Market Rates

Dave · November 13, 2007 at 12:12 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

As requested, here’s a pseudo update to the post I did three years ago on the concept of market value. The same basic concepts I wrote in that post are still true, but the numbers have changed a bit, and obviously, not all of you have been reading the blog for three years.

Free agency begins today, as teams can begin negotiating and signing players from other clubs. As always, most of the contracts signed by free agents this winter will be bad deals for the clubs, as they compete against each other for limited talent in a market that doesn’t correctly value actual on field contribution. Today’s big free agent signing is more likely to be tomorrow’s immovable albatross than franchise savior – this is just how the Winner’s Curse works.

So, how do you tell which free agent signings are better or worse than others? And what is market value now? Well, we won’t know for sure until the winter has played out, but based on previous signings, I think we can make some educated guesses.

According to the USA Today Salary Database, MLB teams spent just under $2.5 billion in player salaries last year. Obviously, some teams spent more than others, but that was the overall payout from teams to players for their performance last year. History has shown us that a team of league minimum players and Triple-A castoffs can win about 50 games a year, so what teams are actually paying for is every win above 50. We often call these marginal wins, and refer to those players as replacement level.

To be a true contender, a team needs to add about 45 marginal wins in any given season, and every dollar they spend above $12 million or so goes towards that effort. If a team that is trying to contend has a $100 million payroll, they are essentially trying to spend $88 million on about 45 marginal wins – that works out to just under $2 million per win.

So, pretty much any contract that is returning value at a cost of around $2 million per win is helping the team reach their goal of contending for a playoff spot. The further from $2 million per win you get, the more the contract is a bad deal for either the player or the team.

Now, because MLB has a non-free market setup for a huge population of the players, where their salaries are either determined by the team (if they have less than 3 years of service time) or by an arbitrator (if they have 3-5 years of service time), teams have a built in advantage with younger players where they can get strong returns for minimal costs. Thanks to research by Dave Studenmund on how teams spent last winter, we know that the average pre-arbitration player only makes about $500,000 per win, arbitration eligible players make about $2 million per win, and free agents make about $4 million per win. Obviously, having talented players under team control is a huge benefit, as their cost per win is eight times lower than comparable free agents.

This is why the smart teams mostly eschew free agency in roster construction, instead building through player development and trades. Unless you can turn a proftit with a payroll north of $150 million, you’re just not going to be able to build a competitive team using free agents as a core building block. The cost is just too prohibitive. With inflation, we should expect the cost per win this winter to be more in the $4.5 to $5 million range, driving salaries even further away from the ideal $2 to $2.5 million per win that teams should be aiming to spend.

Now, that’s not to say that every contract needs to be valued at $2 million per win or less. If a team has a significant amount of cost controlled talent on the roster, to the point where they’re getting 30 to 35 marginal wins for $50 million in payroll and they have a $100 million budget, that gives them somewhere in the $50 million range to buy another 10-15 wins. At that point, they could justify spending $3-5 million per win on a couple of free agents to round out their roster and make a real run at a championship.

Free agency is best served to find role players to fill a short term hole or to get the final piece to the puzzle. It is, without a doubt, the least efficient way to add talent to an organization, and in many cases the cost more than offsets the value the player adds. We’ve certainly seen the Mariners run into this problem – their spending on mediocrities such as Richie Sexson, Jose Vidro, and Jarrod Washburn are eating up enough payroll space to keep them from being players for true all-star talents while not returning enough performance to make this team a legitimate contender.

This is why we advocate a roster building philosophy that focuses on paying premium dollars to premium players (Ichiro’s extension is a perfect example of this), ignoring the overpaid middle class, and surrounding your stars with young players who haven’t had their salaries determined by free agency. It simply doesn’t work to try to fill out a roster with good-but-not-great players in free agency.

So, when someone argues that if you want to improve the team this winter, you have to pay what the market will bear, just ignore them – the free agent market is just one (not very good) way of adding talent, and the smart teams will usually ignore it entirely. Let other people throw big money at mediocre players hoping for a quick fix – market value isn’t actual value, and competing with other GMs who are spending money like fools is a great way to end up with a high payroll and a .500 team.

Comments

192 Responses to “Market Rates”

  1. CCW on November 13th, 2007 12:33 pm

    There are more smart teams now than ever before. That is why it is becoming more and more difficult to acquire prospects in a trade. Teams realize that the value in having a player locked in to several pre-arb years is huge. That is also why it was insane for the M’s to trade away Asdrubal Cabrera and yet not surprising that they were giving him to Dave-approved Smart (TM) team. Of course, they did the same thing with Carlos Guillen, although I believe in his case it was his arbitration years they gave away.

    Incidentally, this is why it is somewhat surprising that Dave liked the Lidge trade from the Phillies’ perspective. The Phillies gave up two league average (or slightly below) major league players who were owed a *total* of $3M over the next three years for one year of a relief pitcher who is owed $6M over one year, plus two draft picks. Lidge might give the Phillies 3 wins next year, but for $3M less, Bourne and Costanzo will give the Astros 6 wins over the next 3 years. It is questionable whether the two mid-level draft picks the Phillies will get makes up for that. I’m not saying this to start an argument with Dave – just to point out a great real-world application of the principles he describes.

  2. Dave on November 13th, 2007 12:36 pm

    There’s no way you can argue that Michael Bourn and Mike Costanzo are anything close to league average major league players. That’s just a massive overstatement of their abilities.

  3. dcmarinerfan on November 13th, 2007 12:59 pm

    So does this seem to advocate signing a guy like Jenkins to play left at 6-8 million per, figuring he’s at least a 2-2.5 win/yr guy, and probably more like a 3-4 win/yr guy?

    Dave, your statement of “This is why we advocate…paying premium dollars to premium players…ignoring the overpaid middle class, and surrounding your stars with young players who haven’t had their salaries determined by free agency” makes perfect sense in theory, but I have to ask, does it work in practice?

    Specifically, does it make sense to try to build a pitching staff, more specifically a starting rotation guided by this principle. In theory, an organization can churn out a top of the line, #1 or #2 guy every third year maybe? Some do it more often, some do it less. But, after two cycles, these guys are likely up for free agency and commanding bukos of dollars.

    So, what’s the most effective way to go about putting together an efficient rotation — one you can win with?

    It seems paying for any more than two aces isn’t financially viable. So where do you get the other three guys from?

    Anyone else feel free to chime in on what you think the best, most efficient, most effective way to build a quality rotation is.

  4. david h on November 13th, 2007 1:02 pm

    #3 – You find the other three guys by making sure you have a good defense. When you are filling the gaps between your good position players, it should be fairly simple to plug in a couple decent-to-bad hitting good defenders.

  5. oNeiRiC232 on November 13th, 2007 1:03 pm

    So by my calculations that puts A-Rod’s market value at over $40.0 Million per year. (VORP / 10 * $5 Million)

    Yowza. Boras wasn’t kidding when he said $350M is the “floor.”

  6. dcmarinerfan on November 13th, 2007 1:06 pm

    #4 – I’m not talking about position players. I’m talking about starters. How do you find your #3/4/5 guys, guys who will actually keep your team in ball games more often than not, or at least more often than Ho/Weaver/Baek.

  7. Dave on November 13th, 2007 1:08 pm

    So does this seem to advocate signing a guy like Jenkins to play left at 6-8 million per, figuring he’s at least a 2-2.5 win/yr guy, and probably more like a 3-4 win/yr guy?

    Jenkins is almost certainly not a 3 to 4 win player. Adrian Beltre is a 3 to 4 win player, and Jenkins isn’t that good. He’s a solid 1 to 2 win player (about league average, as replacement level is basically 2 wins below average). That means, in free agent valuations, $8 to $10 million is about the going rate for a player of his quality.

    That’s not the kind of deal you want to lock yourself into for the long term, but as a stopgap role player on a team with a top ten payroll, it’s a pretty decent idea.

    So, what’s the most effective way to go about putting together an efficient rotation — one you can win with?

    Right now – put a good defense behind your pitchers. Pitchers are wildly overpriced, while high quality defenders are undervalued.

    It seems paying for any more than two aces isn’t financially viable. So where do you get the other three guys from?

    Farm systems, minor league free agents, trading – it’s not that hard to find guys who can be adequate 5th starters without paying through the nose to get them.

  8. david h on November 13th, 2007 1:10 pm

    #5 (&6) – I know you are talking about starters, and as Dave said much more clearly in #7, the way to build an efficient rotation is by building a good defense.

  9. dcmarinerfan on November 13th, 2007 1:33 pm

    That’s fair. I figured that a “good defense” would be the answer. And while I respect that and agree with it in large part, there’s no way on God’s green Earth that the Mariners in 2008 are going to be markedly better than the Mariners of 2007 from a defensive standpoint.

    Yes, if we moved to a Wlad/Ichiro/Jones outfield, ran out a Broussard/Ibanez/Vidro platoon at first or something like that, we’d be demonstrably better, but there’s no way management puts that into place.

    Thus, we’re left with something like Ibanez/Ichiro/Jones in the outfield, with Sexson probably back at first, with little upgrade anywhere defensively through free agency.

    Maybe we get Jenkins in left and move Ibanez to 1st/DH with Sexson getting ABs against left-handed pitching, but even then, I don’t see our defense being among the top five, maybe even ten defenses in the bigs.

    So, it seems clear to me that we probably need something more than an “adequate” guy taking the hill every fifth day, and more aptly two “adequate” guys.

  10. Dave on November 13th, 2007 1:33 pm

    So by my calculations that puts A-Rod’s market value at over $40.0 Million per year. (VORP / 10 * $5 Million)

    Yowza. Boras wasn’t kidding when he said $350M is the “floor.”

    You can’t really just use VORP to determine contract value. Defense matters, as does regression and aging curves, and VORP doesn’t catch any of those things.

    A-Rod could be worth $40 million in 2008, but not on a long term deal. $30 to $32 million sounds about right.

  11. CCW on November 13th, 2007 1:40 pm

    “There’s no way you can argue that Michael Bourn and Mike Costanzo are anything close to league average major league players. That’s just a massive overstatement of their abilities.”

    Let’s put it this way. It has been argued by Nate Silver, who is pretty smart, and backed his argument up with at least some analysis, that Bourne and Costanzo are league average major league players right now: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=665.

  12. Dave on November 13th, 2007 1:41 pm

    Nate’s wrong.

  13. Manzanillos Cup on November 13th, 2007 1:56 pm

    Maybe we get Jenkins in left and move Ibanez to 1st/DH with Sexson getting ABs against left-handed pitching, but even then, I don’t see our defense being among the top five, maybe even ten defenses in the bigs.

    Weren’t we 28th or 29th last year? I think even if we were around 20th place in ’08 it would make quite a difference in our RA.

