We Rrrrr $parta!, Dept.

I/O:  Boston gives up ....

(1) the Eastern League's Flying Mothra Conflagration, a/k/a Video Game Chiang, and .... (2) Trayvon Robinson* for ... ?

.... a tragedy of Bostonian proportions.  

As with Michael Vick, the curse of the Bambino was banned only for the short run.  I'd like a WtPAIN metric on Boston's disappointments.  Wouldn't this one make the top five?

CRUNCH:  Erikkk doesn't look likely to return to Boston, now does he?  And he'd never play in New York.

Luckily for his arm, he misses the high-stress playoff performances, meaning that his arm has light mileage going into ST next year.

Some year, Erikkk is going to win five games in October.


I/O:  On the final 2011 Geoff Live! show, he notes that Ichiro's agent is (already) in serious discussions with the club over a contract extension.

CRUNCH:  I wouldn't panic too much.

As Johnny Damon found out, aging stars are (normally) paid in view of the theoretical bidding war that would occur, if they left.  It's a catastrophe for the agent to decline a hometown 3/$36 deal and then get his player hung out to dry for a 1/$5 Bobby Abreu deal.

Ichiro's market value, post-2012, will absolutely, 100.00%, be way down.  The only thing that could prevent a drastic reduction in Ichiro's salary would be Yamauchi influence.  For what it's worth, SSI doesn't predict Yamauchi's "don't disrespect Ichiro" position to weigh in as heavily as that.  

The Mariners can respect Ichiro while scaling his salary.  His agent knows what a .310 OBP is.

If Ichiro's BABIP bounces back some, and he begins swinging with a drive in his step again, he could be worth roughly $10M per as a leadoff hitter.  You remember some Mariners teams that didn't have 190 hits and 40 SB's out of their leadoff hitter.


I/O:  On the same show, Baker also offers that he's heard rumors that the M's will add payroll -- and warns that teams often do this to buy themselves three months' worth of time on the PR side.

CRUNCH:  Gut feeling here -- and you know that we've been cynical since August 2001 -- is that Zduriencik, having made such impressive strides in the $414,500-player category, will be authorized to push ahead with one big free agent or trade, perhaps Fielder.

Lincoln and Armstrong are intelligent men, and they can see the 2012 landscape just like you can.  They're tired of losing, and if they see the light at the end of the tunnel ... I predict they won't mind hurrying up the plan a bit.

It's just a day-after vibe.  But I remember a decade ago, and Lincoln saying, "When it's Pat Gillick spending the money, it's very easy to raise payroll."  

You could make a case, playing Lincoln's advocate, that this is the first post-2003 moment at which a GM has really earned the right to ask for more money.

The moment's here.  Zduriencik has royally earned the right to a big free agent.  Let's see what the answer is.



Dr D


Billy1's picture

I love the move in a vacuum, but wonder what he adds to a VERY left-handed lineup?  Do we have to make a corresponding move for a right-handed bat to swap out one of Carp, Ackley, Seager, etc.?
The M's were embarrassing vs. Lefty starters it seemed, though I paid little attention beyond July.  
I did notice the adjustment made towards Ackley, and it was an obvious one.  My guess is a 2 inch directional change (towards the pitcher) in his stride to defend the outer-half.  
Not sure how coachable the idea of fb first early in the count approach is the stock of M's hitters but man I would love to see a change.  We play a couple of teams that outright murder the ball (Texas, Toronto).  They cover the fb better than we do early in the count.  No getting beat, no fouling off, just centering up and punishing.  I have always been curious why that isn't the strategy for all teams.  Does it work against Halladay? No.  How many of those are in the league?  
Good pitching coaches develop kids to work off reliable stuff (fb) and get outs with off-speed pitches, occasionally reversing order to confuse, but sticking with the easiest path to success.  Do those same coaches not talk to their hitting coaches and tell them the strategies in place for the other team?  Seems crazy to me.  


For years Mariner fans have claimed that the M's have a "self imposed salary cap." I have long argued that this is completely wrong. They have an extremely flexible budget, they just aren't driven to excercise it except at the "right" time and for the "right" player. And this reluctance isn't just a matter of stinginess but of control.
When Jack took over as GM, Lincoln and Co. cut the budget. At the time I figured this was a way to continue to have a say in baseball matters even though they may have promised not to meddle in Jack's territory. By slashing the budget, they not only made it clear that they were still ultimately in control, but it meant that if Z wanted to switch from rebuilding to competing, he would have to come to them in order to get more money to work with. This gave them the power they relished and ensured that they remained in the loop. But in order for this to work, they would have to be willing to increase the budget in the future.
So I have been certain that at some point there would be a significant boost to payroll, and I think this offseason is very likely to be it. Therefor, it isn't the least bit surprising that there are rumblings that the M's will do exactly that. And really, if they sign Fielder, trade for Upton and bring back Bedard, why couldn't they be a serious threat to win the West? I'm sure Jack could sell Lincoln and Armstrong on that.


All of Z's big signings that have been wildly successful have  been pitchers.
He signed Felix, superstar free agent signing of the century.
He signed Cliff Lee, completely awesome.
He knows his 'spects and trades better than the rest of them.
What about Figgins, Kotchman, Guiterrez, and Cust? 
We've seen Howard and Chuck break open the piggy bank for Dan Hultzen, but he is a prospect pitcher, which is doubly Z's forte.  When has Z ever successfully predicted an aging bat to prosper?
Branyan was good, but Z's batting average has only been so-so.


