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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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June 4, 2008 11:10 PM

No one immune

Posted by Geoff Baker

Liked that manager John McLaren stated the obvious today, that none of his players are immune from criticism for this year's utter collpase. That was before his profanity-laden tirade after yet another defeat, but for me, the pre-game stuff was more important. Sorry I wasn't around earlier today. But I had four hours sleep after last night's game, then flew all day today to Montreal so I could spend tomorrow's off-day with my mother before flying back to Boston. Got an inlking of what was taking place today during breaks between my three different flights. But only now am I catching up with all of it. I was going to post this blog tomorrow morning, having written much of it on my final flight leg. But since all the spit is hitting the proverbial fan tonight, might as well give you something to chew on a little early.

The scary part of what McLaren said is that he was bang-on. Yes, scary. Not scary for me. Nor for the players, really, since they have yet to suffer any serious reprecussions for what's gone on other than losing some refreshments and towels post-game.

No, when I say scary, I'm talking about all of you. You should be very afraid for your team. And not just for this year. We're talking next season as well. I touched on this theme a few weeks back. About how management needed to gauge this club to see what the biggest problem was. A few weeks ago, I was convinced this was just a one-year happening. A convergence of events -- a Perfect Storm if you will -- that had contributed to send this $117 million luxury cruise liner to the bottom of the ocean. Add a few good hitters, I figured, and you could clean the mess up by next season and take another shot at contending.

Now, I'm not so sure. And judging by the actions -- or lack of action other than yelling and screaming -- by the team's ownership and management, I don't think they are too sure either. The Mariners seem to be an organization paralyzed by indecision. I feel for them. Because right now, if it was my finger on the button, I honestly could not say whether it's best to do that "two or three big bats" move or blow the whole thing up.

Those of you poised to make some flippant jokes about that last line, please don't. It's never easy for any organization to "blow it up''. The only folks who find that an easy route are fans looking for an outlet through which to vent anger. I understand that. But it's no way to run a baseball team. Blowing up the Mariners means, at minimum, waiting another three years before contending again. Hoping for something quicker is akin to fooling yourselves. Billy Beane isn't taking over this team tomorrow. Whoever is running the show in 2009 will be hard-pressed to contend before 2012 if he or she "blows it up". Get it straight. Get it right. Do not delude yourselves, please.

But here I am, starting to think that "blowing it up" might be the best idea. Remember when we talked about a "culture of losing" in this team's clubhouse? You're seeing it on the field night after night. Don't give me any more lines about players "working hard" and "trying'' behind the scenes. Not good enough. They are being paid seven figures on average to produce results. They are not doing it. Haven't done so for over a month. The only teams they have beaten since May began are the Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers (once) and a Red Sox team that can't win on the road. Those three other clubs I mentioned are stiffs. All of them. This team has done nothing for over a month.

The Mariners have gotten used to losing. Young and old. Hefty and skinny. Short and tall. They are all used to an environment where losing has become acceptable. How do I know this? Because they've been losing non-stop since May 1 and the only Opening Day player to lose a job was Cha Seung-Baek. And he only lost it because his arm was gassed and the team needed a knuckleballer to pitch every other day in relief of starters not getting the job done.

So, that's how I know this team is getting used to losing. Why wouldn't it? I've been trying for over a month now to point out examples in print of how this team just might be infested with a losing culture. I was afraid this was what I was seeing, going back beyond that May series in Texas. Now, I'm convinced it has taken hold. How do you get rid of it? Well, it's a little like a termite problem. You can cut out a couple of floor boards and hope to rid the rest of the house of any problem.

Or, sometimes you have to blow the house up.


I can guarantee you these thoughts are running through the minds of those people now running this team. They have to be. If not, then Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong should resign.

They had better be interested in figuring out whether this culture of losing can be eradicated.

After all, they helped create it through their own inaction and lack of accountability. They are not alone in this organization, believe me. But it's the guys at the top who set the tone for an organization. In my brief time here, the Seattle Mariners have seemed to operate like an organization that does not feel it has to answer to anybody. We won't get into how they play in a taxpayer subsidized ballpark. That's for another day. But I've never been shy in pointing out that the Mariners, as an organization, love their secrets.

Want to know why Kenji Johjima was given a three-year contract extension when the team has a No. 1 draft pick at catcher on the verge of being ready for the major leagues? Too bad. Who do you think you are? Trust the Mariners. They know what they're doing.

Feel good about that answer? Me neither. Don't worry though, we're not alone. I sit and talk to people around the game on every road trip and the Johjima question is one of the first I'm asked after the one about when Richie Sexson will be released.

But the Mariners don't really give the appearance of caring whether or not you understand things like the Johjima deal. At least, not beyond the few lines they'll offer up at a press conference. Doesn't matter to them whether or not you think it makes sense.

But why pick on Johjima? What about Rafael Soriano? What was the big hurry in getting rid of him before last season? Armstrong suggested in an AP report last fall that there were issues with Soriano. But he would not elaborate. Why would he? Why go to that kind of trouble when he can just drop some innuendo? After all, who's going to call him on it?

Who are the Mariners, as an organization, really accountable to? I mean, check out what's going on. This is a team that spent $117 million on payroll but finds itself on-pace to lose 104 games. And yet, other than Baek and Brad Wilkerson before him, no one has really paid a price.

Hey, it's their team. I know you're angry. I'm disappointed that a group of players I thought was capable of making the playoffs now has a shot at being the worst club in franchise history. Very disappointed. Both in my pick and the players themselves. A lot of soul searching has gone on behind this laptop the last two months, let me tell you.

I don't like to be this wrong about a pick. Ever.

But you can't simply suck your thumb and hide in a corner because something you predicted didn't happen. You have to look for answers. I've tried to do that here since late-April, when it was obvious something was amiss. For the M's sake, Lincoln and Armstrong had better be doing the same.

To be fair, the Mariners did something back in April. As I mentioned, they held Wilkerson accountable and shipped him off. They shipped off Greg Norton as well, which I don't consider holding anyone accountable since he was one of the few bright spots on the team. But at least, they tried to shake things up. Wladimir Balentien has struggled. Jeff Clement struggled on too grand a scale to be left in the major leagues. He's gotten his bat back to normal in Class AAA again and it's about time he's brought up.

The real accountability starts now and this team can't shirk its responsibilities. This isn't about firing everyone in sight, or shipping players off to appease the Baseball Gods anymore. The appeasement part should have happened two or three weeks ago. Should have happened when Bill Bavasi, rightly so, hammered away at his players for a lack of clubhouse leadership and accountability. Sexson could have been released then and there to make a point. That a culture of losing is unacceptable in Seattle. That someone is going to pay a price if that culture seeps into this team.

But that message was not sent. Empty words. Threats that aren't carried out. Keep on losing and keep on playing. That's become the M's way. And it is accepted. Every fan over the age of 5 has figured that out. Carlos Silva has figured it out. Bill Bavasi knows it. McLaren knows it, despite going out of his way to cover for and protect the players who are going to ultimately cause him to lose his job. If anyone on this team has been accountable, it's been McLaren. If his players covered for him on the field with even half the energy he's used up protecting their reputations off it, the team wouldn't be in this mess.

I actually feel sorry for McLaren, watching him go through his daily routine. He continues to front for players for whom losing has become a way of life. Continues to front for an organzation that provides no teeth to its tiresome bark. Continues to bear the responsibility of the franchise (and the livelihoods of his coaching staff) on his shoulders every single day -- out in public -- while those pulling the real strings are rarely seen or heard from. Until today, anyhow. Today, we got Armstrong and Bavasi in a rare public double-header. Though Armstrong apparently didn't want his yelling at coaches this morning to become public. Why would he? He's on record saying they've done a tremendous job.

McLaren will continue to get ripped to shreds daily for his every decision. Believe me, I know how this game works. Some of it will be justified, some of it not. It doesn't matter any more. We've gone beyond McLaren's in-game moves. I'm getting the sad feeling we'll never get to see the manager McLaren could have become -- at least not in an M's uniform. He's been operating in crisis mode from almost Day One, dating back to Mike Hargrove's sudden resignation last year. Some guys find themselves in such a mode. Others need more normal circumstances before they can thrive.

McLaren will never get that here. Not when Hargrove resigned, nor last August, when this same group of players stopped winning, and not now, when they never started winning. This isn't meant to excuse McLaren. By any measurement, he has not gotten the job done here. But I don't know that anyone could have under these circumstances. Bobby Valentine, Joe Torre, John McGraw, Casey Stengel. Are you kidding me? How good were they at bringing the runner home from third with less than two out?

Those of you who want McLaren's head, don't worry, you're bound to get it at some point. No manager can withstand having a team that underperforms like this.

But if any of you think Valentine is going to waltz into Seattle and turn this group into a 90-win squad overnight, I can't believe you've been watching the same games. When a team gets to a stage like this, where its management is forced to treat them like children post-game to get them to act like big-leaguers, the problems run beyond any one man.

Some of you keep asking for names. I've given you pages full of them these past few weeks. You can more or less take anybody on that roster save for Brandon Morrow and R.A. Dickey and make a case for how they've contributed to this team's losing. Yes, even some of your favorite players. Frankly, I don't see anybody on this roster who isn't expendable. Yes, I did just write that. Obviously, they can't all go. But some will have to.

Just how many will be up to ownership and management to figure out. How far gone is this culture of losing? Can the patient be saved? As I said, I'm not convinced it can be.

I've listened to people say that "going younger" and employing more statistical analysis is the key to this team's future. I agree and disagree with both statements. Certainly, the Mariners must do more to look at statistical projections -- especially on the defensive side. We all suspected this wasn't a great defensive team. I didn't think the defense would sink this season but by no means did I think it was all that good. None of the the more modern defensive metrics come out in Seattle's favor. And yet, the team keeps insisting it has a very good defense. It doesn't. Sorry. We've already voted. The eyes have it.

As far as "going younger" this team is already going to be pretty young next season. Out of the eight position players who aren't pitchers, half of them -- Yuniesky Betancourt, Jose Lopez, Balentien and Clement -- will be in their mid-20s. That's young. Three of those four are not hitting the ball. Lopez is, but has some defensive issues, as does Betancourt.

Yes, I know there are a bunch of over-30 guys not producing. That includes Sexson, Jose Vidro, Kenji Johjima and lately, Raul Ibanez. Adrian Beltre has been a big disappointment for me. Some of you think he's having an all-star year because he's popped some home runs. In my book, nobody who hits .150 from the middle of the order with runners in scoring position can be viewed a success. And remember, he's under-30. This is not strictly an "old guy" thing. Erik Bedard is under 30 and he's been a disappointment -- to me, at least, as i wrote last night and in last week's newspaper feature on what's gone wrong this year. Same with under-30 Silva. Felix Hernandez is "young talent" but has not progressed beyond last year.

The problems on this team stretch across the spectrum. As McLaren said, nobody is immune. Many of the older problems will be shed by next year. But the younger players on this team have to shown how to play this game the right way. They have to be taught that a culture of losing is not acceptable in major league baseball. It's not their job to teach. But it is their job to learn.

And I'm not sure whether adding more "young talent" to a roster that's got its share of young guys playing losing baseball already is the easy answer.

Want an easy answer? Bring in some established talent that can win when the pressure's on. That can teach younger players to play the game right and conduct themselves appropriately as major leaguers off the field and in the clubhouse. That can add production to this team, not just a name on a sweater. That can get the existing "young talent" on this club to fire on all cylinders like a Brandon Morrow. And that will have the courage to breathe fire like Jose Guillen while managing to stay respected at the same time.

That's the easy answer. If I was earning a seven-figure salary to run this team, I might even try to put some of it into practice. But that's not my job. I just call things the way I see them and let the folks earning the big bucks try to clean up their own mess.

They'd best get started now at figuring out what comes next. Because 2009 isn't too far off. If this team waits any longer before taking some real action, next season might soon be just as cooked as 2008.


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Posted by Adam

11:21 PM, Jun 04, 2008

Can't say I disagree with the idea of blowing it up.


The scary and frustrating part for Mariner fans is just the fact that we have ZERO faith in the decision-makers, and rightly so. If they decide to re-tool, or to blow it up, the concern remains the same - will someone competent being doing that job?

There is no courage, no committment, no sense of responsiblity in this organization.

This is why it sucks to be a Mariners fan.

Posted by Menelaus

11:28 PM, Jun 04, 2008

Geoff, When will the day where we talk about the "taxpayer financed stadium"? I'm right with you that accountability to the fans is long-overdue. But seriously, no one talks about the bigger issues anymore. The fact that we payed $500M for a stadium just so Howard Lincoln could print money. The fact that the fans are completely patronized every night with dancing grounds crews and hydroplanes when a terrible baseball team is the main attraction. I understand you may not WANT to talk about all of that, but some of us DO. Please don't wait!!

Posted by scrapiron

11:32 PM, Jun 04, 2008

I was wondering what your take on it was going to be Geoff. Excellent analysis.

I do slightly disagree with the "it's not an old thing" issue. Sure, some younger players are underperforming, but young players can still be molded into winners. You can't teach an old dog how to win.

Sexson and Vidro should be DFA'd. Ibanez can stay if he'll play first base, otherwise he has value and can be traded for some young talent. Burke has to go to make room for Clement and Johjima to share catching duties. I would suggest trading Johjima, but I think ownership would have a problem with dealing their star pupil. But reduced time behind the plate should not be ruled out. Washburn and Batista need to be traded.

Purge yourself of the bad mojo!

Posted by jj

11:33 PM, Jun 04, 2008

I agree with Geoff in a lot of ways. However, maybe a couple of guys like Jose Guillen around would make a big differnence and we don't have to blow this thing up.

By the way, who are the players who contribute to this losing attitude?

Posted by scrapiron

11:37 PM, Jun 04, 2008

Adam - I'm not against "blowing it up", but I'm petrified with Bavasi at the trigger. Can you imagine how he'd rebuild the team? I shudder to think.

No, blow it up after you put Antonetti at GM and rebuild it with a sabremetric plan.

But I think that Armstrong and Lincoln don't "get" the new math and don't want to be part of it. Could they possibly change their mindset?

Posted by Cycnical Optimist

11:44 PM, Jun 04, 2008

I think anything we say at this point has already been said over and over. I supported some of these guys longer than just about anybody but even I have to face facts now. No matter how much I had given up on Sexson, I still had a glimmer of hope that this thing or that thing would be what turned him around. But we live in reality, not in fairie land, and I admit too he is officicaly done. Two years ago when I saw Betancourt and Lopez, I thought that soon they would be the best infield duo in baseball but they do not learn from mistakes and have never progressed from 2006. I still root for them and they are both hitting right now but I'm extremely disappointed in two of my favorite players. I don't think we would be mad about rebuilding if we hadn't already been doing that for the last 5 years, we don't want to wait another 2 or 3 when we're supposed to be winning now. Plus, I just don't have faith in the FO do make the moves to make this team good. And the owner for those who don't know, not only doesn't ever go to games but he's crazy too. He almost singlehandedly runied Nintendo and now he's runing the Mariners. PAUL ALLEN NEEDS TO BUY THIS TEAM. BRING BACK PAT AN LOU!

Posted by GLS

11:44 PM, Jun 04, 2008

What kind of "established talent" do you think would be willing to come here for a rebuilding effort/youth movement?

Posted by alpenfan

11:45 PM, Jun 04, 2008


This team is a desperate wounded animal and it's about to be thrown into a caged deathmatch at the baseball equivalent of the Roman Colloseum: Fenway Park.

I predict a clubhouse brawl, Mariner fighting Mariner, before the series is over. Maybe McLaren will go completely insane and set fire to the clubhouse with the doors chained shut as Bavasi suggested. Anything seems possible right now.

Posted by McBleep

11:46 PM, Jun 04, 2008

Hey John McLaren - Profanity is the resort of a weak character, it really does you not good other than make you look bad. Why give in to such behavior? Now perhaps Howie, Chuckie, and Billie will have reason to at last fire you.

Profanity is no motivator, it just makes you sound emotional, you need to be more intellectual in your approach to the game. But your time has come, time for that pink slip. Try and take Bill with you, please.

Posted by Will

11:49 PM, Jun 04, 2008

A reason for optimism all M's fans. Look at this scenario for the future.

Bavasi keeps his job for next year. Mac is sacrificed for another guy approved by Bavasi with the same managerial skillset.

Instead of underperforming, in 2009, the team overperforms. Think a record a little better than 2007. In addition, Bavasi goes out and gives Mark Texiera a monster deal. He also gets Jon Garland to replace Miiguel Batista or Washburn as the 5th starter. Raul becomes the DH. Vidro and Cairo are both gone. Mariners win the 2009 World Series and Bavasi becomes GM for life. Cheers.

Posted by Swung On And Belted

11:49 PM, Jun 04, 2008

Very well said Geoff! It is encouraging to see that you are starting to realize the very same things that many of us have suspected for some time now. You have a way with words and have said it far better than most of us ever could. I hope your words carry some weight. I hope the FO is listening and is in the midst of doing the serious soul searching that you speak of.

Posted by BrianL

11:50 PM, Jun 04, 2008

Well, I guess I'll be the one person to come to Adrian Beltre's defense once again. I'll make this short and sweet.

Beltre is posting a Line-Drive rate of 20.4%. That's way better than his marvelous 2004 campaign. At the same time, his BABIP sits at .238, well under the .290 league average and WAY under his career norms. The only person in baseball suffering from worse luck than Beltre is Jason Giambi.

I imagine that if his BABIP was closer to that league-average .290 mark, he would be batting at a .270 clip with an .850+ OPS.

Posted by Tacoma Rain

11:51 PM, Jun 04, 2008

Geoff,
First things first.
What players want to stay here??? I can not imagine that either Beltre or Bedard want to. Despite these guys being two of the better players (judged by talent, not 2008 results), it looks to me that they are just going thru the motions and NOT CARING if the team wins or loses.
This is the big problem.

Posted by Jakob

11:58 PM, Jun 04, 2008

"Bring in some established talent that can win when the pressure's on. That can teach younger players to play the game right and conduct themselves appropriately as major leaguers off the field and in the clubhouse."

That was exactly what the M's tried to do in 2004 and they lost 99 games. Then they tried it again in 2005 with different players, and it didn't work again.

It's not a viable strategy.

Posted by JMH

11:59 PM, Jun 04, 2008

It starts by recognizing who definitely aren't going to be contributors for 2009 and getting them off the field now. Playing time for them does nothing for the future. That's Sexson, Vidro, Washburn, Batista, and Cairo. Maybe Rhodes too. Replace them with kids who "might" be contributors, and give them the rest of the season to show what they can do. Not 15 games, not two weeks, not with someone looking over their shoulder with a quick hook if they don't deliver immediately. Not with situational roles, platoons or spot starts. The rest of the season, as every day players.

Morrow should be in a minor league rotation within a week, so there' some hope he could be in the big league rotation next year.

RRS and Dickey should immediately move to the rotation, swapping places with Washburn and Batista for the rest of the year.

If O'Flaherty is healthy, bring him up and DFA Rhodes. Nothing against Arthur, I have fond memories, but a 39 year old LOOGY is not a key component for 2009, and finding out if Eric O can get his groove back is more important.

Cairo should be DFA'd and Vidro takes his place as a PH.

Sexson should be DFA'd so he can get started trying to salvage his career somewhere else. Ibanez moves to 1B - yeah, he'll struggle trying to switch in the middle of the year. Who cares? He has the rest of the year to earn the 2009 starting 1B job. Assuming he wants to stay.

