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  1. You left off one part.

    EVERYONE has gone out of their way to try to enable Garko to win a major league job.

    Simply put, he SUCKS.

    He’s likely not conditioned for regulat at-bats.

    Comment by JayCee — March 31, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

  2. The fact that Sweeney and Griffey are both on the 25-man roster, forcing Bradley to LF, and leaving the M’s with no bench to speak of, has to be a huge counter-example to the alledged genius of the Seattle F.O.

    If you end up with a decrepit DH-platoon that’s below replacement level and Casey Kotchman as your #3 hitter, you are not the best GM in baseball.

    Comment by snapper — March 31, 2010 @ 5:08 pm

  3. Q: Does Garko deserve a major league job (and in particular a job with the Ms)?

    JayCee Answer: No, “Simply put, he SUCKS.”

    Thank you for such well thought out and in-depth analysis. I’m sure nothing devil_fingers wrote can stand up to such expert evaluation skills.

    Comment by Dr. Strangelove — March 31, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

  4. It’s hard to believe that a DH platoon is a good idea when you’re carrying 12 pitchers. That leaves 11 position players, one of whom must be a backup catcher. The M’s basically will have no in game strategy options with their lineup.

    Comment by Brian — March 31, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

  5. Not sure exactly where I said that Ryan Garko is good. Let’s just take a look at something simple. You have a choice between three players to be your full-time DH, that is, his only job will be to hit. The only information you have is their wOBA fro 2007-2009. Which do you choose, the guy who’s wOBA 2007-2209 is a) .322, b) .345, or c) .346?

    Take your time.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 31, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

  6. Not to mention if any regular gets banged up and can’t play for 2 or more games you basically have to make a roster move.

    I think they may be carrying only 11 pitchers though.

    The issue is still bad given that Bradley and Wilson are very injury prone.

    The bench will basically be Eric Byrnes, a MI, to cover 8 positions.

    Comment by snapper — March 31, 2010 @ 5:24 pm

  7. Clearly the Mariners think they’re going to get better than Mike Sweeney’s offensive production out of Mike Sweeney (and, I’d reckon, less that Ryan Garko’s projection out of Ryan Garko). Question: is there any basis for either of these beliefs? I haven’t seen it, but then, the guys running the M’s are all smarter than I, so I’ll defer to them on this one.

    As for George Kenneth Jr., well, that’s never been about his remaining talent. I hope we’ll see some at bats in April followed by a freak injury allowing him to spend the remainder of the season riding the pine and fostering chemistry by gluing players to their chairs.

    Comment by Transient Gadfly — March 31, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

  8. It’s not accurate to say that the difference between Griffey’s and Garko’s salary is equal to the price that the Mariners put on “chemistry.” Griffey’s presence on the team is a significant financial asset – I have yet to see a parent buy their child a Garko jersey at the M’s team store…

    Comment by rlc — March 31, 2010 @ 5:56 pm

  9. He didn’t exactly start out with the Yankees… compared to where they were… New F.O. has done an excellent job improving the team

    Comment by Eldingo — March 31, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

  10. Yeah I forgot that offense was the only thing you build a team around. Oh wait…

    Comment by Eric — March 31, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

  11. This is true enough (i.e. Zduriencik is getting a lot of hype for putting together what looks like a flawed roster), but it’s not like Garko would have changed things much. Sweeney can’t play any position; Garko can’t play a position well.

    Also, remember that the worst-case scenario for this roster construction is Milton Bradley not being able to play the field and stay healthy. That could easily happen, but the team’s next prospect in the wings is LF Michael Saunders, who could probably contribute today if called upon (and hits lefty, so he can be broken in by platooning with Byrnes).

    Comment by Random Guy — March 31, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

  12. Sadly, they never got the chance. We can only hypothetically speculate on the wave of Garko-Mania that would gripped the Pacific Northwest if only it had been given the chance.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 31, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

  13. The Mariners have five different promotions for Ken Griffey Jr. this year. Three bobbleheads, a t-shirt and a cap. So I would think that part of his salary reflects how much they view his marketability.

    Comment by Jack — March 31, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  14. Yeah, I see the point, I guess.

    You know what else is marketable? A playoff team.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 31, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

  15. Moreover, they could have kept Griffey AND Garko.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 31, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

  16. How is the Mariners’ 2010 season like the movie “Office Space”? Both end with a guy named Milton setting fire to the place.

