2010 Begins Today

Dave · October 5, 2009 at 10:04 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Yesterday was a lot of fun. But the business of winning baseball games is a cold, unfeeling thing, and yesterday is now over. Today is the beginning of an off-season of hard choices. 2009 is over, and while it was fun, the goal for 2010 should be to get better, not to attempt to recreate the positive feelings that everyone had yesterday.

The front office and coaching staff are going to get together this afternoon for a really long discussion which will shape the plans the team takes this winter. Perhaps the biggest test of how well this regime will do is how well they can avoid taking the feelings of yesterday into today’s meeting. It was great to see how the players felt about each other, but the actual goal of the organization should be to see the players hugging a trophy in November, not each other in October.

And, unfortunately, the Mariners are going to have to choose between fielding that same team of guys who love each other and fielding a team who can win a World Series. Griffey and Sweeney were great off the field, but not so hot on it. Their personalities were powerful, but their bats less so. To win, you have to be better at hitting a baseball than a hitting a teammate with an ice cream pie.

The M’s need more production on the field. It would be great if they could gain that increase while sustaining the kind of camaraderie they showed yesterday, but they probably can’t, and when they have to choose between production and pie-throwing, they have to choose production.

It’s the start of next year. The goal is to win, and to do that, they’re going to have to say goodbye to some people who might want to return, and who the other players would want back. They have to be unfeeling, because as great as yesterday was, winning will be better.

Comments

91 Responses to “2010 Begins Today”

  1. Typical Idiot Fan on October 5th, 2009 10:17 am

    Hoo-ee-doggie! Does that mean it’s time to start rosterbatin’?!

  2. Coug in AZ on October 5th, 2009 10:18 am

    What are the latest rumors about Milwaukee being open to trading Fielder? I have never been sure why they have thought about trading him, but that rumor has been around for a while. He would look great in a M’s uniform if he is available.

  3. Liam on October 5th, 2009 10:23 am

    At the trading deadline people didn’t want to see Jarrod Washburn go, they got over it.

  4. Chris_From_Bothell on October 5th, 2009 10:30 am

    I also hope they take their time and let the market evolve as it will over the winter. They do need to seperate 2009′s great ending to the business side of 2010 and beyond. But they don’t need to flip a switch and immediately be on the phone to everyone and their cousin.

    I’d think that as teams sort out who can afford what, there may be bargains or unconventional trade options later in the winter. This year’s winter meetings might just see more good old fashioned horse trading than years past, unless the free agent class of this year is better than I’ve been assuming.

    All of this is a long-winded way of saying:

    1. Is there anyone that really needs to be scooped up now now now, before their value goes up or availability goes down?
    2. In Z we trust!

  5. Rboyle0628 on October 5th, 2009 10:50 am

    Since baseball is a business, and sometimes business decisions can be immensely unpopular what is everyone’s opinion on Felix?

    I know my opinion is I want him to stay. I hope that the end of this season influenced him, I hope that it maybe said to him hey look, we’re going in the right direction now. I hope he wants to be a part of the new Mariners. I hear people talk about a hometown discount and all, but I don’t think that is required. The man should be paid fairly, I think that is the discount, him not asking for 276 million dollars and the Mariners not trying to offer him to little.

  6. EricL on October 5th, 2009 10:51 am

    At the trading deadline people didn’t want to see Jarrod Washburn go, they got over it.

    There are about four orders of magnitude difference between Seattle’s emotional attachment to the angry beaver and Junior.

    THAT’s going to be the hard pill for the fans to swallow if Z & Co. decide to not bring Griffey back.

    I personally don’t have a problem with Griffey coming back if he’s guy #25 on the roster, knows his place, and we’ve got enough positional flexibility to handle that. Oh, and has an attendence-incentive-laden contract. He’d be a decent lefty bat off the bench, mostly at home. Not your primary DH.

    95% of me wants to see Sweeney announce his retirement before the end of the week. The other 5% gives him to the end of the month.

  7. JMB on October 5th, 2009 10:52 am

    You can probably keep one of those guys (Griffey/Sweeney) but certainly not both. I’m OK having one elder statesman type around so long as he’s not also the starting DH (or left fielder). If Griffey’s fine starting once a week or so and pinch-hitting, I’m cool with him coming back.

  8. Nate on October 5th, 2009 10:53 am

    At the trading deadline people didn’t want to see Jarrod Washburn go, they got over it.

    Agreed. The best way to get over the ‘hard decisions’ is to win games. That cures all the sad feelings. Smart baseball decisions are a win-win.

    Let’s go Z!

  9. idahowriter on October 5th, 2009 11:00 am

    Sweeney has expressed interest in playing for the Angels. Please, please, pleass, LAA, make that wish come true.

    As for Junior, can’t we make him some kind of special coach, thus enjoying his clubhouse positives while negating his on-field negatives?

  10. JLP on October 5th, 2009 11:05 am

    Leave it to the cold-hearted, lives-in-the-basement, calculating sabermetrician to bring an end to yesterday’s fluffy, feel-good conclusion to the ’09. You, Mr. Cameron, are a heartless bastard.

    As far as the 2010 season goes, I say we trade Felix and Lopez to Philadelphia for J.A. Happ, Chase Utley, and some prospects. That’d be a great move, and Z could no doubt pull it off.

    All kidding aside, I’m all for Griffey calling it quits and joining the bench as a coach/motivator. I’d actually rather have Sweeney as the 25th guy on the roster, but that’s just me. I loved me some Griffey years ago, and appreciated him coming back for an emotional final season and not sucking as much as I thought he would, but this would be the perfect time for him to hang ‘em up. If Junior still feels like he can play, I would prefer that he try elsewhere.

  11. mariners2009 on October 5th, 2009 11:12 am

    I am just hoping a reasonable deal can be put in place to keep Beltre around a little while longer. But, with his agent, I’m not holding my breath.

  12. Paul B on October 5th, 2009 11:15 am

    Lots of tough decisions to make, it would be so cool to listen in on the meetings today.

    In addition to Griffey and Sweeney, the other decisions are what to do with:

    Felix in the long term and whether to offer a long term deal
    Jack Wilson’s option
    What to offer Beltre
    Whether to offer something to Branyan

    And for players under contract:
    What to do with Kenji
    What to do with Lopez
    What to do with Aardsma
    What to do with Morrow

    Not to mention what the trade market is like.

