CRUNCH3, UPSIDE: Relevant question #3 is, do the Mariners have a good chance to become a good team?
Here's where Stone's article gains traction, because their blueprint is the one that the Astros demonstrated to be an effective one.
(1) Cy Young starters, and (2) an internal effort to pull the offense up to "mediocre", without major adds? That's a perfectly viable strategy -- provided that one of those two things is in place, before you start. We'll let you guess which one needs to be in place.
The M's strategy is (1) doable, and (2) rather easily doable. I can't imagine an easier job for a GM, than to upgrade 60 hitters to 90 hitters -- especially when he can pick any seat on the bench from where to do it. :- )
They need to keep mixing-and-matching the hitters until they get some runs, and if they do, they can make a move.
In fact, correct me if I'm wrong: Zduriencik has two huge upgrades in his pocket already. Figgins is at 60 OPS+ and Lopez is at 40 OPS+.
The mainframe says that both positions will benefit from gigantic improvements from here to the end of the season. That both 2B and 3B will now* benefit from as much upgrade, as would be the case if Zduriencik traded a 110-OPS+ Mike Sweeney for Adam Dunn.
Is Dr. D reading his punch-cards wrong?
CRUNCH4, OPS-ERA: The 2005 Astros had a 121 ERA+ and a 90 OPS+. They did it this way:
- SP's: Three aces, and three rather poor SP's in the 4-5-6 slots
- Lineup: Two big hitters (Berkman and Enberg), two average ones, and five* 70-80 guys
The 2010 M's could actually do better than a 90 OPS+, perhaps a fair bit better, though it probably won't be with two 140 hitters. Rather, they'll need three guys at 120...
The current M's are only at a 109 ERA+, despite Felix, Lee, and the #5SP being far below norms, and the DER being below par as well. Fister obviously won't finish with the ERA that he has, but flip his and Felix' performances and you're still left with Lee and SP5 having room to grow.
The recent news on Bedar' is crazy-making, but that doesn't mean he's not a potential second-half trump card.
The chimera of a 95 OPS+ tank division, supporting a scorched-earth rotation, is still there lurking in the bushes. Last two games, with our #4-#5 taking down Bonderman and a red-hot Verlander, were tantalizing examples.
Good shew Larry,