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.”

Comments

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

  1. AK4Sea on August 29th, 2007 10:19 pm

    Still, the only upside about Reed sucking was that he was dirt cheap. That’s the kind of disappointment I can get behind.

    3 years/30 million dollar disappointment? If Guillen’s output starts falling off next year, we’re left with a lot of money that could be spent on guys like White, or, um, Reitsma, or, uh…

    Alright, so I guess I’m content to gamble on Guillen.

  2. Russ on August 29th, 2007 10:30 pm

    I like the open-mindedness. However these are the same peope who think Richie is just a few hits away from turning the corner, Raul has great range and Vidro is putting up huge numbers…

    Are they really going to make a great choice about player development when they have emperical evidence that the current roster isn’t getting it done?

  3. Eastside Crank on August 29th, 2007 10:45 pm

    I think the bigger question is what is the vision for the team? Are they going to be a station to station team that depends on the big hit? Are they going to be a speed team that takes the extra base and can have big innings without extra base hits? I think Bavasi is trying to build a team that values minimizing mental mistakes at the cost of raw physical ability. This type of team is going to be a tease until the next GM comes in and promotes players more on ability. Jones and Balentien are or should be the future of the Mariners and the sooner they get regular playing time the better.

  4. Tom on August 29th, 2007 10:57 pm

    #2: Richie is ALWAYS a few hits away from turning the corner. . .

    I just hope that the big thing about this so-called “improved player development” that the Mariners apparently now have is that the only reason Bavasi looks smart in this sense is that he hasn’t been stupid enough to trade all the best prospects away like Woody Woodward was, that and Mike Hargrove, unlike Lou (as much as I love Piniella) has been open the last couple years (’05-’07) to using younger players and grooming them into everyday roles. At least not yet. . .

    Just remember last time I checked the M’s had some pretty good prospects in their minor league system too that included the likes of Derek Lowe, David Ortiz, Jason Vartiek, and Jose Cruz, Jr.

    I don’t think there is any shame in trading Wlad for, let’s say, a solid pitching prospect or a switch-hitting outfielder prospect who might be capable of hitting for average in the big leagues, but to spend $10 mil. a year on Jose Guillen who has had only 2 decent seasons since 2004 basically when you could spend that money in other areas like, oh, I don’t know, quality bench players and STARTING PITCHING. It just makes no sense.

    The bottom line is, the Angels are literally only a couple elite players away from being there with the Red Sox and Yankees as the best in the AL if they aren’t there already, this is of course the same Angels team that outscored us 24 to 3 in this last series with the exception of that 5 run first inning on Tuesday night. The M’s are going to need to keep up with them in the coming years in order to make the playoffs.

    So what do you do?

    -Take a “if it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it” attitude.
    -Or be bold and make some trades and sign a couple big money free agent players (Fukudome?) and managers (Girardi) that might push you over the top and encourage them that Seattle can become GREAT again and not just
    good.

    Personally I choose the latter, but unfortunately Bill Bavasi runs the show. And if Howard Lincoln keeps him solely because butts are finally getting back in the seats and a bunch of other mumbo jumbo about “progress on the field,” he’s just going to assume things aren’t broken and they’ll keep the likes of Jose Guillen around blocking the path of Adam Jones and others.

  5. Tom on August 29th, 2007 10:58 pm

    #4: *I hope people know that. . .
    (Grammar correction)

  6. eponymous coward on August 29th, 2007 11:10 pm

    Of course, it could have also gone something like this:

    Bavasi: Hey, John, we’re thinking about where we go with Guillen. We do have another kid in Tacoma who’s hitting pretty good…
    McLaren: I don’t like these rookies. Has he been through wars like the veterans have? And I don’t want to deal with mental mistakes like the ones Lopez is making. Heck, that Jones kid is dropping balls. Now Jose, he’s great. Why can’t we keep him?

    My feeling is that Guillen’s signing is fine in and of itself. It’s the thought process for constructing a roster and how Bill Bavasi makes trades I’m scared of.

