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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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September 27, 2007 10:06 AM

Bavasi's rotation

Posted by Geoff Baker

The days are winding down, with the Mariners now having four more games in which to hit the 85-win plateau. We wrote back in spring training that an 85-win season might be enough to get Mike Hargrove and Bill Bavasi off their respective "Hot Seats". Somehow though, these 85 wins don't seem as special as I thought they might.

Hargrove is now gone, so we don't have to worry about him. Let's talk about Bavasi a bit more. Heading into last winter, the common and largely accurate consensus was that his biggest chance to prove himself would be in his reshaping of the team's starting rotation. Again, not to beat an already dead horse's carcass even more, leaving yourself exposed with three rotation vacancies at a time when starting pitching was about to become the game's most scarce commodity is the kind of thing that can hamstring an organization for years.

Or, the kind of thing that leads you to panic and trade away your best setup man for an ineffective lefty starter. You know, since I arrived in Seattle, I've been hearing all types of back channel whispering about how Rafael Soriano had to go. How he really wasn't that great a guy. I have no idea if it's true. Really don't care, to be honest. I have my suspicions that a handful of current Mariners may not be the greatest guys to invite home to dinner. But that's not my problem. None of them seem to be tearing the clubhouse apart. One guy who came close to doing that, Julio Mateo, was shipped off. There were signs of a clubhouse split forming over Mateo and the organization -- to its credit -- decided to distance itself from him after his arrest on charges of assaulting his wife.

No such trail exists for Soriano. He seems to have fit in well in Atlanta. At least, to the point of not tearing that clubhouse apart. So, he's gone. The bullpen still doesn't have a reliable eighth inning guy as of right now, and the team is stuck with the rotation it has. Let's ignore the bullpen-aided wins and losses for a starting five that rarely went seven or more innings with any consistency.

For a quick and simple comparison, the ERA+ stat will do fine. Let's remember the rules about this sabermetric tool. An ERA+ of 100 is right at the average level of performance in the major leagues. Anything higher is that much above average in terms of percentage points, anything lower is that much below it. A score of 102 is 2 percent above average, 98 is 2 percent below.

As always, the numbers take "park factors" into account so that the M's starters won't have pitching-friendly Safeco Field to hide some of their uglier traits.

Without further ado, the 2007 starting five:

Felix Hernandez 106
Jarrod Washburn 99
Miguel Batista 97
Jeff Weaver 68
Horacio Ramirez 60

Yikes. Only Hernandez was above average. Despite a win total difference of five in Batista's favor, he's actually been outpitched by Washburn to a degree. In fact, while a lot of us in the media, me included, keep refering to this staff as "mediocre" the truth is it's been frighteningly below average.

How did the staff do in 2006? The original starting five?

Jamie Moyer 99
Gil Meche 97
Felix Hernandez 96
Jarrod Washburn 93
Joe Pineiro 68

Well, as we can see, all were below average. The difference this year is that Hernandez took a step up. But while 2006 had the usual cluster of guys slightly below average as there was this year, it had one less all-out bomb. You can flip flop the 2007 Weaver with the 2006 Pineiro. But that still leaves Horacio Ramirez all by himself at the bottom of the pack.

Yes indeed, the 2007 rotation was arguably worse than in 2006. So, for me, when I judge whether or not Bavasi did his job well last off-season, this is the first and primary category I turn to. After all, he was the one who allowed the team to enter the winter with three rotation vacancies. He filled all three with below average pitchers. What else can I say? Yes, he tried. Of course he tried.

Free agent pitchers who didn't sign with the M's? Or that the team opted not to go after last winter?

Ted Lilly 118
Daisuke Matsuzaka 102
Jeff Suppan 97
Barry Zito 96

No, there weren't many arms out there who would have made a difference. I didn't even take the cheap shot of counting Meche and his ERA+ of 130 for this year. After all, the M's could have re-signed him. But I'll accept that a change of venue is sometimes good for both pitcher and team. Though it's hard to not feel like Meche, even at his usual mediocre level, could have helped the M's this year. I've left off the scores of other free agents who were injured or who just flat-out bombed. The four above, substituted for Weaver or Ramirez, might have made a difference in getting this rotation more to where it was last year than right now. Zito's money is, obviously, a huge impediment. But put that aside (I know it's hard) and you can see that even his worst year is not that much worse off than the best Seattle starters outside of Hernandez. How much of it was Zito getting used to the National League? Who knows?

