The USSM QnA for 1/17

DMZ · January 17, 2007 at 10:04 am · Filed Under Mariners 

A really long set of answers to the questions in 44 comments.

a. Does Hunter Brown have a future?
b. Should we expect Brian LaHair to make his MLB debut this year?
c. Where do we think Broussard/Reed/Woods will end up?
— bongo

a. In baseball? Not unless something dramatic happens.
b. I wouldn’t. If Sexson’s traded, it’s possible, but I don’t see evidence LaHair’s ready to hit in the majors.
c. Now that’s an interesting question. I don’t think Woods gets traded. There are a bunch of options for Reed, but I suspect his trade’s going to be a minor transaction that doesn’t net the M’s much. They might end up playing chicken and hoping someone sees their center fielder injured in spring training.

Broussard is an interesting question. If you think you can get away with playing him at first, he’d be a huge upgrade from the floatsam New York’s talking about playing (when Josh Phelps is clearly your best answer, you’re in trouble). As a DH, if the Twins are really going to run Rondell White out there (or Ken Harvey), he’s a clear upgrade on those guys too.

Wherever he goes, there’s a pretty good chance we’re going to want him back.

Assuming defense is the final frontier in sabermetrics and basically even that is getting charted at light speed by systems like UZR (albeit with proprietary access), whats left for the next generation of Palmers/McCrackens/Davenports to discover and contribute? Or to put it another way, is the next generation more likely to be educators or innovators? If innovators, what still awaits? — terry

The temptation in these case is always to say “education” because the problem with this stuff is you can’t see innovation coming. There’s opportunity for both. I don’t know who’s going to spark the next “pitchers don’t control the outcome of balls put into play”-type debate, but we’ll see something. I do think there’s a real opportunity to really bring intelligent analysis home to the masses and drag people, one by one if they have to, into reading for OBP.

Maybe that’s naive, and people don’t want to learn more about the sport and understand it better.

So “both”.

If Tui doesn’t break out bigtime, what are the chances the M’s will try him out on the mound – as Sickels suggested on his blog today? – Conor

They’ve certainly done this before – see Rafael Soriano. But I have to wonder how willing they’re going to be to give up. I think it’s a lot more likely that if Tui has another horrible season they finally push him down the organizational chart and see how low he has to go before he hits, and then think about their options. Unless he wants to try it, it seems unlikely to even be considered seriously this year.

…with The Master of the Sweet Swing now the property of the Phillies, what do you think Burroughs chances are of breaking camp with the team on the bench? — Goose

Does Hargrove like him? Not bad at all. It really will depend on what kind of shine Hargrove takes to him, because at the end of the bench it’s not as if the organization really cares if he insists on Burroughs.

Q1. Assuming every player performs at around the same level they did last season, what do you think is the most ideal batting order? (especially interested in where Johjima fits in)
Q2. Should the Ms go with the same “aggressive baserunning” strategy this season as well? (and a quick analysis/opinion on how well it went last season would be great) — tak

1. ooooh, batting orders. I could spend ages on this. Personally – Ichiro!/Johjima/Ibanez/Sexson/Beltre/Guillen/Lopez/Vidro/Betancourt. The justification for that would be a whole other post. I think, though, the obvious change there is Beltre for Johjima if you think Beltre takes a more successful approach when he’s hitting 2.

2. They shouldn’t. We saw the M’s pull the throttle on that way back after some initial blunders (you can go back and read the game threads, it was deadly). By the end of the season, they were in the middle of the pack (Dan Fox did some end-of-year work on this at Prospectus).

As a strategy, it has its place. If you have the players, you can do it like Billy Martin, where you go into spring training and say “everyone run all the time. I don’t care the situation, run and run and run” and they look less and less ridiculous as they get better at it (and you lose your spring training games) until you go into the season knowing how far you can push it.

That assumes though that you have good judgment once the games start. Big lumbering guys shouldn’t ever be playing that game. If it turns out when you try it that some of your players just can’t do it, or the marginal guys aren’t getting any better at taking the extra base, you have to pull back and knock it off. Hargrove’s just not that good at making those kind of evaluation decisions, so you have Ibanez trying to stretch doubles into triples and crazy ill-timed steal calls for players who aren’t good at stealing.

