The Jan 10 Recap of sorts

DMZ · January 10, 2009 at 9:46 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

First off, at a high level: four M’s front office guys turned up to talk baseball with ~240 M’s fans on a rainy Saturday afternoon and stuck around for almost three and a half hours.

Three and a half hours. And they refused breaks. What do you say to that?

Besides thank you.

It’s interesting Tony Blengino’s as stat-savvy as anyone you’re likely to see in a major league front office, but he’s also as much about player makeup and work ethic as the other player development folks. Carmen Fusco, the director of pro scouting, goes way back, and he talked about how he came to accept and use statistics. One of the things Dave and I mentioned over and over in the GM search was the need to not get a stathead GM or a scouting GM but a hybrid (and holding up Antonetti or others as examples) that’ll take all the information they can get. Dave’s right — we got one.

I would have paid a lot to see Zduriencik’s presentation to Lincoln/Armstrong before, and now I have a lot better idea of what must have been in it, and would pay more to see him pull it off.

But I think, and forgive me if this is a little touchy-feely, the really interesting dynamic was that they weren’t really always in sync, or on message together. One of the things (again) Blengino discusses is the desire to have different opinions, and you could see that dissent wasn’t couched in “you’re wrong” but “well, also here’s this other side to that…”

I found that telling. One of the disturbing things about the previous regime was the too-frequent refrain that “everyone agreed that was a good move — who could have seen the disaster that ensued coming?” Everyone agreed it’d be great to sign this guy, and he sucked, so wow, that must have been unforseeable. Everyone agreed we’d win the division, and we sucked, so wow, misfortune befell us.

Without giving examples, they talked about that a little, about different opinions and perspectives in the Winter Meetings. If nothing else, that there’s now more voices in the organization should be encouraging.

Generally: as you’d expect, they were a lot cagier about topics than Bavasi was. But then you have to figure the audiences are getting much larger, the M’s brass is aware of them, and the M’s had a dude there taking notes (Zach Taylor, Baseball Systems Coordinator, which they joked about). So no “I’m not going to tell you Carl Everett is misunderstood. Carl Everett is understood.”
So I’m going to try and paraphrase and sum up as best I can. This is made more difficult because my notes on the questions got gleaned (or cleaned) off the podium.

No comments: free agents either way (so no Griffey), or possible transactions, generally no current roster composition/discussing players (so pretty much passing on Lopez-at-first). But kind of. The budget.

Fields: lines of communication are open, we’ll see (no comment, really)

Wakamatsu — they think Wakamatsu’s going to be tremendous. Raaaaaaaaaaved about Wakamatsu.

Changes in the way the team consults with their statheads, so the baseball research guys have an active part in discussions. The cultivation of reasonable dissent (which came up in the BP interview, if you read that) — they don’t want people to agree. Tango’s encouraged to push ideas and information up. There will be input into Wakamatsu’s strategies.

And on valuation: yeah, Tony’s up on this stuff. Like uh… yeah.

Defense is awesome. The potential to have a stellar defensive outfield again excites them. Probably be undervalued right now relative to offense, but you can see in the market for the no-field outfielders that more teams are catching on (obviously they didn’t say no-field, that’s me). They recognize Beltre’s value.

When’s the team going to be good? Didn’t say. They’re going to make all the good moves they can and push ahead.

Draft: draft the best guys. College/high school, pitcher/hitter, doesn’t matter. I asked about Bavasi’s “two sets of eyes on every prospect” and the massive investment in infrastructure the team’s made during his time. They’re pro-that.

On this draft: they didn’t say much. No hand-tipping.

Bullpen: less role-centric usage. No, really.

Player dev: sounds like it’s going to slow a little, and the push-until-dramatic-failure philosophy’s been at least relaxed. On position switches: as much as possible, they don’t want to move someone until it’s clear that they’ll be switching to the position they’ll be at long-term

On player dev and Felix and establishing the fastball: Iiiiiiiiiii… I’m not sure what to say about this. There’s both “establish the fastball” and “get the outs”. And I’m also not sure what to say about the view of Felix’s last year. Huh.

