DMZ · December 11, 2004 at 1:11 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Ahhh… brief internet access.

I would qualify the sourcing on Beltre thing I called Jason with as “erratically reliable”.

I admit that when I heard it, I pretty much blew a fuse before calling Jason. I am, at heart, a huge M’s fan (you may have noticed). So forgive my contagious enthusiasm.


87 Responses to “Beltre-o-matic”

  1. Chris on December 11th, 2004 8:10 pm

    i definitely am not denying his ability, i just wonder if mr shuerholtz will regret that hes traded capallen and wainright and out of it he got eli marrero and danny kolb? but i didnt mean to slight danny

  2. David J Corcoran on December 11th, 2004 8:11 pm

    This is not to say that if we were to trade King Felix to Milwaukee for Kolb I wouldn’t be thoroughly pissed, but Capellan really isn’t as good as Felix. More like Nageotte. Max.

  3. David J Corcoran on December 11th, 2004 8:13 pm

    He did get a 1yr rental of JD Drew, which proved to be better than one woulda guessed. Virtually nobody of importance could see Atlanta being in the playoffs last year, and Drew was a large part of that team’s success. I would say it was worth Wainwright, ring or not.

  4. Chris on December 11th, 2004 8:22 pm

    guess will just have to agree, to disagree (gosh i hate that prhase) im right im right im right! jk

  5. David J Corcoran on December 11th, 2004 8:30 pm

    In my mind, it is Beltre or nothing. I can live with Ibanez at first base. Our biggest, stinkiest, gapingest hole is at 3rd base. If we can fill that hole for the next 5-7 years with a 30-50 HR masher, why the hell wouldn’t we? Signing an outfielder or first baseman first makes NO sense to me. We have a decent outfield. It is the strongest part of the team right now. Fix the holes before you fix what ain’t broken. Sign Beltre. Delgado, Drew, etc, can wait. If we can sign them, after we have signed Beltre, so be it. Otherwise, I’m happy. If we truly want to turn around, we have to fix the holes. Not the not holes. We can sign Beltran or Drew, but we have to live with Leone/Spiezio/Bloomquist at 3rd, and we lose one of our productive/potentially productive hitters in Winn/Reed. Sign Beltre. Everything else can wait.

  6. David J Corcoran on December 11th, 2004 8:35 pm

    Also, a theory I have been toying with:

    If we sign Beltre, and presume we don’t trade Winn, and start Reed, why not move WINN to first? Winn looks like a first baseman. Tall with good instincts. Ibanez has a good arm and decent instincts in the outfield. Why not play Winn at 1st and Ibanez in Left?

  7. Chris on December 11th, 2004 8:36 pm

    completely agree dave, if beltre walks, does that mean the klesko/burroughs “deal” is back on the burner, or what other optiosn are there?

  8. David J Corcoran on December 11th, 2004 8:38 pm

    Trading for Burroughs accomplishes nothing in my mind. Jolbert Cabrera can replicate Burroughs performance at 3rd. Klesko has no place on this team. I would rather have Spiezio. Speez is at least somewhat versatile.

  9. Conor Glassey on December 11th, 2004 8:48 pm

    Corcoran – It’s interesting that you think Kolb is underrated, because I was thinking that Milwaukee did a great job of selling high. I think some would overrate Kolb, because of his saves, but his other numbers are really weak (3.29 K/9, 2.35 BB/9). Kolb is a perfect example for the “anyone can be a closer” argument.

  10. David J Corcoran on December 11th, 2004 8:52 pm

    He gets hitters out though. Isn’t that what matters?

  11. Chris on December 11th, 2004 9:07 pm

    i dont think kolb is over rated by any stretch of the imagination, hes had 2 very sucessful years in a row, i just am not a big fan of giving up SP prospects for closers, has nothing to do with kolbs ability

  12. Murton on December 11th, 2004 9:10 pm

    Kolb doesn’t strike out many but with his 95 mph sinker, he doesn’t give up any homeruns. And for one inning, it’s usually enough to earn the save. Look at the job Dotel did with his high strikeout and high homerun rate. Still, I probably wouldn’t trade for Kolb unless Leo Mazzone’s my pitching coach. So I think Atlanta did fine, Capellan’s development pending.