    Oh, I just slay myself.

    Comment by Random Guy — March 31, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

  17. There is a reason bad teams are bad. This is a bad decision unless there is something about Garko we don’t know. They have him under control for 3 years although arbitration is looming. Griffeey and Sweeney even with a platoon advantage will make more outs. Garko had a 391 OBP against LHP last year and Sweeney 303 OBP, and Garko hits RHP as well as Griffey. They could have dumped Griffey and Sweeney and freed up a roster spot, not to mention saving some money.

    Of course, they need Griffey to baby sit Milton Bradley and Garko might not be the type to accept so few at bats knowing he is a better hitter.

    Comment by pft — March 31, 2010 @ 7:07 pm

  18. From what I’ve read today, there is a strong probability that Garko will clear waivers, so maybe he will just hang out in Tacoma until Griffeeny falls apart and requires replacement. Or maybe the M’s FO knows something that we do not, and being the tight-lipped FO they are, are not sharing all the info. Maybe Garko has had some setbacks or is just not able to play to his “Projected” level anymore. Thus making Sweeney the short-term better choice.

    Comment by Shane — March 31, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

  19. It could very well be that they know something we don’t. Indeed, they almost certainly have a different opinion of the relative offensive value of the players than that in this post.

    As for me, I gotta go with what I know.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 31, 2010 @ 8:03 pm

  20. One thing this site doesn’t do well is it continues to neglect marketing/marquee value some players bring to a franchise. I’ve got Mariners fan friends and they are all extra excited that Ken Griffey Jr is back for another hurrah with the Mariners, so they will definitely make some of that money back before you even consider Junior’s on field contributions. It is guaranteed that was part of their calculation.

    Comment by AdamOnFirst — March 31, 2010 @ 8:18 pm

  21. RLC is right, there is the marketing component that helps cover Griffey’s costs. Just having him there is likely to cover the costs of Griffey’s salary in a way that no other player besides Ichiro and Felix provide, so the money he’s being paid is like giving him a cut of the money he brings simply by being on the 25 man roster.

    Comment by T — March 31, 2010 @ 8:36 pm

  22. It would be folly to assign the difference between expected level of performance and pay entirely to Griffey being a nice guy.

    Mike Sweeney is also a nice guy and is being paid far less.

    Comment by Jack — March 31, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

  23. Again, they could have kept Griffey AND Garko. Griffey could handle the marketing, Garko could handle, well, the baseball playing.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 31, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

  24. Yeah but I think his point is, you shouldn’t be comparing Garko to Griffey + Sweeney; rather, you should consider Griffey separately (due to his marketing ability / whatever), and compare instead Garko to Sweeney by himself, the question being whether Griffey/Garko or Griffey/Sweeney is better. The difference there is $100,000 + whatever additional wins Garko would provide, and I’m guessing the number you reach for that is reasonably attributable to Sweeney’s clubhouse presence.

    Comment by David — March 31, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

  25. as pointed out by matt, if there’s one team that needs to pay attention to chemistry, it’s the one that has milton bradley on it. bradley playing well (and it appears a prerequisite for that is him being “happy”) is a heck of a lot more important to the mariners’ success than whatever improvement garko is projected to provide. whether this is the best way to go about ensuring bradley is happy, i don’t think anyone knows because, after all, bradley is crazy.

    Comment by larry — March 31, 2010 @ 9:04 pm

  26. Well, that’s a good point. I’m not sure Griffey is going to make the team $2 Million dollars this season with jerseys, in fact, I think that’s highly unlikely.

    Not that Garko guarantees the playoffs, but using him over Griffey and Sweeney (and keep in mind that without the platoon advantage, and using less optimistic projections, Garko is still projects better t han Griffey WITH the platoon advantage) certainly increases the Mariners chances, and one playoff series would mean way more money for the Mariners than whatever Griffey produces in t-shirts.

    And, might I humbly submit, that while Griffey might mean some more revenue for the team, the whole point of the game is to win, and I seriously doubt that whatever revenue Griffey brings in by getting to show up and suck is going to make a big difference in whom the Mariners can acquire down the line.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 31, 2010 @ 9:39 pm

  27. That was pretty good. Thumbs up!

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 31, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

  28. So if Garko is worth .5 WAR as a full-time DH and keeping him over Sweeney would only allow him to play 50% of the time (70% of all pitchers are RH and people don’t buy tickets to watch him sit on the bench), meaning that Garko is worth .25 WAR.

