Weekend news, recapped

DMZ · January 21, 2007 at 9:20 pm · Filed Under General baseball, Mariners 

Chase Utley gets a seven-year, $85m deal from the Phillies. Even if we don’t see salaries continue to grow at the current rate, that’s got a pretty good chance to end up an excellent deal for Philadelphia. As usual, the last years might not look so hot, but they may well get the full contract value in the first four/five seasons and the rest is gravy.
Rockies are reportedly close to signing Brian Lawrence
Reds close to signing Guardado to a minor league deal(mlb)
Vern Ruhle died.


45 Responses to “Weekend news, recapped”

  1. Chris Becker on January 21st, 2007 11:46 pm

    It’s official. Brian Lawrence ha agreed to a one-year contract ith the Rockies… this qualifies as the best news we’ve had this off-season!

  2. Chris Becker on January 21st, 2007 11:50 pm

    Oops. That was supposed to say “has” and “with.” Evil Rick Rizzs has cursed my keyboard. Or maybe it was the Ghost of Ken Levine.

  3. Mere Tantalisers on January 22nd, 2007 8:19 am

    In the event severe decline or injury in the last years of his contract, Philly is probably pretty confident Seattle will trade a young arm or two for him to be their DH in 2012.

  4. manzell on January 22nd, 2007 8:49 am

    Guardado might be damaged goods, but formerly effective damaged goods are (in my opinion) the exact type of guys the M’s (or any other organization) should be signing to minor league contracts. They have essentially a marginal cost of 0; and while their odds of contributing aren’t high, it’s infinitely higher than risk involved…

  5. Eleven11 on January 22nd, 2007 8:57 am

    I liked Ken Levine! Only ray of light during those dark decades. Uh, am thinking we may need him soon again…

  6. Jeremy on January 22nd, 2007 9:23 am

    Ken Levine was terrible. His Levine’s Law (a leadoff walk always comes around to score….unless it doesn’t) was the illegitimate father of Fairly Obvious Facts.

  7. Eleven11 on January 22nd, 2007 9:25 am

    Oh, you listened for baseball stuff, that’s different. I listened to stay entertained because the game surely sucked.

  8. Livengood on January 22nd, 2007 10:22 am

    Jeremy wrote:

    . . . Levine’s Law (a leadoff walk always comes around to score….unless it doesn’t) was the illegitimate father of Fairly Obvious Facts.

    Dude, you missed the point. Levine was making fun of Fairly Obvious Facts….

  9. duffman on January 22nd, 2007 10:33 am

    Levine was there for humor and it worked. He wrote for the Simpsons for a while.

  10. eponymous coward on January 22nd, 2007 10:35 am

    Yeah, Colorado’s the place I think of when I’m a recovering pitcher. Nothing makes you look good on the free agent market like a 6 ERA.

  11. Jim Thomsen on January 22nd, 2007 10:37 am

    Vern “Ruhle.”

    Lawrence’s career has a very good chance of quickly ending in Colorado.

  12. msb on January 22nd, 2007 11:25 am

    just read Levine on Ted Nugent headlining the Texas Governors Ball…

  13. Zero Gravitas on January 22nd, 2007 11:44 am

    Speaking of the Phillies, there was a nice article on Jamie Moyer in the Inquirer over the weekend:

  14. Zero Gravitas on January 22nd, 2007 11:44 am

    Stupid links.
    Moyer article

  15. Jeremy on January 22nd, 2007 12:02 pm

    8. Re Levine

    I have a very different sense of humor than he does. While I appreciate that he’s done some nice work on the Simpsons, I enjoy insightful baseball commentary when I can get it.

    I didn’t like Levine for the same reason I didn’t like Dennis Miller on MNF. He brought nothing to the table for me.

    You found him funny, I found him annoying.

  16. msb on January 22nd, 2007 12:11 pm


    “With Brian Lawrence out of the picture, the Pirates have escalated efforts to sign free-agent starter Tomo Ohka. And they should know soon if there will be a payoff. They had been one of three finalists for Ohka’s services entering the weekend — the Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays were the others — but the field grew to four yesterday with the addition of a mystery team. And that team’s bid apparently was impressive enough that Ohka’s agent, Jim Masteralexis, and his client will “take some time” to consider it.”

  17. msb on January 22nd, 2007 12:36 pm

    Phil Rogers has a nice piece on Terry Ryan today, with a not-s-complimentary sidebar on Bavasi:

    Cold Plate Special: Bill Bavasi, Seattle
    Inheriting a great situation, the guy who built the Anaheim team that won in 2002 is rapidly returning the Mariners to the bad old years. Only Ichiro Suzuki has kept things interesting the last couple of years, and now he’s weighing a departure from Seattle after this season. Bavasi has failed across the board. He’s made bad trades — getting nothing better than the since-departed Ramon Santiago for Carlos Guillen and having catcher Miguel Olivo and center fielder Jeremy Reed turn into busts after they were acquired for Freddy Garcia. He’s made horrible free-agent signings in Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson. He’s made an unsuccessful managerial hire in Mike Hargrove, and made matters worse by stubbornly sticking by him. He’s left trying to salvage a lost hand, so this winter he’s brought in aging, damaged veterans like Jose Vidro and Horacio Ramirez at the expense of young players with upside (Rafael Soriano, Chris Snelling and Emiliano Fruto).

