Friday, December 23, 2005

The Winter of our Discontent

Wow. This is bleak.

Bloomquist and Meche tendered.

And now Millwood has a 3 year, 30 million dollar offer from the Rangers. If he ends up being less expensive than Washburn, that is really going to suck.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Those who can't do...teach

The Florida Baby Marlins hired one-time Mariner third-sacker Jim Presley as their HITTING COACH yesterday.


It's good to have something to laugh about, no?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Edgar, A Hero For Our Time

Buried under other Hot Stove doings (non-tender deadline, signing Washburn and Everett, etc.) was today's presentation of the Edgar Martinez Award (nee Outstanding Designated Hitter award). Big Papi reeled in his third straight EdGRR, but more importantly: How cool is having an award named after our very own favorite son?

Congrats, Mr. Ortiz...but you're no Edgar Martinez.

Is it just me, or do we establish more permanent fan connections to players like Edgar and Bone, rather than those like the Kid and A-Rod, not due to their superior talent, but instead just because they never abused their stardom? (Well, getting me to shave my head for a free ticket might have been Jay Buhner abusing his stardom a bit, but...c'mon.)

In any case, close your eyes today and picture Edgar stroking a double off the wall. Hear Dave Niehaus scream. And smile.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Jon Daniels, creative cat

The Mariners could use some starting pitchers, right? Who would you rather have for 2006, based solely on their 2005 stats?








Pitcher $9+








Pitcher $3+








Well, that ERA jumps out, doesn't it. Let's look at the career stats of these hurlers:






Pitcher $9+






Pitcher $3+






The point here is that these very different pitchers both have a certain amount of value; the second one listed is more of a strikeout/groundball specialist (who needs a solid middle infield defense, but plays well in any park), while the former is a pitch-to-contact/flyball guy (very reliant on outfield defense and ballpark). As you may have noticed from the labels I have given them, the second pitcher listed costs a little over a third the salary in 2006 of the first one. Here's a comparison of something interesting over at Fangraphs.

That's right. Young Jon Daniels has just completed a deal to bring in Adam Eaton from the Padres in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez (blocked 1b prospect), Chris Young (extremely tall young pitcher), and Terrmel Sledge (young outfielder). Well, Texas also gets aging, high-quality reliever Akinori Otsuka thrown into the deal, along with a PTBNL (Billy Killian? A very low level catcher prospect), but Eaton is the centerpiece of the trade for the Rangers. This trade has been in the rumor mill for a while, but Texas refused to include young catcher Gerald Laird to make it happen. It went down because San Diego couldn't ink Eaton to an acceptable deal, and he's eligible for his last round of arbitration before becoming a free agent after 2006.

I'm not saying that I like Eaton any better than I like Washburn. However, the price is right. A $3.5 or $4M Eaton would theoretically have left clear room in the budget for more trade/free agent pitching acquisitions. Sure, it would have cost the M's something in trade, but we have been known to deal with the Friars before. Here's hoping that Eaton works out as well as Chan Ho Park once did for Texas, while knowing that is unlikely to be the case. At least he's a free agent after this season...oh, wait, that would be better than paying big bucks for Washburn through his age 35 season. Ggguh.

I know, I know...the grass is always greener. Still...depressing.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Gorman Thomas returns

Who remembers 1985?

That season featured Alvin Davis, Phil Bradley, OCD Jim Presley, along with the good Mike Moore, the good Edwin Nunez (how it pains me to type that), and the horrific entire rest of the team. That was an awful season to live through. Gorman Thomas's 32 HR/.215 BAVG were a good portion of the entertainment...although the man knew how to take a walk.

1985 is back.

Bill Bavasi has declared this offseason "over," having opened the vault to left-handed Proven Winner Jarrod Washburn, and we can therefore call the season like we see it: 74 wins, 88 losses, and some pretty atrocious starting pitching to waste King Felix's talent. Sure, it SEEMS like we have more talent (Ichiro!, Beltre, Sexson, Johjima) than the '85 squad, but don't be fooled.

Now, Stormin' Gorman is still around. He's golfing with the likes of Danny Ainge, Oscar de la Hoya, the Ice Man, Dan Quayle, and Dweezil Zappa on the celebrity players tour.

You know, I'd rather see him golf than watch Jurassic Carl bat.

The good thing about those 1985 Mariners was that we fans had few expectations. We had never won ANYTHING. Heck, we'd never even had a winning season. Alvin Davis (or perhaps prissy Mark Langston) was our STAR. Seventy-four and 88 was good enough, as awful as it was.

With low expectations, we were easily amused. Thus, even with lame moves like the one that brought Gorman Thomas to us well after his glory days with the late-70s/early-80s Brew Crew, we fans knew we were going to get entertainment out of a ticket to the game. Carl Everett? Jarrod Washburn?? Pass. The single biggest draw on the team now plays only once every five days.

Somebody get Pollyanna in here, so we can HOPE for the best of all possible Mariner teams--because Bill Bavasi sure isn't going to give it to us.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A funny thing happened on the way to non-tendering Ryan Franklin....

Funny you should mention the spectre of more horrible moves behind Jurassic Carl, Tad.

Various news sources today report the imminent signing of lefty Jarrod Washburn by the Mariners. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth has ensued at places like the U.S.S. Mariner, so we won't rehash that here. One intriguing feature of that debate, to me, has been the frequent comparisons of Washburn (supposedly to receive something like 4 years/$38M) to our own Ryan Franklin.

How right they were.

You may recall that I pointed you all toward the new, cool site earlier this offseason. Well, check out this eerie comparison. You can flip through the graphs showing the histories of Washburn and Franklin, but they essentially look like they were separated at birth, with but two significant differences. Washburn's 2005 ERA is significantly lower, which looks a lot like a result of keeping more balls in the park than should have happened given Mr. Washburn's flyball tendencies. Second, Washburn owns a ring.

