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Geoff Baker is back after a tour of South Africa investigating its wine culture and cuisine and it is as if the Mariner scene is hit with a jolt of caffeine.
During his sojourn there were tweets to ponder, but not the full on Baker.
2,096 words on the change in the Mariner offense which shoots into a discussion of the uncertainty and even instability of the big league roster, concluding with the suggestion to sign Michael Bourn as we no longer need to worry about offense.
The M & M mashers, Kendrys Morales and Mike Morse, to be sure change the middle of the order in ways we have not seen in ten years or so. Each of them with enough plate appearances could be good for 30 home runs each, or at least on that pace before they’re traded. The Mariner front office and field manager have publicly given jobs to Dustin Ackley, Brendan Ryan and Justin Smoak. Last year these three incumbent players had a collective batting average of .214 in 1,497 at bats. Their combined on-base percentage was .287 and their slugging percentage was .326 for an OPS of .613. For new baseball readers, that is very, very bad.
Bourn after his collapse in the second half of last year hit .225, his on-bag was .325 and his slug was .311. This is also bad. Adding him does not help based on his last four months of playing. Previously noted is the falseness of UZR that says he’s a premium center fielder. He does not catch more balls than Saunders does in the same outfield, does not throw as well and there is not a lot of offensive upside. The only context he would be good is if he could bat 9th, but the characteristic of his offensive year last year as previously noted looks like old man behavior, lots and lots of pitches taken. If you sign him to a multi-year deal he’ll squat on the spot as he declines further and the team will run him out there hoping somebody will trade for him. We’ve watched this show before. If he ran like a deer still and got on base at a .400+ clip, then sure, but he does not do that. Subduction zones are about deep water trenches and plate tectonics, which I’ve been reading about. Adding him is like diving deep into the Marianas trench.
More interesting is the note regarding Smoak and non-note about Ackley. The team has options now if they don’t want to play guys who collectively account for four innings worth of outs game after game. There are options at first, second and short.
Holy Earl Weaver! Ryan is a very expensive defensive luxury that could be absorbed on a great offensive team. Not here.
The Giants, winner of two of the last three World Series are a very balanced team, with enough offense, plenty of defense to stand behind a great pitching staff. Yet they scored 99 more runs than the Mariners with one less hitter per each game. If the Mariners jump from 619 runs to 718 runs or even 750 runs, the key is how they get there. If it means that they play four dhs at once in Ibanez at dh, Bay in left field, Morse in right field and Morales at first base not only does their production need to happen, but there needs to be enough production to cover their defensive liability. With the exception of the old Raul, all of those guys have been partial season guys, too.
So when Baker puts Saunders in a corner spot, where are Morse or Bay can’t both play? I’m with Bill James on Saunders, put him out there and leave him alone and let him play. He is invested in his success to the point that he pays for his own hitting coach. It’s a step more of these young guys should take.
Of all of them Smoak has the shortest leash. Ackley the least and Ryan, well if they like Miller enough, he might vault both Franklin and Ryan.
In World War II after D-Day in Europe, British Field Marshall Montgomery, in order to speed up the conclusion of the war, knew that he must get across the Rhine river and other tributaries into Germany. In short words Operation Market-Garden the operation to do that, which involved the largest airborne assault failed largely it was an over-reach. They tried too much, too far and too soon. If this intrigues you as a history reader, seek out Cornelius Ryan’s book,
The Mariners know where they want to get, know where they need to get and are faced with a similar risk of over-reaching. They believe in their efforts to rebuild their farm system. Baseball America touted them as having the second best farm system in baseball, which at the end of the day will prove out over the next few years. If the pitching is as good as it looks, it seems that the valuation may be understated. The question is when do they arrive?
