Pocket Lint

Dave · October 4, 2005 at 7:23 am · Filed Under Mariners 

We’ve really laid off Bob Finnigan this year. We used to hammer him pretty regularly, but the decision was made to mostly ignore him and keep the blog focused on actual analysis, rather than reminding everyone how abysmal the guy was at his job.

Today, he’s decided to re-incarnate last year’s “M’s Caught in Numbers Crunch” article, where he claimed the team had about $13 million to spend on free agents (they spent about $24 million, in reality), and today has posted “No Easy Solution to M’s Problems”. Despite the fact that he’s run this bad-math-expectations-lowering pile of crap article every year since the beginning of time, he still feels the need to remind us all that he lacks basic logical skills, and attempts to share his depressing view of the world with his readers. Fortunately for us, his ramblings aren’t based in reality, so we don’t have to take his down-in-the-mouth approach to the offseason.

But man, how this thing gets published every year is beyond me. What a lousy paper the Times is. They should be embarrassed to put this thing in print.

So that would leave Millwood, the American League earned-run average champ, Kenny Rogers, or Jeff Suppan, a former American Leaguer, as the best choices.

When the right answer to your question is Kenny Rogers or Jeff Suppan, you’re asking the wrong question.

Suppan, who won 16 games for St. Louis, has AL experience. The problem is that his prior AL experience was nowhere near as successful as he has been with the St. Louis Cardinals. But then he was pitching for Kansas City…

So, we should pursue Suppan because he was once horrible in the American League?

Indications are that the payroll will be down some from the $96 million/$98 million, to $90 million/$92 million.

Of course, every real analysis of Mariner payroll puts the ’05 mark somewhere around $86-$89 million, nowhere near Finnigan’s numbers. But he’s the king of making up payroll, so this is nothing new.

This money still is not Cracker Jack, but it awaits the market to see how much it will bring. Based on existing contracts, Seattle has already used up about $49.5 million (all figures rounded off) of that money.

For that they get Sexson, Beltre, Ichiro, Joel Pineiro, Raul Ibanez, Miguel Ojeda and Eddie Guardado. (The club is unlikely to pick up Guardado’s option at $6.5 million, and he can opt out or come back at $4.25 million.)

About $50 million for that group is actually pretty accurate. Amazingly.

Add in buyouts of club options that might not be exercised — Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Pokey Reese, Wiki Gonzalez, Jeff Nelson and Spiezio — and you get another $4.5 million.

This is poor wording; Spiezio’s buyout is only $250,000, but his ’06 salary is $3.25. If that comes off the ’06 books (it probably will), then this number is accurate. If the M’s eat it on the ’05 payroll, this number goes way down.

Add in prorated signing bonuses (including that of departed Ron Villone) of about $6 million, and about $1 million still due on Jeff Cirillo, and you’ve got another $7 million.

And now we get into classic Finnigan. Villone’s signing bonus was $500,000. Prorating that over the two years of his contract, we get $250,000. Big whoop-de-doo. And here Finnigan uses prorated signing bonuses, assumed for every player on the roster who got one, but earlier in the article used actual 2006 payout to add up the salaries for the guys currently under contract. Consistency, Bob. Either use actual payout or annual average value. You don’t get to combine the two to make your bottom line as high as possible.

Add in other contracts — Hernandez, Yuniesky Betancourt, Jose Lopez, Greg Dobbs, Rene Rivera, Jeremy Reed, Bobby Madritsch, Rafael Soriano, J.J. Putz, George Sherrill, Mike Morse (and possibly Jeff Harris, Matt Thornton, Scott Atchison, Chris Snelling, Jamal Strong, Ramon Santiago) and you could reach another $4.5 million.

That’s 17 players, Bob. 17! If you think the M’s are going to give major league contracts to all those guys, you’re freaking insane. Chalk this group up to about $3 million.

Then there are arbitration eligibles — Gil Meche, Willie Bloomquist, Julio Mateo, Yorvit Torrealba, Ryan Franklin — and put down another $10 million, give or take.

Now the real fun begins. No comment on this for now. But you should note that, at the moment, Finnigan has the M’s carrying a 29 man roster.

The budget is so tight, it will almost certainly turn Franklin and Torrealba and other arbitration eligibles into non-tendered players, although it is tough to see Meche in this category. If they are not traded and don’t sign a deal by the Dec. 20 deadline, they might not be offered a contract, and will become free agents.

So, the arbitration group knocks $10 million off the payroll… but they’re likely to be non-tendered. Wait, what? Did Bob even bother to read these two paragraphs. And who are these “other arbitration eligibles”? He already said Franklin and Torrealba would be, and Meche wouldn’t be (he’s wrong about the last two), so that leaves Bloomquist and Mateo. Anyone here really expect either of those to be non-tendered? Does anyone see any situation, ever, where that would happen?

In reality, Franklin is a certain non-tender, Meche is a very likely non-tender (or trade for peanuts), and Torrealba, Bloomquist, and Mateo will combine for about $3 million in salaries for next year. So you can immediately lump $7 million off of Finnigan’s bottom line, despite the fact that he wants you to believe that the M’s are broke.

Finnigan wants you to believe that the M’s have about $10 million to spend. In reality, they have about $25 million. Last year, he threw out a $13 million figure and wrote several articles ridiculing everyone who expected big changes. When the M’s ended up signing Beltre, Sexson, Reese, Villone, Campillo, Betancourt, Sele, and Nelson, blowing Finnigan’s numbers out of the water, we never saw any kind of retraction. Or even an article explaining how the M’s fit these contracts into his little $13 million window.

Now, a year later, we get the same thing. Apparently he hopes that everyone who reads today’s piece forgets the hatchet job he did last year and gives him a mulligan.

Sorry Bob, but you don’t get any more chances. You’ve earned the nickname Pocket Lint.


