Saturday, January 30, 2010

Right Handed DH/1b and Beer

So after the Byrnes deal, word is the M's are still shopping for a DH/1B RH batter.  Here's the list of free agents that fit that bill and the beer that I'd use to describe them:

Rich Aurillia - Rhinelander.  It has been around forever.  You've tried it once and now you know you should never try it again.

Tony Clark - Coldcock.  There's some pop in there, but really, it's mythical.

Nomar Garciaparra - Miller Genuine Draft.  When I was younger, this beer seemed like it was the best.  And now it's horrible. I never even give it a second thought.

Ryan Garko - Manny's Pale Ale.  I'm not a huge fan, but if it's the only micro available, I'm ok with that.

Mike Jacobs - Heineken mini keg.  There's a lot of it, it doesn't seem to ever go away, and yet the more you have of it, the more you realize just how awful it is.

Kevin Millar - Moose Drool.  There was a time when it was good, but everyone has surpassed you now.

A Glimpse of Byrnes

You think Eric Byrnes doesn't full effort?  That's him in LF at Safeco.  Check the flip after the throw.

I know it's totally unrealistic to think he's going to be 100% healthy and as productive as the guy who earned his big contract.  But Byrnes is the kind of player that is easy to like.

I hope we get a glimpse of just how exciting a player he can be.  And if not, well, hey - free Eric Byrnes.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Griffey's Playing Time: Paper vs. Grass

Believe Big is the new M's slogan going into 2010.  Just don't believe everything you read when it comes to Ken Griffey Jr.

2/21/09 - USA Today: "When Griffey met with Wakamatsu and general manager Jack Zduriencik last Sunday night, they discussed how Griffey's 39-year-old legs, and a knee that had arthroscopic surgery on it four months ago, fit into Seattle's lineup. They decided Griffey will be in left field when his legs feel fine. When baseball's active leader with 611 home runs says he needs a break, he'll be the designated hitter.

Yet Wakamatsu keeps getting asked how much Griffey will play in the field. And the manager keeps saying the same thing. "We are going to try to sustain him for the whole year," Wakamatsu said Saturday morning, before Griffey arrived at training camp here. "I'm not going to project anything."

The Mariners signed Griffey to a one-year, $2 million deal, plus incentives, presumably believing he's as healthy as he's been since 2007. That season, he had 30 home runs and 93 RBIs with Cincinnati.

And if he's healthy, he's going to play primarily in left field

Recently acquired Endy Chavez had been the presumed left fielder. When asked a few days ago what Griffey's return means to Chavez, Wakamatsu said Chavez's value is in his defense and speed. So he now fits as a late-game substitution and fill-in starter for Griffey."

And you know this already, but...
11 games played in the OF, a total of 8 in LF.  Made a total of 13 put outs. 

Yesterday, Seattle Times:

"I think we are going to go similar to what we did last year . Let's ease him into it, but when he can play he is going be in there."

Look, I get it - he's the darling of the franchise. You treat him with respect. But don't try to tell me we're going to see 450 AB's at DH this year from Junior. Or even 350. My bet is about 275. If he sees more than 2 games in the field, I'll be pretty amazed.

Milton Bradley is going to DH a fair amount. Our mythical right handed bat that we're all crossing our fingers about is going to DH a fair amount - perhaps a lot depending on their skill at a position. Griffey is cuddly and tickley and all that, but if you buy tickets to a Mariner game and you want to see Ken Griffey Jr. play, you should be damned sure there's a right hander on the hill and that he hasn't played in a couple of days.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

On Bedard and what we know (we know)

So the product of arguably the worst trade in Mariner history is a free agent, rehabbing from his torn labrum surgery.  Erik Bedard is making, by all accounts, lovely progress and is anywhere from 3 to 5 months from being able to toe the rubber in game action - somewhere between April and June (which is why most say May).

How do all us Mariner fans know this? Well, he was hurt on Seattle's watch, so Rick Griffin has been keeping in close contact with him, working with him to get him healthy.

