Nightengale: M’s get new attitude

DMZ · January 25, 2006 at 8:36 am · Filed Under Mariners 

When was the last time this was the off-season storyline? I think it wassss… 2004? That went really well.

Anyway, quality quote fodder in this column. There are some pretty smart Bavasi comments, and there are also some put-down-the-beverage-first gems:

“I loved our moves,” says closer Eddie Guardado, a clubhouse leader. “We needed some attitude in that clubhouse, and we got it. Those guys are good players, but to me, that attitude they bring will be huge for us.”

I thought you were supposed to provide that attitude. What happened? You were supposed to be the joker who kept things loose, and Sexson was the guy who’d keep them focused. What went wrong?

On Everett:

“(Manager) Mike Hargrove really wanted this guy,” Bavasi says, “because of his approach to the game. We gave him his choice of a couple of guys (Jeromy Burnitz and Jacque Jones), but he pushed for Carl the whole time.”

May the universal wheel of karma deal out appropriate justice. May Everett fight with you all year long while hitting .000 and otherwise making your life miserable until you’re fired and replaced with Dan Rohn mid-season.


47 Responses to “Nightengale: M’s get new attitude”

  1. Evan on January 25th, 2006 9:58 am

    Ooh, that’ll be fun. Can Carl Everett make us long for the days of Scott Spiezio? That’ll be an achievement.

  2. Roger on January 25th, 2006 10:13 am

    So, does that generally mean Hargrove is as dumb as a post? Geez.

  3. msb on January 25th, 2006 10:18 am

    I was … entertained? appalled? when Bavasi said on KOMO that it wasn’t just Hargrove, but his entire coaching staff that wanted Carl when the List of Lefties was proposed at the team meetings

    I’ll stick with Kenji “call me Jo” Johjima — last night when asked about what the fans should think about his on-the-field attributes, he said “don’t look forward to my running” 🙂

  4. Ralph_Malph on January 25th, 2006 10:23 am

    He also says that in Johjima,

    “the Mariners could have their first All-Star catcher in franchise history.”

    Dan Wilson was an All-Star in 1996.

  5. Badperson on January 25th, 2006 10:26 am

    I’m kind of glad that Bavasi listens to his manager, just not happy that the manager in question is apparently a bonehead.

  6. Evan on January 25th, 2006 10:34 am

    I’d rather have a manager who listens to his GM, as long as the GM is competent.

    Grover’s going to turn me into an A’s fan, Materialism be damned.

  7. ira on January 25th, 2006 10:52 am

    Much as I’d prefer to see Dan Rohn as manager, I figure the Mariners will be just good enough (i.e. not very) for Hargrove to keep his job at least for the next season. But it likely won’t happen as a result of Carl Everett’s attitude or contributions.

  8. Joe on January 25th, 2006 11:15 am

    Here’s a contrarian thought: I’d like Everett to exceed all of Hargrove’s crazy expectations. I’d like to see Kidbeater Karl do incredibly well, even as he feuds with everything on the team that evolved on two legs, and while saying and doing things that fills seats at Safeco with people who want to do nothing but boo him in the field (pausing only to cheer when he gets another hit). That probably won’t get Hargrove fired, but it might teach the ownership that the don’t have to hobble the team by only allowing their narrow definition of “nice guys” onto it.

  9. Smegmalicious on January 25th, 2006 11:29 am

    I think they meant a legitimate all-star. Not to knock Danny-boy but as good as he was for us he was never the best catcher in the league.

  10. Joe on January 25th, 2006 11:31 am

    BTW, in former Mariner news: The Dodgers have signed Dorian Grey Pat Borders and the Mets have signed Brett Boone to minor league contracts. Borders will probably never get another cup of coffee but I’m sure the LA pitching prospects will be much better for having him to throw to; Boone, well… I wish him luck. Only a team as disappointed by their 2B as the Mets would think these dice were worth rolling.

  11. Zero Gravitas on January 25th, 2006 11:47 am

    The more I read about Hargrove the more I wonder if he isn’t some kind of Sith Lord disguised as a baseball manager, and his real goal is to exact revenge on the baseball fans of Seattle. Unless somebody else has a more believable explanation on what’s motivating him?

