USSM Year-end Best-of: July 2006

7-2: Dave says it’s time to move Ichiro to centerfield.
I loved my “Ichiro clips on YouTube” but MLBAM went through and cease-and-desisted them all. Thanks, MLBAM.
7-3: Jeff versus John McGrath in “McGrath: Ichiro Crippled Reed, Cost Mariners Share of First Place”
7-6: Dave’s “What I would do” ideas for improving the roster.
7-8: Worst outfield of the year.
7-11: Mariner trade value. Followed by 7-20’s: ranking of trade values within the AL West.
7-12: The promotion of Adam Jones.
7-15: It’s worth thinking about changing Safeco Field’s dimensions.
7-16: Hargrove’s bullpen management gets called “Brutal” by Dave
Mike Hargrove is the in-game strategist equivalent of General Custer. I, for one, can’t wait for the last stand.

And in the Game 92 thread, Hargrove’s blind spot for Everett is compared to his intolerance for Choo.
7-17: Mid-season review of 2006’s free agent pitchers.
7-18: Dave’s tying up loose ends post manages to hash on trading for Soriano, discuss buidling a […]

Original post by DMZ and software by Elliott Back

USSM Year-end Best-of: June 2006

6-2: Dave’s draft preview.
6-5: Dave does “Good News, Bad News”
6-6: I’m all excited about draft day.
6-7: “Why not Miller?” Dave explains the politics of the draft and how it led to the Mariners passing up Andrew Miller.
6-7: The wider view of the draft and economics. “Level the field, let them play.”
6-20: In “Abandoning the catch-up” I argued the small chance at division contention then wasn’t not worth sacrificing long-term success
6-22: Dave, basking in the happiness of brief success - “This is fun”
This still isn’t a great team. They have some major flaws, and while this season may not end with a championship parade, they’ve made a huge step forward - it’s no longer painful to be a Mariner fan.
Hooray for hope.

6-29 So what now? Dave’s plan to keep the team in contention from the season’s midpoint.
6-30: Dave reflects on the A’s vulnerabilities and the strange perception that they were the […]

Original post by DMZ and software by Elliott Back

Nate Silver on the Zito signing

In an “Unfiltered” blog post at Baseball Prospectus (”Barry Zito and “Smart” versus “Dumb” Projections“), Silver makes a really interesting point: he argues that Zito’s contract is entirely reasonable if you think ERA is awesome and predictive of future performance. Over the life of his contract, he should be good enough to earn that $100m (if you assume that the current rate/win isn’t a fluke, etc).
If you don’t - if you’re willing to pay more attention to his component stats, his stuff, look at comperable players, etc, you find that that’s way, way off. $57m off, according to a PECOTA long-term look (which also assumes that paying the current rate/win, etc etc).
Yup. The game is changing, and front offices are getting much smarter, but it’s not changing that fast, really, and teams aren’t getting smarter at the same rate.

Original post by DMZ and software by Elliott Back

USSM Year-end Best-of: May 2006

5-3: Bloomquist and Lopez discuss Bloomquist being on fire
5-4: Why the players’ union should support the minor league umpires’ strike
5-10: Doyle Day
5-15: Photos from Tacoma, including ex-Mariner Snelling and the insane Diamond Dig. Game report from same.
A kid did a sweep-the-bases thing and after he was done, he brushed off the umpire’s feet, and the ump gave him a ball. Implied message: do as you’re told and debase yourself to authority, and you’ll be rewarded.

5-25: Why Albert Pujols will break the single-seaon home run record
Pujols’ hot start makes a run at the title possible, and unless we see a dramatic shift in sentiment, he’ll be given every opportunity teams can spare to make sure his path is clear.

Pujols, of course, got injured and missed a little time, but you essentially can’t miss any time and challenge a season hitting record.
5-28: Just jaw-droppingly horrible. Dave tears into Hargrove over a particularly, […]

Original post by DMZ and software by Elliott Back

USSM Year-end Best-of: April 2006

Game 24 thread: complaining about Gil Meche leads to the destruction of Seattle.
Roger Clemens, the 21st Century Wants a Word With You
Take Me Out With the Crowd
Safeco Field ticket guide
Early analysis on aggressive baserunning
April also brought us the best quote of the year, from the PI:
“I never thought I’d see the day where there was less than 20,000,” said utility man Willie Bloomquist. “(Tuesday night) was the first time I’ve walked out for a game and gone, ‘Wow.’ It’s a little odd being able to hear conversations with fans.”
“Really?” I wondered. “What did they say?”
“You (expletive) suck, Bloomquist!” Bloomquist said.