I find this arrangement curious.  Not only does Seattle get a nice report from Rick about the health of Bedard, but Bedard is also in a situation where he's working under a plan set forth by his surgeon and Rick Griffin, with Griffin providing the oversight and guidance on said plan.  Once Bedard signs with another club, that training staff gets to take over.

As one great (cough, cough) Secretary of Defense once said, "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know."


We know Bedard is good when he's healthy
We know we need a pitcher
We know Bedard has pitched hurt for two years
We know we have closer contact with Bedard than any other team.
We know starting pitching options are evaporating.

We don't know how much he pitched hurt the last two years.
We don't know if Bedard feels any loyalty whatsoever to the organization that paid so dearly for him.  But he may feel some kind of weird obligation to prove himself.  I wouldn't bet on it.  But you never know.
We don't know if his progress really is going well.
We don't know if Griffin knows how his progress is going, even when he says it's going well.
We don't know how much Griffin and the M's brass talk about his progress, but you have to assume it's frequent.
We don't know if Bedard is in their plans.

We do not know that we don't know that Bedard is an alien.  But that's just a guess.

Okay, enough with that.

Point is... Bedard might not pitch until June.  That probably scares clubs and likely is hurting the market for him to get a solid guaranteed contract.  Griffin might know that he's going to be ready to go in April.  If that's the case, the M's might be more likely to gamble on guaranteed money with a little less on the incentive side.

All this speculation is suggesting that I wouldn't mind it if they went ahead and made a commitment to Bedard now.  Or soon.  If they're comfortable with his progress, I say why not.  When he's healthy, he's got electric stuff. 

If he goes to the Orioles and has a fantastic year, Bill Bavasi is going to get a box of my kids excrement for a year.

Imitation: The Sincerest Form of Flattery

I guess we were ahead of the curve, by a couple days at least.  Rob Neyer is the latest to jump on the Johnny Damon should be a Seattle Mariner bandwagon, citing Dave Cameron's always interesting analysis in Neyer's latest blog post over at ESPN

Neyer's post referenced Tuesday's FanGraphs article by Cameron, which was a carbon copy of our "Getting Abreud" posting on Monday.  That article was then later posted over at the mighty USS Mariner

To be clear, we're not saying Cameron copied our idea, or that the similarities in the Abreu/Damon camparisons and projected dollar value for Damon were more than coincidence.  It happens from time to time in today's publish-first world that something you write has already been done.  Out takeaway is that The Log is on the right track, or at least the topics we are writing about today are literally the popular topics of tomorrow and next week. 

We will break ideas from time to time, like we did with the Josh Willingham possibility last week.  Other times we may follow the pack and put our own, irreverent spin on an issue.  We invite everyone to join the conversation.  Even you, Carlos Silva. Please reach out Carlos.  We just want to know that you're ok.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On John Smoltz

We've seen many of the starting pitching options for the Mariners evaporate over the last month. I've littered twitter with posts about how concerned I am about a team starting not one but two pitchers among Fister, Snell, Vargas, Olson, French, Petit, and/or Spring invitee surprises. Pennant winning teams don't start two league average or below pitchers. They just don't.

In my mind, this team needs another high quality arm as a #3 to move Rowland Smith back to the #4 slot and rotate in whoever you want to in that 5 hole. Barring some kind of trade, there's only a few interesting names left.

John Smoltz is one of them.

Many people bristle at the mention of Smoltz - his age (42), his injury history, his miserable experience in Boston. If you surveyed your average fan I'm sure most people would say that John Smoltz was a bad pitcher last year and he's washed up. And you know, maybe he is washed up.

But he wasn't a bad pitcher last year.

Let's break down his "two seasons" - the one with Boston and the one with St. Louis:

Boston: 2-5, 8.33 ERA. 4.95 FIP, 7.43 K/9, 1.8 HR/9 .343 BAA, .390 BABIP, 56.9 LOB%, 4.19 xFIP.

