John's Inbox is Up
Best thing that happened to the M's in a long time. Naturally we try to rid ourselves of it


As y'know, Dr. D used to never miss a Geoff Baker column.  As it turns out there is no more Geoff Baker.*  A good facscimile is Greg Johns, who also has:

  • A good feel for the game
  • The ability to direct his attention to germane issues
  • "Access" and the willingness to use it, without causing unreasonable problems for the Mariners
  • Natural intuition

So, here's his latest Inbox.  Let's kibitz.

The first Q had to to do with pending FA Nelson Cruz:  to sign, or not to sign?  That is the question.

1.  It is better that a die at birth than to fumble in the Super Bowl, or to pay a player $8M for $7M worth of performance, especially to a 39-year-old-player (in 2019),

2.  The Mariners paid Edgar 2 years at a time until he couldn't hit any more, which was age 41, at which time he gave them -1M worth of bases for $3M in salary and the M's "dynasty" offically coughed one final time, widened its eyes, and expired.

3.  At age 37, Cruz delivered $30M worth of bases (including defense at DH) for $14.25M.

4.  At age 38, Edgar hit .306/.423/.543.  At age 39, it was .277/.403/.485.  At age 39, he hit .296/.406/.489 (a 141 OPS+ in Safeco).

5.  At age 37 (last year), Cruz slugged .747 in August and .553 from Sept 1 to the wire.

6.  In other words, he's a 24K-gold Cleanup Hitter, he was the last two months we saw him, and he'll be 38 going into next year.  Ages 38-39 look quite reasonable when you break down his component skills.


Johns says Cruz loves Seattle, so we can only hope that he shares Edgar's cheerful willingness to stay hear for reasonable dinero.  It's easy enough to imagine him remembering the M's as the team willing to bet on him in the last stages of his career.

Cruz goes into 2018 at age 38, with a jammed FA pipeline, and ... is it likely he's going to want 3 x $25M to play DH?  Doubt it.



Johns figures Dipoto as wanting to see how 2018 goes before venturing an offer.  Further Johns opines:

It's also possible, if the Mariners find themselves out of contention, that they could trade Cruz for younger prospects in midseason, though obviously that's not a path either would like at this point. As for replacement options, first basemen Ryon HealyMike Ford and Daniel Vogelbach are current in-house options and Robinson Cano -- who has six years remaining on his contract at age 35 -- could eventually be an answer there.

Which is reasonable, if the return is juicy.  It might be, if Cruz slugged .600 in July, which he probably will.  Without any question this is the default Beane strategy going in to 2018, but Dipoto does seem to be aware he's not running an $81M payroll.  The M's are 15 in the league, roughly twice where Beane is.



Basically says:  there isn't anything here to indicate decline, even if you squint.  .284/.364/.532 is the "regression to the mean" and so the SSI Denizen asks:  how much harm in offering a 1 x $15M, or even 2 x $15M, extenstion through age 39?

From here, not much.  He can stay in shape to DH.


Dr D




Minus the excess fat.

I see no reason why he couldn't hit well into his forties. I'd offer him 2X16 and be willing to go up to 2X20.


On the idea that Cruz could keep it going 1 to 4 more years.  Makes the depth at 1b/DH more confusing if that's plan A though.

Seems as good a place as any to delve beyond "the double".  It's been bugging me that he hit 2 that day but only 1 seems to count.  Occasionally there's a mention of his 7 RBI day (tied for postseason record) just previous.  But he started out that series with an OPS of 1.367 as his team lost the first 2 games in NY.  Facing elimination, through the next 3 games he hit .545/.667/.1.273 1.939 OPS through the 15 PA that culminated with the double.  Griffey mashed NY as well.  Well, not as well unless you're only counting HR.  Edgar had a rare postseason series for a hitter, going 5 games with the team on his back against the Yankees and all most people credit him for is one hit.