  14. cebo04 on November 13th, 2007 2:03 pm

    Question for you Dave…

    Who is Jenkins a stopgap for? If it’s Wlad, shouldn’t we give him a shot or use some platoon of what we already have? Though I know that is not much, is it worth putting up the money for him? I know we have the money but at what point do we stop using these “stopgap” players, i.e. Everett, Lawton, Guillen and possibly Jenkins and begin to build chemistry among teammates? Or is that something that we just wont see?

  15. bat guano on November 13th, 2007 2:16 pm

    Nicely laid out Dave. Although the pieces of the puzzle have been here before, thanks for taking the time to write up an overview. Let’s hope the Mariner front office is paying attention.

  16. Jeff Nye on November 13th, 2007 2:26 pm

    Not to speak for Dave, but I presume the Jenkins suggestion is due to the fact that Bavasi has gone on record to say that he won’t start two young players in the outfield.

  17. Alaskan on November 13th, 2007 2:27 pm

    9: Do you have someone in mind? Because adequate is about all I see available. I’m not sure about top 5 defenses, but I would think that Beltre, Ichiro and Jones are all plusses at key positions (if we get Jones into left), and Yuni may be a plus if his throwing problems are basically corrected. So we should be average, at least, right?

    12: Care to expand on that? Primary shortcomings of each, for instance?

    Good question, 14. Dave probably has a better answer, but I’ll just point out that there are some guys in the minors who could be ready in a year or two: Halman, Saunders and Lo are all included in Dave’s Future Forty, and Mike Wilson may be back on track, if we can take his numbers in Hawaii this winter to be indicative of anything.

  18. cebo04 on November 13th, 2007 2:38 pm

    16, I totally agree even though it’s truly frustrating. To me, young outfielders have been instrumental on strong teams throughout the league. They typically have that natural athleticism and seem to be able to make adjustments as they go. That being said, are we completely giving up on Jeremy Reed as an option in Left Field next year? His numbers last year in Tacoma weren’t bad at all and he is left handed. I assume this is not an option at all…

  19. Dave on November 13th, 2007 2:44 pm

    So, it seems clear to me that we probably need something more than an “adequate” guy taking the hill every fifth day, and more aptly two “adequate” guys.

    If your starting assumption is that the organization is unwilling to make good moves, then I don’t have a good answer for how the team should improve themselves.

    Not to speak for Dave, but I presume the Jenkins suggestion is due to the fact that Bavasi has gone on record to say that he won’t start two young players in the outfield.

    Not really – I just don’t think Wladimir Balentien is ready to contribute in the major leagues. The idea that he’s some kind of major league ready prospect is a myth.

  20. dcmarinerfan on November 13th, 2007 2:48 pm

    17: I don’t really have anyone in mind. As has been said here, and many other places, there’s really not a whole lot out there. Silva / Colon / Wolf / Other available starters cannot be argued to be anything more than #3s, and probably more reasonably 4 or 5s.

    I find it incredibly frustrating that over the course of the last six drafts that you could conceivably count on to produce Major League-level talent (not counting the ’07 draft here), this organization has done so pitifully.

    Garciaparra is the only ’01 draftee with any shot of making it tot he Majors with the Mariners. No 2002 draft pick will be making any impact. ’03 netted us Jones and Feierband. Jones could be great; Feierband will be nowhere close. Rob Johnson, no better than the third or maybe fourth best catcher in the organization, along with Mark Lowe are the highlights of the ’04 class. ’05 produced Jeff Clement, who may make some level of contribution in ’08, but I wouldn’t bet any large sum of money on it. ’06 prospects seem to hinge on Brandon Morrow’s success, which I’ve got next to no faith in, given the organization’s handling of him in 2006.

    Frankly, it’s pretty ridiculous to think that in the last six years, through the draft, we’ve managed to pick up a quality outfielder, a possibly great reliever when his arm isn’t blown out, a solid catcher who’s been blocked from seeing any action in the bigs, and two starters, one of whom won’t amount to anything much more than me (and my fastball doesn’t top 83), and another who will need at least one, probably two seasons in the Minors to get back to Seattle.

    All of this is occuring at the same time when clubs like San Francisco, a team run by a GM willing to give Zito 7 years / 126 million, picks up Lowry / Lincecum / Cain and has a stockpiling of pitchers in the farm system.

    I just wish for a second that we had a front office that could evaluate and draft a top-of-the-rotation starter, rather than relying on plucking one from South of the border.

  21. dcmarinerfan on November 13th, 2007 2:54 pm

    Dave re 19 – My starting assumption was that the Mariners defense isn’t going to somehow become great all of a sudden. YuBet isn’t much above average defenisvely, Lopez certainly isn’t, whoever we put at first most likely won’t be, our third outfielder likely won’t be, Ichiro is maybe a +5 guy, Jones maybe a +5? So I don’t see how we’re going to magically become a better defensive team.

    Thus, my question, how do we build a rotation that can get it done without breaking the bank?

    Also, if I buy a Wii today, will any part of the proceeds be donated to winning a World Series someday?

  22. Jeff Nye on November 13th, 2007 3:06 pm

    See, Dave, that’s why I didn’t want to speak for you. :)

    The Future Forty has him pegged at an ETA of 2008; do you still think that is likely to be when he could add value at the Major League level, or has his development slowed?

  23. F-Rod on November 13th, 2007 3:26 pm

    What’s the analysis as bringining K-Lo for a left field platoon? Fairly cheap, moveable, and a good “Randy Winn esque” Left Field.

  24. msb on November 13th, 2007 3:30 pm

    sigh. I love the Mailbag.

    So, pretty much any contract that is returning value at a cost of around $2 million per win is helping the team reach their goal of contending for a playoff spot. The further from $2 million per win you get, the more the contract is a bad deal for either the player or the team.

    so, if HoRam comes in this year around $2.75-$3M, does that mean his contract isn’t as bad as it might be?

  25. Wishhiker on November 13th, 2007 3:40 pm

    Kenji’s .465 runners caught led the majors by far.

    Among AL teams:
    The M’s were approximately tied (I hate rounding, but not digging right now) for 3rd best fielding%, .985 with Cleveland, Oakland and NYY only behind the .986 of Boston and .987 of Baltimore.

    They recorded the 5th most Double Plays in the 12th most innings.

    I’d Use UZR, but it’s not out yet for 2007, unless I’m not looking in the right places.

    Fielding at a couple positions were/ARE a problem, but overall the defense is good.

  26. Carson on November 13th, 2007 3:41 pm

    24 – My favorite question this week was about the chances the M’s have of signing “scrappy” David Eckstein.

    The fact that anyone would suggest replacing Yuni with Eckstein is beyond comical.

  27. lokiforever on November 13th, 2007 3:43 pm

    Wishhiker

    You need to consider also BABIP to get a sense for the team’s defense, not just errors and DP’s.

  28. Teej on November 13th, 2007 3:55 pm

    The M’s were approximately tied (I hate rounding, but not digging right now) for 3rd best fielding%, .985 with Cleveland, Oakland and NYY only behind the .986 of Boston and .987 of Baltimore.

    The Mariners’ fielding percentage was so high because they couldn’t get to balls in time to make the subsequent errors.

    Fielding at a couple positions were/ARE a problem, but overall the defense is good.

    There were only three teams worse than the Mariners at converting balls in play into outs last year.

  29. galaxieboi on November 13th, 2007 3:55 pm

    msb- That was comical.

    Wishhiker- Loki is right. Also try looking at thehardballtimes.com and their fielding stats. Fielding percentage isn’t much help when talking about range and such. Also, we’ve had a lot of discussions here about defence on other threads. Try searching that. I’ve learned A TON about analyzing defense from these guys.

  30. Wishhiker on November 13th, 2007 4:06 pm

    I can’t find team BABIP, but that makes sense.

  31. Teej on November 13th, 2007 4:08 pm

    Team BABIP is 1 minus the team’s defensive efficiency, which can be found here:

    http://baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=204024

  32. Wishhiker on November 13th, 2007 4:38 pm

    OK, so where are the spots that need improvement? Who are the players with the worst range? I understand Sexson and Ibanez are on that list and Guillen could be too, but the rest of the starters I understood to have good range.

    If you’re talking about replacing those 3 in the field isn’t that all the improvement you’re looking for?

  33. Chris Miller on November 13th, 2007 4:38 pm

    BABIP isn’t that accurate unless it’s done separately for groundballs and flyballs. THT used to have this, but it looks like their new #’s are based on RZR (correct me if I’m wrong).

  34. galaxieboi on November 13th, 2007 4:53 pm

    I believe BABIP on THT is from the batter’s side. They use DER for defense. Here’s the formula: (BFP-H-K-BB-HBP-Errors)/(BFP-HR-K-BB-HBP)

    Regardless, this seems to be a discussion for a future (or past) thread.

    After hunting down Mr. Dave Studenmund, I highly recommend everyone reading his ‘Net Win Shares Value’ article over on Hardball Times.

  35. Alaskan on November 13th, 2007 5:14 pm

    32, Wishhiker,

    Here’s a quote from Dave’s “Wrap Up, Part Two” from Oct 2nd:

    Raul Ibanez – disastrous left fielder, -15 to -25 runs
    Ichiro – above average center fielder, +0 to +10 runs
    Jose Guillen – below average right fielder, -5 to -15 runs
    Adrian Beltre – above average third baseman, 0 to +10 runs
    Yuniesky Betancourt – below average shortstop, 0 to -10 runs
    Jose Lopez – average second baseman, -5 to +5 runs
    Richie Sexson – terrible first baseman, -10 to -20 runs
    Kenji Johjima – who knows? – we don’t really have any idea how to evaluate catcher defense properly.

    I think that shows pretty well the spots that need improvement, and by how much.

  36. lokiforever on November 13th, 2007 5:52 pm

    But if Yuni can correct his errant throws, he becomes an average SS again. Remember when he was touted as a superior defender back in 2005?

    “Here’s the thing, though. Betancourt makes the spectacular plays, the ones that you’ll see on highlight shows for years to come, but that’s not what makes him great. He routinely makes the play that doesn’t look so spectacular but that nobody else alive makes. That ball four steps in the hole? Not only does he cut it off, but he gets there in time to square his body and make the throw without leaping in the air. And he nails the guy every single time.

    Yuniesky Betancourt is the Rolls Royce of defensive shortstops. You’ve seen the rest; now watch the best”

    http://tinyurl.com/24swl2

  37. ConorGlassey on November 13th, 2007 6:17 pm

    dcmarinerfan –
    Couple things:
    1) Garciaparra’s shot at making the Majors with the Mariners took a big hit when the Phillies claimed him on waivers in April.
    2) Aside from Rob Johnson and Mark Lowe, the ’04 class also has Tui & Michael Saunders – both of whom are top-10 prospects. Speaking of top-10 guys, Chris Tillman and Tony Butler were in the ’06 class with Morrow, so that class doesn’t just “hinge” on his success. Plus, Kam Mickolio was an 18th-round steal in ’06, and he could be an impact arm out of the bullpen next year.
    3)You said, “I just wish for a second that we had a front office that could evaluate and draft a top-of-the-rotation starter, rather than relying on plucking one from South of the border.”
    That’s just ridiculous on so many levels. Does it really matter where prospects come from? For me, all that matters is talent – doesn’t matter if the kid is from Texas, Venezuela or Mars.

