Looking ahead

Dave · December 16, 2004 at 4:18 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Because we’re going to get deluged with “Now what?” posts, I get to throw a little rain on the parade of those who have dreams of Beltran or Drew dancing in their heads. The M’s offseason is, for the most part, over. They’ll probably make a trade to clear the logjam in the outfield and remove a bit of payroll and hope to bring an arm in return. They’ll make a short pitch to several lower tier free agent pitchers. The core of the roster, though, is done. With a few minor tweaks, we’re looking at our 2005 Mariners. Beltran and Drew aren’t in the plans.

I’ve got so much work to do that I probably won’t be posting much the next two days. If you’re coming to the Feed (which now should be the most enjoyable five hours in Redmond’s history) on Saturday, we’ll cover all the bases then, and I’ll resume normal posting patterns next week.


131 Responses to “Looking ahead”

  1. Daaaannnn on December 16th, 2004 7:54 pm

    Looks like RJ is going to NY after all. Check out who won in this 3 team trade:


  2. Ian on December 16th, 2004 7:58 pm
  3. PositivePaul on December 16th, 2004 8:01 pm

    Just to show how much I’m not complaining:

    I just made a killing selling pitchforks in L.A.!!!

  4. Tom B on December 16th, 2004 8:27 pm

    I think the mariners should also make a run to pick up steve kline as well.. far underrated as a pitcher but also one of the nicest guys in baseball, which i know the mariners love..

  5. paul mocker on December 16th, 2004 8:57 pm

    it’s hard to believe that AZ won a World Series just 4 seasons ago. That is a bad trade

  6. JohnnyD on December 16th, 2004 9:08 pm

    Neyer here offers a lot of what has been discussed here:


    Much of what he asserts is extremely truthful and offers a rare prospective to exactly what we can expect on the basis of reality. I’m looking forward to ’06/’07

  7. paul mocker on December 16th, 2004 9:10 pm

    You big tease JohnnyD. I’m not an Insider.

  8. JohnnyD on December 16th, 2004 9:15 pm

    in celebration of of the Betre signing:


  9. paul mocker on December 16th, 2004 9:23 pm

    Thanks JohnnyD.

    Agree with his conclusion. But he didn’t use Pythaggy in his analysis. But JoeBob did in his analysis above.

    So I disagree that the M’s will reach only 75 if lucky.

  10. MaAlHo on December 16th, 2004 9:31 pm

    Sorry to go off topic. I haven’t been able to answer this question, but I bet someone here knows. What kind of draft picks are Arizona and L.A. getting as compensation from us? Are they only supplemental picks, or is there a chance we could lose our 3rd overall pick?

  11. Pilots fan on December 16th, 2004 9:33 pm

    To respond to a few of you about the comments I made about Lopez — that “he would never be a major league SS” What the senator meant to say was 😉 Jose Lopez will make his career in the bigs at 3B or 2B. Not SS. He cannot play major league defense with his current body, and it will get bigger and slower. I saw him play 3B in AZ last spring and he looked great. And his bat seems to be ready for the bigs now. But if we want to be contenders, we need a SS. AND ANOTHER STARTER! Piniero should be solid, and I like Meche’s and Madritsch’s promise, but I agree that Jamie is at/near the end and Franklin … well, he had one good year (was it 2003?).

  12. bilbo on December 16th, 2004 9:37 pm

    I believe our pick is protected because Seattle was so bad last year. In the same way that Texas kept their pick (and took Teixera!) after they bought A-WAD.

  13. damienroc on December 16th, 2004 10:02 pm

    Weird. Neyer’s usually much more attentive to pythagorean numbers. Not that his analysis is bad, but I wonder why he discounted the “unlucky” factor which seemed very prevalent in ’04.

  14. Bela Txadux on December 16th, 2004 10:17 pm

    Re: Sex w/ Belts, and the offseason thus far.

