The Royals as a Warning

Dave · September 25, 2013 at 8:22 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Since apparently the Mariners have no interest in The Pirates as a Blueprint, let’s try another franchise, and conveniently, the one who happens to be in town playing at Safeco right now. The Royals are currently the most similar franchise to the Mariners; long time losers pitching hope to their fans based on the prospects coming up through their farm system, but with a GM in place who hasn’t yet shown he can put quality Major Leaguers around said prospects. Like with Jack Z, Dayton Moore had a strong background in player development, coming over from the Braves after running their farm system, but like Jack Z, he’s spent his entire tenure as GM presiding over lousy teams because the things he values in a big league player aren’t the things that win you baseball games.

Last winter, Dayton Moore decided it was time for his team to stop losing. He was ready for a winning season, anxious to prove to everyone that his plan could work, and needed some kind of proof that the organization was on the right path. To that end, he identified the team’s pitching staff as the primary problem, and then went all-in on the off-season in an effort to fix their pitching problems. And that decision led them to trade Wil Myers — yes, that guy who is going to win the AL Rookie of the Year award after posting a 131 wRC+ as a 22 year old in Tampa Bay — and a couple of other prospects for James Shields and Wade Davis. Shields is an excellent pitcher, but only under team control for two seasons, so the Royals essentially swapped a quality young big leaguer for a short term rental in an effort to prove that Dayton Moore’s plan could actually work.

Shields has been very good, as usual, but the Royals weren’t actually ready to win, as they just had too many holes on their roster to keep up with a very good Detroit team and overcome the better AL Wild Card contenders. They’re going to finish the year with 85 or 86 wins and will watch the postseason at home, only now, they don’t have a terrific young right fielder to build around, and Shields is entering the last year of his contract. The Royals gave up a significant asset to try and win with a roster that wasn’t ready to win, and the end result was a mediocre team that now has fewer young talents to build around.

But you’ll hear people still defending the trade, noting that the Royals have had a winning season and reminded the team’s fan base what it was like to see a good product again. They’ll point out that the fan base has been reinvigorated, and that’s good for business, since an active fan base means more money for the team to spend in the future, and that money can be spent to raise the team’s payroll and improve the product again.

Here’s where facts get in the way, however. Here are the Royals attendance numbers from 2012 and 2013, and these are final, since KC has played all 81 of their home games this year.

2012: 1.74 million, 21,480 per game
2013: 1.75 million, 21,614 per game

The exciting new Royals, the one that has put a spark back in the fan base, managed to draw an extra 135 fans per game to the ballpark this year. The team’s attendance to watch James Shields and Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie pitch was almost identical to what it was to watch Bruce Chen, Luis Mendoza, and Luke Hochevar. The big bold moves by the front office didn’t result in any gain in attendance.

Oh, but maybe it stemmed a big loss, right? It’s not just about adding fans, but keeping the ones you already have, which has certainly been a problem for the Mariners. What was their attendance in 2011, and did the trade stop a huge downwards trend that could have been disastrous for the franchise’s revenue base? Nope, they drew 1.72 million in 2011 too, and 1.62 million in 2010, and 1.80 million in 2009. This is the Royals established “watch the team lose” fan base, and the Royals didn’t see any kind of spike after punting a key part of their future to try and win in the present.

By the way, the Mariners attendance for this terrible product is actually up 382 fans per game, or about 20,000 total fans over the first 77 home games. They only need to draw 40,000 fans total to their final four home games to match 2012′s attendance, and with Fan Appreciation Night coming up on Friday, they’ll almost certainly blow by that total over the weekend. This team is about as painful to watch as any the Mariners have put together in recent history, but they’ve seen a larger boost in attendance than the Royals have after “going for it”.

With Jack back for one final “prove you can win” year, the potential for a Wil Myers trade type of scenario is absolutely there. Remember, last year, Jack tried to give Josh Hamilton $100 million with several vesting options, and then he tried to trade Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, and stuff for Justin Upton. We’ve already seen that this front office is willing to make the franchise’s long term future worse for a chance at making the short term slightly better. And now, Jack absolutely knows that this is his last shot. Win or he’s gone. The incentive to steward the franchise is gone, and now, the mandate is very clearly to win in 2014.

The amount of damage that could be done this off-season is staggering. The Mariners are basically in the same position that the Royals were in a year ago. This roster isn’t particularly close to being a winner, but they have money to spend and young players to trade. Cover your eyes. This could get ugly.