You play with the team you have, not the team you wish you had. I’d give Hargrove some credit for pulling back some, except that’s ridiculous.

Which one of the pitchers vying for the 5th starter spot has the most upside? — Jared

Woods. And that upside is “he puts up league-average hit, strikeout, walk numbers”. Which out of the back of the rotation you’re happy to get.

How much influence does Chaves have when it comes to the pitchers that we sign in the off-season? — Jared

Generally, the GM talks to managers and coaches if they’re considering a guy or a need to get an additional perspective. For instance, take Everett: Bavasi goes to the staff and says “hey, we’re looking at getting some power from the left side, and we’ve got a bunch of schlubs lined up-” “Carl Everett!” “Uhh… okay.”

They all get input, and if they’ve got strong opinions, the GM listens. Some portion of the fringe player movement you see is due to coach influence – they’ll join the staff and rattle off a list of sleepers they worked with in the last organization, for instance, and some calls get made.

…would it be reasonable to assume that Bavasi and Grover would hang around for another season? …do we expect them to be gone barring anything short of a playoff berth? Oh, and would the team even be better off with others? — Enrique

Thumb to the wind: sub-.500 and they’re both fired. .500 or better and not contending will depend on the shape of the season and how the fan base is feeling, but to be totally safe they have to get into the playoffs. However, as you noted, we all thought Hargrove was getting canned last year, and look what that got us.

Would they be better off with others — we’ve talked about this before, but it depends on who they hire. I think Hargrove’s proved he’s dramatically ill-suited to the team’s composition, so yes on that count, but Bavasi? Depends on who they hire, obviously. We’re pulling for Antonetti, obviously.

Who said something so rude to Bavasi at the feed he appeared at that he suddenly became bent on utterly destroying the team?

It must have been me. I understand that in person I’m an arrogant smart-ass who’s too full of himself.

If you were to tear down the team’s roster today and rebuild it over the course of the 2007 season, which current pieces would you keep and which would you try to trade for younger talent? Where would you target your searches for trading partners? What area would you focus on first (SP, RP, IF, OF, etc)? Which area of a team is the toughest to build around (I would assume SP)? — Cap

Jeez, there’s a question. Today would be a really hard task to undertake. So… Keep the undervalued: Lopez, Beltre, Johjima, Felix. See who you can get value for Betancourt and the rest. If there’s opportunity, take it. Try and get the Snelling trade invalidated somehow. Give Sexson away if I have to, play Broussard there.

I don’t think any area’s toughest to build around. Player development is a crapshoot. You do as good a job as you can, and try and build around the products. If the system gives you starters, that’s certainly helpful, but you can build an effective pitching staff if you have good young players elsewhere that free resources.

Will Mac provide enough of a comfort level for Howard to feel he can dump Mike if they start slow out of the gate? –msb

If they start really badly, I don’t think it would matter if McLaren’s there or not to take over. 0-10 and Hargrove gets axed if it means a potted plant manages. But yes, I think if it’s a toss up, they’re a little more inclined to make a move compared to having a longtime Hargrove crony who’d have to be axed too.

when the M’s switched their AAA affiliate from Calgary to Tacoma in the early 1990s, did all the Cannons players just suddenly become Rainiers, leaving the Cannons owner to find another Major League team to affiliate with? So the Cannons fans came to the ballpark the next year rooting for the same team but with completely different players? — wabbles

Yes, that’s exactly what happens, though the team name often changes with an affiliation switch. For a local example, look at what happened when Tacoma flipped from Detroit to Seattle.

Which trade is more easily likened to the irrational killing of the albatross from the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”: Rafael Soriano or Chris Snelling? -CSG

Snelling. I liked Soriano a lot and kept pushing for him to start, but Snelling’s young, cheaper, potentially bad-ass, and the kind of risk you take to get to the playoffs. Trading him for Vidro was… well, we’ve been into that. It’s indefensible.

What would fair value have been for Chris Snelling and Emiliano Fruto?

