January 2009

Posted by jerodlee on 01/30/09

The Huskies finally fell back to earth with a painful loss to the Arizona Wildcats, 106-97, in Tucson on Thursday night. After an impressive run of 6 wins in 7 Pac-10 contests—with the sole loss a triple overtime thriller against Cal—the Huskies conceded a road loss to one of the historically best teams in the country. Arizona down but still dangerous Though struggling through an off year—even with the win, UA is now tied for second to last in the conference—the Wildcats proved they are never an assumed win, especially at the raucous McKale Center. With the loss, the Huskies fell back to... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/30/09
16 Comments

From Prospect Insider: I received a tip today from a friend of the site about a potential payroll-moving trade by Jack Zduriencik, and in following up on it, there might be something to it - or at least there may have been at some point. What I dug up/have been told is that the M's are working on a trade that would rid themselves of either Jarrod Washburn, Miguel Batista, or even Carlos Silva to an AL Central team. But Brandon Morrow and either Wladimir Balentien or Jeff Clement - or both - might have to be part of the trade, at least as far as I can gather. Returning would be a young corner... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/29/09
7 Comments

Q.  Put me in the camp with Sandy about being ambivalent about the trade. Don’t like losing Heilman but like having pressure on the middle infielders to perform, which Z has explicitly stated was his intent. Also a move to make the pitching more left-handed. A.  Is everybody clear on the point that Jack Zduriencik and Don Wakamatsu are making the trades with chemistry as a dominant concern? Both men believe that a ballplayer could have an UP year or a DOWN year based on ---- > the psychological environment around him.  That's what we're talking about when we're talking about "chemistry."... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/29/09
5 Comments

Sweeney was, from about 1998 to 2005, the Royals' version of Edgar Martinez.   He'd hit .320 with lots of walks, a .400-ish OBP, forty doubles and 25 homers.  He's also an awesome human being by all accounts.  He was the quintessential Barking Spider for many years -- a small-market, underrated roto commodity who gave Mikey Jay as much production as the hyped guys drafted far ahead of him. ................ Sweeney's last good year was when he was 31 -- and he's 35 now.  Could there be anything left for him? The problem has really been his back.  For three years in a row, Sweeney has hit for... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/29/09
2 Comments

DISCLAIMER DEPT.  I liked Olson coming out of AAA and worked hard to get him onto my roto teams.  I'm hardly biased against the lad.  And his life is hardly over, after a couple of bad trips around the league. ....................... Justin, who lives in Baltimore, won the ESPN All-Star league this year.  He was one of the original 1995 STATS AOL brat pack that dominated local cyberspace during its first couple of eons.  :- ) We ax, “What was the problem with Olson translating his K/BB’s to the major leagues? Did they chase him out of the strike zone?” Justin sez, Olson’s got no command of... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/29/09

Q:  Seems to me that the disconnect between you and the rest of the blog-o-sphere is NOT the valuation of Cedeno, but instead the valuation of Heilman. A1.  Agreed.  And the trade's fine if Aaron Heilman is a bit part, thrown in on the "Franklin Gutierrez" trade. This is definitely the way that the Mariners themselves spin it:  that they traded J.J. Putz for Franklin Gutierrez, plus a hodgepodge of interesting parts that suit Capt Jack's philosophy.  If you ask the Mariners, they'll certainly tell you that Heilman was simply not that important to them -- ergo, there's no sense caring one way... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/28/09
1 Comments

Larry Walker hit .170/.264/.170 in his first year, at 22, in 47 AB's.  (Adam Jones has 54 AB's now.)  His MLB arc looked like this: 22 - Pathetic 23 - Average 24 - Above Average 25 - Star   Miguel Tejada at 21 hit .202/.240/.333.   His OPS+ lines went like this: 21 - 50 (pathetic in 100 AB's) 22 - 78 23 - 91 24 - 112 25 - 112 26 - MVP  Jay Buhner had an OBP of .261 in his first cup of coffee, but the next year was league average.  Jim Lefebvre, for several years, was sure he would *never* hit.  It isn't just us 'net rats who can turn on a young player quickly. Bobby Crosby hit .000/.171/.... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/28/09