3 hits and a BB

3 hits and a BB

3 BB

3 hits and a BB

3 hits

That was the series for Edgar.  Just 18 times on base in 27 PA.  But the East Coast never noticed him? 

Central Baptist College's picture

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Boomstick is one of the top thumpers in the game, still, and you gotta like your chances when he's still showing you long streaks of .700 SLGing in current, not past, tense.

I'm up for a mimimum of a 1-year extension, no two ways about it.   Faint heart never won fair maiden, nor 39 homers in a siglse season.


For sure I'd tack on another year at his current rate or even a skosh higher (up to $20mil) since he's such a vital piece of the offensive puzzle, and it is indeed possible he could be for a few years to come.  His power is transcendental, and while he doesn't have a ridiculous walk rate like Edgar or Ortiz did, he also isn't striking out all that much (K% of 25.0, 23.8, 21.7 the last three years, to go with his BB% of 9.0, 9.3 and 10.9 over the same period).  So his peripherals aren't trending down just yet, he's still got his top shelf power, and appears to love it where he is.  A two year extension wouldn't be unreasonable, especially considering the narrowing window this club's got with its current talent pool.  What's one more lost year of salary before they do a full teardown, anyway?

All that said, my first move in any baseball sim is to trade Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz... ;-)


Edgar: .312-.418-.515/147 OPS+  B-Ref credits him with 66.4 oWAR.  By the way, he was a + dWAR guy in '90. '91 & '94, before he went to DH fulltime in '95.

Chipper:  .303-.401-.529/141 OPS+  87.4 oWAR

Vlad:  .318-.379-.553/140 OPS+   59.3 oWAR  B-Ref has him as a -10.7 dWAR guy for his career, almost all in RF.  Edgar was -9.7, and most of that at DH.  

Thome:  .276-.402-.554/147 OPS+ (tied with Edgar for 47th best in MLB history)  77.1 oWAR.

OK, Chipper's oWAR gets him in.  That separates him a bit.  So do Thome's 612 homers.  Vlad was an MVP, but beyond that there isn't anything that separates him from Edgar, other than he played a fairly bad RF.  He might have helped his team more as a DH.  In his 4 seasons in Anaheim, his only AL experience, the Angels mostly had terrible DH's and went the committee route.  Well, Salmon wa good in 244 '06 PA's.  They should have played Vlad there, as his glove was sort of sketchy.

From '95 (when Edgar went to DH) until his final season in '04, Seattle's 1B-men were Tino Martinez (1 season), Paul Sorrento (2), David Segui (2) and John Olerud (5).  They ran OPS+'s of 135, 121, 123, 119, 102, 117, 136, 146, 107 and 90.  Edgar averaged about 160 over that period of time (until his final season in ''04), the other guys averaged 123, up until '04.  As it turns out, Sorrento ran a 123 in '97.  That was .269-.345-.514 w/31 homers.  11 guys hit 33 homers or more in the AL in '97. 8 guys hit 32 or more in the NL.  So there were less than 20 guys that you could use at DH, if the M's didn't have Sorrento and moved Edgar to 1B in '97, who bashed like Sorrento.  How many of them could the M's get?  Only in Segui's 102 '99 and Olerud's 107 '03 (and 90 OPS+ in '04, when Edgar was basically done, too) can you say that we had 1B guys with weak 1B bats.  Even if you stick Edgar at 1B by trading our 1Bmen, it is problematic that you get a better bat at DH than the guys we had playing 1B.  

So Edgar gets penalized for playing in the AL and having a bunch of good to real good 1B bats on the M's.  Some of those guys were leathery glovesmiths, too.  

Edgar helped his team more by playing DH than 1B.  And it cost him votes.

Some voters ain't paying attention.


came up a couple tenths of a percent short on his last try for the Hall next year.

Greatest Mariner ever.  Period.  And when guys like Mariano Rivera shudder when mentioning your name, that's gotta go SOMEWHERE on the balance sheet, no?


