See ya, Rick

DMZ · September 6, 2007 at 5:37 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Rick White’s gone.

I’m not sure what the point is, with rosters this full, but anyway. He’s 38, stank in Houston and stank here. Anyway, so yeah, that’s the M’s for you: first you’re being thrown into extremely high-pressure important game situations you’re entirely unsuited for and then you’re discarded like all the empty cans of Febreeze used on the Moose costume every week.


128 Responses to “See ya, Rick”

  1. Dave in Palo Alto on September 7th, 2007 10:39 am

    I’m not buying the theory that Rick White was dumped for flipping off the ump. He was dumped because he has no value. The organization is happy to retain the services of bad boys (Guillen, Everett) if it makes sense. White can now pursue his true calling at a Texaco near Barstow.

    msb — I liked the list in #87. Must really hurt to be a Chisox fan — total collapse and Hawk on the play by play.

  2. Dan W on September 7th, 2007 10:41 am

    Jeff, of course that’s true, but what I pointed out is also true. Most reasonable people would agree with me. They’d also agree with you, but they’d have to read the fine print or think about it for 30 seconds (which of course many people do not do). I think that’s one reason why the opinions of many on this blog are sometimes misconstrued.

    Just as the criticism is justified for all the mistakes (Ramirez, White, etc) we’ve discussed at length, you HAVE to give Bavasi credit for the quality and cost-effectiveness of the bullpen (ahem, last 2 weeks excluded), for Guillen, for Beltre’s solid play, even for Weaver’s strangely surprising effectivess for good chunks of the season. Add it all up: starging point + hits – misses = results.

    At the end of the day Jeff Weaver pitched the World Series clinching win for the Cardinals. If I was a Cardinal fan I could care less why they brought him to the team, gave him a significant role, or chose him to start game 5.

  3. bermanator on September 7th, 2007 10:47 am

    But baseball is inherently a results-oriented business, so those numbers have to mean something. If the Red Sox win the World Series, they won’t be denied the trophy in favor of the Indians because Boston spent money foolishly this offseason and Cleveland did not.

    I’m a process guy both for business and pleasure, so I understand the importance of what you’re saying, but I don’t think results can be discounted entirely as you seem to be doing here. The model’s results aren’t what decides who makes the playoffs.

    Maybe we’re talking around each other … I don’t know. But I don’t get how the GM of a team that’s exceeding its win model as Seattle is doing here can be criticized both for producing a mediocre team and also for not for exceeding expectations by even more. The team was supposed to stink, but it doesn’t stink, but it’s leadership’s fault that the team was supposed to stink in the first place and it’s leadership’s fault that the team turned out to be a playoff contender but not (likely to be) a playoff team. The bad signings were all on Bavasi; the Ichiro signing gets credited elsewhere or ignored. Etc.

  4. msb on September 7th, 2007 10:54 am

    and FWIW, the A’s are right in the middle of the pack now, payroll-wise, and have a new stadium and additional revenues on the way…

  5. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 11:06 am

    Well, I was never really saying that results don’t matter, of course they do. The point I was trying to make is that due to all of the other factors that go into determining those results, they’re a bad tool for evaluating performance of individuals.

    In addition, the leadership team is even one more step removed from actually creating the results than the players are, so as bad as results-based analysis is for evaluating players, it’s even worse for the leadership team, since they have less direct influence on the results.

    Have they made some good moves? Of course. I’m very pleased at the Ichiro! deal in particular, since I have a man-crush on him.

    But the big picture, as much as I hate that term, is that in the main the current leadership team isn’t good at evaluating and acquiring talent. They highly overvalue things like “veteran leadership” and “clubhouse chemistry”; and don’t at all understand the concepts of freely available talent or aging curves for players.

    They have, simply put, made substantially more bad moves than good ones.

  6. gwangung on September 7th, 2007 11:09 am

    It’s not either/or. It’s a scale.

    They get SOME credit for results (even if it’s blind squirrel and an acorn-like). But they also get debits for building on those results (and they HAVE to get debits for not using Jones’ defense as effectively as they could).

  7. Adam S on September 7th, 2007 11:10 am

    But I don’t get how the GM of a team that’s exceeding its win model as Seattle is doing here can be criticized both for producing a mediocre team and also for not for exceeding expectations by even more. The team was supposed to stink, but it doesn’t stink, but it’s leadership’s fault that the team was supposed to stink in the first place and it’s leadership’s fault that the team turned out to be a playoff contender but not (likely to be) a playoff team.
    The Mariners were projected at 75-85 wins (maybe 72-82) and are going to wind up right at the high end of that. But let’s agree that, assuming that Mariners play .540 baseball not .100 baseball the rest of the year, the team is better than generally expected.