Anyway — yeah, they want pitchers to have a change and be able to throw a good mix of pitches. Talked about Morrow’s mix a little.

Player makeup: looooot of discussion about this. I think I would say “highly valued but they have to be able to play first and foremost”. Kind of. Yeah. Trying to find players that’ll reach their potential, all that good stuff.

Platooning: yayyy.

Clement: love the makeup, he’ll be a catcher until he can’t.

Orgs they respect: Twins came up w/r/t scouting and the continuity of philosophy. Atlanta and the continual reloading during contention.

I’ll have a much longer post soon about flying the “under new management” flag, but… yeah, at one point, I essentially said I’d sign up to build software, and I’m as deep a cynic as you’re likely to find without wandering the planet holding a lantern up to people one by one.

Yeah. Huge thanks to them, the Seattle Public Library for letting us rent their fine facility (and for being awesome), Cara and Chris for helping out, and Bill and Jeff for helping work the door.

Comments

51 Responses to “The Jan 10 Recap of sorts”

  1. aws on January 10th, 2009 9:57 pm

    Bullpen: less role-centric usage. No, really.

    I could be wrong but I thought Pedro Grifol said that about the minor league levels in particular.

  2. ajdaddy on January 10th, 2009 9:58 pm

    Hey, awesome time. I had to leave a little early (3:30 ish), but hung around as long as I could. Excellent organization, and thanks for the water! It was nice that they came out to talk, and it was interesting to hear the old school (Carmen Fusco) and ‘new school’(Blengino) inputs. There seems to be a good mix there, and enough respect to be able to create some good debate. The one thing I was struck by was how much they respected Jack Z and how they all looked up to him. I’m happy to have been there, and looking forward to what comes next! Thanks to the USSM/LL crew!

    John

  3. SequimRealEstate on January 10th, 2009 10:02 pm

    There were a lot of really nice moments my favorite was the standing ovation the attendees gave those 4 guys. I don’t think they in any way thought that was going to be the out come. They looked a little stunned. It was great. Thanks USSM.

  4. MrMalibog on January 10th, 2009 10:05 pm

    Thank you for recap and thank you also for the excellent site here. I am happy I cam across it a few weeks ago and it is now one of my favorites. It looks like I finally found some similar fanatics that have a clue and we can bounce ideas back and forth. I love the Swisher idea btw…. I get a feel the Z and crew no what’s up and this will be so refreshing finally! I just hope they have the power they need to get things turned around. I love Ichiro but could you imagine what a great trade Z could work out for him if they let him? If Washington passes on Strasburg (sp?) look out MLB the M’s could easily have the best SP rotation of the next decade! WHEW!!

  5. Benne on January 10th, 2009 10:11 pm

    Gah, I really wish I could’ve made it. In short, this is awesome. Utilizing both stats and scouting? Going out of their way to listen to dissenting opinions? Recognizing Beltre’s true value? Knowing that “chemistry” and “makeup” is good, but talent is ultimately more important? Not obsessing over “roles”? Holy crap.

    I think we can say, without hyperbole, that we now have one of the best-run organizations in baseball. We’re going to be Milwaukee/Minnesota/Oakland/Tampa Bay with a bigger budget, Boston without the obnoxious Massholes, and Atlanta without the annoying Tomahawk Chop, all wrapped up into one unique package known as, simply: the Mariners. Instead of being laughed at, we will be envied by other fans. Zduriencik, Blengino, McNamara and company have the job of their dreams.

    This is absolutely everything I have ever wanted from a baseball team, and I’m still a bit stunned that it’s happening to our team.

    We probably won’t make the playoffs, or even finish .500, in 2009, but with this new FO on board, I have complete confidence they will finally deliver us our long-awaited trophy someday, and we will party like it’s 1995….only with a trophy to party around, this time.

    Go Z. Go Tony B. Go Tango. Go M’s. The Mojo is indeed rising, and for once I can say that without being ironic.

  6. Five Number Ones on January 10th, 2009 10:18 pm

    This all sounds fantastic. The only downside to the new regime is that they’ll be a lot more difficult to make fun of. Say what you will about last year’s Mariners, they were HILARIOUS. Making fun of other orgs (a la the WFB post) may be the only way you guys will get a chance to be critical.

