If I seem like I’m in a bad mood today…

November 24, 2004 · Filed Under Site information · Comments Off on If I seem like I’m in a bad mood today… 

… forgive me, please, because I am.

Someone’s been spamming comments for days now. You don’t get to see a lot of this, hopefully, but it’s really frustrating. I think some tweaking nailed that down, but uuuggghhh.

And theeeeeeeen today was a banner day for bizarre flame wars and people dragging in stuff from elsewhere on the net, which meant I got to delete a lot of comments, after which *they started right back up*. So to you folks:

If you want to go insult each other on the PI Forum, or where ever you came from, knock yourself out. This is not your playground where you can schedule fights. Go away.

For more details, I recommend our comments guidelines.

And to everyone else who stayed out of it, thank you. Really.

Washington Nationals

November 24, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 34 Comments 

Well, they’ve got their web page up on MLB.com and merchandise available. That “W” looks really… foo-foo? Frilly? Non-traditional? What’s the word I’m looking for here…

Update: the word I’m looking for is “1969” as the ones being shown off now are, as someone pointed out, the same as the 69-71 Senators hats.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to even more people being confused about Washington D.C. versus Washington state now, though I, for one, would love to have another major league team in town. Run by the USSM crew.

It’s a baffling world

November 24, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 71 Comments 

From ESPN.com: Damian Miller, 35-year old catcher, to the Brewers for 3y, $8.75m

Now Miller’s a decent enough random free agnet catcher. But… three years?

The best part is the quote from Miller’s agent:

“The Brewers outbid the Red Sox and Dodgers,” agent Bob Garber said. “Maybe the haves and have-nots are bridging the gap.”

Come on now.

Remember me?

November 23, 2004 · Filed Under Off-topic ranting · 15 Comments 

I was saddened to read in the comments today that “Derek and Dave do a great job” here at the good ship USS Mariner. Not because I disagree — on the contrary, I think they do a great job — but because I realized it’s been so long since I posted regularly that we probably have a number of new readers who don’t even know I’m a writer here. Sigh.

All of which is to say… I’m working on it. In another week I should be finished living out of a suitcase, as I have been the last few weeks. My work schedule is working toward regularity. And my son (who turned four months old today, incidentally), while still a full-time job and then some, doesn’t take quite as much time as he used to and even occasionally sleeps for extended periods of time.

In any event, I haven’t forgotten about you guys (and gals), the great readers who make this whole thing go. There will be an updated Big Board before the end of the year, and I’ll be at the second annual USSM Pizza Feed next month in case some of you really don’t believe I exist. If that describes you, don’t feel bad. I have to send Derek and Dave email sometimes to let them know I’m not dead.

In the meantime, I suggest we all sit back and wait for the M’s to screw up their off-season once again. But hey, how about those Sonics?

Free Agent Madness

November 23, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 20 Comments 

Here’s a signing that won’t get much notice but exemplifies why groups of fans on the outside often feel like the “old school” way of doing things is just so far out of touch with reality that it defies logic.

Juan Castro signed a two year, $2 million contract with the Twins. $1 million a year isn’t that much money for a major league player, really. Its only three times the league minimum. Overall, a pretty minor contract in the budget of the Twins. But look at Castro’s career.

1599 major league at-bats. Career line? .226/.269/.331. That’s worse than Ramon Santiago (.234/.303/.317) and far worse than Willie Bloomquist (.268/.329/.355). It’s worse than what Scott Spiezio (.215/.288/.346) hit last year.

The best comparison for Castro’s career offensive performance? The 2003 and 2004 versions of Jeff Cirillo. So let’s not kid ourselves; Juan Castro cannot hit. At all. He’s not even a replacement level hitter. He’s as close to an automatic out as you’re going to find at the major league level.

Now here’s the kicker. The Twins signed him to lock up his age 33 and 34 seasons, where he’s likely to decline, if that’s even possible. Imagine giving a two year contract to Jeff Cirillo right now.

Sure, Juan Castro can play some nice defense. But there isn’t a level of human defensive performance imaginable that could compensate for his abilities at the plate. Even in his prime, his glove was good enough to make him about as good as most Triple-A players. Now, as he slowly slips into being a shell of his former self, he’s going to collect $2 million from the Twins for the right to make their team worse.

Terry Ryan has done a lot of good things in Minnesota. But I just can’t imagine any justification for giving Juan Castro a two year contract. Just brutal.

M’s Q&A on MLB.com

November 23, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 73 Comments 

As mentioned in the comments, always good for a chuckle.

My reactions every time I read this (and I can’t stop):
“What? Why would you ask that?”
“What kind of answer is — what?”

I’m continually baffled that there are people out there who write in and want to air their pet theories — and their theories are like “should the M’s go get Ben Davis back… to DH?” (Street’s answer is awesome, by the way)

And then there’s every week’s token factual error, like

The switch-hitting Delgado would seem to fit the Mariners’ most pressing need, but all it takes is one other team to get into a bidding war and it’s goodbye Carlos.

