Thirty nine and thirty nine

DMZ · June 27, 2006 at 10:44 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

A month ago we were about ready to throw things across the room in frustration (see Dave’s lament on a horribly-managed game which captures the moment well). Today I’m a happy fan. I don’t care if it’s irrational or if the team’s about to hit a tough stretch of schedule. They’re even! Even!

Ignoring the first week of this season for a second (they were 5-5 April 13th), the last time they were at .500 was 12-12 April 30th, 2005. They were never at or over .500 in 2004 (unless you count 0-0). The last time they were at .500 this late in the season was in 2003.

Interleague play, your generous blessing of wins is greatly appreciated.


188 Responses to “Thirty nine and thirty nine”

  1. plivengood on June 28th, 2006 2:13 pm

    147, JMHawkins: Yes. To get the compensatory sandwich pick, you need to offer your FA arbitration, which in the case of Meche would be stupid, because he’ll take you up on it, and end up making even more $$ relative to expected performance than he does now.

    I can’t believe there are people advocating a trade of Meche for anything less than a knock-your-socks-off offer NOW. If the M’s are 6+ games back on the deadline, sure, but NOW? C’mon.

  2. BLYKMYK44 on June 28th, 2006 2:16 pm

    148: I’m really confused on what my false premises are so let me restate my argument:

    If: The Mariners have decided they are not willing to pay Meche what he would recieve on the open market ($7 million a year, probably?)

    If: The Mariners can find a prospect (preferably pitching) that they believe would be able to be a major league started for them in the next two to three years

    Then: The Mariners should trade Meche

    The arugment for this line of reasoning is that the Mariners are already going to have to spend a bunch of money trying to replace Meche at the end of the year they should try and at least get another major league starting prospect in their system.

    Of course, with any IF/THEN argument if one of the IF statements turn out to be false. Then the Mariners should not trade them.

  3. scraps on June 28th, 2006 2:17 pm

    both of which are far from certain

    They are also far from impossible. Why not wait a few weeks at least to find out?

  4. scraps on June 28th, 2006 2:19 pm

    Bly, why do you keep completely ignoring the issue of the Mariners being a contender this year and a few games one way or the other quite possibly making the difference? Regardless of everything else you are rightly or wrongly arguing, the Mariners being a contender is at the heart of the question of whether to trade him now.

  5. BLYKMYK44 on June 28th, 2006 2:19 pm

    151: Who is advocating trading Meche at this very instant? They should obviously wait until they can get the best possible deal for him. It would be nice if he continued to pitch well right up until July 31st so we could get even better prospects…

    Basically the argument against trading Meche is that you would rather hold on to that 10% chance they have (according to statistics) to succeed. Also, we are relying on Oakland to stay right around .500 despite the fact that they have already achieved more than the Mariners with their best pitcher on the DL.

  6. Mat on June 28th, 2006 2:21 pm

    Their odds of winning the division are much, much higher than 10%, in my opinion.

    One thing that the BP projections aren’t going to capture, and would have a difficult time ever capturing is one of the major reasons the M’s struggled at the beginning of the season — Sexson, Beltre, and (to a degree) Ichiro were all performing at something like their 10th percentile PECOTA projections, or worse. That’s not something that’s likely to happen (especially all at the same time) for the rest of the season, and there weren’t any correspondingly “lucky” better-than-90th percentile performances on the team.

    Right now, the top 3 in the AL West are essentially in a dead heat. The reason that the BP playoff odds read the way they do is that they think the Rangers are a .551 team, the A’s are a .513 team, and the M’s are a .501 team. I think there are a lot of legitimate reasons that those might be poor estimates (many of those reasons have been pointed out), so the 10% odds figure is fairly dubious.

    The BP odds are a good place to start the odds discussion, but certainly shouldn’t be the last place.

  7. BLYKMYK44 on June 28th, 2006 2:21 pm

    154: I adovcate getting as good as possible instead of relying on a 10% chance or winning. This 10% chance is also predicated on the fact that Oakland will continue to struggle and past performance would seem to argue that they are much more likely to run away with the division than they are to continue to stay at .500. They have been able to do OK this year without their ace starter and injuries to their line ups.

    To say we are in serious contention means we are banking on the fact that Oakland will continue to experience injury issues throughout the season AND even then continue to underperform

  8. Dave on June 28th, 2006 2:22 pm

    If: The Mariners have decided they are not willing to pay Meche what he would recieve on the open market ($7 million a year, probably?)

