Randy Winn and the Giants

JMB · December 22, 2004 at 10:33 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

There’s long been talk that the Giants are a possible trade destination for Randy Winn. In my opinion that talk took a hit today, as San Fran signed Moises Alou to a two-year deal. You have to assume Barry Bonds will be in left and Alou in right, leaving Marquis Grissom and Michael Tucker to split time in center; that wouldn’t make a horrible platoon, come to think of it. Barring another move, the Giants don’t have room for Winn at this point.


45 Responses to “Randy Winn and the Giants”

  1. matt on December 22nd, 2004 10:39 pm

    For the giant’s sake they would have been better off trading for winn.sbc park’s right field is the hardest in the majors to play.Moises alou can hit but has no defense.They scored a ton of runs so I think defense was much more important them.I really hope we keep winn.We could use him in left and put ibanez at dh.

  2. matt on December 22nd, 2004 10:46 pm

    If indeed we keep winn would he bat second behind Ichiro or would reed
    bat second?

  3. Chickenhawk on December 22nd, 2004 10:58 pm

    I hadn’t been able to post for awhile, but I see my note went through on the previous subject. Let me also add that I enjoy your site.
    As for Winn: Call me a fan, but after the Beltre signing I am really happy with our offense. I think it stacks up with the other teams in the West. Given that, I believe we have a legit shot at the playoffs, and should not trade Winn (or at least, not yet).
    Our SPs are certainly suspect, and Winn (or his money) could be used for a SP but, when you look close, only the Angels have a better SP crew.
    (And the Angels are not a lock – all of their SPs are up-and-down performers. Texas certainly doesn’t. The A’s potentially are better, but Haren, Meyer, and the gang are unproven. I do really like Meyer, but he may not pan out.)
    So, why not keep Winn, and go for it! He can play CF if Reed isn’t ready. He can play LF if Ibanez needs to DH (if Bucky doesn’t pan out).
    I know many fans want to trade Winn’s salary, but maybe we should wait until the trade deadline.

  4. Pat K on December 22nd, 2004 11:26 pm

    I’m confused by the assumption that Reed is somehow superior to Winn. I don’t like Winn in center, but I’d like to know why people think Reed is the answer. The only report I’ve seen on Reed is an older evaluation from when he played in the minors for the WS, and that report suggested Reed didn’t project out as a major league center fielder, but he might play there in a pinch. My concern is defense, and whereas people always say you want to be strong up the middle, that appears where we will be weakest…Olivo, Lopez, and either Winn or Reed. I dream of getting Cameron back, but I can’t imagine that would ever happen. Are there any good defensive CFs on our radar screen? Am I shortchanging Reed in thinking he’s not much improvement over Winn? I tend to believe people like Reed only because they view him as a near Winn equivalent at virtually no cost. Also, I’d appreciate comments on whether Snelling and Jamal Strong might help. If Snelling is too injury prone to play the field, has the organization considered using him as a back-up DH if Jacobsen fails to produce. Finally, why is Reed projected out higher than Strong? I know Strong’s arm is said to be weak, but his OBP has always been excellent.

  5. AK1984 on December 22nd, 2004 11:26 pm

    Yeah, if we are to sign Odalis Perez, my guess is he’d push Franklin to the bullpen, who’d push Villone into the lefty specialist role, who’d knock either Sherrill or Thornton off of the prospective 25-Man roster.
    Now, in regards to the 40-Man roster spot, it ought to be Aaron Looper who gets designated; yet, that will most likely not happen — given the role nepotism plays with the Mariners (remember Matt Woodward?) — it should be either Justin Leone or Greg Dobbs, because the team is not in need of two Triple-AAA third basemans. However, due to the fact he is almost thirty, I would bet my money on Scott Atchison being the one who is traded to some team looking for bullpen help for some single-A non-prospect.
    Ultimately, this would allow the Mariners to keep Winn and start him in left field — with Reed in center, Ibanez at DH, and Jacobsen being the right handed pinch-hitter off of the bench — which is probably the best way to go, both offensively and defensively.

  6. Noel on December 22nd, 2004 11:38 pm

    On the topic of teams not having room for players, what are the chances that Carlos Delgado waits too long and runs out of acceptable teams, and then maybe Bavasi picks him up on a 1-year deal for cheap?

  7. Stephen Simburg on December 22nd, 2004 11:54 pm

    Hargrove made a comment on MLB.com that he has Randy Winn as one of 4 players gauranteed in on the lineup for next year. That makes it seem like he is happy with him as the starting center fielder. It doesn’t seem typical of Mariner management to trade away a safe bet in Randy Winn, one of our best hitters from last year, to start JReed. Bavasi has said that he might keep Winn, play Reed, and put Ibanez at DH. Maybe this is due to uncertainty in Bucky’s ability to get healthy. I understand the budget constraint issues in keeping Winn, but wouldn’t that only be a factor if we signed another pitcher? Arbitration to Villone could be a sign that we might not. I see our rotation and pen:

    2004 ERA IP

    moyer 5.21 202
    pineiro 4.67 140.2
    franklin 4.9 200.1
    madritch 3.27 88
    villone 4.08 117

    meche 5.01 127.2 (he and villone can fight for that 5 spot, this is a lot of stat talk for another post)
    mateo 4.68 57.2
    putz 4.71 63
    hasegawa 5.16 68
    guardado 2.78 45.1

    The final two spots could be taken at spring training. Atchison and Sherill seem like good candidates, soriano if he’s healthy.

  8. Jon Wells on December 23rd, 2004 12:05 am

    1) Way to go AK1984, way to hijack that thread…
    2) Is “Stephen Simburg”, the new roster construction poster, an alias for AK1984?
    3) If Hargrove is saying Randy Winn is a lock for his lineup it’s only because that’s what the organization needs to be saying if they want to keep his trade value up. What do you think it might do to Winn’s trade value if Grover or Bavasi started saying, “Ibanez is our LF, Bucky is our DH, we just don’t have room for Winn, we wish we could find a team to take him off our hands… “?
    4) Ron Villone over Gil Meche for the rotation? That’s crazy talk. A rotation with Villone and Ryan Franklin it in? Pure insanity.

  9. stan on December 23rd, 2004 12:06 am

    Pat K, my opionion only, but I have seen Reed and Strong in Tacoma and Randy at Safeco Field, so I do think I have a basis for my opinion. I think Reed gets a better jump than Randy on a flyball and he does not take as many bad routes on balls that he has to backpeddle on. Reed’s arm looks to me to be as bad as Randy’s; I don’t think either one of them belong in centerfield. Randy does ok coming in on a ball, going back gives him trouble sometimes. I think he should play a deeper centerfield. I remember going to a game against Cleveland last year and Randy stood in the same spot in centerfield no matter whether the hitter was Omar Vizquel or Travis Hafner. Bochachica finished the game in center and made a truly great catch to rob Hafner of a homerun. Boca was playing deeper in center than Winn had all day long, he got a great jump, and he made a leaping catch at the wall. I don’t think Randy would have gotten within 10 feet of that baseball. Jamal Strong can flat fly on the bases and in centerfield. For some reason I have not seen him make any acrobatic catches but he covers lots of ground. I would like to see him in center but he has absolutely no power and he can’t stay healthy long enough to get a good read on his ability. Same goes for Snelling. After his knee injury, Snelling seemed super slow to me. I saw him running on a 3-2 count on a ball hit to second; he could not get to the shortstop to break up the doubleplay. Unlees he can recover some footspeed I don’t see him as a viable outfielder. In my opinion Strong is the best centerfielder of the bunch. Reed is a decent player who will be able to hit more homeruns than Strong given the way the ball carries to right at Safeco. If I had to pick one guy to be my centerfielder, I would pick Strong over Reed and Winn. Nevertheless, I would still like to see the Mariners get a centerfielder who can cover ground, hit with some power and throw. I don’t think Reed, Strong or Winn can do all those things.

