Trades and Seamheads

Dave · July 25, 2005 at 7:23 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Bob Finnigan, everyone’s favorite beat writer and incorrect rumor monger extraordinaire, has two pieces in the Times this morning. The daily notebook column and Terrible Trip Muddles M’s, nominally a game recap but really more of a Crazy Rumors From Bob’s Secret Sources piece, one of which we’ve grown accustomed to reading. Some of Finnigan’s claims had me shaking my head, so here’s a brief response to a few of the comments.

CLEVELAND — Seamheads — fans of baseball who get very deep into the game, history and statistics — will be pleased to know that the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) will hold its 2006 convention in Seattle.

Did you know Pat Gillick is a member of SABR, but none of the authors of this blog are? Do you think Finnigan would call Gillick a seamhead? Me neither.

A recent report that the Yankees had a scout here watching Winn is not exactly correct. New York had two scouts at Jacobs Field all of last week, watching Grady Sizemore, among others, on the Cleveland club.

This kind of comment bothers the heck out of me. There’s a huge misunderstanding in the role of professional scouts among fans, and this doesn’t help at all. It’s technically correct, as I’m sure that the Yankees did have scouts at Jacobs Field all week, and I’m sure they did watch Grady Sizemore, since he was playing and all, but the connotation that Finnigan is making is that the Yankees scouts were there to evaluate Sizemore as a potential acquisition. The Indians aren’t trading Grady Sizemore. No way, no how.

The New York Post ran a story yesterday headlined, “Just Winn, Baby.” It reported that the Mariners had scouts Dan Evens and Bob Harrison watching the Yankees in Anaheim. Harrison and Evans are based in Southern California and watch a lot of teams play the Angels.

And here, Finnigan actually gets it right on the button. The presence of scouts at a certain ballgame can often mean nothing other than “they were in the area”. Harrison and Evans may have been scouting the Yankees at the request of the front office, but more likely, they marked this series on their schedule weeks ago as one they would cover as part of their regular duties.

Yet, Winn going to the Yankees remains an intriguing possibility. What would Seattle get in return? One guess is pitcher Carl Pavano, who is on the disabled list but someone the Mariners had great interest in as a free agent last winter.

At least he used the word “guess”. Because there’s nothing to this at all. It’s speculation of the worst kind, no more informed than the made-up trade ideas that populate message boards and threads here that involve Ryan Howard. The Yankees currently have a rotation that includes Johnson, Mussina, Pavano, the shell of Kevin Brown, and the remains of Al Leiter. If they dealt Pavano, they’d get to enjoy the Darrell May experiment again.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the M’s and Yankees discuss Pavano in the offseason, as those who were at the feed heard Bavasi speak highly of Pavano and how well they felt he would have fit in at Safeco Field. But the Yankees, in the midst of a pennant race, aren’t trading one of the three major league starting pitchers they have for Randy Winn.

So why did Finnigan “guess”? I guess it makes for better copy than saying that the M’s are interested in Sean Henn, who most fans have never heard of, and posted an 11.86 ERA in three starts with New York.

Note to Bob: The trade deadline is crazy enough without a man who has access to the front office “guessing” in the local papers. If you’re not going to bother using the credibility that “Seattle Times Beatwriter” still carries with most of the fanbase, then give up the post. Lord knows the sportspage over there could use a shakeup, probably moreso than the Mariners.


25 Responses to “Trades and Seamheads”

  1. Jim Osmer on July 25th, 2005 7:39 am

    The Pavano rumor really threw me. With his disappointing stretch in New York, I think it would be a bad gamble on the M’s part. I assume Cano is not available now. We keep hearing the M’s are scouting the Yankees major league team but I can’t see any trade potential there.

  2. Adam S on July 25th, 2005 7:45 am

    Has BF actually gotten worse? Should we be writing to the Times editors? Which is to say, would they actually care? Do we deserve better?

    Jim, hard for the Yankees to say anyone isn’t available. Obviously they aren’t trading Jeter or A-Rod and Dave points out reasons they won’t/shouldn’t trade a starting pitcher. But they need some help and Cano is a small price to pay to fill a huge hole, especially if they get bullpen help as well. That said, Cano isn’t the best fit for the M’s who seem to have 3 or 4 ML-ready middle infielders for 2006/2007.

