FanPost

I have to say it: this is harder to watch than 2008

I made this comment at USSM, but in retrospect it might have been too lengthy, so... Fanpost! I want to vent, and maybe other people need a 37th place to do so too.

I have to say it: this is harder to watch than 2008.

Sure, the 2008 team was utterly putrid, but we knew it'd be bad. We knew Bavasi was hopelessly incompetent. There was also a little bit of train-wreck appeal to watching the team suck (Miguel Cairo at first base was hilarious), and the hope of a GM change was (for some) incentive to root for failure.

Jack Z has shown he gets it. Between the trades for Franklin Gutierrez and Cliff Lee, the Russell Branyan signing, the Gutierrez and King Felix extensions, and trading Carlos Silva for an actual Major League player, he's proven he has an eye for talent and knows how to address the team's needs.

That's what's so infuriating about watching this team, and Griffey and Sweeney in particular: Jack Z flat-out knows better. I agree with Dave Cameron that it's better for a team to be patient with its bad players than impatient with its good ones, but this is absurd.

The only explanation I can come up with is that the team is relying too heavily on statistical analysis in this case (and I love stats as much as anyone). Sample size and regression to the mean are of course extremely important when projecting future performance, but I think we tend to gloss over the assumptions inherent in making such projections. For example, BABIP theory for pitchers assumes they're throwing Major League quality pitches. We assume a certain age-related decay in hitters' offensive performance. This is where I think scouting has an advantage: it's not that scouts necessarily see things that stats can't, but that they aren't burdened by these assumptions which hold in the aggregate but not always the individual cases.

Sample size still matters for scouting, of course, but I guarantee if you sent tape of Griffey's at-bats this season to a bunch of scouts, all the scouting reports you got back would contain the word "finished." ZIPS, meanwhile, merely bumps its wOBA projection down from the .313 preseason number to .305. I'm still taking the under. It's not even controversial to say he probably won't hit a single HR this year, so I'll go a step further and say he gets zero XBH the rest of the season.

I just don't get why Jack Z, with his scouting background, would be so patient with Griffey and Sweeney when it's obvious to even non-scouts that they're utterly done. I know Griffey's not going anywhere--although I would contend that a fan riot from releasing him isn't much worse than fans simply not showing up to the park if the team is 15 games under .500 in July--but this is pathetic in a way the 2008 season wasn't. Jack Z is too awesome of a GM to allow this team to punt games for nostalgia's sake.

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