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In God we trust. Everybody else needs data. - Rick Peterson

Saturday, April 10, 2004

 

More Data on Minor League Park Factors

Thanks to Mariner Minors for posting the link to Baseball America's listing of minor league park factors.

Although the article doesn't state clearly, the individual park factors listed are normalized to the league, not to the entire group of minor league parks. I have seen a few blogs out there quoting individual park factors out of the league context, which is misleading.

For example, consider the Florida State League. The Florida State League is a tough league for hitters, with a League Factor of 896. Note, however, that there isn't a single park in the league that has a rating that low. That's because in assigning park factors, the park factors are normalized to yield an average of 1000 for that league, i.e., the average of all of the park factors in the FSL is 1000. As soon as we remove an individual park from its league context, we need adjust the park factor to reflect the league from which it came.

Look now at Vero Beach in the Florida State League. Before making the correction, someone might assume that Vero Beach is an extreme hitters park, with a park factor of 1102. But Vero Beach is a hitter's park only in the context of the FSL. If we multiply Vero Beach's park of 1102 by 0.896 (the FSL overall league factor, divided by 1000 to normalize back to a 1000 scale), Vero Beach has an overall ranking of 987, which makes it still a pitchers park overall.

The table below presents Baseball America's park factors, adjusted for comparison with the entire group of Full Season Minor League parks. Note: Baseball America's data are copyrighted, or else I would have included them in my table for easy comparison. If you want to compare these factors with BA's raw data, you will need to follow the link I provided above.

International LeagueOverall Park Factor
NORTH
Buffalo Bisons (Indians)939
Ottawa Lynx (Orioles)984
Pawtucket Red Sox (Red Sox)946
Rochester Red Wings (Twins)991
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (Phillies)1021
Syracuse SkyChiefs (Blue Jays)983
WEST
Columbus Clippers (Yankees)976
Indianapolis Indians (Brewers)962
Louisville Bats (Reds)1052
Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers)952
SOUTH
Charlotte Knights (White Sox)968
Durham Bulls (Devil Rays)1112
Norfolk Tides (Mets)940
Richmond Braves (Braves)956


Pacific Coast LeagueOverall Park Factor
AMERICAN CONFERENCE
CENTRAL
Albuquerque Isotopes (Marlins)1405
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Rockies)1160
Iowa Cubs (Cubs)1041
Omaha Royals (Royals)1066
EAST
Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals)1014
Nashville Sounds (Pirates)950
New Orleans Zephyrs (Astros)942
Oklahoma RedHawks (Rangers)978
PACIFIC CONFERENCE
SOUTH
Fresno Grizzlies (Giants)1075
Las Vegas 51s (Dodgers)1083
Sacramento River Cats (Athletics)1051
Tucson Sidewinders (Diamondbacks)1385
NORTH
Edmonton Trappers (Expos)994
Portland Beavers (Padres)992
Salt Lake Stingers (Angels)1225
Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners)919


Eastern LeagueOverall Park Factor
NORTH
Binghamton Mets (Mets)1039
New Britain Rock Cats (Twins)1015
New Hampshire FisherCats (Blue Jays)
Norwich Navigators (Giants)968
Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox)1159
Trenton Thunder (Yankees)1094
SOUTH
Akron Aeros (Indians)1081
Altoona Curve (Pirates)902
Bowie Baysox (Orioles)952
Erie SeaWolves (Tigers)1154
Harrisburg Senators (Expos)1030
Reading Phillies (Phillies)1059


Southern LeagueOverall Park Factor
EAST
Carolina Mudcats (Marlins)938
Greenville Braves (Braves)933
Jacksonville Suns (Dodgers)858
Montgomery Biscuits (Devil Rays)
Tennessee Smokies (Cardinals)977
WEST
Birmingham Barons (White Sox)1001
Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds)993
Huntsville Stars (Brewers)956
Mobile Bay Bears (Padres)941
West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (Cubs)893


Texas LeagueOverall Park Factor
EAST
Arkansas Travelers (Angels)1164
Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers)1016
Tulsa Drillers (Rockies)1036
Wichita Wranglers (Royals)1020
WEST
El Paso Diablos (Diamondbacks)1181
Midland Rockhounds (Athletics)1098
Round Rock Express (Astros)1042
San Antonio Missions (Mariners)949


