Mariners Analysis

Monday, February 28, 2005

Felix Hernandez should start in AAA

One of the most important organizational decisions this Spring will involve Felix Hernandez- namely, does he make the club or do you send him down to AAA? It is really, really important the M's get this right. Teams simply don't have Uber-prospects like this come along very often. Is he the best pitching prospect the M's have had in the teams entire history?

Little Unit was even more hyped, and we know what happened with him, so I guess not. And certainly it is unlikely he'll ever have a career equal to Randy Johnson's. But as a HEALTHY prospect, he is certainly one of the most important players the M's have ever had in their farm system. You don't want to get too hyped up on a pitcher, but only Griffey and A-Rod (two future HOF's) ever had M's fans this excited.

The problem for Bavasi is of course simply that 18 year old pitchers have lousy career track records. Notice I say Bavasi. This is not a decision for Hargrove. Decisions this important are made by the big boys. Hargrove doesn't need to worry about the M's record 10 years from now, but a GM needs to see the big picture.

But back to Hernandez, if we look at comparable pitchers who played well at 18 and beyond the list is short and tragic. Certainly players like Doc Gooden showed young pitchers can dominate, but we don't want to see the same tragic ending. In fact, there are so few major league examples to draw from when it comes to rushing Felix, the answer is pretty obvious.

You stick Hernandez in AAA to start the year, regardless of how many no-hitters he throws in Spring Training. If Bavasi is smart, and I think he is, he's already made his decision.

The current M's team has plenty of pitchers to throw out there on Opening Day, so that is not a problem. We have no idea if Joel can stay healthy, or if Jamie's location is back, or Eddie's shoulder health, or... Let's sort out the pitching during the first part of the year, and give the kid more time to grow up, physically and mentally.

If ever this organization had a Crash Davis, now would be the time to use it. This kid is 18 years old!! Imagine yourself at 18 playing in the bigs. Let the kid prove to himself he can get AAA batters out. He needs to learn how to pitch out of jams, work on his pick-off move, learn how to handle the media, learn to be a good teammate, be a man etc...

A selfish positive of keeping him in AAA to start the year is that his service time is longer, but if he pitches the way we want him too the brass will have to give him the big contract long before it runs out anyway. But more importantly, it increases the odds Felix will be pitching 6 years from now.

Let's not pretend history is unimportant or doesn't apply here. That is our heart talking.

Our head tells us Felix pitches in AAA this Spring.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Dave Niehaus misses again

I'm a big fan of Niehaus, even if he is showing some signs of wear and tear. Unfortunately Dave did not get the call from the broadcasters' wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Instead the honor went to the Padres' Jerry Coleman, who has had some funny bloopers courtesy of Bob Wolfley- link

The bloopers of Coleman's include:

• "Winfield goes back to the wall! He hits his head on the wall, and it rolls off! It's rolling all the way back to second base! This is a terrible thing for the Padres!"

• "And Kansas City is at Chicago tonight, or is that Chicago at Kansas City? Well, no matter, Kansas City leads in the eighth, 4 to 4."

• "Next up is Fernando Gonzalez, who is not playing tonight."

• "On the mound is Randy Jones, the left-hander with a Karl Marx hairdo."

• "(Bruce) Benedict may not be hurt as much as he really is."

• "There's someone warming up in the bullpen but he's obscured by his number."

• "Enos Cabell started here with the Astros and before that he was with the Orioles."

• "Gaylord Perry and Willie McCovey should know each other like a book. They've been ex-teammates for years now."

• "He slides into second with a stand-up double" and "Larry Lintz steals second standing up - he slid, but he didn't have to" and "They throw Winfield out at second, but he's safe."

• "If (Pete) Rose's streak was still intact, with that single to left, the fans would be throwing babies out of the upper deck."

• "Bob Davis is wearing his hair differently this year, short and with curls like Randy Jones wears, I think you call it a Frisbee."

• "The new Haitian baseball can't weigh more than four ounces or less than five."

