The value of the call-out

DMZ · June 1, 2008 at 9:54 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Okay, so we know that McLaren’s team meetings didn’t work, and Armstrong trashing the team (except for the GM and the manager) didn’t work, but Bavasi, once he went out and tore into the players in public, well:

Responded, as measured by hitting above league-average:
Betancourt, .450/.476/.650
Beltre .174/.208/.565

Did not respond, as measured by hitting below league-average:
Everyone else

Responded, as measured by pitching well:
Bedard (0 ERA!) Dickey (0 ERA!) Green (also 0 ERA!) Lowe (this is getting tiring!) Morrow, Rhodes, Rowland-Smith (all shutout pitching), Felix, even Batista (3.65 ERA!)

Did not respond, as measured by pitching badly:
Putz
Silva

So it looks like having the GM call the team out has some effect, but only suppressing run scoring on both offense and defense. Yayyyy! All hail the GM-call out!

Comments

42 Responses to “The value of the call-out”

  1. forte40 on June 1st, 2008 9:58 pm

    Was at the game today, and Putz still doesn’t look like himself, not getting his velocity on his pitches. Is there something wrong? I am tiring of hearing McClaren saying that Putz just needs to pitch in more games.

  2. jlc on June 1st, 2008 10:29 pm

    Didn’t we already try the lights out bullpen thing? As I recall, it didn’t end well, though the M’s have a couple of real starters this year. I like the way Washburn doesn’t even make the list.

    Based on those numbers for Yuni, having Mac make him cry didn’t bother him, but it makes it inexplicable that he was lifted for a PH.

    Sorry, Mac and inexplicable are redundant.

  3. PADJ on June 1st, 2008 10:45 pm

    “I am tiring of hearing McClaren saying that Putz just needs to pitch in more games.”

    I think someone needs to remind Mac that it’s much easier for your closer to pitch in games where you aren’t down by a half dozen runs.

  4. SABRcat on June 1st, 2008 11:06 pm

    Hmmm, what kind of incentives can we provide for them beyond their cash money? Maybe a few of Seattle’s best? Redheads? Some S&P? I’m at a loss.

  5. jro on June 1st, 2008 11:14 pm

    Bavasi’s call-out has run its course. Time to look for new motivation, since apparently the compete-because-your-competitive motivation doesn’t suffice for this team.

    Just tonight, Ozzie Guillen called out the entire White Sox team. He promised action “by Tuesday” from Kenny Williams, their GM, and indicated that something — the roster, the batting coach, or himself — was going to change. I know the guy’s a bit loony, but he doesn’t pull punches and he makes pretty good baseball decisions.

    So, we’ve got Bavasi’s “it’s not our fault, it’s the players fault!” motivation speech. Compare that with Guillen’s “you guys stink, so either you’re gone or I’m gone” motivation speech. Summing up the themes of these arguments: finger-pointing vs. somethings-gonna-change.

    Guillen’s call-out is because he’s competitive and wants to win. Bavasi’s call-out was an attempt to redirect criticism toward himself and ownership to the players. The motivations behind these things speak volumes to the players.

    The Mariners players don’t act like there are *any* repercussions against them due to their performance, because there never have been any (in fact, such incompetence is often rewarded.) If Bavasi expects any public ass-chewing to have sustainable effect, he’d have the cojones to back it up with action. The players, and the fans, know this will never happen.

  6. tomas on June 1st, 2008 11:41 pm

    I think we’ll have to start thinking about the possibility that Putz might not ever again be the pitcher we saw last year.

  7. PADJ on June 1st, 2008 11:48 pm

    6 – that’s a real possibility, not so much because of his age etc, but because he had such a great stats year last year. It’s tough to live up to that.

    IMHO, stats aside for a moment, JJ has never struck me as a “dominant” closer. I know he got saves last year and was effective, but there were too many games where he had to throw a bundle of pitches to get the save. I don’t get the same feeling from watching him pitch that I would hope to get from a “dominant” closer…that “JJ’s in…game over” sense.

