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 12/21/2005 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.


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