Last Minute Q&A Stuff

Dave · January 9, 2009 at 9:53 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Here’s a few last minute notes about the Q&A tomorrow.

The library will be providing coupons at the event for $5 parking if you park in the garage. So, if you’re driving to the event and don’t know where to park, you can park there for $5. The garage is on Spring St between 4th and 5th.

Also, while there’s going to be an open Q&A where you guys get to fire questions at our guests, Derek and the LL boys are going to be asking some questions as well that they feel will be of interest to everyone. If you leave a question in the comments, they will pick what they feel are the best ones, and those will get asked tomorrow.

And, for those who don’t know, here’s a short bio of each of our guests for tomorrow:

Tony Blengino: Asst. GM, head of Department of Baseball Research. Jack’s right-hand guy, member of SABR, heavily involved with pushing the organization forward in the use of statistical analysis and technology, the guy who hired Tango. Came with Zduriencik from Milwaukee.

Tom McNamara: Director of Amateur Scouting. The guy in charge of the amateur draft and all the scouting related to draft-eligible prospects for the organization. Came with Zduriencik from Milwaukee.

Carmen Fusco: Director of Pro Scouting. The guy in charge of the team’s scouting of professional players, from the minor leagues all the way up through the majors. Ran his own academy in Pennsylvania after leaving the Mets in 2002, where he’d worked as scouting director and Asst. GM. Played college ball with Zduriencik at Austin Peay.


26 Responses to “Last Minute Q&A Stuff”

  1. shemberry on January 9th, 2009 10:00 am

    I have been to an event in the past, and I loved it. Unfortunately, I can’t make it tomorrow, and I know that everyone stays pretty tight lipped about what is said at these gatherings by the guests. Is there any way I could pay the $10 and get a good rundown of what went on?

  2. Dave on January 9th, 2009 10:21 am

    We’ll post a recap of sorts on the blog, but we’ve told the guests that the conversation is off the record, and we intend to keep that promise. So, unfortunately, no, we won’t be providing a transcript of what is said at the event.

  3. Daniel Carroll on January 9th, 2009 10:43 am

    I understand that the Mariners will not be using advance scouts this year, instead using film to statistically break down each team’s performance. In Milwaukee, Mr. Blengino and Mr. Zuriencik filled that role. Because Mr. Zuriencik is now the Mariners GM and Mr. Blengino is the head of baseball research, will Mr. Fusco be taking on those responsibilities?

    If Mr. Fusco is taking this role, will there be any philosophical differences in what to look for on film?

  4. Dave on January 9th, 2009 10:47 am

    Well, I can actually answer that one.

    The video scouting department will be headed up by Andrew Percival, who was an intern with the Brewers a few years ago and has experience with what they did in Milwaukee. Percival will report to Blengino, and the group falls under the department of baseball research. The group will be providing advanced statistical data to all points of the organization.

  5. mlbnotebook on January 9th, 2009 10:59 am

    This question is for Tony and Tom:

    How do your two departments plan on working together in regards to acquiring talent? Will one side have more of a say then the other in the Zduriencik regime?

    -Zach Sanders

  6. mlbnotebook on January 9th, 2009 11:05 am

    Two questions for all the guys:

    What do you think of moves made by the Bavasi group from years past? I understand if you cannot comment on players still on the roster, but could you comment on players no longer with the club?

    When is it reasonable to expect this team will have a shot at a title? 2 years, 3 years, 5?

    -Zach Sanders

  7. Andren on January 9th, 2009 11:30 am

    My question:

    With respect to analysis, in addition to defense what other areas of opportunity do you see?

  8. CMC_Stags on January 9th, 2009 11:39 am

    I hope I can carve time out this weekend to make it…

    My questions:

    1) If you can comment, what is the status of Josh Fields and is it in the best interest of the team to sign him or take his pick back for this summer’s draft?

    or asked another way…

    Where do you think a player like Josh Fields, if he were available in the 2009 draft, would go?

    2) Are there any draft inefficiencies, such as paying above slot, that exist which would allow the Mariners to maximize the number of picks the team will have next off-season.

    3) Are there types of players, college/high-school, positional/pitching, starters/relievers, that provide the highest returns?

