Friday, December 28, 2007

Monahan Was Juiced. Pee Wee Briley next?

Kind of an interesting story out of Colorado. Former Mariner Shane Monahan coming out and admitting he was a seriod user. As the story points out, Monahan was in the M's organization at the same time as other juicers Ryan Franklin, Glenallen Hill, David Segui and Todd Williams.

Nothing earth-shattering here. Player takes performance enhancers to help him get to the next level. The stakes are so high financially that even baseball purists can understand where guys like Monahan get their motivation to juice up. The interesting part of the story is the frankness that Monahan brings to the table in discussing his drug use and the motivations behind it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What's Good?

I've been reading lately about how the Mariners simply paid the going rate for a good pitcher in today's market as a way of explaining a $48 million dollar contract for Carlos Silva. You know, I don't really have a problem with that in principle - if you want good players, you need to pay what the market calls for, unless you can beg your way into some kind of hometown discount, which is rare.

But I have a problem with the assessment of the notion of "good". What's "good"?

Well, in grading systems - "good" is a B - it's well above average. You're better than the average Joe, but you're not outstanding.

Fortunately, we have a statistic to measure what an average pitcher is, and it controls for what kind of a park you pitch in on any given day - it's called "Adjusted ERA+". If you score 100, you're the exact league average. If you score 110, you're slightly better than average; 90 is slightly below average. Pretty simple.

Examples for you - Paul Byrd, with a 4.59 ERA had an ERA+ of 100. Tim Wakefield, with a 4.76 had an ERA+ of 100. Byrd has the better ERA, but because he pitches in a less-hitter friendly park, his Adjusted ERA+ indicates he's really no better than average - he is Wakefield's equivalent.

Josh Beckett had an ERA+ of 145; Erik Bedard - 146; Danny Haren - 137. They're outstanding. Got it?

So is Carlos Silva "good"? His ERA+ was 103. All things being equal, he's average. Huh. So we're buying average? $48 million dollars for average, not good.

Let's look at the projected Mariner rotation then.

* Felix Hernandez ERA+ 110
* Miguel Batista ERA+ 101
* Carlos Silva ERA+ 103
* Jarrod Washburn ERA+ 100

See a pattern developing? Bill is having a hard time assessing what's good - because according to this, you have yourself exactly one starting pitcher that's better than average.

And that ain't good.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

M's Need To Run, Not Walk, Away From Silva

It constantly amazes me how well Seattle sports franchises practice the art of "Subtraction By Addition." The headline in the Times today Silva ponders Seattle offer seems backwards for good reason. Why should a pitcher who has allowed opponents a career .299 batting average get to ponder a 4 year, $44 million offer from any team?

While 2007 was no picnic for Silva, you just have to look back to 2006 (5.94 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, Opponent OPS: .892) to realize how Silva could be the next Horacio Ramirez, last season's shining example of Subtraction By Addition (SBA). It's easy to bash on Silva, so I'd rather focus on the concept of SBA and how it can bury a team. Every team has a bad signing here and there, or a trade they would love to take back. What separates the good teams from the perpetually mediocre is the ability to minimize these bad decisions and not allow them to snowball. For the Mariners, you can look back to SBA moves like the pile of cash they dumped on Washburn, and last offseason's move of Soriano for HoRam, as examples of deals that can ultimately handcuff a franchise.

You have to wonder if the Mariners even bother to ask themselves the tough questions. If you agree that Washburn is no better than a back end starter, then what would the M's have been able to do with the Washburn money a year later, or mid-season when teams are dumping good players with big contracts? What could the Mariners get for Soriano now? Or better yet, what could they get for Putz if they were open to sliding Soriano into the closer role. What other bad moves were made to compensate for these moves? (Reitsma comes to mind.)

Seattle fans know this concept all too well. We watched Wally Walker dismantle a contending Sonic team using rock solid SBA principles. Singing Jim McIlvaine was the first SBA move, as Walker and the Sonic brass refused to sit on some cash when no real big men were available. That move eventually snowballed into the trading of Shawn Kemp, which then gave the Sonics the opportunity a couple years later to pull another SBA move by bidding against themselves in a move to pay Vin Baker millions more than any other team was able to offer him (something to the tune of $20 million more than what the next team could even offer). That sealed the team's fate. (One thing worth noting is that the Celtics made a move that the Sonics didn't have the guts to do: Telling a frequently hung over and out of shape Baker that they weren't going to pay his giant salary until he was ready to live up to his contract.)

The Mariners should take notice that the team they are bidding against for Silva (Royals) are the same team that paid Jose Guillen 3 years, $36 million. Slide in a Josh Towers, Freddy Garcia, or someone like that, and save the cash to be in acquisition in July. You don't have to be a pennant contender to lockup a veteran bargain, with a year or two left on his contract, at the trading deadline. You just need cash and some minor league talent. $44 million would be a start.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Serenity Prayer Never Seemed So Appropriate

"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."

