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

1

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.

2
Lonnie of MC's picture

... 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.

3

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

4

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.

5

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.
 

6
Anonymous's picture

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...

7

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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Chat: 8/30/15 9:20am
Interests: International Baseball (214407)
Experience, by moethedog

Mather has mentioned that he wants someone with GM experience. That's all fine and good, but for me I'd prefer if they had experience in a winning organization. Someone who came up through the ranks, or spent significant time in a winning culture. Not someone who worked for the Rockies...Show more.

Experience, by moethedog

Mather has mentioned that he wants someone with GM experience. That's all fine and good, but for me I'd prefer if they had experience in a winning organization. Someone who came up through the ranks, or spent significant time in a winning culture. Not someone who worked for the Rockies / Padres / Diamondbacks for years. How would they know what it takes to win?

...Show less
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-09-01 13:46

Thanks Griz. I highly approve of Romero and O'Malley getting shots. I love the versatility of O'Malley: Plays everywhere and brings a vL bat that is .330-.387-.450 this year and .340-.398-.489 last year. He can play on my team any day. A Bloomquist (versatility) with a decent bat.

2015-09-01 12:55

I still get excited for Elias starts.. am I alone? Really love his repetoire of pitches. When he is on he is on. Hopefully a better game in store from that last one. Think it was good for him overall coming back from Tacoma getting his feet wet. Hope he has a good game/ and can contribute in future

Reply - mickiholley - 9/1/15 1:19pm
Elias is fun to watch...when he is on his game. I think he will be steady.
2015-09-01 12:29

@shannondrayer: First wave of callups are here. Romero, O'Malley, Jose Ramirez and Tony Zych all in #Houston.

2015-09-01 10:46

Blash and yesterday's huge opposite field dinger: http://www.milb.com/...

Kivlehan is quick and simple to the ball: http://www.milb.com/...

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/1/15 12:39pm
Love that opposite field power
2015-09-01 10:35

That's where I am, Matt. He is significantly improved this year in terms of BA. He's hit a heck of a lot of homers in not very many AB's. He K's like Gorman Thomas in the majors, but Thomas only K'ed on 20% of his AAA AB's....not 33%! Thomas was .225-.324-.448 over his MLB years. OPS+ of 114. He hit .241 at AA but .291 in AAA (#Sacramento). Hit below .200 his 1st two significant years in the bigs. Then Thomas figured it out a bit. He was 27 before he was very successful. And that was after another full year stint in the PCL (after two years in the bigs). Blash doesn't have that kind of MiLB pedigree....but this year indicates some sort of plateau leap. Well, maybe. He's a bit of a long shot, But if he can hit .240 he's will be a finie player. Thomas has 4 seasons above .240 (.246, .244, .259, .245) in those seasons his OPS+ was 142, 138, 146 & 137. Thomas didn't really walk more in the minors that Blash has. At .240 Blash is a player, regardless of the K's. But .240 will be tough for him to hit, based on his large AAA K rate which is still above 30% even in this "plateau" year. He may not make contact often enough. Kingman was a productive player when he was north of .235, even early in his career. He was above .260 4 times and in those seasons he was a tremendous hitter. But he Ked in only about 25% of his AAA AB's. The TTO guy can be productive. Trumbo never has walked enough to be a true TTO (55 pts in AA/AAA & 50 pts in MLB) but he is a "similar" guy. When he's in the .240 range he's decently productive. However he only K'ed in about 24% of his AAA AB's. Blash is over the line, K-wise, but way over the line, in a good way, BB-wise. As such, he's a guy that will get a chance.

2015-09-01 09:05

K rate dooms almost everyone when north of 25% in the minors. I said ALMOST everyone. Decent walk rate says something a bit different...he merits a real look.

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/1/15 12:56pm
K rates food teams more than given credit for
2015-09-01 07:05

That's PA's....not (A's

2015-09-01 07:02

BTW (again): Down on the farm, Zunino is 7-12 in 3 games w/3 HR's. He likes AAA pitching! Blash has hit 32 HR's in 403 AA/AAA AB's this year. He's also walked 61 times (100 pts worth!!). But he's struck out 122 times in those 403 AB's. 22 of those HR's have come in his 194 AAA AB's. Wow!! He's a TTO guy. In 225 AAA (A's this year, he's HR-BB-K'ed 112 times....50%) He'll get a #Seattle look-see this year. The whiff rate will be scary (33% over his AAA career = what in the bigs?) but he can certainly ride the ball. Were he a .240-.320 guy with 30+ HR's he would be quite interesting. But, oh my, the K's!