149 Responses to “Pocket Lint”

  1. Grizz on October 4th, 2005 6:17 pm

    Steve, I honestly have never heard anyone use “top of the rotation” to mean simply the most innings pitched. Pedro Martinez was the opening day starter for the Red Sox in 2002 and 2003 when he pitched less than 200 IP. If a rubber-armed, innings-eating fourth starter like Tim Wakefield throws a handful more innings over the course of the season, I don’t think anyone would consider him a “top of the rotation” starter over a dominating starter like the 2002-03 version of Pedro or would propose starting him over Pedro in game one of the playoffs.

    The Red Sox made the playoffs in 2003 even though the team leader in innings pitched topped out at 203 innings.

  2. LB on October 4th, 2005 7:07 pm

    IP = (10*AGE)

    People are assuming regular season innings only. Bavasi has said that the number includes spring training innings, and most starters seem to need about 20 IP, so the 200 IP people were banking on next year from Felix are down to 180.

    Then there are postseason innings to consider. Let’s be wickedly optimistic and assume that the M’s get into the postseason next year, win the DS in 4 games and lose the LCS in 7. (History is a cruel mistress.) I figure that means 3 starts for the King, at about 20 IP. I assume Young Hernandez’ arm and shoulder don’t know the difference between regular season and postseason innings, so now we’re down to 160 IP for the regular season.

    Of course, if you actually want to get to the World Series and win, that will take even more IP from Young Hernandez.

    If the organization is serious about getting to the World Series and serious about that 10*AGE formula, you aren’t going to see 200 IP in the regular season until he’s at least 24 years old. By then, let’s hope he will still be pitching for Your 2010 Seattle Mariners .

  3. eponymous coward on October 4th, 2005 7:11 pm

    Using Lincoln math, then that’s about $15 million or so to go the towards the Safeco debt paydown (and not next year’s roster), right?

    Or it could cover Daisuke Matzuoka’s posting fee in that weird “player acquisition” budget line item.

  4. Ralph Malph on October 4th, 2005 7:33 pm

    This whole “#1”, “top of the rotation” business is kind of meaningless anyway, except at two points in the season: Opening Day, and in the playoffs. In between those points it doesn’t matter if a guy is #1 or #4 [it might matter who is #5 if he gets skipped when there are off days].

    Since I don’t expect the M’s to be in the playoffs next year, who cares whether you anoint Felix as the “#1” starter, or the “top of the rotation guy”?

    I figure if Moyer’s back he’ll start on Opening Day just to keep the pressure off the kid. But who cares?

  5. Long Suffering on October 4th, 2005 8:45 pm

    We’ll see if/how they stick to their cap on Felix for 06. Here’s hoping they do something far more informed that simply an innings limit. Better would be to take those 200IP you budgeted him for, multiply it by the avg SP P/IP (~16 I believe) and divide by Felix’s P/IP (~14.5). That gives you 220.1 IP. At 7IP/GS, it gives you over 31 starts, which is perfectly normal for the guy at the top of your rotation. You plan on him skipping a start or two here and there for normal fatigue things.

    I don’t think they’re going to include possible postseason IP for him in considering his reg season load. To do so is just foolish.

    Steve, I still have no idea what you mean by 50M. Total contract value? They’ll each probably get deals near 50M total so no way you get both for that. 50M per year combined? That’s a giant dose of hyperbole there. They’re not topping 30 and are much more likely to be between 20 and 25.

  6. Mat on October 4th, 2005 9:06 pm

    Going way up to 73 about “pitching to contact.”

    No one in Minnesota ever, ever refers to it as pitching to contact, even in the case of Silva. They talk about being aggresive, they talk about throwing strikes, and they talk about not giving hitters free bases, but they don’t ever mention pitching to contact. Maybe it’s just two ways of saying the same thing, but I think there’s a difference to be had there.

    Throwing strikes makes me think of a pitcher who is consistently hitting the corners, keeping the ball low in the zone when he needs to, getting it up when he needs to. Pitching to contact makes me think of a pitcher serving a fat one down the middle of the plate.

    Making good pitches in the strike zone is a good thing. Conceding contact to the hitter is not.

  7. roger tang on October 4th, 2005 9:17 pm

    Throwing strikes makes me think of a pitcher who is consistently hitting the corners, keeping the ball low in the zone when he needs to, getting it up when he needs to. Pitching to contact makes me think of a pitcher serving a fat one down the middle of the plate.

    Well, yeah, but say “pitch to contact” to Felix, you get the former; say it to Franklin/Meche/Piniero, you get the latter….

  8. Mat on October 4th, 2005 9:29 pm

    I still disagree. I don’t want anyone telling Felix to “pitch to contact.” I don’t see what that accomplishes any more than telling him to make his pitches accomplishes. Felix’s goal should be to make the hitters miss, but still be throwing strikes in the process. This is probably oversimplifying, but it seems that if your goal is to make the hitter miss, and you screw up, the next worse thing that happens is that the hitter makes weak contact. If your goal is for the hitter to make weak contact, and you screw up, the next worse thing that happens is that the hitter makes good contact. Dream big.

    Clearly, stuff matters, which I think is what you’re getting at contrasting Felix with Franklin/Meche/Piniero. Where I think that matters is that Felix has more good pitches he can make in the strike zone than the other guys. He’s got so much movement on his pitches that even if some of them are right over, the hitters can’t line them up. Franklin/Meche/Piniero in a sense need to have much better control than Felix because there aren’t as many locations in the strike zone where they can be successful. Maybe I’m reading too much philosophy into the phrase “pitch to contact,” but every time I hear it, it makes me want to hurl.

  9. LB on October 4th, 2005 9:39 pm

    I don’t think they’re going to include possible postseason IP for him in considering his reg season load. To do so is just foolish.

