Youth And Experience Response

Dave · September 4, 2007 at 11:44 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Okay, so, I really wasn’t planning on putting anything else up today, as I’m juggling about 34 things at the moment, but Geoff Baker’s latest blog post might as well be entitled “Why I Disagree With Dave Cameron”. It’s not actually called that, though – instead, it’s called Youth and Experience, but the point is the same – Geoff decided to lay out his case for why the veterans deserve to play everyday, and its no secret that I’ve been beating the drum for the opposite case for quite some time.

I can’t let that post just sit there. I tried, but I can’t. So, while this won’t be as in depth as perhaps I would like to go on the subject, I’ll at least hit the highlights and try to point out where I see the differences in our views. And please, keep in mind that this isn’t some kind of hostile argument – we’ve stated repeatedly that Baker’s done a great job on the beat this year, and he’s a legitimately good guy who I get along well with and have a lot of respect for. He’s not a shill for the organization. He has ideas about the game that I might not agree with, but are thought out and based on some logic, and he’s not just parroting what someone else told him. Geoff’s been a huge addition to the M’s blogosphere, and I’m certainly thrilled with the fact that he’s chosen to dedicate himself so thoroughly to the team and his job.

Okay, so with that said, let’s get to the post.

There has been a lot of online chatter recently devoted to the promotion of minor leaguers by some teams for the stretch run. Talk of how some organizations, unlike Seattle’s, are unafraid of throwing an untested player into the waters to see how they will swim.

That’s all good, but I think that some of the dialogue that’s taken place represents a gross mischaracterization of what’s actually gone on.

First off, there are very few parallels to be drawn between the Adam Jones situation in Seattle and the ones regarding young call-ups Joba Chamberlain in New York and Cameron Maybin in Detroit.

Essentially, Geoff’s taking the stance that we’ve been unfair to the organization in our characterization of their veteran friendliness, and goes on to explain how the situations that the Tigers and Yankees found themselves in are different than what we’ve seen in Seattle. In some ways, he’s right – no two situations are exactly alike. However, the general point that most of us have been making is that the other contenders in the American League are far less enamored with the allure of experience than the Mariners are.

It’s an undeniable fact that, of the six teams fighting for the four American League playoff berths, the Mariners are the ones who have been least willing to make changes to their roster to give their best prospects a chance to help them in a pennant race. This just isn’t an arguable point.

The Mariners have Brandon Morrow, Sean Green, Eric O’Flaherty, and Ryan-Rowland Smith as rookies holding any real role on the roster. All four are relief pitchers, and only Morrow and Green have been used in any kind of real high pressure situations on a regular basis, and generally, those two have flip-flopped roles depending on recent performance. Of those four rookies, the M’s are essentially giving important innings to one of them at a time, and here’s the kicker – the organization spent the last few days of the trading deadline trying to acquire a veteran so that they could reduce the role of said rookies. Not only are the M’s only leaning on one rookie in the bullpen at a time, but in their stated opinion, that’s one rookie too many.

The Angels, on the other hand, are running out a line-up that includes a rookie in Reggie Willits hitting leadoff, two up the middle guys who had a half season of major league experience last year in Mike Napoli and Howie Kendrick, as well as Casey Kotchman, a first baseman who had just over 300 career major league at-bats before 2007. And that’s just the offense. Their pitching staff includes second year starters Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders and a rookie spot starter in Dustin Moseley who is their #1 choice to step in for struggling veteran starters. The Angels punted a significant crop of struggling veterans (including Shea Hillenbrand, Bartolo Colon, Ervin Santana, and Hector Carrasco) and replaced them with guys with little to no major league experience. And they’re going to win the American League West.

The story is the same with every other contending team. From Miller/Maybin/Raburn in Detroit to Carmona/Garko/Cabrera/Perez in Cleveland and Cabrera/Hughes/Chamberlain in New York all the way to Pedroia/Matsuzaka/Okajima/Lester in Boston, the M’s are the the pennant contender in the A.L. that is leaning least on inexperienced MLB players. That’s more a statement of fact than anything else – the real question, however, is whether that even matters.