Reed and Balentien are the starting corner OFs every day, no matter what the pitching lineups, no matter what their numbers are.

Clement and Johjima trade off catching and DH. Clement is in the lineup every day for the rest of the season, no matter what his numbers are.

Someone gets together with Putz and figures out if he's hurt and needs time off, or if he's rusty and needs more work. Whichever it is, he gets it.

Play that team for the rest of the year and see what Reed, Balantien, Clement, RRS and Dickey can do over 100 games. See if any of them are regulars for 2009. Depending on what they do, and how Morrow does in Tacoma's rotation, make your off-season decisions based on that. Forget in-season trades, unless someone offers something good for Ibanez, or to let someone like Sexson, Batista or Washburn get a change of scenery at their request.


Posted by Glenn in Tokyo

12:04 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Interesting thing going on with Beltre..... When he started to hit some homeruns in, he is now swinging at any balls, mainly striking out at balls as high as his head or balls low and way away. It appears that he is also swinging so hard that he now closes his eyes.. He needs to learn that he can not do the HR swing, but just put the ball into play, especially he should hit to the opposite side. The worse thing for Beltre is to hit 3 or more HR in one week, he goes mental on us.

Posted by zona

12:04 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff - great analysis, but could have easily been written at least a month earlier. I would argue that it could have been written toward the end of last year. In fact, I think the writing was on the wall way back when Bob Melvin was fired. Many with inside knowledge of the Arizona D-Backs would say that Bob had more to do with the Arizona World Series win than their manager, Bob Brenley.

I can't see how anything will change until changes are made in the FO. I don't see this duo of Howdy Doody & Chuckie Cheese being remotely capable of running a major league baseball team. They're the ones that establish the culture of the entire organization. They're the ones that hired Bavasi, and he is clearly in way over his head. The team desperately needs a new GM, and that GM should be hired by someone other than Chuckie Cheese. Only after a new FO is in place will you see this arrogant and secretive attitude toward the fans and community disappear.

I truly feel sorry for the owners, because their intentions have been honorable, and they have given top management all the necessary tools to enable them to have a first class, winning organization. It's a shame they have placed their trust in the wrong people to manage the Mariners.

Posted by No immunity

12:06 AM, Jun 05, 2008

In lieu of these events, the least that should be done is to DFA some of the bums - Sexson, Vidro and Cairo - before leaving for Boston. Give them a stay at home partner in John "Profanity" McLaren. Dismissing these losers will at least begin to send the message that losing is not acceptable. It is way overdue and the only accountable move open at the moment - soon hereafter, Bavasi should follow the bunch out the door.

Posted by jro

12:08 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff, this is a pretty good post. But I disagree with a couple of points you've made:

- On management finding problems with the club: that sounds revisionist to me. Maybe its just the tone, but I thought you were too easy on the team & players up until recently (a few weeks ago). If you were calling out the front office to do something, it was meager.

- On Valentine vs. Mac: I know you like Mac, and Valentine probably won't win 90 games right away, but Mac is a part of the culture of losing. Valentine, like Sweet Lou, wouldn't stand for this crap from day one. And, while Mac has been behind the 8-ball a lot, he's also shown that he's not quite ready to be a big league manager yet.

But I agree with you on the main premise: everyone is failing, from the front office to the manager to the coaches to the players. Right now, the M's organization is pointing out how others need to change (Mac to players, Bavasi to players, Bavasi to Mac, Armstrong to Mac/coaches, etc.). The problem is only partially voiced: those same parties need to make changes themselves, and nobody is willing right now to stand up and say, i'm failing.

What happens when you get people with a not-my-department kind of attitude? The 2008 Mariners.

I think the final question needs to be posed one way: to remove a culture of losing, can we get away with NOT blowing it up?

Posted by Stevo in Oregon

12:08 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Amen Geoff. Well said. We're all preaching to the choir here. This is an absolute disaster we have here. Very sad.

BrianL, good job on the Beltre statistical analysis, but I can't agree with defending him. He has what, 13 homers and 27 RBI? He should have quite a few more ribbies than that. As Geoff pointed out, he's hitting well below the Mendoza line with RISP. His plate discipline is AWFUL - He swings at pitches OVER his head - something no major leaguer should do and he consistently tries to pull EVERYTHING - everything on the outside and inches off the outside of the plate. He can't go get it and serve it into right like Edgar used to do. Beltre flat out looks foolish up there many a time. Like so many things on this team, it's unwatchable.

Posted by scottM

12:11 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Now, this post is why I like this blog.

And, macdoubter, this is why I think you're so off-base when you call GEOFF a shill for the M's.

Posted by Stevo in Oregon

12:12 AM, Jun 05, 2008

I don't know, just my guy, but I predict a change or two before the game Friday. They essentially have a day and a half off and some travel, so they might try something to appease the fans. Nothing major though.

Do the rest of you folks have problems with captcha? I hate it. Most of the time it rejects my first entry even though I've cleary typed it in right.

Geoff, what did you think of Mac's profanity laced tirade? Are you bummed you missed it?

Posted by Chopper58

12:13 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Excellent read Geoff, some tough decisions need to be made in the future, but are they willing to make them. They have already acted to slow for this season, but is it going to be late for next season.

Even though most players are underperforming, you need to cut the deadest of wood first (or trade for peanuts). Eat their salary if you must. An example needs to be made of Washburn, Batista, Vidro and big Richie as a bare minimum. If others continue to stink it up. They can join them.

Some gutsy decisions need to be made with leadership from the top.

Somehow I don't think that is going to happen.

The Mariner's also need to remember that their fanbase goes far beyond the city of Seattle and spreads to all over the world.

Chopper58 in Canberra, AUS

Posted by SICK56

12:20 AM, Jun 05, 2008

nice piece of work Geoff. These next few months should be very interesting.

Maybe the first player to go should be our "fearless" "leader" Ichiro. Over the past few months I have gotten tired of watching his primadonna act. He is a selfish man. Frankly his game has fallen to just average. Ichiro was an asset when he was batting .325+ and had a .380 OBP, but now he is just another average overrated leadoff man, that has a ridiculously bloated contract, with an over stroked ego to match.

Think Ichiro cares about winning? Think again. Ichiro cares about Ichiro.

Posted by NickBob

12:24 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Remember Boston & Duquette? That looked like a team mired for years of bad contracts, terrible chemistry, and little hope for the future. A change at the top, a new regime that understood the numbers, and a little luck. Two years later they have their miracle. Oh yeah, they had a budget, but so do we.
Things can change for the better here as well. But that change will need to start at the top. The M's have some very capable partners in their ownership. It's time they had a meeting and decided on another of their number to replace Howard Lincoln and get this club on a winning course. They've spent a lot of money for this kind of result, and it's past time they found another style of management better suited for a winning team. Armstrong can consult or retire. Maybe Cashman would like a different challenge as a team president. He may be available at season's end. Get Antonetti, Ng, or Cashman as GM and maybe we can be drinking some refreshing lemonade in 2010.

Posted by macdoubter

12:28 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff--I appreciate the work you put into the post and your coverage of many aspects of what's happening with this team. My only gripe, of course, is again with your handling of the McLaren issue.

McLaren will continue to get ripped to shreds daily for his every decision. Believe me, I know how this game works. Some of it will be justified, some of it not. It doesn't matter any more.

So that's it? The manager is a non-factor from this point forward? I still think that you're forever giving McLaren a free pass. His in-games moves now, though they may justify some criticism, don't matter anymore, even though they never seemed to matter to you before, either.

I'll agree with you that maybe whatever he tries do now might not matter much in the grand scheme of the team and organization with all of the problems that exist.
But with so many people throwing up their arms in disbelief and confusion trying to find the cause of any or all of the problems, McLaren could-and should-at least do a little more good to help his case as the manager and as someone who's appears to be part of the solution instead of the problem. It might also go a long way in showing you and the rest of us just what kind of manager McLaren could have become while he is still here and in a mariner jersey.


After all, just because there may be bigger problems influencing this team other than McLaren (e.g., the culture of losing) that shouldn't excuse him from not making the best daily decisions that he can possibly make as the manager to put his team in the best possible position to be more competitive and possibly win for a change. For it's at this time, when the team is going through so much adversity, that we should expect as great a leader as possible.

Geoff, when everything else is going well for the mariners, that is when McLaren's decisions won't really matter. They do, however, matter now more than ever.

Posted by Sounders

12:44 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Yes! The BIG Question. Good post Geoff. The people at the top need to figure out why the M's can't make Varitek etc. etc.etc.ad infinitum into great players but other organizations can.

They need to ask why there are always so few .300 hitters here.

They need to figure out why with a100 mil plus payroll they can only manage one barely winning season out of five. They need to look at not just this year but the last 5 and even 15.

They need to figure out what it was exactly that Gillick/Piniella were able to counter. I have my suspicions, but because I don't know for sure I won't speculate.

They answers, I suspect, won't be easy to swallow,and will, I also suspect require major changes. I'm doubtful they will come but hey,that's just me.

I said it before: Sure, the players are underperforming,but basically they've been set up to lose.

Posted by kaseyswagger

12:44 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Brian Cashman is available next year thats who we need to hire to be our GM.He can work with a big payroll and he wont have pressure from the owner to make some bad moves.He also gets good young talent.

And as far as a manager anyody who has a previous winning background is the man for the job.

Posted by Seymore

12:46 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Adding a couple of bats to the lineup won't make the Ms competitive next year or the year after. Tearing down for a total rebuild makes sense, if the person doing the tearing is someone you trust.

Unfortunately, Armstrong would likely replace Bavasi with a carbon copy - a 'baseball man' who likes the grizzled vet and detests guys who "clog the bases."

It really doesn't matter if Bavasi and McLaren are fired or if Sexson is released, because more poor decisions will follow close behind. Maybe it ultimately requires a change in ownership to rid the culture that has taken root. Armstrong and Lincoln have fostered this mess and they should ultimately be held responsible, but probably won't.

As long as 'JJ Putz Trainwreck Night' pulls 38k, Armstrong isn't going anywhere and nothing changes.

Posted by Dave from the coast

12:48 AM, Jun 05, 2008

If the players aren't hitting, they aren't hitting. If they're not fielding, they're not fielding. Maybe this isn't a question of motivation or attitude or dedication or inspiration or whatever other analytical deductions can be derived from the team's performance so far this season.

Maybe they're just A LOUSY TEAM.

Just because something looks good on paper doesn't mean it's gonna work out. There are teams with lesser payrolls who are doing better than the M's. If there was such a thing as a "hex" on the Mariners', I'd (almost) buy into that.

What can you say to a player to make him perform? No matter what you say, the opposition is still gonna be pitching, hitting and play baseball. How can someone MAKE anyone a better player than he is? Can it even be done?

All I know is, THIS IS NOT WORKING.

Posted by oregongal

12:54 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff, welcome to the dark side.

Donovan, why did I take this season to try out that optimism stuff you kept talking up?

:)

Posted by Wolfie

12:56 AM, Jun 05, 2008

It is time to blow it up. Time to slash payroll. Trade away stars (Putz, Ibanez, Ichiro) for minor league prospects and rebuild the farm system, which is bare. Sign Felix to a long term deal, and make him the cornerstone of your starting rotation. Bedard won't stay for a rebuild, so I would try to trade him before the trading deadline to a contender for a decent starter and prospects. I don't think you will find many takers for Silva, so I would DFA him. Start getting Morrow stretched for the starting rotation, and have him ready for next season.

Can both Bavasi and McLaren. Draft be damned. Neither of them are the solution, and anything at this point would be an improvement.

This team isn't going to magically improve overnight folks. This is a team that needs to start from ground zero, and work its way back up.

Mariners in 2012!

Posted by jro

12:57 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Dave from the coast said:
"There are teams with lesser payrolls who are doing better than the M's."

2008 Florida Marlins
32-26 record, 2nd place in NL East
$22 Million payroll

Florida Marlins @ Seattle Mariners
Monday, June 16th
Tuesday, June 17th
Wednesday, June 18th

And in case everyone hasn't heard...
2008 Seattle Mariners
21-39 record, last place in AL West
$117 Million payroll

Posted by kaseyswagger

12:58 AM, Jun 05, 2008

I think the team can be turned around this offseason as long as we have a new GM.Once we are rid of the contracts of Richie Sexson and Vidro and Ibanez dare I say it.We can go after a Texiera.And make some trades and have Morrow in the rotation and just have a younger team with better players.I'm sorry but you just dont win when you have a lineup full of guys hitting under .230 and the guy who was catching the most heat during the offseason about getting traded Jose Lopez is our best offensive player.You have to have patience I saw us get rid of Carlos Guillen and watch him become a great player and I knew Jose Lopez would be great to a long as you give him time he is still young I dont see how after a couple seasons and him being an allstar so young you just want to replace him with guys like Mark Loretta and Marcus Giles that right there tells you why we are so bad its the people in the front office,they are not good at there job bottom line.

I have played enough MLB 2k franchises to know how to put together a winning team.

Posted by hughjass

1:09 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Back away from the cliff.

Posted by DistantFan

1:10 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Well said, Mr. Baker.

Posted by Tyler

1:10 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Great post, Geoff. Thanks for your honesty.

Posted by Rallyfried

1:26 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Wolfie @ 12:56

Do you really mean slash the payroll??? I've heard a couple people say this in the past few weeks, and I really don't understand it. If you have the advantage of money to spend, why take it off the table???

If you meant start spending payroll dollars wisely, then I do agree with you.

I'd love to see what a competent GM could do with 120 million a year.

Posted by Ted

1:31 AM, Jun 05, 2008


If this is *any* consolation... for those who love to watch games at the yard instead of on tv, it's getting real easy to find tickets cheap! many season ticket holders are all selling off bunches of games now, tuning out and making plans to do other things with their summer weekends and weeknights.

Posted by Nat

1:41 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Great post, Geoff!!! If you want to talk about easy answers though, I believe when Bavasi pulled his big trade with Baltimore he put his blinders on, and hoped that would do it! Let's keep it simple!

And that was the M.O. the Mariners FO thought they could sail through a winning season on- easy answers. After all, didn't many in the media call the Mariners the favoite of the AL West? Why argue with that...no, no deep thinking necessary. Just floating along, doing their own thing! They don't need to explain their way of doing things to the fans or the media because, hey, they're cool, and btw, This Boy's Club doesn't have to justify its actions to anybody!

Note to Howard, Chuck, and Bill: honesty and accountability start at the top. If you won't commit hari kari, then at least resign as soon as is honorably possible!. Poor Mac, finally losing it. He may secretly want to be fired-- just now figuring out why your predecessor resigned, huh, Mac? Don't like all this scrutiny, do ya? After today's little tirade, I think, Mac, you need a nice long rest!

And draft day is upon us...so let's get it done, and get back to the business of making those changes that need to happen, let's see some of those hard choices made. And it will be tough, guys, because...there are no easy answers...the good baseball organizations all know this!

Posted by Chris from Bothell

1:47 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Several unconnected thoughts:

- These guys are still not accountable, and still cowards, because they're not naming names. Silva is the first to come closest to actually calling people out, and even then it's a handwave of "some people just play for their own personal stats, get a couple hits and they're done". Until they're naming names, and/or apologizing for their own performance rather than being simply 'disappointed' or 'puzzled', then it's still pretty hollow.

- A banner in center field simply saying 利己的 might light a fire or three.

- Was with you most of the way in your post until your 3rd to last paragraph. Then it got into hypothetical theoretical land. Armchair GMing. You can't make statements like that without naming names.

Want an easy answer? Bring in some established talent that can win when the pressure's on.

Who?

That can teach younger players to play the game right and conduct themselves appropriately as major leaguers off the field and in the clubhouse.

Who?

That can get the existing "young talent" on this club to fire on all cylinders like a Brandon Morrow.

No, seriously, who? What free agents are experienced enough, talented enough, and available, to plug in? This is just more of the incremental "couple good guys away" nonsense that got us here in the first place. You're correct to point out that blowing the team up is difficult to do for all involved (including some diehard fans and most casual fans). However, if the existing team does not have the talent to perform, across so many of the 40-man roster, then the answer is to home-grow the next team several years down the road, and build a new culture, new skill sets, new approach, from day one.

- Re: the culture of losing in the Ms org - this should not be surprising to see at all if the marketing mantras of the club are taken into account. Consider that the glory days of this team are boiled down into 5 basic things:

1. 1995, which was highly statistically unlikely, required a serious sustained rally and career years from several people, and also required a near-epic collapse of their closest rival.
2. 2001, where the regular season was a cakewalk, but when the true test, the true pressure came along, they were one and done.
3. Apart from 1995, the only real team history and team identity is not about the team at all, but about individual players (Edgar, Junior, Randy, Ichiro, etc.).
4. On average, in any given year since its inception, the team is more remembered and beloved for its main radio announcer than any one particular year.
5. In every instance that the Mariners have made it to the playoffs, they have always reacted like, been marketed as, and have played as, people who were just happy to be there. Being in the playoffs at all was the goal and that was achieved. Even in getting to the ALCS once, all involved from players to org to fans were more stunned than anything else.

- Name me all the times in the last 2 - 3 years that players - any of them - have been benched for lack of effort or for boneheaded mistakes. Bet you only need one hand to do it. All benchings have been gently phrased as platooning, rest, etc. The only 'punishment' that can be tangibly meted out by a manager is denying someone playing time and being transparent about why that is. I can't imagine that even the shy guys get into pro sports without an enormous ego. Dealing a blow to that ego by directly saying "you're benched b/c you didn't pick it up / didn't make that play", has to have some effect on at least a couple guys.

- There is no one to call Mac on his foolish in-game strategy, and he is basically the emperor with no clothes every night with no one daring to challenge him. Assuming that the culture of deference and walking on eggshells extends to the coaches. Either that, or he's made the fundamental mistake of all people managers everywhere, and that is to surround himself with people who aren't smarter than he is. Don't give me the staatistical argument about how seldom a manager directly affects a game, that the average manager only helps produce a couple wins a season, blah blah blah. We have seen time, and time, and time again, Mac make lineup changes, rotation decisions, in-game reliever choices, pinch hitting choices, pinch runner / fielder choices (or lack of them), that are most of the time playing "by the book", gambling... and LOSING. Blind adherence to lefty-righty matchups in pinch hitting, regardless of individual records against pitchers or current hitting streaks. Blind adherence to set roles in the bullpen, regardless of current performance. Mechanical problems with hitters and pitchers that are spotted days in advance on the blogs before they're acknowledged implicitly or explicitly. McLaren is, quite simply, a poor manager in every respect: strategy, motivation, leadership, in-game situational awareness.

- The players will not change, will not adapt, and have no one around them who push them to do so. All of King County can tell you when Beltre is going to flail at a high fastball; can tell you to put Sexson away by throwing the 1-2 or 2-2 pitch low and outside; can tell you the numerous problems these free-swinging Ms get themselves into. Every bit of coaching and advice we ever hear about is "we're trying to get back to basics and just hit, bat-on-ball" or "we try to teach them patience, but it doesn't work, they need to be the hitter they are" or (my personal fave) "the Latin players just swing at everything, it's how they were brought up, there's nothing you can do". Bull. This is your job. This is your entire focus (doubly so if you're a DH). Adapt or die. If a guy won't listen, bench him until he does. If a guy will listen but seems lost, talk to scouts, watch tape, break down the swing. If a guy is trying to do too much, get them focused in-game on just what's needed next. One swing COULD tie it up, but if what's needed is a bunt or basehit, take it for the team and do that. No one seems willing to do that.

