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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Gordon GrossWell , As Cab is a good hitter. Not our hitter, but a decent one.49 min 15 sec ago
Gordon GrossAlso TR, Torres is a nice bonus to squeeze in this ifa season. When the Yankees signed basically everyone and will pay a 15 million dollar fine or whatever for doing so, we got some bodies. Wish we'd gotten more pitching tho. I don't trust 16 year old bats. All our latin success is arms.50 min 5 sec ago
Gordon Grosshttp://m.milb.com/news/article/2014082992025546/montero_restrained_in_altercation_in_boise53 min 48 sec ago
Gordon GrossJesus Montero just had his Ryan leaf moment. An Ms cross checker yelled at him to hustle off the field, then ordered an ice cream sandwich and sent it to him in the dugout. Montero tried to go into the stands after him with a bat. Not good... and someone is getting fired.54 min 27 sec ago
GLSI like Chris Young, but he's a bit smoke and mirrors.7 hours 45 min ago
GLSAnd Chris Young probably isn't getting a multi-year deal from anyone. Not at 35 and not with his level of stuff.7 hours 49 min ago
Tacoma RainMariners sign Chris Torres - Dominican 16 year old SS. In an odd story, Torres who thought he was getting a $2+ million from Yankees ends up having to sign for roughly $400K with Mariners. Torres in 6 foot tall, lanky, with above average arm and speed, so he will have no problem staying at SS. Since he is 6 foot tall, he should develop average to above average power as well. Sounds like the kid now has a big chip on his shoulder too after this whole ordeal... Yeah Jack!!!9 hours 51 min ago
moethedogI figured young at $5-$6M. But he may want more than a year and he's no lock to eat up innings. That's why I like Dickey. The way he lobs the ball up there he's not going to have arm problems. If you could get $3M from the Jays, and if you weren't giving up more too much prospect..... I would love to have him. Way more than Young. Even if Walker develops, what are the chances you go through a year with no loss of your other 4 starters? Kuma and Paxton have 29 starts between them: Felix 27.14 hours 36 min ago
SABR MattDickey is too feast or famine for my taste. I like Chris Young just fine. He won't cost more than 6-7 mil/year I think.14 hours 55 min ago
rick82Yeah, not sure about RJ. When Dickey takes a lickin, he tastes like chickin.17 hours 47 min ago
mojicianHere's how the world's best clock works: "Within the clock, lasers push together a ball of 10 million cesium atoms and cool them to near absolute zero (which helps reduce noise). The ball is tossed up in a 3-foot chamber, passing through a microwave beam. The microwave beam kicks some of the cesium atoms up into a higher energy state, which causes them to emit light." This is the inverse principle of how Felix's changeup (the world's best pitch) works. the ball jump drops its energy state mid flight causing it to absorb light and temporarily dissapear. You heard it on SSI.18 hours 8 min ago
Tacoma RainWhat about Walker?... I'd rather go with Young, having Taijuan as a fall back, and then a couple guys like Wade Leblanc or Jack's reclamation projects waiting in Tacoma than spending our limited budget on a pitcher who may not be needed.18 hours 39 min ago
mojicianOr maybe Dickey is like my dad's temperamental Omega watch. It looks great but stops telling time accurately when it doesn't receive a $600 servicing every few years, or it gets too much or too little oil in its many, many moving parts.18 hours 39 min ago
mojicianI dunno Moe, Dickey seems like a good guy to take a flier on, but at $12 million bucks, he'd be the key off season add. In 2015, he could be Cy Young, or he could be a meatball, and that sort of stuff depends on the air pressure and humidity that day, and how he files his fingernails (saw the R.A. Dickey movie on Netflix. He has a set of emery boards). As fine as a Timex is, if you're going to pay top dollar, the watch should have a sapphire face, a sweeping second hand, and be waterproof to a 1000 feet or so.19 hours 3 min ago
moethedogoops19 hours 46 min ago
moethedogRamirez may have been given his last start. Walker is still a '14 work in progress who will probably get his chance to prove something in 2-3 more Seattle starts. Chris Young gets more expensive and is a bit of a gamble beyond this year. Wilhelmsen is a possibility. I mention all that in regards to this: Toronto is evidently dangling RA Dickey. He's good for 200+ innings, 33 starts and a 100 ERA+. But at $12M he's expensive for a #5. I hated it when Seattle let him go years ago because I love the way knuckleballers take the pressure off your bullpen and the rest of your rotation. They are the Timex watches of MLB staffs.19 hours 47 min ago
moethedogWe know we've got a rotation with #'s 1-4 for next year that looks to be Felix, Kuma, Paxton & Elias. That's strong stuff. It is safe to say that Hultzen starts no higher than AA and is on a short inning count next year. Seattle in September for a start or two may be all we can hope for. Ramirez may have been given his last start. Walker is still a '14 work in progress who will probably get his chance to prove something in 2-3 more Seattle starts. Chris Young gets more expensive and is a bit of a gamble beyond this year. Wilhelmsen is a possibility. I mention all that in regards to this: Toronto is evidently dangling RA Dickey. He's good for 200+ innings, 33 starts and a 100 ERA+. But at $12M he's expensive for a #5. I hated it when Seattle let him go years ago because I love the way knuckleballers take the pressure off your bullpen and the rest of your rotation. They are the Timex watches of MLB staffs.19 hours 51 min ago
moethedogIf the trade was right and Toronto paid down his salary a bit, would you be interested in adding a Dickey for '15? Is he a better get than signing Young at, say $5M, or so? If the trade was right and you got $3M in Toronto loonies, I would be in. He's a heck of a security blanket. Way more so than Young. Of course there's the FA market or a guy like Colon..but the sure bet 200 innings are sure nice to think about.19 hours 52 min ago
MtGrizzlyYeah - two things I doubt we see again this year: Erasmo in the rotation and Morrison in RF.1 day 13 hours ago
SABR MattI'm guessing Ramirez never starts for the Mariners again unless out of absolute necessity...I'm guessing McClendon is EXTREMELY ticked. If for no other reason than that Ramirez made ZERO attempt to adjust to the Rangers' aggressive approach on first pitches. Goldschmidt pointed out in the 4th inning that he'd giving up something like 6 or 7 hits on first pitches and refused to change his approach.1 day 14 hours ago