JMB · July 3, 2005 at 12:21 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

And it’s official.

Bret Boone has been DFA’d. Jose Lopez is back up from Tacoma.
Dave Hansen is on the DL. And Doyle is up from Tacoma.


88 Responses to “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes”

  1. LB on July 3rd, 2005 5:31 pm

    #48: It’s like closing a restaurant. It’s very unusual for the restaurant owner to stay open and lose money for a week or two so his customers (what few there may be) can say goodbye.

    Should the M’s have said they would DFA Boone on Friday morning so they could sell more tickets to Boonie fans to Bret Boone Day sometime this weekend? I don’t see the logic there. If he has a 4 HR game over the weekend, does Bavasi change his mind at that point? If Boone gets hurt over the weekend, the trade market vanishes at that point.

    There’s no way I can see to get some good PR over this. It’s a sad day when a favorite player growns too old to play the game well, but it’s part of the human condition: The King is dead; long live the King.

  2. LB on July 3rd, 2005 5:33 pm

    #49: The best time to DFA Boone was last year before his option year vested.

  3. Shoeless Jose on July 3rd, 2005 6:20 pm

    I have to say, I let out a whoop when I saw this news. I just wish they’d moved him last summer, when he might have actually got something of value in a trade (the Yankees were looking and had a catching prospect… oh well). Personally, I’m glad to see Boone gone. I couldn’t stand his smug commercials, or his inflated persona (though I have to say his commercial offered some unintentional amusement this year as it became a sort of absurdist self-parody). The commercials were almost tolerable when he was living up to them and putting up allstar numbers, but he hasn’t been that player for a while. Bye Boone. Thanks for 2001/2002. Now take your frosted locks and your showboating bat flip and your self-satisfied smirk and don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out.

  4. eponymous coward on July 3rd, 2005 6:21 pm

    In a perfect world where hindsight was 20-20, sure, I suppose (it would have left the M’s playing, I dunno, Mickey Lopez at 2B, but hey…) . But Boone’s projected PECOTA for 2005 > Jose Lopez’s, I bet, so it’s not something guaranteed with foresight…and the M’s would have been stuck for his contract.

    Keep in mind Lopez also spent some time on the DL as well, so the infield would have been quite unstable this year.

    I think how it was handled was fine…and good luck, Bret. Here’s hpoing you get some World Series time.

  5. LB on July 3rd, 2005 6:33 pm

    #54: Boone got his WS time with the Braves already.

    I don’t see anyone in the NL beating the Cardinals for the pennant, so I think Grudzielanek would have to break for Boone to get there in the NL. In the AL, the contenders are Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, and LAAoAoCoUSA. Do any of them really need Boone on their roster?

    Edgar was a better hitter than Boone and he never saw a WS from the inside.

  6. LB on July 3rd, 2005 6:53 pm

    #54: Boone had a 3 year guaranteed contract, and this year was not guaranteed. The option for 2005 vested when Boone reached 450 PA’s in 2004. If they had DFA’d Boone after 449 PA’s (July? August?), they would not have been stuck for his contract this year. Last year, he got 658 PA’s.

    The only reason to let the option vest was that they’d expect the team to reach the postseason and for Boone to be a component of that success — two really optimistic projections. Guessing wrong cost the team $9m.

    At least it’s not my money.

  7. JMB on July 3rd, 2005 7:04 pm

    Had they DFA’d him last year at 449 plate appearances, there would have been a nasty fight with the MLBPA.


  8. roger tang on July 3rd, 2005 7:10 pm

    re 57

    And it would’ve been one the Mariners would have lost…..if they were to sit him, it would have been halfway through 2004, well before the incentive clauses kicked in. Get anywhere close to 450 and it would have been all too transparent…Though I think paying him was inevitable, given the team’s habit of keeping players on far beyond their prime…

  9. eponymous coward on July 3rd, 2005 7:14 pm

    There’s no reason to wish not to wish Boone good luck, in my opinion. He seemed quite sincere about being sad at leaving, and he strikes me as a “what you see is what you get” kind of player- honest if cocky.

