Tuesday, February 21, 2006

C level and....back it up you got it dna level C

Aaaaanyway. So Big Dadddy got me to thinking with his comments on this post about building the Mariners back into contenders the way Cleveland did it. To quote the Large Father:

"This team needs changes and I for one am a believer in the Cleveland model of dumping all the big names in turn for prospects. Cleveland went through like 2-3 down years and then broke out with all their young guys."

I have to agree that I'd much rather be a Cleveland fan right now, with young stars like Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, and Grady Sizemore providing exciting baseball, and the team is winning again. But I thought I'd take a look at how they did it, if the Mariners are on a similar track, and see if they really are a good model to follow.

The last time the Indians were in the playoffs, they lost in 5 games to YOUR RECORD BREAKING 2001 SEATTLE MARINERS!!!! I was at the 17-2 Game 3 debacle in Cleveland. I'm pretty sure I haven't left a game that early in my life. They finished 91-71 that year, they're seventh in a row with at least 86 wins. The next four years?
2002: 74-88
2003: 68-94
2004: 80-82
2005: 93-69

I think it's fair to say they've made their way back to being at very least a contender again.

Since we're comparing the Indians and Mariners, let's say 2001 is to Cleveland as 2003 is to the Mariners (stupid verbal SAT). The M's won 93 games that year, they're fourth straight with at least 91 wins. Since then? 63-99 in 2004 and 69-93 last year. If we were to continue the parallel to Cleveland, we would want to see a near .500 record this year, and be in a pennant race in 2007. Well, what did the Indians do since 2001 to get back to where they are? Since the inspiration for this post was the dump and reload philosophy, this doesn't include such major moves as signing Todd Dunwoody on 11/2/01. Thank you retrosheet for the following information:

2001-2002 winter:

-Traded Roberto Alomar and others to the Mets for Matt Lawton, Alex Escobar, Jerrod Riggan, Earl Snyder, and Billy Traber
-Traded Dave Roberts to the Dodgers for Christian Bridenbaugh and Nial Hughes

2002 season:

-Traded Russ Branyan to the Reds for Ben Broussard
-Traded Bartolo Colon to the Expos for Lee Stevens, Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore
-Traded Chuck Finley to the Cardinals for Luis Garcia. Coco Crisp was the played to be named later
-Traded Paul Shuey to Los Angeles Dodgers for Ricardo
Rodriguez, Terry Mulholland and Francisco Cruceta
-Traded Ricardo Rincon to the A's for Marshall McDougall.

2002-2003 winter:
-Traded Einar Diaz and Ryan Drese to Texas Rangers for
Travis Hafner and Aaron Myette.
-Signed Casey Blake

Those were basically the big ones. They also let Jim Thome go in free agency.

So, that's pretty impressive. Hafner, Sizemore, Cliff Lee, and Crisp (who they just traded for Andy Marte-a very highly touted prospect) all came through those trades.

How are the Mariners different? Well, the biggest difference is that after the 2001 season, the Indians realized they needed to rebuild. The Mariners, on the other hand, kept trying to win after 2003. And they didn't feel the need to overspend so they missed out on Miguel Tejada and Vladimir Guerrero that offseason. Then they went down the crapper in 2004 and had to make desperate moves, and then overpaid for Sexson and Beltre. I haven't given up on Beltre yet, but I'd much rather have Miggy or Vlad right now.

The M's trades have gotten them Reed, Morse, Olivo, Bazardo, and Foppert. Reed could still be good, Morse is at best a decent bench player, and we'll see about Bazardo and Foppert.

The M's dug themselves a huge whole after the 2003 season, and they are now digging out of it. Based on the Cleveland model, let's hope for 80-82.


  1. Just a couple things to add on....

    -The big names Cleveland traded included an ace in Colon. The M's don't have someone like that to trade, and never did really. Freddy was the closest, and Reed came out of that, so we'll see.

    -The Indians fans were not happy when they traded Alomar after the 2001 season. Imagine how M's fans would react if Ichiro was traded.

  2. Neddy Ballgame7:23 PM

    Great post--you've got my juices flowing for a .500 season--Ichiro says he'll be more than ready after talking to Grover in off-season and playing for Japan (wiht his pants above his knees !)...and RAoul apparently took Morse under his wing for a few week s in Florida (that';s hw he bulked up not through chemicals !)--seems like we may have a chnace to start the season with no "cancers" ( Boone et al ) in the clubhouse..Beltre has lost wieght and he appears embarrassed about '05 ...Joe Mama still intrigues me...Sexson will hit even more opposite field Safeco blasts...and Jeremy will break out (that;s a wish on my part ).....now the hurlers....HUGE question marks that will make difference between .500 and another year in the cellar..hope sprngs eternal--keep my optimism up with more posts like this one !!!

  3. Neddy Ballgame7:29 PM

    Hey ,by the way ,Matt Lawton was in your Cleveland dna history--another good omen...also this article about Everett even made me take heart- -http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-mariners-everett&prov=ap&type=lgns

    ..could it be we jsut don;t understand CArl---he tells us not ot bother him whne he's not smiling

  4. Looks like Foppert's feeling good....


  5. i could never spell the third person possessive pronoun correctly, just ask neddy ballgame's wife, but, i am pretty sure that it's their or thier, and not they're.

    i'm excited for this year because i think that they're going to have a good year, but it will be tough to compete in their division. and the they i am referring to are the mariners.

  6. Hope does spring eternal! I think we'll see a better offense this year because I believe Beltre will fare better; Sexson and Ibanez will continue as they were last season; Betancourt, Reed and Lopez will increase their hitting; Ichiro will bounce back a bit, Johjima will prove to be a good signing on both offense and defense, and Everett and Lawton may prove to be good role players. I think all of that can add up to 6-8 more wins on the basis of more runs being scored.

    If only Meche and Pineiro could post .500 W-L records and ERAs under 4.50... I think Moyer and Washburn can do that. Felix? Who knows, but I think he will be good. Keep Guardado healthy, get Soriano back healthy, utilize Sherrill effectively, keep using Mateo well... I think that's another 6-8 wins.

    I'm thinking we'll get 12 to 16 more wins this year, in what is probably a best-case scenario... that would make our record somewhere between 81-81 and 85-77. A worst-case scenario? We might get half that many more wins and end with a record in the range of 75-87 to 77-85. Average all that up? It comes out to about 80-82. So, I arrived at that non-scientifically but it is right about where Mike L has us pegged.

    Good analysis, Mike! I also wouldn't mind being a Cleveland fan at this point, they have done a good job at building their way back into contention. We'll have to see how the M's do over the next couple of seasons.


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