Rafael Soriano? — Corco

I can’t think rationally about it. In all these cases, the team’s not trading from strength: for reasons Dave’s gotten into, trading Soriano could be a good move, but on his own you still don’t get much. I certainly don’t think you trade Snelling now – if the knock on him is health and people who haven’t seen him hit consistently, you don’t get much for that guy. But let him try to hit for a year, here or in Tacoma (or both). If he fails, you haven’t lost value. If you win, he’s much more valuable.

That the M’s keep trading low and buying high is a good indictment of their player valuation abilities.

Are there concerns among the USSM staff about Clement’s recent performance? Is Law being unreasonably negative about Clement? — Kirk

I would say we’re less worried than many others. The super-aggressive promotion policy clearly has hurt him, but there’s not enough evidence yet to write him off. We’ll see what happens next year.

Is Johjima a free agent when his contract expires, or is he arbitration eligible? Will this have an effect on a possible Clement trade? What are the chances that Rivera is on the roster this year?

I don’t know if there’s anything in his contract or a handshake agreement that the team won’t seek arbitration, and I think I’d remember. He should be arb-eligible. I don’t think it changes the chances of Clement being traded. It does make their decision to push Clement so hard more baffling, though.

On Rivera, they’re decent. Right now, I’d say it’s 50-50 between him and Rob Johnson. We’ll know more as spring training starts: if they’re leaning Johnson, we’ll hear a lot about his stellar defense and how that makes him a good complement to Johjima.

If Ichiro leaves after this season, who do you have left as the “core”? Do you consider it Beltre, Betancourt, Lopez, and Felix? Is that core solid enough to build a contender around around? — spanky

Generally, when we talk about the core you build a team around, we mean young, cheap players who produce value far exceeding their cost. More than anything, you’d love to have them be starters or up-the-middle players, because it’s harder to find and buy those guys, but you take them where you can get them. The idea is you take them, surround them with free agent and fill-ins, and off you go. The cheap production you get out of them allows you to spend on the rest of the team.

So – the true core of the team is Felix. Felix is the kind of player you try to build around, and Beltre’s the kind of player you buy to supplement the young cheap guys. Betancourt, Lopez as good, cheap players are certainly part of that.

But can you build a contender with those guys? Sure. You could build a contender around Felix alone.

Oh Felix.

If the front office of the M’s gathered enough info to determine they have no chance at retaining Ichiro!, would they ever trade him? I personally believe that Ichiro would never request a trade and he will leave at the end of the season. If the front office feels the same way, what should they do? — coasty

The only way Ichiro gets traded is if the season is well and truly lost before the trade deadline, the fans have abandoned ship, and there’s a really great offer on the table. If any of those isn’t true, ownership’s not going to approve dealing him.

Alternately, if Ichiro really wants out and starts to really be a jerk about it and the ownership gets offended, that’s another way out.

This isn’t going to be a front office decision either way. What they get if they do trade him would be.

What’s the over-under on attendance this year? How will attendance affect FO decisions about player-personnel and the manager? — bellacaramella

2,250,000. Uptick in fortunes balanced by general malaise. If there’s a huge swing, they’ll take action just to show us they’re serious about taking action.

I dropped a $200 deposit on our two 16-game plans back in November — before the really dumb trades happened. Give me three good reasons why I should send them the remaining $280 for the tickets rather than blowing it all on building my own baseball team, with hookers and blackjack. –dw

Felix. Ichiro. Johjima. Also, the consequences of the hookers part are potentially catastrophic.

Q1: Would you rather see the Mariners compete for the division title this upcoming season and fall short, or would you rather have a 70-80 win season full of unfulfilled potential, which at least has the potential to lead to a major overhaul in the front office?

Q2: How do you see the next couple years for Jose Lopez panning out?

Q3: What are the odds of the Mariners retaining Bob Fontaine after Bavasi is let go? — katal

1. I want the M’s to win the World Series. Barring that, an AL Championship. I would love to see the Mariners compete this year, and if that means I’m wrong about every move and have to admit Hargrove is a genius, so be it. A division title is a ticket to the playoffs, and I’d much rather have that than a failure, however productive.

2. There are two things that happen. Either he keeps grounding out to the right side to Hargrove’s applause and he sucks, or either he rebels or they let Lopez be Lopez and he hits really well. If you get the latter, he’ll be a pretty good player.

3. Close to zero.

If you could only recommend one baseball book this year what would it be? (There you go, I put it on the tee for you.)

