Hi all -
First post here. I hope you're all enjoying your Holidays! I've been an M's fan since Griffey's debut. I get the impression that I'm one of the few people who is actually somewhat optimistic about this season. Here are some excerpts from stuff I've posted at baseballhq.com regarding the team:
Re: post-Soriano bullpen [one of the paid staff at BHQ called the M's pen "razor thin"]:
I really think that "razor thin pen" is quite overblown. This was a tremendous bullpen last year, and while they lost 2 quality arms (Lowe, Soriano) and Fruto, I still think this pen will hold leads unless Putz completely collapses (a possibility, but not one I'd consider likely).
Sherrill has a huge L/R split, and is very good at his role as a Lefty Specialist (no relationship to the BHQ member, I assume :>).
Alright, having the projections in a spreadsheet allows me to do fun things like compute the weighted average BVP of the relievers on a team (I summed up all the sub-4.0 IP/G pitchers, and weighted by IP). For the current projection file, this is 74 for the Mariners. Actually, that it's that good shocks even me (my gut tells me it's around average, perhaps slightly better if some things work out right), as it's the 2nd-highest in the majors! (The team which comes out #1 is even more shocking)
Of course, the SP rotation (totaling 944 IP) averages only "47", which betters only COL, KC, and WAS. I guess that's expected, since they have been hoarding the sort of pitchers who often out-pitch their BPV's (i.e. low-K).
Note: BHQ has a system of values called BPV's, and 50+ is considered good enough to start, and 75+ good enough to close. It's a lot like "Stuff" ratings found elsewhere.
Re: Vidro deal (posted on baseballhq.com):
I really think that people are being pretty harsh on this deal for the M's. Consider:
In 1987, an oft-injured middle infielder was coming off seasons wherein he'd hit:
The next year, he hit .353/438/.566, finishing 5th in MVP voting. Spending significant time at DH for the first time (58 games), he still only managed 465 AB, probably keeping him from being higher in the MVP voting. As he played more frequently at DH later into his career, he became much less injury prone, and became a monster hitter, getting MVP votes in 6 other seasons.
Vidro's last two years:
Now, I'm not going to suggest that Vidro is going to hit like Paul Molitor after his move to DH, but this guy's been a quality hitter when healthy, and who's to say whether taking him out of the keystone won't be exactly what he needs? The daily abuse on catchers and 2bmen is brutal. And I think the TYPE of hitter Vidro is will play well in SAFECO. Signing righty power-hitting goombahs in Beltre and Sexson were the goofy moves, IMO, since building around players who are ill-suited for their home park seems illogical to me.
FWIW, Snelling, also, would have "fit" well into SAFECO, in my opinion. But - this never fails to get chuckles from the crowd - the Mariners are building a team to contend in 2007, and counting on a guy who has a history of missing so much time is very risky.
Only time will tell, I guess. If the Vidro salary is the objectionable part, I can only argue that his career stats seem pretty nice to me. And besides, I haven't seen the M's make (or fail to make) moves based on money, so far. They seem to be getting the players they want, and paying them handsomely. I see Snelling and Fruto as flotsam that will provide only replacement-level play at the major-league level. Obviously, pitchers are tough to predict, so perhaps Fruto will do something, but I think he'll have to take a step up to get there. But let's level-set the players we're talking about here: Fruto didn't make either the BHQ org report, nor the John Sickels book last year at all. BHQ liked Snelling more than Sickels, rating him 10th in Seattle's org, while John gave him a "C", the lowest grade in the book. Coming off these not-great ratings, he proceeded to hit .216 with a .340 slugging in AAA, supposedly healthy for much of that time. Well, at least he hit .250 in the majors in 96 AB.
This deal was clearly a Vidro salary dump by the Nats, IMO. And even if Vidro doesn't improve, he's been worth 2.75 WARP1/season the past two years (two of his worst in his career, with his best being 8.0 and 7.7). So, they're paying his $6MM/yr. In an article, I suggested that $2MM/win is reasonable, and Tango's table assumes that teams pay $4MM/yr per win for free agents. So, he's either at about the right price, or very cheap.
[Someone had commented that Doyle should have just been used as DH instead of Vidro.]
By the way, I agree that Snelling should have been tried at DH if possible, and am baffled that the M's hadn't tried that before. I just think it would be ridiculous to do so at the MLB level, with as little as he's shown. Not every injury-prone hitter gets helped by playing DH, but some do. Molitor and Edgar Martinez were the first two that came to mind. I don't believe that Snelling has anywhere near the hitting skills to be a full-time MLB DH, though. BHQ projects a .265/.338/.397 line. Is that something worth getting worked up over? Much less playing at DH. His seemingly huge 2005 numbers were driven by [a BABIP] of 43%, and I don't trust them for a minute.
I thought the Soriano deal was quite reasonable, too. Starters the quality of Horacio Ramirez are pulling down $10MM/yr contracts now. I really don't understand why there is such widespread panning of this move. (see this article)