California LeagueOverall Park Factor
Bakersfield Blaze (Devil Rays)1175
High Desert Mavericks (Brewers)1339
Inland Empire 66ers (Mariners)1006
Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres)1141
Lancaster JetHawks (Diamondbacks)1326
Modesto A's (Athletics)1152
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Angels)1097
San Jose Giants (Giants)1102
Stockton Ports (Rangers)1121
Visalia Oaks (Rockies)1160


Carolina LeagueOverall Park Factor
Fredrick Keys (Orioles)913
Kinston Indians (Indians)900
Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates)1014
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Braves)870
Potomac Cannons (Reds)987
Salem Avalanche (Astros)933
Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals)955
Winston-Salem Warthogs (White Sox)959


Florida State LeagueOverall Park Factor
Brevard County Manatees (Expos)821
Clearwater Phillies (Phillies)876
Daytona Cubs (Cubs)923
Dunedin Blue Jays (Blue Jays)841
Fort Myers Miracle (Twins)872
Jupiter Hammerheads (Marlins)874
Lakeland Tigers (Tigers)923
Palm Beach Cardinals (Cardinals)891
St. Lucie Mets (Mets)924
Sarasota Red Sox (Red Sox)932
Tampa Yankees (Yankees)903
Vero Beach Dodgers (Dodgers)987


Midwest LeagueOverall Park Factor
Battle Creek Yankees (Yankees)950
Beloit Snappers (Brewers)983
Burlington Bees (Royals)940
Cedar Rapid Kernels (Angels)1001
Clinton LumberKings (Rangers)1057
Dayton Dragons (Reds)1034
Fort Wayne Wizards (Padres)933
Kane County Cougars (Athletics)876
Lansing Lugnuts (Cubs)1033
Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals)922
South Bend Silver Hawks (Diamondbacks)944
Swing of the Quad Cities (Twins)1012
West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers)960
Wisconsin Timer Rattlers (Mariners)1027


South Atlantic LeagueOverall Park Factor
Asheville Tourists (Rockies)1120
Augusta GreenJackets (Red Sox)926
Capital City Bombers (Mets)952
"Charleston, S.C., RiverDogs (Devil Rays)"874
"Charleston, W.Va., Alley Cats (Blue Jays)"914
Columbus Catfish (Dodgers)986
Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles)877
Greensboro Bats (Marlins)947
Hagerstown Suns (Giants)1006
Hickory Crawdads (Pirates)1006
Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox)931
Lake County Captains (Indians)895
Lakewood BlueClaws (Phillies)892
Lexington Legends (Astros)1000
Rome Braves (Braves)879
Savannah Sand Gnats (Expos)1024


Thursday, April 08, 2004

 

Let's Not Get Carried Away by Our Optimism

David over at Sports and B's also perked up at Rick Rizzs' comment about Freddy throwing strikes:
Rizzs commented when Eckstein was up that Freddy was throwing a lot of strikes, which was probably true at that point, but I was more worried about the sequence where Freddy went to 2-0 on Salmon and went to 3-0 on Kennedy, and as we know, falling behind hitters is not a good thing.
With all the optimism about Freddy's performance splashed arond the blogosphere this evening, someone needs to be the Mariner Optimist's evil twin. I caught Rizzs' comment also, and it wasn't true that Freddy was dealing strikes. When Eckstein came to the plate, Freddy had thrown 30 pitches, only 16 of which were had been logged as strikes.

Freddy's line for the day was 96-57, which suggests that he may have been aided by an aggressive Angels attack. A more patient team might have forced him to throw more strikes, with different results.


It was certainly an encouraging start for Freddy, but I'll wait awhile longer before reserving a seat on the "Freddy for Cy Young" bandwagon.

 

Not a Complete Disaster

The afternoon wasn't utterly awful. I salted some spare ribs last night, then marinated them overnight, and put them on the grill during the first inning. I set the BBQ on low heat, and let them cook in foil until about the seventh inning. Then I took them out of the wrap for the last two hours, and basted them regularly with a nice spicy BBQ sauce.

Had them for dinner about 5:15, along with a couple of Pike Brewing Kilt Lifters. By the time I got to my second rib, I had completely forgotten about Myers and Hasegawa.