St. Louis: 1-3, 4.26 ERA. 2.73 FIP, 9.47 K/9, .71 HR/9, .329 BABIP, 66.2% LOB, 3.46 xFIP

Obviously, I bolded for effect - but in Boston, he was exceedingly unlucky. A near .400 BABIP is just stupid and the that he only stranded a tad better than half the runners who reached base (career rate is 73.6) seems like the Gods were just being mean. Maybe he came back too soon? His strikeout rate was down and he was giving up gopher balls like he was... I don't know, the gopher ball fairy. With that in mind, his xFIP was just 4.19 (which normalizes a home run rate - that being 1.8 HR/9 is likely not sustainable) suggesting that pitch after pitch, things just didn't roll, fly, zing, what have you - John's way.

For the Cards, he didn't win, but boy was he good. More than a strikeout per inning, more than cut his HR rate in half, 2.73 FIP was tops on a team that featured two CY Young candidates (yeah, yeah, I know sample size and all that - but still...).

Smoltz can still pitch. I don't know how many innings are in that arm, but if his price slips into the ridiculously low area, which it very well may, he's the kind of risk you take when you're trying to win a pennant. We all know how friendly pitching in Safeco can be - and that might be attractive to him.

Marcel, Chone, and "fans" over at Fangraphs all think he'll throw 100-120 innings, which is probably good for 16-20 starts. If he can even perform as the average between Boston and St. Louis, that's good for about 2-2.5 WAR.

$3 mil plus incentives makes a lot of sense to me.  This team, with the payroll that's left and the need for another bat needs lighting in a bottle and a little luck.  At his price, it's a good gamble that Smoltz can provide it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Getting "Abreu'd": Johnny Damon

I like it when Scott Boras is wrong.

Boras so horribly gauged the market for Damon that the guy is looking at having to take a bargain-basement contract to return to the team he clearly wants to play for (NYY). Once talking about a 3-year $33 million dollar deal, Damon is looking at a reported $3 million, one year deal to return to the Bombers.

This situation, at the Log at least, is affectionately referred to as "getting Abreu'd": when your agent screws you so badly that you sign a massively under market deal just because you'd rather not be unemployed.

From everything I've read, the Braves, A's, Nats, Giants may all have mild interest in Damon, but none of them are going to give him a multi-year deal and none of them are likely to go past a few million bucks either.

Which makes me wonder, relative to the Mariners situation, when does organizational need get trumped by price?

Here's a guy who was 3.0 WAR last year, 3.6 WAR the year before. He would have been third on the M's in HR with 24. He has scored over 100 runs in 10 of the last 12 years. His defense is pretty miserable, but if you can get a 3.0 WAR outfielder/dh for $5 million bucks on a one year contract, you're doing awfully well for yourself. Can you expect him to hit 24 HR's in 2010? No. But if he produces what CHONE projects - .270/17/66/95 with a .355 OBP and 16 steals - that's pretty damn valuable. I'm laughing out loud as I say this, but he could very well be the Mariner cleanup hitter.

He doesn't fit at all with what the M's are needing right now. He's not right handed, he doesn't have plus skills in the outfield, he has no positional versatility. But I'm beginning to wonder when you just take the best deal off the board because it's kind of stupid not to and hang your hat on Jack Hannahan to pull a McLemore for us in 2010. We have a cripple for a LH DH, Milton Bradley has played more than 125 games exactly once in his career, and who knows if Saunders is going to hit at this level. Damon could even spell Guti and his bum knees in center 10 or 12 times (rock paper scissor by the staff on who gets stuck with him).

Does it make any sense to sign Damon? Not really. But he has become such a ridiculous bargain, that it wouldn't surprise me to see Jack pick him up.

He certainly would add to the league's most irritating offense.

Friday, January 22, 2010

On Josh Willingham

So the Nats have apparently made the Hammer available.

Right handed? Check
Power bat? Check
Can play LF? Check
Can DH? Duh
Can play 1b? Probably not (but has a tiny, tiny bit).
Emergency catcher? Why not?
Relatively low cost? $4.6 mil in 2010.

For a 2-2.5 WAR player, $4.6 is a good investment. He fits the M's needs pretty nicely.

Yeah, he's injury prone, but for a guy that Bill James predicts to hit 25 HR's with a a .363OBP, .482SLG, and .361wOBA, consider me sold.

