Second Half Suggestions

Dave · July 8, 2007 at 4:19 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

And with that 7-3 win over the A’s, the first half of the season comes to a very enjoyable end. The M’s drove a stake into the heart of the A’s playoff chances, creating even further separation from the wild card pack, and establishing themselves as the real contender to the big four. As the team now gets three days to regroup during the all-star break and prepare for a second half that will hopefully provide the first playoff race this team has seen in several years. The latter part of this season will go a long way in deciding the future of the Mariners organization – will Ichiro re-sign, does the front office get removed from their hot seats while retaining their jobs, and how close are they to taking the step towards perennial contender with this core base of talent?

Those questions become easier to answer if this team has a strong second half and makes the playoffs. However, as currently configured, the Mariners simply aren’t one of the four best teams in the American League. Los Angeles, Detroit, Cleveland, and Boston are all clearly better teams (even if the Angels aren’t playing like it right now), and the Mariners have some work to do to make up ground on quality competition. There are some definite weak points on this roster that need to be addressed in order to give the team the best possible chance of turning a solid first half into a real playoff run. Most of these, we’ve already discussed, but since we have three days without Mariner baseball, and I know you guys love your roster speculation threads, here’s my mid-season suggestions on how to upgrade this team and make it a legitimate contender.

1. Promote Adam Jones from Tacoma and make him the everyday left fielder.

There’s not a team in baseball poised to make a bigger internal improvement than the Mariners by simply promoting from within. The Mariners outfield defense has been a disaster, and Raul Ibanez is the main reason why. While not lacking in the effort department, he’s shown his age with a complete lack of range, and hamstring issues have simply compounded the fact that he can’t cover enough ground to be a major league quality defensive outfielder. Because of the way Safeco Field is aligned, left field is a vastly more important defensive position than right field, and having a premium defensive outfielder play next to Ichiro to swallow the balls hit into the LF-CF gap would give the Mariners a large competitive advantage.

How big of an upgrade would Jones’ glove in left be from Ibanez’s? Well, without getting all mathy, I can tell you that advanced defensive metrics have Ibanez’s defense costing the Mariners approximately 15 runs over the first half of the season compared to an average defensive left fielder. 15 runs below average! That makes him something like the worst defensive player in baseball not named Manny Ramirez. If Adam Jones is simply an average defensive left fielder, the Mariners should expect, at minimum, a 10 run second half improvement (Ibanez probably isn’t really a -30 defender over the course of a full season, so we regress his projected performance accordingly) simply by removing Ibanez from left field and replacing him with AJ.

Now, Adam Jones has made huge strides defensively while playing center field in Tacoma, and most scouting reports grade him out as a solid defensive center fielder right now. What happens when you take a solid defensive center fielder and stick him in left field at Safeco? Well, the Mariners did that for several years with Randy Winn, who was routinely rated as 10 to 15 runs above an average defensive left fielder while with the Mariners. Jones’ range now is superior to that of the 2003-2005 Randy Winn. Realistically, I think we should expect Jones to be something like 5 to 10 runs better than an average defensive left fielder during the second half of the season.

Combine Ibanez’s -10 with Jones +5 (and those are conservative rankings), you’re looking at a 15 run improvement on defense alone. To give you an idea of what 15 runs over half a season looks like, let’s scale it to ERA. Let’s take Miguel Batista’s current ERA, then subtract 15 runs per 90 innings and show you the new ERA as a reference point for what that kind of savings looks like in half a season.

Miguel Batista: 4.54 – 2.87

Replacing Raul Ibanez in left field with Adam Jones projects to have about the same run prevention impact on the team that trading Miguel Batista for Johan Santana would.

Let that sink in for a second.

The Mariners can, in one move, make a second half run prevention improvement equal to that of turning a #4 starter into a Cy Young winner.

And that’s just the defensive improvement! That doesn’t even factor in the possibility that Adam Jones becomes Seattle’s version of Ryan Braun (called up from Triple-A in May, currently hitting .342/.382/.645 as the #3 hitter for the first place Brewers) and gives the Mariners a significant offensive boost over the nothing performance they got from Jose Vidro in the first half.

This move has to happen. It’s such a monumental upgrade that the team cannot continue to ignore the tangible, real effects it would have on making the playoffs, and that’s what this second half has to be all about.

2. Do not trade for Matt Morris. Whatever you do, leave him alone.

I wrote this post before Mark Buehrle re-signed with the White Sox, and #2 was originally an advocation for the M’s to get a deal done for the Chicago lefty. Now that that’s not an option, I’m simply asking the organization to please, please, please not be fooled by the mirage that is Matt Morris’ ERA. I know that he’s a veteran, and he’s playoff tested, and the sparkly ERA makes it a trifecta of things the franchise usually looks for in a pitcher, but you guys usually pick sucky pitchers, so let’s try to not fall into the same trap that keeps bringing us bad pitchers at high costs again, okay?

Yes, the team needs another starter. I’ll figure out who I want that to be in a few days. But I know that I don’t want it to be Matt Morris. Please don’t trade for him. Please.

3. Option Brandon Morrow to Triple-A Tacoma, promote Kam Mickolio to Seattle.

For all the talk about the potential return of Mark Lowe, Mickolio may very well have the best arm of any guy in Tacoma and be in the best position to help the Mariners as a power right-handed reliever down the stretch. He’s 6’9, throws a 96 MPH four-seam fastball, has a sinking two-seamer and a cut fastball that keep left-handers off balance, and has dominated since the Mariners selected him in the 18th round last summer. Remember Brandon Morrow’s dominant May, where he threw 18 consecutive scoreless innings with simply an overpowering fastball? That’s Kam Mickolio right now, except Mickolio is a few inches taller and has better command.

Bring Mickolio up to work some low leverage innings in the old Jason Davis role and get his feet wet in the majors for a few weeks. By the time mid-August rolls around, if he’s made the proper adjustments and is pitching as well as I suspect he may, you have yet another power arm to put in front of J.J. Putz and get strikeouts from the right side in the 8th inning. Mickolio’s trial also buys Mark Lowe time to work on his arm strength and rust after a year off from pitching, and gives Morrow a chance to improve his command and breaking ball in a low stress environment. The six weeks both can spend down in Triple-A would give the Mariners a chance to evaluate their progress and potentially bring them back up at the end of August if they’d shown they’re ready to go.

Ideally, the team would head into the September stretch run with a bullpen of Putz-Sherrill-Mickolio-Green-O’Flaherty-Lowe/Morrow-Reitsma, giving them a variety of power arms from the left and right side and allowing the team to be extremely aggressive in removing struggling starting pitchers early in critical games.

And, really, there’s almost no downside to this move. If I’m wrong about Mickolio, and he doesn’t adjust well to the majors right away, you simply ship him back to Tacoma and promote Mark Lowe, giving him the spot the team had been reserving for him anyways. No harm, no foul.

4. Platoon Broussard, Ibanez, Guillen, Sexson, and Vidro.

With the Adam Jones promotion, the M’s would have three spots for five guys. Thankfully, two of them are left-handed, two are right-handed, and the other is a switch hitter, making for easy natural platoons and many interchangeable pieces. Guillen/Ibanez can run a platoon in right field, with Sexson/Broussard platooning at first base, and whichever of those two aren’t playing can rotate at DH with Jose Vidro. Vidro should get the least amount of playing time in these scenarios, essentially being limited to DH against lefties, with Sexson/Ibanez getting most of the DH time against right-handed pitching.

The M’s are shooting themselves in the foot by ignoring the huge platoon splits their veteran hitters are putting up. Raul Ibanez is hitting .258/.272/.315 against left-handed pitching. Jose Guillen is hitting .242/.306/.361 against right-handed pitching. Those are horrible marks, and both guys are consistently being put in the middle of the line-up against same-handed pitchers, despite the fact that they’re killing the team by being put into situations they simply don’t have the skills to succeed in.

An Ibanez/Guillen platoon would give the Mariners one of the more productive offensive right-fielders in baseball. Broussard getting at-bats in lieu of Vidro would also be an instant upgrade, and by rotating the five guys through the RF/1B/DH roles, you keep the banged up veterans more healthy by giving them partial days off and not forcing them to play the field everyday.

Manage the roster to put players in roles they are best suited to succeed in.

5. Restructure the batting orders to account for the roster moves.

The team’s line-up would have a different look to it with Adam Jones in it, and it needs a slight overhaul anyways. So, here are my proposed normal line-ups, with their OPS (as of Saturday, when I wrote this) vs LH/RH to the side.

Vs RHP:

1. Ichiro, CF, .860
2. Ibanez, RF, .819
3. Beltre, 3B, .800
4. Broussard, 1B, .808
5. Sexson, DH, .724
6. Johjima, C, .701
7. Lopez, 2B, .745
8. Jones, LF, (AAA – .938)
9. Betancourt, SS, .626

Vs LHP:

1. Ichiro, CF, .903
2. Betancourt, SS, .829
3. Guillen, RF, 1.117
4. Beltre, 3B, .817
5. Sexson, 1B, .730
6. Johjima, C, 1.094
7. Lopez, 2B, .648
8. Jones, LF, (AAA – .981)
9. Vidro, DH, .723

In both line-ups, the Mariners are grouping their good hitters at the top of the order, and getting power guys behind Ichiro to start driving him in. They’ve been wasting far too many chances with the powerless Jose Vidro hitting second and sticking Ibanez/Guillen in RBI spots against same-handed pitchers. This gets away from Hargrove’s “same line-up, everyday” approach, but hopefully John McLaren is smart enough to realize that’s a foolish way to run a ballclub. The other contenders don’t follow that belief, and there’s no evidence supporting the idea that guys perform better if they’re locked into a certain spot in the batting order. Put the best team on the field to beat that day’s starting pitcher.

After implementing all these moves, the team would have a stronger offense against both lefties and righties, a significantly improved defense that would have a tremendous positive impact on the pitching staff, and a bullpen that rivals any in baseball.

This is a roster that you can contend with, one that can give the Angels a run for the division and makes the Mariners legitimate wild-card contenders. Most of these moves should be relatively simple to pull off, and serve to set the team up better for both the stretch run as well as 2008 and beyond.

These are bold moves, and a significant reshaping of a team in a playoff race, but they’re the kind of moves that the organization needs to make. Don’t rest on your laurels – improve the roster and give us a winning team.

(And yes, you guys can use this thread to post your own trade/roster suggestions. It’s the only one you’re getting the rest of the year, so have fun.)

Comments

389 Responses to “Second Half Suggestions”

  1. Sammy on July 8th, 2007 4:29 pm

    Over/under on how long before some FO picks up Dave Cameron in some capacity: 2.5 years.

  2. katal on July 8th, 2007 4:35 pm

    “Beyond the Buehrle trade, most of these moves should be relatively simple to pull off, and serve to set the team up better for both the stretch run as well as 2008 and beyond.”

    You might want to edit that.

    Now that he’s not available, are there any pitchers that you do advocate we go after? While our pitching is doing fine right now, I don’t trust it being this consistent for the rest of the season. I’d like to see another starter.

  3. fetish on July 8th, 2007 4:36 pm

    sorry for the double-post (see #356 on the game thread) but why do we scale the defensive runs saved over 90 innings?

  4. heyoka on July 8th, 2007 4:36 pm

    Are we going to be able to trade any of these five guys for three positions?
    Vidro?
    Broussard?
    Sexson?
    Ibanez?
    Guillen?

  5. Dave on July 8th, 2007 4:38 pm

    Now that he’s not available, are there any pitchers that you do advocate we go after?

    Jamie Moyer actually makes some sense on a couple of levels, if you can get Pat Gillick to trade a veteran for a prospect for the first time in 143 years. I’ll figure something out in a few days, but right now, I’m not very impressed by the guys we know are available.

    why do we scale the defensive runs saved over 90 innings?

    That’s about how many innings you’d expect to get from a starting pitcher if you traded for him right now. A little less than half a season’s worth.

    Are we going to be able to trade any of these five guys for three positions?

    Nope.

  6. carcinogen on July 8th, 2007 4:41 pm

    After implementing all these moves, the team would have a stronger offense against both lefties and righties, a significantly improved defense, a strengthened rotation (which would also get a boost from the defensive improvement), and a bullpen that rivals any in baseball.

    (emphasis added) Dave, I assume this conclusion is meant to reflect whatever rotation move their able to make . . . or the one you’ll suggest in the coming days. I have a feeling that Firebrand is getting sent down and HoRam is coming up. While either gets a boost from the improved defense, is there reason to think either would get more of a boost than the other?

  7. carcinogen on July 8th, 2007 4:42 pm

    Hmmm…re: 6, I guess I need to find another way to add emphasis other than

  8. Dave on July 8th, 2007 4:43 pm

    I assume this conclusion is meant to reflect whatever rotation move their able to make . . . or the one you’ll suggest in the coming days.

    I need to take that sentence out. That was written when the Buehrle suggestion was still valid.

    While either gets a boost from the improved defense, is there reason to think either would get more of a boost than the other?

    Feierabend’s a flyball guy, so he’d get more of a boost from the Jones-Ibanez switch. That said, he hasn’t looked like a major league starter in about three weeks, and he’s earned his ticket back to Tacoma. Horacio Ramriez isn’t any good, but they might as well throwing him out there until they figure out if they’re going to go with Baek or trade for a veteran.

  9. tootthekazoo on July 8th, 2007 4:43 pm

    I’ll preface this by pointing out that by no means am I a baseball genius, just a big fan that wants the best for my team. That being said, with your “ideal” lineup against LHP, do we really want Vidro in at 9th? If Ichiro gets on base behind him, aren’t you severely limiting the speed that Ichiro brings to the basepaths? Great bit of writing, though, lots of great ideas.

  10. DAK on July 8th, 2007 4:50 pm

    Not realistic at all as far as a platoon Jose Guillen. He has been “good” Guillen so far this year, while being put in the middle of the lineup (in place of Beltre) as an everyday player for most of the year. He is also for all intents and purposes in a contract year with options and buyouts with both the team and Guillen, and thus would not take kindly to losing over half his AB’s over the second half of the season.

  11. Dave on July 8th, 2007 4:50 pm

    If Ichiro gets on base behind him, aren’t you severely limiting the speed that Ichiro brings to the basepaths?

    Over half a season, this would happen a lot less frequently than you’d think. But, you could flip Jones and Vidro if it became an issue.

  12. Dave on July 8th, 2007 4:52 pm

    He has been “good” Guillen so far this year.

    Actually, he’s been Amazingly Awesome Guillen against lefties and Pretty Crappy Guillen against righties.

    and thus would not take kindly to losing over half his AB’s over the second half of the season.

    Tough. He’s paid to help the team win. If he doesn’t want to lose playing time against right-handers, he should have hit them better in the first half.

    The M’s have been pandering to veteran players for far too long. If they want to win, they need to show some chutzpah and make the moves that will give them the best chance to do so.

  13. hcoguy on July 8th, 2007 4:55 pm

    10. Yeah it would be hard (impossible) I think to get him to accept a platoon.
    Ideally, someone gets hurt and Jones solidifies his spot and playing time with a hot start. Then the injured party can be more easily forced into platoon.
    Not wishing injury on anyone, but all 5 of those guys are on the wrong side of 30 and its a fairly good chance of happening if Oakland’s trainers got within spitting distance of the team this weekend.

  14. AuburnM on July 8th, 2007 4:58 pm

    Dave,

    Everything you suggest makes perfect sense…on paper. What we don’t know is what it does to team chemistry.

    How will veterans like Ibanez, Guillen, Vidro and Sexson react to losing at bats? How will the rest of the team react?

    I don’t have those answers. Factoring in the human element is what they pay managers for.

  15. planB on July 8th, 2007 4:59 pm

    Winning begets chemistry.

  16. DAK on July 8th, 2007 5:02 pm

    “The M’s have been pandering to veteran players for far too long. If they want to win, they need to show some chutzpah and make the moves that will give them the best chance to do so.”

    I agree. I just don’t think the M’s management has enough guts to bench a fiery personality like Guillen against right-handers, when they given 301 AB’s to a “veteran presence” DH with 3 HR’s and 26 RBI’s.

  17. Dave on July 8th, 2007 5:02 pm

    What we don’t know is what it does to team chemistry.

    Here’s the thing – the guys in the clubhouse don’t know that either. I’ve never seen any club successfully predict team chemistry ahead of time.

    How will veterans like Ibanez, Guillen, Vidro and Sexson react to losing at bats? How will the rest of the team react?

    If the team is winning, the only guy there I’d be worried about is Guillen. And he’s actually the guy whose playing time I’d decrease the least. You can still play him 4-5 times a week and make the platoon work.

    I don’t have those answers. Factoring in the human element is what they pay managers for.

    Managers, in general, suck at this. Part of John McLaren’s job is to make sure everyone in the clubhouse is getting along as well as possible. Another part is putting the best team on the field that he possibly can. You can’t ignore the second responsibility just because it may clash with the first.

  18. VaughnStreet on July 8th, 2007 5:03 pm

    How will veterans like Ibanez, Guillen, Vidro and Sexson react to losing at bats?

    It’s better ask how they would react to being in a pennant race — Seattle’s first in several years. If they react well, they get more at bats. If they don’t, they don’t. They’re paid to win, not to go off to a corner and suck their thumbs.

  19. Dave on July 8th, 2007 5:04 pm

    just don’t think the M’s management has enough guts…

    Well, this is a post with suggestions from a guy who has nothing to do with the organization, and not a post about what I think the organization is actually going to do.

    So, yea, I agree, these moves aren’t terribly likely. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t the moves the M’s should make, or that we shouldn’t point that out.

  20. LH sock puppet on July 8th, 2007 5:04 pm

    Dave, re your #5 answer about defensive runs saved.

    It seems that your hypothesis is off. By dividing the 15 runs by 90 innings, you are essentially saying that Adam Jones will apply his defensive wizardry to one pitcher.

    If this comparison were accurate, saving approximately a run per start pretty much turns an average pitcher into a guaranteed winner a la Randy Johnson–i. e., the team going from a 8-7 record when the pitcher starts to, say, 12-2. But more correctly, his 15 runs will be spread over 75+ starts, making a difference of ~.2 run per game.

    I guess what I’m trying to reverse engineer here is the conversion of runs saved to wins. (See, I don’t even recall what it is named.) And then my point being that your example of Jones being equal to a Batista/Santana swap is perhaps a bit of a reach.

  21. Ralph Malph on July 8th, 2007 5:07 pm

    But if Jones would save 15 runs over the course of the 1st half, wouldn’t that be 15 runs divided by 85 * 9 innings? It’s not 15 runs per starting pitcher.

  22. Dave on July 8th, 2007 5:07 pm

    It seems that your hypothesis is off. By dividing the 15 runs by 90 innings, you are essentially saying that Adam Jones will apply his defensive wizardry to one pitcher.

    No – I was giving the reader a reference point of what saving 15 runs over half a season looks like.

    But more correctly, his 15 runs will be spread over 75+ starts, making a difference of ~.2 run per game.

    15 runs is 15 runs. The runs to win conversion works the same whether they’re spread out over 75 games or over 15 starts.

  23. Ralph Malph on July 8th, 2007 5:08 pm

    You beat me to it puppet.

  24. planB on July 8th, 2007 5:08 pm

    19: I dunno, it seems like it’s getting pretty obvious that Vidro is an unproductive DH. The Jones call-up might happen.

  25. Dave on July 8th, 2007 5:09 pm

    I worded it poorly, apparently, if you guys didn’t understand what I was trying to say. I’ll make it more clear in the post.

  26. Ralph Malph on July 8th, 2007 5:09 pm

    OK, I understand, Dave. I thought you were saying that he would effectively reduce each starting pitcher’s ERA by that much. Gotcha.

  27. JSully on July 8th, 2007 5:09 pm

    How will veterans like Ibanez, Guillen, Vidro and Sexson react to losing at bats? How will the rest of the team react?Good teams usually have good chemistry because they win their fair share of baseball games. As an Oakland A’s fan, it has always made me laugh the past few years hearing announcers and writers talk about what great chemistry the A’s have had because of “character guys” like Mark Kotsay. When a team is always in the playoffs or competing for a spot in the playoffs, chemistry will typically follow.Love the blog Dave, great insight.

  28. Ralph Malph on July 8th, 2007 5:10 pm

    Sorry about the nitpick, by the way. Good analysis.

  29. planB on July 8th, 2007 5:14 pm

    I still don’t understand… it seems like “The runs to win conversion works the same whether they’re spread out over 75 games or over 15 starts” means the same thing as “The runs to win conversion works the same whether they’re spread out over 75 games or over 15 games“, which is false. What am I missing?

  30. Bucks on July 8th, 2007 5:14 pm

    i dont really care anything about lineups or anything

    JUST BRING ADAM JONES UP

    i would just completely use vidro as a bench player

    Starting lineup, regardless of pitcher

    1. Ichiro CF
    2. Jones LF
    3. Guillen RF
    4. Ibanez DH
    5. Sexson 1B
    6. Beltre 3B
    7. Johjima C
    8. Lopez 2B
    9. Betancourt

    i believe a lineup needs to be cemented and constant. There is no continuity when the lineup is constantly changing.

  31. johnb on July 8th, 2007 5:15 pm

    I would just promte from within, I don’t see a pitcher out there that is available that can significantly help us. I do like the Moyer idea if Gillick is willing to return the favor.

  32. Dave on July 8th, 2007 5:18 pm

    What am I missing?

    You’re overestimating the value of runs in clusters. Adam Jones being a +15 defender over 75 games is just as valuable (actually, I could argue more valuable) than Miguel Batista going +15 runs in his 90 second half innings.

    I’m not sure why you don’t agree with that statement, but you should.

  33. planB on July 8th, 2007 5:19 pm

    “i believe a lineup needs to be cemented and constant. There is no continuity when the lineup is constantly changing.”

    This is an example of begging the question, by the way.

  34. Dave on July 8th, 2007 5:21 pm

    i believe a lineup needs to be cemented and constant. There is no continuity when the lineup is constantly changing.

    Years of historical evidence shows that you’re pretty much believing this on faith, with nothing to support your belief. The Indians and Tigers, who run wildly varied line-ups depending on pitcher handedness, are doing just fine, I’d say.

  35. LH sock puppet on July 8th, 2007 5:21 pm

    Dave,
    #22
    After reading that part a couple times, I did understand that you were showing the ERA reduction of any one pitcher, not all of them.

    But (after doing the search I should have in the first place):
    “As a general rule, ten runs saved adds a win to the team.”
    (From baseballgraphs.com)

    I doubt a Santana-like pitcher is only one game better than Batista.

  36. planB on July 8th, 2007 5:22 pm

    I don’t disagree, I just didn’t understand. I do now, I think. (Part of what I was missing is that the comparison is between runs prevented by an everyday player and by a pitcher, right?)

  37. Dave on July 8th, 2007 5:23 pm

    I doubt a Santana-like pitcher is only one game better than Batista.

    Over half a season, about a win and a half (15 runs) is about right.

  38. Jeff Nye on July 8th, 2007 5:24 pm

    Continuity is overrated. I hope they bring up Adam Jones to do something other than rot on the bench. It’s such an obvious move that I can’t see why it hasn’t happened yet.

    You’d think it’d be obvious enough to even get past how much this organization overrates “proven veterans”.

  39. Jack Howland on July 8th, 2007 5:25 pm

    Vidro is hitting .245 and slugging .295 with RISP. That’s the type of stat that this front office looks at.

  40. hcoguy on July 8th, 2007 5:30 pm

    Boston scores runs and they run out different lineups all the time. Ortiz and Manny are the only fixtures. If we had those two I wouldn’t move em around either.

  41. JMHawkins on July 8th, 2007 5:32 pm

    Factoring in the human element is what they pay managers for.

    The Times had an article (Larry Stone, but ignore that for a minute) on Grover’s abrubt resignation and it had a quote from Earl Weaver.

    “It’s long. It’s hard. When you have to bench Brooks Robinson, you might as well cut your arm off. When you have to say, ‘Brooksie, we have a young kid coming, we have to give him a chance,’ it doesn’t work so well.”

