Guardado removed from closer role

Dave · May 4, 2006 at 9:47 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Everyone gets their wish – Eddie Guardado is no longer the closer for the Mariners. If the M’s encounter a save situation today, expect to see J.J. Putz on the hill.


36 Responses to “Guardado removed from closer role”

  1. Doc on May 4th, 2006 9:55 am

    Does this mean that Eddie will be put into the high leverage, 7th and 8th innings situations that J.J. was in?

  2. Dave on May 4th, 2006 9:58 am

    He’ll probably be used in low pressure situations initially.

  3. joser on May 4th, 2006 10:02 am

    Is there a press release for this or something? I’m just interested in how the “official” description of this move is worded — is it a “temporary” measure, do they use any fig leaves (such as injuries, though I guess if they wanted to go that way they’d stick him on the DL), have they actually annointed JJ, are there any quotes from Bavasi or Hargrove, etc?

  4. optigan on May 4th, 2006 10:02 am

    Actually, not everyone, since I think the collective wish of the readers and writers of this site was for Mr. Guardado to have fetched us some shiny new gems at last year’s trade deadline, no?

  5. revbill on May 4th, 2006 10:25 am

    I don’t think anyone thought the Mariners would get anything of value for Eddie, but rather that they would get out of having to pay him this year, and could therefore spend more on another player.

  6. Gregor on May 4th, 2006 10:28 am

    It’s in the Seattle Times now.

  7. Choska on May 4th, 2006 10:30 am

    I do believe the consensus here was that Mr. Bavasi should trade Mr. Guardado for something . . . anything. In fact, I believe we urged him to do so.

    I don’t believe it was readily apparent that Mr. Guardado was pitching on borrowed time, but I do believe that a 20 minute glance at Baseball Prospectus, followed by a 30 minute discussion that prominently featured the baseball wisdom ‘that it is better to trade a guy a year to early rather than a year to late,’ would have led most people to that conclusion as well.

    But that train has left the station.

    You could field an entire major league team with the amount of money that Bavasi has flushed down the toilet on bad contracts.

  8. gwangung on May 4th, 2006 10:32 am

    You could field an entire major league team with the amount of money that Bavasi has flushed down the toilet on bad contracts.

    Which differentiates him from 80% of the GMs in baseball….how?

  9. Choska on May 4th, 2006 10:33 am

    . . . and that team of scrubs, cast-offs, and minor leaguers would not have a win/loss record appreciably worse than the Ms do now.

  10. Choska on May 4th, 2006 10:35 am

    Not sure that I want to argue your point that Bavasi is no worse than 80% of the other GMs in the majors.

  11. David* on May 4th, 2006 10:37 am

    Sexson gets the day off, Petagine at first. Rivera catches, Lawton in center today.

  12. leetinsleyfanclub on May 4th, 2006 10:41 am

    Add Guardado to the list of players retained too long, thereby pissing away any trade value they may have had had they been dealt earlier. No one devalues their assets quite like Bavasi.

  13. dw on May 4th, 2006 10:42 am

    Aaah, the M’s finally “get it” after the last couple of weeks of “he doesn’t have it anymore.”

    The M’s throughout history:

    1912 — Despite the recent sinking of the Titanic, White Star Lines president Mike Hargrove says that they will continue to run their big liners through the North Atlantic, calling the iceberg “a fluke occurence” and that “the North Atlantic was our route of preference last year and will continue to be in the winter of 1913.”

    1968 — As the Vietnam conflict continues to ramp up, US President Howard Lincoln demands that Secretary of Defense Bill Bavasi recall a gravely ill former President Dwight Eisenhower to military duty, saying that the people of America want to see veteran leadership on the battlefield.

    1986 — National Review columnist Rick Rizzs praises Oliver North as a “scrappy player who does the little things” and dubs him “the San Antonio Seabreeze.” A week later, President Reagan would fire him.

  14. Zero Gravitas on May 4th, 2006 10:45 am

    Good news. I woke up with a hangover from watching last night’s game, and I wasn’t even drinking.

  15. gwangung on May 4th, 2006 10:50 am

    And I’m not being a Bavasi booster in my comments…I think he’s bought into the Conventional Wisdom far too much. His roster construction has been suspect. Farm system wise, he’s been better (but anything would have been better than than the Frank Mattox days).

  16. msb on May 4th, 2006 10:54 am

    when did Guardado have trade value? At the end of 2004? The general consensus at the 2005 trade deadline was that teams were very leery of his arm, and not offering anything for him.

    In a timely fashion, Ben Jacobs over at Rotoworld has a little fantasy piece about closers unable to close, with Eddie’s status listed as ‘shaky’.