I think Jose Lopez might look nice in the "other" Washington. Then we can sign Orlando Hudson

Then we can sign Ben Sheets.

Then we rule the Earth.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why the Mariners Won't Sign Jarrod Washburn

For some strange reason, when Joel Pineiro signed with the Los-Angeles-Angels-of-Anaheim-in-California-USA-planet-Earth, the number of times I saw people asking if and when the Mariners would sign Jarrod Washburn shot up on blogs and twitter and other interwebby places.

Somehow, Pineiro flying off the board created pitching scarcity in people's minds, which is an experimental Psychology PhD dissertation in waiting on it's own.

But I digress...

Why should the Mariners sign Jarrod Washburn? I've read all sorts of doozies:
  • Gritty
  • Left-handed
  • Team player
  • Gamer
  • Nice guy
  • Flipper
  • "Takes the ball every 5th day and gives you his best"
  • Veteran

Why the Mariners won't sign Jarrod Washburn:
  • Age: 35. Regression is a bitch
  • Health: You're 35 and you have bum knees. You haven't reached 200 innings pitched since 2003. Time to bust out the fishing pole.
  • Cost. $5-6 million bucks for a 1-1.5 WAR pitcher is dumb when it bumps a cheaper 1-1.5 WAR pitcher from the rotation. Jack Z isn't dumb.
  • Performance. Yeah, his knee was a mess, but holy God the Detroit debacle was funny. If even twice that guy showed up in 2010, that pitcher would still suck. 1-3 and a 7.33 ERA over however many starts is just...well... stinky.
  • Jack Z doesn't have emotional short term memory like so many Mariner fans do.
Never again...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ben Sheets and Pitch Distribution

Warning: non-expert analysis and gross speculation follows.

PitchFx is really, really cool.

I was scanning 2007 and 2008 data on Ben Sheets (yes, reminder - he missed all of 2009) and while it was instructive, it wasn't revealing anything worth reporting. From 07 to 08, his fastball velocity went from 92.9 to 92.8; curve virtually the same; change virtually the same.

But the distribution of his pitches changed. In 2007 he hardly ever threw his changeup. Based on the data, he only threw it 1.6% of the time in 2007 and relied heavily on his fastball at 70%. In 2008, he began the season using his curveball far more than 2007 and then about half way through the season, the curveball usage returned to normal, his fastball rate came down and he started throwing 15-20% changeups.

Now, the data is incomplete in 2007, so maybe it's not a fair comparison at all, and I know I'm kind of looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack here - but it seems to me that Ben Sheets got hurt midway through the season, and he pitched through (most of) it. Shocker of all shockers, I know.

But I guess the point is, he threw 2 innings shy of 200, managed an FIP of 3.38, and had the lowest HR/FB rate of his career.

If you're worried that Ben Sheets is damaged goods, you're right. But even when he's damaged, he's awfully damned good.

2009 was his only truly lost season, followed by 2006 when he threw only 106 innings. But his logged innings since 2001 are as follows: 151, 216, 220, 237, 156, 106, 141, 198. Looking at that, I like my chances of getting 200 innings from him, even if I know I should be happy with 160.

I've heard Mariner fans suggest this could be Erik Bedard all over again, and perhaps they're right. The risk/reward factor may be similar, but Erik Bedard has never thrown more than 200 innings and managed just 80 in the last two seasons. Bedard doesn't have nearly the track record of success that Sheets has.

I have no idea what kind of contracts the two might command, but if we make a wild guess and say that the M's have 10-12 million left to spend and they're thinking of using a couple million of that on a guy like Fernando Tatis, I'd say scrape the last penny out for a Ben Sheets offer and scare the shit out of Arte Moreno.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Felix Hernandez Contract Negotiations

Now that the dust is settling on what looks like a 5 year, $78 million deal with Felix Hernandez, you have to wonder if the M's had the guts to bring up the elephant in the room:  Felix's Pants.  With big bucks invested in Felix the time is now to require pants that stop at the top of the shoe, instead of below the cleats.  Time for The King to get his big boy clothes and put those twisted ankles behind him.  After all, he has a team to carry for the next five years.