Yeah, I know there's more to that, but this section really seems quite applicable right now.

According to the bizarre under-bite of Ken Rosenthal, the Mariners are really going after Carlos Silva.

I think my feelings on Silva are well known from previous posts. This move makes as much sense as Paris Hilton giving the keynote address at the National Association of Mathematicians Conference. It's asinine. I've seen it described as "retarded" which is a little low-brow for even me, but it applies nonetheless.

And if anyone even utters the notion that once Silva gets the opportunity to work with Mel Stottlemyre, he'll be a new man, I'll honestly vomit all over my keyboard.

Bill, isn't the point to fill holes, not dig them?

"...accept the things I cannot"

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The case for Freddy Garcia

so Hiroki Kuroda signed with the Dodgers - and all in Mariner land gnash their teeth, wail at the sky, and pull at their hair. Here's my prediction on what that $35 million buys them: 12 wins and about a 4.85 ERA. Whoopie.

The scarier part about this whole scenario is what to do next. Doing nothing gives us a back end of the rotation with Brandon Morrow, Ryan Rowland-Smith, or maybe their big acquisition thus far - R.A. Dickey. Yeesh. Morrow could certainly develop into something solid, but he still remains unproven as a starter.

Many fear the M's will take the $36 million they had out for Kuroda and slide that proverbial envelope across the table to the agent of Kyle Lohse. Perhaps even worse, upping that to 4-years $40 million and giving it to Carlos Silva.

In Lohse, you have a guy that you would pray could win you 11 games and at least keep you in half of the other games he starts. The remainder, you pretty much know he's likely to get shelled. There's nothing exciting about paying top dollar for a 4.80 ERA and a .284 BAA. That's the absolute best you'll get from him, unless Lohse discovers a new undetectable drug, "HTH" - Human Talent Hormone - and takes a shitload of it.

In Silva, you get a right handed Washburn with inhuman control. He misses few bats, gives up a ton of hits, and lives and dies by put-it-in-play outs, except his usually come on the ground instead of Washburn's warning-track outs. Opposing batters actually hit .324 off of him in '06. .324!

Both of these guys, because of the market - are due huge paydays. They are back of the rotation guys at best - and frankly, a good team wouldn't even have a Kyle Lohse on their roster (sorry Kyle, I'm sure you're a super guy and all...).

So...running the risk of sounding like the good Reverend Jackson, if not them, who?

I'm not the first to say so, but I lend full support to the notion of making some high-risk, low cost, potential high-reward deals (this, of course, is in direct opposition to the high-risk, high cost, low reward potential of Jeff Weaver, just in case you needed the bizarro scenario). Leading that list would be Freddy Garcia. Yes, last year was a disaster - but in seven of his nine seasons, he's thrown over 200 innings, he has a career ERA of 4.07 (3.87 in '05 and 4.53 in '06) and he has won 12 or more games in every season which he was healthy. It seems to me that it is entirely likely that, if healthy, he posts a season no worse than Kuroda. And it's likely that it would only take a two year commitment, maybe $15 mil total, to get him.

Head case, check. Out of shape, check. Injury risk, check. But for a team as desperate as the M's, that seems like the right kind of risk to be taking.

Another guy is Bartolo Colon, who was apparently nicknamed "Boogie Bear" in Anaheim, so from now on he will be referred to simply as "Boogie", largely because it's fun and I'll probably not write about him much in the future. When you're 270 lbs. and you stand 5' 11", it's no damned wonder you're having back spasms - but the fact of the matter is, Colon has been dominant as a fat, bloated pig in the past - and if some trainer can work magic on his elbow, there's not a whole lot that says he can't do it again. But who really knows if he can get his moving parts happy enough to pitch again. However - it'll probably take only two years for Boogie to sign somewhere, and it's probably in the same region as Freddy $$.

Head case, check. Out of shape, check. Injury risk, check. But again, we're looking for lighting in a bottle here, folks.

Lastly - I've said it before... I think they should take a flier on Prior. There are a dozen other teams thinking the same thing, but I'm not sure there's another team more desperate.

Between the three of these arms from the scrap heap, something's got to pan out. If you're lucky enough, one of them actually contributes for two years, which helps you fill a rotation slot next year when Washburn finally walks (collective hooray!).


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mitchel Report Checks - Vina & Hill

If you were afraid of spiders you probably would have juiced yourself up too.

I'm not sure what Vina's excuse was.

A huge congrats to Bret Boone, who was clearly smart enough to pay cash.

Former M's named in the Mitchell Report

Glenallen Hill, Josias Manzanillo, Ron Villone, David Segui, Fernando Vina, David Bell, Ryan Franklin, Todd Williams, Jose Guillen, Ismael Valdez.

