Salt In The Wound

Dave · December 15, 2005 at 7:38 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Not to distract from the ritual suicide being committed in the Carl Everett threads below, but, in the wake of the Everett signing, there’s some other bad news that’s being overlooked.

Now general manager Bill Bavasi says his focus is on free agent pitching. He didn’t name names, but that would mean Kevin Millwood, Jarrod Washburn and Scott Elarton, among others.

With the traditional break agents, players and front-office types take at Christmas, time is closing quickly.

Bavasi has offers on the table to all three of the above. It’s not that he’ll land all three. For now, he’d settle for one, then seeing if a second one might come along.

He says if the Mariners don’t land a pitcher right away, it won’t be from lack of effort — or money.

“No one will act before we do,” Bavasi said at the early evening new conference to introduce Everett, late of the Chicago White Sox. “We’ve got our offers out there. We’ve put a lot of money out there.

“Even with Matt Morris (a top choice of the Mariners who signed with the Giants), it wasn’t a money thing. We got eliminated by Morris the same day the Cardinals (Morris’ former team did). The offer was competitive.”

Millwood, Morris, Washburn, and Elarton. Those are the pitchers we know that the M’s have expressed serious interest in this offseason. So which of these is not like the others?

Seriously, putting Millwood in the same group with those three is like serving a honey glazed salmon with a side of fries, grits, and chasing it with a can of Schlick’s.

Millwood, we’ve covered. We like him. He’s good.

Morris, we were against, and we’re glad he chose the Giants over the M’s. Dodged a bullet there.

Washburn, well, he’s just not good. He’s one of the more extreme flyball pitchers in the AL, has mediocre command, and can’t miss bats. If you break out his batters faced by contact type, his mediocrity shines through.

27 percent of his BF hit flyballs
8 percent walked
13 percent struck out

Want a Mariner comparison? How about Ryan Franklin:

Flyballs – 28 percent
Walks – 8 percent
Strikeouts – 11 percent

He’s basically a left-handed Ryan Franklin.

And Elarton? He’s basically the epitome of replacement level. He’s even more flyball prone than Washburn, and his basic strategy is throw-ball-over-plate-and-pray.

In fact, here’s the batted ball outcomes, side by side, for Elarton and Eric Freaking Milton.

Player	Team	BFP	K%	BB%	GB%	OF%	IF%	LD%	Oth%
Elarton S.	CLE	774	13%	7%	26%	31%	5%	17%	1%
Milton E.	CIN	855	14%	7%	26%	31%	4%	15%	2%

2005 Expected Fielding Independant ERA for the three pitchers the M’s are known to have offers out to:

Millwood: 3.99
Washburn: 5.01
Elarton: 5.19

If the M’s give any kind of significant contract to Washburn or Elarton, this offseason will go down as disastrous. Washburn and Elarton are barely better bets going forward than Bobby Livingston or Jeff Harris. Washburn, especially, is going to command a salary so far from what his real talent level is that he’ll be untradeable from the minute he signs.

So, it’s Kevin Millwood or bust. Literally.


71 Responses to “Salt In The Wound”

  1. Russ on December 15th, 2005 11:01 am

    I want a delete key. I’m available for deletion services from 6 to 8 PM.

    “They found my psych results fit a certain profile. A certain “Moral flexibility” would be the best way to describe it… I was loaned out to a CIA-sponsored program. It’s called “mechanical operations.” We sort of
    found each other…”

    I’ll work cheap or free. Mostly free.

  2. Revenant Edgar on December 15th, 2005 11:11 am

    Is it too late to get Theo Epstein?

  3. gary on December 15th, 2005 11:11 am

    As a peripheral issue, may we infer from this signing that Bavasi and/or the rest of the administration of the Mariners are ignoring the input from another recent acquisition, viz. the stats guy [his name eludes me at the moment]? If memory serves, Bavasi claimed he was going to actually listen to him (not “heed”, mind you, “listen”). Maybe this signing was actually an evil plot by Lincoln to render the stats guy apoplectic.

  4. Revenant Edgar on December 15th, 2005 11:14 am

    Jonah Keri book reading this Saturday night!! Woo hoo and yippeee!!!

