Game 102, Mariners at White Sox

Dave · July 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Vargas vs Buehrle, 5:10 pm.

I posted this on twitter this afternoon, but here’s something depressing – the five lowest wOBAs in baseball over the last 30 days:

1. Justin Smoak, .171
2. Ivan Rodriguez, .175
3. Miguel Montero, .227
4. Ichiro Suzuki, .231
5. Franklin Gutierrez, .231

Jose Lopez is 11th at .260. Rob Johnson (.230) and Jack Wilson (.240) don’t have enough plate appearances to qualify, but have been equally atrocious. There’s no way these guys will continue hitting this poorly, but man, what a rough month.

Ichiro, RF
Figgins, 2B
Gutierrez, CF
Branyan, DH
Smoak, 1B
Bard, C
Josh Wilson, 3B
Saunders, LF
Jack Wilson, SS

Comments

164 Responses to “Game 102, Mariners at White Sox”

  1. Dennisss on July 28th, 2010 2:07 pm

    There’s no way these guys will continue hitting this poorly

    I’m (nearly) sure you’re right, but this year has taught me to be more cautious with this kind of statement. The low end of the curve is lower than you think.

  2. johnfree63 on July 28th, 2010 2:09 pm

    If Lopez play wasn’t bad enough, now he completely destroys what little trade value he had left by getting injured 3 days before the trade deadline. How can he possibly hurt this team anymore?

  3. mlathrop3 on July 28th, 2010 2:15 pm

    Branyan at cleanup? I might actually turn this game on!

  4. Xteve X on July 28th, 2010 2:16 pm

    “now he completely destroys what little trade value he had left by getting injured 3 days before the trade deadline.”

    Was any team really going to give up something significant in return for him?

  5. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 2:20 pm

    Looking at that lineup, and then envisioning next year’s lineup… Ichiro might suddenly seem like a problem next year… His $17 million could fill in the blanks quite nicely…

    Imagine:

    Figgins 3b
    Ackley 2b
    Guty CF
    (Powerhitting DH)
    (Powerhitting LF or RF)
    Smoak 1b
    Saunders LF or RF
    Moore C
    Wilson(s) SS

    I don’t want to see Ichiro leave, just imagining what we might be without his 1/5-of-the-budget contract)

  6. Mike Snow on July 28th, 2010 2:23 pm

    Also with too few plate appearances (or too many, depending on how you look at it):

    Josh Wilson .167
    Josh Bard .216

    So basically, no matter which shortstop and catcher we’ve run out there, that’s offensive black holes for the past month at six positions. The only guys who have been above average are Saunders, Branyan, and Kotchman (I guess those last two boost first base a little bit from Smoak’s bottom-of-the-barrel performance).

  7. eponymous coward on July 28th, 2010 2:31 pm

    Was any team really going to give up something significant in return for him?

    Well, there’s always the Royals (“Hi, which prospects will you give up so you can have ALL THREE of our middle infielders from 2004-2006?”), but yeah, I can’t imagine Lopez has much trade value hitting the way he does, especially given that you probably can get him for nothing in November if the Mariners decide not to pull the trigger on his team option.

    Pity that we’re going to have to really pull out the stops to get the first first round draft pick, since Baltimore is even more horrible than we are.

  8. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 2:33 pm

    I don’t want to see Ichiro leave, just imagining what we might be without his 1/5-of-the-budget contract)

    I agree. He’s a great player but he’s paid too much for what he provides. Great defense and OBP because of his high average but no extra base power for 18 mil.

  9. joenapkins on July 28th, 2010 2:36 pm

    Shouldn’t Saunders be hitting a little higher than 8th at this point? He’s been hot lately, and the objective is to get him more plate appearances right? I just don’t see many logical reasons why Bard and Josh Wilson need to hit above him.

  10. Dave on July 28th, 2010 2:40 pm

    There are two groups of fans – those who think Ichiro is overpaid and should be traded, and those that understand baseball.

  11. lalo on July 28th, 2010 2:44 pm

    I don’t want to see Ichiro leave, just imagining what we might be without his 1/5-of-the-budget contract)

    No, Ichiro is the best player in the M´s, and with Felix and Guti, the only reason to watch the M´s, I prefer to trade Figgy, and save 9 million…

    9 millions+5 millions of Lopez= Adam Dunn

    RF Ichiro
    2b Ackley
    3b???Branyan
    DH.Dunn
    1B Smoak
    LF SAUNDERS
    CF GUTI
    C Moore/veteran catcher
    SS Wilson´s

  12. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 2:51 pm

    There are two groups of fans – those who think Ichiro is overpaid and should be traded, and those that understand baseball.

    Then can you defend your argument that he is worth the 18 mil? Maybe compared to other players with a little bit lesser but similar skills like a Juan Pierre or Podsednik? Not that they have been as consistent as Ichiro but would cost far less. I would love Ichiro at around 10-12 mil but for a guy that has to be driven in by his team mates to have some value, 18 mil seems a bit much.

  13. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 2:52 pm

    3b???Branyan

    He can’t play 3rd anymore with his back issues.

  14. GoldenGutz on July 28th, 2010 2:52 pm

    Branyan playing third???? WTF? Anyways, I hope Smoak can break out of his slump. Maybe he doesn’t like hitting 5th? I just want the kid to hit because I want Mark Teixera 2.0.

  15. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 2:55 pm

    Dave–
    It’s “those WHOM understand baseball”…

  16. GoldenGutz on July 28th, 2010 2:56 pm

    Add in the fact that we probably have a Japanese television contract, a lot of our fans our from Japanese descent and Ichiro is probably the most marketed player on our team and you have more than 6m for the difference. Also he is probably one of the most consistent guys in baseball which adds to his value.

  17. bergamot on July 28th, 2010 2:58 pm

    Pity that we’re going to have to really pull out the stops to get the first first round draft pick, since Baltimore is even more horrible than we are.

    See, there’s still a place for optimism on USS Mariner.

  18. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 3:00 pm

    And again, as for myself, I like having Ichiro on the Mariners– he’s my favorite player. I was only thinking what others might think when we start imagining next year’s lineup.

    And also imagining how much easier it would be to compete if, say, the management upped the payroll to closer to $95-100 million.

  19. vern on July 28th, 2010 3:00 pm

    There are two groups of fans – those who think Ichiro is overpaid and should be traded, and those that understand baseball.

    I would add a third group of fans: Those who understand business. I happen to believe Ichiro is worth the money from a baseball point of view, but I could easily argue that he is worth it from a merchandise, butts in the seats, huge fan base in Japan point of view. He is the most marketable player the M’s have and when you consider the international market, arguably one of the most marketable players in baseball.

  20. Dave on July 28th, 2010 3:05 pm

    Then can you defend your argument that he is worth the 18 mil?

    Click here, scroll down.

  21. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 3:06 pm

    (Dammit… “those WHO” I meant… *sigh* lame!…)

  22. heychuck01 on July 28th, 2010 3:08 pm

    Ichiro is not overpaid, but that doesn’t mean he “shouldn’t be traded”. There are scenarios where it makes sense (especially if the Mariners are going for a youth movement).

    But I am guessing those scenarios do not realistically exist, as far as what another GM is willing to give up. My guess is he has more value to the Mariners (icon etc. who brings in money) then most other teams.

  23. Paul B on July 28th, 2010 3:11 pm

    I’d like to see Mike Wilson get called up, if only because then there would be 3 Wilson’s in the lineup.

    I’d also like to see Moore back up.

    Maybe next week we’ll see some more players called up, and some non performers go away.

  24. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 3:12 pm

    Then can you defend your argument that he is worth the 18 mil?
    Click here, scroll down.

    I understand the numbers of Ichiro and that he is a great player but on our team where he is 1/5 of the salary, couldn’t we do more with that money? His salary is fine if he’s a Yankee or a Red Sox.

  25. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 3:12 pm

    Look what I started, sorry everybody. But I guess ultimately that’s what I was talking about, next year the “trade Ichiro” voices are going to get loud and plentiful. Probably as loud as the “Fire Wak” voices if he’s here next spring and we’re not at .500 at the end of April.

    At some point Ichiro’s career will start declining to the end, and I only hope it doesn’t go down as horribly as another of my favorite players’ endgame is going- LaDanian Tomlinson.

  26. djw on July 28th, 2010 3:13 pm

    Maybe compared to other players with a little bit lesser but similar skills like a Juan Pierre or Podsednik?