Comments

64 Responses to “The Royals as a Warning”

  1. Westside guy on September 25th, 2013 8:47 am

    Haha, it’s funny (in a sad way) because I just posted on the “Mariners will retain Zduriencik” story that I basically expect… what you’ve pretty much said here.

    Man I hate it when my cynicism appears to be well-founded. I usually prefer to be overly cynical, because when things don’t turn out quite so bad as that it feels like a positive.

    Ugh.

  2. PackBob on September 25th, 2013 8:56 am

    Didn’t like the Hamilton or Upton almost-transactions. If Jack goes on a dump talent for name recognition off-season, he’ll dump me along with, especially if he goes for more turtles. Hate the turtles.

    Kansas City has 21.3 fWAR, ahead of Cleveland and Texas. I personally would not have traded Myers, but their fWAR seems to put them in the mix for playoff contention in 2013. A few games with a different result and they’d be in. Once a team is in the playoffs, anything can happen.

  3. Sportszilla on September 25th, 2013 9:03 am

    It’s a given the Hamilton deal would have been a disaster, but are we sure that Walker/Franklin for Upton would have been so bad?

  4. stevemotivateir on September 25th, 2013 9:11 am

    The last paragraph says it all. That is exactly what I have feared. Having a reckless, incompetent GM, making decisions from a desperate position.

  5. The_Waco_Kid on September 25th, 2013 9:15 am

    I would quibble that 08 and 10 were sadder seasons but I agree this sucks. Giving Z one more year doesn’t really make sense. If you believe in him, give him more than a year. Bavasi’s Hot Seat year was a disaster, with long-term ramifications. This year was not. Morse/Raul/Bay did no long-term damage. Dave is quite right that those failed deals of last off-season coulda done a lot of damage. I think I’d rather see Z go now.

  6. stevemotivateir on September 25th, 2013 9:26 am

    @sportzilla

    Walker, Franklin, Pryor, and another player (rumored to be Furbush).

    I thought that would have been an overpay. Still do.

  7. bermanator on September 25th, 2013 9:30 am

    For there to be a Wil Myers trade scenario here, Seattle would have to have a Wil Myers-type prospect to trade.

    I love Dave’s writing, except that to Dave, the correct sample size to evaluate players or trades is whatever suits his predetermined conclusions. Shields is under team control for another year. Let’s see how that plays out.

    Also, LOL at how the attendance argument that he uses against Kansas City can also be used to say that Jack Z. is doing no harm in Seattle. If fans are still coming to the games, he must be doing something right, no?

    Kansas City went from 72-90 to playoff contention in one offseason. If that’s a warning, Seattle could use one like it.

  8. Chasbo on September 25th, 2013 9:31 am

    This looks like part of a plan to sell the team.

    Keep these guys in place for one year while the details are worked out.

    This gives the new ownership a clean slate to implement whatever plan they have without long term contracts for management people.

  9. The_Waco_Kid on September 25th, 2013 9:42 am

    When the Royals went into win-now mode, they didn’t mean win 85 games and finish 3rd now.

  10. stevemotivateir on September 25th, 2013 9:48 am

    For there to be a Wil Myers trade scenario here, Seattle would have to have a Wil Myers-type prospect to trade.

    You mean like Walker? You think a package around him wouldn’t get the interest of most clubs?

    I love Dave’s writing, except that to Dave, the correct sample size to evaluate players or trades is whatever suits his predetermined conclusions. Shields is under team control for another year. Let’s see how that plays out.

    Dave didn’t determine the contract status of either player. Shields has one year left, Myers is under team control through 2018. That’s a significant difference to consider. If the Royals extend Shields, it will cost them significantly more.

    Also, LOL at how the attendance argument that he uses against Kansas City can also be used to say that Jack Z. is doing no harm in Seattle. If fans are still coming to the games, he must be doing something right, no?

    That’s like arguing that treading water is the same as swimming. What happens when the short term benefits burn off and the team loses more–but without those important pieces to move forward with? You think attendance will remain the same? Even if it did, do you think that’s a smart plan to maximize profits? A team that contends is usually more appealing to fans than a mediocre one–and especially more than a losing team.

    Kansas City went from 72-90 to playoff contention in one offseason. If that’s a warning, Seattle could use one like it.

    The Royals are 8.5 out of first and 4 back from a wild card. They were never a real threat to contend. 83-74 hardly suggests they’re a force to recon with.

  11. stevemotivateir on September 25th, 2013 10:07 am

    Love Jack’s statements about doing things, assuming you’ll keep the job, and how that is exactly what he’s done. If the attempt for Upton wasn’t an act of desperation and if the premature call-up of Zunino, among others, weren’t acts of desperation, it’s even more alarming because he’s suggesting we can expect crap like that when he’s comfortable. I don’t believe him, though.