  13. Pete Livengood on October 5th, 2009 11:18 am

    I guess I am more in the JMB camp than the cut-bait crowd.

    I posted this, in a very poorly-proofread comment to yesterday’s post (hopefully, now corrected) that is more appropriate here:

    I’m one of the guys who has been dead set against either Griffey or Sweeney coming back, because I think DH is the most likely spot where you are going to those 10 wins. But Griffey (and Sweeney) have been breaking me down. They’ve clearly had an effect on this team beyond what they’ve done on the field, and I’m not sure this team is ready to move forward in the same spirit without (at least one of) them. I guess I would just say, it can’t come at the expense of a roster spot that needs to go to a pitcher or a productive bat – and I can’t imagine how that won’t be true in some respects, unless the Griffey/Sweeney spot is much more productive that it has been this year. I just can’t see that happening. I also think we saw a perfect ending yesterday, and I wouldn’t want that jeopardized.

    I guess I’d still want Griffey and/or Sweeney in Spring Training and see what happens, if that is what he/they want, but the club can’t really be expected to be in a PR position of having to “cut” Griffey. I think if Griffey is going to come back, he has to commit to bowing out gracefully if the signs show he can’t be better and more productive than he was this year.

  14. Mike Snow on October 5th, 2009 11:37 am

    Next year, instead of being the platoon DH, Griffey and Sweeney should be the platoon DL.

  15. wabbles on October 5th, 2009 11:41 am

    I thought Baker posted a couple/few weeks ago that Griffey wanted to play another year but realized that the 2010 Mariners won’t need/want him. So I’ve just been proceeding on the assumption that we’ll see him another uniform next year. As much as I hate to say it, that’s probably best for the team. I really wish we could have given him an Edgar-type sendoff. (Although the end to that 2004 season was more a relief than anything.)

  16. Paul B on October 5th, 2009 11:44 am

    If Griffey is gone, then that may increase the odds of having Sweeney back next season.

  17. Ralph_Malph on October 5th, 2009 11:45 am

    The M’s home record was only 1 game behind the Angels. On the road, they were 11 games back. That is kind of a striking difference (the Angels were 48-33 on the road, the M’s were 37-44).

    Their run differential was -22 at home and -76 on the road. So maybe it’s not so much that they played worse on the road, it’s that their freaky W-L vs. Pyth disparity was all at home — they were 15 games over .500 at home even though they gave up 22 more runs than they scored.

    I’m trying to figure out what this means — is there a way you can build a team to do better on the road? Or are these just flukey numbers that don’t mean anything.

  18. bat guano on October 5th, 2009 11:45 am

    Speaking of cold, hard realities, doesn’t the offseason stand to revolve around whether Felix is willing to sign a long term deal? I think the M’s have to make him their best offer in the next month or so, and if he turns them down they have to consider trading him long before he hits free agency and while he still has huge trade value. And if they’re going to have to trade him, they might as well start fielding offers this off season, since they’d be looking at getting more than one or two useful parts in return. They should hang onto him if they don’t get offered what they think he’s worth, but they really need to find out soon if he plans to test the free agent waters no matter what. If that’s the case, let’s talk to teams like the Red Sox about Buchholz, Bard, Lars Anderson, etc., and let the rest of the off season moves shake out from there.

  19. KaminaAyato on October 5th, 2009 11:49 am

    I think it’ll be interesting to see what bargains Dr Z will find out on the market. Is the pendulum still swung towards power hitting players with defense being undervalued?

    And I know that you guys have looked at the 2010 roster before, so if we were to take that article and update it to today…

    Starters
    There’s the rotation with 2 spots needing to be filled. I see Felix in at 1, Rowland-Smith and Fister pretty much penciled in at 4/5. Bedard at a cheap price may be your 3/4, but I don’t know. I’d consider the Aussie a tick better than the Canadian if nothing else than because he can go deep into games and not napalm your bullpen once every 5 days. And what to do about Snell? Oh, and then there’s the Morrow kid who doesn’t seem to have made much progress. Have we officially broken him to the point we can’t put him back together again?

    Relievers
    The bullpen if it needs to be rebuilt will be once again composed with Dr Z bringing in a ton of flamethrowers, throwing them against a wall like spaghetti and seeing what sticks. No need to spend any money there.

    Catcher
    Is Johnson really our starting catcher for 2010?

    Infield
    There’s two questions that need to be addressed IMHO to determine what we do here.

    1) How realistic is it to resign Branyan/Beltre?
    2) Has Carp shown that he’s ready to be an everyday 1B in 2010?

    Because it seems like one of these would dictate the other and dictate what you would do with every position except for SS which is just a matter of if you’re able to resign Wilson for cheap since you’re not picking up his option.

    Outfield
    One question. Is Saunders officially our new LF of the future?

    DH
    Griffey/Sweeney? Can we really afford 2 DH spots on our roster? We got some production out of Griffey, but bringing Griffey back folr 2010 guarantees that you’re running a 24 man roster.

    Bench
    Man, if we still have Hall and Hannahan on the bench, things are good.

    Dr Z should have more payroll than last year, but at the same time Dave mentioned at Fangraphs about acquiring good talent. And it was mostly via trade or draft.

    I fully trust Dr Z to make the right moves, but I wonder how he’s going to do it. It’ll be interesting to watch the off-season, that’s for sure.

  20. Pete Livengood on October 5th, 2009 11:50 am

    True, true, Paul. This is what I would do, FWIW:

    Felix – find out his/Nero’s mindset, and make an offer, but be careful not to piss them off and to set the groundwork for a negotiation next offseason. I would not trade Felix this offseason.

    Beltre – I would try to re-sign him. I agree with Dave, Derek and others here who’ve said (repeatedly) that Beltre has earned the contract he was given here, but I’d still be looking to get him to take a small pay cut. I think the market (at least last off-season’s) dictates that, and I think there are more alternatives at 3B than most years, and really if you can get 80-90% of Beltre defensively and a better offensive fit for less money than Beltre might command, that’d be OK. I’d just prefer to have Beltre, and WAR analysis would probably show that to be a good idea vs. just about anybody else.