    It all depends on how he finishes the year. If he pitches like he is now, I’m thinking he’d get 2-3 years, $15-18 million, not all of it guaranteed. Even if he pitches well all year, he’ll be viewed as a Jeff Weaver type, an enigma that teams are afraid to commit to. He’ll fall short of the 3/21 that guys like Kris Benson, Jaret Wright, and Esteban Loaiza got, as all those deals have failed miserably and teams are actually starting to learn their lesson on pitchers of this ilk.

    If: The Mariners can find a prospect (preferably pitching) that they believe would be able to be a major league starter for them in the next two to three years

    Do you know the odds of any significantly good pitching prospect having a good career in the majors is? About 20%. Most of them get hurt and never make the majors. So there’s absolutely no way to acquire someone who you believe can be a major league starter for them in two to three years. You’re acquiring a CHANCE that the player might turn into that guy. You’re acquiring Jesse Foppert or Yorman Bazardo.

    Then: The Mariners should trade Meche

    Except for the fact that they’re contending for the division and would instantly make this team worse. Which is just a stupid thing to do when you’re contending.

  9. Safeco Hobo on June 28th, 2006 2:24 pm

    #152- So why isn’t Oakland trading Zito right now then?

    Both Seattle and Oakland are competing for the top spot in the division today. If either team drops off the table in the next month, that is when its time to pull a Meche for two AA pitchers, a small latte, and a pack of gum or Zito for Milledge.

    You trade Meche now and you lose the division by 3 games in Sept. and Baek or Livingston have a second half record of 2-10, you better pack your bags, because you aren’t the GM anymore…..It doesn’t matter if those prospects you got turn out to be Clemens and Pedro.

  10. BLYKMYK44 on June 28th, 2006 2:24 pm

    156: Wouldn’t you also find Oakland’s numbers much more dubious that the Mariners numbers? I love what we are seeing from the Mariners but they are also 8 games under .500 agains the AL and their record against the best teams in the AL are even worse. People need to take off their rose colored glasses for at least one minute to remember who we are beating right now.

  11. Dave on June 28th, 2006 2:28 pm

    I love the fact that losing to the best teams in the American League in April is somehow represetnative of our true ability, but beating the worst teams in the American League is not.

    +22 run differential. Best in the division. If you don’t think this team has a chance to win this division, then you’re just following the wrong sport.

  12. BLYKMYK44 on June 28th, 2006 2:30 pm

    158: What evidence do you have that teams are getting smarter??? I find this line of thinking very interesting. With all the bad contracts that got handed out two years ago the Ms thought that pitching would be less of a hot commodity and then they had to sign Washburn for more than what Freddy is making. Teams will NEVER get smarter when it comes to pitching because all it takes is one team to come up with an offer and then it throws off all the other contracts.

    159: Oakland is not trading Zito right now because their team is playing below their expectations and they expect to turn it around when Harden gets off the DL. However, there are rumors that Zito could be traded, and I wouldn’t be surprised that if Beane thought it was the right move that he would at least consider it. Basically, right now during the month they Ms are playing above their expecations and it is against inferior competition. Are you really saying the Ms should just pretend that they somehow suddenly got great and not think of the future?

  13. JH on June 28th, 2006 2:30 pm

    BLY and others talking about compensation: the Ms only get a sandwich pick if Meche is classified as a Type A free agent. There’s no way that happens, no matter how well Meche pitches this year.

    Millwood led the league in ERA in ’05, but was a type B free agent because of his performance in 03-04. It’s performance over the three years prior to free agency, not the year prior.

    Type B free agents net the signing team’s top pick available in compensation.

  14. BLYKMYK44 on June 28th, 2006 2:32 pm

    161: I love how we are sitting here saying that the Ms are contenders even though every time they play Oakland we get our butt’s handed to us…

    If you are saying I can’t count the games when they played against better competition earlier in the year, but you can count the games they played against worse competition later in the year. Now that is a flawed argument.

  15. Dave on June 28th, 2006 2:33 pm

    Hey, look, its a strawman.

    I’ll let someone else try to explain to you what I said, since you seem incapable of grasping the points on your own.