  13. Paul Covert on December 11th, 2004 9:31 pm

    Re. Kolb:

    Consider a hypothetical “zero true outcomes” pitcher (ZTO, if you like). He strikes nobody out, gives up no walks, and never gets taken deep. He allows base hits on balls in play at a league-average rate of about .290; that’s his batting average allowed, and also his OBP allowed. An average number of these base hits turn into doubles and triples; so his slugging average allowed is about .370.

    In this hypothetical case, we’ve got a very good pitcher indeed, regardless of the lack of strikeouts. An .290/.290/.370 offense isn’t going to score a whole lot of runs. It doesn’t matter how they get out; it just matters that they keep getting out.

    Why, then, do we usually say that strikeouts are an important performance indicator for a pitcher? Or, more to the point: How many guys does a pitcher need to strike out to be successful?

    Only enough to make up for the home runs and walks he allows. In general (based on some tinkering with the old Runs Created formula) you can figure that if a pitcher’s stat line shows K >= (W + 6*HR), he’ll be doing quite well. (That’s a rough approximation, but it’ll work well enough to get a quick read on a pitcher’s peripherals.) Even if K=0, having W=0 and HR=0 will keep the opposing offenses under control.

    Now, our ZTO pitched may exist only in a hypothetical world; but his closest real-world equivalent is named Danny Kolb. Last year he allowed 3 HR and 15 W to go with his 21 K’s; 21-15-6*3 = -12, which is a bit below break-even relative to Mr. ZTO (not to be confused with Barry, of course!), but still good enough that the low K rate is no cause for embarrassment. In addition, Kolb also tends to get an good number of DP’s (9 in 234 AB last year); and, given the uniqueness of his hard-sinker don’t-try-for-strikeouts style, his low BABIP may not be a fluke after all (although we can’t be sure, and I don’t know that I’d gamble my top prospect on the possibility).

    So yeah, Atlanta may have bought a bit high on Kolb– but not as badly so as the K rate might make you think.

  14. Bald Is Buhnerful on December 11th, 2004 9:49 pm

    The more I read about Beltran, the more I want Beltre. I think he was really hyped and over-publicized for his October performance, which, while extraordinary, is not how he is going to play all season. I’ll throw in a couple of bucks if it means we get Beltre at third. Anyone have Bill’s number?

  15. Dave on December 11th, 2004 10:02 pm

    Okay, a few things.

    1. Jose Capallen is a one trick pony with big time velocity and mediocre movement. There’s almost no chance he’s a starter in the majors, so the Brewers just traded for a relief prospect, essentially. However, I’m not sure I’d want to pay Dan Kolb what he’s going to get in arbitration, much less trade for the guy. He has a long history of arm problems, and set a career high with all of 57 innings last year. You have to be spectacular to have a real impact on a club in 50 innings, and Kolb was remakarably mediocre in the second half last year. After the all-star break, he threw 24 innings, posted a 4.88 ERA, walked 10, and struck out 10. His fielding independant ERA for the season was 3.96, a full run higher than his actual ERA. He’s a great bet to both get worse and get hurt. Kudos to Doug Melvin for flipping Kolb before his value goes through the floor.

    2. If you gave the Cardinals the chance to undo the Drew/Wainwright deal, they would in an instant. The Braves would make that trade again every day and twice on Sunday. It was a remarkably successful deal for Atlanta.

    3. Starting Winn at first is a giant waste of his defensive value. He’s a pretty good defensive left fielder, easily the best on the roster.

  16. Bela Txadux on December 11th, 2004 10:12 pm

    Random-access thoughts on the ‘Christmas rush’:

    This is already shaping up as a great offseason for those of us who love player movement and team construction, sez me. As the big name free agents fall into place, I expect some major trades to come together, with quite a few teams majorly redesigned for next year.