  7. Mat on August 29th, 2007 11:25 pm

    Even if Wlad isn’t ready, the choice still isn’t simply between playing Wlad and Guillen. Wlad is one of the organization’s assets next year whether or not he starts in RF. He can be kept around as depth (I believe the final verdict was that he still has an option), he can be traded for goodies (there has to be someone out there who values his skill set if Dave considers his position to be different than most), or he could even be kept around as a bench player.

    So the choice really isn’t Wlad or Jose Guillen. It’s $10M/year for three years or Jose Guillen. To me, the argument should be framed more in the context of whether or not you can put that $10M/year to better use, rather than worrying too much about whether or not Guillen vs. Wlad.

    Now, while it’s possible that there aren’t better ways to spend that money, I’m skeptical. Dave usually makes convincing arguments, so I’m open to the idea, but I’m skeptical.

  8. Russ on August 29th, 2007 11:25 pm

    #2: Richie is ALWAYS a few hits away from turning the corner. . .

    Not so much.

  9. sankthetank on August 29th, 2007 11:26 pm

    My take on the Guillen extension is this:

    If Bavasi sticks around beyond this year, then I’m all for the Guillen extension. Because Bill could do a LOT worse.

    If we fire Bavasi — like we should — and bring in somebody from the Beane/DePo/Antonetti school of thought, then no way would I do it — I think they could do more with Wlad and 30 million than Jose Guillen.

    It’s sad to have so little faith in the man guiding our franchise.

  10. thefin190 on August 29th, 2007 11:32 pm

    Guillen has no doubt been good to the Mariners this year (one of the many gambles that turned out good) but he could fall apart at any second. Which scares me to think the M’s would be spending $10M on Guillen. But at the same time. Him getting injured could clear the way for Wlad or Jones (if the mess with Ibanez being in outfield isn’t figured out by then). But the M’s desperately need more starting pitching, which should be a priority over Guillen (no offense Guillen).

    The M’s have plenty depth in the outfield, not so much in starting pitching.

  11. Tom on August 29th, 2007 11:33 pm

    #8: I mean they always say that, obviously he sucks as a hitter.

  12. Tom on August 29th, 2007 11:34 pm

    #10: Oh really? I thought we had a “staff of aces.” (sarcasm)

  13. thefin190 on August 30th, 2007 12:10 am

    12 – yea i was probably captain obvious there.

    just wondering, is HoRam in contract after this season? Hope not.

  14. NBarnes on August 30th, 2007 12:17 am

    What 7 and 10 said, with emphasis on the folly of spending $30/3 years for an outfielder that’s not really any better than what we already have when we have a farm system full of good outfielders.

  15. Tom on August 30th, 2007 12:23 am

    #13: I was actually poking fun at that FSN commercial. . .

    And I think Ramirez is under contract next year, but I’d be VERY surprised if he still is here come spring training ’08.

  16. Chris88 on August 30th, 2007 3:02 am

    “Richie is ALWAYS a few hits away from turning the corner. . .”

    Only because a few hits for Richie IS turning the corner.

  17. terry on August 30th, 2007 3:46 am

    I’m sorry. If the evidence for enlightened player development within an organisation is that they’ve managed to fill the easiest job in the major leagues in part at the expense of developing one of their best prospects for the rotation, then I’m non-plussed.

    Then consider that even if player development was improved, there’s layers of bureaucracy above them that mitigate their effectiveness. Unfortunately, those making the roster/playing time decisions have less than impressive histories and Adam Jones has become a poster boy for that aspect….

    It’s true that Guillen is hitting his 75th Pecota percentile this season so Pecota might be too pessimistic concerning him. That said, Pecota projects him as an absolute offensive turd over the next 3 seasons. Given his ’07, I’d be willing to accept that his bat might be worth a VORP of 50-60 over the next three seasons. However, say what you will about his injuries being a thing of the past, the eyes suggest his range is becoming just that as well. Defensively, his glove is going to mitigate the value of his bat over the course of a three year contract. Then consider he’s a jackass keg waiting for a spark.

    A three year contract to Guillen seems pretty risky to me at $30M.

    In my mind this has little to do with an improved player development and an FO that trusts it. Giving Guillen such a contract is more about Wlad having that 4th option and rewarding a guy with with a track record.

    BTW, if Jones had been used properly this season, would it really be fair to qualify an outfield with Wlad and Jones at the corners as playing two rookies in the outfield?