Would Lilly have made the M's better? Most certainly. He's a guy who's spent most of his career in the AL, especially the hitter-heavy AL East. He's a flyball pitcher who pitched in the homer-happy confines of Wrigley Field as opposed to the flyball-killing air of Safeco Field. Matsuzaka? He's done OK for a rookie. I'd like to see how he'd do going forward. Would feel much more comfortable about this rotation heading into next season if he was in it.

Rafael Soriano? An ERA+ of 145. But he's a reliever, so let's not go crazy on ERA. Strikeouts-to-walks? 70 to 15. An excellent ratio of more than 4-to-1. J.J. Putz is at 79-to-13 for a quick comparison of where Soriano fares with the game's best late-inning guys. Soriano also has a WHIP (walks-plus-hits-to-innings-pitched) of 0.86. Anything under 1.00 is usually pretty darned good. Just the kind of guy you want working the eighth inning for you.

Clubhouses ruined? None so far.

So, when it comes time to evaluating the job Bavasi did for this team last winter? Can't say I'm all that impressed by the results of the moves that impacted this team the most. But again, when you position yourself behind the eight ball as the M's did heading into last winter, can anyone honestly say they were surprised? Not at the failures on the mound. For me, it's the degree of the failure that shocks and the way it was compounded by one trade.

And now, with the free agent market even more scarce on the pitching front, Seattle heads into this winter knowing the only way to make this staff better will almost certainly come via trade. A long, cold winter indeed looms.

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Posted by Brian Toolson

11:15 AM, Sep 27, 2007

Great observations! I wondered about the Soriano trade last winter. Young player with a great arm and mound presence. Now we have nothing for that transaction. Weaver was a train wreck - not successful in LA or NY - most recent AL cities. I still don't know why we let Moyer go - money couldn't be the issue - I think he signed for about 4 mil - not a great year in Philly but keep him and Soriano. Our farm system, other than a few decent prospects is a bust - finished below 500 at every level. Sexson a bust, Guillen trade awful - he had the only live bat in the line-up in Sept - so trade him? Bavasi goes!!!

Posted by Adam

11:26 AM, Sep 27, 2007

And let's forget about Morrow making the rotation out of ST. Heck, if he makes it into the rotation in 2008 it's a small miracle. He can't throw his fastball straight, he's never gone through a ML lineup more than once, he doesn't throw off-speed pitches with any sort of consistency, and we don't know what his fastball will look like as a starter. If Chaves can get him ready to start come April, it's an incredible feat.

I believe the thing to do is take the attitude that the M's need to BUILD a staff, rather than fill in two holes (see Weaver and Ramirez). And yes, the FA market is pure garbage. So it has to come via trade, and we have to be rather shrewd about a trade.

Tampa has a bevy of young pitchers. I'd go after Andy Sonnanstine, or JP Howell. Both miss bats, both do a pretty good job of getting GBs, and both are young. I'd give up Clement for either one.

I'd also explore a deal with San Fran for Jonathan Sanchez. He also misses bats, but has control problems. He's only 24, is cheap, but with more upside than any lefty we have in our organization other than Tony Butler. And he's ML-ready. If we could unload Sexson, cash, and Balentien for him, I'd do it.

So, that would give us:


Not a great rotation, but I think it will be better you think, and we have three legit young arms which to build upon.

And with Jones in LF everyday next year, the team's defense will be vastly improved, thereby helping the rotation.

And the bullpen should be left alone.

Posted by Ziasudra

11:38 AM, Sep 27, 2007

Geoff - very well put article - how's about we start a letter campaign to Lincoln nominating you as the new GM? You couldn't be any worse, that's for sure (no one could, probably).
Brian - why was the Guillen trade awful? we gave up nothing. Moyer wanted out. Our minor leagues, as you say, have a few decent prospects, but they need proper leadership - where can they find that?
I still think our best bet is get our current assets utilized properly - if that means a half season for Morrow starting in AAA, fine. Get R-S stretched out over the winter, maybe use Rohrbaugh, Baek, Lehr, in the interim. Put Morse at 1st (maybe platoon with Clement). Two new OF's. Detroit did similar in 2006; many other teams have used youngster over the history of MLB - we have the parts - they need oiling up, and synchronizing. Not replacing with rusty junkpile bandaids.

