In Case You Weren’t Sure

Dave · April 9, 2009 at 10:54 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Defense matters.

Seriously, welcome to Seattle, Messers Gutierrez and Cedeno. Please stay a while.

Comments

75 Responses to “In Case You Weren’t Sure”

  1. EnglishMariner on April 9th, 2009 10:59 am

    Someone needs to make a .gif of that catch for the fans who missed it because it was the best play I have seen a Mariner make in the OF in over a year. If Gutz continues to hit he might be in line for a GG at the end of the year.

  2. KaminaAyato on April 9th, 2009 11:00 am

    I am so glad that the defense is showing itself early. Maybe the average person will finally start to understand (especially after Gutierrez’s catch – holy…) that defense does matter!

    And in a related pipe dream, perhaps the same average joe will also realize that Griffey should be DHing? Please?

  3. nickwest1976 on April 9th, 2009 11:01 am

    Could not agree more Dave!

    Also, I think the JJ deal is going to do down as a complete steal for the M’s!

    JJ/Reed/Valbuena and I forget the other pieces…

    for essentially Gutierrez, Chavez, Cedeno, Carp and Olsen.

    Three of those guys are making significant contributions to the big league club and Gutierrez and Cedeno have long-term futures on this team. Carp and Olsen are young and under team control for many years.

    This trade is looking better every day!

  4. nickwest1976 on April 9th, 2009 11:03 am

    Sean Green…forgot about him…

  5. joser on April 9th, 2009 11:38 am

    Cedeno looked competent in LF last night too, which makes him a lot more valuable.

  6. smb on April 9th, 2009 11:42 am

    And honestly, we’re 1-2 and this team is already way more fun to watch than the mid-air collision that was last season. I was interested to see Cedeno out in LF, I thought he looked pretty good, moving 3x as fast as I ever saw Raul move out there.

  7. joser on April 9th, 2009 11:52 am

    Dave N on the radio on the Crede fly out: “Guttierez so fast that he almost over ran that ball, had to reach back to get it…. boy, he can play center field for me.”

    Yeah, Dave, for all of us. And thank goodness, he is.

    And then on Young’s fly out:

    “He catches everything… he’s death to flying things! Franklin Gutierrez!”

  8. shemberry on April 9th, 2009 12:03 pm

    Chavez made a catch a couple of innings ago that I know would have fallen if Raul was out there as well. I think this would be a 4 or 5 to 1 Twins lead with last years defense.

  9. Kunkoh on April 9th, 2009 12:18 pm

    “He catches everything… he’s death to flying things! Franklin Gutierrez!”

    His name is Muerte. It means death. Don’t you forget that!

    I’m developing a strong, strong mancrush on him.

  10. bronmaderine on April 9th, 2009 12:30 pm

    Defense! Hooray Defense!

  11. gwangung on April 9th, 2009 12:34 pm

    “Death to flying things.”

    Now THAT’S a nickname I can get behind…

  12. Go Felix on April 9th, 2009 12:35 pm

    Nice for the M’s to bounce back from yesterday’s loss with such a nice win. Gutierrez stole the show and Morrow came back strong. Post-game Zaloumis is nice too!

  13. jro on April 9th, 2009 12:35 pm

    I only have ESPN GameCast at work to “watch” the games.

    It looked like Washburn pitched rather well today, but it’s all the defensive plays that don’t show up on GameCast.

    So, to those who watched, was Washburn throwing well, or was his performance largely due to good defense?

  14. bratman on April 9th, 2009 12:35 pm

    Boy does this make me realize how much Bill Bavasi sucked.

    Thank god he’s gone.

  15. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 9th, 2009 12:35 pm

    Good to the last out.

  16. Nate on April 9th, 2009 12:36 pm

    I think this would be a 4 or 5 to 1 Twins lead with last years defense.

    my opinion as well. I don’t want to take anything away from a very well pitched game by Wash, but if not for the defense today he’d have a loss and a 5+ ERA (a terrible, terrible way of measuring things). and the M’s would be 1-3 right now.

  17. joser on April 9th, 2009 12:36 pm

    I think this would be a 4 or 5 to 1 Twins lead with last years defense.

    I think you’re right. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but this point needs to be repeated again and again outside our little blogosphere. It sucks that this game wasn’t on in prime-time so more people would’ve seen it (and enjoyed how thrilling great defense can be). I’m sure there will be a couple of webgems on TV, particularly early on when they don’t yet have many highlights from the other games, but that doesn’t convey the enormity of what this defense just did.

