Saturday, January 03, 2004
MARINERS BLOGGER VOTESGabe at Safest Blog is harassing me because I haven’t posted any votes yet on his pet Mariners blogosphere awards. He clearly does not want us to give much thought and careful consideration to his little awards program – little does he realize how his little comments undermine his chances to get my votes!! HeHe!
- Best Presentation: - Mariners Musings, closely followed by Ahoy the SS Mariner and Dave's Mariners (and More) Blog.
I like sites that are clean, simple, and easy to navigate. Text should be on a nice contrasting background. The site should be restful to view, and should draw attention to the content, not to the site itself. Colors should harmonize and complement, not dominate. Features such as intense graphics, noisy backgrounds, and technical tricks that don’t help get the message get demerits from me. In general, less is more when it comes to web site graphics.
Mariners Musings gets the nod over the others I mentioned because of Peter’s very nicely done sidebar. Peter’s sidebar is a very good example of graphic elements used to help present content and make it easy for readers to find information. The only problem is that, at least on my browser, the bar drifts away from the right margin and covers some of the text.
- Best Writing - Peter at Mariners Musings
- Most Humorous - USS Mariner
- Most Consistent - USS Mariner
Most of the new blogs don’t have enough track record yet to really stand out in this category.
- Most Original - Mariners Musings
Most of us blog the waterfront. Peter comes up with more new stuff than anybody.
- Best Critical Analysis - USS Mariners
I am impressed with how much effort our Mariners bloggers invest in getting some facts into their entries – not just blogging out an opinion. Or, if they do an opinion, they do some good discussion of the rationale and thinking. It’s tough to compete, though, with the USS Mariner guys because they have so much more detailed information and knowledge than the rest of us. Not giving them the props though, because there are other deserving bloggers is like not voting for Bonds for MVP just so someone else can have a chance to get the award.
- Most Impenetrable URL - Abstain
- Blogger most in need of a real life - Bremertonians
I can’t vote for myself.
- Blogger most likely to end up in a white coat - Derek Zumsteg.
No one else is even remotely close on this one. One more Bavasi deal and the sirens will be sounding, and the Mariners blogger community will set up a fund to help his destitute wife.
- Blogger most likely be found at Pike Street Pub or Pyramid Alehouse - Derek Zumsteg
How can you not vote for the guy who wrote the freakin’ guide on all of the good beer joints near Safeco?? However, I expect that next season, every blogger who lives in the Seattle area will be hanging out at those places more often.
- Blogger with the least grip on reality - Gabriel at the Safest Blog
Gabriel broke his own rules by voting for a non-Mariners site. Gabe, if you set up the awards to recognize people within the M’s blogosphere, then that is where the awards. Since you can’t follow your own rules, you clearly have the least grip on reality. (And you left yourself wide open on that one!)
- Best Overall – USS Mariner followed by Mariners Musings
Friday, January 02, 2004
DEEP THOUGHTSIn philosophy, we ponder the big questions of life: "Why do we exist?", "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?", and "Is Bavasi a warning from God to Derek Zumsteg to 'Repent or Perish'?". And the ultimate, "What happens when an unstoppable force encounters an immovable object?"
I would like to pose to my readers an equivalent conjecture. Picture, if you will, Jeff Cirillo batting against Kevin Jarvis. What would happen if a player who can't hit came up to bat against a pitcher who can't get anybody out?
Seems to me we're talking major time-space continuum rip here.
ADDRESSING INJUSTICESWith all of the dreadful emanations coming from the Mariners these days, it’s nice to have other areas of the baseball world to turn to.
At Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT, Rich put together a nice entry last week about Bert Blyleven’s flagging candidacy for the Hall of Fame. He also has a nice update item today, One Small Step For Blyleven.... Rich sent a link to his blog to some writers, and it appears to have actually influenced one of the voters. Independently, Ken Rosenthal at the Sporting News has looked at some of the information that has been assembled about Blyleven, and he has changed his mind: Upon further review, Blyleven deserves to be in Hall.
For those who are not familiar, Bert Blyleven is a clear example of a Hall of Fame eligible player who was victimized by the circumstances under which he pitched. He mostly pitched for bad teams, so he had more than his share of tough luck losses and no decisions. He also generally pitched in hitter friendly ball parks, which hurt some of his other stats. When you correct for those things, he is clearly a Hall of Fame caliber. Then, since he pitched for teams that were not in major media markets, he did not get the benefit of the sympathy votes. (Call that the Mattingly, effect, if you like.)
There is also a nice theme running through these articles about being open-minded and willing to change. And I’m not talking about changing people’s minds about Blyleven. It’s about how some people are willing and able to adopt fresh ways of looking at situations, incorporating information and perspectives they didn’t have before and using it to advantage. Not a bad way to approach life in general.
Thursday, January 01, 2004
THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINERSI pulled the following chart from Dan Malcolm’s Big Bad Baseball blog.
