Game On!

Q.  Is Clement a powerflush?

A.  Cyber-Seattle reads Capt Jack as being eager to drive the Bavasi pets out to the pound, and adopt his own litter.  ... and, in view of the fact that Capt Jack has, in fact, installed good chemistry overnight, he has every right to our support in this.

In many cases, notably Betancourt's, Putz' and Silva's, Capt Jack's moves could be construed as installing a new attitude.

But in Clement's?  Jeff Clement is a MODEL keep-your-mouth-shut-do-everything-they-ask org spear carrier.  No way in the world that Jeff Clement was dealt because of attitude.  You might as well see a club trade Edgar Martinez and assume it was because Edgar was a bad actor.

Nor was the trade because Zduriencik doesn't like lefty power.:- )

Nor because Clement has been written off by baseball.   Look, maybe YOU are not high on Clement; that's your right.  But speaking objectively:  Jeff Clement is, after all, the key to a major trade today.  

Clement is evidently gone because the Pirates wanted him, not because Capt Jack pushed a castoff at them for the Pirates' two most sought-after trade chips.


Q.  Then what?

A.  Zduriencik wants to bring the 2009-10 M's up to fighting trim as soon as possible.  That's the only reason you would bring in a 31-year-old defensive shortstop making $8M.  You're talking about today.

I approve of this.  :- D


* On the use of RLP in the theoretical and pragmatic senses, see the exchange between CPB and Dr. D in the comments.  Thanks CPB.


Look, let's be fair, my friends.  Right now we are talking about the upgrade that Jack Wilson gives us over Ronny Cedeno's 2009.

Had Bill Bavasi made this trade, the point of reference would have been Jack Wilson vs. an RLP 2009 and/or some other valuable club-controls player. 


So there is an important lesson learned here.  It's a lot tougher to actually find a value-providing year 1-3 player for Friday night, then it is to pencil one out on paper.  


Q.  What's the exec sum on Jack Wilson again?

A.  Here's the original quickie first impression.

It looks pretty clear that Wilson IS really slick with the glove ...

... and he'll probably hit well enough to avoid the pitcher-in-the-lineup effect.   I doubt that Wilson will give away much, offensively, to the other glove-first SS's in the AL.

Dr. D, like Earl Weaver and most ML managers in history, has zero problem with no-bat, slick-glove players at CF and SS.   (Of course you then have to put genuinely productive bats, such as Adam Dunn's or Bobby Abreu's, at other positions.)

At some point you have to take your mishmash of disorganized talent and form a BALLCLUB out of it.   Jack Wilson and Franklin Gutierrez can definitely going be part of a diamond-hard winning attitude.


Marco Scutaro woulda been a lot cooler.  I'd like to know why it wasn't, say, Clement-for-Snell and then something-else-for-Scutaro.   I'm sure there's a good explanation.


Q.  Anything on Ian Snell?

A.   Think Gil Meche.

Everybody in baseball has called for a "change of scenery."  In the case of the actual Gil Meche, how did the "change of scenery" work out?  How did it work out when Zeus sent Hercules out to off the manticore?

Gotta loooooooove Ian Snell -- especially in terms of replacing RRS-Vargas-Olson.  Wow.  ::standing O::


Q.  Meche?  Like what?

A.   Well ...

  • Plus fastball, 94 mph
  • Curve, and slider, and change (4 legit pitches)
  • Potentially plus command (2+ BB rate many years)
  • Absolutely no pitchability
  • Questionable makeup, easily demoralized
  • Has shown serious flashes

The fact that Ian Snell has actually HAD a 2006-07 puts him in a completely different category than all of the wannabes.


Q.  Thumbs up or thumbs down on the trade?

A.   I could ehhhhhh on Wilson.  Though, we do admire the win-now mindset and the Gillick-like, craft-a-real-ballclub, non-VORP-bound creativity.


Ian Snell, as a studling young Meche re-weld, instead of the baling wire and band-aids, that one I could get excited about.   Actually, am excited about.  Snell has the hot FB, the 4 pitches, and the 8k, 2.5bb background.  He could be just a tweak away from pulling a Meche.  As Meche was.  Um...

Snell is not unlike Brandon Morrow, either.


Jeff Clement, when the amigo hits 37 homers a few years on -- we hope (and expect) that cyber-Seattle will cut a little more slack on quality-for-quality than they currently do on Adam Jones.   (Jones already HAS been replaced; replacing a #3 overall LH masher will be tougher.)