    So to summarize, Sweeney’s positive chemistry value, not having to add one more variable for Wak to consider, and Garko’s bad attitude being removed from the roster (more than one Indian fan eluded to him being an ass) vs. $100K in extra salary + dispatching Garko (worst case $500K more than a normal AAA guy or just the pro-rated cost if someone picks him up) and .25 WAR.

    For the record, I don’t think he’s worth .25 WAR more than Sweeney and I don’t think his contributions cancel out the effect of keeping the bulk of the roster together from last year and saying a few hundred thousand dollars on a $100MM payroll.

    Trading for Adrian Gonzalez or some other bat will not be undone over the cost difference of Garko being a fizzle. Most teams expect a $5-10MM whoops fund, so throw a a couple hundred thousand in that whoops fund and move forward, right?

    Sweeney + $500K > Garko

    Clubhouse chemistry when you have Milton on the team is worth $500K. If Sweeney helps to keep Milton positive, than you are saving $1.5MM in wasted salary for having to cut Bradley, just saying.

    Comment by Kurt — March 31, 2010 @ 10:17 pm

  29. to watch *him* refers to Griffey.

    Comment by Kurt — March 31, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

  30. and saying a few hundred thousand dollars = and saving a few hundred thousand dollars

    Comment by Kurt — March 31, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

  31. the whole point of the game may be to win. the whole point of the organization may well be to make money. japanese companies often like to make money.

    Comment by larry — March 31, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

  32. Well, but wasn’t that supposed to be the big draw LAST season? Are they going to keep re-signing him year after year so that people will be excited to go see the REAL last hurrah?

    I’m glad that Junior’s back with the M’s, but he should’ve retired after his last go-round with the squad. He’s not contributing at this point. And as for all the clubhouse talk…haven’t various and sundry writers established that he was, to put it rather bluntly, kind of a dick? I guess it’s possible that he’s changed, but…I just don’t see him being worth the money, even from a marketing standpoint.

    Comment by Padman Jones — March 31, 2010 @ 11:08 pm

  33. Well it’s not your – or mine, or anyone here’s – business to find out what makes Bradley happy, but shouldn’t the front office find out what makes Bradley happy, and then go out and do that? He was happy on Texas…so why not grab Hank Blalock? Why assume that Griffey (or perhaps more appropriately, Sweeney, since Griffey was a lock for the roster anyway) is going to make Bradley happy? I don’t want to tie this back to the flap that’s been going on about the M’s ranking 6th – though Matt did, very cleverly at the end – but a smart front office should be asking Bradley what he wants, what will make him happy.

    Comment by Padman Jones — March 31, 2010 @ 11:12 pm

  34. True, but marketing Griffey is much easier. He just needs to exist in some form on the team, whereas a playoff team requires a lot more effort and some luck.

    Comment by statzombie — March 31, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

  35. Imagine if the Mariners had Jim Thome at DH instead of the Griffey/Sweeney Zombie Platoon…

    Comment by Pat — March 31, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

  36. It seems likely that the zombie patrol DH is nothing more than a temporary placeholder until Mike Carp or Michael Saunders force their way onto the roster. If by May, Jack Wilson is outhitting the DH and Carp/Saunders are impressing in AAA, this entire discussion becomes worthless. Sweeney can be released and Griffey can sign autographs in the dugout.

    Comment by statzombie — March 31, 2010 @ 11:26 pm

  37. Then they may actually contend…! Bradley is very good but you just need to DH him

    Comment by Kampfer — March 31, 2010 @ 11:30 pm

  38. They could probably still go out tomorrow and sign Frank Thomas for $1 million and he’d post a .360 OBP.

    Comment by Bronnt — March 31, 2010 @ 11:32 pm

  39. I don’t think that Mike Carp is going to force his way onto the team. The shine is off of him in a lot of people’s eyes. Saunders is a different story, but he needs a little more time in AAA.

    I do agree that this likely isn’t the same situation we’ll see in June, though.

