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  1. Lovely opening couplet.

    Comment by MBD — December 18, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

  2. As the commenter “glassSheets” pointed out, the Mariners and Cubs just engaged in your Bad Contract White Elephant. Apparently it not only works in jest, it can work in real life.

    Comment by joser — December 18, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

  3. Well, the Angels and Rangers may be more worried about the Marienrs than they were in past years, but presumably they’re not done yet this offseason either. Though the Rangers seem to have some systemic ownership issues to work out which might be a distraction or impediment (though it didn’t stop them from getting Harden or getting involved with a deal for Lowell) and the Angels so far seem to be a day late and a dollar short on all the players they were presumed to be targeting. But it’s a bit of a buyer’s market this year, so that may not hurt them as much as it otherwise might have.

    But it’s certainly shaping up to be an interesting AL West in 2010.

    Comment by joser — December 18, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

  4. I stand in utter awe of Jack Z right now.

    I might be a BoSox fan, but I’m sorely tempted to run out and buy an M’s hat right now – that’s how impressed I am with the way he’s managed to snooker the rest of the league over the last year and change.

    Comment by J!m Future — December 18, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

  5. I wanted the Ms to get him last year, but I lost some of my enthusiasm during his nonhalcyonic period with the Cubbies. When he finds out Jose Guillen got a standing O from the Ms fans after his last game there maybe he’ll view them as potentially friendly and the man needs some friends about now. Silva wasn’t even worth what he ate so GMZ has done the impossible again, turned s**t into Shinola!

    Comment by maqman — December 18, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

  6. Mariners are basically paying $5M more for two years of Bradley than they were going to pay for two years of Silva.

    Unless they flip Bradley to some other team in a Juan Pierre-kind of deal and basically clear Silva off the books for 80 cents on the dollar, I don’t think you can judge the trade quite yet. Bradley is way too much of a wild card. He could be worth anything from $40M over the next two years to worse than worthless if he’s a clubhouse cancer and .220 hitter.

    Comment by Brian — December 18, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

  7. How does one bad year for Silva all of a sudden make him replacement level?

    I am not saying he is special, but he was a 3.3 WAR in 2007 and a 1.5 WAR in 2008 (only 150 innings).

    I dont really think his 2009 with 28 innings means he is all of a sudden replacement level.

    Bradley and Silva are essentially equal IMO. The Cubs got Bradley on the mound, and the Mariners got Silva for their DH(?).

    I dont see it really as a win for either team, just trading over priced averageness for overpriced averageness.

    Comment by Soho — December 18, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

  8. Depending on how the season goes, Hendry might want to start polishing up that resume. Either the Cubs are under orders to curtail/stop spending after the sprees of recent years or Hendry is just not that sure about what to do next. No replacement for Harden. The same unpalatable situation at 2nd base (unless Jeff Baker runs with it). I’ll give him credit for getting something for Heilman. But it seems like the Cubs motto for 2010 is addition by subtraction. Sorry but that never seems to work out well especially when you’ve got a revamped StL squad and MIL rebuilding their pitching staff around a solid core of positional players. At this point, I’d take .500 and call it a good year.

    Comment by odbsol — December 18, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

  9. And people are now likely jumping off the Sears Tower…

    Wait wtf, it’s the Willis Tower now? When did this happen?

    Comment by Joe R — December 18, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

  10. Over/Under on career at bats in Seattle for Milton Bradley???

    MON: 374
    CLE: 602
    LAN: 799
    OAK: 416
    SD: 144
    TEX: 414
    CHN: 393
    SEA: ???

    Comment by Xeifrank — December 18, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

  11. Guess I’m a minority of one, but I still don’t see the Mariners finishing over .500 next year.

    Outscored by 50+ runs in 2009, their winning record was an illusion created by a massively flukey 35-20 record in one-run games.

    Moreover, Cliff Lee (a great acquisition at a modest price) merely replaces the 2009 innings of Washburn/Bedard, who combined for 35 starts, 216 innings, and an ERA around 2.70.

    Figgins? He’s an upgrade over Beltre, no doubt, but even if Chone repeats his career year of last season, how much better does that make the team? Three games maybe?

    It still looks like a bad offense to me, but mebbe Mr. Z has some more tricks up his sleeve. For the sake of Mariner fans, I hope so.

    Comment by Bob — December 18, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

  12. What we need are Jack Z hats… as a Cubs fan, i feel like i should wear a hat that says “Jack Z’s bitch”

    Comment by james — December 18, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

  13. Seriously, he took a total, complete MESS of a franchise, and within a year, has flipped some of the least valuable players in MLB in terms of salary and performance, and turned them into valuable pieces.

    I just wikipedia’d that he has a background in…physical education? Well wherever his good business sense came from, I want to get some of it.

    Comment by Joe R — December 18, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

  14. I think the main thing that Jack Z is doing well is that he’s an actual, talented scout and player developer, employing sound business, “Moneyball” if you will, principles. His record speaks for itself already.

    Comment by Joe R — December 18, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

  15. I like it for the Cubs. Hopefully they’ll just cut Silva, essentially saving $6 million over just releasing Bradley.

    Of course Hendry still blows. this happens two weeks ago, Mike Cameron is the Cubs CF.

    Comment by Norm — December 18, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

  16. We did a piece of the Mariners GM and his approach to building a baseball team earlier this month and I have to concur with your take on this. At least the cubs SAVED some money and added something, but sigh, wouldnt it have just been better to keep bradley who should bounce back? That high OBP will be missed…As a cubs fan, I wish we had him as our GM. Sadly we have Hendry who only likes “Hendry’s boys”

    More info on Jack Z:
    http://gameofinches.blogspot.com/2009/12/mariners-new-direction.html

    Comment by David MVP Eckstein — December 18, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

  17. Sigh. Maybe its worth just keeping him as a ROOGY…

    Comment by David MVP Eckstein — December 18, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

  18. Am I the only one who thinks we’ve got just a tad too much man crush goin’ on with Zduriencek, and possibly the Mariners in general this off-season? Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly applaud what Seattle is doing. But it seems to me that a heavier dose of caution is in order concerning the Mariners chances in ’09. This deal in particular may, in the end, wind up being viewed as just trading out for pawn for pawn and I’d have to still question the Mariners offense at this point. Granted, the table will appear to be set from the top of the lineup. But from the middle down doesn’t impress me a bit. Maybe they are not done, I conceed that. But respectfully, I submit that the Mariners are this off season’s bandwagon club among our ilk and that the Angels are still the AL West favorites for ’10. It’s a long way to April, though.

    Comment by Mustard & Brown — December 18, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

  19. Scared off??

    Lee will only be there for 1 season
    All other 3 AL West teams have better farm systems and are more built for long term winning.
    The mariners are obviously going all out for 2010, but they’llbe in the same spending mode next trying to patch up holes.
    Bradley has burned bridges everywhere he’s been. He goes to a much tough hitting environment in seattle. Will figgins/bradley help…sure. But this lineup still has inexperience at C, no 1b yet, a declining griffey, inexperience in LF (if bradley DHs some), low OBP of lopez,and a terrible wilson.

    Comment by MLBfan — December 18, 2009 @ 3:15 pm

  20. I always love to compare what fans of teams who acquire Bradley say the day of the trade/signing to the day, that’s not so far down the road, when the team boots Bradley to the curb.

    Comment by Chip — December 18, 2009 @ 3:15 pm

  21. Phys Ed? Huh. Based on his track record I’d have guessed magician.

    “And now, I will pull out of this ordinary, empty top hat… Cliff Lee!

    For my next trick, watch as I transform this pitcher with a career 3.7/K9 and 4.6 FIP into… an OF with a career .821 OPS! MAGIC!”

    Comment by J!m Future — December 18, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

  22. I know. Every. Time.

    And if he bats in the middle of the order, I shall laugh even harder.

    Comment by Christo — December 18, 2009 @ 3:19 pm

  23. Where to start…

    The M’s 2009 WAR was in line with their win total. They won a lot of one run games partly because they had an awesome closer and partly because most one run games are relatively low scoring game – because of the team’s superior run prevention, they were successful in that type of game.

    Washburn and Bedard were good largely because they had an awesome defense behind them. Lee is a lot better than both of them.