The 12-year-old girl in pink, Hou Yifan, is a Grandmaster-level chessplayer.  She goes toe-to-toe, against scarier, tougher players, with the heart of Rocky Balboa.  She has courage, and fighting spirit, that many MLB players (much less us 'net rats) could never dream of. So does Sanja Dedijer (below).     A lot of our baseball chats, including mine, go:  "If only we'd signed Teixeira.  Or Matsuzaka.  Or been born in Bangladesh where we could focus on finding a banana peel for breakfast, and not on this compost pile of a team." Pull a chess analogy for a change:  Even this 92-lb. girls... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/27/09
22 Comments

I've heard of Navy Is the New Black, but this is getting a bit bizarro :- ) . Q. So you like the idea of Cedeno and Olson for Aaron Heilman? Is Ronny Cedeno a good idea? A. With the term "fringe ML player" we are describing a hard-working AAA player of limited talent, who does play better than most AAA players, who has no reasonable possibility to be a significant player for ANY of the 30 major league teams. Cedeno is one more fringe ML player, like Endy Chavez and Craig Counsell, who has cyber-Seattle enthused because the only thing he can do is field. Cedeno's career OPS+ is 62, which... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/27/09

Jemanji's 2009 Power Rankings for the Seattle closer role :- ) 1.  Josh Fields - best choice to close.  Spend da money 2.  Tyler Walker - could give you a Bob Wickman season or two 3.  David Aardsma - no way to tell until ST 4.  Mark Lowe - becoming worrisome; am pessimistic 5.  Roy Corcoran - should be on some ML team, just not this one 6.  Miguel Batista - in lieu of funny-but-cruel remark, we'll just say:  BPV = -40; Age = 38 1a.  Aaron Heilman - should start.  You can't teach "gifted" - and his 3rd pitch is ready now .............. Jason at Prospect Insider gives you his $0.03, based on... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/27/09
4 Comments

Mainframe readouts, kibitzing, and shtick on various quotes from The Fearless Leaders: Capt Jack: I would never want to do something that would mis-represent what we are trying to accomplish. We want this organization to move forward. We owe it to the fans, the people who are putting their heart and soul every single night into this club. It's important our players understand that.... What we need to do here is get this club healthy. That's very, very important. We need to get players to buy into playing at least to their level of ability. There were players here who under-achieved, no... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/27/09

From Geoff Baker's blog, Waka-san says "We talked about several things. One is trying to really focus on teaching from the neck up, trying to play the game intelligently. Try to educate the players on their own abilities and weaknesses. Try to get them to understand how to play the game the right way. It's a cliche, but try to get more in depth in that. "I think lot of players today are expedited to some point to big leagues, not spending as much time in the minor leagues. We want to continue to educate at the major league level. As a staff we want to invest in a player -- try to get to know... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/27/09
2 Comments

"I prefer set roles. We'll have to see." - Don Wakamatsu, asked about the 2009 Mariners' bullpen It is one thing to talk about set roles when your relievers are (1) Daimajin, (2) Jeff Nelson slinging righty frisbees, and (3) Arthur Rhodes, throwing 97 mph lefthanded. Each reliever is Bespoke custom-tailored to the shoulders of the given situation you're in. It's another thing to talk about set roles when you have 18 different average-solid, unpredictable righthand pitchers. Why would you "prefer set roles" when the relievers are obviously not measured-and-fit to ANY game situation, much... Read More
Posted by jerodlee on 01/25/09

Following a trend they’ve established in recent weeks, the Huskies turned a game that was close in the first half into a comfortable victory on Thursday night; this time, the victims were the USC Trojans, by the score of 78-73. Victory earned at the line This was a game that was won at the free throw line, pure and simple. The starting backcourt of Justin Dentmon and Isaiah Thomas alone almost doubled the entire Trojan output from the stripe, 25-13; overall, the Huskies shot an astounding 23 more foul shots than the Trojans and put them in at an 80 percent clip, making 32 out of 40 attempts... Read More
Posted by jerodlee on 01/25/09

The University of Washington Huskies men's basketball team bounced back on Thursday from a heartbreaking triple-overtime loss at the hands of the Cal Bears with a sound defeat of their bitter Pac-10 rival Oregon Ducks, 84-67. Although the Ducks are having a down year after losing their top two scorers and top rebounder from last season, they always get up for the Huskies; aside from their respective Pac-10 in-state rivals (Washington State and Oregon State), the Dawgs and the Ducks are the most intense rivalry for both teams. The fact that the Huskies won on the road in Eugene makes the... Read More
Posted by jerodlee on 01/25/09