    And if the best team made it to the Series all the time, we’d have had at least an AL championship in 2001. I don’t see why the Padres couldn’t get hot during the right two weeks and be in the Series again, even if they’re only a 90-95 win team. They did much the same thing in 1998.

  10. eponymous coward on July 3rd, 2005 7:30 pm

    Oh, and the best line from the post-game show was Bill Bavasi saying (paraphrase) that they weren’t giving up on the season yet; that if things went well in July it could be another 1995, and they were looking for major-leeague ready players if they made trade, not “guys from A and AA”.

    Maybe Bill’s been GM’ing some other MLB team and not telling us, and THAT one was the one he was talking about… because the Seattle Mariners are done and ready for the fork. I sincerely hope he’s bullshitting the fans, because at this point, if you get an offer of somebody somewhat interesting in AA ball for Sele or Shiggy, TAKE IT, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

  11. Jim Thomsen on July 3rd, 2005 8:25 pm

    Hey … I’m designing The Kitsap Sun’s sports section tonight, and am making Boone’s departure a banner headline on the cover page, above a big close-up photo of Boone with tears streaming down his face. However, I’m struggling for a good headline. Anybody want to help? So far all I’ve got is: “M’s Flip Boone Off Roster,” which I’m not obviously not happy with. I could use a shot of legitimate inspiration. Nothing too sarcastic, please.

  12. Jim Osmer on July 3rd, 2005 8:43 pm

    Two quick roster questions.

    1. Does Boone still count towards the 40 man roster during these 10 days?
    2. Since Wiki came off the DL and went to Tacoma outright, is he on the 40 man roster currently?

    Our thanks to Dave Hansen for the phantom injury allowing this to happen smoothly.

  13. Jeremy on July 3rd, 2005 8:45 pm

    #61 Jim,

    “Boone, Mariners part ways”

    It’s simple and to the point. No need to get cute with this story. It actually hurt me to see him crying, believe it or not. He’s been in this game his whole life, due to his family (father Bob, grandfather Ray). He deserves my respect. Thanks, Bret.

    The Lopez Era is in session.

  14. LB on July 3rd, 2005 8:53 pm

    #58: I have no doubt the MLBPA would have lodged a grievance. Why should the team lose? The contract says 450 PA, not 449. Okay, then, DFA him at 349. Would the team lose then? DFA him at 149. Lose then? 49? Lose then?

    What’s the number, if not the number in the contract?

    #59: The best team made it to the WS in 2001, and the best team won it, too. The 2001 M’s were just like the 2004 Cardinals: lacking pitching to beat an elite lineup, and a lineup defeated with a good scouting report.

    #62: DFA’d players are off all rosters. That’s one reason to DFA them.

  15. BoneFan on July 3rd, 2005 9:19 pm

    M’s front office and ownership have allowed misplaced loyalty (or misplaced SOMETHING) to get them into a cycle of hanging onto guys way past their expiration date.

    In reality, they have been out of contention more or less constantly since the trading deadline in ’03, a season when Boonie hit 35 hr’s (and the Sox, Yanks, Cubs, Cards, Braves, Giants all could have used a power hitting 2B). That’s not hindsight, either. Somebody should’ve been minding the store, and cashed him in for players who might be contributing by now. Olerud probably had some value then as well.

    The same is true with prospects … the only purposes for whom are A) to produce as M’s or B) as trade bait. The M’s have hung on to theirs long enough to lose value in either use. They have all either broken down (Nageotte, Blackley, Anderson), or shown their true value as journeymen (Putz).

    Seriously, you all are smart, astute, and analytical … the decision makers with the M’s are bringing other skill sets to bear, all of which are mysterious to me. Maybe I’m just dumb. Maybe there have been reasons for keeping these guys around past their expiration dates.

    At any rate, I’d hate to smell Bavasi’s or Armstong’s refrigerators.

  16. roger tang on July 3rd, 2005 9:20 pm

    re 64

    If it’s at 349, then you look at the performance a lot more. Indeed, that’s when you SHOULD drop a player. But when it’s right before a performance milestone, a reasonable man would conclude that the major impetus is to avoid paying the incentives.