    Since the start of the 2006 season, Scott Podsednik has been worth 2.5 wins above replacement level. Juan Pierre has been worth 7.2 wins above replacement level. Ichiro, on the other hand, has been worth 22.3 winss above replacement level.

    These players are all outfielders, they all run fast, and none of them hit a lot of home runs. It’s very, very strange to assume that because of these three similarities, they must have similar value. I can see how one might eyeball some simple stats and conclude, incorrectly, that Ichiro is overpaid based on misapplying some rules of thumb. What I can’t grasp is how anyone could ever assume that a borderline replacement level player like Podsednik and a below average player like Pierre could be considered in the same class as a player like Ichiro. It’s bizarre.

  27. djw on July 28th, 2010 3:16 pm

    His salary is fine if he’s a Yankee or a Red Sox.

    The cost of a win is calculated by looking at the spending practices of all 30 teams in the market. It’s not a special rate for the richest teams.

  28. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 3:18 pm

    What I can’t grasp is how anyone could ever assume that a borderline replacement level player like Podsednik and a below average player like Pierre could be considered in the same class as a player like Ichiro. It’s bizarre.

    Never said same class. Just meant could get them for 1/4 of Ichiro salary and use the rest to improve the team.

  29. rmarshall on July 28th, 2010 3:20 pm

    Let’s bring up Ackley now. At worst, he is going to hit .240-.250 and I would much rather watch him than Lopez or friggin Figgins

  30. djw on July 28th, 2010 3:26 pm

    Never said same class. Just meant could get them for 1/4 of Ichiro salary and use the rest to improve the team

    Let’s say Podsednik and Pierre are 1.5 WAR players, and can be had for 1/4 of Ichiro’s salary, or 4.5 million dollars. Ichiro has averaged 5 WAR over the last 4 years. That would leave management with a 13.5 million dollar budget boost and 3.5 wins in the hole. Getting 3.5 wins for 13 million on the free agent market isn’t impossible, but it isn’t exactly easy. But if you were to pull it off, you’d only be breaking even and spinning your wheels on the field, while losing one of your most marketable assets and marquis players. To make this worthwhile and improve the team, that 13.5 million would need to buy more than 3.5 WAR (how much more I don’t really know).

    Any ideas on how they get those wins in the market? Where’s the 4+WAR player Seattle can sign for 13 million?

  31. Swungonandbelted on July 28th, 2010 3:31 pm

    Let’s bring up Ackley now. At worst, he is going to hit .240-.250 and I would much rather watch him than Lopez or friggin Figgins

    Why start the service clock on Ackley this year, in the middle of a lost season? He’ll probably be up in September anyway after the AAA season ends. Let the kid get a full season of pro ball in him, the only reason to bring him up at this point is for the fans to see him, he’s not going to contribute to the point where he makes an appreciable difference on the outcome of this season.

  32. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 3:36 pm

    Jhonny Peralta to the Tigers. There goes hope of Lopez being traded.

  33. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 3:39 pm

    DJW-
    I’m with you on the marketable player thing, but seriously wonder about the “spinning our wheels” part…

    Ichiro gets on base, but can’t score, currently (because of our lineup)…
    Theoretically, we could score more runs with 3 slightly better than average guys in the lineup alternately getting on base and batting each other in, then one high above average hitter followed by nobody who can hit him in at a reasonable rate…?

    Wondering aloud, not refuting what you’re saying. I think our lineup this year has been a good testament to the fact that stats speak to a base plane of “average”. And we have some very much below average happenings going on this season, which are skewing things horribly.

    Does a team function more positively with one (hypothetically) 9 WAR guy followed by three 1 WAR guys… Or would a lineup built around four 3 WAR guys function better? Both four man groups total 12 WAR, but I don’t believe they are equally effective? (Could be wrong, obviously– have been before)

  34. justinh on July 28th, 2010 3:41 pm

    It can be frustrating at times to pay someone 17 million who has no power and bats leadoff. However, for the last ten yrs we have been spoiled by Gold Glove defense and 200+ hits every season. It is easy to say Ichiro is overpaid if you don’t look at the intangibles he brings on a daily basis. Simply, we have been spoiled.

    One thing I would do is try moving Figgy to leadoff. His OBP is still decent and it would be a change to a place he is comfortable with and simply needs to get on base. Ichiro, with his high ability to put the ball in play, would fit the bill in the two hole. A change of scenery could be just the tonic for Figgy, and Ichiro, for that matter. If it doesn’t work after two or three weeks, go back. Call me crazy, but what do you have to lose?

  35. shortbus on July 28th, 2010 3:41 pm

    It’s just such a relief not seeing Lopez’ name in the fourth spot. Too bad he had to get hurt for it to finally happen.

    Now just flip Saunders and Bard and reverse the Wilsons and you’ve got a decent batting order.

    Oh, and no Johnson. Yay!

  36. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 3:42 pm

    Agree MrZ. What good is Ichiro’s WAR if we have a bunch of scrubs trying to hit him in?

  37. djw on July 28th, 2010 3:43 pm

    MrZDevotee,

    I’m reasonably certain the WAR formula takes all this into account, so that a 9/1/1/1 is likely to produce the same as a 3/3/3/3.

  38. dw on July 28th, 2010 3:51 pm

    Never said same class. Just meant could get them for 1/4 of Ichiro salary and use the rest to improve the team.

    You could also sell your 2001 Mercedes E320, buy a Chevy Prizm for 1/3 that cost, then spend the remaining 2/3rds on a poor condition Jaguar you try to convince yourself is just as good as the Mercedes and a Mazda 323 you insist will make up for the sportiness and the ride of the Mercedes the Jaguar lacked while your eyes pop out of your socket when you see just how much you spend on repairing said Mazda.

    In other words, no, you can’t do what you said, because it makes no sense.

    I would be fine with Ichiro being traded, but it better be for a return that will allow this team to be truly competitive in 2012. If clearing $18M means getting Carl Crawford, sure. But Crawford won’t be signing for $18M/year.

  39. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 3:53 pm

    You could also sell your 2001 Mercedes E320, buy a Chevy Prizm for 1/3 that cost, then spend the remaining 2/3rds on a poor condition Jaguar you try to convince yourself is just as good as the Mercedes and a Mazda 323 you insist will make up for the sportiness and the ride of the Mercedes the Jaguar lacked while your eyes pop out of your socket when you see just how much you spend on repairing said Mazda.

    Not building a team of cars, analogy doesn’t work.

  40. fcb on July 28th, 2010 3:56 pm

    There are two groups of fans – those who think Ichiro is overpaid and should be traded, and those that understand baseball.

    Dave, this as just as short sighted as people who think ichiro is overrated.

  41. dw on July 28th, 2010 3:57 pm

    Not building a team of cars, analogy doesn’t work.

    Yes it does. Podsednik is a Jaguar. Watch him play the field — don’t you see the giant oil puddle on the grass when he stands in the same place for too long?

  42. fcb on July 28th, 2010 4:07 pm

    OOPS. accidentally hit comment.

    the agonizing thing about ichiro is the variance you get in his performance. when he is tearing the cover off the ball, getting on base constantly and forcing fielding errors with his speed, there isnt a better bargian in baseball. but when ichiro hits .280, hes a replacement level hitter becuase he doesnt have any power and he doesnt draw walks. ichiro is consistently at the top of the WAR list for outfielders, but he does it by being earth shattering for stretches and underwhelming for other. Ichiro is not just an amazing hitter, but probably one of those rare player we will never see again. That makes him special and entertaining, but his skillset is not without its downfalls. I understand why some poeple wish this team’s star hitter was a guy you could count on for a conventional .300/.400/.500 season and 30 bombs. on the heels of your article on randomness, I think you should be able to pick out the value in predictable players. even though ichiro is always good, having to roll the dice between good and the greatest hitter to ever pick up a bat from month to month is aggrivating. frankly, I think this team needs a guy who gets on base, hits consistently for a decent average and puts a charge in the ball for moral’s sake. its a psychological thing. I dont agree with scapegoating ichiro, but I see why people are frustrated. when you have to watch a lineup of singles hackers for years on end, somehow having the greatest singles hacker in the game isn’t all that fun.

    just my .2C.

  43. georgmi on July 28th, 2010 4:08 pm

    giant oil puddle on the grass

    I thought that was from Bill Krueger on the pregame show?