  18. Silentpadna on April 9th, 2009 12:37 pm

    Just as important as the “defense matters” mantra, and as if to accentuate the point, Wak ditches the DH to make sure Beltre is out there.

    I’m sold on Gut in CF (always have been).

    Although I’m still skeptical of the defensive metrics currently in use, I’m not skeptical about defense as a whole. I’ll subscribe to the metrics when there is whole lot more data to deal with (that is potentially less subjective).

    That aside, however, Gutierrez as Cameron would certainly be huge.

  19. gwangung on April 9th, 2009 12:40 pm

    Although I’m still skeptical of the defensive metrics currently in use, I’m not skeptical about defense as a whole.

    Well, yeah.

    My idea is that they’re Steam Age tools, compared to the Space Age tools we have in .OPS, LD%, etc.

    But Steam Age tools are a HELL of a lot better than the Stone Age tools of Fielding Percentage and errors that the previous Mariner regime (and a few other teams) were sold on.

  20. wabbles on April 9th, 2009 12:42 pm

    Yes, defense matters. I loved listening to the FSN people talk about how well Washburn pitched while showing about 4-5 spectacular plays that saved his ass that last year’s defense wouldn’t even have attempted. “Death To Flying Things!” Also, I seemed to notice that speed matters. Runners can score from second on singles now (like our second run today) and from first on doubles. Generally, we’re not watching imitations of Kirk Gibson in the 1988 World Series like last year.

  21. marc w on April 9th, 2009 12:46 pm

    “Now THAT’S a nickname I can get behind…”

    It has quite a pedigree, first bestowed on a player in the 1870s. Niehaus seems to use it quite a lot, and it seems like it alights on various OFs, but only temporarily.

  22. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 9th, 2009 12:56 pm

    Generally, we’re not watching imitations of Kirk Gibson in the 1988 World Series like last year.

    Except when Griffey takes to the basepaths. I’m not saying he shouldn’t bat, but it’s funny to see the stark contrast. It’s almost as if we have a convenient reminder/comparison every other game or so of last year to this when he takes the field or gets on base (as if any of us can rid ourselves of the images from Vidro or Raul running or fielding). Seeing our regular great defenders play the outfield or run next to Griffey just makes the contrast that much clearer for those who liked to pretend it really didn’t matter.

    Incidentally, I still find myself saying, “oh crap” when a ball is hit along the LF line or in a gap. I’m gonna have to unlearn that, I think, when Griffey is not out there. Even when they don’t catch the ball, they hold runners.

  23. Logger on April 9th, 2009 1:08 pm

    Anyone know where I can see a clip of Gutierrez’s catch?

  24. Mid80sRighty on April 9th, 2009 1:14 pm

    If Gutz continues to hit he might be in line for a GG at the end of the year.

    What does hitting have to do with a Gold Glove?

  25. wabbles on April 9th, 2009 1:14 pm

    They are starting the replay-it-to-death cycle of Guitterez’s catch on the FSN postgame and highlight and baseball rundown shows.

  26. Jeff Nye on April 9th, 2009 1:18 pm

    What does hitting have to do with a Gold Glove?

    What does it, or what should it?

  27. TomTuttle on April 9th, 2009 1:21 pm

    I love this stuff.

    4 games in and you can already sense this team is on the upswing. Seriously.

  28. msb on April 9th, 2009 1:23 pm

    They are going to have a lot of material for the Opening Day video clip on tuesday ….

  29. Dave on April 9th, 2009 1:28 pm

    I understand skepticism of defensive statistics, but you have to admit that the only people who were big fans of the off-season moves to acquire Gutierrez and Chavez were those who pay attention to defensive statistics.

    You’re reaping the rewards of metrics you’re skeptical of. You’re welcome.

  30. Go Felix on April 9th, 2009 1:41 pm

    I’m excited to see what the Feed has in store for us tomorrow.

  31. JMHawkins on April 9th, 2009 1:47 pm

    I don’t want to take anything away from a very well pitched game by Wash, but if not for the defense today he’d have a loss

    Putting a good OF defense behind a flyball pitcher like Washburn is what you might call playing to your strengths. Washburn should get better results this year if we keep this kind of defense behind him.

    I understand skepticism of defensive statistics…

    Dave, your Evaluating Defense article linked at the left is three years old now. Any thoughts on how the various rating systems have evovled/improved? Are different systems converging as they get more years worth of data to incorporate?

    It’d be particularly interesting to recap Betancourt. He was one of the examples you listed of divergent opinions from the systems, and his defense has sort of fallen off since then. One player isn’t a trend, but it’s interesting that someone with such a spread between different eval systems has tended towards the low marks.