  3. Dave on July 25th, 2005 7:46 am

    You keep hearing that the M’s are scouting the Yankees major league team because beat writers like Finnigan keep writing terribly misleading pieces in the papers about it.

  4. David J Corcoran on July 25th, 2005 7:51 am

    I refuse to believe anything unless it is mentioned in the Times and the P-I at the same time.

  5. Jeff on July 25th, 2005 8:31 am

    Dave’s take on this is totally in concordance with mine. At least Finnigan admitted the Pavano thing was just a guess.

    No, really, it’s just a guess. There is no source. Which is good, since I think I speak for all of us when I say we don’t want that contract. I’m also fairly sure this is not happening, given that the Yankees are pitching-desperate and believed in Pavano enough to give him that deal less than a year ago.

  6. Oly Rainiers fan on July 25th, 2005 8:48 am

    Correction: Pat Gillick is not a member of SABR (he received an award from the SABR Scouts Committee at the 2004 Denver convention, but that doesn’t make him a member), though there are many familiar names that ARE members – like Roland Hemond, Tal Smith, Buzzie Bavasi, Mat Olkin (Ms stat guy), Bill James, Rob Neyer, Gary Gillette, Pete Palmer, Steve Gietscher (Sporting news)…. and for $60, you could be a member too.

    You don’t actually have to be a SABR member to attend the convention, and really, if you like baseball – it’s a pretty cool experience with lots of panel discussions and interesting speakers and presentations on various aspects (stats, history, scouting, economics, etc.). Incidentally, the keynote speaker at the Seattle convention is going to be Jim Bouton.

  7. DMZ on July 25th, 2005 9:23 am

    I’m a SABR member.

  8. msb on July 25th, 2005 9:32 am

    Jeff said:”I’m also fairly sure this is not happening, given that the Yankees are pitching-desperate and believed in Pavano enough to give him that deal less than a year ago.”

    Brown has just trundled off to Colorado to see his physical therapist about his back, and RJ is feeling crabby

    FWIW, according to the Daily News “Pavano (shoulder tendinitis) threw a bullpen session in Tampa yesterday and will make a short rehab start tomorrow. The Yanks are expecting Pavano to throw about 50 pitches for one of their Tampa-based farm teams and, if all goes well, rejoin the Bombers in time to start Saturday. The problem with Pavano’s shoulder wasn’t easily definable – “he said something was just off,” Torre said – making it more difficult to gauge his progress. Pavano hasn’t pitched since June 27.”

  9. Jeff on July 25th, 2005 9:35 am

    From msb’s link:

    Johnson then turned his ire on the reporters surrounding him, saying they reminded him of kids in the backseat on the way to Disneyland. “We’re almost there, kids,” he said. “We’re almost there. Disneyland is 15 minutes away. We’re almost there.”

    Angels broadcaster Rex Hudler, a former teammate of Johnson, tried to lighten the mood by reminding Johnson that Disneyland is the “happiest place in the world.”

    But Johnson did not find humor in it, saying, “Take it out of here, Rex.”

    The Wonder Dog just won me over.

  10. Jim Osmer on July 25th, 2005 9:37 am

    Maybe a torn labrum, then we would really want him.

  11. jc on July 25th, 2005 10:00 am

    What days are the sabr convention in seattle?

  12. jaketrash on July 25th, 2005 10:20 am

    What about scouts at the minor league games Bob? Much more ripe for rumors and uncomfirmed guesses.

  13. Shoeless Jose on July 25th, 2005 10:23 am

    Maybe a torn labrum, then we would really want him.

    Or bursitis. Hey, they could have him room with Mads, and take turns on his Bowflexâ„¢

  14. The Ancient Mariner on July 25th, 2005 11:17 am

    Lord knows the sportspage over there could use a shakeup, probably more so than the Mariners.

    Heck, yeah–for all their holes, the M’s do at least have some talent, and something of a clue . . .