    Actually, there is reasonable doubt that Figgins is better than Beltre. Figgins is a better fit for Safeco. Also, three wins at one position is a huge upgrade (not that Figgins provides that).

    The Mariners are built around pitching and defense. An average offense would probably put them in the playoffs next year. I wouldn’t be worried about M’s fans, if I were you.

    Comment by kwk — December 18, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

  24. Seriously. That’s a pretty good week of work right there.

    Comment by Joe R — December 18, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

  25. C’mon Dave. The AL west should be scared stiff? Really? After Lee and King they will give you Ryan Rowland Smith, Ian Snell, and Luke French. Whoa that’s force to be reckoned with. Jack Zduriencik is a genius…at losing.

    Comment by Complainer — December 18, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

  26. I agree. Sadly, the Cubs couldn’t stand pat (there is more info on this in my name link), but Bradley’s xBABIP adjusted 2009 slash line was (assuming all additional hits would have been singles) .270/.390/.410 (.800 OPS). That’s BEFORE any rebounds in power. A 390 OBP with even lg avg power is something to fear.

    Comment by David MVP Eckstein — December 18, 2009 @ 3:23 pm

  27. Silva is replacement level because his most recent “good” season, the one he got paid for, was simply average. He may have had a WAR of 3, but in 2007, his K/9 was just below 4 and his FIP was just above 4. He was lauded for his excellent control when the Mariners signed him in the first place, but since he began starting, opponents have never hit worse than .280 against him. He’s a batting tee that used to pass as average but now is getting older and has likely left his best seasons behind.
    Bradley on the other hand, had a wOBA above .400 in 2007 and 2008, more impressive and sustainable statistics than Silva’s FIP that hovered around 4.2 two years ago. However, Bradley’s clubhouse cancer and lack of durability hinder the success he will have in future years.
    They both have their (very visible) flaws, but Bradley has more upside, which is why we see people saluting to Jack Z.

    Comment by SoDo — December 18, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

  28. Ryan Rowland Smith is a young, developing player with above average potential. He’s a solid #3/4 guy. Then you have morrow, if he can stay healthy. Morrow walks everyone, but he’s got filthy stuff. If he takes steps forward in his game, there is alot to like from a guy like morrow in the back of the rotation (or he gets flipped for Mat Gamel…).

    Plus, who needs “the best pitching” when you have a cavernous park and the absolute best defense in baseball? Hell, Carlos Silva aside, the M’s defense could make Jeff Suppan into an ace.

    Comment by David MVP Eckstein — December 18, 2009 @ 3:25 pm

  29. You’re not understanding the economics of the situation. The M’s took an entirely sunk cost of $24M dollars and got rid of it. To get rid of it, they are paying $4.5M a year (9 million over two years) and getting a player that CHONE projects to be worth 3.2 wins over 162 games, i.e., 2.5 wins given reasonable play time expectation.

    Effectively, they are paying $4.5 million for two seasons of Milton Bradley. The M’s still have Carlos Silva’s shitty contract nagging at them, but now it has some promise of return, which it never had before.

    Comment by philosofool — December 18, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  30. Mariners 2009 pythag wins: 76

    Cliff Lee – (09Washburn + 09Bedard) = +2 wins
    Chone Figgins – Adrian Beltre = +0.5 wins
    Bradley – Branyan = +0 wins

    AL West favorites? Nope. An improved team? Sure.
    vr, Xei

    Comment by Xeifrank — December 18, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  31. Also, Silva’s FIP is misleading. He’s a pitcher who lives at one extreme of pitching style, pitch to contact, and FIP becomes less accurate for such pitchers because batted ball distributions become increasingly relevant as a pitcher introduces more balls in play. Silva has a serious pitch to hard contact problem, which his tRA reveals. At StatCorner, they calculate pitcher wins over replacement based on tRA rather than FIP, and according to that version of WAR, he’s been -.8, 1.9, -.1 and -.3 WAR in his las four seasons respectively. The last two season are in a very pitcher friendly park. By the way, he missed half last season do to injuries.

    Anyway, Carlos Silva isn’t worth more than Luke French or Jason Vargas.

    Comment by philosofool — December 18, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  32. Eh, Bradley was fine in Texas in 2008.

    Washington and Wakamatsu are very similar managers/leaders. Not to mention Seattle is as laid back as any place in the country in regards to media scrutiny and pressure. I may be delusional, but I have a hard time believing Bradley isn’t going to be somewhat productive there.

    As for longterm success. Texas is still in great shape with their system. I disagree about Anaheim though, their system is mediocre. Seattle hasn’t bogged themselves down in long term bad deal. They just swapped Bradley and Silva who was a sunk cost. If Lee walks, that’s money next offseason to spend plus draft picks.

    They will fill their other needs with 1 year contracts or trades for cheap young talent.

    As for pitching, with the defense they put out there, it doesnt matter much who pitches in the 3-5 slots. Look at last year when they use Washburn, Rowland-Smith, Morrow, Snell, Fister, Vargas, and French.

    Didn’t they still lead the league in ERA? Their rotation is fine with Rowland-Smith, Snell, and Morrow in the back end

    Comment by Hency — December 18, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

  33. When someone comes and responds to Dave Cameron by saying that Figgins is “no doubt” an upgradeover Beltre and mentions the Washburn/Bedard ERA (as opposed to a DIPS), I smell troll.

    Comment by philosofool — December 18, 2009 @ 3:39 pm

  34. Bob: You are not allowed to question. WAR says they were good! W/L is not popular anymore! Forget the FACT that team WAR was studied vs. pythag and is no more predictive. You are probably a global warming denier too. Just kill yourself.

    Comment by Paul — December 18, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  35. What about when you add in Ryan Rowland-Smith having a full season along with Morrow(for now) and Snell? All are better than the replacement-level players the M’s had to use for over half the season(Vargas, Olson, Fister, Silva(not even),Jakubauskas, French). I know that you cannot assume the M’s will use only 5 starters the whole season, but the M’s had so many starting pitchers last year that you have to account for them being a little bit healthier in 2010.

    Comment by Intention — December 18, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

  36. This should help: Who is Jack Zduriencik

    (Note that the usual standards of ESPN journalistic excellence apply)

    Comment by joser — December 18, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

  37. I was wondering if all obvious comments about Bradley as an actual human being had just been scrubbed. This is a bridge too far. Karma police are just around the corner.

    To Hency: No, Milton was not fine in Texas. The man rushed a press box and threatened an announcer with physical violence.

    Comment by Paul — December 18, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

  38. Hency – you’re not quite delusional, but people have been making excuses for Milton everywhere he goes. And everywhere he goes, he burnes his bridges.

    Comment by Chip — December 18, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

  39. Well written. And why some folks around here are so passionate about tRA — there are outlier cases like Silva that it handles better than FIP does.

    Comment by joser — December 18, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

  40. Bruce has become very powerful.

    Comment by Hans Gruber — December 18, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

  41. Some random Mariners support up in the Northeast.

    Comment by Joe R — December 18, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

  42. I don’t live in Chicago so I don’t follow Hendry’s every move.

    But wasn’t it the case that Piniella implied, “If Bradley’s back, I’m not”. (Which is a bluff, by the way, I don’t know that I wouldn’t have called).

    But in any case, as an option to cutting Bradley, Hendry got back a guy who may or may not give him something (it is the National League, after all) and several millions of dollars that he can use elsewhere. Is that really so bad?

    Comment by diderot — December 18, 2009 @ 3:53 pm

  43. Actually, I think that building just got sent to Seattle in exchange for the Tacoma ASARCO smelter and the Alaska Way Viaduct in yet another trade engineered by Zduriencik.

    Comment by joser — December 18, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

  44. Does this analysis take into account the roster moves the M’s made mid-2009 season? You can’t just ignore several 1 WAR player additions, despite the popularity of doing so.

    Jack Wilson – Yuni Betancourt = +1.5 wins
    Ian Snell + Cliff Lee – Jarrod Washburn – Eric Bedard = +3 wins
    Figgins – Beltre = +.5
    Bradley – Branyen = +.5
    Michael Saunder (called up) = +1
    etc.

    There are several nickles and dimes you’re not adding up here, and you can’t just look at last season’s team as though this were a totally static roster that didn’t improve during the season.

