Beltre and Arb. Offers

November 30, 2009 · Filed Under Mariners · 39 Comments 

I did a post over on FanGraphs this afternoon looking at the economics of an arbitration offer. I used Beltre as the example in the post, so if you’re curious about whether or not the M’s should offer him arbitration, that’s probably not a bad spot to start reading.

I think the M’s will offer arbitration to Beltre but not to Bedard. There’s enough information available to presume that the chances of Beltre accepting the arbitration offer are pretty low, which reduces the risk of the offer, even if the M’s determine they want to go another direction at third base. Bedard, on the other, isn’t going to get guaranteed millions even with teams pursuing him – he’ll get a low base with incentives, much like Pavano did a year ago. That kind of contract offer isn’t available via arbitration, so he’d be more likely to accept.

Either way, I don’t expect either to be on the team next year, but I’d guess that the M’s will only end up collecting one draft pick, not two.

Community Projections On A Large Scale

November 30, 2009 · Filed Under Mariners · 7 Comments 

If you remember back a few years ago, Jeff Sullivan and I attempted to give you guys the opportunity to do community projections, taking the idea of the Wisdom of Crowds and applying it to forecasting the performance of our favorite team. It was a nice idea, but was always a pain in the rear to manage, and never got quite enough participation to make it as useful as it could have been.

Well, the community projections are back, and this time, no spreadsheets needed. Just head over to FanGraphs, because David Appelman has built a system to handle the inputs for every player in baseball. We’re taking the projections to a much larger scale and giving you an easy system to use for the projections.

Seriously, go check it out. It’s awesome. Start projecting players that you feel like you have some kind of feel for how they’ll do next year. Once the community has reached a minimum level of projections for a player, his fan projection will show up on the FanGraphs player page, right next to CHONE/ZiPS/Marcel, etc…

Soooo, uhhhhh, about that lack of news

November 30, 2009 · Filed Under Mariners · 4 Comments 

The deadline for teams to offer arbitration is tomorrow midnight. Maybe… something will happen. Anything?

Why I have hope Beltre will return to the team

November 28, 2009 · Filed Under Mariners · 58 Comments 

We’ve talked about this a little before, but here, from an article on Mike Lowell:

Adrian Beltre, after a disappointing five-year run in Seattle, could come at a reasonable price for a team willing to chance that Beltre may yet have the thunder in his bat that he displayed with the Dodgers, for whom he hit 48 home runs in 2004.

Were you disappointed in Beltre’s five year run here? I was not. He earned his money and then some. Anyone who thinks he was paid to repeat 2004, or that his value is dependent entirely on his ability to hit, is not giving the subject enough serious contemplation. Or is ignorant. Or doesn’t care whether what they write is true.

What’s even funnier about this particular piece is that after a paragraph discussing Lowell’s UZR and whether he was affected by injury and might get better, there’s this gem:

Among free-agent third basemen, Beltre ranked first in the Fangraphs UZR/150. Figgins was fourth, Feliz 11th, and Mora 12th.

Defense is a reason that Lowell might get traded. And as long as the leaderboard is open, we can talk about other players. But defense isn’t something they’re evaluated on, and certainly doesn’t inform the larger discussion about other options. If the Red Sox swapped Lowell for Beltre, I suppose the Red Sox would lose some offense and there’d be some salary differences to work out. Team defense, hey, who knows?

This is exactly why I hold out hope that the M’s will make a better offer to Beltre than anyone else. That writer’s views represent a vast pool of belief for inattentive baseball writers, fans, and even front-office types. Beltre will not get the kind of contract offers he’d get if he was an average fielder and his value came from his offense, and probably would get better offers still if this five-year run hadn’t come on the heels of his 2004 season, setting it up as a “disappointment” contract.

The M’s though have two advantages in evaluating how much they should offer: they’ve seen Beltre every game for five years, and have seen what he contributes on both sides of the inning, as well as having a realistic view into his shortcomings on offense. And they’re smart, and should be able to value that correctly.

Mariner-related thanks

November 26, 2009 · Filed Under Mariners · 11 Comments 

This is the first Thanksgiving holiday in a long, long time where I haven’t dreaded potential team news. Last year, I had hope, but we didn’t really know how things were going to go. And now, I feel like I could safely go on vacation for a week, or a month, and not come back to find that the team made some colossal error we’d be complaining about for years to come.

Leaving me to concentrate on cooking crazy potato dishes. Muwahahahahahaha!

So thanks for that, still-relatively-new Mariner front office.

Griffey’s deal details, to be accompanied by schmaltz

November 24, 2009 · Filed Under Mariners · 59 Comments 

$2.35m base salary
$3.9m if playing time >= 400 PA && attendance > 2.5m && Griffey’s DL stays = 0

This will be accompanied in all articles by descriptions of his miraculous effect on the team clubhouse and past glory with the team.