Original post by DMZ and software by Elliott Back

USSM Year-end Best-of: March 2006

Book review: The Museum of Clear Ideas
Dave on the Thornton-for-Borchard trade
Bugs Bunny, Greatest Banned Player Ever
Dave scouts Daniel Bard and Andrew Miller
Dave compares Meche and Pineiro, which includes
Basically, Gil Meche sucks and Joel Pineiro doesn’t.

It’s a good piece of analysis, and also demonstrates that we get stuff wrong all the time.
Position roundtables: RF

Original post by DMZ and software by Elliott Back

USSM Year-end Best-of: February 2006

Slow month at USSM. The position roundtables are about it. (1b, 2b (and follow-up on Bloomquist-as-2b), SS, 3B, LF, CF
How many Mariner fans does it take to change a lightbulb?
1: I don’t know, but about 30,000 a night show up hoping to see the lightbulb turn itself around.
2: Changing lightbulbs is unncessary for Mariner fans, who bask endlessly in the luminous goodness of Raul Ibanez’s soul. (props to Jonah for the idea for this one)

Original post by DMZ and software by Elliott Back

USSM Year-end Best-of: January 2006

Will Clark at the Hall of Fame
Evaluating Defense. Dave’s rundown on how best to approach the extremely difficult problem of figuring out who’s good and bad with the glove, and how good.
Joke salvage, from Meche heads to arbitration
Arbitration board: We rule for Mr. Hunter. Mr. Hunter, if you could just walk over here and take this gigantic sack of money…
Hunter: I don’t walk, sorry.
The Rise and Fall of Dave Fleming.
Mariners fandom, as seen through:
logical positivism
Management review. Dave’s “feelings on the Mariner front office, how they operate, what they do well, and what they could do better” a year ago.
The Mariners’ Revenge Song. Jeff busts out song lyrics.
Jeff and Derek discuss the 2005 off-season. I don’t know that this has weathered quite as well, but it was really interesting to go back and re-read this.

Original post by DMZ and software by Elliott Back

Friday Foto: Hard Hats Required

I’m in Philly now. Yay.
I hear Barry Zito signed with the San Francisco Giants for a metric bucket of money, with an option for an additional bucket of money. Hmm, maybe this gives me more of an excuse to try to go down for this year’s Giants-Phillies games.
On the way up to Philly, I stopped in DC to hang out with a good friend of mine. We were debating what to do for a few hours before my train, and since he’s also a baseball geek and has become a bit of a Nats fan, we thought we’d go wander down to the area near the Navy Yard metro stop and look at the new stadium construction:
This is probably my oddest “Look, I’m at a stadium” picture ever.(Bonus points if you can identify the shirt I’m wearing.)
The area around the New Ballpark, as it’s currently called, is […]

Original post by Deanna and software by Elliott Back

Zito gets a seven year, $18m/year deal

“Sooooo… how about that appeals court ruling?”
“I’m fine.”
“You think between the union, Bonds, and everything else we’ll be able to keep Bonds on the field all year?”
“Sure, why not.”
“It does seem like there’s a fair chance he’s going to jail on perjury charges in the next… year, two years.”
“That’s a pretty short window of opportunity, between possible retirement or incarceration…”
“Fine, fine, call Boras, tell him we cave.”
Best part: the 2014 option for $18m. Yeaaaaaaah.

