USSM Year-end Best-of: December 2006

December 31, 2006 · Filed Under General baseball, Mariners, Off-topic ranting, Site information · 18 Comments 

I hope you’ve enjoyed these year-end posts. I know the off-season tends to drag, and it means sometimes we’re talking about music and doing USSM Endorsements or whatever, so I thought this might be cool. After all, we wrote 785 articles this year, not including this one, and there were 75,286 comments. It’s easy to forget the highlights, and I wanted to give some recognition of how many totally amazing articles Dave wrote. He was on fire, folks.

The Vidro Debacle: Initial reaction to the report. I tilt at windmills and pledge continuing Doyle support in “I will not hang up my High Epopt hatIt’s Official

12-15: Dave summarizes the M’s management in “After the storm“:


We endorse Chris Antonetti as the next GM. We offer Antonetti for GM stickers and buttons for angry fans.

Other than that, what happened?

12-1: The M’s almost sign John Thomson, which we liked as a move.

This is how you assemble the back-end of a rotation. Sign John Thomson and Justin Lehr to give competition to the young pitchers, and use the money saved by not paying for experience to spend on position players.

John Thomson can help the Mariners, and for the price, it’s a good buy. Kudos to Bill Bavasi for finding one of the better deals in a crazy free agent market.

Later it turns out they agreed to terms if the team’s pursuit of other options failed, after which they… well, they managed to get other guys. I can’t help but think Thomson would make a better option than at least one, but anyway.

12-2: I look at where the M’s stood, and what they needed to do heading into the meetings. Dave made Winter Meetings predictions. If only it had gone like this.

12-11: Miguel Batista signs.

12-12: Future Hall of Fame denials, in the vein of McGwire’s troubles.

11-22: Sean Burroughs provides me the chance to get overly-detailed about a minor signing. Hee hee hee.

12-26: Free agent market and the boom and bust cycle

12-27: Why trading for Randy Johnson would help the rotation

12-28: Dave reviews the 2006 Free Agent Signings (pre-Zito)

USSM Year-end Best-of: November 2006

December 31, 2006 · Filed Under General baseball, Mariners, Off-topic ranting, Site information · 2 Comments 

11-6: Discussion of reasons teams supposedly didn’t bid on Matsuzaka

Also: the a review of the Nationals’ amazing haul of almost unnoticed signings, an example of what you can find if you go fishing.

11-8 What the A’s move to Fremont might mean for the M’s.

11-9: Dave on the concept of budgeting wins, not money, and how it changes your perspective.

11-13: Richie Sexson’s contract is an albatross.

11-22 Offseason Adventure

Wayne Krivsky signs Alex Gonzalez.

> examine Gonzalez signing

Alex Gonzalez signed for $14,000,000 over 3 years.

> examine Gonzalez signing

No, you read that right.

Also on the 22nd: graphs on Willie Bloomquist’s offensive performance charted against AL averages and NL pitchers.

Other graphs:
Mariners total payroll and rank among MLB teams
Player previous season contribution to new contract value. I should update this.

11-23: Gil Meche’s Thanksgiving List, by Jeff.

11-25: Bloomquist gets an inexplicable extension, and in response, we offer A very brief reiteration of our position on Mr. Bloomquist

11-27: Jeff on “Collecting Ichiro

11-29: “A short discussion of McGwire and the Hall of Fame

11-30: Why Justin Lehr’s a nice little signing for the M’s.

Free agency reaction tracking:
Aramis Ramirez: Dave takes the opportunity to compare him to Beltre
Carlos Lee: a comparison to Emil Brown
Deluccia: nice
Baez: head-shaking
Gary Mathews: more insanity

USSM Year-end Best-of: October 2006

December 31, 2006 · Filed Under General baseball, Mariners, Off-topic ranting, Site information · Comment 

10-1: The first version of Dave’s 2006 off-season plan. Manny the DH! Edmonds in left field!

10-3: Jeff semi-live-blogs from the Twins playoff game.

10-8: A preview of what would happen if this Daisuke Matsuzaka guy posted.

The only thing we can know for certain is that if he posts, it’s going to get crazy.

10-11: Why losing Cruceta is not only bad, but symptomatic.

10-13: Unethical!!!!!

10-18: Dave offers recommended blogs for other teams.

10-20: I go through the matchups and write about why the Tigers should win the World Series. Heh.

during the playoff posts and comment threads I repeatedly said that I figured whoever came out of the NL was likely to be cannon fodder to the AL, and I’ve kept at it, writing that either the Cardinals or Mets were going to be mowed down by the Tigers.

Why, in a short series, would I be so certain about that? That’s a good point – in seven games, the chances the better team wins aren’t all that great anyway. I was being cavalier about it. But here’s my thinking.

Then, weirdly, it’s just a line that says “DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR”

Anyway, having written some Playoff Prospectus articles at BP, I know how the drill works: you make a call and if you’re wrong, you get the mockery, even if you show your work and your reasoning was good. So be it.