Really, a big "who cares" on the Mariner front. There are some interesting tidbits in the report about shipments coming in through the Mariner clubhouse, but in all, the guy who should find himself a plane ticket to the dark side of the moon is the clubhouse guy for the Mets, who turns out to be the big rat here. Roger Clemens will be looking for you...

Mitchell Report Names

An exciting day ahead of us with the Mitchell report coming out. We assume Jose Guillen will be mentioned, but what other Mariners? Ryan Franklin? The biggest name in question is probably Bret Boone. Could you imagine the fallout if Edgar's name showed up in there? If you are a big proponent of the "change in body type" arguement, you can't rule him out.

Broussard Era Over...Anyone Care?

For some reason I do. A Broussard/Sexson platoon at 1b seemed to make too much sense I guess. I don't want to overstate the impact of dealing a part-time player. But with the decline of Sexson, Broussard and his .733 OPS vs RHP might have been useful. (His .838 OPS vs RHP in 2006 with significantly more AB is notable.) This would have been a defining season for Broussard in Seattle, as the team has enough holes to get him the AB's he needs to prove whether he would sink or swim.

In return the M's received middle infield prospect Tim Hulett.

Hulett, 24, spent the 2007 season with the Oklahoma RedHawks,
the Triple-A affiliate of the Rangers. He batted .275 (142-for-517) with 31
doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 67 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. In four Minor
League seasons, Hulett has a .280 career average with 127 extra-base hits and 83
stolen bases. He was selected by Texas in the 14th round of the 2004 First-Year
Player Draft out of Auburn University and is the son of former Major League
infielder Tim Hulett.

Since Jose Lopez proved once again last year that he was one of the most overrated young players in MLB (I write "was" because the secret is finally out), maybe Hulett can give him a run for his money at 2b? Probably not, but we'll see what he can do. Won't be tough to supplant a guy with no power, no speed who doesn't hit for average.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Horacio Ramirez

has been offered a contract by Seattle in lieu of being non-tendered so that another team might take him up on his 7.16 ERA services.

In other news, the Iranian Islamic Press nominates George W. Bush for a humanitarian award for his work in bringing divergent cultures together for a greater understanding of each other and the hope for a more peaceful world.

Okay, one of these isn't true. But both make about the same amount of sense.

More strange news today

So Aaron Rowand is going to be a Giant?

I'm actually a big fan of Rowand - he helped me and Paul haul down a pair of CBS Sportsline Fantasy Baseball championships with a career year last year.

Now this will be pointed out by everyone, far and wide, with the exception of a man named Sabean - but a five year deal for a 30 year old player coming off the most productive season in his career is just not smart business. It'll be really interesting to see the terms of this deal, because between Rowand and Zito, Sabean could be tying up $40-$45 million dollars in payroll between two players who may not be a hell of a lot better than your typical replacement-level players for the next five years. Yeesh.

The other tidbit is Cliff Floyd is apparently going back to Florida where he enjoyed some productive years. Except he's changed fish. Marlin to DevilRay, or I guess it's just "Ray" now that the Devil has been shown the plank.

This probably means that we can put to rest the Ben Broussard for Edwin Jackson hopes, as far-fetched and distant as they may have been in the first place. Hell, Big Ben might not even get tendered... we'll know more later tonight when we find out what scrubs hit the slush pile of cast-away free agents.

Tejada an Astro

Houston gets fleeced for an average infielder is the way this should read in the Houston area papers tomorrow.

I know Tejada is a sexy name, but the fact is, his bat isn't anything horribly special anymore, he's never been a particularly good defender (for several years, anyway) - and it sounds like the Stros want him to play SS for them, which they may regret. His .799 OPS puts him just a hair above Ty Wigginton. And for that, they gave up arguably three of their best prospects in Patton, Costanzo, and Albers. They also give up a solid ML bat in Scott and the Safarte kid, I know less about - but he's had pretty solid stats at the ML level and in the minors, though he doesn't show up on Baseball America's list of top prospects for the Stros.

Is this the beginning of the Oriole fire sale? Will Bedard and Roberts be next? If so - if 5 high prospects is the price for a mediocre 3b/SS then what the hell can we expect for Bedard? The whole AAA squad?

I guess we'll see. If there's any good information about this deal, it's that the O's acquired three starting pitchers - which might just spare Brandon Morrow in a deal for Bedard, but I'm just speculating. I'm sure Bill will give away something that hurts just as much...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mench designated for assignment

So the guy who murders lefties for a living will be traded, released, or put on waivers in 10 days.

At last check, some saber-geek had Mench at roughly -11 with regard to "positionally adjusted net runs above average" - loosely translated as him sucking at defense. But I can't help but think he would be a nice compliment to Ibanez and his total inability to hit left handed pitching. Mench/Ibanez sure would make a nice DH platoon. Actually, together - they would be pretty terrific.