    Comment by philosofool — December 18, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

  45. “Silva is not that different from Jeff Weaver, who has found success with the Dodgers the last few years.”

    Weaver was a Dodger only in 09 over the last 4 years. He was in the brewers system in 08 but never got to the majors, and with Seattle the year before that after his great playoff run in 06.

    Comment by Ivdown — December 18, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

  46. I don’t think people have an unrealistic opinion of the Ms chances in 2010. Zduriencik, though, is making a hell of a lot of really good deals. He’s taken a team that not many people thought would be a contender in 2010, and he’s put them in the conversation for best team in the AL West, and he’s done it without gutting the farm system. Nobody’s saying he’s turned the Mariners in to the West Coast version of the Yankees. They’re just saying he’s doing a really, really good job.

    Comment by JH — December 18, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  47. if we’re going to play down Bradley’s personality issues when evaluating this trade (which has legitimacy for various reasons), maybe we should simultaneously play down Don W’s reputation as a “molder of men.” These are big boy baseball players, not a high school team.

    Personally, in reference to Bradley in ’08, if my car doesn’t start on five consecutive mornings but happened to start this morning, I don’t really expect it to start tomorrow. If it does, great. Certainly not expecting it, though.

    Comment by Christo — December 18, 2009 @ 4:19 pm

  48. I understand it. I just don’t think Bradley at $5M a year is THAT great. From a numbers/saber standpoint, it is, but the game isn’t played on paper.

    I think the whole clubhouse thing tends to get overrated a little bit, and the guy is still likely to OBP 0.360+ next year, but if he can’t be managed and affects the team negatively while not producing at the levels you expect from DH, then is $5M really that great a deal?

    Maybe Griffey will tickle him into being a good teammate.

    Comment by Brian — December 18, 2009 @ 4:19 pm

  49. check that. $5M for TWO years.

    Comment by Brian — December 18, 2009 @ 4:20 pm

  50. i think Jack is doing a great job, but let’s not pretend that he just traded Silva for a hitter as good as Milton Bradley who isn’t Milton Bradley.

    there’s a reason that Bradley was on DEEP discount. he’s nuts.

    still like the deal from the M’s perspective.

    Comment by Steve — December 18, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

  51. That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day. Thanks, joser.

    Comment by robbbbbb — December 18, 2009 @ 4:27 pm

  52. maybe i’m missing something, but i didn’t find Bob’s post offensive. he just happened to disagree with the majority opinion. i don’t agree with much of what he said, but he didn’t insult anyone or anything.

    Comment by Steve — December 18, 2009 @ 4:27 pm

  53. According to 3rd order wins the M’s “should have” won 83 games, so their “illusion” of a record was only inflated by 2 games. This was no crazy mirage like the 2007 team; last year’s team played up to their talent and only a couple of wins beyond. They aren’t a bashing team, certainly, but pitching and defense can make it possible for you to win a lot of low scoring games (including those 1 run games).

    Their biggest offensive flaw wasn’t power, it was OBP (which, as we know, is worth more than slugging). Have a look at the team leaderboard: the 2009 Mariners were better than seven other teams (including the Mets and intradivisional rival punching-bag Oakland) in team SLG, and eight other teams (including the Dodgers) in ISO, but ahead of just the Giants in team OBP. Merely by (essentially) replacing Betancourt (.274, worst in baseball) with Figgins (.395, 17th best) they’ve made a huge upgrade in that respect.

    Comment by joser — December 18, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

  54. Err, W/L says the 2009 M’s were good too.

    Comment by q — December 18, 2009 @ 4:33 pm

  55. I know that M’s fans are giddy with excitement, but let’s not go overboard here. The offense was brutally awful last year, the addition of Chone Figgins is not enough to magically rutn that around, and Bradley is a wild card. Cliff Lee is great, but he’s not going to help the offense. It’s not time to print the playoff tickets just yet.

    Comment by geo — December 18, 2009 @ 4:33 pm

  56. Why are you here, if this is the way you feel about things?

    With WAR, all events are given a run (and therefore, win) value that is context neutral. The M’s 2009 context neutral contributions indicate that they were a slightly above average team.

    RS/RA measures reality – runs that were actually scored and given up, which in the end are the only components in winning or losing a baseball game. It ignores sub-run components that WAR measures.

    In other words, if you could play the 2009 season again and give the M’s the same team WAR, they would likely have a positive run differential. The W/L predictive ability of WAR vs Pythag has nothing to do with measuring how well Seattle players performed (context neutrally) last year.

    Comment by kwk — December 18, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  57. After a very positive off season, the M’s just took a major step backwards. Bradley is going to ruin any good vibes that they had been building on and shouldn’t be relied on as an every day player due to his temper and knack for being tossed out of games. Bad move for the M’s, they were much better off eating Silva’s salary.

    Comment by discogerbil — December 18, 2009 @ 4:38 pm

  58. This is the equivalent of cutting Silva and eating his salary, then signing a hypothetical free agent Bradley for 2 years at 3 million per. If he is so awful in the clubhouse that he causes problems, they can cut him and eat just 6 million.

    On the other hand, all he needs to do is produce at the level of an average player and he’s worth his salary.

    Comment by Brian — December 18, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

  59. Mariners 3rd order Pythag wins: 83
    (see, I can pick the better stat to support my argument too)

    They haven’t signed a 1st baseman yet (it could still be Branyan), and Bradley isn’t going to play 1B. So your Bradley calculation should be
    Bradley – (Chavez + Balentien + Saunders + Hall + Langerhans) for LF, or
    Bradley – Sweeney for DH
    Either way it’s probably about 2 wins.

    Also your Lee calculation is simplistic, since you’re overlooking all the bullpen stress that Bedard’s regularly short starts caused. You just can’t say one set of IPs replaced the other and nothing else has changed.

    Comment by joser — December 18, 2009 @ 4:45 pm

  60. Wilson is not terrible, unless you’re obsessed with offense and don’t think saving runs (a lot of runs) matters. His health is a risk, of course.

    And I think you’re overvaluing “experience” way too much.

    Which is not to say that I think this team is quite ready to contend in the West yet…but then Zduriencik isn’t done yet, either. And we’ll have to see what the Angels and Rangers do in the remainder of the offseason. But right now, the race is looking a lot more interesting, and a lot less settled, than it was last year (or even a couple of weeks ago).

    Comment by joser — December 18, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  61. I like this statement.

    Comment by David MVP Eckstein — December 18, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

  62. Bob is correct to a point. There are different variants of pythag. Some favor the Ms and some do not. All pythags have a rather large standard deviation so each must be taken with a grain of salt. WAR, like pythag when looking at production from previous seasons also has a fairly significant standard deviation.

    There is nothing wrong with comparing outgoing 2009 production (whether it be lucky or unlucky) vs incoming 2010 projected production. Fact is that the two headed monster of Washburn/Bedard put up equal amounts of innings pitched as Cliff Lee did and were only shy in WAR by 1.5 to 2.0 wins. This is using Fangraphs very own definition of WAR (go see for yourself on the Ms team page). Yes, there are a few more smaller pieces in the rotation but they are miniscule in relevance compared to the “production” Lee is replacing at the top end of the rotation from last year. At this point the Mariners have improved by no more than 2.5 wins over last years team. What the “true” win baseline was for last years team is still open for debate, but it’s not like the Mariners have done this amazing job of improving their team. Instead, they have done an amazing job of treading water and improving their team slightly. Sure, they are to be commended, but “dancing in the streets”? Come on!

    vr, Xeifrank

    Comment by Xeifrank — December 18, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

  63. Actually, I can’t speak for Bob, but here’s how I read what he said:

    ERA is a record of runs scored. And keep in mind, it’s a best case – There are unearned runs as well. His point isn’t that Washburn/Bedard are better than Cliff Lee – I hope not, anyway – it’s that they were lucky last year and the actual number of runs scored against them – Not expected number of runs based on FIP or tRA, just the actual number of runs – was equivalent to what we SHOULD expect from Cliff Lee.

    He refers to Figgins and notes that he’s only going to improve the team by a few wins, at most. And he’s right. Figgins isn’t Pujols, Mauer, or Utley, and third base for the mariners last year wasn’t a replacement level player. No offense to Figgins – He’s a good player.

