Cracking "The Safe"
Cracking "The Safe": The Seattle Mariners
~ Everything to do with the Seattle Mariners ~
Saturday, January 10, 2004

Steve at Mariner's Wheelhouse couldn't disagree with me more about McCracken.

Steve says:

As can be seen, save for the fluke season of 2002, for the last six years McCracken has not had a batting average over .250, an OBP higher than .317, or a SLG greater than .324. Looking at his career stats as Jim urges, I don't see how you could reasonably expect McCracken to post the 270/.330/.360 line the Jim says we should expect. McCracken's career stats say that he was an OK player until about age 28, but since then has ranged from roster filler to abysmal (with one exceptional season).

Here is where Steve is wrong. Over the past five seasons, McCracken has had only only truly healthy season. The McCracken who hit around .290 in 1996, 1997, and 1998 blew out his knee in May of 1999. He played only 40 games in 1999, 15 games in 2000, and 24 games in 2001. '99 and '00 were largely wiped out by injury. In 2001 he hit .350 in 49 games with Edmonton in AAA while readjusting to live pitching.

2002 rolls around and McCracken plays in 123 games, gets 349 ABs, and hits .309. Fluke season. Right? Well McCracken is no .300 hitter, but he responded from being stranded at AAA after a series of injury plagued years with a breakout year.

2003 was another injury plagued year. Check out my post here to further explain why his 2003 numbers are so abysmal.

Steve says that McCracken as can be seen, save for the fluke season of 2002, for the last six years McCracken has not had a batting average over .250, an OBP higher than .317, or a SLG greater than .324. . But come now, everytime McCracken has seen regular playing time garnering at least 250 or more ABs in his career, he has not posted a line below .290/.335/.360.

You simply can't judge a player on an injury riddled season. McCracken may not hit .290 or even make 250 ABs, but statistically, it is foolish to weigh injury plagued seasons evenly with healthy ones. When he is healthy, McCracken is a better player than Steve and many give him credit for.

posted at 1/10/2004 01:49:00 PM

Before everyone decides to bash me for my post about McCracken, take the time to look at this guys career stats. When healthy, he not nearly half as bad a player as some would make him out to be. I think it reeks of ignorance when people say a player is bad just because they read it on a respected blog.

With that said....bash away!

posted at 1/10/2004 01:36:00 AM

If you are absolutely convinced that Quinton McCracken is terrible baseball player, stop reading right now....

I'm going to give you a stat line that doesn't belong to Mr. McCracken....

.226/.251/.307 in 343 ABs for $6,000,000.

Ladies and gentleman, your 2003 stat line for former McCracken teammate Tony Womack. That is actually just as bad as McCracken's 2003 line. And Womack made more than 3 times what McCracken did.

For the money, Womack is actually a worse value than Cirillo. He has no business being on any major league roster. But thanks to Dusty Baker, he is now a Chicago Cub. In a full season worth of playing time, Womack has posted an OPS higher than .700 just twice in 10 years of action. He is no longer the base stealing threat that he once was.

I will guarantee that Quinton McCracken (who had two seperate injuries last year) is a much better bench player than Womack.

McCracken's career line: .280/.341/.383 stands up a lot better than
Womack's: .270/.315/.359

IF McCracken is healthy, even on the downside of his career, and he sees 250-300 ABs, he should be able to post a .270/.330/.360 line. That beats McLemore any day of the week.

posted at 1/10/2004 01:17:00 AM

Friday, January 09, 2004

The 2004 Mariners Minus Carlos Guillen = +4-5 wins

I'm not going to blow you away with stats to back that up.

Let's just say that in my book, Aurilia and a less distracted Garcia equals a 4 to 5 game advantage on last season.

If only some of Trader Bill's other moves didn't reek of negatives...

posted at 1/09/2004 01:47:00 AM

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Introducing the Newest Mariner Rich Aurilia.

It really seems that folks should be more excited about this signing than they actually are. Are we so jaded about missing out on Tejada that we forgot that Aurilia is actually a real honest to goodness upgrade over Guillen? Are we fooled into thinking that Rich is just a minor upgrade?

When comparing Aurilia and Guillen's three year splits side by side several things become apparent.

1. Aurilia hits left-handed pitching much better than Guillen.

VS. LHP: Aurilia .283/.329/.531 .860 OPS 371 AB
Guillen .262/.319/.372 .691 OPS 374 AB

Aurilia will help bolster the M's lineup against LHP. Period.

2. Aurilia has more power potential than Guillen. Most realize that his 37 HR output of 2001 was a fluke but Aurilia (even in Safeco) should hit 15-20 HR, more than Guillen projects to hit.

3. Aurilia is much better suited to hitting in the #2 spot. In his breakout year of 2001, Rich had almost all of his ABs in the 2 hole. His line: .328/.375/.581. His next season, 2002 was just a letdown year. So in 2003 the Giants thought that moving him to 3 spot would help him bounce back. Problem is, Aurilia was probably trying to do too much hitting in front of Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent. He stopped playing his game. Being sandwiched between Ichiro and Boone should help Aurilia return to form. His three year splits in the #2 spot are: .297/.346/.496

By the way, Guillen's three year splits as a #2 hitter are: .265/.344/.386

Don't forget that Aurilia was was hampered by an eye condition for part of last year and hit .312 after the All Star break when the problem was sorted out. And he fielded 11 points better than Guillen in fielding percentage last year at SS.

