Hey, turns out the M’s have a great bench

DMZ · February 13, 2008 at 8:41 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Remember when I wrote that post about how the M’s might construct their bench to help with the problems with the lineup and people said okay that’s great but none of that will happen because they’re going to take Cairo and holy mackeral is this bench going to be thin and unhelpful? Yeah? Well people were wrong!

The DH position was an offensive bright spot for the Mariners in ’07, with Jose Vidro posting the second-highest batting average (.308) among DHs in the AL. With Vidro returning and the versatile Willie Bloomquist as an option off the bench, Seattle enjoys depth.

Remember when we had Corey Brock writing the M’s content on MLB.com and it was actually pretty good, especially compared to other MLB.com content, before Jim Street came out of retirement to take his job back when Corey moved to cover San Diego?

Yeaahhhh… that was nice.


93 Responses to “Hey, turns out the M’s have a great bench”

  1. Librocrat on February 13th, 2008 12:41 pm

    Research and facts are clearly overrated. Public image wins ball games.

  2. msb on February 13th, 2008 12:44 pm

    I am tired of the team now trying to spin Vidro as a DH success story

    sadly, it isn’t just the team; last season we read/heard a lot of national stories about what a great job Vidro was doing — especially when you looked at the ‘disappointment’ of Beltre.

    I sigh again.

  3. gwangung on February 13th, 2008 1:05 pm

    You know what ticks me off most about these articles -and Geoff Baker says it too – it’s the constant refrain that Vidro is a “professional hitter.” What the hell does that mean? All the hitters who play in the professional ranks are professional hitters. It’s probably supposed to mean he takes his approach to hitting seriously and produces results when it counts. But here’s the thing – if a DH position is the model position for professional hitters, and that is an appropriate standard to measure him against given he offers nothing in the field, Vidro is far, far from the top in most every category that counts last year, so he’s not a very good professional hitter, for the “position” he plays.

    You know…the way I think about it is…

    What would you rather have? A .300 hitter who hits singles? Or a .250 hitter who hits ONLY home runs?

    Obviously, the latter. Now, what about a .300 singles hitter vs. .250 who hits only triples? You STILL want the latter.

    Hopefully that might get the point across that slugging is an important component of hitting and why Vidro is lacking in that area. He’s not a professional hitter—he’s an incomplete hitter who’s lacking at a very important part of the game.

  4. nuin on February 13th, 2008 1:05 pm

    Bedard to start the first game, maybe the longest winning streak of the season will end on game 3.

  5. derubino on February 13th, 2008 1:16 pm

    And now Greg Norton is ours too!

    Anyhow, I think Vidro is at least serviceable, but tossing around the phrase “offensive bright spot” is out there.

  6. Mr. Egaas on February 13th, 2008 1:30 pm

    I’m really surprised Corey Patterson hasn’t signed anywhere yet. What a much needed bench presence he would provide, but he strikes me as a guy who would want to start somewhere to keep his stock high if he signs a one-year deal now.

  7. msb on February 13th, 2008 1:33 pm

    Norton! Cairo! Cage match!

  8. galaxieboi on February 13th, 2008 1:44 pm

    nd now Greg Norton is ours too!

    Seriously? Where are we seeing this being reported?

  9. Tek Jansen on February 13th, 2008 1:46 pm

    Here is an anecdote about Street’s competence as a beat reporter. A couple of days ago he was on XM radio with Chuck Wilson. Street, whose job it is to cover the M’s, admitted to knowing little to nothing about Tillman, Butler, and Mickolio and could offer Wilson and the listeners no info or insight about their ability or potential.

    He also thought that this lefty named Jimenez might compete for a spot in the bullpen. Street was unable to recall his first name (it’s Cesar, Jim), and I believe referred to him as Julio.

    MLB.com’s M’s beat reporter knows less than any of us commenting here. That was embarrassing. He sounded some doofus fan calling in to a radio show and succeeded only in making himself look foolish.