 

Creative Thinking with Bob Melvin

Top of the ninth, Mariners up by one run. With left-handed batting Garrett Anderson leading off the inning. Melvin, playing the numbers, decides to use his lefty specialist, before he turns it over to the right-hander Hasegawa to close. Except that here are the numbers for Hasegawa and Myers for the last three years:
Pitcher   Average  OBP   SLG   OPS

-------- ------- ---- ---- ----
Hasegawa .252 .326 .351 .677
Myers .236 .326 .366 .692
But then, it's moot because Hasegawa, as most of us expected, is pitching like the Hasegawa of his career through 2002 than the Hasegawa of the 2003 fluke career year.

It's still early in the season, but most of us in the Mariners blogosphere argued that, if forced to choose between Hasegawa and Rhodes, the Mariners were better off keeping Rhodes. Rhodes is a better pitcher overall, whose 2003 performance was off because of an injury. Because of the injury he was undervalued in the market. He also effectively addressed the Mariners need for another lefty in the bullpen. Conversely, Hasegawa, coming off a career year, was overvalued.

The Mariners would have had an awesome bullpen with both Rhodes and Guardado as left handers, and Mateo and Soriano as right handers. Sasaki's subsequent departure would have then been an unexpected bonus.

Added note: I started working on this post as Myers threw his first pitch to Anderson. I was going to post my comment no matter what the outcome of that AB. I continued adding as the game proceeded to ever deeper circles of hell.

 

Minimizing Injury, Maximizing Performance

Here's a nice piece from the NY Times on the American Sports Medicine Institute's pitching biomechanics lab: Minimizing Injury, Maximizing Performance (registration probably required). This is the same facility that the Oakland A's and now the New York Mets use for baseline preventive biomechanical evaluations of pitchers. Rick Peterson, the current Mets pitching coach and former A's pitching coach, has worked with Drs. Andrews and Fleisig to pioneer biomechanic studies as a way to prevent arm injuries before they happen.

As I have detailed previously, The Mariners Pitching Medicine Mess, the A's record in preventing major arm injuries is as remarkable as the Mariners abysmal performance in blowing out arms. Is it the Mariners' myopic distaste for "all things Beane" that keeps the team from taking advantage of the Andrews' and Fleisig's talents and ideas?


 

The First Entry in the "Fairlyism of the Season" Contest

I liked Ron Fairly's commentary last night on Garret Anderson:
Garret Anderson doesn't get the recognition he deserves. If he played in a major media market he'd be better known; someplace like New York or Chicago, ... or Los Angeles.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

 

Opening Day Jitters

Dang it!! I missed the opening pitch of the season. If Norm Charlton's arm had fallen off, I wanted to see it live, not in reruns.

 

Chemical Seduction

No statistics in this post. I'm in an "Olympia Mariner" type of mood.

Chemistry is a funny thing. Art Thiel quotes Bret Boone talking about 2001 chemistry::

"There's something to be said for character and chemistry, and before I got here, I wouldn't have believed that," said Bret Boone before a workout yesterday, contemplating the changes over the past three years. "I always said, 'Talent wins.' But I'd never seen anything like 2001.

"I've never seen guys get along like that. Usually over 162 games, you drive one another crazy. But we never got tired of each other. If I had been forced to go to dinner with any one of my 24 teammates, I would have been fine. That was special, and it helped.

"We still have the core of that team, and we've added guys like Raul Ibanez, Rich Aurilia and Scott Spiezio, who feel like they've been here all along -- good players and good guys."
During the late 1980's I was part of the senior management of a company that went from 5 employees to over 100 employees in four years. The excitement around the office was palpable. People came to the office early and stayed late. They went out for beers after work together. They hiked together, skied together, hung drywall together, and generally shared life together. The company softball team was the most enjoyable softball team I ever played on. Everyone was challenged, excited, and enthralled. Opportunities were there for the taking; if someone was ready for more responsibility, they could have it. Our growth was limited only by our ability to find and deploy skilled staff. We were making and distributing a ton of money. We were doing great work, having a great time, and life was good.

It was like being on my championship IM flag football team again, but the feeling went almost non-stop for three years. I tried to tell the people who worked for me to enjoy the times, because they would not always be so good. The usual response was, "Yeah, yeah."

By the fifth year our growth rate flattened. A couple of projects had some problems. We were now market limited – now promotions and raises were not automatic even though a person might have proved themselves ready for more responsibilities.

Anyone care to guess what happened to our team chemistry?

