MLBTR had Dipoto saying that they were shooting for a mid-80's win season and hoping for more. I got the sense that he was setting expectations a bit low, which makes sense, I suppose. We've got a staff with depth and a lineup that pencils out (Go Marti) being pretty good. I think 86 wins is reasonable to shoot for. 90 is pure gravy, not that I would mind some gravy. Let's say 84 as the Over/Under line.
My own local version of Soccer Mom axed me this question today. Are the M's gonna do good this year. Just like you, I had no idea how to answer. This is the phenomenon known as "paralysis by analysis":
Analysis paralysis or paralysis by analysis is an anti-pattern, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises. A person might be seeking the optimal or "perfect" solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, while on the way to a better solution.
So then Dr. D had to look up this phrase "anti-pattern":
An anti-pattern (or antipattern) is a common response to a recurring problem that is usually ineffective and risks being highly counterproductive. The term, coined in 1995 by Andrew Koenig, was inspired by a book, Design Patterns, which highlights a number of design patterns in software development that its authors considered to be highly reliable and effective.
Ah! On NBA.TV the host asked the jock last month, "Have the Clippers found the recipe for playing Golden State?" The jock floored me by replying, with total sincerity, "They've found a recipe for LOSING to the Warriors." He meant that dispassionately, that the Clips (or whichever team it was) had a set game plan, and that this game plan was going to produce the anti-result. He talked about running under picks, and tempo, and etc., and that by systematically doing these things, you could increase your chances of defeat to near 100%. Sounds obvious, but the concept resonated with me.
We're 15 degrees off track. The point is, you and I definitely talk about the Mariners to much to really understand them. The reductio ad absurdum is James himself, who never predicts anything in any pennant race. The research is very fact-based and therefore very micro.
Solution? Dr. D combats it by turning a thumb too far up (Cruz before he got here) or too far down (Leonys Martin) in his desperate attempt to cut through the palsy.
ARE THEY GONNA DO GOOD?, Dept.
Well, let's at least cut it into roto-style projections:
UP = TOP OF THE WEST. Jerry DiPoto impressed me mightily by coming clean: "No, I mean what I say. This is the roster I hoped to put together. I got what I wanted." And, probably, it IS the roster he hoped for .... PLUS either Wade Miley or Hisashi Iwakuma.
MID = NO IDEA. Here's the Bill James approach. We're also guessing that the projection systems will come in under this general realm.
LO = 76 WINS. Endorsed by SABRMatt's math and by the truly bizarre underperformance last year.
For Dr. D's part, all he can say is, If Jerry DiPoto's approach fails, then any other Dr. D approach would fail as well. For me, the Inner Game of Tennis is far underrated. I think the 2015 Mariners fall flat because of a long series of human factors that can't be measured. Lookout Landing went and met the new regime and came away absolutely with stars in their eyes. Which, all sincere respect given, is typical of bloggers who finally get a look from field level. The human factor goes from zero to huge.
Time and chance happeneth to every man. But if Dr. D owned the M's, this would be his take on Sun Tzu in this particular time and place. Therefore I guess you've got to put me down for DiPoto's UP. If he can commit, I can.
Woulda liked to get Chapman, though. ... maybe that #6SP will be the secret ingredient.
With all respect to JD, he inherited a team that was 5th in the AL last year in HRs, and 13th in runs. It probably did not take a team of advanced matematecians to figure out more poeple needed to get on base. So he went out and did exactly what needed to be done--and I think did it pretty well.
Fangraphs has 15 teams projected for between 81 and 86 wins. Mr. Standard Deviation is going to come into the bar, as he always does, stomp his heavy boot on the floor and rattle the table. Maybe, for once, we're not one of the teams that falls to the floor.
Ah culture. The one thing everyone talks about in a turn-around scenario. Everyone wants to change the culture of the organization...and most of them fail. It's a tough thing and even if they are somehow successful, it will almost certainly take a lot longer than they think. It'll be slow, like turning a proverbial battleship (apologies to Daddy-O and the rest of our naval veterans). Prolem being, slow won't really cut it. Nobody is in the mood for another five year turnaround plan.
Still, it can be done. The M's have a huge advantage in that they just need to look across the parking lot to see a great example. It doesn't look like the new braintrust will have any issues turning the roster over...and over...and over like the Seahawks had to do in order to stack the organization with like-minded players, coaches, trainers, managers...all the way down to the ballboys. 'Cause if want to change a culture, you have do it all the way. Those that don't fit or can't adapt have got to go. Everyone has to be on message and Divish's article seems to indicate that they are.
Shrug - it'll come down to talent and winning in the end regardless. Nailing a couple of consecutive drafts like Schneider did in 2010 & 11 would certainly make it easier.
'Culture change' is, indeed, an epidemic in almost all companies/organizations. It buys you time.
And I'm hoping that the new culture for the M's means improvement.
But my sense is that this is going on on two levels. Servais has the much harder job. He has to sell himself to the old line in the Seattle dugout. That may be a lot harder than it seems.
On the other hand, JD can play the long game. Draft who he wants...have McKay mold them as JD wants...and eventually reap the results. Of course, his challenge is the fact that he has to buy what he needs...there's nothing much left on the shelves.
As JD said over the weekend, it's a 'win now' objective. What do we have--two years, maybe three in this window?
Seems to be the goal. Short contracts allow the ability to plug things in with more short contracts. I'mfairly convinced this offseason is repeatable and yet the holes should be fewer next year. The year after, etc...Unless this offseason proves to have been a failure.
The cupboards may be bare but there's leftovers in the fridge. Felix is still here and I don't see any reason to assume he'll collapse at 32 or whatever. Cano and Cruz fit the short window idea, but who else? Aoki, Ianetta, Lind and the like are the guys I think DiPoto can find to plug in a few of every year as needed. Kind of like Gillick? Maybe I shouldn't go that far yet, but it's looking like that path. Except for the "screw the farm" tag others gave Gillick.
Seager, Walker, Marte, Paxton, Zunino and other youngins that came up through a flawed development system have a chance to help lengthen that window. Have any of them reached their absolute ceiling? I don't even think Seager has. Alex and DJ or others we rarely mention or haven't even discussed could be moving into a role like Marte is now in less than 3 years. Then there will start to be guys who haven't been drafted yet as well. Or signed internationally before that becomes a draft as well. They even already signed one, but of course he's not worth looking at because he doesn't hit HR. Never mind that the M's can lead the league in HR and fail to score runs above average. What were we talking about?
I'm not concerned with 2 or 3 years from now after seeing what Dipoto can do with shotgun holes simultaneously in the roster and the coinpurse.
In an interview on the Hot Stove League with a beat writer for the Angels, he remarked that although DiPoto is known to be analytical, he is very respected for his scouting and talent judging abilities. He has rolled the dice with a number of players hoping for a bounce back year, but I assume he will identify and not hesitate to correct his mistakes and disappointments.