    Free Agent Compensation system:
    1) Does it make any sense for a bottom 15 team to sign a Type A free agent to a short term contract, if possible, with the knowledge that when he re-enters the Free Agent market he should be at least a Type A or B Free Agent and at worst will return a compensatory pick that is higher than the 2nd round pick surrendered to sign him in the first place.

    Questions regarding the 2009 team, specifically related to who will start the season on the 25 man roster:
    1) Which players on the 40 man roster are most likely to begin the season in the minors?
    2) Are there players that – because of a lack of options – the team would either have to carry on the 25 man roster all season or be better served trading during Spring Training. I’m thinking of the Cha Seung Baek situation last year specifically.
    3) Are there any pre-conceived notions about the changes of the Rule 5 picks making the 25 man roster? Is Spring Training a large enough sample size on which to make that decision if they play well or poorly?
    4) Is the team still actively pursuing any moves or is this the team we will likely be seeing in Spring Training?

    The importance of defense:
    1) If the team had to play an average offensive and +10 defensive player or a +10 offensive player and a average defensive player, is there a preference? Same thing with -10 and +10 splits (for a league average total player). How about with -20 and +10 splits (1 WAR player).
    2) During the Mariner’s early decade run, one of the strengths of the team was that the team basically ran out 3 CF’s to start in the OF every day. What are the chances that 3 CF capable players start every day in 2009? Especially considering the size of the SafeCo’s outfield and the foul territory in Oakland’s stadium?
    3) Properly worded question about the wreck that our SS is defensively… I’m not able to formulate one.

    Thanks Derek!

  9. mlbnotebook on January 9th, 2009 11:51 am

    For the scouting guys:

    What positions do you see the team needing to draft this year?

    If Strasburg isn’t available, who do you like at #2? Is Dustin Ackley an option?

    just putting them up as I think of them…

    -Zach Sanders

  10. tranebc on January 9th, 2009 12:13 pm

    In the future it might be cool to use Google Moderator so we could vote on our favorite questions to have asked. Google Moderator

  11. Alaskan on January 9th, 2009 12:16 pm

    I’d like to learn more about the minor league development approach, but I’m not sure how to ask. Here are a couple ideas:

    1. What kind of changes should we expect in how players move through the system (speed, specific performance standards, etc.)?
    2. Any ideas how statistical evaluation will contribute to those decisions (as in, what stats might be employed)?

  12. wabbles on January 9th, 2009 1:12 pm

    Maybe this isn’t what we’re supposed to be asking but here’s my question. The Seattle Times ran a story on King Felix in 2005 when he was 19 years old. It began “The excited telephone calls from Venezuela began five years ago.” How the heck do you spot a Hall of Fame pitcher at 14 years old?

  13. Yakima on January 9th, 2009 1:45 pm

    1. What can be done to get the USS Mariner and Looking Landing folks a press pass?

    2. What can we do as fans to help you guys do your jobs better – besides just spending our money in support of the team?

    3. What can Felix Hernandez do to take his game to the next level? Have you seen any data yet on his pitch selection?

    4. Why aren’t there more trades like the Putz trade where it appeared to benefit all sides of the transaction?

    5. What will be the role of the front office in helping Don Wakamatsu and his staff field the best team each and every day of the season?

    6. What were some of the strengths of the previous front office that you are trying to carry over into the current regime?

    7. Is the budget for this year’s team really 20% less than last year’s?

    8. What is your view on platooning positions?

    9. How do you forsee the DH role being utilized this year? An every day player? Or as a spot to give players a rest or a tryout?

    10. Is Jose Lopez really under consideration to play some first base?

    11. What are the prospects for a contract extension for Beltre? Since the market is low right now, is there a bargain to be had?

    12. What does the evidence tell you so far about Jeff Clement’s ability to catch every day?

    13. How valuable is a “proven” closer? What do you think about a manager’s decision to put the closer in based on the save rule?

  14. Brian on January 9th, 2009 2:53 pm

    I second every one of Yakima’s suggested questions. Well done sir.

  15. PositivePaul on January 9th, 2009 3:07 pm

    I second Brian’s second!

  16. C. Cheetah on January 9th, 2009 3:11 pm

    My questions are:
    1. How do each of these guys individually formulate and then rank players / prospects that they have evaluated?
    I mean, like for positional players, do they each rely on rating each of the 5 tools numerically and then total,
    – OR do they value bat speed and contact rates in some formula,
    – OR do they have a formula on LD%, on-base%, OPS, defense, and etc…
    – OR something else.

