Mike Cameron

JMB · January 12, 2005 at 8:25 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

So I haven’t posted yet this year, mostly because Dave and Derek have covered it all, but also because there just hasn’t been that much to talk about. KJR (local sportsradio, for those of you who might be out of the area) was all abuzz today, however, with talk of Cameron making his way back to Seattle. The host in question was sure to point out that it was just idle speculation on his part, not any sort of even decent rumor.

Cameron makes ~$14M over the next two seasons, and I’d take him back in a heartbeat. Rather than focus on the things he can’t do, as people have done the last two years or so, look at what he can do: play a tremendous defensive center field, take walks, steal bases at a good clip, and hit for power. Even injured and appearing in only 140 games last season, he managed 30 homers; nearly 54% of his hits went for extra bases, and Shea plays as a pretty solid pitchers’ park.

With Beltre and (gulp) Sexson on board, Cameron wouldn’t need to be the third-best hitter on the team. You hit him sixth, maybe seventh, something in there, he plays good defense and whatever offense you get is gravy. Sure, he “strikes out too much,” whatever. He also will hit one out now and then.

Look, I don’t think he’s coming back, because there’s still the matter of Randy Winn and the $14M owed Cameron. Might be worth seeing what the Mets would want, though; perhaps even Winn, for left, with Beltran in center and Cliff Floyd sliding over to right. If there was money to offer Odalis Perez, there’s money for Mike Cameron.


96 Responses to “Mike Cameron”

  1. Jerry on January 13th, 2005 10:30 am

    Graham is right about Bucky. We really don’t know how he will do over an entire season, but his numbers in Tacoma last year were absolutely stupid:

    .312 BA, .661 SLG, .422 OBP, 26 HRs, 86 RBI, 50 BB, 88 Ks in 292 ABs.

    Those numbers are exceptional. He did better than Dallas McPherson, who most people thought had the most dominant performance of any hitter in 2004. You can’t deny those numbers, especially since he was playing in AAA in a pitchers park.

    And when Bucky came up to Seattle, he was anything but overmatched. I know that he is old for a rookie, and that he strikes out a lot. And he isn’t exactly an athletic guy. But he held his own against ML pitchers for about 1/3 of a full season in his first opportunity, while playing on a bad knee. The knee issue could be important. He did seem to have trouble later on. This could be because pitchers were learning how to get him out. But it also correlates with the time that he started playing 1B a lot, which undoubtedly made his bad knee more of a problem.

    As far as his hitting, the only thing that I thought he had trouble with is breaking balls down and away. While pitchers could also make make adjustments and go after this weakness, who is to say that Bucky can’t do the same? Laying off low, outside breaking balls is also something that a lot of people said was a major factor in Beltre’s breakout season. With Bucky, he can absolutely destroy anything up in the zone and inside pitches. If he can make that adjustement to lay off pitches outside the zone, he will become a lot more complete hitter.

    I watched almost every game that Bucky played last season. I wasn’t expecting much from him, but the guy I saw looked really good. I was expecting him to be a more all-or-nothing hitter, swinging from his heels every time. But he seemed a lot more professional than that, with an easy swing. Guys who can hit a baseball that hard don’t come along often, and I hope that they at least give him a shot to play every day. It won’t cost the M’s much to give him a look, and he could be a pleasant surprise. If he was just a lefty hitter….

  2. Jerry on January 13th, 2005 10:35 am

    One other note that is totally secondary and matters very little:

    If the M’s did bring back Cameron, and managed to get Bucky playing time, they would have one of the best assortments of personalities in baseball. Boone, Cameron, Pokey, Guardado and Bucky are all pretty good interviews. If nothing else, the possibilities for commercials is endless.

  3. Ralph Malph on January 13th, 2005 11:29 am

    Who doesn’t have trouble with breaking balls down and away?

    I don’t think people should get too worked up, though. If Bucky makes the team as a part-time DH, pinch hitter, I think he’ll hit enough that he’ll force his way into the lineup.

    What I would really hate to see is if he didn’t make the team. What could he possibly have to prove in Tacoma after what he did last year?

