Mariners Analysis

Monday, March 09, 2009

Strasburg hype

Every baseball fan who follows the Mariners at all online knew of Strasburg last year. He was the front runner to be the #1 pick this June, and early indications are doing nothing from stopping those expectations. It will be crazy to expect the Nationals to pass on him barring any serious injury this spring.

Which serves as a friendly reminder of just how stupid our front office was last year. Consider-
  • Refusing to lend any credence to non-espn, non-local-beat-writer analysts who predicted the team was not actually that close to competing for the playoffs and had serious roster construction issues
  • Supported trading away half the farm system for Bedard, then acting surprised he actually isn't all that likable while publicly declaring him our "#1"
  • Fired the manager and GM when they realized what everyone else had known for years (neither is qualified for the jobs they were in)
  • Signed Johjima to a ridiculous extension, thereby ironically worsening the clubhouse atmosphere they foolishly over value
  • Went along with an insane plan to avoid 100 losses at all costs (who would really care if the number was 98, 101, 105... years later we all argued in vain)
  • Nixed the Washburn trade
  • Cut the 2009 budget 20%
We could go on, but let's just say it was a ROUGH year for Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln. If they were in any industry other than baseball with it's non-competitive market, the Mariners would be out of business in this economy by now. The only smart thing they did was in hiring our new GM.

Of all the stupid decisions last year, I doubt playing for double digit losses really stood out for Chuck and company when the season ended. I doubt Chuck and Howard stood on Safeco after the series sweep of Oakland and realized just what damage had been done.

They made the decision to "play hard" and give the fans their moneys worth and it will very likely bite them in the ass. Good CEO's have to make smart, and often hard decisions. The decision to not retain the #1 pick is going to look really foolish if Strasburg continues to pitch like many expect him too.

Fans knew there was a Lebron James like figure coming to a franchise this June. There is always risk with pitchers, but that works both ways. With risk comes reward.

Lincoln and Armstrong either knew the risk last summer and didn't care, or weren't even clued in to the game enough to know about a player 99% of online fans have been following. Either way, it further supports the idea the Mariners management made a series of collosal mistakes before the hiring of Jack Zduriencik.

And a pitcher from California is doing every thing he can to not let us forget it.