- Ichiro's running-crashing catch, and his reasons for doing so, tell you all you need to know about his mindset and motivations. I've resigned myself to never getting to see the Ichiro of the WBC, or the Ichiro of 2001 with everything to prove. He may be a superstar in Japan, but here he's not a leader, doens't want to be, won't be. Bavasi could name him the team captain, complete with precious little C on his chest, and he wouldn't step up. I'm still impressed by his skills and amused and entertained by his commentary and personality. But until or unless we see him step up like a real veteran should, I'm very sad to say I don't have the respect I did for him.

- Sexson's conduct, just like his record, really deserves no commentary. I can't get worked up about him being there or not anymore, because he obviously knows his time is up. He's doggin' it just like anyone else who knows they're about to be fired and it's just a matter of the paperwork going through. I've fired people before, I've seen this before.

- Poor Dave Niehaus. That man deserves so much better than he's witnessing every night. In the year he goes to Cooperstown, he ends up calling games for a team very much like the ones he was witness to when Seattle first got to know him. And I know it's ghoulish to say, but he's not going to be around forever. How many more chances will this man have to call a playoff game? If I participate in baghead night, I just might scribble "Niehaus Deserves Better" on the bag...

How much longer can this go on?

Posted by Nick

1:51 AM, Jun 05, 2008

These are all skilled athletes. Some not as skilled as they used to be, but still skilled enough to play professional baseball. Remember when Randy Johnson was in his last year here? A lot of people said that his skills were gone, and he would never be a premier pitcher again. His problems weren't with his skills. He felt he wasn't being shown the respect he felt he deserved. His slump was mental, not physical.

Everyone came to training camp wanting to win it all. Reality hit the fan when they asked themselves how many teams won their division when their power hitter bats .200. Add to that the fact that he is the 7th highest paid player in the game, gets about 30K for each at bat and wonders why people boo him when he strikes out, you can see how the seed of doubt and resentment could have been planted.

Add the GM's history of bad trades, contracts that upset other GM's by setting salary precedents (Silva is one example), standing behind a dead horse because you don't want to eat 12.5 mil., etc., etc., etc., and you begin to see how doubt and resentment and doubt just might just creep into the heads of the players.

They are getting paid lots of money and we think that should be reason enough for them to play hard. But it doesn't work that way. They are lifelong competitors and they want to win. Their skills have brought them here, but doubt is all it takes to prove Henry Ford right when he said "Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right."

Right now, get rid of Bavasi and cut Sexon (he'll be fine). Show the players, managers and fans that there actually is accountability in the organization. Who knows? People might just feel a little less secure in their jobs and start earning their pay.

But who am I kidding? Until the poor attendance starts to panic the accountants, very little will be done.

Posted by michstandard

1:52 AM, Jun 05, 2008

No doubt that something drastic ought to be done to salvage this ball club besides dumping some old timers who are no longer producing.

I say ship Ichiro to Boston.

Unlike Seattle, Boston is demanded to be competitive every year. They need to win and build the team simultaneously. David Ortiz’s hurt his wrist big time. Boston is in need for a left-handed bat. Manny probably will be on the DH role. They would love to have an outfielder like Ichiro to lead off their lineup. This is good for Ichiro too. Fenway is an excellent ballpark for a single hitter like Ichiro. In return, they may offer Brandon Moss, or Coco Crisp and some young arms.

Then a question pops up. Suppose Ichiro (our team leader?) is gone, “who” do we build the team around?

Guys need sports to spice up their lives. Give me something to lighten up my boring life.

Posted by Lamda

2:12 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Nice post overall Geoff but I disagree with you on two key points regarding the manager. Why feel sorry for McLaren? Sure its not entirely his fault but a good deal of it is. He cannot make players get a hit in key situations and things of that nature but he can have them well prepared to do so when the time comes. At the very least, the manager is responsible for the overal chemistry of the team - their attitude, culture, preparedness, etc. As you state this is a team that feels its ok to lose... how is that not McLaren's fault? It's one thing to play the game right, play it hard day in and day out fighting for the win but to lose to a superior team. Can you say that's what is happening here? the obvious answer is NO. The players are not giving 100%, most do not care if they cause an error, let the team down, etc. they just go into the clubhouse, watch a movie or play a game, etc.
It may not be that McLaren is 100% to blame for this but at the very least he has done little to get it turned around. Isn't that the managers job? Have the teams mental state of mind on the right track, have them ready and prepared to win each game?? If McLaren was doing this we wouldn't be in as bad a shape as we are now. We may not be a contender but we wouldn't be the embarassment we are today.
Secondly - sure Valentine or even Lou could not turn this into a 90 win club overnight because it's not known yet that we are even capable of doing so but he can get the teams Culture turned around. He can succeed where McLaren has failed in the teams preparedness and attitude towards the game. Sadly McLaren has not done this and has proven he cannot so it's time for him to go and somebody new to come in.

Posted by Cynical Optimist

2:16 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Posted by Dave from the coast
(Maybe they're just A LOUSY TEAM)
You say you can't make a team play better than they are but that's not true. The first Yankees series, I watched on tv and they made mistake after mistake. I was at the Boston series after Bavasi supposedly called the players out. That was the best baseball I have seen all season tied with the first Angels series. The defense was amazing that whole series and the offense, while still not that good, did what it took to win. That's the team that was supposed to win the West this year, but then acouple losses from Detroit and they're back to form.

Posted by Capo

2:19 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Geooff, Thank you for the best piece you've written yet. A lot of valid points made. The M's really don't care what we think, or want....they made that perfectly clear in 2001 when everyone knew they needed a couple of pieces to get over the hump....and did nothing....then did the same in 2002 and 2003 when the window on that roster was closing.

I'm all for "blowing it up", and have been advocating it since May 1st. I think this is an organization thats shell shocked, and they need to clean house.......the problem is, with this huge blowup, and display in the clubhouse with the players, do you think anyone wants to play for this organization as is? Players talk, and I'm sure there isn't a player in an M's uniform who has anything good to say about playing in Seattle.

As to blowing it up......I think they need to gauge interest in players like Ichiro, Beltre, JJ, and Bedard....and if someone wants to overpay now in major league ready talent, pull the trigger...or build up the interest and bidding leading up to the deadline. Yes I include Ichiro....he's 34, expensive and as much as we all love him he isn't a player we want to build around, he is more a "co-star" or "supporting actor"......a contender like the dodgers would probably put together a nice package.....maybe solving our OF problem if we were willing to take back a guy like Pierre....maybe a combo of Pierre and Eithier or Kemp, plus a prospect or two. Atlanta and Tampa Bay both need closers and have deep farm systems.....

Honestly, we could compete in three years making the right moves.....we could trade for younger talent and we could get cheaper, allowing us to fill the holes with "select" FA players.....not JR, not silly FA like Zito or Schmidt, but guys on the right side of 30 with upside.

All of this is a moot point with the organization as is.......as long as Lincoln and Armstrong are running the show....as long as Bavidiot is putting the pieces in place, as long as McClaren is running the team on the field, all we can do is wish.

BTW, I'm tired of hearing people say that Bavasi was instrumental in Anaheim winning the WS....he was fired because he sucked, and Stoneman had much more to do with that teams makeup.

Posted by Cynical Optimist

2:21 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Who here has seen the Major League movies? Maybe not the best movies but I still love em. Maybe the Mariners should have a movie night with those instead of Super Troopers. In the second one, there's a really good quote where the catcher talks about how he loves playin baseball and at some point, they did too. I always loved that line.

Posted by Bums

3:27 AM, Jun 05, 2008

No one is immune to criticism, but all "good guy" veterans are immune to accountability and being let go.

Reported attendance for yesterday's game was over 31,000. Nothing, NOTHING will be done if people keep going to the games.

Face it, this club can't find its a-- from a hole in the ground. I doubt Mac will be back next season, but I am afraid Bavasi will and he will have one more shot with some money to spend and will bring in mediocre at best players for over 10 mill per year.

Problem as I see it with this group of "players" is that they thought these guys were self-motivated and a nice guy manager will be there to give encouragement and everybody will perform. Not the case, there is no leader on the team and it sorely needs a pain in the a-- manager that will get in people's face, call people out, and not be afraid to get rid of people.

Wilkerson and Norton were choices that were too easy because they have not had a chance to become friendly with Mac.

'08 is finished and as each day passes with no changes, you can get closer to kissing '09 good-bye.

Posted by fez

4:23 AM, Jun 05, 2008


How much are we paying Yuni, Balentien, and Clement to suck?

We're paying them pocket lint compared to what we're paying Sexson, Vidro, and Raul to suck. There's an enormous difference. If those young guys don't come in and blow you away, you can replace them fairly easily if they struggle because you've got very little invested in them. But when you've got a whole lot of that $117 million payroll sunk in a few horrible old veterans with terrible contracts, you can't justify sending them to AAA. That's why they haven't been moved around or DFA'ed despite being terrible for a long long time, there is too much money tied up in them, and it makes the front office of this club look like idiots to eat a 14 million dollar contract for someone not on the roster. They haven't been ready to eat that crow and tacitly admit to their own stupidity and that's why Sexson is out there, and that's why people have become complacent. This veteran entitlement has gone on for years and it has shown that there will never be consequences for poor play.

There is a lot of cheap talent in this league that is freely available (or there was, at least, during this past offseason). Cheaper and better than Washburn, cheaper and better than Batista, cheaper and not much worse than Silva (at least, how good Silva was supposed to be, definitely better than he is now), cheaper and better than Sexson, cheaper and better than Vidro. There has just been horrible contract after horrible contract with this team vastly overpaying for overrated players and now it's coming back to bite us in the ass, color me not surprised one bit at this collapse.

Everyone has played poorly, but once again, the two premium power positions on this team should be 1B and DH and those positions are filled by our worst power hitters. They, first and foremost, have to be held accountable for this crappy offense. There are few shortstops out there who hit well, there are few second basemen who hit well, there are a few decent hitting outfielders floating around, but there are a shit ton of 1B/DH capable hitters out there who can hit better than these two jokers, why are they not the first on the chopping block when they are sucking, overpaid, and easy to replace?

Posted by Lamda

6:05 AM, Jun 05, 2008

the irritating thing is that Wlad needs to be in the lineup everyday trying to get better. Him sitting on the bench is a waste of time. I think within the next month both he and Clement will be in the lineup every day for the remainder of the season to either prove they can play up here or show that we need to go in another direction.

Posted by sig49

6:37 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff,
The problem with the Mariners begins at the top; not only messrs. Lincoln and Armstrong aka Arrogance and Ignorance, but the absentee owner in Japan who affords his Japanese players favored status.
I admire Ichiro's skills but I often wondered about his attitude; his unwillingness to move to centerfield when Adam Jones was in the lineup, his unwillingness to dive for balls because of fear of being injured etc.
Now we have Kenji Johjima a slow-footed DH in catcher's clothing. The rumblings you heard yesterday were the graves of Mickey Cochrane and Gabby Hartnett overturning watching Jojjima's half-hearted tag play attempt on Tori Hunter.He doe not have the skills to be a quality major league catcher.
If this labels me a racist, so be it, but someone has to say out loud what I am guessing many of the players are already thinking.

Posted by blenderhead

7:13 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Colin Cowherd was absolutley right this morning--it's a leadershio issue (McLaren) and not a talent issue. "McLaren is a first base coach masquerading as a manager."

Posted by mikey

7:15 AM, Jun 05, 2008

STENGEL.

CASEY STENGEL.

PLEASE, get the names of the Gods right.

Posted by Ry

7:20 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Bavasi yesterday, on the Mariners pulling the plug:

"That's going to be a long time. That's going to be quite a while. Because we're not giving in. It's going to be real tough for us to give in. If we give in, it will be at the last minute, I'll tell you that."

Uh, wake up Bill...It already happened. What's next? You're going to tell everyone how it's "going to be quite a while" before you go bald?

Posted by Jeff C

7:35 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff, this article is a little late. About 8 - 9 months too late. It is clear to me you still believe that that 88 win team was an 88 win team and was the real deal. It wasn't. The results have proven that out.

You can't complain. Bavasi gave you what you asked for. You said this near the end of your article:

"Want an easy answer? Bring in some established talent that can win when the pressure's on. That can teach younger players to play the game right and conduct themselves appropriately as major leaguers off the field and in the clubhouse."

Isn't that what Bavasi gave you? He dumped all those unprofessional incarnations of Ryan Anderson for Bedard and gave you what you wanted. He signed the great Wilkerson on the cheap and since he's a lefty sure he would put up monster numbers in Safeco. You've got all those Dave Valle "professionals" in Vidro, Sexson, Ibanez in all the key spots in your lineup.

Can't complain now, you got what you wanted.

That 88 win team was the Enron of major league baseball. It really pumped you up and made you believe it was on the verge of greatness. Like a giddy stockholder with dollar signs rolling in your eyes, you took Howie's bait and stuck your first place prediction out there.

But I can't believe you've learned your lesson by making that statement above. You want Bill Bavasi to do exactly what he did to build this colossal failure in the first place. Repeat the failure, and if you fail again, don't change, don't admit that the method is flawed, just repeat it time and time again.

When will you learn that the method is flawed?

When will you learn that when people get old, their physical talent diminishes? I see your picture on this blog, and you are a young man. I understand you haven't reached that age where you wake up one day and while you can still perform physically, it just isn't the same as when you were in your mid 20's.

And when will you learn that you can't trade out of desperation? Bavasi keeps doing this and trading away good talent to build around but in doing so creates problems in other areas of this team. Do you want to know another problem he will create in the near future as a result of the Bedard trade? Centerfield. Goof centerfield prospects don't grow like weeds. If Ichiro falls off a cliff, which I hope he doesn't, who do we have to replace him in center with Jones gone? That will be one of the next areas we will be dealing with in the next couple of years.

Posted by mike in pdx

7:39 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff,
Right on with the post. Especially the line about the Mariners acting as if they don't have to answer to anyone. The absentee ownership is a real problem. The Johjima contract was beyond belief. And this team clearly doesn't like each other or like playing together. They also don't seem to have any pride. Other than that, things look good. At least the blog is a winner.

Posted by Mikavexo

7:45 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Blow this team up and you have a line up for the remainder of this season and perhaps next season that looks like this.

Ichiro cf
Reed lf
Clement c
Balentien rf
Lahair 1b
Triunfel 3b
Bloomquist 2b
somebody from trade at ss
somebody from trade at dh

Posted by nature

7:48 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Wow, great rant/blog Geoff.

This is why it's time to give up on this organization for years.

I quote from an article on this site:
"

Bavasi, however, was adamant that the Mariners, despite being 18 games under .500 and 15 ½ games out of first place, are not prepared to give up on the season and look toward 2009.

"That's going to be a long time," he said. "That's going to be quite a while. Because we're not giving in. It's going to be real tough for us to give in. If we give in, it will be at the last minute, I'll tell you that."

"

The last minute. The guy is an idiot. He needs to be the first to go. Yesterday!

Posted by Jeff C

7:52 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Boy and I love this comment in a CNNSI article:

"On Wednesday afternoon, after Seattle's 20th loss in 27 games, Bavasi ordered each of the 25 players to sit at his locker to be held publicly accountable for his performance."

That's right children. Go stand in the corner for 10 minutes and realize what bad boys you've been. Oh my God this is like watching a Monty Python show.

Posted by Adam

7:56 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Bavasi, however, was adamant that the Mariners, despite being 18 games under .500 and 15 ½ games out of first place, are not prepared to give up on the season and look toward 2009.

"That's going to be a long time," he said. "That's going to be quite a while. Because we're not giving in. It's going to be real tough for us to give in. If we give in, it will be at the last minute, I'll tell you that."

Great catch, nature.


This is EXACTLY why it sucks being a Mariners fan. Our GM is incredibly incompetent.

Posted by Mr. X

8:06 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Don't look now, but Jose Lopez is leading the team in hits, doubles, total bases, and is .005 behind Beltre in slugging percentage. That should change by the end of next game. Oh yes, 2nd in RBI also and tied for 2nd highest OPS. This is our player who deserves to be an All-Star this year. He's earned it on the field. All for a cool $500,000

And no, defense shouldn't count for the mid-summer classic. In spite of what one person said on here, "defensive metrics" cannot think, agree, or talk. But if they could talk, I imagine the would say something along the lines of "We are irrelevant."

Posted by whatever

8:06 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Whether you like or dislike the Yankees, Red Sox or Angels, the single most important contribution to their continuing success is the owner.

The owner cares and EVERYBODY knows it. The GM, the manager, the players.

The Mariners are a joke. The fix is to stop going to the ballpark, stop watching on tv, until they lose money and the owner sells to someone who cares.

Posted by Adam

8:11 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Some more gems from Bavasi:

Referring to the Mariners' comeback in 1995 from 13 ½ games down to the Angels — whose GM that year was Bavasi — he added, "You probably had the same question to Lou and those guys in August of '95, and it turned out to be a stupid question. They went on and did something crazy."

That's the spirit, Bill - put your hopes on the type of comeback that has happened once in 100 years. Never mind that the Angels are on pace to win 98 games, and that in order to get to 99 wins, the Mariners would have to go 78-24, a .764 winning percentage (that would be the greatest feat in baseball history). Or even if the Angels went .500 the rest of the way and ended with 88 wins, the Mariners would still have to go 68-34, a .667 winning percentage (better than the 05 Astros or the 07 Yankees played down the stretch).

Keep hope alive, Bill.

Responding to a question about history being against the Mariners mounting a comeback, Bavasi reiterated an earlier point about this being a barren time around baseball for trades. Other teams, he had said, are not inclined to deal this far from the trade deadline.

"I can't make a deal anyway that can be worth a damn," he said. "I suppose I can go home and sulk. We're here to get this thing to work and turn it around."

Last night I did a count. There were roughly 23 trades before June 30 of last year. Teams ARE inclined to deal this early in the season, Bill. Get a clue.

When asked if the team was "stuck" with the players on hand now: "Yeah, that's the right way to say it. I'm hoping in a month we'll be saying the same thing, but we'll be saying, we get to have them, because they've turned the corner, and they've gotten hot, and they have sustained a streak that has gotten them back to the pack."

What kind of hot streak are you hoping for, Bill? The one that makes Vidro Lou Gehrig and Ibanez Babe Ruth? Where Washburn becomes Steve Carlton and Batista becomes Pedro in his prime? Because that's what it is going to take.


I give up. This team has no hope. NONE. It's clear that even a six-game blowout sweep wouldn't predicate changes.


This team may be the worst-run franchise in pro sports.

Posted by Adam

8:13 AM, Jun 05, 2008

And no, defense shouldn't count for the mid-summer classic. In spite of what one person said on here, "defensive metrics" cannot think, agree, or talk. But if they could talk, I imagine the would say something along the lines of "We are irrelevant."

Defense irrelevant for the AS game? Since the fans vote, and they want to see offense, you are right. In REAL baseball, however, defensive metrics are even more valuable than your precious batting average and RBI.

Posted by nature

8:15 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Adam - yeah, thanks. I read that I got a sick feeling in my stomach. It made me want to vomit.

I make a prediction though! After the blowup last night and Bavasi's genius words - WE WILL NOT LOSE TODAY!

Posted by Novice

8:15 AM, Jun 05, 2008

or Bloomquist can start at third, his natural position where he can display that cannon he calls his arm.