  12. kaleyk on September 25th, 2013 10:30 am

    I do think it’s easy to be critical of others (Royals) and supportive of those that succeed (Pirates) at the END of the season.

    So what is the Mariner’s blueprint? If the Pirates are the blueprint, who is our Andrew McCutchen and who is our Russell Martin? How about it Dave, what is the correct blueprint for our Mariners?

  13. bookbook on September 25th, 2013 10:31 am

    I agree, the Royals’ path is a terrible one to follow. But attendance is a trailing indicator, right? The Royals attendance next year is a better sign of the success of the strategy than this.

  14. stevemotivateir on September 25th, 2013 10:33 am

    @kaleyk

    You should read his articles regarding both of those teams before the season started,

  15. maqman on September 25th, 2013 10:51 am

    Between Dave and Z I’d prefer Z as the GM.

  16. bermanator on September 25th, 2013 10:52 am

    So I’m confused. Here’s the facts as I understand it.

    1.) The Kansas City GM trades Myers for Shields prior to the season, saying his team is ready to contend. The SABR crowd mocks him for those expectations.

    2.) After going 72-90 a year ago, the Royals enter the final two weeks of the season within 2.5 games of the final playoff spot, which I’m pretty sure most fans would qualify as “contention.”

    3.) SABR fans mock Moore anyway, because narrative >>> evidence.

    As Dave shows here, when you manipulate the argument to suit your preconceived conclusions, you’re right every time as long as you just preach to the choir.

  17. Steve Nelson on September 25th, 2013 10:57 am

    Between Dave and maqman I’d prefer Dave as the analyst.

  18. bermanator on September 25th, 2013 11:05 am

    Also, if we’re going to cherry-pick the data to suit preconceived conclusions, it’s a good thing Dave neglected to mention those rising TV ratings in Kansas City.

    http://www.kansascity.com/2013/08/14/4410436/more-record-tv-ratings-for-royals.html

  19. Steve Nelson on September 25th, 2013 11:17 am

    “So I’m confused. Here’s the facts as I understand it. …”

    So I’m confused too. See, there is a method of analysis that is commonly used in many settings which stresses understanding how individual components work together to create value. This particular mode of analysis happens to show demonstrable operating advantages, with organizations that use this approach (process based analysis) intelligently have overall greater success rates than those that use the alternate approach (results-based)

    Now no matter whether one believes in one system or the other, one’s chances of success are betting if by deciding on one and sticking with it, instead of flipping back and forth on whim and fickle. I trust that you concur with that; that there’s value in being consistent

    So here’s where I’m confused. Given, I presume, that you see the value in consistency in approach. But you appear to be criticizing Dave for being consistent in his analytic approach and not surrendering his position because he doesn’t change his whole analysis because one team appears (to you) to have outperformed it’s expectations.

    ******

    By the way, the Royals are actually a horrible example to use for to argue against the process-based analysis because if you go back to preseason predictions, the Royals performance this season is almost exactly as predicted – their most likely performance was to finish slightly over .500, sniffing around at the fringe of the wild card race until near the end of the season. Of course, that’s the same approach that said the Mariner might be around 75 – 80 wins, and we all know how that prediction turned out.

  20. BLYKMYK44 on September 25th, 2013 11:17 am

    “Also, if we’re going to cherry-pick the data to suit preconceived conclusions, it’s a good thing Dave neglected to mention those rising TV ratings in Kansas City.”

    - Well considering the Kansas City television contract doesn’t expire until 2019…that seems pretty irrelevant to the impact to the team. Wonder what television ratings would be like after seeing year six of Will Meyers…?

    http://www.kansascity.com/2013/01/24/4029709/baseball-tv-deals-growing-more.html

  21. bermanator on September 25th, 2013 11:21 am

    ” This particular mode of analysis happens to show demonstrable operating advantages, with organizations that use this approach (process based analysis) intelligently have overall greater success rates than those that use the alternate approach (results-based) ”
    ==========

    And yet, the evidence here shows that Dayton Moore was exactly right when he said his team was ready to contend.

    Why is this a warning to Seattle fans again?

    The best part of the Kansas City season is watching folks like Dave argue that a losing team suddenly becoming a playoff contender is a sign of failure rather than success.

  22. terryoftacoma on September 25th, 2013 11:35 am

    Ah, preseason predictions:
    http://espn.go.com/mlb/preview13/story/_/page/13expertpicks/espn-expert-team-predictions-2013-baseball-season

    37/11/4.