But then I guess we'd need to find another OF and get rid of Vidro - two presents that I'm sure Bavasi isn't planning to put under the tree this winter.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Why not pitching AND offense?

So there are rumors that the Mariners are still in the hunt for Santana. There are lots and lots of rumors linking the M's to Erik Bedard. And then there's all the well documented Hiroki Kuroda blatherings (who, apparently is visiting all the interested teams next week - terrific... 42 and pissing rain vs. 70 and sunny in Phoenix and L.A.).

What I can't help but wonder is - if the Mariners are really, REALLY, serious players in this Santana brew-ha, then they absolutely must believe they have the payroll to give him his expected 20-mil per over six, seven years. There's no way they dump the lion's share of their youthful talent for a guy we'll have for one season. Is there (I can hear Paul grousing about anything being possible when Bavasi is involved...).

I've also read many-a-blogger lament the fact that the Mariners are not just an "ace arm" away from being a serious contender in this juiced-up AL that we now have - and rightly so.

So here are some thoughts. If the Mariners were willing to dump that kind of cash on Santana, why not figure out a way to pull this Bedard thing off, and use some of that "available cash" to improve your outfield defense and offense.

Why not float an offer for Andruw Jones? Stellar (okay, maybe "good" is a better superlative) defense and at least the potential for big offensive numbers - with the risk of a Sexson egg, of course. Jones wants a Torii Hunter-like contract. The only reported offer I can find is a rumored two-year $32 mil offer from the Dodgers. In a world where we give $8 million dollars for an all-but-assured stinker to a guy named Weaver, what stops us from giving Jones 15-per for a pair of years and see if we can catch lighting in a bottle?

Update...Jones signed with the Dodgers for two years, $36 mil. So much for Boras requiring a Hunter-like deal. Honestly, this seems like a great move by the Dodgers, but time will tell.

Move Broussard and a mid-level prospect (or anything within reason from the farm system) to the Rays for Edwin Jackson. Just do it. In this dream world scenario, it gives the M's Bedard, Felix, Batista, Washburn, and Jackson in their rotation.

Platoon Sexson and Ibanez at 1b. Your defense will be average at best, but you just might get above average production at the position and you'll avoid having to watch Raul run around like a drunken ostrich after fly balls.

This leaves a tricky situation of another OF slot to fill (assuming Adam Jones is dealt in the Bedard deal). What about a one-year deal for Milton Bradley? He's supposed to be ready for opening day and hell, if Guillen can behave in Seattle then maybe we can get lucky with a guy with a career OBP of .358 and OPS over .800 for five of the past six seasons. How about working out a deal for Xavier Nady, whom the Pirates would like to deal. He is a capable defender, could play some 1b in a pinch, and could expected to post respectable offensive numbers - not far off from what Guillen did for us last year.

This isn't likely - but there's also the possibility that the Cubs want Ibanez so badly, they'd give us Sean Marshall for him - which is a deal the M's ought to take (in concert with some plan on how to fill the OF positions).

Anyway, the point is that the M's need help in more ways than one, but it seems to me there are not-terribly-creative ways of pulling that off and making the team much, much better on both sides of the dish.

We'll see if they come up with anything.

The reason to love winter meetings...

Because when you mix Baseball executives, beat writers, and agents - this kind of crap can sometimes come out of all the rumor noise:

Three way deal involving the A's, Mets, and Twins.
  • Mets send Jose Reyes, Kevin Mulvey to the A's and Hector Pellot to the Twins.
  • A's send Crosby and Dan Johnson to the Mets
  • Twins send Santana to the Mets
Yes, so the Twins get Haren and Pallot, A's get Reyes and Mulvey, and the Mets get Santana, Crosby and DJ.

This is from - which is a site full of great fun. He posts this from a reliable source of his, he says - which I actually doubt very little.

But if this trade goes down, in the form written above - I will get a tattoo on my neck that says "GULLIBLE".

But again, deals made in fantasy-land are what the winter meetings are all about. It would just be fun to track exactly how this one got this far. Lord knows it probably started with Billy Beane talking to Omar Minaya about how he wished Danny Haren would cut his hair... and within hours, we've got a barn burner!

Poor KC

Kansas City's apparent signing of Jose Guillen for 3 years, $36 million is a curious move considering how tight the Royals payroll is. At .290/23/99, Guillen had a solid season. His defense is good enough to keep him in the OF for the rest of that contract. But there is a reason he has played for 11 teams in 8 seasons. Chalk it up to injuries, his temper, roids, whatever...Guillen is an average starting major league OF when healthy.