• On Glenn Beckert's retirement: "Well, I hope before Glenn goes he'll come up here so we can give him a big hug and a kiss, because that's the kind of guy he is."

• "The first pitch to Tucker Ashford is grounded into left field. No, wait a minute. It's ball one. Low and outside."

• "Rich Folkers is throwing up in the bullpen."

• "Ron Guidry is not very big, maybe 140 pounds, but he has an arm like a lion."

• "Hats off to drug abusers everywhere."

• "Billy Almon has all of his in-laws and outlaws here this afternoon."

• "Tony Gwynn, the fat batter behind Finley, is waiting."

• "I don't mean he missed him, but he just didn't get him when he put the tag on him."

• "That big guy, Winfield, at 6'6", can do things only a small man can do."

• "Boros is not with the team today because he's attending his daughter's funeral. Oh, wait, it's her wedding."

Let's hope Dave gets his call in the future, and we can laugh at some of his bloopers...

Bonds impossible to like

The much anticipated Barry Bonds press conference came and went yesterday. I of course say that with much sarcasm, as I had no sense of anticipation at all. We all knew Bonds would be a jerk, and he responded in the way he knows best.

Can anyone listen to Barry during his conferences and actually still have doubts the man used steroids?

Having asked if he used steroids, he responds:

"I'm not a child. You repeat those things to children and then eventually they tell you. I don't."

Translation- I'll never rat on myself. Or maybe you can't trick me the same way Greg did into using steroids. Or maybe... who knows, he can't actually answer anything truthfully, which is why he keeps getting asked the same questions.

Asked if he has been completely honest:

"All of you guys have lied, should you have an asterisk behind your name? ... "

Translation- everybody lies, so who cares.

Wow, I love this guy. Angry. Defiant. Dishonest.

Guess what Barry- I'll never come running up to you for an autograph. I'll never buy one of your jerseys. I'll never chant your name at a ballpark, or tell you how great I think you are. You don't have my support, and I hope you go away as soon as possible.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The story of Chris and Dave...

Careful Jamal, you might blow out his knee!

One of the more interesting stories for M's fans this spring is watching Chris Snelling. For those of you who just started following the Mariners, Snelling is a young outfielder from Australia who came up through the minors and actually looked like he might be the rare position player who developed in the M's system. However, the guy gets hurt all the time and is never healthy, so we simply don't know what to expect this year.

The most publicized injury for Snelling occurred when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in June '02 while sprinting around third base in a game against Oakland. As he rounded third, he tried to reverse his direction after coach Dave Myers threw up the stop sign.

Many fans blame Myers for the injury. I hear all the time references to Meyers "owing" Snelling something for blowing out his knee.

Sorry, but blaming Myers is simply absurd. It's time to put an end to the Chris and Dave references. If you want to talk about Snelling's knee injuries, and wrist injuries, and hand injuries and ... go ahead. But don't blame the coaches.

Instead, chalk that injury up to a rookie mistake.

If I go careening down a hill on a skateboard and suddenly jump off, I'm almost certainly going to get hurt. In fact, if I somehow managed to limp away with nothing more than maybe a rip in my favorite jeans, I'd say I was pretty lucky.

If you are a major league player, or really any baseball player, there are certain things you do, and certain things you do not do.

One of the things you don't do is run full speed, glance up at the last second at a coach who may or may not be telling me to go home, and then attempt to slam on the brakes ala Fred Flintstone or Wiley Coyote.

You go slamming on the brakes like that, bad things happen. Try running down a hill at full speed and then try to slow down suddenly. My knees start hurting just thinking about it.

In the case of Chris Snelling in Oakland, I watched the game on TV and saw basically the equivalent. Running towards third at top speed, Chris had his head down the whole time. Only after rounding the bag did he notice Meyers standing with the "Hold" sign with both hands up in the air. Chris, being the good rookie that he is, tried an immediate 100%-thrust reversal back to the bag, his knee folding like a For-Sale sign in Ellensburg.