Posted by Danny Baseball

11:42 AM, Sep 27, 2007

No offense Geoff, but I'd rather you keep covering the team for the Times then be the new GM. Did someone say new GM? Chris Antonetti is perfect for that (I pray at night soon to be vacant) job.

Posted by vogel

11:45 AM, Sep 27, 2007

great write ups over the last couple of days, Geoff. and you certainly saved your best for the blog.

i think that the obvious conclusion to draw from this argument is that Bavasi must go. the one thing we need more than anything (starting pitching) is the one thing he has proven he is incapable of getting done.

i think Adam makes a compelling case for a new direction with starting pitching. but there is no way we can trust Bavasi to deliver on this.

unless we want to be stuck in 'Blue Jay mode' -- that is happy to be around 500 and competing for second place -- we have to make a change at the top.

Posted by California Bob Kelly

11:50 AM, Sep 27, 2007

Poor Adam, maybe he had a bad after dinner drink or something else. We do not need another good arm from San Francisco that has control problems. We have enough of those guys already. Look at the strikeout to walk ratio of this's brutal. Last night, I actually saw hope, the young pitcher who relieved Washburn had a plus fastball that moved, a decent slider and he threw strikes. White has the potential to be that 5th starter with a power arm. Via trade, send Sexson, Jones and one of your minor prospects to San Diego or another N.L. team for a decent #2 starter. Vladimir Balentien has a much quicker and shorter stroke than what I have seen of Adam Jones. Clement is the type of left handed power this club desperately needs, and, yes, using Morse, Broussard or Vidro at first makes sense..all Mike Morse has done is hit..go back and look at his stats at Safeco from a couple years back, also.

Posted by Adam

12:07 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Cali Bob - You are about the first person I've seen who considers Balentien a superior prospect to Jones. You might want to tell all those pro scouts who love Jones that they are wrong.

And please don't base your opinion of White on a couple of innings. He's a #5 starter, tops. We don't need to count on him. The only reason he's on the roster is because he was a Rule 5 pick.

And Sanchez does have control problems, but that doesn't mean he isn't worth picking up. He also had a K/G rate of 10.1, he's really good against lefties (a plus for Safeco), and he's young and cheap. He can improve his control. At least it's not as horrible as Morrow's. And his natural skill-set is clearly better than all of our other in-house options.

Posted by oregongal

12:11 PM, Sep 27, 2007

I really hope the logic Geoff used is the same one the M's use to evaluate Bavasi.

I also hope the M's face reality and see that we're more than a pitcher away from contending. I'd rather have a 2-3 year plan to get to a pennant. Forget the short term payoff at the expense of long term payment (Morrow as a reliever this year v. having him as a starter next year). The most depressing item from the LA papers Geoff linked to was the dismay of Stoneman and Scioscia when they took over the Angels. They found out there was no consistent philosophy in the organization, which meant that they had a core of players to work with, but not much else in the way of skill sets, training routines, help from farm teams, etc. They good news is, it didn't take them long to turn it around. There has to be another team out there who can turn around a failed Bavasi organization.

Posted by Fred

12:23 PM, Sep 27, 2007

I suspect management will look this winter at the return it got for its payroll dollars. Bavasi consistently has made short-term, expensive moves to the detriment of the team's longer-term interests.

Clearly trades will be needed in the off-season to bolster the starting rotation. But whom would Bavasi trade? He should take the advice of hia dad's old boss, Branch Rickey: Better to move a player a year early than a year too late.

Sexson is a $14 million burden. He should be dumped for whatever pitching value he can help obtain---even if it means eating much of his inflated salary. Ibanez had a solid statistical year. But his legs clearly are gone and he will never again match his 2007 numbers. Trade him as well and save his salary, making room for Jones.
Vidro and his $8 million salary also should be moved. He cannot run or play in the field and will not again match his 2007 numbers. There is a lot of payroll being eaten by these three. Delete them all and make room for younger replacements.

Lopez has regressed. But he still is a young player and has considerable trading value. Move him now before another downhill year makes him untradeable.

Jones, Balentien, Morse, Clement and Johnson all could make the roster in 2008---and would not eat payroll. They are players on the way up, not expensive players on the way down.