When people talk about young pitching staffs what frequently comes to mind is the 1966 Baltimore Orioles with Dave McNally 23, Jim Palmer 20, Wally Bunker 21, Steve Barber 28, John Miller 25, Eddie Watt 25, and Frank Bertaina 22. Tom Phoebus 21 as well. Starters from that 1966 team, mostly young and some turned out to be very special. Some of those guys came up in 1964, some in 1965 and some in 1966. It was a process. Bunker won 19 games at the age of 19 in 1964. He was never the same after that and was a part time starter in 1966. Palmer came up in 1965. You can look for yourself here:
Unlike the Mariners, the 1965 Oriole’s team from the year before was very good, winning 93 games, but without the wild card etc. they did not participate in post season. The other un-noted thing about the 1966 team is that they were highly regarded defensively. Paul Blair in center field was a fly-hawk, Frank Robinson in right in every aspect was one of the greatest players ever top ten for sure, Hall of fame short stop Luis Aparicio, Davey Johnson at second base, Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson at third base. Although Andy Etchebarren was the lead catcher, four other guys played and collectively they threw out a little more that 40% of the base runners. Phenomenal team. They swept the Dodgers in the World Series. But the Orioles should not have been a surprise, they broke .500 in 1963 with 86 wins and kept getting better and better, 1964 97 wins, 1965 94 wins and 1966 with 96 wins.
The Mariners offensive production is nowhere near that team, but they are and have been sound defensively in the infield, except catcher and Saunders and Wells are very good in the outfield.
As I’ve chronicled previously, there are are very good position players to augment the current prospects on the scene now. Saunders and Seager have to be regarded as vanguards to that. Ackley and Smoak at this point despite their results at the major league level, the organization projects them as part of the future. Watching those two play, listening to scouts and looking at their numbers puts them into the category of hopeful. Jesus Montero dh-c needs to hit and defend both. If he hits he’ll stay, if Zunino shows early ability to be Buster Posey, Montero does not have much of anywhere to play.
New players to the team include Kendrys Morales dh-1b, Michael Morse lf-dh-1b, Raul Ibanez ph-lf, Jason Bay lf. Young players in camp include catchers Mike Zunino and John Hicks, short stops Brad Miller and Nick Franklin 2b-3b-rf Stefen Romero. New starting pitchers include Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Brandon Maurer. If the team is to make a jump into positive territory from a win loss perspective, these pitchers need to supplant the guys after Felix’s name in the starting rotation. If the Orioles past is any prologue, it will happen over several seasons. But when they get an opportunity this spring in mlb games and they do well, they will keep running them out there until they fail.
None of the off season guys brought in so far figures to be on the team next year. Morales and Morse will be free agents and if they put up large numbers it as not been the Mariner’s MO to resign free agents at their peak. For the younger position players to stick will require a real opportunity on the part of the Mariners. Ackley and Smoak have been allowed to fail time after time in the hopes that they will adjust because so much is invested in them. Other players that is not so. Some of the young players in camp have shown so far to be terrific. The jump to success in major league baseball is full of valleys and difficulty, examine how long it took Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse in the Mariner system to make it. Over four seasons with the Mariners Mike Morse played in 107 games with 337 plate appearances. The Ms then traded him for a bag of balls. Before that Raul Ibanez played five seasons in Seattle and got 508 plate appearances.
Since leaving the Mariners and in Ibanez’s case coming back and leaving again, they have become good major league hitters, with power. At some level at least the first time the Mariners let Ibanez go and Morse go it has to be regarded as an organizational failure. Most player development guys want young players to play and play until they turn into gold. Most managers hate young players, see Eric Wedge as a prime example of that.
The more that Bay, Ibanez etc. play now the less good that is for the team to get competitive. The more younger guys, that can play, that have less than a pedigree as Ackley or Smoak and are blocked by situations like that the longer. It is not rocket science, but if you can’t recognize talent at the major league level, you will continue to get filched in trades and stunt the development of good young players.
If none of the good young starters are not here by July, that would have to be seen as a lack of progress by the Mariners. On the other hand some of them might make it out of camp.
Makes for some compelling stuff to watch.
Michael Bourn is a player the Mariners are going to sign. If you believe National correspondents such as Ken Rosenthal, local folks like Geoff Baker and Larry Stone. MLB the network brings it up seemingly on an hourly basis. The Mariners have oft injured and expensive Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders already in the fold.
The naysayers to the transaction point out that for the Mariners to sign him they would give up both their first round pick in the upcoming draft (#12) and the slotted money as well.