The M's gave up their Great White Lefty HR Hope.  It hurts to lose Clement, and it hurts bad.


But they accelerated the re-crafting of their NL-style ballclub and they will play to win in 2009.   Game Breaker, Baby!

Two thumbs (gingerly) up.


Dr D


Taro's picture

I don't know how I feel about this trade..
I'm not high on any of the prospects we sent out, and really Clement is looking like a bust right now.. Still, I guess I was hoping for more from Z after the great Putz/Aardsma trades..
Jack Wilson is a win-now player and significant upgrade over Cedeno, but hes not the main player in this deal..
Ian Snell is a gamble. Hes a righty that struggles against LHPs, which automatically makes him a bad fit for Safeco. Then again, he could be pretty good, like early on in his career. Of course that was in the NL.
I don't know...I'm never that comfortable going after so-so NL Sps, but Snell has the kind of upside thats intriuging. He could be great or he could be horrible...lets hope Z made another good call on this one.


The idea with RLP's is that they earn much more than their salaries.  (BTW, any metric that has Jack Wilson as being worth $13M a season is a busted metric IMHO.)
The usual logic applied to the Jack Wilsons of the game, is that you can get 80%-90% of their performance, for almost no salary.
This RLP logic ("a smart saberdude would have gone after Joe Shlabotnik at $1M/year) has been applied 100's or 1,000's of times to excoriate GM's for precisely the Jack Wilson type of trade.   Zduriencik will get a pass, which is great by me, but it would be nice to see some fairness towards GM's who aren't our faves.

Taro's picture

Ok, but Wilson isn't even close to being a RLP. Hes a slightly above league-average SS thats well worth his contract.


He's a vet, whose overall [Defense+Offense] creates a run profit that is not much of a delta from the MLE's of a lot of guys who don't have jobs.
As you know, FA vets cost much, much more PER WAR than club-controls players do.  RLP theory says, go with club-controls young players rather than fungible vets, whenever possible.

Taro's picture

Yes, but Wilson is still pretty decent value at $7-8mil (hes worth $9-10mil even in this market) and the Ms aren't paying any of it this year.


By FA standards, he's fine.  No arguments that Wilson isn't worth his salary.
We're just calling for folks to keep the RLP arguments in proportion next time.  :- )

Patrick Troen's picture

Big thumbs up. Love the K/BB ratio, love the low era, low the hr/9 being at 0.5. Yeah manual can Pitch :-). He also was a starter in the past and he's moving to Safeco.

Uncle Ted's picture

I was cold on this trade for a little while, but am coming around.  Right now I'm thinking it looks like a nice "keep us in it this year, and strengthen the team for 2010" move that may end up looking bad by 2011 or 2012.  However, the more distant future is always much murkier than the immediate future, and it makes sense to discount it somewhat in one's evaluations.  I like the basic idea of the trade though in terms of what it does for our roster.  

glmuskie's picture

Gotta love how the players on the M's see this trade, at least right now.  The pitchers can feel more secure knowing that RJ will be catching them.  They have a real shortstop to play with now.  And a proven MLB arm that can ameliorate some of the juggling between Vargaws - Olson - Jaku - Morrow - etc.
This sends a message to the players.  We're here to win.  We don't quit.  When there's a problem, we fix it. 
Love it!


and, of course, we could say that about any trade of minor leaguers for ML players, that it *could* wind up looking bad down the road.


Bemusing to me, too, how the low-minors pitchers got so valuable all of a sudden.  :- )  There is a lot of injury screening to pass through before these low-minors arms ever contribute in the majors, and that's even assuming they're good prospects.
As usual, they're hot prospects the day after we trade them.
Honestly, though, I will give the pundits credit for consistency:  I guess they just hate to see minor-league talent spent, even if they're nowhere near the org top 10.  So I can respect the consistency of paradigm.  Maybe some of the bias against the Bedard trade was occurring on a paradigm, rather than personal, level.


