Woe is the Offense

JMB · September 10, 2005 at 11:40 am · Filed Under Mariners 

I was looking at team batting statistics today, when I discovered a startling fact — the M’s are dead last in all of baseball with a .315 on-base percentage. Seriously, they’re 30th out of 30 teams in Major League Baseball. I knew things were bad, but not this bad. That got me thinking, in a nostaglic sort of way, about when the M’s had a good offense. Remember those days? C’mon, sigh along with me. That’s right, let it out.

Here’s my entry for the 2005 Most Depressing Chart contest:

Year     OBP       Runs
2000  .361  (3)  904  (4)
2001  .360  (1)  927  (1)
2002  .350  (2)  814  (7)
2003  .344  (7)  795 (11)
2004  .331 (19)  698 (25)
2005  .315 (30)  709*(22)

Number in parens is rank among 30 MLB clubs.
*Projected total based on runs scored to date

Who else is looking forward to next season’s .300 team OBP?


67 Responses to “Woe is the Offense”

  1. David J Corcoran on September 10th, 2005 5:38 pm

    50:Petagine got called up a while ago. He’s .296/.387/.481 for Boston.

  2. DMZ on September 10th, 2005 5:49 pm

    Rickey might be an outstanding coach if he ever stops playing. Everyone who played with him talks about how much he was willing to teach anyone interested in base stealing, and as a player he was still scraping out OBPs when his average on balls in play was Spiezio-esque. All pitch recognition with no bat speed, he still managed to draw enough walks to make him a decent bench option. And if you’ve got a player who won’t listen to coaches he doesn’t think have adequate credentials, holy mackeral, Rickey’s one of the greatest players ever.

    That said, I don’t know if that would be his thing.

  3. DMZ on September 10th, 2005 5:50 pm

    Hey, wait a second.

    Corco! Aren’t you supposed to be working at the radio station? If you’re posting on USSM, you could be at the game!


  4. yteimlad on September 10th, 2005 7:54 pm

    what has shocked and appalled me about the mariners’ low on base percentage all year is that they have regularly trailed every national league team in obp, despite the fact that nl teams have to give away 2 or 3 plate appearances to pitchers every day. that is absolutely inexcusable, and everyone involved in personnel deployment and acquisition should be fired. hire a gm, manager and their staffs off of the street for $50,000 a year each and use the millions of dollars you save on players. who’s up for applying?

    also, in response to the question of ichiro’s value this year, he is on pace to have his 2nd or 3rd most valuable season using warp3, (thanks heavily to a ridiculous defensive zone rating this year) and with a strong september he could even surpass his total of 9.1 from last year. he is currently at 7.8 wins, and i would guess that he will go back to his slap happy ways for the rest of the season in order to get to 200 hits, which can only help his chances. and may we finally put to rest the well circulated half-truth that ichiro could hit 30 home runs in a season if he wanted to? hes been trying to hit home runs all season, resulting in the lowest go/fo rate of his mlb career, which has handcuffed his obp. even if he gets to 20 this year, which is highly unlikely, 20 hr in 720 plate appearances is not impressive. if only someone could make him stop trying to lift the ball, 240 hits a year and a .420 obp would be his.

    and to compare to the others, my lineup for next year (assuming there are no major additions) would look like this:

    morse or strong, whichever remains
    whatever awful catcher they stroll out there

    obviously, additions are desperately needed. there are multiple options in the bad fielding AA/AAA first baseman on a national league farmclub market, guys who are blocked by big contracts in the big leagues and arent capable enough defensively to switch positions. make a trade and take away the glove and theres a brand new above average dh for the major league minumum. foremost on the list is howard, but there are others like joe dillon .360/.459/.631 (marlins) and randy ruiz .349/.405/.669 (phillies again).

  5. eponymous coward on September 10th, 2005 8:15 pm

    There’s also the fact that the division isn’t exactly chopped liver. Arguably, Texas is further along the “plug in good young players” path than we are (we are about where Texas was pre-2004), and it’s bought them about a .500 record the last two years.


    The problem for our GM is that the hole next year is exteremly hard to climb out of, in part due to circumstances out of his control.

    Everyone has circumstances beyond their control, from Billy Beane on down. It’s how you deal with them that tells us how good you are.

  6. Scraps on September 10th, 2005 8:34 pm

    I think hitting Ichiro second is a really bad idea. His career record hitting with men on first is not good. Observation suggests that he hits into a great many fielder’s choices that might have been singles with no one on.

    This all begs the question:

    USS Mariner has been known to correct poor spelling and grammar and such, and I’d like to note that this particular one drives me nuts. “Beg the question” does not mean to urgently raise a question, or anything like that; it means to reason circularly, to assume the answer in the reasoning for the answer.

  7. LB on September 10th, 2005 10:02 pm

    > #54: what has shocked and appalled me about the mariners’ low on base percentage all year is that they have regularly trailed every national league team in obp, despite the fact that nl teams have to give away 2 or 3 plate appearances to pitchers every day.

    Sac bunts do not count against your OBP, even though sac flies do. It’s a funny quirk in the scoring rules, but there’s a good part of your explanation for how NL teams beat the M’s OBP. (The rest of the explanation, of course, is that most of the M’s hitters are shockingly and appallingly bad at getting on base.)

  8. ray on September 10th, 2005 10:55 pm

    Why don’t we get guys with great batting eyes? Sorry, I forgot but there is some statistical name for it and it’s not a common one but I’m sure you guys know it. Choo and I think Cabrerra are considered to have the best eyes in the M’s farm system. Especially, look at Choo’s stats during his long slump. He was still getting a lot of walks and was keeping his OBP high relative to his low BA.

