Week 5

DMZ · May 7, 2006 at 5:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

WLLLLWL to go to 13-20, last in the AL West.

Hitting well: Kenji, Ibanez
Not: the team

Pitching well: Joel Pineiro (!)
Not: the team

When will this end? If there was some end in sight, something to look forward to, I might be able to maintain some optimism, but this is the third year I looked at the team and thought they’d win 80 games, only to find myself a ways into the season asking when this will end.

We all know the things that are wrong. Anyone who watches a few games could make the same list as those of us who’ve watched nearly every one. It’s no secret.

The question is when does this end? The Royals went into the tank in 1995, and they stumbled from bad to bad (their 83-79 finish in 2003 broke a streak of eight losing seasons) and now are looking at their third season facing below .400.

Is that really what we’re staring at? Doesn’t it feel at least a little like it — a team that can’t put it together for a game, much less a series, and certainly not a season, where the pieces don’t ever fit and no acquisition seems to help turn things around?

When will this end?

129 games left.


160 Responses to “Week 5”

  1. Mr. Egaas on May 8th, 2006 5:16 pm

    Half of that list of players makes me shudder.

  2. gwangung on May 8th, 2006 5:31 pm

    But to say “bavasi has improved the farm system” and qualify that by saying over what it was is to say that less people were killed in Darfur this year than last so therefore the situation is improved.

    Except that’s not what’s being said.

    Having a deep, rich farm system is a function of time. TIme is something Bavasi could not possibly have. Based on what he DOES have, his work with the farm system is an area of relative competency and is an area where he’s doing OK. It’s an assessment of how he’s doing his job, and not what the end product is.

  3. gwangung on May 8th, 2006 5:33 pm

    Really, folks, stop with the conspiracy theory here. Never ascribe to malevolence what can be explained by incompetence- the M’s sincerely think they are building a winning team here, they just haven’t figured out how to do it.


    [Well, that’s what I think is happening]

  4. Steve T on May 8th, 2006 5:34 pm

    The point about Gillick giving away all our draft picks is pertinent. It’s hard for Bavasi to draft well when he doesn’t have any high picks.

    John in LA — my point about the baserunning and other managerial problems is that they don’t have much impact on games. In the big picture, the ability or inability to hit is what scores or doesn’t score runs. In a close game, it’s easy to say “well, that baserunning mistake cost us the game” but it didn’t. What cost us the game was the inability to put enough runs on the board to make the baserunning question moot. That’s what good teams do. If we were scoring runs at even the league average it wouldn’t matter what kind of baserunning we were doing.

    Baserunning doesn’t matter. It looks like it matters in close games, but it just doesn’t. Getting on base and mashing matters.

    OBP: Reed .247, Betancourt .250, Sexson .280, Beltre .295, Lopez .307, WFB .311, Jojima, Ichiro and Everett .333, Ibanez .361. That’s putrid.

    SLG: Beltre .280, Reed .290, WFB .310, Sexson .339, Betancourt and Ichiro .350. Barf-o-rama.

    When your first baseman is banging out .195/.280/.339 you could have a whole team of Tim Raineses running the bases and you’d still suck.

  5. CCW on May 8th, 2006 5:37 pm

    Yeah… the cheap half. Most of the players that Gillick paid good money for panned out quite nicely. The first 10 guys on that list were the core of the 2001 team. That’s really Gillick’s signature skill… taking a pretty good team and signing a nice assortment of free agents to create a great team. Of course, his teams generally fall apart when he’s done with them (see, e.g. Toronto, Baltimore, Seattle).

    Meanwhile, look at Bavasi’s list: Everett, Washburn, Sexson, Beltre, Spiezio, Ibanez, Reese, Aurilia, Johjima.

  6. jhelfgott on May 8th, 2006 5:39 pm


    I’m no apologist for Bavasi, but trying to judge him based on his international signings is meaningless. The Ms, like every team, do the majority of their international signing in Latin-America. Bavasi took over in the 2003 offseason, putting him out of the picture as far as 2003 signings go (the vast majority of international signings occur in the summer).

    Latin-Americans are eligible to sign at 16 years old (after July 2 of the signing year). With the exception of Betancourt, Johjima, and maybe a couple of older non-prospect signees, Bavasi’s (by which we mean Engle’s, since he’s the one in charge of acquiring international talent) international signings are still teenagers. We won’t be able to fairly evaluate the last 2 years’ international acquisitions for another 3-4 years. Unless I’m mistaken, there isn’t a single one of them playing full-season ball right now.

    Also, when you talk about the draft, it might be nice to acknowledge that Bavasi has had 1 first-round and 1 3rd-round pick in 2 years. All of his other acquisitions have been late-round picks.

    I’d list all the interesting value picks the Ms have made in those drafts, but Jason does that pretty well in the above mentioned post over at Prospect Insider.

    Re: Clement vs. Tulo, if you were following last year’s amateur draft, you know that just about everyone was saying there was very little to distinguish between any of the second-tier of top talent. There was no grand consensus that Tulo was a better talent than Clement. Tulo might’ve been safer, but Clement was higher reward.

