Mariners Analysis

Friday, January 04, 2008

Rebuild or Reload?

Geoff Baker of the Times has a funny article on his blog. I don't know if he intended it to be funny, but I sure got a kick out of it.

Basically he argues teams like the Mariners have such a large payroll advantage, they don't need to rebuild they just need to reload. He uses teams like the Yankees and Red Sox to prove his point.

I don't think it takes much analysis to separate a team like the Yankees from a team like the Mariners. Let's see... one team has had a payroll close to $200 million for several years... while the other team crossed the $100 million barrier for the first time. Yessir, they are kissin' cousins and deserve to be treated the same! Both spend tons of money and can essentially guarantee themselves a spot in the playoffs ever year.

Obviously I'm joking; the Mariners are nothing like the Yankees. They don't have the fans, the history, the payroll, the commitment from management on winning or really any other similarity other than they both play baseball.

Let's take Geoff's side for a second and actually pretend the Mariners have the ability to "reload." How then can he possibly explain the Mariners coming in last, last and last in the small AL West while supposedly having this huge spending advantage starting in 2003?

Wouldn't it take massive incompetence on the part of the Mariner front office to produce such poor results if they really possessed such a huge fiscal advantage?

Geoff needs to take a position. He's coming around, and has shown huge promise already since last season. He's beginning to use stats he never knew existed a short time ago. His blog is great entertainment and I look forward to his posts. But he's caught between the writer who produced the fluff piece on steroids over the weekend and the writer who's swallowed the red pill and is finally seeing the truth.

Does anyone really believe the fans keep going to Safeco based on the teams payroll in relation to its peers? Does anyone really believe fans are so shallow they disregard the talent on a team and just focus on payroll?

PLEEAASSE. The Seahawks attract fans because they WIN. They like the team because they know the coach absolutely gives a shit whether the team wins or loses and management will do everything they can to field a winner. That's what gets fans to cheer. If the Mariners suck this year and find themselves in the cellar, it won't matter if they spend $60 million or $140 million. Some fans will lose interest.

Safeco attracts people because it is a great place to watch baseball, it's the only major sporting event going on when the weather is actually great and tourists from all over the NW go to have fun. It's not much more complicated than that.

If the team is terrible, the numbers go down. If the team wins 116 games, the fans show up. The formula is pretty established.

A baseline will show up just to sit in the sun. What we are arguing over is the fans who want to see a team win.

If Geoff thinks the M's have such a huge advantage, then he should believe anything less than a final weeks showdown with the Angels is in order. Anything less should result in immediate dismissal of the entire M's front office.

I really don't see how you can argue anything else. If the team can't compete with a payroll advantage, doesn't that mean they are essentially incompetent?

I just think Geoff opened a can of worms on this. The same guy who supported the rookie manager all year and Vidro is now claiming the team is reloading.

I just couldn't help but laugh.