As the morale and enthusiasm diminished, our management team started getting anxious. Some of them fixated on somehow recapturing the magic. They wanted to redo pay scales and incentive programs, get rid of the "complainers", bring in new blood.

Several times I rhetorically asked how it could be that so many of the people who had such fine characters and attitudes a couple of years ago could suddenly have become such pariahs? Some of my partners did not appreciate such questions.

The chemistry Boone describes is a powerful mistress. She invigorates and energizes us, and inspires us beyond our dreams and thoughts. She demands pieces of our souls, which we gladly surrender for her favors. And therein lies the problem.

Chemistry belongs to someone else, and his name is Winning. When we were hanging out with Winning, Chemistry started coming around at the same time. But if Winning goes away, some morning we wake up and discover that during the night Chemistry grabbed her things and left.
We miss her and want her back. We believe that if she came back, things would be like they were before, and Winning would come back also. But Chemistry won't come back until we first bring back Winning.

So, I understand the Mariners front office "character" strategy. I agree with them that chemistry propelled the 2001 team to heights of overachievement. I share the belief that if they could recapture that chemistry, the team would take the division in a cakewalk and go deep in the post-season. And I can relate to how much everyone in the organizations, players and management, want to rekindle that magic.

But because Chemistry still intoxicates them, they've got the formula wrong. They're trying to woo back Chemistry, expecting that Winning will follow.

It doesn't work that way, though.

 

My Kingdom for a Bat

It's two out, bottom of the 8th, runners on second and third, Angels leading 10-5, but reeling. Mike Scosio decides to get serious and brings in Francisco Rodriguez. Due up for the Mariners is Dan Wilson, he of the mighty bat.

What a great spot for a pinch hitter. Too bad the Mariners don't have one.

 

The Kevin Jarvis Watch

IP   H  R  ER  BB  SO  HR  PC-ST

2/3 1 3 3 1 1 0 22-11

Monday, April 05, 2004

 

Getting Squat from Squat

Derek at USS Mariner waxes a bit today on Bavasi's dismissal of statistical analysis as regards minor league players. Back in February I picked up link to a similar comment from Ryan Wilkins at Baseball Prospectus, indicating Bavasi's apparent disregard of park factors during his tenure as the Dodgers farm system director. ...

Derek is referring to the following portion of Art Thiel's March 31 column, When evaluating, Bavasi mixes old, new:
Bavasi contends that while statistical analysis has a large place in evaluating major leaguers, the value of the technique fades with minor leaguers, collegians and high schoolers because of the uneven quality of play.

"If I'm a bowler and I tell you I average 280, you know that's pretty good," he said. "If I'm a golfer and my handicap is 0, I'm a scratch player and you know I'm pretty good. If I'm a baseball player and I say I hit .280, your first question is, 'Against who?'

"I have a hard time answering the question of how statistical analysis helps you below the majors. I'm going to return to squat -- veteran scouts, not younger scouts."
In my February 13 blog, It's Like Not Even Considering the Idea of Contraception, I excerpted the following item from one of Jay Jaffe's Futility Infielder posts, On the Good Foot with the DePo Dodgers?
Dayn [Perry, of Baseball Prospectus] goes on to crunch some numbers which show that in terms of park effects, the Dodgers had the second-largest difference between their major league ballpark, which favors pitchers in the extreme, and their full-season minor league affiliates. Regarding this, over the winter I've had several discussions with B-Pro's Ryan Wilkins, who wrote the Dodger chapter in the forthcoming book, about this phenomenon, and he said that farm director Bill Bavasi, now the Mariners' GM, hadn't even considered it.[emphasis added]
The quotes by Bavasi from both Thiel and Ryan Wilkin's (via Jay Jaffe) dovetail nicely. Bavasi simply does not believe that minor league statistics mean anything.

Thus, we see the Mariners pattern of acquiring toolsy toolsy minor leaguers and young players who haven't done squat. I like the last part of the Bavasi excerpt: "I have a hard time answering the question of how statistical analysis helps you below the majors. I'm going to return to squat -- veteran scouts, not younger scouts." Bavasi gets squat from squat.

 

I Am Persuaded

David Cameron at USS Mariner provides a bit more info on the Guitierrez for Bradley trade. David specifically takes issue with my my perception that giving up Gutierrez is a wash compared with what the Dodgers received for Cabrera. David's a smarter guy than me in general, and when it comes to minor league players, well, ... I feel as if I'm the Martin van Buren to David's Abraham Lincoln.