What is your best guess for M’s win total this year. I realize this is completely impossible to predict but I want your one number absolute best guess.

Following up on that what place in the AL West will the M’s finish?

Well, obviously…

The last sketch I did of the win total came out at 82. I haven’t revisited that armed with ZiPS/PECOTA, but right now it looks a little high.


Frequently it’s been mentioned that the GM *never* questions the manager’s in-game decisions – and that makes sense. But does a conversation like this ever happen?
[…] over the course of a month or so, wouldn’t the GM at least ask why a player he took great pains to acquire isn’t getting playing time?

Who decides which players get called up from (or sent down to) Tacoma? Does Hargrove get to pick a 25-man roster from the 40-man? –five toed sloth

To the first question, it depends on the organization. Here, they do have those conversations (“I brought up x” “I hate that guy, why’d you do that?” “He’s ready and you should play him in center” “No I won’t”) but Hargrove controls the lineup card and if he says he won’t play x, the organization puts him in Tacoma or wherever. They’re not forcing him to do things he doesn’t want to, which is unfortunate in a lot of ways.

In other orgs, the GM may have a much stronger say in how player development should be considered in playing time decisions.

As to the roster construction, kind of. Take Hargrove: he gets to say “I want 13 pitchers, and in the bullpen I like these seven guys” and really, to Bavasi, he doesn’t really care about where those last two guys, because in the organizational sense, unless they need playing time, it’s a wash whether they’re in AAA or sitting on the bench not pitching in the majors.

[Jorge Campillo] And with the Mariners digging up graves for a 2007 fifth starter, and he is one, why in the world wouldn’t they at least give him a crack at camp this spring? — Senor Romo

I don’t remember being that bearish on Campillo. He was my favorite Mexican junkballer. I think I compared him to Bosio. Guy totally cracked me up. Campillo, arm surgery or not, is like… it’s like finding a nice popcorn popper at a thrift store for $2. If it works, awesome, but really you’ve still only got a popcorn popper. If it’s broken, you’re only out $2. The M’s did a great job going after independent league talent (like Sherill) and finding parts like this.

I’d be happy to give him a shot at the rotation. I don’t see that he makes it, but you’re certainly right that it’s not as if the M’s have a vast array of great candidates to pick from. Baek/Woods isn’t all that inspiring. But then neither is Batista/Ramirez.

If you can’t convince dw, would you pony up some of that fat book money to make his team a reality? — Mike G

If I ever make fat book money, I will attempt to buy the Mariners. I promise.

How did the Asdrubal Cabrera for Eduardo Perez trade help the Mariners at all? Other than releasing Everett the trade wasn’t really necessary since Perez was released was it?

Any rumors that the Ownership maybe looking to sell majority interest.

Wonder how it will be this year?
— pensive

Yeah, looking back we didn’t write much on this, but having Perez/Broussard turn out to be not that massive an upgrade from Everett is one of the big shockers of the season. They really did suck as a DH platoon for us. I like Cabrera, but he is a weird prospect, and I don’ t know what he turns into. But trading him didn’t do the team any favors in the end.

I haven’t heard anything about a sale.

On the who’d you rather have question: mentally scanning the division, there’s going to be very few positions I wouldn’t swap for someone else playing in the AL West.

Is it true that PECOTA projections are so-named to honor the great Bill Pecota? — sankthetank

It certainly seems like an odd coincidence, doesn’t it, even if the official word is that it’s just an acronym.

Can you please advise the best web sites for fantasy baseball info and the ones that bring the news fastest? thanks — Slovakian Mariner

I use Rotowire myself. Your tastes may vary.

…should we care what Keith Law thinks about the Mariners? -msb

As much as you care about any other national analyst. Dave’s mentioned this, but I really think the utility of national columnists is limited. I know some baseball writers who spend all their time reading all the national and local papers for baseball news, watch every game they can, but they’ll still write about the M’s and get something wrong, and it’ll be something glaringly obvious to those of us who follow the team closely. It’s impossible to follow 30 teams at the level of detail required to know (for instance) that the M’s think of Ibanez as the face of the team and aren’t going to consider trading him.