As a baseball player you make a decision on when to run home the moment the ball leaves the bat, OR you choose to let the coach make the decision. If you choose to rely on the coach, you keep him in your vision as you approach the bag. You already know before your foot hits the bag whether you are staying or sprinting home.

You don't do what Chris did- hit the bag at full speed and then glance up at the coach and try to make a split second decision. He tried it and tore out his knee. End of story.

So I hope Chris has a healthy, productive '05 season, and I hope he learns to run the basepaths.

And fans need to quit blaming Myers for ruining his knee.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Big year for Alex

There seems to be a new step this year in many major league checklists for Spring Training:

1) Check in with manager
2) Make tee-times
3) Take a shot at Alex Rodriguez

As a slightly miffed M's fan, I rather enjoy seeing players like Trot Nixon take little shots at Pay-Rod. But I have always admired his skills on the field, even when he was cashing Mr. Hicks paychecks in Texas.

However, last year was a bit of a disappointment for Alex playing for the Yankees. I'm not going to say he had a bad year, because he didn't. He played excellent defense while playing a new position, and said and did all the right things.

But playing in that lineup, you expected just a little more from Mr. 252. He's now had his year of settling in to the New York spotlight, and he's had more than just a few reasons to be motivated this offseason. I mean, since joining the Yankees he's had-
* The Karate chop incident (certainly the most serious image blow to Mr. Perfect in his career)
* The 2-17 ending to his season, watching the Red Sox win the WS (the very team he was brought in to beat)
* And now every Boston Red Sox player taking a shot at him
* The big man himself George has privately met with him to tell him to play like a superstar

If Alex isn't motivated to play well after all that has happened, I don't know what else it would take. We all know what can happen when a players signs a life changing contract- some players maintain a high level, and some lose the interest and prefer to stay at the ranch with the fam. So far Alex has been someone who has projected the image of a person much like Tiger Woods- a level of seriousness about his play that precludes the notion of kids taking priority. Now that Alex has a baby in his life, that image of Alex first will be tested.

He is in shape, in the spotlight, and in the perfect position to establish a career year. He's no longer a kid- he is a father entering the prime years of his profession. This SHOULD be a huge year for Alex.

Will he be like Bonds, and just get better and better? Or will he follow a path like Griffey- injury filled and family oriented? This year will tell us whether he's peaked or hasn't climbed the mountain.

The motivation is there. The spotlight is there.

Let's see how Alex performs.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Great article from Derek in the PI

As I'm sure you've seen, Derek at the good ship U.S.S. Mariner has a new piece on the PI web site- link

Derek addresses what the M's might do with our fan favorite slugger Bucky, and seems to reach the same conclusion I have. Namely, it's hard to see why Bucky shouldn't be on the roster opening day. As I've said many times now on this site, Bucky deserves to get regular playing time this year. He's cheap, and he hits for power. You can't ignore that.

I believe there is a good chance Bucky would put up numbers better than Ibanez in a full season. Derek runs the PECOTA projections and verifies it. I also believe Bucky stands a good chance to roughly equal Sexson's numbers in a full season. Health is the big wild card with Sexson, who obviously has a major league track record but comes with a huge asterick.

The one area Derek didn't really address is the teams current thinking of having Bucky play in Tacoma to start the season due to his knee. Bavasi has stated several times he views the knee operation for Bucky as a serious issue. While I personally believe Bucky should be given every chance to be the full-time DH, there seems to be almost no chance of this happening. Instead Bucky faces two scenarios.

If he starts slowly in Spring Training, he goes to Tacoma. The M's will argue he belongs there due to his knee. The fact Ibanez or Sexson can have a bad spring and will make the club despite an injury filled '04 is purely a money issue.

The other scenario sees Bucky have a huge spring and he makes the club despite Bavasi's comments. In this case he is the part-time DH and pinch hitter who will only gain playing time if everyday players like Sexson or Ibanez struggle.