  10. Adam S on December 23rd, 2004 12:07 am

    As a Cubs fan who has watched Alou play left field a lot the past two years, I find it amusing that the Giants think he’s good enough to play RF. Think Kevin Mitchell in his Mariners days. They would be better moving Bonds, a far better fielder and better arm, to RF and leaving Alou in LF.

    This is unfortunate for the Mariners with regard Randy Winn to the Giants. I’d like to see Winn traded to free up his salary even though Reed seems to be a downgrade both offensively and defensively for 2005.

    How did this spin off into a thread about starting pitchers and the Mariners pitching staff?!?

  11. Jon Wells on December 23rd, 2004 12:10 am

    And LOOK! here’s the latest from MLB.,com — a story planted by the M’s (“written” by Jim Street) about Randy Winn and how he hopes he doesn’t get traded and how valuable he is to the team and how the club would only trade him if a starting pitcher were involved…


  12. AK1984 on December 23rd, 2004 12:17 am

    The only reason I mentioned the starting rotation was because it is direct relation to Randy Winn possibly being traded, along with the possiblity of this team signing Odalis Perez — which is supposedly likely — so I didn’t mean to spin the subject manner off of the Winn topic. Secondly, I do not go by any aliases. Lastly, I am starting to think that maybe, just maybe, Winn isn’t worth trading. Look, Winn’s carrer 162 game average over his carrer in BA/OBP/SLG is .284/.344/.427, which isn’t terrible for a left fielder. Plus, he’s got decent pop, as he is a lock for a double-digit total in home runs, which is nothing to take lightly. Furthermore, his fielding perecentage in left is .991, which is actually good. Now, if the team keeps Winn, it’ll allow them to platoon Reed and Jacobsen. Against righties, Reed can play, while against lefties Jacobsen can play. Also Jon, I agree with you, a rotation with both Franklin and Villone would be horrendous; yet, it seems as if both will be coming out of the bullpen this year—thankfully.

  13. Randy Lose more like it on December 23rd, 2004 12:25 am

    The M’s, like the twins, keep gathering average-ish outfielders even though cheaper or better options exist. Either Randy Winn or Raul Ibanez need to go, I think. It’s kind of sad that Bucky Jacobsen’s career might be wasted because we have too many $4mil randoms out there.

  14. Dave on December 23rd, 2004 12:33 am

    I’m doing some work on dollar to win ratios of players and how the team has spent its money, and you know, there’s just no way to get around one fact; Randy Winn is underpaid. We didn’t like the contract they gave him. We didn’t like him in center field. We made sure everyone knew that Winn was brutal defensively at the start of the year.

    We were wrong. Randy Winn’s a good player making less than he should be in this market. I said this at the feed, and I’ll repeat it here; If Randy Winn could throw like a man, I doubt people would be interested in moving him. The emotional frustration of having to guage his throws in feet per minute rather than miles per hour clouds our view of his true value to the club.

    On a dollars-win basis, he’s something like the 4th of 5th best player on the club. Jeremy Reed is, right now, a step down, and they shouldn’t give Winn away in order to give Reed a job.

    Really, a lot of this applies to Ibanez to, though to a lesser extent. Both are good players who are capable of contributing to a Mariner team that wants to contend in 2005 and aren’t financial burdens the club needs to be rid of.

  15. AK1984 on December 23rd, 2004 12:48 am

    You’re right Dave.
    Look, ostensibly speaking, most people are going do come to the decipherment that both Winn and Ibanez are overpaid; however, they are actually underpaid. This fact are proven due to two factors, with those being: 1. Their offensive production; 2. The over-paying for the middle-class of free-agents this off-season.
    Moreover, Jeremy Reed isn’t know for his defensive talents either, but rather his excellent BA and OBP at the AA & AAA levels; as it is, BA and OBP are two things that Winn is decent at, too. Ultimately, though, Reed is going to be a necessary part on this team’s roster this upcoming year, for the Mariners are lacking in the department of left-handed hitters. Sans Spiezio — who is a switch-hitter — the team will be without anyone who can hit from the left side of the plate off of the bench if Reed doesn’t make the team. Then again, as it has been mentioned, Winn, Reed and Ibanez can all start, and Jacobsen/Leone/Dobbs/etc. can take up the 25th spot on the roster or whatnot, without the team having to make a trade or an extra addition.
    I’m not sold on Jacobsen; Leone or Dobbs could be more versitile options on the bench, as well as all-around better players. In fact, Jacobsen could end up languishing in Tacoma again in 2005, thus cementing his place among the great ‘AAAA’ 1B/DH players of all-time.

  16. MER on December 23rd, 2004 12:52 am

    Beyond Ichiro, Winn and Ibanez were probably the best performers of the 2004 Mariner position players. That may not be saying much but Winn and Ibanez were not the reasons the Mariners lost 99 games.

  17. PositivePaul on December 23rd, 2004 12:59 am

    So, then why must Ibanez be the DH? Keep him in LF, move Reed to CF, and have Winn as the DH (after all, the DH doesn’t HAVE to be a middle-of-the-order hitter). Ibanez appears to me to be a decent fielder with a decent arm (I saw him throw at least two runners out at home last year). Reed, too, appears to be just fine out in Center. I saw him a lot in Tacoma, and watched him on TV while up with the M’s. He seemed to track the ball just fine and showed a better arm than Winn.

    I’m really less and less in favor of trading Winn, since he’s the only switch hitter other than Spiezio on the team. He’s a great #2 hitter, especially in the second half.

    I’m glad to hear you’re coming around with both of these guys, Dave. I recally you being a little harsh on their contracts before. Indeed they aren’t financial burdens to the club, and are decent players when in their proper roles. Ibanez is no cleanup hitter, sure, and they probably jumped the gun a little on him last year. But being the M’s killer that he was, and the fact that they wanted him back so badly, probably caused Gillick to jump in a little earlier than needed. Still, Winn and Ibanez at their current contracts seem like a bargain in so many ways. Especially with guys like Cabrera and Renteria making $8-10 million a season (2-3 times as much — even if they are infielders).

    My question to you, though, Dave, is why do you think Reed is a step down from Winn in CF? I respect your opinion and educated insight on players pretty highly, even when I disagree, and I’m curious why you feel this way about Reed.

  18. Chickenhawk on December 23rd, 2004 1:00 am

    Thank you, Dave! Winn = Wins!

    … having said that, if trading Winn gets us Perez, I am all for it.

  19. DMZ on December 23rd, 2004 1:00 am

    Look, ostensibly speaking, most people are going do come to the decipherment that both Winn and Ibanez are overpaid; however, they are actually underpaid.

    AK, if I may make a suggestion, you’d probably be better understood if you took a little more care in using a little plainer language — ostensibly is a real clunker here, for instance, and then to drop decipherment? Let the point speak for itself is all I’m saying.