    Hey, I don’t think the M’s have to worry about Felix’ IP in the postseason in 2006, either. But if they are trying to protect his arm, my point stands. From a perspective of wear and tear, his body can’t tell the difference between an IP in a regular season game in August 2008 and an IP in October 2008 in the ALCS. He’s only going to be 22 years old by then. If they’re not thinking about the total IP through the end of October, then what’s the point of having an IP limit in the organization in the first place?

    And if the organization believes in an AGE*10 limit to protect its young pitchers’ arms, jiggering a formula to conjure up a 220 IP limit for a 20 year old because he’s a special guy and we really need more work from him is what strikes me as foolish. This guy is the franchise. The last thing the M’s should want to do is to work him like a rented mule. Some of the USSM guys have been gritting their teeth this season since Hargrove wanted to crank ol’ Felix up to 120 pitches/game during 2005, and I tend to side with them.

  10. Rusty on October 4th, 2005 9:43 pm

    Just say no to Frank Thomas. His HR/AB rate was obscene because he has such trouble running the bases that he started swinging for the fences on everything. Notice that his K rate went noticeably up as well while his walk rate shrank. It’s sort of like that point in a starter’s game where he knows he’s tiring and he starts reaching back for more velocity. It works for a little while and then he collapses. Juan Gone is probably a safer investment than Frank Thomas at this point.

    Frank Thomas had a leg injury this year, so his swinging for the fences did make sense in much the same way that Edgar swung for more power as his legs sustained more wear and tear. But Thomas is rehabbing his leg and could conceivably be back close to his old leg strength. Remember, he has never been a speedster. If he can run to 90-95% of his old speed, then he’s worth the $1 – $3 Million contract he might be seeking. Frank Thomas has been one of the very best hitters in the game since 1990. The Juan Gone comparison is ludicrous. So, longsufferin’ I’m not going to just say “no”. For now I’m going to say “maybe”, especially if he’s healthy in April.

  11. Long Suffering on October 4th, 2005 10:01 pm

    I highly doubt Frank Thomas will get near 90-95% of his old speed, but not worth splitting hairs over.

    109: I don’t see how what I outlined is jiggering. It’s pointing out the stupidity of only looking at IP. IP are not created equal. Neither are individual pitches mind you, but looking at a total pitch count for the season is a whole lot smarter than looking solely at how many innings someone throws. We say “I think Felix shouldn’t throw 120 pitches in a game”, we don’t say “I don’t think Felix should ever have a CG, it’s a risk to his arm to complete that many innings”

    I also think the Age*10 rule was up to age 22 or so.

  12. LB on October 4th, 2005 10:14 pm

    #111: Age 22? No.

    Here is what was posted on the blog at http://ussmariner.com/?p=2766

    They hired Dr. Jobe and his team to work on studies to discover if there were any better ways to prevent arm injuries, and they were unable to find anything better than limiting innings. The organization will not let a pitcher throw more than 10 innings for every year he is old, including spring training, and no pitcher under 24 can throw more than 200 innings.

    They hired a team headed by one of the “brand names” in sports medicine. The team didn’t share your view of the stupidity of looking at IP. Having paid for this information, I don’t think the M’s should discard it just because the pitcher to whom it most applies happens to be both 1) very young and 2) very good.

  13. Mr. Egaas on October 4th, 2005 11:42 pm

    Rotoworld is suggesting that we pick up Guardado’s option just to lock him up. They feel he’ll get more than 6 million on the free agent market and will decline his player option. I really don’t want to see us spend that much on a closer. But Eddie is seen as a good guy too, so he might be locked up just for that.

  14. Bela Txadux on October 5th, 2005 12:30 am

    For once, I’m glad that a thread was put up on an item like this. I read this stream of crap at the Times online, and it reminded me of all the worst PR, funny money, just-trust-our-phoney-designs hazy miasma which has surrounded most Mariners decisions for ten years and more. This article wasn’t just disconnected from the truth: it’s patently dishonest on the face of it.

    Finnigan stays employed not due to any competence at his profession, or passion for the sport, but as a pliant shill for the interlocking agendas of the Times and the Mariners execs. There is no other way to see it, in my view.

  15. Bela Txadux on October 5th, 2005 1:46 am

    And Dave, re: Jeremy Reed, that comp to Kotsay was good when you wrote it—but it isn’t anymore, really. We’ll get to this later, supposing that I keep posting, but:

    Kotsay’s age 24 season was the least productive of his career, but he still was better than Reed. Kotsay’s isolated power has been better every year than Reed, and always will be, fewer doubles, but thats because he’s hitting those balls for more triples and a useful share of dingers. Reed has never shown that ability to drive the ball, at any time; he’s not going to learn now, to use your frequent remark, primarly because he simply doesn’t have the ability. Reed walks at a higher rate, yes, but he’s making contact at enough of a lower rate as to cancel out the difference and more. Kotsay hits lefties quite well; better than righties. Reed hits lefties damn poorly; in particular, his slugging vanishes against them, all he can manage are singles, most of them on the ground to my observation. Throw out Reed’s poor output against lefties, and even his totals against righties are below Kotsay’s composite breakdown. Jeremy Reed is not Kotsay, and he’s never going to turn into him, either.

    The better comparison is Sean Burroughs, something I alluded to a long while back. Burroughs makes more contact than Reed, but walks less. Given that Burroughs is hitting more singles, his slugging isn’t significantly better. Burroughs doesn’t hit lefties particularly well, either. Now, Reed _did_ manage to hit more doubles, but not many more, mostly because he hit righties for better power. Still, all in all Burroughs is a better hitter than Reed, at a comparable age. . . . Burroughs got dumped to AAA, and likely has no future role with the Padres. He’s never going to be a star, and will be a marginal MLeaguer for a few years. The fact that Reed is a CFer, and a pretty effective one gives him the edge, here, but neither guy is a superior offesnsive performer.