  7. msb on January 10th, 2009 10:20 pm

    should we mention they are looking for a video intern for the new advance scouting dept?

  8. diderot on January 10th, 2009 10:21 pm

    Derek
    thanks so much for the recap.

  9. Mayberry RFD on January 10th, 2009 10:42 pm

    This has left me more excited to be a Mariner fan then ever. I can’t wait to see the results of their endeavors come to fruition

  10. RallyFried on January 10th, 2009 10:50 pm

    Benne
    I hate to be the party pooper, but Lincoln and Armstrong are still on board! I’m not convinced yet that the M’s can be one of the “best run organizations,” while CA/HL still have an active hand in player personnel decisions.

  11. vanbad on January 10th, 2009 10:59 pm

    Derek and crew,

    Long time reader, first time USSM Feed attender/web-site commenter. The panel discussion was great, thanks for the effort.

    Did we witness a total conversion of the M’s front office from old-school scouting to the new-religion sabermetics religion? Absolutely not. Did we see some tectonic plates shifting towards valuing statistics alongside traditional tools/skills/scouting intangibles? Based on today, it seemed there was a trembler, if not an earthquake in the right direction. On the other hand, these guys presented their side of the equation pretty well – I definitely came away with a greater appreciation of the work of the scouting and development side of the organization than I when entered. I even gave a nod of a head to the tremendously difficult job of those high school scouts. Seriously, those guys only have athleticism and tools to look at – stats at that level are worthless especially when the power-hitter is walked four times a game.

    During the event, I kept thinking of that old Sesame Street song, “one of these things is not like the other…” McNamara, Grifol, and Fusco looked like – heck, they probably smelled like – old-time baseball. Blengino did not fit that mold, yet did not discount it either. Yet, as you said in your recap, even though they sat at the same table and were obviously protective of the Mariners brand, these guys were not in lock-step thinking. That’s great! And even the old-timers seemed to appreciate and embrace change as good and necessary.

    Overall, I’m very optimistic about the future of the M’s. What a change.

    Thanks for a hint of spring in a long winter of discontent.

  12. Dave Clapper on January 10th, 2009 11:06 pm

    I wondered how long it’d be before someone mentioned Lincoln/Armstrong. Consider this, though: they hired Zdurenciek, and they’ve let him hire the people folks were fortunate enough to meet today. They’ve let him sign /trade for players that wouldn’t have even been on Bavasi’s radar.

    Maybe I’m bing naive, but it really looks to me like they’re buying the philosophy of their new GM, too. And if that’s the case, then yes, the M’s will be one of the best run organizations in MLB.

  13. Jeff Nye on January 10th, 2009 11:13 pm

    I hate to be the party pooper, but Lincoln and Armstrong are still on board! I’m not convinced yet that the M’s can be one of the “best run organizations,” while CA/HL still have an active hand in player personnel decisions.

    Then, to be frank, you simply haven’t been paying attention.

  14. Benne on January 10th, 2009 11:43 pm

    I hate to be the party pooper, but Lincoln and Armstrong are still on board! I’m not convinced yet that the M’s can be one of the “best run organizations,” while CA/HL still have an active hand in player personnel decisions.

    From what I’ve heard and seen, HowChuck are letting Z and crew run the ship with little input save for budget constraints. I’m not terribly worried about them meddling until I see some concrete evidence that they have, and I have seen none yet.

    If HowChuck were really as involved as you think they are, Joey Cora would be our manager and Griffey would be patrolling CF right now.

  15. Teej on January 11th, 2009 12:21 am

    This is just amazing. I’m giddy.

    Thanks for the recap, Derek.

  16. AtomicGarden on January 11th, 2009 12:32 am

    Thanks for the recap. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it because I got called into work , but it sounded awesome. I can’t wait for baseball season…

  17. MrMalibog on January 11th, 2009 1:11 am

    Well, I think I brought it up in a gentle manner about how much power Z actually has. I think we do not know until the Ichiro discussion comes up right? We all know we could get a great trade for him and I ma 100% sure Z has thought of it but will he get the OK to check out what the market is for him? Things that make us go hmmm?