David essentially makes the point that Gutierrez is truly a top tier prospect, and is worth considerably more than Looper-Ketchner, even after considering that Looper is major league ready. Furthermore, according to David, Mark Shapiro says the PTBNL is also "a very good prospect". David concludes that, "The Indians made a solid move, considering their situation, and I can't fault Bavasi for not matching the deal the Dodgers made..

I did say I was willing to be persuaded that I was wrong, and I am more than ready to defer to David's analysis of this deal. Consider me persuaded.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

 

Mensching for Mench

According to Ken Rosenthal at Sporting News: Rangers OF Kevin Mench has emerged as a trade target for both the Mariners and Dodgers, with the Mariners also expressing interest in Rangers Class AAA 1B Adrian Gonzalez. As I've blogged before, Do You Need a Mensch to get a Mench?, I think Kevin Mench would be a good pick up. I wouldn't hesitate to deal Ryan Franklin for Mench, and I would pRObably also deal Gil Meche for Mench.

This is exactly the type of situation in which the Mariners should be ready to swap their young pitching for other teams young position players. In a Mench deal, the Mariners could even match the Rangers injury risk for injury risk.

 

Why Don't We Just Emulate the Mets??

Avkash Patel over at The Raindrops provides his thoughts about the Mets trade of Roger Cedeño, their version of Jeff Cirillo:
In other news, Roger Cedeno was shipped off to St. Louis for, in the words of the Mets Analyst: 'Chris Widger (a poor man's Vance Wilson) and Wilson Delgado (a poor man's Joe McEwing, if you can imagine that).'

It looks like the Cardinals are picking up $500,000 this year and next, with the Mets responsible for the nine million dollar balance. Widger has already been designated for assignment, and Delgado has been sent down to Norfolk. In essence, the Mets traded Roger Cedeno for the baseball equivalent of a bag of balls, and about a million dollars of salary relief.

This move is cause for much celebration in Mets land. It reminds me of that bit in Chris Rock's Bring the Pain. Rock mentions how the O.J. Simpson case had the country divided along racial lines, and how on the day the verdict was announced, he saw black people everywhere rejoicing. Rock, demonstrating the joy, started skipping and hoping across the stage, screaming: 'We Won! We Won! We Won!...(pause)...What the fuck did we win?! Everyday I go to my mailbox and look for my O.J. prize and...Nothing!'

That's how feel about the Cedeno trade. What do the Mets gain here? Oh sure, I don't have to watch him struggle in the outfield, but what does it mean to the bottom line, the wins and losses? Nothing!"
Well, Avkash, out here in Marinerland we wish our management were so enlightened. At least the Mets were willing to admit the players they received for Cedeño didn't belong on the roster. The Mariners continue to keep Kevin Jarvis on the roster, even though they have at least five pitchers in the minors who have proven they are better than Jarvis. And we keep Dave Hansen on the roster as a left-handed pinch hitter, even though almost every regular in the lineup hits right-handers better than Hansen does.

 

Same as It Ever Was

I'm coming back up for air after three weeks of 80 to 100 hour work weeks. As I survey what has transpired in my absence, I find that it's pretty much the same as it ever was. The Mariners are still acquiring every toolsy 30-year old, utility player that was ever associated with Bob Melvin or Bill Bavasi. And, instead of obtaining those types of players off the waiver wire or from the minor leagues, the Mariners continue to give away valuable players and prospects to acquire those players. In every roster move, the Mariners favored the "proven vet" whose career is fading over a younger player who might be expected to improve. The Mariners commitment to those fading veterans means that the Mariners include a valuable prospect in every deal they make for one of those veterans because they have to clear roster space for the player they are acquiring. And the Mariners continue to plod along in their careful and studied roster management mode while other teams aggressively obtain available players who can make a difference in the standings.

With that recap out of the way, let's take a quick look at Jolbert Cabrera. The chart below provides quick look at Cabrera's career OBP, SLG, and OPS. These data are not park adjusted.

Jolbert Cabrera career OPS

His lefty righty splits for the last three years are:
Overall     AVG    OBP    SLG    OPS

--------- ----- ----- ----- -----
vs. Left 0.281 0.321 0.411 0.732
vs. Right 0.242 0.303 0.344 0.647
During 2002 (his age 30 season) Cabrera was recovering from a gunshot wound to the back suffered in a car-jacking attempt, so I think the poorer performance that year can be discounted somewhat.