10-23: A brief essay on Kenny Rogers cheating with pine tar in the World Series, by the author of “The Cheater’s Guide to Baseball“.

10-22: How the way the new CBA’s negotiations went is good news. Then, Dave on the new CBA’s rules.

10-26: Why the M’s decision not to pursue Matsuzaka but go after a corner outfielder doesn’t make sense.

A brief discussion of how to best arrange the Tigers rotation. The solution differs greatly from Leyland’s.

10/28 Roster Management and why it’s important

10-30: the first post on free-agency insanity.

If a few general managers get together and decide that a 4 win player like Alfonso Soriano is worth $16 million per season, that doesn’t establish his actual value – it establishes that they suck at their jobs.

We’ll return to this topic, as you’ll see.

USSM Year-end Best-of: September 2006

December 31, 2006 · Filed Under General baseball, Mariners, Off-topic ranting, Site information · Comment 

September was all Dave, all the time.

9-1: In a pointer to a really great article about Ichiro and Johjima. Dave:

Ichiro is disliked by most of the American media who follows the team around on a regular basis. Perhaps they should all spend more time with Brad Lefton and learn about why he does some of the things he does, rather than ascribing arrogance and aloofness to him because he’s not like the kids from Texas.

9-8: Generally, I’ve skipped the Big Board/Future Forty updates, but Dave’s post here talks about how the M’s aggressive promotion policy for hitters is hurting their development.

9-10: Are long-term contracts to pitchers ever worth it? Dave reviews recent signings with interesting results. I’m going to quote part of the ending, because it’s awesome:

It’s easy to look at what a pitcher like Barry Zito or Jason Schmidt is right now and say “do whatever it takes to sign him”, thinking you’re getting a pitcher who will anchor your rotation for years to come. We have to remember, though, that guys like Mike Hampton, Tim Hudson, Javier Vazquez, Carl Pavano, Chan Ho Park, and Bartolo Colon were looked at the same way. These guys were Cy Young winners, established playoff heroes, perenniel all-stars, and the best pitchers of their time.

By the years you hit free agency, however, your time is usually running short, and your best days are often behind you. Making a 4+ year commitment to a starting pitcher who has already been worked hard is rarely a good idea.

9-12: Dave, in one of the more succinct bits of analysis all year, compares Washburn 05 and 06.

9-14: Game 146’s intro includes a really good writeup about Odalis Perez.

9-18: Dave reviews his own offseason plan, using the “Dave’s a Genius” and “Dave’s an Idiot” classifications

9-20: Steve Kelley, awful sportswriter, taken apart by Dave, annoyed USSM author.

9-21: Jake Woods, Litmus Test.

Jake Woods is a litmus test. An organization that understands pitching would trade him this offseason. We’ll see if the Mariners are up to the challenge.

9-23: Your guide to Everett alternatives, revisited. I always like to return to previous discussions and see what we can learn from them. Here, it’s interesting to look back at the names being thrown around were and see who did well and who didn’t.

9-24: Dave talks about the cost of the team, and how payroll restrictions meant the M’s certainly weren’t going to sign two quality starters.

9-26: Is the lack of criticism of Carlos Garcia a sign that he’s really good, or that the team’s horrible and we’re focused on other issues?

9-27: In talking about the PI’s Andriesen’s off-season plan, Dave looks ahead to the off-season.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want Daisuke Matsuzaka. It’s like asking kids if they want pie.

9-28: The extra-snarky commentary on the M’s after-season letter to season ticket holders.

Dave points to Angel Guzman as a potential undervalued pitcher.

9-30: what were the strong positives of the season?

USSM Year-end Best-of: August 2006

December 31, 2006 · Filed Under Mariners, Off-topic ranting, Site information · 4 Comments 

8-1 Dave evaluates Gil Meche’s season through July. Then on 8-9 he does a similar breakdown for Felix.

8-8 Dave’s random notes include a section titled “My mother could beat up Willie Bloomquist” on WFB’s isolated slugging of .032

8-11 Dave on Hargrove’s appalling ignorance of his own staff.

8-14 Dave’s great write-up of Byran LaHair

8-15 Catcher defense discussed in the context of Johjima v Rivera.

8-17 I make a joking but still-dangerous statistical case for Carl Everett’s veteran leadership.

And I go insane in the day’s Bloomquist-tastic game thread. You get the post and then nutty comments.

8-18 Then you get snakes on a team.

8-20 Dave finds good news even as the M’s got swept.

8-23 Dave tears apart Hargrove’s late game management.

8-24 In the day’s game thread, Dave talks about meeting Randy Johnson.

8-25 Dave’s writeup on Jeff Clement

8/26 game thread

David Wells famously claims to pitch while drunk. Gil Meche just pitches like he’s drunk, but we’re pretty sure he’s not.

David Wells is a strike throwing machine. Gil Meche wouldn’t even know how to turn on said machine.

8/27 Super-exciting dual post on Bob Finnigan’s retirement column.