  5. Pete A. on December 15th, 2005 11:17 am

    I think the Everett signing manifests at least 4 central fallacies in the Mariners’ tradition in free agents and talent acquisition:

    1. The Clubhouse Presence Myth: Attitude and clubhouse presence is really, really important — perhaps more so than the common measures of a player’s on field success.

    2. The Proven Veterans Myth: Given a veteran in his 30s who has declined in production over the last 3 or 4 years, you should project next year to replicate his peak years. As opposed to someone in his low 20s who is increasing in productivity, the older veteran is a Proven Talent.

    3. The Hidden Gem Myth: Rather than spend big money on star players that any attentive 12-year-old can see are highly productive, the SMART teams win be skipping the Vlads and Tejadas and finding hidden gems.

    4. The Proven Winner Myth: If a player has ever been on a championship team, he is much more valuable than his numbers make it look because he Knows How To Win.

    Number 3 seemed to be on a welcome hiatus last year, but all 4 seem to be in force in the Everett signing.

  6. Revenant Edgar on December 15th, 2005 11:17 am


    He’ll listen but he won’t understand. Bavasi would have to take Bpro’s “Baseball by the Numbers 101” to understand – and it’s a year-long course. By this time in 2007 Bavasi is likely to be gone.

  7. Revenant Edgar on December 15th, 2005 11:23 am

    Pete A.

    I agree that Myths 2, 3 and 4 are as you say.

    Attitude and clubhouse presence are really, really important. Bill James said so after the Red Sox won it all in 2004.

    You might argue that what Everett brings is the wrong type of attitude, and I wouldn’ necessarily disagree, but that wouldn’t negate the fact that they are very important.

  8. ChrisK on December 15th, 2005 11:25 am

    55, PeteA – Those rules can also apply to the offseason of 2003-04 (Spiezio & Aurilia)

  9. G-Man on December 15th, 2005 11:36 am

    The Clubhouse Presence thing is a a tag a team hangs on a player when his numbers don’t look so great. No one can measure it, so no one can call it a bad signing based on stats.

  10. Revenant Edgar on December 15th, 2005 11:38 am

    I can’t stop laughing at Bavasi. I should be crying. But, right now, I can’t stop laughing.

  11. mln on December 15th, 2005 12:23 pm

    How about a trade for Jon Garland. There are reports that the Sox want to deal Garland after they got Javier Vasquez.

  12. Melvin Bob on December 15th, 2005 12:50 pm

    #61 Why? Garland is a free agent after this year and the ChiSox organization believes that he is dead-set on testing the free agent market.

  13. Evan on December 15th, 2005 1:18 pm

    You can’t win an argument with Derek when the topic is beer. Derek’s the beer guru.

    Speaking of which, it’s a good week to visit Vancouver. Steamworks is pouring their RoggenWeizen.

  14. mark from Oly. wa. on December 15th, 2005 1:43 pm

    Suddenly, Moyer resigning looks better.

  15. KingCorran on December 15th, 2005 3:03 pm

    A step in the right direction:

    “ has learned that the Mariners are no longer pursuing right-hander Scott Elarton. They remain in the mix for Scott Boras clients Kevin Millwood and Jarrod Washburn.”

  16. LB on December 15th, 2005 3:38 pm

    #57: What Bill James actually said:

    I created a good part of the analytical paradigm that the statistical analysts advocate, and certainly I believe in that paradigm and I advocate it within the Red Sox front office. But at the same time, the real world is too complicated to be explained by that paradigm. It is one thing to build an analytical paradigm that leaves out leadership, hustle, focus, intensity, courage and self-confidence; it is a very, very different thing to say that leadership, hustle, courage and self-confidence do not exist or do not play a role on real-world baseball teams. The people who think that way…not to be rude, but they’re children. They may be 40-year-old children, they may be 70-year-old children, but their thinking is immature.

  17. Jim Thomsen on December 15th, 2005 4:45 pm

    Jon Garland is career-peak Jarrod Washburn. A mediocrity who benefitted from a peak skills year (part of the year … he faded badly down the stretch) and high run support. Expect him to go back to being a faceless, league-average innings sponge in 2006.

    In other words … pass.

  18. Dave on December 15th, 2005 5:12 pm

    I did mean Schlitz. I am to beer knowledge as Willie Bloomquist is to home run derbies.

