Tuesday, November 30, 2010

All Time Mariner HR's at Catcher

In either the most irrelevant or most depressing finding of the day for me... did you know that Bob Stinson ranks 7th all time on the list of HR's by a Mariner catcher for a single season? 

7th place, all time - with 11 home runs in 1978.

He just barely edged Joe Oliver who had 10.

Bob Stinson, making his case to be voted into the Mariner Hall of Fame.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ryan Theriot, meet Jack Zduriencik

Word is the Dodgers are about to announce a three-year deal with Juan Uribe (depending on the money, this kind of boggles the mind).  If that does come to fruition, you'll likely see Ryan Theriot get non-tendered on the 2nd.  The GM winter meetings start up just 4 days later, and you can bet that Jack Z and Theriot's agent will have a chat.

Theriot fits perfectly into a short-term, bargain bin, solution for a few issues the M's are facing.  He can play 2nd and SS capably, and therefore would not only be nice insurance for the sure-to-occur injury to Jack Wilson, but he'd also provide insurance provided the M's want to give Ackley extra seasoning in the minors and/or if they want to start his clock later.

He can hit for decent average, get on base, and steal some bags.  And yes, he hits for zero power.  I hate to give him this kiss of death, but he's kind of a Chone Figgins prototype, with less speed.

Given the few ways the M's can add to the offense barring some big-splash-trade, Theriot makes a lot of sense.  He'd be a very, very cheap version of Tsuyoshi Nishioka, whom the Twins won the bidding rights on, presumably over the Mariners bid.  In fact, I'd be that Theriot winds up healthier over the course of the season than Nishioka.

No, Theroit isn't exciting at all, and sadly, he fits perfectly into the M's 2011 plans. 

Update: Theriot to the Cards for a ground-ball-inducing-machine of a starter.  Shit.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Interesting ARod Debate

Is A-Rod finished, or at least on his way there?  The Log's own Mike Barr has stirred up an interesting ARod debate over at his Roto Hardball address.  Check out out here. 

Happy Birthday Jose Lopez!

Now get the hell out of Seattle, go to another team, have a career year, and give us all more reasons to swear at you.

P.S. - if you've ever been surprised by a google images search, I really recommend typing in Jose Lopez and see what you get.  Holy Hell.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why not Harang?

Update: Harang signs with Padres for measly $3mil.  I think the M's missed the boat here.

For all of the problems the Mariners have on offense, and there are many, there's also this issue of run prevention from 60 feet 6 inches.

Right now, we're looking at some kid named Felix, and then in my opinion, we have about six options that all profile as back-end rotation options.  Vargas had a really nice year last year, but for reasons I'll have to get into in another post, it was a little smoke-and-mirrors.  Fister was actually in the top 10 in ERA for the first half, and yet I'm not sure he belongs on the big squad at all.  Hyphen obviously struggled mightily.  Pineda?  Yeah, super and all - but I'm not sure we should expect the moon in his first year, and there's this whole fickle thing of not being able to throw too many pitches as a youngster. Olson?  French?  Pauley? Let's be honest with ourselves.  This team needs at least two arms that are capable of a 2 win-above-replacement kind of season in order to give the 2011 Mariners any kind of shot at respectability and keeping assess in seats (along with a lot of luck and a pretty creative approach to their offense).

Aaron Harang is a free agent, and will probably be largely forgotten after losing 38 games over the last three years.  But it wasn't too long ago that Aaron Harang was considered an ace.  He posted a 5.4 WAR and 5.2 WAR in '06 and '07, respectively.  He definitely didn't get any favors when moving to Great American Ballpark, which severely inflates the rate of home runs (thanks Jack Moore of www.RotoHardball.com for the graph).

What has killed Harang is his flyball tendencies, high home run per fly ball rate, and last year - a severely low strand rate.  He hasn't lost any velocity on his fastball in the last four years, gets good movement on his offspeed pitches, and he has been far more effective than his record indicates.  In fact, he went 6-14 in 2009 with a 3.95 xFIP.  That's kind of silly.