So if you read Buster Olney (or whoever) tell you that Betancourt’s a left-handed hitter, and you know better, it’s okay to blow them off.

That said — the issue of national/local aside, when Law makes a good argument, there it is, and he makes them a lot more than many national guys, so it’s worth paying attention to.

Woo-hoo I’m done! And it only took… forever, according to my timer. Wow. Oh man, there are more? Why didn’t I turn off commenting in the question thread? Argh.

Can you tell us once and for all what happened between you and Baseball Prospectus? It seems like there is a fair amount of antipathy between you and Dave and BP. What gives? — MarinerDan

I could, but it’s been a while, and I don’t want to rehash it. How about this: Speaking only for myself and not Dave — I disagreed with the way things were going, and it became clear that parting was the best option.

Prior to the birth of his child during last season, Jose Lopez was hitting at All-Star level. Postnatum, he had absolutely zero power or pitch selection. What happened? Was it corporal or mental? Also, is there a chance Lopez will return to first-half-2006 form, or will he continue to be an effete out machine?– Slippery Elmer < /blockquote>

I believe Jeff did some nice work on this at Lookout Landing, where he showed that by following Hargrove’s expert advice, Lopez went from having some nice pop to a ground-out machine.

And I answered the first one earlier.

Is moving the left field fence in even on the the club’s radar? — Manzanillos Cup


Are we a rudderless ship or can this team go back to where it was at the start of the decade? –Plim

Sure. As to farm system rankings, don’t put too much stock in that. If you had a farm system with no one in it at all, and you started to stock it with great players, it’d take a while for the improvement to get noticed as they worked their way up. And if you’ve graduated a batch of players to the majors, the farm system looks really weak (Oakland’s in this boat as well).

Can the team get back to where it was? Absolutely. The M’s have a ton of money and other advantages, and correctly used, they can build a franchise that competes for pennants every year for ages.

Now will they…

Despite the apparent improvement in the broadcast team, there’s still one glaring problem. What can we collectively do to get rid of Rick Rizzs? –bat guano

If you really want to get rid of Rizzs, it’s not that hard. He’s employed because the team thinks people like him and he’s an asset to the crew. You need to prove otherwise. Write letters to the team and whoever that say “I dislike Rick Rizzs so much I don’t listen to his broadcasts at all when they’re the only option available to me”. Then get other people to do so.

If you can convince them they’d be better off with someone else, either through letters or whatever, they’ll switch. Until then, the presumption is the majority of people are happy and he’s doing a great job.

Will we ever again see a ballpark with really deep fences (I’m thinking Polo Grounds or farther)? — Evan

Ever? I’m not going to say never. But current ballpark requirements require that there be outfield seats, and they be reasonably close, so until that changes, no.

On outfield arms, which team do you see having the strongest arms in the AL this coming season? The worst? Where would the 2007 Mariners rank in that? — Evan

Strongest? With Ibanez/Ichiro/Guillen, the M’s may actually be near the top in “raw speed put on baseballs”. I don’t know… who else, as a unit, has that strong-armed an outfield? I don’t know, I’m clearly wearing out if I can’t rattle off the next three.

If the 2007 season is a disaster, what are the chances of Lincoln/Armstrong exiting (along with Bavasi and Hargrove)? Any chance at all of Chris Larson taking the reins in the near future? — edgar is go(o)d

I believe I wrote about this before, but where… anyway, until we hear rumblings that the team’s not meeting Nintendo of America’s expectations, nothing happens.


82 Responses to “The USSM QnA for 1/17”

  1. jaysbaseballfan on January 17th, 2007 3:31 pm

    Putz did stupid good last year. Cheap for a closer.

  2. billT on January 17th, 2007 3:35 pm

    Wow! half a million higher (per year) than his arbitration request? Does that seem odd to anybody else?

    No. One could expect his arbitration awards to go up each year that he’s eligible, and likely at more than an average of $0.5m per year.

  3. SCL on January 17th, 2007 3:35 pm

    #49 Yes, but you are buying his rights for 4 years.

    Clap clap clap clap clap.

  4. Thingray on January 17th, 2007 3:36 pm

    #52: Good point. I was thinking of it as a one year deal, but compared to what the arbitration figures would be total in 2007, 2008 and 2009 (possible 2010) that does make sense.