    Should we expect .500 play from the Mariners? No, I expect they’ll do better, but don’t eviscerate Bob like that.

    FIP is an attempt to measure how many runs are scored on average when a pitcher accomplishes certain things on the mound. As such, it gives us an idea what to expect in runs earned against a pitcher next year… But tells us nothing about runs that were earned.

    It’s a bit more complicated, and of course, if Washburn et al had many fewer runs scored against them than FIP expects, then the Mariners WAR should be lower than the number of games they won, since WAR is based on FIP.

    As is, it’s even. That’s a mix of luck and possibly other components of the team that played better (by WAR) than their final-results performance would indicate.

    Just understand that if someone out pitches their WAR/FIP one year and has a 2.70 ERA (or whatever), and someone else pitches to their WAR/FIP and has an ERA of 2.70… In that year, in terms of won/loss record (leaving out unearned runs), the first pitcher and the second pitcher had seasons of equal value. One or the other may’ve been more responsible for their season… But it doesn’t matter.

    If a Jarrod Washburn is super lucky one year, to be reasonably sure to replace that level of awesome-ness, you have to sign Cliff Lee. And Jarrod Washburn being lucky inflates your win totals vs your WAR.

    Oops… Rambling! It’s my day off.

    Comment by Patrick — December 18, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

  64. After 101 losses in 2008 — and the departure of the GM and coach — a lot of people were predicting it would take many years for the team to dig itself out of its hole. There were some who suggested the M’s would get trapped in a declining spiral of dropping revenue and fan support as loss piled onto loss until they resembled a west coast version of the Royals. I was ridiculed more than once for even suggesting that because Detroit had gone from 100+ losses to contention in 3 years, such a thing was possible in Seattle. Most outside observers didn’t give them more than a longshot chance at .500 in 2009 (even after Zduriencik arrived and made the Gutierrez trade). The team was bad, expectations were low, and nothing looked to change anytime soon.

    It’s with that context you have to view what Zduriencik has done. There are lots of other teams that have cleaned house and not improved much at all. The Mariners have already exceeded most people’s expectations, and Zduriencik gets full credit for that. Will every move work out? Of course not (this Bradley one is especially risky). And when one doesn’t, there will be no lack of folks here (and elsewhere) who will jump on Zduriencik and rip him mercilessly with all the passion that his supporters are using for him now. The venom and vindictiveness will be ugly, as it always is with the tall-poppy types.

    Yes, the giddiness may seem excessive, but so was the gloom it followed. And so will be the viciousness when one of Zduriencik’s decisions fails. That’s the bipolar nature of a lot of baseball fans, and the petty ugliness of human nature.

    Comment by joser — December 18, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

  65. What the naysayers don’t seem to understand is that this is deal is literally something for nothing. There seem to be a lot of people who are completely sinking the M’s because of a POSSIBILITY of Bradley turning out to be a useless piece. We should all be able to acknowledge, especially on this site of all places, that there is a chance Bradley will positively contribute to this team. And that makes this trade more than worth it.

    Comment by jcummings — December 18, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

  66. The economics also say that if Bradley repeats last year’s performance on the field, to say nothing of his behavior which is immeasurable, then the Mariners would have actually compounded the Silva mistake by 6 million. That’s not exactly a win.

    Bradley was a sunk cost to the Cubs as well. There was no scenario in which he was to open the season with the team. Instead of cutting him, the Cubs can cut Silva and still pick up 6 million. Or they can keep Silva and hope he can return to being a 3 WAR player as he was with the Twins. That would be a net gain of 2 wins based on Bradley’s performance with the Cubs.

    I’m not even going to get into the issue that baseball is played with human beings and not in some kind of computer simulation. But that isn’t something that numbers people want to talk about because it’s impossible to quantify. Numbers are easy, people are hard…especially when one of those people is Milton Bradley.

    I’d wait until Bradley produces and keeps his act together before people start calling Jeff Z a genius. His risk is probably more likely to compound the damage than subtract from it.

    Comment by Jon — December 18, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

  67. @philosophool — Idea’s right, math’s a little off. If Dave’s numbers are right, they are paying $6M (to Cubs) + Bradley’s salary (to Bradley) + salary difference (to Cubs).

    Silva is replacement or below. Take the cost of his salary and flush it down the toilet. It’s a sunk cost as you said. The additional $6M that they are paying to the Cubs is their cost in this transaction. Bradley is their return.

    This is effectively the same as if they had cut Silva and signed Bradley to a 2 year deal for $3M per year. Amazing. I’d take Bradley for that contract any day, headaches and all.

    Comment by lincolndude — December 18, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

  68. “Come on!”

    Ugh. You’re reasoning here is completely off.

    When the offseason is over, Jack Z most likely will have added 7-10 wins to the roster, using the same payroll and not giving up any of the organizations top prospects/young players. That is incredible.

    Comment by kwk — December 18, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

  69. “Spending mode” is a weird way to characterize the Ms’ offseason so far. When the salaries are cancelled out, Bradley costs the team $3 million over Silva, who was one of Bavasi’s sunk costs they were on the hook for anyway.

    The Mariners this offseason have taken in a total of $15 million in extra salary commitment for a combined 3 seasons for 2 players. 2 players, mind you, for whom getting 7 WAR’s worth of value is a conservative estimate. They’ve also traded some B-/C+ level prospects, none of whom is a major loss.

    This isn’t spending mode. Spending mode is what Tampa Bay did acquiring Rafael Soriano: paying a premium for 1-2 WAR to minimize risk and push an already good team over the edge. This is badass acquisition mode, paying pennies on the dollar for elite talent. Nobody’s saying the Mariners are already in a position to be a divisional powerhouse. The other AL West squads should be frightened, though, because the team’s front office is the equal of the A’s, and its budget is as big as the Angels’.

    So freaking stoked about this deal. Zduriencik’s a badass.

    Comment by JH — December 18, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

  70. But if they cut Silva and ate his salary, I don’t think anyone would be calling Z a “genius” for it. He ate a sunk cost and “signed” a clubhouse cancer at below-market rate because very few teams were willing to take on Bradley the person, with or without his contract.

    It’s a good move for the Mariners, but I think Dave’s “genius” comment at the end is a bit much. To me, a genius move is, for example, the Rays signing Longoria for 9 years and $45 million. Trading for Milton Bradley is more of a desperate move, or to be more kind, a necessary move.

    Comment by CH — December 18, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

  71. @Jon — The difference between Silva and Bradley is that Bradley actually provides some value on the field. The guy is still easily capable of being a 2-3 WAR player. Maybe the Cubs considered him a sunk cost because it had become politically impossible to keep him, but he’s not a zero value player to other teams.

    I bet you most teams would leap at the chance to add a 2-3 WAR player for $3 million a year (which, as I wrote above is the effective cost to the M’s if you consider Silva’s salary unsalvagable), even if there’s some risk that they would have to cut him for personality reasons.

    Opportunities to add that much for that little don’t come along very often.

    Comment by lincolndude — December 18, 2009 @ 5:32 pm

  72. Except that Bradley wasn’t available as a free agent, and turning a sunk cost into something valuable is worthy of praise.

    I was trying to frame the deal properly in terms of dollars and WAR, but each component can’t be looked at in a vacuum. Actually getting something of value – and I believe Milton Bradley has value – for what was essentially a sunk cost, is a brilliant move.

    “Genius” might be a bit of hyperbole when looking at this specific move in a vacuum, but I think it comes from looking at all of Jack Z’s moves in totality. This is a man who understands the dollar value of win, understands that roster construction can take place in a variety of ways, and has the skills to facilitate the kinds of moves to build a valuable roster without overpaying for production.

    I may have some homer blinders on right now, but I’m the same person that was heartbroken by the Bedard trade.

    Comment by Brian — December 18, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

  73. If the 2.70 ERA Lee is replacing was the result of the departed pitchers and luck, the argument would be valid. If the 2.70 ERA was largely due to exemplary defense and ballpark factors, well then, Lee gets the benefit of those, too.

    Comment by Kevin S. — December 18, 2009 @ 5:34 pm

  74. I’m amused at how people want to make the Silva cost disappear…as if it never happened. Well, if we’re going to play that game let’s take a look at the overall picture for both teams and pretend that the Mariners never signed Silva and the Cubs never signed Bradley.

