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.