    Over the life of the contract, the M’s are probably better off than they would have been through arbitration.

  5. Celadus on January 17th, 2007 3:40 pm

    Nobody in charge of this site is excessively acrimonious. In the greater scheme of things, for example, witness the British Parliament. In addition, a modicum of dissing & arguing is diverting.

    The only times that DMZ et al. seem to lose their temper is if somebody is particularly aggressive at being stupid or if the argument breaks down into ad hominems.

    Hence, I’m all for not changing the approach. The people who dislike this blog’s approach (which after all partially reflects the Weltanschauung that conceived of and produced the book) aren’t likely to be the sorts of people that would buy the book even if one ignored their palaver to further better public relations.

  6. scott47a on January 17th, 2007 3:46 pm

    Wow “ad hominems,” “Weltanschauung” and “palaver” in the same post.
    That’s awesome.

    By the way, Jeff Shaw is an accomplished debate professional and winning coach for debate teams at the university level. If you think running into DMZ is bad here, try debating Jeff about a trade offer in a fantasy baseball league. I have, it’s no pretty sight.

    For me this site is all about the expertise — and the exposure to more stat-nerdiness depth about my favorite team than I ever dreamed imaginable. Sometimes I swear you guys are speaking Klingon.

    I would guess that those who are occasionally offended will eventually just move on.

  7. Thingray on January 17th, 2007 3:55 pm

    I knew very little about many of the stats discussed on this site prior visiting here on a regular basis.

    There have been times where I have felt like I have been talked down to a bit. Sometimes I deserved it for a stupid comment, and other times I felt like I could have been given a little more slack.

    Either way, people here take their stats and Mariners seriously, and that is what I like about the site. If that means I’m belittled occasionally, it’s the price I pay for entering a conversation of this level.

    I have no problem with the occasional jabs thrown on this site. If you can’t take the heat, well, you know…

  8. AQ on January 17th, 2007 4:10 pm

    I have no problem with the occasional jabs thrown on this site. If you can’t take the heat, well, you know…

    Not trying to stir up the pot here, but that sort of comment always has disturbed me. It’s akin to saying that you’re weak-willed or don’t have thick enough skin just because you would like to see respectful discourse. I personally can take and dish it out when needed. Therein lies the key: when needed I think people sometimes lash out at others comments needlessly and it doesn’t really foster an environment for learning.

    I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have all the answers when it comes to baseball, statistics, etc. I like to visit this site because I want to learn. I also would like an environment where I (or other silent lurkers, I know you’re out there) can ask a simple question or make a simple assertion and not be flamed for it. If I’m wrong about my assertion, I deserve to be told this in a respectful manner (provided I have been respectful in my original post). That’s all I am saying.

    That whole “if you can’t take the heat…” canard (sorry DMZ) is too much like high school locker room banter for me.

  9. AQ on January 17th, 2007 4:19 pm

    Oh, and here’s the details of the Putz contract per the Sporting News:

    Putz gets a $1.5 million signing bonus plus base salaries of $2.2 million this season, $3.4 million in 2008 and $5 million in 2009. The Mariners have an $8.6 million option for 2010, with a $1 million buyout.

  10. Manzanillos Cup on January 17th, 2007 4:20 pm

    Re: #24 – It’s fine to use a blog as a bully pulpit…etc, etc, etc.

    What am I missing here? I’ve been a regular reader for about a year, and I’ve never seen things get out of hand. The debunking of commonly held baseball analysis myths by the contributors is one reason why I love this site – it’s such a great tool for someone just getting into the whole sabermetrics thing. I’m no fan-boy, but I’ve never been offended or put-off by their responses.

    I know Derek doesn’t need anyone to defend him here, but I just couldn’t disagree more with that post. I think it’s pretty ironic, considering it’s topic, that it came across so condescendingly.

  11. Thingray on January 17th, 2007 4:22 pm

    Perhaps that was worded poorly.

    I agree with you that sometimes people lash out needlessly, just because somebody may not have the same level of knowledge that they do. They should be respectful if the original post was.

    I just think sometimes people want everywhere they go (in public, or on the internet) to conform to their exact wishes, and that won’t always happen. If this site suddenly changed dramatically, I would complain. But it has been basically the same since I came here for the first time. Occasionally snarky, always informative.

