Game 55, Mariners at Rangers

DMZ · May 31, 2006 at 10:28 am · Filed Under Game Threads 

RHP Felix Hernandez v LHP John Koronka, 11 something.

“When you start thinking, ‘Let’s try something new’ — that’s a panic move”
— Mike Hargrove

Ichiro! – RF/L
Beltre – 3B/R
Lopez – 2B/R
Ibanez – LF/L
Sexson – DH/R
Johjima – C/R
Bloomquist – CF/R
Morse – 1B/R
Betancourt – SS/R



418 Responses to “Game 55, Mariners at Rangers”

  1. pinball1973 on May 31st, 2006 10:13 pm

    They won, against a lefty, huh? Woo. Pee. Now, has Grover been fired yet? No?????? I’ll wait till after the games to check in, then – I need no further aggravation.

  2. BelaXadux on May 31st, 2006 10:14 pm

    Bender, I’m actually _not_ positive on Beltre at all if by that one infers that Beltre will actually hit any better than he did in his ’05 season in Seattle. My position over the winter was that last season was dead on Adrian’s career production, and that given his approach at the plate it would be madness to infer significant improvement in that. Now, the first month of this season, Beltre was far worse, about about as messed up as a hitter could be, but Adrian IS better than _that_ as a hitter. Given Adrian’s inability to both hit at all and at the same time hit for any significant power so far this year, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll even duplicate last year’s barely passable if thoroughly disappointing aggregate totals, so this figures to be the ‘down year’ for Adrian, but still a potentially salvagable year.

    The kicker, though, is that he’s making eight very large a year to be a major power hitter in the line-up, and not only is he very much anything but, I don’t believe he ever will be in Seattle. I want him GONNNNNNE, in a big way, and said as much in the offseason, but I don’t see him getting moved during this season, and it’ll be difficult to do at best. So what to do in the meantime???: Teach him how to hit all over again, having good ABs, and making solid contact with hittable pitches. Hitting him second is reasonable given that need and given the modest, and perhaps quite temporary, improvements in Adrian’s results recently. The only alternative is taking him out of the line-up altogether, but in present circumstances that doesn’t really seem justifiable (who replaces him?), and reduces his trade value to a negative number, making the task of eventually getting rid of him all the more difficult. So play him, but in a way to maximize what he can do and minimize what he can’t/isn’t doing. We have to stop seeign Beltre as a significant offensive force: he hasn’t been here, and isn’t going to be. He can be a tolerable performer until he’s moved, so that’s what I can hope for, and expect management to work for. GET HIM OUT OF THE MIDDLE OF THE LINEUP, but work with him to have productive ABs. The team has been doing one, and finally seems to have done the other.

    When Beltre goes, of course he’ll have the one big year he has in him somewhere else, but I don’t care. I just don’t think a team can carry an offensive soft spot at that $$$$ figure for long; it hurts the lineup, undermines team morale, and blocks the arrival of someone (anyone, please) who can put up better numbers.

    That’s my _real_ position on Beltre.

  3. sidereal on May 31st, 2006 10:25 pm

    Fun fact: San Antonio got 1-hit today and won 2-1, mostly thanks to 3 Tulsa errors in the 3rd inning (2 by one guy). Blackley pitched a gem.

  4. Jim Thomsen on May 31st, 2006 10:40 pm

    The good and the bad of Blackley’s outing:


    6 6 1 1 0 4, including half of a golden sombrero hung on Troy Tulowitzki.


    3 ground ball outs, 9 fly balls.

  5. Bender on May 31st, 2006 11:38 pm

    There’s no way we move Beltre without eating something like 90% of his contract. Do you still want to move him?

  6. Mr. Egaas on June 1st, 2006 12:16 am

    Considering we’ll have to eat of what’s there, it’s best waiting him out and watching him play gold glove calibur defense.

    Is the problem our hitting coaches? Seems like we get a new one every year, same results…

  7. shortbus on June 1st, 2006 1:00 am

    Specific mistakes Bavasi has made:

    The Spiezio and Aurillia signings. Neither player projected to be better than what we could scrounge up in our own system or in cheap trades and /or waiver-wire deals from other teams — and then they proceded to perform worse than projected.

    The Guillen deal. If you can’t get more than Santiago in trade for a guy of his caliber then DON’T TRADE HIM. Having %75 of a season with injury-prone Guillen and %25 with the next-best SS in the system is better than Santiago.

    Re-signing Guardado. No explanation needed here.