    I know the M’s can be frustrating sometimes, but the farm system is actually pretty underrated. It’s one thing to be pessimistic. It’s another to just be oblivious…

  38. HamNasty on November 13th, 2007 6:42 pm

    How much of the M’s problems stem from a lack of a organizational philosophy? It seems like there is zero future plan in place. No thought of saying lets use this season to suck up some contracts till they are off the books (Sexson, Vidro, Raul, Joh all gone after 08′) and let some younger guys (Clement, Wlad, few different pitchers) get some playing time. That way 09′ rolls around and we have money and young cheap players with experience.

    Of course competing every year is the plan, but having 1 year plans every year is never going to work.

  39. dcmarinerfan on November 13th, 2007 7:02 pm

    36-

    Yea, my “South of the border” comment wasn’t meant to be a knock against players from outside the U.S. but, rather, to show my disdain for our organization’s inability to draft well, and instead seem to focus on finding gems that are signable overseas. There’s damn good talent in the draft, and we seem to find it pretty rarely.

    I’d argue that our farm system is rated pretty aptly – as average at best, medicore at worst. We have absolutely ZERO quality starting pitching hopes. We have some possible bullpen help. And we have a few quality positional prospects in Balentin, Clement and Chen.

    I don’t think there’s much there to hang our proverbial hats on.

  40. 300ZXNA on November 13th, 2007 7:04 pm

    38 – I know that he is still several years away, but we do have Aumont in the system. So we don’t have ZERO starting pitching hopes, just none imminent.

  41. dcmarinerfan on November 13th, 2007 7:08 pm

    39: Aumont’s an absolute joke. From a couple of people I know within the Mariners farm system, the kid is an absolute basket-case. Aumont’s a work-in-progress and won’t be in the Majors for at least three, maybe four years. Yes, he’s young, so he’s got a lot of upside, and a lot of potentially quality innings ahead of him, but he’s not going to be helping us out in Seattle before this decade is out.

  42. 300ZXNA on November 13th, 2007 7:18 pm

    So by calling him a basket case are you saying that he has serious mental issues that have the team worried, or does he just have zero experience / knowledge on pitching and is basically starting from square one?

  43. dcmarinerfan on November 13th, 2007 7:26 pm

    I’m saying he doesn’t have any focus as well as starting from square one.

  44. Dave on November 13th, 2007 7:28 pm

    I’m saying you don’t know what you’re talking about. The system is in pretty solid shape, and the team has drafted very well the last three years.

  45. nathaniel dawson on November 13th, 2007 7:45 pm

    It’s simply not accurate to say they have ZERO starting pitching hope. In the M’s farm system right now are Morrow, Tilman, Butler, Juan Ramirez, and Aumont. And Henry Perez in the Dominican. The scouts, Mariners, minor league analysts, and “armchair” bloggers who follow the minors all agree that these guys all show promise of being good Major League pitchers. Who’s to say which ones will or will not make it, well we don’t know. But right now, that’s a pretty good group of guys to have in your system, and certainly far from hopeless.

  46. cebo04 on November 13th, 2007 8:02 pm

    I think people are just frustrated because so many teams around the league are full of major league ready talent that they have groomed in their farm systems. I agree we are not far off. I think the general worry that we don’t have pitching in the near future in the farm system is somewhat justified but we may be giving some of those young arms a shot this year. I’m all for being patient in this process and if we continue to develop we could be solid in a few years. I just hope Ichiro is around to enjoy it!

  47. msb on November 13th, 2007 8:16 pm

    #40- he was an 18-year old, with little pitching experience. did we really expect him before 3 or 4 years?

  48. junglist215 on November 13th, 2007 9:16 pm

    20/40 What’s an aboslute joke is that you think A) Michael Garciaparra is the best talent from the 2001 draft B) is still in the system and C) close to the majors.

    Aumont, as an 18 year old, just went two innings against Cuba, and he held his own. If he’s really as “fragile” mentally do you really think he’d be challenged like that?

  49. Wishhiker on November 14th, 2007 1:06 am

    48 Are you referring to Rivera or Wilson?

    Regarding Aumont, are you asking that question of a FO that has patience and makes good choices regarding the development of their prospects, or the M’s FO?

  50. Sidi on November 14th, 2007 1:33 am

    I love the fact that the “stars and scrubs” philosophy of fantasy baseball geeks parallels the current stathead approach to team building. It makes sense though, baseball is still seen as a team game, but it’s probably the least team oriented major sport. You put someone useless on a basketball team, or a football team, or a real football team (soccer), or any other true team game…and the other team just pays much less attention to him.

    Plus, in baseball the “useless” guy is only somewhat less talented than an “average” player, and you can’t hit balls to him every time. You can keep running the ball to the inexperienced weak side safety, or have one of your center backs pull off to constantly help cover the strongest striker on the other team, but there’s not an effective way to avoid a strong player (offensively or defensively) or hammer a weaker player…other than the intentional walk in baseball.

  51. Sidi on November 14th, 2007 1:35 am

    [fixed it for you]

  52. Wishhiker on November 14th, 2007 2:57 am

    35 that was a lot of effort to show that Dave said in the defensive wrapup essentially what I was saying about who needed to be replaced. Way to agree without agreeing. I was asking specifically about range though. Yuni having been a below average fielder last season says nothing about his range. We were talking about players not getting to balls and an overall assessment of a players defense says nothing of that. It’s nice to see others tell me that and ignore someone else going back to a vague metric to answer someones specific question on the same subject. Makes me feel right at home. You’d have to know my family…

  53. terry on November 14th, 2007 3:53 am

    #52: I suspect you are at home in your family…

  54. galaxieboi on November 14th, 2007 9:16 am

    Larry Stone is beating the ‘trade for Santana’ drum again. Speaking of winter moves.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/larrystone/2004012624_stone14.html

  55. msb on November 14th, 2007 9:16 am

    Market rate now for JoeJessica?

  56. bakomariner on November 14th, 2007 9:33 am

    54- that’s crazy about torrealba…he’s TERRIBLE…just goes to show what a hot streak at the right time can do for you…wow…didn’t anyone pay attention to the jeff weaver saga? getting hot in the playoffs doesn’t make you an all-star…

  57. HamNasty on November 14th, 2007 9:34 am

    New great PitchF/X tool put up, there is the link and you can get it at THT also.
    http://baseball.bornbybits.com/php/PITCHfx_tool.html

    I already did a little digging of my own and Feierabend was not getting good calls. 45 Strikes called balls compared to 21 balls called strikes, that doesn’t mean much since its small sample and I am not sure on the average rate of miscalled strikes and balls. Twice as many seems pretty alarming though.

  58. HamNasty on November 14th, 2007 10:04 am

    Jason Jennings at the right price anyone?
    His HR% was up high at 14% (Houston to Seattle will drop that immediately) LOB% low at 63%. His GB% dropped for no apparent reason and his DER dropped .025 in Houston. Seems like we make the obvious defensive upgrades and Jennings with is 6+ K/9 and dropping BB/9 wouldn’t be a bad grab. This all relies on him being cheap of course. He has pitched in hitters park his whole career and has pitched better on the road, maybe Safeco would treat him nicely even with the NL to AL jump.

    What is Jennings going to command on the market this year?

  59. david h on November 14th, 2007 10:17 am

    #52: You weren’t just asking about range, you were asking about who needed to be replaced: OK, so where are the spots that need improvement.

    Also, range is only important in that it helps you turn balls in play into outs, which, in turn, keep runs from scoring. The numbers from Dave’s older article are more valuable than simply figuring out how far and quickly someone can move. They basically make range irrelevant, or at least redundant, since range is a factor in those a run values.

  60. thefin190 on November 14th, 2007 11:11 am

    54 – Oh Boy…thats why I come here to USSMariner for all my baseball insight. I wouldn’t trade AJ for anyone, simply because we will need him. I couldn’t bear to watch another year of an Ibanez-Ichiro-(Insert overpaid mediorce outfielder here) outfield. Not that Ichiro is anything to complain about, but not even Ichiro could carry the whole outfield himself. Plus, I don’t think Mariners execs realize now but Jones will be very good and potentially a five-tool all-star. I don’t think its worth trading paying someone with his talent less than a million a year and that Mariners control for 4 more years (I am guessing?) (I am guessing Jones’s salary isn’t more than six figures, correct me if I am wrong.) for a potential ace that is worth over $20 million a year if he even wants an extension here.

    I say just get Colon as Dave suggested and let’s gamble with RRS or Morrow as a fifth starter.

  61. thefin190 on November 14th, 2007 11:15 am

    I forgot to add, I had to convince to a fellow Mariners fan that Adam Jones was actually going to be good. He kept telling me that Wlad was going to be an all-star later on and Jones wasn’t going to mount to much, I think based on his performance in 2006, which doesn’t tell us much, as well as being robbed playing time in 2007. Shows how ignorent people are who don’t read this blog.

  62. Alaskan on November 14th, 2007 11:17 am

    52,

    Yeah, as 52 pointed out for me, I was attempting to answer your 1st and last questions, not the range question… although perhaps you were referring to range in the last question as well? Anyway, just trying to help. I apologize. I’ll be sure not to do that anymore, as it clearly angers you. I think you should go home tonight and give everyone in your family a nice, long hug.

    Anyway, I wonder why you care more about range than overall performance? (Just asking, really – there is not supposed to be any underlying tone to that question) I mean, at the end of the day, we care about the overall, right – the combination of range and arm and whatever else that goes into being a good fielder? I guess 52 already said this, but I’m really looking for your thoughts on the matter, if you see a benefit to analyzing range, apart from the other elements.

  63. Alaskan on November 14th, 2007 11:19 am

    Sorry, I meant “as 59 pointed out for me” and “I guess 59 already said this”.

  64. joser on November 14th, 2007 11:35 am

    Market rate now for JoeJessica?

    I saw this in the Miami Herald and just about choked on my coffee:

    There are several available this winter, and the Marlins have a short list of free agent catchers they’re looking at possibly signing to replace Miguel Olivo and shore up the position. Yorvit Torrealba and Paul Lo Duca both are on the Marlins’ list, but they might not be able to afford either.

    Ghosts of Mariner catchers past…

  65. Steve Nelson on November 14th, 2007 11:46 am

    #60: Plus, I don’t think Mariners execs realize now but Jones will be very good and potentially a five-tool all-star.