    Reed IS a AAAA guy with the bat, in my view, exactly. Reed would have to hit .300 or better to actually have significant offensive value as an on-base guy. He might do it in his career year, but watching him fail to make contact with the pitch so much of the time, and get eaten up by good fastballs I’m not betting any of my money on that. As a platoon CFer, or a 4th OFer, he’s a useful guy. As a fulltime player, he’s a guy who should be replaced. I’d happily see him in a package for Vernon Wells, but that isn’t going to happen, ’cause I think Riccardi is smarter than that.

    I think you’re smarter than that, too, Dave. It’s time to move on from your earlier view of Reed, methinks, and to see him _as he really is NOW_. Which is nothing special, and not even anything Mark Kotsay is going to accomplish.

  16. Dave on October 5th, 2005 5:29 am

    39 of Reed’s 124 hits went for extra bases, good for 31.4 percent of his total hits. In Kotsay’s first four full seasons in the majors, he posted XBH/H ratios of 26.4 percent, 29.8 percent, 30.3 percent, and 34 percent. His power was more developed early on than Reed’s is, but I’ve done a ton of work on this issue, and XBH/H is a tremendous predictor of future power.

    Giving up on Jeremy Reed because of his 2005 season is just foolishness. History doesn’t support your negative view of him, and there’s almost no objective evidence to think that he’s incapable of turning his doubles into home runs.

  17. Long Suffering on October 5th, 2005 7:46 am

    “Having paid for this information, I don’t think the M’s should discard it just because the pitcher to whom it most applies happens to be both 1) very young and 2) very good.”

    I wasn’t advancing that front. I said they should modify it because the pitcher in question is very efficient with his pitches. It has nothing to do with his age or overall quality as a pitcher. It’s a simple fact. Which are you more concerned about: the number of innings Felix completes or the number of pitches he throws? I cannot the grasp the reasoning behind ever saying the former over the latter. I’m 95% sure any medical person would also say the latter and that overwhelmingly likely, he or she made the recommendation to limit Felix to a league standard 200 innings.

    If Felix had the efficieny of Gil Meche, would you or do you think the team would still want him throwing 200IP at age 20? How does it make any sense to look at IP instead of pitch counts?

  18. Rusty on October 5th, 2005 7:54 am

    I think you look at both pitch counts and innings with Felix. Why? Because it’s better to error on the side of caution.

  19. Long Suffering on October 5th, 2005 7:58 am

    In case people aren’t following, I’m not saying just raise Felix’s budget to 220IP. I’m saying, take those 200IP, multiply by league average P/IP (say 16), you get 3200. That’s Felix’s budget for pitches in 2006. And keep track of that in lieu of IP. Then, because of his efficiency, if it continues at ~14.5, we as fans can expect him to be able to throw 220 IP in those same 3200 pitches.

  20. Frozenropers on October 5th, 2005 8:29 am

    #115: How he is now? You mean during his rookie season????

    I can only guess how many fans have written a guy off after a slow rookie season, only to be “surprised” that the said player shows improvement the next couple years and ends up producing what most people expected of him.

    I guess I’m just baffed at fans who can look at a guys rookie season and declare said player will never reach their potential because they didn’t produce what “I” expected them to do their rookie season. Its decisions based on just that kind of data that lead organizations to kick themselves in the arss for many years in the future.

  21. Adam S on October 5th, 2005 8:45 am

    Here’s a fun one to think about (sort of).

    Reading the comments above and remembering Bavasi saying them, Felix’s limit is 200 IP. Let’s say because he throws fewer pitchers per inning that average, they re-asses and make it 210. Figure 20 IP in spring training (He had 13 and M’s projected starters were 19-22) makes for 190 IP. Being cautious this year, KF has averaged 7IP per start. Let’s assume the Mariners plan is to start him in the bullpen and/or treat him as the fifth starter — looking at 28 starts at just less than 7 IP with consideration to shutting him down the last few weeks.

    It’s August 1st and the Mariners are two games out of first place. King Felix has thrown 120 IP. If you start him every fifth game, he’ll max out his innings before the last week of the season (10 * 7) and won’t be able to pitch in the playoffs. If you limit him to 5 innings per start or skip his turn a few times, it’s much less likely that there are any playoffs. What do you do?

    We can only hope the Mariners have this dilemma.

  22. Gomez on October 5th, 2005 9:12 am

    115. Didn’t Jeremy Reed hit 35 doubles?

    Also, AAAA outfielders don’t make the all-out diving catches that Reed does. They play center more like Brant Brown or a slightly more competent Melky Cabrera.

    He played most of his ROOKIE season with a bad wrist, so combine the adjustment with the injury and I can see why he struggled at the plate. Don’t discredit Reed because he doesn’t hit 320/380/500.

    Remember Bill James’ Seventh Law: bad organizations focus their frustrations on their best players.

  23. Evan on October 5th, 2005 9:39 am

    The Texas Rangers were a great example of that when they had A-Rod.

  24. Rusty on October 5th, 2005 9:44 am

    One thing that Reed’s biggest fans on this board seem to ignore is that there is a middle position on him. Not all people who question Reed’s year are writing him off, as Bela Txadux is doing, above.

    My view on Reed is that he must improve next year to remain on the team. Sure, I’m all for giving him a mulligan at the plate in this rookie year. But his improvement needs to be close to Dave’s projection above… .780 OPS. Because that’s what Ichiro hit this year (with speed) and he has begrudgingly said he’ll move to center for the good of the team. If Jeremy’s defense remains solid and he inches close to .750 OPS, then fine. That’s good improvement.

    As for his wrist, he wasn’t playing injured all year long. It’s been stated that it was for the last several weeks. On August 1st his OPS was .665, on September 1st .667, and on October 1st .674. The guy was remarkably consistent at the plate, all year, with or without the injury.

  25. Rusty on October 5th, 2005 9:47 am

    Correction: I said “remain on the team”. I meant… remain an everyday starter.