    I had thought since the end of the season that the Ms would make the best offer to Beltre and be in it to the end. I’m glad that Adrian, for whatever reason, decided that Seattle is the place he wants to play baseball. I am not, actually, a fan of spending big on free agents, but it was unquestionably necessary this offseason, and Beltre is without the slightest doubt the kind of player one would want to ink in a big deal; his signing is, as Dave says, THE outstanding deal of any kind this offseason by any team, including Atlanta trading for Hudson which is the next best. My congratulations to the FO on this one.

    Did I want to see Sexson come here. Not at all. But he’s here, now, he’s a good guy, and we have to hope for a medical miracle with his shoulder, that’s all. The issue is not whether or not it had healed but what is his risk of re-injury and significant performance decline as a batter, which is still sky high. Bavasi made a clear, and decision here though: the Ms had multiple possibilities in the OF, and multiple possibilities to trade for OFers, but had _no_ viable candidate to play 1B in the organization, and no major 1B bat was on the trade market either. Going 1B and 3B was a rational decision in the circumstances; not a creative decision, but a justifiable one for sure. I’m with Paul Covert in another post: Bavasi is batting .500 here. However, the umpires are going to huddle on the long fly ball that is Sexson, and when they give us the consensus decision that may reverse the call and say he actually the longshot dinged the foul pole. Let’s hope so.

    Are the Ms done? Should they be?? I would love to see the Ms hang in there for Drew, and they should, but there are good arguments against this. Signing one major free agent with an injury risk is a reach if it’s your _only_ move. If you sign two major contracts as the Ms just did, an injury risk with one is not that surprising, especially given that most of the major guys on the market have some significant injury or performance question. But signing three guys, two of them with significant injury risks gets to the point where you’re probably going to have somebody go down—it’s hard to take on that much risk for big money at one go. I don’t see the Ms doing it. Then there’s the issue of tying up too much of your payroll in too few guys. A couple of eight-figure per year deals is manageable for all but small market teams. Three such deals is _quite_ manageable for a wealthy team like the Mariners. FOUR such deals starts to freeze flexibility in overall roster moves, though. The Ms presently have three such contracts: Ichiro, Sexson, and Beltre. In that bunch, Sexson is a major injury risk, and Beltre has had one fantastic year. Taking on a fourth contract with an injury-risk guy, Drew, that locks up the budget is asking for trouble. If the Ms had a dynamite pitching staff and a solid chance to go deep in the postseason in ’05, then yes; obviously that is not their matrix, so the risk just doesn’t play easily. Do I still want the Ms to do the deal for J. D. absolutely, although they’d have to clear some contracts to do it, yes. . . . But they won’t. On justifiable grounds.

    That said, it is too me unacceptable for the Ms to say, “There, that does it,” and declare themselves set for next year. The rebuild from a thoroughly broken team is at best _half done_. The Ms needed three major bats. They’ve gotten one, maybe two. They have a bunch of guys who need to be cleared off the roster, no qualified starting shortstop, a logjam of not-quite-good-enoughs in the OF, and lack of depth both in the bullpen and the rotation. Howard Lincoln was in the paper the other day trying to convince the prolets that he really, really wants to _get_ to the World Series. If that’s true, this team needs to FINISH the rebuild, not just settle for the shore-up of their marketing-and-attendenace plans which is what the Sexson+Beltre deals amount to. There is definitely room for a couple of mid-level trades off this roster. There is room for a major trade if the FO gets creative. There are numerous useful guys in the bargain bin out there, a few of which could greatly enhance the team’s depth.

    To me, the only solid thing Bavasi has done is sign Beltre. That’s a great, great deal, especially at the price, and I commend him for that. Great GMs don’t stop there. Cashman won’t call getting Pavano and Johnson ‘enough,’ even though these two deals meet that team’s major goals. Beane isn’t going to settle for meeting his _minimum_ roster moves.

    Winn has takers. I don’t really see Ibanez having a role with the Ms, certainly not after ’05. Clement may be too expensive now, given the extra $$ which had to be committed to Sexson and the increased interest in Mattie as others come off the board. A trade for an interesting starter with upside rather than a big $$$ free agent sign is in order there. Given that the team on the field in September, ’04 had a grade of E+, the present signs only make the current roster a grade of C-: that doesn’t cut it. Let’s get the smaller pieces locked in a row to get to a grade B at least.