    I don’t think that is at all true. The Mariners scouting and development is heavily based on identifying and developing toolsy prospects and downplaying numerica analysis, and Jones precisely fits that mold. He was drafted as a five-tool player whom the Mariners projected to become a potential all-star. That’s why the Mariners were willing to draft and sign him as a position player instead of a pitcher as most other teams foresaw him. Jones has developed exactly as projected.

    Adam Jones is the exemplar for the Mariners prospect development philosophy. It’s extremely unlikely that the Mariners would take a guy who is the perfect example of their whole player development philosophy, whom they have touted for years, and suddenly decide he’s just another fungible struggling young player.

  66. dlb on November 14th, 2007 11:46 am

    Dave/USSM Resident Gurus- three questions:

    1) In these types of analysis is risk and volatility ever taken into account? For instance, player X with 8 years of big leauge service will have a certain well defined skill set and value that will probably keep his value within a rather tightly controlled range. However younger players in the first few years of service will have a much higher range of volatility and risk. When factoring these in, wouldn’t the values of younger players be so wide ranging that you would in reality need about 4 of them (just picking a number) around so that if one totally bombs out you can replace them with another? And wouldn’t this in turn drive up the total cost of these players? One real cost plus the three you need in reserve?

    2) We always hear about the value of draft picks are better than the value of a current player in certain instances. Does the odds of these players making the bigs ever taken into account of the value of that pick?

    3) In the financial world, the time value of money is a keep consideration. Is the time value of a win ever thought about? Would a win now be worth more than a win 5 years from now since if you win now you can drive revenue and success of signing free agents (especially in foreign countries)?

    Just curious how these factors are taken into account. It seems the Gillick/Bavasi crowd have a view that the risk/variability in performance outweighs the upside. While probably not true, I wonder how the other side takes this into account in their analysis of player values.

  67. scott19 on November 14th, 2007 11:58 am

    64: I doubt the Marlins are gonna get LoDuca, too…he already had one go-around there and they couldn’t afford him.

  68. Steve Nelson on November 14th, 2007 12:01 pm

    #66: I think that some teams, especially the “traditionalists”, do consider veterans to be less risky and attach a corresponding premium. I also believe that many of the teams that attach that premium underestimate the downside risk of the veteran. That is, they believe the veteran’s performance is more predictable than it actually is. Accordingly, the “volatility” differences aren’t as great as often perceived.

    You can cite almost endless examples of “proven” veterans whose performance “unexpectedly” collapsed from teams throughout baseball. Veteran collapse might be almost as common as Jeremy Reed type situations where a young player with solid credentials crashes.

  69. Evan on November 14th, 2007 12:09 pm

    Minor niggle, but no cost can be “eight times lower”. The cost of players under team control is one eighth that of comparable free agents. Eight times lower doesn’t make any sense, and that becomes obvious if you start trying to use smaller values. What would “one time lower” mean?

  70. msb on November 14th, 2007 12:11 pm

    BoMel is Manager of the Year in the NL :)

  71. msb on November 14th, 2007 12:12 pm

    um, that was the link for Wedge in the AL. Here’s Bob

  72. scraps on November 14th, 2007 12:21 pm

    Wow, over Clint Hurdle? I’m surprised.

  73. rcc on November 14th, 2007 12:33 pm

    [Washburn, Sexson]

  74. nadingo on November 14th, 2007 12:51 pm

    I find it appropriate that a post designed to help readers who haven’t “been reading the blog for three years” has several comments that show no understanding of some of the most developed analyses on the site.

    DCmarinerfan, if you want to make well-informed comments about the Mariners’ pitching prospects and general draft successes, you might want to do look through the archives for the past few “future forty” updates. Basically, any pitcher with a “reward” rating of 7 or higher could probably be called a “quality starting pitching hope.” In Dave’s latest update, that category includes Juan Ramirez, Phillipe Aumont, Chris Tillman, and Tony Butler. As with any prospect, however, they all have a high likelihood of not realizing their potential, which is represented in the high “risk” score Dave assigns them. So yes, Aumont or any of them might not pan out, but that’s true of the top prospects in any team’s minor league system.

    And Wishhiker, your argument about team and individual defense might benefit from reading Dave’s “Evaluating Defense” post found under the “USSM Orientation” tab at the top of the page. Dave discusses many different useful metrics of team defense (and links to articles with actual statistics and detailed explanations), none of which rely on Fielding % or Total # of DPs.

    I’m not trying to kiss Dave’s ass, but if you want to participate in discussions on a site where the authors provide a large amount of advanced analysis, you probably should go through the trouble of actually reading that analysis first. It’s fine to disagree with the arguments made here, but you might as well understand what it is you’re disagreeing with.

  75. joser on November 14th, 2007 1:03 pm

    Wow, over Clint Hurdle? I’m surprised.

    I’m not. Bavasi’s team managed to win his division despite scoring twenty fewer runs than they allowed (a Pythagorean W-L of 79-83 vs an actual record of 90-72). This was noted by many commentators who assigned varying amounts of credit to Bob Melvin; some went so far as to use the term “genius” (and not in an entirely irconic or sarcastic way). No matter how much you think that record is a fluke and how much of it is something else (like “masterful bullpen deployment“) it gets noticed. Since teams that appear to be underachieving their talents get managers fired, I suppose it’s natural and fair that those that appear to be overachieving win their manager awards.

  76. zugzwang on November 14th, 2007 1:10 pm

    Dave @44–

    Have you done, or are you planning to do, an analysis comparing the M’s farm system to the rest of the league? All I’ve seen are conclusive statements that Bavasi has done well in stocking the farm system, but I’ve seen no attempt by anyone to compare the prospects he’s brought in to those brought in by his peers around the league. I expect that any such analysis would be quite difficult, but all these conclusory claims just raise red flags every time they show up.

  77. joser on November 14th, 2007 1:21 pm

    #38: How much of the M’s problems stem from a lack of a organizational philosophy? It seems like there is zero future plan in place.

    The M’s have their GM on a year-to-year contract. The implicit organizational philosophy is therefore “win now or you’re gone” and pretty much all of Bavasi’s acquisitions and trades reflect that: he hasn’t exactly been trading away veterans to stock up on prospects. (The draft process, which is inherently long-term, is of course a different story). Given the ownerships’s public distaste for an “Indians style” tear-down-and-rebuild, that’s really the only “future plan” Bavasi can adopt.

  78. Steve T on November 14th, 2007 1:22 pm

    The way I see it, our best hope for improving this team is defensively, but we’re unlikely to improve it enough to get much more than break-even on runs scored and allowed (we were minus this year, despite the record). So that gets us to .500, which means that if we improve, we step backward. Where are we going to get the hundred extra runs we need to seriously compete? $400 million of marginal cost? I don’t think so.

  79. msb on November 14th, 2007 1:23 pm

    speaking of Market Rates, interesting rumor that Alex has gone to the Yankees via back-channels to possibly re-open negotiations, with the Yankees replying that they’ll talk if Boras is not involved ….

  80. HamNasty on November 14th, 2007 1:28 pm

    76- That’s what I thought but wasn’t sure if Bavasi has ever proposed a 3 year plan that wouldn’t necessarily mean tear down but instead have a direction for the team to go in past October. I think I knew the answer to my question but the answer sucks so I hoped for something else. Cheering for them is depressing when you know its not going anywhere.

  81. joser on November 14th, 2007 1:29 pm

    And speaking of market rates and oganizational philosophies, here’s a great discussion with the Padre’s GM Kevin Towers about why it’s a mistake to spend lots of money for bullpen arms.

  82. scraps on November 14th, 2007 1:32 pm

    78: If that’s true, the Yankees are negotiating in bad faith. It’s like telling someone you’ll deal with them, but not with their lawyer: it means you think you can take advantage of the person.

  83. msb on November 14th, 2007 1:34 pm

    oh, and Jimmy Caple thinks that if you don’t want Alex, you are crazy

  84. bakomariner on November 14th, 2007 1:47 pm

    82- this is from that article on A-Rod,

    “I understand people worrying that signing A-Rod would preclude their team from obtaining other necessary players. But that’s a needless concern. Signing someone like A-Rod, Derek Jeter or Manny Ramirez to a contract for $20 million to $25 million per year isn’t what hurts a team financially. It’s signing the likes of Jeff Weaver for $8 million and Richie Sexson for $15 million, then trading for Horacio Ramirez and his $2 million salary (not that I have any particular team in mind). As Bill Veeck once said, “It isn’t the high price of stars that is expensive; it’s the high price of mediocrity.” In that sense, signing A-Rod might help financially, because you’ll be less likely to waste your money on some stiff who won’t produce (hello, Adrian Beltre).”

    ouch…

  85. cebo04 on November 14th, 2007 1:51 pm

    74: Why are we not able to spark conversation by asking questions and giving opinions. We typically all read Dave’s stuff and it is extremely informative but aren’t websites like this for conversation? I just don’t think you need to single people out…

    That being said, off the topic we’ve stuck to recently, what is the plan at the catcher position for us. I know that we have Kenji for one more year and 2 viable replacements coming up. What is the FO’s plan going forward. Are we going to keep Kenji or let him walk after ’08? It seems as if he has established himself as a potent offensive catcher and a quality signal caller. I guess my question is, does Johnson figure to be the odd man out and if so, does he hold any value at this point or will he going forward?

  86. scraps on November 14th, 2007 1:58 pm

    Caple calling Beltre a stiff says everything I need to know about the value of his opinions.

  87. Alaskan on November 14th, 2007 2:12 pm

    84,

    I’m not so sure Rob Johnson is considered viable offensively, and Clement may not be viable defensively. I think Clement is more likely to improve, but it’s still no guarantee. I would think the best option (and given FO’s preference for veteran Mariners, the most likely option) would be to hold on to Kenji as long as possible through an extension, and hope that if Clement is ready to contribute, his bat could be added at 1B or DH, and serve as Kenji’s backup.

    My understanding is that Rob J’s only value is as a trade piece. In the meantime, I would think he’ll stay in Tacoma, since I don’t believe he’s getting in anyone’s way coming up.

  88. Mike Snow on November 14th, 2007 2:16 pm

    Speaking of Beltre, here’s how he does against sliders, using the new Hardball Times sortable Pitchf/x tool, which looks awesome and I am spending way too much time playing with. Notice all the swinging strikes on pitches low and away – though of course, we knew that already.

  89. joser on November 14th, 2007 2:19 pm

    Caple calling Beltre a stiff says everything I need to know about the value of his opinions.

    Yeah, I was with him until then. Over at LookoutLanding Jeff makes a wonderful case:

    As good as he is, and as thankful as we are that he’s a Mariner, Beltre remains an easy target for people who like to make fun of bad contracts. They look at the year he had in 2004, then they look at the ensuing free agent contract, and they declare that he was a massive fluke and a total bust. He couldn’t even reach .280/30/100 this season, after all.