Posted by byebyeSexson

8:31 AM, Jun 05, 2008

JMH's long post at 11:59 PM, Jun 04, 2008 is right on! He should be The Man in the organization that gets it done. Whoever is supposed to the The Man in the organization is NOT GETTING IT DONE.

Back to the big picture: An excellent article, Geoff. And most of the posts are very, very good. Because of time constraints I have read about half of them.

Now the small item. The kind of thing that loses ball games. As I sat in the LF bleachers there was an Angel on first and a ball was hit right at Yuni who was breaking to cover second as the runner was in motion. So the ball leaks through for a hit and the Angels go on to score two runs. Two runs rule the outcome! When Yuni broke to cover second Lopez was one step ahead of him also covering second.

Anyone out there know who should be covering second in that situation? I can't remember if the hitter was LH or RH. If it was Bentancourt who goofed, it cost us two runs. If it was Lopez, it was not critical to the outcome.

I think it is established that these middle infielders are great pals and that is nice. It should make for better communication on the field and better team harmony and better results. I think their communication needs to be more about BASEBALL and less about their favorite music, where they are going for dinner, or how they look in their uniforms.

By the way, Richie hit the ball very hard at least twice.

byebye

Posted by Regime Change

8:31 AM, Jun 05, 2008

This is what I’ve been seeing for this entire year and much of last year: The team that Bavasi assembled is not talented enough as a whole to be a major league team. If that is true, nothing can be done to “fix” the team that exists now because they are overmatched by virtually every true major league team, even if they do win some games. Even a very good AAA team brought up to the majors might win games once in awhile. Some of the Mariners are genuine major leaguers but they cannot win alone. What I am saying is that by a combination of age-failure (Sexson, Vidrow, Ibanez as an outfield, Cairo and possibly others,) or overall lack of talent (Betancourt is clearly not a good major league fielder and Lopez is questionable, Reed after all this time doesn’t appear to be a viable major league hitter, and Beltre is nowhere near a complete major league hitter now, no matter what he might have been for one season, and the starting pitchers are all questionable including Felix, who seems to have hit a plateau.)
There are special cases in this who have to be addressed.
Ballentien had a chance to be a viable major leaguer and should be played every day and given that chance. Likewise Clement (if he were on the team.) It cannot be worse with them in the game than it is now, there’s nothing at all to salvage and it would at least look like some effort was being made for the future.
Second special case is Ichiro, who, whether or not he is starting to decline, is as someone said, incredibly selfish. It has been pointed out that he has a lot of power, demonstrated in batting practice, which the Mariners have needed for years, but rarely hits home runs because he’s a singles-bagger for the benefit of his stats, like a summit-bagger that climbs hundreds of relatively easy peaks so he can add to his list, but doesn’t get the big ones. He would know that at this point, power is what is needed, not meaningless singles but he has not changed his attack an iota.
Jojima could be classified a true major leaguer but certainly not a particularly quality one.
On the positive side, by all means, Morrow qualifies as a major leaguer and should be a starter, he’s as good at his position as anybody on the team and Rowland-Smith is one of the better ones and should likewise be a starter. Otherwise, this team is as good as it is, and no amount of yelling and cursing, by us or management can make them better. It’s as if people who can only play chopsticks are asked to play Mozart. Sorry, they are just incapable of it and always will be and all the yelling in the world won’t make them do it. So it doesn’t matter what attitude these players have, who leads or doesn’t, over the course of this year, the team that exists as the Seattle Mariners is playing to their capacity, as sad as it is.
If that is true, then who is to blame? Clearly, the man who assembled the team as it is, the same man who says there are no moves to be made to improve it. That man should be fired, but it goes much deeper. The presidency of the team that accepts all this and refuses to fire the general manager should also be fired. The owner representative who refuses to act on any of this should go. And as was intimated, that fact that after having paid for this stadium, we are being given this product by an ownership and management team who are totally unaccountable and refuse to even attempt to fix it amounts to fraud and should be investigated at several levels. The only reason ownership and management would conduct themselves in this matter is indifference to fans, indifference to winning, indifference to anything but their own well being, and apparently they are doing very well and have no intentions of improving the situation as long as they are. All the ranting and raving on their part is strictly camouflage to cover their indifference. It’s the easiest thing in the world to go off at the mouth if that’s all you do.
One final thing to get off my chest. As long as their deepest concern as far as players is concerned centers on bringing in quiet players, who are respectful (to management) and of “good character” while also worrying about keeping us the fans quiet and respectful in the stands for the sake of a “familly atmosphere,” this team will never bring in leaders and will kick out anyone who shows the fire necessary to be a leader (Guillen.)
Bottom line, we seem to be stuck, ladies and gentlemen. And nothing we say, even if McLaren hears that we’re P.O.’d will change any of this.
By the way, this captcha thing really, really stinks.

Posted by MN Twins Fan

8:32 AM, Jun 05, 2008

How's that 10 mill a year for Carlos "My sinker doesn't sink" Silva treating the Mariners right about now. Wow, we laughed our arses off when you signed him to that contract. He's a decent pitcher around 4-5 mill but 10?????? What a joke.

Posted by Drinking Beer and Booing

8:39 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Great article Geoff, not a lot to add but a few thoughts.

I have posted several times about the frightening similarities between the Sonics nad Mariners.

The Losing Culture for the M's dates to the day Lou Pinella and Pat Gillick started to feel unwelcome not because of their performance, but because they would not submit to the bizarre Stepford Wife culture that Lincoln and Atmstrong have created.

To truly turn this around the entire culture needs to change from the top down. The sooner the better.

Pressure needs to be applied DIRECTLY at Nintendo. Their board makes all decisions even though Yamauchi clearly has much sway over those decisions.

LINCOLN AND ARMSTRONG MUST GO!!!!!!!

Posted by Anna11

8:41 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Bavasi shouldn't be talking about '95 with reference to this team. In '95, the Mariners' success was aided by the Angels' historic collapse. Yes, the M's played well, and it was incredibly exciting -- but the Angels had to do their part and fold in order for the M's to succeed.

I agree with you -- the M's ought to bring in some established talent that knows how to win. But who? Who would want to come and play here? And how does the team do that with a GM and FO that don't recognize established talent?

Posted by Jeff C

8:53 AM, Jun 05, 2008

I just don't get this Anna11. Bring in established talent? Isn't that what Bavasi gave you? Isn't that why a few of us bloggers who were saying No no no to the Bedard trade got drowned out by Geoff Baker logic and those who agreed with him that the trade was all about winning with an established winner and letting go guys who would likely wind up like Ryan Anderson?

Didn't those of us who were pining for Adam Jones to play LF every day in August get drowned out by those who wanted to go with the veteran "winners?" like the wonderous Vidro, the resurgent Raul and his stupendous defense?

I just don't get the complaining now. Bavasi is the perfect GM for you. Hasn't he done what so many of you asked for, especially Geoff Baker, by forsaking the future and trying to win right here and right now?

Please explain that to me. I'm all ears. I've had all of last season on this blog and been smacked down by Geoff Baker in several of his articles and been smacked down by numerous bloggers who agree with the Bavasi approach.

Posted by eastcoast

8:54 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Respectfully, I must disagree with the statement that the Mariners are busting their hump every night. A team that gets down early and then fades quietly into the night game in, and game out, is not busting their hump.

Secondly, can we agree that the season is over? Even a 39-21 (.650) clip over the next sixty games leaves you at .500 with 42 games remaining.

Third, if we can agree on point #2, then there is no reason that changes can't start right now. And even if you're paralyzed by not quite knowing what went wrong, there are several obvious places to start. ie, Sexson and Vidro will not be back next year. Release them, call up Clement, and let the kids play. At this point, there is absolutely no legit reason not to do this. It should have happened yesterday.

Posted by Akita

8:56 AM, Jun 05, 2008

This post hits the nail on the head. For what seems like forever now, this club has been indecisive about whether it's a winner or a loser, and that indecisiveness finally seems to be catching up with them. The only real disappointment regarding this year's team is that the preseason was met with unbridled optimism, something we hadn't really experienced as fans in recent losing years. Watching these players go out and play on a daily basis has led me to agree with just about everything Geoff has thrown out there. With the exceptions of Morrow and Dickey, everyone else on this team has let me down personally, as a fan, with frequent regularity.

Around the infield, every single player should be held accountable. Johjima has underperformed from Day One, and specifically since he signed his contract. Sexson has continued to wallow in the misery of his own self-pity ("Why me? Why boo me?") since last season and cannot justify any ounce of playing time he happens to be the beneficiary of. Lopez is brilliant at the plate, but can't fix the hole in his glove; his future may be at third base when Beltre undoubtedly exits. Speaking of Beltre, his 2004 season now looks exactly like the flash-in-the-pan it was initially rumored to be, but he won't really suffer from this; his contract runs out at the end of 2009, and if he isn't traded before then, he'll be paid a hefty ransom for his underperformance by some team desperate to capture that 2004 magic. Yuniesky Betancourt is as baffling a player as there is. When he goes up to the plate with some semblance of an approach, he looks like a future All-Star, but those moments are few and far between and more often than not we see Yuni swinging at pitches over his head that even Paul Bunyan would have trouble with.

In the outfield, Raul Ibanez would be better served platooning with a lawn chair, or a trash can or some other stationary object capable of catching fly balls. Sure, he can still swing the bat a little, but his fielding has gotten to the point where the word "embarrassing" no longer does its due justice. If he can go on another hitting rampage like he did last year around this time, the M's may be wise to part ways with him in exchange for a midlevel prospect or two, before his value is completely expended. In center, Ichiro has continued to be the face of this franchise, but the caliber of his play has noticeably regressed over the past couple seasons. While he brings a lot to this team both with his bat and his glove, his reputation precedes him and at this point in his career he may in fact be slightly overrated for his skill set; singles and stolen bases only mean so much when there's no one behind you to drive you in. The two-headed monster of Jeremy Reed and Wladimir Balentien in right field can only fairly be labeled "incomplete" at this stage. In a perfect world, Balentien would get the chance to play every day and progress as he needs to in order to become a big-league regular and not another casualty of the Mariners black hole of a farm system. Reed may get the chance to prove himself on a daily basis in the bigs, but at this point it feels like the Mariners are showcasing him for the other teams in this league and I can't envision him roaming the Safeco Field lawn too far into the future.

The underwhelming pitching staff is dotted with question marks, but still offers promise for the future despite their current atrocities. Will Felix ever progress as expected, or are we looking at the second coming of a Freddy Garcia-type? Will Erik Bedard salvage this season, and will he ever warm to the idea of sticking with this team, or will this go down as one of the worst trades in club history? When will we cut ties with Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista? When does Brandon Morrow (and R.A. Dickey, for that matter) get a a shot at the rotation?

Too many questions and hardly any answers. As a fan, I'm disappointed in the front office of this team that has so mightily let me down over the years. It starts at the top and if we only had some idea who was at the top of this franchise, maybe we'd better understand the level of expectation we should have with this team, now and in the near future.

Posted by Donovan

8:56 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Wow, terrific post Geoff, and lots of terrific content-laden responses. My faith in this blog gets a much needed boost, even though I have none in the team we all follow.

One thing that is crucial to remember when contemplating a rebuilding strategy is that the margin between success and failure in baseball is razor thin. Small things make the difference between Ws and Ls in games. Small failures can cascade into catastrophes over a season. When panic sets in, good players can hurt their team by trying to do too much (I believe this is happening with Beltre and maybe Raul), and the limitations of your best players are exposed (I see this with Ichiro). I don't think you throw them all out with the bathwater, but I wholeheartedly agree that no option should be unconsiderable. I hate the phrase "blow up" a team, because you want to get control of the situation, not lose control. What we have now is an explosion. We need laser surgery, not TNT, but it needs to be deep and ruthless.

Deciding who to keep is going to be as much about contract status as value - one of the reasons (though not the only one) I think Ichiro is one of the last pieces you let go. Bedard and Beltre are the toughest calls. I'll reiterate my post from a couple weeks ago. No how, no way can Bill Bavasi survive this season. It just isn't possible. In fact, I expect him to resign after, or maybe during the AS break. The team gave him 3 years to rebuild, then very reluctantly gave him a 4th, because the record did show incremental improvement. Once they did that, they had to keep him this year, because the team won in '07. The team hasn't been as irrational in their loyalty to Bavasi as some would suggest, and an objective assessment of their expectations and public statements this year tell me that he has no chance at all to stick around after a losing 08. Zip. I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about the transition. Who can we get to come in and take the reins, and is it even possible midseason? Asking Bavasi to rebuild the team is like making a condemned man dig his own grave. You aren't likely to get the squarest of holes. I still think the M's in 09 is a dream job for a GM. Big budget, hands off ownership, desperate, hungry fans, low bar for success. The best available should be lining up to interview. As for manager. Yeah, can Mac too, whatever. Managers can always be replaced. Expendability is one of their main functions. That's mainly a move for the fans though, not the team. Mac is just collateral damage of a really bad team.

Hey Oregongal, I feel your pain. My optimism for this season ran out 3 weeks ago. I have to look outside baseball to keep my positive demeanor these days. The poster here I agree most with these days is Adam (the original anyway). My view on the M's has evolved to be sure.

Posted by The Troll

8:58 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Based on Johnny Mac's controlled tirade, the question is: will there be a DFA or a firing? Certainly there is a hint in the air, given Armstrong private tirade. My guess is that Johnny Mac has been put on notice and I have no sympathy for him. He has should himself to be inept and nothing more than a company man slinging BS for mass consumption. Of course, there are deeper problems with upper management and Bill "Peckerwood" Bavasi, who signed these aged and skill challenged veterans whom no one can motivate. Time to blow it up under new management.

Living on last year's promise was like living in a fool's paradise, the '07 team was something of a fluke with its overachievement. This team was never that good, the GM mis-evaluated talent from the beginning and he simply made a series of fool signings who have like chickens come home to roost.

As a result, it is time to play the young guys and get over it - move on for the next year or years ahead as there is no future with these bums. The draft is today, lets hope some bums are let go tomorrow, including Mac, BB, and RS, JV, and MC, among others who are no longer fit to play this game or manage a major league franchise. Failure dictates change, it is time and "no one is immune." Start over time!

Posted by Drinking Beer and Booing

8:58 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Bavasi's two rants also strike me as uniquely self serving. In the Stepford Wife World of the Mariners and their vertical organizational structure it is imperative that all the clones insulate themselves as much as possible from blame.

For his part Bavasi has put a layer between himself and the players in McLaren, and then placed the blame on the players saying they are not getting the job done, but that they have the talent. In other words: "it's not my fault."

But the King Deflector is Armstrong. He has all of his Department heads to blame as well as Bavasi and the coaching staff. The Losing Culture which he has created (along with Lincoln) will never see the light of day unless the Nintendo Board is very, very diligent.

And diligence my friends is not part of their M.O. These dysfunctional organizations can go on forever as long as they can either make a profit or continue to restructure debt until all is truly lost.

This is the Armstrong Culture. It magnifies him for any success, and removes him from blame when the predictable ceiling tiles fall.

LINCOLN AND ARMSTRONG MUST GO!!!!!

Posted by Drinking Beer and Booing

9:03 AM, Jun 05, 2008

I will say it again. It does no good to assume Lincoln and ArmstronG are "safe." They are the ultimate problem:

LINCOLN AND ARMSTRON MUST GO!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by backstabbers

9:04 AM, Jun 05, 2008

someone get Jeff C some kleenex i think he's about to start crying. BIG vj

Posted by Scanman

9:07 AM, Jun 05, 2008

I know this is going to make some of you mad at me, but here is my take on all of this. WE FORGOT TO HOLD ANOTHER SEGMENT OF THE EQUASION RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS MESS, OURSELVES!!!!!!!! Others have said it, I’ve called for a boycott all season long, and until we finally do boycott, it is business as usual for the FRONT OFFICE. The true answer lies in DOLLARS,not WORDS in a BLOG.

Posted by Tek Jansen

9:08 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff, you want to bring in "established talent." I would settle for "talent." The reason the M's are in a culture of losing is because they lack talent, established or otherwise. Teams that lack talent tend to lose, regardless of whether or not they accept it.

Fire, leadership, and experience will not make bad players such as Vidro, Sexson, Washburn, Silva, and the rest better. They may try hard, but they are physically incapable of being average or better than average ballplayers.

The organization will not improve until the M's front office realizes the drastic mistakes they have made in evaluating talent and handing out contracts. Bavasi could offer me 75 million over four years, I would take it, and I would be a miserable player, not because I wouldn't try, but because I lack the skills to succeed in the majors. Bavasi and Armstrong have given millions of dollars to players whose skills are not good enough to win. Until they recognize this, the M's will bring in new versions of Sexson, Vidro, Spiezio, Aurillia, Washburn, and Silva.

Posted by Streitenberger00

9:09 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff you didn't mention our $19 million leadership void in Ichiro. You don't sign a guy to that big of a contract without him showing he can galvanize a clubhouse. It seems he was a bigger mistake than Kenji or Bedard. If we can lose with him we can lose without him. The current owners should realize that wins will bring in more dollars than a tourist attraction.

Posted by Soonerman22

9:11 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Toby Keith - "A little less talk and alot more action."

Posted by Wsumojo

9:13 AM, Jun 05, 2008

DFA Vidro and Sexson?? But those are our #3 and 4 hitters!!! I don't want to see that gritty Cairo batting 3rd.... ;-)

Posted by Ziasudra

9:16 AM, Jun 05, 2008

To byebyesexson (8:31) - Yes, I saw that play (re-play) and the thought popped into my head "Have you guys ever seen a hit-and-run before?"
Don't you know how to defend it?"
Clearly the answer is "No." You are closer to the bag than the runner - you can wait a half-second to see if the batter swings before committing. We practised that in little league. I guess it's too demeaning to ask a Major Leaguer to practise BB 101 anymore.
I do believe our pitchers, good and bad, are completely demoralized by the crummy defense and non-existent offence.
Interesting - two on, nobody out, down by 1, and Vidro at bat - last time that happened he bunted. But this time, he's batting 4th, so clean-up batters don't sacrifice! so he pops-up. Wonderful decision by Mac. No runs score. The next batter was Beltre, and it illustrated his season - striking out on a pitch over his head. Literally. But, did you notice his first strike? A weak foul ball down the left foul line? The pitch was two inches OUTSIDE. Is right field no longer fair territory? I've given up on him - he was one of my favorites, but no longer.
Trade them all . . . .

Posted by Mike

9:21 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff---Only had a chance to skim this so far (darn work interfering) but regarding the Johjima and Soriano deals....please challenge Armstrong/Bavasi to give more detail to their thinking. And if they blow you off, and it represents how they usually do business, write a feature on that.

I loved Stone's piece about how Boston could be a model for how the Ms did things but I think we need to take it further. There is a lot of evidence about the dysfunctionality of this FO. I'd love to see a front page piece on that.