If this was July 1, some of you might have a stronger case with me if you’d have argued that Jones had to be called up to share playing time with Raul Ibanez and Jose Vidro. I actually made that case right here on this blog back in early July, when Ibanez was hobbling around on a sore hamstring and his hitting numbers were heading south.

Ibanez on July 1 was in an 8-for-43 (.186) slump that was obscured by his .870 OPS in June. Within a week, it was an 11-for-64 (.172) slump in which Ibanez did not appear to be physically functioning up to capabilities. In fact, Ibanez had only seven doubles and two home runs from June 12 until July 24 — nearly a six week span. He would finish July with only a .503 OPS. For a guy the M’s were counting on for power, those numbers could potentially decimate an offense — which is why the calls for Jones persisted all through July.

Same with Vidro, who for three months had hit at a near .300 pace, but by July 1 had managed nine doubles, three home runs and a .697 OPS. Once again, a very risky power shortage for a team in which Ibanez seemed to be dropping off a cliff and which was still waiting for Richie Sexson’s bat to show up.

Here, Geoff lays out the reasons for why he was on board with Jones becoming an everyday player two months ago. Ibanez and Vidro were killing the team and a change was seemingly needed. The veterans weren’t getting the job done. But…

Jones was finally called up right at month’s end. But by then, some of the desperation that had existed earlier had quelled. Vidro managed six doubles in July — two thirds as many as he’d hit in the first three months of the season to that point. He’s added another four doubles and three home runs in August, along with the steady slew of singles needed to keep his bat over .300.

Since the All-Star Break, he’s hit .358 with an .897 OPS which is more than the team ever expected from him. And those numbers have been compiled over a two-month stretch, so the pace is being sustained — even with a slight dropoff here and there. Nobody goes through a season without slumps. But two months of near .900 OPS out of Vidro means there is no crisis, no desperation where he is concerned.

Ibanez worked out problems with his stance and swing and posted a 1.129 OPS with nine home runs and six doubles in August. When a player’s OPS goes over 1.000 you leave him alone. Defensive questions, unless he is committing an error per game, become moot.

So, there you have it. By August, the conditions of desperation that prompted the Tigers and Yankees to “go young” were not in evidence in Seattle. Based on Ibanez’s track record, the team had reasons to expect his OPS would stay above the .800 range it needs to be for the duration of the season. The .503 OPS of July appeared to be the exception rather than the rule.

Of course, as we all saw, Ibanez and Vidro caught fire for a few weeks, and helped carry the M’s to a strong surge that got them right back in the thick of things. And those few weeks of awesome hitting were enough to convince the Mariners, and Geoff, that sticking with the veterans for the remainder of the year was the best plan of action.

Baker then sums up the post with this paragraph:

But for the M’s and their wild-card hopes, they merely need the pair to keep doing what they’ve done since early-August. The winners or losers in MLB are to be determined over the next 3 1/2 weeks. This is about who has the best chance of putting up the biggest numbers in that short time-span. The M’s don’t have to make desperation moves to find room for Jones when they have two guys already putting up the numbers they need. And that is why, for now, Jones is primarily sitting while Maybin and Chamberlain keep on playing.

If I may, I’m going to try to restate the basic opinion that I feel Geoff is espousing in this post.

In July, Raul Ibanez and Jose Vidro had played poorly enough to earn a loss of playing time. Their recent performance, however, changes the equation, and they are no longer struggling to the point where the team should be reducing their playing times – they’ve earned their spot in the line-up on a daily basis by playing well since August.

From my understanding of Geoff’s opinion, that’s basically his point – the veterans have played well enough to not make their job status an issue despite the fact that the team is 16-15 since August 1st.

And this essentially boils down all of our disagreements into one basic philosophy – I don’t believe that pennant race playing time is earned. I don’t think that the best way to decide how to win games is to use at-bats and innings as a reward for things that have occurred in the past. I believe that’s a mindset that works as a motivational tool with children in situations where the outcome doesn’t really matter, but Major League Baseball is neither a league of children nor such a situation where the journey is as important as the destination.