    So, Ibanez isn’t Brooks Robinson, and neither are Sexson, Vidro or Guillen, but the sentiment’s the same. Telling a veteran, maybe even a really neat guy too, that he’s losing playing time can’t be any fun.

    Could it be that Grover knew something was going to happen and he didn’t have the heart to be the hatchet-man?

  42. LH sock puppet on July 8th, 2007 5:32 pm

    Dave,
    “Over half a season, about a win and a half (15 runs) is about right.”

    Okay then, thanks, teach. It gives me a better perspective of the importance of a pitcher vs. an every day player. –and how useful tools such as ‘run saved/created’ and win shares can be for comparing disparate positions.

    p. s. Thanks for your answers and of course, your terrific article.

  43. Dave on July 8th, 2007 5:33 pm

    Part of what I was missing is that the comparison is between runs prevented by an everyday player and by a pitcher, right?

    I think so, yea. In any single game, the pitcher will usually have the greatest impact on a team’s chances of winning and losing. However, any one starting pitcher can only start about 20% of the team’s games, so the position players make up in quantity what they lose out in quality.

  44. JI on July 8th, 2007 5:42 pm

    I don’t think sitting Guillen against RHP is smart, Guillen has hit RHP better over the few years than he has LHP. He is likely to progress to the mean i the second half.

  45. debaser on July 8th, 2007 5:48 pm

    Hey Dave…..

    Are you concerned at all about Jones BB/K rate, and what that might translate to in the majors? As you note, his biggest immediate contribution would be on defense, but I worry that if he struggles at the plate right away, he’ll either get benched/sent down after 2 weeks, or take those struggles with him into the outfield. Wouldn’t that hurt his development?

    And speaking of development, Triunfel in High Desert– couldn’t that lead to some bad hitting habits for someone who is allergic to walks at his age?

    Thanks.

  46. KW on July 8th, 2007 5:53 pm

    What is this ERA you’re talking about?

  47. PhilKenSebben on July 8th, 2007 5:57 pm

    the bottom of those lineups look like a potential black hole, considering yuni’s recent performance and Lopez’s second half slump last year, not to mention Vidro’s all around ineptness.

  48. AuburnM on July 8th, 2007 5:59 pm

    Dave:

    “Part of John McLaren’s job is to make sure everyone in the clubhouse is getting along as well as possible. Another part is putting the best team on the field that he possibly can. You can’t ignore the second responsibility just because it may clash with the first.”

    Agreed, but can you ignore first responsibility? Maybe Raul is the most popular guy in the clubhouse. Maybe McLaren knows he will go nuts if he isn’t playing Left. Maybe McLaren knows that pissing off Raul will cause problems with several other guys.

    I am not arguing against the moves you suggest – they all make perfect sense. All I am saying is there are other factors here that we know nothing about because we aren’t in the clubhouse and on the plane with these guys.

  49. Ralph Malph on July 8th, 2007 6:01 pm

    the bottom of those lineups look like a potential black hole, considering yuni’s recent performance and Lopez’s second half slump last year, not to mention Vidro’s all around ineptness.

    I agree on Vidro, but why use Lopez’ 2nd half last year and Betancourt’s recent performance as your basis for projection? Couldn’t you just as easily say, if you’re going to cherrypick small samples, that Lopez and Betancourt’s early hot hitting this year suggests that they’ll regress to the mean and do better in the 2nd half?

  50. Jeff Nye on July 8th, 2007 6:11 pm

    At this point, I don’t really care about whether the guys in the clubhouse are happy or not. They’re paid a lot of money to play a game.

    I want to see them recognize that they are there to win baseball games, and not let their egos get in the way of that happening.

  51. Bearman on July 8th, 2007 6:17 pm

    Very interesting suggestions and while I feel the #1 priority the M’s have is the signing of Ichiro to extension contract however any move that can help step up winning making that a reality I’m for it.

    Call up Adam Jones to be the LF starter:
    Makes absolute logical sense both offensively and defensively.Best way for Jones to get accustom to MLB pitching and his best shot at success at the MLB level.

    Don’t trade for Matt Morris:
    I fully agree his present ERA and success is NL related.Quite frankly look for a late July letdown with dead arm by then.
    With Buehrle off the block unless an SP of the level of a Zambrano or a Haren comes available from one of bottomfeeders forget trading go with what we have in house like Lehr for example.

    Option Morrow to AAA T-town in favor of Kam Mickolio:
    Quite frankly I can’t agree completely here tho I like the idea of senting Morrow down so he can work on his as it’s put “wildness in the K zone” cause if Morrow has a flaw it’s his tendency to BB hitters for that reason.
    I’m not that familiar with Mickolio so I can’t say how good or bad he is so Ihave a concern how well he’d fill in for Morrow and fit in with the chemistry the M’s have there.
    Frankly I want Lowe in the pen instead of injury prone Reitsma as soon as Lowe is ready to return.

    Platoon Ibanez/Guillen (RF) Sexson/Broussard (1stB)
    and either Ibanez/Sexson/Vidro at DH:
    If and should the Jones move be made then I wholeheartly agree with the platoon in RF of Ibanez and Guillen.
    This would insure both men will be rested and fresh for the push months of August and Sept.

    However I don’t see the logic of the three way DH platoon since Vidro is a switch hitter.To me the logical platoon is Sexson/Vidro if there is to be one.

    I fully agree with the Sexson/Broussard platoon at 1stB gives the M’s a extra LHB when needed.
    Again gets Broussard playing time and gives Sexson needed days off to care for any minor aches and pains to stay healthy and fresh.

    As to the batting orders you suggest to reflect the changes are excellent examples to work from and should influence lineups in second half.
    I believe that the success a hitter has againist a given SP needs to be a factor as well no matter which side of the plate he hits (RH or LH).

  52. DAK on July 8th, 2007 6:20 pm

    M’s hopefully everyday 2007 second half left fielder had an OK day at the office today:

    3-4 with 2 HR’s, a double, and 4 RBI’s!

    He now has 21 HR’s, 21 2B’s, 5 3B’s and 72 RBI’s.

    He might be pretty good.

  53. Mr. Egaas on July 8th, 2007 6:23 pm

    I was just comparing in my head a few minutes ago that the Adam Jones upgrade is a lot like the Ryan Braun situation. The Brewers were getting nothing out of their 3B platoon so they decided to pull the trigger and the kid has done nothing but prove he deserves to be up here, putting up All-Star caliber numbers.

    I’d like to wake up on Wednesday morning to find out it’s been done.

  54. rufusgufus on July 8th, 2007 6:28 pm

    Dave,

    Long time listener, first time caller. I agree that bring up AJ seems like a “no brainer” mostly because of his speed and hopefully defense. There is considerable risk involved however.

    AJ is now batting in a very hitter friendly environment. The parks are bandboxes and the few decent starting pitchers were promoted last month.
    He strikes out A LOT! He came up last year after a hot AAA start and “tanked” offensively and defensively. There may be more pressure this year, pennant race and all. It will be good to see what he is made off, I am just not quite as optimistic as others.

    Like Bob Whitsett, I am not a chemistry major but breaking up a veteran line up in the middle of a hot streak will have consequences. Everything about Guillen’s history suggests he will not be happy and that he is very disruptive when he is not happy. He could end up DFA’d, it has happened before.

    I think Ibanez, along with Putz, are the leaders of this club – taking AB’s away from your leader could backfire. I have to agree the Guillen/Ibanez tandem would be a dangerous right field combo (defensively, too!).

    I certainly understand the M’s “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” outlook but on balance think he needs to come up and play. Maybe just not everyday.

    Too bad about Beurhle I thought he might be the missing link.

    Sexson looks completely lost at the plate. I am disappointed I have not seen more Broussard at first vs. right handers in the first days of the Mclaren era.

  55. Mr. Egaas on July 8th, 2007 6:28 pm

    Dave, any more thought on dealing Wlad to the Twinks for Scott Baker? Would you still do that?

  56. L. Jacob on July 8th, 2007 6:29 pm

    Dave,

    Re: Mickolio

    I had meant to ask this during the Future 40 thread, but this seems like a good second chance. Do you know the story of how we got a talent like that in the 18th round? What caused all the other teams’ scouts to miss? Was it that he came out of an obscure program that no one else was scouting? Did he improve a ton this year? Whenever a guy that talented and that projectable falls that far in the draft, it seems like there’s always a great story of a scout who stuck his neck out. (The Pujols story is kind of like that, and the Piazza story is just funny.) Do you know the Mickolio scouting backstory?

  57. Tak on July 8th, 2007 6:37 pm

    One question:

    Burke has been a great back-up catcher so far offensively. With only 60 ABs it is hard to determine how much he is capable of, but if he really is as good (or nearly as good) as the numbers show so far, should he get more chances at the plate? (Maybe at DH) Obviously there are already too many 1B/DH types so maybe there just isn’t space for him other than as a backup catcher, but it seems like kind of a waste of a good offensive player.

  58. hcoguy on July 8th, 2007 6:42 pm

    Isn’t Tacoma a pitchers park? Jones’ home/away splits are good and better. .909 and 1.018.
    At this point the only concerns are the K/BB. We can afford some K’s, just not anymore DPs.

  59. hcoguy on July 8th, 2007 6:43 pm

    Also, 1.450 OPS w/risp. Wow.

  60. Dave on July 8th, 2007 6:46 pm

    Are you concerned at all about Jones BB/K rate, and what that might translate to in the majors?

    Not really, no. I’ve said all along that I expect Jones would hit something like .270/.330/.450 in the majors right now. Even if he struggles to .250/.300/.400, that’s essentially equal offensive production to what they’re getting out of Vidro at the moment, and the defensive upgrade still stands.

    And, obviously, there’s potential for him to not struggle and pull a Ryan Braun.

    He came up last year after a hot AAA start and “tanked” offensively and defensively.

    Adam Jones, 2006, AAA: .287/.342/.484
    Adam Jones, 2007, AAA: .309/.377/.585

    He’s not the same player now that he was a year ago.

    Like Bob Whitsett, I am not a chemistry major but breaking up a veteran line up in the middle of a hot streak will have consequences.

    Ask the Brewers if they’re happy they replaced Tony Graffanino with Ryan Braun, then put Braun in the #3 hole after three games.

    Dave, any more thought on dealing Wlad to the Twinks for Scott Baker? Would you still do that?

    I still would, but I doubt the Twins would make that move now that they’ve committed to Baker as part of their rotation.

    Do you know the story of how we got a talent like that in the 18th round?

    I don’t know the whole story, no. I’ll get it eventually.

    Burke has been a great back-up catcher so far offensively.

    It’s a fluke. A nice fluke, but a fluke nonetheless.

  61. DAMellen on July 8th, 2007 6:46 pm

    The Yankees are famous for taking veterans with big contracts in exchange for prospects. Also, they need a firstbasemen and despite all reason, seem to still think they can get into the playoffs. I think we need to give them one of our firstbasemen. I don’t care a whole lot which one. Offer them their choice of Richie or Ben for the best prospect they’ll give us. Ideally, it’d be Joba Chamberlain or Dellin Betances, but I’d take just about anybody. And I’d throw in Vidro if they’ll take him. God, I’d love to never see Vidro in Mariner blue again.

  62. DKCecil on July 8th, 2007 6:49 pm

    There is no way Brian Cashman makes a deal like that, especially not for one of their higher profile and more projectable arms. They’re not going to sell the farm for a Richie Sexson type of 1B. Maybe, MAYBE, for Mark Teixiera. But even then, I doubt it. It’s seeming more and more like the Yankees are content to keep their pieces.

  63. Dave on July 8th, 2007 6:50 pm

    I was wondering how long it would take someone to suggest trading Sexson to the Yankees, and assuming they’d give us something of value to boot.

    Here’s a hint – if you don’t want them, other teams don’t either.

  64. JI on July 8th, 2007 6:58 pm

    If NYY histhe salary, I’d be happy with that. I think that’s the absolute best you could do.

  65. Jeff Nye on July 8th, 2007 7:08 pm

    Maybe we could trade Sexson and Vidro for Griffey?

    *head explodes*

    Relying on other GMs to bail you out of your poor roster construction decisions is not such a great plan for success.

  66. Mr. Egaas on July 8th, 2007 7:15 pm

    What an odd season — what, with the A’s and Yankees looking like sellers.

  67. Max Power on July 8th, 2007 7:32 pm

    After watching an obviously crippled Sexson play all 9 innings today, I’d be shocked if they go with some of the more creative approaches (platooning).

  68. eponymous coward on July 8th, 2007 7:33 pm

    Gosh, I’m going to break the thread rules and not say anything about the roster moves (since I was suggesting platoons and stacking the lineup with LHB/RHB a few days ago)… but I have to point this out.

    The M’s have 22 games left out of 77 remaining against clubs directly in front of them for competition for the two playoff spots they could get (LAA, DET, CLE). That’s 28% of the schedule. Oh yeah, they have a home series against Boston (not directly relevant for their competition, since Boston is nearly a mortal lock to win that division, barring a collapse of near historic proportions, but relevant as a potential playoff preview).

    We’ve got a lot of exciting baseball left, folks (including 4 games in 3 days in late September that could easily decide a playoff spot, the Seattle-Cleveland series, AND a Safeco doubleheader, a very rare beast indeed). Enjoy it, because it’s like being at an oasis after trekking through the dry desert of 2004-2006.

  69. dw on July 8th, 2007 7:35 pm

    I can’t see Gillick even considering trading Moyer so long as the Phils are with a series sweep of the wild card.

    It’s definitely a bubble market for pitching right now, and that worries me that Bavasi is going to overpay for someone like Morris.

    Thing is, if King Felix is King Felix and Washburn keeps pitching well, the other three guys probably won’t matter — so long as Jones is up.

    I’m still very skeptical of this team. They just don’t look good on paper and seem like they’re just around the corner from the long losing streak. But who knows? 85 could win the division.

  70. Ralph Malph on July 8th, 2007 7:37 pm

    Re Jamie Burke:

    In 14 minor league seasons, he has a lifetime OPS of 730. Barring chemical enhancement I think we can assume he hasn’t discovered the fountain of youth at age 35.

    He’s always been an OK minor league hitter and he’s done a really nice job as the backup. We can all feel good about his story, but there’s no reason to think he can be more than he’s been.

  71. Mr. Egaas on July 8th, 2007 7:44 pm

    I’m still very skeptical of this team. They just don’t look good on paper and seem like they’re just around the corner from the long losing streak. But who knows? 85 could win the division.

    IMO, replace Ellison with Jones and it makes the team on the field and the bench better (Switch hitter Vidro to bench), and it’s pretty good on paper. If we throw another starter (Anybody better than Feierabend, Baek, and Ho Ram) in there to go with Felix-Wash-Batista-Weaver-New Guy, that’s not too bad when you play half your games at the Safe.

  72. eponymous coward on July 8th, 2007 7:58 pm

    I can’t see Gillick even considering trading Moyer so long as the Phils are with a series sweep of the wild card.

    Thing is, that might not be the case by July 31. If the Phillies are 7-8 games out in the division and wild card (which isn’t all that improbable), the Phillies are basically where the Mariners were last year. In fact, they’re pretty close right NOW to where the M’s were at last year’s ASB- a team loitering around .500 and barely in the race.

    Here’s another interesting data point from last year: the best 5 AL teams at the ASB last year:

    DET
    CHW
    BOS
    NYY
    TOR

    The best 5 teams AFTER the ASB in the AL:

    MIN
    OAK
    NYY
    LAA
    TOR

    Note only two teams were in both lists, and one of them (Toronto) was barely over .500 in the second half (38-36).

    This doesn’t seem to be that unusual, with a quick glance at 2005 and 2004. A couple of teams are going to likely to drop off the pace, and a surprise team is going to make a run from being .500 to being a contender. I’m hoping the M’s aren’t one of the ones who drop out.

  73. DAMellen on July 8th, 2007 8:00 pm

    Dave

    In response to what you said at 63, I like Sexson. He starts cold, but I think by the end of this season, he’ll bat .250 with over 30 homers and 100 RBIs. Plus, he’s a big walk and power guy. I think his OPS will be well over .800 and wouldn’t be surprised if he comes up around .900.

    I also like Broussard. He has not been given much of a shot at lefties, but he hits righties very well and is an excellent platoon player. He might even be a solid everyday player if given a chance.

    Your statement “Here’s a hint – if you don’t want them, other teams don’t either” is massively incorrect. I want them both. I think they should both start and Vidro should be placed on the DL with a terminal case of badness. If we had spots for both of them, I would play them both happily. The only reason I’d suggest trading either of them is that we have both of them and Ibanez. That puts three guys in two spots, which I think is ridiculous. We’re stuck with Vidro. He’ll die a Mariner. I think the same is true for Ibanez (who I thought we should’ve traded last year). Broussard and Sexson are good players with trade value. I think someone will take them. I don’t want much in return. Just a mediocre prospect and a roster spot for Adam Jones…

  74. eponymous coward on July 8th, 2007 8:14 pm

    I’m still very skeptical of this team. They just don’t look good on paper and seem like they’re just around the corner from the long losing streak. But who knows? 85 could win the division.

    Yeah, DW, I hear ya. However, Felix pitching pretty well the rest of the way + upgraded defense in OF with Jones + platooning some good offensive performers would help a lot in the second half, I think.

    The way I see it now, this team has the best offense in the division (without anyone being really OMG terrible- Vidro’s bad but he’s not a black hole like Hillenbrand, Cruz, Laird or Kendall), and a very, VERY good bullpen. The weak point is defense plus any starter not named Felix (basically, it’s a staff of defense-dependent pitchers behind him who can be had by good hitting teams), plus as it’s configured right now, a lineup that’s too right-handed. Jones and platooning (and swapping out Vidro’s ABs for Jones) all address the major weaknesses.

    I suppose the possibility exists that the Veteran Starter would help the team for the stretch run, but that’s sort of another post, innit?

  75. DAMellen on July 8th, 2007 8:14 pm

    Are the Marlins going to ask for an utterly ridiculous amount in return for Dontrelle Willis? He’s not that good anymore, but he’s not terrible. If the Marlins treat him like the mediocre player that he is, he might be worth getting. I bet that’s not how it’s gonna go though. The Marlins’ll shop him like he’s God and he’s just not.

  76. Mr. Egaas on July 8th, 2007 8:16 pm

    Willis just isn’t that good. He’s certainly not worth the price that it would take. Over…. rated.

  77. The Kid on July 8th, 2007 8:19 pm

    I am not the most knowledgeable on the subject, but it looks like Wlad Balentien puts up just as good if not better numbers than Jones. Although his defense may not be as good and his K ratio is a bit high, why isn’t he a legitimate option as an everyday RF? And if not right now, how far is he away?

  78. zzyzx on July 8th, 2007 8:44 pm

    68 – has it been confirmed that it’s a doubleheader and not a day/night?

  79. hoser on July 8th, 2007 8:47 pm

    When I think about platooning Guillen, I remember this story:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/mariners/2003643787_difficult01.html

    Given his proven ability to create disruptions wherein one has to dispose of him, there are definite elements of risk to such a plan.

  80. Cynical Optimist on July 8th, 2007 8:57 pm

    73 – Richie Sexson does not have trade value. If you’re wondering why Dave hasn’t responded to your post it’s because this subject has been covered on this site to the point of exhaustion.

  81. 1000N on July 8th, 2007 9:01 pm

    I agree with all 5 of Dave’s suggestions.

    That said, the math behind the Raul Ibanez’ -15 runs / half season was not presented, and it doesn’t seem plausible. In earlier posts, we have seen that, in terms of winning, pitching accounts for approximately 40%, hitting accounts for 50%, and defense for about 10%. Thus, defense accounts for approximately 20% of the runs given up by a team. After today’s game, the Mariners have given up 407 runs. The left fielder’s “share” of those runs should be something like 1/9 of 20% of 407, or 9 runs. With all due respect to Dave, and Safeco Field notwithstanding, replacing Raul Ibanez with an average left fielder seems very unlikely to save anything remotely close to 15 runs.

    Should the M’s upgrade defensively at left field? Absolutely. And while I don’t doubt that Dave’s analysis is true to the model he’s working with, my 30 years of mathematical modeling experience tell me something is very wrong about some of the assumptions that went into that model.

  82. Sidi on July 8th, 2007 9:06 pm

    The Kid he’s been brought up a lot, and the author’s consesus is that he’s about as good with the bat, but is (at best) a tolerable first baseman and most likely a DH. Positions that don’t really help us right now, except as trade bait.

    We could take a risk on either of them, but the one who can make our defense instantly better, instead of even more of a convoluted mess, is the obvious choice.

  83. Paul B on July 8th, 2007 9:11 pm

    The obvious solution is to release Vidro, and eat his bloated salary, and admit that the whole idea of a mediocre hitting middle infielder with bad legs somehow becoming a servicable DH was misguided at best.

  84. Dave on July 8th, 2007 9:20 pm

    That said, the math behind the Raul Ibanez’ -15 runs / half season was not presented, and it doesn’t seem plausible.

    Read this, this, and this for starters.

    The defensive models I’m working with are fine.

  85. arbeck on July 8th, 2007 9:21 pm

    1000N,

    You’re just not thinking about it correctly. You can’t just arbitrarily say the left fielder is responsible for 1/9 of 407 runs. The math for figuring out how many runs he’s cost them is pretty easy. You can use RZR to show that he’s only made outs on 76.6% of the balls in his zone, and only made outs on 20 balls outside of his zone all year. Then you contrast those with your average left fielder. Figure out how many total balls were hit in his zone and you know how many outs he’s cost the team. From there you can figure out the number of runs.

    I’ll use Shannon Stewart as an example of an average LF. He gets to 86.7 balls in his zone and has made 25 plays outside of his zone. Ibanez has had 124 balls in his zone this year. That extra 10% would mean about 13 less outs so far this year, plus the extra 5 outs made outside the zone. We are up to 18 extra outs.

    I’m not sure of the exact formula to convert outs into runs, but I’m sure you can do it. I’m not even sure that is the way Dave calculated his -15 runs, but it does show how it is possible.

  86. Shizane on July 8th, 2007 9:25 pm

    AJ…….2 more HRs tonight and a double. He is ready.

  87. PositivePaul on July 8th, 2007 9:48 pm

    //puts asbestos suit on…

    Okay, since we’re talking platoons — we’d probably suffer a little bit defensively, but Willie Bloomquist could start at second a few times at least, depending on the lefty pitcher. He’s currently OPSing .877 vs. lefties this year (including a SLG over .500), and has shown a decent abilty to randomly pwn good lefty pitchers.

    Okay torch ahead! Fry me, Blow!

    ///after the last flamethrower runs out of gas, peels off remainder of asbestos suit…

  88. 1000N on July 8th, 2007 9:51 pm

    “Read this, this, and this, for starters.

    The defensive models I’m working with are fine.”

    There’s practically no bigger fan of mathematical / statistical modeling in the world than me, and I’ve read the three articles you suggest. I admitted in my first post that those models would surely show that Raul Ibanez would be -15 runs relative to average.

    What I’m suggesting is that when models show results like that, they need to be looked at more carefully. Here’s a simple way to look at it that suggests those models may be overvaluing defensive contributions somewhat:

    As of today, the fewest number of runs given up in the majors is San Diego’s 298, and the most is Texas’ 480 (naturally). That’s a difference of 182 runs which is the total difference between the very best combination of pitching and defense in the majors and the very worst. Empirically, pitching will account for about 80% of that difference, so the remaining 36 runs should be the defensive difference, the left field share being about 4 runs. Of course, this isn’t quite right, because even Texas has decent defenders, and not everyone who plays for the Padres is a gold glover, so the 182 run difference is actually the sum of the contributions of the pitchers and defenders on each team. Even so, the models that Dave is using are putting poor Raul at -4 x the average total variance for a left fielder. This is statistically VERY implausible. You’d have to put someone like me out there to get anywhere near that level of defensive damage to a team.