  44. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 4:10 pm

    Very well put FCB

  45. Rayvensdad on July 28th, 2010 4:11 pm

    I love when people state things like… “there’s no way these guys will continue hitting this poorly.” With Ichiro as the exception, there isn’t anything in history that states the other players will “pull out of it”. Justin Smoak is the only guy with an excuse, since he’s a rookie, figuring out the highest level of pitching out there, and at least is still producing RBI’s and HR’s every now and then. What a fun couple of years in Seattle Sports. The last time the Mariners or Seahawks were in the playoffs… the Seahawks were embarrassed in Green Bay… tons to hold our head up high. Bring on the rain.

  46. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 4:15 pm

    The Giants inquired on Mariners closer David Aardsma, MLBTR has learned. However, the Mariners countered by offering Aardsma and Jose Lopez for Pablo Sandoval and were turned down.

  47. Xteve X on July 28th, 2010 4:17 pm

    “especially given that you probably can get [Lopez] for nothing in November if the Mariners decide not to pull the trigger on his team option.”

    That’s my thinking as well. No need to give up any kind of asset for a guy about to be consigned to the scrap pile. Even given his relatively cheap contract it wouldn’t surprise me if he cleared waivers.

  48. dw on July 28th, 2010 4:20 pm

    having to roll the dice between good and the greatest hitter to ever pick up a bat from month to month is aggrivating.

    How long have you been watching baseball exactly? You just described every last freakin’ player in the game there.

  49. dw on July 28th, 2010 4:23 pm

    The Giants inquired on Mariners closer David Aardsma, MLBTR has learned. However, the Mariners countered by offering Aardsma and Jose Lopez for Pablo Sandoval and were turned down.

    Sabean: So, Z, I was wondering about Aardsma.

    Z: I’ll give him to you for Kung Fu Panda…

    Sabean: DEAL!

    Z: and I’ll send you Lopez as well.

    Sabean: (pause) Could I call you back? I think KC is on the other line offering to make a stupid deal for Soria.

  50. Dennisss on July 28th, 2010 4:23 pm

    fcb, just a couple of points:

    but when ichiro hits .280, he’s a replacement level hitter because he doesn’t have any power and he doesn’t draw walks

    1) When Branyan doesn’t hit home runs and strikes out a lot, he sucks. Is Ichiro different? If he doesn’t do the things he does well, he’s not as good.

    2) Ichiro has 200 hits every year. He seems remarkably consistent to me.

  51. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 4:26 pm

    2) Ichiro has 200 hits every year. He seems remarkably consistent to me.

    Because he swings at everything. It works for him though as he beats out a lot of would be outs. Could take more pitches.

  52. lalo on July 28th, 2010 4:27 pm

    The Giants inquired on Mariners closer David Aardsma, MLBTR has learned. However, the Mariners countered by offering Aardsma and Jose Lopez for Pablo Sandoval and were turned down.

    Jose Lopez + David Aardsma + Luke French + Triunfel, perhaps that is more likely…

  53. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 4:28 pm

    Sabean: (pause) Could I call you back? I think KC is on the other line offering to make a stupid deal for Soria.

    Haha.

  54. Chris_From_Bothell on July 28th, 2010 4:29 pm

    As much as I like not seeing Lopez hitting cleanup today… who goes in if Jack Wilson gets hurt today?

    I suppose they shove The Wilson Who Hits over to shortstop, and Kotchman for an emergency start at 3b…?

    If these games mattered, this would be a really unfortunate time for Hamstrings McGee to go down too. Stay safe today, Jack.

  55. beaudini13 on July 28th, 2010 4:34 pm

    can hamstrings mcgee be his nickname?

    I have decided that I will not wear anything with a Mariners logo on it until Jose Lopez no longer plays for this team. Can we as the fans sign a petition and send it to Jack?

  56. Paul B on July 28th, 2010 4:43 pm

    How long have you been watching baseball exactly? You just described every last freakin’ player in the game there.

    Yup.

    Someone would have to use actual, you know, numbers to show that Ichiro was more streaky than other hitters.

  57. JMHawkins on July 28th, 2010 4:44 pm
    There are two groups of fans – those who think Ichiro is overpaid and should be traded, and those that understand baseball.

    Dave, this as just as short sighted as people who think ichiro is overrated…

    Y’know, the more you guys try to prove that the M’s would be better without Ichiro and his $17M salary, the more you prove Dave’s point.

    the agonizing thing about ichiro is the variance

    As a couple of people have pointed out, that’s every decent player in the game. In fact, Ichiro is really one of the more consistent guys. And at least when he’s on a cold streak at the plate, he’s still playing solid defense.

    What good is Ichiro’s WAR if we have a bunch of scrubs trying to hit him in?

    If you’d said “what good is his OBP” you might have the start of an argument about whether a few great players are better than a bunch of good ones, but since you used WAR, it’s clear you don’t understand WAR. Might as well say what good is Felix if we have a bunch of wet noodles at the plate who can’t score runs for him.

    Neither one is much use by themselves, but both are quite valuable if you’re trying to assemble a winning team. If you traded Ichiro, you would almost certainly end up paying more than $17M to replace what he gives the team. That is what WAR says, anyway.

    If you want to debate whether WAR is a busted stat, well okay. Have at it.

  58. djw on July 28th, 2010 4:47 pm

    I love when people state things like… “there’s no way these guys will continue hitting this poorly.” With Ichiro as the exception, there isn’t anything in history that states the other players will “pull out of it”.

    Simply put, when non-ancient players have an established level of performance, and they significantly underperform for several months, it’s more likely they’ll return to the established level than it is they’ll stay at the new, much lower level. It’s called regression to the mean, and it’s the reason performances over the last three years are more predictive than one year, or half a year.

  59. fcb on July 28th, 2010 4:47 pm

    denniss-

    you just compared ichiro to russel branyan. to answer your question, yes ichiro is different. ichrio is a hall of famer and the greatest leadoff hitter since rickey henderson. Russel Branyan is a career journeyman who has made a part time career out of having one plus tool.

    and for the second point, do you expect me to argue hitting 200 hits every year isnt consistent? of course it is. I think thats why my post refered to ichiro as things like “amazing” “always good” and “EARTH SHATTERING” If im still going to get miscast as an ichiro critic after using that vernacular, I give up. my post was limited in scope to the historic tranjectory of Ichiro’s single season performances, and how they contribute to the perception that ichiro is overrated.

  60. djw on July 28th, 2010 4:49 pm

    ichiro is consistently at the top of the WAR list for outfielders, but he does it by being earth shattering for stretches and underwhelming for other.

    I’m far from convinced (and I’ve certainly never seen it empirically demonstrated) that Ichiro is an unusually ‘streaky’ player, but even if he is, I fail to see how that diminishes his overall value in any way. What matters is how many games you win, not the order you win them in.

  61. JMHawkins on July 28th, 2010 4:55 pm

    Shouldn’t we all be congratulating Ichiro on finally being a team player and not making the rest of the guys feel bad by hitting well when they can’t?

  62. Breadbaker on July 28th, 2010 5:05 pm

    Ichiro has been on base 163 times this year and scored 37 runs. He drove himself in 3 of those times. In 2001, he was on base 270 times and scored 127 runs (and drove himself in 8 of those times).

    Somehow, I don’t think the fix to this ballclub starts at no. 51.

  63. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 5:14 pm

    Woh, one of the only times all year that the 1-2 punch at the top of the order did what we had hoped for when we signed Figgy

  64. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 5:15 pm

    Somehow, I don’t think the fix to this ballclub starts at no. 51

    That’s the point though. When you spend all of that money on him and you don’t have good pieces around him, it makes him less valuable.

  65. JMHawkins on July 28th, 2010 5:16 pm

    What was that article Dave wrote recently? Randomness?

  66. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 5:18 pm

    If only Ichi and Figgy were getting on back to back more often this year. I wonder how often they actually got on back to back?

    Don’t hurt your back Branyan, nice slide

  67. JMHawkins on July 28th, 2010 5:32 pm

    That’s the point though. When you spend all of that money on him and you don’t have good pieces around him, it makes him less valuable.</blockquote.

    I give up. You're not even trying

  68. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 5:38 pm

    He’s not driving people in. He has to be driven in as he is a singles hitting lead off hitter. He doesn’t drive himself in. Sorry if I don’t think that’s worth 18 mil.

    High Desert is single A, Niehaus.

  69. Dennisss on July 28th, 2010 5:38 pm

    fcb, I hope you noticed I did not paint you as an Ichiro critic or slam you in any way, just questioned a couple of points and was hoping you would clarify.

    If your point is about perception, I really can’t say one way or the other. I still think Ichiro is about as consistent as any player can hope to be though.