8/29 Evaluating pitcher talent

Weekend random boring stuff

December 31, 2006 · Filed Under General baseball · 23 Comments 

Aubrey Huff agrees to a 3y, $20m deal with the Orioles
Mulder has some teams after him
Ryan Howard fired his agent and isn’t eligible for arb until after 2007 but still appears to be in line for a “big raise,” the Phillies said.
The Mariners can still make the playoffs with a Cincinnati loss and a Denver tie if the Jacksonville-Kansas City game ends in a tie or is won by one or two points.

M’s blogosphere gets ripped

December 30, 2006 · Filed Under Off-topic ranting, Site information · 70 Comments 

Update: they’ve pulled the content and site before we got lawyered up, so that’s good. Read the comments for more.

Seasons greetings from Instamariners! We’re jacking all of the content on your site and re-branding it as our own! With lots of ads!

(handy mirror of the page source if they change it is here)

Yup, and that link there for the title of the post? Goes to us, Instamariners, not you. Where we have our own comment section. Like it’s our content. With more ads. Isn’t that awesome? And we know, you’ve got that thing on the front page that says

All article text is written by the authors, all pictures are taken by the authors, who retain copyright to their works. No copying or reproduction of any content here, photographic or otherwise, is authorized. Please email us if you wish to reproduce our work.

We decided to not do that, and reproduce it anyway. We’re sure your request doesn’t apply to us.

Oooh yeah. But don’t worry! You’re in good company! Your friends Deanna, and Paul, and, well, we’re kidnapping others as fast as we can!

USSM Year-end Best-of: July 2006

December 29, 2006 · Filed Under Mariners, Site information · 2 Comments 

7-2: Dave says it’s time to move Ichiro to centerfield.

I loved my “Ichiro clips on YouTube” but MLBAM went through and cease-and-desisted them all. Thanks, MLBAM.

7-3: Jeff versus John McGrath in “McGrath: Ichiro Crippled Reed, Cost Mariners Share of First Place

7-6: Dave’s “What I would do” ideas for improving the roster.

7-8: Worst outfield of the year.

7-11: Mariner trade value. Followed by 7-20’s: ranking of trade values within the AL West.

7-12: The promotion of Adam Jones.

7-15: It’s worth thinking about changing Safeco Field’s dimensions.

7-16: Hargrove’s bullpen management gets called “Brutal” by Dave

Mike Hargrove is the in-game strategist equivalent of General Custer. I, for one, can’t wait for the last stand.

And in the Game 92 thread, Hargrove’s blind spot for Everett is compared to his intolerance for Choo.

7-17: Mid-season review of 2006’s free agent pitchers.

7-18: Dave’s tying up loose ends post manages to hash on trading for Soriano, discuss buidling a bullpen, and lament the futility of mid-July Carl Everett before hitting the halfway mark.

7-21: “Buyers or Sellers: Why Choose?” Dave argues for a dramatic re-shaping of the team’s roster mid-season.

7-23: Dave breaks down Beltre’s hitting thus far.

7-25: Noah Barker.

7-26: Not a particularly great post, but it contained the news that Everett was DFA and Snelling was joining the team.

7-29: Credit Where It’s Due – Hargrove makes a good bullpen decision! YAYY

USSM Year-end Best-of: June 2006

December 29, 2006 · Filed Under Site information · 15 Comments 

6-2: Dave’s draft preview.

6-5: Dave does “Good News, Bad News

6-6: I’m all excited about draft day.

6-7: “Why not Miller?” Dave explains the politics of the draft and how it led to the Mariners passing up Andrew Miller.

6-7: The wider view of the draft and economics. “Level the field, let them play.”

6-20: In “Abandoning the catch-up” I argued the small chance at division contention then wasn’t not worth sacrificing long-term success

6-22: Dave, basking in the happiness of brief success – “This is fun

This still isn’t a great team. They have some major flaws, and while this season may not end with a championship parade, they’ve made a huge step forward – it’s no longer painful to be a Mariner fan.

Hooray for hope.

6-29 So what now? Dave’s plan to keep the team in contention from the season’s midpoint.

6-30: Dave reflects on the A’s vulnerabilities and the strange perception that they were the best team in baseball.

Bonus for the masochistic: totally unsupervised comment threads for Games 59 and 60

Nate Silver on the Zito signing

December 29, 2006 · Filed Under General baseball · 23 Comments 

In an “Unfiltered” blog post at Baseball Prospectus (“Barry Zito and “Smart” versus “Dumb” Projections“), Silver makes a really interesting point: he argues that Zito’s contract is entirely reasonable if you think ERA is awesome and predictive of future performance. Over the life of his contract, he should be good enough to earn that $100m (if you assume that the current rate/win isn’t a fluke, etc).

If you don’t – if you’re willing to pay more attention to his component stats, his stuff, look at comperable players, etc, you find that that’s way, way off. $57m off, according to a PECOTA long-term look (which also assumes that paying the current rate/win, etc etc).

Yup. The game is changing, and front offices are getting much smarter, but it’s not changing that fast, really, and teams aren’t getting smarter at the same rate.

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