  20. AK1984 on December 23rd, 2004 1:13 am

    Yeah, as the advisor for the newspaper [The Clipper] at Everett Community College {EvCC} always says, “twenty dollar words are pretentious; stick to the ones worth only a penny!” (Yeah, the irony with his adage is somewhat hilarious.) Although, with that notwithstanding, the most glaring error is the grammatical mistake, with me writing ‘do’ instead of ‘to’. My excuse for those sort of screw-ups is simple: It’s usually very late at night or remarkably early in the morning when I make my comments, so I’m prone to botch ’em.
    Anyways, good job on getting an article published in a major newspaper Derek—well-done.

  21. PositivePaul on December 23rd, 2004 1:16 am

    Oh, now I get it, Derek. THAT is your super-secret, under-wraps project that you mentioned earlier this fall…

    Cool! Can’t wait to read more!

  22. michael on December 23rd, 2004 1:44 am

    We need to use both proven players and promising prospects. By Winn splitting time between CF and LF, we can use Reed in CF half of the time and Raul in LF the other half. Raul can then split time with Bucky as the DH. As the season progresses, we can adjust playing time according to performance. Also, we would always have a decent bat on the bench (Raul or Bucky). As for the price, we are covering three positions and a bench bat for less than 9 million. For OF and DH contingencies, we have Strong and Snelling.

  23. Bela Txadux on December 23rd, 2004 2:36 am

    Regarding the overall value to the team of Randy Winn, Dave, I have to disagree with you, but it’s a complex point. Here goes:

    First of all, I’m fine with Randy’s salary. The Ms can afford it, and it’s not wildly out of line with his offensive totals, really. In that regard, I’m with you Dave. But it’s more than the totals with Winn. His value is highly asymmetric over the course of the season, and always has been: much of each and every year, he is a replacement level player. As such, much of each and every year, he is a hole in the Mariners lineup.

    From his time back in Tampa, Randy always has a massive, mid-summer hot streak. It starts anywhere from the beginning to the end of June, and lasts anywhere from 4-6 weeks—except in ’04, when Randy was hot for all of June and July for _8 weeks_. During his hot streak, Randy just RAKES; he smokes doubles off the wall, runs out triples, has fistfuls of multi-hit games. During his hot streak in mid-season, Randy is nearly as valuable as Ichiro: this was why Melvin went public in the press near the deadline this past year with a deal with SF for Winn in discussion telling, everybody how valuable Randy was to the Ms—and in July, that’s true. That said, Randy doesn’t do much with the bat in April and May at all; he’s replacement level. Randy typically tails off in September, too; again, he tailed off less in ’04. I wouldn’t say that Randy is more patient during his hotstreak, but he does seem to have deeper at bats, more because he is getting the bat on the ball more in general and so fouling off more pitches. We have a distorted view of Winn’s total value because his output has a distorted distribution as I’ve seen it: at mid-season, Randy’s an All-Star, but at either end, he’s a bench guy. That’s point one.

    Randy’s plate discipline is just very un-great; he’s never over about +.50 on OBP. But wait, that includes his hot streak. Outside of his ‘summer season’ his +OBP reads more like .30. Basically, when Randy isn’t whaling on the ball, he doesn’t walk either, he just keeps topping the ball to the right side for an out even though he flies down the line. If Randy, Team Guy, would learn to take a walk, then I’d start to agree with you and others, Dave, that he was a real offensive asset. But Randy doesn’t take the walk, so when he isn’t raking, he isn’t doing jack, for the most part. This is point two.

    Then there’s the issue that Winn hits bunches of infield grounders to the right side, almost like a machine, when he is in non-rake mode. Randy really doesn’t hit the other way, or inside-out the ball up the middle. In short, at the plate Winn has ONE SWING, that tight lefty hack. When he’s warmed up and grooved, he hacks the ball off the wall; the rest of the time, he’s topping the ball, and not walking. I wouldn’t want anyone to learn to hit by watching Randy; he’s not awful, and he really, really tries, but his skill set is very narrow. This is, frankly, why pitchers get him out with such consistency outside of his hot season when he manages to get the bat on anything on the inner half of the plate: Winn’s offensive approach is very limited. Together with point two, this is why Randy is not now nor has he ever been a # 2 hitter. Oh, a manager can write his name on the card in that box, and during the hot streak, Randy is frankly a second # 1 hitter, but the rest of the time he’s mostly a weak infield out that doesn’t walk, and is bottom of the lineup stuff on performance. This is point three.

    As mentioned above, Randy’s hot streak in ’04 was 30% longer than typical. You could call this maturing as a player. I _would_ call this a career year. In my view, Dave, you are looking at Randy Winn’s _best year_ past tense and future tense, and saying, See, the guy has real value. If he even repeated ’04, despite his relativly limited offensive value outside of mid-summer, there’d be a case. Will he repeat it, then? Randy is 30, and foot speed is his major offensive asset. Where does PECOTA peg him in? What are his most-comparables?? What is a reasonable hip-pocket assessment about his coming season even without those analytical tools??? Randy is more likely to decline than repeat his ’04; not decline a lot, but his value as it is is not that high, and for at least half of his total at bats isn’t anything to sit in the stands to watch when you need to use the lavatory. (And I should say right here that I think Randy’s a fine man, and I don’t want to imply anything _personally_ negative about him in my highly qualified appreciation of his performance as a professional baseball player!) That’s point four.

    I recall, Dave, that we’ve back-and-forthed regarding Randy’s defensive value in CF before. You say that the D-stats by one estimation place Winn as (do I recall?) 4th best CFer in the AL. Or something. Defensive stats are quite pluperfect as we all know, but presumably this one says he got to a bunch of balls, well waddyaknow. But I didn’t buy it in that discussion, completely, and still don’t for reason of the comment # 9 above by stan: The imperfect stats may say Randy got to a bunch of balls by one calculation, but I’ve watched from the stands and on the screen, and listened to the description of his play on the radio as well, and here is what I saw from the season’s beginning to it’s end: Randy does not get a good read off the bat at all; he runs wildly imperfect routes, specifically by going too deep into the alley to be sure that the ball doesn’t go over his head, and then has to cut back in at the last second; he virtually never makes a play at the wall, despite his speed. The last two points are in line with exactly what stan says: In my view as well, Randy consistently plays too shallowly in center, whether from pride (because this is where all the truly great CFers set up, and where Mike Cameron _lived_), or because he genuinely doesn’t have a clue. My reaction to Randy’s purportedly superior _defensive results_ in our earlier discussion was, and I quote, ‘hmmmmmm.’ Considering that Randy’s technique in CF is, frankly, unacceptably bad while the imperfect numbers tell me to disregard my eyes and see Winn as somehow ‘well above average in results.’ I’ve had the fine fortune to watch several terrific CFers in person over thirty years as a fan, and Randy is not in any way, shape, or form except his footspeed comparable to anyone in that group. He’s a great guy, and he tries, but he doesn’t read the ball well, and his technique is bad. Oh by the way, I’ve heard his arm is miserable for a centerfielder. What do you have on that in the numbers? If Randy was in LF, I’d agree that his weaknesses are minimized and his strengths are magnified to the point where his results, both analytically and objectively, are legitimatly superior—but in CF I want someone else. I also recall from the earlier discussions regarding how the Ms as a team made outs on balls in play at a notably better rate in September than in any other month. Yeah, September—when Reed was playing in CF most of the time and making plays that Randy never got to, while Randy was in LF most of the time maximizing what he does best. I would far rather have Winn traded than play another season in CF for the Ms. This is not because Randy in CF is godawful; at the start of last season, he was; by August he was simply deficient; in September, he was in left. I think a team can do better than ‘deficient’ at what is arguably the most important defensive position on a team in terms of the value of the outs-vs.-hits that happen in ‘zone 8’ out there in the pasture. That is point five.