  32. portablestanzas on April 9th, 2009 1:49 pm

    What does hitting have to do with a Gold Glove?

    I think the poster is implying that he’ll need to hit to stay in the lineup.

    Not that a stellar season at the plate puts him in line for a GG

  33. mshope on April 9th, 2009 1:51 pm

    Gutierrez reminds me a little of Cameron in his first season with the M’s. Specatucular, fast, vast coverage & decent hitter. I believe he will be much better over time than Cameron – especially with SO vs. On Base %/HR.

    As much as we would like more power in the lineup than we think we have, especially in the OF, I am satisfied after 4 games to get great run production from all over the lineup.

  34. myohmy41 on April 9th, 2009 1:53 pm

    Don’t overlook the fact that Rob Johnson was behind the plate and got a big insurance RBI in the 9th. Giving a young guy like that some confidence could go a LONG way.

  35. joser on April 9th, 2009 2:01 pm

    Actually, GGs tend to go to hitters that show good defense. They should go to the best defenders regardless of offensive output, but the reality is that you have to hit to qualify, and then be perceived as the best defender among the hitters at your position. See Jeter’s several GG’s for example.

  36. gwangung on April 9th, 2009 2:02 pm

    I understand skepticism of defensive statistics, but you have to admit that the only people who were big fans of the off-season moves to acquire Gutierrez and Chavez were those who pay attention to defensive statistics.

    You’re reaping the rewards of metrics you’re skeptical of. You’re welcome.

    The only skepticism, I think, we could have of these stats is their precision. I think we can be sure of their accuracy (i.e., folks these stats say are good defenders are usually good defenders, but we don’t exactly by how much they’re good defenders…yet).

  37. Luc on April 9th, 2009 2:09 pm

    I don’t know if there’s a way to look this up, but does Morrow always pitch out of the stretch? It seems like even when there’s no one on base he’s looking straight at the visiting dugout until his motion to the plate begins, and only then does he take a split second to glance at home plate. If that’s true and I’m not wrong (which is highly likely by the way) it seems like this might be a big reason why he’s walked (going from memory) 5 of the 10 batters he’s faced this season.

    Is there anybody with a better understanding of his style/circumstances that can shed some light on this for me?

  38. fermorules on April 9th, 2009 2:10 pm

    A tip of the cap to U.S.S. Mariner.

    On trade day, you gentlemen immediately posted that Gutierrez would prove a key addition with his outfield defense. Well, I know it’s only four games, but this team actually looks like a real ball club.

    Defense? You bet, and U.S.S. Mariner has been preaching the importance of leather for a long, long time.

    Keep up the great work!

  39. bronmaderine on April 9th, 2009 2:12 pm

    Muerte a las cosas en vuelo

    In any language, Gutierrez, Cedeno, and Chavez were huge in this game.

    飛行の事への死
    Once we get Ichiro back NOTHING will hit the ground in the outfield. You gotta love those guys.

  40. joser on April 9th, 2009 2:14 pm

    Also, I think the JJ deal is going to do down as a complete steal for the M’s!

    It might even be called a “perfect” trade in this sense: the M’s traded away something that is generally over-valued (closers) to the team that probably over-valued it the most (the Mets, who saw their postseason hopes collapse along with their bullpen in the final games of the season, two seasons in a row) and got something that was generally undervalued (defense) in exchange. That’s how you get the highest possible return in a deal.

  41. sfseattleM on April 9th, 2009 2:30 pm

    How about that for a try out for the Twins by Washburn? Not sure if his trade value will be any higher than it may be after today’s performance.

  42. msb on April 9th, 2009 2:32 pm

    I don’t know if there’s a way to look this up, but does Morrow always pitch out of the stretch?

    he said during spring he was more comfortable in the stretch …

  43. rcc on April 9th, 2009 2:33 pm

    It is nice to see that “preaching defense” as the USS Mariner guys have been doing for years is getting good results now that Jack Z is in charge.

    Now if Jack Z can use this one stellar outing by Washburne and peddle him asap….now that would get even more positive attention.

  44. RickMirerManiac on April 9th, 2009 2:38 pm

    I can only hope that, from the dugout, Griffey may have realized that, yes, defense matters. I can only speculate how stellar the outfield is going to be with the return of Ichiro. What two players do you see complimenting Ichiro with the most regularity out there?

  45. joealb1 on April 9th, 2009 2:39 pm

    Does anyone know when hit F/X will be up and running?

  46. marc w on April 9th, 2009 2:41 pm

    “I think we can be sure of their accuracy”

    What do you do when the metrics hold diametrically different opinions of a player’s defensive ability?