The White Sox blew their change on Adam Dunn, and his failure will ensure the defeat of the Sox for years to come.  Maybe he will turn it around next year, and take his team with him, but then again, maybe not.
The M's cannot afford a big bust for a free agent.  We've lived through too many already.  These one and two year deals are the ticket to avoiding them.  Gil Meche gave his money back when he didn't earn it,  but Prince won't.
Here's the option breakdown.
1. Don't sign Fielder, and resign Bedard or someone to an incentive laden deal.  The team continues down its youth path, and maybe becomes good someday.
2. Sign Fielder and break the bank.  He either:
a. Goes nuclear and takes his team along with him,
b. Does well, and the team does well, OR
c. Becomes injured, or depressed, or has a row with the manager, or becomes lacsaidaisical or whatever, and doesn't do his best for the team.  The M's are lame for another ten years, and they miss out on younger free agents when they are badly needed.
My problem with big free agent signings is the following:
"A laborer's appetite works for him, his hunger drives him on."  Proverbs 16:26.
Not many of us can relate to being completely set for life money-wise, so we don't have an idea of what kind of doldrums the ultra-rich must fall into.  Think about Chone Figgins.  All he has to do, is buy apartment complexes, or municipal bonds, or annuities, or something like that, and he can sit around, for the rest of his life, doing absolutely nothing, with full assurances that he will never go broke.  All that peace and quiet and comfort must sound nice to him on nights when the media is hounding him, the fans are booing him, and the manager is talking bad about him.
Figgins is only two years removed from life at the beach.  What drives him on?  Improved stats?  Safeco won't give them.  Pride, or obligation to Seattle?  Let's hope so, because all of the normal motivators are not there.
Mike Carp has shown us what a person determined to play major league baseball looks like.  So has Ichiro.  Most 160 lb. 37 year olds are chased down and arrested if they try to step onto a major league baseball field.  Ichiro is an overachiever coupled with a great baseball talent.   Unless you see a special kind of drive in a person, an Ichiro drive, it seems like a bad idea to give that person millions of dollars for multiple years, and tell them that all they have to do is show up to earn it.


The hair-fine feel for the front-office politics continues to boggle, CPB...
Not sure whether or not our guesses are exactly on the mark, but they are insightful and then some...


He has a nice segment in which he argues, "Just because you fail doesn't mean you can sit there on the rodeo floor.  If you blow a trade, you don't stop trading, do you?"
Very tough argument to beat.

wufners's picture

I think Jack's been unfairly maligned for not being able to pick bats.
If he passed on a batter who went on to kill for another team because he preferred a Figgins or Kotchman or Cust or who-have-ya, that would have been a poor choice.  I don't know and haven't looked to see if that's the case or not.  As for the guys he brought in . . .
Figgins.  The Mariners needed a 3bman and he was considered to be the tops in the free agent market.  The Mariners had the money to afford him and his signing came with the added benefit of sticking it to the Angels.  He thought he was getting a third baseman who could almost replace Adrien's defense while hitting around .300 and getting on base even more.  A lot of folks thought agreed.  The idea was fot a lot of games start 1st and 3rd, no outs.  This was a crash that I only saw JolderDude warn against.  Maybe Jack should have know he was a pouting man child, but nobody else seemed to know it either.
Jack Wilson.  Didn't give up much for him and wanted him to shore up the previous Yuniesky Betancourt defense.  That was a big deal at the time.  Other then some occasional pesky at bats, I don't think Jack Z brought Jack W here for his offense.  His big mistake was thinking Wilson could stay on the field for any great period of time.
Kotchman.  After this year, Jack looks like he was kind of right about Casey.  Just a year too late.  Maybe give Jack partial credit for this one?
Cust.  A nothing contract to fill a role that there were no internal candidates(lalalaMikeCarplalala) for and nothing much left on the open market to buy with money Jack did not have available.  He got on base a some, but failed to do the job expected of him.  Fortunatley he cost nothing but the annoyance to watch him and was booted once the farm was ready to step up.
Mike Carp.  Here's one Jack missed--for awhile.  And that's despite Jack being the one who brought Carp here in the first place.  But to his credit, Jack was able to shake off the opinion he had in place.  By season's end, both he and Wedge were pointing to Carp as an example that all the young players should follow during the offseaon.  Glad to see Jack's talent/winning eye is bigger than his ego.
Adrian Gonzalez.  Sure sounds like Jack gave it his all to get him here.  How would we feel Jack's ability to pick hitters if AG hand come over?
And just to be fair and represent the other side of his pitcher picking ability
John Lackey.  There were a lot of rumors swirling about that Jack went hard after Lackey.  Glad not to be counting down the years and dollars 'til that contracts expired.

OBF's picture

Prince, complacency because of cash is the ONE thing that doesn't worry me at all.  Don't forget that Prince's Daddy is a millionaire as well (He made almost $47 million dollars over his career).  Prince grew up in the lap of luxury, he plays baseball because he WANTS to play baseball.  From day ONE of his life Prince has dealt with and overcome the idea that his only motivation to play the game is to get that one big check to be set for life (call it the Yuniesky ;) ).  It is one of the things I love about Prince.  Watching him play you can tell he just LOVES baseball, and that he would try hard at it whether it is in the sandlot behind my house and who buy brews afterwards is on the line or weather it is for the world series ;)
Also it isn't like Prince is barely eking out a living.  The dude has already made 35 million dollars on his own playing baseball, it isn't like adding a zero or two to that will change his demeanor now :)

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