Each Day Has Enough Trouble of Its Own

M's trickle-up talent plan --- > turned upside down

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Q.  Supposing that Russell Martin IS what you expect Mike Zunino WILL BE.  Why then spend so much for Martin?

A.  It's worth re-running a BJOL answer here.  Take this one as coming from a Red Sox VP:

 

Hey Bill, are you surprised that a lot of sports teams keep using the load-up-on-aging-free-agents strategy, even though it seems to fail miserably and expensively most of the time? I mean, adding some veteran pieces around a young or prime-age core is one thing, but counting on oldsters to carry the bulk of the load just seems to be an idea with failure built right into it. When you add in the greater cost of signing veteran players, it seems like a doubly bad idea. Any thoughts?

Asked by: OwenH

Answered: 11/12/2012

Well, yes, but. ...organizations that have resources tend to look to proven solutions.    "Poor" organizations are willing to gamble on younger players, and become comfortable gambling on improvement from young players.    Wealthy organizations tend innately to look for "proven" players. 

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Mike Zunino, at the moment, is looking like an EXTREMELY high-percentage play.  (How good does he have to hit, anyway?  Not very.)  But the spinal surgeon who is actually holding the scalpel in his hand must have a different gut feeling about whether it's okay to cut the red wire or the blue one...

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Q.  How long has Jack Zduriencik been GM of the Mariners?

A.  Four years.

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Q.  How long was Bill Bavasi GM of the Mariners?

A.  Four and one-half years.

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Q.  Are there any advantages, for the Mariner fan, in a Brain Trust that is getting shrill about winning Right. This. Second.?

A.  I feel like I've waited long enough, don't you?

Actually there is a sense in which that attitude is not shrill.  Matt. 6:34 says, "Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."

A lot of the world's great postal players in chess like to include "Sacred Writings" on their postcards.  They'll make a weird opening move and write, tongue-in-cheek, "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof" and their opponent will shoot back "A fool and his pawns are soon parted."

Matt. 6:34 was never intended to be applied to life indiscriminately, and on SSI of course we relay it as a proverb, an illustration of an idea that is employed throughout Fortune 500.  Depending on context.

..............

Matt. 6:34 carries the idea, put every ounce of muscle fiber into today's game; you don't even know whether that will be enough.  Tomorrow you'll be surprised to find that resources show up as you need them.

When Dr. D started a public speaking schedule, back in the 1980's, he had a decision like this ... hmmmm, I've got four good jokes.  Should I save two for next week?  You get it?

He decided, I'll use all four this week.  This became one of the foundation ideas of his life, and the next week there have usually shown up four more jokes.  Or with blogging.  Don't worry about "reserving" ideas for the next column.  Let it all hang out this time, and then do that next time too.

Of course, you can't trade Paxton, Hultzen and Taijuan for Mark Buehrle.  You have to be aware of BOTH principles:

  • Look before you leap
  • He who hesitates is lost

Baseball fans are ALWAYS aware of the need to keep your prospects.  Sometimes they overlook the fact that you have to hit this season with all the gusto you got.

.............

The 1977-2012 Mariners have been the poster boys for "keeping their powder dry" for two seasons on.  How's that worked out for them?

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Q.  But what do you do with Mike Zunino?

A.  Keep him in the minors for two years, and phase him in year three, I guess.  As Sandy has pointed out, there's no tragedy in keeping a HITTER in the minors an extra year.  You even get a better (older) six years that way.

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Q.  Have the M's made an internal decision that they have GOT to get Jaso and Montero out of there?

A.  That's what it looks like, but (1) was Felix ineffective teaming with Jaso? and (2) if that were your evaluation, then what would be wrong with Olivo for one more year?

A lot of things appear -- on the surface -- inconsistent here.  I'm sure there's an explanation.

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Q.  Would Dr. D sign Russell Martin?

A.  No, he'd go with John Jaso, Jesus Montero and a Josh Bard type in AAA .... pending a great Mike Zunino spring, in which case the ballclub goes to Zunino now.

But Dr. D doesn't have anything on the line here.  Take heart, amigos:  if the Mariners have decided that they've had enough of losing, there are certain benefits associated to that.

