A Tale of Two Offseasons

Jeff · December 20, 2005 at 7:20 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

It is the best of times, and it is the worst of times.

Before the confused e-mails begin to roll in, let me specify: skies are dark if you’re a Mariner fan, but somewhere, there is joy in Mudville. The Texas Rangers may be about to cap off a productive offseason with a run at Kevin Millwood.

Unsatisfied as most are with the M’s performance this winter, the fact that a division rival has markedly improved amplifies the disquiet. The Rangers’ signing a coveted starter would make the pill all the more bitter.

It’s always darkest before the dawn, and tomorrow is the shortest, darkest day of the year. Perhaps things will shift, and lighter days will lead to more lighthearted posts.

But as it is, I just had one thought when I saw Mike Bauman’s argument for why Cuba should get a spot in the World Baseball Classic:

Playing this tournament without Cuba would be like proceeding with the American League West schedule without including the Seattle Mariners.

… “it would cause roughly the same result”?


31 Responses to “A Tale of Two Offseasons”

  1. Jonah Keri on December 20th, 2005 7:31 pm

    Don’t know if anyone’s mentioned this yet, but Jacque Jones signed a three-year deal with the Cubs, so that’s one door closed on LF defensive upgrade:


  2. Jeff on December 20th, 2005 7:31 pm

    As Golden Smog once wrote, “the darkness just got darker.”

  3. joran on December 20th, 2005 7:37 pm

    I think this ofseson was great with the exeption of realing the Dobber.

  4. joran on December 20th, 2005 7:38 pm

    i meant
    I think this offseason was great with the exeption of releasing the Dobber.

  5. Wsumojo on December 20th, 2005 7:52 pm

    If(when) Bavasi gets the axe, then the skies will be light again.

  6. Jim Thomsen on December 20th, 2005 7:55 pm

    We should have a “Who signs Ryan Franklin” contest?

    My votes:

    1. Kansas City
    2. Texas
    3. Cincinnati
    4. Tampa Bay
    5. Detroit

  7. Jim Thomsen on December 20th, 2005 8:01 pm

    Holy crap: Johnny Damon, Yankees agree on 4-year, $52 million deal.


    Dogs and cats will soon be living together.

  8. Jim Thomsen on December 20th, 2005 8:04 pm

    The Associated Press headline on the Mariners’ decision to non-tender Ryan Franklin:

    “Seattle chooses not to tender contract to veteran left-hander”


  9. Nikku on December 20th, 2005 8:08 pm

    I wanted Damon to go back with the Sox so we wouldn’t have to read those Reed for Arroyo rumours anymore.

  10. Noel on December 20th, 2005 8:10 pm

    6: The M’s could still re-sign Franklin as a free agent, couldn’t they? – even though they non-tendered him?

    7: What the… Damon didn’t get 7 years?? Boras must be slipping.

  11. Adam S on December 20th, 2005 8:11 pm

    I thought Damon was demanding a 7-year deal. Just wait until Millwood/Boras figure out their demands are absurd as well and Millwood settles for less than the Mariners final offer. THEN, we’ll really be pissed.

    I can’t decide if the Jones signing is good or not. The contract seems inline with what Dave suggested (with an extra year) but the initial reaction at one of the Cubs blogs is pretty negative — Corey Patterson or Bunitz could do the same thing without the long-term risk.

  12. Jim Thomsen on December 20th, 2005 8:13 pm

    #11: Read the Franklin story in #8. Bavasi says they won’t try to re-sign Franklin.

  13. Dave on December 20th, 2005 8:15 pm

    I’d take Jones at 3/16, no question.

    Think of it this way. With Carl Everett, or even Burnitz, we’re paying $4 million for 1 year of production, than starting this dance all over again.

    For $5 million this year, you could have Jones, a better player who also fills the role of backup CF, and at the end of the year, you have a guy with value on a 2 year, $11 million contract. Even if you decided you didn’t want him next November, that’d be an easy, easy contract to move.

    There’s no way Everett at 1/4 is better than Jones at 3/16. No way.

  14. Martino on December 20th, 2005 8:19 pm

    Damon too the Yankees.

    Hello Bronson Arroyo. Good-bye Jeremy Reed. Now batting . . . centerfielder Willie Bloomquist.


  15. joealb on December 20th, 2005 8:19 pm

    Dave, to add to your point, Jones plays a pretty good left field and with our new “Flyball” Pitcher he would be that much more valuble in left and Ibanez D/H’ing.

  16. JS on December 20th, 2005 8:30 pm

    Funny stuff, Thomsen 🙂

    I’m a statistician by trade, and a baseball coach by inclination, which leaves me with an interesting perspective on player evaluation. I tread statistical waters with extreme caution. Statistics are no more than a measure of uncertainty – and they must be applied with great discretion. The potential for misuse is extremely high.

    That said, Bavasi and company obviously ignored significant statistics in signing Washburn to a BIG contract. However, I’m not convinced that Washburn wasn’t a decent signing. We lament Millwood, as well we should, but the jury must remain out on Washburn. The market was weird, this offseason. Prices were way out there, and we have to consider this fact when judging the value of Washburn’s contract. Washburn may never provide full value, using some sort of cost/benefit analysis, but he will provide some baseball value, and we should always make sure to account for the context of this offseason when judging him in the future.

    As far as Meche & Pineiro: I don’t think statistics tell the whole story (obviously, Bavasi felt the same way about Washburn). Pineiro and Meche are both young enough to reverse statistical trends. They are both talented enough to pitch at a top of the rotation level. Obviously, believing this is an act of faith rather than an act of quantitative analysis, but taking a chance on these guys is still the right move.

