Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sorry Bill

So, I was wrong about Miguel Batista's contract. And it looks like he is more excited than Vidro about joining the M's. I was holding out hope when I read the paper on Saturday, but I guess the Jose Vidro trade actually did happen.

The interesting part of the Batista article was Bavasi seeming to get defensive about his horrible moves:

Asked if he was concerned about negative fan reaction, general manager Bill Bavasi replied: "I'm the one dealing in the market. I know what the market is. I know what's available. The reaction is probably a whole lot different if I drag you with me for a month, and you see what it's like."

You think the Magic is getting to him? I'm sure that Bill Bavasi knows more about baseball than me. But, what do you think his response would be to Keith Law? Law, after all, worked in the Toronto front office, so I assume that he knows what he is talking about. Yet, his reaction to the trades for Horacio Ramirez and Vidro (scroll down for the Ramirez deal, you can't miss the headline) were only slightly less restrained than ours. And he writes for ESPN.com, so I would assume that he has to be a little more diplomatic than we do. Here are some of Mr. Law's choice comments (and you really should take the time to read the whole thing; they aren't very long) on the Vidro deal:

I have no idea what the Mariners were thinking. None. I had to take two ibuprofen tablets after I learned about the deal so that I could write this analysis.

And on trading Rafael Soriano:

The Braves picked up their probable future closer in exchange for a player whom they almost certainly would have non-tendered next week. The Mariners made themselves worse for no apparent reason other than fear.

This is an outside observer with no rooting interest.

I have a hard time believing that the M's couldn't have gotten more for Soriano than they did. The rumors surrounding Mike Gonzalez involve the Pirates getting Melky Cabrera, who, along with Phillip Hughes, had previously been considered off-limits for trades. Soriano is younger and better than Gonzalez. How did the M's only get Horacio Ramirez?

Maybe the market is that bad. I mean, what do I know? Still, I'm no economist, but if the "market" was only allowing Bavasi to get less than fair-market value for good prospects, well, then maybe it was a good time to stay out of the market. The Ramirez trade could be justified by reasoning that the M's needed a starting pitcher to throw the ball every fifth day. So, I suppose there is an argument to be made that Bavasi was in a position where he had to take less than full value to get a starter to fill out the rotation.

But, is trading for an expensive, injury-plagued contact hitter to DH out of the second spot in the line-up really going to make a noticeable improvement in the team's offense? I can see not wanting to rush pitchers up from the minors before they are ready to take the full-load of a major league season, but why not just call up Jeff Clement to DH instead of getting rid of a young, talented hitter who just can't seem to stay healthy and a young, hard throwing pitcher who needs to work on his control? Those seem like the players that you gamble on. Why gamble $16 million over the next two years on Jose Vidro staying healthy at age 33?

It has been a frustrating week to be a Seattle sports fan. The Seahawks fell apart and failed to clinch against the 49ers at home. (For those who are reading this immediately after coming out of a coma that began in 1991: Joe Montana doesn’t play for the 49ers anymore.) The Hornets' owner announced that they are going back to/staying in New Orleans, leaving Oklahoma City without an NBA franchise. One would think that since the M's are not playing that they could at least avoid depressing their fan base. I guess that would be too much to ask.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Farkin' Hell

So when I said this...

We'll see what Bavasi is made of.

I didn't think Bill Bavasi would proceed to make baseball moves that a learning-disabled ferret could make.

I was planning on my next post being a heartfelt goodbye to Gil Meche, but then shit happened.

The hardest part about living across the country from the teams (and parents-love you Mom and Dad!!) you love is not being surrounded by fellow fans and therefore not being able to share your joys and frustrations on a daily basis. My Mariners lunch box (complete with the old school trident) isn't noticed by my co-workers, and certainly the majority of people I run into in Baltimore don't give a rat's ass that the Mariners have gutted their future for mediocre players.

Mariner fans have seen some bad trades. Especially this combination of deals. But, at least those were in the middle of a pennant race. The M's won the AL West that year. And, they filled a need. I'm just not seeing what Bill Bavasi is doing this time around.

I think there are three kinds of bad trades in baseball. The first two are judged immediately, and the third is judged in the long term:
1. Giving away quality players to get lesser players in return.
2. Trading for a similar player that comes at a much higher price.
3. Giving away prospects for veterans to "win now", only to see the veterans not produce and the prospects go onto stardom.

The Soriano trade covers the first one. The Vidro trade may just cover all three of those. Seriously....

1. Snelling and Fruto combined are more valuable than Vidro. Snelling and Vidro have essentially the same issues (injuries), but Snelling is younger, cheaper, and better. Fruto, as Chris pointed, is not the type of arm you just give away. Oh wait, the Mariners do just give away those types of arms.
2. Even if you consider Snelling and Vidro about even, Snelling comes much cheaper.
3. Vidro is declining, and the Mariners aren't going to win the Sequim, Washington 12-year old All-Star tournament with the team they're throwing out there this year.

This f'ing sucks.

What's Goin On?

The text message I received from Mike this morning:

The M's are killing me with these moves

But, before I address the Mariners directly, allow me to comment again on Daisuke Matsuzaka. When I saw that he signed for six years and $52 million (and yes, as far as I can tell, that was the front page, above-the-fold story in the Boston Globe this morning), I did some quick calculations. Now, I used to teach third graders about estimating, so I am pretty well versed in the art of mental math, and it comes out to less than $9 million per season for Matsuzaka. Of course, the Red Sox will have shelled out around $103 million total for Matsuzaka, or an average of over $17 million per season, but he will see just over half of that. (When I opened the paper this morning, I saw that Thomas Boswell came to the same conclusion: Scott Boros might actually be in the right this time.)