The Mariners, just like every other team in baseball, should be in the business of winning the World Series. To do that, you have to qualify for the playoffs. For the Mariners to achieve a post-season birth, they have to win more games than the Yankees and Tigers in September. That goal – outplaying Detroit and New York for the next four weeks – should be the sole focus of this organization.

The question that Geoff frames the playing time debate as is, in my opinion, the wrong question to be asking. He wants to know “Who has earned their playing time?” I could care less about a discussion of whether Jose Vidro’s singles-fest from July 12th to August 14th (when he hit .413 for 104 at-bats) “earned him” the right to play everyday the rest of the year.

The question should not be whether the entitled veterans have performed adequately enough to keep their job status from becoming a question. Every players job status in a pennant race should be a question if there’s a viable better alternative. The only question that matters in this discussion to me is what mix of line-ups helps the Mariners win the highest percentage of their remaining 26 games. That’s it. That’s the only question we should be asking at this point. How do we win more games than NY and Detroit?

Obviously, I believe that the team has a better chance of getting a playoff birth if the team gets AJ into the line-up on a regular basis. We’ve laid the case out multiple times here, and if you’re interested in the specifics of why we believe that Jones helps the team win more than Ibanez or Vidro, you can find tens of thousands of words written on the subject.

But here’s the thing – that’s a different discussion than the one Geoff is presenting in today’s post. His conclusive paragraph isn’t a value discussion about the abilities and respective performance abilities of Ibanez/Vidro vs Jones. That’s not the argument Geoff Baker, or the Mariners, are making.

The frustrating thing for us is that the M’s, and in this instance our favorite beat writer too, is asking the wrong question. Penannt race playing time isn’t a reward to be earned and lost – it’s the role of management to put the best team on the field and give the organization the best chance possible of playing October baseball.

The Mariners may yet capture a playoff spot, but I’ll go to my grave defending the idea that they’re taking an inefficient course in trying to get there, and they’d have a better chance of pulling this off if they treated at-bats and innings as opportunities to beat their opponents rather than carrots to placate the guys who have been around for a long time.


88 Responses to “Youth And Experience Response”

  1. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on September 4th, 2007 1:44 pm

    Nice work, Dave. I have been puzzled by Geoff’s arguments on this for a while (though he’s obviously not alone).

    I responded to his post to this effect, but it’s as you say – put the best team on the field each night for each scenario (pitcher tendancies, opposing line-up, defense strength, flexibility, leverage usage), and you give yourself the best chance to win.

    It really is revolutionary to some people to think of baseball as a changing set of variables for which you can account and adjust, rather than a static situation that requires you to run out the same 8 position players and five starters time after time. Sure, I understand the argument that a hot hitter is someone you don’t want to eagerly disrupt, but wouldn’t throwing a guy like Ibanez out there in a match-up he’s sure to lose, or Vidro at second base to distract and demoralize him and run down his body, be just as bad as sitting one of these guys for a night?

    Style-wise, I also have issues with Baker using most of his posts as a comment reaction stream-of-consciousness, as well as him spending his time being on the defensive. I much prefer a blog style in which the author presents his views in a nice summary, and uses the comment thread to refute specific commenters or arguments (though he’s probably to busy to do that). (I’d note that I have no gripe with posts where notable authors take other notable authors to task for public positions – that’s a time-honored tradition of social commentary). But he’s started to get a bit overly-sensitive and whiny at times. It’s a shame because I think he’s a bright guy who thinks things out, but at some point you start to get a little tired of being lectured everyday by the local beat writer.

  2. bat guano on September 4th, 2007 1:48 pm

    It seems like the difference in philosophy between Dave on the one hand and the M’s and Baker on the other hand boils down to risk vs. reward. The M’s view veterans as less risky known commodities, and intrinsically that strikes me as possibly correct in a very short term kind of way. While Jones’ minor league numbers are predictive of his major league future, sometimes rookies struggle to adjust (Exhibit A is Alex Gordon) and the M’s don’t want to find out whether Jones will struggle while they’re in a pennant race. The problem with the M’s/Baker approach is that they aren’t willing to find out if the team could be even better by playing talented but possibly riskier rookies. Personally, I think the team would be better with Jones in left field and Raul at DH, but for the last month of the season it isn’t a certainty, and if they fall out of the race while “experimenting” with Jones, they probably think some management jobs will be at stake. I guess if all you’re trying to do is keep your jobs and finish with a winning record and/or grab the last playoff spot, the M’s approach might be defensible. But if winning it all is the target (and don’t we all think it is?), then I agree with Dave and think you have to go with the higher upside that Adam Jones brings rather than the “safe” semi-mediocrity of Jose Vidro at DH and Raul in LF.