The argument for signing Bourn is that he is purportedly the
best defensive center fielder around. That argument rests on the
UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) stat which is hugely flawed and prone
error. In support of this assertion just in this simple example, Bourn has caught the same number of balls the last four seasons give or take in approximately same number of games: 09 371, 10 359, 11 367, 12 383. Yet is defensive UZR and his subsequent defensive WAR has shot all over the map from hugely positive to negative and back. His arm is not particularly special and his range factor although good, is only slightly better than Michael Saunders 2.59 to 2.50. He does not do anything other than catch balls and throw. UZR purports to capture the number of balls in “his” zone. It is doubtful that is accomplished.
There are center fielders that catch more balls than Bourn does, either on a total season or per game basis. Going inside out on that remark there are some young players, Peter Bourjos, Jarrod Dyson, Mike Trout, Denard Span, Austin Jackson and Andres Torres. Adam Jones dwarfs his productivity across last season at 454 total chances.
Bourn is hugely over-valued. Saunders jumped out last season and
recently on the MLB Network show Top Ten Center Fielders Right Now,
noted guru of Sabermetrics Bill James did not
have Bourn in his top ten and opined that Michael Saunders was just behind the top ten.
Offensively the last four months from July, August, September and October his OPS sunk from .701, .695, .627 and .476. His stolen bases fell off from 61 to 42 and he was caught stealing 13 times compared with 14 the previous year. He played approximately the same number of games as recent years at 155 which is to say every day.
To speculate it seems as if he might be slowing down, his walk percentage is up, strike out percentage is up. His batting average plummeted as the summer wore on, but his BABIP for the whole year was .349. Sort of Bill James, old man skills on display. Number of steals down, success percentage at stealing down.
Geoff Baker shot me a note and suggested that Saunders would be fine in the corner. Morse is right and Bay is in left according the Wedgie says that’s the deal. The only corner seems to be in Tacoma as in that scenario, Gutierrez would be the fourth outfielder. Based on how this winter has gone, by posting this it almost guarantees the Ms will sign him. I think in all seriousness the draft pick is valued very highly by Zduriencik and the loss of the pick and the money and probably eating Gutie’s money, it seems unlikely.
Right now to steal a trending phrase Felix Hernandez is the best Mariner at the major league level. Maybe somebody shows up this year and is Bob Gibson reborn, or maybe not, but for now Felix is the King.
He turns twenty six in early April as the season gets under way. He is under club contract through the end of 2014. News this morning of a new four year deal at $100 million is circulating.
An arc defined is the movement of a celestial body across the sky. A star as it were. There is nothing to suggest anything different about him.
It is worth examining his performance so that we might see how he does and if the recent results portend anything.
Any way you look at it 2012 was a year of adjustment and change for him. The year started with a game in Japan as well as subsequent games in April here in the United States where Felix’s fans and chroniclers were deeply concerned because his velocity was down, with most of his pitches at 90 or below. As Mariner fans know he righted himself to go on and throw and pitch better, if not fully from a velocity perspective and throw a perfect game against the Rays later that summer.
It would be enough maybe to wrap up it now and say false alarm and the Mariners reportedly are going to sign Felix to a four year $100 million extension and move on to staring out at the fog.
Instead I plunged on and used a lot of data from fangraphs.com, both pitch f/x data and batted ball stuff to look at Felix’s years 2009 through 2012. The pitch f/x data purports to capture the velocity of each pitch and to describe what each pitch was. For Felix the categorization is not necessarily perfect, as in there seems to be bleed over between a cutter and a slider, but if you sum those perhaps you get the full measure. Similarly, fastball, sinker and change ups have not been correctly designated, which is a problem in any given year, especially early on when his change ups were 90+ mph.
Last year was different, but why was it different? Mostly, Felix’s pitch selection, the proportionality from pitch type to pitch type changed significantly from before. From 2009 to 2011 Felix’s pitches were heavily weighted towards pitches that pitch f/x might designate a fastball, sinker or change up. Each of those years over seventy percent of his pitches were one of these. In 2012 that percentage dropped to just below sixty percent.
What other adjustments did he make? Twenty six percent of his pitches were sliders/cutters which captures most of the decline in the fastball type pitches.
Why did he change, you ask? In 2011 and 2012 hitters annihilated his sinker, hitting .356 and .396 respectively. BABIP is an acronym for Batting Average on Balls In Play. It means if the batter strikes a pitch, what is the percentage of those that are hits. In 2011 BABIP on sinkers jumped to .353 from .260 and in 2012 it jumped further to .410. So Felix says, I better stop throwing that.