  18. hardball24 on January 22nd, 2007 1:09 pm

    bavasi didn’t fare so well here either

  19. hardball24 on January 22nd, 2007 1:09 pm

    2nd try

  20. hardball24 on January 22nd, 2007 1:10 pm

    damn you evil rick rizz


  21. joser on January 22nd, 2007 1:14 pm

    Actually, that’s about as complimentary to Bavasi as you could be while sticking to facts. You certainly could put an even less complimentary interpretation on them…

    (hardball, your story is here)

  22. msb on January 22nd, 2007 1:41 pm

    hey, “plenty of talent” still to be had out there, according to mlb.com

  23. Mere Tantalisers on January 22nd, 2007 1:46 pm

    The problem with that little blurb is that it starts with “Inheriting a great situation…”

    While I agree with the general lean of this piece, I disagree with the arguments. I had and have nothing against the Guillen and Garcia trades, especially the latter. The Beltre signing was not horrible and may become better yet. Sexson’s contract was bad only until this year. This year set a new bar for bad contracts and now its only not-so-good.

    But yeah, the last two sentences are indisputable.

  24. Mere Tantalisers on January 22nd, 2007 1:47 pm

    Oh yeah, and I recall that the same piece was giving Gillick props as a guy who could come along and really ‘fix up’ a bad club.

  25. MarinerDan on January 22nd, 2007 1:59 pm

    The Beltre signing, in retrospect, was horrible. You can argue that at the time it wasn’t horrible, but it has certainly turned out that way. Paying $12M per for two years of below-average production from a 3B (no one can deny that, combined, AB produced at a below-average level for those two years) is not a good deal. And it does rise to the level of “horrible” in retrospect.

  26. msb on January 22nd, 2007 2:02 pm
  27. Ralph Malph on January 22nd, 2007 2:19 pm

    no one can deny that, combined, AB produced at a below-average level for those two years

    I deny that — he was below average in 2005 and above average in 2006, and I’m not convinced he’s below average combined, at least when you include park factors. In any event one bad year does not make a contract horrible “in retrospect”.

    Only 4 AL 3B had a higher OPS in 2006 than AB, and that’s not factoring in park factors or defense, which probably puts Beltre above Lowell and maybe Glaus.

  28. tangotiger on January 22nd, 2007 2:24 pm

    The Utley deal is an incredibly great deal for the Phils, which I detail here:

    As for Beltre, he’s got a, what, 3/40 left on his contract? He’s at worst an average hitter, and probably a +1 wins above average hitter. He’s a great fielder, at worst +1 wins above average. Let’s call him +1 win above average, at worst, or +3 wins above replacement. Such a player would warrant a 3/33 deal as a free agent, today.

    A 3/40 deal implies a +3.5 wins above replacement (+1.5 wins above average).

    Beltre’s deal, the three years remaining, is fair for both sides.

  29. joealb1 on January 22nd, 2007 2:29 pm

    Gotta agree with Ralph Malph. When defense is factored in, Belte is not a horrible investment.

  30. Tek Jansen on January 22nd, 2007 2:37 pm

    Count me in with the pro-Beltre crowd. He may never be 2004 AB, but, if he plays out his entire contract in Seattle, I doubt that the M’s will regret the signing.

  31. tangotiger on January 22nd, 2007 2:48 pm

    Well, they’ve gotta regret the first two years. In order for him to deserve a 5/65 deal starting with the 2005 season, he had to have provided 8 wins above replacement in his first two years. And in 05/06, his hitting plus fielding was probably +2 wins above average, total, or +6 wins above replacement, total. So, right now, he’s 2 wins in the hole, or 7 million$ in the hole. As of now, he’s two years past, and the three years expected, a 5/58 deal would have been breakeven.

    However, at the time of signing, he was being paid 5/65, which is +4.3 wins above replacement, with decline. Since he was so young still, probably +4.0 wins above replacement with modest decline would be more accurate.

    It was a fair signing then, and it’s a fair deal as of today.

  32. msb on January 22nd, 2007 3:07 pm

    hey! it’s more mailbag fun!

    With Lopez and Vidro competing for the starting second base job, where does that leave Willie Bloomquist? If it’s in the outfield, he’s got no shot, and there are too many quality players in the infield to make a change. Will Bloomquist be spending most of his time at Triple-A Tacoma this year?

  33. AQ on January 22nd, 2007 3:28 pm

    #32 – Lopez and Vidro competing for the 2nd base job? Whoa. Considering Vidro has the defensive range of Carlos Baerga (if someone had amputated one of Baerga’s legs), I don’t see there being much of a competition there.