2015-09-01 06:46

Endy Chavez's career vL OPS is .638. He hasn't been a MLB starter in decades, it seems. If you had a ++ bat at SS, like Tulo or classic Jeter (especially if they were a RHB), you could run Miller out there vL. But without some Miller improvement in that category it is unlikely that you use him without a platoon partner. We were using him with a partner at SS, remember. BTW: Marte is 1-17 over the last 4 games. Has anybody noticed if he is being pitched to differently? Has the league adjusted? No BB's in 3 of those games.

2015-09-01 06:25

More depth for LA to make a push. Rugg can play anywhere in outfield. I know Puig has been battling hammy issues.

2015-09-01 05:22

Mariners sell off Ruggiano for cash...

2015-08-31 20:08

agreed...no reason to change managers at this point...we're not contending...why have an interim situation now? Only reason would be if you were going to hire your long-term replacement...no one good is presently available for that job. Might as well just play out the string.

2015-08-31 20:05

I agree with Grizz, Lloyd will be around till the end of the season...Jewett would be no help at all.

2015-08-31 19:47

Grizz...SS hits considerably worse than CF historically.

2015-08-31 17:41

I'm curious why that split would be acceptable at SS but not CF. They are both defense-first positions.

2015-08-31 17:20

In 311 MLB vL PA's, Miller is a .216-.261-.293 with 2 HR's. He better be a GG-type CF glove if he's getting all the vL CF starts. You can support that type of split at SS (because he hits RHP) but it is much harder to do it in CF. He'll likely get some platoon-ish help out there. Could be Taylor with Marte moving to CF, could be Kivlehan. I'm not betting on Landry or us using Jones much. Miller's throwing error the other night may have impacted #Kingston, who I would bet had a conversation with Lloyd.

2015-08-31 16:22

Definately no upside at this point..this is true perhaps..just surprised it didn't happen already I guess. When you got a team picked by some to go all the way, and you are 10 under most all the year, its hard to stick around. Un-inspiring #Baseball, errors o plenty, keeping around a clearly ineffective Rodney, and getting 0 at the plate. Surely not all his fault, but some things are starting to unravel up top. Wonder how involved he has been in all these moves recently.

2015-08-31 15:33

Lloyd is going to last until the end of the year. What is the alternative at this point in the season? Jewett? No upgrade there.

2015-08-31 15:26

Things really really heating up since the Rodney move.. I am beginning to think Lloyd is not getting to the end of the year.

2015-08-31 15:20

#Jackson to the Cubs for PTBNL, their last #International slot, and $211k

2015-08-31 15:16

That will be interesting. Maybe he has an #Austin #Jackson trade worked out.

2015-08-31 15:16

@GregJohnsMLB: #Austin #Jackson traded to Cubs for player to be named and possible #International slot.

2015-08-31 15:14

#Kingston isn't wasting time putting his stamp on things. @RyanDivish: #Kingston said that Miller will play CF for much of the rest of the season. Believes it's his best fit for the organization

2015-08-31 13:25

of the guys with GM experience who are currently unemployed, I like Cherington the best given what he was able to do in building up the Red Sox' farm system. But...even that is still not the best option

Reply - mojician - 8/31/15 1:39pm
What do you think about fried chicken gate and other Red Sox scandals during the Cherington regime? If they fired Z for "lack of leadership" whatever that means. Cherington might have the same rep.
Reply - Browns8625 - 8/31/15 3:23pm
I think they are more interested in who is going to make current roster work out plus additions. Farm certainly needs help, but window for Felix cano etc is shutting.
2015-08-31 13:23

Yeah, there is a glimmer of hope for a Girsch, a Forst, a Coppolella or a McLeod...but only a glimmer. I'm not sure that those organizations will grant permission to interview before the end of the season and Mather seems to want the hire to be made ASAP. We can hope.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/31/15 3:24pm
Yes, I think Mather said he wanted whomever in office by oct
2015-08-31 13:01

Really enjoying the increase of seahawks coverage

Reply - crackerjack - 8/31/15 1:15pm
I love jemanji's style of commentary.
2015-08-31 12:34

Heck, I'd take an intern from the Cards over Ken Williams... Kidding. Mostly.