  3. Steve Nelson on September 4th, 2007 1:50 pm

    To me this also ties back into that whole “chemistry” thing. The Mariners as an organization believe in chemistry and they believe that chemistry results in teams winning more games than can be accounted for based on talent alone. If so, they might cite the teams current record vs. Pythag win percent (or third order wins or whatever) as proof that chemistry does matter.

    I’m not saying that’s correct; I’m just saying that’s the way the Mariners might see it. If so, those perceptions would then matter significantly in their decision-making.


    I think that premise leads directly to the issue of taking playing time from veterans. Perhaps the Mariners wouldn’t disagree one bit with Dave that putting Jones in the lineup would represent a talent upgrade. But I suspect that the Mariners would then also say that the potential downgrade due to weakened “chemistry” could easily offset, if not outweigh, the talent upgrade.


    I’m sure that the Mariners emphasize to the players the importance of team chemistry. The Mariners sell that philosophy to free agents when the team is courting the free agents to come to Seattle. The Mariners preach it to players under contract. They try to inculcate it into players in the minor leagues. It’s simply part of the team culture.

    I think that culture shows up in the attitudes expressed by veteran players that they are “entitled” to their playing time – whether that be Guillen carping about Adam Jones being called up or Eddie Guardado complaining that the team broke faith by not giving him more time to work out his problems before giving the closer job to Putz. The contrast is stark when compared with Yankees “culture”, where players know that they can get pulled out of the lineup quickly if they don’t perform. Yankees players don’t grouse about losing playing time when their performance is lagging, because they know that’s the Yankee culture. It’s clearly a different culture from Mariners culture, and I think the differences are deliberate and intentional.

    Having established that culture, to sit a veteran player who is “performing adequately” becomes almost a breach of trust – which disrupts the chemistry they have tried so hard to create.

    And if the Baseball operations staff does believe that chemistry is as important to winning as I have described – enabling the team to outperform their true talent level – they do what they can to maintain it.


    Again, I’m not saying I agree with this. I’m just trying to present what appears to me as a reasonable alternative that might be reached by thoughtful and intelligent people. As much as we might moan and scream about team personnel decisiions, I think the people in the front office are thoughtful and intelligent, and we’ll do better at understanding them if ww proceed from that basis.

  4. Dreams of October on September 4th, 2007 1:51 pm

    43… I assume you were being sarcastic, but in case you weren’t, I’ll gladly accept the Yankees being in a good mood if it means Clemens giving up 5 runs in 4 innings every time out. They can laugh themselves all the way out of the playoffs for all I care. 🙂

  5. bill1410 on September 4th, 2007 1:55 pm

    #42 – good point

    And how long did Edgar sit in the minors while Jim Presley was manning 3rd base at a less-than-replacement level? I wasn’t a Mariners fan then, but just a quick lookup found Presley at .230/.280/.355 in 1988 (544 AB) and .236/.275/.385 in 1989 (390 AB). He was out of baseball by 1991, at age 29.

    Edgar hit .302/.397/.433 in his first full season (1990) at age 27 and only improved from there. I don’t know where to get his minor league numbers, but I’ve heard they were pretty excellent. Couldn’t supplant Presley, even for a horrible team, until the second half of 1989.

    Of course, those were different owners and different times… our current management has many, many more statistics available to them to make these decisions, and they’re doing so much better.

  6. mln on September 4th, 2007 1:55 pm

    But, but … Rick White and his ever-changing colored goatee are worth all the youthful talent in the world, dammit!

