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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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 seems to me also that the automated strike zone would be helpful in reducing the time of games. Greg Maddux made famous the art of inducing batters to swing at balls off the plate because umpires would give him strike calls if he demonstrated the ability to continue to hit his spot 3 to 4 inches outside. A cat and mouse game has developed over the years between hitters and pitchers. Taken to it's ultimate conclusion, it is Red Sox and Oakland A's baseball. Work walks, and endlessly spoil pitches just off the plate. Instead of at-bats being resolved, they are prolonged to ridiculous lengths.22 min 9 sec ago
Bat571Just limiting time-outs and step-outs (of the batter's box) would help.51 min 37 sec ago
Bat571The Wolcott game I'm referring to is the one where he threw 80 pitches and the game lasted just over 2 hours (against Oakland, I believe). But it was like the Walker game - both pitchers got the ball and pitched and everyone kept in the game - I'd love to hear Jay Buhner talk about maintaining the pace of games, since he won that one with a homer in the ninth as I recall.53 min 1 sec ago
DaddyOIf you REALLY wanted to speed up the game, you'd reduce the number of balls that would trigger a "base on balls" to three. It'll never happen, but it would eliminate a lot of lengthy pitcher nibbling. Another thing you could do would be to limit the number of foul balls. After two strikes count a third foul ball as a strikeout. Again, it'll never happen, and I'm not sure it should, but it's the kind of thing that would have a dramatic impact.1 hour 5 min ago
Bat571Walker v. Buehrle or the Bob Wolcott game or any of Maddux's 2 hr. games ought to be the model - look at what everyone: pitchers, hitters, fielders, and umps did in those games and try to see if you can get that to work. Don't use a visible clock unless the pitcher or hitter continually delay - then do it electronically on a big board at the discretion of the crew chief to get things back on track. Having it all the time would distract from the flow of the battle - but using it on Mike Hargrove or in certain Yankee-Red Sox games would have been a blessing!1 hour 13 min ago
csiemsI think most of the "too long" cries come from east coast media who have to watch Yankees-Red Sox games. I also think it's funny when I meet people who think the game is too long who also want more home runs. Pitching duels tend to move quickly; it's slugfests like yesterday's that tend to go long.1 hour 33 min ago
DaddyOI agree with every reasonable attempt to speed up the game, but a big clock and a hard time limit between pitches is IMO not the way to go. Last night's game is a perfect example. When the drama builds, and everything's riding on a particular pitch, the idea that the catcher would have to hustle through his signs, and the pitcher hustle to deliver the pitch would simply spoil the drama inherent in the game. Baseball take place in time, but it is not a timed sport. Somehow that needs to be kept.1 hour 50 min ago
SABR Mattthere should be a time out limit of one per plate appearance for the batter.2 hours 37 sec ago
MtGrizzlyI'll believe those changes when I see them. The umpires allow time out to be called at will, so unless that changes I can't see anything really different.2 hours 32 min ago
SABR MattI like just about all of those changes.3 hours 15 min ago
Gordon Grosshttp://m.espn.go.com/mlb/story?storyId=116226323 hours 47 min ago
Gordon GrossProposals to speed up the game will be tried in the AFL. Might need to see some of those games. The giant 20 second clock should be interesting.3 hours 48 min ago
rick82I enjoyed the interview with the 83 year old fan who has had Royal season tickets since 1969: "Did you ever think you'd see this (playoff game in KC) again?" "It was bound to happen." - Good things come to those who wait, and wait, and wait. Finest looking 83 year old I've ever seen, too. At least since Buck O'Neill. :-)4 hours 20 min ago
DaddyOHere's hoping the Pirates do in the Giants tonight.5 hours 6 min ago
DaddyOThat game last night was truly one of the great postseason games you'll ever see.5 hours 6 min ago
DaddyOI have to agree that the language in Dreyer's column is less hopeful than what appeared in TNT. One get's the sense that Jack has been signaled that payroll will increase, but for all we know that could be a $5 million increase. Yep, they've finally got religion that Seager is #5 hitter, and that they need a #4 and a #6. We've known that for years. Previously their solutions have been castoffs and hope-for's that have been pure dice rolls, most of whom didn't pan out. It will be interesting to see how serious the M's are about obtaining the two quality hitters they seek. As always with the M's, words don't mean much. Only what they do means anything.5 hours 8 min ago
SABR MattNyah...LOL5 hours 27 min ago
rick82Too bad for the Royals they didn't take Cameron's advice and not chase after this season. Now they will get crushed by the Angels and all they will have to show for it was last night's game. Tongue firmly in cheek.5 hours 51 min ago
rick82My sentiments exactly, Matt, in all three posts.5 hours 56 min ago
SABR MattI'll bet their biggest bat addition is a worse hitter than Michael Saunders.6 hours 20 min ago