    They also have a great Ozzie quote about Nellie staying in AAA: “If he doesn’t want to be a minor-leaguer then don’t sign the contract,” Guillen said. “Right now, we don’t need him. He has to show how he pitches in the minor-league system. We have to know how consistent he is. We signed him in case something happens to one of the guys. But we didn’t sign him because my bullpen is struggling.”

    In other M’s news, the guys in the clubhouse also noticed ESPN dissing Joh.

    oh, and in the Hard News department, disgruntled Go To Guy readers send letters to Jim Moore about why they won’t go to games anymore, and Steve Kelley checks in with Bucky.

  17. dw on May 4th, 2006 10:54 am

    Not sure that I want to argue your point that Bavasi is no worse than 80% of the other GMs in the majors.

    How about the Rangers signing A-Rod for well over his market worth?
    Or Minaya signing Beltran?
    Or the litany of Bosox GMs resigning a fragile Nomar for way too much every year?
    Or the Rockies’ ill-fated Hampton and Neagle signings?
    Or Billy Beane signing Esteban Loaiza without looking at his road ERA?
    Or the Cubs continuing to allow Don Baylor and Dusty Baker to grind Kerry Wood and Mark Prior’s shoulders to dust?
    Or the Yankees spending $9M on Carl Pavano?
    Or Houston’s long-term deal with Bagwell?

    And I haven’t even begun to list the bad trades yet.

    Bavasi has advantages (especially with rebuilding our lousy minor league system), but most of his skills are more fungible than you’d think. The difference between Theo Epstein and Jim Bowden is not as much as you think it is.

  18. Gregor on May 4th, 2006 10:56 am

    I believe what we heard at the time was that Bavasi was trying to trade Guardado, but nobody offered what he thought he should be getting for him. Now, he could have given in and accepted something less in return which, in hindsight, probably still would have made it a good trade for us. But keep in mind that it affects your position in future negotiations if other GM’s know that you’ll cave at the last second.

    I am not saying that I agree with the way this was handled. I am just saying that people who are now saying “Bavasi was stupid because he didn’t trade Eddie last year” make this issue a lot simpler than it is.

  19. msb on May 4th, 2006 10:58 am

    I searched around about trade rumors when the subject of Eddie came up a week or so back; remember that Guardado has a 10-team no-trade list, primarily teams on the East Coast and according to him, he was never asked to waive the no-trade last July.

    Various reports at the time said that there was some interest in him, but that most teams — whether they were leery of the shoulder, the no-trade clause, the $6.25 club option for ‘06 or the fact that if they got him and he wasn’t used as a closer the team would have renegotiate an incentive clause in his contract that pays $1 million if he finishes 55 games — most teams didn’t want to give the M’s what they wanted for him, but would only offer a prospect.

    no word on what sort of prospect it might have been….

  20. PositivePaul on May 4th, 2006 11:07 am

    pokes head out of the grass…

    I’m willing to stick my neck out a bit ’round these parts, even if I know it’ll get mowed over quite heavily…

    Things I’ve learned from sabermetrically-bent blogs:

    1) It’s just as important to have a relief ace pitch the 7th and 8th innings as it is to have one pitch the 9th. It might, in fact, be more important.

    2) The M’s have at least a couple of relief aces. Rafael Soriano probably tops the list, and JJ Putz has the hot hand right now, too.

    3) The closer’s role is OK to leave in the hands of someone other than your best relief ace.

    PositivePaul’s suggestions for moving forward, knowing the above things, and sans Eddie as the Closer…

    1) Continue to use JJ Putz and Rafael Soriano in the high-leverage situations in the 7th and 8th.

    2) Use George Sherrill to start the 9th in a save situation with a clean slate — unless the opposing team’s stable is full of righty-batting horses.

    In other words: Free George Sherrill

    ducks back into the grass when he sees DMZ coming over with the lawn mower to mow down yet another servo from the Free George Sherrill bloggers


  21. Karen on May 4th, 2006 11:09 am

    I was thinking last night as that HR went out of the ChiSox yard in the bottom of the 9th, “Surely, after THIS, the M’s brain trust will finally ‘get it’ about Eddie…” That was after I growled, “aaarrrrgggghhh”.

    When a guy has an ERA nearly as high as the number of innings he’s pitched after a whole month, that’s clue #1.

  22. westfried on May 4th, 2006 11:16 am

    This move worries me. Not because Eddie still has it – he can’t get the job done any more.

    No, the worry for me is that Hargove, following his years of conventional baseball “wisdom” will move either Putz or Soriano into the “closer” role full-time, thereby removing them from the crucial 7th and 8th inning situations.