    Randy has no outstanding skill and is not a HR guy, but that is not why I’ve been campaigning for him to be sent to a team who lacks any solid LF candidates, which given the available personell is not the Ms. Outside of his ‘rake weeks’ in mid-summer, Randy Winn is, frankly, a replacement level guy, and I think that a starting player on a competitive team needs full season usefulness out of one of its _starting players_. For at least half of the total ABs Randy soaks up, he’s not a starting player, usually more like two-thirds of those ABs. I want my team to be better than that. I want my team to be _smarter_ than that.

    I really regret seeing Randy Winn as a glass two-thirds empty rather than a glass half-full, but that is the nut of my disagreement here: there is less to what he provides than meets the eye. Randy really _isn’t_ that good, and I think better options could be found without significant difficulty, many of which would cost even less than he does.

    . . . The Ms waited too long on the SF option, if it still existed, and Sabean understandably moved on. If Bavasi was _unwilling_ to deal Winn, I think he’d have said so; to me this is more a case of indecision, in the classic Bill Bavasi mode. Hargrove understands that Winn’s numbers make him one of the half-dozen ‘best players’ Mike will have to manage next year, and understandably is reluctant to lose a proven quantity for the gamble a rookie usually is. Bavasi didn’t have another deal for an experienced CFer put together, so he wouldn’t close on any option with SF, particularly if he had to push past Hargrove to shove Randy out the door. I’m not sure that Bavasi has yet unloaded a player that his serving manager wanted to have; certainly Bavasi isn’t the kind of guy to pull such a ‘boss knows best’ move. To me, this non-trade of Winn to a team with stated interest is a botch, and one on Bavasi’s account sheet, yes. Of course, the fact that it will look like a ‘solid, baseball decision’ until you turn the rock over kinda sticks in my craw . . . .

    Oh well.

  24. SFS on December 23rd, 2004 2:58 am

    I’m sorry you took offense to me posting our current roster. Let me make a cogent and reasoned reply. I was trying to make a point, which is that we don’t need to make room for more pitching. Let me point out a few things here, as I’m not sure what you have to back up your ideas, particularly:

    “Hargrove is saying Randy Winn is a lock for his lineup it’s only because that’s what the organization needs to be saying if they want to keep his trade value up”

    You can’t support that with evidence. Randy Winn has stats to back up his trade value and, therefore, doesn’t need it inflated by rhetoric. He was one of our most dependable players in a year where most of our veterans collapsed.

    “A rotation with Villone and Ryan Franklin it in? Pure insanity.”

    This I think needs some consideration. Are you trying to say that these guys will hold back the team? It is unrealistic to think we will contend for a pennant next year even if we sign Perez. He’s not a silver bullet. We need to have patience and let our young pitchers develop, as well as let Olivo and Reed reach potential. That is not going to happen next year.

  25. AK1984 on December 23rd, 2004 4:40 am

    The Mariners would save $2,600 by designating Aaron Looper for assignment and putting “King” Felix Hernandez on the 40-Man Roster, which is something the Mariners ought to do.

  26. chrisw on December 23rd, 2004 7:08 am

    Regarding trading Winn (and/or Ibanez)… I agree with those who believe Winn is worth his contract and so should not be traded as a pure salary dump. I basically feel the same about Ibanez. I’m curious, though, if anyone has any idea what either of those guys might actually fetch in a trade. If the Ms could shed the salary AND receive some minor league depth in return, such a trade might very well be a good idea. Is that a realistic possibility? Lost in the excitement of the big free agent signings are the facts that (a) the Ms should probably be playing for 2006 and beyond, not 2005; (b)the Ms farm system is hurting, and adding depth to it now will make 2006 – 2010 less painful.

  27. Dave on December 23rd, 2004 10:29 am


    Winn is a streaky hitter. So is Ichiro. And Miguel Olivo. It’s a pretty common characteristic of non-walking slap hitters. As their batting average goes, so goes their value. You live with the .250 months to get the .340 months. As long as there are enough of the latter, streaky players can be contributors on winning teams. You may prefer a player who is consistently solid over the course of the year, but there’s no reason to require every player on your roster to be. If the entire team was built of streak hitters, I’d agree this was something of a problem. But they aren’t, so it isn’t.

    Defensively, here’s my working theory on Winn and why we perceive him to be so much worse than he actually is. We spent four years watching perhaps the finest defensive center fielder of our generation play everyday. As a fanbase, we lost perspective of what a normal center fielder can do with the glove. The standard got set ridiculously high, and Winn wasn’t even close to matching it, which was painfully obvious. We went from eating at Ruth’s Chris for lunch to swinging by Burker King.

    Winn was brutal defensively at the start of the year, and the striking difference between greatness and brilliance led us to one obvious conclusion; Winn sucks as a center fielder. The rest of the season, we experienced confirmation bias. Winn would get a bad jump on the ball late in the year, and bam, it’s more evidence that he’s incompetent with the glove. What we didn’t notice was that those lousy jumps and bad routes were getting less frequent as the year went on. The occasional misstep was no longer the norm. Winn definitely got better as the year went on, but as a fanbase, we had our opinion; Winn wasn’t a center fielder.

    And, yes, the defense improved tremendously in September when Jeremy Reed played center. And Randy Winn played left. The upgrade from Ibanez to Winn in the field is pretty vast, far greater than the difference between Reed and Winn in center field.

  28. Graham on December 23rd, 2004 10:46 am

    Has anyone else noticed how ancient that Giants outfield is going to be next year? Bonds turns 41 midway through the season, Grissom’s going to be 38 in April, and Alou turns 39 in June. That franchise is going to have a bad time of it when their old players all collapse…

  29. Jon Wells on December 23rd, 2004 10:54 am

    I’d rather not live with Randy Winn’s .250 months. If Winn hadn’t sucked in April (.225 BA, .300 slugging) and May (.258 BA, .366 slugging, 0 homers in either month) of ’04, perhaps the M’s wouldn’t have fallen in as deep as hole as they did. Yes, there were other factors (the bullpen, etc.) but between his offense and defense there wasn’t a worse starting player on the M’s last April and May than Randy Winn.

    Two more points: 1) Most “good” players are consistent. They don’t go nearly half the season without hitting a home run and then hit a bunch. If I’m paying a guy nearly $4 million I want him to be more consistent and I definitely want him to be better defensively. 2) In my recollection, a good portion of Winn’s home runs come against the weaker teams in the league and come in meaningless situations.

    I’d like the M’s to get what they can for Winn and move on. At this point keeping Randy Winn means he takes away most of Bucky’s at bats. not only will Bucky be much more entertaining than Winn, he’ll be a lot more productive with the bat…

  30. PositivePaul on December 23rd, 2004 11:11 am

    And, yes, the defense improved tremendously in September when Jeremy Reed played center. And Randy Winn played left. The upgrade from Ibanez to Winn in the field is pretty vast, far greater than the difference between Reed and Winn in center field.

    I can also argue your point that Winn in LF and Reed in CF was better in September than Ibanez in LF and Winn in CF. I’m not so sure that’s due to the gap between Winn and Ibanez. From what I’ve seen, Ibanez has a much better arm than Winn, and covers left fairly decently. Winn may have a slightly better range than Ibanez, but I’d argue that Ibanez tracks the ball a little better.