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 31, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

  40. I’m just convinced Sweeney has naked pictures of somebody to have won the 25th roster spot.

    Garko, CHONE wRC+ projection: 105
    Sweeney, CHONE wRC+ projection: 83

    Garko’s no great shakes, but what the hell has happened that Garko went from someone who could help a contender make the playoffs to a nobody so fast? Wonder where he’ll resurface, I figure for a cellar dweller like Baltimore, Toronto, or something.

    Comment by Joe R — April 1, 2010 @ 12:46 am

  41. We do have more than just the Mariners to go on here. San Francisco let Garko go in a move that had most people here scratching their heads. The SF FO isn’t generally credited with being the most savvy, but it’s possible that they and the Mariners saw the same thing in Garko — maybe some indication that his 2nd-half performance last year is actually what one should expect from here on out?

    Comment by NadavT — April 1, 2010 @ 1:15 am

  42. And how do you know that Bradley didn’t say that being on the same team as Griffey would make him happy? Don’t assume the front office didn’t find out what makes Bradley happy.

    Comment by Adam — April 1, 2010 @ 1:35 am

  43. Does anyone else find this thread of comments hilarious?

    Comment by Reuben — April 1, 2010 @ 2:48 am

  44. One thing this does is make me wonder what a platoon of Griffey and Garko would look like. Even assuming that Garko was statistically dominant, Griffey would still get 30-40% of the starts. I don’t think it’s absurd at all to think that Griffey will earn an extra 2-3 million in merchandise, promotions, ads, and media coverage. If Griffey could draw in an extra 50 people per game that paid 30 bucks per seat, that would add up to 250k. And that ticket price is generously conservative, to say the least. At 50 bucks spent per person, you’re up to 400k. Included in his price, you get his post-game interviews thrown in for free and get extra media coverage (see: advertisement). Griffey could contribute nothing on the field and probably still benefit the team.

    So basically, the question that should be asked is: What is the benefit of replacing Sweeney with Garko? Still 1/2 a win? 1/4 of a win? No benefit? If it starts going under 1/4 of a win, I’d begin to wonder if the difference is even statistically significant enough to say anything about it.

    Comment by B N — April 1, 2010 @ 2:56 am

  45. That may have been true last year, and somewhat true this year, but:

    There is a significant and growing portion of the Mariners fanbase that doesn’t see any value in having the shell of Griffey taking up a roster spot.

    At some point, the Mariners need to say “enough, already”.

    Comment by Jeff Nye — April 1, 2010 @ 4:43 am

  46. End of the day that’s projection, not prediction. There’s no guarantee. You can feel lucky, but that doesn’t mean you are going to win the lottery. Don’t cofuse the two, it only makes you look bad… Compare Sweeney’s yesterday to Garko’s yesterday, but comparing PROJECTIONS is just stupid and pointless… I’m going to create a projection system called ICHIRO and I’m going to predict a wRC+ projection for Josh Wilson of 145, so let’s make him the DH, because I say so and because I think Josh Wilson is a 145 wRC+ in my projections. Do you have any idea now how horrible an argument you make when you compare projections?

    Projections vs. Garko not being able to field anything and hitting less than .200 in Spring Training against AAA pitchers? Hmmm…

    Comment by Kurt — April 1, 2010 @ 5:32 am

  47. To your point of less than 1/4 of a win not being worth anything… From a personal stand point… You are on the Mariners 25-man roster and you are given the choice to play with your friend Sweeney or some other dude playing league average 1B with .5 win benefit to the team. Would you rather play with your friend or not?

    In a vacuum, I think the Mariners probably figure that it’s going to take more than 1/2 a game to swing a playoff appearance in their favor. If the Mariners miss the playoffs by 1/2 a win, than not only does that create some interesting math, but it probably means that Zduriencik went on vacation in June. Simply, there’s no way you lose the division by 1/2 a game and weren’t in it enough to get some help at the deadline worth more than the 1/2 game you lost by going with Sweeney.

    In the words of Shakespear… “This is much ado about nothing”

    Comment by Kurt — April 1, 2010 @ 5:41 am

  48. Shakespeare, my screen ate the “e”. :(

    Comment by Kurt — April 1, 2010 @ 5:44 am

  49. Actually he is on a one year contract. And as important as historical stats are, when a guy is basically handed a roster spot and performs so poorly that the coaches can’t justify keeping him, its a “what have you done for me lately” situation. That is how the business works. I’m confident the M’s know something about Garko’s current status that we do not, and judging by how quickly things soured, I’m guessing it ain’t pretty.