    Go on, Bill Bavasi: dare to be great>>>>> FINISH THE REBUILD, don’t rest on the laurels of these two signings.

  15. Paul Weaver on December 17th, 2004 2:34 am

    ’05 could very well be a good season. 81 wins? Maybe more, who knows. We’ll see who the M’s sign, but with these recent signings I would not want the team to give up on ’05 and think only about ’06. If the M’s were to land Perez or another decent FA starter, I would not really want them to trade Winn simply to make room for rookies that are projected to do just as well, not actually proven to perform at his level. There is no logjam in the outfield yet.

    Play out the season. Maybe he will be good trade bait, maybe one of the prospects will be good trade bait if we’re surprising the Neyers out there and going to the playoffs. No sense in trading a good player to make room for prospects (or get a few more) when the Mariner’s ’05 record currently stands at 0-0.

    I’m out of rebuild mode.

  16. SportsDesigner on December 17th, 2004 3:45 am

    Wouldn’t Derek Lowe be a pretty good signing now? Assuming he’s a two-year-deal guy at $8 million per – here’s a guy that could be a solid starter, or, if Guardado is still hurt, possibly even the closer.

  17. Scraps on December 17th, 2004 3:53 am

    This proves that they didn’t learn last year’s most important lesson: you have to field a good defensive team in spacious Safeco.

    Here we go again, the great myth of the 2004 Seattle season. There’s an important lesson that isn’t being learned here, all right: it’s that what you think you are seeing isn’t necessarily what is actually happening. The Mariners did field a good defensive team last year — a very good one. It just wasn’t historically good, as they’d been for a few years before. Our eyes, having grown accustomed to greatness, saw excellence and could only see that it was less than great. We were wrong. The Mariner defense was very good at turning batted balls into outs.

    I am as big a Mike Cameron fan as anyone, and I still believe letting him go was a mistake. But the main problem last year with Seattle’s run prevention wasn’t the defense, it was the pitching, and that’s what management needs to address.

  18. Scraps on December 17th, 2004 4:08 am

    (This page has the defensive efficiency scores for every team in baseball. The Mariners were second in the AL, behind only Tampa Bay.

    If someone can make a logical argument that the Mariners were a bad defensive team despite their excellent record at turning batter balls into outs, I’d be interested to hear it.)

  19. Dave on December 17th, 2004 10:23 am

    Wouldn’t Derek Lowe be a pretty good signing now? Assuming he’s a two-year-deal guy at $8 million per – here’s a guy that could be a solid starter, or, if Guardado is still hurt, possibly even the closer.

    No. Derek Lowe will be a disaster for whoever signs him. I’d be interested at something along the lines of 1 year, $1 million, perhaps, but a multi-year big money deal for one of the worst pitchers in the American League last year?

    I realize he pitched great on the big stage of the playoffs, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s about the same quality of starter as Ryan Franklin.

  20. Pilots fan on December 17th, 2004 11:15 am

    Scraps. C’mon. I don’t care what the stats say. I watched the games. C, SS, CF, and 2B are the most important defensive positions in baseball. We left a lot to be desired at SS and CF. You can’t give a guy an error if he doesn’t even get to the ball!!!

    Also, Boone was not as good defensively last year as in previous years (I’m counting on him coming back) and if Olivio is our everyday catcher, he’s a defensive downgrade from Danny W. I’m trusting he is improving, however. He has the quickness and the arm to do it.

  21. Pilots fan on December 17th, 2004 11:17 am

    Hey, with the signings at the corner infield positions though, we should be better there. And I like Ibanez/Winn in LF, and RF speaks for itself.

  22. Scraps on December 17th, 2004 12:29 pm

    Scraps. C’mon. I don’t care what the stats say. I watched the games.

    When I said I was hoping for a logical argument, I admit that I fully expected more of this.

    You can’t give a guy an error if he doesn’t even get to the ball!!!

