USSM Year-end Best-of: December 2006

DMZ · December 31, 2006 at 11:46 pm · Filed Under General baseball, Mariners, Off-topic ranting, Site information 

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)


18 Responses to “USSM Year-end Best-of: December 2006”

  1. A Bag Of Beans! Wooo! on December 31st, 2006 11:58 pm

    After all, we wrote 785 articles this year, not including this one, and there were 75,286 comments.

    How many of those by Corco?

  2. msb on January 1st, 2007 12:12 am

    Dave is often on fire. He is highly flammable.

  3. PositivePaul on January 1st, 2007 12:26 am

    Happy New Year, USSM mateys!

    Yeah, that 10-year-old bottle of blue Chimay tastes pretty good right now. Man, that stuff ages very nicely in the fridge. It gets pretty strong, though. Phwewh.

    How many of those by Corco?

    My guess? At least 10% — 7,500-ish.

  4. msb on January 1st, 2007 12:38 am

    If you’ll indulge me as we head into the new year, I often think of New Years Day 1973 around this time … and especially this year, what with David Maraniss’ good biography of Clemente available:

    There was something about Clemente that surpassed statistics, then and always. Some baseball mavens love the sport precisely because of its numbers. They can take the mathematics of a box score and of a year’s worth of statistics and calculate the case for players they consider underrated or overrated and declare who has the most real value to a team. To some skilled practitioners of this science, Clemente comes out very good, but not the greatest; he walks too seldom, has too few home runs, steals too few bases. Their perspective is legitimate, but to people who appreciate Clemente this is like chemists trying to appreciate Van Gogh by analyzing the ingredients of his paint. Clemente was art, not science. Every time he strolled slowly to the batter’s box, or trotted out to right field, he seized the scene like a great actor. It was hard to take one’s eyes off him, because he could do anything on a baseball field and carried himself with such nobility. “The rest of us were just players,” Steve Blass would say. “Clemente was a prince.”

    happy new year, and may there be a Prince (if not a King) in our baseball future.

  5. rlharr on January 1st, 2007 2:35 am

    Derek – I’m wondering, in one of the ‘best of’ posts along the way (I think in November) you said that you had a low opinion of Bowden. Do you still? I did too, but I’m beginning to think he may have turned a corner.

    This summer – bags Kearns and Lopez from the Reds for nothing.
    November – signs many of the best minor league free agents.
    December – ouch! Bags Snelling (and a prospect) for an aging second baseman he’s been trying to trade since mid-summer.

    So, what do you say now? He’s filled three starting positions with high-ceiling, definitely above average players and got lots of good bullpen filler without giving anything up.

  6. rlharr on January 1st, 2007 2:36 am

    Oh, and Happy New Year all!

  7. Johnny Slick on January 1st, 2007 6:35 am

    Just to point out… Bowden has always been good at fleecing stupid GMs in trades. It’s just that he’s prone to make boneheaded moves himself, and in the end when you’re running a team you don’t want a GM who’s constantly in the state of mind of “how do I put one over on this guy” and “how do I make it look like I’m doing something so when I get fired here somebody else will hire me”, you want a guy who’s actually going to work make your team better.

    The minor league free agent thing is encouraging if you want to be a Bowden fan. Kearns and Snelling isn’t.

  8. Replacement level poster on January 1st, 2007 6:55 am

    Thanks for all the work you guys put into this. For Mariner’s fans this site is definitely a daily read.

  9. stoyboy on January 1st, 2007 8:00 am

    Happy New Year! I am not sure how good the new year for the Mariner’s will be, but being recently back from the “Big Sandbox” I appreciate the never ending intelligent opinions about my favorite sports team. I thought of them when time permitted and now I have the opportunity(USS Mariner) to discuss them. Thank you for this opportunity.

  10. DMZ on January 1st, 2007 8:08 am

    On Bowden: I once wrote that of all GMs at the time, I was the most disappointed of Bowden’s leadership in Cincy because I thought he would do so much better. His time at the head of the Reds was erratic: he was great at some of the waiver wire flyer/finding random floatsam, but he also seemed to make too many moves, like he couldn’t stop himself.

    He didn’t have a good reputation for dealing with players, and particularly for… I can’t remember who it was, but there was a pitcher who gave the Reds a hometown discount in return for a promise that they wouldn’t trade him, and Bowden traded the then-undervalued pitcher. He pissed off a lot of other GMs in dealings (like Gillick here) to the point where the Reds essentially couldn’t easily make deals with a fair chunk of other teams, and as a GM, it’s really hard to do that and still be able to be effective at your job.

    His time there didn’t go well: he never seemed to build good teams, and his teams didn’t seem like they were planned – like he was making moves that were going to help in year one, and year two… but more like he’d see someone get waived and go “oooh! shiny!” without fully considering how he was going to build a team, or a farm system.

    I always thought that Bowden would have been an interesting assistant GM, or front office special advisor, or something similar: give him a job where he can come up with 90 ideas a day, and have someone with a long-term vision and a more conservative nature filter them. You’d be able to get his really good talent evaluation ideas – go pick up unwanted player x on a minor league contract – while being able to say no to ‘give poor player x a 4y, $36m deal for no reason’.

    Bowden’s a weird GM. I certainly don’t think he’s as bad as I did a few years ago, and I haven’t heard that he’s had problems with other organizations since joining Washington. But he still might be the most erratic GM working, where any particular move is 25% likely to be horrible, 25% likely to be quite nice, and 25% likely to be inexplicable (and 25% “meh”).

    Does that answer your question?

  11. terry on January 1st, 2007 9:25 am

    December – ouch! Bags Snelling (and a prospect) for an aging second baseman he’s been trying to trade since mid-summer.

    Clearly he isn’t the worst GM…….he’s Satan

  12. terry on January 1st, 2007 9:31 am

    and I haven’t heard that he’s had problems with other organizations since joining Washington.

    The Reds keep claiming they will file a grievance against him for misrepresenting the shoulder of G Majewski in the infamous *trade*….

    My take on Bowden is that he has few friends in the business and people deal with him only out of fairly extreme need… unless of course you’re new and stupid…

  13. terry on January 1st, 2007 9:44 am

    since we’re talking about Bowden and the Reds, how can we not talk about Griffey?

    Here’s a link to a little diddy a Reds fan has created concerning Griffey:

    The guy gives Griffey more benefit of the doubt then any major leaguer deserves but hey, its cincinnati…they love their heroes…

  14. terry on January 1st, 2007 9:48 am
  15. DMZ on January 1st, 2007 9:56 am

    The Griffey trade was a great example of why other GMs don’t like Bowden – he acted like the fantasy owner who won’t make any deal unless it’s ridiculously lopsided in his favor and then immediately sends emails to everyone talking about how he totally ripped off the other guy.

  16. terry on January 1st, 2007 10:14 am

    Any GM that wears leather pants probably will like shiny new things too…

  17. rlharr on January 1st, 2007 2:12 pm

    Derek – now you mention it, I also thought some of his trades were terrible over the last year. But he has had a good half year. The Soriano deal turned out amazingly well for him, and yet he was smart enough not to chase Soriano as a free agant. Maybe budget forced his hand? I guess I’m just comparing to what we’ve got this winter.

  18. QuoVadis on January 1st, 2007 6:28 pm

    #4 Thanks for the reminder about a true baseball Prince. That is one sports bio that I will put on my reading list. I lived in Mass. at the time so only saw Clemente in allstar and post-season tv but it was obvious that he was special. He had a swagger that was natural because he was baseball royalty: a real Prince. Not cocky swagger like a Rose or a Reggie.

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