  18. joser on January 11th, 2009 1:44 am

    Ichiro is worth more to the Mariners than he would be to any other team. I don’t see any good reason to trade him, and I certainly wouldn’t judge Zduriencik’s autonomy by whether or not he attempts that.

    The only downside to the new regime is that they’ll be a lot more difficult to make fun of.

    We still have the announcing team.

    I could be wrong but I thought Pedro Grifol said that about the minor league levels in particular.

    Yeah, he said that in the minors they wanted all the relievers to be stretched out so that they could go three innings. No early over-specialization, no one-inning designated closers or setup guys. Given that the “closer by committee” thing has been tried at the MLB level without a lot of success, I wouldn’t count on it showing up at Safeco. But who knows. I would expect that’s up to what Wakamatsu thinks best, but at least the guys he’ll be getting from the minors should be flexible enough to give him more options.

    I thought it was interesting too that Grifol said they were going to let relievers pitch more than two nights in a row in the minors, and not be quite as hardcore about arbitrary pitch count numbers.

  19. DMZ on January 11th, 2009 1:47 am

    I would disagree about bullpen-by-committee, but that’d just result in a whole other discussion, so I’ll note my dissent and spare everyone the actual argument for now.

  20. joser on January 11th, 2009 2:13 am

    Three and a half hours. And they refused breaks. What do you say to that?

    Well, I was glad to see Carmen Fusco take a bathroom break. The way the empty water bottles were piling up in front of him I was starting to worry that we’d see the hydrological equivalent of spontaneous combustion. Speaking of which, that guy was hilarious. If we ever have those guys speaking to a group again, can somebody ask them to each to tell their favorite baseball story / anecdote? I suspect they have some doozies.

    As far as what they said this time… it was kind of stunning. I mean, I knew Blengino was a stat-oriented guy, but to hear someone that high up in the Mariners effortlessly talking about BABiP and casually remarking on how short-term variations can distort impressions of a player….wow. Even better was the talk about defense. I loved the spontaneous applause from the crowd when they referred to “three center fielders.” But when Blengino started talking about how defense can improve pitchers I just about fell out of my chair. Consider that in the past Armstrong (or maybe it was Lincoln) didn’t believe in fielding-independent pitching, and Dave once said the M’s as an organization didn’t think it existed. I’d say the trade for Franklin Gutierrez and Endy Chavez already told us that Zduriencik has all the freedom he needs, but this pretty much seals it: we’ve joined the 21st century folks.

    A friend who couldn’t make it asked me to give my impression. What I said was:

    You know all those times you read some quote from an M’s exec, or you saw some trade they made, and all you could do was slap your hand to your head and question whether you could go on even following the team?

    Well, this was pretty much the exact opposite of that.

  21. Scooter4 on January 11th, 2009 3:24 am

    We still have the announcing team.

    Sims and Blowers are incredible together. No doubt about it.

  22. gag harbor on January 11th, 2009 3:53 am

    did anyone see if Geoff Baker was there?

  23. Omerta on January 11th, 2009 4:58 am

    Re-posted from LL.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the entire discussion. It was really neat seeing the blend of scout/stat on the panel and you could really begin to see how it would function together effectively. Was particularly impressed with Grifol and how he held forth on our player development.

    All in all, a rare treat and I thank the USSM and LL crew for putting it together.

    I am officially excited for the ’09 season.

    If you didn’t get to make it, just trust us; these guys are the real deal.

  24. terry on January 11th, 2009 5:16 am

    I am excited. A big thanks to USSM/LL! A big thanks to the Ms!

    Oh ya, I’m excited!

  25. The Ancient Mariner on January 11th, 2009 6:04 am

    So, on Felix . . . I’m thrilled to hear everything else, but when it comes to el Rey, is there something we need to be worried about?

    Also, here’s hoping that whoever swiped your notes has at least enough decency to photocopy them and send them to you. If they’re going to keep them, that still doesn’t mean they have to deprive you of them.