Felix Hernandez Contract Reaction

"I'm rich."

What's next?
  • Felipe Lopez
  • Ben Sheets
  • Start April 20-7
  • Sign Cliff Lee long term
  • Win Rings
  • Elect Jack Z Emperor of the Universe
  • End World Hunger
  • Cure Cancer

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tommy Everidge

M's picked Everidge off waivers today, and honestly, I couldn't be more excited. I mean, look at the guy. It's like Bucky Jacobsen all over again, except Tommy is about 10 years younger and actually has a nice little track record of hitting in the minors. Who can't root for an overweight, swings-from-his-ass, no-defense, paul-bunyan masher?

A few quick stats: AAA (201 PA) .368/.428/.632
AA (three seasons, 201 games, 903 PA) .290/.358/.474

That's awfully nice, but the folks with the math degrees out there who project performance don't really see him being anything more than a role player or late season call-up. Best case for Tommy, he's an injury fill-in.

But I'm sure I'm not the first to say it - but perhaps the first in Seattle:

I want to go drinking with Tommy Everidge. First round is on me, Tommy. My bet is you're a PBR kind of guy.

The New Mariner Mascot

While I wait for the Mariners to sign Ben Sheets to a below-market contract, I'm generating ideas for a new Mariner mascot as I'm just sick of the Mariners being represented by a caricature of a European Elk.

So here are my ideas, and I welcome suggestions. Once we get to about 50, I think I'll send it to Jack Z along with a nice little thank you letter and maybe a new turtleneck for the guy.

  • The bottle of Rainer beer
  • The Eddie Vedder
  • The Kingdome
  • The Ivar Haglund
  • The Floppy Disk
  • The Ken Griffey Sr.
  • The .com
  • The Chief Sealth
  • The Joint
  • The Jim McDermott (not intentionally put after the joint)
  • The Weedle
  • The PI Globe
  • The Barista with a Masters Degree
  • The Smith Tower
  • The Dan Savage
  • The Ferry (not intentionally put after Dan Savage)
  • The Sir-Mix-A-Lot
  • The 787
  • The Jack Perconte
What else?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What is Ben Sheets Worth?

Warning: opinion and reckless speculation follows, not seriously nerdy statistical analysis...

So Ben Sheets apparently is throwing for teams next week. You have to believe the M's will be there, and you have to believe that Jack Z has already spent a good deal of time on the horn with those who represent Sheets.

I don't have any clue how much the M's have left to spend, but what I do know is I don't like having some combination of Snell/Olson/Vargas/Fister/Petit/French/some-dummy rounding out our last two slots in the starting staff.

Ben Sheets hasn't pitched since 2008. His WAR, starting in 2002 through 2008: 3.8, 3.7, 8.0, 3.7, 4.0, 2.2, 4.4. That's pretty darn good. Ben Sheets had his elbow explode after 2008. That's scary.

His value is really tied to how healthy you think the guy will be - because when he's healthy, he's awesome and when he's not, well, you get to pitch Luke French or some-dummy. If you think he'll really hold up for 180 innings, he's probably a 4+ WAR guy, which makes his demand for $12 million bucks pretty fair.

But if you think he's going to be in and out of the rotation with a variety of ailments, give you about 130 Ben-Sheets-quality-innings, then he's probably something in the arena of a 2.5 WAR pitcher, in which case $9 million is probably about as high as anyone should go.

And then there's the whole possibility that he pulls a 2004 out of his ass and is just ridiculously good (10.03 K/9 rate and a 2.65 FIP. Yowsa.).

Jack Z knows and probably loves Ben Sheets. He could really make this rotation feared, and has the potential to push the scales of the AL West heavily into the M's favor.

I don't think the M's have the cash to get him, but I really would love to see him manning that "third #1 starter" slot in the rotation. Felix, Lee, Sheets? Hoo-boy...

Final Bat: What's Left?

Quick post here...

So the M's need one last bat. They could really use someone with an ability to play a couple infield positions and play in the OF. Basically, Billy Hall, but hopefully someone who can make contact.

Who is still available that might be worth a damn?