    Kenji – I think this is up to Kenji. I hope he understands his role will likely be less than it was even this year, and wants to return to Japan for a triumphant return to a starring role. If he leaves, though, are we satisfied with Rob Johnson/Adam Moore going forward? That’s a pretty green team, and on the RJ side I don’t think he’ll ever hit much at all and just isn’t as good defensively as most media seem to think he is…. If Kenji stays, can we afford to carry three catchers (especially if Griff and/or Sweeney are on the roster)? Doubtful. I’d probably lean toward giving Moore the leg up if only one of Johnson/Moore can make the roster. I’m pretty sure the M’s will lean the other way.

    Lopez Aardsma – I wouldn’t do anything with him except listen to offers and take one if it makes sense. He’s fine. If he gets you a J.J.-style upgrade, pull the trigger, if not, stand pat. Ditto Aardsma, except I’d be even more inclined to hang onto Aardsma.

    Morrow – I think it is too early to cut bait on Morrow. Nothing need, or should, be done with him. Absolutely keep him on the “starter” track, though.

    Wilson – I would probably move on, assuming they can find a decent replacement. And they should be able to find someone. If not, I’d keep him only if he will sign an extension (for next year and the one after) so that he’s paid much less than what he’d get with his option. maybe $5-6M each season? If he won’t do that, I’d move on anyway.

    Branyan – I would not be turning cartwheels to get him back. I’d like him to come back (maybe as DH or part of a DH platoon) but not if he’s looking to cash in on 2009. Plenty of other choices, and he’s due to fall off (35 next year, IIRC). The only thing that worries me if he leaves is where the power on this team will come….

  21. eponymous coward on October 5th, 2009 11:55 am

    Griffey, WAR, 2006-2009: 0.3
    Player X, WAR, 2006-2009: 0.8

    In other words, there is a solid argument that Player X is a superior player to Ken Griffey Junior, and should be played over him (ignoring the chemistry affects, and so on).

    The problem with having a replacement-level bat with zero defensive value as your 25th guy instead of, say, Player X, is that in the AL, with Don Wakamatsu as your manager, you’re not going to use a PH all that often. The M’s used a PH 57 times in 2009. The AL average (for plate appearances) is 84. If you play Griffey at all in the lineup, you’ve likely taken out one of your better bats.

    Conversely, Player X is an OK late-inning defensive replacement and pinch-runner, as well as being a potential bench player.

  22. msb on October 5th, 2009 12:00 pm

    He would look great in a M’s uniform

    well, frankly, Prince doesn’t really look good in any uniform.

  23. Kazinski on October 5th, 2009 12:07 pm

    Next year, instead of being the platoon DH, Griffey and Sweeney should be the platoon DL.

    I think that is route to go, if they decide that they want to bring Griffey back. With Branyan’s back issue they may need some insurance at DH. Carp needs to be the everyday 1st baseman, and I would like to see if they can trade Lopez for some top prospects, plug Tui in at second and bring Chone Figgens in at third. Figgens is a perfect fit for Safeco, with his 5HRs and 101BBs, he really should see any dropoff because of park effects.

    I should also note that way back in February DMZ posted the following:

    Now, what do you think the chance he hits the best-case numbers is? 25%-40% he hits .270/.360/.465, a 10% chance he does better, then 25%-40% he does somewhat worse, and a 25% chance he finishes out the ugly .250/.325/.410 year.

    The ugly case hit it just about right on .214/.324/.411 with the walks making up for the lower BA.

  24. EricL on October 5th, 2009 12:19 pm

    well, frankly, Prince doesn’t really look good in any uniform.

    But I bet his vegetarianism works a lot better in Seattle than Milwaukee. Selling point there…

  25. eponymous coward on October 5th, 2009 12:28 pm

    With Branyan’s back issue they may need some insurance at DH.

    How is adding someone who’s added less than one win above replacement value to his teams over the span of four years “insurance” over adding any number of random AAA 1B/DHs?

    Let’s face it- if you’re keeping Griffey on the 2010 team, it’s NOT because his performance meets any objective standard of being valuable, or for being “insurance”, because it’s not- Mike Morse could give you the exact same level of “insurance” (and for a lot cheaper, too). You’re keeping him as a gate draw and because he’s good in the clubhouse.

    Carp needs to be the everyday 1st baseman

    Dave’s been over this. I tend to agree.

    I would like to see if they can trade Lopez for some top prospects, plug Tui in at second

    This is pretty much a wash for 2010 (in terms of value) unless you are getting someone back who’s going to significantly add value to the 2010 team. I find it hard to believe that Tui is going to be more than a 2-2.5 WAR player at 2B full time in 2010, which is about Lopez’s value. So this becomes “what do we get for Lopez?”, in essence.

    bring Chone Figgens in at third.

    I enthusiastically endorse this. ;)

  26. joser on October 5th, 2009 12:29 pm

    I wonder what the chances are that Wak will be willing to live with one less guy in the bullpen? One more body on the bench makes a lot of considerations — including bringing back a gimpy part-time DH/PH — a lot easier.

    I am just hoping a reasonable deal can be put in place to keep Beltre around a little while longer. But, with his agent, I’m not holding my breath.

    It’s not just his agent. His career would be better served by hitting in almost any other home ballpark. Even at a “pay cut” he’s probably too expensive to be in M’s plans considering everything else (and remember, GMs seem to have been putting more value on defense last year; if that continues, and a GM thinks Beltre would also hit better in a new venue…)

    The M’s home record was only 1 game behind the Angels. On the road, they were 11 games back. That is kind of a striking difference (the Angels were 48-33 on the road, the M’s were 37-44).

    I’m trying to figure out what this means — is there a way you can build a team to do better on the road? Or are these just flukey numbers that don’t mean anything.

    It means: don’t re-sign Griffey. His 2009 splits:
    Home: .268 / .382 / .548
    Road: .174 / .278 / .306

    Small sample size in both cases, of course, but still.

  27. joser on October 5th, 2009 12:31 pm

    bring Chone Figgens in at third.
    I enthusiastically endorse this.

    It would be kind of amusing if the M’s and Angels exchanged third basemen — I think there’s a pretty good chance the Angels will at least consider Beltre — but who do you think “wins” that trade?

  28. ThundaPC on October 5th, 2009 12:32 pm

    This makes me feel even better going forward.