    S&P (and Sherrill against lefties) are kicking ass right now, and have been awesome at putting out the 7th and 8th inning fires. Who’s he going to use in their place? Woods? Guardado?

    Mark my words. Now Hargove is going to have to keep one of them in reserve for the 9th, thereby weakening the 7th and 8th.

    This despite the fact that handing a 1-3 run, no-out, nobody-on lead to any decent reliever should be reasonably safe. Sure, the “closer” should be improved, and we won’t blow those 1-run save opportunities any more. But that will, in part, be because we won’t have as many of them.

  23. igor206 on May 4th, 2006 11:18 am

    16 – This speaks to the difficulties of predictions on the micro level that’s involved in trades. I was totally convinced, and still am, by Dave’s arguments about why Reed-Papelbon would be a bad trade. But look at what Papelbon’s been doing. Unquestionably, trade decisions need to be evaluated based on information available at the time of the decision. The various Guardado decisions didn’t look as bad in the offseason as they do now, especially considering Putz and Soriano. Likewise with the Garcia trade, a great deal at the time it was made.

  24. leetinsleyfanclub on May 4th, 2006 11:25 am

    In defense of Bavasi, I suppose it is much easier to make a pre-emptive strike and deal a guy when his value is high if you have someone to replace him with, which clearly he did not. Billy Beane just plugs in “Prospect A” into the spot left vacated by the trade and starts the cycle all over again. For the M’s “Prospect A” usually doesn’t exist. This is why perhaps Bavasi needs to be given time to build the farm system so he has a full deck of cards to deal with in constructing the major league roster. The choices he is making to retain guys are obviously poor but they may be the only options he has because of the mess he inherited from Gillick.

  25. msb on May 4th, 2006 11:28 am

    IIRC, there wasn’t actually a Papelbon for Reed deal in the offering, it was speculation on the web when Reed’s name came up when the Baston papers wanted a centerfielder.

  26. CSG on May 4th, 2006 11:47 am

    In happier news, it was nice to see Doyle’s name in Under the Knife yesterday.

  27. JMHawkins on May 4th, 2006 11:54 am

    I’m not sure this tanks Guaradado’s trade value. The move I mean. His blown saves certainly did that already, so moving him out of the closer role might not ding him any more. Because (putting on Conventional Wisdom GM-of-another-team hat)…

    He’s still a “proven closer” who just had a rocky stretch and needs to “find himself.” Possibly, he has a nagging injury from Spring Training and needs to get healthy. So, if he throws a few scorless innings of middle releif, while Putz or Soriano saves a few games, well, suddenly the M’s have two “proven closers” and can afford to deal one, probably the one the fickle fans soured on early in the season when he was struggling. So, when Mr. Bavasi calls me to offer Eddie in exchange for some interesting prospect, I jump on it, like a cat on a cactus.

    A dumb cat perhaps, but they do exist.

    All that assumes Eddie can string together a few decent outings in the next few weeks. Pitching an inning every three or four games, that’s entirely possible given the small sample size.

    Yes, I’m an optimist. But hey, sometimes the sky is bright blue and cloudless. Look out the window if you don’t believe…

  28. colm on May 4th, 2006 12:14 pm

    Picking up the $6.25 option on Eddie was a WTF!? moment, even when I thought that Eddie would be better than this.

    My thoughts. Eddie blew the save last night. What was his line? 2Ks? Is he still striking out guys? Is it the random homers that have been killing him lately rather than the total loss of control and inability to retire anyone he was showing in the first 2/3 weeks of the season.

  29. scotje on May 4th, 2006 12:15 pm

    #22: Here is a quote from Hargrove via the Times:

    “We’ll try to match up late in the ballgame and go with the guy that has got the hot hand,” he said. “We’re not going to designate any one person to take over that one spot. It will be a combination of all of them.”

    Sounds promising….

  30. Jake on May 4th, 2006 12:46 pm

    The mistake with Eddie came last year.

    Nice ERA. Good conversion rate with Saves. Everything the M’s needed to make a deal with another club, get some prospects that could contribute~ and move on.

    Instead, the M’s decided to rebuff any trade attempts. Opting to keep him on a team that will lose 85-95 games this year.

    The shoulder was always suspect, just a “matter of time” before he became a non-desirable pitcher.
    Unfortunately, that non-desirable players is on our roster, and the M’s probably couldn’t trade him for a run-down pair of cleats.

  31. msb on May 4th, 2006 12:53 pm

    #30, see #19.