Reply - crackerjack - 8/31/15 1:15pm
Who said that? haha
2015-08-31 10:48

agreed...if I thought we'd have a shot at him...I'd be all for it...he would be able to tell the Mariners what they're doing wrong in player development

2015-08-31 10:45

I'll say this for the Cards (and anybody significant in that system), they are likely the best run sports franchise in America. I know notheng in particular about Girsch, but I'm not opposed to some of that Cardinal stuff rubbing off here.

Reply - jemanji - 8/31/15 3:10pm
As you say that, now we know why other NFL teams help themselves to the Seahawks' staff with both hands :- )
2015-08-31 09:46

Hm...perhaps not quite as cut and dried as the requotes I've seen...gives me a glimmer of hope...but just a glimmer...I'm 99% sure it's going to be someone like Ben Cherrington, Ken Williams, DiPoto...

alas.

2015-08-31 09:22

Mather's exact quote:

“I would lean toward an experienced general manager or an assistant general manager that’s had a heavy hand in the operation,” he said. “I don’t want to hire someone that’s going to learn on the job for the next two or three years. That is a candidate that I’m not interested.”

2015-08-31 09:22

Wow, never heard of Girsch before. I'm sold! One thing I'd like to see the Mariners talk about - they are located in the best tech market outside of Silicon Valley. It'd be great to hire someone who could pitch the city's software engineers on creating a world class statical analysis department.

2015-08-31 09:09

Zero chance for Girsch...they point-blank said they want a guy with GM experience.

2015-08-31 08:57

This is why I am hoping for Girsch. http://www.fangraphs...

2015-08-31 08:45

Wanting a GM in place before the end of the regular season certainly takes some guys off the table. The hot assistant GM's will need club permission to interview in-season. If the only guys Mather can get are those currently unemployed, I'm not enthused.

2015-08-31 07:11

Yeah can't imagine McCleod leaves Chi-town before the Cubs make the playoffs...

2015-08-31 05:07

I'd love to get McLeod...the question, though, is whether he's available immediately. The Mariners have said they want to hire someone before the post-season.

2015-08-31 03:37

There's a lot of confusing things about the layout and general design of this site.

2015-08-30 19:57

Why does the snippet above say "Experience, by GLS"? I didn't write that.

2015-08-30 19:04

From what I've read, Jason McLeod seems like the best choice. But what do I know?

2015-08-30 17:22

Doesn't DiPoto have a reputation for being good at identifying and developing pitchers but poor at identifying and developing hitters?

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/31/15 4:27pm
That's why we got The Edgar for.. :)
2015-08-30 16:41

I'm in favor of Jerry DiPoto as the new GM. He switches his teams up until it works. He does not let rookies flounder for months while they figure it out. Also, he has been micromanaged worse than they do in #Seattle.

2015-08-30 15:15

Hamstring, Moe.

2015-08-30 15:14

23 games lost on the opposition's last at bat. Craziness.

2015-08-30 13:46

What is the Marte injury report?

2015-08-30 11:13

@shannondrayer: #Montgomery down, Guaipe up. #Montgomery close to innings limit and M's need another RHR today. Wilhelmsen & Kensing most likely not available

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/31/15 4:26pm
Starting to give the edge to pitching in the overall worst luck this season. Hitting has been awful, but between injuries and awful pen..
2015-08-30 10:46

I'm a little confused. Why would we start a conversation, pushing the previous conversation off the main page, if we had nothing ot substance to post other than saying we're starting a (new) conversation?

This is not really aimed at you, okdan. I've noticed the admins do this as well. I'm just curious about the perceived purpose in doing it.

Reply - anonymous - 8/30/15 12:06pm
Hey DaddyO - I'm not sure what happened here. I thought I was just posting a couple of regular shouts. The normal interface was gone, and I just typed into the box that popped up... I was hoping the weirdness that I saw was just for me, but it appears that's not the case! Didn't mean to push everything out. No idea what happened...
Reply - DaddyO - 8/30/15 5:43pm
Ah, got it. Thanks for the explanation. Like I said, my comments were directed not so much to you as to the phenomenon. At least now we know it happens sometimes when the poster does not intend it.
Reply - mickiholley - 9/1/15 2:45pm
the interface seems to be a little touchy lately...don't know if it is just my computer or what but I keep getting script errors and then screen full of code and I have to back out of the wall and then come back in.
2015-08-30 09:20

Starting a conversation...

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