    Wakamatsu said he told the team in its final meeting Sunday that as “once certain elder statesmen go away” — and he could just as easily have been talking about Jarrod Washburn and Adrian Beltre as Griffey and Sweeney — “there are a lot of young guys for whom there are going to be expectations now to be leaders. Mark Lowe. David Aardsma. Franklin Gutierrez. Those guys have to continue what we built on.”

    Our organization spent time on getting pieces to rebuild the clubhouse and they expect the core pieces on the team to continue to run with it.

    This is great news. It leaves the Front Office open to improve the team’s talent level without trying to cling on to the way this team was set up. I don’t think it will be much of a problem for this organization to separate the fuzzy feelings from trying to build a better ball club.

    I’m excited for this offseason.

  29. Pete Livengood on October 5th, 2009 12:49 pm

    joser wrote:

    It would be kind of amusing if the M’s and Angels exchanged third basemen — I think there’s a pretty good chance the Angels will at least consider Beltre — but who do you think “wins” that trade?

    I think the Angels would, but that’s as much because I think you were right about Beltre benefitting by moving to just about any
    other park as anything. Also, I think Figgins would be a bad fit here, as a right-hander (even a non-power right-hander), and as yet another singles hitter (albeit one with a bit more plate discipline and a willingness to run). Ironically, if both stayed where they are, the Angels might well “win” that, too. It’s just a question of fit, for both individual and team.

  30. Breadbaker on October 5th, 2009 12:54 pm

    Ichiro, Gutierrez, Felix, RRS.

    List of players who will definitely be Mariners in 2009.

  31. Mike Snow on October 5th, 2009 12:55 pm

    Figgins would be a better fit, at least in terms of lineup construction, if Gutierrez could graduate to Beltre’s role. Considering how poorly Beltre filled it this year, it almost seems worth a try. Also, plate discipline – yes, please.

  32. Mike Snow on October 5th, 2009 12:57 pm

    Breadbaker, you meant 2010? I could list you 46 guys who definitely were Mariners in 2009.

  33. CCW on October 5th, 2009 1:00 pm

    No team that takes winning seriously would keep around a guy like Griffey (or Sweeney), who (a) isn’t a very good hitter; (b) can’t pinch-run; and (c) can’t play defense. I’m shocked it’s actually being discussed as a serious possibility.

    Beltre needs to move on. I think he’s very underrated and that he has brought great value to the M’s. I will miss him. But the guy can’t hit at Safeco Field. There are right-handers out there that can at least sorta hit at Safeco. Beltre is not one of them. For his own sake, he needs to flee Safeco Field.

  34. TomTuttle on October 5th, 2009 1:04 pm

    2011, that’s the realistic goal for the coming out party with all the roster changes coming up in the offseason.

    Therefore, goal #1 of the offseason has to be to re-sign Felix to a lot of money and long term deal.

    If you can pull that off, then anything you do after that is gravy since there’s absolute pressure to win in 2010 and 2011 when this team may or may not be ready.

    This team’s time will come when it comes and it will last a while as long as Felix is our #1 starter.

    If Griffey wants to come back for $1 to $1.5 mil. in guaranteed money, great.

    If not, he, Sweeney, Wak and Z have already done enough to establish a positive, “can-do” and professional attitude from that roster that will carry over in future seasons.

    So having Griffey around isn’t so vital in that regard, especially if he’s only going to hit around the Mendoza Line with 15 home runs next year.

    But if he wants to come back for a minimal amount of money, be my guest since I’d make the unconventional argument right now that he was a strong candidate for team MVP this year along with Ichiro, Felix, Guti and Aardsma.

  35. Dave on October 5th, 2009 1:19 pm

    That argument isn’t unconventional. It’s just wrong.

  36. rsrobinson on October 5th, 2009 1:41 pm

    This was one of the worst run producing teams in the majors so DH absolutely has to be upgraded. I just can’t see using up a roster spot for either Junior or Sweeney next year if the team is serious at all about competing for the title. Wak is right; now that a more professional and cohesive attitude has been established in the clubhouse it’ll be up to some of the younger players to take over leadership roles.

    I think Beltre should be re-signed, if possible, and every effort should be made to lock up Felix. My gut feeling is that Jack Z loves Jack Wilson and will pick up the option. Beyond that, we’ve still got holes to fill in LF, DH, and possibly 1B, not to mention at least one more reliable starter.

    Still a long way to go to get to the next level.

  37. griffin on October 5th, 2009 1:41 pm

    just watched the ending of the yesterdays game and the closing the team did, so awesome.

    im already excited for 2010. bummed we’re so far away from roster moves and all that.

  38. Pete Livengood on October 5th, 2009 2:06 pm

    Dave wrote:

    “That argument [that Griffey was a strong candidate for team MVP] isn’t unconventional. It’s just wrong.”

    That’s a little harsh, Dave. There are many ways to define “valuable” and probably as many opinions about which one we should use. You (and most of us) just don’t share Tom’s opinion – but a matter of opinion, I think it is.

  39. dgarnett on October 5th, 2009 2:07 pm

    If Griffey wants to come back for $1 to $1.5 mil. in guaranteed money, great.

    As long as MLB allows the Mariners to have a 26-man roster, i’m all for it too.

    All cheekiness aside, I’m curious what the roster rules concerning a “player coach” are. The last time i remember something like this was Pete Rose in the mid 80s, but i was too young to understand the ramifications of the designation. Given the “chemistry” stories out there right now, I’d think it would be interesting to bring Griffey in as a player/coach IF and only IF it doesn’t cost a roster spot.

  40. rick m on October 5th, 2009 2:14 pm

    Pete: Figgins is a switch hitter and hits righties better than lefties (especially this year) so I think he’d be a fine fit for Safeco and would be a dynamite #2 hitter.

  41. joser on October 5th, 2009 2:26 pm

    If a player being a “player/coach” didn’t cost a roster sport, every team would have three or four “player/coaches.”

  42. eponymous coward on October 5th, 2009 2:34 pm

    There are many ways to define “valuable” and probably as many opinions about which one we should use.

    Would you take someone seriously if they suggested that Willie Bloomquist was the MVP of the 2007 Mariners? Because that’s the sort of argument you have to make- wildly overinflating intangibles for a player who is performing at replacement level over an extended period of time.