    I’m pretty sure there’s going to be some significant refinement to those defensive models in the years to come. In the meantime, please note that I’m only quibbling with the magnitude of the -15, not with the trend that it suggests. I’m all in favor of upgrading the M’s left field defense ASAP.

  89. Jeff Nye on July 8th, 2007 10:01 pm

    I’m not sure where you are coming up with the basis of two of the assumptions you’re making:

    -80% of run prevention is pitching? Across the board? Really?
    -You can divide the “difference” in run prevention evenly across the entire defensive field? In other words, you’re saying that the pitcher’s fielding (i.e. not his pitching itself) accounts for just as much run prevention as that of the center fielder?

    Those are pretty bold claims to make without any attempt to show your work.

  90. Typical Idiot Fan on July 8th, 2007 10:06 pm

    Hmm… let’s do some lists of teams who are out of it, who they may be willing to trade, and who we want (starting pitching only):

    Out of it:
    Tampa Bay
    Baltimore
    KC
    Chi-Sox
    Texas
    Washington
    Florida
    St. Louis
    Pittsburgh
    Cincinati
    Houston
    San Francisco

    Maybe out of it:
    Oakland
    New York Yankees
    Toronto
    Philadelphia

    Players (maybe) up for trade:
    Tampa Bay – Hard to say
    Who we’d want – None. Some of their pitchers might be available, but the ones we want wont be and the ones that are suck.

    Baltimore – Daniel Cabrera(?)
    Who we’d want – Eric Bedard, but he aint going anywhere. I wonder about Cabrera; more specifically I wonder how long they’ll keep that experiment going. I’m not sure I’d want him anyway.

    Kansas City – Odalis Perez, Scott Elarton, John Thomson, Brandon Duckworth
    Who we’d want – I think I meant Thompson. Anyway, raise your hand if you’re particularly interested in any of these guys. Me either.

    Chi-Sox – Jose Contreras, John Garland, Javier Vazquez
    Who we’d want – I don’t know if the rumored Sox Fire Sale is as wide open as believed, but you’d have to think that Chicago would want to get rid of some of the higher priced ones, which is basically everybody. However, Contreras sucks and so does Garland. That leaves Vazquez, who might be the only one who could actually help us be a better team.

    Texas – Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Brandon McCarthy(?)
    Who we’d want – Talk about a pitching staff that could benefit from a change of venue. Millwood’s groundballs are down this year, and his walks are up, but his K-rate is still solid and I think he’s getting a little unlucky, but may not be worth the risk considering his contract. McCarthy might be a flameout, but get him out of that ballpark and see what happens. Padilla sucks.

    Washington – Not even going to speculate
    Who we’d want – Shawn Hill maybe, but I doubt he’s available.

    Cincinati – Aaron Harang, Kyle Lohse, Eric Milton, Bronson Arroyo(?)
    Who we’d want – Harang. Cheap, effective, but would be costly. I’d say no to the other three, though Kyle Lohse might be worth a look.

    Houston – Woody Williams, Jason Jennings(?)
    Who we’d want – Jennings. He was an interesting idea in offseason but we didn’t get him. I’d still take a try with him. Williams needs to be avoided at all costs.

    San Francisco – Barry Zito, Matt Morris
    Who we’d want – None. Oh and don’t tell me he wouldn’t try trading Zito to some fool if he could. Right now I think they want out of that deal REALLY badly, but there isn’t one GM stupid enough to take Zito now.

    Pittsburgh – Tony Armas Jr, Shawn Chacon
    Who we’d want – Pat Maholm, Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny. Fat chance. I’m starting to wonder about Zach Duke, though. I don’t think he was ever that good, but what a horrid crash and burn he has been.

    St Louis – Who cares?
    Who we’d want – See above.

    Florida – Dontrelle Willis, Byung Kim, who knows?
    Who we’d want – 2 months ago, Byung Kim to replace Weaver / Ramirez / Baek. Now? He wouldn’t help us out that much. Willis is a nightmare waiting to happen to someone. I hope to GOD it isn’t us.

    Oakland – Everybody
    Who we’d want – I don’t think Billy Beane knows the meaning of the word “untradable”, as he has always been willing to trade whomever he feels like whenever he feels like as long as it benefits his team. That being said, guys like Harden and Haren will be so costly we’d have no farm system left, and guys like DiNardo, Kennedy, and Gaudin aren’t that useful. That leaves Joe Blanton, who I wouldn’t take after today’s brouhaha, but as an innings eating strike thrower who doesn’t walk a lot of guys, he’s a useful dude. Just not sure, again, I want to deal with William Beane.

    New York Yankees – I haven’t the foggiest
    Who we’d want – I’d take a chance on a healthy Mussina, but I’m not going anywhere near Andy Pettitte right now. Sure, groundball guy, but K’s are way down, walks are up… no thanks.

    Toronto – Tomo Ohka, Josh Towers, Victor Zambrano
    Who we’d want – None of those guys.

    Philadelphia – Stand Pat Gillick trade? Hah!
    Who we’d want – Cole Hamels. I didn’t say it was guys we could get, I just said guys “who we’d want”. Dave said Moyer, I dunno about that. Lieber? Meh. Adam Eaton? Hell no.

    Thoughts.

  91. nickpdx on July 8th, 2007 10:07 pm

    Saw Mickolio throw on Friday here in Portland, 3 strong innings with 4 K’s albeit against a Beavers squad without a whole lot to offer with the bats. His fastball sat at 94-95-96, low in the zone with what looked from my seat like a good bit of movement. He had another fastball that I guess could’ve been the cutter that was 90-91. And what’s better, he didn’t walk anybody.

  92. msb on July 8th, 2007 10:11 pm

    I think second half, and I see Miller, Bonderman, Rogers and Verlander looming.

    I just want something to happen that can deal with that line-up.

  93. cynic167 on July 8th, 2007 10:22 pm

    I have to agree with 1000N – the Ibanez/Santana comparison doesn’t pass the common sense test.

    If we (charitably) assume Bautista is an average pitcher, if we dropped him on a team with an average offense/defense/bullpen, we would assume his team would win half of his games. If we assume he had 18 starts (to use a round number) in the second half of the season, we would expect his team to win 9 games.

    I think it’s reasonable to assume a top pitcher on an average team would see wins in two-thirds of their starts. I don’t believe that’s too far off what experience tells us has been the case – certainly it’s on par with what top pitchers have experienced in the first half of this year. That would translate to 12 wins in 18 starts. In that case, Santana is worth 3 wins over a half of a season – double what is being implied.

    If the numbers 85 came up with are reasonable, we would have to believe 18 extra hits (mostly singles) would translate into 15 runs…which I think is a stretch by any measure.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t move Ibanez out of left, but I think the comparison is a bit unfair.

  94. 1000N on July 8th, 2007 10:23 pm

    “-80% of run prevention is pitching? Across the board? Really?”

    Yes, really.

    “-You can divide the “difference” in run prevention evenly across the entire defensive field? In other words, you’re saying that the pitcher’s fielding (i.e. not his pitching itself) accounts for just as much run prevention as that of the center fielder?”

    I’m pretty sure you’re right that you can’t divide evenly. The first baseman isn’t nearly as important as the shortstop. Then again, the left fielder isn’t nearly as important as the shortstop, center fielder, second baseman, third baseman, or catcher, either, even at Safeco Field. He might be more important than the first baseman, though. I thought I was being generous by assigning 1/9 of total defensive value to the left fielder.

    If you wanted to point out the obvious flaw in my analysis, you should have mentioned that the 182 run difference was summed up over a whole bunch of pluses and minuses for BOTH teams. Thus, to make the total differ by 182, there had to be some much larger than average swings in there. After all, even San Diego has below average players in some positions, and Texas does have some above average.

  95. hcoguy on July 8th, 2007 10:24 pm

    Holy crap. I had no idea that a baseball was smart enough to know that it was a precious commodity that must be shared and not hogged. Ichiro has not learned this lesson. The ball inherently knows that it must be evenly distributed among all fielders equally. 1/9th of the time it must go directly in front of the catcher. 1/9th of the time it must go right back to it’s thrower, the pitcher. 1/9th of the time it must go to that usually large, uncoordinated 1b man. 1/9th of the time it must go to the eh, not quite ss material 2b man. 1/9th of the time it goes to the best infielder of the bunch, the SS. No, not that SS. 1/9th of the time it must go the H.C. Hot Corner. 1/9th of the time is goes to the cannon arm, RF. 1/9th of the time is goes to the lone ranger, the CF. 1/9th of the time goes to the suckfest, the LF. Amazing responsibility the ball has. It must perform its job each and every day, always making sure it goes to each and every fielder an equal number of times. Otherwise it makes mathematical geniuses such as 1000n look like a jerk. That would be unfortunate.

  96. 1000N on July 8th, 2007 10:33 pm

    My analysis can be repaired by assuming that the ENTIRE difference between San Diego and Texas in run prevention can be accounted for by pitching, i.e. that the two teams are equivalent defensively. Since the difference between the best pitching and the worst pitching is 182 runs, that would say that the difference between the best defense and the worst would be about 1/4 of that, again using the 80-20 split. This would be about 46 runs.

    That ups the defensive difference in left field from 4 to 5 runs from best to worst, but that’s nowhere near 15.

    I’ve been on my soapbox for too long this evening. Dave’s conclusion is still right on the money: The Mariners can and should do better defensively in left field.

  97. 1000N on July 8th, 2007 10:34 pm

    hcoguy: If you want to think that the left fielder is more important than 1/9 of the total defense of a time, be my guest.

  98. 1000N on July 8th, 2007 10:35 pm

    Er, I mean team.

  99. Jeff Nye on July 8th, 2007 10:36 pm

    Actually, in Safeco Field, left field is one of the most important defensive positions, due to the way the park is constructed. So for any team that plays half of its games there, you’re probably pretty heavily underestimating the importance of that position.

    Am I really right?

    Yes, really.

  100. Matthew Carruth on July 8th, 2007 10:41 pm

    Wow, that seems like completely unnecessary sarcasm.

  101. Matthew Carruth on July 8th, 2007 10:43 pm

    No, you’re not right. LF is more important in SafeCo than in other parts, but it’s still not one of the most important.

  102. hcoguy on July 8th, 2007 10:44 pm

    I’m not specifying LF as easier or harder, just saying that someone that deals with mathematical absolutes is awfully quick to assume the ball in play distribution is equal. I would guess that fewer balls go directly to the catcher and pitcher than everywhere else but that is just a guess. According to PO and Assist data on hardballtimes.com. LF sees slightly fewer putouts than RF. The infield sees the majority of POs and Assists of course. But…and here’s the kicker. MOST runs are scored on balls that reach the outfield (and the stands) than balls kicked around in the infield. A booted ball by a LF is FAR more damaging than betancourt stopping but not gloving one. Of course him throwing one away is even worse… but that’s another story. The thing is, all this data has been researched and certain conclusions have been made upon which the models that Dave is working on are based so I think I and most of the readers are just gonna trust his conclusions on it.

  103. Jeff Nye on July 8th, 2007 10:54 pm

    That was the entire point of my post, really.

    What 1000N basically did:

    -Subtracted the number of runs allowed by the best run preventing team from the worst run presenting team, giving a number that is the difference between their overall run prevention. We’re okay so far;

    -Took 20% of that number for reasons he continues to refuse to justify at all, deeming that to be the total contribution of the defense to run prevention;

    -Divided that number by 9, simply because that’s how many defenders are on the field at a time;

    I’ll take Dave’s history of providing accurate and well researched analysis over dividing 20% of a number by 9.

  104. juneau_fan on July 8th, 2007 10:58 pm

    This is our one chance for rosterbation? I’m going to take it, dammit!

    We can all fantasize about who we want, but there’s who we can realistically hope to get. I’ve got a sort of maybe guess.

    The Giants and M’s are comfortable trade partners. The M’s have what the Giants desperately need–big-league ready prospects and the Giants have what we desperately need–starting pitching. The big problem is, they’ll want to dump Morris.

    I have no ability for pitcher evaluation; don’t know if the M’s should want Noah Lowry, but he’s young and has had success. It sounds insane that they’d give him up, but the Giants are against a wall. Their line up and bullpen is AWFUL and/or old, and how many free agents can they hope to acquire in the off season? For all the coverage, Bonds has that large fork sticking out of his back. On the other hand, as terrible as Zito’s been, he’s either got to die from the cancer he’s been hiding or return to mean next year, and they’d have Cain and Lincecum still. A trade now would also give them the last half of the season to audition minor league SPs.

    The only question is, are they desperate enough right now? And can they smell the M’s sweat? Besides, all the fans are convinced they’re getting Ichiro in the off season, and after A-rod batting his eyelashes at them, him too. Who knows if the FO shares these dreams.

  105. Edgar For Pres on July 8th, 2007 10:58 pm

    I don’t want to be that guy but wouldn’t it be almost as good to have Bloomquist DH against LHP.

    I mean if you really want to make a better team, Vidro isn’t really the best available option we have against LHP. If you really wanted a better hitter wouldn’t it just be better to DFA Vidro (and eat his salary) and then call up a RHB like Wlad or Morse.

    The other posibility I see is to call up Wlad and DFA/trade Ellison. Then you’d play Wlad in place of Vidro and use Vidro as a bench bat. Vidro as a bench bat has a little value at least because he’s not going to have a significant platoon split so managers won’t be able to bring in something like a LOOGY to deal with him.

  106. F-Rod on July 8th, 2007 11:06 pm

    I’m on board for just about everything here. A needed move should be to get Ibanez out of the lineup against lefties (or at the very least in the eighth spot). A trade should occur as well and I like the idea of a Moyer or Moyer type guy (lefty). Even a big-time reliever addition would be a nice pick up. I actually like Vidro as a pure bench guy/dh vs lefties. Forget the salary and use him similar to how teams use J. Mabry/ D. Hansen. He isn’t a bad guy to pinch hit late against a lefty or a righty if all you need is a single.

  107. hcoguy on July 8th, 2007 11:09 pm

    Vidro is even vs. LH or RH for his career and this year as well so if he’s inadequate for one might as well ditch him altogether. Especially with two great righties at AAA. If he was a pure lefty or at least switch with a stronger platoon vs those feisty no-name righties we suck against, than he’d have more starting value.

  108. SethGrandpa on July 8th, 2007 11:50 pm

    Ya know calling up AJ is good and all, but I think I’d prefer that Batista for Santana trade just to be double sure. ;-)

  109. VaughnStreet on July 9th, 2007 12:37 am

    After today I’d rather keep Ellison and DFA Vidro. Ellison has value defensively, whereas Vidro totally sucks on the field. The Mariners need to make bold moves where it makes sense to do so, and if they want to win a pennant, the attitude has to be screw the cost. After all, when they acquired Vidro and Weaver, the attitude then was screw the cost. So why shouldn’t they think that way now?

    Free AJ!!!!

  110. smac on July 9th, 2007 12:56 am

    Could you explain how AJ’s arm is factored into your +/- of his defense? All talk seems to be about range. Is that factor being left out? Is there work on the value of an “extra base,” because of weak armed outfielders? Has the value of these extra bases (bases not allowed in AJ’s case) been put into some formula that factors into the +15 number? Maybe you could give me a for instance. What’s the runs difference betweeen Ichiro in center and Damon just based on arm, not range?

    P.S. thanks for a great site. My brother (who happened to play Pac-10 baseball) just said to me today, “I just wish they could find a way to get Willie Bloomquist in the line-up everyday. He makes so many good things happen” I couldn’t stop laughing.

  111. Bodhizefa on July 9th, 2007 2:09 am

    Javier Vazquez, Andrew Sonnanstine, Kevin Millwood, Jason Jennings, and Mike Mussina would be my targets right about now. I don’t think Jennings is going anywhere, and the Devil Rays might not want to move Sonnanstine so soon, so neither of those are very likely. I wouldn’t mind Millwood at all as I’ve always thought of him as a fairly reliable #2/#3 starter (more of a #3 with occasional years of #2 status), and Texas might sell him off for less just to rid themselves of the contract (perhaps wishful thinking since they’re divisional foes). Mussina’s an all-time favorite of mine, so it’d be awesome to see him jump ship to the M’s, and I think he’d really help out the rest of the pitching staff in terms of his knowledge, too (Felix especially). Vazquez would be my last choice as I’ve never liked his mental approach to the game and I don’t want him teaching Felix any bad approaches. However, I’d take him in a pinch as he’s much better than what we have, and he’d be a better pitcher for our park than almost any other in the AL.

  112. Typical Idiot Fan on July 9th, 2007 4:15 am

    I don’t think Jennings is going anywhere

    I don’t either, but who knows what the Astros are going to do. They’re in a very weird position.

    and the Devil Rays might not want to move Sonnanstine so soon

    Like say, six years since he hasn’t even really built up any ML service time yet, drafted in 2004.

    I wouldn’t mind Millwood at all as I’ve always thought of him as a fairly reliable #2/#3 starter (more of a #3 with occasional years of #2 status), and Texas might sell him off for less just to rid themselves of the contract (perhaps wishful thinking since they’re divisional foes).

    K-rates are going down, but they’re not terrible, it’s the increase in walks that concerns me. He’s getting just a tad unlucky with his homeruns (13.2% homerun rate) and strand rate is below average (66.5%) and his BABIP is way up there above his averages (.351). So it is possible that Millwood could experience a good second half to even out his averages more, but this is the first time he’s had a K:BB under two, so I don’t really know what to make of it. He has had an injury this season, though it was “nothing serious”, so who knows.

    Mussina’s an all-time favorite of mine, so it’d be awesome to see him jump ship to the M’s, and I think he’d really help out the rest of the pitching staff in terms of his knowledge, too (Felix especially).

    Mussina is the only Yankee I would take that would even maybe be available. But I don’t think the Yanks are going to sell snot. Cashman selling would admit defeat, and that would probably mean his job. Hell, his days may be numbered anyway.

    Vazquez would be my last choice as I’ve never liked his mental approach to the game and I don’t want him teaching Felix any bad approaches. However, I’d take him in a pinch as he’s much better than what we have, and he’d be a better pitcher for our park than almost any other in the AL.

    FIP: 3.65
    xFIP: 3.85
    K/9: 9.0
    BB/9: 2.2

    Yes please.

  113. Typical Idiot Fan on July 9th, 2007 4:19 am

    Except Vazquez would have to waive his no-trade clause. According to MLB Contracts Vazquez has a limited no-trade clause to all 9 NL West and AL West teams. He also is going to cost 12.5 million this year, and 11.5 million as part of an extension for the next three years.

    In other words, barring trade, he’d be with the club until 2010 and his age 33-34 season.

  114. Dave on July 9th, 2007 6:08 am

    Since the difference between the best pitching and the worst pitching is 182 runs, that would say that the difference between the best defense and the worst would be about 1/4 of that, again using the 80-20 split. This would be about 46 runs

    Okay, so, briefly summing up where you’ve gone wrong.

    1. Defensive contributions are not evenly distrubuted among positions. The catcher and the pitcher have almost no discernable relative impact on converting balls in play into outs. They obviously impact the game in other ways, but for the purposes of defensive evaluations, they’re basically best left ignored. There are only 7 players on the field who have significant impact on the team’s abilities to turn balls in play into outs.

    2. The spread in talent at positions is not even. This is important, and being that you’re a mathy person, I’m surprised you didn’t pick up on this. Average is necessarily designed as relative to the contributions made by other teams players at that position. If the Mariners decided to stick Kenji Johjima at shortstop on Thursday, he’d now be getting compared to some of the best defenders in baseball and would look, obviously, relatively horrible, far worse than if the M’s stuck him at first base.

    3. Teams do not employ evenly talented defenders. The best defenses in recent history have been, as a team, about 100 runs above average over the course of a season. The ’02 Anaheim Angels defense, for example, was tremendous, and to a lesser extent, so was last year’s Detroit Tigers defense.

    However, you can’t simply make the assumption that the defensive contributions of the players on the field is anything close to the same. Using some rough estimates of last year’s Tigers, for instance.

    Marcus Thames – average, +0.
    Curtis Granderson, terrific, +15
    Magglio Ordonez, bad, -10
    Brandon Inge, terrific, +15
    Carlos Guillen, average, +0
    Placido Polanco, terrific, +10
    Sean Casey/Chris Shelton, terrific, +10
    Omar Infante/Neifi Perez/various subs, terrific, +20 combined

    As a team, they’d be +60. For whatever reason, you want to assume that Marcus Thames and Magglio Ordonez were just as big of a factor in that +60 as Curtis Granderson, Brandon Inge, or Placido Polanco. But you shouldn’t assume that, because it’s demonstratively not true.

    Or, to use the Mariners current outfield as an example. They’re horrible, something like -20 as a group. What do you think better reflects reality? That all three are -7, or that Ibanez is -15, Guillen is -10, and Ichiro is +5?

    The work that has been done on defensive metrics has been performed by some of the best minds in baseball. You really don’t need to worry about the math being wrong on their end. The data’s not perfect (which is why you see me use phrases like “about” and “approximately” a lot, as well as using ranges such as +5 to +10), so if you don’t want to believe the numbers, you should quibble with the inputs. The formulas that derive the values from those inputs, however, are just fine.

  115. Mr. Egaas on July 9th, 2007 6:33 am

    Not to mention left field at the safe is huge… It’s not the same as playing left field in say, Fenway Park.

  116. azruavatar on July 9th, 2007 6:44 am

    @114

    fix the second Crede while no one’s looking. (even though he was an above average 3B last season too).

  117. azruavatar on July 9th, 2007 7:04 am

    The catcher and the pitcher have almost no discernable relative impact on converting balls in play into outs.

    Has there been any attempt by the advanced defensive metrics to quantify the impact of reducing the running game. More specifically the impact of throwing runners out and picking them off first. I’m less interested in the intagible “catcher A is hard to run on” than catcher A has gunned down X runners and that constitutes X runs.

  118. Dave on July 9th, 2007 7:07 am

    Keith Woolner did a lot of work on the subject before he left BP to work for the Cleveland Indians. The results generally showed that a great arm, a Pudge-in-his-prime kind of guy, could save something like 5 to 10 runs a year, and the horrible, noodle armed guys like Piazza were costing their teams about the same amount.

    But almost everyone else clustered towards the middle, and in general, the effects of most catchers throwing arms was somewhere in the range of a couple of runs.

  119. Dave on July 9th, 2007 7:25 am

    No, you’re not right. LF is more important in SafeCo than in other parts, but it’s still not one of the most important.

    Yes it is. I’d argue that, in Safeco, the defensive spectrum looks something like this:

    CF-SS-LF-2B-3B-RF-1B

  120. Dave on July 9th, 2007 7:29 am

    Could you explain how AJ’s arm is factored into your +/- of his defense?

    It’s not – the value of an outfield arm is vastly overrated by most fans, with even the very best throwers only saving a couple of runs a year with their arms. Over half a season, the difference between Ibanez and Jones throwing the ball from left field would be negligible.

    That said, Jones has an absolute cannon, better than either Ichiro or Guillen, so if you’re into throwing arms, well, you should really want Adam Jones in Seattle.

  121. gwangung on July 9th, 2007 7:38 am

    It’s not – the value of an outfield arm is vastly overrated by most fans, with even the very best throwers only saving a couple of runs a year with their arms.

    If I’m not mistaken, it’s far more important that an outfielder has range. Arm strength is important for balls you don’t get to AND where there are runners on base AND where a good throw can cut a runner at home (for left field, this is essentially cut down to plays at the plate, and a fraction of them, at that).

    If you think about it, you probably have many instances of the former, as opposed to the latter.

  122. Free Range Chicken on July 9th, 2007 7:41 am

    If the team was going to bring up Jones, when would the announcement most likely be made? After the AS game?

    Did anyone notice McLaren in the Times saying how important working the count and getting BBs was?

  123. davepaisley on July 9th, 2007 7:43 am

    Re:110 “Willie Bloomquist… makes so many good things happen” (quote from brother)

    So many people think this that there has to be an explanation. I think it’s this: WFB gets in the middle of a lot of stuff because he is inserted into games in high leverage situations (generally pinch running in late inning close games.)