  10. Mr. Egaas on February 13th, 2008 1:46 pm

    It’s on http://www.seattlemariners.com. Minor league deal.

    We’re better with Morse than Norton.

  11. joealb1 on February 13th, 2008 1:49 pm

    Although Geoff Baker is still better then Pocket Lint he is quickly losing my respect. 6 million for .314 .381 .394 or $400,000 for .256 .408 .504. (Jack Cust). Geoff must not understand “free available talent”. But, looking at the M’s bench for 2008, neither does Bavasi.

  12. fret_24 on February 13th, 2008 1:54 pm

    I too have emailed Cory letting him know he is missed. Not only was the content better, but he had a higher standard when it came to grammar as well. Street is awful.

  13. thefin190 on February 13th, 2008 2:08 pm

    Let’s see though, Corey has two choices, covering a competent, well-built team competing for a playoff sport year-in year-out in sunny and warm San Deigo, or covering a poorly built team, which constantly makes very dumb decisions, in dreary, cold Seattle (except the summers are nice and warm most of the time though). I guess from an outsiders point of view the choice is pretty easy.

    When e-mailing Brock though, remind him that Seattle now has TWO ACES!!! O wait, so does San Diego, nevermind.

  14. thefin190 on February 13th, 2008 2:09 pm

    Woops, I meant playoff spot, sorry about that.

  15. milendriel on February 13th, 2008 2:59 pm

    30- Um, wouldn’t he also be the ONLY left-handed bat then?

  16. xeifrank on February 13th, 2008 3:00 pm

    Hey, atleast Vidro is one of the better defensive DHs in the league. That comes in handy when ______.
    vr, Xei

  17. joealb1 on February 13th, 2008 3:35 pm

    xeifrank, That is truly funny. Beer out my nose funny!

  18. The Ghost of Spike Owen on February 13th, 2008 3:53 pm

    61 – I definitely think the high hopes we had for him have not been realized in the year since his hire.

  19. The Ghost of Spike Owen on February 13th, 2008 3:58 pm

    From Baker’s blog:

    McLaren expects to see Brandon Morrow use three pitches as a late-inning reliever, having worked on his slider and split-fingered fastball down in Venezuela this past winter.

    So much for the silver lining of the Bedard acquisition meaning less of a need for as many relievers thus affording Morrow the chance to go down to the minors to work on becoming a starter. Looks like they’re still content to go the instant gratification route with him, too.

  20. Typical Idiot Fan on February 13th, 2008 4:06 pm

    The best line from that article has to be where Jim Street implies that Jose Vidro is an “Edgar Martinez clone”.

    “Senator, you’re no Edgar Martinez.”

  21. Steve T on February 13th, 2008 4:14 pm

    @53, if only there was some way you could measure the effects of both these players, your .300 hitter with no HR and your .250 hitter with all HR, or even all the other possibilities in between. Hmm, that would be neat, because then you wouldn’t have to make reference to these meaningless numbers that only tell a fifth of the story.

    Oh, wait, there is a way.

    The thing is, good arguments are (slowly) making their way into the mainstream, but incompletely. Baker knows enough to talk about how hits, any kind of hits, extend rallies, which is good; he’s getting close to understanding that On Base Percentage is Not-Out Percentage, the negative of Out Percentage, which is an important step in understanding how runs are put together. But he doesn’t appear to be getting the role of walks there (which are also not outs), or the role of Slugging Percentage, or the way the two interact when you’re trying to see where runs come from.

    It’s simple, really; every run is the combination of not making an out, and then getting driven in. We KNOW how those components interact, and how much they are worth. The offensive value of Vidro is not a mystery.

    It is absolutely true that a player can be good or even great if all of their value is in getting on base, or if all of it is in slugging them in. What matters is what the VALUE is, not the components. We know what that value is. Batting average doesn’t come into it at all.

    Vidro’s wasn’t THAT bad, by the way; for Safeco those are almost respectable numbers. Well, almost. What’s worrisome is how much they cost, how they relate to freely-available talent, and how sustainable they are.