Original post by DMZ and software by Elliott Back

2006 Free Agent Signings

With free agency nearly over, and by popular demand, here is my list of the ten best and worst free agent signings this winter. I’ve been vocal in my criticism of some of the decisions made this offseason, and there have been some horrible contracts handed out, but there have also been some good deals signed this winter.
So, without further ado, as of 12/28, the best and worst of the offseason signings:
Best Contracts of 2006


M. Mussina
New York Yankees

G. Maddux
San Diego Padres

A. Pettitte
New York Yankees

D. Matsuzaka
Boston Red Sox

R. Durham
San Francisco Giants

D. Dellucci
Cleveland Indians

A. Iwamura
Tampa Bay Devil Rays

M. Alou
New York Mets

M. DeRosa
Chicago Cubs

J. Valentin
New York Mets

Honorable Mention: A. Kennedy, F. Thomas, J. Guillen, F. Catalanatto, R. Wolf
Worst Contracts of 2006


C. Lee
Houston Astros

B. Zito
San Francisco Giants

G. Meche
Kansas City Royals

J. Pierre
Los Angeles Dodgers

G. Matthews
Anaheim Angels

A. Soriano
Chicago Cubs

J. Marquis
Chicago Cubs

D. Baez
Baltimore Orioles

S. Hillenbrand
Anaheim Angels

W. Williams
Houston Astros

Dishonorable Mention: B. Molina, A. Gonzalez, […]

Original post by Dave and software by Elliott Back

Just say no to Randy With word Randy wants out of…

Just say no to Randy
With word Randy wants out of NY, the Mariners have been floated as a possible landing zone. While it might be great for Yankee fans to picture Johnson in a Mariner uniform, I’m not sure why any one else would want to.
Randy Johnson is no longer a top-tier pitcher. (pretty much everyone agrees on this)
So why would the M’s want to pay $16 million for a #4 starter coming off back-surgery?
The answer is, they wouldn’t. Just like the Mariners weren’t giving Zito $126 million, they aren’t going to want to give Randy that much money to continue to pout/glare while putting up an ERA around 5. Too much risk, not enough reward.
Randy Johnson wins games when he has the NY Yankees offense behind him. Put the M’s offense with Randy’s 90 mph fastball and a slider that catches the fat part of the plate and he […]

Original post by Tom and software by Elliott Back

NPB Roundup: The Wrath of Contracts

In ten hours I’m getting out of the boonies and working my way up to Philly, where I will promptly be engulfed in a storm of hoagies, cheesesteaks, and Tastykakes, drowned in birch beer.
Okay, not really. And I am unfortunately one day late to celebrate Cole Hamels’s birthday. But since I’m on the net since it still feels too early to sleep, I might as well share some of the stuff I’m reading.
First, WE GOT TSUBOI BACK!!!!!! Yay! Err, by “we” I mean the Nippon Ham Fighters and by “Tsuboi” I mean Tomochika Tsuboi, the often-injured but otherwise-awesome former-Tiger-now-Fighters outfielder, who was released immediately after the Japan Series. The reason the Fighters dismissed him in the first place was that they thought they were paying him too much for such a low contribution to the team, so in re-signing him they gave him a much […]

Original post by Deanna and software by Elliott Back

Randy Johnson: Yes, Please

If you haven’t heard, Randy Johnson is not only available, but is apparently looking to move back to the west coast, closer to his family, and presumably would prefer a team that spends spring training in his home state.
An above average left-handed starter? Check.
Short term commitment? Check.
Geographic nature of area appealilng? Check.
Big name acquisition to potentially excite fan base? Check.
Hall of Fame pitcher with a chance to end a great career where it began to flourish? Check.
Randy Johnson isn’t the same guy who we remember being the most dominating pitcher of the mid-90s, the guaranteed win who made you want to go to the Kingdome on an 80 degree day and cheer for a dude with a mullet. But he’s still one of the better pitchers in the American League. Really.
Among AL pitchers in 2006, Randy Johnson ranked 11th in strikeout rate and 18th […]

Original post by Dave and software by Elliott Back

Movie Review: Rookie of the Year (1993)

Rookie of the Year (1993, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Gary Busey)
This was on TV last night completely randomly and I watched it with my mom. I’d never seen it before. I’m not great at reviewing movies, but I’ve mostly been off the net the last few days so this is what I’ve got to work with
In short, this is a fun little movie to watch if you see it playing on TV late at night, but otherwise it’s not really worth your time unless you’re either a 12-year-old kid wishing you could play for the Cubs, or if you like kid movies with Disney endings.
Thomas Ian Nicholas, who six years later would play Kevin in American Pie (which I realized about halfway through this movie), plays Henry, a 12-year-old kid who breaks his arm in a bizarre baseball accident and it heals in a bizarre way that […]