    Atlanta: Capellan for Kolb. I am also of the view that Kolb is _underrated_ rather than overrated; it’s outs that matter, not Ks, and he racked up plenty. On the other hand, if you’re Milwaukee, there’s no way you don’t make this swap, sending a guy who’s not that young with exactly one effective season out the door for a high-end arm with the potential to start. OK, Smoltz is now in the Braves’ rotation, then: Anyone want to make book on how many starts he makes before his elbow locks up on him or blows completely?? If I was taking, I wouldn’t accept a bid in double digits. John may _think_ his arm can take 90+ pitches an outting; I think that’s optimistic. What interests me most about this deal, though, is the way Schuerholz talked about his team (on espn) _after the trade_, that he had “four big contracts–A. Jones, C. Jones, Smoltz, and Hampton.” The name you’ll notice is missing there is “Drew,” and nothing Schuerholz is doing of saying implies that J. D. is on his team in ’05. This is likely part of why the Braves GM is also rumored to be unwilling to trade Marcus Giles: he can’t give up another bat. To me, it sounds like the bidding on J. D. has gone north of Atlanta’s budget number, and that is great, great news for the Mariners.

    Pavano to the Yankees: Well, I thought this one was coming since July, personally, Carl’s ties to Boston notwithstanding. When the Red Sox moved fast and hard on Wells, they figured to be out of it for Pavano, and so it goes. Carl’s a classic Steinbrenner baseball card. Best numbers on the market this year. Beat the Yankers in the Series two years ago. ‘Gamer.’ ‘Winner.’ ‘Durable.’ (Read good bullpen behind him, and too many innings in his arm for his age.) If Bavasi’s schmooze with Carl & Co. was a bluff bid to get the Yankees to lock up their dollars on the wrong guy—and I can’t for the life of me see it as anything else—it was a work of genius. Think about it: As soon as Pavano was rumored to be ‘extemely impressed with Seattle,’ the first statements linking him to anywhere off the East Coast, suddenly Carl’s Parade gets cut off, and whammo a couple of days later Carl’s got his quote. From NY. To me, Meche , Wright, and Pavano are all the same kind of risk/reward mix; they’re quite different pitchers, but all are coming back from extended downtime with major arm injuries that makes their _continued_ success hard to handicap. One guy like this in your rotation is not a big deal, especially if they can pitch as a No. 2 starter. Two guys like this is nuts. —And the Yankers now have _Wright and Pavano_ as their NEW SIGNEES! HAAHAAHAAHAAHAAAAAAA! I love it. Who they don’t have is Clement, or anywhere to put him if the conked him with a heavy wallet and handed him a contract with his signature on it when he woke up. That’s great news for the Mariners.

    Halama to the BoSox: Theo, I like you. Fer reel. Halama is simply a lousy starter, sub-replacement level. John has always wanted to start and groused when he couldn’t, in part, one presumes, because starters get paid a great deal more money, hey. As a starter, John stinks, just as he has all the last two years. Yet as a long reliever, he just sparkled. Tell me why, and I’m a wiser man, but he almost always had success in that role with the Ms, or as much success as most longies ever sustain. If Theo signed Halama cheap to give him a shot at long relief, and the word is that’s the play, then this could turn into a real gem of a deal. For five years, I’ve thought if Halama could accept the fact that what he _is able_ to do in MLB is relieve, he could have a dozen years up here or more. Now, we’ll get to see. But again, this is great bottom fishing by Boston, I love it. We all talk about how smart acquistion of replacement level guys for roleplayer slots is ‘easy to do,’ but so few GMs actually DO this. Right now, we’re watching a guy who’s already really good at it get better. Theo baby, write the book.

    Speaking of co-authors in an FO chair, Billy Beane has the market oiled, panting, and in the palm of his hand, like a carnival barker ’bout to raise the curtain on the bearded lady. I just can’t see the As signing all three of the Big Uns. Schott’ll go one, two maybe, but three, where’s the $$$? The As let Giambi go as a free agent. They let Tejada go as a free agent. A deal brings better value and immediate value both, so I don’t see them repeating that kind of move again. A trade has always seemed to me a certainty. As with Chavez vs. Tejada, where they kept the higher end of the two; the same would figure with the Big Three. So who’s high man of the three? Hudson, natch. So who’s low man? Zito, of course. So who is all the talk about?? Hudson, of _course._ B. Beane, I LOVE you as Trader Jack!!! If the As said, “We’re taking offers on Zito,” they’d get low ball offers on his real value, and have to work the market up to value for value. By letting the market work itself into lather making sighs and motions on Hudson, and then setting a ‘no way baby’ price on him in actual discussions, Billy is primed to then turn around and say, “—but if that’s your best offer, I could move Zito for that plus $,” and get better return for Zito than he could starting out moving him. I fully expect Barry Z. to be under another hat in ’05, and if Billy B.’s quasi-bait-and-switch works on this like I suspect, he reaches legendary status.

