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

Thursday, August 05, 2004


Padres Release Cirillo

From the San Diego Union-Tribune
Bochy said Cirillo "wanted his release," and Loretta, who spoke with him, said Cirillo wasn't dejected. "I don't know if this spells the end of the road or not," Loretta said.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Myers Mania

Mike Myers 2004 Monthly Splits

Explain to me again why the Mariners didn't move Myers for anything they could get?


Texas Rangers Blog on Red Sox and Dodgers Trade Deadline Deals

Adam at Texas Rangers blog has a nice discussion of reactions to the trade deadline activities of Theo Epstein (Red Sox) and Paul DePodesta (Dodgers).
The interesting thing about the deadline trades to me, though, we the different ways in which two of the major players -- the Boston Red Sox and the L.A. Dodgers -- were portrayed.

Strictly on a talent basis, the Red Sox got hosed, although apparently someone within the organization (there is some question as to whether it was really boy wonder G.M. Theo Epstein) decided that Nomar had to go for the good of the team. Nevertheless, the mainstream baseball press has been giving the BoSox the benefit of the doubt, and praising Theo for realizing that he needed to upgrade his defense to succeed.

The difference between Choi and Encarnacion, offensively, is greater than the difference between Lo Duca and his replacements at catcher. And I'll take a good starter over a great setup man any day of the week. So short-term, talent-wise, this deal is a win for the Dodgers, and long-term, it is a steal.

The mainstream baseball press, though, isn't treating it this way, in large part because Lo Duca and Encarnacion are incredibly overrated, and in part because Choi is still viewed as the busted prospect that Dusty Baker wanted nothing to do with last season, instead of as what he's become -- a quality first baseman.


The Circle of Suck

I think we can all agree that the Mariners truly suck this season. But, dear readers, set that aside for a moment and imagine that the Mariners completely turned things around for the rest of this season. Wave your magic wand, pluck your magic twanger, dream the impossible dream, and just suppose that, henceforth, the Mariners not only didn't suck, they actually became the total opposite of "suck".

And what, you should ask, is the opposite of suck? Blow!!

Think about that. The Mariners are so bad this year, that completely reversing course, they could blow instead of suck.

Good versus bad is one of those things in life that is a circle, not a spectrum. The longshoreman-philosopher Eric Hoffer would recognize this immediately. In one of his writings (I believe it was his classic book, The True Believer) Hoffer observed that many things we popularly see as spectra are actually continua that fold back on themselves. Hoffer noted that if a person proceeds far enough to the left politically - all the way through anarchism - eventually the person will reappear on the right side of the political spectrum.

That, friends, describes the 2004 Mariners. The team has completely reversed course this year, going with fresh youth instead of grizzled vets. And we see that, having completely changed, they now blow instead of suck.

And a tip of the hat to Batgirl for pointing out that the opposite of sucking is blowing.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


Chin Music - August 3 Edition

I've been very busy lately, not leaving much time for blogging. So on with some miscellaneous items I've been collecting.
  • In today's second game, Bucky Jacobsen goes 3 for 4. Below is his line for this year, along with his MLE for last season (where he was in AA ball at Tennessee in the Southern League):
    YEAR    AB   BA    OBP   SLG   OPS
    2004 56 .321 .424 .661 1.085
    2003* 447 .298 .379 .574 .953
    *MLE. MLE Data from Matthew Namee at The Hardball Times
    While we should expect Jacobsen's numbers to decline somewhat from his current levels, we should also consider that Jacobsen's performance to date is supported by some of his past performance. Personally, in watching him since he came up, I've been impressed with some secondary aspects of his hitting:

    1. He shows a fine batting eye and good plate discipline.

    2. He shows good pitch recognition and is adjusting to major league breaking balls. A couple of weeks ago he was recognizing them and laying off when they were not strikes. But when they were strikes he was not making contact. In the last week he has been making consistent contact and is starting to hit breaking balls with authority. He's not launching them as he does fastballs, but he's making solid contact.

