Merry Christmas

December 24, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 40 Comments 

Just wanted to take a minute to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Enjoy the holidays with friends and family. Derek, Jason, and I all wish you the best.

MLB and Umpires reach agreement

December 24, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 21 Comments 

Not getting a lot of press on Chirstmas Eve, either, but the

I’ve talked about this before, but it’s good news that this got resolved amicably.

The… less good news is that as part of the agreement, a couple of umps are coming back. It looks like Bob Davidson, Tom Hallion, and Ed Hickox will return. There’s also finally a settlement on severance pay and benefits for six umpires not re-hired after their disastrous mass resignation.

The two sides also seem to have reached an entirely reasonable Questec arrangement:

To resolve the grievance over the computer system, baseball agreed that umpires whose ball-and-strike calls are rated below standard by QuesTec will be evaluated by umpire supervisors based on videotape and in-game inspection.

I don’t like Questec, but the technology and the concept is sound, and I’m happy to see this resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.

Eckstein to Cards

December 23, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 35 Comments 

So I thought Eckstein would be a cool pickup for the M’s, more for intangible and amusing-me reasons. Jason agreed. We both felt if he was cheap enough, you could use him at short, or SS/2B, keep Lopez in Tacoma converting to 2B to take over for Boone… so like 1y, $1m. Maybe $1.5 or something?

Eckstein signed in St. Louis for $10m over 3 years. Word is he’ll be an everyday shortstop and lead off. This off-season continues to get weirder and weirder.

Free Agency Rankings

December 23, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 43 Comments 

One of the questions on the survey at the feed (results to be posted sometime, I promise) was “which contract signed this offseason is the worst for the signing club”? There seemed to be a significant amount of interest on the subject, and so I’ve drawn up a quick free agent rankings through 12/23. Below are what I consider to be the ten best and ten worst contracts signed to date as randomly judged by me.

As of: 12/23/05

Best Contracts of 2005

Rank Player Team Years Total
1. A. Beltre Seattle 5 $64m
2. M. Clement Boston 3 $25.5m
3. W. Miller Boston 1 $4m
4. B. Radke Minn. 2 $18m
5. N. Garciaparra Chicago 1 $8m
6. J. Kent LA 2 $17m
7. T. Walker Chicago 1 $2.5m
8. W. Williams San Diego 1 $3.5m
9 R. Hidalgo Texas 1 $5m
10. C. Counsell Arizona 2 $3.1m

There’s a pretty obvious trend here. I favor short term contracts for high reward players who won’t be a long term burden if they fail to work out but still provide the possibility of solid return. I figure most people will agree with most of these, though Craig Counsell at #10 is a bit out of the mainstream thought. Counsell is what the Giants hope they’re getting in Vizquel; a steady glove at shortstop who isn’t completely useless at the plate. Getting a player who played tremendous shortstop defense for $1.5 million is a bargain for Arizona.

Worst Contracts of 2005

Rank Player Team Years Total
1. R. Ortiz Arizona 4 $33m
2. R. Sexson Seattle 4 $50m
3. J. Wright NYY 3 $21m
4. T. Percival Detroit 2 $12m
5. P. Martinez NYN 4 $53
6. O. Cabrera Anaheim 4 $32m
7. V. Castilla Washington 2 $6.2m
8. C. Koskie Toronto 3 $17m
9 M. Matheny San Francisco 3 $10.5m
10. O. Vizquel San Francisco 3 $12.3m

More patterns emerge. I’m pretty staunchly against long term deals for mid-tier players, especially ones on the wrong side of 30. I expect a lot of people will be upset about the absence of Troy Glaus and Kris Benson from this list, but I don’t think those contracts are as bad as they’re being made out to be.

Big Board!

December 23, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 56 Comments 

Hey now! I just posted an updated Big Board, so y’all can quit bugging me about it.

Please note that the BB is most accurate at the major league level, and even then, you never know; We came up with what we thought the roster would look like if the season started tomorrow. In the minors, I didn’t even try to project who’d be where, who’s getting promotions, who the starters are, etc., so please don’t complain about that. What you are allowed to complain about are links that are wrong or don’t work, or if you notice I have a guy listed as left-handed who really isn’t, stuff like that. In that case, drop a note in the comments.

Oh, and as requested, I added “last updated” dates to the links on the left, for both the Big Board and Dave’s Future Forty. Thanks to whoever suggested that in the comments recently.


December 23, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 46 Comments 

The P-I has a nice article on the offseason up. It’s well-written, makes a solid point, and is a nice change from the analysis we usually get from the local dailies. It’s definitely worth reading.

And I hear the author’s a pretty good guy.

Randy Winn and the Giants

December 22, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 45 Comments 

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.

Comments stuff and registration

December 22, 2004 · Filed Under Site information · 53 Comments 

The thing I heard at the Feed about the site was that people were tired of the comments. Particularly the me-too comments, but they had many of the same frustrations as Dave and I have expressed at different times here. While I think the comments have for the most part fostered a good discussion with many viewpoints, it’s not without a cost.

There are over 3,000 specific anti-spam bans in place. Some use my Comment Spam Retaliator, many throw comments into a queue to be reviewed.

There are about 30 moderation bans in place in response to trolls (like the people who thought it was funny to make anti-Japanese comments about Ichiro!). Some may encompass problem ranges (like when we’re getting hammered from AOL, I may widen one). So if you’re from AOL, for instance, and you’re allowed to make a comment but it doesn’t show up, just hang out and it’ll be cleared. Generally, these are temporary and get lifted as possible.

This also means I get people yelling at me because they’re mad they’re being censored but what’s actually happened is no one’s gone through the queue to wave their comments on through (this is you, Dan).

There are two bans for particular people for doing something that forced the issue. When they get around the bans, the bans get adjusted. I can’t keep them from reading, but they don’t get to play in the sandbox. They know what they did, and it’s between them and us.

When I started this, I’d have thought that number would be much higher than two.

To the main point, and whether we’re going to registration or not — we’re considering things. I threw some ideas around at the Feed in talking to people individually, but I’m reluctant to implement those that stop people from being able to easily come by and write something up.

It is quite likely comments will require registration to post soon, unless we come up with a better solution. Suggestions welcome.

Wade Miller to Boston

December 22, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 38 Comments 

So much for that — Miller signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox worth up to $4.5M. The base salary is only $1.5M, with the rest in incentives. Miller’s agent didn’t list the Mariners as one of the club’s interested in his client’s services.

Beltre, slacker

December 22, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 16 Comments 

One of the things I’ve heard from people who don’t like the Beltre signing is that in his Dodger years he only really cranked it up late in the season, when the team was starting to think about trading him. But that’s not true.

In 2003, his best full month was September. But there’s an excellent case to be made that this is where the Return of Beltre starts to happen — his first-half OPS is .642, and then he get better, better, and better to finish the year. Except even his peak OPS wasn’t that good. And also that in 2002, his September was terrible. His best months were July and August, and those looked like September 2003, but overall… there’s no pattern here. Beltre wasn’t cranking it up whenever trade rumors surfaced.

And that makes the 2003 dip even weirder. If you thought his 2002 second-half improvement was him getting stronger, then 2003 was a step back, followed by a slow ascent to the level he picked it up for 2004.

But this — it’s like reading a stock chart and trying to ascribe causality without there being clear news. It’s not as if analysts issued a “strong buy” advisory ahead of July 2002 and then yelled “sell” before September began.

What we can tell is that Beltre’s not some 90% slacker. Whatever’s going on, random fluctuation or health issues or whatnot, it’s not that he only concentrated for the last eight weeks every year.

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