Mariners Analysis

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hickey article

Todays PI has Offseason Analysis by John Hickey, and it's an interesting read. It contains some information we already knew, like the last minute plan on Zito, as well as some disturbing information... "Weaver and Batista were among the top six starters the Mariners targeted back in October, Bavasi said." Yikes.

The most fascinating part of the article to me was the additional money the Mariners used in landing Weaver. After Lugo and a few other questionable moves, it seemed the M's had used up most of the budget. The ability to add Weaver for over $8 million caught me by surprise.

It turned out the money was there all along, the team just hasn't been talking about it much.

According to Hickey, the Mariners landed a roughly $20 million windfall from the sale of the Nationals. This poses the following questions:
  • Why didn't writers like Hickey mention this money when the free agent period began? This should have been a key question when the M's were making budget plans for this year... i.e. What are you planning on doing with the money gained from the sale of the Nationals?
  • Was this money common knowledge, or were teams told to keep quiet on the sale. I have seen little-to-no mention of this during the offseason.
  • If each team pocketed this money, is anyone surprised at all salaries escalated they way they did? No wonder Meche received $55 million. To KC it probably felt more like the $35 million we thought he might receive.
  • How much of that $20 million has been spent? Is there any remaining for this years budget?
  • Why the foot dragging on the part of the M's FO to spend this money? It sounds like Zito was a last minute attempt that divided the FO- what was the alternative plan(s) discussed?
I think we have a pretty good idea the FO wanted to pocket that one-time windfall and further reduce the debt from the Kingdome era. It's too bad Hickey chose to gloss over this critical item. If the FO knew each team had $20 million laying around and they still misjudged the market, they are bigger idiots then we thought.

Friday, January 05, 2007

M's sign Chris Reitsma

So let's review the Bavasi plan.

Give someone a dollar.

Get back fifty cents.

Take loan out for twenty-five cents at high interest.

Then? Show everybody in the neighborhood how cool you are because you have 3 shiny new quarters.

Bavasi is seemingly going out of his way to make the present M's older and more expensive. I guess to Bill it's a plus when they are coming back from a serious injury. This team is literally being downgraded before our eyes. What was once a strength 7 months ago (bullpen) is now below league average.

The only good news to these deals is the new GM won't have to tolerate them for long.

Oh, and as for Reitsma? I doubt he's even on the team in September.

Another great Bavasi move. <-------sarcasm alert

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Pineiro and Johnson

We'll go with Joel Pineiro and his signing by the Sox first.

When I first heard he was going to the Red Sox, I was surprised simply because I didn't think a team with the payroll of a Boston needs guys like Joel Pineiro, especially for $4 million. It's like being super rich and then spending a bunch of money at the Gap. No matter how hard you try, you're never going to impress anyone with anything you bought there. At best Joel might be worth that money, but it's a long shot. The Red Sox had to notice the pitching-poor M's wanted nothing to do with him. They had to notice his ERA over 6, his demotion from the starting rotation, the declining fast ball, the lack of confidence etc... and yet they signed him. You would think teams like Kansas City or Pittsburgh would be forced to bottom feed for overpaid veteran pitchers who have lost their ability to get batters out, but instead we see a team with a payroll over $140 million take a shot. It's like going all in on pair of fours- you might win every once in a while, but that doesn't make it a smart move. Boston's farm system must be devastated to have to sign someone like Pineiro. He is the definition of a replacement player right now.

However, when I read Boston is thinking of using him as their closer I just about fell out of my chair. Not since Billy Beane signed Arthur Rhodes to be the A's closer have I seen a more crazy, whacked-out plan involving an M's pitcher that could be more doomed to fail. The entire Boston FO should be subjected to drug testing immediately. Seriously, if Joel Pineiro is a successful closer for Boston why... I ... can't even think what I would do. It would turn my world upside down. Forget cats living with dogs, this is much bigger. This would basically prove the existence of a higher being, because if Joel Pineiro is a successful closer for Boston it could only be achieved by someone selling their soul.

I feel like I've already written more than I ever should have regarding Joel Pineiro, and feel blessed I'll never have to again. Perhaps he will resurrect his career and enjoy success, but I just don't see it happening. At least he has a beautiful wife, a pension and millions on the bank to fall back on. We should all be so lucky.

Now as for Randy Johnson, my first take on the trade is what a magnificent deal for the Yankees. Sure he is still a successful pitcher, but not to the tune of $16 million. As I've already argued, he isn't capable of pitching at a level you would expect to for that kind of money, so basically the Yankees rid themselves of an overpaid resource. They can now use some of that money to lure Clemens later this summer (who is still worth that kind of money) or allow themselves the ability to take on an Abreu mid-year when no one else can. The fact they hauled in a bunch of prospects is just icing on the cake.

I hate to say it, but this is a great deal for the Yankees. I'm just glad the M's aren't involved, as they would have had to empty a thin farm system to match this deal.