Blame the Kids or the Vets?

Dave · September 11, 2013 at 7:52 am · Filed Under Mariners 

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.

Hitters:


Team PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Def BsR WAR
Kids 2886 0.245 0.319 0.391 0.314 97 -31.7 2.9 5.9
Vets 2624 0.237 0.296 0.397 0.304 90 -55.7 -14.0 -1.5

Pitchers:


Team IP ERA FIP xFIP WAR
Kids 486 4.76 4.00 3.77 3.6
Vets 631 4.45 4.32 4.07 4.7

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.

Comments

54 Responses to “Blame the Kids or the Vets?”

  1. McExpos on September 11th, 2013 8:41 am

    My gut reaction is that these stats are a little misleading because 4 of those WAR comes from one position player (Kyle Seager), but then you’d probably feel the need to write another post showing me up, too.

  2. Dave on September 11th, 2013 8:46 am

    Seager and Iwakuma basically cancel each other out. If you’re taking the best kid away, then also take away the best vet, and the story is the same.

  3. The_Waco_Kid on September 11th, 2013 8:48 am

    Neither the kids nor the vets did well. We hoped out of desperation the kids would be good. The kids were cheap and will probably improve. The vets were pricier and will probably get worse. And some kids were rushed up. So I blame the vets. But it’s not like anyone thought we’d be good anyway.

  4. Dave on September 11th, 2013 8:51 am

    Go back and read the stories from March. The Mariners were convinced this was a good team. The beat writers were convinced this was a good team. We were the black sheep, trying to remind people that there was more to offense than hitting home runs, defense matters, and that the run prevention was going to be a serious problem.

  5. illdonk on September 11th, 2013 8:58 am

    Where exactly are you getting the -1.5 WAR for the veteran hitters? WAR isn’t my strong point, but this sure looks like +1.9 to me.

    Robert Andino -0.2
    Franklin Gutierrez 0.1
    Kendrys Morales 2.6
    Mike Morse -1.3
    Brendan Ryan 0
    Humberto Quintero 0.5
    Kelly Shoppach -0.1
    Jason Bay 0.4
    Endy Chavez* -0.7
    Henry Blanco -0.3
    Raul Ibanez* 0.9

  6. vj on September 11th, 2013 9:06 am

    “Seager and Iwakuma basically cancel each other out. If you’re taking the best kid away, then also take away the best vet, and the story is the same.”

    I think the team’s problem is that apart from those two and Felix, it is essentially replacement level, irrespective of age.

  7. Mathball on September 11th, 2013 9:09 am

    My first reaction to this post was “Wow* Felix is only 27 years old”

    *I didn’t say wow

  8. terryoftacoma on September 11th, 2013 9:20 am

    I don’t read beat writers and I knew this team wouldn’t be that good. I personally thought about 72 wins but I do remember some that thought we might be .500. I don’t remember any mention of darkhorse but I like said I don’t read the beat writers. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a GM say they were putting a losing team on the field. They all think they can win it in March.

  9. Athanasius on September 11th, 2013 9:40 am

    I wonder why Dave didn’t list each player within each category rather than list the braoder category names without any context? More information is good, right? Seems to me that it would make for better analysis and a more nuanced conclusion.

    At least there was a simplistic and hypoctitical jab about ignorning “facts” for good measure. Just like old times.

  10. illdonk on September 11th, 2013 9:43 am

    So besides Seager (who we all agree is terrific), the young hitters on the team have produced 2 WAR in around 2250 plate appearances? Well, hurray for the young’uns.

    Also, can somebody check the WAR numbers I mentioned just so I’m not missing something obvious?

  11. asuray on September 11th, 2013 9:48 am

    “Where exactly are you getting the -1.5 WAR for the veteran hitters? WAR isn’t my strong point, but this sure looks like +1.9 to me.

    Robert Andino -0.2
    Franklin Gutierrez 0.1
    Kendrys Morales 2.6
    Mike Morse -1.3
    Brendan Ryan 0
    Humberto Quintero 0.5
    Kelly Shoppach -0.1
    Jason Bay 0.4
    Endy Chavez* -0.7
    Henry Blanco -0.3
    Raul Ibanez* 0.9″

    He’s using Fangraphs WAR, not B-R.