    37 years 11 times above .500 and 4 playoffs. Being a Mariner’s fan can be brutal but never dull.

    First, The Mariner’s are owned by a Corporation. Corporations rarely sell divisions that are profitable. I wouldn’t look for new ownership any time soon.

    Second, Jack is the GM for next year. He knew that before the season started. We didn’t. Who knows? He could be quieted extended again after this season and we probably wouldn’t find out until the end of next season. The M’s are very tight with that kind of information.

    I’ll throw this out there. Just because Jack isn’t building the team the way we want. Are we at all sure he isn’t building the team the way his bosses want?

  23. leftfield limey on September 25th, 2013 11:35 am

    From afar I find it difficult to class Mr Z in the same league as Messrs Moore or Bavasi. Yes not all has been good in roster construction and trade land at all times but not all bad and at least he did not sign Betancourt to an extension or trade prospect talent for half a season of Broussard and Perez(?). I don’t get the feeling from Mr Z that he has the same reckless diregard for the value of prospects and love of veteranosity of the type of Francoeur, Vidro, Silva, Washburn etc (at high prices). Here’s hoping anyway.

  24. stevemotivateir on September 25th, 2013 11:37 am

    And yet, the evidence here shows that Dayton Moore was exactly right when he said his team was ready to contend.

    They’re 4 games out of the final wild card slot and you’re making it sound like they’re on the verge of a dynasty.

    The warning had to do with sacrificing the future for the present, especially when there isn’t enough pieces for a significant present. The Royals record reflects exactly that–a team that’s better, but not good enough.

  25. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on September 25th, 2013 11:41 am

    Dave, we must look on the bright side. Those Mariner fans who struggle with the decision of watching the M’s play live on a Wednesday night or watching fresh episodes of Survivor will now have relief. They’ll get to watch both in one as the Jack Z “go for broke” melodrama plays out before their eyes.

  26. bermanator on September 25th, 2013 11:47 am

    “They’re 4 games out of the final wild card slot and you’re making it sound like they’re on the verge of a dynasty.”

    I am doing no such thing.

    On the other hand, they were 2.5 games out of the final wild card slot and playing huge September games a week ago, and folks like Dave discount that because it doesn’t fit their preconceived narrative on Why Dayton Moore Was Wrong.

    To have that argument requires ignoring the results, which show that Moore was more correct in his views of what his team could do in 2013.

  27. BLYKMYK44 on September 25th, 2013 11:47 am

    “And yet, the evidence here shows that Dayton Moore was exactly right when he said his team was ready to contend.”

    - Interesting. If we are giving a bunch of credit to the Royals for “contending” then we would have to do the same for the 2009 Mariners, right?

    If so, I guess the numbers to bear out that even as a “lagging indicator”…winning 80+ games doesn’t cause a spike in attendance.

    2009 Ms: 2.196 Million
    2010 Ms: 2.085 Million

    Royals paid a pretty big price to be the 7th (or even as low as 9th) best team in the AL…

  28. Steve Nelson on September 25th, 2013 11:56 am

    “And yet, the evidence here shows that Dayton Moore was exactly right when he said his team was ready to contend.”

    Is this perchance the same Dayton Moore who when he signed Gil Meche for five years said that he made sure there was a fifth year so that Meche would be for the next Royals playoff team? He rally got that one exactly right, didn’t he.

    Then as year four approached he said that he really meant four to six years. Then two years after that he said history shows it takes a minimum of eight years to turn around a losing organization.

    He really got those exactly right, too, didn’t he? And of course he ignores all of the teams that accomplish what he says he is doing in less than half the time.

    But go ahead, you just go right on trusting that Dayton Moore gets it “exactly right” when he says knows what is necessary to create a playoff team.

  29. zak24 on September 25th, 2013 11:56 am

    Jack Zduriencik said that the Royals trade was stupid in an interview right after it happened. He’s made more good trades then bad ones. And I’m sick of the tired old Josh Hamilton/Justin Upton speculation, that easily could’ve been a ploy to let the fans know they are willing to go for it without actually going for it. This season was obviously about not going for broke rather then trying to contend. I think Jack wants to be sure before he makes his next big free agent signing, and unlike the Royals who mortgaged the future entirely I think he’s going to make this an 85 win team in ’14 and a perennial playoff team in ’15 and beyond. The Pirate’s GM has been at it for longer then Zduriencik as well, and frankly they got lucky with McCutchen, so that’s not really a valid comparison let’s just see the 7 year plan before we start calling for heads to roll. Better outfield Defense, Better outfield Baserunning, and Better Pitching it’s not that complicated, Jack knows what needs to be done. Dave gets off on writing scathing articles before their time.