  26. msb on January 11th, 2009 7:42 am

    They’ve let him sign /trade for players that wouldn’t have even been on Bavasi’s radar.

    and remove “fan favorite” players from the roster

    The way the empty water bottles were piling up in front of him I was starting to worry that we’d see the hydrological equivalent of spontaneous combustion.

    thank goodness, they weren’t all his.

  27. kmsandrbs on January 11th, 2009 8:47 am

    Sigh.

    Someday, I’ll make it to a USSM event (it will help when I move back up to the PNW).

    One bad thing about all this … hopes are up. It’s a lot easier to take losing and bad player moves and in-game decisions when they are expected :-)

  28. msb on January 11th, 2009 9:03 am

    did anyone see if Geoff Baker was there?

    I think he was too busy writing his blog piece misunderstanding what impact Olkin had on the FO last year.

  29. Nate on January 11th, 2009 9:05 am

    One bad thing about all this … hopes are up.

    I have mixed feelings about this. I agree hopes are up, and I’m normally an optimist, but I think I’m a little guarded right now.

    some of the joygasm-tone comments above sound like they are excited about winning 110 games this year and 120 next year. I’m thinking this is still a ~78 win team, and very glad for the improvement.

    I also despise the mantra: “this team’s gonna be terrible, but BOY! I’d love to be proved wrong!!”

    I think it’s gonna take 3 years to get to a position where we can have a legit chance at a playoff spot. I’m excited for the changes that have been made (love defense, STILL miss Cameron), but we are trying to come out of a pretty deep hole. won’t happen overnight.

  30. DoesntCompute on January 11th, 2009 10:05 am

    some of the joygasm-tone comments above sound like they are excited about winning 110 games this year and 120 next year. I’m thinking this is still a ~78 win team, and very glad for the improvement.

    They made it very clear that there isn’t an expectation of winning X number of games. They are extremely focused on doing things, “The right way.” These guys get it. They are all about efficiently gathering ALL available information and making good decisions. It was repeatedly stated that, “When we get good, we will be good for a long time.”

    Fabulous event and a huge thank you to Ussmariner, Lookout Landing, and the entire panel. My knowledge of baseball and the [Mariners] grew yesterday. In addition, I have hope, trust, and confidence in the front office to guide this team into the future.

  31. BillH on January 11th, 2009 10:51 am

    This East Coaster thanks you for the recap.

  32. joser on January 11th, 2009 11:16 am

    Yeah, it probably does sound like “joygasm,” but you have to remember where we’re coming from. I think .500 is a stretch but something to shoot for in ’09, and I’d be ecstatic if they reached it. That would be much better than the 88 wins in ’07, for one simple reason: I would be confident that this front office would know exactly why they won that many, would know it wasn’t a fluke (or would know exactly how much of a fluke it was), and would be building something that promised more wins in ’10. (Beligino even mentioned the Pythagorean W/L for the M’s in 07; I suspect Bavasi consigned the Pythagorean formula to the land of leprechauns and the tooth fairy.)

    I mean, things happen — best-laid plans, bad luck, yadda yadda — this is baseball, even the Yankees don’t get to the postseason every year. But it’s a bit like forecasting weather, which recent events should teach us is less than entirely reliable around here. Nevertheless, there’s a difference between the people that understand the underlying factors and those that don’t, between getting bit by bad luck and unforeseeable events and just having no idea what you’re doing. We’ve switched from getting our predictions from the “wacky morning zoo” to Cliff Mass.

  33. joser on January 11th, 2009 11:24 am

    I would disagree about bullpen-by-committee, but that’d just result in a whole other discussion

    Yeah. I’m just skeptical, not opposed, and didn’t get a sense it was a direction they were headed. Presumably Wakamatsu would be part of that discussion, so they might not be willing to talk about it yet anyway.

    One thing I thought about asking — and now kind of wish I did (though I was up in the nosebleeds where Jeff was identifying people only as “hat” and “beard” and I had neither) — was whether they thought closers were overvalued (especially in light of the haul they got for Putz+ and K-Rod’s contract) and if they thought they could exploit that.

  34. joser on January 11th, 2009 11:37 am

    One other thing — somebody in the crowd brought up the body fat percentage of the starting shortstop. Pedro Grifol said the word from Miami was that he was working hard and getting some results. Now, who knows, but given the remarkable turn-around in Felix a couple of years ago, perhaps we can be cautiously hopeful. (Let’s also hope he’s been working on his throwing accuracy as well).

