Mariners Miss Morris

DMZ · December 11, 2005 at 5:26 pm · Filed Under General baseball 

ESPN’s reporting that free agent pitcher Matt Morris has agreed to a 3 year, $27m deal with the Giants. Possibly the worst deal in a bad free agent class.

As Dave said in “Free Agent Landmines

Since the all-star break, Matt Morris has been, well, awful. His numbers across the board have taken a nosedive. His strikeout rate has fallen and he’s getting lit up like a Christmas tree. He has a history of arm problems, and at this point, wouldn’t be a good bet even on a one year contract. Given his reputation and his overall totals, someone is certainly going to overpay.

Action is not inherently better than inaction, and the Mariners are better for not having made this signing, even as it puts them into an even tighter situation trying to assemble the 2006 team.


150 Responses to “Mariners Miss Morris”

  1. Matt O. on December 12th, 2005 12:57 pm

    [yes, it’s a dupe. stop]

  2. Grant on December 12th, 2005 1:04 pm

    #87 –

    Actually, he blew his arm out in 2000. Since then, he’s needed minor shoulder surgery in the offseason.

    But even using the last three years, you get ERA+ for Morris:


    And Millwood:


    If you think the 2005 for Millwood is not a fluke, maybe there is some sense in going for the extra year/$10M. I think they are very, very comparable pitchers, with the only difference being Morris couldn’t maintain the great start he had in 2005.

  3. Dave on December 12th, 2005 1:06 pm

    I’m just curious, is that opinion based on Choo’s ‘05 18 at bats with the M’s?

    No, its based on my perception of Choo’s actual abilities.

    What he can do:

    1. Take a lot of pitches and hit a fastball in the gap against right-handed pitching.

    2. Throw the ball with tremendous velocity from the outfield.

    That’s about it.

    What he can’t do:

    1. Hit left-handed pitching any better than I can.

    2. Hit a good offspeed pitch.

    3. Judge a fly ball and take a route that fails to leave crop circles in the outfield.

    He hit .150 against lefties in Triple-A last year. Regardless of how much you like him, he’s completely incapable of playing against southpaws. So, his offense is limited to being a gap hitter who waits for a fastball against right-handers. And he’s a defensive liability.

    Overall, I think Choo has a chance to be the next Todd Hollandsworth if he works hard.

  4. JMHawkins on December 12th, 2005 1:09 pm

    I can’t believe that you would run the numbers, find a 9-pt drop in AVG, 17-pt drop in OBP, and a 30-pt drop in SLG over his career w/o 2004…”

    Not only that, but the drops get even worse if you include 2004. Yes, yes, career year, outlier, etc. But he did actually play that year. His actual career line is .271 AVG, .327 OBP and .455 SLG, so
    the real drops from his average are 16 points AVG, 24 points OBP, and 42 points in SLG.

    I think we can expect him to be better this year. He just has to stop swining at that pitch…

  5. AK1984 on December 12th, 2005 1:57 pm

    Re. #100:

    Yeah, without a shadow of a doubt, the fire within some of Derek’s posts provides us readers with entertaining content; likewise, his hypocritical responses toward those of whom who reply with similar “fire” is flat-out amusing to me.

    Oh yeah, and by the way, I must give Dave credit for proving that Shin-Soo Choo is not a guy that us fans should want to see suit up for the Seattle Mariners. Hell, with the option of Choo and Mike Morse — of whom neither are legitimate major league players — being the likely co-starters in left field for the Mariners, VP/GM Bill Bavasi ought to consider signing a lower-tier free agent like Jeromy Burnitz to a one-year, $4,000,000 contract; there was a good argument regarding the possibility of bringing Burnitz to the Pacific Northwest by Jeff @, & I’ve got to give him credit for it.

  6. DMZ on December 12th, 2005 2:07 pm

    I guess I don’t see what’s hypocritical about chewing on someone for assuming Dave’s making crazy conclusions based on thin data. But whatever, if it’s amusing for you, yayyy.

  7. jojo on December 12th, 2005 2:50 pm

    #96- I shouldve defined *significant*. I meant statistically significant meaning most of his numbers fell within a normal range of expected values given the variation in his career numbers (i.e. his numbers last year were statistically no different than his career numbers in that they all fall within a standard deviation of the mean).

    So yes, I do look at the numbers and while they were definately disapointing, they were not significantly different from his career performance minus ’04. Also, just to point it out, including his ’04 numbers, while making his career averages higher, also makes the variance higher (in essence its a statisitcal wash as the error bars would still overlap on the graph). I left out ’04 to make a point and dropped his first season so that I wouldnt bias his numbers more unfairly.