Posted by ktmatison

9:21 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Mr. Baker
I appreciate everything you just wrote here. I completely agree with your way of thinking. It's nice to finally see someone take a different approach to the struggles the mariners are having. I dont believe this is just a one year thing; I believe it has been building up to this point by indecision. Indecision by pretty much everybody, top to bottom. Its frustrating to say the least. Heck, I always see commercials refering to the good ol' days back in 95'. It's difficult to believe that thirteen years has passed since then. With all those charcters, like Griffey, Johnson, Wilson, Martinez, Rodriguez, Cora, it was hard not to like them. It was a lot of fun. But I keep looking at the guys now, who represent our team, the Mariners, and I dont see the same fire, nor the same excitement. What ever happened to "Two Outs, So What?" Now it appears as if it's "Two Outs, Roll Over!" I cannot claim to understand the signings and releases that the ownership does, I havent been able for quite awhile now. But that's not my job. I don't get paid to make those decisions. I get paid to pay my cable bill so I can watch those decisions. And I honestly dont like what I see. I continue to believe that something will happen, if it's a twenty game win shreak like the A's had, or a comet out of the sky, I continue to believe. But every moment I watch those players, those mariners, play the game, I start to float back to the days where I was proud of this team, and those guys, before they became famous, and went to other teams, and started to win. I dont know. I am not so sure anymore. But I just felt like writing this because I appreciate your posts, and I enjoy your insight. Rarely do I find writers who write from the heart and look at the vantage point from all angles. I hope you can get some sleep in Boston, and thanks again for your thoughts.
Sincerely
ktmatison

Posted by old coach

9:24 AM, Jun 05, 2008

With a "culture of losing", this is obviously a big picture problem, which will take a view from the top to provide solutions. Right or wrong, the general manager level is where changes need to be made, either by or to that position.

This high and unproductive payroll situation with the M's also speaks to the old arguement of paying players for what they've done, not for their potential.

Posted by BrianL

9:32 AM, Jun 05, 2008

This team has so many problems, yet so many of you jump on one of the good and talented players on this roster. Do you people really believe Ichiro is the biggest reason this club is failing? Really?

He's not a clubhouse leader. Fine. Deal with it. There are so many other problems that need to be addressed.

Posted by pheel

9:37 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Where's the box score?

Posted by SnohoCo

9:45 AM, Jun 05, 2008

I have to agree with others above - blowing up the team with Bavasi at the helm is scary. And Bavasi is "immune." So too is McLaren - unless he elects to step down, and his tirade might be a hint that he is done with this team. Managing this team has required skill and experience far beyond Mac's level - I think he recognized this when her first inherited the team and it's not gotten any better since.

Llincoln is an owner's rep so he's immune. Armstrong also it immune - why Bavasi and Armstrong are immune, I can't figure - but clearly they are not going anywhere - and likely neither will get another job with another club either - surely there can't be another club so naive as to hire these guys!?

Everyone in management is immune because they deflect the blame to the players. Anyone who has been in management has gotten stuck with a "team" of misfits - good managers help their teams succeed, bad managers just stand aside and point fingers. finger-pointing as we know from kindergarten, is very demoralizing.

Getting "experienced" talent or "promising" talent doesn't mean diddly - you need leadership, energy, and that intangible they call "team chemistry." That's where Bavasi failed so miserably - big talent usually comes with big egos - meshing big egos is the manager's job - some managers succeed at that, some don't. The Yankeess built much of thier team from experienced, "big ego" talent, and have made it work - in the past anyway, and probably will finish out this year with a flourish. The Yankees are passionate about baseball - from Steinbrenner, to Torre (when he was at the helm), to each player in the clubhouse. What do (did) they have that's missing in Seattle?

Posted by kweloper

9:46 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Here's the biggest problem of them all. The current Front Office is the problem. They are the idiots in charge. They are the ones who organized this team. They have the money and make the decisions to sign these players to contracts. They make the trades and they make every decision from top to bottom in an attempt to put a winning baseball team on the field. They have failed!

The problem then is that the Front Office is here to stay because they are making money and this organization is a business first. Unless someone makes the biggest decision of all - and that means to get rid of the entire Front Office we as Mariner fans are doomed to eternal baseball hell. Ask a Cubs fan what that feels like...

Posted by BrianL

9:50 AM, Jun 05, 2008

You know what? This team doesn't have to be blown up. Here are the big problem positions:

1B/DH/RF

These are the three easiest positions to fill. If you find three players for these respective positions who are LEAGUE AVERAGE this team gets an enormous offensive boost. Heck, we can solve most of the problem with people already on the 25-man roster.

Sexson DFA
Vidro DFA
Clement - DH/C
Johjima - DH/C
Raul - 1B
Balentein - RF
Reed - LF

These moves alone replaces two below-replacement level players with two league average type players and one potentially above-average player in Clement. In addition, runs are saved by moving Ibanez to a non-outfield position and replacing him in LF with Reed.

This alone constitutes a dramatic improvement on the ballclub, and these are internal options. Now imagine what you can do with potential FAs next season.

Posted by Louis Bothways

9:52 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Wake up man. It's effiing June already this should have been said at least a month ago! Is McLaren on horse tranqs? Did he just realize what their record is. They stink! Again! I for one am sick of the loser culture in the M's clubhouse. WTF! We loyal M's fans have put up with this for the whole existence of this team. With a few aberration seasons this team has been awful my entire life. Quit with the "It'll be better next year crap." It won't be unless wholesale front office, field, and minor league changes are made. This team has a disease. Loseritis.

Posted by Ben

9:55 AM, Jun 05, 2008

So your thesis is bring back Jose Guillen - right? if so, i agree. Let's do that. And get maybe 3 other veteran's who don't like all this crap.

Posted by Donovan

10:00 AM, Jun 05, 2008

BrianL - I agree with you generally on Ichiro. I guess people think that Ichiro has to be a vocal leader because of the size of his paycheck. I'm not sure why that is an automatic. His season thus far has been a poor one by his lofty standards, though it would be great for many on the roster.

Personally, I don't get the whole vocal team leader concept to begin with. I think it is Hollywood sports movie fiction. Anybody who needs a motivational speech to play hard is a loser by definition. In fact, I have my doubts about anybody who is so influenced by a locker room speech that it affects their play. Either you have the fire to compete or you don't. Nobody can give it to you. Ichiro has it. His level of effort every single night is outstanding. Anybody who says otherwise isn't watching very closely. His execution has been off this year, but not his effort. To suggest that Ichiro (or anybody else) can change the outlook of apathetic teammates is naive. On a team of fierce competitors who play all out to win every play, Ichiro would be considered a leader. You saw that on the WBC Japan team. On this team, I just don't think all the guys get what Ichiro is all about. I don't blame him for that. On a good team, individual players can inspire their teammates to keep aiming higher. No single player can make a bad team good though. Salary is irrelevant to that fact. Locker room passion is a symptom of a winning attitude, not the cause. Some people seem to have that backward.

Posted by Party1270

10:05 AM, Jun 05, 2008

I agree with you to a point..I think changes need to be made (worst record in MLB) but I dont think blowing up the roster is going to be the answer. And even if you did who are you going to get or bring up that is going to be better then what we have? Lahair isnt ready to take over at 1st and cairo sure isnt the answer there... so what do you accomplish by waiving sexson, dont see the logic there..I honestly dont see any moves that will make this team better today or tomorrow except bring up Clement and letting him have the DH spot and dropping Vidro. We dont want Vidro's contract to be picked up next year for plate app so lets just get rid of him and let Clement feel less pressure by just letting him have the DH. And in regards to signing Joh for 3 years I think they had it in mind to leave Clement as DH and spot starts behind the plate as his defense is not a strong spot. I believe the biggest problem is as you said - 0 people that play the game the right way and will stand up and yell at the young kids. The worst move would be to bring in more young people, bad move. We need someone that will come in and role some heads when smart baseball is not played, finding that person is the hard part!! So with out that Mclaren can do a few things to make it better... that is when we have people on first and second no outs put the but down for everybody!!! let them know that no one deserves to be able to swing away in that situation because no one is getting it done, period!!! Need to humble some of the players. If you look at back at 2001 (yes dreaming) however they always did the little things and when you do the little things good things happen. Less pressure is put on the players and with less pressure comes better results. The pitching has been horrible, I agree but I believe that is because they are out there with crappy defense and poor offense so they are tryiing to throw a perfect game everytime.. wont work. No changes need to made here in my opinion.. just start relaxing and getting the offense to do the little things and they will get back to what they have done all there life. If there is one problem it is in the pen with Putz, he does not look like the same guy from last year... I dont see the fire /rage in his eyes. And his control is horrible. Morrow has been great and Dickey should continue to be used just the way he is.. long relief in bad games (save the rest of the bullpen). By the way where is Willie? I know he is not a great player but he plays the game the right way and does the little things that helps teams win. And he will make the routine plays that lopez cant/wont do. I hate to say it but trading lopez might be the best move ( I know not a popular move but here me out). You have two young players up the middle and neither one is pushing or getting on each other about what is not being done on the field. If we get a more veteran player that can push Betencourt I feel you will see one of the best fielding ss in the league and SS are a lot harder to find then a 2nd basemen. We aremissing a get down and get dirty player. And lets not forget that we are going to get a lot of money off of the books at the end of this year with Sexson, Vidro and Ibanez. This will free up over 20 million. Depending on other moves I would be willing to re-sign Ibanez to a 2 year contract to play Left (not good defense but plays the game right). then go out and find a player to put in the 3 hole , texiera would be the 1 target. I would over pay for him period. Losing is a disease but starting over doesnt gaurantee anything different. Make changes and get back to simple, basic , fundamental team baseball and the wins will follow. Oh and for one more thing, for people that want to put Ichiro in the 3 hole, wake up please... this is the most horrible idea period. yes he is the best hitter on the team but he has little power or extra base abilities , he has horrible pitch selection and what use to be a hard person to strike out has struck out more each of the last 4 years with the walks going down if anything. And with runners on third with less then 2 outs he is batting .182 with a .182 slugging %. that as a #3 hitter would be terrible and as a lead off guy unexceptable. The man that suppose to have the best bat control cant even get someone in from third with less then 2 outs sad!!! that is not team baseball...as they say it starts at the top , in this case top of the order.

Posted by Tom

10:13 AM, Jun 05, 2008

The pathetic gesture of a profane tirade that other reporters described as "orchestrated" and "contrived" coupled with taking the players' post-game food, beer, and towels proves that this management team is incompetent. Do they really think that taking away free beer and food has en effect on a professional athlete making, at an absolute minimum, several hundred thousand dollars a year? Hollow attempts to humiliate employees only prove the impotence of management.

Employees should not be managed in this manner in any other business, and they should be be managed this way in baseball. We won't know the true source of the apparent culture of losing until the management is changed on this team. We may be only a few changes away from a return to winning.

Posted by Kyle

10:21 AM, Jun 05, 2008

It's pretty hilarious how incompetent this organization is from top to bottom.

It's getting to the point where fans should boycott games to send a message that this kind of ineptitude can't be tolerated when the tax dollars from the fans themselves kept this team in this city.

We are the Knicks of baseball at this point.

Posted by scrapiron

10:28 AM, Jun 05, 2008

NickBob (12:24) - Best post I've read here. The Boston Red Sox example is exactly what is going on here. Dan Duquette is Bill Bavasi. The Red Sox had a loooong history of losing, and it became accepted. Once they made a change to a GM that embraced the new math, even bringing in Bill James as a consultant, the Red Sox became a competitive franchise.

Posted by Stop the Pain

10:30 AM, Jun 05, 2008

When asked late Tuesday night what needs to be done, Suzuki sounded defeated.

``I don't think at this point it is even worth it to answer that question,'' the $90 million outfielder and franchise cornerstone said through an interpreter.


The Associated Press

Add to this Ichiro's comment if he had to watch this as a fan, "he would be drinking a lot of beer and booing"!

Complacent, is to soft of a word for the mind set of this "team". If even Ichiro gives up, and it sounds like he is very close to that, how long till he asks to be traded to a legitimate team, away from the childs petting zoo.

This "team" needs new management top to bottom. Lincoln and company wanted a passive team (no hot heads), when Nelson had the temerity to criticize he was shipped out within a week (this is just one example). Lincoln and company have what they wanted, passive players. But they did not see the baggage that comes with passivity,... passivity! Nothing bothers this "team" enough to get it angry and bust loose a little testosterone filled whoopin on someone to get this team on a winning streak. They are just happy to make millions of dollars laughing all the way to the bank, playing video games and filling their faces at the catered free "team food table".

Maybe the passivity of this team is not the only problem. It has been reported several times that this "team" has no sense of togetherness like most other "teams". Is it possible on this team there may be a little to much diversity. As it has been reported latins by latins, a couple anglos in a corner, Ichiro by himself, Johjima by himself, etc, etc. Zero team comradery, zero sense of responsibility to other team members. Just passivity, complacency, and individual cliques hanging out on one of the top paying "teams" in MLB resulting in the worst record in the MLs this year.

Senior management has wasted H. Y. money and Mariner fans loyalty, Lincoln, Armstrong, and company right down to the players need to be shown the door. Total rebuilding must begin now, the time for verbal outbursts by the manager are long past, time to clean out the waste, top to bottom imo.

Posted by Maclaren Supporter

10:33 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Its only the Beginning of June, no one jump pff the cliff here. Tons of basball left to be played. Lets give Mac more time and let him use his tools and resources to turn this team around. A few wins here and a few there and this team is right back in it. Bavasi will have the opportunity to make a trade to complete the team by the deadline, maybe bring in a left handed power hitting catcher or first baseman if richie doesnt come through by july.

Posted by Donovan

10:33 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Snohoco - I disagree with you on two things. First Bavasi is not "immune". Why do people think this? He has been kept on this long, because the team record has improved marginally every year he has been here. His job has been publicly threatened if the improvement doesn't pick up. Ever hear of that kind of pressure put on another GM? His head is going on the chopping block after this abortion of a season. Mac's too, probably. Lincoln will likely stay. Not sure about Armstrong.

Also, it drives me nuts when people cite Steinbrenner as a positive influence on the Yankees or an owner worth emulating The only thing he has contributed is obscene amounts of money. Without his constant, meddlesome, irrational interference, the capable baseball people he has hired (and fired) over the years would have won twice as many championships with the budgets they have had. I'll take a rich hands off owner over a rich hands on owner any day. The role of ownership is to hire the best and get the hell out of their way. Our ownership (in the form of Lincoln, their delegate) has failed to do the former and should be called out for it. But that doesn't mean we need a bunch of rich guys (it isn't just Mr. Y) who know nothing about baseball trying to prove that they do. That slippery slope leads to ridiculous stunts like Ted Turner trying to manage the Braves himself back in 77, until the league made him stop. I'm only amazed George didn't think of that one first.

Posted by AD21

10:34 AM, Jun 05, 2008

First things first....FIRE BILL BAVASI!!! Next in line would be CHUCK ARMSTRONG!!!! What has he done during his tenure? Four post-season appearances!

I don't want to see any moves being made until Bavasi's gone and hopefully Armstrong.

Posted by kranky

10:36 AM, Jun 05, 2008

McLaren's tirade is tangible proof that he has jumped the shark and needs to go.

Bavasi's acknoledgement that he's at a loss and doesn't know what to do is tangible proof he has jumped the shark (long ago, actually) and needs to go.

The poor attendance at the games is having an impact on senior management and is forcing their hand into making a change, even though they do not want to do anything.

Tradition requires that the team stumble along until close to the All Star break, which is when things will start to happen. One hopes Bavasi is the first to go as the "new man" needs to be calling the shots on tearing down this team.

Howard Lincoln, ask yourself, WWBBD? (What would Billy Beane do?)

Posted by Drinking Beer and Booing

10:43 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Posted most of this on the forum:

In support of Geoff's apparent thesis that there is a Losing Culture, it is important to point out the clear reason for the continuing downward spiral of the Mariners; Chuck Armstrong.

He has created a Stepford Wife organization based on deceit and blind loyalty. It is beyond belief that a man of Chuck Armstrong’s poor character has risen to and remained at the level he has. He has managed to insulate himself from the train wreck he has created and retained control to the detriment of all Mariner fans.

Geoff’s blog today probably has the best description of this phenomenon I have seen. Please read his thoughts on this if you care about the Mariners. This is not about getting a few big bats or flame throwing pitchers. The losing culture stems from the highest level.

Firing Bavasi and McLaren while warranted will change nothing. They are merely cogs in Armstrong’s propaganda machine who will be replaced by other yes-men nobodies willing to pray at the Armstrong Alter of Loyalty.

Assuming that Armstrong is “safe” does us no good. We are only allowing the powers that be the opportunity to perpetuate this public deceit even further. Until Mariner fans rise up and demand he be replaced we will continue to see the collapse of this franchise.

Think it can’t get worse? Try watching a team with half the payroll but the same incompetents running the show. At least Adrian Beltre has a chance to knock one out. Erik Bedard or Felix can summon up a quality start. Ichiro is still a feared hitter and defensive player in spite of his perceived lackluster performance so far this year.

If the players are not playing hard they are trying to tell us something. Treating them like kindergartners is totally in keeping with Armstrong’s blame-deflection M.O. Are you trying to tell me every player independently decided to take 2008 off? Does anyone think they are enjoying this?

Anyone who has ever played a game knows it is much more enjoyable to play hard. It is a natural instinct. But when there is nothing but negativity from above it can weigh down even the most positive person.

This is not to absolve all players from blame. But the simple fact is all teams in all sports are made up of players of varying skills both mental and physical. It is up to management to put these players in a position to succeed. Especially in a team game like baseball there is little an individual can do to “turn things around.” That’s when the “what’s the use” feeling starts to permeate.

Trying to change the Losing Culture from the bottom up is useless. We had a manager in Lou Pinella who the fans loved and gave us the greatest years of Mariner baseball. If he couldn’t initiate change above him how can Jose Lopez?

Make no mistake, Pinella and Gillick left because they would not bow to Armstrong. Chuckles the Clown took every opportunity to point to himself for the successes of those years assuming he had created an organization so wonderful that he could change any cog in his machine and the wins would continue.

This combination of arrogance coupled with ignorance usually spells doom for the person who mistakenly follows their own ego. But inexplicably in spite of his monstrous failures he appears to be in no trouble at all.

This is why Mariner fans need to focus directly on the problem and demand the firing of Chuck Armstrong immediately. We honestly have no idea what the talent level of any individual within the organization as long as they are constricted by his bizarre and incompetent management skills.

Put a quality baseball person in charge. Pat Gillick? Let him sift through the wreckage and find salvageable parts. It will do no good to behead Bavasi or McLaren on Armstrong’s Alter at this point because that will only delay the inevitable change necessary:

Replace Chuck Armstrong immediately.

P.S. I left out Howard Lincoln on purpose. Lincoln is a wimp. Armstrong leads him around like a dog. If we hire a quality president and tell Lincoln to back off who cares if he sits in his suite and pretends he’s in charge? But yes, it would be best if both he nad Chuckles go.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

10:56 AM, Jun 05, 2008

I am shocked listening to the pre-draft show on MLB.com wondering why the analysis isn't covering who the best prospect with the best defensive metrics.

Adam- you should avoid the draft today in fear of hearing numerous scouting directors and scouts discuss player's tools and scouting talk. Presence on the mound, body type, hands, mechanics, etc. All things not covered by math formulas.

I'm sure teams are using VORP on Buster Posey to determine his value in the draft.

The Rays I'm sure are using Win Shares or BAPIP stats to draft Tim Beckham. Beckham must have the best defensive metrics according to cross checkers.

Maybe you can ask Bob Fontaine if he relies on metrics when selecting players in the draft today.

Posted by exiled in Japan

10:57 AM, Jun 05, 2008

I honestly think people who complain about Ichiro's contract simply don't have a clue as to how economics works in the real world. That probably sounds a bit mean, but let me explain:

The whiners arguement goes like this: Ichiro does not have the power or leadership skills of a player normaly signed for $19million a year, so therefore it's a bad contract. that is the "logic" used by those who dislike his contract. That fails to see the reality of the entire situation.