Why would such a jump occur? Lots of reasons, directly or indirectly, some of which might be that the movement on pitch declined, which made hitters see it better. Could it be that the differential between the velocity of all of his pitches has declined? Last year his sinker, fastball and cutter were the exact same speed, 92.4-92.5 mph. Change up was 89.3 and curve ball was 81.7 mph.
If seventy one percent of your pitches are the same average speed and that speed is 92.4 mph, major league hitters will hit that, more often than not, or more than before. His slider at 86 mph and his curve at 81 mph offer the speed differential that befuddles hitters or should. Still the pure fastball so categorized by pitch f/x is what had the lowest BABIP at .236.
2012 offered the highest career numbers for BABIP for his sinker, changeup and cutter, ranging from .298 for cutter to .410 for the sinker. Although not a career high the BABIP on his curve ball jumped back up to .333. Those are not good numbers.
Before we get too deep into that, all of those numbers are averaged over whole year. It might bear some fruit to look at his monthly splits. By month his OPS Against was April .588, May .801, June .651, July .521, August .365, September .861. In May and September he gave up more hits than innings pitched. May was 38 hits in 32 and 1/3 inning and September was very ugly, 53 hits in 35 and 1/3 innings. In May and September he gave up a lot of extra base hits, a lot when contrasted to June, July and August when he did give up much of anything. The horrible September greatly deflected a tremendous season.
What do you attribute the horrible September to? Well it was terrible in 2011 too, an OPS Against of .834. Tired physically, tired of playing in front of call ups that can’t play in the last month? I would suggest the physically tired side. It would seem if the manager and general manager were stewards of his talent, that they might not run him out there and leave him in games that don’t mean anything. But you have to remember that the business side of the company was flogging the King’s Court and they wanted him to pitch as it meant walk-up sales. If you were to look at his numbers from April through August, they’re vastly superior. An OPS of .578, versus .629. The .578 is in the vicinity of his 2010 Cy Young award winning year and the year before when he should also have won the vote.
Felix is known as a great competitor and kept going out there even though he was out of gas. Hopefully not injured. I’m not sure what the difference is at some micro-injury level. Hope not. This suggests he probably needs to come out of games sooner. So that if the Ms were ever in a pennant race in September, he’s not absolutely baked. Maybe he’s still going strong at 30 and the team is good. That’s more important than promotions in September for a last place team.
At least he does not have to contend with a trip to Japan as last year.
There is a link to Larry Stone’s piece that describes where the team should be when spring training starts, in terms of its payroll.
Net net it is just under $79 million. What is interesting is how it devolves at the end of the year. The following people come off the payroll at year end, 2013 and their costs are:
Kendrys Morales $5.25 mm
Chone Figgins $8.5 mm
Jason Bay $1.0 mm
Mike Morse $7.0 mm
Franklin Gutierrez $7.3 mm
Oliver Perez $1.5 mm
Raul Ibanez $2.75 mm
Josh Kinney $.7 mm
Old backup catcher $1.0 mm
Collectively their salaries, before incentives amount to $35.0 million in round numbers. So all of them are likely to be gone one way or another before year end. Excepting Figgins of course, they all are potential participants in a trade. The likelihood of each of them being traded is not the same. Morales, Morse and perhaps Perez and Gutierrez could all be candidates for a team in competition if they are not injured. In that last vein, if Bay turned it around and has not run into some outfield wall he and Ibanez could also be traded. In terms of the injury thing, Morales, Bay, Gutierrez and Morse have missed significant time in the past two seasons. The fact that this year represents what is called the salary drive year, perhaps they adapt Ichiro’s manner of never diving or running into anything and stay healthy and put some numbers up…It could happen (obligatory baseball movie reference) or not.
So at year end the salary before next year’s arb stuff would be at $44.0 million. Seemingly, from the existing group of players in the organization, there would be Montero and Zunino as catchers, although if Montero fails that he could be part of a trade and whoever the veteran guy and Zunino would be it. Smoak maybe, maybe not. Carp is probably gone due to being out of options. Ackley at second base. Seager at third base. Ryan or Franklin or Miller at shortstop, and any of those three could be gone. Saunders should still be here and the faintest of chances for Wells exists. Perhaps Romero gets a shot in a corner. Wedge likes Peguero. At this point there are not a lot of project-able outfielders in the organization.