    But overall youre right in that it was a disapointing season,,,,he couldve reasonably been expected to do the following and still been within a normal range (again ignoring ’04):

    Ave: .281
    HR: 23
    OBP: .350
    SLG: .450

    So maybe Im being too academic as he could just as easily be reasonably expected to do that next season as well (or even better if including the ’04 season) which of course is your point I believe.

  8. AK1984 on December 12th, 2005 3:06 pm

    Derek, you were absolutely right, in more ways than one, to tell the guy off for making an incorrect statement about Dave’s statistical analysis concerning Shin-Soo Choo; however, it’s humorous to me that you sometimes call out people for being jerks, even though you occasionally write posts in a jerkish manner to disprove people’s untrue assumptions.

    Anyhow, I think that sort of attitude is a positive quality to include in one’s writing style—especially since a persuasive argument is composed of both logos and pathos.

    In other news, it’s too bad that VP/GM Bill Bavasi didn’t offer up Bret Boone for Chien-Ming Wang and Robinson Cano last off-season . . . of course, hindsight is always 20/20. At any rate, though, what’s up with good ol’ Boone? The reason I bring up Boone, however, is that the potential for a similar situation — albeit under seemingly different circumstances — with Eddie Guardado; Guardado should be moved for both monetary and health reasons.

    Oh yeah, and by the way, Kevin Millwood ought to be grouped in the following category with Matt Morris: Undesirable!

  9. Churchill on December 12th, 2005 3:08 pm

    After seeing Choo all season in the PCL, I can’t help but agree with Dave re: Choo.

    Though I’m not quite as down on him, everything Dave said is true.

    He was lost against lefties until a nice streak late in the year saved his lefy splits from the .150 mark.

    He still takes “hesistant” routes on fly balls, though he did get better toward the end of the year, and though his arm is very good, it hardly makes up for his lack in coverage.

    Choo not only has issues versus lefties and with the breaking ball, he became so congizant of the offspeed pitch that even the 90mph fastball variety gave him problems.

    Last year in AA, Choo was hitting the mistake fastball more consistently. In ’05, he began poking the pitch into the ground after being caught worried about the slider away.

    I think he needs a full year in Tacoma before he’s ready to take a big-league gig of any kind, and that role is likely to be as a fourth outfielder.

    Oh, and, those 40 steals he logged at San Antonio in ’04… didn’t quite transfer to the PCL. He was getting picked off left and right and he was cuaght in more run downs than Ichiro.

    Todd Hollandsworth, Dave?

    Man. Kick a local boy where it counts.

  10. Gomez on December 12th, 2005 3:10 pm

    89: Lopez and Yuni are changes if they play a full season at their positions, over who played those positions last year. Boone (231/299/385) played most of the way at 2B (Lopez had a cup of coffee during Boone’s batting siesta), until the Independence Day weekend, then it was a platoon of Lopez (13/58 with 4 doubles, a walk and a game off every 3-4 days) and Bloomquist before Lopez took the job for good late in the season (259/293/432 after his final callup on 8/30, and no games taken off).

    Betancourt (256/296/370) took the SS job in the last 3rd of the season, previously held by Wilson Valdez (198/235/254 in 42 games), Mike Morse (whose surprise 400 hitting tear early on inflated the position totals considerably) and Bloomquist (257/289/333). We have seen neither Lopez nor Yuni perform over a full season, so to say they’re incumbents, while technically true, doesn’t disprove the point that both starting over a full season isn’t an improvement from last year’s combined performance at each position. Lopez will get stability that he was missing for most of last year, and you can’t deny that Yuni is far better than Valdez, and a better defender, plus has more pop, than Bloomquist or Morse.

    Pineiro lacked velocity during 2005’s 1st half, and was coming off an injury. Though he rediscovered his velocity towards the end, he also had to deal with fatigue from a nearly full season of pitching, which usually is not a factor for players, but given he spent half the year recovering from an injury and dealing with the confidence blow of pitching without his best stuff, it could have undercut his results. He’ll have his stuff out of the gate next season, rather than having to spend half the year finding it while getting tagged by AL hitters.

    Meche was below replacement level for much of the season (we’re talking a guy who couldn’t go 3 innings without a bad inning) and one could argue that Jeff Harris’ performance was an improvement for the slot. Aaron Sele’s numbers can be deceiving given a surprising string of good starts towards midseason, culminating with a complete game shutout. It took that good run to get him to replacement level.