    He doesn’t get on base himself, but he does end up stealing a base (memorable event) or crossing the plate with a go-ahead run (another memorable event.) So people remember those and think that he is somehow more responsible for being there than he really is.

    Then, when he starts and gets his weekly (weakly?) hit, it just reinforces all those other good things they remember. I guess striking out or grounding out weakly just isn’t as memorable.

  124. Dave on July 9th, 2007 7:47 am

    If the team was going to bring up Jones, when would the announcement most likely be made? After the AS game?

    Thursday. Adam Jones is scheduled to participate in the Triple-A all-star game on Wednesday night. Last year, the team was planning on calling him up immediately after the break and prevented him from playing in the all-star game, and they may do the same this year. If AJ doesn’t play Wednesday night, you’ll have your answer of whether he’s joining the team or not.

  125. cjdahl60 on July 9th, 2007 8:14 am

    Wow. Great stuff. Can we please get a volunteer to print out this post and hand it McLaren, as well as email it to key front office personnel?

  126. Dave on July 9th, 2007 8:25 am

    Key front office personnel read the blog. No need to bombard the organization with this.

  127. Jeff Nye on July 9th, 2007 8:25 am

    The people who think Willie Bloomquist should be starting are generally the sort who have watched “Rudy” a few too many times.

    Actually, one of the pleasant surprises so far this year has been the fact that not only has Willie been used relatively appropriately, but he’s mostly kept his mouth shut about it in the media as far as I can tell.

    Anytime you want to switch jobs, Willie, you just let me know; I can come in and get three scrappy infield grounders every once in a while, too.

  128. Crooklyn Banks on July 9th, 2007 8:41 am

    Anyone here agree that Feierabend should be sent down?

  129. Free Range Chicken on July 9th, 2007 8:47 am

    Dave, any other ideas yet besides Moyer for starting pitching pickups (likely or not)?

    I am really down with the Jones move, as is everyone writing here. It will likely happen, but not how we want to work. I’m afraid they’ll bring him up to ride the bench.

  130. Jar on July 9th, 2007 8:51 am

    “I’m afraid they’ll bring him up to ride the bench.”

    I don’t know, I think the organization, for as many stupid things it does, wouldn’t do that. If that was the plan they would have done it along time ago.

  131. bermanator on July 9th, 2007 9:00 am

    Vidro question:

    Reading between the lines, there seems to be a sentiment here that he won’t be benched because it would imply that management would be admitting that dealing for him was a mistake.

    Why would that be?

    OK, the arguments here detailing why the trade was not a fair exchange of value have been rehashed here a million times, and I’m not insinuating that the team got fair value for Snelling and Fruto. But practically speaking, one of the two guys Seattle dealt is in the minors and the other is on the DL for the hundredth time in his brief, unlucky career. As far as most of the non-USS Mariner fanbase is concerned, right this second, that deal was nothing for nothing.

    Will there really be enough of a loss of face for management that the team would be reluctant to reduce Vidro’s playing time?

  132. terry on July 9th, 2007 9:04 am

    #131: Don’t forget the payroll differential in the trade… The Ms are paying an awful lot of money for an approximately replacement level DH at a position where solutions are pretty easy to come by….

  133. bermanator on July 9th, 2007 9:08 am

    132-

    I agree — I want to make it clear that I’m not arguing that the trade was a good one. Dave has posted enough text here on that to rival Tolstoy at his most prolific.

    But I don’t think that, Major League-ready talent for Major League Ready talent, it was a bad enough deal that management would be afraid to reduce his time. And if the issue is the contract … is he really making so much more than Ben Broussard that one has to play and the other doesn’t?

  134. Oysterpirate on July 9th, 2007 9:25 am

    Hey Dave, longtime reader and fan of your writing.

    Well, here’s my question(s): Could the Mariners perhaps swindle a desperate Yankees front office with the pitch that Sexson’s a “great 2nd half hitter?” Could Sexson’s decent 2nd half last year be good enough to perhaps persuade them to at least allow us to dump Richie’s payroll on them? Perhaps even for a few minor prospects and cash considerations or what not? If they keep rolling downhill, the likelihood of an impulsive decision, perhaps during a late night with Bill Bavasi and one too many beers, increases exponentially…

  135. CCW on July 9th, 2007 9:26 am

    Bermanator, regarding Vidro: “As far as most of the non-USS Mariner fanbase is concerned, right this second, that deal was nothing for nothing.”

    Except for one thing: Snelling and Fruto are essentially free this year, while Vidro will cost the M’s $12M before all is said and done. That $12M dollars is much more than nothing. If the $6M that is being spent on Vidro this year were instead directed at, for example, a real upgrade to the starting rotation, the M’s would be significantly better. Practically speaking, if the trade wasn’t made, the M’s would (a) in all likelihood have a better record right now (Broussard and Snelling taking vidro’s AB’s); and (b) have $6,000,000 burning a hole in their pocket.

  136. Dave on July 9th, 2007 9:29 am

    Could the Mariners perhaps swindle a desperate Yankees front office with the pitch that Sexson’s a “great 2nd half hitter?

    If the Yankees thought that the Mariners actually believed that, then the Mariners wouldn’t be trying to trade him.

    Brian Cashman is a smart guy. The Yankees haven’t made any horrible trades for overpaid, crappy players in a long, long time.

    So, no, I don’t see there being any real chance that the Yankees take Sexson off the Mariners hands. Also, I don’t see any real chance that the M’s explore a chance to just dump Sexson for nothing in the middle of a pennant race.

    The only way Sexson gets moved, and this is the longest of long shots, is if the M’s swapped him for another big salary underperformer, such as Carlos Delgado. But the odds of the Mariners and Mets getting involved in that kind of deal are somewhere between slim and none.

  137. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 9:30 am

    135-

    the shitty part about the vidro trade is the money…snelling is done…it’s sad but true…fruto is no big loss…it’s all about the coin we are paying vidro, and the ABs he’s stealing from BB and Jones…

  138. CCW on July 9th, 2007 9:32 am

    By the way, Bermanator, I see now that I sorta missed your point. You’re speaking from the perspective of the non-USS Mariner fan-base, regarding loss of face in dumping Vidro. You might be right. I don’t think a lot of folks are wrapped up in what the M’s traded to get Vidro, although they may be paying some attention to what they’re paying him.

    Also, a few mainstream articles (i.e. in the PI or Seattle times, not Geoff Baker) have been written lately discussing Vidro’s empty batting average and basic lack of value. I don’t hear Rick and Dave extolling his virtues much anymore either. And even Groz and Gas have acknowledged the emptiness of his batting average. I don’t think the general populace likes Vidro that much at this point.

  139. johnb on July 9th, 2007 9:35 am

    We are headed into the second half hot, very hot, and only 2 1/2 games out. The Mariner’s want to win now, and will make the neccesary moves along the way to strengthen the team for the stretch.

    Dave’s idea of a platoon is the only real solution right now, and it makes a lot of sense as we enter the dog days of Summer to give the older guys some rest.

    I can see Vidro getting less playing time in the second half of the year if that is what is needed to get past the Angel’s.

  140. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 9:36 am

    Dave, 1) You don’t think that the Bobby Abreau deal was bad for the Yankees? They are dying to get someone to take him off their hands…

    2) Do you think that RF did enough in his start yesterday to keep his job, or are they going to give it to Ho-Ram?

    3) What do you think the numerical odds are that Jones gets the call in the next couple days?

    4) What do you think will happen with WLAD? I know he is out of options, so do we bring him up, trade him, or just let him walk?

    Thanks.

  141. Dave on July 9th, 2007 9:42 am

    You don’t think that the Bobby Abreau deal was bad for the Yankees? They are dying to get someone to take him off their hands…

    He hit .330/.419/.507 after joining the Yankees last year and was their best hitter down the stretch. They gave up nothing to get him. Even with his disappearing power this year, he’s still a vastly superior player to Richie Sexson.

    Do you think that RF did enough in his start yesterday to keep his job, or are they going to give it to Ho-Ram?

    Ramirez is the 5th starter after the break.

    3) What do you think the numerical odds are that Jones gets the call in the next couple days?

    80-20. I think he’s with the team on Thursday.

    What do you think will happen with WLAD? I know he is out of options, so do we bring him up, trade him, or just let him walk?

    Well, there’s no scenario where he “walks”. They’ll either trade him before the beginning of next season or carry him as part of their 25 man roster next year. The smart money is still on a trade.

  142. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 9:44 am

    Dave, thanks for the quick and informative response…not to happy about Ramirez taking the ball again, but the thoughts on Jones and WLAD are encouraging…

    So will they DFA ellison if they call up Jones? or who do you think?

  143. Dave on July 9th, 2007 9:45 am

    I think Ellison probably saved himself from a DFA yesterday with the sticking-up-for-Ichiro thing. My guess is Feierabend heads back to Tacoma, they go with 11 pitchers for a few days, and then make a decision when Horacio Ramirez needs to be activated to start on Monday.

  144. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 9:53 am

    that and he was money at the plate, with the glove, and on the bases…he had a great game for a fourth outfielder yesterday…sticking up for Ichiro was freaking awesome…

  145. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 9:57 am

    just looked at the standings…we’d have the BEST record in the league if we were in national…this is a fun, fun season…

  146. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 10:02 am

    Here is our “First Half Grade” from Scott Miller at cbssportsline.com

    First Half: 49-36, .576 (2nd in AL West) Grade
    J.J. Putz, as predicted a year ago by Eddie Guardado, has joined the elite closers in the game like Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Joe Nathan and Francisco Rodriguez. Even if these were the stinky old Mariners, they’d be worth watching for Putz alone. Happily, though, there’s nothing odiferous about this crew: Mike Hargrove’s stunning resignation notwithstanding, Seattle ranks as one of the game’s most pleasant surprises. The Mariners will have a difficult time catching the Angels unless GM Bill Bavasi finds more pitching at the break (or unless Jeff Weaver channels his early-career success). But they’re winning enough that it should entice Ichiro Suzuki to seriously consider returning in ’08 rather than fleeing as a free agent. Let’s see Richie Sexson pick up that average in the second half, Adrian Beltre catch a hot streak and Yuniesky Betancourt throw straighter from shortstop. Grade: B+

  147. Safeco Hobo on July 9th, 2007 10:18 am

    What happens with HoRam if/when the M’s pick up another starter at the deadline? Do they hold on to him and move him to bullpen as a long reliever? or do they just DFA him?

    I’m sure this all depends on who they could pick up and how HoRam pitches in the his couple starts before the deadline.

  148. fetish on July 9th, 2007 10:29 am

    ESPN makes a backhanded reference to the open letter, saying the Chaves told Hernandez that he can’t have batters sitting on a particular pitch – but then reports they gave him a new grip on his curveball, and that’s the cause for his turnaround.

    Dave, can we confirm a change in the Felix’s curveball action?

  149. Jar on July 9th, 2007 10:34 am

    #148 – Buster Olney is an idiot.

  150. Rusty on July 9th, 2007 10:50 am

    1000n… “There’s practically no bigger fan of mathematical / statistical modeling in the world than me”

    I always get a huge chuckle out of the phrase… “There’s no bigger fan…” Unless it’s a guy talking about his homely wife, I sport a good laugh over the following efforts to convince me.

    Per trades… the mention of Daniel Cabrera, above, I find interesting. I wonder if his high BB rate could be neutralized somewhat by the better infield (double plays) defense in Seattle, and his flyball tendencies could be helped by the spacious outfield. Would Baltimore accept anything less than Jones for a pitcher who is heading into his arbitration years?

  151. party4marty on July 9th, 2007 11:02 am

    How about sexson for Zito and cash?

  152. Paul B on July 9th, 2007 11:16 am

    I’d argue that, in Safeco, the defensive spectrum looks something like this:

    CF-SS-LF-2B-3B-RF-1B

    Is that more a spectrum of opportunities, though, rather than a spectrum of skill set needed and scarcity of that skill set?

  153. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 11:18 am

    151- you can’t be serious…

  154. Colm on July 9th, 2007 11:19 am

    151 – yeah, that would need to be a seriously large pile of cash.

  155. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 11:23 am

    151- the zito contract was ridiculous, and i’m sure that the giants are regretting it…i’d want no part of it unless they paid for it…

  156. Colm on July 9th, 2007 11:23 am

    Re: “There’s no bigger fan”

    I always find it amusing when somebody says
    “I’m a big X fan”.

    E.g.: Maybe I remark that I don’t much like chocolate, and someone retorts “Oh, I’m a big chocoloate fan.” I just get this image of a big old Cinni oscillating fan made entirely out of Cadbury’s chocolate, and it makes me smile.

  157. fetish on July 9th, 2007 11:24 am

    I kind of like a “buy low” option – going for a guy like say, Barry Zito. The Giants are bad, they don’t look to be getting particularly better anytime soon, and Zito’s value is as low as it’s gonna get.

    Given what we’re paying for mid-level FA pitchers these days, $10m/year for Zito isn’t too much; especially for a “proven” guy like Zito.

    What do you give up for Zito? I think a package including Balentein + a certain Young White Hustler + some overvalued bullpen arm might do the trick – a prospect, a stopgap, and an arm, plus the cost savings – would be a dream for me.

  158. arbeck on July 9th, 2007 11:27 am

    Zito is awful. 7 years at $126 million? He’s not living up to it now. What do you expect in years 5, 6, and 7? The Giants would probably give him to you for free if you paid the salary.

  159. Dave on July 9th, 2007 11:32 am

    #148 – Buster Olney is an idiot.

    Actually, I like Olney a lot. He’s come a long ways from his productive outs campaign.

    Dave, can we confirm a change in the Felix’s curveball action?

    Jeff Sullivan looked at his arm angle a few weeks ago, and after reviewing the video, the curve was the one pitch that appeared the same all year. He clearly lowered his arm slot on his fastball/slider (which is why he’s getting less movement on both), but if Olney talked to Chaves and was told that they’re gripping his curve differently, they probably are. I haven’t noticed a significant difference on his curveball, though.

    Would Baltimore accept anything less than Jones for a pitcher who is heading into his arbitration years?

    Maybe, but even then, I’m not sure that Cabrera is the type of guy that the M’s should be looking for. If Leo Mazzone can’t fix him…

    How about sexson for Zito and cash?

    If cash equals = $80 or $90 million, maybe. Barry Zito is not a good pitcher, and he’s the most overpaid player in the game. By the time that contract ends, it could easily go down as the worst in baseball history.

  160. Steve T on July 9th, 2007 11:37 am

    Anyone who still believes 85 games could win the division is dreaming. The Angels are on pace for what, 97? Even if you think that’s puffed up a little, they’re not going to play the rest of the season at a 73-win pace. I think 95 is a much better guess. We’re only 2 1/2 games out, but we’re not going to win it if we FADE from where we are.

    Interestingly, we’re not currently sitting in the Wild Card spot either, yet we have a better record than ANY TEAM in the NL.

  161. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 11:39 am

    zito isn’t what he used to be, but he’d be better than our 4th or 5th…i’d take him for free…or close to it…which will never happen…there are some arms out there that can be had…dave you mentioned the other day you’d have a list sometime…any arms you think we should go after and could realistically get?

  162. Cynical Optimist on July 9th, 2007 11:43 am

    131, 132 & 133 -

    Broussard is only under contract for this year at $3.55 million. Vidro is owed $7.5 million this year and $8.5 in 2008. [He also has a vesting option for 2009 which, presumably, the M's will ensure he does not meet.]

    I can’t claim to know the decision-making process but it seems likely that Vidro DOES make that much more than Broussard that it is a factor.

    Just to be clear: I’m not saying that’s a good thing.

  163. AZ on July 9th, 2007 11:45 am

    Dave,

    As far as trade strategy is concerned, how does keeping a player in the minors play? Does it improve trade value to have high numbers in AAA rather than expected numbers in the majors?

    Is there the possibility that Adam Jones is still down there to inflate his potential trade value?

  164. Dave on July 9th, 2007 11:48 am

    As far as trade strategy is concerned, how does keeping a player in the minors play? Does it improve trade value to have high numbers in AAA rather than expected numbers in the majors?

    It doesn’t. The whole concept of showcasing a guy, or putting him somewhere to put up big numbers to impress another team for a trade is basically a myth. Teams don’t trade for statlines – if someone’s going to trade for Adam Jones or Wladimir Balentien, they’re going to do so based on their internal scouting reports (which they’ve been accumulating for years). Even the teams that lean heavily towards statistical analysis will make sure they scout the prospects they’d be receiving in any major deal.

  165. arbeck on July 9th, 2007 11:51 am

    bako,

    I don’t really see any arms available that you’d actually want. Javier Vasquez would be nice, but he won’t come here. Everyone else is either on a contender, or young enough and cheap enough that they aren’t going to get traded.

  166. Colm on July 9th, 2007 11:54 am

    Are there any verifiable Matt Morris rumours I should worry about?

    Or Matt Morris boosters on KJR whom I can start to loathe?

  167. Jar on July 9th, 2007 11:55 am

    “Actually, I like Olney a lot. He’s come a long ways from his productive outs campaign.”

    Dave, all I know is he is on the radio every morning in Kansas City talking about the hard on he has for Derek Jeter, it’s more then I can handle. I don’t really ever read anything at ESPN, so maybe he is better then he comes across as on the radio, but when the local radio hosts ask him any baseball question the answer somehow includes some comment about Derek Jeter being the greatest player ever. This is what leads me to beleive he is an idiot.

  168. quickkick87 on July 9th, 2007 11:56 am

    Hi Dave,

    I had a question I was wondering if you had an answer to. I absolutely agree that AJ needs to come up from Tacoma and play in left every day. My question is, does it seem feasible to make Ibanez the everyday DH, start Broussard at first, and try to trade sexson to the minor league for some decent pitching?

  169. Jar on July 9th, 2007 11:57 am

    Yes, and the “productive outs” stuff, but I haven’t paid much attention since, so I guess I can give him the benifit.

  170. fetish on July 9th, 2007 12:00 pm

    I see the Mariners as better than the Angels right now. I’ve watched Major League enough to know what esprit de corps can do for a team. The M’s are playing .670 ball over June and July, so it’s not just one streak. I think one of Sexson/Guillen/Beltre/Lopez is due to break out in the second half.

  171. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 12:02 pm

    170- if he doesn’t cool off because of the AS break, Beltre is the leading candidate there…he has been HOT the last week…

  172. Adam S on July 9th, 2007 12:06 pm

    I think Ellison probably saved himself from a DFA … they go with 11 pitchers for a few days, and then make a decision when Horacio Ramirez needs to be activated to start on Monday.
    Dave, what decision would you make if it were up to you and what do you think the M’s will do? Seems like the choices are:
    1) Go with 11 pitchers, with Rowland-Smith and Morrow being the obvious candidates to be sent down. Is this up to McLaren if he needs 11 or 12 pitchers or does Bavasi have a say? Does anyone need a 7-man bullpen? Rowland-Smith’s and Davis’s three appearances each in the last 3 weeks suggests not.
    2) Drop Ellison, can they get him to Tacoma?
    3) Release Vidro.

    I guess I’d tell/encourage McLaren to live with a six-man pen. It’s not like the 6th and 7th guys get much use. My second choice would be to DFA Vidro; I don’t think they’ll do that, but Ellison seems more likely to contribute than Vidro.

  173. firova2 on July 9th, 2007 12:06 pm

    168: See 80.

  174. kentwa98030 on July 9th, 2007 12:13 pm

    trade Sexson for Griffey and alternate Griffey and Raul as DH/LF.

    Sexson is skilling this offense..and payroll. I’d take an older injury prone Grifey at this point.

  175. Jar on July 9th, 2007 12:15 pm

    Yeah, the Reds would do that in a heartbeat….

    [/sarcasm]

  176. rsrobinson on July 9th, 2007 12:25 pm

    Why put Broussard at 1B against righties and Sexson in the DH? I know Ritchie is no great shakes as a fielder, but Broussard is painful to watch defensively, and at least Sexson provides a bigger target for Yuni.

    Putting Jones into LF and DH’ing Ibanez seems like a no-brainer which means the M’s probably won’t do it. If they do it, though, I don’t see much value in keeping Vidro even as a #9 hitter against LHP. In that case Ellison would provide more value as the 25th man since he can at least be used as a pinch runner/defensive substitute.

  177. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 12:29 pm

    i just don’t see them dumping vidro and paying for it…it’s what they should do, but they won’t admit they were wrong in the first place…

  178. Chris Miller on July 9th, 2007 12:36 pm

    Sexson for Griffey?! Wow! First, keep Griffey out of LF. We need AJ there. Not another leadfoot. Second, yeah, the Reds are not going to do that.

    I’m just nto sure alternating Griffey and Ibanez at LF/DH helps the team as much as getting AJ in left and platooning Broussard and Sexson / Guillen / Vidro. If Griffey continues the pace this year, then it might, but the defensive cost would be huge, very huge, possibly negating the value of his offense.

  179. Chris Miller on July 9th, 2007 12:41 pm

    More Griffey:

    Home .297/.424/.615
    Road .273/.352/.518

    Also he plays in the NL, and is as bad a defender as possible. He has some value as a DH, but I’m not sure he’s much better than average as a DH. Certainly better than Vidro though.

  180. dw on July 9th, 2007 12:41 pm

    Is Daniel Cabrera really available? Because I’d do Cabrera for Balentien in a heartbeat. Why would the O’s even think about dumping him?

  181. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 12:41 pm

    we don’t need to bring ANY position players in except JONES! griff can come back when his contract is up to DH…all we need to win now is JONES in LF everyday and one more starting pitcher, hopefully a TRUE #3 to push Batista and Weaver down a spot each…

  182. Dave on July 9th, 2007 12:42 pm

    Are there any verifiable Matt Morris rumours I should worry about?

    Not yet. With Buehrle off the table, I expect the M’s will give Horacio Ramirez a few starts, and hold off making any deals for a pitcher until closer to the deadline.

    and try to trade sexson to the minor league for some decent pitching?

    No one’s giving the Mariners anything of value for Richie Sexson.

    Dave, what decision would you make if it were up to you and what do you think the M’s will do?

    I’d send RRS down, play the next four games with 11 pitchers, and see if I could convince Sexson or Vidro to go on the DL with a made-up injury before Monday. Failing that, I’d DFA Ellison.

  183. Mike Snow on July 9th, 2007 12:42 pm

    The whole concept of showcasing a guy, or putting him somewhere to put up big numbers to impress another team for a trade is basically a myth.

    More specifically, it’s a mistaken attempt to translate practices from other sports to baseball. You can showcase guys in basketball – take a bench player who’s a decent shooter, put him out there for 45 minutes for a few nights and run the offense for him, suddenly he’ll have a few 30-point games and look like a potential star. In baseball, the equivalent would need to be batting a guy 1st, 4th, 6th, and 9th in the lineup, then cashing in when he averages five hits a night and picks up a multi-homer game or two.

  184. Chris Miller on July 9th, 2007 12:43 pm

    Before I get ripped for the NL comment, there IS strong evidence the pitching is better in the AL, so I stand by it, but I don’t think he’d be signifigantly worse than his road numbers. A decent DH, but not “the kid”.

  185. Dave on July 9th, 2007 12:44 pm

    Is Daniel Cabrera really available? Because I’d do Cabrera for Balentien in a heartbeat. Why would the O’s even think about dumping him?

    Because he’s the most frustrating pitcher on the planet. His command hasn’t improved a lick in four years, his groundball rates and strikeout rates have both declined, and it still takes him 100+ pitches to get through 5 innings, but the velocity is still intriguing enough to potentially convince a team that he’s the power arm they need to put themselves over the top.

    I’d trade Wlad for Cabrera too, but then again, I like Wlad less than just about everyone else. Cabrera’s certainly not a no-brainer, and it’s arguable if he’d even be an upgrade over Cha Baek at this point.

  186. JMHawkins on July 9th, 2007 1:01 pm

    Go with 11 pitchers, with Rowland-Smith and Morrow being the obvious candidates to be sent down.

    Morrow, down to AA to begin his Mariner’s carrer as a Starter. Please… Next year is looking a bit rough in the SP department.

