And a sign of hope, too

DMZ · May 5, 2008 at 8:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Steve Nelson made this comment late in the discussion of Dave’s post:

But, but .. this is team carefully assembled with a core of gritty veterans who know how to play the game. The kind of players who don’t panic and get thrown off when things don’t go right. The kinds of players who know how to do the little things to win games.

That the Mariners handily beat their Pythag record last season wasn’t a fluke; it was the direct product of filling the roster with players of character, integrity and veteran savvy. [/sarcasm]

I think the current team situation directly relates to perceptions of last years team. Many fans, and apparently the Mariners FO as well, believed that last year’s team was a valid contender (or almost contender) – that the record at the end of 2007 was a true reflection of the ability of the team. Buying into that notion leads directly to the conclusion that if a few holes are patched (primarily in the rotation) the team is a true contender. Clearly, that’s the way the FO saw the team last winter. I’ve mentioned in several posts over the last several months that the I think the FO viewed the 2007 season as vindication for their thoughts about roster construction, viz. that a roster assembled with the proper intangibles will outplay their true talent level – said team will win more than their “fair share” of games because the will do the things needed to win games and will play as greater than the sum of the parts.

This season can be viewed as a test of that notion. Many here (myself included) saw that belief as a misperception; the Mariners were not as good as their record and that they Pythag record was a better indication of the teams true talent level. I will gladly eat crow if I am wrong, but so far this season would seem vindication.

I heartily agree on most counts, and we’ve talked about a lot of those issues and the differences in how we viewed the team and how the front office viewed this year’s team coming into the season.

But we need to point out that something interesting just happened in the Wilkerson move: they recognized a problem, adjusted, and they did it early. We can certainly argue over whether or not it was the right move, but just a few years ago they were clinging to the belief that Carl Everett would turn it around any day now (depressing fact: Everett’s 2006 line would be a dramatic improvement over Vidro this year, or, unfortunately, Johjima) much later into the season. The offense was struggling, and they did something about it.

Sure, they may have gone into this season with unreasonable expectations of building from an 88-win season and decided to go for it, but at least we’ve seen they’re not looking at the roster with blinders on. If we take nothing else away from that, we should be happy that they’re not letting that initial assumption blind them to the glaring problems they face right now.

Now, whether that leads to trading the remaining prospects for proven veteran relievers, that’s a whole other topic.


152 Responses to “And a sign of hope, too”

  1. John in L.A. on May 5th, 2008 6:13 pm

    This time has a hundred different problems, none of them named Adrian and this thread is dominated by a “trade Beltre” discussion?

    ” This isn’t that difficult guys. If one team needs help now, then they’ll often give up more talent than they get back if the player they get back helps them short term.”

    The problem with that argument is that Beltre is not 35. He is not someone impossible to resign and in the last year of their contract.

    If you were really, really lucky, what you traded Beltre for MIGHT someday grow up to be… Beltre.

    I would love to see the Ms aggressively get younger and jettison vets that are in their way… but Beltre is one of our biggest assets at this point. The Ms would be insane to trade him (for anything they could realistically get, of course).

    Also… Beltre hasn’t stunk for the last three years, which seems to be part of the premise of the trade him argument. He has been overall very valuable to the team.

  2. eponymous coward on May 6th, 2008 12:44 am

    Except I’m not sure that wasn’t an accident — the bullpen was just the bottom of the priority list.

    Keep in mind that Eddie Guardado is STILL pitching in this league. There’s been the occasional Reitsma, but no, really, since 2004 the team’s realized your farm system can give you an arm or two a year.

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