The M's have a very poor record of giving playing time to position players working up through the minors. Previous regimes have preferred veterans to the point it hurt the team. Let's hope Hargrove and Bavasi give Bucky a real shot to contribute to this club, and haven't already made up the roster based on contracts.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Johan Santana and the Twins

Avoiding the nasty business of arbitration, the Twins signed Santana to a 4 year, $40 million deal. When you are a small market team like the Twins, is a long term contract for big money a smart business decision?

In this case, the Twins yet again showed why they are one of the best run organizations in baseball. Is there risk? Of course. But with that risk comes great reward.

Consider our beloved Mariners. Faced with Randy Johnson's contract running out, and a bad back and plenty of years on that lovable face, the M's looked at the risk of signing a pitcher to a long term deal and got scared.

So scared they not only didn't resign Johnson, they publicly declared a year before the contract ran out they had no intention of signing him!! (not to mention they did this the same day Griffey received his MVP--- idiots) This is what we call risk aversion ie. the inability to take on any risk.

Of course we all know what happened. Randy signs with Arizona in what in my mind is the greatest FA signing in the modern era. All Randy does is start a string of 4 Cy Youngs and win three games in the WS in 2001 to beat the Yankees. The same Yankees the Mariners lost to in the ALCS!!

Poetic freaking justice, some might say.

As we know, true number one starters are hard to find. There are really only a few in the AL. By locking up arguably the best pitcher, the Twins showed a deft touch at balancing risk against reward. Consider the White Sox, who are paying Freddy Garcia only a million less a year. Or all the teams locking in .500 pitchers this offseason for $8 million/yr deals.

It's true Johan could blow out his elbow tomorrow, but regardless the Twins made a smart business move. I hope the M's would have made the same move in a similar situation.

Bret Boone and steroids

One of many hot topics among M's fans as we near Spring Training is Bret Boone. Just about everyone understands the success of the M's this year depends on players like Boone and Moyer rebounding.

So what do we expect from Boone this year? This is not an easy question; just look at some of the factors-
* The birth of twins last year
* Death of grandfather
* Lack of protection in lineup
* Age
* Poor eyesight

How much did any one factor play in his disappointing season? Impossible to say.

And then there are the steroids accusations.

Did Bret Boone use steroids in 2001? Many people thought so at the time. It wasn't Canseco who first theorized Boone was a steroid user. There were many people within the clubhouse who marveled at Boone and the many pounds of muscle he seemed to grow overnight.

For those of who that haven't seen Boone in person, he is a small guy. Small hands, small feet, small build. And yet in 2001 he looked like a mini-slugger: bulging forearms, big arms, thick neck. Along with the increased mass came one of the greatest seasons by a 2nd baseman in history. All in a contract year, and during a historic 116 win season by the Mariners.

There is no proof that Boone used steroids, and I am not trying to imply that he did. The questionable story Canseco offered is no help in determining if he actually used them. Unless we get more information, we simply have to take his word for it and assume 2001 was a career year and nothing more. Is he smaller today than he was in 2001? Yes. Does he work out less than he used to? Is weight training no longer part of his routine? Only Bret can tell us, and the local sports writers do not ask tough questions. Don't expect any of the beat writers to help us out in determining what goes on in the locker room- the adage what goes on in the locker room stays there applies to sportswriters assigned to the team.

So back to 2005. We can be sure that Boone is not using steroids this year, and I can tell you right now he is not as big or as strong as he was in 2001.

Last year saw Bret hit .251 with 24 HR's and 83 RBI's. Normally you would take this from your second baseman in a heart beat- we would love to see Jose Lopez put up numbers like this in a full season if he were playing 2nd. The difference with Boone is simply he makes $9 million/year and is one of the chief power sources on the team. Last year Boone was EXPECTED to hit 30+ HR's, and when he didn't criticism justly followed.

For some reason last year Boone phoned-in his performance on the field: there were many plays he had a brain-fart and misplayed balls he never should have had trouble with. His range was also limited, and his concentration was missing. Other days showed the Boone of old.