  70. Breadbaker on July 28th, 2010 5:43 pm

    I can’t believe Ichiro didn’t drive in anyone after the no. 8 hitter struck out and the no. 9 hitter grounded out. Trade him today!

  71. Westside guy on July 28th, 2010 5:44 pm

    Because he swings at everything. It works for him though as he beats out a lot of would be outs. Could take more pitches.

    I’m not sure I agree with the last sentence. With most players I’d say yes, but with Ichiro… He’s like Vlad Guerrero is/was in that he seems able to make functional contact with bad pitches, so I’m not sure taking more pitches would improve his OBP.

    Now let’s compare this approach with that of Jose Lopez, who seems to think he can make good contact with bad pitches – at least based on statements he’s made to Drayer about how hard it is to take pitches when Ichiro swings at everything. Yeah, why he thinks that’s a valid comparison is beyond me…

  72. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 5:44 pm

    Even Figgy can hit em out of that softball field in Chicago

  73. lalo on July 28th, 2010 5:45 pm

    Figgy homer????

    Really’???

  74. EthanN on July 28th, 2010 5:46 pm

    The way I see it, I love Ichiro to death but I wouldn’t be against trading him

    Keep a few things in mind however:

    1) Most people argue he is the only fun player to watch. I live in Fullerton, CA, so I rarely ever get to see them play anyways. I don’t care if this was the most boring team on the face of the Earth, I want wins. I understand if we have Ichiro then we’ll get more wins, so if they are planning on bringing in RBI guys at any point then by all means keep him.

    2) I think by the time this all gets turned around, Ichiro will definitely be on the decline. We preach building for the future don’t we?

    So please don’t bash me here. I love Ichiro, i think he is the best player on this team. However I would love to see him be on a winning team and by the time this team turns into a winning team, he may not be as large of a factor. Absolutely zero way of knowing though. Ricky Henderson never seemed to age.

  75. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 5:46 pm

    Wow, you know, up until 5:43pm today, I had NO IDEA that sarcasm was so amazingly effective. I’m in awe.

    (said tongue-in-cheek)

  76. Paul B on July 28th, 2010 5:46 pm

    Did Figgy steal home in the first? Was it a busted hit and run?

  77. henryv on July 28th, 2010 5:46 pm

    Gamecast appears to be broken.

    It says “Figgins homers to deep left.”

  78. EthanN on July 28th, 2010 5:48 pm

    Eh forget about my last post. I love Ichiro, sign him to a lifetime contract. I still haven’t gotten over the loss of Sasaki

  79. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 5:48 pm

    henryv-
    (laughs)
    Yeah, I know. My TV is broken too… Totally made it look like Figgins hit one out. Weird camera angles.

  80. henryv on July 28th, 2010 5:49 pm

    I think by the time this all gets turned around, Ichiro will definitely be on the decline.

    You have forgotten that Ichiro is an immortal, and so he does not age.

    Not 100% true, but show me some regression with age greater than random variance.

  81. Paul B on July 28th, 2010 5:50 pm

    Maybe everyone was so busy arguing about trading Ichiro that no one saw Figgy steal home?

  82. henryv on July 28th, 2010 5:50 pm

    Yeah, I know. My TV is broken too… Totally made it look like Figgins hit one out. Weird camera angles.

    I think we may have a massive failure in technology.

    The J28Y2K10 bug.

  83. EthanN on July 28th, 2010 5:51 pm

    @henryv

    you missed the last part of the post though when I said there was no way of actually knowing. Seeing as how Ricky Henderson could still probably swipe a few bases if he came out of retirement.

  84. henryv on July 28th, 2010 5:51 pm

    I can’t believe I’m working through this game.

    Grading freaking tests, no less… ARRRRGH.

    I’ll watch the first few innings on rebroadcast, for sure.

  85. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 5:52 pm

    show me some regression with age greater than random variance.

    Henry,
    Ever heard of this guy named Ken Griffey Jr, up in Seattle earlier this year. I think he created the term “maximized regression.”

  86. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 5:55 pm

    Good, there’s nothing wrong with my TV– now the other guys are hitting dingers. All is well.

  87. henryv on July 28th, 2010 5:56 pm

    show me some regression with age greater than random variance.

    Henry,
    Ever heard of this guy named Ken Griffey Jr, up in Seattle earlier this year. I think he created the term “maximized regression.”

    By Ichiro, I meant.

  88. Breadbaker on July 28th, 2010 5:56 pm

    MrZDevotee, I think you misinterpreted Henry. He was referring to Ichiro specifically. Lots of players age normally. Ichiro is so unlike any other player that the rules don’t apply to him. That doesn’t mean that he won’t age, or even fall off a cliff one day in terms of ability. But there is nothing in the record so far to indicate it.

  89. EthanN on July 28th, 2010 5:56 pm

    Finally the offense comes alive and now the pitching is going to let us down.

    UGH

  90. Paul B on July 28th, 2010 5:57 pm

    Seeing as how Ricky Henderson could still probably swipe a few bases if he came out of retirement.

    Ty Cobb was once asked how he would fare against modern day pitchers. He said he would hit .300. When asked why so low, he said that you have to remember, I’m seventy three.

  91. groundzero55 on July 28th, 2010 6:05 pm

    frankly, I think this team needs a guy who gets on base, hits consistently for a decent average and puts a charge in the ball for moral’s sake.

    I wish we had Morneau on this team, too.

    But seriously. To jump on the Ichiro conversation late, I’m not one to talk about salaries considering I believe they have been broken for many years. However, I do think ahead, down the road, toward Ichiro’s retirement. I think it’s safe to say he will someday retire, probably after he begins to decline/is injured in some way. He is already in the latter half of his 30s, a time when most players begin that slide. He has some years left in him no doubt, but consider: do you trade him at that point, knowing you won’t get a slew of A prospects for him, or do you simply let him go and bank his salary for a free agent the next year? I honestly do not see a trade of Ichiro at this point bringing in a mass of young talent that some others on this board seem to think.

  92. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 6:05 pm

    Ahh… Yeah, I totally agree about Ichiro. In fact, I’m surprised every team in baseball doesn’t implement Ichiro’s “stretch every second of the day” philosophy. It’s amazing to watch him during a game, he spends at least an hour of the game stretching, in tiny seconds-long moments, over and over again. He’s always twisting and stretching, non-stop. And he almost never has incidental injuries.

  93. Paul B on July 28th, 2010 6:06 pm

    That might have been apocryphal, I don’t know.

  94. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 6:15 pm

    Wow, Justin Smoak getting the promotional plug in a game commercial? Just heard it…

    “Justin Smoak and the Mariners take on…” (didn’t even hear who the opponent was, I was so surprised).

    Seems a bit premature at this point.

  95. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 6:21 pm

    re: Justin Smoak promotional spot

    In fact, bringing things full circle, I think the only player we have right now worthy of being promoted like that is Ichiro! (And Felix on the days he starts.)

    So yeah, we’d be a bit thin on star power if Ichiro wasn’t here, huh?

  96. EthanN on July 28th, 2010 6:23 pm

    The Duke Blue Devils had zero star power and they won the NCAA Basketball championship =P

  97. henryv on July 28th, 2010 6:23 pm

    Ty Cobb was once asked how he would fare against modern day pitchers. He said he would hit .300. When asked why so low, he said that you have to remember, I’m seventy three.

    I’m sure there was a bunch of profanity and a few racist slurs in there, too.

  98. henryv on July 28th, 2010 6:26 pm

    Was that a fielding error, and an Ichiro infield hit? I’m Gamechannelling it. (booooooooo)

  99. henryv on July 28th, 2010 6:27 pm

    The Duke Blue Devils had zero star power and they won the NCAA Basketball championship =P

    Their star sits on the bench (sometimes) and wears a suit and tie.

  100. samregens on July 28th, 2010 6:28 pm

    I love how a slump brings the Ichiro bashers (basher) crawling out of the woodwork.

    Well said, Dave.

    There are two groups of fans – those who think Ichiro is overpaid and should be traded, and those that understand baseball.

    One of the few bright lights on a thread hijacked by bashers (basher).
    Podsednik and Pierre similar to Ichiro? djw pointed out how moronic this poster’s claim was, but sheesh.

    And I love how the bashers (basher) claims that Ichiro’s salary can be better spent. We’ve seen how easy that was over the years in how well Mariner free agent acquisitions have performed. Yeah, for Ichiro’s salary we could hire Silva and Kotchman maybe? That would be great for the bashers (basher).