  12. msb on January 25th, 2006 11:48 am

    Borders, per the LA Daily News, “Clearly in the twilight of a 17-year career, Borders likely will end up in semi-retirement as a reserve catcher and coach-in-training at Single-A Vero Beach, about 60 miles from his home in Lake Wales, Fla.”

    just to be pedantic, it’s Carl & Bret.

  13. Harden Slade on January 25th, 2006 11:51 am

    DMZ, you’re mean.

  14. Dave on January 25th, 2006 11:56 am

    Just running some numbers this morning, and Bret Boone was, perhaps, the worst position player in the majors in 2005.

    He was something like 20-25 runs below an average second baseman in basically half a season. The only guys who even put up a fight in comparison to Boone’s crappiness are Cristian Guzman, Edgar Renteria, Justin Morneau, Corey Patterson, Scott Hatteberg, Daryle Ward, and Steve Finley.

    But, considering Boone cost his team about as many runs as all those guys, and did so in significantly less playing time, he probably wins the crown as the worst position player in baseball for 2005.

  15. Tek Jansen on January 25th, 2006 12:05 pm

    Re: # 11 — If Hargrove is a Sith Lord, then does Ichiro play the role of Obe Wan Kenobi (sp?) as he tries to turn the young Skywalker (Felix Hernandez) away from the Sith Lord’s evil influence?

    Any other casting suggestions?

  16. Jon on January 25th, 2006 12:18 pm

    I like Bavasi’s strong comments about Meche and Piniero. He didn’t mince words. The team needs them to step up big time right now.

    I’m pleased he didn’t say, “I fully expect Gil and Joel to have terrific bounce back years” or some other p.r. hogwash.

  17. Zero Gravitas on January 25th, 2006 12:32 pm

    Also, the statement that the M’s think Everett will be their “most productive DH since Edgar Martinez” is pretty ridiculous. Edgar’s only been gone a year anyway, so basically they’re saying Everett will hit better than Raul Ibanez did last year. Which is unlikely. But even bringing up Edgar’s name in the comparison is borderline blasphemous. I hope the reporter was just wildly riffing on something he may have misheard or misinterpreted from Bavasi. He didn’t quote Bavasi saying that anyway.

    re 15 – Impossible to say. Always two Sith there are – but which is Hargrove, the master or the apprentice? Clouded by these FA acquisitions, the Mariners’ future is.

  18. Mat on January 25th, 2006 12:35 pm

    What are you basing your rankings on Dave?

    Just curious, as I didn’t expect Morneau to show up there. Granted, he had a bad season, but his ISO was about where it has been in the past, and his walk rate was similar to past years. Also, it looks like he was above replacement level in EQA and in VORP. Just looking at the Twins, Nick Punto had a similar number of plate appearances, a lower OBP, a SLG 100 points lower, and rated below replacement level in VORP and EQA. Position matters, but that’s still a pretty big gap.

    I’m not that surprised to see Boone in the discussion, though. His .170/.240/.170 in 58 PAs was one of the worst stretches I’ve ever seen someone go through.

  19. msb on January 25th, 2006 12:47 pm

    #18– remember the source– this IS Bob Nightengale we are talking about.

  20. Dave on January 25th, 2006 12:50 pm


    A combination of Runs Above Position (or, in this case, below) from BP’s EqA page, and a mishmash of defensive numbers. Morneau’s .258 EqA at first base over 530 plate appearances translated into 16 runs below average for a first baseman given that amount of playing time. Now, his defensive numbers are actually pretty good, putting him in the +5 range overall. However, there’s something funky going on with Minnesota’s fielding numbers, and some evidence to suggest that their fielders had easier-to-field-than-normal chances. So, I’m discounting Morneau’s defensive stats a bit. If we call him league average defensively, that leaves him at -16, which is pretty bad. It’s not Boone bad, especially since it took him almost a full year to wrack up that many runs below position, but its bad.

    He’s a great bounceback candidate, however. I still like Morneau’s talents. He just sucked in 2005.