"Those members, by the way, include: The Georgia Peach; Rajah; Shoeless Joe;’ Teddy Ballgame; the Babe; Slug Heilmann; The Man; The Iron Horse; Double-X; Hammerin’ Hank; MannyBManny and Todd Helton, who Baseball Reference encourages us to call “The Toddfather,” but I’m not gonna do it. That’s pretty good company." ---Joe Posnanski

In case you weren't sure, Shoeless Joe is the only one who retired before Edgar that's not in the Hall.  In case voters aren't sure, DH isn't cheating. 

He was the 5th RHB to retire with those numbers after Jimmie FoxxHank GreenbergHarry Heilmann and Rogers Hornsby.

#4 all time OBP by RHB

Among primary designated hitters (min. 130 games at DH), Edgar holds 5-of-the-top-8 seasons by WAR, including the top two spots.  Clearly being a DH doesn't magically make people hit well. 

.571 '95 division series avg. was 2nd highest in division series history (min. 20 PA).  In 4 League Division Series over the course of his career, Edgar hit .375 with 5 doubles, 7 home runs, 20 RBI, a .481 OBP and a .781 slugging mark. He ranks in the top-10 all-time in LDS history in batting, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS, including holding the top career slugging mark in League Division Series play.

Since 1901, he is one of 13 players to win multiple batting titles and at least three on-base percentage titles. Edgar is joined by Richie AshburnWade Boggs, Barry Bonds, Miguel CabreraRod CarewTy CobbJimmie FoxxRogers HornsbyStan MusialHonus WagnerTed Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.  He won his 1st batting title as a 3b and was the All-Star starter at 3b.  When he earned his 2nd batting title in '95, it was the first time a RHB had done so in the AL in 52 years.

I'll just post that link too, before I've copied/ammended it all


There is literally one reason, and one reason only, that anyone remembers Vladimir Guerrero as potentially hall of fame worthy.

They foolishly believe he was a good outfielder. Because ZOMG! ASSISTS!!!

They should rename it "the hall of perception". I'll create a replacement called the hall of reality.


He's not dead, and he could return to punish the Mariners in some horrible way if he catches wind of HOF dissent out of Mariners fans.  His 

.340 .408 .606 1.014

 versus Mariners slash line speaks for itself but you might need some testimony.   I was there, and seem to remember losing every game to this guy.  He seemed to specialize in killing late game leads and he could hit any ball against any pitcher thrown to any location.  Ryan Langerhans or whoever was pitching back then didn't stand a chance.  Haven't been to the playoffs since 2001?  Much of that was his fault.  

Let's just let the moment pass, try to forget about him and not speak his name out loud.  

Balkyboy's picture

Mike Curto just tweeted, "I believe Dipoto just said "you could argue there is more competition to get the No. 1 pick in the draft than to win the World Series."  

Is tearing a team down to rebuild through the draft now an overwrought competition?  Is losing a loser's strategy?




Always thought that should happen in MLB, too.  The delta between the #1 and the #10 draft pick is ENORMOUS in just about any pro sports draft; incentivizing teams to tank when there's a Harper, Strasburg, P. Manning or the like in the upcoming draft never did make sense to me.

In one of my wizard-centric fantasy book series, I use a draft system for the wizards coming out of the magic college--and in that world, only the winners are afforded draft picks.  You've got to contribute to the Empire in order to get a pick at ALL, and every Great House fights tooth and nail to make noteworthy contributions to the system for that purpose.


Draft position determined by lottery, no tanking on purpose. They should do whatever logically makes the one and only goal to win. NOW.


Talking to Ryan Divish, Dipoto had this to say about his rotation:

"I think our group stacks up well against any other American League rotation, except for the four playoff teams, Boston, New York, Houston and Cleveland."

SO...our rotation is just as good as any other NON-CONTENDING TEAM'S rotation.

Really, Jerry...are you trying to tick me off?


That's just bad.  How can you even spin that?  I've been holding out hope that another shoe might drop but apparently the shoe only dropped so he could put his foot in his mouth. 

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