    . . . This is _fun_, and the Ms haven’t even kicked a rock and said, “I’ll buy it,” yet. : )

  17. Dave on December 11th, 2004 10:23 pm

    A few corrections, Bela.

    The Braves were out of the J.D. Drew hunt on Tuesday when they failed to offer him arbitration.

    The M’s were seriously interested in Pavano. It wasn’t a ploy to drive up the Yankees offer. All the teams made similar offers financially; Pavano just chose New York.

    Beane might just trade Hudson and Zito. Don’t rule it out.

  18. rcc on December 11th, 2004 10:25 pm

    If you check out any of the A’s blogs they all hold Billy Beane in high esteem…almost god like status. Of course virtually everyone here holds our Bill in low esteem, and that is on a good day. I have been extremely pessimistic about the M’s ability to do anything good this off season, but the longer they pass on mediocre talents with bad contracts I am starting to….dare I say….hope that our Bill will be fit to walk in the footprints of Billy Beane, and actually pull something off.

  19. Bela Txadux on December 11th, 2004 10:31 pm

    Comment on #63, Paul, thanks for the break down. It’s analysis like this that makes me sift through the chatter here. I have a lot of this on the back of my retina, but it’s been a long time since I’ve tinkered with, umm, numerals, so it’s great when someone spells out the background to the outcome. Dave may be right regarding Kolb’s injury risk, but if Danny can keep bringin’ his arm through his motion I think he’ll return _reasonable_ if not necessarily most desireable value to the Braves.

  20. Bela Txadux on December 11th, 2004 10:40 pm

    That you readin’ over my shoulder, Dave? Yep, Beane might trade Hudson _and_ Zito, and from the financial standpoint it would make a ton of sense. He likes to win, though, and it’s very hard to see the As having an effective pitching staff next year if they do a complete rebuild. It is also hard to imagine getting full value back for Hudson given how high his value is in actuality. If anyone can pull that off it’s Good Billy, but this is another reason why my hunch has been that they sign Hudson rather than trade him. Beane just isn’t going to sign Timmy until he clears salary, though. To me.

    You know, it _did_ feel like the Ms were serious on Pavano, but I just found that hard to take, for inclinations in post #66 above concerning excessive injury exposure in the rotation. Well, it goes against my grain to credit Bavasi with any surfeit of smoothieness, so now I can lower my estimation back to a more realistic index.

  21. Alex on December 11th, 2004 10:43 pm

    The thing that the M’s have to realize is that they can’t just make a similar offer to potential free agents and expect them to sign here. Looking at this objectively, why would someone want to play for the Mariners? They’re coming off a 99 loss season and the core of the team is old. There is definitely fan support still here, but it could easily wane if the team doesn’t reload instead of rebuild.

    Even when the M’s were an elite MLB team, Seattle was still not a prime destination for potential FA’s. I think a lot of it is geographical, but facts are facts. The bottom line (to me) is, the Mariners can’t expect to offer similar numbers to a FA and have them sign here. They have to go above and beyond offers and (most likely) overpay to get the good FA’s. It’s a unfortunate fact. If all the M’s are resigned to do is “be in the ballpark” financially with their offers, they might as well close up shop and go home. No real FA’s will sign here.

  22. Colm on December 11th, 2004 10:43 pm

    re Winn vs Ibanez at first.
    Ibanez is about an average defensive left fielder (compared to left fielders) and Winn a superior one. But while we have no idea how Winn would perform at first, and we know that would be a waste of his defensive value, we KNOW that Raul has looked horrible there.

    That’s an argument for going all out to trade Raul instead of Randy; but he wouldn’t net much in return, given his age, and the M’s would have to swallow a chunk of his silly contract. Worth doing?