    Does anyone need a 7-man bullpen?

    A team with a couple of starters who routinely have trouble making it to the sixth inning might. Hopefully that isn’t us any longer, but it was for much of the first half.

    i just don’t see them dumping vidro and paying for it

    They DFA’d Carl Everett (and Brett Boone, and John Olerud), so I don’t see Vidro’s salary as a large obstacle. Granted, I don’t think they’ve DFA’s someone with a whole year remaining (thanks for picking up the 08 option to seal the deal Bill), but it’s in the realm of possibility.

  187. Dave on July 9th, 2007 1:03 pm

    They got rid of Spiezio in the 2nd year of his 3 year deal. But Vidro isn’t 2 for 41 or whatever Spiezio was when they released his worthless carcass.

  188. Logger on July 9th, 2007 1:06 pm

    “Worthless carcass”

    Nice call.

  189. Matt from Tacoma on July 9th, 2007 1:09 pm

    There’s a problem with this plan, in my opinion: Ellison plays a limited role, but one that you need with all of the limited defensive value players on the roster. Here’s the way I see it shaking out:

    1) Bring up Jones, play him 5 of 7 days (or so) in LF. Hide him from tough RH pitchers with good breaking stuff until he gets comfortable. Increase playing time as warranted. The last thing you want is for him to come up, struggle, and get buried on the bench.

    2) Trade Broussard either to a NL contender for a middle relief arm, or package with a prospect and cash to a bottom feeder for a busted project starter (think the 2007 version of Oliver Perez). Unless you really think that the team is going to DFA Vidro (news flash: they aren’t), he’s a redundant part. And since he’s cheap and hitting a shiny .300, he has a marginal trade value. With Jones around, his playing time is bound to shrink, and he only got 100 or so PA in the first half. He’s a nice guy – let him go have a couple of years of a real career somewhere.

    3) Swap Ellison out for Jeremy Reed. Yes, I really mean this. I think the M’s stashed Reed in T-town for the first three months to see if he could put it back together. He didn’t – he is what he is, an average defender, and a slap hitter with almost no pop. But c’mon, Ellison has gotten the bat knocked out of his hands all year and isn’t really that much of an outfielder. If you are going to continue to have Guillen in RF and will have Vidro on base in the late innings, you need a fifth outfielder. Let’s have one who can at least provide some LH flexibility and who has some MLB experience.

    4) Give Ho-Ram a shot. If he smells like team spirit, you can snag Jamie Moyer off waivers in August for a can of Skoal Bandits. If he can recapture that GB mojo from previous years, he’ll be an upgrade over Feierabend, who really has no business in a MLB rotation.

  190. MarinerDan on July 9th, 2007 1:11 pm

    Spiezio put up a tidy .272/.366/.496 line last year. But, yeah, I hate him too.

  191. Shizane on July 9th, 2007 1:14 pm

    What about Dave Bush of the Brewers? I would think that with Gallardo, Villanueva (who’s been awesome this year), and Inman waiting in the wings to start, the Brewers might want to move a SP for a corner OF when Jenkins retires (Wlad + another prospect maybe)? Dave, is this possible?

  192. Matt from Tacoma on July 9th, 2007 1:15 pm

    Remember that they wouldn’t have to necessarily DFA Vidro to make him go away and eat the cash. They could redo Cirillo/Jarvis, then DFA the Jarvis end. I still don’t think they’ll do it though, and I’m not sure they need to. I think as a bench player, Vidro has his uses – say PH for Ibanez against a LH specialist type.

  193. Crooklyn Banks on July 9th, 2007 1:26 pm

    True, but all the cash just so we don’t have with Raul against Lefties?

  194. rsrobinson on July 9th, 2007 1:26 pm

    I don’t see Beltre as the guy you want in the #3 or #4 spot. Other than the one big year in 2004 (which looks like an aberration now) he’s never sniffed 100 RBIs in a season and won’t this year either unless he puts up big second half numbers. He’s a GG caliber third baseman but is a mediocre power hitter and run producer, at best.

  195. F-Rod on July 9th, 2007 1:27 pm

    In regards to home road splits I have a question. Do players tend to hit slightly better at home compared to the league average? The hypothesis bieng that the players have more comfort with the hitting eye and dimensions?

  196. msb on July 9th, 2007 1:29 pm

    They got rid of Spiezio in the 2nd year of his 3 year deal. But Vidro isn’t 2 for 41 or whatever Spiezio was when they released his worthless carcass.

    let alone the whole Speez mid-life crisis baggage ….

  197. hansk on July 9th, 2007 1:33 pm

    I tried to think of a few teams that would need some extra outfield power (who might therefore be interested in Guillen or maybe Broussard, and to a lesser extent Sexson or Vidro).

    Would the Royals be interested in a Jose Guillen for Zach Greinke swap? I know he is very talented and was highly touted as a prospect, but I gotta think they’ve grown frustrated with him as Meche was frustrating in Seattle.

    Also, how set is the Dodgers outfield? I know they have Luis Gonzo, Pierre, and Kemp, but they could really use more power on that team. Would they be interested in Guillen? If so, would they ever part with Billingsly? He is also young and talented, though he’s just starting to come around. Is his future in the bullpen (where he’s had his success this year?). If so I don’t want him anymore.

  198. quickkick87 on July 9th, 2007 1:36 pm

    Just think how much different this conversation would be if the M’s had had the stones to go after Delgado and Tejada instead of Sexson and Beltre, eh?

  199. arbeck on July 9th, 2007 1:39 pm

    You mean the Tejada that has a .783 OPS in an easier to hit in park?

  200. hansk on July 9th, 2007 1:39 pm

    Oh, also I was told the Mets should be looking for OF help. I would like Mike Pelfrey for Guillen, but #1 I don’t know if they’d trade him since he will be good, and #2 I don’t see the Mariners trading for someone who’s not going to contribute quality innings immediatly, if they are in fact trying to compete this year. What do you think about him? Do the Mets have any others startes they might be willing to deal who we’d be interested in?

  201. Dave on July 9th, 2007 1:41 pm

    What about Dave Bush of the Brewers?

    Not available. Doug Melvin’s a smart guy, and he knows Bush is good. Teams have asked and been rebuffed.

    he’s never sniffed 100 RBIs in a season

    RBIs are a lousy way to evaluate a hitter.

    Do players tend to hit slightly better at home compared to the league average?

    AL hitters at home: .273/.343/.427
    AL hitters on road: .263/.330/.412

    The difference is about the same in the NL too. While it’s only a half season of data, it looks like your theory is true. I’d guess this has more to do with teams acquiring hitters that fit their ballpark (Mariners excluded, as this concept has been beyond them so far), but there does appear to be something of a home field advantage for the average hitter, yes.

    tried to think of a few teams that would need some extra outfield power (who might therefore be interested in Guillen or maybe Broussard, and to a lesser extent Sexson or Vidro).

    No one wants Sexson or Vidro. The M’s aren’t trading Guillen. Broussard, maybe, but still very unlikely. And no, the other teams wouldn’t be interested in your proposed scenarios.

  202. Logger on July 9th, 2007 1:41 pm

    197

    Would you give up a young talented pitcher for a player like Guillen? Neither will any other team.

  203. Dave on July 9th, 2007 1:43 pm

    Just think how much different this conversation would be if the M’s had had the stones to go after Delgado and Tejada instead of Sexson and Beltre, eh?

    Beltre, OPS+ of 118
    Tejada, OPS+ of 108

    Delgado, OPS+ of 98
    Sexson, OPS+ of 92

    They’d be worse.

  204. quickkick87 on July 9th, 2007 1:43 pm

    “You mean the Tejada that has a .783 OPS in an easier to hit in park?”

    vs. the Beltre who was paid $500,000 per homerun last year…

  205. Bearman on July 9th, 2007 1:45 pm

    As to the trade suggestions for pitching in comment #90 I haves the following comments:
    As to NL clubs being listed as possible trade partners:

    Washington Nationals:many of their TOR types too many Flyballers very unsuited for Safeco.They are giving up HRs in a more caverous field.

    St.Louis Cards:No way THEY are begging for pitching worse than the M’s are.

    Florida Marlins:Bad choice they want cheap young talent and alotof it for overrated MLBers sure Willis is good but not at their prices Mark Buehrle he isn’t.

    Philadeiphia Phillies:Outside of Hamels Gillick got nothing worth the value he’d want and no insult intended Moyer is next on the list but again not worth the value most likely demanded.

    As for the possible trade partners in the AL:
    Tampa Bay D-Rays:Right on the mark in that any SP they would part with will definately be a downgrade.
    The only SP they have that may be worth the the trade price is Kasmir and they won’t trade him unless they have no choice.

    NY Yankees:Unless they see a surge and a major fall by the Boston.
    Any SP offered will be a salary dump like Mussina or Pettite but they are both DL bait and soon.
    Unless their shopping Wang or Hughes forget it.

    ChiSox: Now that Buehrle is no longer on the trade block.Chicago has nothing worth looking at especially at the value they’d demand.

    Oakland A’s:Here’s the problems with that A’s are too good a club overall and don’t need the M’s helping them but the main eason it wouldn’t happen is Billy Beane’s standing policy of “NO TRADES WITHIN THE DIVISION”.

    Toronto Blue Jays:As with the NYYs nothing worth making an offer for that would actually help improve our SP situation for 2nd half.

    This then leaves the following as the best possible partners should the M’s seek SP help via trade:
    Baltimore O’s:While the best choice here is Eric Bedred the only other worth a look see is Daniel Cabrera but only as a PTBNL deal.
    However even that maybe too much considering his current and continued down hill ride.Too many BBs declining K’s along with very high pitch count to where he rarely lasts 5 innings.

    KC Royals:Of the possible available SPs only John Thomson is worth making offer for.He does eat innings and rests the pen in his starts would benefit from the M’s offense.

    Texas Rangers:Of the possible available SPs the only one worth the offer is Brandon McCarthy would benefit from Safeco but I just don’t see him as any higher than a #5 or long relief the M’s have enough of those in the likes of Baek/Feierabend etc…..with more at AAA.

    Cinninati Reds:Choices are pretty good here either Harang or Arroyo however of the two Harang is actually worth playing let’s make a deal for provided the Reds don’t get over demanding.

    Houston Astros:Only possible one worth the offer is Jason Jennings and the same holds here as with Reds as long as they don’t try to overdemand in their value return.

    P.S. for FYI P Victor Zambrano was released by the Toronto Blue Jays today.No bargain but maybe worth taking a league minimum flyer on for insurance in AAA.

  206. Chris Miller on July 9th, 2007 1:45 pm

    I think the royals keep Greinke until they get a good trade or he falls so low they nobody (including them) wants him, or he leaves as a FA. Outside of this GB% rate, his peripherals have improved since his debut.

    I think he was overrated at call-up (partly because he was a Royal, and who couldn’t get excited over something, as opposed to nothing).

    He’s a perenial FIP under-performer, so he’s been better than his ERA indicates the last 3 years, and he’s still young. Outside of his control I (personally, and I am not the expert here) I never thought his stuff was good, but at least in 2004 his control looked very above average, thus the “next” Maddux comparisons (kind of akin to calling all tall lefthanded flamethrowers the next Johnson).

    Has anyone paid much attention to him this year? His walk rate is back down to earth. Did he re-establish the control that made people like him to begin with?

  207. quickkick87 on July 9th, 2007 1:47 pm

    Hmm. Valid point. I was under the impression that both, but Delgado specifically, were putting up better numbers than that.

  208. arbeck on July 9th, 2007 1:48 pm

    But we aren’t concerned about last year. Beltre is outperforming Tejada this year. Sexson versus Delgado is almost a wash.

  209. robbbbbb on July 9th, 2007 1:48 pm

    (Mariners excluded, as this concept has been beyond them so far)

    To be fair, Dave, the Mariners did state “Raul Ibanez will hit well in Safeco” as one of their reasons for acquiring him.

  210. bermanator on July 9th, 2007 1:49 pm

    205-

    You would never get Cabrera in a PTBNL deal. The local papers and radio shows are all fanning the flames to send him to Texas in a deal for Teixiera.

    Besides, he’s too talented for Andy McPhail to just give him away.

  211. Dave on July 9th, 2007 1:51 pm

    To be fair, Dave, the Mariners did state “Raul Ibanez will hit well in Safeco” as one of their reasons for acquiring him.

    Very true. They then surrounded him in the line-up with a right-handed pull hitting 3rd baseman, a right-handed pull-hitting first baseman, a right-handed pull-hitting second baseman, a right-handed pull-hitting catcher, and then rounded out the roster by picking up a right-handed not-quite-as-extreme pull-hitting right-fielder and replacing their left-handed pull-hitting DH with a switch-hitter who can’t get the ball out of the infield.

    But you’re right – they did realize that Ibanez + Safeco = match made in heaven. Kudus to them…

  212. Matt from Tacoma on July 9th, 2007 1:51 pm

    Why does everyone think Beltre is such a GD bust? Go and look at his translated stats page on BP for a second – he is getting killed by his home park. Translated line of .295/.348/.548? Good, if not gold, defense? Gimme two.

    And I know chemistry is not a concept that some of you are down with, but if you’ve spent any time around the team in warm-ups, the locker room, spring training, etc, you’ll see that Beltre is quite the team leader.

  213. Chris Miller on July 9th, 2007 1:52 pm

    While PrOPS is not the best predictor of future OPS (because the speed of the balls off the bat and the speed of the batter are not accounted for), Richie Sexson 2007 is the biggest underperformer since it was published (-.130). If you cut that in half, which is still a bigger difference than every year he’s played since we got him in 2005 (he always underperforms, partially because of Safeco, and partially because he’s not that fast), he’s still gets a .777 OPS, and if he’s platooned correctly, is still a potential “bopper” in the line-up. What I’m getting at is, even if “Big Richie” is distant memory, there isn’t a hitter in all of baseball better poised for a rebound.

  214. F-Rod on July 9th, 2007 1:54 pm

    Dave..thanks

    I just feel that fans give guys unfair bad raps for excelling at home. I would prefer a guy who excells at home. Also with how streaky many players are I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to home/road numbers. Unless its a truly gimicky stadium I focus on the overall performance. Avoiding righty power hitter, who hit well with a short porch in left is something to consider. But fearing a lefty doesn’t make sense for the M’s.

  215. Chris Miller on July 9th, 2007 1:55 pm

    Whoops, he’s only 5th worst THIS YEAR ALONE. I accidently left the 1B filter on. sorry. Still, he’s probably going to hit better going forward.

  216. dgarnett on July 9th, 2007 1:56 pm

    Quick question re: Buehrle.

    Why is everyone assuming he’s completely off the market? I didn’t see a no-trade clause mentioned, technically would the fact that he’s signed at 14M per year be a bigger bargaining chip for Williams?

    We’ve discussed how 1/2 of a season of Buehrle isn’t worth a team’s top prospect… Couldn’t Williams have extended the contract in order to justify a higher return?

  217. Dave on July 9th, 2007 1:58 pm

    Buehrle got a no-trade through 2008. He’s off the market.

  218. Dave on July 9th, 2007 2:00 pm

    Unless its a truly gimicky stadium I focus on the overall performance.

    That’s generally a good idea. A guy’s total line, adjusted for how his home park treats same-handed/type hitters, is almost always a better indicator of a player’s true talent level than his actual home/road splits. Just because Jose Guillen had a solid first half at Safeco doesn’t mean the place isn’t really death to right-handed hitters.

  219. arbeck on July 9th, 2007 2:04 pm

    dgarnett,

    No way. Buehrle isn’t signing that contract if Williams was going to do that. And if Williams did that without asking him he’d probably never be able to sign a free agent again.

  220. Paul B on July 9th, 2007 2:08 pm

    They got rid of Spiezio in the 2nd year of his 3 year deal. But Vidro isn’t 2 for 41 or whatever Spiezio was when they released his worthless carcass.

    3 for 47, for those scoring at home.

  221. dw on July 9th, 2007 2:10 pm

    Why is everyone assuming he’s completely off the market? I didn’t see a no-trade clause mentioned, technically would the fact that he’s signed at 14M per year be a bigger bargaining chip for Williams?

    There’s a limited no-trade in 2008, and there’s also a poison pill that balloons the deal to 4/75 (or whatever the pro-rated equivalent is) if he is dealt.

  222. PositivePaul on July 9th, 2007 2:15 pm

    Why does everyone think Beltre is such a GD bust? Go and look at his translated stats page on BP for a second – he is getting killed by his home park. Translated line of .295/.348/.548? Good, if not gold, defense? Gimme two.

    And I know chemistry is not a concept that some of you are down with, but if you’ve spent any time around the team in warm-ups, the locker room, spring training, etc, you’ll see that Beltre is quite the team leader.

    Exactly. There are many problems on this team. Third base isn’t one of them. There are actually very few guys in baseball that I’d trade Beltre for. As Dave & I have discussed behind the scenes — Beltre is criminally underrated. I’d give him the same contract, even knowing how disappointing his bat was in 2005.

    And indeed he’s very much a leader in the clubhouse from all the behind-the-scenes stuff I’ve been privy to myself. Yes, we’re probably leading the league in overpaying for team chemistry stuff, but w/Beltre, it’s not an insignificant part of the entire package.

    There’s a reason why “Red” is borderline mental in his fandom for Beltre. I don’t regret Bavasi spending a ton of money to sign him one bit. He was off to a fantastic start this season, too, until he hurt his hand. Seeing him tee off in Oakland this past weekend is a sign that that injury’s in the rear view mirror.

    I can’t wait for his second half, provided he stays healthy (always a caveat w/anyone)…

  223. dw on July 9th, 2007 2:27 pm

    One last argument for Daniel Cabrera:

    Cabrera’s xFIP: 4.85
    HoRam’s xFIP: 5.61
    Batista’s xFIP: 5.08
    Baek’s xFIP: 4.43

    Cabrera’s walks are actually down — 4.4/game, lowest of his career. His K’s are down, but his groundball percentage has recovered back to 47%.

    Yes, he’s flaky, still has trouble spotting the ball, and is having trouble taking in the teaching of the best pitching coach this game has ever seen. But he’d also be the third or fourth best starter on this team if the M’s dealt for him — and cost a pro-rated $1.825M and a prospect. And I don’t think he’s going to get anything better than Weaver/Batista money if you buy out his arb years.

    And at the end of the day, if he really can’t cut it as a starter here, you can non-tender him and the Rangers will give him Park money to put up obscene ERAs in Arlington.

    I used to think he was the second coming of Nolan Ryan, all the way down to his wildness. I don’t think that anymore, but I’d rather have him than HoRam.

  224. Benno on July 9th, 2007 2:31 pm

    Dave,

    What about Sean White? Has he shown enough to justify the roster space? Keeping him on the roster seems to be keeping the team from some moves. Rule 5 guys on a contending team just don’t seem to make much sense. Or is he still injured?

  225. Matt from Tacoma on July 9th, 2007 2:38 pm

    I think that Cabrera’s future is as a relief ace, not as a starter. I’m pretty surprised that the O’s haven’t made that shift already – he seems to be the prototype for guys teams make this shift with.

    Let’s give HoRam a chance for a straight month to stay healthy and effective. I am skeptical we’ve seen healthy from him yet, in part because he’s been really up in the zone so far in several of his starts.

  226. hansk on July 9th, 2007 2:39 pm

    Q: Would you give up a young talented pitcher for a player like Guillen?

    I wouldn’t make the trade straight up, but given the circumstances I might be interested in working something out. Greinke has been very frustrating to the Royals so far, with him being ineffective and taking a lot of time off for “personal reasons”. Kinda like Meche was here (talented but ineffective), could benefit from a change of scenary, and will never be good with KC.

    Also, he may become to expensive for the Royals very shortly, especially if has to occasional brilliant start that his agent can point to.

    If I were them I’d probably want Guillen and some mid level prospect, if I were the M’s I would give them anyone not names Jones, Balentien, or Clement.

  227. msb on July 9th, 2007 2:45 pm

    Just think how much different this conversation would be if the M’s had had the stones to go after Delgado and Tejada instead of Sexson and Beltre, eh?

    aside from the numbers, there is the small fact that they offered Tejada 5/$54M before the desperate O’s offered 6/$69 million, then bid against themselves to take it up to $72, and gave Delgado the full court press before he let them know he wasn’t going to sign until later in the off-season (“They showed interest, but they seemed to be moving a little faster than us,” Delgado said. “We wanted to get a good idea where the market was going, and obviously they wanted to put a team together. I guess two and two didn’t add to four there.”"

  228. msb on July 9th, 2007 2:47 pm

    There’s a limited no-trade in 2008, and there’s also a poison pill that balloons the deal to 4/75 (or whatever the pro-rated equivalent is) if he is dealt.

    and after the no-trade window he vests as a 10/5 guy.

  229. eponymous coward on July 9th, 2007 2:51 pm

    I’d trade Wlad for Cabrera too, but then again, I like Wlad less than just about everyone else.

    Why is that? I see a guy who projects to something in between Jose Guillen to Magglio Ordonez or Jay Buhner, who’s had good numbers in every league he’s played in, and made multiple league all star teams in the minors.

    Yes, Safeco is a terrible fit for him, but in a stadium that didn’t screw every RH batter, he’d likely give you a season or three of .280/.350/.525 before he hits free agency, perhaps more. That is a pretty good player-especially considering that the M’s haven’t produced power hitters recently. A .850-.900 OPS from a corner OF? I’ll take two- that puts you in the top 5 of MLB in production from a corner OF.

    I think it’s also encouraging that he drew 70 walks last year AND is drawing walks in AAA. The Jay Buhner kicker of 60-80 walks a year (if he can do it in the majors) is a big help to his future value, I think (and I think he projects better than Jose Guillen, who never walked in the minors, because you don’t walk off the island).

  230. Dave on July 9th, 2007 2:54 pm

    Why is that?

    I think most baseball fans overrate poor defensive sluggers. I’m not saying I don’t see value in Wlad – I’m saying I see less value in his player type than most people typically ascribe.

    I’d rather have 2007 Ichiro than 2007 Magglio. I think I’m in the minority.

  231. rsrobinson on July 9th, 2007 2:57 pm

    Don’t get me started on Scott Spiezio. The guy constantly badmouths Seattle, the organization, and even the M’s fans even though we were still packing Safeco in 2004 with 35000+ per night. That was my first year as a season ticket holder and it was excruciating to watch that team try to score runs. Ichiro would get one of his 262 hits and go nowhere thanks to the likes of Spiezio who couldn’t hit his head on a four-foot ceiling.

    As for Beltre, I love the guy. He’s just not a #3 or #4 hitter.

  232. Matt from Tacoma on July 9th, 2007 3:01 pm

    Why on earth would KC want Jose Guillen? They can finish in last without picking up his contract. Guillen has less trade value than anyone on the team outside of Vidro or Sexsion.

    Dave – would you really characterize Wlad as a poor defensive outfielder? From what I’ve seen, he seems more like his almost namesake: erratic, moderate range, cannon arm. After watching Ibanez and Guillen lumber around out there, that would look like an upgrade.

  233. kentwa98030 on July 9th, 2007 3:01 pm

    #

    trade Sexson for Griffey and alternate Griffey and Raul as DH/LF.

    Sexson is skilling this offense..and payroll. I’d take an older injury prone Griffey at this point.
    July 9th, 2007 at 12:13 pm
    #
    175
    Jar Says:

    Yeah, the Reds would do that in a heartbeat….

    The dollars are about the same, Sexson is younger, has good NL numbers,plus after they trade Dunn, they will have his righthanded clone.

  234. eponymous coward on July 9th, 2007 3:09 pm

    I’d rather have 2007 Ichiro than 2007 Magglio. I think I’m in the minority.

    Oh, I agree- and I don’t think you’re in as small a minority as you think. But Magglio and Jay don’t have HOF resumes (unless Magglio hits like this for several years and gets multiple batting/slugging/etc. titles). Ichiro does, clearly.