  26. Rusty on October 5th, 2005 9:51 am

    One other idea on centerfield…

    If Jeremy still struggles with lefthanded pitching at the end of 2006, a true platoon of Jeremy and Adam Jones might be a very good fit in late 2006 and beyond until one of these two guys earn the position outright.

  27. Matt Williams on October 5th, 2005 10:11 am

    Adam S. I would throw the innings count out the window, put him on a very strict pitch count (which would limit the innings), and tell him that if he fails to report any pain or possible injury, no matter how minor, immediately he’s going to spend any time on the DL listening to Creed and Barbara Streisand on constant loop.

    But that’s also because I agree about IP being a strange way to protect a pitcher, I think pitcher abuse points/pitch counts are a much better metric. But IP is an easy number to find and look at, so I guess it makes life easier for the organization (and gives them an easy number to give to fans to prove they aren’t riding him too hard). I’m sure IP isn’t the primary number they’re going to consider with each start, or even for most of the season, so I’m not too worried.

    The way IP makes sense is if you’re worried about the guy getting tired and losing his mechanics towards the end of the year, but how much difference is it going to make if he’s training and working out hard while you’re “sitting him on the bench” to rest him? I would feel much more comfortable with a pitching coach who keeps a strict eye on how the pitcher looks and acts to try to diagnose that, rather than an arbitrary number.

  28. Rusty on October 5th, 2005 10:18 am

    But IP is an easy number to find and look at, so I guess it makes life easier for the organization (and gives them an easy number to give to fans to prove they aren’t riding him too hard).

    So fans want to see Felix stay healthy and so this subterfuge is necessary, but the organization doesn’t want to see him remain healthy? That makes no sense.

  29. Gomez on October 5th, 2005 10:25 am

    Using IP strictly as a work barometer rather than pitch count is absurd because a 35 pitch inning counts the same in innings pitched as a 10 pitch inning. It’s a draconian approach to limiting pitcher work.

  30. Long Suffering on October 5th, 2005 10:47 am

    Rusty, your ability to pull quotes out of context is journalism worthy.

    “ignore IP [in favor of other metrics]” != “team wants Felix injured”

  31. Rusty on October 5th, 2005 11:04 am

    Matt seemed to indicate that one of the reasons for relying on IP is to have proof against criticism by the fans. That makes no sense to me. Longsufferin, at least I use a quote. You’re attributing stuff to me that I didn’t even say.

  32. Long Suffering on October 5th, 2005 11:19 am

    “the organization doesn’t want to see him remain healthy” – You
    “team wants Felix injured.” – Me paraphrasing you
    Those look like equivalent statements to me.

  33. Rusty on October 5th, 2005 11:30 am

    “Ignore IP [in favor of other metrics]” definitely not me.

    You’re reading way too much into what I was saying. Matt made a comment about the organization’s intent in regards to Felix that makes no sense to me. I haven’t weighed in on what metrics need to be used to keep Felix healthy.

  34. Long Suffering on October 5th, 2005 11:37 am

    I never attributed “Ignore IP [in favor of other metrics]” to you, that’s what Matt said.

    You then quoted that part and made your statement that “…the organization doesn’t want to see him remain healthy?”

    To which I pointed out that those two statements do not relate to one another. You attributed the opinion, “the organization doesn’t want to see [Felix] remain healthy” to Matt’s statement. I contest that opinion being present.

  35. Matt Williams on October 5th, 2005 11:41 am

    Rusty you don’t think it makes sense that they would want to give a number that anyone can look up on MLB.com in seconds, rather than something 90% have never heard of like pitcher abuse points, or something they would have to dig up or add up themselves like total pitches or pitches/start?

    Look at it this way, Felix has the greatest year ever and his first 20 games he throws no hitters on 90 pitches. Is having him pitch another game in the same risk category as if he’s gone out there 30 times and gone 6 innings on 130 pitches?

    I’m not saying they want to hurt him, in fact I stated that I doubt the total IP will be considered important at all until late in the year and then it may well be as much about preventing criticism from the fans as anything else. I’m sure they’re going to be monitoring the same things we would on a daily basis, I just hope they’re strict on the things that really will get him hurt.

  36. yteimlad on October 5th, 2005 11:43 am

    is anyone clear on the spiezio situation? is the $250,000 buyout referenced above for a 4th year option on his contract, or is the 3rd year an option year?

  37. Rusty on October 5th, 2005 11:44 am

    Longsufferin, I made an absurdum reductio counter-argument to show that Matt’s argument that the organization needs proof for the fans is silly. Absurdum reductio arguments aren’t the best, but they’re used all the time on this board so I’m not sure what your beef is.

    Things are inappropriately inferred by an author’s remarks all the time. Why just last night you inferred that I wanted Frank Thomas with a bad leg on the Mariners. I thought it could be inferred that I wanted Thomas with a fully rehabbed leg so he wouldn’t have to swing for the fences, on every at bat. You didn’t pick up on that so I explained my remark later. No harm done.

  38. Rusty on October 5th, 2005 11:47 am

    Matt, I’m saying that the franchise isn’t looking to set up proof, in advance, that they did a good job protecting Felix. They’re simply trying to protect Felix. You don’t have to attribute any secondary motivations by the organization in this regard.

  39. Long Suffering on October 5th, 2005 11:55 am

    Ok, I wish you had just used that explanation first of all, because I had no idea what you were getting at re: IP.

    However, I disagree with Frank Thomas. You specifically mentioned the spike in his HR/AB ratio. If Thomas had a healthy leg, he wouldn’t have had to swing for the fences on every AB. Meaning his higher HR/AB ratio would not be sustained. So I’m lost on how your argument about his HR/AB could be inferred to mean you wanted Thomas on a healthy leg.