    If people are that dissatisfied with USSM, there are plenty of other places to go for M’s discussions. Lookout Landing (to name one) is a great place, but very different from here both in format and attitude, and still very informative.

    Overall I enjoy this site. When it is too aggressive, I go somewhere else, or lurk silently (like I did for the first six months after I found this site).

  12. AQ on January 17th, 2007 4:26 pm

    #60 – You’ve never seen any snarkiness on this site? I’m not defending the way that the poster in #24 has chosen to describe the environment, but I can understand his feelings. There have been times where I have not felt comfortable expressing my viewpoints or asking questions because I’ve seen others get their heads bit off for doing so. That is why I typically just read the posts and the comments and I don’t comment myself.

    Overall, I enjoy this site very much. It’s one of the sites that I visit on a daily basis. I’ve just seen a lot of bickering and flaming occur over the past weeks or so and it disturbs me. Just because someone may know more about a subject than someone else does not give them the right to be condescending and mean-spirited to others.

  13. AQ on January 17th, 2007 4:30 pm

    #61 – I hear you there. I don’t mind to sound like I am bellyaching by any means, because (again) I really enjoy the content on this site. I have a great deal of respect for Derek, Jason, Jeff and Dave. I respect the effort that it takes to put together a site like this and the effort it takes to maintain the site.

    In fact, I was somewhat hesitant to even give my two cents on the subject because I know that these guys work their butts off to keep this place going. I just want to feel like this is a place where I can respectfully express myself or ask a question and have that respect reciprocated. If I in some way come condescending or rude in my comments or questions, I expect the full brunt of the snark to come down on me.

    I think overall this is an awesome and that the comments and content are of a high quality about 95% of the time. I guess I just get bugged by that 5%.

  14. Thingray on January 17th, 2007 4:43 pm

    I wonder if it’s just a little more on edge recently due to the rash of bad moves by the FO, as well as general boredom from the offseason?

  15. AQ on January 17th, 2007 4:47 pm

    Oh, I’ll bet that has a lot to do with it. I wasn’t pleased with many (if any) of the offseason moves. The only one that I’ve seen that I could remotely justify is the Jose Guillen signing.

    The Batista signing was a “meh” move to me. The Soriano-Ramirez swap was ridiculous. The Vidro for Snelling/Fruto trade was an obvious disaster.

    Re-signing JJ and locking him long term seems okay. I have to admit to being a bit nervous about it though because relievers seem to have durability issues. For kicks and grins, I was looking at the AL and NL saves leaders from 3 or 4 years and ago today. You see names on there of players that have completely flamed out and retired (Robb Nen), guys who have missed major time due to injury (Gagne), and guys who are struggling to even obtain/keep a closer’s role (Foulke). These examples are what make me a little nervous.

  16. Evan on January 17th, 2007 5:00 pm

    “little kid version”

    My co-workers call me Evvy-Bear.

    I’m not kidding.

  17. CouchGM on January 17th, 2007 5:11 pm

    “Whatever happened to the great nicknames…”

    Am I wrong or has Chris Berman gotten away from that. I loved his nicknames. Bert ‘Be Home’Blyleven was the best.

  18. LB on January 17th, 2007 5:40 pm

    How long will it be before Bavasi trades Putz for Pineiro?

  19. Ralph Malph on January 17th, 2007 5:47 pm

    But none of Berman’s nicknames was as funny as his own…”You’re with me, leather.”

  20. CouchGM on January 17th, 2007 5:47 pm

    LaRoche to Pittsburgh for Gonzalez……

    Wasn’t LaRoche rumored to be a player for Sexson? Those 2 straight up would have been good for the M’s, no? Salary room?

  21. Tak on January 17th, 2007 10:00 pm

    Thank you for taking your time to respond to our questions 🙂 Hope you can have another session sometime soon (maybe at the end of spring training or something)

  22. scraps on January 17th, 2007 10:07 pm

    I’m not going to pretend, like the author of post 24, that I speak for anyone other than myself when I say that I very much like the tone of this blog, and find the sense of genuine personality here refreshing even when I disagree — even when I’m pissed off — and that if it changed to some kind of safe customer-friendly bland please-everyone thing, it would be a great loss to me.