    These people are wrong. All of them. Not only because we didn’t give Beltre his contract to repeat 2004 five times over, but also because he’s a highly valuable player who arguably deserves more than he’s getting. Other than drawing walks, there isn’t a single facet of the game at which Beltre doesn’t succeed. He hits for a reasonable average and good power despite playing half his games in a brutal environment. He runs well. He stays pretty healthy. He makes decent contact. And, of course, he plays a mean third base.

    Defense. National analysts never think about defense (or, perhaps better, they never think about it accurately), but if they actually had a clue, they’d realize that a not insignificant portion of Beltre’s value comes from what he contributes in the field.

  90. Pete on November 14th, 2007 2:22 pm

    cebo-

    No, this site is not for general conversation and giving opinions. If want to switch topics and ask questions that have already been answered in detail, there are hundreds of other baseball sites for that. Spend some months just reading what’s been provided by the authors, and then think about joining the discussion.

  91. Jeff Nye on November 14th, 2007 2:30 pm

    Why are we not able to spark conversation by asking questions and giving opinions. We typically all read Dave’s stuff and it is extremely informative but aren’t websites like this for conversation? I just don’t think you need to single people out…

    You have the right to ask questions and give opinions. You also have the right to have people point out to you that you can easily answer your questions yourself by doing some research, and that they do not care to do the research for you.

    But yes, as Pete says, this is not a “forum”; comments are provided here mostly as a way for readers to have a topical give-and-take with the site authors about each of their posts, not to go off on whatever tangent they desire.

    Not trying to single out anyone myself, either, just pointing out that this site is more stringent about conduct and content than, say, the P-I blog. Said blog, and others, exist if you want a freer discussion forum where you can discuss whatever you want.

  92. joser on November 14th, 2007 2:35 pm

    Well, ideally you hope that Clement will stay healthy and make sufficient strides in Tacoma that he’s a viable July call-up to start sharing duties with Kenji (sorry Burke) for the latter half of next season. He could play DH or 1B on his off days, but that of course assumes the M’s figure out how to get rid of some of the too many players they already have for those positions. Even then, you’re walking a tightrope if you don’t sign at least a 1-year extension with Johjima.

    Joh, like Wlad, would be of more value to a team that doesn’t play half its games in a park that punishes right-handed pull hitters. From that perspective, if Johjima is on an extension for ’09 and Clement appears to be working out, the M’s should be able to get a reasonable return from the right trade partner … but that assumes the M’s can get good return from a trade, any trade.

  93. bermanator on November 14th, 2007 2:36 pm

    The Beltre comment just goes to show hiw difficult it is to shed a label once it has been acquired. I think at this point he could hit .350 with 75 HRs and people outside of Seattle would still be complaining about his contract.

    Growing up in Baltimore, I remember a Thomas Boswell column on free agency from a generation ago that basically argued that if the FA in question was a future HOFer with mileage left in the tank, go grab him if you can afford it and the player fills a need. But otherwise you’re going to wind up with overpaid mediocrity, so it makes no sense to go there. The advice is as true today as it was then.

  94. tangotiger on November 14th, 2007 2:44 pm

    Dave,

    What is your forecast for Bourn as a hitter?

    As a fielder, I have him just a shade below Felix Pie or Endy Chavez. Do you forecast Bourn to be an Endy Chavez-level hitter?

    If so, and I know I’m in the minority here, I consider that to be MLB-average level.

    However, the prevailing opinion is that that is a 4th OF quality.

    Tom

  95. galaxieboi on November 14th, 2007 2:46 pm

    While I understand the frustration of some posters about others topic-switching or asking long since answered questions, I also think it’d suck to discourage people from participating. Almost everyone posts something uninformed or stupid now and then (especially me) but some people pick up info in different ways. If Dave and Derek wish to have prospective members fill out a membership questionaire first, more power to them (I wouldn’t have made the cut). But they havn’t. So, perhaps until told otherwise we should try to inform and teach as much as possible while discouraging anymore, ‘Why can’t Mike Morse play 2nd base’ conversations.

  96. joser on November 14th, 2007 2:48 pm

    Cebo, the thing is, a lot of people here have been on this blog and getting educated (here and elsewhere) for a long time, so for them it can get a little tiring and frustrating to have to go back to square one and revisit the same arguments over and over. It’s a bit like being on a “global climate change” site only to have regular tangents started by people from the Flat Earth Society, so that you can’t even get to the “climate change” discussion because you regularly have to argue over what a “globe” is.

    Some people here are more patient than others, and anybody can be impatient on any given day. It would be wonderful if all the oldtimers could be infinitely patient, but it would be just as wonderful if all the newcomers could be equally well-prepared. The site probably could do a better job of leading new people through the prep work, but there’s no certainty anybody would read it. So you get dropped in the middle of an ongoing conversation, and the onus is on you to get caught up and to not take it personally when others ask you to do so.

  97. nadingo on November 14th, 2007 2:57 pm

    Also, I wasn’t trying to single anybody out for blame or ridicule, and I apologize if it came across that way. I just thought that dcmariner and wishhiker both made arguments that would benefit from researching what the USSM authors have already said on the subjects.

    Also, when a site specifically contains an “orientation” section for new readers, I think it’s reasonable to expect that people will read through it before posting. In that regard, it might be helpful to add an “Evaluating Young Talent” post to the orientation section, in order to address people’s questions about farm systems and the whole rookies vs. veterans debate.

  98. Alaskan on November 14th, 2007 3:12 pm

    Re: Evaluating young talent. Dave did such a post at another website, seen here:

    http://www.strikethree.com/01/07/14/dac.shtml

    Perhaps it would be a good idea to bring it over here, update if/as necessary.

  99. galaxieboi on November 14th, 2007 3:26 pm

    Hey, that’s a really cool column. Nice, Dave.

  100. cebo04 on November 14th, 2007 3:32 pm

    As always, I appreciate it guys.

  101. cebo04 on November 14th, 2007 3:36 pm

    I do apologize if I come off harsh at times. I understand this website has a wealth of knowledge that I haven’t even begun to appreciate. I’m just looking at it with the perspective of someone who stumbled upon the website, was eager to get involved (because it dealt with the Mariners) and thought it would be a great place to gain people’s perspectives. I just have to get used to the vet’s rookie hazing!!

  102. Jeff Nye on November 14th, 2007 3:44 pm

    Well, please don’t misunderstand. No one is trying to “haze” anyone.

    Those of us who have been here for a while have (using this example because I love to pick on him) had the discussion about Why Willie Bloomquist Isn’t A Starter literally dozens of times.

    Every time we see it rear its ugly head again, we all cringe, and that can come across in the tone of responses.

    The barrier of entry to being able to participate in the discussions here is, by design, a bit higher. Don’t take it personally.

    Anyway, let’s try to get back on topic, please.

  103. lokiforever on November 14th, 2007 4:35 pm

    Princess Willie isn’t a starter? But remember his September call-up and those XBH’s ;-)

  104. frenchonion on November 14th, 2007 5:10 pm

    95

    That’s the thing about interacting with the public — there’s always a new, uneducated one coming down the pike, and it never stops.

  105. C. Cheetah on November 14th, 2007 5:56 pm

    Man, I can just feel the love going on here…Can we get back to questioning and bitchin’ about everything that Bavasi might do this off season now.

  106. galaxieboi on November 14th, 2007 6:03 pm

    frenchonion – And that’s a big opportunity to be a positive baseball influence on them. We need all the converts we can get. I’ve quit listening to KJR (except when Dave’s on) and can barely stand anything more than ESPNews now. The more baseball fans we can get to understand all the things Dave and Derek post here (and tango and a ton of other very smart people) the better off we all are. Perhaps one of the people who learn all about “sabermetics” or “moneyball” or what-the-hell-ever gets a gig on Sportscenter or writing a column in SI. Sweet cracker sandwich I say. =)

  107. lokiforever on November 14th, 2007 7:07 pm

    frenchonion – and in different contexts, we all get to be the uneducated one coming down the pike once in awhile.

    Galaxieboi – well said, sir.

  108. marc w on November 14th, 2007 7:15 pm

    Tango,

    I’m not dave, but I’d say it’s 50:50 that Bourn will eventually outhit Endy Chavez’s career line. They seem almost freakishly similar, at least in the minors. I think eventually Bourn will have a better OBP, so maybe it’s bourn by a nose.

    I’m much more interested in your statement that Endy’s a ‘league average hitter.’ Could you elaborate on that a bit?
    He’s had (partial) seasons where he’s hit at a league average rate, but then he’s also had seasons of absolute futility. Do you think teams haven’t used him enough? Or was your statement more to do with Endy Chavez-like players who save some runs with the leather and don’t hit at pitcher levels?

  109. scott19 on November 14th, 2007 9:58 pm

    Beltre’s a “stiff”, huh? Gee…I wonder what self-proclaimed “sports writers” like Caple would’ve done back in the days when 3B’s like Mike Schmidt, Graig Nettles and Robin Ventura ruled the earth…

    What a douchebag! >:(

  110. scott19 on November 14th, 2007 11:01 pm

    79: Accidentally stumbled upon a link corroborating this, courtesy ESPN’s Northern cousin, TSN:

    http://www.tsn.ca/mlb/news_story/?ID=222855&hubname=

  111. Tuomas on November 14th, 2007 11:05 pm

    82: From what I’ve heard, Rodriguez has been upset with Boras over the handling of the opt-out, leading to Boras being frozen out of the negotiations. IIR the CBA correctly, as long as Boras still gets his fee, the contract is legal.

  112. milquetoast on November 14th, 2007 11:08 pm

    The thing about Beltre is that, even assuming we agree that he’s a good deal because he plays good defense, WE GOT LUCKY! Bavasi didn’t sign Beltre to the deal thinking we were paying him for his defense! So we made a good deal on Beltre, but not because our front office made a smart decision, they just made a lucky one. Which means our team will continue to suck.

  113. awolfgang on November 14th, 2007 11:16 pm

    #110,
    Can’t A-Rod just fire Boras and negotiate his own contract the way Moyer does?

  114. joser on November 15th, 2007 12:45 am

    The Sporting News had a pretty good article on Beltre back in June, also supporting the case that he’s worth the money.

    #111 The thing about Beltre is that, even assuming we agree that he’s a good deal because he plays good defense, WE GOT LUCKY! Bavasi didn’t sign Beltre to the deal thinking we were paying him for his defense!

    Actually, we didn’t, he did, and you’re wrong. Bavasi specifically cited Beltre’s defense when he signed him. You can find any number of stories from the day where Bavasi talks about his defense and his offense in the same breath. Here’s the first one I pulled up (from the CBC, oddly):

    “Adrian is one of the best young position players in baseball,” Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi said in a statement. “He plays Gold Glove calibre defence and is an offensive force.