  4. Russ on January 13th, 2005 11:54 am


    If we could drop him into the DH role and let him have a go on a regular basis, he’d likely be as good as most any DH in the league and for that I like your logic.

    My concern is that with Raul’s contract(Bavasi’s first signing) and left hand, he’ll be DH. That said Bucky won’t get his fair shot unless he blows them away at camp. If Bucky isn’t in the DH role, I see his value as very limited on the 25 man roster.

    If I were King…

    Trade Raul- no speed, so-so arm/glove in left.

    Keep Winn- he gets on base, plays a solid LF, switch hitter.

    Cameron- hits for power, good speed on the bases (so-so smarts) & owns CF at Safeco (I can still picture the first run he pulled back over the wall…Jr. Who! Makes me smile) Not to mention he is a positive force with fans and players alike.

    Work with this year’s pitchers out of camp and then find a good starter at the deadline. By then we’ll know if Moyer is done or not and if the youngsters are going to step up. A very solid defense at Safeco will make anyone a bit better pitcher.

    Let Reed stay at AAA for now. He is still young and the season is long. I think the last thing the Mariners need is a weak/inexperienced outfield with their current pitching staff. If they were loaded with aces, they could get by but my belief is that either the pitching staff is ace or the outfield is solid, no room in the MLB to have mediocre talent at both.

  5. Manzell B on January 13th, 2005 11:59 am

    I think we should try to get Griffey back before we work on Cameron.

  6. Jon Helfgott on January 13th, 2005 12:15 pm

    According to Joe Sheehan, the Mets have had the best offseason of any team in recent history. Cough.

  7. Alvin Davis Fan on January 13th, 2005 12:42 pm

    Trade Winn, Ibanez, Spiezo for Cameron and Floyd, Floyd can back up, Reed, Sexon, or Bucky, and he provides more pop than Ibanez. Keep Dobbs on 25man as a lefty off the bench and 3b backup.

  8. Colm on January 13th, 2005 12:45 pm

    Re: 54. Blimey.

  9. MER on January 13th, 2005 1:34 pm

    I asked my wife if we should bring back Cammy. She knows nothing about OBS, defensive stats, etc but she immediately said yes because “the team did better with him”. Now that logic could be applied to Charles Gibson and John Halama but the obvious truth to most of you is that Cammy made the Mariners better plus there was that love affair between Cammy and the fans. He is one player who really would love to play in Seattle. I agree that $7 million/yr is steep but if we could shed Spezio’s contract in the process, it would be a great trade. Its probably not going to happen but I would welcome Cammy patrolling center field.

  10. jtopps on January 13th, 2005 1:45 pm

    Re:54 That’s only because the Mets have had such terrible offseasons for so long, everybody’s perception is skewed.

  11. jim on January 13th, 2005 1:49 pm

    All of us were thrilled when Cameron played beyond expectations after Griffey selfishly shafted the Mariners by demanding a trade to the Reds. Sentiment gets in the way, however, of remembering airmailed throws over Dan Wilson’s head, running over Ichiro, and the missed catch in extra innings in Boston in a crucial extra innnings game in 2003. And Cameron never quite recovered from the four consecutive bombs he hit in Chicago. It seemed he was always striking out in critical situations which combined with his erratic baserunning skills diminished his offensive value. Nobody doubts Mike Cameron’s heart but I have many doubts about his head.

  12. Evan on January 13th, 2005 2:04 pm

    Cameron didn’t strike out disproportionately in critical situations. He just struck out a lot.

    But it’s just another out. I don’t care if he strikes out our grounds weakly to 2B. It’s what he does between the outs that matters.