When watching the conference championship games this weekend, keep an eye out for a phenomenon that I like to call the "secret stomach punch" (thanks to ESPN Sports Guy Bill Simmons for the inspiration for the name). This phenomenon occurs when a broadcast announcer makes a seemingly innocuous reference to a performance by one of the players in the game they're announcing, but in fact it's a random punch to the gut to some unsuspecting fans watching the contest. Vikings first to feel the blow Case in point; this last weekend, during the Eagles-Giants game, it was revealed that Eagles kicker... Read More
Posted by jerodlee on 01/25/09

The Huskies completed a Pac-10 conference road sweep of the Oregon schools with an 85-59 route of Oregon State in Corvallis on Saturday. After trailing by as many as seven points in the first half, the Huskies continued the second half dominance they showed against Oregon on Thursday, outscoring the Beavers by 15 in the first 10 minutes of the half and never leading by less than 19 from then on. Combined with the Cal Bears and UCLA Bruins first conference losses of the season, the Huskies pulled into a three-way tie at the top of the Pac-10 standings, at 4-1 in conference play. Brockman... Read More
Posted by jerodlee on 01/25/09

The University of Washington men's basketball team has been on quite a roll lately. Heading into their Saturday home match-up with the Bears of UC Berkeley, the Huskies had won nine games in a row, including their first two Pac-10 conference games. They were winning with swarming defense and great rebounding, lead by senior John Brockman, second in the conference in rebounding at over 10 per game. The match-up with the Bears, also undefeated in early conference play, lived up to the early season hype surrounding both upstart teams. The game went into triple overtime, and, although the... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/21/09
1 Comments

RHP Overload: Bleeding Blue & Teal points out that the M's have about 14-to-make-5 in the bullpen.  Their take is to expect some wheelin' and dealin'. D-O-V crunch: As mentioned in the Aardsma POTD, it is one thing to bring eight Entitled Vets in, and another thing to bring in eight Serious Talents With Something to Prove. You're giving yourself a real shot at hearing good news, from some angle or other, come March 20th.  The pundits might say, "Who could have predicted Tyler Walker to become Bob Wickman?" or "When did Aardsma learn to land on his toe instead of his heel?", but the... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/21/09
1 Comments

Q. Is Aardsma a special talent? Is the idea that you can't teach 9K a game, so you'll go to work on it? A. If you want guys whose pitches are hard to see, but who haven't put it together yet, there are a lot of them around. If you want a feel for it, go to THT stats, and filter by K/G unqualified. That said, Aardsma does go through stretches in which he blows away 23 guys in 13 innings, stuff like that. Aardsma can be scary. . Q. What are the chances that this would be 2009 in which he jells? A. We remember a quote from Bill James on Randy Johnson, ca. 1991: "He probably will figure... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/16/09
11 Comments

Ken Griffey Jr. can apparently spend the season in Safeco for about $3-4m on a 1-year deal. As John Fay points out, he's getting a $4m buyout for 2009, and his deferred payments of $5m/year begin. So Junior will score $12-13m this year, even if playing for chickenfeed. Griffey still rakes RHP, and in Safeco his effectiveness is amplified as opposed to whatever (high) effectiveness he'd have in another park. The Cincy park favors all hitters, but Safeco favors lefty HR hitters particularly. It's one thing to say that Junior played in a hitter's park. It's a different, and better thing,... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/16/09
3 Comments

Bleeding Blue & Teal predicts a long, healthy career for Felix. We once talked with Bill James about Roger Clemens and he said, "It all depends on the pitcher. I think 250 innings a year for Roger Clemens is fine." The moral imperatives around 120 pitches and 200 innings are too dogmatic. If Felix feels good at 225-250 innings, let him go. ............ BBT's post links to Driveline Mechanics, who talks about the "balance point." Pitching coaches talk about "finding a balance point" and DM takes the other side. What is aiki-doc's take? In golf, what happens is that golfers take the club... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/14/09
14 Comments