    There are many others. Note that he even mentions defense first. Bavasi had plenty of opportunity to see Beltre play when they were both in LA. Bavasi may have been hoping for more of Beltre’s 2004 offensive numbers, but his defense was no surprise.

    Bavasi didn’t get lucky: he knew exactly what he was getting and defense was a big piece of it.

    To quote that Sporting News article above “So Mariners fans: feel free to rip on Bill Bavasi for any number of bone-headed moves; this is one of the few that the team would do over again every single time.”

  115. tangotiger on November 15th, 2007 7:47 am

    Marc, I meant that Endy, overall, is a league-average player.

    Endy is a career -25 hitting runs per 162 G. His glove is probably a +15 runs per 162 G in CF. And I give CF a +5 run bonus. Probably a few runs for baserunning, and he’s darn close to league-average.

    I think it’s alot easier to see how bad his hitting is than to see how good his fielding is.

    FWIW, UZR, from 2003-mid07, has Chavez as +14 per 162 G in CF (based on 266 games) and +23 per 162 G in the corners (based on 90 games).

  116. bermanator on November 15th, 2007 8:18 am

    Can’t A-Rod just fire Boras and negotiate his own contract the way Moyer does?

    I think he could, but the Yankees can’t make firing Boras a condition of the negotiation process. Practically speaking, were he to fire Boras before signing the deal, Boras would have grounds to sue both A-Rod and the team, and nobody wants to deal with that.

  117. dcmarinerfan on November 15th, 2007 9:13 am

    Nadingo, re all posts, my statements have been not about not having any quality starting pitching prospects probably should have been qualified better.

    My bad.

    What I was attempting to say, was that this organization has absolutely no quality starting pitching prospects that will be able to be counted on to produce in a #3/4, even #5 starting spot in 2008, or 2009 for that matter.

    How can this be? How can it be the case that over the course of the last five years, we’ve managed to do so pitifully at scouting and drafting that we’ve gotten Felix (who we all think the world of, and I love the organization for getting), and not much else.

    Aumont may turn into something, but, not soon, as Dave notes in the Future 40.

    Ramirez may amount to something, but, again, not soon, as Dave notes in the Future 40.

    Tillman may become something, but, again, not soon, as Dave notes in the Future 40.

    Yes, they’re prospects for sure, but when the soonest any of them can be expected to help out in the Big Leagues is in 2010, what are we hanging our hats on?

    King Felix made his debut with the Mariners in 2005. I may be blanking, but I can’t think of any other Mariner starter, who debuted in this current decade, who’s worth anything. Obviously none are currently with the club, and I can’t even think of anyone that we’ve traded away.

    Thus, the crux of my post, and my concern, is that as an organization, as good as Dave/others have made our three most recent drafts out to be, we’ve got very little in the way of tangible goods to show for it. Sure, we have hopes that Aumont becomes a star, someday, and maybe even for us. But, what can we point to, and say, “look, our organization evaluated that pitching talent well?”

    I understand that the MLB draft is a huge crapshoot, and that scouting in Latin America is maybe even more so. But, given the number of times we’ve tried, shouldn’t we have maybe procured just once, a guy like Tim Lincecum (drafted in ’06 — we took Morrow)? Or a Dan Haren (drafted in ’01 — we took Garciaparra)? Or a John Lester (drafted in ’02 — we took John Mayberry)?

    I could go on, but I won’t. It’s frustrating.

  118. msb on November 15th, 2007 9:21 am

    so, does this mean Alex really disagreed with Boras on the way to handle this all (as he did once all those years ago when he agreed to let the Ms buy out his arbitration year) or did Boras realize that Alex wasn’t going to get what they wanted on the open market, and this is their way of getting Alex back with the Yanks?

  119. msb on November 15th, 2007 9:31 am

    #117– “shouldn’t we have maybe procured just once, a guy like … Dan Haren (drafted in ‘01 — we took Garciaparra)”

    FWIW, the Cardinals drafted Haren in the second round, with a lot of people having had the chance to take him and passing, including Oakland.

  120. dcmarinerfan on November 15th, 2007 9:37 am

    #119- I know the Cardinals took him. I know a lot of people passed on him. I’m just saying, I wish one time, just once, in the last, oh, say, eight drafts that might mean anything for next year’s club, we had maybe done one thing right when it comes to a starting pitcher.

  121. msb on November 15th, 2007 9:40 am

    I hadn’t looked back at that draft in a while … interesting to see that Oakland took Bobby Crosby, Jeremy Bonderman, John Rheinecker & Neal Cotts with Haren on the table … it is always interesting to look back and see who went where.

  122. bermanator on November 15th, 2007 9:44 am

    I understand that the MLB draft is a huge crapshoot, and that scouting in Latin America is maybe even more so. But, given the number of times we’ve tried, shouldn’t we have maybe procured just once, a guy like Tim Lincecum (drafted in ‘06 — we took Morrow)? Or a Dan Haren (drafted in ‘01 — we took Garciaparra)? Or a John Lester (drafted in ‘02 — we took John Mayberry)?

    Man, drafting sure is easy in hindsight!

  123. joser on November 15th, 2007 9:47 am

    So if ARod does end up with the Yanks, does that mean that he’s “opted back in” and Texas is still on the hook for some of his salary? Or is he irrevocably opted out, and Texas is free and clear no matter what happens? I couldn’t care less what they Yankees will have to pay, but Texas having more money to spend does concern me (though not as much as if they’d shown any talent for deploying it effectively in the past). I guess I’m going to have to go read some of those ARod/Boras stories I’ve been trying so hard to ignore….

  124. dcmarinerfan on November 15th, 2007 9:48 am

    #122/121 – Yes, I know it’s easy in hindsight, yes, I know it’s irresponsible to say that we should have hit on every single pick. But, to absolve the franchise of any responsibility whatsoever, for not being able to get one Major League caliber pitcher out of the last decade’s worth of drafts, seems like we’re letting them off a bit easy.

  125. built2crash on November 15th, 2007 9:53 am

    #123 – I think Texas is off the hook now.

  126. bermanator on November 15th, 2007 9:54 am

    But, to absolve the franchise of any responsibility whatsoever, for not being able to get one Major League caliber pitcher out of the last decade’s worth of drafts, seems like we’re letting them off a bit easy.

    That’s awfully quick to give up on Morrow.

  127. dcmarinerfan on November 15th, 2007 9:58 am

    #126 – Yes, because clearly he’ll be able to be a starter at the Big League level in the very near future.

  128. bermanator on November 15th, 2007 10:12 am

    #127 – Define “very near future.” If we’re talking 2008, I’d agree. If we’re talking 2009, I wouldn’t.

    I also submit that that’s due to player development as much as it is the selection of Morrow in the first place. Had he spent last season in the minors as a starter instead of in the majors as a reliever, that answer might be different.

    At any rate, are we basing draft success on the speed in which players are able to contribute at the Major League level? If so, Seattle should never select a high school pitcher again.

  129. Steve Nelson on November 15th, 2007 10:14 am

    After Bavasi arrived, he brought in Bob Fontaine as Scouting Director, replacing the totally unlamented Frank Mattox. If memory serves, the 2005 draft was the first one in which Fontaine had full control.

    Under Fontaines’ direction the Mariners have made the following high level picks:

    2005:
    1st round – Jeff Clement
    2nd round – no pick
    3rd round – no pick

    2006:
    1st round – Brandon Morrow
    2nd round – Chris Tillman
    3rd Round – Anthony Butler

    2007:
    1st round – Phillipe aumont
    1st round – Matt Mangini
    2nd round – Denny Almonte
    3rd round – Danny Carroll

    IMHO – that’s a pretty solid group of picks. The Mariners have drafted very well since Fontaine took over.

  130. Steve Nelson on November 15th, 2007 10:26 am

    More on drafting pre- and post-Bavasi.

    Gillick didn’t believe that high draft picks were worth the bonus money paid. In an earlier iteration of USSM, I recall Dave commenting that Gillick hired someone to research drafting and the report had come to that conclusion. Consequently, Gillick did things such as signing Ibañez to a contract before the arbitration deadline (when everyone knew that KC was not going to offer arbitration to Ibañez), with the full intent of forsaking the draft pick.

    Gillick believed that the international market was a much more productive place to procure young talent, and he redirected resources that direction. Which is one reason why the Mariners have Felix Herandez on the staff today.

    That leads to an important consideration – when discussing the addition of young talent, you can’t focus on just the draft. There are tradeoffs between international efforts and domestic efforts, and you need to consider the overall infusion of talent.

    ***

    IMHO – one of the bigger stories for the Mariners in signing young players has been the team’s historic low visibility in the Dominican Republic. The DR is too big a source of talent for the Mariners to be as underrepresented as they have traditionally been. There have been improvements in the Mariners DR activities.

  131. awolfgang on November 15th, 2007 10:29 am

    You know going back to ’91-’99 the M’s also drafted, Derek Lowe, Morgan Ensberg, Juan Pierre, Barry Zito, Brian Fuentes, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Varitek, Rich Harden, JJ Putz.

    So maybe the draft is not the big problem, how about the lack of negotiating skills to sign the draftees or the ability to recognize talent and keep your draftees, instead of trading them away for scrap.

  132. awolfgang on November 15th, 2007 10:32 am

    I didn’t include Pineiro, Meche or Franklin, even though they contribute at the big-league level, I’ll always remember there suckiness as M’s.

  133. built2crash on November 15th, 2007 10:37 am

    #129 – I want to point out that its way too early to tell if any one of those players is any good. and also we should have taken Tim Lincecum, not Morrow

  134. bermanator on November 15th, 2007 10:47 am

    Man, Dave must really be busy not to be taking a swing at some of these Lincecum comments…

  135. Jeff Nye on November 15th, 2007 10:48 am

    Half a season of Brandon Morrow being badly misused does not tell you anything useful about his future potential.

  136. msb on November 15th, 2007 10:52 am

    Man, Dave must really be busy not to be taking a swing at some of these Lincecum comments…

    doncha hate it when real life interferes with baseball?

  137. Dave on November 15th, 2007 10:55 am

    Andrew Millllllllllllllllllllllllllllller.

    There, I feel better. Back to work I go.

  138. galaxieboi on November 15th, 2007 11:02 am

    Steve makes a really good point about who’s in charge of drafting. Just looking at the Future Forty and other top M’s prospect lists, I’d say Bob Fontaine has done a really good job. Would I like the M’s to reject Bud’s calls for slot money only? Yes, please.

  139. Evan on November 15th, 2007 11:02 am

    Gillick believed that the international market was a much more productive place to procure young talent, and he redirected resources that direction. Which is one reason why the Mariners have Felix Herandez on the staff today.

    And Gillick had reason to think that. He’s basically the guy who turned the Dominican Republic into a baseball factory when he ran the Blue Jays. He’s had tremendous success with international talent, and he’s developed a strong confirmation bias. I suspect most GMs in his position would have done the same.