  18. johnb on August 30th, 2007 7:13 am

    Resigning Guillen is a good move even though it blocks Wlad. Guillen is a proven player who makes the the players around him better. As far as attitude go I think he has turned the corner and is happy in Seattle.

    Is 10 million for three too much?

    Probably not for a corner outfielder who has future trade value.

  19. Rusty on August 30th, 2007 7:44 am

    Is this in any way analogous to when Cinncinnati had 2 young AAA outfielders in Dunn and Kearns ready to go and they didn’t quite have enough outfield spots to go around with Griffey and Dmitri Young in 2 of the spots?

  20. Carson on August 30th, 2007 7:48 am

    4 (Tom) – You’re comparing apples and oranges, my friend.

    Arte Moreno has the desire to put a winning baseball team on the field at almost all costs, in an attempt to strengthen his fan base in the second larget market in the country. It seems to be working, too. While I don’t ever see the Dodgers relocating because of a threat from the Angels, I do see Arte realing in more casual fans near Anaheim who may have rooted for the Dodgers because their dad did.

    Oh yeah, and he has a passion for baseball. See Mark Cuban, minus the 13 year old girl tantrums. Our owner has never seen the team play in person.

  21. Carson on August 30th, 2007 7:56 am

    17 (terry) – Not to disagree with anything you said, but maybe this team could use one of the vets stepping up and being a complete ass. I’m not saying he should be a jerkoff for no reason, but commanding Yuni to stop swinging at every single pitch might.. might.. help? The coaching staff isn’t getting it done.

    I’m tired of watching this team being so lackadaisical, from the players to the coaches. Although, maybe that is what the FO wants (See: Hiring of Melvin, Hargrove).

  22. The Ancient Mariner on August 30th, 2007 8:03 am

    My fear is that if we extend Guillen, it’s not just a matter of blocking Wlad — I’m afraid we’ll wind up with the same situation we have this season, where we don’t even have a spot for Adam Jones. I have no faith in this org to clear out one of our LF/1B/DH types to make room for him.

  23. CCW on August 30th, 2007 8:08 am

    To me, it isn’t about Wlad. Like some of the others here, I question the thought process, which seems to go like this:

    Mariner Thought Process

    *** We underpaid for Guillen this past year. He did great. We’re smart! Let’s keep being smart and keep him around for another 3! ***

    Getting a little offense out of right field is the least of the M’s concerns (and let’s face it, Guillen isn’t the defensive asset he may once have been). Internally, in addition to Wlad, they’ve got four players – Ibanez, Broussard, Jones and Vidro – to fill 3 positions: DH, LF and RF. Further, if there’s one “hole” that’s easy to plug through free-agency or trade, it’s RF/LF/DH. I can think of 17 different ways, the M’s could deal with the supposed lack of a LF. Signing Guillen is the most obvious, and it’s the kind of thing the M’s are prone to do, but it’s tough to argue it’s the smartest.

  24. PositivePaul on August 30th, 2007 8:14 am

    My concerns with a Guillen extension are these:

    1) Now that he’s got his first multi-year contract, will he stop being on his best behavior and implode in the clubhouse (thereby becoming a clubhouse cancer)?

    2) I’m not concerned so much about his bat (he’s shown he’s a rare righty that can handle Safeco just fine) as I am his range and his overall defense. Part of his value certainly is tied to his defensive skills, which may very well decline.

    3) I accept that they’re not so high on Balentien for 2008, and really want to have a veteran out there. Fine. There are lots of guys to which you could give a contract like you gave Guillen this season. Mike Cameron comes to mind. As do Trot Nixon, Reggie Sanders, Brad Wilkerson and Shannon Stewart. Just to throw out a few names, not to necessarily imply those guys.

    So, those stated, I can answer some of my own concerns:

    1) Who cares. Clubhouse chemistry is waaaay overrated. You win, and chemistry finds itself.

    2) He had some nagging ankle injuries and leg injuries that will clear up and aren’t really to be of concern. He’ll be 32-34 through the life of the 3-year contract, and shouldn’t lose too much of a step.

