My second thought on Guillen/Balentien

DMZ · August 29, 2007 at 9:45 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

After talking to Dave about our disagreement, I realized something else: one of the things the M’s player development has become much, much better at in the last few years under Bavasi/Fontaine is determining which of their players are ready to play in the majors, and what their roles might be. We’ve seen most of that in filling out the bullpen, and I may disagree with what they do with them once they’ve come to those decisions (Morrow, for instance, was a case where they figured he could help with the bullpen, but that might have come at the expense of his development as a starter).

Bavasi’s stated that he’s unwilling to start two new outfielders, and if that was the limit of discussion, I’d still be pretty hot about it, but I can’t believe that during the season, particularly during the drawn-out discussions with Guillen, he didn’t have a discussion with the player development people and say “Do you think Wlad’s going to be ready in a year? Two years?” And I guess they must have put up their hands and said “We dunno, boss.”

If you grant them that, then it means that the brighter minds in the M’s player development organization aren’t seeing the big leap forward in Wlad’s game, or at least aren’t convinced it’s sustainable. Or they don’t think his performance is major-league ready. And I haven’t seen Wlad like they have — so I’m entirely willing to be humble and say “there may well be something they’re seeing that I’m not.”


81 Responses to “My second thought on Guillen/Balentien”

  1. bakomariner on August 30th, 2007 10:28 am

    raul in left was painful to watch last night…and all year really…he needs to put his ego at the door, accept that he no longer can play defense, and focus on being the DH next year…but he probably won’t…

  2. marc w on August 30th, 2007 10:30 am

    “Balentien as a hitter is better suited to a park other than Safeco.”

    I hear this all the time, but if it’s true of Wlad, how is it NOT true of Guillen? He’s not exactly a spray hitter; here’s a look at the distribution of his homers on the year.

    Is the argument that the M’s should prioritize lefty sluggers? Ok, maybe. But how does this extension help?

  3. Steve Nelson on August 30th, 2007 10:33 am

    #48: Raul is left fielder for life.

    I don’t think so. I think Raul is headed to 1B unless Pentland can convince Snape to prepare a potion to restore life to the living dead.

  4. bakomariner on August 30th, 2007 10:34 am

    53- he might go to first, but he’ll be just as terrible there…he needs to be the DH…

  5. gwangung on August 30th, 2007 10:42 am

    39 (msb) – Well, isn’t Minoru Arakawa still the “owner” of the club? Like, he could make decisions if he wasn’t disconnected from the team completely, right? I understand it is ran by a board, though.

    No, owned by Nintendo of America.

    Some people seem to think this makes a difference. I don’t, given my experience with family dominated businesses and estate planning.

  6. Steve Nelson on August 30th, 2007 10:49 am

    #54: No he won’t. First, he’ll be better than Sexson (or at least no worse). Second, his lack of range (which is his biggest defensive issue) is minimized at 1B.

  7. bat guano on August 30th, 2007 10:52 am

    Raul has been painful in left all year–not just the past few nights—and I believe all the fielding metrics back that up. So if the M’s (McLaren, are you listening?) would just realize that, there’s a spot for Jones notwithstanding a Guillen signing. Only Manny is worse in the field than Raul, but he’s blocked from DHing by Ortiz (not Vidro), so what the Sox are doing makes sense. Getting rid of Richie might help, and putting Vidro at first probably makes more sense than sticking Raul there, but either one is a problem. And then there’s Broussard. So basically we just have too many guys who are decent hitters but can’t field a position. So my point remains—Raul and Vidro are redundant whether we resign Guillen or not. One of them should go, and my preference would be to move Vidro but I don’t know whether there would be much interest out there in a singles hitting DH. If there isn’t, he should go to the bench most of the time next year and Raul should get the bulk of the time at DH. Oh yeah, and Jones plays left while Wlad proves he’s for real in AAA again.

  8. Adam S on August 30th, 2007 10:54 am

    Signing Guillen looks like the same mistake the the Mariners have repeatedly made over the past few seasons, that USSM has roundly criticized. Here’s a guy having a good year because 1) you’re comparing it to 2006 which was a disaster and 2) he has a high BABIP (~.350 vs. a career of .300). He’s on the wrong side of 30 which means he should get worse from here on out, yet the Mariners expect a repeat of 2007.

    Maybe I’m making too much of this or looking at too small of a sample, but his splits worry me. His OPS vs RHP is 740, which I guess is OK for playing in Safeco; but his success this year comes from pounding LHP for a 1100 OPS. The 2/3 of the time the other team runs a righty on the mound, you have a RF who’s just above replacement level, assuming his defense is average. Guillen and Ibanez would make a great platoon!