My great fear is that Bavasi will trade one or more of them for mediocre (or worse) starting pitching, believing Sexson, Ibanez, Vidro and Lopez all will perform well in 2008. That will put the franchise even deeper into mediocrity.

The team needs to think in terms of youth and cost-effectiveness...not keep looking for quick one-year fixes which only hurt in the longer run.

Posted by STG

12:27 PM, Sep 27, 2007

oregongal, you make great points.

Geoff Baker:

The Soriano thing is pretty consistent - speculating "connected" - with the Rohn thing from what I gather.

Also, until we get people to replace Dan Evans and Pelekoudas to evaluate MLB talent, we will continue to see Horacio's pour into this clubhouse.

Posted by vogel

12:36 PM, Sep 27, 2007

oregongal: spot on as usual.

STG: i think all of us clamoring for an exit of Bavasi are arguing for the exit of the Bavasi regime. for me, this would mean getting rid of those folks in charge of talent evaluation.

Posted by STG

12:45 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Fred: The "short term moves" and avoiding long term rebuilding was not Bavasi's doing - That falls on Lincoln and Armstrong.

vogel: Lincoln and Armstrong would just bring in another Bavasi clone that they will use as a front man for the committee decisions. Ending Bavasi is not going to cure the "root" of the problem.

Posted by vogel

1:12 PM, Sep 27, 2007

STG: sad but true.

so frustrating...

Posted by Donovan

1:27 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Ok, I've been trying to come up with a straw man 2008 roster plan for you guys to tear apart. Here's the thing - all roster debates rolled up together pale into insignificance compared with the overarching need to improve the rotation, and that's my prime directive. The M's need to lose some salary and (sadly) will have to part with some big time young talent as well. Oh yeah, they have to actually find someone with pitching they are willing to trade. Which prospects or starters they trade will have far more to do with the other team's interests than any master plan. With pitching, it is a seller's market out there, to say the least. This isn't my dream lineup or anything, just one that seems doable.

Here's my "untouchable" core of position players. I'm not going to go too far in justifying it. I just don't think you can replace these guys, and they make the Mariners the Mariners. I'm hardly being conservative here.
Ichiro, Beltre, Betancourt, Johjima

Here are the rest of my opening day position players, ignoring trades, though any of these guys could go for pitching and change the mix:
Starting OF - Guillen, Jones
Starting IF - Lopez, Ibanez
DH - Vidro
Utility/Bench - Bloomquist, Morse, Balentien, Burke, Green

Starting pitchers:
Hernandez, Washburn, Batista, Morrow, ??

Putz, Sherrill, O'Flaherty, Rowland-Smith, Lowe, and some other guy

OK, that's 24 players, leaving one big hole in the rotation. Obviously, the 4th starter could flip-flop with a reliever or another prospect, but those are my 10 pitchers from what we've got. The last bullpen spot TBD in Spring Training. We need 1 more starter, and it needs to be a real ace. I don't want to settle for two pretty good pitchers. Every guy listed above is potentially expendable, except the first 4, plus Felix and JJ. We also have the following prospect trade bait not listed above:
Clement/Johnson (probably not both), Jimerson, Reed

Ok, now for the money side. Here are the ML roster guys I wouldn't bring back and how much dough I'm guessing it frees up for 2008. Mostly, these moves are to free up salary, but they solve other problems as well.
Weaver ($5 million - guestimate, given how he pitched this year for $8 million.)
Sexson ($5 million - guestimate on the net savings of any deal that moves his contract.)
Broussard ($4 million - guestimate, based on his $3.5 million salary this year.)
Reitsma ($2.7 million - his '08 option.)
Ramirez ($2.7 million - what he made this year.)
Rhodes/White/Parrish (about $2 million)

Only Broussard is a valuable commodity to trade for pitching or something else. Sexson is a special, salary dump case, and might not even net that much. The others are non-tenders with no trade value. That frees up maybe $22 million. Some of that has to go to Guillen, who only got $5.5 million this year. The club option is $9 million, but that won't be enough. He wants and deserves a multi-year deal at $10 mill per. If the club is looking to save money, they won't re-sign him, but I think this team needs Jose Guillen almost as much as the 4 guys I labeled untouchable. If he's under contract, I put him on that list too. This lineup takes two big gambles - that we can make Morrow or another of our pitching prospects into a steady starter, and that we don't need to go outside for more offensive power or defense. Some of you won't agree, but all my eggs would go in the starting pitching basket in 2008. If you can trade to improve the offense and bullpen after that goal is met, fine.