    I think we can say that if *all* metrics agree that a player is a defensive wizard, then he probably is. But we’re not yet at the point where each system (or the same system using different PBP data) agrees on a lot of guys.

  47. AuburnM on April 9th, 2009 2:46 pm

    Yes defense matters, and I am sure Washburn benefited from some great plays.

    But c’mon. The guy pitched 8 shutout innings and no one here is willing to say a single nice thing about him.

    That is the one and only negative thing about this site. When we decide we don’t like somebody we really don’t like them.

  48. Lantern on April 9th, 2009 2:53 pm

    I love the irony of the Mariners web page headline “Washburn Untouchable in Mariners Win”.

  49. Jeff Nye on April 9th, 2009 2:53 pm

    He probably didn’t throw any of his teammates under the bus today.

    Does that count as something nice?

  50. forte40 on April 9th, 2009 2:58 pm

    I actually enjoy watching Washburn pitch now, all those flyballs are an opportunity to see Gutz!

  51. gwangung on April 9th, 2009 3:01 pm

    What do you do when the metrics hold diametrically different opinions of a player’s defensive ability?

    I think we can say that if *all* metrics agree that a player is a defensive wizard, then he probably is. But we’re not yet at the point where each system (or the same system using different PBP data) agrees on a lot of guys.

    Well, that’s why I think they’re Steam Age tools. I think the majority of players rank the same (the stats are ordinal tools), so that indicates to me that we’re on the right path. When they disagree, they need refinement, which is why folks are saying to look at a range of statistical tools…

  52. Mid80sRighty on April 9th, 2009 3:11 pm

    Actually, GGs tend to go to hitters that show good defense.

    I was being a bit facetious. I’m fully aware of the voter’s bias.

    But c’mon. The guy pitched 8 shutout innings and no one here is willing to say a single nice thing about him.

    That wasn’t Jarrod pitching today, it was his twin Pepe.

    Actually, I will give The Bus some props. He pitched about as well as he’s capable of.

  53. joealb1 on April 9th, 2009 3:14 pm

    I’ll say something nice about The Bus. He threw strikes.

  54. joser on April 9th, 2009 3:33 pm

    The guy pitched 8 shutout innings

    Not in a vacuum he didn’t. This was no 20K Randy Johnson shutout. With last year’s defense behind him, this was yet another 5-2 (or worse) Washburn loss.

    He went 8 innings, which is an achievement this early in the season, and a gift to a bullpen (and a manager) for a team in the middle of a 7 game road trip. But he struck out four and walked one (4.5 K/9, 1.13 BB/9), which is in line with his historical averages (5.35, 2.77). He’s the same pitcher he was last year — a BOTR lefty starter getting paid more than a BOTR starter’s salary. If he was getting paid appropriately we might be a little kinder to him, but he is what he is. I certainly prefer to watch him pitch to Silva, but that’s not saying much.

  55. PositivePaul on April 9th, 2009 3:41 pm

    The only skepticism, I think, we could have of these stats is their precision. I think we can be sure of their accuracy (i.e., folks these stats say are good defenders are usually good defenders, but we don’t exactly by how much they’re good defenders…yet).

    With the exception of what Marc W mentioned, that’s sort of where I’m at. I believe defensive stats are certainly worth SOMETHING and can measure a guy’s value within a reasonable range. But precisely HOW MUCH is what I’m skeptical about.

    But whatever that number is w/r/t Franklin Gutierrez and Endy Chavez, it’s a whole heck of a lot more than Raul Ibanez and Griffey…

  56. PositivePaul on April 9th, 2009 3:47 pm

    And I’ll add that I thought at the time that the M’s got a STEAL for Putz. I valued Gutz for more than his glove, and saw him as the guy that could make even casual M’s fans forget about Mike Cameron.

  57. joser on April 9th, 2009 3:53 pm

    BTW, for all you cool kids who are up on the Web two-point-oh-yeah intratubez, and also are fans of Mr “Death to Flying Things,” there’s apparently a facebook page for him (but probably not by him, or even visited by him) where you can be his friend and express your affection (just as soon as he gets a picture that is rid of that disgusting Indians cap).

  58. manny ortez on April 9th, 2009 4:01 pm

    I’m a n00b here but I submit that Senor Muerte por Cosas Volantes would be a great nickname for Gutz.

  59. Breadbaker on April 9th, 2009 4:08 pm

    And I’ll add that I thought at the time that the M’s got a STEAL for Putz. I valued Gutz for more than his glove, and saw him as the guy that could make even casual M’s fans forget about Mike Cameron.