Original post by Deanna and software by Elliott Back

Happy Kevin Millwood’s Birthday

I’m off to the east coast for a week and a half, assuming nothing goes wrong when I arrive at the airport in a few hours.
Will be in the middle of the woods in southern Virginia for a few days, then in the middle of Philly for a week.
I’m sure I’ll write a few entries here while gone, but don’t expect a daily dose of Deanna.
Hope you are all having a happy holiday season!

Original post by Deanna and software by Elliott Back

It’s year-in-review time!

…is what i would say today, if I were a year-in-review kind of guy. I am not. So there will be no year-in-review from me. Y’all saw it, y’all lived through it, you don’t need me to dredge up potentially painful memories from the year gone past.
No, this end-of-year, all I bring you is a quiz. Not just any quiz, though, the King William College quiz, the 102nd edition of this fine little quiz in fact. It’s hard. Very hard. Which is the point, really - it’s not completely Google-proof, but it is vetted every year to make sure that the question does not result in an easy Google-found answer. The most I’ve ever gotten right on this quiz (and I try it every year) is about 10, I think - I haven’t tried this year’s yet, but I’m not anticipating bettering […]

Original post by pdb and software by Elliott Back

NPB Roundup: It’s not easy being Glynn

Oh man, I meant to have another set of Japan pictures up tonight for Friday Foto, but I got pretty sidetracked, so instead, you get a roundup, and some pictures tomorrow, hopefully! Funny thing is, a few of the pictures are actually relevant to this roundup.
Why? Because the Fighters signed Ryan Glynn!! And the set I’m going through was of a game with Lotte rookie Naruse pitching against Rakuten pitcher Glynn at Chiba Marine Stadium. Whee!
Yeah, I’m psyched about the Fighters picking up a Rakuten pitcher. Why? Because Ryan Glynn was basically the best starting pitcher on the Eagles this year, and much better than he was perceived, although I think Kanehisa Arime might have been close if he hadn’t been mishandled. Glynn was 7-7 with a 3.95 ERA, striking out 121 and walking 36 in 127.1 IP, giving up 15 home runs […]

Original post by Deanna and software by Elliott Back

Sports needs better nicknames

I was reading about Daisuke Matsuzaka finally putting pen to paper and signing withzzzzzzzzz…..sorry, just nodded off there for a minute, because I realized I was talking about contract negotiations. Anyway. Several places have started referring to Matsuzaka as “Dice-K”, which is at best an initial effort at a nickname because, well, because it’s close to the real pronunciation, and because it’s got a K in it, which is good cuz, y’know, he’s a pitcher. Wacky.
Still, it’s kind of a lame nickname - it’s the same theory as A-Rod, or T-Mac, or any of the other initial-name combos, except it’s cleverly reversed so his first name is the long one. Whether that’s because Japanese reads right to left, I’m not sure. All I know is, we can do better.
The last really good sports nickname, in my humble opinion, is The Answer, Allen Iverson’s nickname. […]

Original post by pdb and software by Elliott Back

Rock Stars, Reverse Platoons, Random Roundup. Also, puppies

The 8am-10am “morning news” in Japan comes out on the web in general between 3pm-5pm here in America, which is great, because our workday is winding down here and I can see what’s starting the next day there.
So when I got home tonight, I was reading an article in Japanese about how Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry was saying how glad he was to have Matsuzaka in Boston, and then I realized, rather than reading the Japanese translation of what Perry said, there simply had to be an English transcript of it somewhere. That made me feel awfully silly.
I was led to this “Dice-K” t-shirt via a random Google ad from that last page, and it’s just terrible, though that might just be because I’m not particularly fond of the nickname. Perhaps I should make a “松馬鹿” t-shirt design.
Last week, Conor Glassey shared the super-awesome YouTube video of all […]

Original post by Deanna and software by Elliott Back

Why wouldn’t Bavasi go after Zito? We hear there …

Why wouldn’t Bavasi go after Zito?
We hear there is still some thought in the FO to looking into Zito as they attempt to turn this dreadful offseason into something semi-positive. There appears to be a few obstacles:

Money- it’s not clear the M’s have enough money to sign him given their budget
Location- no one is sure Zito will actually choose Seattle over NY, San Fran or a major city
Risk- will the M’s give out a 6 year contract?