    You’ve hinted at answering my question, Dave, but I’m still curious as to why you see Reed as a step down to Winn in CF. Personally, I think the difference in the defense was much more due to Reed’s presence in CF moreso than Ibanez’ attempts to become a first baseman (and Winn’s coverage of LF). I could certainly live with an OF of Winn in LF, Reed in CF and Ichiro! in RF. Maybe that’s because I’m the lone voice who thinks that Reed is a much better CF than people give him credit for.

    And, Dave, I agree that we have been spoiled by Griffey and Cammy. The dropoff between those guys (adding Hunter, Jones, and probably Edmonds) and the guys below them is HUGE. Except maybe Beltran — Beltran’s certainly above average, but he’s not as elite a defensive CF as Boras would make him out to be.

  31. Jeremy on December 23rd, 2004 11:18 am

    With the Mariners running Shiggy out of the pen with regularity, was there *ever* a “worthless situation” last year?

  32. Dave on December 23rd, 2004 11:19 am


    I personally could care less about arm strength. Ibanez has downright bad range. I’d imagine if we could get a spray chart of Safeco Field in 2003 vs 2004, we’d see a ridiculous increase in balls down the left field line getting to the wall. Winn usually cuts that ball in the corner off and holds the runner to a single, while Ibanez plays it off the wall and concedes the extra base.

    Reed in center… He just doesn’t cover enough ground. He’s not particulary quick and has a below average first step. His reactions are okay and he takes decent routes, so he’s not abysmal out there, but he doesn’t get moving quickly and isn’t making up ground at top speed. And, since you seem to like arm strength, you’ll hate Reed’s noodle. His arm is terrible.

    Defensively, Winn’s probably one of the two or three best defenders out there. He’s in that Jacque Jones category. Ibanez doesn’t cover near as much ground as Winn does, as his arm doesn’t begin to make up for that.

  33. Jeff in Fremont on December 23rd, 2004 11:26 am


    Did I just smoke crack before reading this thread, or is someone impersonating Cam?

  34. PositivePaul on December 23rd, 2004 11:31 am

    All good points, Dave. Thanks for answering my question(s)! No, I’m not entirely fixated on arm strength, but I do think Reed’s got a better arm then Winn.

    Of course, that’s like saying it’s colder in the North Pole this time of year than the South Pole. It doesn’t cover up the fact that it’s freakin’ cold in both places.

  35. RealRhino on December 23rd, 2004 12:39 pm

    I don’t know that most “good” players are consistent. For example, most of us think that Nomar’s signing is a good one for the Cubs. $8 million. Probably worse defensively at SS than Winn is at CF. Certainly worse than Winn is at LF. Nomar’s month-by-month averages in ’04: .235, .386, .306, .291, .250. In ’03: .400, .273, .339, .398, .269, .325, .170. Or, if you think Nomar’s too “good,” what about a player who may be more comparable to Winn offensively and that nobody is complaining about, Mark Kotsay, in ’04: .256, .308, .340, .352, .264, .362, .125. Unless you are talking about players who flat-out raked for the entire year, I think you are going to see similar variability in their stats if you reduce it to such small samples.

    Bela, I disagree with your “points” about Winn. He’s streaky. Okay, so are most hitters in MLB. He doesn’t walk much. Okay, but he gets on base. I’d rather he get on base by getting a hit than taking a walk. As long as he’s getting on base, do we really care how he’s doing it? He doesn’t make productive outs. Possible; it would take more than your subjective belief about that to convince me, particularly when you say he has only one swing, that lefty hack, and does nothing but hit outs to the right side. Since he’s a switch-hitter, I find that hard to believe (particularly when you also say he doesn’t go the other way at all). Numbers? DPs? Sac outs? Anything? He’s not great as a CF. Fair enough, but I think every objective piece of evidence we have shows he’s at least average, and is a very good LF. Among the bets in MLB in turning fly balls into outs at that position. And I think most research on the subject shows that having an arm really isn’t as important as we think it is.

  36. CecilFielderRules on December 23rd, 2004 12:49 pm

    This may sound crazy, but I wonder if the Giants would’ve been better off with Winn. Obviously the $$ would be a lot less, the defense would be much better, and the chance of injury and age-related decline much less. But take a look at Alou’s home/road OPS splits for last year and the trailing 3-year. These type of things are overused sometimes, but when you’re talking 1,600 ABs that’s a significant sample size. He goes from All-Star at home to barely average on the road. I’m guessing (though I don’t know) that the previous three years in HOU are similar. I can’t say the Giants are having a good offseason….

  37. stan on December 23rd, 2004 1:08 pm

    Dave, interesting discussion regarding Randy Winn. I don’t want to repeat what I have already posted, but I do think the Mariners need a better option than Randy in the outfield. Last year when the season started I said to myself that the outfield of Ibanez, Winn and Ichiro would not get to 40 homeruns. If the Mariners go with Winn, Reed and Ichiro that trio won’t get to thirty homeruns. I suppose the power can be made up at other positions and this offseason I think the Mariners have tried to do that, but still you are putting a lot of pressure on the infield to make up for the lack of power in the outfield. I don’t think you can pencil in Sexson and Beltre to give you 80 homeruns the same way you could do that with Griffey and Buhner. Boone has more power than most second baseman but he has not been a player you can depend on the give you 30 plus homers. Bottom line for me, I would be reluctant to put Ichiro and Winn in the same outfield unless I was confident that my other outfielder was going to give me 40 homeruns. Don’t get me wrong, I think Randy Winn is a major league player. In my mind he would be better as a second baseman than an outfielder, but he is too old now to make that kind of positional switch. If the Mariners can trade Randy for a decent shortstop or starting pitcher, I think they should not hesitate to do so.

  38. damienroc on December 23rd, 2004 3:58 pm

    #37: There isn’t “pressure on the infield.” The team is what it is. Currently the makeup of the team is speedy outfielders who hit singles and power-hitting infielders. There’s only pressure if you believe that contributions sould be either a) roughly equal or b) conditional to some suppositions about position, like LF, 1B, and DH being your power guys while the middle positions are supposed to have speedier guys.

  39. Jeremy on December 23rd, 2004 6:37 pm

    #37: The reason there is not any power in the outfield is a direct indictment on the Pat Gillick regime. They felt they could win with guys who slap the ball around and didn’t particularly care about power guys. Since the Mariners are on a listed budget of $95 mil (even though we all know it is more than that) and have been abysmal at developing position players through their farm system, it’s going to take some time to undo the Gillick philosophy. This offseason was a start.

  40. Jeremy on December 23rd, 2004 6:38 pm

    I meant to say less than that in previous post.

  41. Bela Txadux on December 23rd, 2004 10:36 pm

    Dave, a few follow-ons, here, regarding both the defensive competancies of Winn, Ibanez, and Reed, and also the notion that Winn and Ichiro are ‘streaky hitters.’ Then, I’ll revisit again why in the context of the present Mariners team, I think Winn is the one of the four to go.

