In God we trust. Everybody else needs data. - Rick Peterson

Saturday, February 28, 2004


If you know it's broke, fix it!!

Did you catch this quote from Mariners Medical Director Larry Pedegana in today's Seattle Times story on Mike Myers ...

Dr. Larry Pedegana, Seattle's orthopedic specialist, often points out that just raising one's arm over the head is an unnatural act.

"You add all the stresses of creating velocity and torque in the act of pitching," Pedegana said, "and you can begin to understand why there are so many arm problems."
I suppose it's nice that Pedegana knows what's wrong, but is it too much to ask that he use that information to fix it?

As I discussed previously in THE MARINERS PITCHING MEDICINE MESS, throughout Pedegana's tenure as Mariners Medical Director the Mariners have consistently had one of the highest rates of major arm injuries to young pitchers. Meanwhile, the Oakland A's have had almost no arm injuries to pitchers, and they have arguably produced at least as much, if not more, pitching talent in recent years than the Mariners.

It's well past time for the Mariners to demand that the team medical staff figure out how to keep pitchers healthy instead of just patching them up after they break down.


No matter how I spin the straw in the Mariners offices, it's still straw

Corey over at Mariner Optimist does try to look at things with a glass half full. Methinks he tries a bit too hard, though, as regards the Mariners front office.

I've been meaning to respond for some time to this piece posted by Corey on Feb 17, ...
Melvin and Cameron:

Much of the criticism of the M's offseason is centered around the early signing of Raul Ibanez. Cries of "too expensive" and "limits flexibility" and "stupid to use a draft pick" were probably the most common. But I understand why the M's did it, and they attempted to set the market price low on Ibanez. Here's how things looked to M's management back in November.

1. Mike Cameron was going to move on. The M's were unwilling to commit to more than a 2-year deal or more than $4M per. They were right and he moved to New York for a 3-yr, $18M contract.

2. Vladamir Guerrero had no interest in Seattle. It did not have the Latino community that Vlad was interested in, and it seemed like the Orioles or Marlins were likely targets.

3. Beyond Vlad and Cameron, the next best outfielders were Ibanez, Juan Gonzalez, Jose Cruz, Carl Everett, Raul Mondesi, and Reggie Sanders. Gonzo and Sanders have had injury troubles, Everett & Mondesi have attitude issues, and Jose Cruz is probably too similar to Cameron (nice glove, many K's) so that the player they chose was Ibanez.

So, the M's knew they wanted to land Ibanez and Tejada. In both cases, they were aggressive in their pursuit being the first team to submit an offer to both free agents. In the case of Ibanez, that offer was a little too high for where the market went, and in the case of Tejada, it was a little low. I believe the M's truly thought Vladamir Guerrero would sign with the Orioles early on, and that would take the O's out of the Tejada sweepstakes. Instead, Vlad let the O's offer sit on the table for months until a better offer came along.
The big problem with Corey's assessment is that the market for free agent and potential free agent outfielders had already been set when the Mariners made their offer to Ibañez. The market was set when Toronto resigned Frank Catalanatto on October 27 to a one-year, $2.3 million deal.

On November 26 I made the following post comparing the Ibañez and Catalanotto signings, CATALANOTTO CONTRACT - MORE VERIFICATION OF IBAÑEZ IDIOCY:
    Offensive stats
    Catalanotto, 20030.2990.3510.4720.823
    Ibañez, 20030.2940.3450.4540.799
    Catalanotto, career0.2970.3590.4650.824
    Ibañez, career0.2780.3340.4640.798

    Terms of contract:

    Catalanotto: 1 year, $2.5 million

    Ibañez: 3 yrs, $13.25 million

    Tell me again why the Mariners think Ibañez was worth more than $4 million per year?
So, the market had already been established, and it was obvious to almost everyone outside the Mariners offices that Mariners had grossly overpaid Ibañez. That is why there were gasps, even from other GMs, after the Mariners made their absurd offer to Ibañez.