  13. Jim on January 13th, 2005 2:08 pm

    Bringing back Cammy is a bad idea for several reasons.
    1) He’s way overpriced for what he brings to the team both on the field and at the plate. A great-glove, no-hit replacement should be dirt cheap. An inconsistent power bat should be reasonably cheap. So much of this blog is taken up with arguments on how to craft a “cost-effective” team, the Cameron discussion seems completely at odds.
    2) Sure he was a ray of sunshine when he was here, we all loved to see him play. But the team has changed, the overhaul isn’t complete but it is likely that Boone, Moyer, Wilson, Winn, and Ibanez will not be in the Compass Rose come 2006. We need some new heroes – Beltre, Reed, Bucky, King Felix, whoever. The Beatles didn’t reunite and neither will the 2001 M’s.
    3) Balance. Under the best of circumstances Cammy adds a power bat. We have at least 5 power bats in the lineup now (more if you can be optimistic about Olivo for a few minutes). This leaves only 3 high-average hitters (yes Beltre can be both, but let’s assume he’s .290 for this argument). An outfield of Winn, Reed, and Ichiro could average .325 with a pretty good OPS too. Cammy would sink that, and contribute maybe 5 HRs more than Ibanez or 10 more than Winn. If you assume Winn will be gone, the need for Reed’s bat becomes even more critical.
    4) Defense? I’m still taken with the images of Manny Ramirez stumbling around the outfield. It was as if they’d picked one lucky fan to come down to play left field – and got a fat middle-aged drunk guy! But at the plate, he more than made up for it. The team did pretty well too.

  14. J.R. on January 13th, 2005 2:16 pm

    #30 – Nate
    I completely agree. Offensively we are better off with Ibanaz, Winn, and Reed. What Cammy would gain on defense is not great enough to make up for the extra cost and lack of offense.

    The team needs to be focused on pitching, that is my concern.

  15. Saul on January 13th, 2005 3:03 pm

    I prefer a K over a GIDP.

  16. Evan on January 13th, 2005 3:07 pm

    I would argue there would be no loss of offense. Cameron, Ibanez, and Winn are all basically .270-.280 EqA guys. It’s the same bat in a bunch of different shapes.

  17. Pilots fan on January 13th, 2005 3:19 pm

    re: #61, Jim —
    On point 1, you are right on “a great glove, no-hit replacement should be dirt cheap”, and we have one named Jamal Strong. You are also right on an “inconsistent power bat should be reasonably cheap”, and we have one of those named Bucky. I disagree on the value of defense, though in your #4.

    We all love Cammy, but we don’t need him. And we certainly shouldn’t be spending salary on him. We need to find salary for pitching.

  18. DMZ on January 13th, 2005 3:30 pm

    Jamal Strong is not a great glove in center field, and certainly not in the class of Cameron’s good years.

  19. John Hawkins on January 13th, 2005 4:24 pm

    Mike Cameron is absolutely one of my favorite players in professional sports, and he could bring a lot to the M’s. As far as I’m concerned, Hiram Boccachica was a highlight last year, just because I got so see someone wearing #44 chasing down flyballs in CF. But it’s just not a fit any more. $7M/year is more than we can afford for a defensive specialist and base stealer. Offensively, he’s a power hitter who’s power is to a part of Safeco he himself once called “that little triangle out there that’s no good for me.” When he hits the ball the best, it tends to go just a shade to left of dead center field, hits the cold, wet air, and drops into the CF’s glove ten yards in front of the 405 marker. The strikeouts wouldn’t be a big deal if he had the power, but he just doesn’t have power at Safeco.

    He’d be relegated to an odd sort of platoon player – only starts on the road, and comes in as a defensive specialist at home.

    Cameron is too good a player for that role, and as much as I miss having him on the M’s, he’s better off in a different park. If he ends up on the A’s, I’ll cheer for him when he comes up to the plate (as long as the winning run isn’t on base…).

  20. The Ancient Mariner on January 13th, 2005 4:32 pm

    I don’t see where people get the idea that Cam’s a “great glove, no hit” player. In his time in Seattle, he was the best CF around, but also a very good hitter–on the road; I have no earthly idea how Safeco could hurt him that badly, but it indisputably did. So what does he do? Go someplace else where he won’t hit at home (if he’d gone to Colorado, the HOF talk would be starting). Since that place happened to be New York, where there’s no middle ground between hero and bum, it produced an unduly negative perception of him as a player, but we should know better than that.