  7. gwangung on September 4th, 2007 2:01 pm

    And how long did Edgar sit in the minors while Jim Presley was manning 3rd base at a less-than-replacement level?

    Ahh…I think that’s an even better example of “earned” playing time hurting the team…and sabotaging a possible Hall of Fame bid for Edgar.

    Aren’t a lot of the same execs still around? Like Chuck Armstrong (the guy who helped establish the corporate culture)?

  8. Tropics iRE on September 4th, 2007 2:04 pm

    53… should we continue to coddle our vets and tell them everything is going to be ok, and that we dont mind missing the playoffs because we… well… just like them so much? (im puking all over myself)…

    I think we all are calling for a policy change… how about playing for wins!! and using ALL of your tools, instead of wearing out the old broken tools from years past.


  9. thefin190 on September 4th, 2007 2:28 pm

    53 – I agree, that while the Yanks are notorious for paying huge money for veteran allstars, it seems they are more and more starting to bring up their own talent. I mean there was Jeter, posada, Rivera, and Petite, and now Phillip Hughes, Andy Phillips, Shelley Duncan,Joba Chamberlain and more, as well as Robinson Cano, Chin-Mein Wang, Melky Cabrera, who took the place of struggling Damon in center (who is now playing left), are now regulars. At the same time they make loony decisions like paying an over the hill Roger Clemens 18 million dollars to pitch half a season, but we see thats hurt them, or Pavano who has yet to give them one good half of a season.

    I am not supporting the Yankees in any means, I hate them almost as much as i hate the Red Sox (used to be the other way around, but now that it seems that half the country cheers for the red sox, they are more annoying than the yankees.)

    The Mariners need to re-evaluate who they are giving starting time too. I would say give Jones more time than he is getting. Jones has the potential of being an A-Rod or Griffey of the future, but he is being held back by Ibanez/Vidro. Ibanez shouldn’t be on the field unless he is playing first (which is covered by Broussard). He has shown he can still hit, but alot of hits that have been hit to lef field this year could’ve been from double to singles, or just been caught if someone like Jones was playing. Vidro is a good contact hitter, but has no speed or power, nor can he play a position well. The only spot i can think he should be is being on the bench, available to pinch hit from time to time. But he has a hefty contract…and that veteran goodness that Jones doesn’t have. Also the Mariners have a very good depth as far as relief pitching goes, but yet rather than giving the tough jobs to who has the most talent (like new york did with Joba Chamberlain, who has shown success), such as set up, they want to find someone with veteran goodness who can do the job, and so far they have been 0-3 with that. I am surprised White is still in the lineup, it seems he hasn’t recorded one important out since being on the team. But his veteraness is probably what keeps him here.

    Well written article Dave, I back you fully, and it seems FO hasn’t learned from past mistakes such as not letting Edgar or A-rod play until much later.

  10. effren on September 4th, 2007 2:29 pm

    Another post that clearly displays a more coherent vision than the one produced by the Mariners front office and Geoff Baker. While Baker is clearly a large step above the dinosaurs doing sports in Seattle, he seems to be a “homer” that sympathizes way too much with the team’s methods b/c he has relationships to protect and pursue.

    Thank you Dave for the continued methodology training. It informs many situations beyond the Mariners. You are the Ayn Rand of baseball management.

  11. Jeff Nye on September 4th, 2007 2:37 pm

    To play into the last line thefin90’s post a little bit, feel free to delete if you feel it’s too off-topic: [tempting… tempting….]

    Every missed opportunity by this team’s management to make glaringly obvious moves to improve the team they are putting on this field saps my enthusiasm for being a Mariners fan just a little more.

    Winning and losing streaks aside, the Mariners are in a playoff race, and I should be able to get excited about that. I try, but then I look over and see Jones rotting on the bench, or Rick White trotted out to blow yet another lead, and I just can’t give any more energy to a team that seems so determined to squander its opportunities.

    So, to bring this back to the topic at hand, sort of; kudos to both USSM and other M’s blogs, and to you, Mr. Baker; even when I don’t agree with one or both of you, discussions like these are the reason that I haven’t given up thinking about this team entirely.