  23. Cool Papa Bell on December 11th, 2004 10:57 pm

    Alex, you seem to be referring to Dave’s comment about the M’s offering a similiar deal to Pavano. To that I must ask, why do you think Pavano was worth what he got, let alone worth above that? The fact that the M’s did not make a substantially greater offer to Pavano does not mean that they don’t “get it”. Most likely they realized that Pavano was not a good value and not worth outbidding everyone for. Not only that, but I think Dave has made it clear that M’s are going to try to blow other people out of the water. Just because they didn’t do so with one pitcher doesn’t mean they won’t do it with another player.

  24. Bela Txadux on December 11th, 2004 10:57 pm

    Oh, and in #66 I left out Rhodes for Lawton. This one makes mucho sense in that both guys have had injury and effectiveness problems, but assuming that they generate something like their upside they match up far, far better with their now respective teams than before. I don’t know that Shapiro with the Indians will get anything out of Arthur Lee, but his bullpen is so bad and his other options in the OF so comparable, that the $ he saves on the deal are sweetner enough to swallow the risk. My estimation of Littlefield in Pittsburgh goes up a notch with this one, too. He has, in effect, traded Kendall, who he was more or less under orders to move, for Lawton and Redman. Neither of these guys are a sure bet to even play, but if they can perform they both have roles and some real value for his team while we continues to work up the farm system.

    Something else I left out of above posts is that I fully expect Beane to dump Dotel. He’s never kept anyone in the closer role who’s performed as poorly as Triple O, and Dotel will still attract many takers. Dotel for Guillermo Mota, anyone?? But I feel sure Billy will move him. Quite possibly in a jawbreaker with a starting pitcher, too, but I’m not going to spin any scenarios on that one.

  25. Alex on December 11th, 2004 11:04 pm

    CPB (#72) – I wasn’t referring just to the Pavano situation. I was referring to the M’s standard operating procedure in general. The M’s have never really signed any major, first-tier FA’s. They’ve re-signed some of their stars to extensions in the past, but that’s about it.

    Regarding the Pavano situation specifically, I recall reading somewhere (ESPN perhaps, cannot recall) that he was very impressed with Seattle but had reservations about potentially signing here because his family lives on the East Coast. Knowing this was the case, the M’s had to know that they needed to go above and beyond anyone else’s offer. If they weren’t willing to do that in the first place, then I have to wonder why they were wasting their time? Why not just go for someone else like Matt Clement from the get-go? (I mention Clement for the basis of example and nothing more, incidentally).

    Speaking specifically to the here and now, we must look at things objectively? What do the M’s and/or Seattle in general have to offer a player? We’re coming off a very disappointing season, there’s not much of a foundation to build on right now, the minor league system probably grades out at about a C+/B- at best. The ballpark is nice, but if attendance continues to dwindle, it will render that advantage moot.

    I am not saying of all this to sound pessimistic, I am just trying to look at this through the eyes of a potential free agent.

  26. Cool Papa Bell on December 11th, 2004 11:12 pm

    Alex, if Pavano is thier most coveted pitcher (which he probably is), then they should make thier best offer and let him decide to reject it. There is no harm in offering a contract, it’s not as if they can only negotiate with one player at a time. They certainly have contacted lots of players, and most of the those players weren’t going to sign before Pavano did. They are not in worse position now for doing so because the likes of Clement and Odalis Perez are still available. So far, the Mariners haven’t done anything worth complaining about (except offering Ron Villone arbitration), and that should really be celebrated.

  27. jj on December 11th, 2004 11:41 pm

    #76 I agree with you. So far M has not done anything stupid that warrants my complaints yet. We always know Pavano wants to stay in east coast and I think M did at least a good job to make good impression to players that we are serious about pursuing players and spending money. We were considered the longest shot before his trip, but came out to be one of the three teams he likes. I don’t think it is a wasted effort. You just never know beforehand. And image is everything. If you let agents and players continue to think of us as the same old Mariners who would not sign contracts over 3 years,spending big money, it is not going to help on negotiations down the road.

    So on Pavano, I think it was more a PR and a “what do we get to lose” try.

  28. IgnatiusReilly on December 12th, 2004 12:11 am

    The market looks to be setting, and it is higher than last year, that is pretty cut and dry. This is a nice argument for cost averaging. Had the M’s signed one good player last year (Vlad), they would have gotten a steal. A year from now, people might think you overpaid for player X this offseason, but you’ll have gotten a steal in the 2003 offseason…so it balances out.