    My bottom line is this: we really need a true ballhawking CF out there, with as much of a flyball staff as we have, and Cam would fill that bill. As such, I agree with those who say that we could help our pitching staff more by bringing him back than we could by signing any of the remaining FA pitchers. I also agree that I wouldn’t want to do it unless we moved Randy or Raúl, for two reasons: 1) M’s ownership is only going to spend so much, and 2) I want Bucky at DH most of the time. I’m not worried about Reed until ’06, because I don’t think he’s ready, and we shouldn’t try to figure out ’06 until ’05 is more fact than speculation.

  21. Joshua Buergel on January 13th, 2005 5:35 pm

    My bottom line is this: we really need a true ballhawking CF out there, with as much of a flyball staff as we have, and Cam would fill that bill.

    I’d always kind of known that we had a flyball staff, but I just went and looked for myself again, and that’s no joke. Closest thing we have to a groundball pitcher is Pineiro, and his career mark in G/F (1.21) is still lower than the the AL average among starters last year (1.32). Gil Meche career mark: 0.91. Madritsch, last year (majors only, I don’t have easy access to minor league nubmers): 1.02. Villone might get some starts, career: 1.08. Franklin, of course, is the king: 0.76. Moyer, for his career: 1.14. Last four years? 0.88.

  22. David J Corcoran on January 13th, 2005 6:06 pm

    Guys, just a thought. We let a guy go this year with as good as defense as Cameron whoe was available at the minimum. Why pay Cameron 7 mil a year when we can get Bocachica for the minimum? The offense isn’t different enough to justify a 6.5 million dollar difference.

  23. David J Corcoran on January 13th, 2005 6:16 pm

    Which is to say that guys with good defense available for the minimum are a dime a dozen.

  24. DMZ on January 13th, 2005 8:02 pm

    You think seriously that Bocachica played as good of defense in center as Cameron did when he was here?

    Is there any evidence of any kind besides your own opinion that this is the case? Because every available measure indicates otherwise.

  25. The Ancient Mariner on January 13th, 2005 8:03 pm

    Bocachica really is good glove, no hit.

  26. Alvin Davis Fan on January 13th, 2005 8:35 pm

    Bocachica made sportscenter highlights 2-3 times last year, while Cameron was almost a nightly showcase, which translates to Seattle exposure across the nation (win or lose) which translates to increased merchandise sales, thus a larger net gain for Cameron than Bocachica, case in point, how many people did you see walking around with a Bocachica jersey? So if you argument is soley that Bocachica or Gibson, or any other minimum wage defensive outfielder would be better than Cameron because of salary, I disagree, we’re Seattle we need as much exposure as we can get, and Cameron provides that with his flare, great clubhouse atitude, and great community guy, and don’t tell me those little things don’t add up.

  27. my two cents on January 13th, 2005 9:25 pm

    I would not trade Winn or Ibanez for more middle of the road pitching which is all we would probably get. I would take a chance on trying to use either one to get Cameron for the rest of his 2 year contract (?) If bad blood in New York really were to develop it could happen and the M’s could become opportunistic and get a useful player (speed,defense,occasional power,occasional walk opps,clubhouse/fan intangibles,etc)- the Met’s might even get to the point that they help pay some of his remaining contract. Also, there should be plenty of opportunities for our young players that are worth keeping next year and the following year even. I’m talking about Bucky ( and he deserves a look – it would be foolish for Hargrove and the M’s to not see what he can do – last year he did get the opposing pitcher’s attention, the first half M’s could not). And I’m talking about Reed (speed and hitting) and Jose may turn out ok but he CAN wait, besides Pokey was a good move (he has speed and defense – if his offense becomes too much of a hinderance or he gets hurt bring Jose up! So I would completely object to trading Bucky or Reed for Cameron or anyone else (pitching too). These are our realistic prospects.

