Another Day: Less of Moore? For Miguel Olivo?

Baker says Gregg Zaun wants to sign with the Ms, but they've kept him at arm's length while they negotiate with ... Miguel Olivo, at one time the worst fit for Safeco ever.

Drayer and Divish also are both taking the notion seriously.

With the Matsui rumor mostly shot down, the other most likely adds appear to be Jack Cust (competing with Astros, apparently) and the return of Luis Valbuena, whom Eric Wedge apparently likes.

Multiple rumors that they want to add a 2b so that they don't have to push Ack into the lineup right away.

So, if they leave Florida with something along the lines of Olivo, Valbuena and Cust, how do folks react to that?



That would be a world-class STUPID move...I sincerely hope they don't do that. That is a guy who would die a horrible, painful death.

OBF's picture

Come back to the M's would be like watching the Christians go back in to the coliseum with the lions saying, "We got you pussy cats THIS time!"  What makes Jacky Z think that the result would be any different this time?  Didn't we just see Safeco kill a much more talented free swinger (with a better approach!) in Jose Lopez???
I sure hope that this is just a smoke screen of some kind!


Perhaps the idea is that Seattle sends its failures to KC, where they learn to hit, and then they can return and become All-Stars.
I tend to agree with you, Matt ... then again he's competing against Johnson and Moore ...


...and essentially a done deal.
Cust is a nice start. Would like to see us add another outfielder, Zaun (NOT OLIVO!!!!!) another infielder and another SP. Valbuena, Cust, Zaun, Gorzelanny and perhaps a cheap fallback outfielder or perhaps a trade for Josh Willingham (I know...hoping for too much with that one)...


I think they believe they have Zaun in the bag and are seeing if they can get a better offer from Olivo before they take Zaun...but it could also be that they don't want to sign a 40 year old catcher and would rather hope for some longshot upside even if the player is not a fit for the park.


It's nice to see a real DH in Seattle for the first time since...  Anyway, the buzz around Mariner blogs and tweets is now that we can expect Milton Bradley to either be traded for nothing or DFA'd.  I don't get it.  Over the last 3 years, Jack Cust has a vs. right/left OPS split of .855/.704.  Meanwhile, over the last 3 years, Milton Bradley has a vs. right/left OPS split of .796/.925.  Doesn't that immediately recommend a platoon?  I realize that Bradley was terrible last year, but a big portion of that was a poor BABiP and apparently the knee surgery that he needed mid-season.  As someone we're already paying for, almost certainly no matter what, why wouldn't we at least give him April to try and hit left handed pitching at DH and get maybe a game a week in left field?

RockiesJeff's picture

I must admit I was shocked at how well Olivo did the first part of the season here in Colorado. Then he figured out what he was doing wrong and was lost the 2nd half. Sign him for two months?

gmantacoma's picture

2 non-fielding DH platoons again? SIGH. Please do not play Cust in the field ever! I'll be rooting strongly for Mike Carp to have a great spring so they can't keep him off the team. 3 DH's.


There's no reason to punt Bradley just because you have your full time DH. He was bad last year but he still hit lefties well and he plays a decent LF...he can protect Saunders and/or Cust against the lefties and you don't lose any roster flexibility at all.

gmantacoma's picture

Be right about them really wanting Zaun. I just don't see why we would want a bat like Olivo,  same number of letters as Lopez- coincidence? Olivo's not a fit, he's not a good catcher and he won't hit in the Safe, he is not a backup and if we are going to play the kids I'd like to see Moore reach his potential.  If Moore does not then go get a catcher, but a better one than Olivo.  Zaun the mentor knows his place and he won't need to play a lot of games (or he can).  I think Zaun would be better than Bard, or if there is a better backup try for him, but just say know to Olivo(Dave-USSM)


I do not see any point to Olivo...not sure what he gains you...he's not good defensively other than having a strong arm...he doesn't make contact, doesn't get on base and his power would be neutered in this park.

gmantacoma's picture

I won't be punting Milton, I'll be hoping Carp has a great spring then Bradley and Carp both have really good years.  For Milton's health I hope he doesn't play OF much, but yes an adequate backup especially if were going to see what Saunders can do.  The guy in the mix I don't like is Cust.  I always liked to see him come up in pressure situations against the M's because I always had a good feeling that our pitchers could strike him out and make him look bad doing it.  Saunders should have the chance to play every day (with adequate rest), but who backs him up when MB is dinged up.  We will need a 5th outfielder, and NO, THAT is NOT Cust.