  21. Mat on January 25th, 2006 1:11 pm

    That sounds like a pretty fair assessment of the situation, Dave.

    “However, there’s something funky going on with Minnesota’s fielding numbers, and some evidence to suggest that their fielders had easier-to-field-than-normal chances.”

    I’d suggest looking in the direction of Carlos Silva and Johan Santana and to a lesser extent, Jesse Crain. Silva led the league in net double plays by about 10 DPs, and even for being a groundball pitcher, he’s a pretty weird outlier. And Santana is Santana, so I wouldn’t be that surprised if his balls-in-play allowed are a little easier to field. Crain has terrible peripherals but had a .190 BABIP in 2004 and a .222 BABIP in 2005. While that isn’t in a ton of innings, I’m inclined to think it’s so extreme that it represents an ability to influence his BABIP. But, I digress…

  22. dan on January 25th, 2006 1:29 pm

    wait, hargrove picked a washed up DH over a quality OF?

    i dont understand how this team, on the one hand, can recognize the defensive value of beltre and ichiro, but then turn around and ignore it when presented with options like everett vs. jones

  23. Evan on January 25th, 2006 1:44 pm

    The Mets seem to think Boonie can challenge Kazuo for the 2B job.

    Wow. Their opinion of Matsui must have fallen FAR.

  24. Deanna on January 25th, 2006 2:00 pm

    #16 – yeah, that was the part that struck me too. “We’re not trying to be jerks about it,” seems like an unnecessary statement, even… it’s not being a jerk to tell someone you’re paying several million dollars to actually go out and earn it.

  25. Adam S on January 25th, 2006 2:19 pm

    I’m surprised no one has commented on this.
    They went 63-99 in 2004… Last year wasn’t much better — 69-93.

    “We improved by nine games, but when your loss column begins with a nine,” Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi says.

    Uhm, that’s a SIX game improvement. Bavasi is high by 50%, just like many of his contract offers.

  26. jonw on January 25th, 2006 2:26 pm

    Bavasi says Hargrove wanted Carl all of the time. Hmm? Might this be the front office applying some sorely needed guile when dealing with the public and demonstrating that they have learned from the past? Now they can blame Hargrove when Carl falls on his face, alienates his teamates, and outgages a city. When Cirillo did the same they could not blame Pinella for his insistance on that accquisition.

  27. SteveM on January 25th, 2006 3:09 pm

    I think it’s hypocritical of DMZ to rail on the newspapers for publishing opinions. DMZ doesn’t mind publishing his own unsubstantited stuff. has a article (1/24/06) which critiques DMZ writing his own fiction.

  28. DMZ on January 25th, 2006 3:11 pm

    When do I rail on newspapers for publishing opinions? I’ve harped on them for holding ill-advised opinions.

  29. Russ on January 25th, 2006 3:24 pm

    #27 SteveM.

    I viewed the thread in question but it doesn’t appear to reference the comments by DMZ very well. I’m not sure the whole picture is there, perhaps you can elucidate?

    Perhaps you’ve missed the point of all this. The authors here are sharing their opinion based on their analysis of data. The whole damn thing is about their opinion, which is what makes this work.

    The facts are the historical accounts of the games. The opinion is how the authors here (and others) use that data. Their opinions happen to be well-backed by research, experience and many well-turned words.

    If anyone is deluded about newspapers and news outlets providng only facts and not opinions, they must have been sleeping since Murrow signed off.

  30. DMZ on January 25th, 2006 3:27 pm

    Steve’s refering to comments on my BP05 essay on the Nationals, and particularly the Brad Wilkerson comment, which confused and seemingly angered that author. I dropped the guy a line, hopefully it’ll be clearer.

  31. LF Monster on January 25th, 2006 4:03 pm

    I’m baffled by the decision to get Everett, but at least we know it’ll add attitude in the stands…

    Ichiro seems more like yoda to me and Sexson a young master…Isn’t Moyer a good fit for Old Ben? (We know he won’t last much longer)

    Anyone else notice Mota failed his physical? Crisp is still an Indian

  32. J-Bird on January 25th, 2006 4:15 pm

    I nominate Willie Dynamite for the role of Jar-Jar Binks.

