Another weak news week

DMZ · February 12, 2007 at 10:27 am · Filed Under General baseball 

Fortunately, the spring training news machine cranks up as soon as… Thursday? Really? Awesome.

Young star Mauer signed a fat four-year deal with the Twins
Bernie Williams declined to return to the Yankees on a minor league deal. Fortunately, the M’s aren’t even mentioned as sniffing around.

Also, I talked to Jonah and it looks like we’re going to be able to take additional RSVPs for the March 3rd pre-game feed with M’s GM Bavasi and Padres GM Towers. Details after the break.

Come on out to sunny Peoria and meet two major league GMs March 3rd. Seattle Mariners GM Bill Bavasi and San Diego Padres GM Kevin Towers will talk and take questions from fans for a good 45 minutes, before seeing the two interleague rivals face off in a fierce spring training game at the Peoria Sports Complex. Afterwards, you can buy a signed copy of the newly updated, paperback version of Baseball Prospectus’ Baseball Between the Numbers and chat with editor/co-author Jonah Keri or receive some kind of The Cheater’s Guide to Baseball promotional item from USSM author Derek Zumsteg. Game time is 1:05 p.m., and guests should plan to arrive NO LATER than 11:30 a.m. for pre-game festivities, to be held in the section where we’ll be sitting.

Cost is $21, which includes your ticket to the game and the money we have to pay TicketMaster to mail them to us so we can distribute them early.

RSVP by emailing to Please specify your full name and how many tickets you need. To ensure that we can secure/order a group of tickets all together, deadline to RSVP and pay for tickets will be Friday, Feb. 16. Once we’ve confirmed your RSVP by email, you can PayPal the funds, by no later than Friday, Feb. 16, to:


34 Responses to “Another weak news week”

  1. Goob on February 12th, 2007 10:33 am

    Quick, change it to Mauer before anybody else sees 🙂

  2. msb on February 12th, 2007 10:40 am

    McGrath has an entertaining column on the M’s spring training 30 years ago…

    SI has Athlon doing its team by team preview this year. Here is the Mariner entry.

  3. Evan on February 12th, 2007 10:41 am

    Yeah, it’s Mauer who signed the 4 year deal, isn’t it?

    Good to see you’re alive, Derek. I was a bit worried after that Grover-Lopez exchange we had.

  4. dw on February 12th, 2007 10:42 am

    So I see the headline “Stars Acquire Nagy from Coyotes” and I think, Charles Nagy is playing hockey? Isn’t he 50 years old or something?

  5. Evan on February 12th, 2007 10:43 am

    Just checked. Morneau signed a 1 year $4.5 million deal on February 2.

    This one’s Mauer.

  6. Steve Nelson on February 12th, 2007 10:46 am

    Yep – it’s not the unworthy MVP but the worthy candidate who should have been MVP.

  7. joser on February 12th, 2007 10:47 am

    That’s a sad, ignominious way for Bernie Williams to go out. It’s not like we couldn’t all see it coming; he should have transitioned to broadcasting or coaching or something. But maybe he’s like Rickey Henderson and just can’t imagine doing anything else, even when nobody, including his body, is willing to go along with it. (Wait, isn’t he an excellent guitarist? Doesn’t he have a whole ‘nother pro career path there?)

  8. Manzanillos Cup on February 12th, 2007 10:51 am

    Mauer got the deal, and he deserved the MVP more than Morneau. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to see the Twins locking up a star. At least they won’t be totally devistated when the Yankees get Santana for $150 million.

  9. Manzanillos Cup on February 12th, 2007 10:53 am

    ^ spelling dolt ^

  10. Mat on February 12th, 2007 10:55 am

    It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to see the Twins locking up a star.

    They bought out one year of his free agency. That’s not much locking up.

  11. argh on February 12th, 2007 11:09 am

    From that SI article on the Ms:

    There are many who say the offense, with the additions of Guillen and Vidro, is the best in the division….

    Yes, but do any of them actually follow baseball?

  12. joser on February 12th, 2007 11:24 am

    The conclusion of that SI story contains this gem:

    There are many who say the offense, with the additions of Guillen and Vidro, is the best in the division, but that has yet to be proven…

    Many? Who are these people? Do the M’s think there are 30,000 of them within driving distance of Seattle? And will their mental health professionals allow them to attend games?