...he will, however, draw walks against great pitching and he will clobber bad pitching...the Mariners have been awful against pitchers they should be able to have to have some guys who can cripple the cripple pitches.
I agree though...he should the outfield.

gmantacoma's picture

Read the subject line with indifference then use another voice and go "DUH!"  I would afraid to read what we give up for him.
Matt how about K Millwood? innings eater, revives his career in Safeco, leader.  What would it take to get Gorzelanny? Is B McCarthy still available, can he still pitch? Is J Francis too expensive? Who else can we sign with a non-guarenteed Bedard type contract?

gmantacoma's picture

OK you have convinced me, I'm going to have to start to like Jack Cust, I'm an M's fan what can I say. Love this time of year when spring (training) is in the air.


I want no part of Francis or B McC...Millwood...not sure what it would cost to acquire him, but he'd be a good fit here assuming his stuff hasn't disappeared too badly yet.  Haven't looked too closely at him since his name wasn't really floating around.
There are other bargain pitchers...but not sure off the top of my head...need to look at the free agent list.

18 the fading HR/Fly rates and the falling LD%.  His power is dwindling for some reason...not sure what to make of that.


Especially since word is getting around that he's signed with Seattle for 2 years and 7 million dollars.
STUPID.  Sorry Doc, can't give Z any credit at all on this one...what a waste of prescious little money...this might actually be worse than the Johjima extension.


I just don't like him as a one year deal.  If he has no future with the M's then why have him block younger talent that should get a chance.
If Bradley is a goner, then it makes more sense (especially if you get somebody else to pick up part of Bradley's salary).
I still like a Cust/Mike Wilson platoon.  And Wilson becomes your 4th OF.  This assumes, of course, that Wilson doesn't hit .114 in ST and that Bradley is gone.
Such a move requires a backup corner IF on the M's lineup.  Tui?  Mangini?
So, assuming Cust is here and Zaun, too (and Ackley isn't up for 25 games), you open the season with Ichiro!, Guti, Saunders, and a 4th RH OF/DH (Wilson?).  Then Smoak, Some non-descript 2B (Valbuena?), two of the three of J or J Wilson and the new Rodriguez guy, Figgins, and a BU CIF (Who is more versatile, Tui or Mangini?). Add Adam Moore and you have 13. Voila!
While it isn't fashionable to say so, BTW, I still like Carp's chances to become a nice bat.
And I keep hoping for a "Figgy gets traded" Christmas present to me.
Anybody remember (from their college history classes) Cato the Elder, the 2nd Century Roman Senator?
He concluded all his speeches to the Senate with the line, "And Carthage must be destroyed."
Moe the Elder concludes this one with, "And Figgins must be traded." 
I promise to stop...I know I sound like a broken record.

RockiesJeff's picture

With the frustrations over Iannetta here in Colorado, I feared more Olivo - even though he played okay the first part. Sorry to see him move back to home. That one makes no sense for that amount.
Matt, you hit the nail I think.


I don't see Carp worth a roster spot at the big league level in the next couple of years.
Carp's ceiling is one where he could put up a .850 OPS for a couple of seasons. However he will need a lot of AB's to master his craft. In the meantime, he offers nothing in the way of a glove. So he is essentially a DH. Unlike Jack Cust or Russell Branyan, who also took a long time to develope, Carp lacks the power to make the payout for giving him AB's worth the risk. More than likely, Carps options expire and he is playing for another team before he contributes at the major league level. Why bake a cake for another team? A 28-29 year old Carp might be impressive, but I don't see him doing that in Seattle.
Mike Wilson and Greg Halman at least have the physical tools to be something impressive if they put it together. I'd rather give the high upside guys the AB's


I refuse to believe this until I see the press conference. Doesn't make much sense to me, particularly the multi-year portion of the deal.
One thing that might make sense, Churchill has gotten the impression that the club doesn't have a ton of faith in Adam Moore's ability to stick behind the plate defensively (he is pretty bad behind the dish) and if he can't catch his bat isn't good enough to play another position.
If this is true, then the club probably is better off trading Moore to another club that believes in his ability to catch and going with an Olivio/Johnson duo.


...they could go with a catcher that does NOT suck giant monkey nuts.  Like...anyone other than friggin' Olivo.  How about Russell Martin, e.g.?  I know he's having trouble lately...but he's GOT the ability...there's UPSIDE there...maybe he just needs more in-season rest.