    3) You know what you’re likely to get from Guillen, you don’t know what you’ll get from those other guys. You have a pretty darn good idea about Guillen’s health and at least a year’s worth of medical nuances to understand the risk. You don’t have that with other guys. Those other guys have a different level of risk associated with them.

  25. rsrobinson on August 30th, 2007 8:34 am

    If Guillen gets an extension then Balentien becomes trade bait, plain and simple. This team will be set in the outfield next year with Jones, Ichiro, and Guillen and will still desperately need starting pitching. They’ll almost certainly try to deal Sexson during the offseason for just about anything they can get for him and Raul might be considered expendable, too.

    The M’s don’t need more outfielders, they need pitching and if they can package Balentien to help them get some they’ll do it in a heartbeat.

  26. bergamot on August 30th, 2007 8:46 am

    Re 21: A week ago, the media and blogs were packed with observations that the M’s are filled with gritty lunchpail veterans who give 100% everyday and who know how to win and wouldn’t collapse during the pennant drive. Now, they are suddenly lackadaisical? What happened? Did someone slip Valium into the post-game ziti?

    Psychological speculation is not necessary to explain the past few days. The answer is much simpler – the M’s have inferior talent to the teams against whom they are competing for a playoff spot.

  27. marc w on August 30th, 2007 9:03 am

    I’m with terry. What evidence do we *really* have to suggest that the M’s player development folks are able to communicate which players are ready and when? Or more accurately, that the FO actually bases personnel decisions on this information?
    Bavasi said straight up that they viewed Oswaldo Navarro as an equal to Asdrubal Cabrera. I don’t know who’s fault that was, but that was really, really wrong. There’s also another question: if the M’s lock up Guillen and take away $10m/year that could’ve gone to pitching, is the player development department saying that they think they’ve got some guys who can help the big league rotation? That would be….questionable.

    And more than that, we’re talking about a 30+ corner OF with a glove that’s already costing the team runs (the only question is how many), and now we’ve signed him to a long term deal.
    I think Wlad can be an upgrade, maybe next year, maybe the year after. Even if you disagree with that, we need to figure out how much Guillen is worth. I’m not sure the M’s have done that.

  28. wallywwu on August 30th, 2007 9:10 am

    Bottom line is that Jose Guillen is the best right fielder we can run out there next year, if we don’t re-sign him then whoever else goes out there won’t be as good. Also, the idea we should use the money on a pitcher doesn’t work because there are no free agent pitchers worth anything (Schilling is not coming here). I’m not saying that the signing of Guillen is the right move, and I’ll be pissed if this cost Adam Jones a starting job next year, but it probably isn’t a bad move.

  29. Steve Nelson on August 30th, 2007 9:15 am

    As Dave has pointed out, the Guillen contract as described is not a multi-year killer. If he tanks it would not be extremely painful to let him go. If he performs he brings value and would be valuable in trade. Then consider that both Jones and Wlad have skillsets that don’t match Safeco’s playing characteristics – you can maybe tolerate one of those guys in the OF but putting both of them in the OF together undercuts the ability to create a true homefield advantage. Finally, Wlad has an option year remaining.

    The way I see it, the Mariners have now given themselves multiple options and depth in the OF (and 1B) for the next several seasons. They have another year to evaluate Wlad in the minors. Or they can trade Wlad and still have the OF spots on the MLB roster covered. If they don’t deal Wlad this offseason and he continues his development, Wlad’s trade value increases. Or if Guillen tanks, Wlad is available.

    Sexson lurks in the background here as well. If Sexson is finished as a reasonably productive offensive player, then the logical step is Ibañez to 1b, and with Guillen signed and Jones on the roster Wlad provides depth.

    ******

    This deal makes absolute sense for keeping options open without triggering (for at least one more season) a cascade of corollary actions that hamper the team in other areas. IOW – it’s exactly the kind of deal and decision-making we’ve often complained that the team hasn’t been making.

  30. bakomariner on August 30th, 2007 9:31 am

    29- As far as I know, WLAD is out of options…so he is either a Mariner next year or gone…

    13- Pretty sure Ramirez is in the last year of his current contract…doubt he’ll be resigned…at least to a big-league deal…

  31. gwangung on August 30th, 2007 9:33 am

    29- As far as I know, WLAD is out of options…

    You need to be updated. He is NOT out of options.