  15. Kirk on July 25th, 2005 12:03 pm

    Speaking of wild guesses and speculation regarding the M’s and trades, a writer that shall remain nameless on another site actually suggested that the M’s should be asking for Eric Duncan and Philip Hughes from the Yankees in exchange for Ron Villone. Now, I don’t disagree that both would be great to have, but can you imagine how hard Cashman would be laughing at Bavasi if he suggested that deal? Does anyone seriously think the Yanks would deal their 2003 and 2004 1st round picks for Villone?

    I can’t wait for the trade deadline to pass so we don’t have to hear this ridiculous kind of speculation for a while…

  16. AK1984 on July 25th, 2005 12:08 pm

    Although I am fairly ignorant regarding the realm of baseball statistics, I still comprehend that the term “seamheads” is derogatory. Comparatively, if Finnigan were to call Jason Bay a Canucklehead, he would most likely be fired — which, actually, would be a pretty damn good thing.

    Anyhow, regarding Randy Johnson: How can people like this imbecile? Seemingly, he is only one notch below Kenny Rogers on the idiot-spectrum; it’ll be only a matter of time, most likely, until he pulls something as moronic as Rogers — Huh? Oh yeah! He already did something similar to that during the off-season. By the way, I believe that Johnson purposely half-assed it in during the first half of the ’98 season for the M’s — since he’s a selfish moron — and I’ll never forgive him for it.

  17. Oly Rainiers fan on July 25th, 2005 12:57 pm

    Re: SABR convention.
    Dates aren’t set firmly yet, though last I heard they were looking at the last week of June – so since they usually do a Thursday thru Sunday, that’d be 6/29 thru 7/2. But it’s all dependent on hotel availability and finalizing the MLB schedule to be sure the Ms are in town.

  18. Steve Thornton on July 25th, 2005 1:32 pm

    “Seamheads” isn’t derogatory. It’s complimentary, sometimes too much so.

    A “seamhead” isn’t necessarily or even probably into statistical analysis. And I would guess that a majority of SABR members (I’m a former, not a current) think the BP approach to stats is stupid as hell. Joe Morgans are still more prevalent than SDCNs.

  19. Evan on July 25th, 2005 1:40 pm

    What’s wrong with Canucklehead? Or hailing from Soviet Canuckistan?

    I declare that sort of thing all the time, and unlike entirely irrational people, I think that if I’m allowed to say it, then everyone is. None of this “Only I can say it because it’s me” crap.

  20. AK1984 on July 25th, 2005 1:51 pm

    Re. #18 & Re. #19:

    As it is, I’m more libertine than most people regarding language — given that I, under any circumstance, don’t care about what words people say or write — yet, there is still the possibility that Finnigan could, perhaps, be in trouble with his employer if he were to use words such as “canucklehead” in an article.

    Anyways, concerning the term “seamhead”: it does seem that, contextually, Finnigan was taking a shot at people who highly regard statistical analysis.

  21. Adam M on July 25th, 2005 3:20 pm

    One other misconception that doesn’t get discussed much is the difference between the talent scouts who evaluate players on other teams for possible trades, and advance scouts who evaluate other teams looking for ways to beat them. Granted there’s a lot of overlap between the two roles, but it’s an interesting point that almost never gets raised.

  22. Mr. Egaas on July 25th, 2005 3:27 pm

    I can see Duncan similar to young catcher Dioner Navarro, being mentioned in every article featuring trade rumors with the Yankees, but ultimately not given up until quite some time later.

    I have to imagine the Yankees system is quite depeted, but somehow they still make deals, although, mostly cash.

    No reason to hold onto Winn, Villone, or Guardado. Let’s make a deal Cashman, and talent is worth more than money for this organization right now.

  23. Mr. Egaas on July 25th, 2005 3:30 pm

    And here’s to just hoping that Bavasi will make some kind of moves, instead of the past several years where dealines have passed quite a bit more quietly than they should have.

    Gillick really peeved me in that department as well.

  24. The Ancient Mariner on July 25th, 2005 4:27 pm

    What do you mean, “as well”? Gillick was the one responsible for that. I certainly wish Bavasi had dealt Boone and Guardado, but it’s not like he sat on his hands and did nothing . . .

  25. pensive on July 25th, 2005 6:13 pm

    Everyone- Not to come to Dave’s defense but yes disliked Yankees have quality prospects.

    Did Google search to verify as owners of this blog and rumors would hope we would do. It just is so much easier to ask`here.