    I think a better comp would be Wlad and, say, Mike Cameron (or let’s assume that Adam Jones turns out on the low end of his projections and goes on to a career like Cameron’s, instead of Eric Davis’s). Of those guys… well, it would be pretty close for me. In Safeco I’d likely pick a Jones/Cammy type of player, because I really need TWO CF’s in LF and CF. Someplace where you have a short porch in LF that plays to pull hitters AND could put a less mobile defender there, I’d likely pick Wlad.

  235. Colm on July 9th, 2007 3:22 pm

    “Kudus to them [the Mariner’s front office”

    Quite right too. We need more antelopes in SoDo.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudu

  236. DAMellen on July 9th, 2007 3:29 pm

    So everyone says Sexson can’t be traded. I don’t think that makes any sense, but assuming it’s true, what about Broussard? He’s a very good platoon player. Are platoon players so worthless that we couldn’t get anything for him?

  237. _David_ on July 9th, 2007 3:29 pm

    Dave, you rate Ichiro at +5 runs defensively. Does this mean you think he’s overrated defensively, or that you don’t value CF defense as much as other? I seem to remember some metric that had him closer to +15. Unrelated, but I’m curious, what apprx. were Mike Cameron’s run prevention numbers when he was at his peak here?

  238. msb on July 9th, 2007 3:32 pm

    so, why would the Reds trade Griffey when he is the one possible box office draw they have, as he closes in on 600 HRs, playing on a terrible team?

  239. _David_ on July 9th, 2007 3:35 pm

    233 that is insane! Dunn walks like crazy, Sexson doesn’t. And why would the Reds trade Griffey for someone who makes more money, and has an OPS+ 49 points lower and even less defensive value?!

  240. Colm on July 9th, 2007 3:36 pm

    They wouldn’t, least of all for a lead footed first baseman who’s batting .205. It was a poor suggestion.

  241. Chris Miller on July 9th, 2007 3:37 pm

    Cameron was about +25 runs here. +5 might be conservative, and I think Dave was more making a point about how bad Guillen and Ibanez have been than how good Ichiro has been. Also, +5-10 is most likely about right.

    I’m of the impression Ichiro has slowed down a little, but it hasn’t completely shown up for it because he’s been excellent at making the right reads on balls. At least that’s what it’s looked like to my un-professional eye.

  242. Matt from Tacoma on July 9th, 2007 3:37 pm

    I think it is a misconception that Broussard is a platoon player. His splits in his career are pretty damn similar v LH and RH pitching. He’s not enough of a hitter to carry a daily job with a good team, but you don’t need to hide him from lefties, either.

  243. Tom on July 9th, 2007 3:37 pm

    I’m amazed no one suggested to put Lopez in the 2 hole against LHP. I know good hitters will hit wherever they are put in the order (that’s just common sense). But then again, the #2 spot seemed to be where Lopez hit the ball the best back when Turbo was on the bench.

    I don’t think though these suggested lineups are going to work much better than the present lineups if Sexson is still there and clogging the lineup with his strikeouts. I just hope some NL team out there is stupid enough to take his contract off our hands.

  244. Chris Miller on July 9th, 2007 3:39 pm

    #239 I was about to say, Sexson has never consistently been a big walker, and Griffey is > than Sexson. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re both out of baseball within +/- 1 to 2 years of each other, despite the age difference.

  245. eponymous coward on July 9th, 2007 3:44 pm

    FWIW, Magglio’s runs created per season’s around 110 or so over his career.

    Cammy’s at about 90. So the question becomes: is the defense from an outstanding CF 20 (our hypothetical good glove/lesser hit OF- let’s say this is how Jones turns out) runs better than the offense from an adequate corner OF (our hypothetical Wlad standin)?

    I think it’s a reasonable tradeoff Dave’s asserting- especially since the more athletic player will likely age better- but it’s close enough to be reasonable to go either way… and Wlad’s pretty valuable.

    (I also think Jones is a good shot to turn out better than Cammy, though.)

    I also hope the M’s don’t give Wlad away for scrap or a rentaplayer. We got Jay Buhner for cheap, remember? And we gave away Danny Tartabull for cheap as well. Seems to me we shouldn’t undervalue a slugging corner OF with some good potential. Yes, Safeco sucks for RHB. Remember, though, there ARE 81 road games- and you know, we COULD always fix the fences…

  246. SpokaneMsFan on July 9th, 2007 3:55 pm

    I really fail to understand how it is that so many people in this thread fail to grasp that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE wants Vidro or Sexson, we’re not trading either one of them for a sack of dirt, even if we pay their contracts. I realize Dave said go to town with roster speculation, but seriously there is not one single GM in either league that wants anything to do with either one of these players, period. (I know this has been stated but I guess I read Sexson trade one too many times and something snapped in my head so I had to post about it, thanks for letting me rant.)

  247. MarinerMatt on July 9th, 2007 3:55 pm

    Granted Vidro got a big double the other day but how much longer can we stick with him in the lineup everyday? He is the softest player in the league. I don’t care that he takes pitches and hits close to .290. All he hits are lazy ground ball base hits that glance off the outstretched gloves of infielders.
    We cannot afford to have a DH in the American League with 3 HR’s at the break. Enough with the get-rid-of Sexson talk. Say what you want about the “unclutch” Sexson but he’ll still end up with 30 HR’s and 110RBI’s.
    We need to trade Vidro for anything at this point. He is taking up Adam Jone’s roster spot. Imagine having Jones in the lineup everyday with his power, speed, and defense…with Ibanez the everyday DH. We would be better instantly.

    Trade or release VIDRO!!!

    We won’t even be mad at Bavasi for eating Vidro’s 12 million the next two years.

  248. Shizane on July 9th, 2007 4:02 pm

    RE: 201

    Dave – if Bush is a no-go, is Villanueva/Vargas a possibility? Would either be an upgrade over what we have now? Would Wlad straight-up for either one work?

  249. DAMellen on July 9th, 2007 4:05 pm

    239

    Sexson walks quite a bit. He walks 10.6% of the time and his on base is 94 points higher than his average and that’s while he’s playing bad.

    I’m shocked at how down on Richie Sexson everybody around here is. I thought you guys didn’t care about batting average. I thought you guys were more into OPS. Well Richie’s a big OPS guy. His average sucks, but his OPS has never been under .819 and that was in 1999. In the last four years, his OPS was over .900 three times and it was .842 (also known as .056 points higher than Ichiro’s OPS) the other year. If his OPS is under .800 at the end of the season, I’ll buy you a beer. In fact, forget that. If his OPS is lower than Ichiro’s, I’ll buy you a beer.

  250. Roger on July 9th, 2007 4:06 pm

    #235, isn’t the plural of “antelope” antelope?

  251. Chris Miller on July 9th, 2007 4:09 pm

    Say what you want about the “unclutch” Sexson but he’ll still end up with 30 HR’s and 110RBI’s.

    So. He’s still a bad, or should I say terrible, defensive firstbaseman who doesn’t walk, and doesn’t hit for average (ie, doesn’t get on base at a good clip). I think they should try platooning Broussard and Sexson, and I think Sexson will hit better going forward, but if they can find a taker, they should drop him like he were a ebola infected rabid monkey. He’s just not any good. HR+RBI are vastly overrated.

  252. DAMellen on July 9th, 2007 4:12 pm

    He does walk. His on base is usally about a hundred points higher than his average. That’s a big difference. His overall on base skills aren’t great, but he walks.

  253. Chris Miller on July 9th, 2007 4:12 pm

    You have to keep in mind Richie is a bad fielding 1B, w/ a relatively low (and declining) OBP. OPS in a vacuum overrates guys like him. Batting average is important, just not when you look at it by itself.

  254. eponymous coward on July 9th, 2007 4:13 pm

    I really fail to understand how it is that so many people in this thread fail to grasp that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE wants Vidro or Sexson, we’re not trading either one of them for a sack of dirt, even if we pay their contracts.

    No, I suspect you could get a team to take Sexson if you sent along a lot of the contract value in cash. His career numbers + second half history would make someone bite if it was only going to cost a million or three. I think it’s more likely this happens during the offseason, though, if it DOES happen (which I wouldn’t bet on happening).

    Remember, Mike Hampton got traded with a boat anchor contract. So did Jason Kendall… to Billy Beane. Yeah, Kendall was hitting OK at the time of the trade, but he was also a 30 year old C with some injury history and Big Red Flags all over his stats and history. I sure wouldn’t have traded for him… but Billy Beane, Super Genius(tm) did once there were enough dollars involved.

    Vidro, though, is nearly useless. Sexson has shiny 30 HR and RBI numbers some GM would probably go for if they had a complete vacuum at 1B (like the Giants or Yankees). Vidro has basically nothing.

  255. JMHawkins on July 9th, 2007 4:23 pm

    I think it is a misconception that Broussard is a platoon player. His splits in his career are pretty damn similar v LH and RH pitching.

    Huh? Which Broussard are you talking about? H

    Ben Broussard’s carrers splits (avg/obp/slg/ops):

    vs RHP: .276 / .339 / .476 / .815
    vs LHP: .229 / .291 / .405 / .696

    He’s a pretty good hitter vs RHP, and a pretty poor one vs LHP.

  256. Colm on July 9th, 2007 4:38 pm

    Roger: either plural for antelope is acceptable. According to the American Heritage Dictionary: an·te·lope (ān’tl-ōp’) Pronunciation Key
    n. pl. antelope or an·te·lopes

    What’s the plural for smartarse?

  257. JMHawkins on July 9th, 2007 4:39 pm

    What’s the plural for smartarse?

    Journalists.

  258. SpokaneMsFan on July 9th, 2007 4:42 pm

    254
    I should clarify, no one is taking Richie in the middle of this season, especially not as the guy who’s going to bring them over the hump and into the playoffs. There may be some kind of deal in the offseason where we pay the majority of his contract and they take him off our hands in exchange for a prospect, maybe. And obviously “if we paid his entire contract” was an exaggeration, I mean sure I’d let Richie play 1st base every day for free. Also 239, I’m not even trying to get down on Richie, I think he does ok for what we signed him to do, but he’s overpaid and not the kind of player “buy teams” are looking for at this point in the year.

  259. SpokaneMsFan on July 9th, 2007 4:59 pm

    And I’m assuming it goes without saying that “sell teams” aren’t looking at replacing their sell material with Richie and his contract.

  260. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 5:05 pm

    The Counting Crows for the Home Run Derby? When was the last time anyone heard from them? Terrible…

  261. C. Cheetah on July 9th, 2007 5:06 pm

    To a point, I agree and disagree with all those in the discussion of being able to trade Sexson. I am sure the Yankees or others would trade for Richie…IF we took on a large salary or three in return. This is what scares me about Bavasi. He might trade Richie (and Wlad & others)to the Yankees AND take back Pavano, Giambi, Villone and other “veterans” to help us with this play-off push…. where as Mr. Beane will end up with Jermaine Dye for Jack Cust….

  262. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 5:10 pm

    I say we leave Sexson alone and let him hit his 30 HRs and 100+ RBIs…

  263. SoulofaCitizen on July 9th, 2007 5:10 pm

    Additional note on Vidro. His three home runs were all in the late inninges of blow-out victories that had long been decided. So didn’t help the team at all.

    Functionally, he’s had zero power the whole first half with no sign of that changing

  264. kenshabby on July 9th, 2007 5:17 pm

    #260 – Around 1991. And only because a girl I had the hots for in high school was a big fan of theirs. Why not just have Whitesnake play? Or Loverboy? Blech.

  265. lokiforever on July 9th, 2007 5:20 pm

    Vidro hit for power the other day, a 2 RBI double against he A’s when it counted…but beyond that, yeah, it’s hard to remember.

  266. David* on July 9th, 2007 5:22 pm

    262: You’ll probably have your wish.

  267. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 5:24 pm

    264-

    whitesnake or loverboy would have been much better…

    here’s to VLAD messing up his swing in the derby and going into an abreau-type slump from here on out…cheers…

  268. az sr softball on July 9th, 2007 5:31 pm

    Hmmmm–is Sexson really a bad defensive player? His size and stretching ability have saved many an errant throw. And one error? I watch every game and, I just don’t see the unanimous verdict on his terribliness.

  269. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 5:33 pm

    268-

    i agree…i’ve never thought he was bad and have always wondered why everyone talks so much smack about him…

  270. lokiforever on July 9th, 2007 5:37 pm

    Do you suppose Ichiro would fare well in the HR derby? I hear in BP he can loft them over the wall with ease. That would be something for a 5’10″ 165Lb guy to win the derby.

  271. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 5:39 pm

    i think bonds is a total roider, cheater, and a jerk (from what the media has led me to believe), but i do respect the fact that he admits that he “can’t” do the derby cause he is too old and frail…most people would make a lame excuse…i love the few moments of honesty in professional sports…

  272. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 5:41 pm

    270- he could probably do okay, but i wouldn’t want him changing his swing cause it might affect his play in the second half…unless it led him to hit 30 HRs in the second half…lol…

  273. Dave on July 9th, 2007 5:44 pm

    I think a better comp would be Wlad and, say, Mike Cameron

    I wasn’t comparing Adam Jones to Ichiro. I was simply using an example of why I prefer up-the-middle guys with good defense to sluggers without much defensive value.

    Dave, you rate Ichiro at +5 runs defensively. Does this mean you think he’s overrated defensively, or that you don’t value CF defense as much as other?

    That’s +5 for half a season, which would make him +10 for the whole year – still very good. And, remember, he’s now competing against a much better crop of players. If he was +20 in right field, we’d naturally expect him to be closer to +10 in center field. There’s nothing wrong with a +10 defender in CF though – that’s still ridiculously valuable.

    I also hope the M’s don’t give Wlad away for scrap or a rentaplayer.

    No one is suggesting that they should. Let’s try not to make this a “Dave hates Wladimir Balentien” thing, like everyone tried to do a few years ago when I was less high on Jose Lopez than the “he’s Miguel Tejada!” crowd. I can think a guy is both valuable and overrated by most folks. I think that’s true of Balentien, and almost all slugging corner outfielders.

    Dave – if Bush is a no-go, is Villanueva/Vargas a possibility? Would either be an upgrade over what we have now? Would Wlad straight-up for either one work?

    The Brewers aren’t going to be looking to be dealing from their major league roster. They’re trying to hold off the Cubs, and Gallardo can help them do that from the bullpen while also providing help in case one of their starters gets hurt.

    I’m shocked at how down on Richie Sexson everybody around here is. I thought you guys didn’t care about batting average.

    Read this, it might help.

    Additional note on Vidro. His three home runs were all in the late inninges of blow-out victories that had long been decided. So didn’t help the team at all.

    This is just not true. Why would you make something up that is easily verifiable?

    Hmmmm–is Sexson really a bad defensive player? His size and stretching ability have saved many an errant throw. And one error? I watch every game and, I just don’t see the unanimous verdict on his terribliness.

    Yes, he really is a horrible defensive player. The things you notice aren’t things that really matter. Yes, he’s tall, but there’s no evidence that he’s saving the Mariners infielders any more throwing errors than the average first baseman would.

    His range is essentially non-existant. He can’t move, doesn’t cover any ground, and turns very few balls hit into his area into outs. He really is horrible defensively.

  274. msb on July 9th, 2007 6:02 pm

    before we get to the 2nd half, may I just say that the HR Derby needs less Berman, less Barry & Alex, more shots of all the All Stars, more appreciation of the hitters, and maybe even a mention or two of the (hopefully) HR-serving-up pitchers

  275. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 6:08 pm

    is it just me, or is this the longest first round ever? let the guys hit home-runs!

  276. Nate on July 9th, 2007 6:27 pm

    here’s my second half suggestion.

    move to the NL. we’d be leading any division right now in the NL.

    maybe an excellently crafted “Open Letter to Selig” would do the trick?

    ok, sorry, I just thought it interesting that we’re 5th in the AL and we’d be 1st n the NL with this record.

  277. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 6:30 pm

    why isn’t A-Rod in his all-star uni?

  278. terry on July 9th, 2007 6:40 pm

    #230: So you’re not that excited about a trade proposal that would make Adam Dunn a Mariner?

  279. eponymous coward on July 9th, 2007 6:44 pm

    I think that’s true of Balentien, and almost all slugging corner outfielders.

    OK, so if they’re overrated, why can’t the Mariners produce them?

    Seriously- the products of the Mariner farm system the last 20 years in slugging corner OF’ers who had a career worth a damn:

    - Danny Tartabull
    - Jose Cruz Jr.
    - Raul Ibañez

    That would be it, folks. THREE guys in 20 years. Two of whom went to KC for basically nothing, and the third went to Toronto for Mike Timlin and an arm with an OK fastball.

    The thing is I DO tend to think people overpay for slugging (see: Richie Sexson)… but the reason why is major league GMs have an annoying tendency to give away good cheap young hitters because they aren’t “proven”, and then they sign decent old hitters for a boatload of cash.

    And I’m not saying YOU think Wlad sucks, Dave… but the history of the organization is that pennant races and contention tends to make the team think funny. Wlad should be valued for what he is: a prospect with a potential for a 10+ year, solid career in MLB, with maybe an All Star appearance or three to boot.

  280. Edgar For Pres on July 9th, 2007 6:48 pm

    First off, I agree that Sexson is a pretty poor defensive hitter but ignoring the fact that he is tall and can catch a few errant throws some guys couldn’t is much like ignoring a catcher’s skill to knock down and prevent wild pitches. It also may have a secondary impact on the rest of the infield because they know they have a huge target to throw to so they may take more chances on tough balls to field.

    I don’t think its a huge effect and probably wouldn’t vary much more than maybe 5 runs per year between the best and worst players but I think the problem is that we just don’t know and that bothers me a little. Another thing is that Sexson may be able to catch high or wide throws better than average but I think he’s probably below average at digging balls out of the dirt. Defensive metrics are just in their infancy but I think it would be interesting to find some thoughtful way to take this into account for 1B.

  281. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 6:51 pm

    well, my question is, if WLAD is that good, will he be starting in RF next year instead of guillen? or hell, trade guillen now and put the two kids in the corners…(they’d never do that in a pennant race, but it makes SOME sense)Jones, ICHIRO, and WLAD…what a cool, ethnic outfield…and pretty good too…

  282. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 6:58 pm

    Here you go Dave, i know you’re dreading us getting Willis, but i just read this…

    any merit to it?

    Ken Rosenthal
    FOXSports.com, Updated 7 hours ago

    Willis, 25, is not a free agent until after the end of the 2009 season. The Mets and Mariners want him far more than they wanted Buehrle, and so might the Dodgers and Red Sox. Other clubs — the Rockies and Diamondbacks, to name two — also are interested.

  283. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 7:02 pm

    later in the article, they comment that the Marlins want a “catcher/center fielder” combination…

    would the Marlins take Rob Johnson/Jeremy Reed? of would they want Jeff Clement/Adam Jones?

    would you make a trade for Willis in ANY trade? he may be overated, i agree, but he’d be a #3 for us…and the kid is young?

  284. Colm on July 9th, 2007 7:03 pm

    Heck, I like thinking that just because the defence would be better.

    Is Ibanez really worse than Guillen? Using nothing other than my eyes they BOTH look effing horrible.

  285. Colm on July 9th, 2007 7:05 pm

    I’m sure the Marlins are thinking Clement/Jones. I doubt even our much maligned FO is that dumb.

  286. Dave on July 9th, 2007 7:07 pm

    I agree that Sexson is a pretty poor defensive hitter but ignoring the fact that he is tall and can catch a few errant throws some guys couldn’t is much like ignoring a catcher’s skill to knock down and prevent wild pitches.

    If you want people to believe it, you should do the work to prove your case. With John Olerud, there was evidence that he reduced the amount of errors his teammates made, no matter who he played for. That’s not the case with Sexson.

    OK, so if they’re overrated, why can’t the Mariners produce them?

    These two things don’t have anything to do with one another, EC. Sluggers are overrated. That the Mariners haven’t done a good job at developing talent is an entirely different issue.

    would you make a trade for Willis in ANY trade? he may be overated, i agree, but he’d be a #3 for us…and the kid is young?

    He’s not particularly good, he’s not a #3, and I’m not interested in paying the cost – in talent and in salary – for his reputation.

  287. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 7:07 pm

    for all you pining for a return of “The KId”, from the same aritcle:

    A return to Seattle would intrigue Reds right fielder Ken Griffey Jr., but the Mariners need a starting pitcher more than they do a hitter. Most of the team’s front office favors a push for Griffey, but CEO Howard Lincoln still harbors resentment over Griffey’s departure in 2000, according to major-league sources …

  288. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 7:12 pm

    Dave, do you think that there is any merit to the idea in the article that the Ms are interested in Willis? any indsider info., rather than media speculation?

  289. scraps on July 9th, 2007 7:20 pm

    People watch the home run derby? And complain about the coverage?

  290. IdahoInvader on July 9th, 2007 7:22 pm

    Dave,

    Could you please explain the gap between what you think is the truth of how good Willis is (or isn’t actually) and where all the reputation and hype comes from?

  291. msb on July 9th, 2007 7:38 pm

    #289– hey, its the closest thing to a ball game currently on ….

  292. Jordan of Boise on July 9th, 2007 7:39 pm

    Vlad’s in the derby finals – here’s hoping he wins and it pooches up his swing for the second half!

  293. gwangung on July 9th, 2007 7:53 pm

    A return to Seattle would intrigue Reds right fielder Ken Griffey Jr., but the Mariners need a starting pitcher more than they do a hitter. Most of the team’s front office favors a push for Griffey, but CEO Howard Lincoln still harbors resentment over Griffey’s departure in 2000, according to major-league sources …

    If Griffey can help the Ms at a reasonable price, the team should look into it. One should tell Mr. Lincoln that one man and his feelings are not bigger than the organization…

  294. Colm on July 9th, 2007 7:54 pm

    I think the fact that Willis had great success very early in his career will blind people to his recent decline.

    He has a 65/46 record, a career 3.59 ERA, a 20 win season and a World Series ring on his resume.

    But right now he’s 7/7 with an ERA of 4.72, an average strike rate (but it’s been that way most of his career) a control that is declining toward horrible.

  295. scraps on July 9th, 2007 7:57 pm

    If Griffey can help the Ms at a reasonable price, the team should look into it. One should tell Mr. Lincoln that one man and his feelings are not bigger than the organization…

    Or a bunch of fans and their feelings. The idea that the Mariners need Griffey, his salary, his baggage, and his fragile body, is a triumph of emotion over sense.

  296. thowe1 on July 9th, 2007 8:06 pm

    Anyone who is suggesting John Thomson from the Royals as a good pickup really needs to do their homework. He was worthless with the Braves, suffered through some stints on the DL and had massive issues with control on his way back. His career WHIP hovers around 1.39, while his past 3 years have been 1.41, 1.56, and 1.50 with ERA of 4.47, 4.82, and 3.87 respectively. This year he’s .389 vs Righties and .261 vs Lefties. The only thing he eats by way of innings are the scraps of meat leftover as his pitches cruise out of Kauffman Stadium.

    You need anything else, or do the words “Criminally Suckwad” come to your mind? How about the fact of being forced to watch Braves games and the constant “Oh Shit, here comes Thomson / Reitsma again…” groan from the fans.? Trust me, Reitsma, Thomson, and HoRam were all Schuerholtz / Mazzone experiments gone bad, and were weighing on the Bravos like a cancer.

    Why would you want to complete the Trifecta?

  297. Dave on July 9th, 2007 8:11 pm

    You know, if you’re going to lecture other people on doing their homework, you probably shouldn’t then proceed to use WHIP to justify your point. Especially when there’s an article on the front page subtitled “Why ERA and WHIP don’t cut it these days.”

  298. Edgar For Pres on July 9th, 2007 8:12 pm

    I understand it is dangerous to take my gut feeling about Sexson’s defense and how he uses his size to help field his position and just believe it. The problem I see is that it seems very difficult to quantify how good or bad Sexson is at it. He may actually be bad at it. I’m not sure.

    If I knew a good way to go about figuring it out I would. It would take some serious creativity or some advanced technology and grunt work to figure it out.