    I don’t argue that Franklin was much better than Pineiro overall, and better than Meche. But having Felix over a full season is an improvement over having Franklin be a workhorse at the #2 or #3 spot. If anything, you can consider Franklin another Just About Anybody if you want him to fill the bottom of the rotation over Meche. And when I say Just About Anybody, I’m referring to major league arms. I’m not saying run Cha Baek and Ryan Rowland-Smith out there.

    My point is that we are not the same last place bottom feeding scrub club we were in 04-05. This club is already capable of scoring more runs and preventing more runs. Score more runs that last year and prevent more runs than last year, and you will do better than last year.

  11. Monster for LF on December 12th, 2005 3:40 pm

    Beltre was 25 when he had his mirage of a year. He’s 27 now. Players usually peak between 28-33.

    People continue to seem to be saying that what he did by the age of 24 is the best we can expect from the veteran in his peak seasons. Could someone explain the sense of this to me?

  12. DMZ on December 12th, 2005 3:49 pm

    That’s not true. As a group, players peak at 27-28. Some peak earlier, some peaks later. If you want a five range, it’d be 25-30ish.

  13. Ace of Spades on December 12th, 2005 4:11 pm

    Actually jojo, by the stats that matter, Joel Pineiro was our best starter on the team (ignoring Felix’ stint with the Mariners). Joel Pineiro had a FIP that was nearly equal to Moyer’s (Pineiro had a FIP of 4.50 and Moyer had a FIP of 4.44), had an xFIP that was better than Moyer’s (4.66 vs. 5.17), and had the best K/9 (5.10).

    Franklin and Meche were garbage last season. Much worse than Pineiro.

  14. Russ on December 12th, 2005 4:47 pm

    Franklin had a bad year but he realy made some good pitches. It’s just that they got hit. I don’t think it was his fault.

  15. Churchill on December 12th, 2005 4:59 pm

    LOL, Russ.

    Great post, hilarious. I needed one for the rush hour drive home.

  16. Adam S on December 12th, 2005 5:02 pm

    Choo seems to be a bit of a funny prospect. He routinely shows up high on the Mariners top 10 prospect lists and played in the All-Star futures game three times. And his stat lines seem good for a 23-year old in AAA.

    But those that have seen him play point out some huge holes in his game that suggest he’s a fourth outfielder.

  17. Grizz on December 12th, 2005 5:34 pm

    One problem with team Top 10 prospect lists is that they have to list 10 players, even if some are not particularly deserving when compared to prospects in other organizations.

    It is what a professor once dubbed the “Mike Sharperson Effect” — just because the rules or procedures require the selection of someone to fill a position (e.g., the rules required an All-Star representative from the Dodgers in 1992), it does not mean they are necessarily worthy of that position.

  18. jojo on December 12th, 2005 5:40 pm

    Since we’re now talking FIP, millwood has averaged 3.82 for the last two years (according to my rough eyeball calcs)… that good? 😛

    Here’s a few notable’s FIP for last year:

    Morris: 4.11
    Weaver: 4.41
    Washburn: 3.67
    Loaiza: 3.44
    Burnett: 3.19
    Pavano: 4.83
    Moyer: 4.46
    Pineiro: 4.54
    Franklin: 5.12
    Felix: 2.96
    Milton: 5.51

    I say just say no to trading for Eric Milton 😛

  19. jojo on December 12th, 2005 5:56 pm

    One thing Im wondering,,,,,since moyer is more *pitch to contact* and Piniero is supposed to be a stud, Moyer’s 4.46 is actaully much better than Pineiro’s 4.54 right? Franklin’s 5.12 also wouldnt be quite so yucky either? Meche (5.19) basically has no adjusted excuse.

  20. jojo on December 12th, 2005 6:02 pm

    *****Rangers acquired RHP Vicente Padilla from the Phillies for a player to be named.*******

    WOW! The Rangers just picked up a potential 3rd or 4th starter for…..NOTHING.

  21. Southpaw on December 12th, 2005 6:14 pm

    The PTBNL we got didn’t turn out to be nothing.

    And since when did a 5ish ERA become potential 3rd or 4th starter? We’ve got loads of those guys and I don’t see people claiming that our rotation is stacked with anything close to “potential”.

  22. jojo on December 12th, 2005 6:17 pm

    The point was….they significantly improved their team and they didnt have to pay 8 mill per for 3 years to do it….