  40. Rusty on October 5th, 2005 12:09 pm

    Well, no one wants Thomas with a bum leg. That’s pretty easy to infer. I pointed out his spike in HR/AB because it was remarkable all in itself. Up to this point, we didn’t know what the ceiling was on Thomas’ power. Now we know. I wouldn’t expect Thomas to use such a hard swing on every at bat with a healthy leg. But you get all his other hitting abilities with a healthy Thomas, plus you get incredible power as he showed this year under other circumstances.

    Think about it this way… a power hitter that can hit to all fields and adjust his swing to hit the ball over the fence, at will, is almost ideal for the spacious confines of Safeco Field. Sounds like Sexson only with the the possiblity for a 4th outcome – the simple basehit. Wait a minute… it sounds like Edgar.

  41. LB on October 5th, 2005 12:33 pm

    It is legitimate to look at IP. Every IP involves sitting around in the dugout and cooling off for five or ten minutes or longer (maybe shorter, given our offense). Every IP started means throwing eight warmup pitches that “don’t count” against the pitch count, but take some wear and tear just the same. Every IP ended gives the pitcher a chance to strand baserunners and start pitching the next inning from the windup instead of the stretch.

    I’m sure Dr. Jobe’s team knew that there was such a thing as pitch counts, and they may have been aware of Pitcher Abuse Points. “Modifying” their advice because the pitcher involved is one you want to ride a little harder, for whatever reason, is at best unwise.

    #121: Thank you for picking up on the point I started off trying to make.

    After picking him up in the Rule 5 draft, the Twins used Johann Santana out of the bullpen from 2000 until 2004 (his age 25 season) and kept his IP well below 200 before making him exclusively a starter in 2004. Some variation on that plan for the M’s to use with Felix may be a good idea, although the marketing department and fans won’t like it one bit.

  42. Gomez on October 5th, 2005 2:58 pm

    141. Good points. With that in mind, I think both IP and pitch count should be taken into account. You have a point, LB, about the downtime and warm-up pitches. However, a 10 pitch inning and a 35 pitch inning still both count as 1.0 IP. Both should be taken into account when deciding how long to work a pitcher. If a manager and pitching coach find that too complicated, both should lose their respective jobs.

    A good example is to start with a 120 pitch limit BUT drop that limit by 10 pitches every time a) an inning lasts long than 20 pitches and b) more than 5 of your batters come to the plate in your half of the inning. That of course can be changed or approached differently, but limiting a pitcher can be approached from both IP and number of pitches.

  43. Bela Txadux on October 5th, 2005 8:01 pm

    Dave, further re: Jeremy Reed is/is not Mark Kotsay, in Kotsay’s first two years in MLB he was 22 and 23, two years _younger_ than Reed, and notably less experienced as a hitter. By the time he was Reed’s age, he was showing the level of power he has ever since. Kotsay hit lefties well from the getgo, and became quite good at it by Reed’s age. The comparison you’re advancing here simply isn’t a very good one anymore, that’s why I dispute it.

    I’m well aware of Reed’s XBH %, and it is a tantalizing figure, isn’t it? But it’s just a number: what is the context of that number? In early September when I was thinking about Reed, he had over 30 doubles, 3 triples, and 3 dingers; later he hit a few more doubles. I thought at the time, How the hell did he hit thirty doubles, I can’t remember more than a couple of them? I had my answer, but then I had the evidence of the eyes, too. I was at the park last Tuesday, and Reed hit a double: a fat fly ball that went 330 ft., split the LFer and CFer perfectly and rolled to the warning track. Reed legged it out. . . . And that’s the issue: many, if not most of Jeremy’s doubles are ‘leg doubles;’ he’s the master of the hustle hit. So I framed my longstanding feeling about Reed differently: when was the last time you saw Jeremy Reed hit a ball off the wall? Not very damned often, no. Those leg doubles aren’t turning into HRs; they’re just not.

    You are using the word ‘objective’ above regarding statistical information on Reed when it would be better [because more accurate] to use the word ‘quantitative.’ There is ample objective evidence to support the contention that Reed has no power and is unable to develop it. Two years at AAA and in the Bigs he’s shown negligible HR power: the _evidence_ is that he doesn’t have it. It’s the PROJECTION which may or may not prove out, but the projection is speculative; the objective component is ‘no power.’

    And there is the evidence of the eyes. Jeremy doesn’t get around on the inside pitch, and it’s a big part of whey lefties erase him as a hitter. Should Reed pull the ball more, then? Well, the word early in ’05 was just that, that he WAS trying to pull everything, and the team had him stop that when he wasn’t even hitting .200 and go back to using the whole field: Reed has already _tried_ pulling the ball, and to this point it didn’t work for him. I’m pushing the hypothesis that Jeremy’s doubles are largely well placed fly balls that he legs out; I haven’t charted that over the season, so I could be wrong, yes, but _this_ speculation fits my experience of watching him for 1+ years, now. Few, very few of Reed’s balls in play are hard hit line drives. Balls hit like that turn into HRs with experience; leg doubles don’t.

    Regarding the issue of Reed’s wrist, Rusty in #124 covers it well. As I read the comments on that, it was stated that the wrist had no impact on his hitting until _maybe_ late August, and even then the numbers don’t show any difference at all. The wrist is a non-explanation for Reed’s results, so far as I can tell.

    I’m quite willing to grant that my ‘projection’ could be wrong—but I doubt it. A year from now, the issue won’t be disputable at all, Jeremy will settle it for us. I’m not advocating ‘giving up on Reed’: I’m advocating moving him while he’s still projectible for someone of substance before the projections finally intersect his demonstrated results.

  44. Gomez on October 6th, 2005 11:52 am

    143. You’re far too quick to dismiss the wrist injury to Reed.

    Rusty in comment 124 said that Reed hurt his wrist in August and his numbers stayed constant indicating it’s not a factor. However, Will Carroll @ BP said that the injured wrist, an injury that had been kept under wraps until this August, has actually been hurt most of the season, and would explain Reed’s struggles at the plate.