    Not signing a legit left fielder. Ibañez’ contribution with the bat has been all you could expect, but his fielding stinks. He should be our DH. We need a true offensive and defensive plus player in left which should have been an offseason priority.

    Signing Everett. See “Not signing a left fielder.” Bill needed to talk Hargrove down from his man-crush on the Carlosaur on the basis that the team did not need a DH and needed the money for a true LF. And Carl might be kind of a dick.

    The Washburn signing. Of course Washburn’s pitching at least as well as Millwood right now, so this may not look like a mistake. But getting lucky doesn’t make it a good deal…based on information available at the time it wasn’t a good signing.

  8. BelaXadux on June 1st, 2006 1:12 am

    Yes, absolutely I want him moved, and no, it won’t take eating 90%, not if he hits even a little bit. Undoubtedly, a big chunk of his salary will be bundled in any package it takes to move him; even more probable is that the Ms will have to take back someone else’s bad-paper player. The real question is: can the team succeed carrying Adrian Beltre rather than the other way around? I question that. It’s more probable, really, that the Ms will haul this clunker deal around through Year 3, and _then_ make the move. Or maybe Adrian bursts out of bust-mode with a year somewhere above his ’05 numbers, and the Ms glumly, gamely hold on for full term as AB reverts toward his career norms. *bah*

    The Ms _cannot_ succeed with the $$$$ values they have sunk into Beltre, Sexson, and Guardado for the performance returns they are presently receiving. Either those performance have to improve to at least significant, but really superior levels, or the players have to be removed. The alternative: Toronto, 3-4 years back, burdened with bad contracts on guys who could never give the return, or who were so severely overpaid the team lacked any flexibility, while attendance plummeted. Eddie’s soon to be gone. Richie gave us one good year, and is only signed for two more after this. Beltre still shows superior athleticism, but is around for another three and a half years. There is a third alternative, but it’s self-defeating in its way, and not going to happen anyway, that the Ms expand the payroll to hire on the open market the bat(s) that Beltre and Sexson were _supposed_ to be. That amounts to eating their contracts but keeping them around, the ‘Yankee way’ of the moment. The Mariners have that kind of money (really), but it’s a foolish way to spend it. Better to move at least one of the bad deals, and gain roster, and some financial flexibility.

    Mo Vaughn got moved. Jeff Cirillo got moved (and it didn’t take eating 90% of his contract). Mike Hampton got moved (and it didn’t take [one] team eating 90% of his deal). Carl “Boston Beans” Everett got moved. A-Rod’s un-dealable contract got moved. Beltre _could_ be moved if the powers that be decided it had to be done, bet on it. This being the Ms, they’ll decide a year to late, like always, that’s the only difference. To me.

  9. cheapseats on June 1st, 2006 2:14 am

    Please to not mention gold gloves and Adrian. Toolsiness we got (always have had) in plentiful amounts. 90 percent of AB’s contract (in Adrian’s case, AB = Absent Bat) was attached to his hitting presence. Unless this and/or any other panic attack of Grover’s works, Beltre’s gonna make Cirrilo look like a financial mosquito bite… not to mention what it’s gonna make Bavasi look like (I think that answers someone else’s question concerning BB).

    Night all…

  10. DMZ on June 1st, 2006 2:27 am

    It’s not true that the Mariners can’t succeed with Beltre/Sexson deals. That’s only $25m a year for a team that spends $80-90. Other teams are competitive for less than $65m. And yeah, they could spend more.

    As to your examples — you gotta do more research before you go off on this stuff. Really. I know we’ve had this fight before, but come on. I know it’s probably more efficent to be wrong quickly, but it’s a pain in the ass.

    The M’s traded Cirillo to the Padres for Kevin Jarvis, Wiki Gonzalez, and Dave Hansen.

    Cirillo was due $6,975,000

    Jarvis made $4,250,000 that year.
    Wiki made $1.2m that year and $2.25M the next
    Hansen made $750k

    The M’s paid more than 100% of Cirillo’s value to dump him.

    And, if you believe the Lincoln/Armstrong whinging, they paid out cash on Cirillo’s contract too.

    Mo Vaughn got traded after 2001 back to the Mets for Appier. Appier made $9.5 and $11.5m over the next two years. Mo was due ~$10 and $15m those two years before restructuring the deal when he went to New York (he got paid, I think, $12 and $17m in the new deal

    That’s 70% salary eaten.