Here's Dr. D's analysis at LA Sports Insider. I'm going to take over the country :- ) ............... I guess I'm still drawing a blank here, because even at 2.0 - 2.5 WAR levels ... achieved by very run-of-the-mill players ... Dunn earns $10-12m per year at $4.8m per win. At $5.5m per win, it's $11-13.75m. Dunn's request of $14m x 4 ... after you NPV that, it's $11.9m in Net Present Value. How is it ludicrous, absurd, delusional, etc., for a guy worth $10-13m to start his first offer at $11.9m? ................... Dunn is worth about $14m x 4 even if he's a 2 - 2.5 WAR player. But! How... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/13/09
5 Comments

BBT notes that Johjima has an opt-out after this year. I didn't know that. I also can't imagine why he'd want to stay here and be miserable. It would complicate trade talks, since Johjima would have to waive it for other teams to be interested. I realize that Seattle has a rancid taste in its mouth here, but starting catchers are hard to find. And teams know that 2008 was an unrepresentative train wreck, just as they know that about Nick Swisher's and Erik Bedard's 2008s. . Also at Bleeding Blue and Teal, Scott slides hard into second base on Adam Dunn's request for 4 x $14M. I agree that... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/13/09

We have some material up on His Sheer Borassian Awesomeness. It's at DC Sports Insider, being as the Nationals have the #1 pick. Dr. D's shtick, as if anybody cares, will probably be bouncing around on half-a-dozen Klat sports sites -- 80% on SSI and PB, 20% on a variety of city-specific sites.  They'll be linked in the sidebar for ya. Rock on, Jeff
Posted by jemanji on 01/12/09
3 Comments

USSM recaps the flavor of the Blengino & Co. event. First thing that DMZ talks about, was his impression that this regime is one that encourages active debate -- one that doesn't view dissenting views as stupid, but views alternative views as simply another take on the problem. DMZ raves about the open-mindedness that not only tolerates, but actually rewards, dissension. They want to hear ping-pong exchanges coming from different angles. This is the way most MLB teams do business, and frankly, Bavasi doesn't get enough credit for doing it also. But the fact that Zduriencik and Blengino... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/11/09
20 Comments

Jason at Prospect Insider opines that Adam Dunn could send the M's $95m "salary cap" flying, if he offered to hit those 400-footers at Safeco. He's right, of course. Padna and I have been pointing out, for many years now, that the Mariners float a budget in the press with the goal of "managing expectations." They don't want the fans to get their hopes up for an Adam Dunn, then receive a Nick Swisher, and deflate like a balloon. Why the Mariners should care so much about the February blogging on their payroll has always been beyond me. Like Earl said, "Nobody cares in April whether you won... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/11/09
10 Comments

Heh! Geoff Baker reveals that before the 101-loss 2008 season, Chuck Armstrong directed Bill Bavasi and Mat Olkin to give an objective assessment of the Mariners' chances to make the playoffs. Olkin, obviously aware of the M's Pythagorean overperformance in 2007, nevertheless offered the analysis that the 2007 M's were capable of winning. Geoff characterizes it as Olkin-Bavasi analysis, but you know what that means. If you're thinking that Mat Olkin takes a back seat as an analyst to Bill James, Ron Shandler, Tom Tango, Gary Huckabay or anybody else, you're mistaken. He has been on the... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/10/09
7 Comments

Before the 2006 season, serious reports had the Red Sox offering the Mariners their choice of Jon Lester or Jon Papelbon for Jeremy Reed.  An interesting debate took place as to whether Papelbon and Lester were "Red Sox Nation hype jobs," or whether they were special commodities. Papelbon, going into 2006, was coming off a 34-IP major league debut in which he fanned 34 men in 34 innings and ran a 171 ERA+.   D-O-V recommended buy; the rest of Seattle recommended to steer clear. After the M's passed on the opportunity, Papelbon went on to become the best closer in the American League,... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/10/09
2 Comments

Here again was D-O-V's April 2006 rationale on going ahead with a Jeremy Reed for Jon Lester trade. To be fair, after Lester's cancer occurred, it certainly looked at that time like it was a deal you'd best avoided.  Since then, however, he has come back to become one of the finest SP's in the American League, never mind one of the finest cheap pitchers. In 2008, Lester went 16-6, 3.21 (144 ERA+) -- as a lefthanded pitcher in Fenway park.  He fanned 152 men and walked only 66.  And how does a lefthand pitcher give up 14 homers in 210 innings in Fenway? Jon Lester delivered this Warren Spahn... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/10/09
10 Comments