    I would discourage trading Winn for anyone other than Cameron (at least that trade would return something. i.e., No Winn (but a mediocre pitcher in return) = no ADDITIONAL SPEED, no ADDITIONAL HITTING, no whatever he gives us in LF and/or off the bench, but a marginally better (or worse!) pitcher for our staff. At least we would know what Cameron would bring ( for the reasons outlined in the previous paragraph I think an improvement, if nothing else a personality improvement).

    We have plenty of decent arms, the only way to improve pitching for next year would be to get somebody who is better than we already have. And what aspect of our pitching is going to need the most help anyway? We don’t know yet. Most people say another starter, I say help will be needed with the bull pen and maybe closer situation – remember the second half of last year? The starting improved but the bullpen was scary. Let’s keep Winn and Ibanez if Cameron is not available, keep all of our offensive tools and focus on a big trade(Boone?) for pitching when we know what we need or free agent pitchers for 06 when we have control of our situation again.

    I think the M’s did a great job of focusing on offense this year (that’s what they were supposed to do last year) and not doing something half hearted like some pitching (Pavano) and some offense (Sexson only). They lucked out and improved the defense ten fold besides!

  28. Tim on January 13th, 2005 10:10 pm

    Sorry Alvin, those things don’t add up (at least not in baseball). Who cares about expsoure? Its not like they are tyring to impress the BSC voters. It’s one thing if they were playing in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) trying to get into a BSC bowl, but since this is MLB, no one cares how many times the players show up on sportscenter.

    In addition, Cammy’s not going to bring in enough jersey sales to make up for the increased cost to bring him back. That’s a lot of jerseys. What will bring in revenue is a good team, which comes from maximizing resources. Again, they should get the best pitcher available in trading Winn, that will lead to more wins and more revenue.

  29. The Ancient Mariner on January 13th, 2005 10:31 pm

    Trading for Cameron would make all our pitchers better, thus accomplishing the same purpose.

  30. John Hawkins on January 13th, 2005 11:07 pm

    Cameron is much better than Boccachica from both sides of the plate. I just don’t think he’s $6.7M/year better.

  31. jm on January 14th, 2005 1:02 am

    ok, cammy too expensive?

    bring back boca!

    he has a cool name and weird facial hair… just like bucky!

  32. David J Corcoran on January 14th, 2005 6:33 am

    Not as good, but not 6.5 million dollars worse.

  33. Ralph Malph on January 14th, 2005 9:31 am

    We should bring Hiram back just so that we can have:

    Boca, Pokey, Bucky and Boonie…

  34. Graham on January 14th, 2005 9:45 am

    How are we planning to bring Bocachica back? He signed a minor league deal with the A’s a few months ago.

  35. DMZ on January 14th, 2005 10:51 am

    We let a guy go this year with as good as defense as Cameron whoe was available at the minimum.

    Not as good, but not 6.5 million dollars worse.

    You’re not weaseling out of that so easily. Bocachica’s defense couldn’t hold the jock of the person holding the jock of Mike Cameron’s defense.

  36. eponymous coward on January 14th, 2005 1:00 pm

    Bocachica’s not a bad bench OF’er. He’s shown more of a bat in the minors than he has in the majors, and even so, his EqA with the M’s last year was .265 (not THAT far behind Cammy at .272). Oakland made a good move picking him up.

    But yeah, Bocachica =! Mike Cameron on defense. A Winn for Cammy deal? I’d feel better about it if we traded Ibanez too- then the salaries of Cammy and Reed would wash with Winn and Ibanez, Bucky would be the fulltime DH. We’d lose some depth, but improve the defense- plus from the grumblings I’m hearing from Bavasi they are inclined to let Bucky rot on the bench and play Reed full time unless someone moves, which would definitely be the wrong way to go.

  37. jim on January 14th, 2005 2:58 pm


    I wonder why the Yankees don’t go after Cameron if he’s so valuable? Then they could win 110 games instead of 105.

  38. David J Corcoran on January 14th, 2005 3:41 pm

    Re 83:

    I guess we saw different Bocachicas then. Defense metrics need to be taken with a very large grain of salt. I have to go with what I see in this case, and I saw some pretty dang good CF defence in Boca.