  35. showmethepennant on January 11th, 2009 11:56 am

    I would disagree about bullpen-by-committee, but that’d just result in a whole other discussion

    Yeah. I’m just skeptical, not opposed, and didn’t get a sense it was a direction they were headed.

    I did not get the impression they were going with a closer by committee either. They generally steered clear of active roster discussion, as Wakamatsu was not present.

    I believe the point Pedro Grifol was making was that you develop prospects as setup relievers first. It is easier to slide a player conditioned for long relief into a closer role, then a player worked as a closer into long relief. Pedro generally spoke in terms of player development and was not addressing Major league play.

    Todd

  36. PLU Tim on January 11th, 2009 12:25 pm

    [now engaging in a full-scale coverup]

  37. Kunkoh on January 11th, 2009 12:53 pm

    Well I’m ecstatic, and still basking in the afterglow of “joygasm”. That doesn’t mean I think we are going to win 110 games next year; or even 80 for that matter. My excitement is in regards to the direction the M’s baseball management (GM, scouting, data/SABR, development) is headed. It’s the process, the good process that excites me.

    I don’t think anyone rational thinks the M’s are going to instantly be a contender. However, a good process will (or should) lead to being a contender for a long time. I also believe it’s perfectly acceptable to be excited about that.

  38. batura on January 11th, 2009 1:02 pm

    My comments on the event:

    1. Thank you guys so much for putting this together. I know this wasn’t easy to plan, coordiante, and really helps show why the M’s have one of the best internet communities in baseball.

    2. DMZ: please give more love to the back for questions. It seemed you couldn’t see the back to your right very well.

    3. Hopefully Z can make it next time. I have a feeling that he would be more free on specifics, and I also suspect that’s why he couldn’t make it this time. Also, being busy as new GM trying to save a franchise from the grave might be part of it.

    It was awesome. Thanks!

  39. batura on January 11th, 2009 1:08 pm

    Also, I had no idea who Pedro Grifol was before this, but I walked away extremely impressed with him. I think he’s the right man for DPD in this org. He seemed to be prepared to explain his plan for every player in the org and could specifically address elements in those plans at length, such as nutrition, fitness, pitch development, positional adjustments.

    The other three were exactly what I expect (absolutely awesome), but Pedro really caught me by surprise.

  40. DMZ on January 11th, 2009 1:09 pm

    2. DMZ: please give more love to the back for questions. It seemed you couldn’t see the back to your right very well.

    You’re right, I couldn’t. From the podium, the first 1/2 of the audience was pretty well lit and then by the last row there were only a few people I could clearly see at all because they were directly under a light — everyone else looked almost entirely dark to me. I was trying.

  41. msb on January 11th, 2009 1:53 pm

    it was also an awkward set up– because of the way the podium was placed, it was impossible for you to see the couple of times that McNamara would belatedly lean forward to add something

  42. SeasonTix on January 11th, 2009 2:33 pm

    As I pointed out in the “Dudes” thread, they key point that Tony Blengino made during the presentation was that when (not “if) the M’s get good they would stay good.

    By that, he means that once the pipeline is full of good players in the minor league system they intend to keep it full so that the M’s never run out of major league ready talent.

    He couldn’t say exactly when they would reach that “full pipeline” milestone, but I liked the idea that they are thinking long-term on every decision.

    For example, I doubt they would have given away Adam Jones because he has such great upside and potential to be a long-term contributor to the M’s. I don’t think they would trade that kind of asset for a short-term “fix” like Bedard.

    Another key comment that Blengino
    made yesterday was “You have to KNOW your players. You have to know your players better than anyone else.”

    In other words, I think the days of giving away players for nothing, or less than their true value, are long gone.

  43. okdan on January 11th, 2009 3:43 pm

    One little thing that I remember, but haven’t seen mentioned. Someone asked if it would be possible to get more detailed/useful stats on the jumbo-tron during games, and Blengino sounded genuinely interested and said he’s “take than one back” with him. I thought that was kind of cool.