So there you go. In round numbers, this approach would give us $17 million or so next year to lavish on a big time pitcher, plus salary increases for current guys. Santana is owed $13.25 million in '08, so if a deal could be reached and he waives his no-trade clause (he has one), he could fit without too much payroll escalation. What would the Twins ask for in return? Maybe Broussard, Jones, and Clement? Maybe you could swap Johnson for Clement, but Jones would be the key. Torii Hunter will not be playing CF in MN in 2008. If it came to that deal, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Posted by Jeff

1:32 PM, Sep 27, 2007

People keep forgetting who brought Bavasi in. Chuck Armstrong. He is positioned between Howard Lincoln ( who wasn't a baseball man) and the rest of the mangement team. The current state of the Mariners is also in large part now on Armstrong and then his hire of Bavasi. Complete diasters. Armstrong could have kept Pat Gillick ( who was there in 2001) or brought in Omar Minaya or even Jim Beattie, former Mariner who did so well with Montreal and then Baltimore. Armstrong and Bavasi need to go now.The Mariners have some huge decisions to make this winter and they can't afford any more of Bavasi's gambles.

And why does everyone keep touting Adam Jones? I saw him with the Rainiers playing Portland and then since his call ups. He hits home runs or strikes out....lots. And his fielding is atrocious and not getting better.A lot of mental mistakes and a bad temper. Morse and Clement need to be kept and Morse is out of options.Ibanez at first and Morse in left. He has played outfield before and he is a terific player and getting better ( see last two nights).

Posted by scout

1:35 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Let's just hope Lincoln has the smarts to be reading this blog, which wasn't around last year. Because of Geoff and the give and take, it's the smartest forum going.

Posted by MRB

2:13 PM, Sep 27, 2007

You are implying that the 'official line' on the Soriano trade was that it was to cover for Bavasi's incompetency to put together a starting rotation, rather than the real reason which was Soriano was an asshole? Who's benefiting from this?

Posted by dr

2:28 PM, Sep 27, 2007

This winter will be about starting pitching as everybody already knows. Also, we know the FA market won't offer much bang for the buck. Trades will have to be the major route to travel if there is any hope of reconfiguring the Ms' starting rotation. That requires a shrewd negotiator w/keen-eyed scouts/talent evaluators. I have no idea where the Ms' evaluators (beyond BB) rank compared to other teams as luck, chance and skill all play their respective parts in team building.

That said, Bavasi had a reasonable amount of time to show progress. 85 wins might have pleased some folks who will claim the Ms contended into September. Not really. They fell apart the last week of August and never recovered no matter how many games they subsequently won AFTER the die was cast. The Ms' drastic free-fall demonstrates pitifully the "house of cards" (Ms' rotation) put together by an increasingly desperate Bavasi during last off-season. Bavasi has shown he can spend $$$, but he has not demonstrated that he can obtain value for those dollars. And the Soriano-for-HoRam trade will never show up in the "plus" column for BB. That trade could be his legacy here.

However, from a hindsight perspective, I was not that unhappy, last year, to see Pinero and Meche go since neither had shown the kind of consistency required of legit #2 or 3 starters (forget #1). And they had plenty of opportunity during their tenure with Seattle. Of course, I had no idea the rotation would subsequently look like the one we got for 2007. Now, Meche looks pretty decent (but not Pinero). But that's all hindsight.

The issue of what to do with the AAA guys will sort itself out during this off-season. Do expect to see several of the "big names" from our AAA gone via trades. Whether we get value for them will depend on who's doing the dealing. Bavasi is not that guy. And I will tell you, GMs who ARE shrewd negotiators are VERY hard to land. Even Gillick admitted that he didn't like working trades but preferred the FA route.

As for McLaren - I'm torn. I'd be interested in seeing what he would (not could) do with his "own" team beginning in the Spring, but I'm afraid he might be one of those bench coaches who just never makes the jump to the "big dawg's" spot. Kind of like the player who is superb at AAA but can't quite cut it at the MLB level.

This off-season could be almost as interesting as the season - let's hope for better end results, tho'.