    Yes, Griffey is a good influence in the clubhouse. Yes, he was once capable of being the MVP of a team, or a league. He hasn’t been that good for years, and at this point, he offers NO on-the-field reason to have him on the roster over any other number of MLB or AAA players, let alone to be cited as the most valuable player on his team.

  43. joser on October 5th, 2009 2:37 pm

    Figgens, career:
    .291 / .363 / .388
    Figgins, career @ Safeco (230 PA):
    .266 / .358 / .327
    (and that’s when he’s had the advantage of facing M’s pitching).

    That .685 OPS at Safeco isn’t Yuniesky Betancourt bad, but it is Jhonny Peralta / B.J. Upton / Russell Martin bad… it would be about 9th worst in baseball this year (among qualified players).

    There may be a case for Figgins, but “a fine fit for Safeco” isn’t really it.

  44. Pete Livengood on October 5th, 2009 2:41 pm

    rick m – my bad on Figgins/switch hitter. That said, I still don’t think he is the right fit for this team. We don’t need another singles-hitting lead-off hitter (which Figgins is better suited to than the 2-hole, though I agree he could fill that role too). We need a guy who can fill the 3-hole. Figgins will be overpaid this offseason, too. I just am not sold on the wisdom of pursuing Figgins.

    EC – you are working awfully hard to build that straw man. I didn’t say I agreed with Tom, just that I believe MVP arguments to be a matter of opinion. And I could care less if somebody takes somebody else’s opinion seriously or not – unless it is my opinion.

  45. Mid80sRighty on October 5th, 2009 2:52 pm

    Perhaps the biggest test of how well this regime will do is how well they can avoid taking the feelings of yesterday into today’s meeting.

    Which is an excellant reason to hold off on said meeting for a day or so. Is there proof somewhere that such a meeting is, in fact, taking place today?

  46. Adam B. on October 5th, 2009 3:05 pm

    Chone Figgins? Thanks but no thanks.

    1. He’s probably going to be overpaid as the “premiere” free-agent at his position.

    2. His power is limited (to say the least) and signing him would fill another classic power-position with a less then threatening bat.

    3. There are much better options available, even just in free-agency.

    4. “Chone” is ridiculous spelling of a name that already has 15 different spellings.

  47. joser on October 5th, 2009 3:18 pm

    Which is an excellant reason to hold off on said meeting for a day or so. Is there proof somewhere that such a meeting is, in fact, taking place today?

    “We’re going to have meetings on Monday, the day after the season, and we’ll have a chance for all the coaches to talk not only with [general manager] Jack [Zduriencik] but also with the Minor League coaches,” Wakamatsu said.

    I believe Zduriencik also mentioned it in his interview on the radio during the game yesterday.

  48. ppl on October 5th, 2009 3:24 pm

    I like what Chone Figgins brings to the table, but I think there is one team in baseball that needs to avoid him (and Vlad) and that is the M’s.

    Yes, the Angels get a first round pick out of Figgins regardless of where he signs, but I can’t see much logic in it being one of ours. Is Figgins really that valuable?

  49. Kazinski on October 5th, 2009 3:46 pm

    Is Figgins really that valuable?

    Chone Figgins 2009
    UZR 15.3
    WAR 6.0
    Value $27.0

    And is precisely because he doesn’t have much power that he may be an undervalued asset. I think he would be an incredible #2 hitter behind Ichiro, he’s got a .395OBP and incredible plate discipline, his Oswing % this season was 14.9% that was 2nd in the AL.

  50. BillyJive on October 5th, 2009 3:59 pm

    I had a great time at the games on Saturday and Sunday. I drove a long way to see Griffey hit one more and Sweeney sign my little guy’s baseball. I also witnessed some great pitching from Hyphen and the King.

    Next year I hope to see more great pitching from those two, and I’d be honored to sit in the stands with the other two.

    It was a fun year! Thanks Z…

  51. CMC_Stags on October 5th, 2009 4:15 pm

    Better than average positions/rotation slots manned with players currently under contract and/or team control for 2010.

    CF (Gutz), RF (Ichiro), 2B (Lopez), SP (Felix), SP (RRS)

    Potentially average, but probably just below:
    C (with Joh as starter), LF (Saunders/Hall/Langerhans platoon), 3B (Hannahan/Hall/Tui platoon)

    Below average:

    SS (Josh Wilson = 0 WAR), 1B (Hannahan/Carp ~ 1 WAR), DH (Carp?), SP (Snell), SP (Morrow), SP (Silva/Fister/Vargas/etc.)

    So out of 14 slots, that’s 5 above average, 3 around to just under average, and 6 below average positions for the 2010 Mariners.

    Getting players for SS, 1B/DH, and at least one more top end starter should be the offseason goals. LF and 3B just aren’t huge concerns comparatively. The only reason to sign a 3B or LF is if you can get Beltre back or another player so as not to have to use a platoon there (to save the roster spot).

  52. CMC_Stags on October 5th, 2009 4:40 pm

    Chone Figgins 2009
    UZR 15.3
    WAR 6.0
    Value $27.0

    Chone Figgins WAR by season:
    ’04: 3.2
    ’05: 2.7
    ’06: 0.0
    ’07: 3.1
    ’08: 2.4
    ’09: 6.0

    Talk about cherry-picking your samples. Figgins’ average WAR for the last 6 years is 2.9.

    Beltre (who is 15 months younger) has averaged 4.4 WAR over the same time period. If you remove his 10 WAR 2004 season he’s averaged 3.3 WAR as a Mariner (removing Chone’s 6 WAR season leaves him at 2.28 WAR).

    Signing Figgins instead of Beltre would seem to be a mistake for the M’s. Figgins may cost draft pick compensation (he’s listed as the top B Free Agent on MLB Trade Rumors’ Elias reconstruction through September 29th). Figgins is coming off a career year, is a year older, and would probably cost more to sign. Oh, and Beltre’s the better player.

  53. CMC_Stags on October 5th, 2009 4:45 pm

    If the M’s were to sign a 3B or LF, it should only be if they can land a player who is significantly above average at a decent price.

    Resigning Beltre would be the obvious answer. He’s listed as a type B Free Agent and I’m hopeful the M’s would offer him arbitration and that he’d accept for at least the year.