  39. Ralph Malph on January 14th, 2005 4:44 pm

    Has there ever been a significant Yankees-Mets trade?

  40. bookbook on January 14th, 2005 6:32 pm

    The Yankees need Cammie more than any other team. If Houston weren’t about to swoon into some serious rebuilding, I’d recommend they consider trading for him.

  41. The Ancient Mariner on January 14th, 2005 6:44 pm

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the ‘Stros deal for Cameron; if they did, I suspect they wouldn’t miss Beltran much.

  42. Tim on January 14th, 2005 7:01 pm


    Are you trying to argue that Cameron and Beltran are even in the same league?

  43. Fog on January 14th, 2005 10:33 pm

    I say trade Winn and Spezio to the Mets for Cammy. This would give Hargrove lots of flexibility in the line-up. Ibanez LF/DH,

  44. Fog on January 14th, 2005 11:38 pm

    If we could just get to Bavasi talk the Mets into trading Cameron for Winn and Spiezio? I think the salaries traded would be about equal, it would open up a roster spot on the 40-man, would improve defense, and would give Hargrove lots of flexibility in formulating lineups, i.e. Ibanez DH against RH pitching but can also play LF/1B, Reed everyday LF but early in season can play CF while Cammy recovers from injury, Bucky DH against LH pitching and could play some 1B, and maybe even Sexson could play LF against RH pitching (yah right!).

    I still think Cammy has a lot of pluses that would be beneficial to the M’s in 2005 & 6. Outstanding defense in CF for our predominantly fly ball pitchers, some speed on the bases, decent OBP, some power, charismatic smile & style, and great clubhouse personality. So why not rely on the supposed strength of the M’s-our young pitching-in the first half of the season and if we’re in contention then go after a good pitcher and/or offensive bat as needed prior to the trade deadline.

    Not sure what to make of statistics but comparing career numbers for Cameron and Winn along with Carlos Beltran and Steve Finley, the two biggest FA acquisitions at CF in 2005, from MLB.com in the areas of AVG, OBP, OPS and FPCT respectively I found the following numbers: .248/.340/.780/.986 for Cammy, .284/.344/.755/.989 for Winn, .284/.353/.843/.981 for Beltran, and .276/.337/.787/.987 for Finley. Doesn’t look to me like there’s a big difference between the four except for Beltran’s OPS; however, Beltran signed for $! Hey, one last thing read the part of this article by Dayn Perry singing Cameron’s praises http://msn.foxsports.com/story/3321464 . Go Ms, get Cammy!

  45. The Ancient Mariner on January 15th, 2005 10:55 am

    Tim, not only are they in the same league, they’re now on the same team.


    In all seriousness, once you factor out home parks, yes, I think they’re fairly comparable. So far, Cameron has been distinctly better in CF, and before last year, the difference in their bats has been to a large extent the difference in their home parks. In the last three seasons, Beltran has posted a road OPS of .915–boosted by his 1.041 road OPS of last season; his numbers in ’02 and ’03 were .793 and .906, respectively–while Cameron has posted a road OPS of .827.

    Is Beltran a better hitter than Cameron? Yes, but if you factor out the parks, the difference isn’t as great as it looks, and Cameron has been significantly better in CF, which makes the overall gap between them smaller still. Put Cameron in Houston, where he’d have a good home park in which to hit for the first time since leaving Cincinnati, I think he could reasonably post a .900 OPS overall, just like Beltran did last season, which would make him at least as valuable to Houston as Beltran was. As such, if the Astros were to deal for Cameron, “I suspect they wouldn’t miss Beltran much”–if at all. And that’s even without considering the fact that they’d be paying him $10 million less. Throw that in, and I have no trouble saying that for their current contract terms, I’d rather have Cameron.

  46. Tacoma kid on January 16th, 2005 5:03 pm

    There is no way that I would take on Cameron’s $14M contract. If the Met want to get rid of Cameron, maybe, we could get him via the Jeff Cirillo route. Let the Met eat the contract and we could pick up Cameron via the minimum wage route like San Diego did with Cirillo.