    Given the choice between believing Rusty, and believing Will Carroll, I’m going with the guy who writes for the reputable pay site. Call me crazy. Looks to me like Reed’s getting written off after one season, his ROOKIE season, by his own fans because a) he’s not Cammy or Griffey and b) he only hit .255 with 33 doubles despite a bad wrist.

  45. Garry on October 6th, 2005 8:39 pm

    $25M this offseason???!!! TRY $35M we have to spend!!!

    I’m SO TIRED every year hearing that we have practically NOTHING for FA signings. And the Times shouldn’t even allow Finnigan to have a calculator, let alone publish garbage like he does in everyone of his articles. Even with Sexson’s signing bonus being paid out in 2006 (Beltre’s signing bonus was totally paid out in 2005)…we have a hell’va lot more than $25M to spend this offseason!!! I defy anyone to question the following contract payroll disbursements for 2006, and the following expired contracts that will free up the following money. I have a detailed spreadsheet that I keep track of ALL player contracts with the associated links to back this all up:

    Players under contract in 2006:
    Beltre $11M
    BetanCourt $350K
    Bloomquist $316K
    Boone $0
    Bucky ??? (AAA)
    Cirillo $0 (FINALLY!!!) 2005 we paid his final portion of $4.78M
    Franklin ???
    Guardado $4.5M (Player Option. I doubt Seattle will exercise Team Option)
    Ibanez $4.25M
    Ichiro $12M
    Jarvis $0 (FINALLY!!!)
    Lopez $316K
    Madritsch $316K (DL until Allstar break AT LEAST)
    Mateo ($390K)
    Meche ???
    Moyer ???
    Nelson $0
    Olivo $0
    Pineiro $5.125M (Plus add’l incentives that add to a total of $6.3M)
    Putz $316K
    Reed $316K
    Reese $300K (Buyout)
    Sele $0
    Sexson $17.5M (Includes 100% signing bonus paid in 2006)
    Sherrill $316K
    Shiggy $330K (Buyout)
    Soriano $316K
    Spiezo $3.1M
    Thornton $316K
    Villone $0 (Traded)
    Wiki $250K (Buyout)
    Wilson $0 (Retired)
    Winn $0 (Traded)

    Total Contract Payout for currently signed players, including buyouts of Wiki/Shiggy/Reese?

    TOTAL: $64,717,000

    Let me highlight the freed up money in a different way:

    2006 Freed Up Salary
    Boone: $9M
    Moyer: $7.5M
    Wilson: $1.75M
    Cirillo: $4.78M
    Jarvis: $500K (His 2005 buyout we paid)
    Franklin: $2.4M
    Meche: $2.55M
    Nelson: ??? (I don’t have record what he was paid in 2005…but I think it was between $600K-750K)
    Olivo: $316K
    Reese: $900K (We will have a $300K buyout though)
    Shiggy: $2.98M (We will have a $330K buyout though)
    Villone: $2M
    Wiki: $2.25M (We will have a $250K buyout though)
    Winn: $3.75M

    Total Freed Up Salary this offseason: $41.176M

    BUT, we do have Sexson’s huge signing bonus to payout in 2006…all $6M of it on top of his 2006 base salary!

    Three questionable resignings this offseason?
    1. Moyer (I say he resigns on a $3M + $3.5M incentive laden contract)
    2. Franklin ??? (M’s only resign him for long relief)
    3. Meche ??? (M’s could resign for same salary as 2005, and use as trade bait in 2006)

    One more thing that I would like to emphasize. During the Winter Meetings last December, I personally was listening to MLB.Radio when they interviewed Chuck Armstrong. I personally heard him state that the Mariners 2005 payroll would be set at $99M!!! AND, he said that they are willing to go over that and be in the RED…no matter what it takes…to get back to 90+ wins in 2005!

    In addition to personally hearing Chuck Armstrong state $99M as our 2005 budget on MLB.Radio during the Winter Mtgs last December…Here is a link that you can checkout from the official Mariners site back on 12/16/2004:


    “Mariners payroll is expected to be about $93 million — not counting the $6 million still owed to former third baseman Jeff Cirillo and catcher Wiki Gonzalez”

    …AND Jarvis’ $500K buyout in 2005

    Well folks, once again (4 years running) the Seattle Mariners payroll came in over $17M UNDERBUDGET in 2005!!! It was around $82M prior to dumping Villone & Winn this year in trades. So it could be closer to $20M underbudget in 2005!

    Yes the Sexson/Beltre signings last offseason wet our appetites as fans, showing that they were indeed willing to spend money. BUT, they still came nearly $20M under budget for 2005 despite these two huge signings!!!

    As fans, aren’t we getting sick and tired of ownership pocketing this money EVERY YEAR that they initially promised fans they would DEFINITELY spend on player salaries BUT DONT?!

    I have calculated over $68M, since 2002, that the Mariners have come under budget (4 years combined)…that they didn’t put back into the team.

    We have missed the playoffs for the past 4 years for no other reason than this…our FO Management & Ownership!

    I say that ownership OWES all of us fans a whopper of a year in FA signings/trades this offseason! I say that they keep the $99M payroll budget, AND roll the add’l $20M they saved this year…AND add it to the 2006 payroll budget…pushing the budget to $119M in 2006. We are the 2nd highest revenue team in all of MLB! The Yanks have the highest revenue team, spent $230M…not even counting the 40% luxury tax they will owe MLB this coming January for being over the luxury tax threshold for the 3rd offense…NOT even to mention the add’l $$$ Millions in revenue sharing they will have to fork over once again this December! NOT EVEN to mention that the Mariners were able to get a free Safeco Field…paid for by Washiontonians Tax Dollars.