Delgado learned to switch hit? When did he manage that? And considering his career success as a lefty… why?

Feed Reminder

November 23, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 11 Comments 

Have you signed up for the Second Annual U.S.S. Mariner Pizza Feed? If the answer isn’t yes, you really should. We’ve already got a nice crowd, but the more, the merrier. We’re confirming special guests left and right, and we’ll start announcing them in the next few weeks. You really should come.

The details:

When?: December 18th from 12 pm to 5 pm.
Where?: Horace Mann Elementary School in Redmond.
Who?: Derek, Jason, Dave, you, and various special guests who you’ll enjoy meeting.
How much>?: $15 per person
Is there food?: Enough pizza, salad, and sides for lunch and a small dinner (New York Vinnie excluded)
Great! Now what? If you’re going to attend, you must do three things:

1. Email us with the name of each person you’re confirming attendance for.
2. You’ll receive an address in response to mail your check to. Payment in advance is required; your spot is not guaranteed until we receive your money.
3. Show up on the 18th.

Bring friends. Bring family. Bring yourself. We’ve got room, and we’ll have plenty of food. Its the best $15 you will spend in December.

Future Forty Updated

November 22, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 84 Comments 

Prospect junkies rejoice; a new Future Forty is here. This is the first update since the end of the regular season. I will likely do one more update during the offseason as we head towards spring training. If you’ve got prospect related questions, this would be a great thread for those dicussions.

A few notes from the update:

I’m still pretty down on the farm system. We love King Felix, obviously, but there’s still a significant chance that he’ll suffer a major injury. Reed and Choo are solid prospects with limited potential; neither is a future all-star, to me. After those three, its a collection of guys with injury problems, gaping flaws in their games, or a lack of experience. The top tier of prospects aren’t very good. The strength of the system is the depth in the mid-level talent, as even the guys in the 20-35 range have potential as big league players. Unfortunately, roster limitations are going to make it likely that even if that potential is fulfilled, it will probably be with another organization.

I’m glad I don’t have to figure out who is going to play where in the infield at Wisconsin and Inland Empire next year. Finding playing time for Cabrera, Navarro, Jones, Chen, Tuiasasopo and Castro, all of whom believe they are shortstops or second baseman, is going to be a challenge. They also get to deal with the walking stiff that is Michael Garciaparra in that mix as well. Good luck.

If I had to peg three guys from the farm system as possible Rule 5 picks, I’d probably go with Rich Dorman, Cesar Jimenez, and Brett Evert. Ryan Rowland-Smith is a longshot possibility.

The M’s are going to have to do some more juggling as the offseason progresses. They’d like to bring five or six players into the organization and have only one free spot on the 40-man roster. I’m expecting Aaron Looper to get DFA’d and likely slip through waivers. The other choices will be interesting. Leone, Bloomquist, Dobbs, Rett Johnson, Taylor, Atchison, and Thornton are all vulnerable, but all have fans in parts of the organization. Due to the roster congestion, I think we’ll see several more minor trades made in an effort to clear spots on the 40-man roster.

Smoke does not mean Koskie

November 21, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 38 Comments 

It doesn’t matter what Koskie or Koskie’s agent or dog or hairdresser or mother says at this point, he’s not signed until he’s signed.

I also want to mention that the Leone for Third thing on Koskie was a joke, a parody of MLB.com’s writing.

It was not an actual article. Koskie has not signed. Stop putting this article in the comments. I’m really tired of deleting them, and I’m || close to giving up and granting people the benefit of whether they’re trolling or confused.

Thank you.

Update: here’s Dave’s post on why Corey Koskie’s a bad idea.

Marginal wins

November 21, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 15 Comments 

Ben Murphy, who is a fine fellow and highly recommended, wrote up this year’s Marginal Wins article at Baseball Prospectus, continuing the work of Doug Pappas, who I hung out with at the Mariners game where the power went out, and was a fine fellow himself.

To spoil the article for you: marginal wins is a measure of how well a team spent their money. It’s cool because it doesn’t care where you get your wins, or how you went about constructing the team. All that matters is how many wins you got, and how much money it took you go get those wins, compared to how much money you’d have to spend on a team of minimum-salary guys who’d lose many, many games.

The Mariners were second-worst in the majors, with $5,079,433/marginal win. The A’s spent $1,212,858. The average team spends about $1,855,682 for every marginal win.

There are some drawbacks to marginal wins in evaluating the worth of a front office, particularly in that a GM can inherit a lot of really bad contracts and that’ll show up (and conversely, a GM taking over a team with a good, deep farm system will have quality, cheap players they may not have been responsible for developing). But even then, it’s an excellent metric for how relatively good an organization has done assembling their team and running their operations.

And the 2004 Mariners were awwwwwwwwwwwwwful.

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