Expectations for this year? Has to be better than last year, for a couple of reasons:
* Family situation improved
* Contract year
* Competitive factor
* Improved lineup
Bret is one of the most competitive guys in baseball. He would like nothing more than to be the lead HR hitter yet again this year on the team, making fans forget Beltre or Sexson. He knows the team is thinking this is his last year. The best way for Boone to stay in Seattle is to put up numbers that Bavasi and the FO simply can't ignore. In a Boone dream scenario, he leads the team to the post-season and plays so well the M's have to bring him back.

Of course the other scenario sees Boone have a nice year and then get traded at the All Star break with the team in last in the AL West.

Unless Bret has learned a changeup in the off season, he can do little to help the rotation, the biggest question mark on the team. But assuming he is healthy, a .270 average with 28 HR's and 90 RBI's seems reasonable.

I hope he has a nice year, and I hope we never find out he used steroids.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

NY Times article on Giambi contract

We all know the Canseco book will be largely forgotten by next week, but until then, let's continue to look into the allegatations. I reported earlier on a story that the Yankees almost certainly had reason to be suspicious of Giambi, but signed him anyway.

Immediately after the NY Times reported the story, Cashman and others blasted it as incorrect. Today the Times blasts back- story (reg required)

"If nothing else, ask the question: "Jason, your request raises questions in our minds. If you want no references to steroids in your contract, does that mean you use or are thinking of using steroids? If so, we'd like to know because even though the collective bargaining agreement doesn't prohibit steroids, we are the Yankees and we play clean. We'd like your home runs and your runs batted in, but not if they are chemically produced."

I'm guessing when all is said and done, just about every player in baseball will be clean this year for the first time in a LONG time. The fear of going through what Giambi is facing will keep the needles away.

Anyone want to bet no on hits 50 homers this year?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Pitchers and catchers report

Training Camp Site: Peoria Stadium
Location: Peoria, Ariz.
Pitchers/catchers: Feb. 16/17
Position players: Feb. 22
First full workout: Feb. 22

We are getting close now- the only time of the year Arizona and its strip malls have any appeal. Almost time to start making predictions for this team, start really going over lineups and deciding who should make this team.

After all, it's hard to come up with a 25 man roster when we still have so many questions. Can Pineiro pitch? What about Eddy? Is Bucky's knee as bad as Bavasi and the FO want us to believe? Until we see these guys play, we simply won't know.

Of course that won't stop us from over-analyzing everything! Part of the fun is seeing what works, and then getting all worked up when something broke that we just knew wasn't going to work.

Should Nelson or Sele make this team? Absolutely not. If both make this team, then we know something went really, really bad during Spring Training. I'll be upset if this happens, but I won't worry about it now- I don't have a problem inviting guys to Spring Training.

Projected Lineup:
1. Ichiro Suzuki RF
2. Jeremy Reed CF
3. Adrian Beltre 3B
4. Richie Sexson 1B
5. Bret Boone 2B
6. Raul Ibanez DH
7. Randy Winn LF
8. Miguel Olivo C
9. Pokey Reese SS

We can look at this lineup before Opening day and see what, if any changes/surprises have taken place. I'd say the above is as good a conservative guess as to what Hargrove might pencil in for Opening Day as you'll find.

The biggest questions for this club is pitching, pitching and pitching. The health of Sexson is also on the radar, but will have far less affect on the win column.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Yankees getting what they deserved

The NY Times is reporting the Yankees tried to insert a clause regarding steroids in Giambi's contract, but were told to remove it before he would sign it- link (reg. required)
This means all the whining from Yankees fans and officials about Giambi letting the team down was being misinterpreted. We thought the position from the Yankee organization was disappointment that they signed this huge contract with someone who was using illegal steroids without their knowledge. Then with the big drop-off in production and injuries, the Yankees tried to act like they were holding damaged goods. It turns out this wasn't true at all.

Instead, the Yankees knew full well Giambi was likely a steroids user, but preferred to turn a blind eye as long as his numbers were good and the public didn't know about it.

Think about it for a sec. This story is absolutely huge.