  8. aaron c. on June 2nd, 2008 1:18 am

    I don’t get the same feeling from watching him pitch that I would hope to get from a “dominant” closer…that “JJ’s in…game over” sense.

    I guess it’s entirely subjective, but I felt 100% confident every time JJ came into the game last year. I found him to be the most consistently awesome part of the 2007 season.

  9. OppositeField on June 2nd, 2008 2:29 am

    Yeah, uh, baseball is a game of complete uncertainty, and I felt more certain about JJ putting games away last season than I’ve felt about any other element of Major League Baseball, ever. He certainly always made it interesting, but after the first 15 or so saves, you knew you were seeing something special and pretty much HAD to suspend your disbelief.

    Thunderstruck coming on, and JJ’s trademark “cap-down, cap-up to get the signal, then set” routine was enough to give me goosebumps every time.

  10. aaron c. on June 2nd, 2008 4:14 am

    Thunderstruck coming on, and JJ’s trademark “cap-down, cap-up to get the signal, then set” routine was enough to give me goosebumps every time.

    It really was baseball drama at its best. Whatever becomes of JJ, those few months of dominance will echo in mind forever. However brief his reign, he was one of the most dominant pitchers in the game, and that’s a pretty special thing indeed.

  11. b_rider on June 2nd, 2008 5:46 am

    So it looks like having the GM call the team out has some effect, but only suppressing run scoring on both offense and defense.

    This is a small sample size. Someone needs to do a study of previous GM call-outs in baseball history and the subsequent effects, to determine if these results are genuine.

  12. Mr. Egaas on June 2nd, 2008 7:24 am

    Your 2008 Seattle Mariners: Sorry, turns out these guys just aren’t that good.

  13. pygmalion on June 2nd, 2008 8:05 am
    So it looks like having the GM call the team out has some effect, but only suppressing run scoring on both offense and defense.

    This is a small sample size. Someone needs to do a study of previous GM call-outs in baseball history and the subsequent effects, to determine if these results are genuine.

    Yeah: Someone needs to see whether such call-outs vary with the weather, the time of year, the home ballpark, the size of the payroll, and the injury status of superstar players, and the cost of gasoline.

    But the variable I most look forward to analyzing: Whether or not the charts documenting the effects of a GM call-out look any different than those charting the effects of regression to the mean.

  14. Paul B on June 2nd, 2008 8:10 am

    Putz still doesn’t look like himself

    Maybe the M’s can use Sherrill as a closer until Putz is healthy. And once Putz is back in form, they could use Sherrill as the setup guy and move Morrow to the rotation.

    Oh, right…

  15. bratman on June 2nd, 2008 8:19 am

    I am now confirmed of the belief that the Mariners are the worst situational hitting team I have ever seen.

  16. msb on June 2nd, 2008 8:41 am

    Just tonight, Ozzie Guillen called out the entire White Sox team.

    you mean Guillen’s most recent call-out, which comes about 3 losses after his last call-out?

  17. Paul B on June 2nd, 2008 8:58 am

    bratman Says:

    I am now confirmed of the belief that the Mariners are the worst situational hitting team I have ever seen.

    Since they are one of the worst hitting teams I have ever seen (they are down at the bottom of the AL in runs scored, with only the woeful Royals significantly lower), that would follow — regardless of what you mean by “situational hitting”.

  18. pygmalion on June 2nd, 2008 8:59 am

    I am now confirmed of the belief that the Mariners are the worst situational hitting team I have ever seen.

    It seems misleading to me to say that they are bad at situational hitting, because they are so bad at just plain hitting. In terms of pure OPS, the M’s are hitting .712 w/RISP, and .694 otherwise. Like saying that someone who just fell overboard from an ocean cruiser has wet feet, it fails to capture the essence of the problem.

  19. pygmalion on June 2nd, 2008 9:00 am

    Paul B: Heh.