    You’d be looking at the Cubs picking up Silva at 2 years for 15M…certainly nothing to be proud of.

    The Mariners are picking up Bradley at 27M for 2 years…way above his value regardless of whether Bradley has a good season or not.

    In the overall scheme of things, both teams lost. You can give Jeff Z credit for cleaning up Bavasi’s mistake while Hendry’s mistake was all his own, but the bottom line is if Bradley repeats what he did last year then the Mariners only compounded the loss. History will judge this deal, you can’t judge it on “promise”…especially when that promise depends on Milton Bradley.

    Comment by Jon — December 18, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

  75. Preventing a run is just as valuable as scoring one.

    Replacing a 1 win pitcher (Silva/French/Snell/Whoever) with a 5-6 win pitcher like Cliff Lee is the same as replacing a replacement-level hitter with Mark Texiera.

    Comment by Brian — December 18, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

  76. It’s not a possibility with Bradley, he will eventually implode and become useless. The question is, when?

    Seattle is gambling they can get a good season out of him before he freaks. This may be a decent gamble, but it will eventually turn ugly.

    However, if Seattle wins the division in 2010, they can accept that.

    Comment by Snapper — December 18, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

  77. One of the interesting things about this deal is how it frames the one Jack Z move earlier this winter that I wasn’t much of a fan of: re-signing Ken Griffey Jr.

    I’m of the opinion that clubhouse chemistry is all well and good, but winning helps a clubhouse more than anything, and talent begets winning more than chemistry does. Paying for chemistry seems a bit of folly to me.

    Per Geoff Baker:

    “”Some of the things that happen in your life as a baseball player are kind of surreal to you and getting to play with Ken Griffey Jr. is one of them,” Bradely told me when I asked him how much interraction they’d had over the years.

    He added that Griffey was one of only two players — Barry Bonds being the other — he’s ever really wanted an autograph from.”

    If having Griffey on the team helps mitigate the Bradley craziness, his signing seems to make a lot more sense.

    Comment by Brian — December 18, 2009 @ 5:51 pm

  78. People don’t want to make the Silva cost disappear, but when we’re judging Jack Z, it’s not something that gets held against him. If the Ms were free and clear of Silva and Bradley was available on the market, of course they wouldn’t make that deal. What a pointless straw man.

    Comment by Kevin S. — December 18, 2009 @ 5:56 pm

  79. Yippee-ki-yay, Mr. Falcon.

    Comment by Yinka Double Dare — December 18, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

  80. I would have called that bluff in two seconds.

    Like Hendry, Piniella is a complete idiot.

    Comment by Rodney King — December 18, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

  81. It’s not pointless, if you go far enough that’s the way it works out in the big picture. I never said that Jeff Z would have made that deal in the open market. That’s your strawman talking.

    And I did give Jeff Z credit for trying to undo Bavasi’s mistake (guess you missed that part) , but if Bradley bombs then the mistake is only compounded. I’m not going to be as quick to credit Jeff Z other than to say he is trying to make something out of nothing, but I’ll wait to see if that something materializes before I bow down.

    Comment by Jon — December 18, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

  82. Please more Jack Z praise…frontrunners to sign Cust!!!

    Comment by MLBfan — December 18, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

  83. Meant to say “Jack” Z…

    Comment by Jon — December 18, 2009 @ 6:11 pm

  84. Aw, c’mon. Don’t you want to see how Silva’s “pitch to contact” strategy works in Wrigley with the wind blowing out?

    Comment by MikeS — December 18, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

  85. Jon, you are totally misunderstanding the economics of this situation. The money that was owed to Silva is gone. The previous regime flushed it by signing the contract. It doesn’t matter whether that money is now paid to Silva or Bradley, it is a fixed, sunk cost that cannot be salvaged.

    The actual changes on the M’s side that happened with this deal were that they paid $6 million and got Milton Bradley. All the other money is a wash — they would have lost it whether they made this deal or not.

    That’s why the move should be evaluated as if they picked up Milton Bradley for 2 years/$6 million. Most teams would take 4-5 WAR for $6 million, even with the risk Bradley carries. It’s a great deal.

    Comment by lincolndude — December 18, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

  86. You’re talking in circles, Jon. You don’t treat the Bradley acquisition as one that’s costing $24 million over 2 years. You just don’t. Analyzing this move in terms of Bradley’s “true” salary is missing the point entirely. The cost of this deal to the Mariners is $3 million/year. They’re sending over money to pay the difference in salaries, and then chipping in $3 million of Bradley’s salary for the next 2 years.

    The proper context for this move is whether or not Bradley at 2 years, $6 million is a good move. It is.

    Comment by JH — December 18, 2009 @ 6:39 pm

  87. I understand the accounting game being played. But in the real world, that money was still spent. But you are pretty generous with giving Bradley a 4-5 WAR, when it was 1 last year. And WAR works out nice on paper, but it’s overrated on the field when it comes to dysfunctional teammates like Bradley. But like I said, that’s non-quantifiable and doesn’t compute on a site based heavily on numbers. But the bottom line is if the Mariners feel they have to dump Bradley like so many other teams have, then it will turn out that the Mariners did nothing to alleviate the money situation at all. In fact, they will have compouned it by 6M.

    Saying it’s a great deal takes a huge assumption, that Bradley will be a productive player all year long for the Mariners. Based on his history, that’s not an assumption I would want to make. I’m not saying it’s a bad deal for the Mariners. But it is by no means guaranteed to be a good deal either. You can say it was a risk well worth taking, but you cannot call it a great deal yet, not until Bradley closes it by living up your projected numbers.

    Comment by Jon — December 18, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

  88. That’s Sabean, not Z. You watch. The giants will end up with Cust.

    Comment by Game Of Inches blog — December 18, 2009 @ 6:48 pm

  89. I agree that, when taken as a whole, Jack Z’s moves have been excellent. This is a good move in it’s own right, and I would definitely say the Mariners “won” this move, since they filled an actual need, whereas the Cubs simply cut ties with a pariah. I just don’t like the genius label being thrown around too liberally. Applying it to a move that involves ACQUIRING Milton Bradley seems a little silly, to me.

    Comment by CH — December 18, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

  90. Yes, but Washburn/Bedard’s luck already happened. Nobody’s saying Lee is bad.

    Of course, a straight “Lee v. Washburn/Bedard” comparison is misleading, too, because Washburn and Bedard’s innings came at the same time, meaning their 200 innings were split across 2 players (who eventually both had to be replaced), rather than 1 guy pitching a whole season. There’s value (and downside) in consolidating the same number of wins into 1 roster spot for an entire season. It lets you find more wins elsewhere.

    Comment by JH — December 18, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

  91. Jack Zduriencik is a genius…at losing.

    He turned a 100-loss team into an above-.500 team in his first and only year as GM. Where is he losing?

    Comment by Teej — December 18, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

  92. It’s not an accounting game. In the real world, the Ms are spending an additional $6 million over the course of two years to upgrade from a replacement-level pitcher to a player who’s capable of being very productive. Is there a risk? Of course, but whether or not it works out isn’t relevant to whether or not it’s a smart gamble.

    Comment by Kevin S. — December 18, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

  93. The offense was brutally awful last year because of the production they got from 3 spots in the lineup: DH, 3B, and Left Field. All 3 positions were absolute offensive sinkholes, while \the rest of the team was pretty solid. Figgins and Bradley take 2 of those spots, and the team figures to add a 1B before the season’s over, and potentially plug the final hole as well. The Mariners don’t need mashers to construct an above average offense, they just need to fill the roster out with a few more above average hitters.

    Comment by JH — December 18, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

  94. @Jon

    Look at it this way.

    The M’s now owe Bradley $21M and owe the Cubs $9M. But they no longer owe Silva $24M. So they spent 21 + 9 million but saved 24 million dollars, which balances out to $6M.

    Comment by philosofool — December 18, 2009 @ 7:04 pm

  95. Certainly valid, but when viewed through the prism of “a move in which Carlos Silva was traded,” it might make a little more sense.

    As a Mariners fan, Jack’s move are an embarrassment of riches. He’s doing things we wouldn’t have considered possible.