Rumor from Jon Morosi is the M's have expressed interest in Fernando Tatis, which honestly reminds me of Pat Gillick-esque moves. Somehow, Tatis has managed to be a 1.5 WAR player the last couple of years despite playing average to poor defense in the OF and infield. Little power, few walks, but he puts the ball in play. Meh.

Chad Tracy. Oft-injured but can play 1b and 3b fairly well according to UZR/150. Can also play the OF. He had big enough years to command a pretty hefty contract after 2005, but then he wound up getting dinged up every year thereafter. He'd have to be practically free to be worth a shot, say - minor league deal with invitation to camp.

LaRoche - his agent is horrible and signed for 4-5 mil with the Dbacks.

Hank Blalock - should never play a defensive position. A DH with health issues. He's a 29 year old Russ Branyan.

Ryan Garko - a poor fielding 1b. Right handed (a plus for this team). Horrible outfielder. Really, should be a platoon at DH vs. left handed bats. This team could use that, but I don't think they have the roster flexibility to carry him.

Kevin Millar - no.

Felipe Lopez - here's a guy that was 4.6 WAR last year, who probably can be counted on for a 2.0-2.5 WAR season in 2010 who plays plus defense at 2b, can give you innings at 3b (I'm going to assume he can play 1b), and historically has logged a couple in the OF, although I'm sure it's not his natural position. He wouldn't sign here without a job, so it would be one of those move-Jose-Lopez-to-Mars deals, but I'm pretty surprised this guy is still without a job. He is a type-B though, so there's that.

There are other names, but yeesh - the pickens are getting slim.

Starting to think the M's might be better off spending on a SP and go dumpster diving for the utility role. If it's Tatis, then so be it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lane Kiffin

can't be sure, but I don't think they rolled this decision out to the satisfaction of Tennessee students.

The most eloquent addition to the rock is probably "I fucked ur wife". Lovely. Higher education in TN, ladies and gentlemen.

Pete Carroll, not a Seattle Mariner

This picture from the Seattle Times strikes me as particularly interesting in two ways.

1. This is a warning to you all to use sunscreen. Pete Carroll looks like he's 72.
2. Pete Carroll has a truly fucked up ring finger.

The latter fact perhaps being a key to his coaching. When he's yelling and pointing, he can yell and point at two players at the same time. You can't teach that kind of efficiency.

Objectivity Is Hard.

So if we are to believe that bigger muscles equals home run hitting ability, then this guy should be able to hit 200 of them in a season. Right?

I wonder how his pitch recognition is?
Bat speed?
Knowledge of the pitcher?
Hip rotation?

In no way am I going to defend an obvious cheat, but I ask you this - who can hit a home run if they can't hit the ball?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Biggest Assholes, An Incomplete Mariner History

Kevin Mitchell - he reportedly cut the head off of his girlfriend's cat.

Carl Everett - headbutting an umpire and publicly embarrassing Jamie Moyer are probably enough.

Jose Paniagua - reportedly beats women. Not nice.

Jose Mesa - I don't know, he threw at little O every time he came to the plate.

Sterling Hitchcock - you don't question Lou Piniella when he comes to take you out of the game and then whine about being traded later.

Randy Johnson - he kills birds.

Scott Spiezio - you can't hit .064 for 30 games and then criticize the organization for dumping you. And you're a terrible musician, by the way.

Jeff Cirillo - unapologetic about collecting his paycheck after falling to pieces as a Mariner.

Milton Bradley - TBA.

Frankie Rodriguez - he did something, I just don't remember.

Ken Griffey Jr., version 1.0 - bent the M's over the table when he painted them into a corner, only allowed to negotiate with Reds. Now he's older, wiser, and a better tickler.


Great suggestion of Al Martin. See Paniagua. Don't hit girls. It's not nice. Bonus to Al Martin for having two wives, of course.

Friday, January 8, 2010

On Milton

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little bit excited for the first tantrum.


Felix = yay
Cliff Lee = yay
Hyphen = uh, woo?

Then what?