  54. ppl on October 5th, 2009 5:14 pm

    Even if Figgins is a “B” free agent the M’s should avoid it. Because as illogical as it would be for fans to complain if the M’s loose a pick and the Angels gain one they would have gained regardless, the linkage would lead to endless complaints if that guy pans out. It may be silly, but, considering how low fan morale has gotten around here, I think it needs to be taken into consideration. Because the Team isn’t the only thing that is in a rebuilding process around here.

  55. Goody on October 5th, 2009 5:19 pm

    What makes anyone think JR. wants to be a coach? The only way he comes back is as a player. A part time player. There is an awful lot of anger over a guy who would essentially be the 23rd player on the roster. If Seattle can have the type of chemistry it had in 09 and all it costs is one bench spot, do it.

  56. DMZ on October 5th, 2009 5:24 pm

    Where is this anger, exactly?

  57. scotje on October 5th, 2009 5:27 pm

    …the linkage would lead to endless complaints if that guy pans out. It may be silly, but, considering how low fan morale has gotten around here, I think it needs to be taken into consideration.

    If Zduriencik ever takes that kind of thing into consideration, I’ll eat my hat.

    It is certainly not a good idea to be giving draft picks away all the time, but it’s downright ridiculous to worry about whether or not a draft pick you are losing might possibly be used to draft a player that might potentially develop into an all-star for a rival at some point in the future.

    Draft picks in general are good (obviously) but there is just no way to know ahead of time what the value of any specific draft pick is going to be. Fretting about who some other team might pick with a draft pick you lose is just, like….wow.

  58. eponymous coward on October 5th, 2009 5:31 pm

    I didn’t say I agreed with Tom, just that I believe MVP arguments to be a matter of opinion.

    OK, so since you’re missing my point, let me restate it in another form: opinion that’s completely contradicted by all available evidence gets challenged here, or called “wrong”. Nobody is required to suffer fools gladly on their own blog.

    And I could care less if somebody takes somebody else’s opinion seriously or not – unless it is my opinion.

    So why comment on Dave being “harsh” to someone other than yourself in the first place?

  59. joser on October 5th, 2009 5:37 pm

    Yeah, I’m not seeing any anger either. I’m seeing a fair bit of cold-hearted, hard-headed analysis. Which, if you’re blinded by love, may look harsher than it is. But not expressing love is not the same thing as “anger.”

  60. Rick L on October 5th, 2009 5:45 pm

    There wee a lot of guys that hit worse than Griffey and Sweeney this year. Using OPS as the criteria, they would be (in order), Johjima, Langerhans, Josh, Beltre, Chavez, Hanahan, Johnson, Hall and Saunders.. I left out Tui, Jack, and Moore due to small sample size. Sweeney actually had the fourth best OPS on the team, although at .777, that is nothing to brag about.

  61. ppl on October 5th, 2009 5:46 pm

    The 25 man roster does not have a great deal of space for platoon players who can only be used in the DH role. Who will Junior platoon with next year? Johjima? Sure they could sign a right-handed hitting outfielder who can play on the field and hits the daylights out lefties and make the platoon situation work, but it would be better to have a full-time DH that can play 150 games and fourth outfielders who are more useful on the field than a guy who is half of a DH platoon.

  62. DMZ on October 5th, 2009 5:47 pm

    Were there guys who hit worse than Griffey and Sweeney who were designated hitters? I don’t see any.

  63. Jeff Nye on October 5th, 2009 5:57 pm

    Griffey had his farewell tour. Now it’s time to stop living 14 years in the past and acquire quality major league players that will be a part of the NEXT great Mariners team, rather than trying to rebuild the last kinda-sorta-good one.

  64. ppl on October 5th, 2009 5:59 pm

    If Junior wants to play one more year, he could actually have value in an even more reduced role in the National League. Since N.L. teams have to carry pinch hitters, his big home runs coupled with his walk total might make him useful in that role. He has shown he can come off the bench and hit a big home run to win a game. That is more valuable in the NL than in the AL.

  65. littlesongs on October 5th, 2009 6:05 pm

    “I believe Zduriencik also mentioned it in his interview on the radio during the game yesterday.”

    I am pretty sure you are right, Joser. I also heard Jack on television saying that “tomorrow is going to be a long day” referring to meeting with the coaching staff today. He went on to talk very seriously, but generally about important changes that will be made in the off-season.

    Last night was a very special moment, but I think that any fear of bursting the “happy bubble” is silly. The staff and the players made it happen regardless of who was coming up from the minors, coming over in a trade, coming back from injury, returning from a funeral or going to a new club.

    Saying goodbye this off-season to a couple of beloved characters is not going to emotionally cripple this team going forward. The manager brought a positive spirit and winning outlook to the clubhouse. Don Wakamatsu’s system shaped attitudes far more than Mike Sweeney’s antics.

    At the same time, Junior did something on a cerebral level to the casual fan that might be even more beneficial next year for attendance. If it is marketed as a “goodbye tour” or some such thing and the team makes the playoffs, I could see that being pretty magical as endings go.

    For better or worse, there is a precedent for Junior coming back for one last contending season: Willie Mays playing for the Mets in 1973. Willie was just a fraction of himself at that point, but a generation of NY baseball fans had a chance to “Say Hey” and thank you to a legend.

    Having just stepped off a 162 game emotional roller coaster, Ken Griffey might rather say farewell in a month or two without all the hoopla. If his family wants him back home, fans should respect it. If it hurts him too damn much to play anymore, that should be respected too.

  66. Breadbaker on October 5th, 2009 6:57 pm

    The key to next year is not to be self-satisfied about what worked this year (other than acquiring Death to Flying Things). This team overachieved, and the ways it overachieved cannot be duplicated. Their very success makes the undervaluation of defense less likely to occur this offseason. Zduriencik has some interesting assets he acquired during the year, plus Lopez, to play with and a lot of big holes to fill. Like essentially the rest of the infield. I’m anxious to see what happens, with full confidence in the right guy pulling the strings.

  67. Harrison on October 5th, 2009 7:18 pm

    Griffey had his farewell tour. Now it’s time to stop living 14 years in the past and acquire quality major league players that will be a part of the NEXT great Mariners team, rather than trying to rebuild the last kinda-sorta-good one.