Posted by scottM

2:41 PM, Sep 27, 2007

GEOFF, I want to compliment you on your two balanced feature articles to help sum up this season. You framed the hardest questions for the M's very well. I honestly believe that the vibrancy of this blog, including the level of attention you gave to this forum as blogmaster, gave you a strong pulse of the core of the M's fanbase. I, for one, appreciate how this was reflected in these prominent feature pieces.

Of course, you won't be shocked to know that I appreciated how the way you focused on the Parrish/White debacle as the most obvious visible component of our disasterous skid. Again, the biggest fault there was not Bavasi trying to shore up an obvious team deficiency, or McLaren playing these guys, but how McLaren inserted White, especially, as an instant fix, the manner in which he was used as our immediate eighth inning set-up guy. This huge roll of the dice came without White, in anyway earning that role through lesser appearances.

I also agree with how you point to Bavasi's decision to leave the team exposed by dumping three starters last year. Meche, based on several key choke moments in 2006, would have been a big risk to re-sign, but in retrospect, we should have kept him. Like you, there is reason not to go too hard on BB for that specific move. Washburn may have had a ERA+ of 99, but the guy is, like Meche, was superb at choking when we need him most. Plus, he's only good for about 85 pitches a game. He is, at best this year, a legitimate #3 or #4 starter for this team.

Anyway, good work, GEOFF, and throw a bone to the many astute bloggers whom you've attracted to this forum! Everyone has benefited!

Posted by jon

2:45 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Nice work, Donovan. One thing, thought. Jose Guillen is not getting just $5.5 mil. That was his base salary for 2007. He had incentives of $3 million and I'm quite certain he reached them all (since they are typically based on plate appearances, etc.).

Posted by CB

2:53 PM, Sep 27, 2007

bri in OR
Great comments a few blogs back re Adam Jones. It's laughable for someone to state and believe it fact that Adam Jones is a better player than Vidro or Ibanez. He may likely become a better player than either of them, but until he's had a few major league seasons with more than 20 home runs and 100 rbi or bats over .300 he is not yet a better player. I do hope Adam becomes a fixture in the outfield for the Ms, but until he actually produces on the major league field it would be nice if the Adam Jones for President club gets off its soapbox for a bit.

Posted by Mike

3:08 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Excellent summary Geoff. You nailed it.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

3:24 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Geoff - Where do you get these people? Based on this logic Adam Jones will never become a great player since he will never get enough at bats to achieve veteran "greatness".

Posted by CB

3:33 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Adam will get all those at bats next year and then we can all judge for ourselves how good a major league player he actually is rather than speculate. Yeah, Geoff where do you get these people who are so logical and smart when it comes to Adam Jones?

Posted by Adam

3:36 PM, Sep 27, 2007

CB - A player's skill depends on the numbers he puts up? Huh?

Does that mean that Sammy Sosa, Nomar, or Craig Biggio are better players than Adam Jones?

Why in the world are so many people so anti-youth? Give me 9 Adam Jones, you take 9 Raul Ibanez', and I'll win 7 out of 10, easily.

Talent is talent, regardless of what numbers the player has or has not put up.

Posted by Mr. X

3:43 PM, Sep 27, 2007

I agree, that Adam Jones comment was good for a belly laugh. Just like a previous comment that Jones is the best player in baseball without a starting job. It reminds me of the people who were salivating over Wille Bloomquist after his inital callup, only 10 times as silly. I'm hoping that Jones becomes an everyday player, but some people need to put on the brakes and come back to reality. Let's just be glad that Bavasi didn't trade him (since he's "blocked")for Jeff Conine, Aubrey Huff, or Kevin Millar.

Posted by Adam

3:46 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Mr. X, instead of mindlessly scoffing at the notion that Jones is the best player w/o a starting gig, why not just name some bench players who are better?

It would actually give you some credibility...

Posted by Mike

3:46 PM, Sep 27, 2007


These people ARE logical and smart when it comes to Adam Jones. Minor league stats are a good indicator of major league results. Are they a guarantee? No. But they are a good predictor.

Posted by CB

4:00 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Let's see, someone stated on an earlier thread that Adam Jones is a better player than Raul. They didn't state that Adam had more skills. I guess some are very sure Adam would have hit .290 with 20 hrs and 100 rbis as Raul will do. At this stage of Raul's career I'll give you that Adam has more potential and overall skill. A better major league player? Not yet.