  33. Oly Rainiers Fan on January 25th, 2006 5:08 pm

    I love the part that begins with ‘may the universal wheel of karma’.

    So, did you see that the A’s signed Frank Thomas for 500K? Beane is generally thought of as making outstanding moves, is this one of them? Is there going to be an article that quotes Beane as saying they expect Thomas to be their most productive DH since….? Hmmm, who would that be? I’m just wondering if he’ll be a more productive DH than our own multimillion dollar Carl Everett…

  34. joealb on January 25th, 2006 6:55 pm

    13 A/L G.M’s should be really embarrassed right now. It would be worth 2-3 mil just to keep The Big Hurt away from the A’s. If Thomas can play 120-130 games he will produce at least league average at D/H. All for 500k? This is UNBELIEVABLE!

  35. joealb on January 25th, 2006 7:04 pm

    I spoke to soon, if Thomas plays 120-130 games looks like the A’s will be on the hook for Aprox. 4Mil. I’d still rather take a chance with Thomas then be stuck with the SoDoMoFo. Left handed sock be damned.

  36. Jim Thomsen on January 25th, 2006 7:17 pm

    It’s a safe bet. Thomas can’t play 120 games. And even if he can, his name won’t be written on the lineup card that often.

  37. Oly Rainiers Fan on January 25th, 2006 7:18 pm

    The first story I read about Thomas didn’t have all the incentive/bonus #’s in it. But still, if they wind up paying the incentives and bonuses, then that means he’s producing. Win/win – low risk/high reward move for Beane. Clearly he’s got the budget space to pay those incentives/bonuses if they actually come due. If they don’t, then he’s got that much money to go out and find another.

    We, on the other hand, get to pay Everett the same, whether he produces or not.

  38. Dave in Palo Alto on January 25th, 2006 7:24 pm

    It is just flat our weird that Hargrove would be pining away for Churl Everett. Maybe be intrigued, interested, amenable to giving it a shot, but “really want[ing]” him? Nobody else seemed to even want him, much less at the “really” level.

  39. DMZ on January 25th, 2006 11:44 pm

    Hey, there’s a new post for Frank Thomas stuff now. Thanks.

  40. mln on January 26th, 2006 12:22 am

    “I loved our moves,” says closer Eddie Guardado, a clubhouse leader. “We needed some attitude in that clubhouse, and we got it. Those guys are good players, but to me, that attitude they bring will be huge for us.”

    Word has it that Carl Everett and Jarrod Washburn also play a mean game of Texas Hold ‘Em poker as well. Eddie should love that. 😉

  41. leetinsleyfanclub on January 26th, 2006 8:00 am

    The M’s ARE difficult to handicap. On my optimistic days, I can see this team contending. On my pessimistic days, I see them imploding and heads rolling. I think it’s very fragile. The problem is, so much has to go right for them to be good. Guys who had down years have to bounce back. Guys who had good years have to do it again. Guys who have potential have to step up. They have to stay healthy. Possible but certainly not probable.

    As Bavasi says, based on the last two seasons it is difficult to be optimistic. But if the Seahawks can go to the Superbowl….

  42. John in NV on January 26th, 2006 10:25 am

    “Mariners started this?” Let’s go back to Hawks of early ’80s. That was a lot of excitement, too, while M’s weren’t drawing a whole lot of attention…

  43. Paul B on January 26th, 2006 11:27 am

    My guess is that Hargrove will be gone by August, and the M’s will be buried in last place.

    Should we start a pool?

  44. Jim Thomsen on January 26th, 2006 7:10 pm

    I’m not sure I share the “new attitude” stuff, but I think enough players will have passable or good years that the M’s can be an 83-85-win team. Remember, no matter how much we wail and gnash about Washburn, Meche, Bloomquist, Everett, et al:

    — The M’s have an awesome bullpen.
    — Adrian Beltre and Jeremy Reed are highly likely to have a better 2006.
    — Yu-Bet’s glove.
    — Anything Kenji Johjima does replaces the black offensive (and defensive) hole at catcher in ’05.
    — Washburn isn’t likely to be less than league-average in ’06.
    — The King lives.
    — Ichiro, period.