Some very nice analysis over at Lookout Landing has the M's offense at about 40+ runs over last year's squad, which is just hoo-boy-dandy. But I continue to be real worried about who is going to toe the mound every 4th and 5th day.

Ryan Rowland-Smith is a lovely pitcher, but let's be honest with ourselves: if we can eek a 4.20 FIP out of the guy, we should be pretty happy. That's not bad, but when you have two giant TBA's behind him in the rotation, I'm not sure it's good enough.

If you can take a Doug Fister and replace him with a Bedard, Sheets, Wang, Myers, Davis, Smoltz, Pedro??? it allows Hyphen to become your #4 starter, and all of the AAAA guys can fight over the last spot in the rotation as they did pretty much all of last season (Vargas, Olson, French, Fister, Snell, etc.).

I doubt seriously that Smoltz or Pedro would sign here. Myers would have to come cheap because he's a health question and a major asshole. Wang, obvious health questions - but damn if his splitter/sinker wouldn't be well suited to this defensive-oriented team. Davis, kind of a Washburn prototype, just a tad better. Bedard and Sheets really emerge to me as the best investments due to their obvious upside(s).

Felix, Lee, Hyphen, Snell, Fister is not a rotation that will win the AL West with the offense we currently have. We need a guy to slot into that #3 hole.

Do it, Jack.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

We finished here?

So, based on Jack Z's comments at the Kotchman unveiling, it seems like his magic wand might be out of juice.

I'd credit Geoff Baker for this, but I'll just credit the Seattle Times for carrying it, because, after all - Geoff Baker is an ego maniacal douchebag:

"Our ears are always open. We did our homework. We did a lot of work on a lot of players. We really left no stone unturned. But at the end of the day, for some of the things we were looking for, with this acquisition right here — and then you look at (Chone) Figgins and everything else we have on our ballclub, and Jack Wilson being healthy — this could really be a fun club to watch defensively."

Does that sound like a team that's juuuuuuuust about finished with their team-building to you? It sure does to me. By my count, they've got one OF/DH slot to still fill, and I'm not sure how exciting that player might be - but there are plenty of interesting names that could fill one or more of those roles, so who knows.

I'm still holding out hope there's a Ben Sheets in our future, but it doesn't look likely. No matter how good Jack thinks this team might be, you're not going to win 90 games between Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee. We're either going to need a miracle from Ian Snell and Hyphen, or we're going to have to hope that Doug Fister pulls a Paul Abbott circa 2001 and accidentally wins 17 games.

We really need another quality starter. That is, we really need another quality starter if this team is going to be among the truly unique teams in the AL.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Geoff Baker

Is a tool.

See ball, hit ball, throw ball.

Based on what we're seeing from the leading blogs out there, you need a pretty sophisticated understanding of statistics, economics, and other "ics" in order to survive in modern-day-roster-building-by-smart-guys. Consider posts in the last 24 hours by USS Mariner and Lookout Landing, by and large the voices of the Mariner blog world.

1. I think this is awesome.
2. I think it's time to finally just shut the #$%& up about it

We've beaten the shit out of this alive-and-well horse to the point where the value of advanced metrics, if I may, is diminished.

I'm as fanatical as anyone about the M's. I want them to win every last game they play and when they lose, it affects my mood.

But I think it's time for all us geeks to take away the magnifying glass for a moment and recall that this is a game played in a park with grass and bases and wooden bats and pine tar and a pretty leather ball with 108 pretty little double stitches in it. The players wear freaking stirrups.

Enjoy the game. Stop taking everyone's wOBA and WAR so seriously that it makes you want to punch babies in the face. Those of you who really know what you're talking about, stop talking down to the guys that think the home run is king, that believe in team chemistry, that use words like "grit" even if you know it's pure folly. They are fans too. And if they're M's fans, that's a good thing, even if they are uninformed M's fans.

I was sitting next to the most irritating woman on earth, who spent the better part of the game telling everyone why the Yankees were a better team than the Mariners because of their "blue collar" approach when Edgar hit his infamous "double". We hugged for about 20 minutes. She didn't know a UZR from a small mouth bass but she loved those M's. Gotta respect that on some level, right?