    And the Hampton deal… no. Getting out of that required a byzantine arrangement of salary dumping that involved three teams, one of which picked up portions of his contract despite being neither sender not receiver of his deal.

  11. true_slicky on June 1st, 2006 2:30 am

    bravo BelaXadux!

    but I would suggest *not* pursuing the bats Sexson & Beltre had been/ were supposed to be either in trades/ free agent signings. NO MORE POWER HITTERS BEING LADEN DOWN WITH HUGE CONTRACTS! line-drive hitters are where its at- some will eventually turn lin-drive power into home-run power & you can get it on the cheap, ratehr than handing out inflated contracts to be smotehred with.

    that’s my thought. oh, and players who can beat the A’s.

    so who fits both conditions? two words: No-Mar….

  12. BelaXadux on June 1st, 2006 3:58 am

    Derek, I have _no_ idea what you’re talking about. The comment to which I responded to above was “They’ll have to eat 90% of his salary to trade him.”

    In the Cirillo example, that would mean that the team would have to kick in ~$6.3 million to trade him. Obviously, that didn’t happen. They traded expensive junk for expensive junk. If the Ms had been willing to kick in more money, say %50 of Cirillo’s salary or north of $3M, they wouldn’t have had to take as much junk back—which would have been a better outcome. But they were penny wise, and so clogged up the 40-man for the next two years with a couple of stone useless guys.

    The same is true of the other cases you critique above, the team trading the problem did _not_ kick in X dollars equal to 90% of the remaining contract value to the guy they moved. Instead, they took back an underperforming player with big dollars which largely equaled the value of the contract they moved. In essence, they didn’t save any money—but they weren’t going to, at the time at least, and the Ms won’t, either. What they did is dumped a huge, dead ballast off the 25-man. In the Vaughn for Appier deal, I would argue that Appier hurt the Angels _far_ less than Vaughn did, so they came out well ahead of where they would have been if they’d done nothing. That’s the kind of outcome I would advocate here.

    They money is _GONE_ on Beltre and Sexson. They will be payed by someone, and so on someone’s roster. If they keep hitting like we’ve seen, I hope to God that’s not the Ms roster. If they are moved, it will likely be in exactly the kind of situation as in, say, the Mo Vaughn deal, the contract is moved out and another one brought in of very comparable value, or a lesser one offset by dollars sent away with the Ms player. I don’t expect to _get_ anything back, except a different kind of problem, hopefully a more managable one, and ideally a more moveable one.

    The issue with Beltre and Sexson staying at their present performance levels isn’t primarily a financial one. Yes, the Ms can afford to throw away that much money and stay competitive, especially with incoming young players like Asdrubal Cabrera, Adam Jones, and hopefully Jeff Clement right behind them. Can you win sending two lame bats up to the plate in every nine guys? When those are two of your three highest paid guys, so that you’re not going to be hiring anyone of similar value in the meantime to do that hitting? There are functional and psychological issues here, but it’s a tremendous burden on the other players and the manger to carry around that much dead weight, even when the guys are totally likeable, upright, team guys like Richie and Adrian.

    For a specific example, Hargrove now, clearly, thinks that Sexson’s heel is hurting him, and that Richie should sit. But he can’t bring himself to pull the guy from the lineup and just sit him for 3-5 games. If you just looked at Sexson’s stats and the negative impact he’s been having on team performance, most managers would pull the guy like _that_—but very few will pull their ‘$12M clean-up hitter’ even if he’s hitting like crap and hurting, and Hargrove can’t either. . . . That’s the kind of problem I mean. These guys will still be bundled out there, game after game, because their sometime talent, and past seasons, and position in the org’s media posture demand that ‘our best guys’ be on the field. Even though on performance their performances don’t remotely qualify.

    That’s the problem. And at least one of those problems needs to be gone by this time next year. You _can_ fire the players. You just have to pay them, or pay their replacements the equivalent. So do it, and move on.

  13. BelaXadux on June 1st, 2006 4:09 am

    And it may not be that bad, either: Adrian Beltre is playing much, much better than Mo Vaughn was at the time rollers were run under his tank and he was shipped east to Shea Stadium. And Beltre usually hits better in mid-summer than at the start of the year, so there’s every possibility that he will nudge his numbers back up into the professionally respectible range, though quite possibly sans power. Which will make it much easier to move him. Not for ‘value,’ and not without kicking in substantial money/taking back someone’s problem. But a doable deal.