For some reason I can't help but root for KC to pull it together. But it seems they are stuck in a kind of small-market-limbo, where they can't afford to bring in real talent, and their prospects (especially SP) never pan out. A lot of questions after the Guillen deal. Can KC afford to pay an average player $12 million a year? Or are they forced to overpay for players in order to get them to come there? (Answers: No and Probably.) The Royals need to ask themselves another question before they spend their precious payroll: WWBD? If Beane wouldn't even dream of making a move for a player in Oakland, why should the Royals?

Here's a crazy idea...since KC had $36 million burning a hole in their pockets, why not toss a few prospects at some teams for a player going into arbitration, or with a couple years left at $17 mil a year, that could bring some excitement to the team. Miguel Cabrera comes to mind. What's wrong with bringing someone like that in for 2 years instead of 3 years of Guillen?

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Santana Possibility

Okay, so the M's are apparently players in the Johan Santana sweepstakes.

Before we get too terribly excited, I'm not sure that the Mariners have anything they can offer that would match Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, and another well regarded prospect in a trade for the perennial all-star.

There's great debate among the Mariner blogosphere about whether or not to include prospects such as Adam Jones, Brandon Morrow, and Jeff Clement. I, on the other hand, am completely convinced that there's one and only one solution: Obtain Santana at all costs.

I'm not going to spend pages on why I believe so, but to put it concisely - what do we know about Adam Jones, Brandon Morrow, and Jeff Clement versus what do we know about Santana?

Adam Jones has a very good (borderline terrific) minor league track record and a mediocre major league one. He is regarded by most reputable scouts and baseball wonks as a great talent and he may very well turn into an all-star caliber player in the future. He has demonstrated high average, speed, power, and defensive ability. Yet while he just might be lighting in a bottle, there's nothing that says this Jones will be better than Jacques Jones in his major league career. There's simply no guarantee.

Brandon Morrow was lights-out for half a season and demonstrated major control problems for another half. He may play out as a good major league starter, but is regarded as a project with a live arm. Frankly, there are dozens of projects with live arms.

Jeff Clement? Great college player with a questionable work ethic and an equally questionable bat speed. Great talent - but are we trading the next Jason Varitek or the next Rene Rivera?

Point is - Johan Santana is a difference maker - guaranteed. He is the modern day version of what we had in Randy Johnson back in 1995 - the guy that could go out there and stop a losing streak, throw a shutout and save the bullpen, stick it to a division rival, whatever - but a guy who can demonstrate moxie that no other pitcher can. He has done it for years and he's young enough to do it for years to come. He is a rarity that teams must grab and clutch on to for dear life - he is a franchise.

He is a difference maker and the Mariners desperately need a difference maker in lieu of a highly touted prospect which we may wait for years to develop, a reliever who might be a good starter, and a catching prospect which we don't know what to do with.

Honestly, it'll probably take more than Jones, Morrow, and Clement. If there is a God, maybe we can include Jose Lopez. But does Bavasi have the nuts? Probably not. Because in my estimation - all GM's overvalue prospects and regret it later.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More on Hiroki Kuroda

Not much happening in Mariner land these days - hopefully they're gearing up for the Winter meetings and filling some of the monstrous holes we have in this roster. But there have been a few interesting articles about Kuroda and who might be serious players:

The LA Daily suggests the M's have made a three year offer for $30 mil says the mighty Royals are interested, which has to mean the price isn't going to get too terribly high you'd think (or they're just posturing for fans).

A story from the "AZ Snakepit" suggests that Kuroda's home park was one of the most offensively friendly parks in Japan. I have nothing to back that up - but if it's true, perhaps the Safe could be a good environment for him (of course, they're saying the same thing about Chase field). Apparently, his home park was 300 to left and 300 to right and just 380 dead center. I think I'm going to get my old Easton out of the basement and hit the batting cage - I might even be able to hit a few bombs there...

From MLB Trade Rumors, via Yahoo! Japan Kuroda is seeking 4 years, $45 mil and hopes to make his decision tomorrow (the 29th)! Holy crap.

And lastly, Kuroda has his own website: It's all in Japanese, so I don't understand a damned thing he's saying, but I decided to run his last post through Alta Vista Babelfish and got this:

"You neglected. It came to the point of doing the representative and meeting on the 28th. Simply, when you decide, whether in newspaper reporting and the like in that day carp remaining behind or measure transfer it had come out, but there are no times when conclusion is put out in that day. The day the representative coming from America, receives present historical report, among those would like to think of directivity once more securely. In addition there was also reporting the contact with シアトルマリナーズ, but the fact that it has contact is fact, but it does not receive either bidding because and, you greeted just is truly casually, is not the case that directivity is decided, is. Simply it receives the report from the representative on the 28th and thinks once more securely and the directivity whether if remaining behind or measure transfer of can put out conclusion ahead of time, with you think."