Reports are now that Zaun was never interested because he didn't want to be part of a rebuild.
And reading between the lines of Drayer's reports, one gets the impression that Felix was pushing for a veteran catcher.
But still . . .


$7M for Olivo?  This is a guy who hit last last year, or a park adjusted basis, about the same as Josh Bard.  Bard is essentially free!
I'm beginning to believe that Z can not figure out a roster.  Can anybody defend this move? 
Apparently Moore and R. Johnson don't figure significantly in the M's two year plan.
Somebody suggested it was because some of the younger M's acted as if they were in a country club...not a working club house.
Well...if that is the case, you don't blow $7M to show them how to approach the job.  If Adam Moore or Mike Saunders (as examples) CAN'T/WON'T figure it out, you don't hire an expensive baby sitter.  You ship them down the road.
So far we've seen a one-time washed up SS signed (for nothing, albeit), A High-A guy Rule Fived, Cust signed for only one season, and Olivo signed for two.
To quote Slim Pickens as Mr. Taggard, in Blazing Saddles, "I am depressed!"
Please let there be something else!  Pleeeeze!
A 5th starter, perhaps.
A Figgy
Please Santa!  I've been a good boy!  Pleeeeeeeeeze!


I wonder ...
Olivo was with the Ms long ago - and was a disaster.  Why would *HE* want to come back?  Answer:  *HE* believes that he understands today what he was doing wrong way back then.
I mean ... is 2 for 7 million out of the norm that much in ANY other park in America?  I mean, three years ago, coming off 87 and 72 OPS+ seasons with Florida, he signed for 4.7 over two with the Royals.  He hit 90 and 103 those two years - and then got another 2 million for a year in Colorado.
His WAR the past three years: 0.9; 1.3; 1.6 (per bbref) ... isn't 1 WAR = $4 million?
Yes, he had an OPS+ of 45 while with Seattle.  So, the imbedded memory says he's horrid - and the PERCEPTION is that Safeco killed him.  Did it?
In 2004, what was his Safeco slash line?
.226/.287/.441 (.728) -- his overall slash line was: .200/.260/.388 (.648)
Say what?!?  He hit about 160 points worse ON THE ROAD in his first year in Seattle.
In 2005, he imploded - his Safeco line: .183/.194/.394 (.589) -- his overall line?
.151/.172/.276 (.448)
Come again?!?  His road line was AGAIN -- vastly worse than his home line (while employed by the Ms).
For his career, he's a .681 hitter in Safeco  .219/.259/.422 (.681)
EVERY Ms fan I know blames the park for every offensive ill the club has ever had.  But, Olivo probably knows he hit better in Safeco than the fans THINK he hit.  (I'm certain Z knows precisely how well/poorly he hit in Safeco).
I suspect when ASKED about playing with Seattle, Olivo told them -- "I was a young kid, trying to figure things out in the majors - and I got into all kinds of bad habits.  I stunk when I was with Seattle because I stunk - not because of the park.  I tried to do waaaay more than I was capable of, and it got me (justly) fired.  I learned from my mistakes and fixed my worst problems, and hit great in San Diego, and have hit .720 or above 4 out of the past 5 years.
He's a catcher who posted an 87 or better OPS+ in 4 of the past 5 years.  He's signed for his age 32 and 33 seasons.
Giving the age 31 catcher with a 103 OPS+ a 3-year deal for $24 million - *THAT* is indefensible.
Giving the 96 OPS+ (last 3 years) catcher a 2-year deal for $7 million - *THAT* is a massive move in the right direction. 
The assumption that Safeco killed Olivo is just that - an assumption.  But, his stats with Seattle don't support that conclusion.  Maybe ... Seattle sucked at young player hitting instruction back in 2005 .... naaaaah, that can't be it .... just look how great Yuni, Lopez and Bloomie and Jeremy Reed all turned out.

dixarone's picture

Who among us doesn't like to have the past dug up? Here's the Dectectovision article on Miguel:
I recall the discussion around here at the time centered largely on Olivo not being given a fair shake from a management perspective, which contributed to confidence issues...everything rolling downhill from there.
Granted, he hasn't set the world on fire since he left, but I'm not having a huge problem with this signing (although I'm partial to Zaun, if he wasn't going to come here, what are you going to do?).


Heartbreaking line:
My guess is that they will take very different approaches on Choo, Snelling, and Jones this time around. 