Aurilia is a very nice upgrade at a reasonable price.

posted at 1/08/2004 02:36:00 AM

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Bavasi and Melvin had some interesting bits to say about the Cirillo deal.

Melvin seems to think that Jarvis will be the flexible spot starter and junk time reliever out of the pen. Basically Giovanni Carrera part II. But if you read between the lines, barring miraculous career turn arounds in Spring Training, there is NO WAY that all three of the big league players we acquired will make the team out of ST.

Regarding Jarvis, Melvin said, "It was fabulous to have five starters all last season. I don't think you can count on that again, so Jarvis is a guy who might help out there. In relief, if we need Shiggy (Hasegawa) or (Julio) Mateo to get a left-handed hitter, we can use Jarvis in their place as a middle man."

I think even the subtle use of the word "might" could be telling. Jarvis is a BAD, BAD pitcher. Not even the M's brass will lie about that. When he gets lit up in ST, he won't make the team.

Regarding Gonzalez, Bavasi said, "We're going to take a good look at him in Venezuela, where he is playing winter ball now. In that sense, he's already trying out for us right now. We'll see if he warrants an invitation to camp. He definitely has an opportunity to show us something. But he's not getting a gift here."

We'll see if he warrants an invitation to camp? Wiki won't make this team and Ben Davis isn't going anywhere.

Hansen wasn't mentioned specifically but, Bavasi said, "The three players we are getting need to get their careers back on track, too."

Bavasi knows that we traded crap for crap. But he might be able to turn the crap that we got into something useful with one of our valuable trading pieces like Guillen or Freddy Garcia.

This trade still sucks but we aren't locked into keeping any of these guys.

posted at 1/07/2004 03:57:00 PM

Cirillo is officially out of Seattle

I'm definitely not excited about Kevin Jarvis or Wiki Gonzalez. But considering that the M's are saving money on this deal (despite the assertion that they wouldn't, check out Trident Fever for a good breakdown of the money involved), I think keeping Cirillo was a much worse option. Cirillo's attitude alone screams clubhouse cancer, even if he comes across in the press as an easy going, self-deprecating guy. Cirillo was dead weight. Jarvis, Gonzalez, and Hansen are not much better but consider that they might have some value.

Gonzalez has a checkered past and his work-ethic and motivation have been continually questioned. He would make a decent backup catcher for a team such as Detroit. I would not at all be surprised if he is part of a package with Carlos Guillen to the Motor City.

Jarvis is an aweful pitcher, no matter how you look at it. But San Diego had to dump some kind of lame salary on the M's and Jarvis is it. He should not make the team out of Spring Training because he is not a good pitcher. M's fans might be cringing now, but Jarvis won't make this team.

Hansen might still have some value. Most importantly, he doesn't make much.

As was the case with Cedeno, the M's were looking to acquire some players who they had a better chance of turning around and parlaying into something better. Even if only one of these guys gets packaged somewhere for something of value, this trade will look very nice. Cirillo's contract is gone. The M's save a little cash. Honestly, does it matter what we got back?

posted at 1/07/2004 12:12:00 AM

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Ah Petey

Like a lot of folks, I'm torn about Pete Rose.

As a player, Pete demonstrated fire, passion, and flair for the game like none other. His hits record will not be eclipsed anytime soon and may be just as untouchable as DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak.

So without rehashing the semanitics (because I know you have heard them all), I'll state my position on Pete Rose as concisely as possible.

Baseball made a big mistake here. The Dowd Report was an overwhelming indictment and most polls taken after Pete's recent confession show that most fans didn't believe his "I'm Innocent" routine. But rather than outlining terms of reinstatement quickly, baseball and it's revolving commish chair let this scenario play out way too long.

In my book, a lifetime ban is just that, for life. Just like a murderer who commits a cardinal sin, there is no chance for parole. You are dead to society. If Pete Rose broke baseball's cardinal rule and endagered it's sanctity, he should have been dead to baseball. But the fans, just like Rose, saw that MLB had not closed the door on his possible return. Their lack of decisive action was just the piece of encouragement that led fans and Rose himself to campaign for his reinstatement for 14 years.

Of course, now we are able to see MLB's true M.O. Pete Rose has always been extremely popular with the fans. The standing ovations he recieved as a member of the All Century Team and the Greatest Moments celebration at the 2002 World Series are evidence of this. But Rose's appearance at these events, while he was still in limbo, were a terrible PR related move by MLB. MLB used Pete Rose when he was convenient in order to make money off his playing legacy, while publically standing against his transgressions. Should we now blame Rose for cashing in on his own name?

Certainly, other than for his sheer excitement on the baseball diamond, Peter Edward Rose is hardly someone to hold as a role-model. MLB has chosen to handle Rose's situation in a fatally flawed manner, and for that reason alone, I believe that Pete's fate should be left in the hands of the fans and sports writers.

posted at 1/06/2004 11:55:00 PM

Ok. I'm back from my extended break. It was nice to escape the madness of work and school for long enough to breathe. I've got some catching up to do apparently...

Carlos Guillen, Rich Aurillia, Pete Rose, Jeff Cirillo, Kevin Jarvis etc. will be on the docket later today...

posted at 1/06/2004 01:28:00 AM