    The only way I can think of looking at it is to compare the error rate when Sexson is playing 1B vs. when he is not playing 1B. The problem with this technique is that it will probably suffer quite a bit from small sample size and it is also affected by the performance of the 1B that play when Sexson is not.

  299. gwangung on July 9th, 2007 8:21 pm

    The idea that the Mariners need Griffey, his salary, his baggage, and his fragile body, is a triumph of emotion over sense.

    I didn’t use the term “reasonable” arbitrarily.

  300. Colm on July 9th, 2007 8:28 pm

    Defensively:
    On the off-chance that Dave’s comment was partly directed at me, I was only citing Dontrelle Willis’s Win/Loss records and ERA because those are the shiny career stats that the Marlins will be trumpeting to all potential buyers.

  301. Dave on July 9th, 2007 8:30 pm

    Don’t worry Colm, I wasn’t talking to you.

  302. scraps on July 9th, 2007 8:31 pm

    I know, gwangung, but since Griffey isn’t going to take a pay cut to be traded here, the price of obtaining him is unreasonable even if we trade nothing to get him. What do you think the odds are that he makes it through this year without injury? And the team doesn’t need another outfielder who can’t field.

  303. arbeck on July 9th, 2007 8:37 pm

    Edgar,

    It’s actually easier than that. Compare the throwing error rate of all the players playing with him versus their time without him.

  304. Greg08 on July 9th, 2007 8:38 pm

    american league has a DH, scraps

  305. JMHawkins on July 9th, 2007 8:41 pm

    John Thomson strikes out more, walks less, and gives up fewer HRs than HoRam. Plus his salary is one-fifth HoRam’s.

    Seems like he would be an upgrade for our #5 guy.

  306. Greg08 on July 9th, 2007 8:41 pm

    colm, maybe u should consider the advanced defensive metrics to see how good he is ;)
    jk

  307. kenshabby on July 9th, 2007 8:48 pm

    I don’t see Willis going to the M’s anyway. Maybe the Mets, which might suck, because the Mets are my favorite NL team. Or, maybe he’ll end up with the Yanks. I could see that.

  308. Colm on July 9th, 2007 8:52 pm

    They’d need to be some pretty hifalutin metrics to get me past Willis’s miserable K/BB rate. Which is the best site to refer to for FIP, xFIP etc?

  309. scraps on July 9th, 2007 8:58 pm

    american league has a DH, scraps

    Yes, and we have a few.

  310. Greg08 on July 9th, 2007 9:04 pm

    and you think the mariners would play griffey in the outfield instead?

  311. bakomariner on July 9th, 2007 9:06 pm

    we don’t want griffey…even if he DHs…another guy blocking JONES!

  312. South Pacific on July 9th, 2007 9:07 pm

    It is easy to talk like an “expert” in Basketball and Boxing. Not so with baseball.

  313. GTcolin on July 9th, 2007 9:11 pm

    Why is everyone so deadset on letting Adam Jones play all day. To take the pressure of Jones, why not put him into a platoon to start off with. If he does put up Ryan Braun like numbers, an everyday spot can be made. At this point Jones has an OPS over 1.000 against lefties, while only an ops around .950 against righties. By keeping him in a platoon it also vastly improves the bench. Jones would make a very good defensive replacement late in games, as well as a pinch hitter against lefty relievers and a pinch runner.
    To improve the pitching situation, the best course of action may be to trade some of our young bullpen arms. At the moment we have one of the deepest bullpens in the game, with Morrow, Huber, Mickolio and Lowe as right handed power arms, and O’flaherity, Rowland-Smith, and Jake Woods as developing lefties. By packaging two or three of these arms with either Rob Johnson or Jeff Clement would leave us with a deep bullpen and an above average catching prospect at AAA. This package should be solid to get a Noah Lowry, and definitely Cabrera, as the Orioles bullpen is possibly the worst in the majors since Bobby Ayala roamed the kingdome. Obviously it would be tough to part with these young arms, but its the deepest part of our organization, so it may be the best chance to minimize damage to the farm system while improving the rotation.

  314. Dave on July 9th, 2007 9:16 pm

    Why is everyone so deadset on letting Adam Jones play all day.

    Read the post. The M’s defense is killing them, and Jones is such a massive upgrade with the glove over Raul Ibanez, I don’t care if he hits .230 – he’d make the team better.

  315. smac on July 9th, 2007 9:19 pm

    I’m sorry for not remembering the games and details, but I know I thought of the Richie Sexson height question already twice this year. There was a play in a fairly early game, seems to have been San Diego (the ump blew the call and called him safe and I believe Hargrove came out to argue)where every inch of Sexson was needed to catch a throw. Clearly no other 1b makes that play. I recall another play more recently where I thought the same thing. Would those plays (assuming the ump rings ‘em up) be considered evidence as a +1 for Sexson or not? I also can’t believe that saber guys haven’t scatter plotted throws to first to figure out some kind of factor for heighth. I know athleticism can change that some, but it seems to me that there has to be some adjustment between Hatteberg and Sexson’s defense based on balls caught at 1st. I’m really just asking for a good explanation of why I am wrong, already assuming that is the case.

  316. Free Range Chicken on July 9th, 2007 9:22 pm

    Have the Mariners ever promoted a position player from AAA and given them half a chance? I’m genuinely asking as a long-time fan who hasn’t really kept track of these things til lately. Thank you USS Mariner for helping me enjoy the game even more!

  317. Dave on July 9th, 2007 9:26 pm

    I’m sorry for not remembering the games and details, but I know I thought of the Richie Sexson height question already twice this year.

    I guarantee you that fans of every team in baseball have memories of plays that guys on their team made that “no other guy in baseball would have made”.

    That isn’t how you evaluate fielders.

    You also have to keep in mind that the fielder threw the ball knowing that Richie Sexson was standing on first base. If the fielder was throwing the ball to a 6’2 first baseman, they’d adjust the angle of their throws accordingly.

    I’m really just asking for a good explanation of why I am wrong, already assuming that is the case.

    Because there’s no evidence of the relative difference of Sexson’s ability to turn bad throws into outs from other first baseman.

    John Olerud, for instance, had a reputation at being tremendous at digging balls out of the dirt. He was so good at this, in fact, that Chris Dial (I believe) was able to demonstratively show that the error rates for infielders on the Blue Jays, Mets, and Mariners all decreased significantly when Olerud joined the team and increased significantly when he left.

    With Sexson, you simply can’t show that to be the case. There’s no evidence – none – that his height helps the Mariners in any tangible way. There are mountains of evidence that show that his inability to cover ground at first base hurts them defensively.

  318. Dave on July 9th, 2007 9:27 pm

    Have the Mariners ever promoted a position player from AAA and given them half a chance?

    Just on the current roster: Felix Hernandez, Jose Lopez, Yuniesky Betancourt, J.J. Putz, George Sherrill, Eric O’Flaherty, and Sean Green all came from Tacoma.

    So, yes.

  319. planB on July 9th, 2007 9:32 pm

    Also, throws to first are not 100% of a first baseman’s plays. His range on balls from bats is bad.

  320. eponymous coward on July 9th, 2007 9:33 pm

    These two things don’t have anything to do with one another, EC.

    Is it that easy to produce Magglio Ordonez, Danny Tartabull or Jay Buhner? It seems to me if you’re cranking more than one of these guys out every 4-5 years, you’re doing awfully well.

    But hey, you’re the farm system guy. It just seems to me a slugger who isn’t costing you a bazillion dollars in free agency is an awfully nice thing to have- especially since defense often declines with age before offense, so you’d expect younger players to have better range and so on. That’s a lot of my argument as to why Wlad has value- not having to shell out money for the Richie Sexsons of the world is a nice luxury.

    Sluggers are overrated.

    OK, so let’s break that down.

    We have player A, who’s +0 runs added on defense, +30 on offense, and player B, who’s +15 on defense, +15 on offense. Both players would have equal value to the team if you added them.

    Your argument is B’s going to be cheaper/easier to find than A, in the Billy Beane “unexploited source of value” sense?

    I just want to understand the argument here. If this is true, sure, I agree- and it seems that the Ichiros and Mike Camerons of the world DO come cheaper than the Mannys and Vlads.

    There are also, of course, the +20 bat, -10 glove guys… who are different than the +30, +0 guys (true liabilities in the field) and are clearly worse players than the +15, +15 guys. And THOSE are cases where sluggers are overrated, because people can’t tell the +20 offense, -10 defense guys apart from decent defensive players (which is why we hear how many runs Richie Sexson saves by being tall and so on).

  321. Jeff Nye on July 9th, 2007 9:38 pm

    Pretty good shout-out from Ted Miller at the P-I, despite the “Ichiro is Asian so he must know martial arts” joke:

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/baseball/323058_miller10.html

  322. AZSEAfan on July 9th, 2007 9:51 pm

    313: Did you really say that Adam Jones has ONLY a .950 OPS against righties?

  323. Edgar For Pres on July 9th, 2007 9:51 pm

    #303
    I think its harder than you think to prove. Let’s consider this year. Richie Sexson has 639 innings logged at 1B out of 754 total innings. The rest of the innings are split between Broussard, Vidro, and Bloomquist.

    The first problem we see is that there just aren’t that many innings where Sexson isn’t playing 1B and this could make the data pretty noisy.

    For the sake of argument lets assume that the IF defense has an error rate 5% less when Sexson is playing 1B. Does this tell us that Sexson is good at fielding throws? Not really. It just tells us that he’s 5% better than the other 3 guys. To actually figure out how good Sexson is we need to know how good Broussard, Vidro, and Bloomquist are at playing 1B. How do we do that? Its one big circular loop.

    Its really tough to normalize so that you can compare Sexson to lets say Olerud for example. If we could normalize it versus an average 1B we could also try to attach a run value to it and include that in the defensive value of the 1B. When you obtain this run value for the 1B, then you could correct the rest of the IF to take into account the throws that the 1B saved/messed up on to get a more accurate rating of the other infielders.

    I’m more just bringing it up because I think it could be significant when we are evaluating 1B defense. Maybe my concept of what a 1B is suppose to do could be skewed because Sexson is so bad at fielding grounders but it seems that their main job is to catch throws from the other 3/4 of the IF and touch 1B. This year Sexson has had 632 put outs and only 51 assists. This means that he has a lot more chances to mess up (or excel) by fielding bad throws from the rest of the IF than getting tough groundballs (this statement could be wrong). I guess my point is that when evaluating 1B defense it seems silly to forget to include how good they are at fielding throws. It might not have a huge effect for most players but it might and with guys such as Olerud it probably makes a pretty big difference.

  324. GTcolin on July 9th, 2007 9:54 pm

    322: I did, but I meant it in comparison, obviously that is indeed a well above average ops. I just was showing that he does have a platoon split that would match Ibanez’s to form a platoon there.

  325. Dave on July 9th, 2007 9:57 pm

    Is it that easy to produce Magglio Ordonez, Danny Tartabull or Jay Buhner?

    No, but again, that’s Balentien’s best case scenario. The player type that we’re discussing is essentially the slugging corner outfielder who derives most of his value from his hitting ability.

    Let’s take a look at how rare it is to have a prospect that profiles as that kind of player, using BA’s Top 100 lists as our marker.

    2007 – Delmon Young, Jay Bruce, Carlos Gonzalez, Fernando Martinez, Billy Butler, Colby Rasmus, Adam Lind, Travis Snider, Ryan Sweeney, Elijah Dukes, Brian Barton, and Chris Parmelee

    These guys aren’t all exactly the same (Butler’s pretty horrible in the OF, Rasmus and Bruce should be above average), and BA overrated a couple of these guys (Sweeney and Barton, especially), but they found room for 12 slugging corner outfield prospects on last year’s list. That’s a lot of guys with similar profiles to what we’re hoping for from Wlad.

    Was it just an exceptionally good year? Let’s look at 2003, just at random: Miguel Cabrera, Michael Cuddyer, Brad Nelson, Josh Hamilton, Michael Restovich, Xavier Nady, Juan Rivera, Todd Linden, Laynce Nix, Wily Mo Pena, and Jeff Francouer. 11 guys.

    How about 1998? Ben Grieve, Chad Hermansen, Richard Hidalgo, Carlos Lee, Magglio Ordonez, Lance Berkman, Karim Garcia, George Lombard, and Geoff Jenkins. 9 guys.

    Pretty much every year, there’s a dozen or so prospects who look to have a future as solid slugging corner outfielders. Obviously, some pan out and some don’t, but if the question is “how rare are guys like Balentien?”, the answer is “not very”. That doesn’t make him not valuable. As we’ve discussed, I think he’s probably got a nice major league career ahead of him. But finding a right-handed LF/RF who projects as a .270/.350/.500 guy just isn’t that hard.

    We have player A, who’s +0 runs added on defense, +30 on offense, and player B, who’s +15 on defense, +15 on offense. Both players would have equal value to the team if you added them. Your argument is B’s going to be cheaper/easier to find than A, in the Billy Beane “unexploited source of value” sense?

    Massively cheaper. Carlos Lee is pretty much the epitome of a +30/0 guy, a decent non-star with a good bat and not much else. He got 6/100 as a highly coveted free agent. Then, you have guys like Jacque Jones, a +20/+10 guy, who signs for 3/15, has his organization give up on him, and try to give him away while paying most of his salary and not finding any takers.

    It’s a huge inefficiency.

    Teams, and fans, generally tend to place too much value on two main types of players – starting pitchers and power hitting LF/RF/1Bs. This doesn’t mean there aren’t good values to be had at those spots, or that you should get rid of all your power hitting LF/RF/1Bs – it just means that, in general, their perceived value will be higher than their actual value.

    It doesn’t mean I want to give away Wlad, or don’t see how he could help the Mariners win games next year. It just means that most teams and fans will value his player type more than I do, and generally, when you value something less than everyone else, it’s a good opportunity to sell.

  326. planB on July 9th, 2007 9:57 pm

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Richie a lot. But being tall doesn’t make him a good defensive first baseman. It’s probably about a wash with being right-handed.

  327. smac on July 9th, 2007 10:00 pm

    Sorry Dave, I really just love reading this site and not typing, but this one has come up many times and I have never been satisfied with the 1b heigth answer.

    I agree that his range sucks and that I can’t prove a damn thing, but I disagree with your answer that every guy has made a play nobody else could make. I will never say, that Jose made a play that nobody else could have made, but isn’t Sexson close to the tallest target in history? Olerud, Mientkayahoweveryouspellit, or Chris Shelton could not have made the play we saw Sexson make.

    If you took your argument about aiming point to the extreme, then a 4 foot 1st baseman would make no difference from a 6’5″ 1st baseman. Could that be true?

    Also, I believe there are many throws that are made out of desperation that an infielder doesn’t really pick up his target. Wouldn’t it then make sense that a bigger target would help with accuracy? Also wouldn’t a wingspan difference mean you could miss the aiming point on Sexson much more than you could on Hatteberg’s target.

    Is there data on Beltre’s throwing errors to Dodger 1b vs. Sexson? Obviously no comps for Yuni/jose.

    And sorry again, I think this stems from my nightmare’s about my immobile, 5’9″, short-armed college first baseman

  328. planB on July 9th, 2007 10:04 pm

    smac, Dave didn’t deny that someone might make a play no one else could make, but that it’s a poor way to evaluate defense.

  329. david h on July 9th, 2007 10:11 pm

    smac, Dave wrote:
    I guarantee you that fans of every team in baseball have memories of plays that guys on their team made that “no other guy in baseball would have made.

    That is very different from how you interpreted it:
    I disagree with your answer that every guy has made a play nobody else could make.

    And, yeah, like planB said, the point is that this is a faulty way to evaluate defensive value.

  330. Dave on July 9th, 2007 10:13 pm

    I agree that his range sucks and that I can’t prove a damn thing, but I disagree with your answer that every guy has made a play nobody else could make.

    Baseball Tonight’s #1 “Web Gem” from the first half of the season – Eric Hinske making a diving catch in right field in Fenway. Eric Hinske is a terrible defensive outfielder.

    You really just can’t judge defenders based on “wow, he’s the only guy in baseball that could have made that play!”

    If you took your argument about aiming point to the extreme, then a 4 foot 1st baseman would make no difference from a 6′5″ 1st baseman. Could that be true?

    When teams start employing four foot first baseman, call me, and I’ll agree that you’re right. Until then, this impossible hypothetical doesn’t help your cause.

    Wouldn’t it then make sense that a bigger target would help with accuracy?

    There are a lot of things that “make sense”, get accepted as common wisdom, and are just wrong. And I don’t think Yuniesky Betancourt’s accuracy this year has been helped much by having a 6’8 first baseman, has it?

    Is there data on Beltre’s throwing errors to Dodger 1b vs. Sexson?

    The data from Sexson’s career, both with Milwaukee and Seattle, doesn’t support the idea that he’s some awesome run-saving scoop machine.

  331. hcoguy on July 9th, 2007 10:14 pm

    Hate to bring up Willis since A. I don’t want him and B. I don’t think we have a shot in hell at obtaining him and C. he’s overrated… but I mentioned those things to my Oakland friend and received an incredulous “what!?!” So, I looked at his THT numbers and it appears the only thing killing him is the walks. If he could post a 3:1 K:BB he’d be a solid #2 as a lefty. Actually, another worry is the durability as he’s seen heavy use for a 25 year old. But anyways, is the BB rate something that can still be taught or changed with him? In other words, I think we can all agree he won’t be a marlin for the duration of his contract (which looks cheaper than I thought) so will someone else snag him, fix the control issue and have a bargain? I am just trying to see the bright side if for some eason Balentien, Clement, and some decent change go for him.

  332. smac on July 9th, 2007 10:15 pm

    PlanB
    I also agree that “play no one else can make” is a bad indicator, but the difference in Sexson’s reach to Hatteberg’s reach is quantifiable. I believe that difference could then be taken in to account on a defensive metric somehow. Has that ever been studied?

  333. Dave on July 9th, 2007 10:23 pm

    Has that ever been studied?

    Yep – the only guy we’ve ever been able to find clear evidence of this kind of skill, resulting in a drastic reduction in error rates and a significant increase in assists by his infield teammates, is John Olerud.

    Richie Sexson is not John Olerud.

  334. Edgar For Pres on July 9th, 2007 10:27 pm

    Do we know how many runs Olerud saved by doing his magic?

  335. juneau_fan on July 9th, 2007 10:28 pm

    The Sexson height thing is the wackiest round and round this blog’s had in a while.

    Okay, so he can stretch that big long arm up and grab throws. What about all the balls that get past him into outfield because he lacks an athletic, quick body? Last time I watched, 1st basemen also had to bend. My favorite D’oh! Richie move is his ‘dive’ for a passing ball, which involves him slowly toppling straight over like a felled redwood.

    Away with all this! More crazy ass ‘But what about Griffey!?’ comments!

  336. Dave on July 9th, 2007 10:29 pm

    I’ve hunted around for Dial’s study on it and can’t find it, but off the top of my head, it was something like 5 to 6 runs a year.

  337. planB on July 9th, 2007 10:30 pm

    I don’t think that can be studied. How do you separate height from other defensive attributes? You might have a somewhat short player who has good range, versus a somewhat tall player who is slow. What about good reflexes? Left-handedness?

  338. Edgar For Pres on July 9th, 2007 10:31 pm

    Cool, thanks Dave. Yeah so if all Olerud could do was about +5 runs then Sexson is at best maybe +1 run in my book if his height helps him at all. This wouldn’t make up for the fact that he sucks at fielding groundballs at all. I guess I figured Olerud’s skills would be worth a lot more like +10 or +15 runs.

  339. eponymous coward on July 9th, 2007 10:35 pm

    OK, then I’m understanding your argument. Thanks.

  340. Jeff Nye on July 9th, 2007 10:47 pm

    It’s not even intuitive to me, really, that you would be better at receiving throws by just being a bigger target.

    A smaller player is generally more likely to be more athletic than a taller one, so that should help even things out, if not give the more athletic player an advantage because he’ll be better at receiving all throws, not just high ones.

  341. david h on July 9th, 2007 10:51 pm

    Here is something from Dial writing that Olerud is the best 1b of the last 20 years. However, it isn’t the study you are talking about, Dave – this seems to be just based on runs saved generally, not his effect on the other fielders. He even writes,

    While not tracked, Olerud was one of the first basemen you could tell saved runs with his handling of throws from infielders.

    Of course, it was tracked – if not by Dial, by someone else. I remember an article about the infield errors before, during, and after Olerud’s tenure with Toronto, New York, and Seattle, showing significant decreases during his time on each team and increases immediately after his departure, but what I saw was definitely either on espn.com or in an issue of Sports Illustrated.

  342. mwick243 on July 9th, 2007 11:19 pm

    I think the M’s should go after Kyle Lohse. Cincinnatti would be very willing to move him for a prospect.

    Is anyone in favor of trading for Troy Glaus to be the DH?

  343. JMHawkins on July 9th, 2007 11:23 pm

    they found room for 12 slugging corner outfield prospects on last year’s list. That’s a lot of guys with similar profiles to what we’re hoping for from Wlad.

    Actually, that number seems about what I’d expect. On a 25 man roster, you’d have 2-3 corner OF type, or between 8 and 12% of the roster. And since the general consensus (flawed perhaps) is that corner OF is a power position, anyone projected as a bluechip at that position better be a slugger (0r, conversely, any young kid with a good OF glove is probably slotted as a CF while in the minors). So, 9, 11 and 12 out of 100 top prospects as “slugging corner OFs” seems unexceptional. That’s probably what you need to backfill attrition.

    But, yes, slugging corner OFs are highly valued, and we should be able to get something for Wlad, if there’s anything to be had. Problem is, what we need is a starting pitcher who doesn’t suck, and they’re rare as hens teeth. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if we shouldn’t just keep Wlad and plan on an 08 lineup with Jones in LF, Ichiro in CF (or vice versa) and Wlad in RF, with Raul at DH.

  344. baseballismylyf4 on July 10th, 2007 12:01 am

    Dave, I gotta hand it to you. You know your stuff and I respect that, becuase there are a lot of Mariner fans who blow smoke out their butthole thinking they know what they are talking about.

    I 200% agree with your idea of platooning the 5 players, and especially giving Guillen the most time. He’s proven that he can still be productive even with all the negatives that are thrown around about his attitude.

    However, I have to say I disagree with bringing up Jones. If anything, only for July and some of August. There is no way we can give Jones left field and cut down Ibanez’s atbats, especially when the man is on pace for more than 100 RBIs. We are in the middle of a chance at making the playoffs, so why bring up the kid who hit just .216 last year, when big things were expected of him.

    If you bring up anyone, to me it would make sense to bring up Balentien. The Mariners have trouble with getting the round tripper when needed, seeing how we rank 10th in the AL (out of 14) in HRs. The man has power. The organization admits he’s got the most power. Scouts say he’s got the raw power that he could drive the ball out of an MLB park 35 times a year. Why not give him the chance? He leads the team with 108 hits, and of the 3 players on the team with 100+ hits, he’s got the least at bats. He’s 2nd on the team (behind Jones) in HRs (21 to 20). On top of that, he’s struck out 19 less times than Jones and drawn 11 more walks.

    Can’t go wrong with either, but if you need the hit, I’ll go with Balentien. What do you think about calling his number?

  345. Dave on July 10th, 2007 12:10 am

    Can’t go wrong with either, but if you need the hit, I’ll go with Balentien. What do you think about calling his number?

    I think you just proved my point about how tremendously fans overvalue offense and undervalue defense.

    Jones is a better player, right now, than Balentien. That’s not even really an arguable point.