    And by the way, nobody points out that Ichiro deferred 4 or 5? million of it at zero interest to be paid out like a pension years later, so the M’s financial burden is much lighter actually.
    Ichiro’s consistency in high level performance year in and year out is amazing. And there’s no need to even mention the deferred salary, Ichiro’s worth every penny of 17 million dollars in performance alone.

    If the money was easily possible to be better spent on reliably well performing players, there would not be a bunch of blackholes on the roster and the team would be doing better. And these moronic posts could crawl back into the darkness where they belong.

  101. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 6:32 pm

    Podsednik and Pierre similar to Ichiro? djw pointed out how moronic this poster’s claim was, but sheesh

    .

    Never meant similar. Said they could be had for 1/4 the price and spend the other money to fill out the team.

  102. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 6:37 pm

    The fact is we pay Ichiro for his fan base and popularity more than we pay for his production.

  103. greentunic on July 28th, 2010 6:41 pm

    Does Alexi Ramirez have it out for the Mariners or is he the greatest shortstop of all time?

  104. mln on July 28th, 2010 6:42 pm

    Personally, I would like to see if Ichiro can play into his late 40s or beyond (like Jamie Moyer) at a productive level.

    That would be so cool to see a guy in his 50s playing major league baseball at a high level.

  105. EthanN on July 28th, 2010 6:45 pm

    Haha Derek Lee vetoed a trade to the Angels.

    Very nice.

  106. tubbabubba22 on July 28th, 2010 6:48 pm

    Plus, most of you aren’t even taking into account Ichiro’s defensive skills as well..

  107. DMZ on July 28th, 2010 6:52 pm

    The fact is we pay Ichiro for his fan base and popularity more than we pay for his production.

    Really. You think Ichiro! is paid more than half of his salary for his fan base and popularity?

    Because if that’s true, we’re getting an absolute bargain on what we pay for his production and you should stop ragging on him for making so much money.

    It’s not like Juan Pierre comes with a built in 50% discount on his garbage services.

  108. RRR on July 28th, 2010 6:52 pm

    The fact is we pay Ichiro for his fan base and popularity more than we pay for his production.

    SODOMOJO360- Now you are adding value to the counter argument of your claim. If Ichiro is in fact being paid because of his fanbase/popularity/merchandise, that simply raises his value. Let’s say $6M of his $18M is directly correlated to the revenue/Japanese fans he brings in. Now you have a consistent 5 WAR player at $12M/year of actual bottom line cost to the business.

    People need to keep in mind this theory that you can just get wins in other spots is incorrect. You only have 8 position players. You are always going to have a league average player or five…. There is a premium on 4-5+WAR players because quite frankly there aren’t that many of them. The previous comments about the free agent market are also spot on. I challenge you to take $12-18M and show me consistent results where you sign two players for $12-18 million total and get two players who provide 3WAR every year like Ichiro does by himself(5-6 most years)

  109. DMZ on July 28th, 2010 6:53 pm

    Ha ha! I beat you to that refutation!

  110. MrZDevotee on July 28th, 2010 6:55 pm

    SODOMOJO-
    Although if you expand that thinking, the revenue he creates then in turn funds better producing other players (hopefully)… There are only a handful of players out there who create enough interest to actually benefit the team beyond their own on-field production. He would definitely be one– just by drawing a fanbase beyond the Western Hemisphere. (On the flipside of all this pondering– our payroll would be crazy small without Ichiro… It would leave 25 guys making $2.6 million on average.)

  111. RRR on July 28th, 2010 6:57 pm

    But mine had more words!! :)

    That is my biggest headache when people gripe that we pay Ichiro because of his popularity/marketability. And the free agent market…. How about we look at Chone Figgins…or travel down I-5 and ask Oakland about their return on Ben Sheets.

  112. JMHawkins on July 28th, 2010 7:14 pm

    He’s not driving people in. He has to be driven in as he is a singles hitting lead off hitter. He doesn’t drive himself in. Sorry if I don’t think that’s worth 18 mil.

    Great, let’s dump him and pay a guy $17M who drives people in. Ooops, now there’s nobody on base for Mr. Masher to drive in. Still no offense.

    Okay, not what you meant. Instead, let’s dump Ichiro and pay $7 M for a guy who kind of gets on base (not a well as Ichiro, but y’know, he’s cheaper) and $10M for a guy to kind of knock him in. Only, the leadoff guy’s not on base all that often and when he is, the semi-Masher isn’t all that reliable at driving him in…

    See, this is what you don’t get, but maybe some others reading will get. Ichiro + a cheap #3 hitter is better than a cheap lead-off hitter + a $17M guy in the 3-hole, and better than a middle-of-the road leadoff hitter plus a middle of the road three-hole guy. If we had to replace the value he brings on the open market, we’d pay more than his salary to do it.

    Over the last three seasons (07-09) Ichiro has averaged 4.76 WAR, making him worth on average just under $21M per season. He’s paid $17M per, making him a net $4M per year asset. Since wins on the free market are a little over $4M each, getting rid of him and his salary would mean we’re probably 1 win worse by the time we get done spending that money on some other batch of players.

  113. gradin123 on July 28th, 2010 7:16 pm

    I am sorry folks but I am getting worried about Justin Smoak. I know he is highly touted but it almost looks like he has vision problems because he can’t seem to recognize off-speed stuff and the whole league knows it now.

    Until he gets it straightened out I am not even sure the Major Leagues are the right spot for him. I guess this is a lost season but this horrible slump can’t be helping his longterm confidence.

    I have a bad feeling we should have taken Montero instead.

  114. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 7:19 pm

    I believe T.B. is the model franchise. They get the most out of their money and compete in the hardest division in baseball. They were able to sign Longoria for 9 years and 44 mil? I would take his production over Ichiro any day. Braun has a similar contract in MIL. TB is going to lose Crawford but have Jennings waiting in the wings. They draft extremely well and put a good team on the field. Just wish we could do that. If the M’s aren’t winning by 2012 then Jack Z. is overrated.

  115. JMHawkins on July 28th, 2010 7:26 pm

    They draft extremely well and put a good team on the field. Just wish we could do that.

    Bingo. They draft well, so they have a bunch of cheap guys who aren’t elegible for FA yet but are still quality MLB starters. We drafted like crap so we have exactly 1 guy (Saunders) making league minimum who might be almost sorta close to league-average if you squint a little bit. That’s our problem.

    Maybe if we hadn’t paid Ichiro all that money we would have had enough left to hire someone smart to do our drafting for us. Is that what you’re saying?

  116. samregens on July 28th, 2010 7:27 pm

    When was Longoria a free agent?

    Man, I just love how an Ichi-slump brings the bashers (basher) eagerly crawling out of the woodwork.

  117. djw on July 28th, 2010 7:28 pm

    You are indeed correct, SODOMOJO360, that Ichiro’s contract is not likely to provide as much ‘bang for the buck’ as Longoria’s contract. It just so happens that Longoria’s contract is almost certainly the highest value contract in all of major league baseball. If you think about this really hard, you might think of a very good reasons why Longoria’s contract is providing more value. Here’s a hint: it rhythms with “buying out option and arbitration schmears.”

  118. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 7:28 pm

    Assuming Ackley comes up next year to play 2nd and we move Figgy to 3rd then we have 3 players that are built to be lead off hitters. That leaves Smoak, DH, LF and Guti to drive in runs. Guti is a 6 or 7 hole hitter. If we drafted Ackley with the understanding that he will play 2nd then I don’t understand the Figgy signing. We need some pop somewhere and Smoak and Saunders are still young. I just hate waiting around for a team with a near 100 mil payroll. It will be less next year and hopefully we can sign an RBI guy.

  119. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 7:30 pm

    Man, I just love how an Ichi-slump brings the bashers (basher) eagerly crawling out of the woodwork.

    His slump has nothing to do with the way I feel. I understand he’s a great player. I would just rather have a different great player for the money.

  120. JMHawkins on July 28th, 2010 7:34 pm

    I would just rather have a different great player for the money.

    Except you’d have a less-great player for the money. That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you. Do you agree? If not, please explain how you would sign a better player or players for that $17M.

  121. EthanN on July 28th, 2010 7:38 pm

    Man, I just love how an Ichi-slump brings the bashers (basher) eagerly crawling out of the woodwork.

    this is like the 5th time you’ve said that in this thread. We get it…

  122. littlesongs on July 28th, 2010 7:40 pm

    There are two groups of fans – those who think Ichiro is overpaid and should be traded, and those that understand baseball.