    3. He uses the whole field and has shown power to right field in recent games.

    Right now there's no reason not to play Bucky Jacobsen every day, and there's no reason to bat him behind Boone and Ibañez. If Melvin wants to preserve his right left alternation in the batting order, flip Boone and Jacobsen, keeping Ibañez in between them.

  • Similarly, there is no reason for Spiezio to bat anywhere other than ninth when he is in the lineup. Even better, sit Spiezio and put Jacobsen at first with Edgar continuing to get time in at DH.

  • Mariners inactivity at the deadline has been well covered by other bloggers. I will merely note that the Mariners continue to be an extremely cautious organization that places a high premium on not making mistakes. The Mariners are content to let opportunities pass if there is any significant associated risk.

  • The contrast with the Mariners this year was Paul DePodesta of the Dodgers. I admire DePo for his efforts. I know he's taking heat, but I think that most people who are weighing in on this are considering only the risks associated with the trades and totally ignoring the risks of doing nothing. Here in the Northwest we are more familiar with the risks of doing nothing than we would care to be.

    Anyway, I figure that DePo looked forward and realized that:

    1. LoDuca typically fades in the second half

    2. Mota, while good, is overrated and actually declining.

    3. Adding Penny to the rotation means that a starting pitcher will get bumped from the rotation and slide into the bullpen. Since starting pitchers almost always are better pitchers than relief pitchers (that's why they get more innings) bumping a starter to the bullpen does not seriously weaken the bullpen.

    DePodesta's wheeling and dealing also shows key operating differences between the Mariners operating philosophy and the approach followed by the "Beane school". For the Mariners the most important thing is to not make a bad deal. So the Mariners have a strong tendency to stand pat rather than run the risk of making a bad trade.

    To Beane and DePodesta, the most important thing is to try to improve your team, and they are willing to take a risk that deal might not work out. DePo looked forward and didn't think his team could hold its position with the current roster. So doing nothing was also a risky strategy.

    Doing some minor tweaks also did not resolve the bigger problems that DePo saw. So making minor tweaks was also a risky strategy.

    So, in the end, the risks he is taking are not as great as presumed by many observers, because most people forget to consider the risks inherent in the other options available, including the risks of doing nothing.

  • With Bob Melvin, I've reached a point where it's just not worth getting worked up about various matters anymore. Particularly his fascination with Willie Bloomquist. I think that Willie Bloomquist reminds Melvin a lot of himself in his playing days.

  • Comment after the trade deadline indicated that Melvin's opinion was weighed heavily. That's unfortunate. Melvin is the guy who insisted that the Mariners needed to have Quinton McCracken on the roster. Melvin is the guy who believes Willie Bloomquist is the answer. (I haven't yet figured out the question, though.) Melvin is the guy who believes that Bloomquist is a better bet to get on base than Jacobsen

  • I do have to give props to Melvin for having Wilson bunt in the 7th inning of yesterday's second game. When Wilson is at the plate with less than two outs and runners on base, I become a firm advocate of productive outs. I am all in favor of Wilson making as many productive outs as he can make. Since it's given that he's going to make outs, I want them to be productive.

    I can even support having Wilson bunting with two strikes. That play had a much better chance of succeeding than having Wilson swing away with an 0-2 count.

    "Blind squirrel" Melvin we can call him.

  • Ryan Franklin is having one of the better years of his career as regards home runs.
    Year   HR/9
    ==== ====
    2001 1.50
    2002 1.07
    2003 1.44
    2004 1.24
  • It was the top of the ninth in the game with Oakland last Wednesday, July 28. The score is tied 2-2. There are two outs, and Willie Bloomquist is on first as Ichiro comes to the plate. Ichiro successfully bunts for a single, advancing Bloomquist to second.

    This play didn't receive much commentary. Was this a smart play by Ichiro? Here's what Mulder thought about it:
    "Honestly, I'll take that bunt right there," Mulder said. "He puts the ball in the gap, chances are the guy scores from first."
    Interesting. The pitcher was grateful for the bunt.

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