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Klat Categories: 

Comments

Man, what do Jaso and Montero have to do? Catch perfect games and no hitters?

This really sounds like pressing in poker. Pressure forcing you off game.

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... be better than what they were in 2012, or in Jaso's case prove that he can perform at that level over the course of a full season. Montero has many holes in his game and cannot be depended on to perform at a high level. Sure, he might be CAPABLE of producing, but being capable and having a track record of doing so are two very different creatures.

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Anonymous's picture

Anonymous

I meant what do they need to do from a *catching* standpoint.

As far as hitting, sure Montero needs to get better to fulfill his potential, but his second half was pretty nice, and he's a rookie after all. And aren't catchers supposed to take a little longer to develop given their need to focus on defense?

I dunno... just seems like catcher is not a position of need unless there is a directive from above to win now or get a new job. I hope there's a burly trade coming...

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That they's not being allowed to prove?

Jaso hit in the minors, he's hit in the bigs, and our #1 starter loves throwing to him. He doesn't hit much against lefties because he isn't allowed to.

Montero is not respected as a catcher (just as Jeter was a bad defensive SS) but is not gonna be allowed to catch to get better, apparently. He also only hits as a catcher thus far, so hopefully that doesn't hold true next year if we're not gonna let him be a backstop.

He of the 90 OPS+ the last 4 years, Russ Martin, wants 4 years now. We're apparently entertaining the notion.

The best catcher in college last season, who put up numbers in a major conference using power-deadening bats that rivaled anything Posey or Wieters did in college, then decimated the minor leagues with his wooden bat... that guy, we're talking about blocking off at the position.

As Doc says, Russ Martin is his midpoint, what happens if Zunino merely treads water in the bigs for his ability level. I understand the desire for an offensive stopgap at the position, and for someone who can tutor the young arms, but our catcher OPS+ relative to the rest of the league was 116 last year. ONE SIXTEEN. And we have a Posey/Wieters level talent waiting to join the club at our convenience.

Pitchers are on offense, as Doc likes to say. Maybe Martin or Napoli can hold their hands and get them comfortable - but didn't the Giants entrust their young arms to Posey the second he was ready and they merely won the WS, and another a couple years later?

We're spending a lot of time trying to get the C/DH dynamic down on a team that has plenty of capable hands for at least one of those positions. Still seems odd to me. Dunno of a lot of teams that try to play with 5 catchers strewn around various positions and time-shared platoons.

Not unless some of those catchers are named Delgado and Biggio and Konerko, I guess. If we have that kind of thing about to happen, bring it on.

~G

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One thing that makes me feel a little better about Martin, as someone pointed out, is that he should be easily tradable (as long as his contract is reasonable). Even if he gets four years, and Zunino works out, someone will always want/need a 90ops+ defensive wiz proven MLB (TM) catcher.

That might actually be advantageous, with Martin to mentor the young pitchers and mentor Montero for another year.

Wouldn't be the offensive add that we need, though.

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That is a problem evidenced in fans opinions of which way to go this offseason, as well. I have understood for a long time that a cup of coffee followed by 3 full seasons in the bigs is considered a meaningful evaporation time for a hitter. 2000 AB is impossible to get in 2 seasons. Its far more common for a bat to take that long or longer to put it together than being an all star in year 1 or 2.

I can see the need for a corner outfielder or 2 being brought in. There's plenty of trade chips to go after more conceivably, however i'm leaning more towards holding on to as much as possible with every trade scenario I read. I think Swisher and Hamilton combined couldn't hurt the teams chances as much in the later years of deals as moving 3 of our top 5 prospects+ more to get a couple younger bats. I don't get how a team full of league minimum players needs to trade multiple more of them to pick up contacts from another team. I'm not saying those would be as large as the FAs worth pursuing, but I can't see how those FA can be considered more expensive than giving up multiple top 100 baseball prospects who are within 2 years and paying 10+ million a year.

I'd rather see Hamilton get 150 million from the Ms than Butler get the 50 million or so he's owed + losing walker, Franklin ++. If Franklin has a decent chance if staying at SS why even consider trading him? For a DH? Seriously? And Walker/Paxton and more. Doesn't sound wise to me.