Two paragraphs ago I had traded away everyone that Zduriencik had acquired in the last few months and a few more to boot. Presumably those trades would bring back players that the manager would actually play, unlike the return for Doug Fister or Josh Leuke deals. It is an open question. Doug Fister is a great pitcher for Detroit and Billy Beane thinks that John Jaso is a guy that he jumps at to be part of another pennant winning run in Oakland as opposed to being judged unplayable by Eric Wedge. Ted Simmons is Jack Zduriencik’s right hand guy and is a guy that probably deserves some consideration to being in the hall of fame. When he played the knock on him was that he could not throw well. I looked up his and Johnny Bench’s career throwing numbers and Simmons threw out 34% of the attempted base thieves, which is an acceptable and even good number, while Bench threw out a ridiculous number at 43%. What did stick out was that Simmons had a ton of passed balls and wild pitches when he caught and if a ball got away from Johnny Bench, it had to be a wild pitch, right? I can’t conjure up an image of Johnny Bench blocking a pitch…I’m sure it happened, but who knows. But I digress, the Mariners did not like Jaso as a catcher. That they like Montero as a catcher is perplexing.
What has happened since the season ended is hard to put a simple bow around and deliver an explanation that holds water. If you look at the team splits by month as 2012 would down, they were 30-23 for July and August and 9-17 in September. Felix got lit up like a Christmas tree in September, thirty innings pitched, forty one hits. Tired probably, meaningless games, horrible lineups with guys like Triunfel, Robinson, Peguero and Thames playing. Run differential is the simplest and most direct way to look at this. In July and August they scored 108 and 95 runs, while they had 79 runs to the ledger in September. They allowed 78 runs in July, 106 in August and 114 in September. 282 scored and 298 allowed, record of 39-40. July and August something positive happened and September was brutal at least for the positional players, they had no idea if they were playing. If I were Wells and Saunders, especially Wells I would feel as if I should keep my bags packed. It is the major leagues for sure, but if you are going to rush players to that level and bad performance gets some of the guys yanked and not others it is a mess. Montero in July had a good offensive month, but was horrific in August and September. Ackley was uniformly bad. August was better than the other two months but not good and the other two months was horrific. They continued to play and others did not.
So you look at what has happened since then, they’ve added some players that at one time or another have shown some power, regardless of position or the existence of players at the new player’s positions. Dave Cameron wrote a good piece on process and why you look at players in a certain way yesterday. Geoff Baker postulated that the strategy might have something to do with financial issues, be it a sale or new media rights deal or both. Neither are exclusive. Most teams have organizational meetings at year end where they review the whole deal top to bottom and where each player is and whether any player is ready to move to the major leagues the next spring or mid summer or fall.
The consistent voice since that evaluation is this: 1. Nobody is ready to move up this spring, pitcher or player. 2. They will trade the best of the prospects not yet in majors for a corner outfielder with pop or a catcher/first baseman or sign a free agent with same attributes. Every effort to sign a free agent or trade for a high end player has not worked. Zip, nada or bupkus, take your pick. Either the offer was bogus or players did not want to come here.
The number two pitcher was traded and the best hitter, a catcher amidst a group of young guys that have not shown to be good yet was traded for a one year rent a dh. Two of the potential identified starting pitchers are not especially noteworthy in Blake Beavan and Hector Noesi. The backup catcher is not on the roster. Were James Paxton and Taijuan Walker push their way into rotation and Zunino make the move, then things might look better. The word from the Mariners though, is nobody breaks camp and moves up.
If that is true and they think they’ve captured lightening in a bottle with these signings and the team will win and people will flock to Safeco, it would seem that there is enormous risk intrinsic to the strategy. Time to watch.
This is balanced and good, yet gives you a sense of the panic down in Jack Zduriencik’s office.
Twenty five man roster, that is, with attention to position players. Thirteen pitcher version.