    But the relevant question is why is this the case and how much of it is the GM’s credit? Certainly the success isn’t because Ramirez and Weaver have set the world on fire. Reitsma was a bust from day one and the Mariners/GM have spent the season trying to find that “veteran presence” for the pen — Parrish, White — each one worse than the one proceeding him. And beyond anything else the bullpen — Putz, Sherill, Green, O’Flaherty, and Morrow — being AWESOME is why the Mariners are both better than expectation and better than Pythagorean projection. Guillen has worked. Vidro hasn’t been a disaster though he’s still a bad DH. Batista has been a good signing.

    I don’t know how you look at the Mariners roster with Sexson, Weaver, Ramirez, Vidro being paid $30M+ and collectively performing below replacement level and want to give Bavasi credit for this team.

  8. scott19 on September 7th, 2007 11:13 am

    96 & 98: I agree with you guys, but would also add that Bavasi isn’t the only one. The lack of cost effectiveness seems to be quite evident all over professional sports these days — the Portland ‘Blazers or New York Rangers in recent years have been perfect examples of the classic less-bang-for-your-buck roster.

    And, of course, who could forget those GLORIOUS “Power Rangers” teams that Tom Hicks put together in Texas a few years back. Last I looked, the schmuck was still paying the Yanks about $9-mil or so per season for the privilege of watching A-Hole come back to Arlington and kick the crap out of his pitchers several times a year!

  9. Evan on September 7th, 2007 11:21 am

    What could Rick White’s performance have possibly taught the team that they didn’t already know? He was crap before they got him, and he was crap here. That can’t have been news to them.

  10. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 11:22 am

    Oh, sure, the Mariners don’t have a monopoly on this, at all. It’s somewhat endemic in all of sports management, for a variety of reasons (old-boy networks, increasing influence of agents, etc.)

    But the Mariners should be the leaders of the pack in being able to get past all of that. They’re in a highly progressive, technology-focused town; they have one of the best scouting directors in baseball in Bob Fontaine; and they have a lot of talented people giving them high quality free information via this blog and others.

    Instead, their lunch is being eaten by teams like Oakland and Cleveland, who don’t have nearly the “natural” advantages that the M’s do.

  11. scott19 on September 7th, 2007 11:32 am

    It seems like most of us on here are looking at teams like Oakland, Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, etc. and scratching our heads wondering why we can’t develop home-grown talent like they have.

  12. Ninja Jordan on September 7th, 2007 11:40 am

    The Chris Antonetti campaign must be revived.

  13. gwangung on September 7th, 2007 11:48 am

    96 & 98: I agree with you guys, but would also add that Bavasi isn’t the only one.

    Emphasize that Bavasi isn’t the only one in the M’s front office. There’s someone who’s feeding him all the information and he’s not the only one who’s doing player evaluation.

    It’s the whole philosophy that permeates the organization; get Antonetti in here and he’ll waste two or three years trying to get the organization oriented right—if he ever does it at all.

  14. bermanator on September 7th, 2007 11:53 am

    Oakland hasn’t been the paragon of good management this season either, though. Off the top of my head, they had no working backup plan for either Harden or Crosby despite the fact that both have a Doyle-like injury history, they gave Chavez a big contract that’s as much of an albatross to them as Sexson’s is here and weren’t able to move him, they stuck with Kendall for way too long despite the fact that he couldn’t hit water by falling out of a boat, etc.

    Is there any study out there that weighs how costly different management mistakes are? I’d love to see how Bavasi would score compared to the likes of the Twins, with their decision to give starts to the likes of Sidney Ponson early in the season.

  15. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 7th, 2007 11:56 am

    The problem (in determining credit to give Bavasi et al) is in defining the results accurately.

    If you’re going to do results-oriented analysis and base it only on wins accrued at the major league level, that’s far different than doing results-oriented analysis that includes that measure as well as additional measures 9success/failure of individual prospects through your system, success at instilling plate discipline, etc.)

    You have to define your measures for success, then evaluate results up against those measures accordingly. If you’re just defining win-loss or playoff appearance as the sole measure, that’s very restrictive. Essentially you’re looking at creating a logic model so that you’re engaging in results-based analysis all the way through the logic model.

    The very last box would be WS championship, or playoff appearance, but it is built on top of a whole cascade of smaller boxes leading there – things like choosing the right prospect, getting them to sign, developing them well in your system, assembling a team of them that performs well in aggregate, etc. EACH step is results based, but trying to judge performance from only the top level alone is folly.

  16. HamNasty on September 7th, 2007 12:01 pm

    114- Sidney Ponson still isn’t starting for them.

    Ponson 5.06 FIP, 64 ERA+ 7 starts
    Ramirez 5.42 FIP, 66 ERA+ 18 starts, only 18 cause he went on the DL.

  17. bermanator on September 7th, 2007 12:08 pm

    115 — Absolutely, but you also have to define who gets credit for what, and what weighting system should be used. Should Ichiro’s new contract count for more than any of the free agent signings this offseason that turned out poorly, since he’s so central to the team’s future? Should not giving Adam Jones more playing time count for more than usual because of his skillset?