  140. SoulofaCitizen on November 15th, 2007 11:13 am

    Talking about market value, where would Asdrubral Cabrera rank on the Future 40 today? And was his trade for Perez justifiable at the time, or does it only look bad in hindsight?

  141. terry on November 15th, 2007 11:23 am

    #137: For that matter-Tim Linceeeeeeeecccuuuum.

  142. Steve Nelson on November 15th, 2007 11:26 am

    #133: #129 – I want to point out that its way too early to tell if any one of those players is any good. and also we should have taken Tim Lincecum, not Morrow

    Of course it’s early to put a final grade on those drafts. At this point all we are doing is looking at potential, particularly from the 2007 draft.

    But I suggest you put yourself back at this point in 2005 and look at what the Mariners had from the first three rounds in 2002-2004. If you can’t see that the Mariners have made huge strides in their drafting ability under Fontaine you’re simply being obtuse.

    And as Dave pointed out, you should be wailing that the Mariners didn’t take Miller instead of Morrow, rather than Lincecum. For a fuller discussion, you might want to peruse the archives for discussions of the 2006 draft.

  143. Steve Nelson on November 15th, 2007 11:29 am

    #139: Talking about market value, where would Asdrubral Cabrera rank on the Future 40 today? And was his trade for Perez justifiable at the time, or does it only look bad in hindsight?

    Hey – do you think that maybe that trade might have been discussed at USSM when it happened. Do you think that maybe there may have been threads about it when it happened. Do you think those threads might have analyzed the trade?

    Do you think those threads are accessible via a search or by going into the archives back to the time of the trade?

  144. galaxieboi on November 15th, 2007 11:47 am

    #140- You should go up to the ‘search’ field and type in ‘Asdrubal Cabrera’ and select the ‘M’s make a trade’ section. There wasn’t as much screaming about it as I thought they’d be, though Dave makes a good point about the M’s needing someone who can hit lefties. Anywho, hind-site being 20/20 and all…

  145. Evan on November 15th, 2007 11:49 am

    Nice one, Steve.

  146. msb on November 15th, 2007 12:13 pm

    Peavy is the NL Cy Young winner

  147. Steve Nelson on November 15th, 2007 12:17 pm

    #144: This is Dave’s comment that I think I will always remember until death or Alzheimer’s:

    The M’s just made the baseball transaction equivalent of paying $20 for a gallon of milk. Sure, we needed some milk, but don’t pay that high of a premium for it.

  148. terry on November 15th, 2007 12:17 pm

    Steve, despite your calling to popularize USSM’s search feature, the Tim Lincecum decision was controversial back in the day and events afterward suggest discussing it in view of hindsight might be edifying if not just plain old fun. In any event,it doesn’t really take hind site to criticize the decision to take Morrow over either Miller or TL especially when considering the unique approach the Ms have adopted for Morrow’s development.

  149. msb on November 15th, 2007 12:34 pm

    do you think they would have treated either Miller or Lincecum differently?

  150. msb on November 15th, 2007 12:44 pm

    so, if the Yanks pay Alex 27M, Posada 13M and Rivera 15M, just how enormous is the payroll this season?

  151. Alaskan on November 15th, 2007 12:46 pm

    148, I would suggest again (as 133 did), that it’s still too early to be deciding who made the better pick based on results. And the fact that Morrow wasted a year in the bullpen doesn’t say anything about the quality of the choice, because as 149 points out, they were just as likely to do that with the others. So why don’t we give it another year and see where we are?

  152. terry on November 15th, 2007 1:18 pm

    My guess is both Lincecum and Miller would’ve been in the rotation for the Ms this season.

  153. Jeff Nye on November 15th, 2007 2:36 pm

    All that that means, though, is that either of them would’ve been better than Ho-Ram.

    Which I don’t think is a particularly controversial point.

  154. bermanator on November 15th, 2007 2:38 pm

    All that that means, though, is that either of them would’ve been better than Ho-Ram.

    It also means that management would have treated them differently than they did Morrow, and I’m not sure if I buy that or not (esp. Lincecum — my guess is if Seattle had drafted him, they would have used him the same way they used Morrow).

  155. joser on November 15th, 2007 2:58 pm

    so, if the Yanks pay Alex 27M, Posada 13M and Rivera 15M, just how enormous is the payroll this season?

    Not that much more, at least not yet. It’s a little hard to figure with ARod, but the Yanks seem to have paid him about $20M in ’07 (plus 7M from Texas); Posada got $12M, and Rivera $10.5M. So from the Yankees’ perspective that’s just a bump of ~13M, or 7% — which is completely in line with overall MLB payroll growth over the past 7 years (and, setting aside years when their year-over-year payroll shrank, is actually very modest growth by Yankee standards). Of course the offseason is still young, and they’re going to have to pay the luxury tax in the end, but the elephant doesn’t look much bigger (yet).

  156. msb on November 15th, 2007 3:03 pm

    and if they add Mike Lowell at 1st :)

  157. Alaskan on November 15th, 2007 3:10 pm

    152: So, is your argument that they chose to draft someone only capable of 7th inning relief this year, and passed over two guys they thought were ready for the big leagues? Or was their valuation of Miller and Lincecum going to change between the draft and opening day if they signed them?

  158. terry on November 15th, 2007 3:37 pm

    My argument is that given what they did with Morrow, their decision to pass on Miller and Lincecum was even dumber. Of course the Ms would’ve treated Lincecum and Miller differently than how they treated Morrow. It’s not a stretch to suggest Morrow would’ve started if the Ms thought he was capable. Last season, Lincecum was ready and the Ms would’ve put him in their rotation just as the Giants did. Miller was probably rushed but the Ms were more desperate than the Tigers…..

    Concerning the Ms first round, Miller was all about money and Lincecum was about being conservative which rings hollow given the Ms risky approach to Morrow’s development.

  159. Jeff Nye on November 15th, 2007 3:56 pm

    At the time of the draft, there wasn’t anything to indicate that Brandon Morrow would not perform capably as a starter. I’d argue that there still isn’t.

    Now, the Mariners may know something we (or I) don’t, but I’ve seen them make too many missteps in player evaluation over the last few years to take them putting Morrow into the bullpen as an indication of anything authoritative about his future prospects.

  160. SequimRealEstate on November 15th, 2007 4:00 pm

    [ot, if the authors want to start a post on it they will do so, this is not that post]

  161. galaxieboi on November 15th, 2007 4:09 pm

    If Bavasi is thinking of re-signing Jose Guillen I sure hope he takes a peak at this.

    http://www.baseballmusings.com/archives/023971.php

    Look 2nd from the bottom for team RF range on the 1st chart and then 5th from the bottom for Mr. Guillen’s personal range.

  162. Alaskan on November 15th, 2007 4:44 pm

    158, uh, okay. Let’s keep in mind that, as you poinsted out, skipping Miller had nothing to do with talent evaluation, and everything to do with politics, as was well explained at the time at this very blog. So let’s just remove him from the conversation. As for Lincecum, as well as he’s doing in AAAA, there’s a strong possibility that Morrow’s ceiling is higher, and until both guys have reached their ceilings, this conversation isn’t worth having.

    There are hundreds of verified mistakes made by the M’s FO, but you’ll just have to be a little more patient before you can add this one to the list. Just because Lincy spent a few months handling the worst offenses in the league doesn’t mean he’s won the title of best draft pick.

  163. terry on November 15th, 2007 4:47 pm

    I’m not arguing Morrow is a bust. I’m suggesting he wasn’t an enlightened choice given their options and the apparent time table they needed him to be on….

  164. Alaskan on November 15th, 2007 5:00 pm

    Option. Miller wasn’t a real option, in keeping with Bud’s wishes (which are dismissed less than 2% of the time – it’s not as though the M’s are the only ones following party lines).

    I, for one, would have a #2 or 3 starter two years from now than a 4 or 5 starter today. (Please just accept the premise that Morrow has the higher ceiling, and let’s stick to arguing the whether having help now is more important than picking the better player)

  165. Bretticus on November 15th, 2007 5:16 pm

    There’s a video of Bavasi up on MLB.com…

    Here’s a link

    http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com/media/player/mp_tpl.jsp?w_id=607281&w=mms%3A//a1503.v108692.c10869.g.vm.akamaistream.net/7/1503/10869/v0001/mlb.download.akamai.com/10869/2007/open/gm_meetings/110607_gm_bavasi_400.wmv&pid=gen_video&vid=7786&mid=200711062294648&cid=mlb&fid=gen_video400&v=2&mType=w&urlstr=&mUrl=&type=v_free&_mp=1

    Here’s the basic summary: “We’re thinking we can just get Jones to RF, leave Raul in LF, Sexson at 1B and Vidro at DH….(Ho) Ramirez has to turn himself around, and we think he can”

    Is this posturing, or is the front office really just dumb? Any thoughts, Dave?

  166. Alaskan on November 15th, 2007 5:21 pm

    I just threw up in my mouth a little.

  167. Steve Nelson on November 15th, 2007 5:24 pm

    #162: What time table did they need him to be on? I don’t recall hearing anything that one of the requirements for that pick was that he had to be on the MLB roster as a starting pitcher within any specified time frame?

    ****

    More to the point – making draft selections to fill perceived immediate needs on the big league roster would be a tremendously poor drafting strategy. The probability of actual making a selection that filled the need is way too low, plus skewing a draft strategy that way would result in continually taking lower ceiling players for the sake of expediency.

    The fact that the Mariners used Morrow to fill a need in the bullpen is totally irrelevant to consideration of whether he was a proper choice.

    **

    IIRC – the skinny Dave passed on at the time was that the Mariners felt that the difference between Morrow and Miller was sufficiently small to justify bucking Selig and paying the extra money to sign Miller. It’s still way too early to know whether or not that assessment was correct.

  168. galaxieboi on November 15th, 2007 5:31 pm

    Here’s the basic summary: “We’re thinking we can just get Jones to RF, leave Raul in LF, Sexson at 1B and Vidro at DH….(Ho) Ramirez has to turn himself around, and we think he can”

    I’m going to go home and get drunk. You owe me a liver, Bill.

  169. Steve Nelson on November 15th, 2007 5:33 pm

    arghhh .. #166 should be the Mariners felt that the difference between Morrow and Miller was NOTsufficiently small to justify bucking Selig and paying the extra money to sign Miller.

  170. Steve Nelson on November 15th, 2007 5:35 pm

    double arghhhh!!! #166 should be the Mariners felt that the difference between Morrow and Miller was not sufficiently large to justify bucking Selig and paying the extra money to sign Miller

  171. terry on November 15th, 2007 6:05 pm

    #163: Of course Miller was an option. The Ms CHOSE to pass. I know Bud is an irresistible force in the universe. It’s those darn Tigers that don’t get it.

