The Rotation

Dave · May 23, 2008 at 7:54 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The Mariners built this team around a pitching rotation of “five number ones”.

The Mariners rotation has a 5.27 ERA, second worst in baseball.

This is why you don’t build a team around a pitching staff.


65 Responses to “The Rotation”

  1. Benne on May 24th, 2008 12:39 am
  2. Colm on May 24th, 2008 12:43 am

    There’s a special corner of hell for you m’dear. One where they show Care Bears movies.

  3. Benne on May 24th, 2008 12:46 am

    What if Bavasi signed Cheer Bear to DH for us? He (it is a he, right?)can’t be any worse than Turbo.

  4. Colm on May 24th, 2008 12:52 am

    Oh yeah he could. I have the “Forever Friends” DVD within a few feet of me right now – hidden from my children in case they ever insist on watching it again. It’s gallingly bad – way worse than Barbie Fairytopia. It has an eerie, pointlessness to it, as if made to appeal to people who are wasted on heroin.

    At least Turbo’s fat enough that we could use him as a draught-excluder.

  5. scott19 on May 24th, 2008 12:54 am

    50: I did, too…at one of the Fan Fests some years back. Seemed liked a personable enough guy…however, his “Hey folks, let’s remember the good old days!” schtick that he starts every time he knows the team is playing like crap and doesn’t have anything better to talk about on the air gets really annoying after a while. I mean, geez, twenty years from now, even if we haven’t been to the WS yet, he’ll still be talking about how great the ’95 and ’01 seasons were.

  6. Colm on May 24th, 2008 12:58 am

    Nah, it’s the creepy, patently-faked affability.

    I just had a brainwave: With the perma-tan and the glinting teeth and shiney eyes, Rizzs reminds me of George Hamilton playing a vampire in Love at First Bite.

  7. scott19 on May 24th, 2008 1:04 am

    Ah, I remember that movie — where George Hamilton actually becomes Dracula (er, sort of)! 🙂

    Interestingly, during a game in which we were getting blown out last year and our thoughts started to drift elsewhere, someone had mentioned that they always thought Rizzy reminded them of Neil Diamond. Actually, I could see that, too.

  8. Tom on May 24th, 2008 1:53 am

    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the ponies are sending me subliminal messages.

    They are saying we must encourage Howard Lincoln to get rid of Chuck Armstrong and replace him with someone like Terry Ryan or Larry Beinfest so the repairing can begin, then this new president can fire Bavasi and other people that need to be fired.

    Man, these ponies are smart.

  9. msb on May 24th, 2008 7:37 am

    I like ponies. But then, I don’t have to watch “My little pony, the end of Flutter Valley” 5 times a day.

    The Mariners built this team around a pitching rotation of “five number ones”.

    do we excuse that comment as it came out of the mouth of their pitching coach, who is paid to shine them up?

  10. jro on May 24th, 2008 8:02 am

    This is why you don’t build a team around a pitching staff.

    Dave – not sure I agree with this statement without knowing the alternative plan. Do you have a post on how the team should be built? (Link?)

  11. eponymous coward on May 24th, 2008 8:55 am

    There are plenty of teams that have relied heavily on the talent on their pitching staffs. The problem is the Mariners are spectacularly incompetent at identifying quality starting pitching, because they are paying Silva, Washburn and Batista 25-30 million to provide marginal improvement on three Cha Seung Baeks. A well-run team who wanted to really have outstanding pitching would be allocating that money considerably differently, to where there was a 3rd pitcher in the King Felix/Bedard class making a huge contract, and then using cheap pitch-to-contact innings eaters at 4-5, or would have converted Morrow to a starter last year, so that by now he might be ready to enter the rotation similar to what Piñeiro did in 2001, or… well, you get the idea.

    They’ve compounded that inefficiency with their money by having a terrible defense back up three pitchers whose assets are that, given a solid defense behind them, they can fool you into thinking they are much better than they actually are. I’m convinced that if we actually HAD a world-class defense behind these guys, at least one of them would be having an Aaron Sele/Paul Abbott/Ryan Franklin in 2003 sort of mirage year. Instead, the defensive shortcomings make them look like garbage.

  12. pygmalion on May 24th, 2008 10:33 am

    Dave – not sure I agree with this statement without knowing the alternative plan. Do you have a post on how the team should be built? (Link?)

    This is sort of related, although not entirely, because it relates to payroll, and sometimes you payroll can be bizarre. But Baseball Prospectus studied this and found that the “happy zone” for expenditures on pitching payroll is more than 33% of your payroll, but less than 50%. Teams that spent more than 50% or less than 33% on pitching tended to be bad.

    Why is this? Here’s a simplified explanation. There are two parts to baseball: Run creation and run prevention. Offense is all there is to one-half of the game. But pitching does NOT equal the other half of the game, because it is split between pitching and defense. So too much focus on pitching can be self-defeating unless you managed to acquire amazingly dominant strike-out pitchers. It is therefore a bad idea to think that good pitching can carry a team that is bad at defense and offense, because defense and offense are more than half the game. Pitching is also far less consistent than either hitting or defense. So you are putting yourself in a situation where catastrophic bad luck is more likely to strike your team than otherwise.

    Pitching becomes more important in the playoffs because dominant starters and closers become more important, due to a variety of factors. And maybe that is what makes people think that you should build a team around a pitching staff. But then we are usually talking about teams that are at least decent at offense and defense, not horribly bad, like we are.

  13. pygmalion on May 24th, 2008 10:34 am

    Oops. Must have accidentally deleted the “slash” from the close bquote.

  14. beckya57 on May 24th, 2008 10:39 am

    I agree with your analysis of the M’s, but not with your conclusion. Lots of teams have built around their pitching–the 1990’s Braves come to mind–and done just fine. The M’s problem is that they have BAD pitchers. Silva, Washburn and Batista are #4 starters on their good days and #10 starters on their bad ones. Felix is still learning, and Bedard has seriously underperformed (yet another reason to hate that trade). I still think he isn’t healthy, but who knows. It’s the players, not the model, that is the problem.

  15. Wells on May 24th, 2008 11:23 am

    You’ve got a very schizophrenic attitude towards ERA. Some posts it’s only used by morons who don’t understand pitching, and then now you use it to make a baseball point.

    Which is it?

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