    Think that changes things.

  32. SDRE on August 30th, 2007 9:34 am

    #30 Bavasi said Wlad still has one option left. He can be in AAA next year.

  33. bakomariner on August 30th, 2007 9:34 am

    cool…

  34. gwangung on August 30th, 2007 9:37 am

    Re 21: A week ago, the media and blogs were packed with observations that the M’s are filled with gritty lunchpail veterans who give 100% everyday and who know how to win and wouldn’t collapse during the pennant drive. Now, they are suddenly lackadaisical? What happened? Did someone slip Valium into the post-game ziti?

    Psychological speculation is not necessary to explain the past few days. The answer is much simpler – the M’s have inferior talent to the teams against whom they are competing for a playoff spot.

    No, this roster is a direct result of the offensive philosophy of management–go after aggressive batters who don’t strikout and rely on hitting (and not walks) to get on base. That kind of offensive is streaky, even in the most talented of players—-see Ichiro.

    Given that philosophy, even if you brought in more “talented” players at the plate, I think you’ll see similar streakiness.

  35. Steve Nelson on August 30th, 2007 9:40 am

    #30, #31.

    From my perspective, Wlad having the remaining option year is critical. Otherwise this makes no sense at all.

    For roster flexibility, this deal has all of the elements that we complained were lacking in the Vidro trade.

  36. SDRE on August 30th, 2007 9:41 am

    Nxt year looks like more of the Jones/Ibanez/Vidro/Broussard LF/1B platoon.

    Trading Richie need to be done already. Detroit, please answer your phone. He’s yours for nothing (except u have to pay 14 mil next year)

    Vidro at bats need to be limited next year so he doesn’t vest. Dump Ibanez and Vidro after 08.
    Start 09 with Clement and Wlad as DH platoon. Sign a real 1B in ’09 preferrable LH

  37. bakomariner on August 30th, 2007 9:44 am

    36- Detroit claimed Sexson off waivers and Seattle pulled him…we may be stuck with him…

  38. SDRE on August 30th, 2007 9:46 am

    37- believe Seattle can put him back on waivers and Detriot has first crack because they claimed him earlier.

  39. msb on August 30th, 2007 9:47 am

    #20– well, sort of. Moreno is the owner of the Angels; the Mariners have an (mostly-local) ownership group, whose majority owner is a corporation …

  40. Dobbs on August 30th, 2007 9:52 am

    It seems like signing Guillen to the extension forces the team to trade Wlad.

    It would also seem to be smart to trade off Vidro in the off-season with Wlad, where Ibanez slides to the DH.

    Those are some pretty good pieces that maybe help get some young pitching talent in our major league roster and off-set the 10 mill per year deal.

    Dave seems to think that’s the best way to acquire young talent anyway, so maybe this all works out in the end.

  41. marc w on August 30th, 2007 9:56 am

    35 – yes, Wlad’s 4th option does change things considerably. But it’ll only work if the M’s actually deploy their resources properly. They’ve got the pieces right now to improve their LF defense, improve their 1B defense, get better lefty/righty matchups, etc. And they’ve shown that they’re not too interested in going after those advantages.
    So what changes next year? And is spending $10m on RF what we really need to be doing?

    To be clear, this isn’t some boneheaded move. I can certainly see the ‘pro’ side of the argument. It’s kind of nice to have a debate about this instead of the Horacio Ramirez/Soriano trade.

  42. gwangung on August 30th, 2007 10:05 am

    To be clear, this isn’t some boneheaded move. I can certainly see the ‘pro’ side of the argument. It’s kind of nice to have a debate about this instead of the Horacio Ramirez/Soriano trade.

    No kidding. There are definite upsides to the move. And while Bavasi has definitely made some dunderheaded moves, there’s still some potential good moves here (although, admittedly, they play towards his weaknesses….)

  43. Steve Nelson on August 30th, 2007 10:06 am

    #41 and others:

    Note that I’m not saying that the team is signing Guillen to the extension because of the added flexibility without triggering cascading impacts. Past history would suggest that the team doesn’t pay that much attention to those types of issues.

    The fact that this deal provides those advantages may be just happenstance. If so, there’s no reason to expect that the Mariners will actually try to leverage that situation.