Let’s look at these obstacles from Bavasi’s point of view.
Money- the M’s look to have around $5 million remaining (hard to say when they won’t reveal a budget). By trading Broussard and some creative accounting, they could free up $9 million fairly easily. By backloading Zito’s contract, he could easily sign him to a 6 yr deal, and still get him this year for under $10 million. I doubt Boras would have a real […]

Original post by Tom and software by Elliott Back

Diversity, and other stripes

Well, uh, I guess I won’t be writing any more holiday songs this year. Was it just too long or something?
Yesterday was Ty Cobb’s 120th birthday. If you play around with the new “Normalize stats” feature on baseball-reference, it indicates that the old coot would have hit a lifetime .436/.505/.609 if he’d played his entire career under the conditions of the 2000 Colorado Rockies for a total of 5944 hits. There are some other ridiculous numbers you can come with if you play around enough. Imagine Cy Young winning 757 games playing his entire career on the 1960’s Dodgers?
The Japanese and American press are playing tag today, apparently, as a story popped up in the Japanese press that Kei “Dappe” Igawa had agreed to a 5-year, $20 million deal with the Yankees — and then the same story showed up on, referring to the original […]

Original post by Deanna and software by Elliott Back

Vidro officially an M Unfortunately for all M’s f…

Vidro officially an M
Unfortunately for all M’s fans, the newest Mariner Jose Vidro did indeed pass his physical. There was a glimmer of hope the same team that examined Omar might have found Vidro physically unable to perform, but alas it was not meant to be.
As we have all come to grips with the ramifications of this deal, we realize:

A combination of Hargrove coming back, no big signing and now this makes getting excited for next year difficult
Bavasi has basically no supporters left
Hargrove/Bavasi are now r-e-a-l-l-y tied to the hip. Either both come back in 2008, or both get canned in ‘07 (the former is really hard to think about right now)

Things could get ugly for Bavasi faster than normal if this team struggles out of the gate. Even the local papers, historically PR reps for the team this time of year, have been surprisingly critical. Local beat writers have […]

Original post by Tom and software by Elliott Back

Yule Laugh! Yule Cry! Yule Sing! Part 4

(Parts 1-3 were done last year. I’ll go add a tag to all four of them.)
Yule LaughI’m sure there are plenty of good candidates here — like Santa Pronk — but I’d probably still list this year’s appearance of Phanta Claus, or any of the other holiday events the Phillies have been doing, which are fun to read about. Makes me sort of sad I won’t be in Philly until the 27th or so. There’s also a great article with Cole Hamels, who admits that he unwraps his video games way before Christmas.
Yule CryTo be fair, the only offseason move that actually made me shed tears was Michihiro Ogasawara’s clean-shaven doppleganger signing with the Yomiuri Giants. But our beloved crazy Aussie outfielder Christopher “Doyle” Snelling getting traded away from the Mariners, despite the trade currently being on hold pending a Vidro physical, is still pretty sad. […]

Original post by Deanna and software by Elliott Back

Japan Photos, Part 6 - Koshien

The other night as the rainstorms raged, I was working on cropping pictures while rewatching some of H2 (a Japanese TV show mostly about high school baseball). I was up to the episode when the Senkawa team is actually playing at Koshien, and as a few of the actors are gathered in front of the Babe Ruth monument by one of the gates, I realized — crap, I totally forgot to take a picture of it on either of my trips out there! The first time, I did walk around the whole stadium, but it was raining horribly and I was in a bad mood and didn’t think of it, and the second time, I got to the stadium about five minutes before the game was starting, having run over from the Osaka Dome.
You can read my blog entry about my Osaka baseball-filled day, and the addendum. […]

Original post by Deanna and software by Elliott Back