And that almost certainly translates into good news for the Mariners, don't you think? Hmmm...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


So things might be picking up on the Kuroda front. According to the usually-reliable Larry LaRue over at the Tacoma News Trib, the M's are going to pack up Bavasi and crew and fly to Tokyo, where residents will be menaced by Bavasi's size and shiny head. But apparently, the M's are going beyond the general niceties of letting his agent know of their interest, what a great community Seattle has for Japanese folks, that the M's have a fighting chance of winning, and oh, our catcher will be able to understand what the hell it is you're saying. They may get down to brass-tax, which according to Larry, might run in the 11-million per year range, which is pretty terrifying.

I don't know a whole lot about Kuroda. I mean, yeah, I've looked at his numbers and they seem generally solid, if not great. But examples of good and bad imports abound.

I'm not sure if you've seen this, but there's a YouTube account out there called 'AceKuroda' where you can watch just about any video of our man of the hour. I watched quite a few of them, including the marathon at bat that Matsui had against him years ago. Seems like the guy has nice stuff, good slider and splitter, and what appears to be late movement on his fastball away from lefties. But I don't get where the article says "scouts say Kuroda throws 96" - based on these videos, he doesn't throw terribly hard - a lot of his fastballs registered at 145-146 km/h which is roughly 90 mph. Check out the conversion if you'd like to check for yourself. I'm no pitching coach, so I won't analyze his mechanics and make some sweeping generalization for health and success in the MLB.

If you'd like historical stats, you can find them here. I tend to like that he typically gives up fewer hits than innings pitched, seems to have pretty good control and he's got enough zip or deception to have about a 7 K's/per 9IP ratio. But he did give up 20 HR's last year - which is just three fewer than Jeff Weaver served up. I have no idea about park-effects in Japan, so I won't even venture to argue it...

Seems to me if we can sign him up for Batista-like money, it'd be a good risk. There's a chance he could come over here and perform like a #3 starter - win 13 or 14 games and chaw up innings; of course, then there's the chance that he sucks. But hey, he's got to be better than HoRam, right?

Friday, November 16, 2007

know when to fold 'em?

So The Gambler dumps The Prince of Darkness as an agent and now we discover that the M's are interested in Rogers. Apparently, Batista and Washburn just aren't old enough and crappy enough for the M's - they'd like to upgrade the oldness and crappiness and throw into the mix the potential for beating the crap out of Brad Adam at Fox Sports NW.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Would you end-around The Prince of Darkness for $275 million dollars?

that's what Yahoo is suggesting A-Rod just did to try and re-up with the Yanks. For as much as I can't stand Rodriguez as an individual, I'd be pretty damned impressed if he eschewed the Jolly-Greed-Giant of Scott Boras in order to bring quick resolution to the debacle of his young free agency.

This also keeps him away from the Angels, which can only be considered a good thing. Maybe they'll blow their extra cash on some horrific free agent contracts towards Carlos Silva and Toriiii (yes, I know that's a typo) Hunter and bring some parity back to the AL West for the foreseeable future.

M's Offseason 2006/2007 Revisited: Nov-Dec 2006

I touched on the Soriano/HoRam deal in a blog post last winter. While we know how that one turned out (shocking!), I thought this might be a good time to review the moves from the previous offseason coming into a surprisingly entertaining 2007 Mariner campaign.

Here is a list of last year's November & December moves, along with letter grades and some thoughts:

Signed INF/OF Willie Bloomquist to a one-year contract extension. New deal totaled $1.825 MM over the next two seasons.

GRADE: B. Not much to say. Have to have utilities guys.

12/4/06 Signed OF Jose Guillen to a one-year contract worth $5 million, with an option for 2008.

GRADE: A-. .290/23/99, pretty good 2007 campaign. Not spectacular, but very good for the price they paid.

12/7/06 (Busy day)

-Acquired LHP Horacio Ramirez from the Braves in exchange for RHP Rafael Soriano.

GRADE: F. Thought about an F+ for a while, but couldn't justify it. This deal had us at hello with how terrible it was. Historicals have already been covered, so let's get to 2007:
  • Soriano (ATL): 72 IP, 3-3, 9 S, 19 Holds, 3.00 ERA, .86 WHIP, 70 K, .181 BAA. Salary: $1.2 MM.
  • Ramirez (SEA): 98 IP, 8-7, 7.16 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, 40 K, .332 BBA. Salary: $2.65 MM.

M's get stuck with a player who can't make their 2008 roster. Braves get a future closer with a ton of trade value. To be fair, last January I compared this deal to the deal the Pirates got for LaRoche. At the time I thought PIT got a MUCH better deal than Seattle. So let's see how the PIT/ATL deal worked out:

  • Gonzalez (ATL): Limited by an elbow injury: 17 IP, 2-0, 2 SV, 5 Holds, 1.59 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, .246 BAA. Salary: $2.35 MM.
  • LaRoche (PIT): Horrible first half. Just horrid. .272/21/88/71 OPS: .808. Salary: $3.2 MM.