    @23, offensive roles ARE in large part defined by position, since you are constantly comparing them to what you can get to replace them with. The pool of potential DHs is infinite; you could replace Vidro at DH with any shortstop, any pitcher, even a man with one leg, without hurting the team defensively. But a shortstop who hit exactly like Vidro would be immensely more valuable than Vidro, because Vidro can’t play shortstop, so you have to find someone else.

  22. metz123 on February 13th, 2008 4:16 pm

    There actually is some twisted logic in what Baker says about hits being valuable. Look at the game a little differently. You have 27 outs to give. Batters who don’t create outs are valuable. If you field a team of guys with high OBP you can score a lot of runs playing station to station baseball. I’m pretty sure DMZ ran some sims a few years back on what a team of Ichiro’s would be expected to score over a season and the results were quite high.

    The M’s problem is that they don’t have a coherent offensive strategy. When you have a bunch of black holes on your team that have extremely low OBP, you can’t afford to play station to station. That’s why Vidro is a bad DH for this team. Well, that and the fact that he’s extremely unlikely to duplicate his numbers from 2007.

    It’s very unlikely that Baker or Street were even thinking along these lines. I just wanted to point out that you could possibly build a decent offense with a bunch of these types of players.

  23. Steve T on February 13th, 2008 4:57 pm

    But hits are not the negative of outs — reaching base is. Looking at hits without looking at walks is like only looking at your cash spending and ignoring your debit and credit card expenses when trying to figure out how much money you’re going through.

  24. metz123 on February 13th, 2008 5:09 pm

    Of course hits are the negative of outs. A hit is reaching base, which by definition means not making an out.

    How a player avoids making an out doesn’t really matter (exceptions are those events that cause other players to be put out and are thus not rewarded in said players stats). The act of not making an out is a valuable event and if it can be repeated is a valuable skill set.

  25. Taylor H on February 13th, 2008 5:12 pm

    74 – I think you are incorrect. I agree with Steve T on this one. Out = not on base. Reaching base = on base.

  26. metz123 on February 13th, 2008 5:26 pm

    Please explain how a hit can equal an out then because that’s the only way that a hit isn’t the opposite of an out.

    Reaching base consists of a walk, hit by pitch or a hit. All of them are not equal to outs. Which means a hit is not equal to an out.

    What I’m saying is that it doesn’t matter how a batter reaches base as long as that event does not generate an out. A high OBP that consists of a bunch of walks and a few hits is a valuable skill set. A high OBP that consists of a bunch of infield singles with no walks is also a valuable skill set, provided it can be repeated.

    I’m not discounting OPS or any of the slugging numbers. A .380 OBP with a SLG of .600 is certainly more valuable a skill set than a .380 OBP with a SLG of .400. That’s not what we’re comparing. I’m saying that you can build an offense that scores a lot of runs if you have a team of low SLG and significantly higher than average OBP. This can happen because you have built a team that doesn’t give away the most precious commodity in the game, outs.

  27. planB on February 13th, 2008 5:41 pm

    no, hits and walks (and other ways of getting on base) are the opposite of an out; not just hits

    and “low SLG” would be a more accurate way to put “station to station” in that context

  28. planB on February 13th, 2008 5:43 pm

    ignore the second line of 77

  29. Breadbaker on February 13th, 2008 5:46 pm

    Places where Vidro is an Edgar clone:

    * speed
    * fielding
    * batting average

    Two negatives and one positive.

    Places where Vidro is not an Edgar clone:

    * power
    * on-base percentage
    * leadership

    Yes, you can have a DH who is a table-setter, but you’d better (a) have a lot of the remainder of Edgar’s qualities in your position players; (b) get some speed out of him; and (c) not have a bunch of righthanded slow players coming up right after him to hit into double plays. Since the Mariners don’t have a lot of power or OBP anywhere else, Vidro runs like Edgar does now (and in fact is less encouraged to run flat out than even Edgar was because of his injury history) and have Sexson, Beltre and Johjima coming up after him all the time, this is a design nightmare.