On bringing back the Bus

November 23, 2009 · Filed Under Mariners · 65 Comments 

Ah, remember the good old days when we were putting out sales pitches for Jarrod Washburn, hoping some dumb team would bite? Good times.

Well, now there’s talk he might return to Seattle. And his knee? You won’t believe this — couldn’t be better. “It feels great now, almost like I didn’t even have a surgery. So, I don’t see it being a problem for me in the future.”

As if he was going to say something else. “It feels kind of weak and doesn’t quite support my leg, so who knows what’ll happen when I get on a mound. I’d offer me a minor league contract and a spring training invite, maybe.”

Anyway, Kenji’s gone, so I’m sure he’s already thinking it’d be even better this time. But really, if I’m going to set that whole thing aside, he is pretty well-suited for Safeco as a flyball lefty. The knee thing’s a risk, but I’m sure the M’s will do their homework on that.

The thing is… the M’s need more for their money. A lot more. If they brought Washburn back on a one-year, $6m deal, there’s some upside there. But even with Kenji out, the team’s going to be trying to squeeze wins and one of their largest constraints is going to be the payroll budget the business side gives them. If Washburn wants $10m again, the team’s better off gambling on some reclamation projects with lower price tags and riskier profiles. They can’t break even on free agent acquisitions by paying $4-5m per win this year.

AFL Championship Game on

November 21, 2009 · Filed Under Mariners · 34 Comments 

Right now. It’s free. Recent 40-man addition Anthony Varvaro is starting and Dustin Ackley is leading off for the Javelinas.

Why aren’t you watching this already?

Dustin Ackley, Second Baseman?

November 20, 2009 · Filed Under Mariners · 118 Comments 

Shannon Drayer ends the boredom with some real news – the Mariners are going to start working Dustin Ackley out at second base. This is something that had been speculated on pre-draft, as his college coach had publicly said that he though Ackley could make the transition, but the Mariners had been adamant that they saw him as an outfielder.

Clearly, something has changed since June. I don’t believe that the team was lying and intended to do this all along. Since getting him signed, they have either seen something in Ackley, or made a decision about the rest of the roster, that made this a more attractive option than it was this summer. The options of things that may have changed:

1. They weren’t impressed with Ackley’s outfield abilities in the AFL. I find this pretty unlikely. The reports I’ve heard on him from down there have been pretty positive, and you never expect a perfect transition to a position that a player doesn’t have much experience at. Toss in the fact that its a small sample from a bunch of games that don’t really mean anything, and I just can’t see the M’s deciding that he couldn’t hack it in the outfield yet.

2. They were so impressed with Ackley’s bat in the AFL that they’ve moved up their timetable for getting him to the majors. This is slightly more plausible than the above option, but still seems like a stretch. His AFL performance is exactly what everyone expected – a bunch of singles, some walks, and some doubles sprinkled in here and there. The M’s had scouted him extensively in college, so it’s hard to imagine that they saw something in his bat that they didn’t see during the spring, and the performance just wasn’t eye-opening. He was as advertised. That’s not impetus for a change.

3. They’re preparing to acquire a long term answer in left field – i.e. Curtis Granderson. This will get spun into that rumor, but I don’t buy it. I can’t see the M’s paying the price it will take to get Granderson when they already had Saunders, who potentially gives you a similar type of player when he develops.

4. They have decided that Michael Saunders has more of a future on this team than Jose Lopez does. This strikes me as the likely scenario. Lopez has long been rumored to be trade bait this winter, even though there aren’t many in-house options to replace him long term. If they trade Lopez, there’s no one keeping Ackley from a major league job when he’s ready. Saunders is younger, cheaper, under team control for significantly longer, left-handed, better defensively, more athletic… there are a ton of reasons why the M’s would rather have Ackley displace Lopez than Saunders. It’s not that hard to imagine that during one of the post-season meetings between the front office and the coaching staff, everyone decided that Saunders was a keeper and Lopez was a goner. That kind of decision would make an Ackley-to-2B shift more viable.

We’ll find out eventually, as the team puts the roster together. But if I was Jose Lopez, I’d be looking at how much it costs to break my lease.

Waiver claims

November 20, 2009 · Filed Under Mariners · 30 Comments 

Jakubauskas goes to Pittsburgh, Robert Manuel to Boston, per press releases from their respective destinations. Who knows what it means, but losing those two doesn’t mean much. It could simply be clearing the decks for the 40-man roster additions, or maybe Zduriencik has bigger machinations in store.

Update: According to Geoff Baker, they’ve added to the 40-man everyone Jay covered earlier except for Peguero and Scott, plus J.C. Ramirez who I guess does need to go on after all. Also, Varvaro is going to start in the AFL title game.

Next Page »