ONE. THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER STARTING PITCHERS
Amigos ask, "What would Dr. D do?" As you know he starts with Stars & Scrubs. This is true whether you're talking about his vast array of Yoo-Hoo fantasy baseball showers, or whether you're talking about the Yankee$' 27 world championships.
And his Stars & Scrubs variation starts with the rotation. Give him half a chance to shed Mark Trumbo, Seth Smith, and ? to pay Jordan Zimmerman, and he's interested. But that's fantasyland. Give us three Game Seven starters, let's say Randy Johnson, Jeff Fassero, and Jamie Moyer, and we're glad to go to war. Win or lose. Admittedly, it wins more often than any other kind of team. But the main point is that it cleanses your soul when you bask in it every day. You gotta do what you like SOMEtimes :- )
In the universe that contains the actual Seattle Mariners, sigggghhhhhh.... that means coughing up the 3rd year for Hisashi Iwakuma. You're still only talking an investment of $45-50M. You don't get top-10 starting pitchers for less than that, now do you. Bah Humbug.
TWO. WEAVER ON STRATEGY
...had an entire chapter on this profound concept:
1. Get Reggie Jackson.
2. If you don't, get a Frankenstein Reggie Jackson. Lowenstein and Roenicke would hit 34 homers BETWEEN them and "that's as good as having a Reggie Jackson in your lineup."
Dr. D does not remember the last clear, coherent platoon from which the Seattle Mariners benefitted. (Lloyd McClendon resented the concept in and of itself.) But we may so benefit in 2016, thusly:
In terms of WAR, that's right where Jose Bautista was, as well as Edwin Encarnacion. In the vicinity, plus or minus, were Brandon Crawford, Nelson Cruz and Miguel Cabrera. Oh, and Kevin Pillar .... Our hero Kyle Seager had 3.9 WAR.
I don't know if Franklin Gutierrez is going to slug .620 again in underexposure vs. LHP's. But you can see why Jerry DiPoto likes his LF platoon. Long live the Earl Fighters.
THREE. BJOL LIGHT BULB OF THE DAY
Bill's current article gushes with praise for the 2015 Royals. No, not for winning it, as such, but because "I thought that this year's Royals team, honestly, was one of the most impressive teams that I have ever seen." Which is pretty much the same as saying that they're one of the most impressive teams that mankind has ever seen.
And. . .yeah, the bullpen is sensational, and yes, they do an amazing job of moving baserunners and all of that, but what this organization has done so brilliantly in recent years is exactly what the A’s did so phenomenally badly in the first years that I was a baseball fan, when we were always coming up with great young rookies who somehow never took a step forward. They believed in their young players, and they stayed with them. The A’s gave up on Dick Howser as soon as he struggled, and they gave up on Lou Klimchock in a heartbeat, and they gave up on Manny Jimenez and they gave up on Billy Bryan and Nelson Mathews—but the Royals didn’t give up on anybody. They didn’t give up on Luke Hochevar after he had a 6.55 ERA as a starting pitcher; they just found a different role for him. They didn’t give up on Alex Gordon when he struggled; they just found a different role for him. They didn’t give up on Eric Hosmer, and they didn’t give up on Mike Moustakas—and I will tell you honestly that I didn’t believe in Mike Moustakas; I was in the habit of referring to him as Mike Mistakeous. But the Royals believed in the guys they had, and they worked to make better players out of them—and that is why they richly deserved this championship that they have now won.
Bill finds it noble to "build on" the players you have already invested players in, as opposed to ripping through them like a kid hurling socks over his shoulder looking for his Spider-man pair. That's a bias of his, which started (I believe) with the way that George Steinbrenner used to call up a starting pitcher and then expect him to impress in his first four starts. No? On to the next guy. Obviously that is unspeakably naive.
How does that apply to the Mariners? They showed remarkable patience with some talented guys they believed in -- Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders, but also Mike Zunino and Brad Miller. True, they did rip through their share of Abraham Almontes and Stefen Romeros and Nick Franklins.
There's nobody much left. If you like what Bill's saying, there are four places you might try to prove yourself Major League Savvy:
- Roenis Elias
- James Paxton (although, that should be easy for all 30 orgs)
- Mike Zunino project
- Jesus Montero (figure SOMEthing out)
If DiPoto DOES figure SOME way to cobble a Moustakas-level contributor out of Jesus Montero, we guess he'll "richly deserve" his championship too. Point is, somewhere in this offseason plan you've got to avoid the Real Madrid Shiny New Toy Syndrome.