Catchers Jesus Montero, veteran catcher
First basemen: Kendrys Morales, Justin Smoak
Second basemen: Dustin Ackley, Robert Andino
Third basemen: Kyle Seager
Shortstop: Brendan Ryan
Left Field Jason Bay, Michael Saunders
Center field: Franklin Gutierrez
Right Field: Mike Morse
DH: Raul Ibanez
There is one obvious problem, that is thirteen guys. The obvious guy to cut would be Justin Smoak since he has options and Morse and Ibanez could play there for a day or two in the event of an injury to Morales. Tacoma is close by.
Starting rotation is Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, Erasmos Ramirez and Hector Noesi. Relievers include Carter Capps, Stephen Pryor, Charlie Furbush, Shawn Kelley, Josh Kinney, Lucas Leutge and Josh Kinney.
Available catchers: Miguel Olivo, Kelley Shoppach, Ronny Paulino and a few others. Shoppach is probably the pick of the litter.
The assumptions above are that all the very old flyers the team took such as Bay and Ibanez make the team and play. It assumes that they are going to Figgins Gutierrez in the hope that he salary drives towards some team that will see him as the key to their penannt run. Not sure why that will work this time, for several obvious reasons.
Morse in right field, Saunders the break out player of last year, the guy Bill James believes should be in the top ten of the young outfielders will be playing the fourth outfielder spot, i.e. late inning replacement, day game after night game start. This suggests his numbers will decline and Wedge will be dissapointed with him by June.
For those that like Smoak, this might be a good thing. It would give him an extended time to really fix what he does, if it can be fixed. Morales will almost certainly be traded at the trade deadline for nothing that they will ultimately play, but that is a side comment, allowing Smoak to come up and play every day and show that he actually can do that. For Saunders it might not be so gloomy as both Morse and Gutierrez have been unable to avoid injury, so he will likely get to play regularly soon.
Big Jesus was sent home last fall with the admonition to get athletic. The hope that he would come back and be able to move behind the plate to the point where he is able to release the ball when a runner was stealing before the guy had reached second base. It is a tall order. If you watch video of him receiving, he is very inflexible from the waste down and also lacking in core strength. It does not really matter how well he runs the bases, for if he can receive and throw well enough, the team will endure the base running as teams have endured the Molina’s base running. At some point Zunino will arrive or is supposed to arrive. Wedge says he does not want to rush him as he also was concerned with Zunino’s throwing in the Arizona Fall League. Yet his minor league defensive stats at Everett and Jackson were exemplary. Forty three percent throw out percentage is very good.
Wedge actually was a catcher drafted in third round by the Red Sox and made it to the major leagues for parts of four years with the Red Sox and Colorado. One hundred plate appearances in thirty nine games. Of those thirty nine games he played in six games as a catcher, the rest was as a dh or pinch hitter. In those six games he threw out one runner in six attempts, a 17% throw out rate. In the minor leagues not all of the stats were kept as rigorously as they are now, but he threw out seven runners in seventy attempts, a 10% rate. It would not be a valid argument to say that since he was not a good catcher, reportedly due to injuries incurred, that he can’t judge catchers well. One does not follow the other.
It might be valid to suggest that his experience informs him as to his judgment and he struggled to throw out guys so now it is a critical issue for him to the exclusion of others. Teams ran often on Olivo, not because he could not throw, but because it was likely he would not catch the ball or would drop it on transfer, all of which happened frequently and was seemingly ignored.
Despite protestations to the contrary, disinformation if you will, I still think they are hoping that Mike Zunino is the second coming of Buster Posey. If that is true, which would be pleasing indeed, a back up guy would be likely to endure, while Montero would seek time as a dh or a catcher in Tacoma. Let’s watch.
http://www.ussmariner.com/2013/01/16/the-fundamental-flaw/ A nice piece of analysis on what is next, a trade of Wells and a reliever for a utility player and a catcher. Captures the decomposition of this rebuilding effort into Bavasian decisions, explained with comic-book phrases.
A bag of balls (prospects) goes from Oakland As to Washington Nationals. Michael Morse goes to Mariners where he joins the fifteen players in camp as left fielder and dh. Oakland meanwhile gets John Jaso.
Mariners now with Jesus Montero and, well shoot nobody else at catcher. Mike Zunino? Mike Hicks? Miguel Olivo re-signed?