  30. bermanator on September 25th, 2013 12:07 pm

    “But go ahead, you just go right on trusting that Dayton Moore gets it ‘exactly right’ when he says knows what is necessary to create a playoff team.”

    His team was playing meaningful games a week ago, with James Shields pitching well in key games in September. So I’m gonna go ahead and say that in this case, he knew a lot better than critics thought.

  31. bermanator on September 25th, 2013 12:10 pm

    “… unlike the Royals who mortgaged the future entirely.”

    Really? A team that starts Hosmer, Butler, Gordon, Perez, Moustakas, Escobar and Cain is mortgaging the future entirely?

  32. eponymous coward on September 25th, 2013 12:17 pm

    But you’ll hear people still defending the trade, noting that the Royals have had a winning season and reminded the team’s fan base what it was like to see a good product again. They’ll point out that the fan base has been reinvigorated, and that’s good for business, since an active fan base means more money for the team to spend in the future, and that money can be spent to raise the team’s payroll and improve the product again.

    Here’s where facts get in the way, however…

    Attendance is a lagging indicator of team quality, not a leading indicator, so I’m not sure this is a particularly strong point, though some of these points, sure.

    In other words, the M’s attendance in late 1995? Not great until the very end. For example: 12,000 and change fans saw the M’s beat the Twins on September 12, 1995. They were half a game out of the wild card on that date.

  33. chainlinq on September 25th, 2013 12:20 pm

    FWIW – Because season ticket sales are so important to attendance numbers, you usually see attendance impacted by good or bad seasons in the next season. So you really need to compare 2014 attendance between Royals and Mariners to get a true picture.

    The quicker check is TV ratings. Those tend to move with how well the team is playing and can usually give a good idea of the direction season ticket sales will go next year. Of course off season moves have an impact as well.

    Remember back in 1995 it took a while before fans showed up at the Kingdome, we did not get big crowds until really late, but TV ratings were through the roof.

    If the over/under for next years attendance is this years attendance, sign me up for the under.

  34. vj on September 25th, 2013 12:21 pm

    I was wondering what Dave had to say about the proposed offer for Justin Upton.

    Here it is: http://www.ussmariner.com/2013/01/11/was-mariners-offer-an-overpay/

  35. stevemotivateir on September 25th, 2013 1:07 pm

    I am doing no such thing.

    You’re focusing on where they were two weeks ago to make it sound like they’ve cleared a hurdle, while ignoring the points made about their future.

  36. bermanator on September 25th, 2013 1:52 pm

    “You’re focusing on where they were two weeks ago to make it sound like they’ve cleared a hurdle, while ignoring the points made about their future.”

    No, I’m focusing on the fact that a team that went 72-90 a year ago was a playoff contender in 2013, and retains the primary asset it got in the Myers deal.

    You might not have made the deal in Moore’s place — I certainly would not have — but it’s helped do exactly what he envisioned. This team played meaningful games in September, and Shields started and won them.

  37. mrakbaseball on September 25th, 2013 1:54 pm

    There was nothing speculative about Justin Upton. The Mariners and D-Backs agreed to a deal but Upton nixed it with his no-trade clause.

  38. Steve Nelson on September 25th, 2013 1:56 pm

    His team was playing meaningful games a week ago, with James Shields pitching well in key games in September. So I’m gonna go ahead and say that in this case, he knew a lot better than critics thought.

    I guess you really miss Bill Bavasi, don’t you? He put together a team that won 88 games and was playing key games into September.

    Not only that he did it in fewer years than Moore. And since he was only with the Mariners four-plus years, his frequency in producing winning teams is two times higher than Moore’s.

    With those kinds of results I don’t understand why your aren’t thumping in favor of Bavasi. Bavasi’s record of success runs circles around Moore’s.

  39. G-Man on September 25th, 2013 1:57 pm

    “Attendance is a lagging indicator of team quality, not a leading indicator…”

    This is particularly true because of the way MLB counts attendance. It is really tickets sold, not folks in the seats, so going forward, you get more season tickets sold (partial packages included), and more early sales of tickets for much later games as well.

  40. bermanator on September 25th, 2013 2:08 pm

    “With those kinds of results I don’t understand why your aren’t thumping in favor of Bavasi. Bavasi’s record of success runs circles around Moore’s.”