  12. Ralph Malph on September 4th, 2007 2:39 pm

    it seems FO hasn’t learned from past mistakes such as not letting Edgar or A-rod play until much later

    A-Rod? You mean the A-Rod who made his major league debut at age 18 and became the starting shortstop when he was 20? Hate to nitpick but I don’t think you’re remembering this right.

  13. Steve Nelson on September 4th, 2007 2:40 pm

    #59: i53 – I agree, that while the Yanks are notorious for paying huge money for veteran allstars, it seems they are more and more starting to bring up their own talent. I mean there was Jeter, posada, Rivera, and Petite, and now Phillip Hughes, Andy Phillips, Shelley Duncan,Joba Chamberlain and more, as well as Robinson Cano, Chin-Mein Wang, Melky Cabrera, who took the place of struggling Damon in center (who is now playing left), are now regulars. At the same time they make loony decisions like paying an over the hill Roger Clemens 18 million dollars to pitch half a season, but we see thats hurt them, or Pavano who has yet to give them one good half of a season.

    I’m baffled as to how that’s connected to what I was saying. I think the issue is that the Yankees seem to have little hesitation about removing any player from the lineup – veteran or rookie – if the player isn’t performing. They don’t worry nearly as much as the Mariners about hurting someone’s feelings by cutting back their playing time; presumably the players know going in that playing time depends on production and don’t complain when it happens. And even if they’ve signed a Clemens or a Pavano, they still cut playing time if the guy stops producing.

    With Cashman more firmly in control they seem to be relying more on their farm system to replace players on the MLB squad. But that switch hasn’t altered the seeming understanding that no Yankee player – veteran or rookie, big contract or rookie salary – is entitled to playing time.

  14. gwangung on September 4th, 2007 2:48 pm

    Hrm. How about Edgar and Ibanez?

  15. fetish on September 4th, 2007 3:13 pm

    Anyone who thinks Jones has Griffey/Arod ‘potential’ is on crack.

    Either of those guys were major league all-star level players at AGE TWENTY. They’re one in-a-million, surefire hall-of-famers right out of the gate. A-Rod was essentially the best prospect of all-time. Griffey was close behind, although at the level the difference is moot.

    Here’s the Baseball America top-prospects of the past ten years (a few years old)

    1995 Brian Hunter, of
    1996 Billy Wagner, lhp
    1997 Richard Hidalgo, of
    1998 Richard Hidalgo, of
    1999 Lance Berkman, of
    2000 Wilfredo Rodriguez, lhp
    2001 Roy Oswalt, rhp
    2002 Carlos Hernandez, lhp
    2003 John Buck, c
    2004 Taylor Buchholz, rhp

    See anyone there with A-Rod/Griffey “potential” on that list? me neither. Some nice players, to be sure, but no first-ballot guys.

    Here’s the M’s top prospects (like the previous list, as of 2005):

    1. Felix Hernandez, rhp – not a bust. not quite an ace.
    2. Jeremy Reed, of – bust
    3. Shin-Soo Choo, of – traded, eventual bust.
    4. Clint Nageotte, rhp – bust
    5. Matt Tuiasosopo, ss – eventual bust.
    6. Travis Blackley, lhp – bust
    7. Chris Snelling, of – with all due respect, a frequently injured bust. traded twice.
    8. Adam Jones, ss – we’ll see
    9. Wladimir Balentien, of – still a prospect
    10. Asdrubal Cabrera, ss/2b – traded, hitting nicely with cleveland.

  16. Regg on September 4th, 2007 3:15 pm

    going to tonight’s and tomorrow’s game. woot!

  17. Say Hey on September 4th, 2007 3:18 pm

    On the whole Ibanez v. Jones thing, I’m not sure why the argument can’t be made that Ibanez is more likely go on a tear/produce like he did in August than Jones is likely tol match that performance . After all, Ibanez just did it, while Jones has never done it. Why would you go for the unknown quantity over the known quantity during a pennant race (note I’m not including defense in this evaluation). Common sense says you don’t.