  14. BelaXadux on June 1st, 2006 4:16 am

    Although if Adrian Beltre had been move this last offseason, the Ms might have been able to get someone really useful back in the deal instead of having to try to stem a severe loss. That’s the problem with tolerating failure: it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

  15. msb on June 1st, 2006 8:15 am

    huh. I thought there was a game yesterday, supposedly with a nice defensive play by Jubetcha, but apparently I was worng, because I sure didn’t see anything on those highlights shows.

  16. Bender on June 1st, 2006 10:33 am

    BelaXadux, Either they’re going ot have to pay someone to take Beltre or we’re going to have to pay for their version of Beltre. Either way we’re treading water so I honestly don’t see the point.

    Like you said, the money is gone. There’s no easy way to convert someone who is sucking into someone who is good. The point Derek made with the Crillo deal is that we ate at least as much money on other garbage players as we would have on his contract and also maybe payed his contract out.

    Beltre’s value is so low at this point that people are going to require we bend over royally to move him becuase other teams aren’t stupid and they know it would be a desperation move. They’re not just going to do us a favore.

    Maybe you have a better understanding of how baseball deals work than I do but I just don’t see a good solution to Beltre. To me, it looks like if we move him we eat the contract, make a hole at 3B and take on someone else’s headache.

  17. John in L.A. on June 1st, 2006 1:11 pm

    Beltre’s defense at third is not “toolsy”, it’s much more valuable and more difficult to dismiss than that.

    And, to a different post, the money is not _gone_ on Beltre and Sexson. I think Beltre is going to settle in at around .280 .340 .410 for his contract with the everpresent upside of the return of his power. Is that worth the money we spent, IF my scenario turns out to be the case? No. Is it a disaster? Also no.

    Beltre is an interesting case, I don’t know of a lot like him. His problems don’t fit in recognizable, to me, patterns – yes, mr. deleted post, your theory included.

    I think it is more possible that Beltre comes around than it ever was that Spezio or Cirillo or whoever was. He undeniably had the ability and he is not yet aging… and it is not his lack of power that has been most troubling – if he regained his ’04 form but without the power he would still be a great third baseman.

    And I have seen real improvement during the course of this year… he is completely different with his swings than he was in April. He is hitting the ball hard, he is hitting many more to the outfield… even though they are coming up mostly singles, it is not for lack of being smacked hard enough.

    I think it would be insane to dump Beltre, the worst sort of business management – buying high and selling low.

    If Beltre hits like he has in May, with his defense at third, he won’t be a drain on the M’s at all – regardless of the size of his contract.

    I am actually more worried about Sexson, because his is a pattern I feel like I have seen before… ironically I think Sexson might be easier to get returnn value on because I think he will go through a hot streak, this year or next and be tradeable at the deadline to a contender that desperately needs pop.

    We’re stuck with Beltre, I believe… and I’m actually pretty ok with that.

  18. BelaXadux on June 1st, 2006 7:51 pm

    You’ve seen Beltre down there, John, so you have a different basis for your assessment. Myself, I don’t think there’s any way Beltre meets those numbers you put up for his time here; certainly he hasn’t come CLOSE yet. Maybe _one_ year, he meets (or exceeds that); the rest, he’ll be well short.

    I don’t think that it’s hard to assess Beltre’s problems at all, and no, I don’t think he’s a unique case at all. His problem to me, to put it in one, simple phrase, is that he’s never learned how to hit. It’s as simple as that. I’ve toyed with mapping out a much longer post on that issue, but I just haven’t had the energy or spleen to put it together. Given that this is Adrian’s _eighth_ year in the Bigs, I don’t think it’s at all likely he’s going to learn how to hit, either. . . . That’s the problem.

    We’ll have time to review the Beltre problem in more detail over the summer, since we are definitely stuck with him for this year. But we don’t have to be stuck with him for three more. And if he hits like he has in May, he’s really _quite_ moveable.

    Regarding Sexson, he has hit much, much better than Beltre throughout his career, and managed quite a good year here last year. Even if Richie bombs out completely for this season, the odds of getting a least one productive year from the two remaining on his contract are decent, and are FAR better than any odds on getting any really good year out of Adrian. Sexson would be much harder to move, too, in my view in that: a) he’s older, b) he’s had serious past injury, c) he’s a defensive liability at this point and a limited athlete, and d) if he’s putting up Ks without HRs he’s worse than useless so nobody’s going to gamble on a bounce back at his salary figure.

    ‘Nuff on all that fer now.

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