    That’s just dumb. Kansas City is well-positioned for the coming years with a core of proven young talent, and at least for next season has a legit No. 1 or No. 2 starter (depending on what you consider Shields) to anchor the rotation.

    Again, if that’s supposed to be a warning to Seattle fans, I welcome such an awful scenario as the one Royals fans are dealing with.

  41. bermanator on September 25th, 2013 2:21 pm

    And anyway, the point is that Kansas City is a very poor comp for Seattle.

    The Mariners don’t have a young position player anywhere close to Myers in the system. Walker’s an elite prospect, but pitchers carry more risk so I’m guessing the market for Walker’s not the same.

    I’m also skeptical that Seattle has the same core of young talent that Kansas City did at this time a year ago. Accepting that the Eric Wedge “Blame the Kids!” argument is dumb and illogical, how many of the young players on the Mariners roster can you realistically see being core members of a playoff squad?

    Trading young players for veterans isn’t a bad strategy because Kansas City just tried it. It’s bad because the Mariners would have a harder time making that kind of a deal anyway, and are so far away from the playoffs that it’s silly.

    But the Kansas City trade shouldn’t be seen as a warning. The result was what Moore envisioned it would be — a team in playoff contention in late September.

  42. stevemotivateir on September 25th, 2013 2:33 pm

    That’s just dumb. Kansas City is well-positioned for the coming years with a core of proven young talent, and at least for next season has a legit No. 1 or No. 2 starter (depending on what you consider Shields) to anchor the rotation.

    Take a look at their farm, then try reading the article again. Take note of their payroll as well.

  43. BLYKMYK44 on September 25th, 2013 2:34 pm

    “This is particularly true because of the way MLB counts attendance. It is really tickets sold, not folks in the seats, so going forward, you get more season tickets sold (partial packages included), and more early sales of tickets for much later games as well.”

    - I just showed how the Mariners in 2010 (after their GREAT 2009) saw their attendance go down by almost 100k.

    It might seem logical that it is a lagging indicator…but it really isn’t true.

  44. Steve Nelson on September 25th, 2013 2:39 pm

    That’s just dumb. Kansas City is well-positioned for the coming years with a core of proven young talent, and at least for next season has a legit No. 1 or No. 2 starter (depending on what you consider Shields) to anchor the rotation.

    Again, if that’s supposed to be a warning to Seattle fans, I welcome such an awful scenario as the one Royals fans are dealing with.

    Wait a minute! All thread you have been contending that analysis doesn’t count – the proof is in the results. And Moore’s genius lies in the fact that he has a team playing meaningful baseball. That has been your sine qua non; you put that forward as the argument that trumps all of the analysis in the article regarding the Royals.

    So now when you’re called out on the absurdity of making results the benchmark, you now shift to talking about the process – about looking at the picture behind the results. Which happens to be the very thing you started our criticizing in the article.

    Hoisting yourself on your own petard, methinks.

    Now – if you want to argue process instead of results, or process plus results, your going to have to make a case as to why the process followed by Moore is the superior process.

  45. stevemotivateir on September 25th, 2013 2:41 pm

    No, I’m focusing on the fact that a team that went 72-90 a year ago was a playoff contender in 2013, and retains the primary asset it got in the Myers deal.

    Again, look at where they’re at right now, who they have in their systems, and take note of the contracts of their key players for the future.

    It should be easy to understand where they could run into trouble.

  46. BLYKMYK44 on September 25th, 2013 2:44 pm

    “Trading young players for veterans isn’t a bad strategy because Kansas City just tried it. It’s bad because the Mariners would have a harder time making that kind of a deal anyway, and are so far away from the playoffs that it’s silly”

    - If you are going to argue that Moore “saw something that the stat guys didn’t” and that justified the move why would that not apply to the Mariners?

    As you said before…the Royals were 72-90 last year. A guy like Eric Hosmer was a -1.7 WAR player why is that guy considered a reasonable guy to improve but a guy like Smoak or Ackley could do the same thing?

    Seager could do a competent Alex Gordon impression. Jaso was 2 win catcher last year part time…and the Royals had nothing like a Felix or Kuma on their team.

    …which kind of gets to the point. You look at the Mariners with rationality and see that the team isn’t that close to contending. Just like you would have done the same thing with the Royals last year.

    So, it takes a GM who basically assumes ALL his young players are going to improve to make give up a huge chip to “contend”…which begs the question was Moore smart or was he lucky? And if Jack wants to do the same thing how can you say he isn’t being “smart”?