  16. plivengood on June 28th, 2006 2:37 pm

    155: That was (is) the starting point for this discussion — do you sell high on Meche? The implication was that we don’t wait around for the impending regression to the mean Meche may experience over the next month, ad trade him NOW. All of Dave’s responses to you have made it clear that he doesn’t have a problem trading Meche IF/WHEN the M’s drop off the pace before the deadline. But to trade him NOW, or even later if they are still within 5 or so games of the lead at the deadline begs the question “for what?” Classic cost/benefit analysis — let’s see: the team gets worse, the fans feel sold out and likely leave in greater numbers…. What do you hope to accomplish? And why do you think you are going to get anything like what the White Sox got in the “white flag” trade for Meche?

  17. BLYKMYK44 on June 28th, 2006 2:37 pm

    165: Obviously we have no basis to support either of our arguments. Since the Mariners have played their best ball against the NL West that can either mean one of two things:

    1) They are beating up on lesser clubs
    2) They are truly getting better

    We need to give it a few weeks I guess to see who comes out on top. I am very confident that once the Ms play teams with better talent we will no longer be touting them as playoff contenders (amazing how a team can go from 10 games under .500 to playoff contenders overnight…). At that point I hope Meche has kept it going at least reasonably well in order to trade him and get a decent prospect from him.

  18. scraps on June 28th, 2006 2:38 pm

    Every team gets their ass handed to them by some other team during the course of the season. By itself, it means next to nothing about the relative strength of the two teams.

  19. BLYKMYK44 on June 28th, 2006 2:46 pm

    168: What? You don’t think that the Ms would need to improve on their 1-9 record vs Oakland if they want to have any chance of winning the division???? What is sad is that 1-9 record isn’t even some anamoly, but something that has happend for years. On top of that the As have done it without even throwing their best SP at us. We’ve only faced Harden once and Zito twice. Guys like Loaiza and Sarloos own us.

    The Mariners play 9 games against Oakland in the second half. If they split those games they would then need to do 4 games better than the As vs the rest of the schedule. However, if the more likely event occurs and the As go 7-2 or 8-1 then the Ms have to expect to go 10 or 11 games better than the As?? C’mon is that likely>?

  20. plivengood on June 28th, 2006 2:53 pm

    167 – what makes them a “contender” isn’t how many games under or over .500 they are, but how many games ahead or out of first they are, and whether their RS/RA numbers, relative to their division mates, is competitive. As has been pointed out ad nauseum, the M’s are 3 games out; they have scored more runs than anybody in their division except Texas, have allowed fewer runs than anybody in their division except Oakland, and have the best differential of any of them. This isn’t a matter of subjective opinion. If they play their way out of contention, this is a different discussion; if they remain in it, it is stupid to make a move designed to improve your chances two or three years from now at the expense of making THIS team THIS YEAR worse.

  21. arbeck on June 28th, 2006 2:53 pm

    Why is it more likely that the A’s go 7-2 or 8-1 versus us? I refuse to believe that the A’s are so much better than us that they go 17-2 or 16-3 against us. Even if you accept the fact that the A’s are a superior team, logic would dictate that they would go 12-7 (.632), 13-6 (.684), or 14-5 (.737) against us. That means at worst we should expect to split the remaining games.

  22. sankthetank on June 28th, 2006 2:55 pm

    First of all, I’m all for the “wait 30 days and see approach.” However, I would like to say that Dave could be undervaluing Gil’s worth to another team. Gil has never had a losing record, is well on pace to have his third double-digit win season in four years, has an ERA under 4, etc. Any reader of this site knows these things are worthless, but to the Bavasi breed these could be valuable attributes. Basically, I’m saying that if we’re not within striking distance in a month, TRADE TRADE TRADE!!

  23. Jack Howland on June 28th, 2006 2:57 pm

    136 – Milledge for Meche I do immediately. Then I start shopping Milledge for a better starter, like, Barry Zito or something.

    To continue on with this fantasy, as much as I want to see them make a run at it for this year, I would be more inclined to keep Milledge and stick him in LF until 2011 or so.

  24. westfried on June 28th, 2006 2:58 pm

    Well, there IS one case where you would trade Meche now, even if you believe that the M’s are still in it.

    If you REALLY BELIEVE that Meche is about to fall off a cliff, then you should trade hime while his value is high. In an ideal world, you know which start will be the last great start, after which all will be bad. Because, in that case, you can trade him while his value is highest, while not making the contending team worse.

    Do you know when that is? Because if you do, please let me know which stock to pick, too.

    I believe Meche will regress. He’ll go on a 5-10 start yuck streak, and we’ll all wish we’d traded him back in the good ol’ days. Even so, right now the team needs all the pitching it can get, and he is doing well. Talk to me in 3 weeks.