  20. jro on June 2nd, 2008 9:18 am

    you mean Guillen’s most recent call-out, which comes about 3 losses after his last call-out?

    Yep, that’s the one. :-)

  21. bratman on June 2nd, 2008 9:57 am

    17, 18 –

    I do agree with both your statements … but I don’t understand the ‘approach’ these guys take in certain situations. I think its hurting us more than just not being able to hit. I think we had 13 hits and 3 runs after 8 innings … WTF?!?!

    ie: What the hell is with Yuni swinging on the second (maybe first) pitch in the bot of the 8th when we had reed on third base? How the hell do we botch that.

    We do just suck at hitting, but if we were better in our ‘approach’ … we would be able to scrap more wins out. I guess im stating the obvious.

  22. mikeym on June 2nd, 2008 10:06 am

    Regarding situational hitting: If you define a “situation” as standing at home plate with a bat in your hands, then yes, the M’s have been rather awful at situational hitting.

  23. Paul B on June 2nd, 2008 10:57 am

    We do just suck at hitting, but if we were better in our ‘approach’ … we would be able to scrap more wins out

    I think you are using a small sample size or a selective sample to draw a conclusion.

    Easy to check to see if the M’s are scoring fewer runs than expected given their hitting.

    Let’s see, first looking at the OPS+ for AL teams < 100, and then their runs scored:

    Tor 99 238
    Min 98 261
    CHW 97 244
    Bal 94 227
    SEA 94 231
    LAA 93 245
    CLE 86 226
    KCR 84 207

    The Angels and Baltimore have essentially equal OPS+ to the M’s, and the M’s are right in there with them in runs scored. Toronto, Chicago and Minnesota all have a higher OPS+ than the M’s and have also scored more runs. Cleveland and the Royals have a lower OPS+ and have scored fewer runs.

    I don’t see any big gain to be had by improving “situational hitting” unless the M’s can come up with something that the rest of the League doesn’t know about.

  24. DMZ on June 2nd, 2008 11:00 am

    Like Miguel Cairo? Totally unvalued by the rest of the league.

  25. bratman on June 2nd, 2008 11:05 am

    selective sample to draw a conclusion

    I’m guessing its that one … but it was one of the important categories in last weeks ‘Dayton Game’ post, and one that 0 Mariners qualified for.

    Either way, I really think our guys should work the count better – I think it would set them up for more favorable hitting situations.

  26. HamNasty on June 2nd, 2008 11:08 am

    In depth analysis is the reason I love this site so much. Bavasi should just take McLaren’s job.

  27. pygmalion on June 2nd, 2008 11:08 am

    Paul B: Where are you getting your ladder of OPS+ by team? The one I checked earlier today had the M’s with an OPS+ of 88, not 94. I’m not doubting your numbers, I’m more suspicious of mine.

  28. mikeym on June 2nd, 2008 11:25 am

    Watching this team I keep thinking of a musher trying to win the Idatarod with a team where half the dogs are Pomeranians. They may be likable veteran Pomeranians with a lot of presence and grit, but if you think cracking the whip and yelling “Mush! Mush!” more often is going to lead to victory there’s really not a lot that can be done to help you.

  29. mikeym on June 2nd, 2008 11:28 am

    Ooops… Iditarod.

  30. HamNasty on June 2nd, 2008 11:30 am

    mikeym- All while the fans are forced to ask for Rally Halibut by signs. Where wanting to look toward the next few years when we could bring in cheap talented huskies is forbidden.

    Your 2008 Seattle Mariners: Where countless degrading analogies apply.

  31. TomC on June 2nd, 2008 11:45 am

    #25 – bratman — The Mariners as an organization appear to put little value on plate discipline and working the count. The lineup is filled with free-swinging “aggressive” hitters. It is simply not realistic to expect Betancourt to suddenly stop doing what has been coached into him (by the organization) for years.