At Mariner Central, the early returns were 91% in favor of signing Erik Bedard while it's such a buyer's market. Several amigos didn't vote, though, wanting another poll option, that being this: "Wait till he's into the season, throwing great, only three months from free agency, and then chisel him. That way we'll be able to underpay him, and he'll be grateful that we did." I kid. . === Six of One, Half-a-Dozen of the Other === But there's a reason we didn't put that one up. If you are I were Erik Bedard, and we were in that position -- leading the league in ERA* on June 15th, and ONLY... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/09/09
5 Comments

One of Bill James' most fundamental teachings, beginning in the 1980's, was this: Evaluate pitchers by what they have done over a number of years, not by what they did last year. Our visceral reaction -- our gut feeling -- about Erik Bedard's 2008 disappointment runs so deep that it's almost impossible to be objective about how good this pitcher is. Emotions and hormones run high. Cyber-Seattle is in PMS on Erik Bedard. Come to your senses, Padowan, and consider Steve Carlton's 1972 and 1973: 1972 - 27-10, 1.97 ERA, 182 ERA+ ..... 310/87 control, only 17 HR 1973 - 13-20, 3.90 ERA, 97 ERA... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/09/09
1 Comments

Billy Martin or Casey Stengel or Alex Rodriguez or somebody once said, the secret to managing is keeping the 5 guys who hate you away from the 5 who are undecided… In case some normally-well-balanced D-O-V amigos are beginning to fret that maybe acquiring a great pitcher is a reason to swear off the local ballclub? Dial 1-800-DOVTHERAPY. This thread and this thread contain some reminders of what Opening Day starters cost in trade value. ……………… Houston gave two legit blue-chip prospects — the 1998 equivalent of Morrow and Adam Jones and Tony Butler — for 11 starts of Randy Johnson. Chicago... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/09/09
17 Comments

Here are SABRMatt's evaluations of Wins Above Replacement for 2004 Center Fielders, compared to those typically found on a site like Hardball Times': Player EqG PA Off-M Def-M Win-M Off-A Def-A Win-A Carlos Beltran 162 708 12.4 1.5 13.9 10.6 -1.4 9.2 Jim Edmonds 143 612 11.8 2.1 13.9 10.2 -0.3 9.9 Andruw Jones 150 646 4.3 6.5 10.8 2.6 3.9 6.5 Aaron Rowand 121 534 8.3 1.9 10.2 6.9 -0.2 6.7 Mark Kotsay 137 673 6.2 3.4 9.6 4.5 1.2 5.7 Mike Cameron 134 562 4.7 4.2... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/09/09

Bill James wrote that the largest group of top-100 starters alltime came from the "Blow-em-Away-Lefties" group… he meant high-K lefties with lastingly vicious stuff. Going from memory here, so check me.  I think he had, in no particular order: 1.  Lefty Grove 2.  Randy Johnson 3.  Steve Carlton 4.  Sandy Koufax 5.  Vida Blue 6.  Rube Waddell (pictured below) 7.  Hippo Vaughn 8.  Hal Newhouser He wrote, IIRC, that "secondary characteristics" included a tendency to develop late, notably by Unit and Koufax.   ….Bedard also took a few years to make an impact, as opposed to a Tim Hudson or Barry... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/08/09
7 Comments

One of my favorite Mariners sites is Jon Shields' Bleeding Blue & Teal. Jon writes in a likeable, easy, fluid manner and puts his own signature on his view of the M's world. He draws from both sabr and visual literacy to go his own way and present a distinctive take on current Blue & Teal events. This article on Orlando Cabrera is a typically fresh read. Jon & Rob T.'s Big Idea is that one-year contractors give the M's a net gain owing to the M's high drafting -- they give up 2nd-rounders, but gain supplemental 1st-rounders, when renting Type A free agents. I don't know about... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/07/09
28 Comments

Q: Buy or Sell? A: No Sale. . Q. Because he's too pricey, or because you just don't want him? A. Although I like Three True Outcomes players in general, and like lefty bats more than I should, Nick Swisher is simply overrated. Check his RC/27's: 2004 - 5.0 part-time 2005 - 4.9 2006 - 6.4 2007 - 6.2 2008 - 4.5 Career - 5.6 Care to go look at Adam Dunn's again? Swisher had one big year, producing 35 homers and a 6.4 RC/27. Even Griffey, in his late 30's, has been arguably out-hitting Swisher, and that's before applying the platoon concession that we've talked about. (And note that we're... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/07/09
3 Comments