  12. asuray on September 11th, 2013 9:50 am
  13. bookbook on September 11th, 2013 9:52 am

    Using the B-R WAR above, other than Morales the vets have produced about negative .5 WAR in who-cares-how-many plate appearances.

    Is that an argument that it’s the kids’ fault?

    Honestly (and perhaps too obviously), there’s plenty of blame to go around. I personally would place as much as possible on the sturdy shoulders of messrs Wedge and Jack Z.

  14. terryoftacoma on September 11th, 2013 9:53 am

    He’s using fangraph WAR which has Chavez and Morse at -1.2 apiece which bring the vets down to -1.5. I see no problem with his numbers.

  15. Dobbs on September 11th, 2013 9:54 am

    It’s clear Jack Z needs to be fired. He’s missed on it seems like 90% of the vets he’s signed or traded for.

  16. terryoftacoma on September 11th, 2013 10:00 am

    If that’s you’re logic(and I’m not a Jack Z supporter) AA, the GM in Toronto shouldd be fired too. Bitter fruit?

  17. JH on September 11th, 2013 10:12 am

    “So besides Seager (who we all agree is terrific), the young hitters on the team have produced 2 WAR in around 2250 plate appearances? Well, hurray for the young’uns.”

    And besides Morales (who we all agree is mediocre), the old hitters have been 2.5 wins below replacement. What’s your point?

    The front office has a lot more direct control over the vets on the roster. They chose to bring in Ibanez and Bay and give them roster spots, chose to trade for Michael Morse, and executed an off-season plan so flawed that Endy Chavez has nearly 300 plate appearances (I know he was a backup, but better FOs put better backups in place, too).

    With kids on the big league roster, the FO’s job is to try to build a big-league roster that won’t force it to call them up too early, promote them to the big leagues when they become the best option at their position, hire the best coaching staff you can at the minor and major league levels to guide their development, and hope they perform.

    With veterans, you have a much better idea of what they bring to the table. And if you’re paying attention, you know how to value those skills properly. This front office doesn’t. $15 million per win is shameful. And if you just confine it to free agent signings (since Morales’s salary wasn’t set by market forces, but by arbitration), it looks even worse.

    I like the young talent in this organization, but it’s time for an overhaul at the big league level.

  18. Dave on September 11th, 2013 10:12 am

    I wonder why Dave didn’t list each player within each category rather than list the braoder category names without any context? More information is good, right? Seems to me that it would make for better analysis and a more nuanced conclusion.

    See the word “hitters” that is in blue text, meaning that it’s a hyperlink? Click that. Tada, everyone’s performance and their listed age. Same thing with “pitchers”. I’m sorry if clicking on the links was too much work for you.

  19. illdonk on September 11th, 2013 10:18 am

    Okay, got it. Different sites, same stat, very different calculations.

    If this discussion is really about how this team was supposed to have competed in 2013 because the front office seemed to really, really believe it…well, that’s just ridiculous.

    To me, at least, I was expecting (or hoping) to see improvement from the core young players, with us hopefully finishing around .500 and building towards future seasons when the touted young pitchers would arrive and join our good young hitters. Whether Endy Chavez was plan B or C for the outfield or which reclamation project was the #4 starter or if Jason Bay got some ABs instead of Casper Wells ultimately didn’t matter.

  20. Dave on September 11th, 2013 10:21 am

    This idea that only the “core” matters and everyone else is just totally useless/expendable is completely and utterly wrong. Good teams get value from their entire roster. Focusing on the top five players and pretending that the other 20 are irrelevant is how you become a beat writer for the Times.

  21. eponymous coward on September 11th, 2013 10:25 am

    I would nominate JH’s comment for USSM Comment of the Year, if there was such a thing, because in 5 tidy paragraphs, it sums up the frustration that has been brimming over at places like USSM from the fans.

    It’s not that there isn’t talent in the minors; it’s that this front office seems so hopeless and clueless at figuring out what to surround this talent with. Just being better than Bill Bavasi’s front office at turning minor league talent into major league ballplayers isn’t enough.

  22. justcruisn on September 11th, 2013 10:25 am

    As long as management undervalues team speed, defense, and contact hitters we will continue to lose 90-100 games a year. Last night was a good example of a weaker team “stealing” a win from a better team. The Astros will overtake the Mariners in the standings next year.