    Regarding Ibanez in left, his footspeed is indeed incredibly poor, and my expectations at the outset in ’04 are exactly what you suggest his spraychart would supposedly reveal. But that was not the case in my direct observation at all, quite to my surprise. There were at least a dozen instances where I observed, both at the park and on the tube, with Raul in LF a playable but hard hit ball go down the line or in the alley, and Ibanez take a _perfect_ angle to the ball, cut it off at the last possible moment, make the perfect glove-to-hand transfer and fire a PEG into second base. In most of these cases, _he held the runner at first, and even when he didn’t it was a close play. I don’t recall a single instance where Raul tried to make a lateral play and had the ball get past him; instead, if he knew he couldn’t make it he went back to get the carom, and again came up firing the ball. It became clear to me both that Ibanez set up at exactly the depth that optimized his ability to cut off the ball, got consistent and surprisingly good reads on the ball off the bat, that he had very good technique in LF, and that his arm significantly depressed the bases taken on him by hitters. I think we understand well that Ichiro’s arm supresses the bases taken on _him_, and that this is a significant defensive positive. Raul’s advantage obviously wasn’t as great, but that doesn’t make it disappear. That said, Raul was also surprisingly poor at charging the ball—he was too stiff to play the sinking line drive well, I saw him fluff more than one—or that Ibanez is about as fast as a tandem trailer going back on the ball over his head, where he almost _never_ made a tough catch. Furthermore, Raul tended to cheat toward the line exactly so that he could cut the ball off whenever possible, which meant that Raul couldn’t offer much help deep in the LF alley. This was where Raul consistently was exposed as an outfielder, deep and deep in the alley, _not_ down the line.

    For all this, Winn absolutely made more plays when he was in LF than Ibanez, now question at all, despite the fact that Randy doesn’t read the ball as well, doesn’t run routes as efficiently (although he does this better in LF), and manifestly can’t ‘strongarm’ the runner thinking about taking two on him: Randy is just a much, much faster man, and accordingly can make plays Raul wouldn’t dream of trying. The weakness of arm strength that allows runners to take the extra base is more pervasive and damaging for guys like Winn than the inability to make the occasional play at the plate: the latter play is rare, but the former is frequent, and this is what weak arms cost you, runners in scoring position. Randy may turn more of those balls into outs than one might suppose, but was likely to give up more bases on balls he fielded, especially in CF. Moreover, in LF with the foul line cutting off hits to his right, Winn to my perspective tends to cheat toward CF when he’s playing LF, thereby expanding his range overall, and markedly so in relation to Ibanez who simply couldn’t cover the alley. Winn is one of the most effective LFs in the game at the moment, I totally agree, despite poor techniques: he’s just fast, but that’s good enough.

    In CF, Reed is not the solution, no, and he has all the flaws you site, Dave, I’m sure of it. Reed’s strength in CF was that he runs significantly better routes than Randy, and this allowed him to get his body under the ball make plays going backwards that Winn couldn’t and didn’t because he wasn’t in position. In previous discussions about Winn in CF, I recall saying that the observable fact that Randy continued to run great circle routes on fly balls in center should not blind one to the fact that Randy would make an ugly catch of the ball at the end of the trajectory. In other words, Winn may look bad but still make an above average number of plays. This isn’t the same kind of observer bias you allude to, Dave, making unrealistic mental comparisons of Cameron vs. Winn, but rather thinking Winn is bad simply because he, well, LOOKS bad. What I cannot quantify is how many catchable balls Randy Winn failed to turn into outs because of poor reads and bad routes. I persist in thinking someone with better technique could do a better job, but the only way to prove it is to put someone _else_ out there, and let them play. —So that’s exactly what I’ve been advocating since mid-summer: the Ms need to get a real CFer, and for me Drew was the man. It hasn’t happened, and all signs point to Randy Winn as the Ms Opening Day centerfielder in April, ’05.

    Then there’s the contention that Winn, and by analogy Ichiro, are ‘streaky hitters.’ Now, this may be a semantic difference given what you may actually mean, but to me neither one is streaky at all. Streaky hitters are just that, they run hot, the go cold; they have two good months, than can’t touch the Mendoza Line for six weeks; they have a great first half this year, then next year they’re invisible in the first half but have a strong second half. Neither Winn nor Ichiro are ‘streaky’ at all: they are extremely predictable in when and what they will do over the course of the season, with a highly consistent track record going back for years. Winn is, quite reliably, a sub-replacement hitter in April, May, and September, and tends to tail off in August; he quite reliably tears the freakin’ cover off in June and July. Ichiro said in his second year here that he coasts in April to save himselve for the fall; he got wise, and never repeated the statement, but this in fact exactly what he does—except his first year when he needed to show what he could do, and so went all out from Opening Day. Ichiro also pretty reliably tails off in September, as those 700 ABs get into his legs. But May has always been Ichi’s ‘take off’ month, June has nearly been as good, and July and August are his money months. That’s four solid months of HIGH production. Nothing ‘streaky’ about that.

    Your point that slap hitters tend to be streaky and that that must be factored into their assessed value is certainly a good one Dave, but in this case I don’t think that the condition applies to either Ichiro or Winn: their production is quite predictable. Winn is al All Star for June and July, but in at least 50% of his time as a starting player he’s at replacement level, or below. The reason I made my post above is that I think Winn is very much a known quantity.

    Then, regarding Winn as a weak infield out most of the time, I’ll say for the Rhino man that I’m fully aware that Randy Winn is a switch hitter, but that doesn’t impact my observed assessment of his results at all. Almost all of Randy’s offensive worth comes when he hits from the left side. In ’04 when the team ‘pumped up’ Randy’s totals by giving him over 600 ABs, he had 191 ABs from the right with a.682 OPS, and 435 ABs from the left side with an OPS of .812. Almost the entire difference in in slugging, almost .100 more from the left. As a righty, Winn is a weak infield out and occasional singles hitter who walked _7_ (seven) times. Given the prevalence or righthanded pitchers, Winn hit much more from the left, so when he was going cold (April, May, and September) he was topping the ball over to the right side—as opposed to topping the ball over to the left side which he simply does all season long. Furthermore, Randy Winn is one of those guys Safeco just kills; his home OPS was something like .670. Winn hit so much better on the road that it’s obvious he would be more productive in another park, and there receive the recognition for his strengths he’s not getting from fandom here. Those offensive strengths being singular rather than plural, the 6-8 weeks a hear that he’s driving linedrives gap to gap as a lefthand hitter. There is nothing ‘streaky’ about this profile; it’s an accurate summary of what Randy provides to a team in total, although again the fact that Safeco kills his slugging percentage skews his worth to the negative, to be a little bit kind here.

    Again, if Randy Winn would take a walk to keep his offensive values up when he isn’t hitting—which, btw, is what Cameron always did, he of the +.100 OBP almost every year—he would begin to be a really useful _starter_ on a team who must use such a player all year long. He does not walk, is 30, has a very consistent approach at the plate, will not be adding ‘old player’s skills,’ cannot be expecte to walk more therefore, and will lose most of his offensive value—the annual hot streak—when his footspeed starts to go. At present, neither Reed nor Snelling can be counted upon to put up even Randy’s present offensive value. I think, however, that there is a much greater chance of Reed and to a lesser extent Snelling still learning to take a walk, and to cover the plate well enough to avoid having their value plunge to replacement levels when they’re not going hot. This has been the case for both of these guys in the minors, that they have good plate coverage, and historically Reed has had a good walk rate—except for his time in Tacoma. The possibility that either of these guys will sustain a better value over the course of a year, shouldn’t blind one to the fact that at the moment Winn’s peak offensive value is higher—but vice versa Randy’s peak values shouldn’t obscure the observation that for three months of every hear he’s a hole in the lineup, that he doesn’t hit much at all at Safeco, and that he’s on the wrong side of 30 now and in any case unlikely to boost his skillset at all.