This made me immediately think: Wait a second, didn't the Mariners just sign Miguel Batista for 3 years and $27 million? And doesn't that come out to an even $9 million per year? And doesn't that mean that after all of the hype around Matsuzaka that Miguel Batista will be cashing bigger paychecks for the next three years? And isn't Batista 36? At least he doesn't pitch with his birth certificate.

And, then: Wait a second, didn't Gil freaking Meche just sign with the Kansas City freaking Royals for more money and fewer years? So, five years from now, Gil Meche will have made more money than Daisuke Matsuzaka and have the freedom to sign with any team he wants to the following year?

Something is obviously wrong with this whole posting system when the Seibu Lions just got a check for more than triple their entire payroll. Workers of the world unite!

Anyway, back to the Mariners. Welcome Jose Vidro. I actually heard about this trade last night on the local news here in D.C. George Michael reported on a trade that the Nationals had just completed with the Seattle Mariners, and did not at any point during the report identify the two minor leaguers that the Nationals had obtained. He closed his report thusly:

So, the Nationals have traded Jose Vidro (with an inflection that indicated that he equated Vidro's worth as somewhere in the range of Honus Wagner - a living Honus Wagner that is) for two minor leaguers that you will never hear of . . .

At this point in his sentence, it seemed to dawn on Mr. Michael that these two guys were going to play for the baseball team that his network covers on a regular basis, so he added:

until they become huge stars in the major leagues. And it will happen, but it won't happen in my lifetime.

It reminded me of my mother complaining about George Michael's anti-west coast bias in his national "Sports Machine" broadcasts when I was young. (But, if you are ever in the DC viewing area, don't miss the local NBC news on George's account - though, to be fair, I actually think he is pretty good most of the time - because Jim Vance of NBC 4 is probably among the top five news disseminators of all time. He is really that good.)

So I checked this morning, and it turns out that the Nats will be getting Chris Snelling and Emiliano Fruto. I guess getting rid of Snelling could be justified: he can't stay healthy, and the M's have a glut in the outfield. And, it's not like the M's just gave away an electric bullpen arm. Why would they want to hold on to a pitcher like Fruto and his 55/21 K/BB ratio at AAA last year and his 9.9 K/9 IP combined between AAA and the show who is only 22 and now has some major league experience under his belt and has improved in his second year at each level through the minors? Dime a dozen.

Well, at least they got something good in return. What did they get? I guess that depends on who you ask. ESPN.com suggests that they got a 2B and that Jose Lopez would move to 3B, allowing the M's to trade away Adrian Beltre. The P-I notes that Vidro played some at 1B last year. So, are they implying that Sexson gets traded? Finally, the Seattle Times lets us know that the only reason that Vidro waived his no-trade clause is because he was promised to be able to DH so he could rest his oft-injured legs. Nothing ironic there? You traded for a guy by convincing him that he will have a chance to rest the chronic injuries that have put his career in decline? And you agreed to take on the bulk of his salary to get it done too? Bavasi should be a hostage negotiator.

At least Jose is excited about his new team. Here is what he had to say in today's Washington Post:

I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to go to the American League and play for a team that has a pretty good shot. They have a legitimate lineup, and they're going to sign some pitchers. It's looking very good.

I wonder if he thinks the M's have a really great sense of humor too. "Pretty good shot" at what? Do you think by "legitimate" he meant that they had a good chance of finding nine players to fill each of the spots in the lineup?

You think he got a promise that Miguel Batista and Horacio Ramirez weren't the end of the road? Or, maybe he just forgot that the M's had already signed a pitcher. I wish I could.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

No Schmidt Sherlock

Or, as Fox put it-Schmidt happens.

So, it's Schmidt to the Dodgers. Interesting. Extremely interesting.

I wasn't a huge fan of signing Schmidt, but the M's absolutely have to bring in at least one quality pitcher. But, who? Zito has already been offered 6 years by Texas. No reason at all to give him 6 years. I don't even know if Johan Santana is worth a 6-year contract. That leaves Ted Lilly, who I like. Kinda. But, I worry about what he's going to demand on the market, especially now that Schmidt is gone. Meche? Um, no. Rumors have him gettin $10 million. Sorry, Gil, you know have a special place in my heart, but it's time to let go.

I commented on this in the other post, but I'm a huge fan of this this rumor. Essentially, it's Sexson and Soriano for Tim Hudson and Adam Laroche. Absolutely love that deal. Laroche is a good lefty power bat, and Hudson is not Gil Meche. If that goes down, the rotation would be:

Warm Body
Warm Body

Warm bodies = Woods, Baek, etc. I like the John Thomson idea as the #4 guy. That would be a pretty solid rotation. Not 95-win solid, but better than last year.

We'll see what Bavasi is made of.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Things happen on weekends

Especially when you don't have access to the Internet. Apparantly the Mariners have signed Jose Guillen. I like the signing for a few reasons I'll get into, but it inspired one of the funniest things I've read in a while from Jeff at Lookout Landing:

I imagine a party with Jose Guillen involves Tecate by the gallon, militant graffiti, and at least one guy getting stabbed.

But, I do like the signing because it's low-risk and it shows Bavasi isn't getting sucked in by the this winter's insanity. Of course, there are plenty of crappy deals to be given to crappy players. Guillen can be flat-out nasty (both the good and bad) at times, but if he isn't (or is, depending on your definition), it's only a one year deal and the M's aren't stuck with him.

It looks like John Thomson is going to be a Mariner too. Again, I like the move for basically the same reasons as the Guillen signing. If the only crazy move the M's make this offseason is Jason Schmidt, I'll be fine with that. I can handle waiting until 2008 or 2009 to be competitive if it means avoiding this winter's insanity.

MLB.com owes me some sort of commission for the amount of links I just provided to their website.