  346. smac on July 10th, 2007 12:11 am

    I promise to stop after this, but you guys still aren’t answering my question. It has nothing to do with Richie scooping balls. A previous poster said that he believed Richie probably saves some errors because of his heighth and so maybe his negative defensive number shouldn’t be quite so negative. That idea was quickly dismissed by stating that there is a lack of evidence and that John Olerud really picked short hops well. ?? I am talking about reaching to catch balls in the air. My guess is that at least once there was an errant throw to second that Ryne Sandberg caught for a force out that was far enough off the bag that Jose Lopez (he seems league average size) could not possibly have reached. That is the only kind of scenario that I have been trying to get clarification on. The research has talked about fielding range on hit balls and in Dial’s case, total balls received at first. I don’t believe it answers my particular math question. Is there a measurable range factor for balls thrown to you?
    What is the league average reach? I am probably about league average heighth so I measured. From my target (middle of my chest) to my outstretched fingers is 39″. Of course that would not be the league average reach, but lets assume. My guess is that that same figure on Big Richie is 6″ greater or so. Meaning there is a surface area 6″ wide making an arc (actually wider at the sides because of larger stride length) around Richie Sexson’s upper half that he catches for outs that the league average 1b simply cannot reach. It’s not an Eric Hinske looked cool value judgement, it’s a mathematical fact. I would never catch a ball thrown more than 39″ from the target while keeping my foot on the base, Richie Sexson could. That arc is a decent sized surface area. Of 1,620 (guess of 10 throws x 162 games) throws to first in a year, how many would miss the target wide or high in that surface area between 39″ and 45″ from target. Those would be outs that Richie Sexson would make that a league average 1st baseman could not make. My guess is that there will be at least a few throws to first that Richie Sexson deserves a +1 for on a defensive metric because a league average player could not have made a reach that Richie made.
    Has this very particular aspect of catching the ball at first base ever been studied? Have they found it to be a negligible amount of throws or not? I’m sure your answer will put this topic to rest. Thank you, and sorry if I didn’t explain myself clearly earlier.

  347. Dave on July 10th, 2007 12:21 am

    Has this very particular aspect of catching the ball at first base ever been studied?

    It’s a waste of time, honestly. It doesn’t matter if Sexson has has more reach than another guy, because major league fielders adjust their throws to their respective targets.

    The only thing that you should care about on this issue is how many thrown balls Sexson turns into outs relative to other first baseman. It doesn’t matter if they’re high, low, right on target, whatever – all we care about for evaluating his defensive value beyond range is how Sexson impacts the abilities of the other fielders in turning throws into outs.

    We don’t need surface area, reach, or any of that. It’s a waste of time. If he catches that ball over his head because he’s 6’8, but can’t catch the one around his ankles because he’s 6’8, then the value of his height cancels each other out.

    I know you want Richie’s height to matter. It just doesn’t.

  348. Faux Real on July 10th, 2007 12:21 am

    Earlier today on KJR I heard our favorite new Seattle sportswriter mention his lack of desire to see the M’s land Matt Morris.

    Then later on during my nightly commute home I heard USSM get a plug from Elise Woodward while talking about Felix’ improvement this last start

    I think Dave may be taking over the world, or at least Marinerland.

  349. baseballismylyf4 on July 10th, 2007 12:25 am

    Dave I beg to differ.

    I don’t value offense over pitching or defense, seeing how those are the teams that seem to be highly successful.

    In your first post, you said that “I think we should expect Jones to be something like 5 to 10 runs better than an average defensive left fielder during the second half of the season.” Now, lemme say that Jones is good, but what do you find wrong with Ibanez that Jones is that much better? We have committed the 8th least ammount of errors in the MLB, at 51. 19 of those errors have came from Betancourt. Seems that by your logic we’d be better off sticking Jones in his original position.

    Seems to me that we need to draw walks and K less, something that Balentien has been pretty good at in comparison to Jones.

    Look, in no way am I saying that Balentien is the better player, becuase I believe in the long run that Jones will be better, but when we need the immediate bat that could give us some runs, walk more and K less, doesn’t that sound pretty tempting?

  350. Faux Real on July 10th, 2007 12:29 am

    Errors aren’t the only judge of defense. Raul doesn’t get charged an error for the many balls hit in the gap and into the corner that Adam could either catch or get to more quickly. Not to mention Raul’s arm. I don’t think a 3rd base coach in the league wouldn’t test his arm on anyball hit to him regardless of how hard. Runner’s are scoring from 2nd every single to left field

  351. smac on July 10th, 2007 12:40 am

    “We don’t need surface area, reach, or any of that. It’s a waste of time. If he catches that ball over his head because he’s 6′8, but can’t catch the one around his ankles because he’s 6′8, then the value of his height cancels each other out.”

    I’m really trying to understand. To me this either says he can’t scoop because he’s tall so the heighth cancels itself out (that can’t be true because Oly was also tall), or that heighth does matter, but that Richie particularly sucks at scooping so no net gain. (This is what I have been arguing, so I am now more confused)

    Please answer this question and I will go to bed and I won’t write for weeks/ months.

    If you had John Olerud and John Olerud’s clone in ability, but the clone was 6 inches taller. Would they statistically be equal defensive first baseman, or do you think the taller one would turn more throws into outs?

  352. hcoguy on July 10th, 2007 12:43 am

    Using the horrible, terrible, fielding “stat” known as “errors,” Ibanez has the most of ALL ML LEFTFIELDERS!!! He is tied with Jason Bay. Now, one game in particular I can think of was against the yankees in NYC, he missed two routine flyballs due to the sun. Although no other outfielder in the game missed one. One was immediatle ruled an error, but several innings later was changed to a hit, apparently because Hideki Matsui needed another hit to reach some obscure trans-pacific hitting accomplishment mileston. Anyways, Ibanez has at least, the most errors of a leftfielder. Anyone who has watched more than 5 M’s games this year should be able to discern that he is a horrible fielder. Bad reads, bad routes, doesn’t even reach balls that 60-70 percent of leftfielders catch easily. Yuni and Ichiro even cover a good chunk of his zone and still the hits fall in. That said, I love Raul. Nice guy, I would love to see his name next to DH every time we face a righty and occasionally against the weak lefties.

  353. Bodhizefa on July 10th, 2007 12:47 am

    Dave,

    Just a counterpoint to your assertion that (and I’m paraphrasing) the M’s went out and got a right-handed pull-hitting third baseman in Beltre…

    His stellar 2004 was due in part to his tendency to go the opposite way an awful lot — especially for his flyballs, doubles, and homers. It was this fact that I thought he would be PERFECT for Safeco at the time, and I was giddy about that signing for months up until he actually came in and hit for squat because he started to pull everything again. It’s odd that he gets frustrated at times because his flyballs to left and left-center get eaten up by the park, because he’s got the power and skill to go the other way with authority. He simply hasn’t concentrated nearly as much on his hitting since he’s come to Seattle, which is a shame. I still long to see him put a season together where he trusts his power to the opposite field in our park.

  354. hcoguy on July 10th, 2007 12:49 am

    Oh and btw, “we need to draw walks and k less” Um, yes to the first, the latter is impossible as we have the fewest K’s in baseball. By 30 of em.

  355. hcoguy on July 10th, 2007 12:50 am

    “He simply hasn’t concentrated nearly as much on his hitting since he’s come to Seattle”

    bold statement.

  356. baseballismylyf4 on July 10th, 2007 12:58 am

    This is mainly to the people who want to see Jones in left becuase of Ibanez’s “poor defense”.

    By your own standards, Betancourt shouldn’t be playing SS. He leads the MLB SSs in errors with 19, and his average vs. Righties is .264.
    –People used Ibanez’s lefty average against him, so why not fire back with showing Betancourt’s poor, if not worse, performance?

  357. eponymous coward on July 10th, 2007 12:58 am

    349-

    Now, lemme say that Jones is good, but what do you find wrong with Ibanez that Jones is that much better?

    Raul’s range is clearly suffering. The stats and watching the games shows it. At this point, he’s a DH and only an intermittent OF. (Though looking at Guillen, really, I’m surprised Ichiro’s holding up this well. The dude has two statues on either side of him.)

    Seems that by your logic we’d be better off sticking Jones in his original position.

    I don’t think Dave’s message should be read as “let’s shift Adam Jones to a position he hasn’t played in years and bench Yuni in order to improve the defense”.

    Seems to me that we need to draw walks and K less, something that Balentien has been pretty good at in comparison to Jones.

    The Mariners are dead last in MLB in strikeouts by hitters. We aren’t suffering from too many Ks. Realistically, the small difference between Jones and Wlad’s walk rates (because it’s not huge) is going to be swamped by the defensive upgrade, because conversely, the Mariners are near the bottom of the league in defensive efficiency (turning balls in play into outs). A defensive shot in the arm in LF would go a big way to helping that change.

  358. hcoguy on July 10th, 2007 1:49 am

    356. You are wrong, plain and simple.

    A .264 avg, (really, we’re using avg now?) against your own handedness pitcher is not lousy. Especially when your season avg is only 5 points higher. An even platoon split is valuable (see Ichiro). That said, Yuni is 23, future SS because well, no one else is beating down the door and his range is excellent. Throwing can be taught, range is talent. This whole article has nothing to do with Yuni’s fielding or hitting. In fact, who would you rather have playing? Bringing up Yuni’s throwing woes and recent hitting slump have nothing do with Ibanez’s declining speed and ability to play the fieild. NOTHING. I brought up errors, the ultimate useless stat, because you relied on it and even with it, you were wrong. Seriously, if you are dead set on believing Ibanez as a good field, you cannot possibly be watching enough M’s games. Get a mlb.tv subscription and watch him play by play if you have too. Every ball hit to him is a scary adventure.

  359. naviomelo on July 10th, 2007 2:16 am

    356 – You should really read the blog very carefully; words are chosen precisely here. Errors are not a good defensive metric. Betancourt clearly has above average ability and range at SS, which Ibanez does not have in LF.

  360. zzyzx on July 10th, 2007 5:28 am

    Sickles on Adam Jones:

    “Although Jones has made major progress this year no question, there are still some issues here and the Mariners are wise to give him additional Triple-A time. He is striking out more than once per game, 81 K in 76 games, 319 at-bats, with 27 walks. If you put him in the majors now, I think he’s hit for power but would have a hard time keeping his batting average over .250 due to contact issues, at least once the pitchers learned him. ”

    Just thought it was interesting to read that someone thinks it’s wise to keep him down, even if Dave would be happy with .250.

    http://www.minorleagueball.com/story/2007/7/4/121049/0822

  361. msb on July 10th, 2007 6:01 am

    Sickels.

  362. msb on July 10th, 2007 6:09 am

    oh, thank goodness. Scott Boras has solved this messy defense question for us.

    is Scott lobbying to take over for Selig? this is on the heels of his “best of 9 World Series” proposal ….

  363. Dave on July 10th, 2007 6:25 am

    Now, lemme say that Jones is good, but what do you find wrong with Ibanez that Jones is that much better?

    It’s in the post. Ibanez is horrible defensively.

    If you had John Olerud and John Olerud’s clone in ability, but the clone was 6 inches taller. Would they statistically be equal defensive first baseman, or do you think the taller one would turn more throws into outs?

    If you had a 6’10 clone of John Olerud, that guy would probably be better than 6’4 John Olerud. But, just like your “four foot first baseman” example, this isn’t practical – there aren’t any 6’10 first baseman with exceptional defensive skills.

    There’s a mythical world where your 6’10 John Olerud is significantly better than your 4’0 first baseman playing for other teams and adds a lot of value by virtue of being tall. This isn’t that world, though.

    By your own standards, Betancourt shouldn’t be playing SS. He leads the MLB SSs in errors with 19, and his average vs. Righties is .264.

    When your case is based on errors and batting average, just give up and say “you know what, this is a losing battle. I’m wrong.”

    Sickles on Adam Jones…

    John Sickles: Nice guy, opinion on Adam Jones not important.

  364. Paul B on July 10th, 2007 7:23 am

    –People used Ibanez’s lefty average against him, so why not fire back with showing Betancourt’s poor, if not worse, performance?

    Ooh,ooh, I know this one! It’s because Betancourt is a shortstop who has good range partially negated this year by throwing errors early, whereas Ibanez is one of the worst fielding outfielders in MLB because his range is horrible!

    and, and, let’s see, Betancourt’s OPS is .794 against lefties and .623 against righties. A significant difference, but Betancourt isn’t in the majors because of his hitting.

    Meanwhile, Raul, who certainly isn’t in the majors because of his range afield, has a .825 OPS against righties and a .580 OPS against lefties.

    So, against lefties, Raul becomes a “worse hitting than a slap hitting no power shortstop” corner outfielder. Yum.

  365. baseballismylyf4 on July 10th, 2007 7:36 am

    By your own standards, Betancourt shouldn’t be playing SS. He leads the MLB SSs in errors with 19, and his average vs. Righties is .264.

    When your case is based on errors and batting average, just give up and say “you know what, this is a losing battle. I’m wrong.”

    I fail to see how I’m wrong. You and other people based your Ibanez arguments on defense and his hitting against left handed hitters.
    –I just used the same thing to explain Betancourts proneness to making errors and his low batting average against righties…

  366. Dave on July 10th, 2007 7:41 am

    I fail to see how I’m wrong. You and other people based your Ibanez arguments on defense and his hitting against left handed hitters.
    –I just used the same thing to explain Betancourts proneness to making errors and his low batting average against righties…

    1. You’re using useless statistics to support your claim. Batting average and errors are not how you evaluate a player, unless you want to come to erroneous conclusions like “Jose Vidro is the second best hitter on the team!” or “Derek Jeter is a great defensive shortstop.”

    2. The Mariners don’t have a better shortstop in Tacoma waiting to take Betancourt’s job.

    3. Betancourt’s throwing problem is fixable. Raul’s being old is not.

  367. bakomariner on July 10th, 2007 7:44 am

    do you really think they’d have players in the minors (jones, morse, etc.) switch positions if yuni wasn’t going to be around a while? his recent woes are fixable…the kid is young…sexson and ibanez have learned all they will learn…they WON’T improve…they are old…period…

  368. Jeff Nye on July 10th, 2007 8:15 am

    Maybe if we were to slingshot Raul Ibanez around the sun, time would reverse and he’d get younger…

  369. bakomariner on July 10th, 2007 8:28 am

    but when raul was really young, he couldn’t hit…so either way, we’re screwed…

  370. quickkick87 on July 10th, 2007 9:06 am

    I could be wrong, but it seems like in a situation like this (Ibanez’s defense vs. Betancourt’s), that “wow” factor actually can be useful. The sheer number of times Yuni has made an absurd play deep in the hole at short that looked impossible and made us say “wow” really serves as evidence that his defensive foundation is there, his throwing mechanics just need work. On the flip side, while maybe Raul has made a couple of “wow” plays, most of the time I’m just thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe he didn’t catch that.”

    Big difference.

  371. Ralph Malph on July 10th, 2007 9:26 am

    Is anyone in favor of trading for Troy Glaus to be the DH?

    Let’s see…

    Right handed
    Wrong side of 30
    Making $10.5M this year, $12.5M in 2008
    Doesn’t play defense very well
    Injury history

    Sounds like a perfect fit!

    I guess the one thing I can say for him is he’s better than Vidro!

    When you’ve got Adam Jones sitting in AAA with no place to play on the current roster, which of the M’s problems exactly would Glaus fill?

  372. bakomariner on July 10th, 2007 9:31 am

    i think i said this a couple times this post already…we don’t need ANY position players added but JONES…promote him, and then dip your feet in the trade pool and see if we can upgrade the starting pitching…that’s it…in my mind at least…

  373. awolfgang on July 10th, 2007 9:46 am

    Not sure if this has been brought up yet, but in the conversation on errors and defense, one thing I’ve noticed is that the Official Scorekeeper at Safeco will give just about everyone a hit. A couple weeks ago I think Niehaus even was opening griping about the scorekeeper. Which begs the question. Do scorekeepers get evaluated like umpires do by MLB? I think you can probably add 5-10 errors to the M’s if another scorekeeper was making the calls.

  374. gwangung on July 10th, 2007 9:49 am

    and, and, let’s see, Betancourt’s OPS is .794 against lefties and .623 against righties. A significant difference, but Betancourt isn’t in the majors because of his hitting.

    Meanwhile, Raul, who certainly isn’t in the majors because of his range afield, has a .825 OPS against righties and a .580 OPS against lefties.

    Given THESE kinds of differences…I had to laugh at the comment about Jones’ 1.000/.950 “split.”

  375. david h on July 10th, 2007 10:04 am

    After promoting Jones, Troy Glaus would be pretty cool to have if we didn’t have Sexson and Vidro, and Glaus played first. Of course, then you’d have Ibanez and Broussard as viable DH’s with the same platoon split, which is no good. So with the team the way it is currently constructed, and with Jones ready for the call, there is no point to go after Glaus even if he is being sold on the cheap.

    371 – THT’s Zone Rating had Glaus at +10 through June 14, and he’s had a pretty good defensive reputation throughout his career, at least from what I’ve read. Of course, THT had Beltre at -4 at that point, so who knows.

  376. Chris Miller on July 10th, 2007 10:56 am

    RE: Much of this thread.

    It just blows my mind that despite all the talk moneyball generated, and all the talk over the last few years about Beane using market inefficiencies, particularly OBP and defense, to build a team, and it seemed people might have started to “get it”, that people STILL criminally underrate OBP and defense. Both fans AND front offices.

    RE: #375
    Small sample size.

  377. Chris Miller on July 10th, 2007 11:18 am

    If you bring up anyone, to me it would make sense to bring up Balentien. The Mariners have trouble with getting the round tripper when needed, seeing how we rank 10th in the AL (out of 14) in HRs. The man has power.

    Just wanted to point out, the mariners are 6th in OBP, and just a skip to 5th place (Angels have a .003 point lead). When you account for the park, that’s huge. Sure Boston, New York, Cleveland, and Detroit are better in that regard, but they are Boston, New York, and Cleveland. Being a top team in OBP is far more important to being a good offense than the total number of Home-runs. Do you think Balentien will really help in that regard? Sure he has a .395 OBP in AAA, but what will that translate to in the majors, and will it be THAT much better than AJ. Also will the difference between the two be as big of an improvement as the defensive upgrade Jones give you? I doubt it.

  378. Oysterpirate on July 10th, 2007 12:31 pm

    Could Oakland’s Lenny DiNardo possibly be a good fit for the Mariners as a starter? He’s left handed with a high GO/AO ratio of 2.59 (which is a bit less than his career average of 2.75), and is 28 years old. Scouting reports I read say he’s not overpowering (fastball consistently at 88.0 mph), but he knows how to change speeds. He’s been used mainly in relief role since joining the majors, but has started 7 games this season with the A’s and started 22 games in 2005 with Pawtucket.

    He gave up a lot of runs last year, but strangely enough, had an even higher GO/AO rate at 3.5. His GO/AO rate is consistently about 2.56, which he set his first year up. With a such a rate, he’d appear to do pretty well with Beltre, Betancourt, and Lopez behind him. Since he’s a lefty and not overpowering, I’m ASSUMING that this would lead to a lot of groundballs in the direction of Beltre and Betancourt. I don’t know if that’s true, but it seems logical that right handed hitters would try and pull him. His only problem might be his BB, shown through his K/BB rate, which is about 1.39 now, up from an 0.85 last year where he completely crashed.

    Now, this would mean dealing with Billy Beane, but Oakland doesn’t seem to suit groundball pitching with their defense. Yet, Oaklands starting rotation has been injured a lot this year, so he might be harder to persuade to trade him. I’m only guessing that he’d want some pitching in return. Perhaps we could put Feirabend in the deal and the maximum being Balentien perhaps? I don’t really know how to judge how much DiNardo is worth, but he’s not a superstar and seems to fit well in Safeco with our infield.

    Anyway, that’s what I’ve got. Is trading for DiNardo plausibly a good move?

  379. planB on July 10th, 2007 12:41 pm

    This is old now, but it’s not that height doesn’t matter. It’s just that it’s one of many things that might matter. The Olerud example was given because he is the only first baseman that demonstrably affected the performance of the rest of the infield on his team. Out of thousands, of all different heights. He is somewhat tall, and I’m sure that contributed, but there are a whole lot of other reasons Sexson isn’t Olerud.

    You have to look at a defender’s performance overall. A short guy could be good, and a tall guy could be bad. A large wingspan alone doesn’t automatically make you a good first baseman; just like muscles alone don’t automatically make you a good hitter.

    And unless you have multiple copies of the same person at different heights, you can’t measure the influence of height alone. Even if you could, that’s irrelevant, because defensive ability overall is the useful measure. What good is it to say, “Smith is bad, but at least he is 7′ tall, otherwise he’d be awful” or “Jones is good, but he’d be great if he were 6″ taller.”

  380. jake squid on July 10th, 2007 1:18 pm

    A large wingspan alone doesn’t automatically make you a good first baseman…

    Yes, indeed. Remember what a great first baseman Dave Kingman was?

  381. Chris Miller on July 10th, 2007 1:29 pm

    #379, I don’t think I could have put that any better. It’s kind of like people looking for the next Randy Johnson. Being “6’9″, lefthanded, and throwing heat doesn’t automagically turn you into one of the best 5-10 pitchers in history.

    Physical comps are only useful in addition to statistical comps, and alone is not predictive of a players stats. Being fast doesnt automatically make you a good defender. Being a good athelete doesn’t make you doesn’t automatically make you a good ball player. Heck, you can have no stuff (speed + movement) and still be one of the better pitchers around, and have all the stuff in the world and still suck.

    Also there’s more to defense than catching throws a few inches outside of what another player would. Defense is speed, positioning, routes, arm, fielding ability (ability to catch the balls thrown at you), and footwork, and I’m sure somthing I’ve missed. The best bet is too look at all the various (good) PBP defensive metrics like ZR and UZR and PMR over about a 3 year span to gauge defense, and if you do that it’s obvious Sexson and Ibanez are two of the worst defenders allowed to play in the field every day.

  382. LoydKristmis on July 10th, 2007 1:35 pm

    “…I think you can probably add 5-10 errors to the M’s if another scorekeeper was making the calls…”

    I think you can say that about the effect of any scorekeeper on the home team.

  383. mwick243 on July 10th, 2007 1:41 pm

    Glaus was just an idea that came up… I think you are correct though, that the current situation does not call for bringing in a slugger who could only be counted on realistically to DH.

    Who would the Mariners have to give up from their system to get Kyle Lohse?

    Also, I havent been able to find any “on-the-block” news from the Devil Rays, but I was wondering if there was maybe an outside chance at landing Scott Kazmir. I know he has a lot of promise, but do you think that Tampa would be willing to give him up for a combination of a vet (Vidro or Ibanez) and a decent prospect?

  384. mwick243 on July 10th, 2007 1:44 pm

    Also, does anyone think that maybe Adam Jones will not be able to live up to these ‘savior’ expectations? I understand that he has improved in the minors since last season, but isn’t this a little too much pressure to be placing on the best prospect in the organization?

    What is more important: Adding Jones to be a factor in this year’s playoff push… or easing Jones into the Bigs to ensure a very productive 5+ years out of him?

  385. thepull on July 10th, 2007 1:56 pm

    Kazmir? I hope that was some kind of huge joke, or maybe you are high?

  386. Chris Miller on July 10th, 2007 2:00 pm

    I got it, I got it, Victor Zambrano just got released. Maybe we can pick him up with the hopes of trading him to Tampa Bay for Kazmir ….

  387. kidlondon on July 10th, 2007 2:01 pm

    It may seem like there’d be a lot of pressure on Jones, but there really isn’t any easing into the bigs in my opinion. Besides, he doesn’t have to live up to our expectations to be an improvement: I agree with what Dave has already said that he can bat .230 and it won’t hurt, and an athletic chimpanzee could outfield Raul.

    Plain and simple, we can tell Adam to go out there and just have a good time playing ball and he’ll still improve our chances in the second half.

  388. John in L.A. on July 10th, 2007 2:46 pm

    384 – why are those things mutually exclusive?

  389. mwick243 on July 10th, 2007 8:29 pm

    I know the Kazmir suggestion was a bit out there, that’s why I said “outside chance.” But I figured, of all the decently promising youngsters in the league, Kazmir has been struggling more than most.

    This may be another crazy suggestion, but let’s say, even though they are apparently close to a deal, the M’s were to willing to part with Ichiro.
    How about a deal with Boston for Crisp, Hansen, and either Lester or Buchholz?

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