    You can argue till your blue in the face that the quantitative performance indicators do not support faith in this pair, and you would be right, and very wrong. Usually, the most recent statistics are the most significant. But Pineiro and Meche are people – talented people, and neither have truly established useful trends that lock them into predictive models.

    Contrasting these two with Washburn, whom we can lock into a predictive model (and not a great one at that), we can say they are worth the risk.

  17. Marty Lighthizer on December 20th, 2005 8:31 pm

    Do you think perhaps a million monkeys manning a million cell phones might’ve been able to sign Millwood and Jones, pass on Everett and Washburn, and been able to avoid this mess?

    It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times…
    Stupid monkeys!

  18. Adam S on December 20th, 2005 8:32 pm

    I’d take Jones at 3/16, no question.
    Thanks for the feedback.

    The Mariners should really talk to Cubs about Patterson who is a good CF and would be an excellent LF and a good defensive replacement and backup CF. And if the Reed to Boston comes through (and let’s hope that’s just the Sox making noise and the M’s are smarter than that), they’d need a real CF and Bloomquist is not. And if Patterson revitalizes his career, it’s an added bonus.

  19. ray on December 20th, 2005 8:37 pm

    Gillick and Co. created a problem with the Farm system that Bavasi is trying to fix, Bavasi is creating a FA problem that the next GM will try to fix. I think the next GM will not have an easy time of it just like the next Pres after Bush.

  20. Daaaaan on December 20th, 2005 8:53 pm

    #13 Dave, where’d you see the $16m? espn only says it’s a 3 year deal.

    Also it looks like the padres traded adam eaton because he wanted too much money in contract negotiations:


    apparently the club offered 3/17 and he wanted 3/27. the funny part is unless texas unloads him, he’s basically screwed. he leans towards flyballs and is going to spend his contract year in texas.

  21. Choska on December 20th, 2005 9:08 pm

    Interesting article that Jeff linked to, especially the point about not letting Venezuela play. If Hugo Chavez wants to sling a few hundred gallons of cheap gas my way, I say “bring it on!”

    Please see http://www.despair.com for appropriate thoughts regarding the Mariners.

  22. KC on December 20th, 2005 9:41 pm

    I like your comments on stats and reality.
    Here is to hoping you are right, and Meche and Pineiro can improve.
    Stats can’t tell us if those two are going to be able to turn things around mentally, which may be their bigger problem.

  23. AZ lvl's fan on December 21st, 2005 6:44 am

    Well Damon signing only a 4 yr deal shows that Millwood can probably and likely will be signed for less than his demand for a 5 yr deal.

    Damn Bavasi for being the first one the blink, afraid he’d end up with no FA SP, he signed Washburn. Like someone said earlier, i’ll bet Millwood signs a 4 yr $44mil deal shortly. I’d of taken that in a heartbeat instead of JW for 4 yrs of 37.5mil.

    Now let’s cross our fingers and hope the lvl’s don’t give Reed away like they did Guillen. With Everett’s signing, any excuses about character not being right goes down the drain.

    If I were Bavasi, surely I must see that the Bosox are in a deep bind. Jones and Lofton are signed, Patterson was offered arb, Crisp likely won’t be traded since Nomar went to LA AND Damon signed for a lot less than his original demand and to boot to the Yanks.

    I’d insist on one of the Sox’s Papelton (sp?) or Lester and Marte (hehe).

    Either that or Clement with the sox paying nearly half of the remainder of his contract.

    Let’s squeeze the Bosox even more. Show some balls Bavasi!

  24. goodbye baseball on December 21st, 2005 9:32 am

    Perhaps we can say the Mariners’ ship is (Bad Pun Alert!) taking up water. It’s amazing, but not really surprising, how the front office did nearly the complete opposite of everythng suggested by the authors. The authors want Jacque Jones, the team signs Carl Everett; the authors don’t want Jarrod Washburn, the team signs him anyway. Is the disconnect between die-hard fans and organization greater? Last week, I predicted 75 wins for this team. Now, I’m beginning to wonder if that’s too optimistic.

  25. Evan on December 21st, 2005 9:54 am

    If I had known Franklin was left-handed, I would have advocated tendering him a contract.

  26. RealRhino on December 21st, 2005 9:59 am

    By a division rival showing marked improvement, I assume you mean Oakland with Bradley and Loiaza.

    #20. For his career, Eaton’s G/F ratio is essentially 1.0, although he does tend to swing wildly from year to year. I think he’s largely screwed because despite Dave’s gut feeling about him being a good pitcher, he’s never really pitched all that well, and he’s going from a park that hid that fact to a park that will expose it.

  27. Evan on December 21st, 2005 10:00 am

    I really like Akinori Otsuka. The Rangers made a brilliant move snagging him from the Padres.

    Even if he does balk with every single pitch.

  28. Evan on December 21st, 2005 10:06 am

    And it strikes me that Jonah picked a really lousy year to move to Seattle. It’s a bit like 1996 Montreal.

  29. Jeff on December 21st, 2005 10:52 am

    Oakland improved, too, another reason for pessimism.

    I also like Otsuka a lot.

  30. JPWood on December 21st, 2005 11:43 am

    All of this is so bad that it has washed out the good, and there is some: Johjima is still reporting with the pitchers, whoever the hell they are.

  31. Gino on December 21st, 2005 8:09 pm

    Everytime the Mariners make a trade with the Red Sox, they get screwed!! The Red Sox feasted off of Mariners rising talents.