    All this verbiage notwithstanding, if the Ms put Winn in LF, and had signed Drew for CF, I’d shut my mouth and call it a good resolution. Or if the Ms put any one of the three guys, Winn, Reed, or Ibanez in LF but had somebody with Larry Walker’s profile in RF rather than Ichiro’s, I might say that the team as a whole ‘balances out.’ This is not the case. With Ichiro a certainty for RF, any combination of Winn in the outfield with either Reed or Ibanez, wherever they play, is a prescrition to have a replacement level starter in Winn for half to two thirds of the year of a certainty, with no better than decent production from the other guy. That’s a prescrition for .500 ball, to me, which is why I’ve been advocating moving Randy for months for a guy whose skillset holds up to a higher sustained level.

  42. RealRhino on December 24th, 2004 11:40 am

    Bela, I just realized why your posts are so frequently frustrating. It’s because you spend a lot of time citing a lot of nonsense. Some of your data is correct, most of your conclusory statements are not. Where to start?

    In your initial post, you claim that Winn “doesn’t walk,” stating this his +OBP is never above about .50. Of course, during the last three seasons his OBP has exceeded his average by .62, .51, .60. Not only has is exceeded .50, it has ALWAYS exceeded that figure during the last three years.

    You claim that Winn isn’t “streaky” because he has established a repeatable baseline of sub-replacement production in April, May and September, great production in June and July, and tailing off in August. That’s a great conclusion, if only if were actually supported by, ya know, evidence. The ONLY year in the last three that the pattern has held was in 2004. In 2003, Winn was slow in April but was smoking in May, to the tune of .324/.358/.471. In June (one of his “hot” months, accdg. to you), he plummeted to .202/.224/.255. In September (one of his “sub-replacement” months, accdg. to you), he raked to the tune of .350/.381/.510. In 2002, we find Winn was hitting right out of the gate, posting a .319/.330/.447 line in April. He came back to earth in May, got hot in June and July, tailed off in August, but once again got hot in September, posting a .869 OPS. This is the essence of “streaky.” There is no discernible pattern here, other than during the last three months he has hit in July and tailed off in August. You claim he can’t hit at all in April or May, but in one of the last three years he’s torn the cover off in April and May. You claim he doesn’t hit a lick in September, but in TWO of the last three years he’s raked in September. There’s a pattern here; you are co-opting small pieces of evidence while ignoring contradictory evidence to present flawed conclusions, over and over again.

    You also claim that Winn is one of those guys that Safeco just kills, citing (accurately) a huge split between his home and road production last year. That could be, but in 2003 his splits looked a lot more normal, when he posted an OPS of .742 at home and .796 on the road, which is much closer to the aggregate home/road split for the M’s as a whole. So in 2003 he was hurt by Safeco by about the same rate as everybody else, on average. I think it takes more than one awful year to conclude with certainty that he is hurt tremendously by Safeco.

    To summarize, I think you have two valid points. First, Randy is not a great centerfielder. Second, and probably most importantly, while he is a good hitter, he is not a good hitter for a team that already has more than its share of non-power hitters, particularly in the OF. But as you said, we don’t really have any other CF, so he’s a hard guy to trade for me.

  43. Bela Txadux on December 24th, 2004 10:55 pm

    Say there RR,

    . . . Let’s start with what I’m _not_ since that seems to have put a tick in yer hide, here, and elsewhere too I assume from the comment. I’m not someone with a lot of time, my posts to the contrary, and as I’ve said more than once in the past I tend to shoot from the hip on a point that interests me, as we see. Given the breadth of subjects I’ve been in the mood to tackle, and the length of the arguments I prefer to develop, it is simply impractical from the standpoint of available time (I have two full time jobs) to go and get the specific numbers for each and every point I choose to posit. I’m well aware that I’ll mis-assert on occasion depending upon memory and anchoring stats, but that’s the way it goes; those inclined to refute who have the time and inclination to go and get all the numbers for all of their arguments are more than welcome to do so, and thereby we will all know more than we started before. It’s not about ego, for me, again contrary to what on might infer by the length of what I choose to kick out for discussion: it’s about seeing into an issue, and sustaining a contention.

    That said, both in this counterpost, and in your previous one above to my comments, RR, it seems clear to me that you are cherrypicking supposedly questionable points in the whole argument to find a way to work up a beef rather than taking the arguments as a whole context. Given what I said in the previous paragraph, you’ll continue to have regular opportunities to pick at impedimenta in my posts. That’s your prerogative, but since that’s your choice thus far to my observation, let’s go back over the facts you put forward in complaint of my contentions.

    I said ‘about .50 +OBP’ deliberately; I looked at exactly the same numbers you cite, and didn’t feel moved to put them down year by year. Average them and you have .58, and if you think that .08 OBP over the course of a year makes Winn _significantly_ better player at getting on base, we simply differ. I don’t think so, nor do I think you’ve shown anything with ‘the numbers’ that significantly differs from my view of this conclusion. —But let’s take a look at your numbers: You cite splits for four months for Winn over three years, three of them purportedly hot months, and his +OBP never tops .31 in any of them; his best OBP in any of them is pretty decent, .381—but he had to hit .350 to get there which obviously he can’t and doesn’t sustain. My point in the .50 ‘ballpark figure’ for Winn is that he doesn’t get on base enough. I don’t see anything in .08 to change my view of that matter.

    Regarding whether or not Winn is streaky, my recollection of Winn’s 2002 splits which I last looked at when the Ms acquired him and wished that they would immediately trade him, is that he had a fantastic June and early July when he scored and drove in close to half of his totals in that fraction of the year. Since you’ve gone back to get numbers for what he actually accomplished at the plate in April and May that differ from my recollection, I’m happy to concede that Winn is streakier than my memory supports. —But not that he’s any better; he’s still a hole in the lineup half the time, even in ’02. I don’t see that I should value him more highly because his pattern is _somewhat_ less predicatable than I’ve asserted.

    As another point here, if you’ve read the whole of what I’ve written regarding Winn’s certainty of a mid-season hot streak that contains most of his offensive value to a team, I said specifically that said streaks could start anywher from the beginning to the end of June. I’m quite aware that he sucked in June his first year here, and that unlike in ’02 and ’04 his hot streak in ’03 didn’t begin until July. There isn’t anything contradictory in my statements on the matter in and of themselves, the contradiction is in the reading. Winn’s great value to a team is when he’s on his mid-summer tear—whenever that starts, however long it lasts. You’ve pulled out numbers that show Winn is more streaky overall then I’ve been willing to credit, but that doesn’t change his overall worth. Where’s the big difference? Dave’s argument that in employeing a streaky hitter one buys the bad to get the good is quite a justifiable point; my reading of the same issue is that Randy isn’t so good for sufficiently long in the year that it outweighs his essential lack of value during the times when he’s not good at all.

    Then there’s the issue of Randy’s lefty hack. You didn’t chose to returne to this issue, but let’s pull it apart to see the gears and springs in it. I first stated, returned to, and maintain that Randy’s only zone of effect at the plate is driving the ball with a specific lefthand swing when he’s on a tear; the rest of the time he’s hitting the ball for infield outs, and not walking enough to give compensatory value. Close to 70% of his ABs are from the left, and the bulk of those infield outs are, accordingly, to the right side, which has been plain in my time watching him. Now, he had almost 200 ABs righthanded last year; I’ll bet it’s a career high, but I’ll leave it to you to go back and get the number if you’ve got the need to be more exact then I chose to be there. In those ABs, on the order of 30% of his total, he slugged diddly, and didn’t walk; Randy’s got nothing from the right side. I suspect that Winn mostly made infield outs to the _left_ side in those cases, but I’m sure that someone with a scatterchart could take a shot at proving that Winn is minimally effective from the right side in some other configuration than the one I choose to advance. Even if so, DOES IT MATTER?, would it change the evaluative profile for Winn as a whole if he flied out in 42% of his righty ABs? I’ll leave the rest to someone else on that, since the manifest conclusion to me is that it doesn’t. Randy’s got one swing that works, from the left side only too, which is why pitchers silence his bat so effectively when he’s less than completely on the ball.