  23. illdonk on September 11th, 2013 10:25 am

    I’m also sorry for not seeing that the one short word was in a marginally different color from the rest of the post.

  24. eponymous coward on September 11th, 2013 10:34 am

    To me, at least, I was expecting (or hoping) to see improvement from the core young players, with us hopefully finishing around .500 and building towards future seasons when the touted young pitchers would arrive and join our good young hitters. Whether Endy Chavez was plan B or C for the outfield or which reclamation project was the #4 starter or if Jason Bay got some ABs instead of Casper Wells ultimately didn’t matter.

    If they had gotten ~10 WAR out of their veterans instead of what they got, adding Felix back in gets you around 25 WAR. That is a borderline playoff team depending on how lucky you are, and almost certainly a +.500 team (and infinitely more watchable).

    The only good news (such as it is) is that we’re at least not locked into any of these trainwrecks longterm, except Raul, who’s a Mariner for Life until he retires because dingers and clubhouse presence (ignoring the fact that this guy was and is a clubhouse presence on a lot of bad Mariners teams).

  25. Manzanillos Cup on September 11th, 2013 10:56 am

    If there’s one thing that’s held constant over the last few years, it’s Seattle undervaluing of 25-man roster spots. This year it’s been Ibanez, Morse, Smoak, Montero, and Morales ON THE TEAM AT THE SAME TIME. Last year it was three catchers (of whom one was Miguel Olivo), and Chone Figgins – who basically sat on the bench for months. Year before: Cleanup hitter/firstbaseman Adam Kennedy, plus Figgins gets 300 PA with a wRC+ in the 30s. Griffey. Etc Etc.

    I really can’t imagine what things would be like if we’d landed Upton or Hamilton. Scary stuff, this team.

  26. John W. on September 11th, 2013 11:02 am

    Dave, you are absolutely KILLING it today! Great work!
    I wrote this on LL, but [off-topic]

  27. Athanasius on September 11th, 2013 11:02 am

    As has been stated, there is plenty of blame to go around and it rightly belongs with the entire roster — both kids and vets. The majority of kids have been bad and the vets abysmal. Given that one player accounts for ~68% of the kids’ WAR demonstrates that.

    That gives further credence to the comment that gave rise to the post. It is legitimate that the kids have not lived up to expectations just as it is legitimate that the vets the FO brought in have been terrible. Combine those two ingredients together and you have the fine mess that we have witnessed this season. It just isn’t one or the other (kids or vets) and to say otherwise is bad analysis.

  28. riversurge24 on September 11th, 2013 11:06 am

    I went to the game last night and I think by the 7th innning there were more players than fans at the ballpark.

    This city has completely checked out of baseball because the Seahawks are well..good?

    Maybe Paul Allen can take over the team and hire John Schneider to be the GM and Pete Carroll to Manage.

  29. eponymous coward on September 11th, 2013 11:19 am

    That gives further credence to the comment that gave rise to the post. It is legitimate that the kids have not lived up to expectations just as it is legitimate that the vets the FO brought in have been terrible.

    Again, this team is very likely +.500 with ~10 WAR from vets, ~10 WAR from kids, 5 WAR from Felix.

    Also: what were your expectations, and how did you arrive at them? Hint: USSM posted Fangraphs projections on the 2013 team, so they can show their work (and they weren’t all that positive on Ackley and Montero).

  30. Westside guy on September 11th, 2013 11:38 am

    It seems to me that one underlying problem with this manager and this front office is they look at things in a vacuum, rather than in context – even when it comes to individual players. They say things like “we needed a bat” and bring in somebody like Morse… ignoring the fact that his defense pretty much negates any offensive value he might’ve had, even before he tanked post-April.

    And even with the kids… I believe we might end up seeing this with somebody like Almonte or Franklin – “we need more speed” so it doesn’t matter if Almonte’s fielding and throwing occasionally border on brutal or Franklin ends up with a K%/BB% of 10+ (SSS caveats apply, obviously). We are fortunate that Miller has done perhaps better than expected, because he’s very speedy so would probably be on the roster even if he turned out to be a butcher in the field.