Tough to judge the deal since Gonzo got hurt, but it is safe to say that 1 LaRoche is worth 4 or 5 HoRams.

-Acquired RHP Sean White from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for cash considerations.

Grade: D+: Limited to 35 IP due to bicep tendinitis. Was able to put up a 5.60 ERA & 1.56 WHIP before the injury.

12/12/06 Non-tendered RHP Joel Pineiro.

Grade: A. Free at last, free at last!!! What's funnier...Boston giving him $4 million in 2007 after he was cut by the M's or STL giving him a 2 year, $13 million contract after managing a 3.96 ERA over the last two months of the season with the Cards? Remember when he was going to close for the Red Sox? LOL

12/14/06 Signed RHP Miguel Batista to a three-year contract.

Grade: B-. 193 IP, 16-11, 4.29 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 133 K's, .282 BAA. Slightly better in the 2nd half of the season but not enough to get excited about. He is what he is. 2007 Salary: $6 MM.

12/18/06 Acquired INF Jose Vidro and cash considerations from the Washington Nationals in exchange for RHP Emiliano Fruto and OF Chris Snelling.

Grade: B-: Vidro finished the year with a huge 2nd half (.354 BA, .423 OBP). Huge for him, which means 19 TOTAL extra base hits in 66 games. A nice improvement over the 13 extra base hits he had in his first 80 games. That has to be tough to do. 2007 final tally: .316/6/59/78, with zero SB to go with his lack of power. .383 OBP, .780 OPS. M's paid him $6 million in 2007 and get to do it again in 2008.

Snelling was a non-factor due to injuries. He was recently claimed by Tampa Bay off waivers, so we'll see what he can do for the new-look Rays in '08.

Fruto: 3-9 with a 5.26 ERA in 18 appearances, including 16 starts, for Triple-A Columbus before he was dealt to the Diamondbacks as part of the Wily Mo Pena deal. Definitely nothing to write home about.

Nov-Dec Report Card: B, A-, F, D+, A, B-, B- Looks a lot like my freshman year in college...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A reason to be happy: Bavasi didn't do this

Evidence that drinking heavily, growing unsightly facial hair, existing well over the prescribed Body Mass Index, having an escalating ERA, BAA, and WHIP while a declining K/IP rate not to mention the old MPH's on his fastball, and generally doing his best David Wells impersonation - can still make you a very, very rich man.

Yeah, I know this happened a few days ago - but it still warrants a post. Todd Jones, ladies and gents, $7 million clams. When I first saw the headline that someone gave him that much money, I actually said a little prayer that it wasn't the M's - because between the M's and maybe the Orioles, I couldn't think of too many boneheaded GM's that would do this. But I guess when Zumaya went down, logic went with him.

So congratulations, Todd Jones - you have impeccable timing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I'm as big a fan of Raul Ibanez as anyone.

Wait, let me start over.

I'm as big a fan of Raul Ibanez as anyone, provided he's hitting against a right hander.

Apparently, he is drawing interest from several teams.

Let's recap what we know about the M's roster and Ibanez:

* Ibanez shouldn't be allowed to hit vs. lefties. He hit .256 with a staggeringly low .650 OPS vs. left handed pitchers. This isn't an anomaly - he posted a .663 OPS vs. lefties in 2006.

* He is productive vs. righties with a career .293 batting average. His '06 and '07 campaigns vs. right handers were among the best of his career as well, hitting over .300 and posting an OPS of .899 and .956

* He is to outfield defense as George Bush is to eloquent oratory. My three fingered grandfather with cataracts in both eyes could probably do the same job as Ibanez. He is a massive liability on defense. Some statistic guru could give you the +/- on runs I'm sure.

* He is noted as a "good clubhouse guy" - which in the McLaren regime, means you play every day regardless of your production or how badly it will hurt the team.

* He wants to be Edgar Martinez, which must be really frustrating for him on a daily basis.

* He is owed a modest sum of money, relatively speaking, at 5.5 mil. Even if McLaren came to his senses and only played him at DH vs. right handers, that would be cheap given his production vs. righties.

* There's not a damned thing available in free agency for any self-respecting team looking for a starter. $48 million for Carlos Silva is about as smart as trading Rafael Soriano for Horacio Ramirez. Oh god, I just threw up in my mouth...

* M's have Vidro, Broussard, and Sexson - all of whom I would love to call someone else's problem - under contract for 2008. All are defensive liabilities, all should DH (if they play at all), and two have contracts that are almost impossible to get rid of.