  23. jojo on December 12th, 2005 6:22 pm

    Oh and about Padilla….he’s got good stuff but clearly needs a change of scenery…..and for people who care, he has a career FIP of 4.2 which would make him the M’s #2 starter if you compare that to their FIPs last year…. 😛

    I think is was a pretty good move for them…

  24. Monster for LF on December 12th, 2005 6:34 pm

    Okay 25-30…

    Beltre @ 25 great
    Beltre @ 26 good…

    3 years left of that run that is supposed to be better than 24 or younger, but people seem to be saying that those 2+ years will not be better than anything he’d done by the age of 24.

    The only answers I’ve gotten in response so far was merely somantics and didn’t answer or even relate to the question. I think that Beltre will have 3+ seasons that surpass any season he had before his contract year.

    Again he’s 27. How can you think he’ll not improve from this point regardless of expectation or how good he is now?

  25. Gomez on December 12th, 2005 6:35 pm

    114. Russ, I think towards the end of his starts, he just tried to be a little too fine.

  26. Russ on December 12th, 2005 6:45 pm


    I’d have settled for somewhat good. Fine is too big a stretch.


    Try the veal.

    I’ll be here all week.

  27. jojo on December 12th, 2005 7:58 pm

    #124: I think he just got better at hitting people’s bats…

  28. David H on December 12th, 2005 8:12 pm

    not sure where to ask this question, so at the end of a long and waning list of comments seems as good a place as any.

    Why are win shares not discussed at this site? I can’t remember ever seeing them used, and a search of the site turned up no articles with the term in it. I know they are not necessarily good for predicting future performance, but they do sort some things out in evaluating past performance that traditional stats miss, head in the direction of evaluating pitching performances independent of defense, and add another defensive stat to the mix. Why no love?

  29. Dave on December 12th, 2005 8:48 pm

    Why are win shares not discussed at this site?

    A variety of reasons. Several of them you hit on, but there’s also the public confusion between Bill James Win Shares, which were tragically flawed, and the Hardball Times Win Shares, which are better but also less well known.

    I know they are not necessarily good for predicting future performance

    They have very little predictive value. That’s a big minus.

    but they do sort some things out in evaluating past performance that traditional stats miss

    How often are we concerned about that, though? Do any of us care if Gil Meche or Ryan Franklin was crappier in 2005? It has some value in MVP voting, I guess, but I’ve long since stopped caring about the BBWAA awards.

    head in the direction of evaluating pitching performances independent of defense

    Not nearly as well as other pitching statistics, such as FIP.

    head in the direction of evaluating pitching performances independent of defense

    A terrible one, though. Have you looked at the defensive win shares numbers? They don’t come anywhere close to passing the smell test. Best fielder on the Mariners, by rate value last year, according to Win Shares? Miguel Olivo.

    Honestly, I’d say that the offensive statistics we have are about as refined as we need them to be. We understand about 99.6 percent of how to evaluate past offensive value. Pitching and defense are far sketchier, but win shares doesn’t really add anything to those areas anyways.

  30. Dave on December 12th, 2005 8:56 pm

    The last quote should refer to your defense line, obviously.

  31. Southpaw on December 12th, 2005 9:31 pm

    Vicente Padilla has not significantly improved much of anything the past few years save the stats of the batters facing him.

  32. David H on December 12th, 2005 9:33 pm


  33. Jon Wells on December 13th, 2005 12:08 am

    I heard several times on XM Radio on Monday that the Red Sox were very interested in acquiring Jeremy Reed to play CF if they decided they weren’t going to re-sign Damon. And, according to the Boston Globe, the Sox may be interested in trading Matt Clement in a deal for Reed. I’d endorse that deal. And, according to the latest P-I article in Tuesday’s paper (link below the Boston Globe link), the M’s are “no longer pursuing Jacque Jones.”

    “One team source said that Epstein had lobbied the previous Gang of Four to explore a trade with Seattle that would send Matt Clement to the Mariners for center fielder Jeremy Reed, a possible fallback plan in case Johnny Damon doesn’t re-sign.”

  34. Jon Wells on December 13th, 2005 1:15 am

    More in-depth article about the possibility of Matt Clement for Jeremy Reed in Tuesday’s Boston Globe — heading “Deal with Mariners Discussed”.

  35. Revenant Edgar on December 13th, 2005 1:21 am

    Bavasi watched while the Red Sox traded.

    Betancourt for Marte?

  36. mln on December 13th, 2005 1:34 am

    Jeremy Reed sees very popular. There was also some rumor that the Yankees wanted to trade Carl Pavano for Reed and JJ Putz.