Posted by Adam

4:05 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Let's see, HRs and RBIs do not the better player make...

Posted by Adam

4:21 PM, Sep 27, 2007

McLaren will be back next year.

What the heck is wrong with the people running this team?


Posted by vogel

4:22 PM, Sep 27, 2007

well, our worst case scenario is now reality: Stone breaks Bavasi and McLaren back for 2008.

this is such a bummer. we can look forward to the "bluejayification" of the Mariners.

Posted by Mr. X

4:26 PM, Sep 27, 2007

I believe that you, and the website that you ape on a regular basis do not know the difference between a prospect and a bench player. Comparing Jones to actual bench players would be even more silly, becuase most bench players have a track record, which Jones doesn't have. The argument wasn't Jones versus bench players. That list would have to include prospects, and Adam Jones is not the best prospect in Major League Baseball. If he were, he would have no problem *taking* a starting spot. Great prospects perform when they get an opportunity, and make it near impossible to keep them off the field. He has not done that, and there are several players who have, recently in fact.

When Adam Jones does *earn* a starting spot, who will then be the best player without a starting job, and will you tirelessly campaign on their behalf? Let's see your top 5 list. Of course you don't have one, because the blog that gave you your opinion didn't have one. If you ask nicely, they might provide you with one, and with your next opinion at the same time.

Contrary to your often repeated challenge, opinions that aren't backed up by facts do not require facts to refute them. "I know you are, but what am I" is not an argument.

Posted by Librocrat

4:32 PM, Sep 27, 2007

It doesn't matter anymore. Howard Lincoln just said Bavasi and McLaren are coming back. We can just mass print all the lineup cards now, to save time. Than McLaren doesn't even need to show up.

Posted by scottM

4:41 PM, Sep 27, 2007

I think the give McLaren a full season sentiment won out. I also think that Bavasi's hot seat will be hotter than ever. If by early June this team isn't close to the AL West lead, then I expect that both McLaren and Bavasi will be replaced. I say this because there will be a significant hit in the attendance figures, the main thing these owners pay attention to.

OK, BB, the whole world's watching. (Or at least the M's fans). Get us some friggin' pitchers). Take a whole lotta heat off of your posterior by working some magic for Santana!!!

Posted by Librocrat

4:47 PM, Sep 27, 2007

ScottM, I hope you're not holding your breath.

Posted by Bill

4:49 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Wow, so much for waiting for the end of the season, and that sure was a quick "season review."

"Mariners president Chuck Armstrong says a complete season review has yet to take place, that McLaren is being evaluated on daily performance and that these September games mean something.

"Howard [Lincoln] and myself, we haven't even talked about Bill," Armstrong said. "I would imagine that, once this season is done, we'll start looking ahead to next year. But for now, we're really just focused on what's happening this year."

Posted by Adam

4:50 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Nice try, Mr.X - I've already taken the time to look through the depth chart of each major league team. You'll find that most teams have already put their top "prospects" into their lineups.

But here's my top five:

1. Justin Upton (Not as far along developmentally as Jones, but he's going to be a star)
2. Lastings Milledge
3. Chad Tracy
4. Johnny Damon
5. Cameron Maybin

It's actually pretty hard to put up a decent Top 5 list, because, obviously, most teams think it's a good idea to put their best players on the team on a regular basis.

And they do it even if the younger players struggle at first. You say that Jones got his chance, but blew it.

Here's the lines for some notable rookies in their first 40 or so ABs:

Ryan Braun: .268/.311/.488
Troy Tulowitzki: .179/.304/.231
Chris Young: .154/.190/.256
Adam Jones: .279/.326/.465

And those first three were getting ABs on an almost-every-day basis, contrary to Jones.

So tell me again how Jones blew his shot, while others (namely, the top three candidates for NL Rookie of the Year) did not...

Posted by polyesterman

4:52 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Yippee skippee, apparently mediocrity is good enough for our ownership. More bad trades and second place at best baseball for next season! Way to bring back those "proven vets" McLaren and Bavasi because this year's 2nd place finish was good enough for Seattle!

Posted by Adam

4:57 PM, Sep 27, 2007

One more thing, Mr. X; you say this:

That list would have to include prospects, and Adam Jones is not the best prospect in Major League Baseball. If he were, he would have no problem *taking* a starting spot.