Fans have wondered why we didn't have a tougher steroid testing policy. Fans have largely blamed the players. But here we have the top team in baseball, indeed one of the most popular, powerful TEAMS IN THE WORLD, knowingly signing a player they realize is using steroids.

And now that his steroid use is hurting the team- its image, its ability to beat the Red Sox and its payroll, the Yankees cry foul.

At least privately they do. We know they tried to void his contract, but were told in no uncertain terms they would lose. When this story first broke, I theorized here the Yanks execs didn't want to go before a union lawyer and explain what they did and did not know about Giambi's steroids use. Now we understand exactly what they did know.

So the Yankees and Giambi are stuck with one another. It is extremely unlikely Giambi ever returns to his former level. At the news conference, Giambi sounded like a broken man. His confidence is shot- he talks about not quitting, but isn't sure himself if he can hit major league pitching without help from a needle.

We will find out this spring if he can, but right now I'd say there's little chance he ever finds his confidence again.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Giambi silence

The much anticipated press conference with Jason Giambi came and went. Let me summarize for you the entire waste of time- I can't tell you anything, but I'm sorry.

Really sorry.

But my lawyers won't let me say anything more. You know, because of the BALCO investigation.

Which is of course a complete lie. There is no reason Jason Giambi couldn't come out and declare publicly whether he used steroids. Now what he can't do is contradict his testimony, and he can't talk about what was asked etc... However, the gov't doesn't put a gag order on you just because you testified in front of a grand jury. You can't talk about the case, or Conte perhaps, but he can sure answer basic steroid questions from the press. You'll notice he has no problem saying Canseco's story is BS.

The real reason Giambi won't answer questions around steroids is simple- he doesn't want to strengthen the Yankees case to void his contract. Right now the Yankees have nothing to take to court- only a leaked account of a grand jury transcript that may or may not be true.

So Giambi keeps his mouth shut, and hopes he has a huge season.

Huge season + Giambi = Sheffield aura

Beat the Red Sox, and all will be forgiven.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The buzz about Canseco

With his "tell-all" book coming out soon, suddenly baseballs biggest under-achiever is back in the news. With revelations of steroid use among baseballs biggest stars (including HOF's) being detailed, it makes for lurid reading. Regardless of how you feel about Canseco, it IS important.

Of course the first caveat in all this is simply that the book is not even out. There are conflicting reports about who is named and who isn't. So for now I'll ignore comments on players like I-Rod and Raffy and focus on McGwire. Yep, that big acne-scarred luggable lunk with red hair and the ability to break Babe Ruth's record at an advanced age.

When home runs began leaving the yard at an alarming rate in the 90's, baseball found itself conflicted. On one hand it was great for fans to see HR's hit in tiny ballparks facing expansion pitching. On the other some age-old records were being threatened. There were a number of theories, but steroids were simply not being seriously discussed outside the locker room.

Part of the reason steroids were not given more attention was simply to look at some the players hitting them- guys like Griffey didn't LOOK like steroid users. Those who knew him would tell you Griffey didn't even seem to know the team had a weight room, much less know how to inject himself with human growth hormones. Even guys like McGwire and Bonds in their early years were skinny guys who clearly weren't getting it done with steroids. No one would have foreseen Bonds adding 30 pounds of muscle and hitting more HR's the older he got.

Of course there WERE whispers. How did Brady Anderson suddenly have a career year when his arms grew three sizes during his contract year? How come Canseco is so huge and yet so out of shape at the same time? How come these guys are getting hurt so much?

Lots of questions competing with bad pitching, better science, improved scouting etc... baseball experts were divided on the real cause. Most seemed to agree it wasn't ONE thing, rather a series of factors were causing balls to leave the yard at an alarming rate.

Today we know a little bit more than we did during the 90's (like Rose bet on baseball; what an equally big shocker). Bonds IS a guy who has used steroids. So is Giambi. So is Sheffield. We know McGwire was not afraid to ingest non-FDA approved chemicals in his body (eg. andro) and we know guys like Canseco and Caminiti used them because they TOLD us they did.