    Of course this uses the old sportswriter trick of attributing an opinion to the faceless “many” and then immediately hedging it with a contrary comment; that way he can disavow it as not his own while claiming to be right all along no matter what happens.

    The section of Johjima also continues the “he couldn’t call games or communicate with his pitchers” canard…

  13. joser on February 12th, 2007 11:25 am

    Oops, argh beat me to it. Argh! (Note to self: refresh before commenting)

  14. induced entropy on February 12th, 2007 11:34 am

    I’m a tad curious, how friendly/guarded do you anticipate Bavasi being, given the current climate around USSM, etc.

  15. Mustard on February 12th, 2007 11:37 am

    #12/ This is why SI really does suck. Their team by team previews are a joke.

  16. ChrisK on February 12th, 2007 11:55 am

    Many? Who are these people?

    Probably the same fans who send their questions to the Mariners mailbag.

  17. David J. Corcoran I on February 12th, 2007 11:56 am


  18. msb on February 12th, 2007 12:18 pm

    #15– FWIW, SI had Athlon do the team previews.

    Charlie Nagy is now the AAA pitching coach for the Angels org….

  19. ChrisK on February 12th, 2007 1:00 pm

    More telling Bavasi quotes from Larue’s article yesterday. In particular:

    “Once we made Soriano available, we talked to all teams at the winter meetings and we got two offers – Atlanta’s and one from the Dodgers,” Bavasi said. “The Dodgers took their offer off the table the next morning, and that was that. We took the deal that got us what we wanted, a starting pitcher with an upside.”

    This sounds similar to thier hard-headed approach of zero-ing in on a particular player to trade or acquire in a limited timeframe, with no room for creativity, re-assessment or adaptation. It’s just another way for Bavasi to say, “the market is what it is”.

  20. eponymous coward on February 12th, 2007 1:23 pm

    [quote]Many? Who are these people?[/quote]

    Me, for one. The authors of the blog said that a lineup last year with Snelling in RF, Ichiro in CF and Benuardo at DH should be the best in the division. Basically, if Guillen == Snelling (not outlandish, but iffy) and Vidro doesn’t suck ass (not outlandish also, but sort of iffy), barring major injuries, it could work that way again.

    Go look at runs scored in road games in the AL West last year.

    Rangers: 407
    Mariners: 403
    Angels: 400
    Athletics: 399

    The M’s did this despite having arguably below-replacement level performance from two positions (CF and DH), and still kept up with the rest of the division with only 78% of a major league lineup. The offense’s productivity is obscured by Safeco eating hitters alive, but it could be the best in the division in a park-neutral setting were everything to go right.

    The caveat being that it doesn’t all that often, and an injury in the wrong place would be very bad- the OF has no depth unless Adam Jones turns on the jets, the IF doesn’t either (since Scrappy Willie Bloomquist almost certainly becomes an everyday starter and arguably the worst player at his position in the AL West), and while I guess you could survive an injury at 1B or DH with Broussard, Bavasi seems determined to deal him away at some point.

    19- Aaaaargh.

    I especially like:

    “Our rotation, one through five, is better than it was in ’04.”

    Only if you add in Felix and assume he’s going Cy Young on you. Otherwise…no.

  21. msb on February 12th, 2007 2:05 pm

    good news here:

    “[Jon] Lester, who finished chemo treatments for anaplastic large cell lymphoma in December, has nearly regained all of his lost weight. He weighed in at 212 pounds today, which is only three pounds shy of his desired playing weight of 215. The lefty’s hair is slowly growing back and he said that his stamina is quickly returning.”

  22. joser on February 12th, 2007 2:08 pm

    EC — the “everything go right” also includes:
    – Raul having another career year
    – Sexson not declining significantly
    – Beltre keeping it together (or at least coming back in the second half of the season if he gets off to another slow start)
    – Lopez spending at least half the season acting more like the Hargrove-be-damned pre-ASB Lopez rather than the follow-the-coaches post-ASB Lopez (given the trend, which is more likely?)

    As far as the runs scored in road games stat goes, isn’t that prety much the best possible spin that could be put on the M’s offense? All the other teams have their numbers depressed by games played in Safeco, while the M’s don’t?