    Yes, there’s the danger that the M’s lose 10 of 11 and Meche drops three stinkers, in which case we lose both our contender status AND Meche’s trade value. Yup, that’s the risk.

    So, IF you KNOW he’s about to suck, then you can safely trade him without killing your season. Good luck.

  25. Evan on June 28th, 2006 3:04 pm

    The A’s are asking quite a lot for Zito. Toronto inquired, and apparently Billy asked for Casey Janssen and Alexis Rios.

  26. Typical Idiot Fan on June 28th, 2006 3:15 pm

    I don’t see anyone arguing in favor of that. I’m arguing that we shouldn’t trade Gil Meche for a Jesse Foppert type prospect. That’s it. No one is advocating Adam Jones and Jeff Clement for Ron Villone.

    I didn’t say anyone was either. My question was that if management gets the ‘winning’ bug will we see it and would that be beneficial to the long term goals. The answer to the second part of that is obvious, it’s the answer to the first one I think I need to hear.

  27. DanO on June 28th, 2006 3:18 pm

    I have to say, Dave’s patience in this debate lasted a lot longer than I’d have guessed (and a lot longer than my patience would have).

  28. Nick in Taiwan on June 28th, 2006 4:14 pm

    59 agreed

  29. eponymous coward on June 28th, 2006 4:45 pm

    I love the fact that losing to the best teams in the American League in April is somehow represetnative of our true ability, but beating the worst teams in the American League is not.

    Or beating anyone in the National League, for that matter. Apparently, those wins count less in the standings or something.

  30. LB on June 28th, 2006 5:15 pm

    If you want to see discrepancy between the AL/NL, tune into ESPN2 right now. Banjo-hitting Red Sox shortstop just took Pedro over the LF Wall to put the Sox up 8-0 over the Mets. Only 6 of those runs are earned, but …

    I said something about this a couple of days ago.

  31. Ralph Malph on June 28th, 2006 5:44 pm

    That banjo hitting SS has 85 lifetime HR’s. I’m sure a few of them were off good AL pitchers.

  32. Eleven11 on June 28th, 2006 5:44 pm

    Is Wally Walker a worse GM than Bavasi? No question

  33. pelotas grande on June 28th, 2006 5:51 pm

    OK, .500 is a nice start; I’m actually a bit excited about the next 3 months. Did you see Farnsworth give it up for the Yanks last night? While I love to see anyone in a NYY uni puke, he’s a better pitcher than that. Just saying, the M’s ought to pick up the phone and offer Cashman 10 Southwest Airlines drink coupons and bus fare for Farnsworth. He’d up the bullpen quality…

  34. LB on June 28th, 2006 5:58 pm

    #181: About half of those HR’s came in two “outlier years” of 2003-04 in Florida. Alex Gonzalez’ lifetime SLG is .390; he bats 9th for a reason.

    Pedro lasted only 3IP. He gave up 7 hits and 2BB. 8 runs, 6 earned. He isn’t Pedro anymore, and he’s fortunate that he’s “retired” into the NL.

  35. Ralph Malph on June 28th, 2006 5:59 pm

    …maybe there’s something in the water in Florida?

  36. scraps on June 28th, 2006 9:21 pm

    LB, it’s ONE GAME. You can’t be serious. You are speaking with all the rhetoric and logic of a radio call-in.

  37. LB on June 28th, 2006 10:09 pm

    It’s not just one game, it’s one more game.

    The M’s have beat up on some of the best pitchers in the NL: Webb (ERA+ of 168), Penny (141) and Schmidt (151). They are 12-2 in interleagee play.

    The Red Sox are 13-1 in interleague play. Today the clinched the series against the best team in the NL and knocked their ace off the mound after three innings.

    There is no way you will convince me that either team would have racked up these records if they had played the dregs of the AL for the last two weeks.

    I loved watching Pedro pitch when he was still Pedro. For the sake of his legacy, I wish Pedro had pulled a Koufax and simply retired when it was clear the magic was gone, but I can’t say that I would have turned down a guaranteed $53M if I were in his shoes. Retiring to the NL was a great second choice.

  38. vj on June 29th, 2006 6:01 am

    Dave, you made it clear that if the Mariners continue at this pace, they shouldn’t be sellers at the trade deadline, in particular as far as Gil Meche is concerned.
    My questions are: Should they be buyers, whom should they target (Carlos Lee? John Smoltz) and what could they give up in a trade?

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