    This is why I suspect our hitting problems will take years to solve – and probably only after most, if not all, of the current position players on the team leave.

    Replacing Bavasi and McLaren will only be the start of the repair process, much more needs to be done.

  32. gwangung on June 2nd, 2008 12:28 pm

    Replacing Bavasi and McLaren will only be the start of the repair process, much more needs to be done.

    Replace the directors of player personnel and development, replace some scouts and get more people who are using 21st Century tools and measuring instruments.

  33. Joe C on June 2nd, 2008 12:32 pm

    Bavasi should just take McLaren’s job.

    Have we reached the point that the Mariners are as badly run as the Knicks?

  34. msb on June 2nd, 2008 12:44 pm

    The Mariners as an organization appear to put little value on plate discipline and working the count.

    well, they want their hitters to do it, they just don’t think to acquire hitters who do ….

  35. rcc on June 2nd, 2008 1:24 pm

    To update that terrific move that conehead Bill recently made….Cha Sun Baek struck out the side in the 12th inning of the game against the Giants, and was the winning pitcher for the Padres.

  36. Steve T on June 2nd, 2008 1:24 pm

    So Cairo’s new nickname is “Secret Weapon”?

  37. Paul B on June 2nd, 2008 5:24 pm

    Paul B: Where are you getting your ladder of OPS+ by team?

    I got them from baseball-reference.

  38. pygmalion on June 2nd, 2008 5:55 pm

    Paul B: Well, let this be a lesson to the reader! I got my OPS+ there also, but I had been looking at the team page rather than the league page, and what I found on there was sOPS+, which I thought that I could convert to OPS+ by looking at it without any splits. I mean…wouldn’t unsplit split OPS+ be the same as OPS+? Guess not.

  39. Flowin on June 3rd, 2008 2:35 pm

    The problem with the Mariner’s front office is their excess loyalty in the big name players that are way past their prime. This manager and organization in general has shown time and time again that they will continue to start the ailing, struggling veteran over the fresh young, 23-year old kid who has just been brought up from the minors. In many instances the young kid outperforms the aging veteran on all levels, but the management for the Seattle Mariners continues to give the playing time to the veterans with big contracts. As a result, the entire team is hurt by this blind loyalty, and we, as fans, suffer. Take Richie Sexson for instance. In 2004, he signed a 4 year, $50 million dollar contract to play first base. Clearly, the Mariners made a fatal error, as Sexson has hit just over .220 throughout his time here in Seattle. Yet, this organization REFUSES to admit this, and they trot him out there everyday, just to have him go 0 for 4, with 3 strikeouts. This is unfair to the team and to the fans. Then, when he does get a hit or two, the manager will claim that Sexson is just about ready to turn the corner and get out of this slump of his. Yet, this never happens, and the cycle repeats itself. Sexson is not the only example— take Adrian Beltre. He was signed in 2004 as well for a 5 year, $64 million dollar deal. We all know that that has been a bust, since he has hit about .250 since then. Anyway, my point is that as long as the Mariners continue to overpay athletes and start them over the younger, better players, this team will never make it to where they need to be — the playoffs.

  40. Jeff Nye on June 3rd, 2008 2:42 pm

    Beltre is not a bust.

    Also, paragraphs.

  41. Flowin on June 3rd, 2008 2:56 pm

    Maybe he isnt a bust, but he certainly isnt what the Mariners thought he would be. Not worth the $64 million they paid him, so that he could hit .245 with a bit of pop. Granted, he has hit 13 HRs this year, but over the past 3 years, there is no way the M’s had hoped he would perform as he has.

  42. Jeff Nye on June 3rd, 2008 3:02 pm

    I started to type a reply, but you know what? It’s been discussed to death, here and elsewhere.

    If you’re interested in being educated about why Beltre isn’t a bust, do some searching of the site archives.

    One helpful hint: quoting batting average and home run totals, particularly for players who offer significant value with their glove, isn’t going to get anyone to take you seriously.

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