Q. Postscript: did you see that cyber-Seattle wants him? A. LOL. I hadn't read the 'net before we wrote this, except for a couple of posts where MFan and somebody were arguing about his party personality. I kid you not, it never. ceases. to. amaze. me. How different guys can look at the same painting and see two completely different things. Swisher has been a 4.5 - 6.4 run a game corner player, getting it done in the TTO flavor. That's all. Take away the Moneyball aura and Swisher is one of about a zillion guys who can give you 5.5, 6.0 runs at first base. Except here you're not bringing... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/07/09
1 Comments

Since cyber-Seattle is an open office floor, and the cubicles have 4-foot walls, we'll give a friendly response to a "Griffey Post" aimed at refuting the idea that Jr. would make any sense in Seattle for 1-2 years. For more detailed rationale, see our 5-part series on it. Ken Griffey Jr. would be best put to use as part of a platoon. Almost certainly yes. While the guy could hit southpaws at his peak, over the past five years (in hitter-friendly environments) he's hit .291/.380/.536 against righties and .227/.304/.428 against lefties. With his abilities eroding, it's gotten to the point at... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/07/09
2 Comments

Again, in the spirit of college debate, and since the New Zduriencik/Blengino Era inspires us all to comradely disagreement ... :- ) Thusly: Ken Griffey Jr.'s 2008 season was destroyed by a knee injury. It's possible, of course - there's no way for us to prove anything either way - but it's worth pointing out that Griffey hit just .248/.342/.416 in April, before he got hurt, and .249/.356/.427 the rest of the way with a comparable home run rate. There's no evidence that the bad knee was responsible for his bad season aside from the agent claiming it was, and what else would an agent say... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/06/09
16 Comments

Q: Who IS this guy? A: If you want a frame of reference, think of a right-handed George Sherrill. Am not saying he's a mirror image, but it's a good way to organize your thinking. If GS52 went Shirley McLaine on us and came back as a right-handed bouncing baby from India, he'd move to the US and become Tyler Walker. Walker is a big guy, like GS52. He short-arms the ball from behind his ear. He pitches with a high front side. Walker has a good crisp fastball -- probably 2 mph faster than Sherrill's, which makes it equivalent, since lefties' FB's look 2 mph faster. Walker also brings a... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/06/09

Q. How does Tyler Walker fit into the current bullpen? A. Personally, I *do* think that this club could use one bona fide Fireman to bind the motley crue together out there. I'd have loved to have seen one real bullpen ace brought in -- an Arthur Rhodes, Paul Shuey type, if not a closer. Objectively speaking, Walker is a lateral step away from what the M's already have. They had average-solid (not impact) short men; they added an average-solid (not impact) short man. But he's Capt. Jack's man, a reliever JACK trusts, as opposed to a reliever that John McLaren trusted. The M's had average-... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/05/09
19 Comments

=== One Tennis Match We Won't Miss, Dept. === Lots of pleasant buzz around Capt. Jack's reference to the M's discussions with a free-agent "piece of the puzzle." Nobody seems to have mentioned that the "puzzle" in question is necessarily the 2009 pennant race. In context, all things considered, the comment has little meaning with respect to a 2011 target. One thing we love about Capt. Jack, is that he's got us all calmed down about whether it's okay to try to win now. . === The LOOGY "Piece" ? === Which piece of the puzzle? Larry LaRue suggests, relief pitcher, and from what I read at MC... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/05/09
2 Comments

Lonnie's 10 Questions gig is rockin' the joint at Mariner Central. Now he even gets Baker in there, and Geoffy writes a complete blog entry to each question. :- ) Vot's Next? Dr. Zoinks his ownself? Dr. D cherry-picks a target-rich environment: Q1. Which is worse, Carlos Silva for 4 years at $48 mil or Kenji Johjima for 3 years at $24 mil? A. Without a doubt, it's Kenji Johjima's deal. The logic of Geoff's reply seems to focus on, which move was more brain-dead? Which was an easier mistake to see coming? Which was dumber? .... as opposed to, Which hurt the ballclub more? On its own... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/05/09
3 Comments