    I just don’t think it’s the best time to throw a rookie in the lineup and say, “OK, kid, show your stuff.” Maybe the numbers say so, but I don’t completely trust the computers on this one.

  18. gwangung on September 4th, 2007 3:20 pm

    Anyone who thinks Jones has Griffey/Arod ‘potential’ is on crack.

    Strawman alert. You’re on crack if you think anybody’s here is is seriously talking about that.

    We don’t NEED somebody with Griffey/Arod performance. The bar is considerably lower—MUCH lower. A “nice player” would do quite well here–and that IS more than what we’re getting right now.

  19. Gomez on September 4th, 2007 3:28 pm

    63. Take a list of any team’s top 10 prospects of any year and you’ll find that most of them never pan out. Such is the risk of prospects.

    That said, Adam Jones is not exactly the next Jamie Bubela. He’s in his early 20’s and already he’s good enough to overwhelm AAA pitching with power and speed. Even if you can argue his bat won’t translate into much more than league average at MLB, his range in LF makes him a much better fielder than Raul, even if you can argue that Raul makes fewer glove mistakes, because Adam Jones can turn more flyballs to left into outs than Raul can.

  20. marc w on September 4th, 2007 3:31 pm

    63 – What?
    “Here’s the Baseball America top-prospects of the past ten years (a few years old)

    Here’s Baseball America’s all-time list of the top prospects in baseball. These names don’t appear at the top of any of the lists. I don’t know what you’re looking at (The Houston Astros org top 10 list?), but if you look at BA’s top 100, you get guys like Joe Mauer (#1 in 2004 and 2005), Josh Beckett (#1 in 2002), Mark Teixeira, Andruw Jones, A-Rod, Chipper Jones, etc. Yeah, there’s a Todd Van Poppel and a Brien Taylor in there, but overall, they’ve done pretty well.

  21. lailaihei on September 4th, 2007 3:40 pm

    Standard boring lineup again.

  22. HamNasty on September 4th, 2007 3:40 pm

    Great post over all, another gem at USSM!
    37- Great point, Broussard could have been helping this club all year long. He sure isn’t a shaky rookie with no experience.

    For all the Clemens club house people, shut up. When their lineup was scoring 10 runs a game cause they all got hot at the same time I am pretty sure Clemens wasn’t hitting or giving them hitting tips. Clemens had at most 1 start every 5 days to help the team and never scored a run. He could have given up 6 runs and it didn’t matter.

    The whole battle with Veteran vs. Youth is dumb, good organizations look at Skills vs. Skills and make decisions. The M’s would rather look at birth dates and batting average (just not Sexson’s I guess). When experience > BA > talent that means Losing > Winning. Simple fact M’s evaluate players as poorly as any organization in MLB.

  23. reality3 on September 4th, 2007 3:50 pm

    [Mariners, you’re]

  24. HamNasty on September 4th, 2007 3:54 pm

    One good use of a prospect a team didn’t have much room for, Saltalamacchia. They didn’t have room for him but they brought him up and made room and eventually turned him for Texieria. You don’t have to agree with the trade to realize that the Braves have a much better idea of how to run a team. They duped us for Soriano and gave us HoRam and dropped Reitsma. HoRam and Reitsma were/have been disappointing. That wasn’t an accident by the Braves.

  25. reality3 on September 4th, 2007 3:56 pm


    Jeremy Reed led all of AAA (PCL and Int’l) with 169 hits.

  26. DMZ on September 4th, 2007 3:57 pm

    The Braves have done a ridiculous job of working new players into their lineup, even while contending. There’s a whole other post in this, actually.

    In fact… I think I’ll write that post.

  27. reality3 on September 4th, 2007 4:00 pm

    DMZ…Its nice to see that someone else understands.

  28. rick m on September 4th, 2007 4:03 pm

    I haven’t read Geoff’s blog entry, but in reading Dave’s excerpts I didn’t see at all that Geoff was saying these guys “earned” playing time, but that they had proven they were the best bets to continue to be most effective.

    Geoff takes more stock in the value of proven veteran abilities than Dave does. That’s not the same as saying that veterans are always better than minor leaguers – when veterans suck, Geoff’s all for replacing them. Bringing up Rick White or Parrish to bash Geoff’s position is wrong.