  31. Athanasius on September 11th, 2013 11:42 am

    “Also: what were your expectations, and how did you arrive at them? Hint: USSM posted Fangraphs projections on the 2013 team, so they can show their work (and they weren’t all that positive on Ackley and Montero).”

    They may not have been high on Ackley or Montero, but those players have managed not to meet that low bar, which really says something and was the intent of using the word “expectations.” The bar was higher at one point in the not so distant past, but disappointing performance at the major league level has factored into lowering the bar on these players projections.

  32. JH on September 11th, 2013 11:44 am

    “That gives further credence to the comment that gave rise to the post. It is legitimate that the kids have not lived up to expectations just as it is legitimate that the vets the FO brought in have been terrible.”

    The vets’ performance is entirely the FO’s responsibility, though. The scouting department gives you a core of young guys, and the FO’s job is to supplement that talent. If the young guys aren’t good enough, the FO’s job is to bring in veterans who are better and stash the kids in the minors until they’re better or they play themselves out of the organization’s plans.

    It would be one thing if any of the vets had collapsed a la Chone Figgins. Nobody (or at least nobody here) blamed the FO for that. But that didn’t happen this year. The Ibanez-Morales-Morse-Bay veteran contingent performed about as expected. Sure, Morse’s bat was less than the FO hoped, but Ibanez hit significantly better than anyone could have expected (making him only a minor disaster instead of an epic one given all his time in the field), so it balances out.

    When the individual pieces more or less meet expectations and the team still sucks, that’s a good indication that it’s time to question the judgment of the guy setting up the board.

  33. The_Waco_Kid on September 11th, 2013 11:52 am

    JH, I agree except for Harang and Joe Saunders. They were surprisingly bad.

  34. Athanasius on September 11th, 2013 11:55 am

    “The vets’ performance is entirely the FO’s responsibility, though.”

    I am in complete 100% agreement. On more than one level the moves of this offseason were roundly criticized and rightfully so. I have been slow to criticize the FO because of the Figgins and Guti collapse, as well as the young players not developing.

    That being said, the goal this offseason was to make the major league roster better and they are significantly worse on the field any way you slice it. I will join you in questioning the judgment of the man “setting up the board.”

  35. eponymous coward on September 11th, 2013 12:20 pm

    They may not have been high on Ackley or Montero, but those players have managed not to meet that low bar…

    Right, but that’s the point of doing this as a group, not as individuals. Players will often exceed expectations (remember, Dave thought Seager was a bench player after his first season) as well as underperform.

    As a group, the M’s “kids” are about 10 WAR and responsible for about half the playing time. That’s clearly better than 3 WAR.

    The thing is, if the M’s had spent 45 million to get quite a bit more than 3 WAR out of veterans, we are probably looking at a team that isn’t doing things like pressing Zunino into service, or playing Montero at C after seeing how poorly he performed there last year. The sub-optimal veteran talent leads to sub-optimal development patterns for the kids. It’s reinforcing bad tendencies in the organization.

  36. terryoftacoma on September 11th, 2013 12:31 pm

    I actually think Saunders did about what you would have expected.

    His numbers:

    lifetime this season to date
    k/9 5.12 5.02
    bb/9 2.78 3.06
    hr/9 1.14 1.27
    babip .297 .333
    gb% 46.0 51.1
    era 4.28 5.18
    fip 4.60 4.86
    xfip 4.47 4.37

  37. Steve Nelson on September 11th, 2013 12:35 pm

    “I agree except for Harang and Joe Saunders. They were surprisingly bad.”
    ???

    Bad, yes. But not “surprisingly” bad.

  38. bookbook on September 11th, 2013 12:36 pm

    Failing to see a link is not a major flaw in a reader. There are times when it’s advisable to count to ten before hitting send on a snark. (Not every time, mind you…)

  39. djw on September 11th, 2013 12:55 pm

    I agree except for Harang and Joe Saunders. They were surprisingly bad.

    Their FIP and XFIP were right around where you’d expect them to be. The utterly atrocious outfield defense has a lot to do with them seeming worse than they should have been. (Harang had a tough luck strand rate, too).