    You’re nuts if you think Morrow has a significantly higher ceiling than Lincecum. You’re double nuts if you think Lincecum is a #5. We can argue about who is likely to have a longer career but I know Lincecum is a legitimate major league starter. We hope Morrow will be one.

  172. Alaskan on November 15th, 2007 6:28 pm

    Well, apparently you’re the expert. I obviously can’t argue with your credentials, since I have no clue what they are. I’m not sure why I should be nuts and/or double nuts to doubt The Great Lincecum, but I’ll just say I’m not the only one.

    I didn’t say either that Morrow has a higher ceiling or that Lincy’s a #5. What I said was I don’t know, neither do you, and we won’t for a few years. I’m sure you’re very smart, but neither you or I know any better than Fontaine what these guys will amount to. If you can’t accept that fact, then I think you’re triple nuts.

  173. terry on November 15th, 2007 6:35 pm

    You could simply try arguing with my argument…

    BTW, I don’t need to be smarter than Fontaine to hope that one day Morrow will be what Lincecum was last season….

  174. msb on November 15th, 2007 6:48 pm

    There’s a video of Bavasi up on MLB.com…

    isn’t that the same interview from the GM meetings? the one where he (typically) said nothing, other than only one person is ‘untouchable’ on the team?

  175. Jeff Nye on November 15th, 2007 6:52 pm

    Come on, guys, tone check.

    None of us have enough information at this point to definitively evaluate Lincecum vs. Morrow; but you can’t ignore that Morrow’s 2007 was basically a wasted year due to the Mariners deciding to throw him in the bullpen; the Giants, on the other hand, used Lincecum intelligently, so obviously he is going to look better in results-based analysis.

  176. Alaskan on November 15th, 2007 6:53 pm

    [that is a total bullshit thing to say]

  177. Alaskan on November 15th, 2007 6:55 pm

    That last line was overboard. I apologize. I just think you’d be wasting your breath, because at the end of the day, the evidence just isn’t there, one way or the other.

  178. Steve Nelson on November 15th, 2007 7:03 pm

    So far the essence of Terry’s argument is that Lincecum pitched credibly as a starter with the Giants last year and Morrow didn’t. It seems that from that single point of information he concludes that the Mariners screwed up the draft pick.

    I hope you can grant that might not be the best criterion for evaluating the success of a pick.

    Of course, that’s not to say that Morrow was a better pick than Lincecum. It’s just that if you want to persuade us that the Mariners should have picked Lincecum you need to bring a bit more analysis than that.

  179. terry on November 15th, 2007 7:39 pm

    Actually, not really Steve. Lincecum has better stuff and better command while he’s already giving return on the Giant’s risk in a high leverage role. Morrow has severe command issues and shouldn’t have been on the 25 man roster in ’07. It’s an open question whether he’ll ever be a league average starter in the majors. Reducing the issue of Morrow/Lincecum to a results-based argument ignores a lot of things that have nothing to do with results per se.

  180. Alaskan on November 15th, 2007 8:09 pm

    I’m not arguing that Lincy’s stuff and command aren’t better. I’m arguing that Lincy is basically at his ceiling, and Morrow has more room to grow. He has the potential to be significantly better than Lincy. I am not the first person to say this. You’ve probably even heard it before. If you haven’t, a Google search will bring you several results from people who know more than I do about evaluating pitching prospects. Feel free to look over them in your free time, and then come back and insist that “Lincy is better” is an indisputable fact.

    I am also not arguing that the M’s have not handled Morrow poorly. They obviously have, and no one will argue that point with you. But I think the drafting of Morrow could have been the right decision, even if the handling of him through October has been misguided.

    Yes, Morrow’s future is an open question. And yet, you keep trying to tell us what the answer is. I honestly don’t understand why this conversation has gone on this long. I think I’ve said everything I can think of to say. I will try my best to not respond to what I fear is going to be another retreading of what you’ve been saying all along.

  181. terry on November 15th, 2007 8:24 pm

    Alright, I have to admit to being thoroughly confused. You agree with things I’ve argued but vehemently disagree with some things that I haven’t argued. Because of this I need to seek the opinions of people who are smarter than you?

    I really hope learning how to google won’t be as puzzling.

  182. Alaskan on November 15th, 2007 9:37 pm

    [I'm tired of you]

  183. SCL on November 15th, 2007 10:06 pm

    Well obviously Alaskan is a genius. He’s from the future! Look at his time stamp!

  184. SCL on November 15th, 2007 10:08 pm

    Looks like I’m from the future too. This must be a mountain time time-stamp.

  185. terry on November 16th, 2007 4:06 am

    Alaskan, what you’ve done is invent strawmen while coming at the issue from a position of assumed superiority.

    Once again here’s the argument:

    Given the Ms felt that they needed their draft pick to turn around so quickly as evidenced by how they have handled Morrow’s development, the Ms took the third best option available to them on that draft day (why that argument has been turned into the notion that I’m suggesting Morrow is a bust or that he was a terrible pick, I don’t know). Here’s why I argue that:

    1. Lincecum has better stuff and better command.

    2. Lincecum is doing now what we hope Morrow will be capable of doing preferably sooner than later. Even in the AL, Lincecum would’ve been an above average starter if you adjust his FIP for league. No where have I indicated Morrow’s future is a certainty. In fact, i’ve argued that Morrow’s uncertain future tilts the scales toward Lincecum. Given how volatile pitching prospects are in general, that’s a huge advantage in Lincecum’s favor.

    3. Even on draft day, Lincecum was considered to have a short track to the majors while Morrow was thought to need considerably more time to develop.

    4. Lets not forget that Lincecum is a local boy. The Ms missed their opportunity to dump WFB (that’s almost like getting a free supplemental draft pick).

    So the Ms took the guy most thought would have the slowest trip to the majors and jammed him onto their 25 man roster after a sip of tea in low ball because he’s got a power arm. By choosing him, they saved money in their draft budget but had to give up another legitimate major league power arm in Soriano (I guess that’s the price of being frugal and conservative regarding frame/mechanics though Jeff S’s evaluation of the Soriano trade suggests the Ms really don’t have a lot of credibility when evaluating potential health issues with pitchers). In any event, I’m not really seeing a coherent relationship between player development and their vision at the major league level.

    Clearly Morrow’s mechanics and frame make him projectable but if the goal is infusing your rotation ASAP, frame issues aren’t the only consideration. Concerning the notion that Morrow lost out on a month that would’ve turned him into an above average starter, well, lets just say we can agree to disagree on that.

    Dave might think I’m full of crap and ultimately agree with the point you’re attempting to make but at least his snark would be righteously aimed at my argument (and not my marital relations-BTW, my wife is pregnant with our 4th child so a case could be made for me spending less time with a woman).

  186. msb on November 16th, 2007 10:18 am

    hmm. catcher market rates?

    Yankees:
    Jose Posada, 4/$52.4
    Jose Molina 2/$4 million.

    Mets:
    Yorvit Torrealba 3/$14.4 million.

    oh, and Joe Nuxhall has died, and not to sound flip, but I am guessing that means that Neihaus is not winning the Ford Frick award for yet another year.

  187. joser on November 16th, 2007 10:28 am

    At the time, Dave wrote

    The M’s are going to draft a college arm, there’s no doubt about that. The only question is which one. With Miller and Lincoln unlikely to slide to #5, the M’s will probably be picking from the Lincecum/Hochevar/Scherzer/Morrow group. They’ve been tied to Hochevar quite a bit, but no one knows how much of that is real or just a smokescreen.

    While Bavasi has a history of preferring high-reward players, Bob Fontaine is running the draft, and he’s a bit more conservative by nature. Fontaine’s also a big proponant of pitcher’s body types, and Lincecum doesn’t fit the mold of what he generally prefers. I don’t see the M’s going for the UW star, but instead picking between Scherzer or Hochevar, unless Morrow falls.

    Nobody expected Miller to be available, and in a sense he wasn’t to any team willing to abide by the Commish’s signing guidelines. Had somebody grabbed Morrow before the M’s pick, they still might not have picked Lincecum. Even a year after the draft the Morrow vs Lincecum argument wasn’t as clear-cut as some like to think; it was even muddier on draft day. Although I wasn’t among them, a lot of people were worried about Lincecum’s durability (and many still are).

  188. Alaskan on November 16th, 2007 11:24 am

    183, I’m drawing Dave and/ or Derek’s ire, here, so I’ll be brief. I apologized for the woman comment, and I meant it. It was out of line.

    I agree that today, Lincecum is better. If I had a game tomorrow, I would absolutely choose him.

    There’s clearly a serious discrepancy between choosing the “project,” and then sending him up to the majors as if he’s ready. If they thought they were drafting a project, they needed to treat him as such, and not try to use him as a bullpen stop-gap. It doesn’t help him, and in the long term, it doesn’t help the team. For some reason (perhaps the job insecurity Hargrove and Bavasi were facing), they decided that winning today was more important than building to the future. Their decisions didn’t put the future in danger, but it did delay it.

    I guess to an extent we agree – the Mariners took a certain amount of risk with Morrow, and the real debate is whether that risk was worth it. I think if Morrow turns out better, regardless of whether it takes a year or two, then they made the right decision. But I understand why you could disagree.

  189. joser on November 16th, 2007 12:57 pm

    As for the Frick (vote!), I have to agree with this guy — the idea of Ray Fosse getting into the Hall when Pete Rose isn’t seems to hover somewhere between poetic and hilarious.

  190. Wishhiker on November 16th, 2007 8:43 pm

    Any of you might have noticed that the reason I was talking about range is because I was tols the M’s were the 3rd worst at geting to balls in play/turning balls in play into outs. With that true and the fact that the balls they do get to they make outs well on the problem is obviously range. I said earlier I’d use UZR but it’s not out yet for 07′. Read all of the posts before responding to one sentence that was 5 days ago please. I’ve moved on from overall defensive % by at least 5 comments and you’re going to go back there??? I was talking about range because they were the 3rd best at F% and 3rd worst at BABIP. Obviously range is the problem. As I was told earlier. COME ON!

  191. Oil Can Boyd on November 20th, 2007 11:29 pm

    I found it interesting that Lowell signed for 3 years/$37.5M and everybody thinks he gave the Red Sox a hometown discount – spurning the Phillies and the extra year. Does everybody forget that his prior deal at
    # 4 years/$32M (2004-07) was an albatross that the Marlins couldn’t get rid of without packaging with Beckett?

  192. Oil Can Boyd on November 20th, 2007 11:32 pm

    This is an excellent post — and I agree with the conclusion that free agency is a fools market. I would add that the cost to the club is underestimated because it costs the team to manage the farm system. A free agent is cheap and a short term commitment. But the young players need to be invested in and the products of the farm system should consider all the costs of the farm system not just the one player’s salary

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