A Brief Summary Of Everything

Note: by the way, the deal's official now.

  • For whatever it's worth, I haven't been away or anything. Matthew's just been on another level, saying everything that needs to be said while being interesting in saying it. This is a co-author blogging groove the likes of which we've never seen and I'm more than happy to ride it out.

  • When I first heard about the Morrow deal, I couldn't make sense of it, and the best explanation to me so far is one I've seen suggested by a few people - this is directly related to the Halladay/Lee exchange, the result of a handshake agreement between the M's and the Jays that Brandon Morrow would be headed to Toronto even though they couldn't work things out during the original window. Dave's got a few paragraphs on it. Basically, this is a trade that doesn't make a lot of sense on its own, given the context and the Mariners' needs, and when you have a trade that doesn't make a lot of sense made by an intelligent front office, you have to assume that you don't have all the information. This is not a falsifiable theory, but it does strike me as the most probable basis. Last week there was a weird three-way-but-not-three-way-deal in which we got Cliff Lee for very little. Now we make a trade with one of those teams where it seems like we're giving up too much. I have to think they're connected. But, hey, maybe not.

    Update: Z says that this deal and the Lee deal were separate. If it's true that these moves aren't related, that we're forced to consider that either the M's did this to prepare for another move or, more likely, Brandon Morrow just isn't seen as being that valuable around the league. Which, in turn, would also tell us a lot about how the M's see Edwin Jackson. But then the M's have been after Jackson for more than a year. Now I'm confused.

  • The Phillies traded Cliff Lee because they couldn't afford both him and Roy Halladay. Now they're allegedly chasing Fernando Rodney. Incredible.

  • I think Matthew has done a good job of explaning why we all may have been overrating Brandon Morrow. His secondary stuff sucks, he's made zero progress as a starter, and he doesn't throw strikes. He is, right now, a decent reliever with solid-starter upside, but the odds that he never develops into something special are remarkably high. With that said, it is also necessary that we avoid the trap of taking Brandon League as some kind of guarantee. League, to date, has had one really good season, a season in which he started throwing a splitter a third of the time. He missed bats, he got groundballs, he got hitters to chase pitches out of the zone - Brandon League, in 2009, was really really good. At the same time, though, he's a reliever. Some good relievers from 2008: Grant Balfour, Brian Fuentes, Brad Lidge, Kerry Wood, Jose Arredondo, Will Ohman, Rafael Perez, Brandon Morrow...relievers are volatile. This isn't anything new or groundbreaking, but sometimes we can lose sight of that fact. Remember how quickly JJ seemed to lose it?

    League is a good bet in 2010. He's young, he has good stuff, and the fact that his newfound success was tied to a change in his repertoire suggests sustainable causality. But nothing is certain, and we shouldn't take him for granted. While his odds of remaining awesome are good, the odds of regression or even disaster are very real, and not to be ignored.

  • I do love Brandon League, though. Unless you believe in the sustainability of warning track fly balls, he's better than David Aardsma. Relievers with good stuff are nothing new for the Mariners. Relievers with good stuff that can avoid walks, however, make me do the Wallace & Gromit hand clap.

  • My personal favorite angle on the Morrow/League deal: this is Jack Zduriencik trying to clear the organization of as many Bavasi players as he can. Yeah, that's sensible. A good GM doesn't make moves for the sake of making moves, and he doesn't make moves just to prove a point. Z didn't inherit the Bavasi Mariners. He inherited the Mariners. As soon as Z rose to power, Bavasi's players became Zduriencik's players, and you only move your players if you think that doing so will help the team get better. If Z thought less of Brandon Morrow simply because he was drafted by the Bavasi regime, that would make Z a retard, and Z isn't a retard, unless he's the most functional and intelligent retard of all time. 

  • An important reminder: Brandon Morrow's career FIP in the bullpen is over 4, and his career FIP in the rotation is over 5. Morrow is all potential. Although he's thrown nearly 200 Major League innings, he is still very much a prospect. I'd argue that he's more of a prospect than a guy like Nick Hill or Doug Fister. While the term "prospect" is used interchangeably with "talented minor leaguer," it shouldn't be.

  • Yohermyn Chavez is interesting, but nothing else. My personal philosophy is that, barring extraordinary tools, you shouldn't pay much attention to a minor leaguer until he's done something in AA, and Chavez hasn't gotten there yet. In time, maybe, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.

  • All offseason long, I was convinced that we'd end up trading Morrow for a regular first baseman. Now I don't know what to think, as the front office remains way ahead of me. Free agent options are still hanging around, but with Michael Saunders suddenly looking like a possible trade chip, I'm not even going to bother speculating on who's the most likely find. 

  • Interesting to see Morrow come clean about how much his treatment in 2008 hurt his development as a starter. Just another reason to root against Carlos Silva as a pitcher and as a person. You do not deserve to be happier than me, Carlos.

  • An important difference between Brandon League's goggles and RRS' goggles is that Brandon League's goggles are more reflective. The additional reflectiveness makes League more intimidating. Also making League more intimidating is the fact that he doesn't have pinpoint command and throws a hundred miles per hour.
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