  45. Tom on January 26th, 2006 8:42 pm

    It’s a little hard to wait until Opening Day because lets face it, even though we kind of have a general idea about how this team might do (around .500), this is one of those teams you really don’t know about until they take the field.

    They could be very good, very bad, or somewhere in the middle.

    But if the M’s have a horrible record this year, meaning around 90 losses, consider Bavasi and Hargrove toast.

    A lot of us don’t believe in Bavasi’s plan yet but also remember this, I’ve told this story many times on this board. Back in 2002, the Seahawks were not drawing fans to QWEST Field, and the fans were calling for the firing of Mike Holmgren and were ready to give up on players such as Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander.

    And yet, when you look at this 2005 Seahawks team compared to 2002-2003, it’s basically the same core of players only more mature and with a few extra pieces added on to it (i.e. Grant Winstrom, Jamie Sharper, Joe Juerivicius, etc.)

    This is a team that now has its foundation in place with guys like Ichiro, Lopez, YuBet, King Felix, Richie, Adrian, Jeremy, Putz, Johjima, Soriano, etc.

    But that’s what they are right now, just a foundation.

    A lot of these players I just listed still need time to grow and mature at playing in the MLB level and hopefully in the coming years more pieces will be added to this Mariners puzzle.

    Even though this team went 68-94, they played in a lot of close games last year where they just couldn’t get the big hit or the big pitch to go their way. But this team even with all the changes being made on and off the field did a good job competing in games, especially against teams like the Yankees, Angels, and Red Sox.

    I can understand why Bavasi would bring in guys such as Carl Everett to have them be “final pieces to the puzzle”, the cold hard fact is though, this team probably isn’t at that stage where you are at getting the final pieces of the puzzle to compete again, and even if they are, Bavasi (or whoever the GM of this team is next winter) will need to be more creative than Carl Everett.

    Look for this team to get to .500 this year while showing great signs of potential for next year.

    Let the Seahawks have their moment in the sun for the next 3 to 5 years. Heck, you could find that the next 3-5 years could be the best ever in Seattle sports with the Seahawks constantly flirting with the Super Bowl every year and the second rise of the Seattle Marienrs happening before our eyes. Who knows, maybe some of the Seahawks SODO MOJO can rub onto us. After all, the two teams are only across the street from each other, and the M’s will continue to spend $90-$100 million on payroll every year while some of their younger stars continue to get better.

    Hey, if the Seahawks can go to a Super Bowl, I’m sure we can let my broadcasting hero Dave Niehaus see at least 1 World Series before he’s on life support!

    GO M’S!!!
    GO HAWKS!!!

  46. Adam S on January 27th, 2006 8:27 am

    Jim, good points.

    The Mariners added $20M in contracts for 2006 during the off-season. I think sometimes we’re so caught up in being frustrated about poor spending, we forget that these moves will make the team better. The only thing we’ve lost since last year is 2/3 season of Winn.

    Sexson and Ibanez are the only players who had big years and are likely to regress. The Mariners should be greatly improved at C; going from below replacement level to potential all-star could be 6 wins right there. Washburn and 3/4 of Felix is a big jump from Franklin, only 1/3 Felix, Sele, et al. And as you noted the team is likely to improve at 3B, CF, RF, 2B, and SS.

    Is it a playoff team, unlikely. But 85 wins is certainly reasonable.

  47. eponymous coward on January 27th, 2006 9:07 am

    The Mariners added $20M in contracts for 2006 during the off-season. I think sometimes we’re so caught up in being frustrated about poor spending, we forget that these moves will make the team better. The only thing we’ve lost since last year is 2/3 season of Winn.

    Subbing in a below average DH at the plate (Everett) and a poor fielder (Ibañez) for Randy Winn does NOT make the team better. Some of the other moves do, but you don’t improve 90 loss teams by downgrading positions. That’s the most frustrating thing about the move- we weakened TWO positions, in effect (worse hitter at DH, worse fielding in LF).

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