    I can’t see any way he’s worth $10M in 2010 and the downside is you’re looking at another Sexson or Vidro — a player who isn’t very good, but good enough you won’t release, but not so useful that you could trade him without eating most of his contract.

  9. currcoug on August 30th, 2007 11:02 am

    I could not disagree more. Bavasi is horrid at projecting minor league talent. We saw it when he failed to acquire a pitcher as part of the Garcia trade. We saw it this season when Jones should have been playing LF in July, when Ibanez was terrible. I also remind you that the genius tried to give Balentien away for Dotel, who almost immediately went on the DL.

    Bavasi was also wrong about Asdrubal Cabrera, who has already been placed in the #2 hole for Cleveland. Bavasi should be fired for that one mistake alone.

    Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks are starting two rookies in the outfield…in the midst of a heated pennant race. The same can be said of the Yankees.

  10. Grizz on August 30th, 2007 11:03 am

    This year aside, Guillen has shown very little of a platoon split over his career. There are reasons to dislike the deal, but a platoon split should not be one of them.

  11. Ralph Malph on August 30th, 2007 11:15 am

    OK, just to lighten the mood check this out [deleted, obviously]

  12. msb on August 30th, 2007 11:20 am

    Hiroshi Yamauchi of Nintendo Japan volunteered to buy the club to keep it in Seattle, eventually with a mostly-American ownership group because of MLB Owners xenophobia). In 2004, doing some estate planning, he sold his shares to Nintendo of America, but per Thiel, remains ‘the titular head’.

    NOA owns the majority share of the team, and Lincoln is their representative on the board of directors. Arakawa is Mr. Yamauchi’s son-in-law; he ran NOA until his retirement in 2002, and so was part of the Baseball Club of Seattle when they bought the team, and remains on the board of directors with Lincoln, Ellis, Chris Larson, Wayne Perry, Frank Shrontz and Craig Watjen.

  13. C. Cheetah on August 30th, 2007 11:26 am

    I believe Broussard is a FA at the end of this year, so UNFORTUNATELY the M’s do not have to worry about him in the log jam at 1B/DH/OF.
    The worst part about Broussard being a FA, is that he needs I believe 350 AB’s to qualify for being a Type B FA…and I do not see anyway of getting him those AB’s this year any more….nice job managers.

  14. Grizz on August 30th, 2007 11:30 am

    Broussard is not a free agent at the end of the year unless the M’s non-tender him. Nor is there any 350 AB requirement for Type B free agents.

  15. Tropics iRE on August 30th, 2007 11:32 am

    this is a good read … apparentley someone thinks the M’s are a lock for the post season.

  16. Gilgameche on August 30th, 2007 11:38 am

    65: That is good. Too bad they didn’t ask me who I like in Cricket . . .

  17. msb on August 30th, 2007 11:39 am

    so, do major league players respond to “bulletin board material?” 🙂

  18. RealRhino on August 30th, 2007 12:01 pm

    But why have we been concerned only with whether Wlad is “ready?” Is Wlad the only alternative? Is there not a better use for the money? I guess if you are saying that if we don’t sign Guillen, we have a worse RF and the owners just keep the money, sure, sign Guillen. I can’t believe those are the only two guys that can play RF, though. Or that Wlad + $9.6MM worth of something else isn’t likely to be better than Guillen + nothing.

  19. Tropics iRE on August 30th, 2007 12:08 pm

    … World Series ’07 – Mariners Win!!!

    oh .. was i typing in my sleep?


  20. Adam S on August 30th, 2007 12:14 pm

    Cabrera is right. 5 games back with 30 to play means if the Angels play 400 ball, we’d have to play 566 to catch them. If they play 500 ball, we’d have to play 666. That’s a pretty tough task. The AL division races are basically over.

    Grizz, good point on Guillen’s career splits. Dave, DMZ, or anyone what should we make of Guillen suddenly showing a huge platoon difference this year?

  21. Mat on August 30th, 2007 12:46 pm

    Grizz, good point on Guillen’s career splits. Dave, DMZ, or anyone what should we make of Guillen suddenly showing a huge platoon difference this year?

    “Huge” is a relative term. Overall, Jose has hit .291/.357/.463.

    Let’s take a look first at his BA split. He’s .255 (97/364) against RHP and .369 (41/111) against LHP. Based on his career splits, we would expect that he’d be roughly even, which would be 106/364 against RHP and 32/111 against LHP.

    So Jose’s had about 9 fewer hits against RHP than we would expect and 9 more hits against LHP than we would expect. I guess I have trouble seeing that as a significant deviation from his career splits.