    2. Then, when all the members of the “inner circle” get together, how do they exchange lists / rankings? Does Jack control the master list? Do these guys ever get a look at Jack’s list? Do these guys ever work together / recruit each other’s help to try to help sway the inner circle their way?

    3. Off the wall…With regard to the Players Union and their cries of colusion, do these guys have anything they have to do to factor in this into their planning, thought processes, anything put in writing and etc…

  17. gintzdog on January 9th, 2009 3:26 pm

    1) There has recently been mention of a 20% drop in salaries. Is this only the amount that will be spent on major league salaries? Is part of that reduction to save money for draft signings and international scouting/signings with a look to the future?

    2) Has there every been consideration to platooning as much for defense as for offense? Say we have a poor defender/good hitter, and a great defender/poor hitter as LF options. Would we play the better hitter when Felix and Bedard pitch (due to their strikeouts and lower FB%), and the better fielder when other pitchers start? Or is it always better to consider their batting splits against the opposing pitcher?

  18. TheBird on January 9th, 2009 3:52 pm

    1. (Generalizing one of CMC_Stags questions:) What role will over-slot requests play (or not) in draft decisions.

    2. How much will stats inform in-game strategies, e.g., Felix pitch selection, defensive positioning, etc.?

    3. How do you prioritize pro scouting efforts, by level, position/need, ???

  19. C. Cheetah on January 9th, 2009 4:40 pm

    A couple more…
    1. Most people say that the M’s farm system has a lot of high risk- high reward guys in it…do they concure?
    If yes, does this change the way these guys guys would normally look for players to help the M’s, or possible alter the type of players they are considering in the short term?
    If no, please have them elaborate why not.

    2. Since the farm system has so many position players that are “free swingers” and appear to lack strike-zone awareness, do these guys have a feel for how the changes that Jack has made to the management and coaching in the farm levels might help fix this?

    3. Since the farm system has many young arms that need development and refining, and with the Mariner’s history of injuries, and with the knowledge that the Mariner’s have not developed many pitchers that have come close to their potential, let alone meet or EXCEED their expectations…do these guys have a feel how the new staff and developmental processes will be changed to help create better results?

  20. dchappelle on January 9th, 2009 4:56 pm

    You’re not going though right Dave? Are you dialing in somehow?

    Sure would be nice for us remote fans to listen in somehow.

  21. Tom in Edmonds on January 9th, 2009 8:30 pm

    What do you think of the Willie Bloomquist deal?

  22. msb on January 9th, 2009 8:36 pm

    would it look wrong if we take notes?

  23. mark s on January 10th, 2009 7:54 am

    Is someone going to teach Felix how to pitch?

    He has the ability to throw wonderful pitches but we really have not seen him use all of his pitches to his full advantage, yet.

  24. Chris Hafner on January 10th, 2009 10:36 am

    It’s probably too late to get these in, but …

    1. Not to put you on the spot (!), but could you comment on the Mariners blogosphere and how the team views it? Are blogs like USS Mariner and Lookout Landing frequently read and respected, do they sometimes generate ideas, confirm ideas, or are members of the team too busy to read them?

    2. When planning personnel moves, to what extent do you need to factor expected fan and media reaction into the move?

    3. If you look at today’s team and farm system as a foundation upon which you can build a championship-caliber team, what do you think are the changes that still need to take place to make that happen?

    4. Team chemistry is a controversial subject in the blogosphere. How do you view it? Is it important? Is it measurable? Do you need to consider chemistry when making personnel moves?

    5. How do you expect Wakamatsu to differ from the last few Mariners managers?

    6. What organizations in MLB do you most respect? Are you patterning your organization after any of them?

    7. Can you describe how running a baseball team in 2009 is different from running a baseball team in 1999? Or 1989?

    8. Is it important that a player be media- and fan-friendly? Is that part of the job description, and if so, how important is it?

  25. Chris Hafner on January 10th, 2009 11:23 am

    How do you balance risk and reward when acquiring players in:
    – the draft
    – free agency
    – trades

    Does each path differ in that way?

  26. Chris Hafner on January 10th, 2009 11:30 am

    The book Moneyball painted a picture of stark disagreement between proponents of scouting and stats-based evaluation. Was that true then, and if so, is it still true now?

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