    I elected to throw in the observations for Winn’s 2004 home splits because I had them in front of me. And this despite the fact that they undermine my whole argument, RR, although I didn’t elect to develop that point. If overall Randy is closer to his road splits for this year, something that could well be argued by those who thinks he’s a valuable hitter, then he’s _significantly MORE VALUABLE_ than I’ve posited in these and other posts I’ve made about him. Now, this would seem to me a great place for you, Dave, and others who see Randy as a hidden gem to make your stand, and I’d actually like to see the point developed. If somebody can show me that Safeco is hurting Randy’s totals, especially from the right side, they may really have a point that’s worth knowing in assessing Winn, and which I’d concede.

    In the absence of that, my main contentions on Winn are unscathed by anything we’ve just summarized: Randy doesn’t walk significantly, or at all from the right side where pitchers eat him up; his only offensive asset is that lefty hack where he drives the ball gap to gap when he’s hot; even with the hack, he isn’t a homerun guy; he’s definitely _not hot_ on the order of 50% of his year, during which time he’s a replacement level hitter; the only time he’s reliably hot is in his mid-summer hot streak, which usually starts in June and typically includes most of July; he does not seem like a solid CFer, though the numbers give a suggestion—although they do not prove—that he’s more effective than he looks; technique or not, Winn certainly does generate superior defensive results in LF, where, unfortunately, his offensive totals, even seen in the best light, make him much less valuable relative to the league than if he’s played in center, out of position as I still contend. The Ms have two other guys with similar matrices to Winn: one, Ichiro, is enormously better; the other, Reed, is slower, but also younger, covers the plate better, has historically walked much more, and is cheaper. The Ms also have Ibanez, who is quite a different player, but still another guy for Winn’s best position.

    The fact that the Ms have no one better than Winn to play CF at this point in time isn’t an argument in Winn’s favor in and of itself: it’s a fundamental example of poor roster management and flat out misjudgment on the part of the existing FO, howsoever one wants to apportion the responsibility there. When the Ms pulled out of the bidding for Cameron, there were statements in the paper that the Ms were looking to upgrade the position ‘and that Winn could play there, too,’ i.e. even then they knew it was a large step down to replace Cameron with Winn. The ‘settled’ for Winn, by default. The results weren’t impressive, but they are clearly going to ‘settle’ for him again. Just like this team’s record is going to ‘settle in’ around .500—which is where it’s going to stay stuck as long as they keep starting full time a guy with ‘fourth outfielder’ level skills, which to me is Winn’s package, except his only superior defensive position is in LF.

    The fundamental divergence between my valuation of Winn and others who see him as ‘halfway good’ or better, doesn’t lie with his actual levels, however, but with a difference in opinion regarding the best way to build a winning playoff team. I’m not going to pursue this point fully, but for what it’s worth, I’ll pull it out in the open since I think it clarifies _why_ I assess the costs of Winn’s profile in the way that I do, and probably why others assess those costs differently. I don’t believe in stars-and-scrubs as a way to build a winning playoff roster; I definitely DO believe in building a 25-man roster. I do believe profoundly in the value of getting on base the absolute maximum possible number of times one can, by any means within the rules; the inverse of that position is that guys who don’t maximize their ability to get on base on a regular basis aren’t nearly as valuable as guys who do. I also believe completely in the value of going deep in the count in an at-bat, regardless of the outcome; again, guys who don’t get deep in the count regularly are inherently less valuable. If one believes in stars-and-scrubs, than Winn is their man; he’s an incomplete, non-star player with some significant positives, but in principle not enough positives to run up his cost of employment—except in this case, the Ms overpaid, so he’s a bit pricey for the fill-out-the-roster guy he would otherwise slot in as within that roster-building perspective. It’s no surprise that Sabean has been interested in Winn, since Brian is _the_ leading proponent of stars-and-scrubs.

    Why don’t I like stars-and-scrubs? Well, a big reason is that you can get a good in-season record out of it if you do your work right, but in postseason those numerous roster soft spots drag you down. Guys like Randy Winn, that is. They don’t get it done in post-season often enough, but they fit the ‘philosophy’ sufficiently well that they don’t get replaced with guys who actually get on base consistently and can really field all three outfield positions. As Dave keeps saying, ‘there are plenty of those guys out there.’ And I’d rather have one of them than Randy Winn, and spend the $$ difference on another effective guy to correct another roster weakness so that in post season the team has _two fewer_ soft spots rather than hoping Randy has a hot October and isn’t tested in CF.

    If it makes you feel any better, RR, come January I’ll be on blog much, much less. I’ve been in the stream here while the rebuild is going on because it happens to interest me, but once the roster is set—and it seems clear that Bavasi is going to settle for doing half a job, and winning half the team’s games next year accordingly—I’ve got bunches of other things that need more of my time than I’m giving them now.

  44. Bela Txadux on December 24th, 2004 11:46 pm

    So what _would_ I do with Randy Winn as opposed to simply ragging on his weaknesses? Well, to me the issue with incomplete players is to minimize their weaknesses and let their strengths take care of themselves. To me, then, this means Winn has two positions on the Ms: LF or traded. Period. If he’s in LF, then the Ms need a righthanded fourth OFer who hits lefthand pitching really well (which btw would be, uh, useful, since all of their present outfielders hit left handed, and I include Winn in saying that). Said fourth OFer hits and Randy sits when there’s a tough left pitching or Winn’s on a cold streak; Randy gets nealy all the ABs in mid-summer regardless, though, based on track record, and hits in the #2 hole almost all the time. Playing his proper position with his PT pruned to about 450 ABs, Randy Winn is a truly useful guy; not the 30 HR, .880 OPS leftfielder one would like to have, but used in this way it’s quite possible that Winn would sustain an OPS at or above .850. And that’s exactly the guy I think you’re seeing and rooting for in this, Dave.

    —Unfortunately, the guy the Ms _actually_ have is playing out of position (and not playing superior D, but disputably decent), getting 600 ABs during 300 of which he does basically nothing, and hitting in the #2 hole throughout so that he clogs up the top of the order half of the time. And this spinning gold into straw is what drives me to drink regarding the Ms FO: with their uncanny knack they’ve found a way to _maximize_ Randy’s weaknesses rather than minimize them. Aunti-Rupunzel strikes (out) again. The Ms want Randy so bad?? Trade Raul; get a starting CFer; acquire a righty fourth OFer. —Or simply trade Randy, and get a real CFer, and save themselves a lot of trouble. I guess I’ve said, umm, enough. Even for me. : )

  45. stan on December 25th, 2004 8:00 pm

    Bela, I just wanted to let you know I enjoy reading your posts so I hope you don’t stay away from this site after the first of the year. Your viewpoints are a valuable part of this ongoing baseball discussion. I find your posts consistently thoughtful regardless of whether I agree with you or not.