  32. tangotiger on May 4th, 2006 1:24 pm


    1. No, that’s not correct. Given the same score/base/out configuration, it’s better in the 9th. But, if you want to say 9th with a 3-run lead compared to 8th with a 1-run lead, then yes, you are right.

    3. No, that’s not correct.

    You might like this article I wrote:
    as well as the link at the end of the article.

  33. eponymous coward on May 4th, 2006 4:27 pm

    Keep in mind Guardado could have vetoed a number of trades to East Coast teams, and the remaining contract at the end of the year was a mutual option at two different price points (one for team, lower one for player). So be careful about assuming his value- he might have only fetched a couple of Bazardo-level prospects.

    The M’s activating his option and then turning around and trading him…well, that’s a pretty lousy thing to do to a player (as it removes his choice as to where to go, as opposed to free agency), and it’s the sort of thing that has negative impact going forward in player relations. Bavasi has a rep of being an upfront and honest guy, and burning that on trading a well-liked veteran doesn’t strike me as a wise move.

    I suspect had the M’s not exercised their team option that Eddie would have walked away (he was making noises like that would happen when the M’s hadn’t contacted him after the offseason)… which, hindsight being 20/20, might have been best, but Guardado wasn’t an obviously irrational signing at the time. Consider that Esteban Loaiza, someone Dave pumped for, is on the DL… again, hindsight is 20/20. Worst case, Guardado’s gone next year and is off the books, as opposed to some other poor decisions (Cirillo, Spiezio) or albatross contracts at the end of a deal (Boone).

  34. BelaXadux on May 4th, 2006 8:33 pm

    I was all for the Ms picking up Eddie’s option last off-season—then moving him immediately on the strength of his ‘below market’ cost. That takes a certain amount of luck and balls, and neither are salient features of how the Ms construct their roster in the last three years. I do think that Eddie will pitch well later this season, or at least pitch better, but I’m glad that he’s out of the closer role: he’s killing the team, and there needs to be a price for failure. I was less than thrilled to hear Eddie saying after the game last night that ‘he wasn’t worried.’ He meant it in a good, chin-up kind of way, but it still set my teeth on edge. No production means no gravy, no matter what your contract is; got that, Guapo?

    The Ms don’t have a bullpen issue if Putz closes. I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised by Sean Green. Livingston went out and through three 1-hit innings tonight. I would love to see Sherrill get more PT; yes, he kills lefties, but come _on_ Grover, he’s better than that. At least Lou would use Rhodes for several batters, or even have him pitch the 8th: that’s what George should be getting now. Sherrill has been under-utilized, I suspect, because the Ms have had too _many_ arms late rather than too few. Give Guapo Woods’ innings, and all will be well (enough).

  35. PositivePaul on May 4th, 2006 11:27 pm

    Actually, tangotiger, I was implying that while the closer’s role is indeed important, using a relief ace to come into the game in the 8th inning with runners on and nobody out in a one-run game is much more important than waiting to bring him in with a clean slate (and that same 1-run lead) in the ninth. Most definitely using a relief ace in a 1-run 8th inning (or 7th for that matter) with runners on is MUCH more important than saving him for a potentially 3-run ninth (or a 1-run ninth with the bases empty).

    Understanding this, that’s what I meant by #3 — that it’s OK to use your best relief ace in that 8th-inning runners on, and save a perhaps lesser-ace for the 9th (with a lead that could potentially increase and a clean slate for the new pitcher). It’s more important to stop the bleeding when it starts than to save that ‘bandage’ for later. I was in no way implying that the M’s should expire their relief aces in the 7th and 8th, and leaving the 9th for a guy who can’t pitch.

    Looking at your chart, we’d agree, then. A pitcher coming into the top of the 8th with a 1-run lead and runners on first and second would have a Leverage Index (LI) of 4.1, whereas a pitcher coming into the top of the 9th with a 1-run lead and no one on would have a LI of 2.6.

    But, yeah, with all other things being equal, the 9th is more important than the 8th (and the 7th). Fortunately, I believe, that if managed correctly, the M’s have enough horses in the bullpen to deal with these different scenarios. It sounds like they might just explore that path — or at least that’s what I hope for in hearing Hargrove say “we’ll use the guy with the ‘hot hand’ for the ninth.”

    Yeah, riiiiiiiight…

  36. tangotiger on May 5th, 2006 7:47 am

    Paul, great, then we’re on the same page. Yes, an LI of 4 is such super-high pressure that you’d be crazy not to have your best out there. (For the uninitiated, an LI of 4 means that the PA in question has the potential to affect the outcome of the game 4 times more than at a random point in the game. In effect, it’s 4 PAs all rolled into 1.)

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