Ichiro's popularity in Japan brings a huge fan base and tremendous revenue that would be lost without him. Without Ichiro, the Mariner's would only have about $90million to spend on payroll, instead of the $120million they have now. It was reported by a newspaper in Japan that ichiro along accounted for about $45million in revenue last year from japan.

So think of Ichiro's contract as a $10million/year contract with large "finders fee" for single-handedly bringing in a HUGE amount of revenue from oversees. His unique popularity and ability to bring in revenue from a non-normal source makes him very important to the financial success of this team. No other player in all of baseball has this effect.

This is a case where you HAVE to consider the ENTIRE picture, not just his on-field stats.

Posted by Sounders

10:58 AM, Jun 05, 2008

The problem with a rebuild is that it will affect attendance. They thought they could just throw some money around Ichiro and Felix and maintain a certain level of perpetual mediocrity, a level where they don't stink too bad and keep the Safe full. A competent GM probably could have done this with his eyes closed.

Right now what they're hoping for is that the team will get back on the right track. Then nothing will change, and they will start cranking up next years media blitz.

I'm with Drinking Beer and Booing and Nickbob: LINCOLN and ARMSTRONG must go!

It's become clear that only the payroll has hidden colossal ineptitude.

Posted by Mike

11:07 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Resin----The dismissal of statistical analysis and defensive metrics is a big part of the reason the Ms are in the mess they are in. Feel free to mock but the defensive metrics say the Ms D makes our pitching worse. I'm sure even you can see that.

I don't think Adam or anyone else has EVER suggested that scouting is not important. I Imagine you realize that you can't use metrics that you mentioned because you are comparing apples and oranges, that you thought you'd make a clever rhetorical point. I'm sure you've got Mr X laughing anyway. Well done.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

11:10 AM, Jun 05, 2008

I'll say this one more time...Chris Antonetti and his brand of sabermetric analysis WILL NEVER GET A JOB RUNNING THIS ORGANIZATION. NEVER. Why? As long as Lincoln and Armstrong run the show and control the money it won't happen.

Sure, fire Mac. Fire Bill. But who will they hire? Another retread GM and this time they will hire a manager with experience. See, with Howard and Chuck they gave Melvin the inexperienced manager a shot and it didn't work. Hargrove got off to a rocky start and improved so they will look for another version of him. Mac is another inexperienced bench coach, so they go with what they think works.

GM means hiring some guy they can control. We all know that Chuck likes to give his perspective on everything behind the scenes. He's viewed as the type of exec that meddles in everything. If he isn't happy it ain't happening.

So basically, we can all get worked up about Bavasi (and rightfully so btw) but until the upper rungs of management are blown up and refreshed with guys who GET it, we will continue to get half arsed management that thinks they know what's best.

THAT is the problem here. Fire all the field staff, scouts and the GM (Fontaine will likely go as well, btw) and it won't matter because it's all about Chuck and Howard. They will always blame everybody else for any mistakes but won't take ANY responsibility via their jobs.

Posted by Sounders

11:17 AM, Jun 05, 2008

@Nickbob:

The problem with turning around this franchise ala Boston is that it would require Lincoln and Armstrong getting lost or out of the way.

I said it before: This year, we might (but I doubt) get to see how much ownership really wants to win. If they do, the entire FO has to go. It's become brutally obvious that Lincoln, Armstrong and their lackeys don't have a clue.

I don't,like some, think the problem lies with Yamauchi and his perceived lack of care. But he could prove it to us. If he canned the FO, we would know he does care, and does want to win. If he doesn't, then we know they're OK with just printing a little less money.

Posted by Scanman

11:17 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Can any of my more learned bloggers explain why someone in the national media hasen’t pick up on our cries of Fire Armstrong and Lincoln and looked into it. It would seem like there is a great story line there .

Posted by Kevin OKeefe

11:28 AM, Jun 05, 2008

>>>Nor for the players, really, since they have yet to suffer any serious reprecussions for what's gone on other than losing some refreshments and towels post-game.

What real repercussions can they face? Being cut? Go home with millions a year in salary coming for the next few years. Sounds awful but it's true.

Asking us to come up with answers is silly. It's not our job. I pay $42 a seat to sit down by the foul pole because some is being paid to run the team. It's their job to come up answers.

What would I do? Do what the Twins and A's have done in baseball and what the Packers have done in football.

Work hard on drafting good players and keeping them for as long as you can. Let those young players grow up together, work hard together, and thank their lucky stars together for being blessed with starting in the major leagues.

Fans love players like that. It's wonderful watching players who look like they are playing out a dream with their friends.

Sure you lose some great players when it's time they come up for free agency. The Twins lost Tori Hunter and Santana this year. Two guys who if they keep it going have a chance at the hall of fame.

Twins fans are sad they lost them but understand that the way the team runs of building from the ground up and not giving long term deals that break the bank and are bad for morale if the player doesn't deliver. The team is 1 1/12 games out of first, about the same position we were in last year. Plus the fans like not paying a fortune for a beer and a ticket.

The Twins are regularly in the playoffs and have won 2 World Series in the last 20 years.

The Packers had 2 all pro starting guards 4 years ago. They could not afford to sign them. They drafted replacements and started them the next year. 3 years later the team is in the NFC championship.

The Packers had Green as a running back 2 years ago and he ran for over 1,200 yards. They could not afford to sign him so they drafted a running back and signed another that got cut. Worked out great.

Get a GM that has grown up inside a winner, not someone who has been let go elsewhere. A guy working for the Twins, A's , or even the Red Sox. Set the fans expectations as to what you are going to do and then go try to do it.

We'll show up to watch a time young, having fun, and we can see at some point we could get in the playoffs and maybe if we get lucky some day go to a world series.

Posted by stat boys dad

11:30 AM, Jun 05, 2008

(1) Change the line up NOW!!!
Look at this?
Ichiro
Reed
Lopez
Yuni
Ibanez
Beltra
1st base?
Vidro
Johjima

Reed is a good contact hitter and is doing well.
Lopez has shown what he can do.
Yuni he will get on.
Raul..is he the best 4 hitter we have?
Beltra..should be doing better.
Clement, Seson, Cario??
Vidro..starting to hit again. contact hitter
Johjima with Ichiro next he should do better.

We are second in the MLB in runs scored. Lets load the top half and see what happens?

Maybe we get out of the gates faster?

Posted by statboys dad

11:36 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Another thought.....here is my take on the White Sox..Do you think for one minute Ozzie and his GM were really fueding? They are in 1st place and how do you still grow. I won't say you cause a problem but you deflect it before anuthing happens.
You watch in another month ozzie will do something again so riffs don't show up and hey they will still be in first place...That is a leader!!!!A winner...Who in the M's orginization has enough balls to really make something like this happen??

Posted by David

11:37 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Good column, Geoff. Brings to mind "The Emperor's New Clothes." About time someone called it like it really is.

Posted by tylerv

11:42 AM, Jun 05, 2008

As a fan, the real dissapointing this is not just that we are losing this year when we expected to win, but that the last several years of rebuilding has been possibly a total flop. Thats what hurts.

I remember in March of 2004 how we were looking forward to 2006. So now we are faced with looking forward to 2011, 2012?

If winning was the sole business here the front office would be long gone.

This stinks.

Posted by statboysdad

11:42 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Mis print....obviously I meant 2nd worst in runs ...

Posted by Ziasudra

11:42 AM, Jun 05, 2008

To Beer and Boo (10:43) - I appreciate your thoughtful analysis - you must be relatively sober in the morning. Contrats!

Posted by Drinking Beer and Booing

11:48 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Posted by Ziasudra

11:42 AM, Jun 05, 2008

"To Beer and Boo (10:43) - I appreciate your thoughtful analysis - you must be relatively sober in the morning. Contrats!"

LOL! Thanks, I think. But as Homer Simpson said to Marge:

"I want a world where I can get drunk on a Tuesday morning!"

Marge: "This is Tuesday and you already drank a six-pack!"

Homer: "But I'm NOT druuuunk!"

Posted by BillL

11:48 AM, Jun 05, 2008

I keep checking the news expecting to see some kind of announcement about changes...McClaren, Bavasi, Sexon, Vidro, Cairo, etc, etc....Something should be breaking loose soon I would think.

Posted by Adam

11:49 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Resin - Honestly, your retorts are becoming more and more nonsensical. I've never dismissed scouting. And Mike is right - kind of hard to get defensive metrics or LD rates on a HS kid from Timbuktoo. But don't think for a second teams won't use those metrics once they can.

You can choose to mock and ignore sabermetrics, but you are completely out of step with MLB teams. Go tell Billy Beane or Mark Shapiro that sabermetrics is a waste. They'll laugh in your face.


BTW, I'm watching the draft right now.

Posted by Baghead day july 19th

11:49 AM, Jun 05, 2008

BAGHEAD DAY JULY 19TH!!!! BYOB!!

Posted by AD21

11:59 AM, Jun 05, 2008

If they're going to lose, might as well have the worst record so they can have the #1 pick in the MLB draft next year.

Posted by tikal002

12:04 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Welcome aboard Geoff, what took ya so long? They should have blown it up half way through the 2004 season, then we would be on our way, with a well stocked farm system.

Posted by theron

12:07 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Bavasi's comments in Stone's article scare the hell out of me.

On making roster changes:

"That's going to be a long time," he said. "That's going to be quite a while. Because we're not giving in. It's going to be real tough for us to give in. If we give in, it will be at the last minute, I'll tell you that."

He still thinks they have a shot. Sad.

I undertand no trades can happen yet, but make some room, and field an interesting, young line up that loses instead of an old one we're tired of watching fail.

I loved watching Buckjy Jacobson a couple years ago. We stunk, but i enjoyed the games.

Posted by Dave

12:07 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff,
Your Spot-On with this story! Frankly (IMO) I think the shake up has to come from the Top Down. They have let losing become the status quo in Seattle the past 7 years (yes, not making the playoffs to me is a losing year, sorry) Bill Bavasi and Chuck Armstrong need to go. They have taken us fans for granted and have kept this team in the cellar by making idiotic moves year after year (I still can't figure out the Kenji contract, 3 years?) We fans need to sit on our wallets and stop going to games for anything to change with management (no, I don't think its all McLarens fault)

Just my 2 cents

Posted by stat boys dead gpa

12:24 PM, Jun 05, 2008

I think Johjima is going to be traded. From my view point up here I see him going to the Reds or some othyer team that has that hitter with and attitude that the M's could use. It isn't to late to be resprectable and the fans will still come out then but it needs to be fun to watch...they aren't now!!

Posted by Steve

12:24 PM, Jun 05, 2008

JMH is exactly right on every point.

Two more things.
Stop messing with the rotation. Just let the starters pitch in their regular spots.

Stop messing with the batting order.
1. Ichiro
2. Jose Lopez
3. Raul
4. Adrian
5-9 it doesn't make any difference

Posted by Top pick in 09 draft

12:28 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Knick fans were able to stage effective protests that eventually got a stodgy front office/ownership to ditch Isaih Thomas after he had run the storied franchise into the ground. I am all for supporting the July 19th BagHead Day if no substantial changes involving team management are made by then. Do not just scapegoat players for the present mess! National Media will pick up on the protest and perhaps even the Japanese media which will get the message to our invisible owner that major shakeups in the front office are called for asap.

Posted by drake

12:30 PM, Jun 05, 2008

I'm amazed at the parallels between the Mariner's past nine months and the Democratic Primary process during the same time period. Both failed by stubbornly holding on to 'old school' strategies, and find themselves scratching their heads wondering 'what went wrong' while still somehow believing if they just work harder at the same strategy they can turn it around.

Both ignored new the new metrics and tools available to them and have paid for it. Clinton assumed what worked in the 90's was the way to go, hiring Mark Penn, Bill's old team of fundraising (reliant upon big donors from Hollywood and old Democrat fat cats,) and of course the big state primary strategy. Similarly, the M's rewarded the head-in-the-sand Bavasi and McLaren based on their mirage of an 88-win season, who both ignore the new common sense of team building and on field strategies.

Obama, teamed up with Silicon Valley to employ a technicology-based fundraising machine, which utilizes social-networking to create hundreds of thousands of small donors, empowering even newcomers to be fundraising giants. Meanwhile, he also adopts the '50-state strategy' that Howard Dean's team put together, and blogging sites like DailyKos and Talking Points Memo have trumpeted for some time.

Speaking of bloggers, they're at the heart here as well, as it's the only place where it seems we can get 'truth to power' voices heard in this climate of consolidated media. Like DailyKos and TPM mentioned above, USSMariner (yes, I'm giving them love, deal with it) have been warning that the sky is falling for some time now.

It's a new world out there, and until some of that is infused into the equation, head-in-the-sand organizations like the Clintons and the M's are going to be scratching their heads more often as a growing number of other organizations continue to build upon these new tools at their disposal.

(braces for flames)

Posted by John

12:47 PM, Jun 05, 2008

"Paralyzed by indecision."
Fits this organization to a T. It's been that way for years. I think Drake's analysis is very accurate. The higher-ups clearly don't have clue about running a modern team and building a competitive franchise.
A pivotal cog in the whole wheel is definitely GM, and it's possible a new one could make enough changes to turn this thing around in spite of ownership and the Armstrongs of the world.
But the disease of complacency, of not really, truly wanting to be a winning team, runs up and down the organization. Players don't seem to care enough, and when you can allow this to go on as long as it has, it's clear management doesn't either. Geoff's comment about the lack of accountability is very telling. The higher-ups don't feel like they need to justify anything they do, even when it makes no sense to anyone. Even when we're the ones paying for the tickets. That's the kind of attitude that always leads to failure.
This thing would have been blown up and put back together in most front offices long before the stink hit heaven. Here, it just sits and gets worse and worse while the guys making decisions sit at their desks with one thumb up their butt and one in their mouths.
We can only hope they don't get them confused.

Posted by BrianL

1:05 PM, Jun 05, 2008

For those who are curious, the Mariners have just wasted a first round pick on a college relief pitcher.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

1:06 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Resin----The dismissal of statistical analysis and defensive metrics is a big part of the reason the Ms are in the mess they are in. Feel free to mock but the defensive metrics say the Ms D makes our pitching worse. I'm sure even you can see that.

No it's not Mike. Defense has very little to do with this 100 loss season. It's Silva, Batista, Washburn, going 8-19, all with ERA's close to 6.00 or higher. Pitching has killed us and Bedard giving us a 5.09 ERA for the month of May his last 6 starts hasn't helped.

Raul and the infield did not have a major impact on the games. It's been pitching and hitting.

This team is the second worst run producing unit in the entire American League, only the Giants, Padres, Nationals, Royals have been worse.

Again, sabermetrics has skewed reality for many metric followers. The M's organization decision makers, starting pitching, and offense, are the real problem, not team defense.

Vidro and Cairo are more of a problem than Raul or our infield defense.

Posted by SICK56

1:09 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Bavasi made the players stand in front of their lockers for the media....WELL? Where are the interviews??

Posted by The Ultimate Optimist

1:09 PM, Jun 05, 2008

BrianL is right. What a waste of a pick. Here's ESPN's evaluation:


Josh Fields, drafted by Seattle with the 20th pick


I'm surprised to see a team in last place take a reliever this high in the draft. He's up to 97 mph and has a power curveball. If he can't get big league hitters out this year, he will next year. Philosophically, though, you would think the Mariners would go longer term with this pick instead of taking a reliever, who is more of a short-term solution with a shorter life span.

Posted by BrianL

1:11 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Resin, you are so very wrong on so many different levels.

Posted by Adam

1:13 PM, Jun 05, 2008

The Mariners take a reliever with their first-round pick.


The idiocy continues.

Posted by tylerv

1:13 PM, Jun 05, 2008

I think the whole idea of creating a modern roster needs to get some traction here is Seattle, in the mainstream press and in the Front Office.

This isn't just about sabermetrics (though thats apart of the story). Its also about the impressive parity in baseball right now, the new younger gm's, and some kind of better way certain organizations are run than others, payroll not even being the most important factor anymore.

How about some mainstream articles looking at good and bad organizations, those like the Orioles that spend alot and have nothing to show for it, and those like the Marlins or D-Backs or Rays or Oakland (again) who manage to turn over so much young talent. Why can't we do that? Why does Seattle keep overpaying for averageg players? Its not just because you have to overpay to get guys in Seattle, there's young talent to be had out there where this isnt an issue. I dont know the answer, I'm just wondering these things. What up with our huge payroll of mediocre to bad vets???

Posted by drake

1:17 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Perhaps this draft pick serves as some sort of psychological justification in the closed-off mind of Bavasi. Now picking Morrow so high and making him a reliever can seem like it was (retroactively) his (wrong-headed) strategy all along.

Posted by Wayne

1:17 PM, Jun 05, 2008

With all of the needs they have, the M's pick a relief pitcher in the first round. And I think he's a Boras client as well. I'm so disgusted by these clowns.

Posted by Sickof losing

1:26 PM, Jun 05, 2008

I will not watch, listen to, buy merchandise, or tickets until Bavasi is gone!

Enough is enough! The guy is a joke.

Posted by OC Jeff

1:26 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Resin - I agree with you for the most part. The defensive stats that people spew are just a way to try and quantify every single aspect of the game. There are some things that are still not taken into account, like defensive shifts, poor infield conditions, weather, etc.

Those types of stats don't seem to explain why the Mariners are underperforming. They can't seem to put together all aspects of the game. When the pitching is strong, the hitting is weak (though we sometimes pull the game out anyway ... 2-1 v Boston). Then other times, the defense is what causes the loss with a pair of unearned runs. Overall this season we have only allowed 24 unearned runs. That doesn't seem to be the problem. It's the sheer number of runs given up by the pitching staff that bothers me.

I've noticed a lot of people throwing out suggestions for ways to fix the team that are just comical. This isn't a video game where we can just go out and make trades and if the team doesn't like it, just force the trade. It's not that simple. I am sure there are a ton of teams out there that see the situation the Mariners are in and will play hardball. They won't give up a ton of prospects to us just to get Richie, Adrian, or Jarrod. They might for Ichiro, but not nearly as much as if we were a .500 team. It's a cut-throat business and they smell blood!

Posted by Klatzy

1:28 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Bavasi and co. are just the most short-sighted, incompetent....I'm just speechless. The team sucks and has no real hope of contending. There are glaring needs on offense and starting pitching. The only real strength or at least not craptastic part of the team is the bullpen.

And yet they waste a 1st round pick on a reliever.

stupid stupid stupid

Posted by Miles

1:29 PM, Jun 05, 2008

I was surprised by the draft pick, but it also occurs to me that they may need a closer pretty soon. Putz has trade value if they decide to blow up the team. On the other hand, if Putz has some sort of major problem (physical or other) that means he won't ever be the same, they still need a closer.

Was it the best use of the pick? I don't know, but I can see a scenario where having someone who can come in and close in the next year or two might be valuable.

Posted by globalhawk

1:30 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff, great analysis.

I would like the Mariners FO to view all the people in the stands and listening/watching on radio/TV as CUSTOMERS rather than just FANS.

I would like them to recognize that they are selling us a DEFECTIVE PRODUCT. There ought to be some licensing board, like the FDA or FTC, who can come in and say -- you guys are out of your league, we're shutting you down until you can create a non-faulty product.

Really, as a longtime season-ticker holder, I don't think I've ever been more demoralized by the decision to drop $4000+ plus on this team. It's really aggravating, like buying a bad car or any other faulty product. Except you can't exchange it or complain to the state.