    One last thing? I posted the same details this time last year when everyone was saying that we only had $15-18M to spend last offseason (INCLUDING FINNIGAN!). I posted all the contract info breakdowns, and people were responding telling me that I was nuts…THEN…Seattle signed back-to-back signings with Sexson then Beltre! And just prior to the Beltre signing, Seattle was still going after Delgado, despite already signing Sexson, and the discussion was that Seattle would put Sexson in LF.

    Well, Florida is openly shoping Delgado now. AND with losing a quality pitcher like Burnett, they could very well decide to try and get out of Delgado’s huge longterm contract by trading for a pitcher like Pineiro with a 1yr contract.

    I’m not saying that Delgado will be a Mariner in 2006. But, what I am saying is that the M’s have a TON of offseason money to spend whether it be for FA’s or for trades!!!

    Sorry for the LONG post. But I thought it was necessary to correct and post a breakdown of our contracted player salaries for 2006. I hope this will enlighten everyone on the Mariner’s financial situation going into this offseason!!!

  46. Garry on October 6th, 2005 8:59 pm

    I’m not sure my above link will work, let me repost:

    [deleted for extremely long text link which messes up comments]

    “Mariners payroll is expected to be about $93 million — not counting the $6 million still owed to former third baseman Jeff Cirillo and catcher Wiki Gonzalez”

    …Don’t forget Jarvis’ $500k buyout in 2005 we had to pay too.

    Something else. Let me refresh eveyones memory right after the Sexson/Beltre signings. Right out of Bavasi’s own mouth we had a ton of money left to spend. They were going hot and heavy after Odalis Perez for $7.5M/year for 3yrs. But Perez resign with the Dodgers, and the Mariners stopped spending for the rest of 2005!


    “Couple Beltre’s signing with the four-year, $50 million deal the Mariners reached with first baseman Richie Sexson on Wednesday and it appears as though Seattle might be done with its Christmas shopping early – by virtue of an empty pocketbook…Not so, general manager Bill Bavasi said. “We have money left,” he said.”

  47. Garry on October 6th, 2005 9:08 pm

    What I would like to see happen this offseason:

    1. Sign Burnett in the $9-10M range over 4-5 years
    2. Sign Millwood on a 4 year contract $7-9M/yr
    3. Sign Matsuzaka whatever it takes (and remember the money it will cost to acquire him WON’T be coming out of our 2006 budget either!

    4. I wouldn’t mind signing Brian Giles as a power LHB for LF for around $7M. I think he would do awesome at Safeco Field. BUT…if Delago is available in trade, lets finish the deal and pick him up, and move Sexson to LF…I’m Game…I’m willing to try that. We would have Ibanez as a Lefty DH for us. But Ibanez could share 50/50 time in LF with Sexson, and Sexson’s remaining 50% of the time could be split at 1B/DH with Delgado. That would keep everyone pretty fresh all year long.

    5. I wouldn’t have a problem with resigning Franklin for $2.5M for 2006, as long as he’s long relief ONLY, and ONLY use him as a spot starter if one of our starters goes on the DL.

    6. Resign Meche for $2.55M. The same salary as 2005.


    Package Pineiro & Meche together to Florida for Delgado!

    2006 ROTATION
    AJ Burnett

    Sandwich Moyer between hard throwing Burnett (104mph), and Felix (98mph), and that would be a pretty deadly 1-2-3.

    2006 LINEUP
    RF Ichiro
    SS Betancourt
    1B/DH Delgado
    LF/1B/DH Sexson
    DH/LF Ibanez
    3B Beltre
    CF Reed
    C Rivera/Torr
    2B Lopez

    That would be a very balanced LHB/RHB lineup

    Offseason Costs:
    1. Burnett $9-$10M
    2. Millwood $7-9M
    3. Matsuzaka (not counted against our 2006 budget)
    4. Moyer $3M + $3.5M Add’l Incentives
    5. Meche $2.5M (To use in trade)
    6. Franklin $2.4M (Use in trade to strengthen bench)

    Offseason Trade:
    1. Trade Piniero ($6.3M) and Meche ($2.5M) to Florida for Delgado

    WOW, all within our $35M available money this offseason!!!

    WHY Delgado? Remember that Bavasi was STILL going after Delgado after the Sexson signing!!! They were stating that Sexson would move to LF where he played in Cleveland. Also, checkout Delgado’s BA/OBP/OPS with every AL pitcher. He is a AL pitching NIGHTMARE, and crushes AL pitching. Now, with 1yr in the NL, and posting awesome numbers there too, would be pretty valuable with interleague play, as well as “if” the M’s made it to the WS against an NL team!

    Bottom line though? I really think that Seattle will surprise us this offseason, like they did last year with the Sexson/Beltre signings.

    Florida is openly shopping Delgado at this very moment. Would Seattle get in the running?! I’m NOT saying they would, but it sure is a nice thought especially considering this:

    I really think adding Delgado through trade, would be a VERY balanced team. We could rotate Ibanez/Sexson/Delgado in those 3 positions of LF/1B/DH so they would have the following playing time:

    Ibanez 50% DH, 50% LF
    Sexson 50% LF, 25% 1B, 25% DH
    Delgado 75% 1B, 25% DH

    Everyone would be happy with their playing time! AND, we would add major offense to one of our corner OF positions in LF! And Delgado would be back in the AL where he just crushes AL pitching.

  48. Replacement Level Poster on October 7th, 2005 2:29 am

    Burnett 9-10Million per year
    Millwood 7-9Million per year

    Are you kidding me? There is no way the top two pitchers on the free market will make that little.

    Sexson in Leftfield for 50% of the games.

    There is no way I want to see Sexsonout in leftfield, why would you even do that? Just play Ibanez out in left, Raul’s defense would be much better than Sexson’s I would guess.

    IMO your ideas are a little out there.

  49. Gomez on October 7th, 2005 9:09 am

    Also, you’re assuming the signings of Matsuzaka and Delgado will happen. Matsuzaka will not post this season, via a variety of sources, and Delgado is highily likely to remain closer to his family on the East Coast.