Since Dodger Stadium and Safeco play similarly for right handed non-power hitters, Cabrera's 2003 statistics can be translated to Safeco Field almost directly. However, most of Cabrera's career through age 29 was at Jacobs Field, which plays slightly favorable for right handed batting average and strongly aids right handed power. Accordingly, Cabrera's early career stats should be adjusted downward somewhat.

With that context, what can we reasonably expect from Cabrera for 2004? Given Cabrera's age, he is not likely to improve on his career best 2003 effort. Moreover, after considering park factors, Cabrera's 2003 record looks like a fluke year. Accordingly, his 2004 production will most likely decline from his 2003 effort, suggesting an OBP of around .300 and a SLG of .350 to .400. In other words, a slight improvement over Willie Bloomquist and better than Ramon Santiago.

Lee Sinin's "Runs Created Above Average for Position" (RCAP) statistic for Cabrera's career is as follows:
Age  Year   RCAP

26 1998 0
27 1999 -4
28 2000 -15
29 2001 -9
30 2002 -12
31 2003 4
Career -36
As indicated, through most of his career, Cabrera has been a subpar offensive player. His only positive offensive contribution year was last year, which appears to be a fluke effort.

Cabrera's 2003 season probably exceeded expectations; in fact for much of 2003 Cabrera was one of the best hitters on the Los Angeles club (which is like saying that Justin Thompson was the best pitcher in the Texas Rangers rotation). Bavasi was part of the management team that brought Cabrera to Los Angeles from Cleveland during the 2002 season, so Bavasi probably has strong positive feelings about that deal.

That leaves me pondering how much this trade was influenced by possible warm feelings that Bavasi has about his previous deal for Cabrera. DePodesta, taking a harder look, figures that Cabrera is likely to revert back to his normal subpar performance. So, when Bavasi offers him a player who is likely to make at least a league average contribution, DePodesta takes it. Don't be surprised if there are more deals between Los Angeles and the Mariners in which toolsy sentimental favorites of Bavasi's and Evans' move from Los Angeles to the Mariners.

 

Dodgers trade Cabrera for Bradley; Mariners left in the dust

ESPN.com - MLB - Problem solved: Indians trade Bradley to L.A.

Congratulations to the Dodgers for picking up Bradley on the cheap. This deal and the Mariners deal for Cabrera provide an interesting comparison...

While Gutierrez was the Dodgers minor league Player of the Year last year, he is still a 21-year old in A-Ball. That's a long way from the big league, and there are many examples of similarly great A-ball players who never make it. In other words, he could be something, but he could easily be nothing.

In contrast, Looper is a demonstrated major league ready arm, and Ketchner is a prospect of some value. Were Looper with almost any organization except the Mariners, he probably would have been on the 25-man roster. Considering that Looper can contribute at the major league level right now and Gutierrez is still only potential, I think that the value received by the Dodgers for Cabrera is not that much different from what the value the Dodgers surrendered to recieve Bradley. So, pairing the two transactions, it seems to me that the Dodgers effectively traded Jolbert Cabrera for Milton Bradley. Furthermore, with Looper available, the Dodgers still have big league ready pitching talent on the roster that they can use in future deals. Dodger fans should be rejoicing.

It's also obvious the Mariners could have had Bradley had they wanted him, as the Mariners could have easily put together at least as good a deal as Shapiro accepted from DePodesta.

As we enter the season, compare what the Dodgers were able to accomplish this weekend with what the Mariners accomplished. And recognize that the difference between the teams is the consequence of the Mariners front office timidity and conservatism.

Perhaps I'm wrong in this assessment, and Gutierrez is a rare and superlative A-ball talent that is worth an established. above average major league vet. I'm willing to be persuaded. But at this point, I think DePodesta comes out looking pretty damn good, and Bavasi emerges looking like, well...., Bavasi.

Update: David Cameron at USS Mariners provides additional commentary on Gutierrez, indicating that Gutierrez is truly a top tier prospect, and is worth considerably more than Looper-Ketchner, even after considering that Looper is major league ready. Furthermore, according to David, Mark Shapiro says the PTBNL is also "a very good prospect". David's much smarter than I, especially in this area, and I will defer to his judgement. Consider me persuaded.

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