    Folks are getting too blinded by the figures (even though they deny it). Only possible reason to do it so close to the incentive figure is to avoid paying; if it was strictly performance-based, you would have done it earlier (and if you could tolerate that kind of performance through 449 plate appearances, you could probably tolerate for another few dozen).

  17. LB on July 3rd, 2005 10:38 pm

    #66: If Boone wanted the threshold to be 449 PA, he should have had his agent put that figure in the contract. 450 means 450, not 449.

    THe only similar case I can remember in MLB was David Wells’ contract with NY in 2002, which was laden with incentives for starting games. Wells volunteer to pitch out of the bullpen for one game and tried to whine about how he ought to get credit for a start for that appearance. If I remember correctly, he did not get his money.

    Contracts really ought to mean what they say. Of course, I’m no labor lawyer, which probably influences my opinion on that topic.

    Anyway, Mr. Boone looked pretty bad at the for the first 349 PA last year too. Fine, then they should have DFA’d him at that point. But like I said, it’s not my money. What’s $9m worth to the owners of the M’s?

  18. DMZ on July 3rd, 2005 10:44 pm

    Reaching back, I believe Steve Avery had a dispute with the Red Sox over a contract clause like that, where he argued they took him out of the rotation to deny him a playing time incentive based on starts.

    It does happen.

  19. rob on July 3rd, 2005 10:54 pm seems to think the best fit for Boone would be the Mets.

  20. eponymous coward on July 3rd, 2005 11:24 pm

    #59: The best team made it to the WS in 2001, and the best team won it, too. The 2001 M’s were just like the 2004 Cardinals: lacking pitching to beat an elite lineup, and a lineup defeated with a good scouting report.

    I’ll take a 162 game sample over a 7 game sample as to who’s better any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

    The way the playoffs are right now do NOT reasonably determine who the best team is- Atlanta has ONE World Championship to show for 14 years of winning 90+ games a year, a record of excellence that’s one of the most impressive in MLB history. Are you going to seriously argue the Florida Marlins are a better team because they’ve won two championships during that time?

    The bottom line is a multi-tiered playoff in baseball is WAY too likely to show random effects. There’s no way you can call what comes out of the playoffs anything other than flukey- which is great for fans of most playoff teams, who know that once your team’s punched a ticket, they’ve got a shot, but this isn’t the NBA we’re talking about (where 1’s beat 8’s like drums). Hell, the team with the best overall record in baseball in a particular year has won > 50% of the PLAYOFF SERIES overall (last I checked).

  21. LB on July 3rd, 2005 11:51 pm

    #70: Are you going to seriously argue the Florida Marlins are a better team because they’ve won two championships during that time?

    No, but in the particular case of the 2001 M’s and 2001 Yankees, I think that the result speaks for itself: Yanks in 5. Seattle just never had the starting pitching in 2001, and if by some miracle they had beaten the Yankees, Schilling and Johnson would have chewed them up in the World Series.

    Mind you, I despise the NY Yankees. I was at both of the ALCS games in Seattle, and I remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach in Game #1 when Posada doubled off Sele and Paul O’Neill homered to bring him in. The M’s were in a hole they’d never get out of, and I had a firsthand schooling in how short-duration offensive wins ballgames in the postseason. The M’s never brought that series back to Seattle, and that ess-oh-bee Steinbrenner was right: NY knew Lou’s team better than he did.

    If you want to make the case that Boston had a better team than NY in 2003 or NY had a better team than Boston in 2004, that might be persuasive. A 4-3 result leaves room for wailing and gnashing of teeth, also discussion. But 4-1? C’mon.

  22. eponymous coward on July 4th, 2005 12:02 am

    The 1969 Orioles lost a 4-1 World Series to the 1969 Mets. Which team was the better team over a longer period of time, would you say?

    Not saying the Yankees aren’t/weren’t a good team…but “better”? It’s impossible to say tha with any certainty. They won the series, props for that…but in a short series, anything can happen.

  23. LB on July 4th, 2005 12:21 am

    #72: Baseball is a funny game in that the quality of a small number of starting pitchers (sometimes just one) has a lot to do with which “team” is better. In 1967, Bob Gibson pitched and won three complete games in the World Series for St Louis, and Boston won three of the four games he didn’t pitch. (He hit a HR in Game 7, too, but that’s a different discussion.) Was Boston the better team that just couldn’t beat one pitcher? Or were the Cardinals the better team because Gibson was on their roster?