    Thank you Dave.

    Ichiro earns his every penny of his salary on the field. $17 million a year is not a sunk cost. This team sucks bricks most nights and people are still coming to games to see #51 play. The man is an icon. His presence generates local revenue outside of Safeco too.

    Once the season started, slumps by good ballplayers only made a bad situation worse. Would trading Ichiro even be part of the discussion if we were leading the division? Should we undervalue or dismiss consistent contributions by individuals on a ball club when the team results are not positive?

    Instead of trading the only consistent golden goose of this young century, how about surrounding him with more talent? If the fan base wants the Mariners to “make a big move” going into next year, why not cry out for some more money?

    According to Cot’s, this year’s budget was only $3,183,500 higher than 2006. For the sake of argument, Junior’s $2,350,000 and $1,000,000 for Yuni covers that difference and then some. Is it really that unreasonable to ask ownership to offer more to Jack than Bill had five years ago?

    Jack Zduriencik has proven himself worthy of a bigger budget. He also proved that too little money paints even the best GM into a corner. I doubt his original off-season plan included stocking the bullpen with scraps and bringing in guys like Byrnes.

    For the most part, Bill spent money like a drunken sailor on shiny things and traded away talented kids. For the most part, Jack has spent money like a miser on quality players and traded for talented kids.

    I believe big that Jack needs the freedom to invest in a new day and a new way.

  123. djw on July 28th, 2010 7:41 pm

    Assuming Ackley comes up next year to play 2nd and we move Figgy to 3rd then we have 3 players that are built to be lead off hitters.

    Good hitters are good hitters. Don’t worry about how much they conform to what is typically perceived to be the ‘type’ for a particular spot in the order. If you get a bunch of good hitters and stick them in whatever order, you’ll be fine.

    Also, you’re giving up on Ackley developing power way too soon.

  124. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 7:42 pm

    Would trading Ichiro even be part of the discussion if we were leading the division?

    Of course not. No team sells when they are winning. It’s when you need to rebuild that you sell. We wouldn’t have traded Lee if we were leading division either.

  125. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 7:43 pm

    For the most part, Jack has spent money like a miser on quality players and traded for talented kids.

    How’s that working out for us this year?

  126. Dave on July 28th, 2010 7:45 pm

    You’re right. If we had been free of the burden of Ichiro’s salary, we could have signed Jason Bay (+1.3 WAR) or John Lackey (+2.1 WAR) last winter. That would have really made the team better.

    Or, if we had that money in 2008, we could have signed A.J. Burnett (+0.8 WAR) or Derek Lowe (+1.2 WAR).

    Or, if we had that money in 2007, we could have signed Torii Hunter (+2.5 WAR).

    You know what Ichiro type money gets you in free agency? A worse player. The fact that you think that Braun or Longoria are comparables and that we should just get one of those guys instead shows just how little you understand the economics of the sport.

  127. JMHawkins on July 28th, 2010 7:47 pm

    Rereading, I think I understand the disconnect:

    we have 3 players that are built to be lead off hitters…Guti is a 6 or 7 hole hitter….We need some pop … hopefully we can sign an RBI guy

    You’re really Joe Morgan in disguise, aren’t you?

  128. groundzero55 on July 28th, 2010 7:53 pm

    Not to imitate Madden or anything, but the team that scores the most is probably going to win.

  129. SODOMOJO360 on July 28th, 2010 7:56 pm

    You’re right. If we had been free of the burden of Ichiro’s salary, we could have signed Jason Bay (+1.3 WAR) or John Lackey (+2.1 WAR) last winter. That would have really made the team better.

    Nobody thinks those were good signings even before the season started. So you were confident going into the season with Kotchman at 1B? Grif and Sweeney at DH? Wouldn’t Vlad and Laroche or Huff have been better? I believe so but we don’t have that kind of money. Partly thanks to Bavasi and partly because we have so much wrapped up in Ichiro.

  130. EthanN on July 28th, 2010 7:59 pm

    I know I’m completely alone on this one here. This is in no way me starting an argument but:

    I hate sabermetrics…and its not because I don’t understand it, I do. I just hate it haha

  131. Brendan on July 28th, 2010 8:04 pm

    I don’t think you’re getting it. Ichiro is an ASSET for this organization. The value he provides on the field (Not even going to speculate on his marketing value or any other intangible factor) trumps the money we are spending on his contract.

    If we had a player that could produce 40 WAR and we spent 80% of the payroll on him, we would not be lamenting the fact that he costs so much money, because his performance would be so much better than what we were paying for it. Same thing applies with regards to Ichiro.

  132. Dave on July 28th, 2010 8:06 pm

    Wouldn’t Vlad and Laroche or Huff have been better? I believe so but we don’t have that kind of money.

    Adam LaRoche: +0.7 WAR. No, he would not have been better.

    It’s easy to point to guys like Huff who are having great years after the fact, ignoring that he was totally useless last year, but there was no reason to believe he’d significantly outplay Kotchman this year. One mediocre player flopped, the other succeeded – it happens.

    The fact is that you simply can’t point to any players signed in free agency that make Ichiro type money and produce dramatically better performances. Your entire plan of “trade Ichiro, spend money on better players” is impossible.

  133. David on July 28th, 2010 8:09 pm

    Arguing about Ichiro’s value deadens the pain of another loss.

  134. JMHawkins on July 28th, 2010 8:10 pm

    Arguing about Ichiro’s value deadens the pain of another loss.

    I’d say it pains the dead myself.

  135. littlesongs on July 28th, 2010 8:16 pm

    Ichiro took two home runs away with spectacular catches last week. On a team that isn’t down by a million runs, those things mean everything.

    Joe Maddon on Longoria:

    “Longo’s got to be considered the premier defensive third baseman,” Maddon said. “And I’ve got to say [Adrian] Beltre is right there, too. But I’ve always considered Beltre on top, but I think Longo’s exceeding that right now.”

    Maddon pointed out that the overall aggressiveness of the Rays’ defense is a part of its success.

    Run prevention is important. You cannot win games without it. A gold glove right fielder with a rifle arm who churns out 200+ hits a year is a bargain at $17 million.

  136. eponymous coward on July 28th, 2010 8:55 pm

    Jack Zduriencik has proven himself worthy of a bigger budget.

    By building a team that’s on pace for 100 losses, and a two-year record under .500?

    And before somebody blames Bill Bavasi for everything that went wrong this year, please count how many players on the roster are holdovers from Bill Bavasi’s tenure. Most of this roster was chosen by Zduriencik, like it or not. Ken Griffey? Not Bavasi’s fault. And so on.

    The desire of people to canonize Zduriencik as the Best GM EVAR!!!11111!!!, before he actually freaking DOES anything in terms of putting a consistently winning product on the field… I don’t get it.

    This isn’t to say fire him- it’s to say his tenure’s incomplete while promising, and being a baseball GM is a tough job- there are good GMs who don’t make the playoffs every year. Just being good at your job puts you in position to win- it doesn’t guarantee it, nor does it even guarantee consistent success (see: Indians).

    To say that a little over a one and a half years is reason to start opening the wallet… well, it’s not your money, and saying “Jack, you need to produce wins to justify payroll increases” isn’t unreasonable. Billy Beane can produce wins without $90 million payrolls- why can’t Zduriencik if he’s that caliber of GM?

  137. rossroscoe on July 28th, 2010 9:17 pm

    Is this the first game when Ichiro and Figgins were both 2 for 2 to start the game tonight. I had expected many nights although the 3-4-5 still needs to knock them in

  138. profmac on July 28th, 2010 9:47 pm

    Dave – Could you bring some sunshine to the gloominess of the state of the M’s by providing us with some of the top players in the next draft that the M’s might have a shot at?

  139. John W. on July 28th, 2010 9:47 pm

    Dave,

    Do you remember that post you wrote on the importance of not getting outs? It was written sometime during the off-season and I’m trying to find it. Because I think it speaks volumes about the value of Ichiro. But I can’t find it. Do you have some site index that I’m unaware of? Obviously, I’m a bit new.

    By the way, for some unknown reason, I really want to see Eric Byrnes in a Mariner’s uniform again. If we insist on losing like this…might as well make it funny.

  140. JMHawkins on July 28th, 2010 9:57 pm

    Most of this roster was chosen by Zduriencik, like it or not.

    ec, you keep forgetting that Zduriencik still started with next to nothing in the cupboard and that matters. Sure, he’s chosen most of the roster, but he’s had to choose most of it from the bargan bin. It doesn’t matter that you get to pick your guys if you’re left trying to figure out whether Branyan, Kotchman or Mike Carp is the best bet at 1B.