  30. Ralph_Malph on February 13th, 2008 5:48 pm

    metz123: Please look up the word “opposite” in the dictionary. Thank you.

  31. coreymbrock on February 13th, 2008 5:59 pm

    Damn, I miss you guys. Drop me a line sometime: corey.brock@mlb.com.

  32. msb on February 13th, 2008 6:04 pm

    other things Edgar and Vidro have in common.

    they both grew up in Puerto Rico.

    they both have hamstring problems.

    they both have some good-looking kids.

    they both have some good-looking recipes in the Mariner cookbooks.

  33. msb on February 13th, 2008 6:05 pm

    hey Corey– at least you could cover both the Ms & the Pads during the spring …. just swipe one of the golf carts, and you’re good to go.

  34. metz123 on February 13th, 2008 6:21 pm

    1. a word that expresses a meaning opposed to the meaning of another word, in which case the two words are antonyms of each other; “to him the antonym of ‘gay’ was ‘depressed'” [syn: antonym] [ant: equivalent word]

    As in “I thought he was out at first base, instead he was safe.”

    The opposite of out is safe. You can’t record a base hit and be out. They are opposite events.

    I’m outta this discussion. You guys can’t see the forest through the trees.

  35. skipj on February 13th, 2008 6:33 pm

    RE: #53
    Your very correct comment made me recall an interview with uber-nice-guy and great player John Olerud:

    Interviewer: “So, you lead the team (M’s) in doubles!”
    John: “Well, with my speed, I turn a lot of triples into doubles.”

    More players like that, please.

  36. Dave in Palo Alto on February 13th, 2008 6:37 pm

    #84 — Actually you can record a hit that directly produces an out. I’ll let you guess what it is.

    And anyway, I think you are a little unclear on the difference between antonyms and components of a related group.

    And finally anyway, IMHO you only kill a defensive position on the roster with a non-fielding DH when the player approaches Edgarnosity. Turbo doesn’t make the cut.

  37. mln on February 13th, 2008 10:08 pm

    More similarities between Jose Vidro and Edgar:

    Both have two legs and two arms.

    Both have two eyes and two ears.

    Both have a mouth and a nose.

    See, who says that Jose Vidro is not a good comparison to Edgar?!

  38. Terminator X on February 13th, 2008 11:33 pm

    Metz123 – The opposite of a hit is an out. The opposite of an out is NOT NECESSARILY a hit. The opposite of an out is either a hit, walk, or HBP. This is all that is trying to be conveyed to you.

  39. HamNasty on February 14th, 2008 8:29 am

    I am going to jump in with a technicality. The opposite of a hit does not have to be an out. You can swing and miss and have it be a strike. I do fully agree that the opposite of and out is not a hit.

  40. JI on February 14th, 2008 9:17 am

    How ’bout this gem?

    Standing to Ichiro’s right most of time in 2008 will be the veteran Raul Ibanez, recognized more for his bat than his glove, but more than just a decent defender.


  41. msb on February 14th, 2008 10:36 am

    from Stark this morning:

    “It took the Tigers about 45 minutes to trade for Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis this winter. It seemed as if it took the Mariners somewhere around a century to trade for Erik Bedard. But now that this deal is finally done, Bedard and Felix Hernandez loom as the AL’s most terrifying top-of-the-rotation tag team. On the other hand, it tells you this team must be at least slightly flawed when one of its big spring questions is: “Uh-oh. How do we replace the invaluable contributions of Jose Guillen?””

  42. behappy on February 14th, 2008 1:18 pm

    A hit is still more valuable than a walk. So two guys have the same OBP, the guy with the higher BA would have more value.

  43. milendriel on February 14th, 2008 6:52 pm

    Wrong, because there’s more than one kind of hit. We like to call these “singles,” “doubles,” “triples,” and “home runs.” Batting average doesn’t tell you anything about the distribution of a batter’s hits among these types. If OBP’s are equal, the guy with the higher SLG is more valuable.

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