    I confess I know nothing of the 1969 Amazing Mets other than the names Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan, but I suspect those guys had a similar role in the Mets’ story.

    Question: if in a short series, anything can happen, why haven’t the M’s been able to win a single ALCS of the three they’ve played in? My theory is, more often than not, the deserving team really does win. (Except in ALCS 2003, when Grady Little kept Pedro Martinez in Game 7 when anyone with a TV set knew it was time to get him out of there.)

  24. Shoeless Jose on July 4th, 2005 12:37 am

    My theory is that to win in the post season, you need two “ace” pitchers in your rotation. Guys that can go deep into games (high K/9, low BB), who everybody expects to win every game they start. That shuts the door in the short series and sets you up to take 4 of 7 in CS and WS. (Yes, of course you need offense and a decent bullpen, but nobody gets to the postseason without that). If you think about all the WS-winning teams of the past few years, you can probably name the two aces on each of those temas. Even the teams that got to the ALCS/NLCS generally had that. The Mariners never did.

  25. LB on July 4th, 2005 1:16 am

    #74: We are in vigorous agreement, and the 2001 M’s did not even have one “ace” by that definition. The rotation was populated with #3/#4 pitchers who were good enough against most opponents get you, possibly limping, to a very good group of setup guys in the pen.

    NY in 2001 had a staff of Mussina, Pettitte, Clemens, and Duque, each of whom were good enough in the postseason to go 7IP and hand the ball to Mariano Rivera for a 2-inning save. They also had scouts who could give those pitchers a game plan to, for instance, turn Ichiro from a .600 ALDS hitter to a .222 ALCS hitter. Of course, the pitchers have to have enough command to pitch to the scouting report, but that’s also part of the formula.

    If King Felix becomes ace #1 for a future M’s team, I hope the front office realizes that they need ace #1a to complement him if they expect postseason success.

    (Of course, the counter-example for this line of thinking is the 2002 Anaheim Angels of Anaheim.)

  26. DMZ on July 4th, 2005 1:47 am

    This makes me want to finish that long-postponed “how to construct a post-season team” post I’ve been tinkering with for ages.

  27. eponymous coward on July 4th, 2005 10:04 am

    if in a short series, anything can happen, why haven’t the M’s been able to win a single ALCS of the three they’ve played in? My theory is, more often than not, the deserving team really does win.

    Why will a coin come up heads 3 times in a row sometimes if you flip it? That’s basically what we’re talking about here. Even if it’s skewed 55% tails/45% heads, that’s not a statistical impossibility.

    Does talent play a role in postseason series? Sure. Does roster construction? Maybe- though I’d like to see something on the order of statistical evidence for an assertion that “If you do X, you have a better postseason roster”. Do less talented teams beat better ones in short series anyway? Also quite true. Much of the time it’s easier to construct post hoc explanations for random chance because we don’t LIKE the idea of things being governed by random events…

  28. troy on July 4th, 2005 10:16 am

    #74 – I used to buy into the “premium pitching dominates in the playoffs” theory. Then I saw the Braves of Glavine, Maddux and Smoltz lose far more often than not. I don’t believe it anymore.

  29. Evan on July 4th, 2005 10:19 am

    In a short series between two playoff-calibre teams, any result is reasonably likely.

    Even if we got past the sample-size issues and found some real data regarding what sorts of teams do well in the postseason, construction your team that way would still be vulnerable to that first sentence. In a short series between two playoff-calibre teams, any result is reasonably likely.

    Even if you do everything right in constructing your team, you can still lose. The next time you try, you have a different team, thus making any analysis of trends meaningless.

  30. The Ancient Mariner on July 4th, 2005 10:23 am

    To sum up ec’s point to LB, here’s H. L. Mencken, slightly paraphrased:

    For every question, there is an answer that is simple, easy to understand–and wrong.

  31. LB on July 4th, 2005 11:16 am

    #77: Sure, if I recall my prob and stat class from school days, three consecutive heads should happen 1 out of 8 times if the coin is fair. How many times would you need to flip the coin before concluding it is not fair?