  44. bakomariner on August 30th, 2007 10:08 am

    Vidro is having a fine year average-wise, but his lack of power and his non-existant defense make trading him for anything of quality remote…

  45. joser on August 30th, 2007 10:15 am

    In general, you should try to trade from strength for something to repair your weakness(es). The M’s have a glut of young, cheap outfielders. Balentien as a hitter is better suited to a park other than Safeco. It would make sense to trade him to a team with a park that favors RHs and needs cheap guys (the Florida teams, for instance), perhaps in a package or a 3-way deal. What the M’s need is pitching, and Wlad isn’t going to get them that by himself, but he could be a piece of the puzzle.

    (As an aside: I think the Devil Rays would be an interesting partner for a trade — Crawford is getting expensive for them, though still cheap by M’s or MLB standards, and Baldelli will be getting pricey in ’09. They have a bunch of intriguing young arms. Tropicana is a good place for a RH pull hitter. And if Wlad turns out to be a monster hitter at the MLB level, how sweet to have him punishing the Yankees and Red Sox for 19 games each season?)

    Now, I don’t have a lot of faith that Bavasi will pull off a trade that extracts maximum value for Wlad — and if you don’t trust your ability to trade, you’re much better off developing from within. But you can’t always do that, and sometimes you have to deal. And it’s possible that those people Derek quotes are right, and Wlad will be a bit of a dud at the MLB level. So he might be at maximum value right now — you might actually be able to get more from him in trade than you would get from him hitting at Safeco. I therefore have no problem with Balentien not starting next year, as long as it is for the right reasons: he’s not ready, he’s been traded for something of value, he’s being held up at Tacoma to not diminish his mid-’08 trade value with depressed numbers from Safeco. But “we don’t like rookies, and we won’t start two rookies in the outfield” is not the right reason.

  46. bat guano on August 30th, 2007 10:17 am

    If we knew that the M’s could/would trade Vidro to open up LF for Jones and DH for Raul, I think signing Guillen makes perfect sense. If it means Jones’ playing time is limited/non-existent then it doesn’t. Wlad makes decent insurance for Ibanez and Guillen next year, and if he sustains his improvement in AAA, he’s either a valuable piece of the puzzle in future years or a good bargaining chip at the trade deadline. So for me, this isn’t about Wlad, it’s about the Jones/Vidro/Ibanez situation. They’re somewhat related, but my gripe isn’t about Guillen’s playing time, it’s about Raul playing left and Jones riding the pines. Oh yeah, and McLaren in general….

  47. The Ancient Mariner on August 30th, 2007 10:17 am

    #37 and #38 are both wrong. We could put Sexson on waivers, in which case the claim process would work exactly the same way as it did the first time (i.e., no, Detroit doesn’t move to the front of the line) — but since we’ve already put him on waivers once, those waivers would be irrevocable, so he would be gone, period. Now, mind you, I think Detroit claiming Richie was a lost opportunity, but the M’s aren’t going to just throw him out the window like that, and I really can’t blame them.

  48. Gilgameche on August 30th, 2007 10:25 am

    It does cost Adam Jones a starting job next year, no?. Raul is left fielder for life.

  49. Steve Nelson on August 30th, 2007 10:25 am

    #46:

    I can’t see the M’s trading Vidro. With Sexson in the last year of his contract, I can see them Booneing Sexson next season if his bat doesn’t come around.

  50. Carson on August 30th, 2007 10:27 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.

    In either case, there is no Arte Moreno type who not only has final say, but has passion and desire to win. Whether it is a person, or a board, the Mariners do not have that.

  51. 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…

  52. 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?

  53. 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.

  54. 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…

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

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

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

  62. 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.

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

    Guys,
    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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

    http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2007/08/30/mariners_set_to_sail_into_play.html

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

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

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

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

  68. 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.

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

    … World Series ’07 – Mariners Win!!!

    oh .. was i typing in my sleep?

    -Ti

  70. 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?

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. _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?

  74. 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.”

  75. 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.

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

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

    (From espn.com)
    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.

  77. 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.”

  78. 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.

  79. 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

    -Ti

  80. 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).

  81. 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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