    I think the popularity of USS Mariner by itself refutes post 24, but I just wanted to give my own testimony. I love this place as it is, because of the authors and the tone they set.

  23. Josh on January 17th, 2007 11:02 pm

    Wasn’t LaRoche rumored to be a player for Sexson? Those 2 straight up would have been good for the M’s, no? Salary room?

    Sure, there were rumors, just like there are for a lot of trades that will never approach fruition. It would have been great for the M’s to make a trade like that.

    It never would have happened, though – at least not like that. It would have been the Anti-Snelling trade: LaRoche is cheaper, younger and better than Sexson. Not nearly as bad for the Braves as sending Snelling (and Fruto) off for Vidro was for the M’s, but still horrible. Somewhere between the vile nature of that trade and the Soriano trade. Closer to the former.

  24. Jeff on January 17th, 2007 11:35 pm

    Todd English? Now that’s what I’m talking about.

  25. terry on January 18th, 2007 4:12 am

    I’m not going to pretend, like the author of post 24, that I speak for anyone other than myself when I say that I very much like the tone of this blog,

    I’d just like to add….

    BP snarkiness: $4.99/month or $39/yearly
    USSM snarkiness: priceless

    This site saved my marriage (well not really), gave me three beautiful children (well, no again-my wife did most of that), and basically taught me the meaning of life (except for the stuff my parents,wife, children, friends, college, and life experiences have taught me)…

    So I’m willing to put up with the limitations that come with the use of a spellchecker, google, my brain (cough) and a moderation que…

  26. terry on January 18th, 2007 4:36 am

    By the way….I adore this idea for a thread especially since game threads have been so hard to come by these last few months (what’s up with that?). Its funny to get an opportunity to have our questions directly answered so freely (i.e. the readership actually determines the content of the thread) and then, in a thread where it’s almost impossible to hijack, the discussion is about how this site stifles the readership’s ability to express their thoughts about the Ms. C’mon, really, this isn’t an Ms-related site,,,,,we’re part of your dissertation and this is a psyche experiment right (will I be compensated for my participation after the big reveal???)?

    Seriously for a second, here’s an idea for a thread. Maybe one or two games representing a turning point/milestone can be cherry picked from last season and we could have a Thursday night *game of the week* game thread where we que it up on mlb’s gameday and relive the game with hindsight.

    Anyway, thanks for answering my question up top. And, please, keep up the good work-you guys bring a lot of joy to a lot of people. I think this site is exactly what Al Gore had in mind when he invented the internet….

  27. terry on January 18th, 2007 5:18 am

    There’s already a grassroots campaign for the Ms next GM….

    I submit this in support of the guy who should be our next manager…

  28. msb on January 18th, 2007 8:37 am

    #73– and reportedly it also involved Tim Hudson — once he was off the table, and there was no match with another team to also get a pitcher, the idea seemed to fade …

  29. msb on January 18th, 2007 8:59 am

    oh, and add Putz to the ranks of the players who like the additions of the Joses.

    Jon Heyman grades the off-season:

    Seattle Mariners
    They tried hard for Zito but settled for Horacio Ramirez and Miguel Batista, who once told his bosses he really wasn’t that into pitching. Jose Vidro can’t hurt, and in terms of temperament, I’d have to say Jose Guillen’s a bit of an upgrade over Carl Everett. Still a little short out West from here.
    Grade: C-plus.

  30. terry on January 18th, 2007 9:10 am

    I have another question for the open session…. the Ms seem to now be the front runner for Lawrence… if they do land him, would that mean they’re also the de facto front runners for their division?

  31. Graham on January 18th, 2007 9:36 am

    Only if they got demoted to the PCL, terry.

  32. pensive on January 18th, 2007 11:14 am

    #78- msb isn’t that how Soriano got into the mix in the first place? Braves dangled Hudson and LaRoche for Soriano, and Sexson plus cash. Then Braves say no but how about this and I’ll pickup the bar tab.

    How Ms lost both those nice additions LaRoche and Hudson is as baffaling as how they end up with Vidro. Perhaps Buzzie had a long over due debt that the son was obligated to honor?

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