Are you seriously implying 1) that the Mariners would be smart enough to put the best prospect in the game in the lineup, and 2) that Jones wasn't in the discussion of "best prospect in baseball" in July?

His numbers compared quite well to Braun's or Hunter Pence's, and he's a better defender than both, and played in a more difficult home park than both. Are you sure it's that obvious that Jones isn't one of the top prospects?

Posted by j_fan

5:11 PM, Sep 27, 2007

The argument was that Jones was the best prospect that not starting regularly in the majors at the time he was called up, not that he was the best prospect in baseball. Not only fanblogs but scouts and members of other front offices were said to have been surprised at how long it took the Mariners to call him up. And then they hardly played him at all after they did. They might as well have kept Ellison if that was going to be the case.

It's hard to expect anyone, let alone a developing player, to perform well with inconsistent playing time and even if they do get the PT, it's not a guarantee. Alex Gordon, 3B for the Royals, a consensus top 5 prospect at the start of the year and a candidate for Rookie of the Year, was handed the starting job out of spring training and after 2 months was hitting .185/.301/.298.

Adam Jones was dominating the highest level of the minor leagues. He had nothing left to prove in AAA. He was as ready to play full-time as any prospect could be and yet the M's couldn't find a way to manage it. Too bad he couldn't pitch...

Posted by Swung On And Belted

5:44 PM, Sep 27, 2007

I just heard the news. Bavasi and Mac are coming back. UGGGHHH! ( gag, puke, and choke ). The is the F.O. giving the fans " The Finger " once again. Thanks a lot gentlemen!

Posted by Cubby

6:14 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Posted by Adam at 03:36 PM, Sep 27, 2007
Give me 9 Adam Jones, you take 9 Raul Ibanez', and I'll win 7 out of 10, easily.
HAHAHA! I haven't been posting back here because this blog has become pretty boring. Sadly, Geoff, it's become a gossip column. I know the M's are no longer that interesting at this time of the season, but c'mon, surely you can write about other teams that are doing well?

Anyway, kudos to you, Adam, for the laughs! Thanks, dude! LOL.

I cannot believe you are still convinced of this fallacy about Jones. Jones had the entire last two months of the season to prove his worth. To be blunt about it: I haven't seen anything special coming out of this guy. NOTHING. Haven't even seen any signs that he's destined to be a better player than, say, Scott Podsednik — and I'm not just talking about defensive fielding either.

I originally wanted Jones to start CF next year (yeah, not Ichiro), but after seeing him play these last days, I'm largely unimpressed. And apparently, so are lots of fans.

Nothing wrong with going with youth. I'm all for bringing in younger, stronger, better players. But they had better be producing. Don't wanna have to see any more Sean Greens on this team.

Posted by Cubby

6:26 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Posted by Adam at 04:57 PM, Sep 27, 2007:
His numbers compared quite well to Braun's or Hunter Pence's... Are you sure it's that obvious that Jones isn't one of the top prospects?
Not answering for Mr. X, but yup! I'm absolutely sure he's not one of the top prospects. Hell, to use your analogy, you can have 8 Adam Jones on your team, and I'll have 5 Josh Fields on mine, and I'll shellack your team 7 times out of 10! LOL. And you can even check your stats and predict what 5 JFs can do vs. 8 AJs. 5 might be overkill. I might only need 3 Josh Fields!

Posted by Adam

7:09 PM, Sep 27, 2007

Cubby, Cubby, Cubby...

Do you even understand what a "small sample size" is? And what its significance is in statistical analysis?

Of course not...

When you say Jones has had two months to prove himself, that's an out and out lie. And you know it. Jones has had 62 ABs. That's it.
A hitter who plays regularly can get 62 ABs in less than three weeks. A hitter who plays regularly for two months accumulates close to 200 ABs. Don't even try to argue that Jones has had plenty of time to prove himself, or that we can pass judgment on him after 62 ABs.

Here's some other players' OPS for their first 62 ABs:

Jones: .670
Tulowitzki: .541
Chris Young: .609
Dustin Pedroia: .536
Ibanez: .614
Vidro: .709
Josh Fields: .654
Alex Gordon: .536

Using your "logic", the Rockies, D-Backs, Red Sox, Mariners, White Sox, and Royals should have known that these players had blown their shot and should not have played, right?

I'm not expecting you to reply, but if you happen to muster up the courage to do so, I look forward to it...

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