But, even if we're generous and presume that Corey accurately presented the Mariners thinking, the situation still reflects poorly on Bavasi's abilities. In granting Corey's assumptions, we're then forced to conclude that Bavasi doesn't have the ability to project a free agent market. He missed wildly with Ibañez, and then he turned around and missed wildly with Tejada. And his lack of ability to properly relate value to player performance was manifest in many of his other roster acquisitions this offseason.

If Bavasi doesn't have the ability to accurately judge a free agent market and relate value to player performance, he shouldn't be out there setting free agent markets, should he? To compound matters, Bavasi doesn't have the good sense to realize that he lacks that ability and should stay away from those activities.

In addition to being proactive when he shouldn't be, Bavasi also doesn't know when he should be assertive. Because I was preoccupied with work last week, I didn't comment on Chuck Armstrong's damning comments that the Mariners would have gone after Alex Rodriquez had they known Texas was willing to absorb as much of Rodriguez's salary as they did. Fortunately, there are enough Mariners bloggers to fill the void when some of us are too busy to comment. I think Jon at Grand Salami Blog caught this aspect first in his post on Feb 22:
"The teams that get the players they want, that make the best deals are the teams (and GM's) that work the hardest, that are constantly on the phone, talking to other GM's, other team owners, agents and the like. The Mariners claim they would have made the deal to reacquire A-Rod but even though they were well aware that Texas wanted to move him (and Seattle had close to $9 million to play with from the Sasaki windfall) ,they didn't even bother to inquire, instead relying on 'their reports' that Tom Hicks wouldn't be willing to pay that much of A-Rod's salary. Welll it's pretty freaking obvious that the Mariners 'reports' suck. Why the hell would they rely on second-hand sources when Tom Hicks and Texas GM John Hart were only a phone call away? "
Or, as Derek at USS Mariner expressed it:
But here's the point: Rodriguez almost went to the Red Sox. Clearly, he was available. I can't believe they were so busy negotiating Ron Villone's deal that nobody in the front office could have called the Rangers up to say "Hey, sorry the Red Sox deal fell through. We might be willing to take on his contract without dumping another on you... what do you need to make a deal?"

This is crazy. Armstrong later says that their reports were that the Rangers... reports? They read the paper? No one called and asked? Did their calling card run out of minutes?
And that sums it up. We have a GM who proactively gets involved in areas where he doesn't have the skills and should be holding back, and he is passive about staying in contact with his counterparts who are actively trying to make deals.

No matter how I spin this pile of straw in the Mariners offices, it remains straw and doesn't become gold. Bavasistiltskin he ain't. That's probably good; otherwise we might have to give him one of the Sons of Buhner.

Friday, February 27, 2004


Using Bad Examples

There is a piece today from the Baseball Amarica prospect chat that boggled me. Let's pick up the chat excerpt from Mariner Minors today: ...
Q: Chris from Huntsville, AL asks:

Would you say that the success of the two drafting styles (college vs. high school) is more dependent on WHO the players are than the styles themselves? For instance, Oakland was successful using the college drafting style, picking up Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, and Tim Hudson, while organizations such as the Dodgers have enjoyed drafting success picking high school players such as Greg Miller and James Loney. Both schools of thought are sure that theirs is the best and it doesn't really seem that one is better than the other to me.
While there certainly are two schools of thought, I don't think anyone can seriously suggest that an 18-year old and a 19-year old, who haven't made it out of the low minors, prove the success of a drafting strategy. Then to compare them with Zito, Mulder, and Hudson is just silliness worthy only of baseball beat writers for certain Seattle newspapers.


"Mr. Boone, Meet Mr. Lincoln"

Two historic American surnames, the Boones and the Lincolns, heading in opposite directions ...
    Derek at USS Mariner about about Lincoln, Howard:
    The team made $10m last year in profits above and beyond the $30-$40m the team admitted they took out in another line item to defray past claimed losses. And that's just what they fessed up to. If anyone can tell me where the Mariners spent that extra $10m -- as Lincoln maintains, player acquisition, player development, scouting, or something else -- I'll give them a dollar, because the M's are not spending $10m more on anything this season. ...