    I’ve got my complaints about Zduriencik, but saying “he chose this roster” is a really weak argument. He certainly didn’t choose to have next to zero talented young guys to provide cheap WARs and a ton of salary tied up in a ton of Silva. Those problems severly limit how much good he can do, even if he can swap parts around.

  141. Dutch on July 28th, 2010 10:17 pm

    I don’t fully endorse this, but here goes:

    Most of us here appreciate Ichiro! His moniker has even made it into the subtitle of this site. Now, if Ichiro wants to take his awesomeness to a whole new level, he’ll learn to play league-average SS:

    2011 Line-up:

    1B- Smoak
    2B- Ackley
    3B- Figgins
    SS- Ichiro!
    LF- Saunders
    CF- Gutz
    RF- Bradley
    C- god help us
    DH- Branyan (renegotiate option)

    This line-up might just be able to hit. Let Z work some magic and turn Lopez, Jack Wilson, and a young arm into a legit MOR starter. If you’re feeling ambitious, sign Lee under market.

    Yea

  142. philosofool on July 28th, 2010 10:36 pm

    Assuming Ackley comes up next year to play 2nd and we move Figgy to 3rd then we have 3 players that are built to be lead off hitters.

    Meh. As long as good hitters are getting at bats and bad hitters are getting relatively few, it doesn’t matter that much where you put them. The logic of roles that comes with “lead off hitter” is not good reasoning.

  143. scott19 on July 28th, 2010 10:39 pm

    Billy Beane can produce wins without $90 million payrolls- why can’t Zduriencik if he’s that caliber of GM?

    Hell, look what Jed Hoyer is doing for the Evil Friars this season with an under-$40-million payroll!

  144. Edgar4Hall on July 28th, 2010 11:11 pm

    So I am way late on this convo about Ichiro and everybody is probably sick of it but I wanted to put my two cents in. I honestly, for some reason, was never a huge Ichiro fan but still have respect for him. I think he is one of the best Seattle has ever had. Doesn’t this mean that we should give him a chance to go to a city that will win now so he gets a chance to win a Series? I mean go up and ask if he would like to and then approach a few teams about him. I mean it would be almost an honorable thing to do for a great player. Pls we would be able to get a pretty decent package for him. I mean, he’s not Pierre haha

  145. Jeff Nye on July 28th, 2010 11:25 pm

    Dammit, I missed the yearly “let’s trade Ichiro for stupid reasons” argument!

    Incidentally, he’s on pace to be worth roughly 5 wins this season in a “down” year…which would cost you on the order of $20 million on the free agent market.

    So he’s actually underpaid this year by something like 3 million. This team has lots of problems, Ichiro isn’t one of them.

  146. JMHawkins on July 28th, 2010 11:37 pm

    This team has lots of problems, Ichiro isn’t one of them.

    I propose this become the official slogan of USSM, at least for the remainder of 2010.

  147. JMHawkins on July 29th, 2010 12:08 am

    Billy Beane can produce wins without $90 million payrolls

    In case you haven’t noticed, the A’s are on pace to win 81 games this year. If they do that, it’ll be the most wins they’ve had since 2006. Billy Beane has finished 3rd or 4th in the AL West three straight years. Rafael Soriano and Joel Pineiro (checking, checking, yes, spelled it right) were still Mariners the last time the A’s were any good.

    Granted, 81 wins is a whole lot better than the M’s are going to get this year, but Beane’s not infalable.

  148. spankystout on July 29th, 2010 1:05 am

    Didn’t Ichiro defer 25million (5per year+5.5%interest) and recieve a 5million signing bonus? If so, his total compensation will be 23 million each season. His contributions thus far have not equaled his total compensation. Ichiro has been worth 39.8million in 2008 and 2009 combined and will recieve 46million. Unless I missed something……

  149. SonsofBuckyJacobsen on July 29th, 2010 1:55 am

    Since the ‘trade Ichiro’ crowd is making its voice heard yet again, I’d like to make the case for keeping him.

    First, we all know Ichiro makes $18 mil per year with 2 years left on his contract. For those who would trade him, what team are you going to trade him to? There is no franchise in MLB, not even the Evil Empire, that would take on that salary for a guy his age who does not hit with power. There is no deal out there to be done for that reason alone.

    Second, trading a future Hall of Famer is short-sighted. His legacy as an all-time great is worth way more than the M’s could ever get in return. He’s a lifetime .331 hitter who is likely to win his 10th consecutive gold glove this year. He’s also likely to extend his record of consecutive 200 plus hit seasons this year as well. Is there anyone out there who would bet against him making it to 3000 hits? We have a very rare opportunity as fans to have Ichiro reach that milestone in a Mariner uniform. The M’s also have an even more rare opportunity (these days) to have a player of his caliber play his entire career with the same franchise. Lets keep the big picture in mind here.

    Lastly, Ichiro is the face of the franchise and is a big reason casual fans come to the park. All of us M’s fans desperately need the casual fans to keep coming to Safeco and leaving copious amounts of their money there. A competitive payroll requires it. Geoff Baker and others can mock M’s fans all they want, but the casual fans pay the bills and they love Ichiro.

  150. florient on July 29th, 2010 8:00 am

    The argument about whether we could get anything better back from an Ichiro trade is a good one. Saying we should keep him because he is a hall of famer and he puts butts in the seats doesn’t work for me. Winning puts buts in the seats. Attendance sucks and will suck next year because the team sucks. Keeping players because they are the face of the organization or have the potential to be a hall of famer should not trump trying to get better. The Mariners need less marketing and more cut-throat, in my opinion…

    However, I’m not arguing for an Ichiro trade.

  151. eponymous coward on July 29th, 2010 9:22 am

    Granted, 81 wins is a whole lot better than the M’s are going to get this year, but Beane’s not infalable.

    I think Billy Beane’s got a bit more track record than Zduriencik, though.

    Just having a good GM isn’t enough. Just having a good GM and a large stack of dollar bills, still not enough.

  152. Evan on July 29th, 2010 9:55 am

    The proprtion of the team’s payroll tied up by Ichiro is irrelevant.

    I thought we defeated these arguments years ago when people thought the reason the Rangers was bad was because they paid 1/3 of their payroll to A-Rod. Even though if you took A-Rod away, their payroll was the same as Oakland’s, and Oakland was kicking their ass year after year. So what these people were saying was that if you took a good team like Oakland (then), and added A-Rod to it (then), it would suddenly be bad.

    It was nonsense then, and it’s nonsense now.

  153. Coach24 on July 29th, 2010 12:06 pm

    I am not an Ichiro fan because I don’t like his style of play. His infield hits with RISP that do no good, he doesn’t walk or take pitches, his SB attempts are lower than I would like to see, and he NEVER dives for a ball in the outfield.

    All that said, I can’t argue his greatness. The numbers don’t lie. Not diving keeps him on the field for close to 162 games a year. Eric Davis dove a lot in his prime, always hurt, Griffey hurt himself a number of times diving/jumping into walls. That is not even mentioning the fact that he gets 200 plus hits as a lead off hitter.

    Bottom line is not 1 person complained about him in 2001 and other seasons when we had a good offense and were challenging for the playoffs. Ichiro should be the one that is mad. Put him as the lead off hitter on a good team and there is no question as to how good he is or how he helps your team win.

  154. dw on July 29th, 2010 12:11 pm

    I think Billy Beane’s got a bit more track record than Zduriencik, though.

    He found a flaw in talent evaluation system and exploited it. And it worked until everyone else figured out the flaw and exploited it themselves. Since then he’s been pretty mediocre. Apparently in 2010 he finally discovered defense.

    I’m not ready to throw Zduriencik under the bus — none of the moves he made other than the League-for-Morrow deal looked dumb then, and they don’t look dumb now. What we have here is a team that’s underperforming at a level rarely seen. Everything had to go right for the M’s to contend. When you have three starters hitting well below their career performance means, this is what you get.

  155. JMHawkins on July 29th, 2010 1:18 pm
    I think Billy Beane’s got a bit more track record than Zduriencik, though.

    He found a flaw in talent evaluation system and exploited it. And it worked until everyone else figured out the flaw and exploited it themselves. Since then he’s been pretty mediocre.