    THIS

  68. Pete Livengood on October 5th, 2009 7:56 pm

    EC, I value and respect your opinion and don’t want to get into any kind of spat, but with all due respect, I think it is you who is missing my point. You seem to either want to pick a fight with a guy who agrees with you, or just want to defend Dave (who I know is quite capable of defending himself).

    I am not trying to defend the position that Ken Griffey, Jr. is the M’s MVP. Far from it. If it were my vote, it would be a horse race between Felix, Guti, and Ichiro.

    My only point was to differentiate between “value” as measured by several very well-respected sabermetric statistics (representing, more or less, “fact” even though people can and do differ as to the value of one measure versus another) which can be contrasted with opinions about what is valuable to a team. I DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS POSITION, but a reasonable argument can be made that, given the contrast between last year’s and this year’s clubhouse, the “leaders” of the clubhouse this year were very valuable (again, not my viewpoint – this coming from a guy who believes that chemistry comes from winning, rather than the other way around).

    Perhaps it is presumptuous of me to tell Dave what to say or how to respond on his own blog. That really wasn’t my intent. Rather, my intent was to gently remind Dave to foster civil discourse on this blog, because I know him to be that kind of person. I known Dave a fairly long time, and I while I knowhe gets frustrated by some of the comments posted here, I think he knows he is doing himself, this blog, and readers a disservice when he lets that frustration lead to snarky response. I was motivated not only by what I know to be Dave’s character, but also out of concern that he is just feeding those who believe that Dave is a condescending, egomaniacal, autocratic blog dictator (name your additional perjorative descriptions you have seen here), all of which are completely polar opposite of the person I know. I’d like to see this become a place that is less a confrontational battle of wits, unless and until it needs to be – and it didn’t need to be there, IMO.

    I get it, Dave’s human, but that was my ONLY point – and given the fact Dave didn’t respond, I think Dave understands and I don’t think he needs your defense of him.

    And, BTW, there are any number of equally (or more) harsh things Dave could have said that probably wouldn’t have drawn my intial reaction – “stupid,” “ignorant,” “unreasonable” … but ultimately all of that should be fleshed out in a way that doesn’t simply put down the target (or, if it is a frustratingly repetitive exercise, should simply be left unsaid, as such comments further nothing). What got me, and what prompted my “harsh” comment, is that there is no such thing as a “wrong” opinion (as opposed to those other “harsh” adjectives I suggested). While he wasn’t “harsh” to me, you have no right to judge whether I can or cannot say whatever I want to say to Dave, and furthermore, any of us who cares about this blog and the level of discourse here should speak up. Nobody is exempt from criticism. There are no gods here.

    Anyway, I’ve said far too much in explanation of what was a simple and simply obvious comment.

  69. Pete Livengood on October 5th, 2009 8:06 pm

    Sorry about the apparently missed end tag for ital in the first paragraph. Please edit, if you can, mods.

  70. qwerty on October 5th, 2009 8:11 pm
  71. Goody on October 5th, 2009 8:21 pm

    Do NL teams have a larger roster than AL teams? No? His intrinsic value is higher in Seattle than in any other market. Its one player filling a minor role. There is no room for Sweeney and Jr. And I vote for Jr.

  72. bongo on October 5th, 2009 8:22 pm

    1. What do with Felix?

    There is some very substantial chance that Felix will have a 2010 or 2011 season for the history books. Not just a Cy Young award season, but a Tom Seaver 1969 season, where a pitcher has a career year and carries a so-so team on his back all the way into the World Series.

    Even if Z gets a *great* offer for Felix, he’s got to factor in that we really don’t have an idea of Felix’s upside yet. As a result, there is some chance that we could *both* keep Felix for 2010, and get an even better return for him in 2011 as estimates of his potential are adjusted upwards.

    2. Jack Wilson’s option

    The logical thing here is to negotiate a two-year contract for some reasonable amount, rather than picking up the option. Given Wilson’s season, there’s very little chance he could pick up the option level’s salary in the free agent market.

    3. What to offer Beltre

    It’s very difficult to see how to come to agreement with Beltre, given that some team will probably be more likely to factor in a more rosy estimate of his likely health than would seem prudent given recent events. I doubt he’d be willing to settle for a heavily incentive laden contract that leaves the team protected against protracted injuries.

    4. Whether to offer something to Branyan

    Even if Carp gets significant playing time at 1B, Branyan can still contribute at DH. Assuming his back problems don’t persist, Branyan would certainly be a more appealing choice at DH than the 2009 DHs. Given his 2009 performance, a higher base salary is in order, as well as incentives to improve the upside.

    5. What to do with Morrow

    Morrow probably doesn’t have much trade value, so you probably just hope that experience and couching will help him develop.

  73. Jeff Nye on October 5th, 2009 8:23 pm

    Sorry about the apparently missed end tag for ital in the first paragraph. Please edit, if you can, mods.

    I tried, but the comment was pretty mangled, so I might’ve not done it the way you intended. It’s as close as I’m getting though!

  74. Pete Livengood on October 5th, 2009 8:33 pm

    “Morrow probably doesn’t have much trade value,…”

    I am pretty sure that he does, but I agree that, regardless, the best thing to do is let Morrow develop.

  75. Pete Livengood on October 5th, 2009 8:35 pm

    Close enough. Thanks Jeff.

  76. Kazinski on October 5th, 2009 8:41 pm

    Were there guys who hit worse than Griffey and Sweeney who were designated hitters? I don’t see any.

    Pat Burrell .221/.315/.367 in 412AB. Ouch.

    And while Aubrey Huff and Hank Blalock both were DH slightly less than 50% of the time. Blalock came in at .234/.277/.459 462AB and Huff .241/.309/.384 536AB.

    Griffey and Sweeney combined for a .240/.328/.423 line in 629AB.

  77. Pete Livengood on October 5th, 2009 8:50 pm

    Kaz, I think DMZ’s comment was in response to Rick L., who was talking specifically about the Mariners and not the entire league.

  78. Kazinski on October 5th, 2009 9:02 pm

    As much as I enjoyed having Griffey and even Sweeney around this year, I think that there is only one scenario that would make it worth having them back, and that is if Jack and Wak think the team is still a year away and can’t pick up enough offense, without subtracting too much in defense to get to 90+ wins next year. There is no point in not bringing Jr. and Sweeney back if their replacement is Bill Hall.