    Comment by Brian — December 18, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  96. On that much we can agree. It’s a good gamble, but it’s still a gamble especially when you consider who’s involved. If it was a player who simply had a an off year, then I’d say it was a great gamble. But when you’re talking about a player who has a history of quickly wearing out his welcome, it becomes a bit more complicated than the raw numbers would indicate. The biggest difference is that I’m just going to reserve my judgement until Bradley actually contributes to the Mariners in a positive way. The Mariners wouldn’t be the first team to get burned by gambling on him. And it’s not a huge amount of money by today’s standards, but if Bradley flops then a $24M mistake becomes a $30M one. If Bradley produces and the Mariners are improved beyond what Cliff Lee and other acquisitions would constitute, then I’ll be the first one to say that it was a great deal. Until then, I’m only comfortable calling it a good, but risky gamble.

    Comment by Jon — December 18, 2009 @ 7:10 pm

  97. You’re also comparing a “two headed monster” to a “one headed moster”. The fact you’re getting the same production from one of twenty-five roster spots compared to two, definitely means something.

    Comment by DKulich44 — December 18, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

  98. Holy crap, JH, I somehow completely missed your comment. Now I feel pretty dumb haha.

    Comment by DKulich44 — December 18, 2009 @ 7:25 pm

  99. Yes. Getting some value out of Bradley is better than getting nothing out of Silva (at least, nothing many arms already on their payroll can’t provide). Even if they have to cut Bradley at some point and eat the rest of his contract, it’s a net win. And if he helps them contend in 2010 while Lee is on the team…

    Comment by joser — December 18, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

  100. The only gamble is the $6 million spent on Bradley for 2 years. That’s the only obligation they’re taking on that they didn’t already have. You’re still fundamentally misunderstanding/mis-analyzing this situation.

    Comment by JH — December 18, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

  101. And it’s not just Bradley. I was one of the people who had no sentimental attachment to Griffey and with a cold eye (many would say a cold heart) said he was done and not worth having on the team. On a purely numerical level, that’s still true. And I still don’t think “chemistry” is as important as it is sometimes made out to be. But there’s something else going on with Griffey: he makes Seattle a more attractive destination, and the Mariners a more desirable team. He’s an amenity, like a low cost of living or good schools and safe neighborhoods or the proximity of oceans and mountains or nearby huntin’ and fishin’. When the team is trying to lure a player, the Yankees can talk about their mystique and the Dodgers can talk about their history and the Angels can talk about the SoCal lifestyle, but the Mariners can talk about the chance to play alongside Griffey, so say you were on the same team with a HOFer. Until this year, I just didn’t appreciate how significant that appears to be — every single player the M’s have signed has talked about it, unprompted and seemingly sincerely.

    So while he doesn’t make the team better by playing, he makes the team better by being — by being an attraction, an icon, a beacon, he makes it possible for the Mariners to assemble a better team.

    Comment by joser — December 18, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  102. What does it tell you that the Cubs were so willing to get rid of Bradley that they took Silva AND paid $5 million?

    Bradley has played his way out of every clubhouse he’s ever been in. Yeah, Seattle MIGHT salvage something but they might also see their clubhouse destroyed by this guy.

    Comment by NEPP — December 18, 2009 @ 8:28 pm

  103. Win now? I wouldn’t say that.

    Jack Z has marvelously gotten the Mariners out from under some of their ugly contracts and built an excellent defense. Pretty strange way to go all in.

    Comment by petejohn — December 18, 2009 @ 8:30 pm

  104. Of course he’s going to help the offense. If he does the job as expected, it’ll make it easier for the offense to out-score the other team.

    Comment by Nathaniel Dawson — December 18, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

  105. They’re getting rid of an awful, useless pitcher for a potentially very useful hitter and only paying $6M for it. They were spending that money anyway, might as well get something other than non-sinking sinkers out of it!

    Comment by petejohn — December 18, 2009 @ 8:34 pm

  106. You seem to forget that the clubhouse was a wreck during 2008, and according to some reports one player (rumored to be a certain large buffet-oriented individual who is now headed to Chicago) threatened Ichiro with physical violence, or at least said as much to someone if not directly to Ichiro. Yet in 2009, under Wakamatsu, we had scenes like this and, rather memorably at the end of the last game of the season, this. Now, I don’t know how much credit to give to Wakamatsu, and how much to Griffey and the other players, and how much was just “winning cures all ills.” But all of those factors will still be in effect in 2010.

    Granted, Bradley is a certified headcase and is clearly in a whole other league when it comes to disruptive behavior. Certainly he will be the ultimate test of whatever it was that made the Mariners clubhouse a happy place in 2009. But if Bradley is going to have any more of a career anywhere in baseball, Seattle is probably his last best chance: the fans are phlegmatic and have mostly had their distemper and rabies shots, the local media is laid back and mostly fair-minded, and the national media mostly overlooks it altogether. Don’t forget that Jose Guillen — by reputation a longtime fellow member of the “clubhouse cancer” hall of shame — had an uneventful but productive season in Seattle (and actually won over a lot of people by being a great human being). Maybe the cool summer nights keep hotheads from boiling over. Maybe it’s all the Scandinavians. Who knows.

    So yeah, Bradley is a risk; but the team is in a position where it has to take some risks, and on the field at least he has a high potential upside. On the downside, they wash their hands of him and are out some cash — something that they were probably going to have to do with Carlos Silva anyway.

    Comment by joser — December 18, 2009 @ 8:36 pm

  107. If he’s really torching their clubhouse they can cut him. They’re paying $3M per more than they would have anyway and may get a useful piece out of it. They didn’t hit much last year and Bradley is a pretty decent bat. Silva was horrible.

    Comment by petejohn — December 18, 2009 @ 8:36 pm

  108. No, Seattle paid the money, not Chicago.

    Comment by Snapper — December 18, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

  109. Hahahahaha

    A GM turns around a 100+ loss team after one season into a contender, and he’s a genius at losing?

    Hahahahahah!

    Comment by John — December 18, 2009 @ 9:10 pm

  110. Great deal for the Mariners. Z did it again.

    I agree that the M’s are basically paying $6M, $3M/year, and at that $6M cost, they took an average, or below average pitcher and exchanged him for one of the better offensive outfielders in baseball. Essentially it is: Silva + $6M = Bradley, which maybe makes sense to Hendry but probably to no one else. I am just amazed that Z pulled this off.

    There are some doubts about Bradley’s performance last year – but – isn’t that when you should trade for a player? When he’s had a down year? Surely the Cubs would’ve gotten more had Bradley had a 0.990 OPS last year.

    About the “clubhouse chemistry” stuff – IMO most of these GM’s are type A personality (insert expletive here) and they hate for anyone to ruffle their feathers, even if that person may have a valid point. I remember they tarred Manny Ramirez in Boston, now there doing the same to Bradley in Chicago. Even if Bradley is complete garbage, the M’s can stay away from him and hold their breath for 2 years and live with his .850 OPS or whatever it’s going to be.

    Z’s done it again, unbelievable.

    Comment by MC — December 18, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

  111. Think of it this way. Before this deal, that $24 million did not belong to the Mariners to use as they saw fit. It belonged to Carlos Silva. A previous bad deal had taken that money out of Seattle’s hands. The only money involved in this deal is the $6 million the team’s spending on top. If Bradley busts, this was a $6 million gamble, not a $30 million gamble. That money is lost. Already spent. Done. Not part of the calculation on how to make moves going forward.

    Silva’s sunken contract, which was a lost cause, got us Bradley at 2 years, $6 million. The contract sucked when it was signed, and sucks now, and it got us something good. This is salvaging an awful situation to be sure, and it’s just about as good as the team could have done with Silva’s contract given the circumstances.

    Comment by JH — December 18, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

  112. Is it that Jack Z’s a genius or is Jim Hendry an idiot? I think it’s more the latter than the former. It will be interesting to see how he fares in Seattle’s club house, and if he can stay healthy playing the outfield. Hendry sold low, and made the same mistake that Dave Dombrowski made last year.

    Comment by Omar — December 18, 2009 @ 10:26 pm

  113. Well, it is a sort of “win now” strategy but not the one most people mean when they use that term. Zduriencik has not squandered the farm, he hasn’t ballooned the budget, and he hasn’t done anything in the short term that will harm the long term. Yet he clearly is making moves to contend in 2010. Of course, every team tries to contend every year, or at least mouths those words and goes through the motions (even if they’re in extended rebuild mode or mired in perpetual irrelevancy like the Pirates and Royals).