We are talking MVP-winning players using steroids here. Bonds- yep. Giambi- yep. Caminiti- yep. Would it shock us if McGwire used them too?

Voters for the Hall of Fame are suddenly going to have to consider the steroid factor much more seriously when McGwire's name comes up. And it is coming up soon.

Also, I'd like to put to rest the idea that players aren't allowed to talk about important subjects outside the locker room. What is more important- the game or the players? I'll take the game thank you. If what Canseco is saying is true, he should be commended for telling the truth, not condemned.

We as fans deserve to know just what was happening during the 90's in baseball. I for one want the truth.

Don't you?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Worst contract of all time

With the Detroit Tigers indeed announcing the signing of Ordonez to the worst contract this year, it is worth considering where this ranks in baseball history.

The worst baseball contract ever?

In my mind, A-Rod's contract with Texas goes down as the worst ever. In fact no team even comes close to the stinker Tom Hick's signed. Oh sure, guys like Park and Neagle and Hampton seem bad, but they are gems compared to Pay-Rod's.

Consider what Hick's and the Rangers got for three years of service from Pay-Rod. From a performance perspective, Alex was magnificent- one MVP, solid defense, modest increase in attendance the first year, national attention during the winter. From a dollars perspective for the team however, the contract was an albatross the moment the ink was dry.

Last place finishes every year, no pitching, inability to open payroll to improve the team etc... we all know the story.

For three years of service, the Rangers paid Alex $150 million!!! They averaged $50 million a year to watch Alex play SS. They had to throw in a Chan Ho Park contract worth of money to New York just to make the guy go away!

Sorry, but nothing Alex did was ever worth anything near that kind of money. He needed to throw a few perfect games and work full-time in the Scouting department to even earn half his salary. Even in the inflated world of baseball, if Vlad can win the MVP for $15 million a year, there is simply no way you can justify paying Alex $50 million for anything he did. You can buy a lot of Chan Ho Park's and Denny Neagle's with the extra $35 million the Rangers threw away every year.

In my mind, the Alex contract is simply the worst of all time.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Ordonez contract

With the Detroit Tigers close to wrapping up a deal for Ordonez, you have to hand it to Boras. This guy is simply unbelievable- I bet he could get you and me a contract for a few million a year if he wanted. How in the world he managed to convince the Tigers to pay this kind of money is a mystery. Who were the Tigers bidding against? Who was even offering three years?

Questions we always ask when it comes to Boras clients. He gets more money, more years and more perks than any other agent. Amazing.

Dave at U.S.S. Mariner quickly weighed in with his opinion, and I couldn't agree more. While I don't think it is the worst contract in baseball history, it generated plenty of laughs around baseball. The truth is you couldn't give this guy away right now. While we criticize the Sexson signing, the fact is Baltimore and a few other teams would have gladly taken him off the M's hands. There is no team in baseball that would touch the Ordonez contract right now. If Ordonez makes the All Star team this year, I wouldn't want the contract. It is sort of a mini-Manny contract; simply too much money for what is being delivered.

Puts the Beltre signing into better perspective yet again. Beltre is younger, better, healthier and plays a more premium position. Yet he signed for less money.

Otherwise, not much going on in the M's camp. Expect the current team to go into Spring Training and let Hargrove and Bavasi take a look and make some evaluations. Bavasi is strangely content to not make any major pitching moves beforehand- perhaps he feels other teams will be more receptive to a trade after teams play a few exhibition games and flaws are exposed. Let's hope he's right.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Blog changes

Congrats to Jeff Shaw and Peter White who both joined the U.S.S. Mariner boys. This will mean even more content and knowledge from one of the best blogs in baseball.

Meanwhile, we are that much closer to Spring Training. Not many changes expected from the M's until then. Almost no chance Nelson makes the team, and I hate the fact Ibanez and Winn (two Left Fielders) are still here. I really hope Bavasi trades one of them for pitching.