Anyway, Harang needs a job.  Mariners need a pitcher.  Harang needs to revive his career, and there's only a few parks that he should be looking to do that in, and I'm not sure that the Padres have him in his plans.  While his win-loss record might not be a thing of beauty in Seattle, there's a darn good chance that he'd look like a fairly solid starter midway through the season, which would have the benefit of being good trade fodder for the M's, or heck, maybe help Harang secure a multi-year deal when the season ended.  He's just 33 headed into the year, so it's not like he's a relic looking for magic in a hat.

I think Harang would be a nice addition to the Mariners.  He should be cheap, we could ink him to a one year with options kind of deal that won't hamstring the squad or his flexibility given his performance, and he literally would be the second or third best starter the M's would have going into Spring.

If the price is right, I think he's a guy to keep in mind.  Not thrilling, but nice.  And plus, he would possibly give Jack Wilson a run for his money on the ugliest Mariner.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ackley Named AFL MVP

Dustin Ackley has been named the MVP of the Arizona Fall League.

Pulling from the P-I post, "Ackley led the league in hitting (.424), on-base percentage (.581), slugging percentage (.758), OPS (1.338) and runs (28). He had 19 RBIs and four homers in 20 games. He also drew 26 walks and stole five bases on five attempts."

If you project those homers over a full season, that's 32 bombs!  

Joking aside... small sample, yes.  Arizona Fall League, yes.  But that ain't chopped liver.

A reason for optimism is always welcome.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Go Get Garza

Matt Garza has been a pitcher I've followed for years, always seeming to underperform his true talent level.  The Rays got a hold of him and turned him from middling prospect into a guy you'd really rather not face.

In the last three years, his wins above replacement have been 2.9, 3.2, and 1.8, respectively.  2010 was his worst year of the three in large part due to a precipitous drop in K/9, a rather concerning increase in his HR/FB and a dropping ground ball rate (and a corresponding increase in fly balls).  This is the same season featuring his no hitter.  I could go on, but let's just say 2010 wasn't his best. 

Spitballing, I'd say he's probably a good bet for a sub-4.00 ERA, his K/9 will rebound slightly, his HR/9 will regress towards his career average, which might make him the 4th-best starter on the Rays, but would easily make him the 2nd best starter on the M's. He would benefit from the move to Safeco, although not nearly as much as you would think given than the park the Rays play in actually controls home run power off lefties more than it does at Safeco - but in general the Safe is a better place to pitch if you're trending flyball-pitcher.

He made about 3.35 mil last year according to Cot's Baseball Contracts and is arbitration eligible for the next three years until he reaches free agency.  He's due a hefty raise this year, but that's not a bad price to pay for a guy who should give you something in the ballpark of a 2.5 WAR going forward. 

And here's why he could be expendable.  Price, Shields, Niemann, Davis, Hellickson, and a kid named Matt Moore that might be ready mid-year.  The Rays are stockpiled with quality young arms that are cheaper, and better, than Matt Garza.  It's sickening, yes, but the fact remains that they really don't need Matt Garza - they can probably get as good, or better, starting pitching without him, save some money, or spend that money on other needs.  He's older than half of the names above, and yet will only be 27 next season.

What the M's have that the Rays need, I have no idea - this is not my rant for figuring that out.  But I'm just sayin'... Matt Garza is probably someone that the Rays would listen to offers on and if the price is right considering him coming off a relative down year, M's should be very, very interested.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bill James Projections and the Mariners

A few thoughts first.

Bill James, God love him and all with his smart mind and calculator, is considered to be a bit of a hack when it comes to projections.  Typically his offensive projections are way too inflated and his pitching projections are far too conservative.  Just look at what he predicted Chris Davis was going to do in the 2009 season (I believe he projected him for 41 home runs).

No, these probably aren't going to be accurate

Yes, they're mouth-wateringly interesting because it's November and we're dying for baseball news, so here you go:

  • Smoak: 249/.351/.414,19 HR  This is sadly probably spot on.
  • Ackley: .239/.325/.358, 3 HR  Bill James thinks Dustin Ackley is 4 feet tall, apparently.
  • Saunders: .242/.315/.388, 10 HR  If Saunders gets to the break and he's projecting for this line, it's time to cut the cord.
  • Adam Moore: .254/.300/.389, 10 HR  Why I couldn't stand Johjima, I have no idea.  
  • Figgins .277/.360/.348, 3 HR with 32 SB in 146 games.  So he thinks he's going to triple his HR output and get hurt.
  • Guti: .261/.323/.401, 14 HR  Sadly, probably spot on.
I'm not going to bother with Wilson and Milton.  