    But as Dave noted over at USSM last month

    Last year, everything Jack did was an upside play – if the guy they acquired didn’t perform well, it was okay, because the cost was so low that it didn’t matter. To put together a roster that has a chance to win in 2010, however, the M’s have to make some moves with real downside, because that risk is coupled with greater reward.

    And that is indeed what Zduriencik is doing. He gave up some prospects to get Cliff Lee for one year knowing that he probably will have to fill that spot in the rotation with somebody else in 2011 (and getting back compensation picks that are further away from the majors than the prospects he traded away). He spent real money to get Chone Figgins (even if he got a good deal, this wasn’t the dumpster-diving for undervalued guys he did last year).

    And now, he took the biggest risk of all. So it’s not the easy upside stuff anymore, and it could easily blow up in his face. But he already did the easy stuff and he can’t do it again, so riskier moves are what he has to do. But the risk is limited: at worst, Bradley blows up, they cut him and eat the contract, and then scramble around to either bring up Saunders or sign somebody else — and maybe that’s enough to miss out on the pennant. But the chance of contending for a pennant this year with Lee in the rotation makes it a risk worth taking.

    Comment by joser — December 18, 2009 @ 10:40 pm

  114. I wasn’t trying to say it was a bad deal for the Mariners…its just really amazing how terrible Bradley is and must be inside the clubhouse. I agree they can just outright him if he gets really out of line.

    Considering Pinella basically fired Bradley and sent him home, do you really think Hendry had any leverage whatsoever to negotiate? Everyone in baseball knew that Bradley wasn’t coming back to Chicago and that their only options were to release him or trade him for anything of even the slightest possible value. I think Jack Z has a great talent for recognizing weakness (Amaro with Lee, Hendry with Bradley) and striking before anyone could.

    Comment by NEPP — December 18, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  115. Here’s a WAR prediction percentage list:

    10% chance of 4 WAR season; the M’s win the West and baseball is “saved in Seattle” once again; Bradley settles down and finds the Buddha (who is actually fat Griffey in disguise)

    25% chance of 3 WAR season; Bradley actually smiles in the dugout on occasion, but only when approached and patted by Designated Tickler, Griffey Jr.; the M’s win the West; Bradley may or may not be hit in the eye by the popping cork of a teammate’s celebratory champagne after the divisional title — this may or may not have been intentional

    40% chance of 2 WAR season; Bradley’s antics turn Griffey’s hair gray, but they get through it with a little help from Jay Buhner running through the dugout kicking Bradley in the balls (literally); the AL West comes down to final week, and Milton may or may not hit the Division-winning clincher

    20% chance of 1 War season; Bradley’s craziness surfaces and no one is able to appreciably stop it; Griffey grows a mustache and pretends he’s the Monopoly Guy while trying to put Bradley in “Go To Jail” — Bradley pulls a knife out and slits Griffey’s fat stomach; the M’s don’t win the West and Bradley is unceremoniously dumped mid-season

    5% chance of 0 WAR season; Milton Bradley nukes Seattle

    Comment by Bodhizefa — December 19, 2009 @ 12:51 am

  116. For a guy who didn’t speak for me, you spoke it up pretty good, sir. Thanks.

    Don’t appreciate the “trolling” characterization much, P-fool. If this were a specifically Mariners website, I could understand the loaded comment. But I’m sure you’d agree that the general, all-team sites like Fangraphs exist for the give-and-take, the intellectual rigor.

    Idle question: anybody know of a pitcher evaluation system (DIPS, FIP, et. al.) that accounts for a hurler’s ability to (1)cut down the running game, through either pickoffs or simply holding runners close, (2)induce GIDPs, or (3)pitch as comfortably from the stretch as not? This is not a rhetorical query; I confess my ignorance about the subtleties of sophisticated pitching metrics.

    Comment by Bob — December 19, 2009 @ 1:15 am

  117. You guys are talking about two different things. On one hand there is the investment that will never change because it is money already spent. That is that the Cubs are essentially counting 7.5 million (24 mil – 9 mil over 2 years) for Silva towards their total payroll. The M’s are paying 15 mil per season (21 mil plus 9 mil) over 2 seasons towards their payroll.

    This is different from the risk/reward concept of is it worth it to have Silva and a 3 million a year discount on any free agent signing vs just keeping Bradley….and for the M’s is it worth it to pay 3 million more for Bradley OVER Silvas production.

    Comment by Mike — December 19, 2009 @ 1:38 am

  118. SS was pretty awful offensively, too, JH. Shockingly, it should be better in 2010 with a healthy-ish Wilson, or even Hannahan.

    Comment by djw — December 19, 2009 @ 1:42 am

  119. Does anyone else have the feeling that a certain selfish speedy Asian outfielder might cause a few problems when his new teammate comes to town? Word on the street is he’s not the easiest to play with….

    Comment by Jstay — December 19, 2009 @ 1:48 am

  120. Word that Carlos himself was rumored to spread.

    Comment by Dave R — December 19, 2009 @ 1:56 am

  121. It tells me you need to get your facts straight.

    Comment by joser — December 19, 2009 @ 2:05 am

  122. Apparently he got over it.

    Comment by joser — December 19, 2009 @ 2:12 am

  123. I assume you’re trying to make a joke, but I’m having trouble seeing it.

    Comment by joser — December 19, 2009 @ 2:13 am

  124. Milton Bradley may be a unique individual and a force of nature, but I don’t think even he, by himself, can “save” or “nuke” baseball in Seattle.

    Comment by joser — December 19, 2009 @ 2:14 am

  125. The flaw with the reasoning in a lot of these posts is claiming Silva is a replacement level pitcher. Even with his injury plagued last 2 seasons included he has averaged 2 WAR over the last 6 years. Assuming his shoulder is healthy he most likely is going to be worth 1-2 WAR with an outside chance at 3 WAR. There are plenty of scenarios where Bradley doesn’t match that.

    I think the deal is a win for the Mariners, I think people just go way overboard with how “worthless” marginal SP is.

    Comment by Ender — December 19, 2009 @ 7:27 am

  126. If so, that’s comes out to 2.15, well worth the $2.5M the Mariners will be paying to have Bradley instead of Silva next year.

    Comment by hk — December 19, 2009 @ 8:39 am

  127. The analysis seems pretty simple. The bottom line is that this deal is a good one for both teams. They swapped the sunk costs of contracts of players that they didn’t want. The difference is that Jack Z. took a player that the prior GM signed and turned him plus $5M into a player with better upside while Hendry recouped whatever he could ($5M) for a player who (just twelve months ago) he felt was worth $30M over three years.

    The money quote from this whole situation is that Hendry took responsibility, but added “no one could have really predicted how it turned out.”

    Comment by hk — December 19, 2009 @ 8:59 am

  128. Jack: “Baseball terrorists for $500, Alex.”

    {{{DAILY DOUBLE}}}

    Jack: “I’ll wager $6 million, clubhouse chemistry and my interim title GM genius/DJ Dancin Streetz.”

    Alex: “No, we got a Rodney King beatdown tonight.”

    “Some people, that’s all their life is ? is baseball … how many hits they get, how many runs they drive in, how many plays they make, … They’re working for a plaque. I’m not working for a plaque. I’m working to put food on my table.”

    “There’s always race in everything. You see, that’s another thing, white people never want to see race with anything. There’s race involved in baseball. That’s why there is less than 9 percent African-American representation in the game.”

    “I have a life besides baseball. This isn’t my life. I play because I can. A lot of people say Milton Bradley is a good person. I’m trying to be a good person. But anybody who stands between me getting there, they need to be eliminated. Something needs to be done. I’m not going to revert to the person I was last year and in the past. I’m starting to get respect because I earned it.”

    “(Teammates) gravitate toward me. I’m not introverted.”

    “I can’t remember the last time we had a lead.”

    “I know I’m going to be successful, regardless. I’m a no-nonsense guy.”

    “I’m not going to have opinions. I’m not going to cause problems. I’m going to go with the flow.”

    “I’m really not dealing with the media this spring.”

    “You know he’s gonna call pretty much anything [a strike]. So you have to be ready.”