  40. djw on September 11th, 2013 12:58 pm

    The thing is, if the M’s had spent 45 million to get quite a bit more than 3 WAR out of veterans, we are probably looking at a team that isn’t doing things like pressing Zunino into service, or playing Montero at C after seeing how poorly he performed there last year. The sub-optimal veteran talent leads to sub-optimal development patterns for the kids.

    This is an important point. In part because the available veterans are so painful to watch, each individual decision to rush prospect tended to have a lot of vocal defenders, but in the long run, it’s bad for the organization, and another legitimate piece of the case against Zduriencik’s continued employment as GM.

  41. eponymous coward on September 11th, 2013 2:09 pm

    Their FIP and XFIP were right around where you’d expect them to be. The utterly atrocious outfield defense has a lot to do with them seeming worse than they should have been. (Harang had a tough luck strand rate, too).

    “Hey, let’s sign some veteran flyball pitchers and give them an OF with a corner OF and two DHs who hit dingers! This couldn’t possibly go wrong, could it?”

  42. PackBob on September 11th, 2013 2:41 pm

    Certainly the vets have been bad, and if you are going to apportion blame for the W/L record they deserve more than the young players. But as a team game, both young and old players have not been very good except for a few, in particular the highly-touted Smoak/Ackley/Montero trio.

    A good team can absorb some bad players. Atlanta is running away with BJ Upton and Dan Uggla having a combined -2.7 bWAR.

    Granted the Mariners are a bad team, but they are a bad team for a variety of reasons and not just because the veterans have been lousy. I’m more concerned about the future performance of the young guys than the veteran players that will be gone.

    But if Dave’s point is that these current veterans will just be replaced by more lousy veterans, although it seems like he’s just mad at something, then that’s a legitimate concern as well.

  43. MrZDevotee on September 11th, 2013 3:39 pm

    ““Hey, let’s sign some veteran flyball pitchers and give them an OF with a corner OF and two DHs who hit dingers! This couldn’t possibly go wrong, could it?”

    Ow. This farcical point was so astute I swear I heard a cowbell being banged loudly as I read each word and they individually sank to the pit of my stomach, blocking my intestines. A sentence causing the very worst sort of indigestion…

    Timing, accuracy, pure talent… Eponymous should help coach our younger players next year.

    (Maybe Don James has been watching the M’s, which led to his gastro surgeries last week? Seems similar…)

  44. amnizu on September 11th, 2013 4:05 pm

    >Granted the Mariners are a bad team, but they are a bad team for a variety of reasons and not just because the veterans have been lousy.

    Actually, no it is pretty clear. Had the front office not wasted roster spots and dollars on veterans hitters and instead replaced them with 0 WAR players for league minimum this team would have:

    WON MORE GAMES.

    In addition the FO had the opportunity to evaluate and spend those same dollars on veteran hitters THAT PRODUCE and failed to do so.

    The front office continues to fail the organization by spending on a “veteran presence” and holds back progress on the field. It is time for Z to go.

  45. The_Waco_Kid on September 11th, 2013 4:22 pm

    They probably won’t fire Z and if they do they’ll find someone worse. Z is our best hope til we get new ownership.

  46. terryoftacoma on September 11th, 2013 4:36 pm

    Wouldn’t hold my breath on new ownership Waco. I do agree they probably won’t fire Z,though.

    I’m pretty sure neither Armstong nor Lincoln read USS Mariner and sadly no amount of articles or logic will change that. When the only numbers you look at are in the Financal section, WAR means nothing.

  47. zak24 on September 11th, 2013 5:28 pm

    I looked at the team statistics for batting (WRC+) and pitching (xFIP) a couple of weeks ago and my takeaway was that we are basically the Pirates; except we are 30th in both fielding and baserunning and the Pirates are 10th in both of those categories.

    I think it’s pretty clear what our needs are. Jack may have shat the bed this past offseason but he’s not an idiot, he’ll look to add outfielders in free agency and via trade that can run and field as well as they hit. I’ve been a defender of Jack because I believe that 6-7 years will give us the full picture. I won’t defend him forever but my money is on him having a really successful offseason and the Mariners becoming the real deal for a long time.

    You may say where is the evidence that gives you confidence in Z’s decision making. Well, for one we’re in a really nice position financially and aren’t committed to bad players like so many other teams. Also, I’m really glad it’s the old crusty slow ineffective vets who are the problem and not the kids. We can replace them with good players now that we’re “the haves” and voila.