  47. BLYKMYK44 on September 25th, 2013 2:48 pm

    I guess long story short…I don’t see how it is reasonable to claim that the Mariners are “so far away from the playoffs” when comparing them to the Royals.

  48. Steve Nelson on September 25th, 2013 2:53 pm

    No, I’m focusing on the fact that a team that went 72-90 a year ago was a playoff contender in 2013, and retains the primary asset it got in the Myers deal.

    Why not focus on a team that went 72-90 two years ago to 79-83 a year ago to 91-67 and actually in the playoffs this year, and still with a chance to win their division. And did not give up any significant assets in the process? Wouldn’t that be a better team to focus on?

    BTW – it makes no difference that the Royals retain the primary asset they obtained in the Myers deal. After all, the Mariners retain the primary assets they obtained in the Doug Fister deal and in the Cliff Lee deal and in the Michael Pineda deal. The question that counts is whether the assets they retain are more valuable than the assets they gave up.

  49. stevemotivateir on September 25th, 2013 3:02 pm

    ^Well said, but I would add that contract status does make a difference as well.

    Shields will (likely) command considerably more money after next season, where as Myers will still be pre-arb. For a team that has traditionally been hesitant to spend, it’s reasonable to assume things like this can weigh heavily in their decisions.

  50. dantheman on September 25th, 2013 4:57 pm

    Two points:

    1. What a terrible GM Kansas City has! He only got within a couple games of the playoffs and had a winning season!! Why would the Mariners want to emulate anything that guy did??

    2. Attendance figures almost always lag by a year. Expect to see a significant increase in KC attendance next year. By contrast, the Mariners have pretty much hit rock bottom although…..

  51. Steve Nelson on September 25th, 2013 5:11 pm

    1. What a terrible GM Kansas City has! He only got within a couple games of the playoffs and had a winning season!! Why would the Mariners want to emulate anything that guy did??
    Not bad. He’s been the GM for eight years and has finished above .500, barely, once. As I mentioned above, that’s a worse record than Bill Bavasi.

    What I don’t understand is why so many people seem to think that is the model the Mariners should follow. Spend seven years wallowing in the mud, then have one year where they are close enough so that you’re close enough to a playoff team to smell their butts???

    It seems to me that if we want to emulate a GM somewhere we should be looking at someone who has a better track record than that. Even the Florida Marlins have a better track record than the Royals.

  52. djw on September 25th, 2013 5:31 pm

    Just because Jack isn’t building the team the way we want. Are we at all sure he isn’t building the team the way his bosses want?

    I don’t understand. Is your position that Zduriencik’s bosses told him to go out and construct an awful, 90 loss roster? As you observe, this is a corporation, and presumably a rational actor. Why wouldn’t they say “your payroll is X. Do the best you can with it to build a team that wins, because all else being equal, winning is more likely to create revenue than losing”?

    A good conspiracy theory needs a plausible account of motivation (this is the great failing of the Obama fake birth certificate thing). Perhaps a story about key decision-makers being A’s fans? Otherwise these dark musings about losing intentionally just make you look even crazier than the average conspiracy theorist.

  53. dantheman on September 25th, 2013 6:18 pm

    “Not bad. He’s been the GM for eight years and has finished above .500, barely, once. As I mentioned above, that’s a worse record than Bill Bavasi.
    What I don’t understand is why so many people seem to think that is the model the Mariners should follow.”

    Nobody is saying that’s the “model” the Mariners should follow. The point is, as bad as KC’s GM has been, KC was in the hunt. When was the last time that was true for the Mariners? And, by the way, Jack Z’s record is also worse than Bavasi’s.

  54. Bremerton guy on September 25th, 2013 6:27 pm

    Can’t we just agree that Jack Z has been a disaster and move on? (And by “disaster”, I mean in the aggregate, not cherry-picked items like he got Felix to commit to a long-term deal).

  55. stevemotivateir on September 25th, 2013 6:37 pm

    Really amazes me how many people are missing the general point.

    The Royals are not positioned to dominate the future, despite their moderate improvement this season–which still left them short. This isn’t just about the Myers trade, it’s about planning for the future, rather than just focusing on the short term.

    The M’s are in a similar position as the Royals were last offseason. Would anyone really be comfortable with a couple of FA signings and shipping off significant talent for a couple of veterans in an attempt to win in 2014 and preserve jobs? And what if it doesn’t work? The M’s are more than just a few pieces away, which some of you seem to be spacing.

    The warning should be heard loud and clear. Giving a GM–who has already proven himself incapable of constructing a decent roster–the resources to jeopardize the future with more acts of desperation, really isn’t wise. It’s alarming!