  34. zzyzx on January 22nd, 2007 4:10 pm

    One thing you missed is that Direct TV is apparently close to getting exclusive rights for the Extra Innings package. That’ll be about as popular as them having Sunday Ticket…

  35. Frank B. on January 22nd, 2007 4:42 pm

    I’m disappointed in Beltre’s offense. I think he’s an exceptional fielder, and I’ve never seen anyone throw that hard sidearm from his knees. I just can’t get inspired with his plate presence. Has anyone looked at his 2006 productivity before mid- July (When the M’s were close) and then after the pressure was removed? Didn’t he perform much better late? Thanks.

  36. Josh on January 22nd, 2007 5:06 pm

    Has anyone looked at his 2006 productivity before mid- July (When the M’s were close) and then after the pressure was removed? Didn’t he perform much better late? Thanks.

    I know you probably didn’t mean that you definitively knew this to be the reason, but the implication made in the questions is a perfect example of a post hoc fallacy.

    When A (lessening of pressure) occurred, then B (Beltre’s offensive improvement) occurred.

    Therefore, A (lessening of pressure) caused or allowed B (Beltre’s offensive improvement).

    The phrase “correlation does not imply causation” is most typically used in relation to statistics. This is why. They can be very misleading. Just think of all the diverse other reasons that may have actually caused a difference, as well as the possibility that it may have been partially standard fluctuation.

  37. Jim Thomsen on January 22nd, 2007 5:09 pm

    Beltre is and has been just fine. Worry about him is misplaced, especially in proportion to the Mariners’ many other bleeding roster wounds.

  38. Ralph on January 22nd, 2007 5:28 pm

    the guy who built the Anaheim team that won in 2002

    Yet another myth that just refuses to die. That one is right up there with the best of them.

  39. jaysbaseballfan on January 22nd, 2007 5:45 pm

    If there’s one thing the Beltre signing wasn’t, its horrible. It’s not good, but it’s not that bad either. There have been much worse contracts. He’s still not a great player offensively though. (But when you factor in defence and durability and current market structure, its not a disaster).

  40. terry on January 22nd, 2007 6:24 pm

    Here’s my back of the napkin calculations for Beltre’s value so far:

    05-06 salary (with bonus pro-rated)$23M
    wins needed to be a value (3M/win): 8 wins

    ’06: 19.9 VORP; PMR to runs: +18; total: +38
    ’05: 6.3 VORP; PMR to runs: +4; total: +10

    2 year total: +48 (5 wins)

    He’s roughly 3 wins or $9M in the hole just two years into the contract. That actually kind of sucks IMHO. However, ’05 was a bad-beyond-belief year for Beltre. It was so bad in fact that it represents almost all of his deficit in production for the two years. If he simply maintains ’06 for the duration of his contract, i’d be down with that.

    I have a few fears about Beltre though. So far as a Mariner, his defense has been at least as valuable as his bat. Even though he is still pretty young (he’ll be 28 next april), defense doesn’t age very well. He’s probably not going to be as good in ’09 as he was in ’06. Concerning his bat, over his career he has been everything from near replacement level to superstar. Wanna bet the equity in your house that he’ll be good next season? That being said, Pecota likes him over the final 3 years of his contract. If Pecota is his destiny, then his contract will be alright with me…

  41. dw on January 22nd, 2007 7:07 pm

    So they’re replaying the M’s-Giants game where Felix made the spot start and Bonds went deep off him.

    So… do we replay the game thread, too?

  42. joser on January 22nd, 2007 10:45 pm

    That game thread is a little sparse (particularly for the game where Putz became the Closer of Destiny) but it is home to the immortal line:

    Hi, I’m Aggressive Baserunning. You may have seen me in such outs as Willie Bloomquist getting tagged at second.

  43. zzyzx on January 23rd, 2007 4:20 am

    “That game thread is a little sparse”

    Probably because a lot of people thought like me and went to the game.

    I only went to two games last year, but I sure couldn’t resist Bonds against the King.

  44. msb on January 23rd, 2007 9:49 am

    oh for petesake.

    “If Roger Clemens returns to the Yankees later this year, his old uniform will be waiting for him. All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano has volunteered to give up his No. 22 for this season, according to a Yankees official, likely anticipating the possibility that Clemens will arrive in the Bronx to reclaim it at some point.

    “I was happy to give up the number to a future Hall of Famer if he comes aboard,” Cano said in a statement printed Tuesday in the New York Post. “Hopefully, he will be one of my teammates; I’ll have the pleasure of playing with him.””

  45. Chris Becker on January 23rd, 2007 9:58 am

    You guys remember the puff piece a few years back about our new GM Billy Bavasi and how he “kinda” resembles Jay Buhner? LMAO. Of course, they later said the same thing about Bucky.

    Which reminds me… why hasn’t Bavasi resigned Bucky? You’d think those bad knees would be like a siren call,”Yoo hoo… Mr. Bavasiiii…”

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