    And Garland is significantly better than Washburn. He’s a groundball guy who throws strikes and has solid average stuff. But there’s no way he’s worth the $10-12 mil he’ll get in arbitration plus the three good players/prospects it will take to trade for him.

  19. Bela Txadux on December 15th, 2005 7:56 pm

    I’m almost shocked this offseason by how poorly the Ms FO seems to be thinking.

    Lessee, what’s gone right? Johjima fell into Bill B.’s lap, and he shook hands rather than standing up. Small credit there, but credit still. The Torrealba trade was nicely worked; that shows _someone_ in the FO understands the value of minorleaguers in other systems. I’m by no means sure that Bill is the one with the understanding, but still this was a nice little deal. Guardado and Moyer are somewhat problematic retentions, but they are popular, still effective, and reasonably priced in relation to the market; not bad moves, with real upsides, but structurally dictated since they’re already here, i.e. no-brainers more or less.

    The entirety of the _majorleaguers_ linked to the Ms in rumors or actual signings is an almost incredibly bad lot. Everett, Ponson, Washburn, Morris: one simply cannot, CANNOT improve a team significantly with dross of that tensile strength, and all of those guys are almost ridiculously expensive for their lack of production. Juan Pierre is no improvement on anyone here, and a bunch more expensive. I like Reed for Clement if it’s balanced with more coming back from Boston; I suspect that the Bosox proposed this one, though, not the Ms. Bavasi doesn’t have a lot of major leaguers to trade—it’s Reed alone, unless he wants to put Beltre or Guardado in play which evidently he has no stomach for. In that sense, I’d want to cut Bavasi some slack for getting shut out of one of the best trading markets in years—but he’s paid to find a way, and he hasn’t. Nice guy finishing out of the money is what he is.

    If beyond Johjima and Moyer it turns out that Everett, Washburn, and a few NRIs is the best Bavasi can do to save his job, I would far, far rather that the team fires him now so that in losing 90+ again the organization at least isn’t saddled with more albatross contracts. I don’t need to watch more guys of the Cirillo-Baldwin-Aurilia calibre which is exactly what we’re talking about here, rejects for loser organizations. A _very_ depressing offseason so far.

  20. Jeff Nye on December 15th, 2005 8:15 pm

    Mods, delete this if you don’t want this in this thread, but here’s the (probably form) reply I got back from the Mariners about my Carl Everett email:

    Dear Jeff,

    Thank you for your email – our apologies for the delayed response. We received a
    number of e-mails prior to signing Carl Everett and they were shared with some
    of the organizational vice presidents. We welcome your comments and appreciate
    the passion with which you have expressed your opinion. As you may have heard,
    the Seattle Mariners have signed Carl Everett to a one-year contract.

    We believe Carl Everett will be an asset to the Mariners both on and off the
    field. We are aware of the issues that Carl had in the past, but we believe he
    has dealt with them and has successfully moved on. We hope fans will give him a
    chance here in Seattle.

    As with every player we sign, Bill Bavasi and his staff have done a thorough job
    researching Carl. They have talked to numerous people throughout the game of
    baseball, including Ozzie Guillen, his manager last season. They are confident
    that Carl’s intensity, enthusiasm and competitive spirit will be a good for our
    team both on the field and in the clubhouse. As a switch-hitter, he will
    provide our lineup with versatility and the left-handed run production we need.

    In addition, we like that Carl was a big contributor to a World Series
    Championship team in Chicago last year, when he batted .251 with 23 home runs
    and 87 RBI. In the post-season, he batted .300.

    Once again, thank you for taking the time to let us know your thoughts. We are
    looking forward to the 2006 season. We believe we have a good foundation in
    place with exciting young players like Felix Hernandez, Yuniesky Betancourt and
    Jose Lopez, and experienced veterans like Jamie Moyer, Richie Sexson, Adrian
    Beltre and Raul Ibañez. We still have work to do, but our goal is to become a
    championship caliber team as quickly as possible. We hope you will be there
    with us for all the excitement of Mariners baseball in 2006 and beyond.

    Seattle Mariners Fancare

  21. joealb on December 15th, 2005 11:06 pm

    Dave, I really did get the Sh**s from Schlitz! which is why I think it fits into the context of your writing. Jeff Nye, I received the same form letter from the front office and even though I know they wont read my response I sent them back a note telling them that form letters are an insult to my intelligence.