Cracking "The Safe"
Cracking "The Safe": The Seattle Mariners
~ Everything to do with the Seattle Mariners ~
Friday, January 30, 2004

A hearty blogosphere welcome to:

Sons of Buhner and
San Shin

Both of these blogs look to have quality contributors so take a gander....

posted at 1/30/2004 11:37:00 PM

I'll post a running commentary of my picks for the Mariners Blogosphere Simulated Baseball League.

The first thing I should point out is, no, I am not a huge Blue Jays fan. My first two picks happen to play for them and I don't expect to pick anybody else (unless Vernon Wells slides down a few rounds).

My first pick, Carlos Delgado, wasn't a tough selection. He is only an average defensive first baseman and there are certainly a lot of viable options, but I had Delgado on my fantasy squad last year, and considering that this league is based on 2003 stats, I couldn't complain. Delgado would be an instant MVP candidate every season if he played in New York. He destroys the ball in a way that few others do. His 145 RBI and OPS numbers are evidence. Delgado is easily one of the top players in baseball and someone I would like to build around.

My next pick was a tough choice. I was going to take Posada because the catching ranks are thin, but the Mariner Optimist beat me to it. I will wait to fill that spot. I thought about bats, but there are still a lot of great players left. I wanted to pick a pitcher who could anchor my staff. Nobody had a better year than Roy Halladay in 2003. He won something like 14 in a row at one point. His K/BB ration is stellar and his ERA was 3.25. Not a tough call once I knew that it had to be a pitcher.

As others have mentioned though, this draft is going to take A LONG TIME at this pace...

posted at 1/30/2004 10:32:00 PM

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Oh Boy, Finnigan is running his mouth again....

I don't usually like to sling mud at baseball writers because, after all, this blog is hardly of professional quality. But just so often, I wonder how on God's Green Earth some writers got their jobs. Ok, not some, just Bob Finnigan.

If you are going to work as a Mariner beat writer, shouldn't you know a little bit about the team? Folks, Bob Finnigan is riding a bigger career slump than Jeff Cirillo.

He's been bad for a long time, but Finnigan actually managed to go an entire Q&A session without giving ONE DECENT ANSWER.

A quick review of Finnie's "wisdom":

1. Is this the worst bench in major league history? If Edgar gets injured, what abysmal hitter will replace him at DH? And seriously, will any Mariners bench players get a pinch hit all year? — Jeff, Bellingham

B. F.: No question, the bench is thin at this point. But the bench was supposed to be one of the strengths last year, and barely came into play. The most likely DH if Edgar gets hurt would be outfielder Quinton McCracken. Another option is use Scott Spiezio at DH, and have Willie Bloomquist play third base.

Are you freaking kidding me? Quinton McCracken at DH? If Edgar gets hurt, the M's better be on the phone to KC, Milwaukee, or St. Louis ASAP. I've already gone on record saying that McCracken is not as bad as some think, but if he has to take Edgar's place, we are seriously screwed. Bloomquist and McCracken in the same lineup = suicide.

2. Who do you think will be most improved this year in the Mariners rotation? — Mark C., Seattle

B. F.: The smart guess would be Ryan Franklin, if he gets more offensive help than he had last season, which is what the Mariners spent the winter trying to assemble. The longshot guess would be Freddy Garcia, going into his free-agent season.

The boys at the
USS Mariner have a nice reaction to this load of crap. Franklin would be EXTREMELY lucky to duplicate last year's showing. He deserved to win more games due to poor run support, but nothing indicates that the M's are going to score a lot more runs with this off-seasons "upgrades". Franklin might win more games this year, but his peripherals will undoubtedly drop.

3. John Olerud's numbers are in decline. What does the future hold for this position? — John Brownell, Burke, Va.

B. F.: Olerud likely will retire after this season, the last year on his contract. It is likely Scott Spiezio will move from third to first in the future. Or, if Spiezio gets comfortable at third, Raul Ibanez is a possibility at first

In a few words Bob, no he isn't. Raul would be so far below the league average at first base that this move would be unthinkable. Since we have Spiezio and Ibanez committed for three years each, keep Raul in left, move Scott to first where he plays better defense and upgrade at third with an impact player like Chavez. Raul's defense at first would make his outfield play look like Gold Glove material.

4. Do you think the Mariners' chronic late-season fades can be attributed to age? — Al, Tacoma

B. F.: Hardly at all. It's far more likely it was an emotional letdown that came when the team did not acquire help at the trade deadline while other clubs, especially Oakland, always seemed to make deals.

Ouch. This logic doesn't fly Bob. I give plenty of credence to the idea that the front offices inability to land an impact player at the deadline definitely hurt this team. But a late season fade is not something you can pin mostly on morale. These guys are professional players who play to win each day. 162 games is a marathon. A quality bench means more than being able to bring a hitter off the bench to deliver a clutch hit. It means keeping guys like Ichiro, Edgar, Boone, and Ole strong. Some argue that you can't afford to sit a player like Ichiro for 20 games a year. With a bench like the M's are fielding currently, you can't and that translates into a late season fade. The issue is already fully upon a team at the deadline. Picking up a bat doesn't drastically change the workload that a player will see for the final months.