  9. ray on September 10th, 2005 10:58 pm

    I mean look at the box score for the game tonight and you’ll see he (Choo) went 1 for 3 but had 3 walks. 3 walks in a must win game for the Rainiers! He’s a cool guy under pressure it seems.

  10. ray on September 10th, 2005 11:07 pm

    My bad. Choo got two IBB but hey they respect his bat. Anyway, HE is good at getting walks. I think he is the best #2 hitter in the M’s farm system and would be for the team. He is currently a lead off hitter for Tacoma but for now Ichiro is best at 1.

  11. Shoeless Jose on September 10th, 2005 11:31 pm

    Everyone has circumstances beyond their control, from Billy Beane on down. It’s how you deal with them that tells us how good you are.

    True. Beane’s first year as GM was 1997 if memory serves. How did Oakland do? 65-97, last in the AL West. In 1998, his second year? 74-88, last in the AL West. It wasn’t until 1999 that they climbed out of the basement (and even then they were just second to the Rangers). The point is even wunderkinds can’t turn a franchise around in a year or two. Everybody makes mistakes (ask Beane about his closer last year, for instance). Every decision is a calculated risk. Which means you have to get as much information as you can, to make that calculation as accurately as possible. Which Bavasi seems to be doing with his commitment to scouting. Given the M’s stupid history with pitching injuries, you pretty much have to grab as much young pitching as you can and hope some of it survives. Which is what it appears Bavasi is doing. (I’d like to see the organization as a whole make some changes there, but that’s out of his hands). On the offensive side, he’s gone out and got big bats in the FA market and cut the guys who weren’t pulling their weight (a bit late perhaps, but at least they’re gone). And after that it’s a bit of crapshoot. People get hurt. Guys have slumps. Things don’t work out. I don’t think anyone expected the M’s offense to be this bad. On paper, at the start of the season, it shouldn’t have been.

    I’m not saying there aren’t better GMs out there, but there’s no way to be sure the M’s would get one of them if they fired him. I’d certainly fire Hargrove first. Given the priorities of the ownership group (I can’t imagine what Lou thinks he could have done back in the 90s with the salary the Mariners were throwing around in the offseason) I think Bavasi is doing a decent job. Not great, but good enough to warrant another offseason and another full year. You want to see progress. You want to see a team heading in the right direction. You want young guys with potential and a few vets who pull their weight. I’m willing to wait another year for that.

    Of course, if the entire Braves front office and coaching staff becomes available….

  12. yteimlad on September 11th, 2005 9:10 am

    in response to #61-you must be forgetting about spiezio, aurilia, reese, getting nothing (almost literally) for guillen because he signed aurilia, the ridiculous catcher situation (the system’s top 5 major league ready catchers project to be backups at best, and they are still at least 1-2 years away from clement), getting virtually nothing for randy winn when he was one of the top players on the trade market because of center field deficiencies among contenders), the eddie guardado contract (closers, especially on a losing team, are not worth $3.5-$5 million a year, no matter how well they pitch. there are literally 3 guys in the system who could step in and close for close to the league minimum- sherrill, putz, mateo, and lets not forget soriano when he is healthy-and there are always cheaper options available outside of the system if these players were not ready at the time), as long as were talking about george sherrill, resigning ron villone rather than just putting sherrill on the roster in his place, and not getting joe dillon from the marlins at the deadline. i could go on, but what this all adds up to is wasteful management with no sense of responsibility to the fan base or the owners. the guy throws money around like its nothing, banking on getting lucky with signings rather than making the decisions that will most likely positively affect the team. and the reason he can behave this way is that his job isnt really in jeopardy- his father was a gm, he’s a gm, these guys get recycled from team to team with absolutely no accountability whatsoever.

    on the plus side of his ledger, there is but one thing- the freddy garcia trade, which does not begin to offset the negatives he has accumulated. (as a stretch, you could throw betancourt in there as well, but he is and probably always will be a gaping hole offensively- .323 obp in AAA- at a position that has become more of an offensive position than at any time in history, especially in the american league-young, jeter, tejada, crosby, and that is a positional disadvantage that this team doesnt overcome anywhere else on the field. so my enthusiasm for him is not high.)

  13. Tom on September 11th, 2005 10:31 am

    62: I agree with most of what you say, but if Jesse Foppert can recover something of his old form, and there is at least a 50-50 chance he will, the Randy Winn deal will be a good one.

  14. Tom on September 11th, 2005 10:34 am

    Also, having Guardado for the amount we pay him is a bargain. Just because someone is a good setup man doesn’t mean he’ll be a good closer. Even in his heyday, Jeff Nelson couldn’t hack it as a closer, and Oakland’s experiment with Arthur Rhodes was a disaster. It takes more than talent to be a good closer.

  15. JMB on September 11th, 2005 11:22 am

    Guardado was a setup guy before he was a closer. So were Mike Jackson, Francisco Rodriguez, Bob Wickman, BJ Ryan, and Francisco Cordero. Dennis Eckersley, Jason Isringhausen, Dustin Hermanson, Danny Baez, Joe Nathan, and Mariano Rivera were starters.

    My point is that closers are made, not born; very few guys come up as closers and remain as such their entire careers.

  16. Chris Colón on September 12th, 2005 12:43 am

    Mariano was also Wetteland’s setup man during a certain Best. Season. Ever.

  17. eponymous coward on September 12th, 2005 4:56 pm

    Arthur Rhodes also has a career ERA near 4, and even his GOOD years has been as likely as not to have an ERA in the 4’s.

    A 4 ERA = you’re as likely as not to blow a one inning, one-run save. By definition, that’s not a good closer.