Back on December 23rd, we polled the audience. We asked you how excited you'd be about the 2012 if the roster picture remained more or less as it was at the time. Options were presented on a 1-to-5 scale, and 3,285 people voted. On average, the excitement rating came out to 2.4.
We polled you again this afternoon. We asked you how excited you are about the 2012 Mariners now, with the new roster picture. Options were presented on a 1-to-5 scale, and so far more than 1,800 people have voted. On average, the excitement rating comes out to 3.4.
It's a difference of a full point. Or, to be specific, 1.01 points. By this measure, audience excitement has increased by 43 percent. Since the first poll, the Mariners have signed Hisashi Iwakuma and traded Michael Pineda and Jose Campos for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi. They've also officially signed George Sherrill and Munenori Kawasaki, but those were foregone conclusions. I'm assuming this has nothing to do with Aaron Heilman.
That's a pretty big jump. At least, I think that's a pretty big jump, although it's not like I have much in the way of references. Now, one notes that the questions were phrased slightly differently. There are always going to be some sample size issues. The polled audiences might be a little different - there are new people here now, on account of the big trade. And it's been almost a month, which means we're almost a month closer to the season, which could cause excitement to rise. This isn't perfect science.
But I think the information is interesting and meaningful. And I suspect - although I cannot confirm - it doesn't have a lot to do with Iwakuma and Noesi.
I think this is about Montero. I think the audience is excited to have a potential franchise hitter who can make an immediate impact, and who could be around for a long long time. Mariners fans wanted a bat. The Mariners got a bat that Baseball America gave an 80 power rating on the 20-80 scouting scale (if I remember correctly). Montero's an exciting player.
Of course, to get Montero, the Mariners gave up Pineda. Pineda is less than a year older than Montero. He's definitely more proven in the Major Leagues. If Montero has the talent to be a superstar bat, Pineda has the talent to be a superstar arm. He's awesome. We watched him. He's really awesome.
It's funny - the excitement rating is up 43 percent. I'm not sure the Mariners are much better now, in terms of 2012 win projection, than they were then. I definitely don't think the Pineda trade made them much better in the short-term. They got a really exciting young talent in exchange for a really exciting young talent who is exciting in a different way.
So maybe this is less about Montero specifically, and more about change. Mariners fans wanted the team to do something big. The team did something big. Big things are exciting. It's the same phenomenon that drives overactive fantasy baseball managers. You could sit on your team, or you could constantly tinker. It's more exciting if you constantly tinker. Tinkering keeps things fresh.
Michael Pineda is an awesome young player that we know. Jesus Montero is an awesome young player that we know way less. The discovery process is an exciting one. We have a pretty good idea of what Pineda can do. We get to find out what Montero can do (and from which position he can do it!).
If the 2012 Mariners are better than they were a week ago, they aren't better by much. Yet the fans, or at least the fans around here, are significantly more excited about the season ahead. I can't help but feel like I'm only scratching the surface here, that there's more substance and insight than I've been able to glean.
Or maybe it's all about dingers.