Just for fun:  Lance Berkman .275/.393/.486 with 22 HR. Go get him.

Pitchers?  Felix: 3.31 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 8.23 K/9. 13 wins. 

The rest of the Pitchers?  They're all going to suck.

I wonder if we can move the fences in every half inning when the M's are up just to make it a challenge for the other team?  Like when you played pick up whiffle ball games with the 5th graders when you were in 3rd grade - just a whole different set of rules so the big boys don't get bored.

Now I'm depressed.  I wonder what Richie Sexson is doing?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dare To Dream

I drove by this sign on a recent trip to the Bay Area.  The enthusiasm and excitement that drove someone to deface this street sign has been missed around Mariner country since the 1995 season.  (2001 was fun too, but it seemed like the team would fall off the cliff at some point.  Still a great run.)

What street signs would people deface if the M's were to go on a magical journey in 2012?  We could start the madness at Felix Lane in Oak Harbor.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We'll Miss You Dave

The Seattle Times is reporting that Dave Niehaus has died at 75.  He goes down as one of the greatest Mariners of all time.  Personally I put him right there next to Edgar, with The Big Unit and Griffey not far behind. 

Over the past few seasons his calls weren't as sharp as they used to be, but many of us accepted that and were able to enjoy hearing his soothing voice at the mic knowing that he could retire at any time. 

More to come on Dave this week.  I'm off to raise a salami and rye bread toast in his honor.

Two Mariner Related Must Reads

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus rates his top 11 prospects for the Mariners (and 9 others).  It's a must-read for any Mariner fan, and certainly good material as we drool for anything baseball-news-related during these dark months. 

What's notable about this list?  Well, Goldstein doesn't just give away "five-star" prospect status, so there's reason to be excited about the fact that he's as impressed by Ackley and Pineda as most of us are giddy about their potential contributions in the near future.  But I have to say, it's Goldstein's writeup of Nick Franklin (pictured) that gets me pretty stoked.  Oh, to have a power hitting shortstop again...

Next link is a fun spreadsheet from the MLBTR writers making free agent predictions.  M's aren't mentioned often, but they are linked to Lance Berkman, Hisanori Takahashi, Pat Burrell (GAH!), Kevin Millwood, Hideki Matsui, and Brandon Webb.

I actually like the idea of Berkman and Takahashi a lot.  Berkman could do a little splitting time at 1b with Smoak (or as much as would be necessary to keep him happy and healthy) and DH the rest.  He's old, but there's a lot to like about him - including the fact that he'd probably be our 2nd best hitter on the team.  Takahashi might come on the cheap, and he'd probably be the second best starter on the squad too.  Plus, he's a lefty, and controls left handed bats nicely which would play well at the Safe.  Hell, let's be honest with ourselves - anything would play nicely at the Safe next year as long as it doesn't resemble that 2010 squad.

Matsui? Eh, well, if he's ultra cheap. But I could see the allure there, Ichiro-Matsui reported feud aside.

Webb might be a nice project, but I'm not about to speculate about his 2011 contributions.  Might as well have him room with Bedard and maybe they can share parts to make one whole...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November mock draft, for better or worse

We're doing a ridiculously early mock draft over at RotoHardball.com and we're barely through the first 7 picks and it's clear that it's going to be a pretty funny/painful experience.  The whole thing is going to be conducted in the comments section of a post and every five rounds a summary will be written.  If you're already dying for fantasy baseball or already mourning the loss of the baseball season, this might provide not only insight but perhaps a little comic relief.  Enjoy.

Miller & Morgan Out At ESPN, Rizzs Provides Encouragement

ESPN is breaking up their Hall of Fame Sunday Night Baseball announcing crew of Joe Morgan and Jon Miller.  (Note to Mariner fans:  Yes, Sunday Night Baseball still exists. No, don't expect to play on Sunday night in 2011.)  I think it has been a good 21-year run and will be sad to see them go. 