    I didn’t say the best team always won, just more often than not.

    And with the thread now thoroughly hijacked (sorry, USSM hosts), I will wrap up by saying it made me sad to see the excerpt of Boone’s press conference on ESPN Sports Center last night. It’s not his fault he got old, and it not the man I dislike, just his contract. Best of luck, Mr. Boone.

  32. Bela Txadux on July 4th, 2005 10:58 pm

    Bret Boone has always been a guy who played hard, was great in the clubhouse, loves the game, and takes great pride in playing it well. He knows what he looks like know, better than anyone. I found his numbers in ’01 and ’02 ‘atypical,’ and his numbers for last year and this conform quite well to what his career path should look like without those ‘distortions,’ as I see them. I’ve liked the guy, and so tried not to get too bent about it, and I’ll miss him. —But he can’t cut it as a regular, and it just doesn’t seem to work within the team for him to sit while Lopez plays in front of him, which was the only rational plan from ST on. So Bret’s got to go. For a vet to get DFAed in mid-season, it’s an open confession that he isn’t a major leaguer anymore; it’s tough. And Boone likes this town here a bunch. I’m sorry he has to take it on the chin, but it’s part of the game, and he knows that, too. He has no value in trade, and it would be a miracle for anthing more than minor league roster fill to come back. I don’t expect a trade for that reason. Goodbye, Mr. Boone, and come back to visit when you hang up the spikes.

  33. Ralph Malph on July 5th, 2005 8:35 am

    The difference (the only difference as I see it) between postseason and regular season baseball is a result of 1 day off every 3 days. Which gives your pitchers more rest and means a balanced starting rotation and a deep bullpen (i.e. 2001 Mariners) is less of an advantage.

    It isn’t anything different about the “atmosphere” of the playoffs, it’s the days off that does it.

  34. MDeAvilla on July 8th, 2005 9:53 am

    Well Mr. Bavasi you couldn’t break Bret Boone so you got rid of him, remember what goes around comes around and you could be next, Bret might be gone but he will be back and I hope he gets a chance to play against you and the mariners. Cheap shot at the way you did this, Mike Hargrove you could be next.
    Bavasi, it was well known that you didn’t like Bret Boone, you need to keep your personal opinions out of the game. I sent a copy of a report about Conseco’s book that showed the book was full of lies an no one not even the Seattle sports writers printed the real truth, where was your loyalty to the Seattle Fans, we needed to see this in print.
    Thanks for nothing, we Fans know where you really stand, Ahaneim

  35. Pat Miller on July 10th, 2005 6:45 pm

    I Would like to comment on how the powers that be get rid of our favorite players. You should show some respect for these players that have given their all to you and their co players plus the fans. I haven’t watched a game since you let Boonie go, when some one else picks him up (as they should) I will be cheering for Boone when he plays you. I didn’t like the way you treated Olerud either, shame on you. Show a little respect, we do.

    Pat/Boonie Fan

  36. DMZ on July 10th, 2005 6:50 pm

    How should a team that feels they need to let go of a player like Boone or Olerud do so that would not be offensive?

  37. eponymous coward on July 10th, 2005 8:42 pm

    I guess DFAs don’t show enough “respect”.

    I’m sure Bret Boone would have MUCH preferred rotting on the bench in a Mariner uniform while Lopez and Bloomquist got playing time. Same with Olerud when Bucky came up. Who wants to actually play baseball somewhere else, when you can be treated with “respect” and left on the bench when your team decides they don’t want you playing?

  38. terry on July 12th, 2005 10:09 am

    I have been a loyal fan of the Mariner’s for many years. First we trade Freddie Garcia for a catcher (Migel Oliva) that can’t catch and can’t hit. Then we dump a guy (Bret Boone) that gives 110% and is a loyal Mariner player, and still retain that same catcher that can’t bat and can’t catch, and who is prone to making the same mistakes and not making the proper corrections. I am referring to the Angels series where twice in a three game period a batter hit his glove and was awarded first base. I am not sure I want to continue to support the Mariners. It seems like there is not much loyalty from management and ownership towards the dedicated players.