    It is unfortunate to me that we tolerate lying for a purpose in mainstream society, that we think "well, what did we expect him to say?" when considering the falsehoods of someone like Lincoln. If having major league baseball is a great community booster, something that transcends being a simple business, doesn't that also carry with it an equal responsibility to act morally, and to conduct yourself in a forthright manner?
    Les Carpenter in the Seattle Times about Boone, Aaron:
    It would have been the simplest thing, just to fib. Aaron Boone was rolling on a California basketball court, the ligaments in his knee a shredded mess. In the high-stakes world of baseball, such an injury is financial suicide. Big-money contracts forbid perilous offseason pursuits like basketball for the very reason Boone was sprawled on the ground clutching his knee. One wrong step and an investment is lost.

    All Boone would have had to tell his employers, the New York Yankees, was that he slipped on a wet floor or fell down while running stadium steps. Anything but playing basketball. Had he done this, the Yankees wouldn't have had cause to terminate his contract and therefore wouldn't have had the money free to lavish upon Alex Rodriguez, turning their lineup into the single greatest collection of power since Brezhnev saluted his last May Day.

    Most important to Boone, he still would have the $5.75 million the Yankees owed him, rather than getting his release from New York, which officially came yesterday.

    Instead, he told the truth.
Aaron Boone's integrity is obviously worh more than $5.75 million to him. What do you suppose Howard Lincoln's price is?

Thursday, February 26, 2004


Revisiting the Not So Distant Past

Baseball Prospectus has a triple play column today featuring the Diamondbacks, Royals, and Phillies (no premium subscription required). Earlier this offseason I noted that Allard Baird was doing pretty well with Royals, and it looks as if BP concurs ...

... At that time I encouraged Andy Stallings at Sons of Buhner to post critiques of the Royals and Padres off-season roster moves. Andy accepted, and did a fine job of reviewing Baird's efforts in his post, A Royal Quandary, and Kevin Towers' work in his post, Deciphering the Peoria Complex: Bavasi vs. Towers. Both pieces are good reading, and are especially interesting to go back to as spring training commences.


Blog Tired

I've been overwhelmed with work for the last week, so I've had to slow down my blogging considerably. Fortunately, there are a lot more Mariners bloggers around to keep things going than there were last November when I started up.

A quick comment on Melvin's lineup experimentations. Why bat Winn 9th? If it makes sense to have Winn batting ahead of Ichiro to take advantage of Ichiro's ground balls, doesn't it make sense to bat Winn leadoff? If Melvin bats Winn 9th, then he is giving up some ABs to players who are lesser hitters than Winn.

Finally, the AL West bloggers reviews of starting pitching for the AL West teams are naaring completion. Tyler Bleszinski's review at Athletics Nation was posted earlier this week. The other should be available by the end of this week.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


Bucky Backers want to meet with Mariner fans in Phoenix

I received an e-mail from Aaron Hayes, President and Founder of Bucky Backers, the Bucky Jacobson fan club. The Bucky Backers are planning a field to Mariners spring training March 25 - 29. They would love to connect with any Mariner fans who are there. If you're going to be in Phoeniz then and would like to meet these people who are so dedicated to one of our non-roster invitees, send an e-mail to Aaron at webmaster@buckybackers.com

How cool is it that a minor league player has such a dedicated fan club??

Monday, February 23, 2004


Yankees to Feature Most Devastating Line-up of Metrosexuals in MLB History

A heretofore unblogged aspect of the Rodriguez trade: The Shea Hot Corner: "Yankees to Feature Most Devastating Line-up of Metrosexuals in MLB History"

Despite an initial confusion of "metro-cool" with "pimp-funk," Matsui has made solid progress since joining the Yankees last year. In fact, sources close to the team say that Matsui has ditched his old nick-name "Godzilla" and now prefers to go by "Metrozilla."

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