5. What position players in the farm system have a shot at making the roster? — Dan, New Orleans

B. F.: There is no position player in the farm system who will likely make a big contribution this season. In the future, the best bets are outfielder Chris Snelling, if he can stay healthy, possibly outfielder Jamal Strong and shortstop Jose Lopez. Third baseman Justin Leone came on last season. Greg Dobbs was rated ahead of Leone until last season, when he tore up a knee. Another possibility is Shin-Soo Choo, who is rated a can't-miss outfielder, and is still climbing the farm system.

Did he just say that Shin-Soo Choo had a shot at making this team???? He lost what little credibility he had when he said that a 21 year-old minor league outfielder with ZERO time above A-Ball had a shot at making this team.

Sometimes you just have to go home Bob. Now is that time.

posted at 1/29/2004 05:21:00 PM

M's Miss The Boat with Pudge

It should come as no shocker that the AP is reporting that Pudge Rodriguez is close to signing with the Tigers.

The deal is rumored to be for 4 years and $40 million. There may possibly be a five team option year involved for 2008 which would push this deal closer to $50 million. Are we M's fans surprised? Hardly.

Signing Pudge for 4 years borders on insanity. Especially at $10 million a year. He might be a premier catcher, but in a year or two, he will be a slightly above average DH with declining power numbers. It's a good thing that Detroit brought those left field fences in. Pudge will need help reaching them in 2007.

Optimistically, we hoped that Pudge would take a "winning team discount" to play for the M's. But lets not forget that he turned down a 3 year package from the Marlins for $24 million. That is not an offer to sniff at, especially in this market. Clearly, Pudge had two things in mind.

1. Security: He's 32. Health issues will catch up to him sooner or later and the damage done from more than 1500 games behind the plate will weigh heavy on his body. He wanted the most guaranteed years he could get. Detroit offered 4 years and nobody else would touch that.

2. Money: He turned down a nice offer from the Marlins, and thereby a chance to help the Fish back to the Series in 2004. Let's not kid ourselves, Pudge didn't really factor winning to heavily into his decision. If he did, he would be a fool to walk away from the Florida.

Those two factors put the M's out of the bidding entirely. Let's not be too sad. Making anywhere close to that kind of offer to Pudge would have limited our efforts to make a legitimate run next year at Beltran, Chavez, or any other marquee name.

You don't make this team better by signing a 32 catcher to a 4 year deal. And while we are on the subject of years, I would point out that there is a significant difference between signing a player to a 3 year deal versus a 4 year deal. Most deals include some sort of buyout for the final year. If a player signs a three year deal and fails to live up to expectations in his first year, he can usually be shipped out with the other team hoping that he can turn it around. If not, they are only on the hook for one year and a buyout. Players like Jeff Cirillo show why long term deals are not a wise investment.

NOT A SINGLE PERSON predicted Cirillo's catastrophic meltdown in Seattle. A logical decline in performance would have seen him hitting .280 instead of his usual .300 clip. He got the big money to be that .300 hitter. But when a player tanks, he can really put a damper on the team chemistry, just as Cirillo did. Players like Ichiro generate enough money for the M's on their own to warrant long term deals. If I were St. Louis, I would lock up Pujols for as many seasons as they can. He is a special player.

Pudge wasn't a gamble I wanted Bavasi to make.

posted at 1/29/2004 02:18:00 AM

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Cirillo in Pinstripes?

I love most of the stuff that Scott Rex over at ON Deck Baseball writes. He does a nice job of mixing in prospect news and rankings with MLB updates. Check his site out.

That being said, Scott posted an interesting (to be kind) idea about how the Yanks can fill their just opened hole at 3rd Base now that Little Boonie, Aaron Boone has blown out his knee playing hoops. He thinks Cirillo might have something to prove.

Yeah Scott, Jeff Cirillo has a lot to prove. If he hits .280 or better this year with the Padres or whoever, I for one will be pretty upset. I think he's done. Stick a fork in him. But the Yanks can afford to sneeze on Jeff's salary and give him a shot.

The Headcase in Pinstripes, yikes. Mariner fans can only dream.

posted at 1/27/2004 12:25:00 AM

Monday, January 26, 2004

According to Dave "Softy" Mahler on KJR this afternoon, the Associated Press is reporting that Kaz is in town today to finalize the termination of his contract....

Which means that barring a lot of drawn out formalities (can you imagine the red tape that Major League Baseball could run this thing through, "Uh we are in the process of filing the appropriate papers"), the M's will be $9.5 million richer as soon as tomorrow.

Bavasi has obviously indicated a certain degree of interest to Boras for Pudge. If he hadn't, the market consists of the Tigers or sitting out until May to rejoin the Marlins. Which means....

Unless the M's make a terrible offer, they will be frontrunners. I actually believe that this is the truth. I think that the sticking point of our negotiations will be years rather than money. The Tigers agreed on 4 years, I don't see the M's doing the same. Three years seems viable, perhaps with a vesting option (based on production, plate appearances) for a fourth.

Either way, I don't see this thing dragging on for a lot longer. Pudge will know very soon whether the M's are going to be in the bidding. If not, the M's will enter Spring Training looking to make a move.

posted at 1/26/2004 11:27:00 PM