    May I please agree with the first comment entirely while disagreeing strongly with the second?

    We not only got a steal for Putz and Green, because we could replace them with arms on hand and arms picked up, but given that we apparently have used our last three first round draft choices on relievers, we have a serious pipeline of good relief arms whether we want them or not. So getting rid of the guys who could demand more money in advance of their demands is a smart move, even if the Morrow and Aumont moves to the pen are regretted and may not have been known at the time. So I agree 100% there.

    On the other hand, there is no reason ever to forget Mike Cameron. The man who was asked to do the impossible (replace Griffey) and by the end of his first week was beloved and by the end of the first season was jumping into the mosh pit in center (clinching game ALDS) is someone we have no need to or desire to ever forget. And from a USSM standard, Cammie’s the one whose defensive stats stand up to his reputation and then some. Perhaps you might amend that to “can be spoken of in the same sentence as Mike Cameron.”

  60. PositivePaul on April 9th, 2009 4:18 pm

    Point taken, Breadbreaker…

    Definitely no need to forget Mike Cameron.

  61. PositivePaul on April 9th, 2009 4:30 pm

    Someone at LL just put down on pixels what I was also thinking a little earlier when I first saw this post:

    When you look up “a run saved is just as good as a run scored” in the dictionary, a photo of this game has to accompany the text…

  62. Buhnerful on April 9th, 2009 4:34 pm

    Breadbaker, excellent comments. I was at a game in early April that first year Cameron was on the team. You could tell from the chatter in the stands that everyone already loved him.

    And that four homer game? I’ve never sought to will something (and failed, anyway) as hard as I did in that at-bat for #5.

  63. z4ec on April 9th, 2009 4:44 pm

    How come nobody is even mentioning Balentien?

    4 hits out of 8 AB’s isn’t too shabby. Without his double in the 9th, the M’s wouldn’t have scored that insurance run. More importantly, no strike-out out of those 8 AB’s so far. He actually looks more poised at the plate and not over-matched like last season.

  64. Jeff Nye on April 9th, 2009 4:45 pm

    Because an eight at-bat sample size isn’t enough to tell us anything useful about his skillset, particularly when we have all of his minor league performance to look at for a more accurate picture?

  65. z4ec on April 9th, 2009 4:48 pm

    And unfortunately 4 games into the season 8 at-bats are all we have. What do you expect? But like I said out of those 8 AB’s he’s looking very good. And no strike-out for a guy that struck out A LOT last season.

  66. dcmarinerfan on April 9th, 2009 4:59 pm

    For those of you who want a video of the Gut catch, you can find it here.

  67. joser on April 9th, 2009 5:11 pm

    How come nobody is even mentioning Balentien?

    Because the topic of this thread is defense, and he hasn’t done anything especially notable in that regard?

  68. z4ec on April 9th, 2009 5:22 pm

    [meta]

  69. Steve T on April 9th, 2009 5:34 pm

    According to his FB page, which appears to be run by a fanatical female fan, his proper nickname is not “Gutz” but “El Guti”.

  70. Breadbaker on April 9th, 2009 5:59 pm

    From Putz to Gutz: the Jack Zduriencik Story.

  71. myohmy41 on April 9th, 2009 7:02 pm

    Gutz made of the best catches I have ever seen, but it has overshadowed the ridiculous play by Cedeno. Yes, I know it was Mike Redmond running, but still. Going from basically a full stop to a full sprint and throwing a dart to first off balance is pretty impressive.

  72. BoiseMoose on April 9th, 2009 7:15 pm

    I’m loving the “new look” M’s. Not only is it nice to have some speed and defense to help the win/loss category, but its just a whole heck of a lot more exciting of a product to watch.

  73. Breadbaker on April 9th, 2009 9:10 pm

    So I’m randomly watching a rerun of an old “Iron Chef” on FLN and I look up and see the “ceremonial cutting of the first daikon” for the New Year by Yokohama Bay Star’s star reliever . . . Kazuhiro Sasaki. He liked spicy food.

  74. jamesllegade on April 10th, 2009 9:34 am

    I nominate “the Big FraGu” as Franklin Guitierez’ nickname.

    Any takers?

  75. DizzleChizzle on April 10th, 2009 11:15 am

    A quote from John McGrath’s article today pretty much sums up how much better this outfield is.

    What I didn’t know is how Chavez would challenge pop-ups presumed to be lost-cause fouls. In the opener, Chavez ran about a half-mile to make a play in front of the Twins’ bullpen. He was denied – he landed on his back – but if the same foul ball is hit in 2008, Raul Ibañez never even shows up on the TV screen.

    Hopefully

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