This is as good of time as any to pass along some encouragement from Mariner announcer Rick Rizzs.  Anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of finding this 'easter egg' on the Mariner site, enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tsuyoshi Nishioka - Japanese Shortstop to be posted

Japanese posting interest, take two?

After missing out on Iwakuma, it looks like Nishioka will be posted.  I don't have access to anything reliable besides anecdote, but it sounds like he's a speedy switch-hitting contact hitter that had some evidence of power (recall that Ichiro hit 25 HR's in Japan though) and is a pretty skilled shortstop who can also play some second base.  He's only 26 and plays a position that the M's could really use some kind of long term solution at.  In fact, they could use a 2011 solution there as we know Jack Wilson will be a black hole on offense, play great defense, and then get hurt.

Check out his career statistics here.

He doesn't strike me as a superstar kind of player in the Major Leagues, but I would be surprised if the Mariners weren't part of the conversation on this guy. 

So much for that Iwakuma plan

The A's won the bidding.  Now they just have to sign him.

This guy would have helped. Now we really need him to suck.

#$*&ing Billy Beane.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Derrek Lee to the M's?

So Ken Davidoff is predicting that Derrek Lee will sign with the Mariners on a one year contract for $7 million dollars.

Some quick shots about this:
  • Lee will be 35 this year
  • Coming off a disappointing year by his standard with .260/19/80 between the Cubs and Braves.
  • 2009 was arguably his 2nd best offensive season
  • His batting average on balls in play was down marginally last season
  • He is generally considered to be an above average first baseman
  • His wins above replacement last year was 2.0.  2009 was 5.3
  • He would be so much better than Casey Kotchman it would boggle the mind.
There are a lot of things to like about Derrek Lee, but I can't for the life of me understand why a 35 year old would sign with a team certainly not going to the playoffs, also sign with a team certainly not going to the playoffs which plays half of their games in a park which will probably kill his value in 2011 should he wish to continue playing, AND sign with a team that would most likely ask him to DH for most of the season.  Furthermore, why he would sign with the M's for, what would probably have to be considered to be market value and for only one year defies logic.  I just don't see the fit here, unless for some reason Derrek Lee just loves him some Space Needle and traffic jams.

It would be a nice pickup for the M's, but it's probably not worth getting excited about.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Moyer Might Finally Act His Age

So Jaime Moyer might finally be finished.

Pitching in a winter Mexican league attempting to embarrass yet more hitters with 68 mph changeups and land a big league gig, he apparently blew up his elbow again, and team manager Moises Alou thinks the jig is finally up.

I had kind of secretly hoped that maybe Moyer might entertain coming back to the M's on some kind of yay-Seattle-farewell-tour and not only mentor some of the kids, but probably hold down the 3rd or 4th best starter on the staff seat.

He's 48 years old this month, my God...seriously, what a career.  He's been pitching for 25 years, has 267 wins, and over FOUR THOUSAND innings pitched - and let's face it, he's done almost all of it with smoke and mirrors.

Jaime Moyer - you are an inspiration to everyone in the world with a shitty fastball and a ton of desire.  I'll forever teach my kids that the greatest pitch you can learn is the changeup because of you.

If I run into you on Magnolia hill somewhere, I hope you let me buy you a beer.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Analyzing Aaron Hill Using Jack Moore's Four Factor Method

via Xtranormal.

You really should read the article, as Moore's stuff is really quite excellent.  But I just couldn't help myself...

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Fantasy Baseball Site

I'll be contributing over at RotoHardball where you can find all sorts of fantasy-baseball-related fun.  The site is new, so there's not much in the way of content yet, but it will build quickly in the coming weeks.  It's on the SB Network, which has some really handy tools, and it's geared towards fan participation.  It's not FanGraphs and it's not Rotowire, but it probably meets somewhere in between.  Not heavy duty geekdom, but plenty of nerdiness yet hopefully always well defined.  Feel free to check it out.

The Log will motor on, of course, and our efforts to survive an offseason fraught with disappointment will not go unnoticed...