BATTING – Plate AppearancesNote that in batting, the Mariners are just about the oldest team in the AL. The outlook for 2004 is not greatly changed by the Mariners completed and pending off season acquisitions.
Age <26 26-29 30-34 >34
=== ===== ===== ===== =====
ANA 6.4% 49.1% 44.5% 0.1%
BAL 24.5% 33.5% 23.6% 18.5%
BOS 0.6% 48.4% 50.9% 0.1%
CHW 26.4% 30.7% 24.2% 18.8%
CLE 47.8% 28.5% 15.4% 8.4%
DET 30.1% 49.6% 20.3% 0.0%
KC 21.5% 33.5% 38.2% 6.8%
MIN 23.4% 60.6% 15.2% 0.8%
NYY 22.6% 25.1% 39.0% 13.4%
OAK 11.2% 66.2% 21.9% 0.7%
SEA 3.8% 33.6% 44.2% 18.4%
TB 35.0% 55.4% 3.8% 5.8%
TEX 27.5% 32.8% 26.5% 13.2%
TOR 37.7% 31.8% 18.6% 12.0%
Total 22.7% 41.3% 27.7% 8.4%
I think this has at least two important considerations.
- The Mariners identified improving the offense as an off-season priority. Players over 30 are in the declining phase of their careers, and can generally be expected to post lower numbers in successive seasons. So standing pat on the roster, by itself, is likely to result in less offense. The Mariners have made some changes, but it’s not clear that those changes will do anything more than offset the inevitable declines of aging.
- Older players are more susceptible injury and fatigue. Late season fatigue certainly appears to have been an issue for the Mariners the last several seasons. The offseason moves made to date don’t really seem to address this issue either.
JUST TURN ON THE DARN WINDSHIELD WIPERSReaders, on this New Year's Morning, it suddenly occurred to me that we may have seen Ben Davis play his last game for the Mariners. How so? Well read on.
The Mariners now are homing in on trading Cirillo for Jarvis and Wiki Gonzalez. My quick comments:
- The baseball components of this deal do not make sense at all. Jarvis is astoundingly dreadful as a pitcher. For his career, batters facing Jarvis have a collective line of .294 BA / .345 OPS / .514 SLG / .859 OPS. How bad is that? Last year, the best hitting team in baseball was Boston, with collective line of .289/ .360 / .491 / .851.
Gonzalez is one of the few options around that would make the Mariners worse at catcher.
- Cirillo for Jarvis & Gonzalez is probably one of the few deals around, outside of Cedeno, where even with offsetting salaries, the Mariners would lose value in the deal.
- As with the Cedeno deal, this deal simply does not make sense unless the Mariners take back less salary than they give up (including any cash the Mainers throw in). Then the Mariners simply cut the players and apply the savings to payroll.
- However, if this deal were to happen, I fully expect that the Mariners will throw Ben Davis into the deal or trade him elsewhere. Having traded for Gonzalez, the Mariners would have too many catchers on the roster. Wilson is not going anywhere (ten-and-five man, veteran over 30 who doesn't embarass the team). As logical as it might seem to simply cut Gonzalez, I can't see Bavasi trading for a player then immediately cutting him, because that would be like saying he traded for a player who had no value. (That's the kind of thing that Billy Beane might do, and we all know that the Mariners consider Oakland to be an example of how not to run a major league team.) Thus, Davis would be the catcher deemed expendable. Most likely, Bavasi would throw Davis into the deal, and consider it part of the cost of getting rid of Cirillo's contract.
- Bavasi appears to be fixated on somehow, someway trading Cirillo rather than simply cutting him. I can't help but wonder if his goal is to be able say that he was able to take an untradable, unpopular albatross and got something in return. Whether or not the trade actually improved the team in comparison with cutting Cirillo is immaterial.
It's as if Bavasi sees the Cirillo situation as his version of Gillick's Griffey problem, i.e., a brand new GM who immediately needs to resolve an awful mess with a player on the roster. This is the test of his mettle as the new GM, and simply cutting Cirillo is regarded as the least honorable option.
- On December 23 I observed that Cirillo is like a bug crawling on the windshield of a car and distracting the driver. (Scroll down to find that entry, or locate it in: this archive. I think this analogy is even more relevant today. Bavasi needs to just turn on the windshield wipers to flick the bug off. Instead, he's continuing to run the vehicle off the road because he's paying attention to the bug instead of his driving.
Wednesday, December 31, 2003
MAJOR ENGINEERING BREAKTHROUGH MADE AT MIT ENGINEERING LABSYou're In Control-Video Links
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
SESAME STREET HOMELAND SECURITYWe can only assume that anyone who would trade Colbrunn for McCracken (and also throw money into the deal), is going to be challenged by the Homeland Security advisories as well. This guide was released just for the Bavasis of this world.