    It’s going to be hard to get the extra offense they need. Even if Branyan is back better than ever at 1st, they still have to pick up a run a game, without losing any runs on the defensive end. An extra run a game gets them to 92 wins.

  79. eponymous coward on October 5th, 2009 9:15 pm

    a reasonable argument can be made that, given the contrast between last year’s and this year’s clubhouse, the “leaders” of the clubhouse this year were very valuable

    See, this is where we depart. I don’t see this as reasonable, any more than saying “It’s my opinion that two and two is three, and my opinion is just as good as yours, so there”. Opinions that are based on very faulty reasoning don’t have to be treated with any particular respect, in my book.

  80. Pete Livengood on October 5th, 2009 9:32 pm

    Well, let’s agree to disagree then. I don’t think Tom ever said “my opinion is as good as yours.” I’m pretty sure he said his view was “unconventional.”

    Agree or disagree, though, that does not make the holder of the opinion any less deserving of civility, and yes, respect. IMHO, this is a root problem for much of society today, and explains a LOT of the polarization we see politically and otherwise.

  81. Breadbaker on October 5th, 2009 9:46 pm

    There is no point in not bringing Jr. and Sweeney back if their replacement is Bill Hall.

    Do you really believe that? Two roster spots for guys with zero defensive ability (not just value, they basically cannot play the field no matter who else is injured) versus a guy who can play a lot of positions, even if he can’t hit well or play those positions well?

    The M’s had every starter in the field on the DL except for Lopez and Gutierrez during the year. There were games when it wasn’t clear who was going to play certain positions because of in-game injuries. They had to haul in Hannahan, Langerhans and Josh Wilson from baseball purgatories during the season (and Bill Hall, too) in order to make a lineup card out.

    Do you really think it’s good management to have two guys on your bench who can’t play the field and have to be pinch run for? Especially when you don’t have a lot of starters who can get you into the seventh inning, or even the sixth, dependably, so you have to carry more pitchers than makes sense.

  82. griffin on October 5th, 2009 9:53 pm

    [broken shift key]

  83. Jeff Nye on October 5th, 2009 9:57 pm

    There is no room for Sweeney and Jr. And I vote for Jr.

    Now that the season’s over, I can stop being touchy-feely about it.

    There wasn’t any place for Griffey on the 2009 team; there sure as hell isn’t on next year’s team. We need better production from DH and better bench flexibility. Griffey (or Sweeney, to a lesser extent) is a barrier to both of those.

  84. littlesongs on October 5th, 2009 10:01 pm

    http://ussmariner.com/2009/05/15/should-the-team-do-the-unthinkable/

    Now’s the time.

    No. Now is definitely not the time.

    I remember reading that fine piece earlier in the year. Dave explored ideas, but I do not recall him actually advocating that a trade take place. I seriously doubt that he would advocate for one now.

    Ichiro! played through the dismal failure and bitter rancor of the last year. After a short break, he went to the WBC with the hopes of his nation on his shoulders. Japan won it all again. Without a moment to catch his breath, he came back to a Mariners club with brand new management and a brand new outfield. He also found himself on the DL for the first time.

    Even with all of the pressure and pain, this year Ichiro! was happy as any of us have ever seen him. Being a Mariner is fun again and the team has a bright future. Ichiro! wanting to go right now is about as likely as Edgar Martinez asking to be traded after the ’95 season.

    As a bonus, Ichiro! is still the global face of the franchise. He brings overseas merchandise revenue, tourism dollars, and international sponsors. I have not seen a study of the economic impact of Ichiro!, but I would imagine that it is significant enough to be quantified.

    In case you didn’t notice his high socks, Ichiro! is very old school. He might even be one of those ultimate throwbacks that wants to play his entire career for one big league team. I hope he does.

  85. griffin on October 5th, 2009 10:03 pm

    [No, it means we actually require proper capitalization and spelling here.]

  86. Breadbaker on October 5th, 2009 10:27 pm

    Don’t forget that the M’s share the international revenue 30 ways, since it goes into a single pool for all the clubs (and I think MLB takes a big share, too), even if the Mariners, Red Sox and Yankees probably have a disproportionate share of sales of jerseys, etc. in Japan.

  87. littlesongs on October 5th, 2009 10:46 pm

    Good point Breadbaker. The Dodgers would be on that list too.

  88. griffin on October 5th, 2009 10:51 pm

    Haha, sorry Dave/whoever is moderator.
    I will try to type correctly for you guys. Other than capitals, I don’t really know what i was typing wrong. Oh well.

  89. Kazinski on October 5th, 2009 11:02 pm

    versus a guy who can play a lot of positions, even if he can’t hit well or play those positions well?

    Actually I think Hall plays pretty good defense at LF, 3rd, and 2nd when healthy.

    But my point is that if Bill Hall gets significant ABs next year, then the M’s aren’t going to be a playoff team anyway. And I’d rather watch Jr. get 400AB than Bill Hall, if there is no chance of going to the playoffs.

    I’ve got no problem with Hall playing a Bloomquist type role on the team, but if he’s starting, then we’re not going to be winning. That .578OPS he put up for the Mariners in 120AB may be a small sample size, but his OPS for the whole season was .596 on 334AB.

    In terms of offensive production Bill Hall < Yuniesky Betancourt. Defensively he makes up for some of that.

  90. joser on October 5th, 2009 11:34 pm

    Overseas merch sales get pooled, but sales in the stadium go to the team. Which is why the Griffey jerseys were such a big deal, and why all things Ichiro still are. And those Japanese language ads behind the plate during broadcasts? That’s money the team is getting only because of Ichiro too.

  91. joser on October 6th, 2009 8:09 am

    I’m also not on the Figgins bandwagon. Considering what he’d cost, in terms of cash and the draft pick, I’d rather have Beltre. In fact, given that Figgins is coming off a career year like Beltre’s 2004, Beltre may even be cheaper. But I think the bigger money for Beltre is going to be elsewhere also.

    Figgins will be 32 next year. He’s going to be getting a big payday. He’s probably not going have another year like this one. I’d rather spend scarce dollars on something with real upside, like Felix, and find a 3B elsewhere (one of the young guys, or a trade).

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