    And it is hard to do that in an unbiased manner. I suspect that a similar process-oriented group to this one that supported a different team would by more charitable towards Bavasi for the Vidro trade, for example.

  18. bermanator on September 7th, 2007 12:09 pm

    116 — Sure, but the Twins had Garza, Slowey and Baker (was he in the minors to start the season, or no?) as potential replacements. Seattle had … guys who weren’t as good.

  19. HamNasty on September 7th, 2007 12:12 pm

    118- And thats NOT Bavasi’s fault?? Seems to me he is in charge of finding players to put on the field.

  20. scott19 on September 7th, 2007 12:15 pm

    114: Re Eric Chavez, define irony. I was shocked a few years back when the A’s actually gave him a contract extension — something they don’t do very much these days. I guess Beane thought Chavez was enough of a stud to keep around as a team anchor…instead, it just seems like he’s gotten older and more hobbled-up.

    If you’re one of their young guys, good luck ever getting another long-term extension out of Beane.

  21. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 12:19 pm

    Here’s the difference, though:

    With Oakland, their bad moves are relatively isolated. You look at the Chavez contract and say “Wow, that’s not like Beane”.

    When we something like the Vidro trade, we say, “That’s the Mariners for you.” There is a history of bad judgement that colors our perception, that isn’t there with Billy Beane.

    He’s not perfect, but he’s done a very good job with much less resources available to him than the Mariners have.

  22. bermanator on September 7th, 2007 12:32 pm

    121 – I might argue that that’s because we’re more cynical.

    For whatever reason, Beane seems to get all the credit for his good moves (which are excellent) but the poorer decisions don’t get mentioned. One of the central points of “Moneyball” is that he’s furious at the scouts for picking a HS pitcher and deals him the first chance he gets … and I bet he wishes he had Bonderman back right now. He tried to get Durazo forever, overpaid for him, and found out he wasn’t that good. Then there’s Jason Kendall. And Chavez.

  23. bergamot on September 7th, 2007 12:50 pm

    122: I don’t know where you’re looking. At USSM, Beane has received criticism for some of his moves, but not very often since this isn’t an Oakland A’s site.

    Bavasi receives credit for his infrequent good moves. That doesn’t obscure his demonstrably poor skills at player evaluation.

    Beane and Bavasi have both made good and bad player acquisitions. Over several years, Beane consistently gets more talent at lower cost than Bavasi.

  24. scott19 on September 7th, 2007 12:55 pm

    122: I have a feeling that Beane wishes he had Jeremy Bonderman back, too, as opposed to the alternatives of keeping Spicoli or winding up with about a half-season of Ted Lilly (his choice).

    Interestingly, Lilly is the just the kind of guy that Bavasi would overpay for — though by comparison, Lilly looks like Tom Glavine circa 1995 next to HoRam.

  25. kenshabby on September 7th, 2007 1:00 pm

    Rick White, Mariners fans, M’s playoff hopes: all victims of wishful thinking.

  26. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 1:16 pm

    As much as people like to paint it that the authors (and to a lesser extent, posters) hold personal grudges against various M’s personnel, it’s not true, nor are we looking for them to fail.

    Bill Bavasi seems to be a genuinely nice guy. He is very well-spoken, and has been generous enough to appear at USSM events even AFTER he has been ripped on this site. I genuinely wish he was better at his job, because he seems to be a good man.

    Billy Beane, on the other hand, I know nothing about as a person, so I have no investment in him personally. But in general, his moves pan out better than Bavasi’s, and in the end that matters more than him being a nice guy.

  27. Evan on September 7th, 2007 1:18 pm

    Billy Beane actually sounds like a bit of a prick, but he’s a GM I’d much rather have running my team, even though Bavasi’s a way more likeable a guy.

  28. metz123 on September 7th, 2007 3:27 pm

    The biggest point I keep bringing up is that MLB is not a level playing field. Unlike the NBA & NFL with their salary caps and attempts to exert external forces on keeping a league competitive, MLB makes little attempt to balance out the haves & have nots. The luxury tax is a bad attempt at keeping salaries down across the league, not an attempt at balancing talent.

    Teams that have the financial resources to spend more money should be the best teams in the league, period. The M’s have vast financial resources to spend. There should never be a pre season assessment that the M’s have assembled a squad that has the talent to win only 80 games. The M’s should always field a team that is competitive in the AL West and is in the wild card chase until the end of the year. The should have the talent to win 90 minimum games each year. Things may happen during the season, that prevents this from happening (major injuries) but they should never go into a season looking like a .500 club.

    Failing to live up to that level of talent acquisition is the failure of the current front office. They continually squander their home field advantage ($$$$) by spending money ineffectively. That is their failure.

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