing to trade talent for talent.. then I remembered we don’t currently have any…

  31. Kearly on November 20th, 2004 4:30 am

    As far as Rivera versus Guillen lets not kid around, Guillen is definitely better (on paper).

    Look at Rivera’s statlines before this season. Whether or not 2004 turned out to be a career year or not for Rivera, theres not denying that at no time in the past would Rivera command more value, and theres little guarantee he’d command more in the future.

    This compares with Guillen, who had a great 2003 and a better 2004. While Rivera may have a slightly higher average and OBP, Rivera simply isn’t the power hitter than Guillen is. If we’re going to compare the two, we’d have to overlook HR to make any case that Rivera is better.

    The Izturis toss in is kind of like us throwing Ramon Santiago into a deal. Its not a factor.

    The Expos made a good trade here, as Guillen has a higher OPS and a lot more HR than Rivera. Even if anyone dissagrees, they have to admit, this trade was a stroke of genius compared to the Castilla and Guzman signings. Guillen may be a headcase, but the Expos are only committed to him for one year if worse comes to worse.

    Where I agree with Dave is that the Angels did good in this trade. I expected them to get a little less considering Guillen’s clubhouse rep. Rivera is good enough to replace Guillen albeit with significantly less power, and his signing helps free up money for players like Beltran or the Unit (RJ, please, please, please stay in the NL).

    So IMO it was one of those rare win-win trades.

  32. The Ancient Mariner on November 20th, 2004 2:24 pm

    Given the difference in age, and the fact that through age 26 Rivera has hit better in the majors–Guillen was terrible up until his age-27 season, while Rivera hit solidly at 25 and well at 26–I don’t think it’s at all a slam dunk that Guillen’s better than Rivera on paper. But then, on paper, your assertion that .294/.352/.497 is better than .311/.359/.569 doesn’t wash, either.

  33. tvwxman on November 20th, 2004 4:58 pm

    I think the think to keep in mind is not who got the better of the deal — on its surface, you can argue for either one.

    However, everyone knew that Guillen was a lame duck in Anaheim, and Stoneman & Co. were looking to unload him as soon as possible. There was no way Guillen was going to be on the Angels roster when ST broke. Thus, he was a desperate seller in a buyer’s market.

    Instead of getting someone’s leftovers, or a solid AA prospect like Franklin Gutierrez (like the Tribe got for Bradley), they got a player like Juan Rivera, who is comparable, cheaper, and younger than Guillen without the headaches. It’s a wash, maybe a little worse, maybe a little better. But to get that when everyone knew they were trying to move him is a credit to Stoneman.

  34. Kearly on November 20th, 2004 8:16 pm

    Ancient Mariner, I agree, since Rivera slugged .569 in 2004, he’s a much better hitter than Guillen in 2004. Just one problem. Rivera slugged .465 in 2004.

    Guillen posted a higher OPS over Rivera in 2004, despite the fact that Rivera was having a career year. If Rivera can repeat 2004 next year, then I would agree he’s better than Guillen, but right now its simply too early to make that call. Its close, but Guillen is better. And I agree with Dave that Stoneman is a genius for getting this much for Guillen. But I don’t think the Expo’s are crazy for making this trade, as they added 15 HR to their offense with this deal, and HR can be very hard to come by, especially on the cheap.

  35. jeff bruce on November 20th, 2004 9:42 pm

    Get off Nick Johnson, he us hurt all the time. Useless

  36. The Ancient Mariner on November 20th, 2004 10:49 pm

    Kearly, you need to read more carefully. You asserted that Guillen “had a great 2003 and a better 2004”; .311/.359/.569 is his 2003, .294/.352/.497 is his 2004. Hence my comment.

    Now, how the heck can you say Rivera was having a career year in ’04? Given their respective careers, it seems likelier to me that Guillen had a career year in ’03 and managed to stretch it into two.

  37. Kearly on November 21st, 2004 6:52 pm

    Ah, my bad. Thought I had you by the balls there, but I guess the mistake was mine. I was being somewhat rude about it too. I apologize.: )

    With Respect to Guillen, if you recall, he struggled pretty badly when he moved to the AL West with Oakland. With Anaheim this year he adjusted and proved, for posting great numbers again, that 2003 was not a fluke.

    Rivera enters next season with similar baggage; he must prove that last season was not a fluke. And considering that he is moving across the baseball world to the AL West, this may prove difficult for him. Guillen is moving too, but he’s used to it.

    Anyway, my point on Guillen versus Rivera is that to assume Rivera is as good as Guillen, we must squint a little bit when comparing 2004 numbers and completely ignore 2003 numbers, which make the case very lopsided in favor of Guillen. We also must assume that Rivera “broke out” this year instead of acknowledging a just as viable if not more so inclination that 2004 was a fluke, as based upon his poor pre-2004 numbers.