Dreaming, I would like to see the absentee Japanese owners sell the Mariners back to a US group that cares about providing value for customers' hard-earned money.

I know that I should just stop watching, but now there is this morbid fascination with watching the team disintegrate night after night.

Posted by Seth Cotner

1:32 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff, best post of the year. Agree more action needed, words hold no weight anymore.

JMH 11:59 PM posting, exactly what needs to be done. Too bad you arent an advisor to the M's.

I second the notion that it is rather silly to pick a relief pitcher in the first round. I am not doubting he is great, however we have other immediate needs. If this is why we kept Bavasi around, to make this pick, that is truely sad.


Posted by Ziasudra

1:43 PM, Jun 05, 2008

The ESPN experts are great. They bad-mouth the M's for drafting a reliever, and, then they praise the next team for (also) drafting a reliever. Bad at 20, good at 21. What insight!

Posted by DustininCorvallis

1:46 PM, Jun 05, 2008

GO RED SOX!

Posted by Mike Hunt

1:48 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Mac & Cheese

This Scene took place somewhere in the bowels of Safeco Field. Minutes after the Mariners last embarrassing loss, and minutes before McLaren’s tantrum.

A tall penis headed man with salt and pepper facial hair dressed in a ten thousand dollar silk suit gestures wildly and a squinty eyed, droopy shoulder gray haired gnome of a man sporting a Seattle Mariners uniform.

“Mac! Mac! Hold up buddy!” says the penis headed man

The gnome slowly stops, turns, wipes tears from his eyes and squints at the tall penis headed man.

“That you Bill?”

“Yeah Mac, it’s me. You weren’t crying were you Mac?”

“N n no Bill” Mac stammers

“I just had a spec of dust in my eye ya know…”

“Well whatever Mac. Look I need to discuss something with you.”

“Uhh, ok Bill what’s up?”

Mac shifts uncomfortably in his uniform, dabbing his eyes with a pink embroidered handkerchief that reads “To Johnny, with love, Mom”

“ Well Mac, as you know, this season is pretty much over. The players don’t seem to give a damn, and the fans and press are calling for heads. I have an idea.”

“Uhh, ok Bill, what’s up?”

“Ok Mac, the thing is, we in the front office really don’t give a damn HOW the team is playing.”

“you don’t?” Mac asks, eyes wide in disbelief.

“Hell no baby! Man the only thing WE care about is cash money, greenbacks, bread, dinero, scratch ya know?”

“Uhh, ok Bill”

“ These fans are idiots! I mean look at this hack of a team, and still we pull in thirty thousand fans!”

Bill unleashes a wild psychotic laugh, that ricochets throughout the dark bowels of Safeco field like a round from a thirty ought six. Mac shudders, feeling the evil laugh in his prostate.
Mac steps back almost in fear of the tall penis headed man. He takes a deep breath, dabs his eyes and attempts to regain some composure.

“Uhh, ok Bill”

“But check it out Mac, we got to appear like we give a damn, at least to the fans and press. As long as we in the black baby we are happy as two clams humpin. Ain’t no thang but a chicken wing. You dig Mac?”

“Uhh, yes?”

“Ok so here’s the plan. Me an Howie wrote out this script for you to read in your post game press.”
Bill hands Mac a piece of paper with about a paragraph of scribbled writing on it. Mac proceeds to take of his glasses, then dons a pair of reading glasses. Squinting, he reads the paper.

“Uhh, Bill there sure are a lot of cuss words on here, I don’t think I can…”

“Sure ya can Mac” Bill interrupts and slaps him on the back.

“See Mac, if you read this, people will think we CARE.”

“Uhh, ok Bill”

“Good, great, it’s settled, go it buddy. Oh yeah, and try to look emotional, you know, for the cameras.”

“Uhh, ok Bill.”

“ Right on Mac, good luck. Now I gotta go make the players stand in the corner.’

“Uhh, ok Bill”

Bill, the tall penis headed man strides of towards the players locker room. Mac sighs in relief that Bill is gone. He reads and rereads the paper given to him. Mac trades his reading specs for his field glasses, dabs his eyes one more time, straightens his shoulders and heads out to meet the firing squad.


Posted by Wayne

1:52 PM, Jun 05, 2008

The Tigers' bullpen is a glaring weakness, so a relief pitcher who can contribute this year might make sense for them. Its probably the M's strongest area right now, so picking a reliever makes no sense for them.

Posted by Klatzy

1:56 PM, Jun 05, 2008

The question of whether drafting a college reliever in the first round is a good idea revolves around whether you think your bullpen needs immediate help and you are contending.

The Tiger and M's are an intriguing examples of two teams who are drastically underperforming and who thought they would contend for the playoffs. The big difference is that the Tigers in 2007 and currently are way more likely to contend than the M's.

The big problem that I see with drafting a reliever is that even if they pan out and contribute, they don't provide much relative value. Relievers are cheap and often come out of nowhere. eg. Sherrill and Putz came from the Indy leagues and Putz never dominated until the last couple years and didn't require wasting a first round pick.

Even if this pick means that Morrow starts or Putz is traded, you still could have done either and gotten a high reward pick. And not a low reward one like Fields.

Posted by SICK56

2:01 PM, Jun 05, 2008

haha funny story Mike Hunt! I love the part about the pink hanky.

So the M's drafted a college closer? Here is a scouting report on the guy.

"A second-round Draft pick last year by the Braves after a subpar junior season, he and his advisor, Scott Boras, could not come to terms with Atlanta. So the closer returned to Georgia for a senior season to try and make his junior campaign a distant memory. He was off to a good start and could be the kind of college closer teams look for these days."

I think it's funny how the Braves drafted him in the 2nd round last year, but our guys can't wait. Ugghh this team is frustrating.

Posted by blenderhead

2:10 PM, Jun 05, 2008

"I think it's funny how the Braves drafted him in the 2nd round last year, but our guys can't wait."

I don't know. The Braves don't have a very good track record for quality pitching.

Posted by paul

2:13 PM, Jun 05, 2008

it is obvious what they are doing. They are bringing this guy in to take Morrow's 8th inning spot. Then they can send Morrow to the minors to stretch out his arm to be a starter next year

Posted by drake

2:16 PM, Jun 05, 2008

You know... if we'd only offered arbitration to Guillen and THEN let him sign with KC, we'd have one of these sandwich picks to waste on a college reliever, instead of addressing the easier to fill need with a higher pick.

(Owww... must stop hitting head against wall.)

Posted by Mark

2:20 PM, Jun 05, 2008

I'm sure McLaren's a nice guy. I feel for him. But any manager who in June 2008 actually writes "Jose Vidro" in to the cleanup spot in the lineup needs to be fired on principle.

I see his OPS stands at .599. I'm trying to think if there's been a worse #4 slotted in (other than reason of injury) at this point in the season in recent memory.

Posted by Mike

2:22 PM, Jun 05, 2008

For the life of me I can not understand people who think defense doesn't matter. Do you really think 7 Ozzie Smiths behind a pitcher wouldn't make pitching staff better than by having 7 Richie Sexsons?

If we compare Oakland and Seattle on RZR, Oakland has made 21 plays more than average and Seattle 31 plays below average at this point. 52 plays difference. That's 52 times giving a 4th out in an inning. Even in good situations that is an additional 52 batters a pitching staff has to face. 52 plays is about ~42 runs. That's the difference between a 5.00 ERA pitcher and a 4.30 ERA pitcher for the 60 games this year. That's more than half of the 78 fewer runs Oakland has allowed. So yes, our run-prevention has been much worse than Oakland but a good portion of that is defense.

It might not be obvious because we forget the double Raul was 2 steps from catching or the single Yuni didn't quite get to. A better writer than me called it "death by papercuts." Once a game the Ms don't make an out they should and every other game Oakland makes an out they shouldn't. Oakland turns .714 of balls in play into outs. Seattle, .682. Over the course of a season (~4,500 balls in play) that comes to 144 plays which is about 115 runs. That changes a pitching staff ERA by .71 which is remarkably similar to what the RZR stats say. Once again a good defense would make a 5.00 ERA a 4.30 ERA. Just an average defense would split that difference.

I will agree with Resin that our pitching still has been bad though. Just not quite as awful as it looks. Our hitting too, for that matter. But this is failure at all three levels and sadly the Mariners are most likely going to continue to undervalue defense.

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

2:22 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Today's blog is terrific. The insightful comments by all are much appreciated. I wish the M's FO could be replaced by some of you experts.

The culture of losing starts at the top with the owner, then Armstrong and Lincoln, Bavasi, Mac, and the players. They take turns supporting one another, and then turn around point the finger at one another.

Clean house right now. Start at the top and work down. It just isn't sufficient to replace a couple of players in a losing clubhouse (although fresh faces and attitudes would be welcomed).

If the FO people had a shred of integrity, they would have resigned long ago for failure to meet reasonable expectations. Where is the accountability? Since they won't leave voluntarily, fire 'em.

Loser players (such as Big Richie) should not be tolerated. Dump 'em. It's long overdue.

The Mariners organization is paid handsomely to perform. It's time for them to step up to the plate. Bavasi needs to go NOW before he does additional damage.

Lou and Gillick both left due to an intolerable FO. Both have gone on to be successful again. The Mariners cannot expect to attract top notch personnel unless the FO is replaced. The #1 criteria for selecting players should be talent and ability, not "nice guy" syndrome. We need some fiery players with outgoing personalities who care about winning. I'm tired of milk toast. And that goes for the manager too. (But wait, we can't hire a fiery manager until we replace the FO, so let's do that first.)

As for me, I have not attended a game yet this year but am intrigued by Baghead Day. ;-)

Posted by drake

2:29 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Mark -

I thought for sure the winner in the worst #4 hitter this year would be all S.F.'s with Benji Molina penciled in as their cleanup hitter, but leave it to the M's to top that marginal feat.

Posted by ChicoV

2:34 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Blah, blah, blah, I'm smarter than the GM. Blah, blah, blah, lets try this. Blah, blah, blah, lets try that. Blah, blah, blah, the manager's an idiot. Blah, blah, blah, this team sucks. Blah, blah, blah, lets try young guys. Blah, blah, blah, i'm the smartest baseball mind not employed by any baseball team anywhere. Blah, blah, blah, no just fire everyone. Blah, blah, blah, no passion. Blah, blah, blah, why did we get rid of Derick Lowe 11 years ago? Blah, blah, blah, why did we get rid of Varitek over 11 years ago? Blah, blah, blah why am i mentioning guys who have been gone for over a decade to answer a statement about the state of current affairs? Blah, blah, blah, look at this stat. Blah, blah, blah, no look at this stat instead. Blah freakin blah, blah................

Posted by scottM

2:34 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Two Points:

Walla Walla Girl should be the M's next VP of Winning. (It's a promotion from her '07 post as VP for the Society to Re-Sign Jose Guillen). She has an eye for which guys know how to win!

Walla Walla Girl is invited to BAGHEAD day, but will be exempt from wearing one!!!!


Posted by Beady Eye Guy

2:37 PM, Jun 05, 2008

I have zero problem with a RP as a 1st round pick. This team does do a good job at finding players from around the world, so if they pick a RP and find another Triunfel/Felix talent abroad, it's all good with me.

Most teams are judged by the whole draft. Let's see what else they draft and judge it by that.

As for Putz, he may be done. Something isn't right. He's a gamer, I respect the guy but c'mon...if your hurt JJ, shut it down and let Morrow close the rest of the year.

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

2:39 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Ha ha! Thanks for the promotion, scott M.

Posted by Perconte

2:43 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Mike Hunt posted @1:48 Mac And Cheese

yes! haaa that is a funny story dude. Good to read something funny. everyone on the blog is sooo so so serious! thanks for the laugh

Posted by Brett in Bonney Lake

2:48 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Just what we need! A RH RHP with control problems! Thank you baseball gods for this gift in the first round of the draft! HOORAY!!!!!!!

Keeping Bavasi around until the draft is definitely paying dividends now! What a pick! YAAAAAYYYYYYYYY!

Posted by Brett in Bonney Lake

2:51 PM, Jun 05, 2008

AND his agent is Scott "Hold out until they give you more money" Boras! YESSSS!!!!!!

Posted by BrianL

3:00 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Our first round pick seems like an anti-Fontaine move. I just can't imagine Fontaine endorsing drafting a college RHP relief pitcher (Hey look, we have Morrow, Putz, Lowe...) in the first round. Something tells me this was ordered from higher up.

Posted by ChicoV

3:02 PM, Jun 05, 2008

The same guys who filled this years roster have been drafting for us too! Why expect anything great to come of it?

Posted by OC Jeff

4:02 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Mike at 2:22p.m.

This is the kind of stuff that just makes me sick as a baseball fan. You say, "Oakland has made 21 plays more than average and Seattle 31 plays below average at this point." Who the heck is making these determinations? What is a "below average" play to you? Does that differ from the defintion of another fan? I mean, the definition of a hit v. error varies from official scorer to official scorer and fan to fan. Who is to judge whether a pay is above average or not?

Does the RZR take into account anything more than the subjective opinion of the person putting the stat together? Has that person ever played pro ball or are they just making a judgement on whether a play should have been made or not from a video replay? What about a defensive shift which has the shortstop moved closer to second. A hard hit ball toward the hole with a lot of top spin would be a tough play to make. But not for someone sitting in mom's basement watching a video of a game after their seventh Red Bull.

There are a ton of other factors that can make a play more difficult. Is the batter Ichiro or Richie Sexson? (Speed puts pressure on defense.) Is the field wet and soft or dry and hard? (A hard infield plays faster than a sloppy one.) Maybe I should just ask you what your opinion of an easy play is.

I have seen people come up with rediculous stats for baseball for the last 25 years. Some of them are useful (like WHIP, On-base, etc.) and other's are pointless (OBS, RZR). Fans tend to rely on stats way more than anyone else in baseball. Most baseball people can tell who is a better player between two different players just by watching. Do you think any owner would need to pour over stats to find out who the better fielder is between Adrian Beltre and Willie Bloomquist? or between Richie Sexson and Miguel Cairo?

The point is there are a number of things that go into determining who to trade for, who to start, who to draft, etc., and it is not just fielding percentages. I challenge you to find a team that hits and pitches well that is not among the top teams in baseball regardless of their fielding percentage (or RZR or FRAA or whatever else you can throw this way.)

I am in no way saying that our Front Office or management knows what they are looking for in any sort of competent way. I am still not convinced of that. However, stats are just numbers. Cold, hard, numbersr, which take out any sort of human element.

(By the way, I work in sports as a statistician, so I am not just saying this to put down numbers people.)

Posted by Faceplant

4:04 PM, Jun 05, 2008

"Want an easy answer? Bring in some established talent that can win when the pressure's on."

You mean like Carlos Silva, or Jarrod Washburn, or Scott Speiezio, or Jose Vidro? Because that's why all of these guys were brought in supposedly.

The problem is that nobody, including you apparently Geoff, has learned a thing from the M's failures.

Established veteran mentors is exactly what this team doesn't need.

Posted by sandptfan

4:29 PM, Jun 05, 2008

It seems that the only answer is to blow things up.
I hate to think of three or more losing seasons, but I can't stand to watch this kind of play go on day after day.
If you start over, it has to be from the top down. I know Lincoln and Armstrong are probably not going anywhere but maybe they can adjust their mindset, particularly in light of this debacle. Bavasi has to go now. I don't understand the statement that "teams don't change GM's mid-season". I don't want Bavasi making trade deals that will affect our future talent.
McLaren needs to be gone, today. Nice guy, I guess, but a loser. He has had an abysmal record since taking over as manager. I guess the players like him but what does that get you, obviously nothing. No one fears for their job and no one is accountable. I wonder what would happen to any of us if we performed like this at our work. We wouldn't be employed for long.
But beyond that, how can these people hold their heads up out in public? How can they look at themselves in the mirror? I would be ashamed to turn in such a poor effort. Absolutely no personal pride in their work.

Posted by Adam

4:30 PM, Jun 05, 2008

OC Jeff - For a statistician, you ask some pretty uninformed questions.

If you really want to understand these stats, just head over to Hardballtimes.com and go to the Glossary. Look up RZR and check out their methodology. You'll find it isn't some gomer sitting behind a computer who determines what is league average, but rather that league average is based on years of hard data.

Your flippant dismissal of the methodology sounds nothing like a professional statistician.

There is very little subjective about RZR - at least, a heckuva lot less subjective that errors and fielding percentage. Is it perfect? No. But it at least attempts to improve upon the unreliable nature of mere observation. That's not a knock on scouting, because each team, no matter how much it uses statistics in its evaluations, relies heavily on scouting. But it is arrogant to assume that you can know all there is to know about a player just by trusting your possibly biased eyes.

You talk about WHIP being a useful stat. For what? Evaluating a pitcher? It's still dependent on factors outside his control (defense, luck, ballpark). That's not a good stat.

And did you know that the inventor of UZR, another defensive metric, was hired by the Cardinals and now his work is their property? Want to tell them they are wasting their money?


Honestly, I just wish you guys who arrogantly bash stat-based analysis would at least do your homework.

Posted by Faceplant

4:32 PM, Jun 05, 2008

"I mean, the definition of a hit v. error varies from official scorer to official scorer and fan to fan. Who is to judge whether a pay is above average or not?"

Wow, for someone who works as a statistician you certainly missed the point the person you were responding to.

ZR, (or the more refined offspring of it) break the field up into separate zones. Each fielder is responsible for his own zone. People try to claim that it's unfair to arbitrarily decide what a players zone is, but that just misses the point. The point of the statistic is to compare a player to his positional peers. ZR, while imperfect, succeeds in giving you some way to compare a players results to those of his peers.

Saying something is useless because it isn't perfect is just dumb.

Posted by JULY 19TH BAGHEADS UNITE!!!

4:44 PM, Jun 05, 2008

BagHead Day JULY 19TH! BYOB!!!

Posted by BrianL

4:49 PM, Jun 05, 2008

OC Jeff - You haven't even looked into how RZR and other defensive stats are determined, have you?

Posted by John

5:00 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Was just reading about Armstrong going nuts on the coaches. Again, this makes no sense. For some reason the people in this organization believe they have good ballplayers, and should be competing. I'm just curious what they base this on.
Sexson has been dismal for almost two years now, and I would argue that he was never a good fit for Safeco. The guy can't hit.
Vidro is a joke as a DH. No power and now no average.
Johjima ... extreme pull hitter who the rest of the league has figured out.
Beltre ... extreme pull hitter who the rest of the league has figured out.
Lopez ... decent bat but dismal on defense.
Betancourt ... decent bat without any discipline and dismal on defense.
Ichiro ... singles hitter who needs to hit .330 to really be considered dangerous. At .280 he's just another singles hitter and not that valuable. Plus he's aging, and I would argue this season is closer to what we can expect the rest of this career.
Not many prospects close to major league production in the minors, which were gutted by the Jones trade.

So, Chuck, you have as much or more blame than anyone. You hired Bavasi. You've kept McLaren on.

WHO IS THE IDIOT HERE? I WOULD ARGUE THERE ARE MANY ... AND YOU ARE THE KING.

Posted by teddison

5:04 PM, Jun 05, 2008

>"Want an easy answer? Bring in some established talent that can win when the pressure's on."

Isnt that what we've got? Going back to uh Rich Aurillia... Geoff, maybe you havent been here long enough.

