Sunday, December 18, 2005

One step foreward, Two steps back...

Wow. A quick post on Sunday night before I hit the hay.

I'm still in shock at the direction that Bill Bavasi has taken the Mariners this winter. The Kenji Johjima signing, I'm convinced, is a great, great move. He wanted to come here, and we obliged. Certainly there's risk involved, but this is the kind of risk I'm willing to take. A great player making a switch, generally works out well. Aaaah. Progress...

Then there's those days that you wish you could go back and just redo until you get it right. Kind of like the movie Groundhog day. I'd like to expand that a bit, though, and just redo this whole week. With the impending addition of Jarrod Washburn, Deanna's fluttering heart aside, I think most M's bloggers, and even most non-blogging M's fans in general, are really scratching heads. Signing a 35-year-old veteran very much in the decline phase of his career? Giving a BOR starter, with declining peripheral stats (looking more and more like Ryan Franklin's), and questionable health a 4-year borderline ace's contract? It seems these moves are huge steps backwards.

I'm really starting to feel pessimistic about 2006 (and beyond). Someone, I'm sure, can find my comment something like this: Washburn + Old-ish LF = not-really-OK offseason; Washburn + Weaver + decent LF = OK offseason; Millwood + Weaver + decent LF = pretty good offseason. It's looking more and more like the not-really-OK offseason is what we're going to see.


I know it's not time to throw in the towel yet -- both Millwood and Weaver are still on the board. And, it's not like the M's are a poor club. They're just acting poor, and making poor decisions. If, as is supposed, the Reed-for-Arroyo rumors are true, well, then they really are not thinking clearly. Reed's bat disappointed me about as much as Beltre's. But both guys are too good to give up on so quickly. And both of them still have upside.

And, if Washburn is indeed on board, both of them will be tremendously more valuable in preventing runs defensively. If you're going to trade Reed, Bill, bring us Papelbon or Lester. That'd at least financially be a wash. You could then throw the extra 2.5-$3 million into the leftover pot and see if Weaver would take $7-8 million next year (and even more in 2007). Even if you had to throw in some cash to get rid of Pineiro (hopefully for a young power bat of some sort, preferrably in the OF), a rotation of Felix/Moyer/Washburn/Weaver/Papelbon (or Lester) would be pretty darn effective. Of course, we'd still have to find an outfielder or two on the cheap.



At 12/19/2005 1:58 PM, Blogger Deanna said...

Never fear, if Washburn sucks as a pitcher when he's here, I'm not going to defend him as a pitcher. Actually, the Mariners do seem to take all the cuteness out of their pitchers -- Meche used to be adorable a few years ago as well. So perhaps next year Jarrod-Blue-Eyes will end up looking haggard too and I won't have to go all Batgirl on your asses.

At 12/20/2005 10:48 PM, Blogger Citizen K said...

Washburn had pretty good numbers last year. Since I wasn't paying attention last season, I'm not sure, but is the signing really as bad as you say? There are a guys who pitched/are pitching well in their upper-30s. To whom do you think Washburn compares most closely?

It seems to me that--like last year--there weren't really too many good, established pitchers on the market. What the M's did here was sign the available pitcher who could best help them win immediately. 2-3 years down the road there might be consternation among the fans as to why the M's signed this old guy with no skills. But with his history, the M's should be able to deal him off at the deadline to a contender in need of a veteran 4th starter who can eat innings and has postseason experience. I'm not too worried.

The M's still have a number of good arms in the minors, but an unpleasant number of them are injured. If 2-3 of them can develop by the time Washburn is dealt, with Felix and Meche or Pineiro that'd be a solid, relatively young rotation. But is Washburn just a stopgap? The M's obviously need to, and are trying to, win now. If Beltre and Reed play better next season (assuming the latter is not dealt,) with Jojima, Iba¬Ěnez, Ichiro and Everett, the lineup could be fairly formidable, especially if the young 2nd baseman (I can't believe I forgot his name!) can hit better. I think they'll pick up another starter, opining that they can contend.

As far as the Carl Everett signing, ( what's wrong with him--he looks normal enough?,) I really have no opinion. I don't know too much about him. He does not seem to be the most public relations-minded player, and also seems to have some type of anger issues. He's like the Danny Fortson pickup last season for the Sonics--an effective yet volatile role player who is supposed to shake out the lethargy a bit. It worked for the Sonics, when Fortson was relatively under control, anyway, but will it work for the M's? It'll be good for them in that Hargrove is a veteran manager, whereas the team could have never brought Everett in if Bob Melvin were still on the bench.

At 12/21/2005 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Citizen K,
I think the Baseball reference comps are pretty good: Bobby Jones (NYM), John Burkett, maybe Kevin Tapani.
Jones especially seems like a good bet as worst-case scenario. It's instructive to go through those comp list and see how few guys are effective in their mid 30s. It's just not common at all, and we think it's easier because we think of the guys we know who are still pitching in their mid-late 30s. But we always forget guys like Jones, who was an all star in 1997, who are out of the game by the time they're 32 or so. I'm not saying Washburn is going to pitch 50 innings and then hang 'em up, but it's just rare that a player continues to pitch well past that point (although Burkett and Tapani did it sporadically through 36).

Washburn had a great ERA last year; outside of that, what was good in his stat line? His Ks dropped to a new low, he's walking about the same number of guys, the HRs are coming up a bit... he's simply cashing in on a great, but somewhat empty, ERA.

I will say that you're right about his trade value. I haven't seen many people talk about this, and it does make me feel a bit better about the signing: maybe we'll turn him into an intriguing prospect in a few years. Of course, that would mean we'd be deadline sellers, but it's nice to think we won't be saddled with an albatross contract for the full four-year term.

At 12/21/2005 5:20 PM, Blogger Citizen K said...

I haven't really looked at his peripheral stats other than ERA. I know his record was around .500, but figured that was because he didn't get much run support. You're right, though, he's definitely on the downslope of his career.


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