I hate memory lane.
(No profanity, please, including symbols and abbreviations. - Ed.)

gmantacoma's picture

per Geoff Baker "No truth to rumor that Zaun did not want to be on a rebuilding team".  It would be a whole lot better if OlivNo could catch, but he can't ever do that. In the clutches of depression.  OlivNo not in Safeco!


Away from the comfy confines of Coors, last year Olivo mashed the ball at a rate of .211/.276/.322 (just a bit worse than Adam Moore hit away from Safeco last year and about the same that Josh Bard hit IN Safeco last year!)
A bargain at 3.5M clams per! (Well, if he was J. Bench or I. Rodriguez with the leathe. arm and pitch calling!)
Boy, Z fleeced the league on this one!  Highway robbery!
moe (in the interest of Truth in Advertising, Olivo did hit much better away from Coors in '09, slugging .528)


Good work, as usual. But do you really believe the significance of your argument, which is admittedly surprising, overrides consideration of the Safeco-kills-hitters-like-Olivo argument? In other words, it's one thing to point out that the data (in the amounts that we have) runs somewhat contrary to the assumptions. It's another thing to say that the assumptions have no merit, and we should all be excited with the anticipation of seeing Olivo continue an upward trend, defy all Safeco conventions, and become an everyday catcher we are all pleased to have in our lineup, a contributor to the offense that will make us forget Adam Moore?
Now I may be in this instance an evidence contrarian, but I'd be more than happy to revisit the Olivo question after the 2011 season and see if that future evidence coincides with the larger dataset of Safeco's effect on low-OBP right handed batters with marginal power or with the trends your data suggests.


A couple of potentially interesting things about Olivo.  In the last 2 years, he's seen his walk percentage climb from 2-2.5% to 4% and 6%, so in his older years, he's learning to take a walk.  Olivo also hits a lot of ground balls to left, near 60% of his contact to left is on the ground, which will help keep him from getting too many deep flyball outs at Safeco.


No, I'm not saying that Safeco doesn't have a REAL negative impact on righty hitters.
My point is that blaming Safeco has become the "pat answer" to every discussion about just about any right-hand hitter ... and even when there is evidence to the contrary, it is ignored out of hand.
My gripe with this approach is that it absolves the hitter (and coaches and organization) from taking *ANY* responsibility for poor results from RH batters.  "Oh, Beltre sucked - Safeco's fault.  Lopez?  Safeco did it.  Johjima's cash & burn (that was not a typo, btw)?  Safeco! Johnson & Moore?  You guessed it!
Ultimately - if *EVERY* right-hand bat is going to suffer a 100 point OPS death does it actually matter WHICH RHB is hired? 
Unfortunately, I don't know anywhere to get the slash line for VISITING right-hand and left-hand bats in Safeco.  But, the individual splits for opponents doesn't look helpful.
Opponents batting in:
Safeco:  .238/.296/.367 (.663) 
 Away: .272/.331/.347 (.768)
RHB (everywhere) : .255/.307/.408 (.715)
LHB (everywhere): .254/.322/.392 (.713)
While the club had a huge home advantage against all hitters - they had no measurable difference between lefty and righty bats. 
You'd think, if Safeco creates a 100 OPS swing -- that opposition righties would show SOME kind of deficit split.  Which raises the question - why is Safeco only killing MARINER righties?
Heck, Kotchman was a lefty and failed - Bradley a switch-hitter who failed.  Sweeney, a righty who worked.  Beltre worked for a few years.  Johjima worked for a couple.
But, if EVERY failure of a RHB is going to be ascribed to Safeco, all you really do is suggest you want 9 lefty bats in the lineup ... while making the case that it really doesn't matter what you teach righties to do ... they'll just fail anyway.  Eventually, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Taro's picture

Kotchman was actually bad fit for the park since most of his production is to LF (hes an opposite field hitter). Bradley is more productive vs LHPs, although the biggest factor is the decline.
Cust is actually similar in that he hits better to the opposite field although he hits to all fields. Cust is lefty, but probably will take a small hit from Safeco.
It comes down to the style of hitter IMO. You want LD hitters in Safeco, and if you have RH, you want them to hit well to the opposite field and be LD oriented. Massive power helps.
Olivo is a stylistic nightmare, which is why I think a lot fans are blowing it a bit out of proportion. Hes a low LD, high FB, righty, pull hitter. Safeco may not kill him, but it will hurt him. The only question is to what degree.

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