    I’ll say this for Ibanez, when the dude is hot, the dude is HOT, and you want to ride it for as long as it lasts. Was it last year that he got hits in 11-12 consecutive at bats?

    I’d like to see Jones play left against lefthanders. That’s all I ask. It is so obvious to everyone who watches the game or just reads the stats that Ibanez struggles against lefties. Jones is primed to rip into a lot of these guys that Ibanez is fighting off.

  29. strong silence on September 4th, 2007 4:11 pm

    I also thought of the Braves. They traded a rookie for a veteran for the playoff run. Schuerholz and Bavasi sharing the same philosophy? Hmmm, maybe Bavasi know more about the game than we think.

  30. kenshabby on September 4th, 2007 4:15 pm

    I’ll say this for Ibanez, when the dude is hot, the dude is HOT, and you want to ride it for as long as it lasts. Was it last year that he got hits in 11-12 consecutive at bats?

    Uh, the major league record for consecutive hits is 12. I don’t think Ral came close to that. And Ral isn’t exactly “hot” anymore. And when he is hot we’d rather have him DHing than being a defensive liability in LF.

  31. reality3 on September 4th, 2007 4:21 pm

    Jones LF /Inchiro CF/Reed RF/Guiilen DH/ Ibanez 1B

  32. strong silence on September 4th, 2007 4:42 pm

    That is 3 Line Drives in the first 5 batters.

  33. Jeff Nye on September 4th, 2007 4:43 pm

    As much as I’d like to see Sexson out of the lineup, asking Ibanez to change from the outfield to the infield during the middle of a playoff race is a lot to ask.

  34. ralphie81 on September 4th, 2007 5:08 pm

    Something worth noting: For pitching, Mariners went with youthful Felix yesterday against uber-veteran Clemens for the Yankees. Who pitched better?

  35. DAMellen on September 4th, 2007 6:06 pm

    This post is more than a little ridiculous. I agree with everything you say, but this post has absolutely nothing to do with Baker’s. Obviously, he thinks that you should put the players who are most likely to help the team win on the field. There’s nobody anywhere that doesn’t think putting the players with the best chance of helping the team win on the field is the way to go.
    The difference between you and Baker is not that he thinks playing time is earned and you think playing time goes to the player who will help the team the most. The difference is that you guys have different methods for determining which player will help the team most. He thinks that how a player has performed over the past few months is a strong indicator of how they will perform over the next few months. You disagree with this theory. That’s the difference. “Earning playing time” is not part of anybody’s argument.
    That said, I agree with you completely. I’d play Jones at least five times a week from here on out.

  36. John in L.A. on September 4th, 2007 6:50 pm

    85 – If you are accurately describing what Baker meant to say, then the column is even worse than it first appeared.

    And if you’re right, then Baker makes his own argument look ridiculous (‘Bad in July, then good in August… what voodoo is this? How does a player do better or worse then they were just recently doing? Madness!’)

    All this is aside from the massively flawed set-up… why do you get to frame the argument as Raul OR Adam, Baker? That’s certainly not what I’ve seen around here.

    How about you try Adam OR Raul vs. left handers and Vidro vs. right handers, like has been the dominant preference?

    Pretty sure I know why he didn’t do that.

  37. DAMellen on September 5th, 2007 1:20 am

    The idea of wanting to play the hot hand is far from unheard of. I think referring to the belief that a player playing well is likely to keep playing well as “voodoo” is a bit much. Still, I think the belief streaks are impossible to predict or understand so should be ignored when writing a starting lineup makes more sense.

  38. Brian Rust on September 5th, 2007 12:42 pm

    The question that Geoff frames the playing time debate as is, in my opinion, the wrong question to be asking. He wants to know “Who has earned their playing time?” I could care less about a discussion of whether Jose Vidro’s singles-fest from July 12th to August 14th (when he hit .413 for 104 at-bats) “earned him” the right to play everyday the rest of the year.

    The fault in the above argument lies in its use of quotations. I cannot find what, exactly, is being quoted.

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