MARINERS WHEELHOUSE TOP TEN REASONS WHY BAVASI WANTS TO DUMP GUILLEN FOR AURILIA
10. Aurilia is over 30 and Guillen isn't; therefore, Aurilia is a better player.
9. Bavasi believes that any player under 30 who has shown consistent year-over-year improvement is destined to regress, whereas players over 30 who have been declining are destined to improve.
8. Guillen and Freddy party together too much, so separating them will be good for Freddy.
7. The Mariners have not forgiven Guillen for his DUI. The DUI is bad for the club image.
6. Having Guillen around continually embarrasses the club medical staff because they are reminded of their incompetence in handling Guillen's tuberculosis. (For more of my take on this, click on this link to my archives and scroll down to the Dec. 17 entry titled Is There a Doctor in the House?)
5. Bavasi can't quite believe that he got another GM job, and making trades and roster moves is like pinching himself to be sure this is really happening.
4. To show everyone that he's really in charge, Bavasi is getting rid of as many holdovers from the previous team that he can get away with.
3. Bavasi believes that one year of fluky good performance is a more accurate indicator of value than six mediocre years preceding and following that year.
2. Lou decided he wants another ex-Mariner for the roster in Tampa Bay and the Mariners have an under the table agreement with Tampa Bay to help Lou acquire a Mariner.
AND, THE NUMBER 1 REASON WHY BAVASI WANTS TO DUMP GUILLEN FOR AURILIA:
10. Bavasi suddenly realized that with four switch hitters on the roster, the late inning substitution and pinch-htting possibilities would be more than Melvin could handle.
Monday, December 29, 2003
GRANT HILL'S CAREER FOUND IN DUMPSTERFrom SportsGoons.com:
Orlando Magic forward Grant Hill’s once-promising career was found late Sunday night in a dumpster behind Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Homeless man Hank Fortman, 43, found Hill’s career while searching for leftover hot dogs and popcorn outside of the stadium after Orlando’s 104-93 win over the Raptors. …Read the rest of the story here: Grant Hill's Career Found in Dumpster
MARINERS SCOUTING AND DEVELOPMENTAmong teams in baseball, the Mariners are emphatically in the group that believes that teams are built on scouting, development and tools. They explicitly do not follow the approach of teams such as Oakland, that use performance data to identify and target players.
With that in mind, try guessing how many players the Mariners have drafted in the last five years that have spent any time on the major league roster. After you make your guess, go here for the answer: InsideThePark.com: Mariners Draft Analysis: 1998-2002
MAJORING IN MONEYBALLAn interesting article in Baseball America on Moneyball-type thinking in college baseball:
Baseball America - Majoring In Moneyball
WHY WE CAN BE THANKFUL BATISTA IS NOT A MARINERAaron Gleeman put together some documentation and discussion about how bad Tony Batista is. If you were harboring any illusions about him being a nice solution for the Mariners, you should check out Aaron's Dec 29 entry.
Sunday, December 28, 2003
HELP RESCUE A CRAWLY AMPHIBIAN!If you pay any attention to my right sidebar (and you really should, it has some surprises), you will see a reference to the TTLB Ecosystem. It's near the bottom of the right sidebar content, just above the hit counters.
TTLB Ecosystem is an interesting site - it's features include tracking and showing interconnections among blogs. The more times a particular blog is linked by other blogs, the higher the blog rises in the TTLB Ecosystem. But beyond that, you can use TTLB to locate all kinds of blog content. If you're curious, click on the the TTLB Ecosystem link and spend explore the site.
Anyway, as of the time of this posting, I am a Crawly Amphibian in the TTLB Ecosystem. (In comparison, the folks at U.S.S. Mariner are Adorable Little Rodents.) But with a few more links, I can attain Slithering Reptile status. So, if you have a blog, and you enjoy my content (or if you just prefer to see me slither instead of crawl), add a Mariners Wheelhouse link to your site.
MENCH EXPECTS TO BE FULLY CLEARED FOR BASEBALL BY JANUARY 1This is a followup to the blog entry immediately following this one, regarding Kevin Mench.
According to the Dallas News, Mench expects to be fully cleared for baseball activities by Jan. 1. After signing Brian Jordan, the Rangers outfield is crowded.
If Mench indeed is fully recovered from his broken wrist, I think he would be a great addition to the Mariners roster. He would provide a youth, a strong bat, and he is affordable. The Rangers are ready to deal him, and would certainly take young pitching in return.
In the past the Mariners have said they are focusing on developing young pitching because young pitching is always scarce. It's easier to fill position holes by trading young pitching than to fill pitching holes by trading position prospects.
Now is the time to put that philosophy in action. And let's use the young pitching to get young prospects who are rising stars, not established middle of the road veterans on the downside of their careers.
Kevin Mench certainly isn't the only option out there. But he is the type of player the Mariners should be trying to bring in with the available pitching talent in the organization. And do it now before the prospects lose trade value due to arm injuries.