Q3. I continuously beat the drum about the need for a real on-field team leader. Who do you think has a chance of assuming this mantle? A. Jose Lopez, too, is someone I feel could be a natural leader. More of a strong, silent type like Beltre. Lopez is still seen as somewhat of the baby of the bunch, but I think, once some older players clear out, he'll be viewed differently. He changed a lot, maturity-wise, this year. Really grew up and learned what it takes to be a major league ballplayer. He looks and acts like a major leaguer now, not like a kid in a uniform. This is interesting to hear... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/05/09
2 Comments

Q5. There will be some turnover of players over the course of the next few years, but there will remain a core who will remember the issues that they had with Ichiro. Is it in the teams best interest to move Ichiro and perhaps remove a potential thorn from their side? I think that, within a year, most of the players who have had the biggest issues with Ichiro will be gone. [Washburn & Co. - Dr D] I do think there will still be players who take issue with how he plays the game, unless he becomes more open to them and explains why he does the things he does. No one takes issue with his work... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/04/09
4 Comments

Just for fun, from the Jumanji-fied word of the Jen-Man :- ) === Do-ability Dept. === This is as do-able as acquiring Dunn by itself is. In terms of acquiring both players, that is, with roster configuration problemos aside. If you win the bidding for Dunn, there's no big reason you can't talk ownership into popping for a year or two of Griffey. Chuck Armstrong would go to bat on that one, we know that much. . === Crunching the Numbers Dept. === vs RHP, about 75%-80% of games: Batting order ... RC/27 ... Player, Pos (RC/27 rationale) 1 ... 6.2 .... Ichiro, rf (career RC/27 = 6.6; 2008... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/04/09
5 Comments

See this article, the first of five, for an SSI series on Griffey.  - Dr D .................. Q.  Do you see the Heyman report as 'intel,' or as a reporter trying to put 2 + 2 together? A. At Mariner Central, Crusty Juggler linked us up to Jon Heyman's report that the Mariners are one of five teams with "some level of interest" in Griffey. I take it fairly seriously, since: 1.  Heyman expressly quotes Brian Goldberg and represents the intel as news.  You don't figure that Heyman is simply lying about this. 2.  With national, established reporters, the articles generally make it easy to tell... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/02/09

Q. Who is Craig Wright? A. Wright is a sabermetrician who has been employed by MLB franchises, including the Mariners, for >20 years. Wright goes back far enough that he was fighting for Mike Piazza's advancement through the Dodger minor leagues, and Wright was one of the driving forces that pushed the Dodgers past the "tipping point" to actually give the unorthodox young Piazza a shot behind the plate. In the 2009 Hardball Times Annual, Wright publishes a lengthy account of his debates with Fred Claire (Dodger GM at the time) on Piazza. You can order the HBT book here. The Wright... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/02/09

Q. And Wright's battle with the Dodgers, over Mike Piazza, means ... WHAT to me? A. Reading through the lengthy, detailed article, you're absolutely stunned by the parallels to Jeff Clement. You could virtually stick Clement's name in there, for 70% of the occurrences of Piazza's name, and it would apply word-for-word. Wright's analysis underlines the point that there is way, WAYYY too much bias against catchers who don't look pretty behind the plate. . Q. But you gotta have a catcher. Or else you'll have a lot of passed balls, right? A. One light bulb that Wright turned on for me, is... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/01/09
3 Comments

Another outstanding article at LL, which demonstrates again that Felix has much better results with offspeed pitches than with his fastball. In this one, Matthew discusses the tendency Felix developed to see his FB locate to the inside on RH hitters, or away from LH. My own interpretation on this would be that he was starting to get back some of his tailing action, the "run" that caused the problemos with his Pronator Teres earlier on. But in any case, we would agree with Matthew that Felix showed some tendency to move towards the right half of the plate in 2008. .............. We will... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/01/09

In early 2006, Felix decimated the Red Sox with an incredible swerving fastball that tailed away from LH hitters about a foot or so. This movement was produced by a screwball-type pitching motion in which Felix snapped his hand over the ball, leaving the thumb pointing at the ground. The Red Sox were helpless. And we will cheerfully admit that, if Felix could throw that particular fastball, then all of these other conversations would be over. It doesn't matter if you're sitting on a 97 mph pitch that moves like a slider. Cindy and I ran down and bought tickets in the Mezzanine, $60 apiece... Read More