    The M’s might get into trouble if they sign a lot of top salaried players this year, and the market goes back down next year when they’ve got nothing to spend.

    Not to say don’t spend it…blargh.

  29. Jamie on December 12th, 2004 12:49 am

    I hate Beltre. I know almost all USS Mariner fans are high as a hippy on Beltre, but imagine if you’re wrong. Imagine that the Mariners pay Beltre $14 mil per year for the next seven years and he performs like a pricey Justin Leone. The Mariners are pretty much done as a successful franchise. I know that franchise-crippling contracts are a myth, but Mariners management isn’t smart enough to work around that hole (along with its other, smaller holes). If the Mariners don’t improve in the short term, I wouldn’t doubt that the Mariners’ revenue advantage starts to dry up too. Welcome to the Mariners as Tigers and Pirates clones.

    What are the chances that Beltre performs like a superstar for 7 years? 75%? 50%? I’d guess more like 2%. I know we don’t need 7 years of superstardom for that price, but at least 3 or 4 years would be mandatory to make the contract work at all, and I don’t think the chances of that are much higher. The chances might not be 2%, but they’re definitely not anywhere near 100%.

    As for the “ballers don’t peak at 25 crowd”, I’ll point to Darin Erstad (peaked at 26) and Richard Hidalgo (peaked at 24).

  30. Pop Tatari on December 12th, 2004 12:51 am

    I’m at a loss as to why we would put Randy at first and Ibanez in left also. Randy’s still great in LF, you put anyone in CF last year and expect them to fill Cameron’s shoes and their going to look silly IMO, but that experience seems to have soured a lot of people on his defensive ability when he’s still great defensively – even in CF as far as I’m concerned.

  31. jj on December 12th, 2004 1:35 am

    #80, who said Randy would play 1st and Raul in left? This is the first time I have heard this. ALL I have heard so far is the possibility of moving Raul to DH and Randy to left if we land someone in CF.

  32. Graham on December 12th, 2004 5:17 am

    Although Raul Ibanez did indeed look awful given his limited playing time, he was much better in Kansas City when he played 1st base on a regular basis. He’s never going to be spectacular there, but he isn’t going to be as bad as he was in 2004 either…

  33. Marty Lighthizer on December 12th, 2004 6:13 am

    Re: #80, 81, 82 etc.
    Yes, Ibanez would probably do better at 1B if he was given regular playing time there. Just as Winn did better in CF as the season went on. Both had their “deer in the headlights” moments at those positions, but if the M’s have Winn at LF (assuming he’s on the team) and Ibanez at 1B (assuming Delgado isn’t), the 2005 M’s will be slightly better…

  34. The Ancient Mariner on December 12th, 2004 7:39 am

    Re #79: Jamie–are you sure you aren’t Howard Lincoln in disguise? Fine, then–don’t sign anyone, because there are absolutely *zero* FAs about whose signing you couldn’t say, “Imagine if you’re wrong.” There aren *none* that come without that risk; but unless you have a great farm system–which we don’t, these days–then avoidance of that risk only brings the certainty of failure. I don’t know what the chances are that Beltre justifies the contract he’ll sign, but I’m quite certain they’re higher than our chances of success in the near term if we miss out on him. As much as you dislike that risk, we need to take it on somebody, and he’s the only one out there who seems to offer a good chance of justifying it (except Beltran, depending on his final contract).

    And as for players not peaking at 25–to any rule, there are exceptions; not that Erstad really counts, because that wasn’t a *peak* year, it was a *fluke* year, and those happen.

  35. David J Corcoran on December 12th, 2004 8:35 am

    If we get stuck with a crummy Adrian Beltre for 7 years, I promise not to whine. The point is that the front office showed they had balls and went out and got the good free agent for once.

  36. David J Corcoran on December 12th, 2004 8:38 am

    And, OK, I think you’ve sold me that Ibanez should be at 1st, not Winn.

  37. msb on December 12th, 2004 2:32 pm

    #71– they seem to be aware of that- Pelekoudas mentioned on KOMO that they need to make a move to not only show the fans they mean it, but to show other FAs they do, as well…