Replacement-level and club-control are two completely different concepts. Replacement-level is the point at which there is no reason to get an inferior player because no money would be saved by doing so. It is a baseline with which to evaluate an athlete's on-field value. A replacement-level player would not have a value that was 80 or 90% that of an average player but 0%.
Club-control is a contractual situation a player finds himself as a result of the leagues CBA. It has nothing to do with quality because it applies to ALL Major Leaguers at the beginning of their careers regardless of their performance. Willie Bloomquist, Albert Pujols and Ichiro were all club-controlled at one point. The reason for the emphasis on this is because players in this situation (which again is not the result of  their relative performance) have surplus value that goes beyond their on-field performance because they are paid less than comparable players who had reached free agency.
So if Jack Wilson's performance is worth $8 million dollars on the free agent market, and he is paid $8 million dollars, then his value to the team is $8 million dollars. However, if he is worth $8 million but is paid $4 million, then his value is $12 million (the parallels to the housing market should be clear; if you bought property for $300k that was worth $600k, you would not swap it for property that was worth $600k that had a $600k mortgage). How trading for Wilson undermines this principle is beyond me because he is paid almost exactly as much as the formulas made by Saber-dudes like Tango say he should be paid (if he's roughly a two-win player and free agents are worth $4.5 million per win then he is worth 8 or 9 million dollars; his option for next year is $8.4 million). Besides, you can't argue the point you're trying to make without a) knowing what Z expects out of all the players involved b) calculating the values of all the players in the trade using the Saber formulas c) showing that there is an imbalance between the value of the pieces swapped and d) demonstrating that this imbalance was not the result of poor judgement on the part of a GM.

glmuskie's picture

Just not in cash...  in single A pitching prospects.  For a brief moment I wondered if Z was thinking so deep on this deal that he knew he could mollify the VORP/$ crowd by throwing in a couple low-level pitching prospects so the $ the M's are paying for a RLP shortstop is dramatically reduced.  : )  A brilliant stroke!
I appreciate Doc's continued efforts to point out the dogmatic way that *some* saberpeoples approach the RLP concept and gnash their teeth at any hint of a GM "overpaying" for player X.  Because he's right, RLP players don't actually exist, and GM's don't manipulate their staff and payroll in a vacuum.  Taking a theoretical construct that can be a useful tool for evaluating players and transactions, and evaluating every move based solel or heavily on that alone, does not give an accurate representation of the true value of the deal.

glmuskie's picture

The Mariners now have the following pitchers who can legitimately start:
Felix.  Bedard.  Washburn.  RRS.  Vargas.  Olson.  Batista.  Jakubauskas.  Morrow.  Snell.
That's 10 MLB starting pitchers.  Quibble if you like about a few of them, how good they are or will be.  We've got a couple #1's, 3-4 #2's & 3's, a few #5's.
This is pretty ridiculous starting pitching depth. 
There's a great article at by Tim Kurkjian, about 100-pitch counts:  Why we have them, where they came from, etc.
I've mused before about the notion that we may see the day where SP's and RP's blend together, where instead of 5 SP's you have a bunch of high-caliber arms that can go for a few innings each.
What if the M's cobbled together a bullpen of starting pitchers?  How about a pen of Bedard, Morrow, Olson, Jaku, and Aardsma.  With your 5 starters Felix, Wash, RRS, Snell, Vargas.  (Or pick whichever 10 you like).
Now you've got a lockdown closer.  The rest of your pen, each can come in and pitch 4-5 innings if they need to.
Now you've got 2 extra bench bats.  So you can more realistically keep a marginally productive Griffey next year.  Or keep 2 DH's, one RH, one KH.  Or have a couple deadly pinch hitters (Shelton) or defensive specialists on the team. 
It'll never happen, but I don't see a reason why it couldn't work.

tjm's picture

Take a step back and look at hte M's roser.They have swapped Yuni for Wilson, an upgrade on both ends of the court. What has been the collateral damage - bascially, Clement for Snell. All the rest are organizational pitchers. Remember, Z got two arms for Yuni. Gave up three for Wilson. so what?
After two weeks of much movement, the difference in the current lineup is a better shortstop and a better leftfielder and there has been basically no cost to the org going forward. It's not a huge upgrade, but it's an upgrade.


Take the org pitchers out of his profit on Yuni.  LOL.  :- )
And Danny Cortes has ranked a whale of a lot higher on the org lists than the low-minors Mariners guys, while we're at it....

OOBF's picture

the fat man who shall not be named!
I know Mr. Buffalo is a pariah and that he is most likely done as a Mariner, but he is still a legitimate MLB starting pitcher.  So I guess that makes 11 :)

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