I say bring in Hamilton or Swisher, a back end starter and a catcher. Keep what you've got unless you can get a decent deal for a Gordon or Bruce. Why even considertrading Saunders, Seager, Ackley, Montero our Smoak? Oh, well, if we're talking about Stanton...ok. Otherwise those 5 are exactly the type of players we need going forward. That and a bat like Hamilton in the middle. I think the risks of going Napoli + trading for a corner are bigger than the risks of a decent Hamilton contract.

If people were talking about Hamilton getting 200 million plus I would be if a different opinion, but his services are already being discounted by everyone in and around the game. He could be easily worth over 200 million the next 6 years and the entire league is discounting that because he has a higher chance of not being worth it than most ever to be in his position. If the cost is already lower, why say he's too risky? All FA are too risky then. His cost is already adjusted for those obvious risks. At $150 million over 6 years he could wind up being a bargain because of concerns driving his price down.

I'm not usually advocating signing a top FA to this team because the roster hadn't warranted it. This year I think Hamilton is the best probable move. He's exactly what the team needs, aside from the issues that are making him relatively affordable.

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Here's what Bavasi said last year regarding trading Choo and AsCab:

"We were trying to get better fast. Believe me, in Seattle there was no taste for a five-year plan, and no matter how things turned out, I respect that attitude. The 2006 club was sort of starting to get it together and we believed it was important for the players to see we were serious about...maybe not winning...but at least getting better now."

I assume Jack is getting the same kind of pressure, seeing as how the same guys are above him.

I figure that part of it is Jack's "tentpole" development guys are Ackley, Smoak and Montero, of whom only Montero looked to be developing much in 2012.

I'm guessing there's pressure to add a veteran hitter somewhere ... and catcher is one place they can do it within reason.

At the end of the day, from an office politics standpoint, is Zunino a better bet than Ackley, Smoak or Montero?  [I love them all, of course ... but my Real Job doesn't depend on it.]

That being said, I think a Napoli signing isn't such a bad idea ... but Russell must be explained by some internal pressure.

 