    Comparing their raw lines from this season is also meaningless. First because of park effects (Tulsa: extreme hitters’ park, San Antonio: pitchers’ park), and second because of sample size.

    Bavasi’s done a decent job restocking the farm system with interesting, potentially useful players. If you’re expecting immediate returns from the draft/international arena you’re being unrealistic.

  7. Mat on May 8th, 2006 5:44 pm

    Just wondering… if we have all these players performing so under PECOTA projections (and I don’t even know exactly what PECOTA means) and a few of them did last year as well, then wouldn’t you think it might be a good idea to look at the projection system as well?

    First off, here is a pretty reasonable explanation of what PECOTA is. (I always forget what the acronym stands for, though.) Basically, it’s Baseball Prospectus’ player forecast system that generates a prediction based on comparing a player to every other player in history and seeing how similar players improved/declined over time.

    Then, there’s the issue of re-examining the system. If you consider that there are 25 guys on each major league roster, and 30 teams, you’ve got 750 major league players, so you’re going to expect 75 players in the league to be at or below their 10th percentile forecast. In fact, if you didn’t, your prediction would be wrong (but sort of in a good way). That 4 of those 75 players were expected to carry a big load this season for the M’s is unfortunate for the M’s, but doesn’t necessarily reflect anything wrong with the system. Plus, there’s still time for those guys to climb up to their 20th or 30th percentile forcast, so if you check back at the end of the season, the predictions might look more accurate than they do right now.

    If you can find a lot more than 75 players who are below their 10th percentile forecast, though, then you need to really take a close look at the forecasts.

  8. John in L.A. on May 8th, 2006 5:52 pm

    Steve T. – I;m certainly not saying that stealing bases is as important as hits… or even important. I am talking about the inverse.

    You could have an entire team batting 1.000 but if they keep running until they are tagged out, the hits are useless.

    No one can have watched every game this season and say that stupid baserunning didn’t cost us runs, and in some situations cost us at the very least the chance to win games.

    It doesn’t matter if Sexson is hitting if the guys in front of him get thrown out at third before he can drive them in. The baserunning this season has cost us many outs and has cost us many potential runs.

    It is not, as repeated, as signifigant as hitting, not much is… but it is has been far from inconsequential.

    And putting Eddie in and leaving him in to blow leads when it was clear to everyone that he didn’t have anything… cost us two games.

    Obviously more hitting = more runs=more wins… but that can be said for any loss in the history of baseball… you can also lose games by being stupid… and the Mariners have.

    I’m taking zero away from the massive effect of our stars not hitting, and particularly not providing any power – but that doesn’t automatically make everything else irrelevant.

    There are teams hitting as bad or even worse than us, with better records. San Diego is worse than us in average, OBP and slugging… and they are 16-15, for example.

    This team does not only have one problem.

  9. James T on May 8th, 2006 7:24 pm

    Seriously, I am not indulging schadenfreude here, but this is a fascinating debate to read. (I’m a Red Sox fan) I guess I thought I might see more mention of Doug Melvin here. In just a couple years he’s brought a lot of free talent onto the Milwaukee roster. Isn’t he just about the model for a short term roster fixer upper?

    When watching the Mariners play the Sox a few weeks back, I thought Sexson looked fine. He was whacking liners around the park pretty nicely it seemed. Frankly, he was easily the Mariner hitter who scared me most. Johjima (sp?) also looked terrific. No one else worried me at all. I don’t know what the deal was with Suzuki but he looked tremendously off. I was shocked at how much he missed a couple pitches from Papelbon. Beltre? My god.

    The Sox never faced Felix but aside from Putz and Soriano I expected a rally against everyone else. I still have no idea how Pineiro was getting them out. Oh well.

    In the big picture, it doesn’t reflect very well on us. We’re overbearing obnoxious a-holes a lot of the team here in New England. (and we were BEFORE the Sox won in 2004, so, please, spare me the “oh you were funny poetic sorts then but now I don’t like you” spiel. We were jerks then and we’re jerks now. You just decided not to feel sympathy for jerks whose team had won) But it has its uses. It keeps a constant and tremendous pressure on the team to try and win it all. From the moment Henry, Werner and Lucchino took over right to the present day they’ve had to fight a never ending barrage of conspiracy theories that NOW they’re gonna cash out and screw the team. It’s funny. And it’s ridiculous. But it actually has its uses. That constant background fear (still not gone away in parts of the fan base) would make it extremely difficult for management to actually be more concerned about revenue than winning.
    Maybe you guys need a constant drumbeat of criticism. We’ve got whole pack of Gene Krupa’s for you. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but maybe you guys could use a few of our a-hole writers. We’ve got plenty to spare. Believe me. Take Dan Shaughnessy from the Globe. Please. Take Steve Buckley from the Herald. Take Michael Silverman from the Herald as well. We’ll throw in Jim Donaldson from the Providence Journal. That should be enough complete rectum writers to sow constant suspicion of team management. And even if management hasn’t done anything wrong, these guys will right that they have. Complacency will be just a concept, like infinity.

  10. msb on May 8th, 2006 8:10 pm

    yeah, Shaughnessy’d LOVE to be back in the same town with Everett 🙂

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.