    Beane also came into his position with a much better stocked cupboard than Zduriencik did. Hudson, Chavez, Tejeda, and Giambi Major were already on the roster (for cheap), and Beane had a top-10 pick each of his first two years (Mulder 2nd overall in 98, Zito 9th in 99). He turned over the roster pretty dramatically his first year, but almost all the new faces were already in the Oakland system. The big outside acquisitions he made were Kenny Rogers, 38 year old Rickey Henderson (.723 OPS in 98) and, no doubt about it, Mike Blowers to keep 3B warm for a 20 year old Eric Chavez.

    I don’t think Beane sucks or anything. Don’t think Zdurincik does either, and certainly Beane has more winning seasons to his credit. But he’s hardly an untouchable Jedi Master.

  156. eponymous coward on July 29th, 2010 1:36 pm

    none of the moves he made other than the League-for-Morrow deal looked dumb then

    Griffey/Sweeney as the DH combo (forcing Bradley to LF) looks pretty dumb in retrospect, and was pretty arguable at the time. I’d also argue that putting a lot of faith in Snell/Wilson without a backup plan, or investing in the bullpen was also problematic, especially given that the team now seemingly is paying MLB salaries in 2010 to six different 1B/DH types (Junior, Sweeney, Branyan, Smoak, Bradley, Kotchman) while using Josh freaking Wilson in pretty close to a full time role, David Pauley as a starter, and claiming guys like Jamey Wright off the waiver wire. D’ya think it’s possible the M’s MIGHT have been better served by a utility infielder, another starter and a bullpen guy for a few million instead of investing in clubhouse hugs and “veteran leadership”?

    I’d say much of what you can say about Beane applies to Zduriencik- yeah, the reliance on shiny new evaluating techniques is good, but they are perfectly capable of guessing wrong (Kotchman) OR making mistakes (DH) despite that. And there’s NO question in my mind that all 2010 proves is that Jack can screw up every now and then, regardless of how bare the cupboard is.

  157. dw on July 29th, 2010 2:49 pm

    Griffey/Sweeney as the DH combo (forcing Bradley to LF) looks pretty dumb in retrospect, and was pretty arguable at the time.

    Assuming there’s no way in hell you get away with not signing Griffey, I’m not sure who you sign in place of Sweeney. Between then they were what, $4M? Who could you get better for $4M? Maybe Jim Thome, but then you’re rolling the dice on a guy Griffey’s age who hadn’t been hitting much better than Griffey. Branyan wouldn’t have signed for $4M. And if Branyan wouldn’t have, no way in hell Vlad would have.

    Ending up with Griffey/Sweeney was both avoidable and inevitable.

    Josh freaking Wilson in pretty close to a full time role, David Pauley as a starter, and claiming guys like Jamey Wright off the waiver wire.

    So you’re complaining that the M’s have played a cheap replacement level utility infielder, a fifth starter that apparently can get outs (unlike Snell), and a left-handed 20,000 year old arm? Really? Again, does anyone around here actually watch the damn games?

    D’ya think it’s possible the M’s MIGHT have been better served by a utility infielder, another starter and a bullpen guy for a few million instead of investing in clubhouse hugs and “veteran leadership”?

    Of course. But take that $4M and tell me where you can get all three of those at the start of the year. Go on.

    The M’s painted themselves into a corner. Zduriencik kept painting. At the same time, though, this is a team that wasn’t going to win unless everything went right. And everything went wrong.

    And if you think cheap power is going to solve this problem, check the current HR table — 9 players in the AL and 10 in the NL have 20 or more HRs. At this point five years ago, it was twice that.

  158. JMHawkins on July 29th, 2010 2:50 pm

    Griffey/Sweeney was dumb, and not just in retrospect. Putting so much failth in Jack Wilson was questionable. Snell I don’t have a problem with – he was a gamble that didn’t pay off, but we didn’t give up a ton for him. I’m perfectly happy with a half dozen Ian Snell’s fighting for the last couple of rotation slots. Good chance one of them turns out to be named Vargas instead.

    What it comes to for me, and why I’m not ready to abandon the Zduriencik bandwagon, is that the only unproductive long-term move so far is Figgins, and very few people thought that was a terrible move. Everything else has been opportunity cost, and I don’t think there have been a lot of missed opportunities, at least not ones that didn’t only look good in hindsight.

  159. djw on July 29th, 2010 3:14 pm

    Between then they were what, $4M? Who could you get better for $4M?

    The Griffey/Sweeney two-headed DH monster pretty much projected as roughly replacement level. Their likely level of production could have been found very easily for considerably less than 4 million dollars, while only clogging up one roster spot, including at least one in-house option (Carp).

    I’m willing to give Z the benefit of the doubt on this one–I suspect he may not have had much of a choice in the matter. But in pure baseball terms, it was a very poor decision, and it was transparently very poor at the time.

  160. Jeff Nye on July 29th, 2010 3:18 pm

    It’s rather predictable that this bad year has caused a lot of sniping at Zduriencik, but I will admit to being somewhat surprised at the quarters it’s coming from.

    Just remember: we could’ve ended up with Jerry diPoto.

  161. eponymous coward on July 29th, 2010 3:40 pm

    a fifth starter that apparently can get outs (unlike Snell)

    David Pauley is (realisitically) a replacement-level ballplayer who MAYBE, if he’s very lucky, has Ryan Franklin’s career.

    In fact, we can probably say that about Josh Wilson and Wright, too- as well as Sweeney and Griffey (who spent most of a DECADE as a replacement-level player).

    And if you think cheap power is going to solve this problem

    Didn’t say cheap power was going to solve this problem. As a matter of fact, I called out things like infield depth (because our plan of record for backing up a guy with bad hamstrings was a guy with a handful of MLB innings at SS, with NO history of hitting enough at the MLB level to keep a job at other infield positions where he was a decent glove), and the bullpen (where we seem to have 2346356356 RHPs with no command and good fastballs, and a propensity for throwing nothing but said fastballs in all counts).

    It’s rather predictable that this bad year has caused a lot of sniping at Zduriencik

    It’s not sniping (I’m stressing that he doesn’t deserve to be fired)- I’m just not buying that every good thing that’s happened to the Seattle Mariners from 2009-2010 is to Zduriencik’s credit, but every bad thing is Bill Bavasi’s fault, thus what might turn out to be a 100-loss season in 2010 is a complete mulligan.

    Just remember: we could’ve ended up with Jerry diPoto.

    Or Cam Bonifay, or whoever. Right. I get that. And there ARE good things that have happened.

    But the standard isn’t “well, nothing’s his fault because Bavasi/Armstrong/you can’t say ‘no’ to Griffey”. The standard is how have the Mariners made themselves closer to being a championship-caliber team, and if you take the blog owner seriously, we’re farther away from that than we were 12 months ago. Not all of that is Zduriencik’s fault, but SOME of that is. He’s going to have to do better.

  162. Jeff Nye on July 29th, 2010 3:47 pm

    This year has been a product of a few bad decisions that weren’t nearly as bad or as important as you’re making them out to be, combined with an enormous amount of bad luck.

    And while you acknowledge that there are “good things that have happened” you never mention them. We turned three C-level prospects into Justin Smoak and two interesting arms, AND had half a year of watching Cliff Lee in a Mariners uniform as part of the bargain.

    But then, you were told this on LL when you started beating this drum there, and it didn’t seem to sink in; so I don’t expect it to now, either.

  163. scott19 on July 29th, 2010 4:00 pm

    Just remember: we could’ve ended up with Jerry diPoto.

    Or Cam Bonifay, or whoever.

    Say, I wonder what the great Randy “I’ll trade half the Tigers’ roster for 100 crummy games of Juan Gonzalez” Smith is up to these days?

  164. eponymous coward on July 29th, 2010 4:18 pm

    But then, you were told this on LL when you started beating this drum there, and it didn’t seem to sink in; so I don’t expect it to now, either.

    Yes, obviously, saying the GM gets to be held accountable for results as part of their job description, even if we get all starry-eyed and dreamy over the process… well, obviously I’m being obtuse.

    I’ll ask this: imagine it’s 8 years from now, Zduriencik does his tear down/rebuild job, and we end up with something like this as the result (pointing to another GM who has been cited on this blog for having good staff, making good trades, and developing good farm system talent). Will it be fair to judge the GM’s performance on the team’s record then?

    I get that being a GM is hard. I get that there’s bad luck and past screwups. I get there’s lots of good things in the 2010 season that are Zduriencik’s credits (I’d point out Vargas too, while we’re at it- I think he might be the guy we thought RRS would be, a decent backend lefty). But, no, I don’t think Zduriencik has proven much of anything in 2010. Do better, please.

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