    He also made sure to point out a couple of times that he comes from a stats background, and so he knows where we are coming from. He’s on our side, so to speak. I thought it was interesting that he made that point more than once.

  44. terry on January 11th, 2009 4:39 pm

    I think he was too busy writing his blog piece misunderstanding what impact Olkin had on the FO last year.

    Much of Baker’s writing related to stats has basically become intellectually dishonest (way too many logical fallacies for them not to be intentional). In some ways it’s like giving a troll admin rights.

    He’s basically best ignored rather than engaged on these issues. Reasonable minds can easily decide the truth between the latest “stat’s suck” rant and the counter, USSM-authored “First two months” thread.

  45. Yakima on January 11th, 2009 4:56 pm

    Great event, thanks guys. A few comments.

    Carmen really did drink 4 bottles of water before heading to the restroom. I don’t know if that is a natural talent or an acquired skill after years of scouting baseball games.

    I was really impressed with the quality of the questions. I didn’t think there was one stupid one. The name “Griffey” did not come from any of the questioners and was only mentioned by Tom in the context of not missing with your top draft picks.

    With that being said, I wish we had gone with more of the submitted questions and the bloggers own personal questions. I think it would have given the afternoon more focus and would have provided us with even more information than we ended up getting (which was a lot).

    The questions about Felix and establishing the fastball were the most frustrating ones. The questioners were trying diplomatically to hold to the ground rules and not name Felix. Eventually, Felix was named, but I don’t think the panelists ever understood that the questioners were asking why Felix throws such a high percentage of fastballs in the first inning. The answers weren’t satisfactory because the question wasn’t clear. I thought the bloggers had a chance to clarify the question, but passed up the opportunity.

    Thanks, again, for the opportunity to attend. I’ll be at the next one – even if I have to chain up at the top of the pass at 10:00 pm to get home.

    Who else in the front office would we want to hear from besides Z?

  46. SonOfZavaras on January 11th, 2009 7:45 pm

    All of this makes me wish I could have gone.
    Damn the job anyway.

    It sounded like it was ri-sick-ulously good to be there. Hope the next USSM event comes quick, and is just as cool.

  47. G-Man on January 11th, 2009 8:48 pm

    When this confidentiality thing first came up with a Bavasi session a few years ago, it bugged me, as I was unable to go to that one. I couldn’t make this one, either. Like others, I figured there was no way they could keep everything quiet, but I realize that it does help. Pro journalists like Baker or any other major media person will not report anything that comes out of a session like this, and USSM management won’t abide any of it posted here. Sure, something might show up on some other message board, but an item like that wouldn’t become a huge story unless it was to announce a major news flash, and these 4 Mariners guys weren’t about to spring any bombshells to our group.

  48. Secret Agent Man on January 12th, 2009 9:09 am

    Dave/DMZ,

    Did they let on about what they might do with Morrow?

  49. msb on January 12th, 2009 9:48 am

    nope.

    much laughter ensued when the question came up and was ignored, however.

  50. msb on January 12th, 2009 6:19 pm

    now, if you listen to the interview with Zduriencik on KIRO’s website (they started their hot stove coverage saturday, and no, they don’t actually appear to have advertised that they have started their hot stove coverage)

    Q. “… he’s said he’d like to start– do you have to go through spring training to make a decision?”

    A. “I think we’re going to look at Brandon as a starter … things could change, as we get together with the coaching staff next weekend and as we roll into spring training and we watch things unfold, things have a way of dictating themselves. But I think at this moment in time, you look at a young guy with a terrific arm and you feel like you can run three guys out there, as we can do, on a given series, a three game series, if you’ve got to face Felix Hernandez, Eric Bedard & Brandon Morrow, that’s a pretty good 1-2-3.

  51. MKT on January 12th, 2009 9:03 pm

    There were a lot of really nice moments my favorite was the standing ovation the attendees gave those 4 guys. I don’t think they in any way thought that was going to be the out come. They looked a little stunned.

    Thanks, that’s the kind of good specific detail that helps those of us who weren’t there get a sense of how things went (and without revealing anything that the Ms wouldn’t revealed).

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