    Whom would you rather have? Carl Pavano or Matt Clement?

  37. Mr. Egaas on December 13th, 2005 1:56 am

    Clement is the real deal. Gets a lot of groundballs and misses a lot of bats. I’d much prefer Clement.

    It’d be interesting to see who we throw out there in centerfield if the swap gets done.

    Plus we could have Matt Clement goatee night.

  38. Mr. Egaas on December 13th, 2005 1:59 am

    Not a lot has been said about Jeff Weaver. He’s thrown 220+ innings of ball the last 2 years and kept his ERA around 4. Only walked 43 in 224 innings last year and strikes out enough guys to make a difference. If Millwood doesn’t happen, I wouldn’t be object to Weaver as much as I would to Washburn.

  39. Nikku on December 13th, 2005 2:06 am

    Reed sure seems to pop up on all the trade rumours. It would sure create a hole in CF with no replacement to fill it.

  40. Mr. Egaas on December 13th, 2005 2:16 am

    He’s definitely one of the most valuable trade commodities we have. Plays for peanuts, plays stellar defense, and has offensive potential.

  41. Jeff Nye on December 13th, 2005 2:20 am

    Those are all reasons that we should /keep/ Reed, not trade him.

  42. Mr. Egaas on December 13th, 2005 2:23 am

    I’d like to see Reed prosper as much as anybody in a Mariner uniform. Problem being, in order to get something, you’ve gotta give something.

    Proven major league starter, or a guy who gave you very little offense last year on a struggling team? That’s one way to look at it.

  43. jojo on December 13th, 2005 3:21 am

    Out of the gang of 6 hired guns (Burnett, Millwood, Weaver, Washburn, Loaiza, Morris) Weaver by far had the worst FIP last season for what thats worth… His (4.41) was on the order of Pineiro’s (4.54). You be the judge if that means Piniero is good or Weaver stinks.. 🙂

  44. jojo on December 13th, 2005 6:19 am

    ******Mariners signed catcher Corky Miller to a minor league contract.****

    Wohoo…the free agent arms will line up now…. 😛

    Seriously, the M’ dont like Rivera…

  45. jojo on December 13th, 2005 6:28 am

    *****Jacque Jones’ agent confirmed Monday that the Twins’ salary arbitration offer will be rejected******

    Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune

    Is he officially dead to the Mariner’s brass or does he still have legs?

    If a Reed to Boston rumor pans out, doesnt that really put pressure on the outfield leather?

    If sportwriters were GM’s, the M’s rotation would look like this:


    Im not sure how excited that rotation would make me, but at least there are 5 arms in it…

    potential batteries (predicted by stirring my alphabet soup):
    Johjima-Felix (king)=KK mucho strikeouts!

  46. brad Russell on December 13th, 2005 6:30 am

    “whom would you rather have Matt Clement or Carl Pavano?”

    Why not both?
    It seems that whoever dosen’t get Damon(Yankees or Bosox)is looking at Reed as a possible replacement.
    If Damon signs with Yankees(less likely) pavano may still be had for possibly JJ Putz and Mateo.The Yankees still need middle relief.
    This would open up a Reed for Clement Trade with the Bosox.
    This would negate any draft picks forfieted for free agent signings.

  47. brad Russell on December 13th, 2005 6:54 am

    Is Rivera part of a possible Yankee trade?(Pavano)
    Corky Miller can ask out of a contract if not on the 40 man roster by June 1? Why, the fetish with catching and the M’s front office? I mean everytime it seems settled here comes another warm body. Mean while the two “needs” left-handed power, and starting pitcher remains unaddressed.

  48. msb on December 13th, 2005 8:20 am

    144, 147– didn’t the Miller signing happen in mid-November? or was there a delay in the paperwork?

  49. eponymous coward on December 13th, 2005 10:12 am

    Elarton and Everett? My God, if that happens, Bavasi really IS bound and determined to repeat the 2001-2002 offseason, with Carl Everett as the itinerant LF played by Ruben Sierra last time, and Elarton as the often-ineffective RHP played by James Baldwin.

    OK, he did sign Johjima, but how can you possibly justify a guy with a 5.10 career ERA as an upgrade on anyone in the Mariner rotation? I sure don’t see them selling a lot of season tickets with THOSE signings.

  50. Monster for LF on December 13th, 2005 1:49 pm

    I like Mateo + Putz for Pavano. I think Reed would be much harder to replace than Pavano or Clement, but I like Pavano better.