Blame the Kids or the Vets?
In the comments of the post just below, a sentiment was echoed that has been a pretty common refrain from the apologists for the organization’s off-season. The comment:
Five of the eight hitters in the opening day lineup were under 27. The fact that only one of them has turned out to be any good (and our two top prospects may not actually be major league ballplayers) is the issue. I know it’s tempting to blame this team’s failures on the underachieving veterans, but the bigger issue was the far more disappointing young players.
Since people like to make this claim and then say something like “everyone thought their prospects were good, so give the front office a break”, let’s just look at the facts. We’ll break the Mariners roster in half using that age-27 dividing line, with anyone younger than that being a “kid” and everyone older than that being a “veteran”, except we’re going to remove Felix Hernandez from the sample entirely, because doing so would give the “kids” the benefit of his performance when no one considers him a kid anymore. And no one thinks Felix is the problem, of course. So here’s how the other 24 guys break down.
The final tally, with almost exactly a 50/50 split in playing time, is +9.5 WAR for the kids (again, not counting Felix) and +3.2 for the veterans. Oh, and just for fun, here are the combined salaries for the two groups:
Kids: $19 million
Vets: $45 million
The Mariners veterans produced were paid almost $15 million for every win they produced. But, yeah, it’s the kids fault that this team sucks. Yep. Blame the kids. Just make sure you don’t let facts get in your way.