    Anytime someone’s just had 100 AB (roughly what Jose’s had against LHP), it’s tough to make any kind of strong conclusion from that data–it’s a small sample.

  22. Grizz on August 30th, 2007 12:58 pm

    Following up on Mat’s comment, Guillen’s career OPS splits are 764 v. LHP/796 v. RHP. Thus, his 740 v. RHP this year is not too far off, especially considering the Safeco effect on right-handed hitters. His BABIP v. LHP this year is .380. While this does not fully account for his 1.087 OPS v. LHP, it does suggest that a fair amount of his success against LHP is not sustainable.

  23. _David_ on August 30th, 2007 1:18 pm

    How exactly does past performance get taken into account when determining free agent type? Would the Mariners get any kind of draft pick for Guillen?

  24. msb on August 30th, 2007 1:53 pm

    MLB uses the Elias Player Rankings, and Elias ranks them using their own arcane evaluation of the past two years of performance. The players are grouped by position (outfielders, first basemen and DHs are all lumped in together) and then by ranking.

    with the new CBA, “losing such a “Type A” player — one defined as the top 20 percent of players at his position beginning in 2007 — will continue to bring a first-round pick in return. “Type B” free agents will now bring a pick between the first and second rounds, rather than the first-round pick, for the club that loses the player. There no longer will be compensation for losing “Type C” free agents, or mediocre players.”

  25. Grizz on August 30th, 2007 1:55 pm

    Elias does a ranking of players by position based on each player’s statistics from the past two seasons. The exact formula is private and reputedly very convoluted.

    Free agents in the top 30% at their position are Type A, and free agents in the 31%-50% range are Type B. Compensation for losing a Type A free agent is a conditional first-round pick from the signing team (if the signing team’s pick is no. 15 or higher, the team losing the free agent gets the signing team’s second-round pick) plus a supplemental first-round pick. Type B compensation is a supplemental first-round pick only.

    As for Guillen, because the rankings are not generally available until they come out, one can only guess at his status. But considering that Guillen was hurt last year (and not very good when he did play), it is doubtful that he qualifies as a Type A and uncertain that he qualifies as a Type B.

  26. MedicineHat on August 30th, 2007 2:52 pm

    Well, 3/30M is 10M a season on average…for that they could have had this:

    PHILADELPHIA — Freddy Garcia cost the Philadelphia Phillies $10 million for one win.

    The two-time All-Star right-hander had season-ending shoulder surgery Thursday, nearly three months after he threw his last pitch for the Phillies.

    Renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews performed the operation on Garcia’s labrum in Birmingham, Ala. The 31-year-old Garcia will be a free agent after this season, and the Phillies won’t bring back perhaps the biggest bust in team history.

  27. nwtrev on August 30th, 2007 2:53 pm

    65 – I don’t know what that guy’s credentials are and I’d like to believe him but ESPN has a different viewpoint Nothing groundbreaking in the post that hasn’t been discussed here before but I do like the optimism at the end:Teams almost never come back from a five-game deficit in September, but one that did was the 1995 Mariners, who were 8½ behind the Angels at this same point that season. As both teams are well aware, Seattle rallied to force a one-game playoff against Anaheim and win the division.

    “That’s a great club over there, and they’ll be there at the end,” Scioscia said. “We’ll have to earn it regardless of whoever we go through.”

  28. vin on August 30th, 2007 2:59 pm

    RE: #76 It’s funny to refer back to the previous DMZ Guillen post because a post injury Garcia is exactly the kinda guy who would sign to pitch for 6.5M and free Moose rides.

  29. Tropics iRE on August 30th, 2007 3:06 pm

    ouch… the yankers beat the bo-sox 5-0 today 🙁

    time to cowboy up M’s


  30. joser on August 30th, 2007 3:31 pm

    Yeah, and the only other team with a winning record on schedule for the Yankees for the rest of the season? The M’s. (Well, Toronto is technically over .500 at the moment but I wouldn’t count on them ending the season that way). Seriously, the M’s have an uphill batttle to win the wild card, and a schedule stuffed full of contenders isn’t going to help (though I have to say they have a better shot at winning those games against Cleveland today than they had back in April).

  31. byronebyronian on August 31st, 2007 3:06 pm

    #20 – With all due respect, I agree that Arte Moreno is a good owner but he won’t just spend any amount as you say. His GM tends to hold onto their prospects way too long – even when there is a need and he could trade one. He’s also balked at spending big bucks on recent free agents and instead went after cheaper options (while somewhat overpaying).

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