  23. joser on February 12th, 2007 2:10 pm

    That’s great news about Lester. I wonder if he’ll actually make it back to pitching in real games this season?

  24. petec on February 12th, 2007 2:21 pm

    re: .20

    But Willie is the Mariners’ MVP! Here’s the exact wording from my kids’ school auction booklet:

    “Item #3091 – Autographed Photo of Willie Bloomquist

    Willie is the Mariners’ most valuable and versatile player; appearing at 6 different positions during the 2006 season. In this photo, Willie enthusiastically slides into home plate ahead of the tag by Oakland’s catcher!

    Donated by David Given and Nancy Cahill”

    If anyone knows David or Nancy, please tell them to put down the crack pipe and seek immediate help.

  25. SCL on February 12th, 2007 2:26 pm

    Maybe there was a reason why David and Nancy gave this photo away for free.

  26. Evan on February 12th, 2007 2:50 pm

    I’d like to go down to spring training and try to get Willie to sign something as “Princess Willie”.

  27. IdahoInvader on February 12th, 2007 2:53 pm


    Great to see. He’s sure been through a lot.

    Fwiw, regarding the article, I think the rotation will be a little better than they’re projecting, but I’m only cautiously optimistic about our line up maybe being better. They made a good point about still having “old problems.” Guillen and Vidro may be better than what we had last year, but neither is adept at getting on base at a high clip.

  28. eponymous coward on February 12th, 2007 3:22 pm

    All the other teams have their numbers depressed by games played in Safeco, while the M’s don’t?

    Well, they play 9 or 10 games at Safeco. As opposed to 81 for the Mariners. And again, the Mariners arguably had the worst two offensive position players in their league in 22% of their lineup- and still were competitive in their division offensively when you account for their park being miserable.

    And yes, declines by other players would affect this, but if Lopez plays like first half 2006 ALL year, he improves, as opposed to staying static. He’s also 23 this year. We shouldn’t be writing off 23 year olds as being incapable of improvement.

    The offense isn’t the problem, in my opinion, unless you have some comobination of Vidro collapsing and injuries that blows holes in the lineup for a big chunk of the year, which is a non-trivial risk. The fact that the Mariners can’t piece together a rotation without wildly overspending in the free agent and trade market, plus the fact that they wasted talent to bring in a sub-par DH that they’ll probably regret come July when they can’t afford to pick up someone available on the trade market and Vidro’s OPS’ing 740, is the problem that will likely keep them from winning.

  29. Manzanillos Cup on February 12th, 2007 3:40 pm

    As far as the runs scored in road games stat goes, isn’t that prety much the best possible spin that could be put on the M’s offense? All the other teams have their numbers depressed by games played in Safeco, while the M’s don’t?
    This is a good question. Lets take the M’s and the Rangers. It seems to me that ‘road run scoring’ stats will hurt the Rangers and help the M’s because of park factors – Texas plays 12.5% of it’s road games at Safeco, and Seattle plays 12.5% at Ameriquest. How many runs would this translate to?

  30. C. Cheetah on February 12th, 2007 3:45 pm

    E.C. – Thanks for trying to put a positive spin towards the upcoming year…but we are not ready to accept this yet. Please try again after the M’s have a winning April
    However, if the M’s have an expected April……

  31. Steve Nelson on February 12th, 2007 3:57 pm

    Ballpark in Arlington inflates offense more than Safeco depresses offense. As strange as it may seem, the Mariners and the Rangers team offenses last year were virtually identical – both had team EQA of 0.268, ranking them 17th and 18th in baseball (10th and 11th in the AL).

  32. Gregor on February 12th, 2007 4:32 pm

    All the other teams have their numbers depressed by games played in Safeco, while the M’s don’t?

    True, but the other teams also had their numbers inflated by facing the M’s pitching staff in those same games.

  33. msb on February 13th, 2007 11:07 am Baseball Today: Vinny Micucci and John Marzano kick off the Spring Training coverage with reports from the camps mixed in with your calls and e-mails

  34. BLYKMYK44 on February 13th, 2007 4:03 pm

    Since this is about the news this week I was wondering why there has been relatively minimal (any?) talk about the Sonic arena situation. It would seem the sports fans for all the teams would want to band together to ensure Seattle remains a viable place for professional sports and yet I have seen very little feedback or support from the Mariners sites…

    Pretty disappointing really…

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