    Sigh. I’ve said this before, I’ll try it again. It has nothing to do with errors — and in fact has everything to do with getting to the balls. There was only one team in the American League that TURNED MORE BATTED BALLS INTO OUTS. To put it in plain language, the Mariners fielders GOT TO MORE BALLS than all but one other team in the American League. If you’re going to say they were a lousy defensive team anyway, that’s the fact you have to confront.

  23. Eli on December 17th, 2004 12:35 pm

    Anyone have home/away splits on defensive efficiency numbers? That would give a look at park effects.

  24. eponymous coward on December 17th, 2004 12:45 pm

    I realize he pitched great on the big stage of the playoffs, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s about the same quality of starter as Ryan Franklin.

    Based on strictly last year, maybe.

    His career ERA, though, is 121% of league, park-adjusted, and his K/9 rate is better. I’d take the guy on a one-year flyer for a fair amount (considerably more than $1 million) as a deal to let him re-establish market value. We’d need a quality glove backing up Lopez, though. It would be nice to have a pitcher who doesn’t live and die with the MF8, which pretty much describes everybody on the staff outside of Madritsch.

  25. Joshua Buergel on December 17th, 2004 12:47 pm

    According to James Click of Baseball Prospectus, Safeco Field played at 1.0208 with respect to defense (meaning it was 2% easier to play in). He did some park-adjusted DE numbers, and the Mariners wound up at #3 in the AL, behind the Red Sox (!) and the Blue Jays (!!). Overall, the Mariners placed 10th in baseball according to his numbers.

  26. Paul Weaver on December 17th, 2004 3:40 pm

    The Mariners turned more batted balls into outs??
    Doesn’t that just mean the pitchers threw fewer strike outs? – there’s 27 outs in a game no matter how good or bad your defense is. Lopez’s range was just horrible, and baserunners didn’t respect Winn’s weak arm – that means more doubles, which doesn’t look bad in the team fielding stats, but does look bad for the pitching stats. Fielding is the hardest stat to quantify, that’s why I’d go with eyewitness accounts and not the stats on paper.

  27. Adam K on December 17th, 2004 3:49 pm

    Strikeouts have nothing to do with batted balls.

  28. Scraps on December 17th, 2004 3:52 pm

    Eyewitness accounts say Derek Jeter’s got a great glove.

  29. Joshua Buergel on December 17th, 2004 4:28 pm

    Strikeouts have nothing to do with batted balls.

    Sure they do, the more strikeouts you get, the fewer balls in play there are. But defensive efficiency is almost always presented as a rate stat, so the strikeout tendencies of a staff shouldn’t matter much. The lesson with strikeouts and BIP is that if you have a strikeout staff (Cubs, Astros, D-Backs last year finished 1, 2, 3 in K/9 with Anaheim and Boston the top AL teams) you can get away with a more porous defense. The Mariners aren’t so big on the Ks, finishing middle of the pack (18th in baseball in K/9, 7th in the AL), so having a good defense is more important.

  30. Adam S on December 17th, 2004 4:35 pm

    #126, what he means is the Mariners turned a greater percentage of batted balls into outs (not a raw number, which would depend on strikeouts as you noted). The formula is basically Fielding Outs/(Fielding Outs + H – HR + E) though I know I’m missing something there.

  31. damienroc on December 17th, 2004 10:33 pm

    Not exactly related, but I was looking at Moyer’s stat lines for the past few years, and was somewhat surprised how close the numbers were. His strikeouts, base on balls, hits, and most other things were pretty close between 2003 and 2004. Actually, the 2004 numbers look even closer, overall, to 2001, when he won 20 games. The biggest discrepancy was in HR, where he blew away his previous career high (expected is that Moyer probably would have given up about 15-20 less gopherballs.) Ultimately, it seems he was mostly unlucky.

    If we assume that 2001 saw a lot of luck fall towards the team, 2004 saw a lot of bad luck do the same. The team was bad, in parts, and had some very rocky bits, but not nearly as bad as most people make it out to be.

    2004 wasn’t the only unlucky year for the M’s. In 2003, under pythagorean expectations, they’d have won 99 games, and been the best team in the majors (IIRC, anyway.) They got shorted by some, and ended up in third. It’s how things crumble.