Posted by Jim Lundquist

5:12 PM, Jun 05, 2008

It could be worse. I mean, it not like Adam Jones hit a Go-Ahead Homerun or George Sherrill saved his 20th game.

Posted by BrianL

5:22 PM, Jun 05, 2008

So let's recap day one of the draft.

4 RHPs
1 corner OF who projects to be the next Brad Wilkerson.

Poorly executed, boys.

Posted by peter

5:24 PM, Jun 05, 2008

geoff, i am scared.

BAVASI IS THE PROBLEM. NOT MAC!

Allowing bavasi to reshape this roster would make a bad situation only worse. I actually don't think that Bavasi is that terrible of a GM. However, I do think he has been a wuss when dealing with upper management's desire to create cute marketing slogans rather than a championship baseball team.

Geoff. I am begging you to do something. Go ask Lou Piniella what his opinion of this is. Off the record I would guarantee you that he would tell you that armstrong and lincoln are good guys but THEY ARE NOT COMMITTED TO BUILDING A CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM. If this were happening on Lou's watch he would be throwing things every night AND carefully calling out uppermanagement.

Geoff I am so concerned, because I have zero faith in the combination of Howard/Chuck/Bill. This could go from being a terrible year to a terrible decade.

Bavasi MUST be the first firing. Then bring in someone who can stand up to howard and chuck and create a plan. The sonics are terrible right now (all side isssues set aside) However, I believe that Sam Presti has a plan to build a great team. That simply is not the case with these guys.

Please keep the microscope on these guys Geoff. What does Piniella say? What does Melvin say? We are returning to the culture of losing that preceded Piniella. Guess who the common person is in that culture of losing that is here now and preceded Piniella. Armstrong.

I like Armstrong. But he must be stood up to. ALA Piniella or a GM who has some chutzpah and a plan. I guarantee you Piniella was the first person to do the yelling in closed door meetings and not the other way around.

I like Jonny Mac and i agree with you that we may never know what kind of manager he truly is because he walked into a hornets nest.

PLEASE HELP GEOFF. PLEASE. Do we need to hold a public protest? Do I need to have a rally outside the stadium. It is not John Mclaren. It is Bavasi not having the guts to stand up to Armstrong and DEMAND winning.

Posted by PC_Life_Sucks

5:29 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Look, the PC crap is so tiresome. There will be no "she" running this team. You don't have to say "she" every time you say "he". Besides the fact that "he" is the proper objective pronoun, YOU DON'T HAVE TO GENDER BALANCE EVERYTHING and there are some things that can be assumed.

Posted by Bill

5:39 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Geoff, I watch whatever games I can. I know which players are not performing. I'm talking about the guys who are not accountable in the clubhouse, to the media, the fans, and their teammates. It's one thing to say everyone except Dickey and Morrow have contributed to the team losing. It's another thing to say that Ichiro, Bedard, Sexson, Beltre, Felix, and Putz are bad teammates. Challenge a guy's reputation and image and maybe they'll change their behavior.


I listened to the censored version of Mac's "tirade" and it sounds to me like he was reading from a script. I've heard him speak before and I can usually hear the emotion in the man's voice. Not this time. Sorry.

Posted by B-Dog

5:57 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Blow this thing up. Trade Ichiro, trade JJ, trade Raul. The only person that we need to keep is Felix and Morrow. They have fire and they can contribute in the future. Yuni and Jose are more interested in being buddies out on the field and making spectacular plays when they dont have too. Call up Clement, call up Tui, call up Lahiar, call up Tug Huttlet. Do something different.

Posted by B-Dog

5:58 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Oh also get rid of Bavasi. Keep Johnny Mac and get him players that have his fire.

Posted by SICK56

6:00 PM, Jun 05, 2008

you gotta love how fiercely the Statheads defend their statistical measurements.

My personal feeling is that each and every one of us has a different point of view. I respect others points of view and in turn I expect to be respected. I respect the statheads. I respect the traditionalists.

But I lose respect when certain posters in here (statheads) find it necessary to belittle and ridicule others that possess a different point of view. It is self righteous and rude. Then they whine when people put them down.

If you want respect, give respect. And when you put others down expect disrespect.

The sorry thing is... bottom line we are all lovers of baseball, most of can agree that baseball is the best sport in the world.

sorry for the rant, I am just sick and tired of these childish arguments over what way is the best way to judge a player's abilities. grow up show respect.

Posted by fire_armstrong_first

6:01 PM, Jun 05, 2008

So Bavasi demands accountability from the players and yet he can't do his job to improve the team because 'it's too hard to make a good trade now".

McLaren yells and swears because it's easier than telling Raul that he's playing DH because his defense is hurting the team.

Armstrong yells because that's easier than looking at all the new forms of analysis that have happened in the last few years.

Anyone in the NFL running the wishbone anymore? That's the Ms front office.

Posted by BrianL

6:11 PM, Jun 05, 2008

SIck56 - Personally I love how certain traditionalists belittle statistical analysis, going as far to call the entire concept a farce.

The door swings both ways.

Posted by downinthegroove

6:12 PM, Jun 05, 2008

This may have been posted maybe a 100 times or so but here it goes....

Didn't we apparently try this blow up (HALF-ASS) a few years ago when we paraded all of our AAA STUD pitchers out only to see them fail?

Management is terrible. The FO must go. Why is nobody talking about the fact that we just spent our first round draft pick on a hard throwing RELIEVER. That will do it right? Maybe Morrow can start...Yeah right.

You want to kill the problem you have to cut off it's head. Lincoln, Armstrong and Bavasi need to go work with Wally Walker as the worst managers ever to hit the NW. Maybe Smuylen or Behring will help them adjust.

If we go anywhere from here it has to be with new management and new leadership. Without that this is the same team year after year. I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog day. I just can't stop the pain!

Posted by SICK56

6:18 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Brian L

I agree the door swings both ways.
did you even read every word I said?
I said that I respect ALL points of view.


Posted by BrianL

6:20 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Sick56 - You claim to respect all point of views, but in your post you single out "statheads" (which has become a rather derogatory term towards anyone who leans towards statistical analysis). Seems like you have a bigger beef with them.

Posted by Faceplant

6:47 PM, Jun 05, 2008

"But I lose respect when certain posters in here (statheads) find it necessary to belittle and ridicule others that possess a different point of view. It is self righteous and rude. Then they whine when people put them down."

Forgive me if it gets just a tad annoying when the people who criticize statistical analysis don't have the foggiest idea what they are even criticizing.

I don't know about anyone else, but I know I can come off a bit dickish sometimes when I'm discussing the issue of statistical analysis with people. But it's gets tiresome when people criticize you for using advanced metrics without having even a basic knowledge of what those metrics tell you, how they are calculated, or what their use is. If you disagree with them, that's fine. But at least make the effort to understand them, don't just dismiss them out of hand. THAT is what is annoying.

Posted by NickBob

6:48 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Hey there, Mr PatrioticallyCorrect_Life_Sucks

Got a name for you- Kim Ng. remember it, because SHE will be a GM at the pro level at some point. We could do worse than hire her, the record shows we have.

@peter- Lou has already talked about Howard Lincoln to Art Thiel over at Brand X, "Pat wants to win. Howard just doesn't know how."
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/baseball/141412_mbook26.html

It would be nice to see a feature article or two on what the ownership thinks of the current state of affairs. It's a damn shame that the Times doesn't have the quality columnists that could take this issue on. That's not really Geoff's beat. Larry Stone is a quality reporter, and his columns are to the point. Maybe an editor could assign him the job of talking with the ownership. A sinking boat drowns ad income, the Times has a dog in this hunt.

Posted by baldrick

9:34 PM, Jun 05, 2008

I just wanted to agree with those who say you could have written this article last month.... or last season.... or when we hired (and fired) Bob Melvin...

In all seriousness and honesty, many, many, many of us have been very vocal about these exact issues since they didn't do anything to put the team over the top in 2001.

They have been crippled by indecision since then, and I, personally, have had zero faith in anything the franchise has done since then. I have complained every spring training, every regular season, every off-season....

The culture of losing, the indecision, the paying too much for too little is NOT NEW. This did not just happen over the last month, with this group of guys. There was never a point in time when this year's team, or last year's team, or the previous year's team, etc., has deserved one single ounce of the optimism many were giving them.

Posted by Chuck

9:54 PM, Jun 05, 2008

What's wrong with this program? I've submitted two postings and both were rejested

Posted by peter

10:25 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Wow. Thanks NickBob

"I like Howard personally," Piniella said. "I enjoyed working with him. He's a bright guy, a charming guy. But I'll tell you this -- he's bottom line. Howard likes total, total control.

"Pat wants to win. Howard just doesn't know how."

First Howard and Nintendo helped keep baseball in Seattle. Is his ego going to allow him to ruin the same? The fans have gotten smarter and bigger demands. We don't demand 90 wins. We demand a team that has a legitimate shot at the World Series year after year. Howard Lincoln doesnt care about that or neglects to see the value in that. Sure its worked for about 8 years. But it is all blowing up in his face now.

Posted by cv1235

10:29 PM, Jun 05, 2008

This is the easiest question I've answered in a long, long time.

BLOW IT UP!!!!

And by blow it up, I mean the biggest KA-BOOM goes to the front office!

Until that is done, the Mariners are a franchise without hope.

Posted by OC Jeff

10:36 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Wow, seemed to hit a nerve there. So I missed the point of the stat, did I? So there isn't an overweight guy sitting in his mom's basement calculating these stats, right? And there is "but rather that league average is based on years of hard data." I find it hard to believe that you have put in the time to actually verify this data yourself instead of just blindly following the "experts." I am aware of what the UZR and RZR stats are and know what they have been created for. I realize that my questions were rather generic and basic for a compound formula like these stats provide. However, those questions were not necessarily pointed toward you but toward the people who set them up.

I used to follow some of the newer fielding stats when they came out like the UZR. Let's look at history. I pulled up some old notes from the 2002 season listing shortstops:

American League

Name Team GP RF ZR
Mike Bordick Bal 117 5.07 0.904
Omar Vizquel Cle 150 4.67 0.843
Royce Clayton CWS 109 4.67 0.875
Alex Rodriguez Tex 162 4.73 0.919
Cristian Guzman Min 147 4.33 0.807
Chris Gomez TB 130 4.74 0.879
David Eckstein Ana 147 4.26 0.875
Derek Jeter NYY 156 3.81 0.803
Miguel Tejada Oak 156 4.64 0.830
Neifi Perez KC 139 4.85 0.815
Carlos Guillen Sea 130 4.08 0.856
Nomar Garciaparra Bos 154 4.60 0.841

So if this stat is so important, then why are teams paying a ton of money to guys near the bottom like Nomar, Carlos, Miguel, Jeter, and guys like Vizquel, Bordick and Clayton kind of get the shaft when it comes to pay?

And therein rests my point. The stat is only as good as the player's worth. Teams wouldn't be giving tons of money to those guys unless there was something more they could offer to offset some shoddy defense. We let Carlos Guillen go after that season ... maybe because his UZR was so low? Would we be in this predicament had we kept him? Would Guillen's .311 batting average since 2002 offset his questionable fielding? I don't know about you, but watching Guillen play the last few years, I would rather spend the money on him than stick with Betancourt, regardless of the numbers.

My point, which seems to be missed in your over-excitement to defend all these stats, is that you can't judge players solely on these stats. I personally feel that these and other stats are worthless. You seem to base your whole baseball decision-making process on these stats, which means you hold them in high regard. I'm kind of old fashion in that I like solid stats like the WHIP (Simple determination of how many baserunners a pitchers allows per inning).

I think Mitchell Lichtman (The guy with the Cardinals) is a great statistical mind. He is not, however, the baseball Messiah. The Cardinals have been better, but have not won the World Series in a while. The A's (with small ball) have not won either over the last 10 or so years, despite making it to the playoffs a couple of times.

I think we all agree that the Mariners are sucking. There aren't enough stats in the world that will change my mind one way or another. Defense will not get this team back to .500. It may be worth 5-10 games in a 162 game season, but that will only get us 95-100 losses instead of 100-105.

Posted by jwcidh

11:09 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Maybe if we'd pay them more-------

Posted by streitenberger00

1:09 AM, Jun 06, 2008

To Me there are 5 players who need to be traded or outright released on top of dropping Bill Bavasi. They are:

1. Ichiro - too much of a waste of monrey on our side, he might bring in 30 million but his acceptance of a losing culture and lack of even leadership by example is reason enough to go without. We should be able to win like we used to with guys from our farm system and strong leadership from veterans.

2. Richie Sexson - enough said

3. Vidro- I love the guy but we need to make room for Kenji to move to DH or 1st

4. Sean Green and a few A or AA guys for Ken Griffey Jr. - he's old but he can lead a team and will contribute more than let-me-get-2-hits-and-be-done Ichiro

5. Wash- likeable guy but he's been a problem ever since he got here, he complains about the catcher or the lack of run support, whatever, he'll be better of in the NL or on another AL losing team.

so the line up would look like this

Lopez-2B
Balentine-RF
Beltre-3B
Raul-DH/LF
Griffey Jr.-DH/LF
Yuni-SS
Clement-C
Kenji-1B
Reed-CF

The rotation would pretty much stay the same with Morrow replacing Washburn.

All you Ichiro isn't the problem people tell me why he seems content to do what he wants and not do what's best for the team. Tell me why it took 6 years for him to finally move to CF and why he has never allowed any manager to move him from his leadoff spot. You people who support Ichiro disgust me you assume that we couldn't raise money without him well a winning team will bring in pleanty of capital. You don't need a gigantic salary cap to win. the two largest salary caps are also the two biggest dissapiontments of this season. The best way to hurt the bottom line in sports is to hold on to big contracts and continue losing for 7 years. Attendence is way down and if you actually go to a game (and sit in the cheap seats right above my favorite guy) you will see that the "Star Player" is an overrated, pompous ass who only cares about his paycheck. Ichiro soesn't play like he's on a losing team he plays like he's worried about losing a little green. We need to turn a corner and that means cutting our highest paid player. We need finnish this year as close to .500 as possible and keeping a guy who doesn't care about the team is foolish. so just to recap: Fire Bavasi, Trade Ichiro and the others but 51 is muy importante and finnish strong. This season isn't even half way over we should stop playing like it's late august and we are 16 games back and start playing like it's june and we're 5 games back. I'm tired of this losing culture and a Front Office more concerned about revenue generated off the field than revenue generated because of what's on the field.

Posted by dadling

10:21 AM, Jun 06, 2008

As I've been saying for more than 2 years. This club has not every committed to winning. That's why Lou left. They strategy of this club has been to field a competitive team. That fills the seats.
Now that is not even possible.
Your manager doesn't believe in winniing. Just win a few seris.
That's the difference here. We do not believe in winning. There is not a winner on the starting lineup.
There are no winners in the front office, or, in entire organization.
Until the owners decide that winning is the only acceptable goal. We will stay the same.
Bavasi, Mac, and yes, even Ichiro must go.
Time to trade the entire team off......what's could be worse than we have now....??????

Posted by DC

11:57 AM, Jun 07, 2008

Nothing is going to change until the fans stop showing up to watch this POOR product on the field. This organization is a joke. Get rid of Bavasi before he makes another BAD trade!

Posted by Mike Wilson

3:15 PM, Jun 08, 2008

Excellent analysis Geoff! Thanks for your time and effort in following this year's edition of our baseball hopes... and fears, sigh.

To all you Fire-the-coach guys and gals, get real. So 25 players under perform, or most of them so your reaction is to fire the manger, Mac? Logic being it will shake up the players, what a laugh.

I'll tell you what will really start them to take notice, and that's as Geoff suggests, fire Lincoln and Armstrong, and let the new leadership start leaning on the players. Maybe they fire Bavasi first and then turn up extreme heat on the players. It really makes a difference if you see new top management come in and hear and feel them put the focus where it belongs, on the field performance. The you're worried about your seven figure player salary! Then your under performing and sagging numbers are much less marketable! As a player you aren't thinking of your team getting value for you, no! You're worried about YOU getting value for your worth. And guess what? You aren't worth much as a loser player with drastically lower numbers this season compared to your previous seasons! So, professional players who don't give a damn, you better start caring, because when it comes to earning that next salary who wants to pay you big bucks when you look like you should be bought for pennies on the dollar!

I've said before and I'll say it again, firing Mac (just like Geoff says may be inevitable) it still won't solve the problem of losing. All 25 players need to suck it up and start really earning their money, and more than that, to start earning next year's salary now! I feel like far too many fans are simplistic in a knee jerk reaction to say "let's fire the coach!" Why? Because the logic is it's easier to send that message to the players than firing all the under performing players. True, but... it's not much of a message when you as a player don't personally pay that price!! When the players' livelyhoods hangs in the balance, then watch then start playing with passion, to start thinking positive rather than a oh boy here we go losing again. When in a funk, you have to think positive and then follow it up with solid play and make it happen. Some players need to step up and lead the charge, push the other players and themselves to work hard and never stop.

Right now too many of the players are just mailing in their performances, earning a paycheck and going home to watch bloggers yell for Mac's job! How ironic, Mac tries, makes mistakes sure, works hard with finally getting his chance, and only to have his legs cut from under him by the players who don't care enough. I liked Geoff's analysis, but I think firing top management and then making it clear to players they are next if they don't turn this around and then following through and dumping or trading them to make their point. To me it's pointless for a top manager to yell at the staff when the staff knows "they can't fire all of us, they'll probably just fire our immediate boss, so no skin off our teeth."

As a parent who's been through college and parenting classes, when you utter a repercussion/penalty/reward for a given behavior you have to follow through otherwise you lose all credibility, so make sure you can follow through on what you say. That goes for team amangement as well, hear me Armstrong and Lincoln?

Another thing many of you "let's bring in all the kids" folks seem to ignore is ok if you bring in even more young AA and AAA talent of ours, guess what, they will stink for a while also! They will play as badly, with mistakes, as the ones you hollered we should jettison into trade, DFA, or other lands. And you will still be complaining about the team stinking it up. So yeah, I like Geoff's idea of if needed bring in seasoned talent to replace our seasoned talent that is accustomed to losing on an epic scale.

Make sensible moves... fire Armstrong, Lincoln, probably Bavasi, shoot fire any who put the loser players there in the first place, those who signed their names to the contracts. Then if the players don't improve with new upper management, start replacing them with talent willing to give their all and not hurt us any worse at the same time and with real potential to improve. I really don't want to see us as the first 100/100 club in baseball. Truly, not a record and trivia question to be a part of, ever.

Ok, am done on the soap box.

Posted by kennyb

10:58 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Everyone wants the players to play up to their ability. I have news for you, most of them are. Sexson is a bad hitter with power, Vido is a high average hitter with no power, Raul is a good hitter and a team killer (his own) on defense, and on and on. There are very few players on this team who are playing below their skill levels. Fire Mac if you want, he sure isn't doing anything to inspire you to want to keep him around, but the real blame lies in the GM's office. He is the one that put this team together.
As for signing Joh when you have a first round catcher in your system, the organization doesn't view Clement as a big league catcher. They see him as a bat, either at DH or 1st base.
If the FO can suck it up and fire Bavasi (and Lincoln and Armstrong if they are smart enough) the next group in needs to send a message. They need to release the worst offenders - Sexson and Vidro at the top of the list, and trade what they can - (Raul). Get some bats and D, make a few pitching upgrades, and move on. Move on with a plan, not the Bavasi "make it up as we go along, and see what happens" plan.

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