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DaddyOIt is just like the Mariners to amplify just how much agony they endure at any expenditure increase, and how grateful what they wish was a sycophantic fan base should be.1 hour 10 min ago
MtGrizzlyFrom mlbtr: "The Mariners, Mather explained, overshot their allotted player personnel budget by nearly $16MM in 2014. However, ownership had no complaints after seeing the team’s strong performance. Rather than asking how the $16MM would be recouped, they instead asked Mather how the team was going to get six more wins in 2015."16 hours 50 min ago
mojicianBe sure to tune into the shoutbox if you ever want to hear tomorrow's news today. :)22 hours 32 min ago
mojicianI'd like the record to reflect that I called a Giants World Series win on the night of the NL Wild Card game and right before the World Series started. My foresight is not quite 20-20, so I predicted a series win in five games. I want bragging rights and a bracket of some kind.22 hours 34 min ago
MtGrizzlyTo be fair, it's not as if Smoak had any success with his 'old' batting mechanics.1 day 8 hours ago
moethedogModern coaches would probably try to fix M. Ott or S. Oh!1 day 21 hours ago
moethedogChanging a hitter's stroke is more tricky than we wish to admit. There is a lot of investment by a player that has to be discarded, some can't do it. Many struggle because the stroke they have is their natural one, and the right one given their particular set of physical skills, make-up, vision, etc. Just telling a player to "go the other way" and assuming that fixes him is problematic, as is much "teaching" in that regard. PGA Tour-level players regularly "lose it" as they try to make mechanical fixes, some never get it back. What we think is purely mechanical is often bio-mechanical, meaning that a persons body optimally functions is a certain way. "Fixing" that may not be a fix. You older guys will remember Keith "Silk" Wilkes, the former UCLA and NBA player. He had a completely weird jump shot stroke that you would teach to nobody...but it worked.1 day 21 hours ago
moethedog"Fixing" it would have been disastrous. I think both Smoak and Ackley have been "fixed" to death. leaving them alone would have been a much better option. Some guys can be changed for the better. Some can't. Leave those guys alone. Hitting coaches (like swing coaches) are paid to coach, so they do. But I think in the majority of cases they would be better (at the MLB level) if they just said, "Swing a lighter bat" or "stand closer to the plate" or "take a day off" a lot more than they do. Not every problem can be "mechanically" fixed.1 day 21 hours ago
DaddyOI hope Smoak figures how to carve out a productive MLB career for himself. Meanwhile, he remains just one of a number of M's can't-miss hitting prospects who so far have sputtered and missed. A team can only pitch so well. Meanwhile they have to score some runs. Of course that sentiment is preaching to the choir.1 day 22 hours ago
SABR MattMcClendon's impulse to get Smoak to hit the opposite way and get on top of the ball was, (assuming this analysis is correct) the right thing to instruct. Smoak wanted to be a power hitter though. A power hitter's brain with a contact hitter's actual power because his swing was greedy and mechanically flawed.1 day 23 hours ago
SABR MattJust had an interesting discussion with a hitting instructor who used to intern with the Yankees the year I was there about Smoak. He thinks the Mariners fouled up Smoak's swing mechanics. He sees in Smoak's vids, a guy who starts the bat head too low in the zone and whose swing is too wristy, meaning when he wants to hit for power (gets a cookie pitch), he is going to have to swing up at the ball and the barrell will be at both an upper-cutting and a hinged (pullside) angle. If he squares it up with that funky contact plane, the ball will be a very high fly ball (subject to warning track outs)...and if he gets funny contact, he will ground out to the pull side. Hey...remind me again...what were Smoak's main out types? When he looked at scouting vids of early Smoak...he didn't start the bat head too low and his swing was way less wristy.1 day 23 hours ago
Bat571I suspect the Ms let Blake walk, though. If he's smart, he'll run to the D'backs and sign for whatever to get a chance to work with Dave Duncan. He's the classic Duncan project - big RH that doesn't overpower people and needs to learn how to pitch.2 days 16 hours ago
Bat571Griz - I think Blake Beavan is still in the org. He was outrighted to Tacoma in August, and can become a free agent if not put back on the 40-man by a date that's pretty soon or signed to a new minor league deal, but the Ms still have a shred of the return left.2 days 16 hours ago
DaddyOThis has nothing to do with current conversations, but I sure like Joe Panik. Not just his stats, but the way he plays the game. This guy is going to be a fixture for a LONG time.2 days 19 hours ago
misterjonezLove to see the decision made on Smoak. The M's seriously need to re-evaluate their offensive development program, but when it's time to cut bait it's time to cut bait. LoMo looks like a better bet, and neither one projects as a world beater. Here's hoping Smoak can turn into Adam Lind in Toronto; I wish him well.2 days 19 hours ago
moethedogSo here's the Lind attraction: Career vR he is .293-.349-.510! (Career vL he's .212-.257-.331) In a platoon situation at 1B or DH, he would be a terrific (and relatively cheap ($) add. Is Montero the vL bat to go with him? What is the cost of trading for Lind? But if you want to bring 115 starts of vR mashing, Lind is a guy to consider.2 days 20 hours ago
MtGrizzlyAll of the guys that came to Seattle in the Cliff Lee trade are now gone from the org.2 days 20 hours ago
SABR Mattand at least one of those catchers that did make the final three isn't even major league average defensively...I'll let you guys figure out which one. :)2 days 21 hours ago
mojicianSpeaking of rigged, what about Zunino's gold glove nomination? He caught the filthiest pitching staff in the American league, he cheated and stole caught strikes on a grand scale with his pitch framing, and then there are the tangibles: His AL Rankings: Second in catchers ERA, Fifth in baserunners nabbed, Third in fielding percentage, sixth in passed balls despite catching the magic changeup, the shuuto, and the Pax Curvanus, Second in games played. It is hard to come up with any measure of a catcher that Zunino isn't near the top of the leaderboard.2 days 22 hours ago
mojicianWhat about DJ making the AFL all star game with his .641 OPS and Kivlehan snubbed with his .913 OPS? This seems rigged.2 days 22 hours ago