  48. eponymous coward on September 11th, 2013 5:35 pm

    Z is our best hope til we get new ownership.

    So, you’re saying we have no hope until there’s new ownership, given that 5 years of on the job training has given us a GM with decent scouting skills, but lousy roster management and free agent assessment, and whose given up on a sabremetrics approach to bring in a bunch of baseball good ol’ boys?

    I’ve been a defender of Jack because I believe that 6-7 years will give us the full picture.

    We didn’t give Bill Bavasi 6-7 years. Should we have?

  49. zak24 on September 11th, 2013 7:15 pm

    No, because Bavasi was not building a team through the draft and thus had nothing to show for his 5 years… he left a complete trash fire in his wake.. if Z left now whoever comes next would be in a really good situation all things considered. 5 years of Bavasi is not the same as 5 years of Z.

  50. Bryce on September 11th, 2013 9:46 pm

    “if Z left now whoever comes next would be in a really good situation all things considered.”

    This team has had three last place finishes in a row and just got swept by the Astros. The roster is a disaster. Attendance has fallen off a cliff. The budget has been cut for four years in a row. Your definition of “a really good situation” is a helluva lot different than mine.

  51. 3cardmonty on September 11th, 2013 10:15 pm

    Z’s tenure really hasn’t been all that different from Bavasi’s, all things considered. Bavasi left the farm system in pretty decent shape IIRC, better than the one he inherited from Gillick at any rate (although Fontaine and Engel surely deserve most of the credit). Z hasn’t made any trades as bad as the Bedard debacle, or given out any contracts as bad as Silva or Sexson. It’s not necessarily for lack of trying though – let’s not forget that he tried to sign Hamilton for 4/100. I actually can’t think of any free agent contracts on Z’s watch that were better than Beltre’s, or even Johjima’s, or hell, the deals that Bavasi signed Ibanez to. Don’t get me wrong, Bavasi was worse than Z. But it’s not as big a difference as some people are making out. Qualitatively, both regimes were generally characterized by decent talent valuation at the minor league level and poor talent valuation at the major league level.

  52. zak24 on September 12th, 2013 12:54 am

    “A really good situation” in my opinion is money to spend, no dead weight contracts, and a young core to build around on both offense and defense. The last 5 years have been a struggle at the big league level but adding great veterans to a roster that wasn’t ready to contend would’ve been a waste of money. I understand you’re frustration with the past, but I think now this team is ready to make serious offers to veteran OF WAR producers (Pence, Ellsbury anyone?). This is a critical time not to lose your patience.

  53. Jopa on September 12th, 2013 9:16 am

    Bavasi left the team in shambles, by depleting the farm system via poor trades, poor drafting and terrible free agent signings.

    Jack has created a top 5 farm system and a talented young core just getting a taste of the majors now. He’s also only signed one bad, long-term free agent contract in Figgins. The rest have been either because his hands have been tied financially or because the players he wanted didn’t want to play in Seattle.

    Further, Bavasi had a budget of $120 million with no big albatross contracts created by prior management. Jack’s been allowed to spend up to $90 million, yet much of that was tied up in bad contracts signed prior to his arrival.

    This has been from the start a 7yr rebuild. They just don’t say it publicly. And to expect every talented prospect to be a superstar in his first or second year in the majors is ridiculous.

  54. illdonk on September 14th, 2013 8:45 am

    Unless you really believed that this team had a chance to compete in 2013, or believe it matters much whether the team is currently 17 or 11 or 6 games below .500, then the most pressing issue in 2013 is still the failure of the young hitters to develop.

    Let’s say the team had a more Dave-friendly offseason. They keep Vargas and Jaso, sign Swisher and/or Bourn and a better veteran starter for a year or two. Bigger FA attempts are known to have failed. The moves work out, and the team has a shot at finishing .500. Does this really matter all that much in the context of this team becoming a consistent playoff threat during the next five years? Is the 2014 outlook much more promising than it is now?

    If you want to have a referendum on the GM, which my comment wasn’t (but was described as a defense) that’s a different subject, and I’m pretty much in agreement with the opinion that the current situation should be changed. But I still think that even a good offseason wouldn’t have mattered much for this team’s goals.

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