    Nobody should be surprised if Jack ends up with a worse record than Bavasi and leaves the organization in a similar state.

  56. stevemotivateir on September 25th, 2013 6:54 pm

    Nobody is saying that’s the “model” the Mariners should follow. The point is, as bad as KC’s GM has been, KC was in the hunt.

    No, the point was what you read in the headline: The Royals As A Warning.

    And Jack does have a worse record already, but some still seem to think he’ll rebound and end up decent. My money’s on him leaving with a significantly worse winning percentage.

  57. BLYKMYK44 on September 25th, 2013 9:39 pm

    Dantheman…

    Attendance doesn’t always lag behind one year. Just check out the 2010 mariners

    And…how is this royals team more of a contender than the 2009 mariners?

  58. matthew on September 25th, 2013 10:36 pm

    a1, I tell you. a1!

  59. Slats on September 25th, 2013 10:52 pm

    Has Dave changed his tone since 2012?

    Quote: But, this wasn’t some kind of absurd offer to try and save Jack’s job of desperation. Throw those comments in the trash where they belong. Upton is a very good player, and the Mariners offered up some very good prospects in order to get him. It’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t change his mind and accept the trade, since they’ll still have Walker, Franklin, Furbush, and Pryor in that case, but it’s also a trade I’d have been willing to make. It’s a high price, but it’s not too high of a price.

  60. djw on September 26th, 2013 8:09 am

    I’m fairly astonished by the low bar so many people seem OK with for such a major future-mortgaging. “Meaningful games in Mid-September” or “in the hunt” is certainly not nothing, but can the contribution of Shields/Davis to this outcome(-Myers) really justify the value given up from 2014-2018?

    One thing I think we should really value in a GM is a steady, consistent discount rate. Those special moments when it makes sense to jack up the discount rate are rare indeed, and getting them right (and not manufacturing them to try to save one’s job) are very important, and the outcome of 2013 suggests Moore did not get it right.

  61. Hunter S. Thompson on September 26th, 2013 9:39 pm

    djw

    I can’t agree more. The difference between the Pirates and Royals is the key. People say well the Royals traded away 6 years of a likely team controled superstar and likely mid rotation starter an more for Shields and Davis.
    Yeah things broke right for the Royals and they almost made the playoffs.
    They gave up 6 years of team control for Shields on a two year contract with out much savings and they didn’t make it.
    The Pirates made smart under the radar moves, and then added decent players at the deadline for little cost and they made the playoffs.

    That is Dave’s point, don’t give away superstars that have 6 years of team contol for an outside shot. Ad value players to complement you core and buildfor the future.If the Mariners add one or two good youngish players, keep the core they maybe with in realistic striking distance a year from now.

  62. Adam S on September 27th, 2013 12:59 am

    Saying the Royals came within a couple games of the playoffs (I’ve seen this a few times) is disingenuous if not outright dishonest.

    There were a couple days in September where they were 3 games out of the wild card and they’re going to finish about 5 games out with the 7th or 8th best record in the AL. However they were at best a fringe contender. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/standings/probability.jsp?ymd=20130926 (switch to AL Wild Card) shows them with basically a 2-3% chance at the playoffs since June 1st. They were always a 9-1 run from being a true contender and that’s an unlikely scenario.

  63. bermanator on September 27th, 2013 5:43 am

    The Royals were within, I believe, 2 or 2.5 games out of the playoffs in September.

    A couple, by most definitions, is two.

    Facts are your friends.

    I think we are seeing, in this thread and in Dave’s backtracking on things like the Upton trade, an increasing trend here where sample sizes, evaluation periods and definitions are being deliberately twisted or changed in order to secure the desired conclusion. It is, frankly, sad to see. There are plenty of arguments against this trade without the “Royals were never contenders!” argument that is, frankly, very easy to disprove.

    Going back to old topics and reading comments on the Fister trade, the potential Upton trade, even the Jack Z. hiring shows that the best subject for many here is Revisionist History 101.

  64. Adam S on September 27th, 2013 9:46 am

    the “Royals were never contenders!” argument that is, frankly, very easy to disprove.
    OK, disprove it.

    My data is above that shows they never had more than 5% chance of making the playoffs over the last two months. Being 2.5 games out with four teams ahead of you might make the home town fans think you’re a contender — and maybe that’s the Royals goal — but it doesn’t mean you’re truly in contention. The last day the Royals had a 10% chance of the post season was May 22nd. (And 10% would be a long shot, not a contender except in the most literal of terms in which case the Mariners were playoff contenders too.)

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