Lots of reaction in local blogs such as Lookoutlanding or USSMariner. Universally panned. Morse with some right handed power, Jaso was actually a better hitter by a significant margin last year. Like Casper Wells, Wedge did not like Jaso. Ran Olivo out until even the peanut vendors were aware that Olivo could neither catch the ball nor block it. Did not bother Wedgester.
By far the worst thrower amongst the three guys from last year was Jesus Montero who threw out eleven guys in sixty five attempts. Olivo was twenty one of sixty nine and Jaso seven of thirty four. Jaso had twenty one wild pitches and passed balls when he caught. Olivo thirty four and Montero twenty six.
The consenus seems to be that the Mariners will get an additional catcher, Miguel Olivo for example as the current scuttlebutt is that Wedge does not want to rush Zunino.
Just to keep track between first base, left field now we have Morse, Morales, Bay, Ibanez, Smoak, Carp…did I mention Wells? He might be in right field for a bit.
It is easy to rip this up. Jaso is younger, more healthy, much
but hitter, under financial control, bats left handed when the team
sees more right handers. Morse hits right handers
better than left handers. Jaso well, Jaso was snapped up by Billy Beane. What do you all think? So who knows horse flesh the best, Billy or Jack…I’m thinking it’s Billy.
Dave Cameron says, “Mariners Do Stupid Thing” Says Bavasi was never this bad, which is not true.
Jeff Sullivan’s piece is here, http://www.lookoutlanding.com/2013/1/16/3884682/seattle-mariners-trade-john-jaso-michael-morse-mike
His first two paragraphs are worth noting for you,”he Seattle Mariners didn’t get Josh Hamilton. They didn’t get Nick Swisher, they haven’t seemed to pursue Michael Bourn, they haven’t gotten far with Andre Ethier, and they were turned down by Justin Upton. They didn’t get Mike Napoli. The Mariners were left with money and something of a need, but no obvious fits. Given such a circumstance, the Mariners had three options:
(1) Sit tight for now and wait for better opportunities in
(2) Search harder for a non-obvious fit
(3) Do something dumb
The Mariners, ultimately, opted for #3, as today they traded John Jaso for Michael Morse straight up, basically. Morse is coming from the Nationals, and Jaso is going to the A’s, because as if this needed to be any worse, now Jaso’s going to a rival instead of the National League. I don’t even know where Jaso fits on that roster right now, which hardly helps. He definitely fit on this roster. You know what the Mariners need now? A catcher of some sort. Kind of like John Jaso.
If Zunino comes up and is Buster Posey, nobody remembers this. But, the wooden headed on says nope, we’re not going to push Zunino.
Lest you think that I’m making it up about Jaso, here is a link
to Jeff Datz talking about Jaso throwing:
I was going to talk to Jaso on a long term piece about catching. Not so fast buster.
In the past three or four days there have been some discussion in the blogosphere and tweets that the Mariners are possibly going to trade for Rick Porcello. He is a 24 year old right handed pitcher that already has four years in the major leagues with Detroit. Each successive year as measured by OPS Against, his results have declined. He is tall at 6’5 and lean at 200 pounds.
The trade is him for some un-named prospects.
Last year his monthly splits on OPS Against were mostly ghastly. Ghastly is from an old English word, ghaesten, which meant to torment and frighten and then the spelling with the “h” comes from somebody confusing it with ghost. Now it means just shockingly bad. The numbers: April .863, May .824, June .729 this was the best, July .773, August .827 and saving the worst for last .876. Overall .808.
There are some words out there that his fastball velocity returned last year from a decline into the 80s. Four of the six months last season he was hit like he was a batting practice pitcher. People went up there and annhilated him. Fifty three doubles, two triples and sixteen homers is ugly. His BABIP (batting average on balls in play) against has got worse each year: 2009 .279, 2010 .308, 2011 .318, 2012 .345. When you went to see him pitch last year the sound was like a driving range full of pro golfers, balls were barrelled up constantly. In four years not one complete game, last year he averaged just under six innings per start. The jump in the BABIP Against makes me slightly skeptical about the velocity data.
Whenever I draft this stuff,now I immediately look to see if the Mariners have made the deal before I publish it. No trade yet.