The Greatest Game

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

My Promised Seattle Mariners blog 

I promised Easycure that I'd include something about the Seattle Mariners this week, and I have a little free time tonight, so I thought that I'd take a look at some of their moves this offseason and see where my fingers end up from there.

The first thing that pops into mind is Scott Spiezio. I was actually hoping that Yankees were going to sign him to relieve Giambi at 1B and also Boone at 3B when he slumps. It would be a hell of a lot better than Tony Clark, but I'm guessing Scott wanted a starting position, and he seems to have gotten it with the M's, plus he got a 3 year contract. He ended up taking a 30% paycut, but it's been a tough year and he did pretty well for himself coming off a not-so-great year. Spiezio had 12 Win Shares last year, 10 of them Offensive Win Shares. It looks like he's replacing Cirillo & Bloomquist (both of whom had 3 WS, but each only have 1 OWS) at 3B. Cirillo, as it turns out, was just traded for a bunh of flotsam and jetsam from San Diego. According to espn.com, Cirillo is going to become a "$6.6 million 'super utility' infielder" for the Padres. Hopefully "super-utility" translates into "doesn't play much at all, if at all". Of course, the Padres are also getting $4.5 million to offset the cost, so I guess he's more like a $1.1 million "super utility" infielder. Sorry to get off track from Spiezio. I expect him to do a bit better this season, though playing in Seattle will make his numbers look worse. ZIPS forcasts his numbers to look like .255/.332/.409 which, when adjusted for his home park, are probably at least as good as last years, if not a touch better.

The next thing I want to look at is Freddy Garcia. He just signed a $6,875,000 1-year deal with the M's, avoiding arbitration. That's a lot of money for a guy whose numbers have declined as much as his over the past 3 years. I heard a lot about his struggles last year, and not a lot about his successes. Here are some of his declining numbers from 2001-2003:
          IP     BB     SO   W   L   ERA   #P/IP    OPS
2001 238.2 69 163 18 6 3.05 14.8 .625
2002 223.2 63 181 16 10 4.36 16.2 .729
2003 201.1 71 144 12 14 4.52 16.7 .751
Even if you're a Freddy Garcia fan, you have to be concerned about that trend. I wouldn't expect anything much better out of him this year.

I was thinking of writing about the M's exchange of Cameron for Ibañez, but all I can really say is: OUCH! Here is a fantasic blog entry by Aaron Gleeman that shows how great Cameron really has been, I'd advise everyone to go ahead, take a minute or two from my blog, and read this article. Then take a look at Ibañez's numbers real quick. And keep in mind before you flip over to espn.com to take a look at them, Raul played in one of the best hitter's parks in the majors last year. Cameron out Win Share'd Ibañez Offensively - 13 to 12 - while one played in one of the best offensive parks and the other played in one of the worst offensive parks. Oh yeah, Cameron also wins in Defensive Win Shares 8 to 4. While some people think the trade-off between the two isn't all that great, I think it's more of a chasm then a crack.

Everything else looks a bit even-up for the M's. I don't think that they improved their team this offseason at all. Rhodes for Guardado is about an even swap. Edgar is a year older, so there is even less of a chance of him getting his 500 AB this year. Spiezio for Cirillo is a big upgrade. And so is not trading for Vizquel. Oh yeah, Quinton McCracken for Greg Colbrunn? I guess if you need a speedy guy on your bench to not take ABs from the better players, Quinton is as good a guy as any, but he's only had one decent year which looks much more like a fluke than the norm. Here are his OPS's from 1999: .641, .399 (in 15 AB), .588, .825, .547. Which one of these is not like the other? Meanwhile Colbrun has put up these since 1999: .911, .928, .868, .1004, .806. What the huh??? The M's couldn't get anything more for Colbrunn than Quinton? I know these are just numbers, and maybe there was something more to the trade than just trying to upgrade the team. Maybe the M's thought that the missing piece to their puzzle was a speedy reserve outfielder that should never get an at-bat. It could be just a salary dump - it looks like Colbrunn was due a bit of money this year, so they traded him away for some scraps and free up some money for something else. If that's the case, where did the money go? Freddy Garcia? To the Padres to eat Cirillo's contract?

Hopefully, for M's fans, they aren't done making moves this offseason, but so far, it seems like quite the disappointment so far.
# posted by shawn : 1/07/2004 07:01:00 PM -
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