There you go: Everett has a ring. Washburn has a ring. These guys are Proven Winners.

Bill Bavasi has but ten months to get his resume in order.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Jurassic Carl?


Carl Everett? Are you kidding me? I suppose a one year deal with a vestible option isn't the worst news in the world. And supposing that Everett can survive the transition from a good hitters park in Chicago to a pitchers park at the Safe, he might provide a little power and OBP from the left hand side.

And even if we forget for a moment that the signing pushes the Raul Ibanez Experience back out into the outfield, which I was okay with for the right DH, this is still a terrible move.

I don't need 25 Dan Wilsons, I really don't. Hell, I've criticized the Mariners for getting too attached to players because they were good guys. But there is a lot of evidence that Carl Everett is a truly distasteful person. Off the charts bad, really, really bad. And after watching the Philadelphia Eagles season just implode because of one extended tantrum from a star player, I'm just kinda dumbsquizzled that the Mariners would bring in a guy of Everett's dubious quality. I'd rather have had Milton Bradley if we were going to bring in a "bad guy." Shoot I'd rather roll the dice on a Manny Ramirez deal then have to watch a guy who admitted to child neglect on my hometown 9.

This is a terrible move from every angle, it really is. If this offseason ends up as Johjima and this, Bavasi might as well pack his bags.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Wild Wild West

Think the AL West lacked bad boy character last season? No longer.

The dust has hardly begun to settle on Dan Wilson's tools of ignorance, and we're already knee deep in bad character.

Today, Oakland sent interesting prospect Andre Ethier to the Dodgers for Milton Bradley, current holder of the Vince Coleman firecracker award three years running.

The next thing you know, our own beloved M's will be contemplating signing Carl Everett or something. (By the way, Cuddly Carl has apparently stolen one of my many beloved nicks. I should sue.)

Queue up the live version of "A Little Bitter," and we're set to go.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Winter Meetings

It's not even Christmas yet, and this has already been one of the more active and interesting off-seasons ever. The Winter Meetings have come and gone, a lot of hot air got blown around on the internet and in print, and some players actually changed teams.

So far, the big splash in the AL West has been the M's signing of NPB star catcher Kenji Johjima. It has NOT been the M's signing, say, A.J. Burnett (who goes to Toronto), nor has it been any AL West teams getting in on the Florida Marlins' twice-per-decade Fire Sale. Let's review the state of Hot Stove signings and veteran arbitration offers (non-tendering deadline for pre-free agent arb cases comes later this month):

-Signed C Kenji Johjima
-Acquired RHP Marcos Carvajal from Colorado for C Yorvit Torrealba
-Resigned LHP Jamie Moyer
-Drafted 2b Jason Bourgeois from Atlanta in the AAA phase of the Rule 5 Draft
-DFA'd RHP Jeff Harris
-Declined arbitration to: PH Dave Hansen, RHP Shigetoshi Hasegawa, RHP Jeff Nelson, SS Pokey Reese, C Dan Wilson

-Acquired RHP Jon Leicester from the Cubs for a Player To Be Named Later (how so many guys were not named at birth is one of the great mysteries of baseball)
-Resigned RHP John Wasdin
-Traded "2b" Alfonso Soriano to Washington for OF Brad Wilkerson, OF Terrmel Sledge, and a PTBNL rumored to actually have the name "Armando Galarraga."
-Acquired Rule 5 Draftee LHP Fabio Castro (originally with the White Sox) from Royals for IF Esteban German
-Drafted OF Alexi Ogando from Oakland in the AAA phase of the Rule 5 Draft
-Signed C Jamie Burke, "OF" Adam Hyzdu, and RHP Rick Bauer to minor league contracts
-Declined arbitration to: C Sandy Alomar Jr., RHP Doug Brocail, 1b Greg Colbrunn, OF Richard Hidalgo, RHP Steve Karsay, LHP Kenny Rogers

-Signed RHP Matt Roney
-Signed RHP Esteban Loaiza (look out...Mr. "Pounder Domination" is back in the pool)
-Acquired Chad Gaudin from Toronto for a PTNBL
-Offered arbitration to: LHP Ricardo Rincon
-Declined arbitration to: C Alberto Castillo, RHP Octavio Dotel, DH Erubiel Durazo, DH Scott Hatteberg

-Signed RHP Hector Carrasco, believing him to be a starting pitcher
-Signed OF Tim Salmon to a minor league contract
-Offered arbitration to: Paul Byrd (signed with Cleveland, type B Free Agent, netting a draft pick)
-Declined arbitration to: LHP Jason Christiansen, IF Lou Merloni, C Bengie Molina, LHP Jarrod Washburn

In all, not a lot of movement yet in the West; Johjima, Loaiza, and the Soriano-Wilkerson trade are the only really noteworthy moves. This in an offseason that has seen blockbuster trades weekly. Still out there are Kevin Millwood, Jarrod Washburn, Matt Morris (yeesh), Jason Johnson (double yeesh), Jeff Weaver, Jacque Jones...meh. We've all heard the ugly rumors about Carl Everett...pass.

Given all of the movement that has taken place, it seems almost imperative that the M's ink a Millwood or Washburn, but the price of FA starting pitchers may just be too steep. The Rangers are rumored to be pursuing a trade for Padres' starter Adam Eaton, which would certainly bolster their rotation (by giving it a single legitimate major league starter), and therefore threaten our aspirations for third place in '06. To be sure, a rental of Barry Zito is always a possibility, but that requires trading within the division...hmmm. I guess I'm against it...(Zito in Safeco...hmmm).

In any case, look for more movement between now and pitchers and catchers reporting.