    “I didn’t think about it. I was just trying not to embarrass myself out there.”

    “We got along as well as we could. It didn’t work for me.”

    Jack: “Who is Milton Bradley.”

    Jack’s wife: Jack, Jack {{{JAAAAAACK}}}…are you ok?

    Jack: I had the worst dream….

    Comment by Fangraphs: Hypocritical authors — December 19, 2009 @ 11:14 am

  129. Mariners taking on Milton Bradley is a risk worth taking.

    One of Zduriencik’s primary objectives in the 2008 offseason was to clean up a toxic clubhouse. If you knew how bad that clubhouse was you’d say that the effort put forth by the Front Office was a smashing success. As Wakamatsu (Manager) loves to put it (and just about everything else), they have a “belief system” in place.

    Think of bringing in Milton Bradley as a clubhouse stress tester of sorts.

    The organization is not ignorant, they know what they’re getting into. But given what they’ve had to work with so far the potential rewards outweigh the risks involved.

    Sure, Seattle might be just another team where Bradley wears out his welcome. Still, I wager if he can’t work with this team then he won’t be able to work with anyone else. This team is about as supportive as it gets for its players from the top on down.

    We’ll see how it goes.

    Comment by ThundaPC — December 19, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  130. Jon,

    Think of it this way

    The M’s released Carlos Silva (which they very well have done if he wasnt dealt – he was a wasted roster spot)

    Then the M’s traded nothing and gave 5 MM to the Cubs for Bradley

    Would you trade 0 prospects and 5 MM for 2 years of Bradley? Mental issues included, its not a bad risk to take.

    Comment by Joey — December 19, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

  131. Thanks, Bob… Glad I got it right. I thought you were making a good point. We have to remember what stats are for – FIP isn’t “better” than ERA in some absolute, platonic sense (Well, OK, maybe :) ). It’s better for discussing a pitchers true talent and projecting future performance… but it’s basicaly useless in telling us about how many runs were actually earned!

    My own limited understanding is that holding runners and pitching from the stretch aren’t very important in the final analysis – That they don’t have a big effect on overall performance for most pitchers, so they’re not given a lot of attention.

    Keeping in mind that, as Tango points out, that doesn’t mean these aren’t skills. Probably just that most players who are particularly bad at them never make the majors, so we only see a relatively small (and relatively unimportant) variation in skill at the major league level.

    I think studies have shown that most pitchers who have bad stats from the stretch one year pick it up the next (So, it’s not a skill for most pitchers. If it doesn’t correlate year to year, it’s probably just luck, at least for those in the sample. Presumably most of those who are much worse from the stretch get weeded out before reaching the majors.).

    As far as GIDP… Well, I know not accounting for ground ball percentage, etc, is one weakness of FIP (the stat named FIP on FanGraphs, not FIP/DIPS theory in general). A pitcher who gets lots of grounders will beat out his FIP most years, for two reasons 1) Most grounders are singles, and NONE of them leave the park, 2) GIDP. I think the first of those things is more important (but not sure), but I am pretty sure that tRA includes them implicitly – tRA pays attention to batted ball types and their run values, so it implicitly includes the value of double plays in to its numbers for ground balls.

    (BTW, per BABIP-type randomness, I believe getting batters to GIDP is only a function of ground ball percentage – No pitcher is specifically better at it, just better at getting grounders in general.)

    Kevin S., you’re right about that – Lee gets the benefit as well – but while I’m not qualified to speak to just how much the good Mariners defense helped here (I am not up for the task of applying the UZR numbers back to the pitchers in any sensible manner!), I think the general conclusion is that a lot of it was luck for Washburn et al.

    I believe he had a very low HR/FB % in the earlier part of last year, much lower than his norm or the MLB norm at Safeco field. I’m not sure if his strand % was unusually high, but that may have been as well. (Anyone know where to look that up? Am I stupid and does Fangraphs have it?)

    To DKulich, that’s an excellent point about the two players. Just as far as after-the-fact value goes in one season, it’s obviously better to get that value from one player. As far as planning for the future… Well, risk plays in to it, but you’d generally still want it from one player. Like you said – It lets you look for more wins elsewhere!

    Comment by Patrick — December 19, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

  132. Ha!

    Stop it! You’re destroying my fragile little Cubs heart! It can take only so much abuse!

    Comment by Bradley — December 19, 2009 @ 9:22 pm

  133. Thank you for posting this. I find it kind of strange that several posters on this thread are quick to throw around the phrase “sunk cost” when talking about this trade. Sunk costs are inescapable costs. For example, the money that the M’s have already paid out to Silva (i.e. money paid out pre-2010) would be a sunk cost. Any future money the M’s owed Silva (i.e. money owed for 2010 and beyond) is not a sunk cost because they could take action to avoid it. They were able to successfully do this when they traded Silva (and his salary) to the Cubs. While subtracting Silva’s cost brings the residual cost of the deal to $6 million, the total cost to the M’s for this trade is $30 million as this is the amount of future dollars they will pay out as a result of making this deal. The assertion that the trade cost the M’s $6 million for the right to Milton Bradley is not exactly accurate.

    Comment by Nate — December 20, 2009 @ 6:42 pm

  134. The MB21 trade is just the beginning… I propose a complete firesale on the north side. Aramis to the M’s for prospects (this obvi makes them faves in the AL West) and trade Z, Lilly, Theriot and Lee for whatever you can get. Soto is interesting enough to hang onto and Soriano is absolutely untradeable (unless $75mil is sent with him). Hendry, of course, won’t do this because he still thinks the Cubs are close to the playoffs.

    Anyone can shove $100 mill plus at someone and have them sign. Cubs are, at best, a 76-81 win team this yr. I don’t think I’m even going to bother buying tix this yr (and I’ve gone to 30 plus games a yr for the last 5 seasons)…

    Comment by Justin — December 21, 2009 @ 2:14 am

  135. At the time of his trade to Detroit, Dave noted that Washburn was sporting “an unsustainable 6.4% HR/FB rate.” He’s a flyball pitcher, and at Safeco he was pitching in a park suited to flyball lefties. He did improve some in ’09, but a lot of his perceived improvement was just the better defense behind him (I recall a Fangraphs post with a wonderful “heat-graph” showing the outfield defense but I can’t find it now). Give up a lot of flyballs and be lucky enough to have most of them stay in the park and have guys behind you who can catch the rest, and you’ll look really good.

    Strand rate is LOB% in the Advanced section of the pitching stats. Washburn was sporting 75% in 2009 which was higher than his previous years with Seattle but by no means his career high.

    Comment by joser — December 21, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

  136. But they were going to get nothing back from that $24M. By throwing good money after bad — $6M of it — they turned an unproductive asset into a potentially valuable one. If they end up cutting Bradley before they get about a win and half out of him, it’s a bad deal. If they get more than a win and a half out of him (assuming Wins are still going for ~$4M) they are ahead — because they were going to get no wins out of Silva. That’s why people are using “sunk cost” though you could use other terms like “non-performing asset” or “inert maw into which you throw money.” In this case the Cubs acted a bit like the way the Troubled Asset Relief Program was supposed to work for bad bank loans — the M’s got off their books an inflated asset that was worth far less than its nominal face value and put themselves into a better position with a minimal outlay of additional capital.

    Comment by joser — December 21, 2009 @ 2:08 pm

  137. Sometimes people simply get in the way of their talent. Sad.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — May 6, 2010 @ 11:42 am

  138. Derp.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — May 6, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

  139. Genius, pure genius * rolls eyes* I can now see why you ranked this organization as high as you did.

    Comment by Steve-O — May 8, 2010 @ 9:12 am

  140. Yeah, the Cubs’ ranking was a bit off.

    Comment by joser — May 8, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

  141. You didn’t estimate the odds of a negative WAR season from Bradley. And no one seemed to think much of the odds of Silva going back to 3 WAR or more. Dave kinda did.

    Wow, process certainly didn’t mean results here. Although both teams were trying to spin gold from albatross feathers.

    Comment by wobatus — June 7, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

  142. I searched many websites and here I found what I was looking for, thanks for valuable post.

    Comment by lose inches not pounds — June 28, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

  143. Oh Milton — now you’ve done it again.

    Comment by Bilbo — January 19, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

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