* Yes, the referenced article suggest the Indians offered Laffey for Ibanez, which would be a little silly. Young and cheap, yes - but he hasn't really lit the world on fire in the minors - decent ERA, horrible strikeout ratio, nothing exciting. He has a robust future as a non-roster-invitee for teams hoping to find a back of the rotation innings-eater. Congrats, kid.

However, moving Ibanez could make sense - and if the Tigers are truly involved, I know of some young hurlers on that squad that would look really nice in Mariner blue. I don't want to get into all the ridiculous fantasy-baseball-like speculation about who we could package in trades, but it seems to me that moving Ibanez is a damned good idea if it is part of a deal that can help our horrible, horrible problems in the rotation.

Go M's. Mahalo.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

So THAT's what a flame-throwing RP is worth

The Braves sending LaRoche to PIT for Mike Gonzalez is a great example of good things happening to those who wait. Those who get antsy and then deal their 2nd most valuable RP for a borderline #5 starter never have a shot at a deal that would bring real value to the team. LaRoche hit 32 homers and drove in 90 runs last season and finished in a tie for seventh in the National League with a .561 slugging percentage.

Gonzalez was better than Soriano last year, so I can't say for sure that ATL would have taken Soriano for LaRoche. Both pitchers have a history of some arm problems. Gonzalez missed the last few weeks of last year with elbow tendinitis. There is a good chance that considering PIT was not willing to do the LaRoche/Gonzo deal a month ago, ATL would have taken Soriano instead of nothing. The fact is the Soriano for Horacio Ramirez deal was horrible when it was made, and now looks like the worst deal of the offseason.

Career Numbers:
Soriano: 171 IP, 1.09 WHIP, 9.32 K/9IP
Gonzalez: 155 IP, 1.23 WHIP, 10.58 K/9IP

2007 Salaries:
Soriano: $1.2 MM, 1 year deal
Gonzalez: $2.35 MM, 1 year deal

To fully enjoy how badly Bavasi was bamboozled, we have to look at the other players involved in these deals.

Career Stats:
LaRoche: 1,267 AB: .274/65/213, .841 OPS, 27 years old
HoRam: 521 IP, 30-22, 1.40 WHIP, 4.13 ERA (.270 BAA), 27 years old
Vidro: 4,257 AB: .301/115/550, .822 OPS, 56 years old (or so it seems)

2007 Salaries:
LaRoche: $3.7 MM (est. based on his arbitration demand)
HoRam: $2.65 MM, 1 year deal
Vidro (what the M's have to pay him): 2 years, $6 MM per year

Keep in mind that LaRoche is coming off a huge year where he hit .285/32/90 w/ .915 OPS.

So to sum it up, the M's have:
Vidro & HoRam for $8.65 MM per year

Instead of having:
LaRoche, Snelling & Fruto for roughly $5 MM per year. But wait you say! That leaves us without a 5th starter! Well I'm willing to bet Bavasi $100 and his cat that he could have gotten a borderline 5th starter for Snelling and Fruto. And just think what he could have gotten for LaRoche. Well, don't think about what he could have gotten. Think about what the league would have paid for a guy with an OPS over .900 that makes only $3.7 MM a year. :o

More insight into the Soriano/HoRam deal here from

That article points out that there is virtually no difference between Soriano and Gonzalez.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

$3.55 Million Man

I guess it's worth noting the M's signed Broussard today for $3.55 mil. Yeah, that's $3.55 mil for a player they don't need. $3.55 for a guy who they will probably deal for another arm out of the pen. Of course, that's $8.2 mil less than they will pay Beltre this year, which is only relevant because Broussard's career OPS of .793 is higher than Beltre's (.784). Hopefully they keep him around since they will be lucky to squeeze more than 130 games out of Vidro.

Metro Mediocre

A lot of slogan talk around Seattle these days. In the early 1980's a local contest came up with a sparkling idea, dubbing Seattle "The Emerald City." Nowadays we go by "Metro Natural," a tagline the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau surely paid a pretty penny for.

The Mariners have a long history of catchy slogans. "You Gotta Love These Guys" and "Sodo Mojo" to name a few recent ones. Nothing captured the mood of a team in need of optimism as well as the late 80's slogan "Anything Can Happen." If anything can happen, you have to wonder why the same thing usual did.

Fast-forward to 2007 and a Mariner team without an identity. Hard to believe the glory days of 1995 were over a decade ago. The incredible 2001 season was the most recent high-point. So how did we get here? And where is the team going? We'll bore you with those answers soon enough. For now, here is a list of potential team slogans going into the 2007 season, where anything CAN happen. It's a work in progress, so feel free to help us finish the list.

10. At Least Billy Swift Isn't Pitching

9. Felix Has To Be Better. He Just Has To.

8. HR Are For Hussies

7. Ichiro Was Here!

6. We Gotta Pay These Guys.