    Comment by Sean — April 1, 2010 @ 7:51 am

  50. I take it that the way Sweeney and Garko have performed in ST has no relevance in your view? The Indians, Giants and now the Ms have cut Garko in the past year, doesn’t that count as a clue? How about that Griffey had a 12% walk rate last season and his OBP was better than Lopez and Beltre and The Safe is the House that Griffey built, not Garko. That kind of stuff counts to Ms fans and GMZ gets it, even if you don’t.

    Comment by maqman — April 1, 2010 @ 8:35 am

  51. So, the guy who says using projections is stupid later uses Spring Training numbers to back his argument….

    Comment by Steve — April 1, 2010 @ 8:36 am

  52. To be clear, I am open to the idea that Garko is worse than his projection says he is. It just seemed like an strange thing to rail against. And oddly dismissive of all the work and science that goes into these projection systems. The creators didn’t just “make up” the numbers “because they said so”

    Comment by Steve — April 1, 2010 @ 8:56 am

  53. Maybe, although the Giants turned around and signed Aubrey Huff, who wOBA’s more than _40_ points lower than Garko did last season.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — April 1, 2010 @ 11:32 am

  54. Well said. I retract my post.

    /April Fools

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — April 1, 2010 @ 11:34 am

  55. And keeping Garko guarantees a playoff team?

    Comment by Brian Tallet's Moustache — April 1, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

  56. To be fair, there’s not enough information to discern between (b) and (c) in wOBA alone, so other factors (principally, age and salary, but perhaps also “effect on team chemistry” and other nebulous factors for those so inclined to look at such things) need to factor into the discussion.

    Comment by Jason B — April 1, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

  57. Garko-mania has similar symptoms to Pac Man Fever, I hear…

    I think that’s what sidelined Conor Jackson all last year, if I’m not mistaken.

    Comment by Jason B — April 1, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

  58. They also signed a giant man-eating plant from outer space named the Aubrey II.

    Comment by Jason B — April 1, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

  59. As an M’s fan, I was puzzled by the Griffey/Sweeny platoon last year, and am doubly so this year. I like both guys, and as someone north of 40 myself, I hate calling them way past their prime, but… there it is.

    Still, as far as Garko is concerned, remember that Cleveland, another org that is usually described as well-run, traded him for a mediocre pitching prospect from the Giants.

    I still am skeptical of keeping Sweeny on the roster, but I’m not skeptical of letting Garko go.

    Comment by JMHawkins — April 1, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

  60. It was pretty certain Garko would be claimed, and therefor his salary off of their books. I would think it’s less likely he’d be claimed. So then they’d be stuck with basically paying double for Garko, right?

    Comment by BS — April 2, 2010 @ 12:28 am

  61. I mean, less likely that Sweeney would have been claimed.

    Comment by BS — April 2, 2010 @ 12:28 am

  62. Let’s be clear…

    Hitting .600 in Spring Training against mostly minor league arms is whatever, but hitting .200 against inferior arms in Arizona humidity, well that signals a huge problem. I could also point to his lackluster performance in San Francisco last August/September.

    The point being that successful Spring Training numbers don’t support arguments about a player being good because all potential 25-man roster guys should pound minor leaguers. On the flip side of this argument, if a potential 25-man roster guy CAN’T hit against minor leaguers, than probably you want to look in another direction. I guess it’s too complicated to explain and one of those things you have to just “get”, but Garko proved he sucked in Spring Training and Sweeney only proved that he doesn’t suck (his spring didn’t prove he’s good, just that his weaknesses aren’t be exposed yet this year.)

    Comment by Kurt — April 2, 2010 @ 5:21 am

  63. Also, spring training numbers are small sample sizes, they are flawed statistics, and they tend to mislead more often than not, but PROJECTIONS are like looking into a crystal ball to see the future, but spring training stats are magic or other world stuff, simply they are misleading…

    Misleading statistics do NOT equal Projections, they are different and if you don’t see the difference, than you have no business commenting in this kind of forum. Further details can be see in my other response. I would reply to you directly, but the option was not there.

    Comment by Kurt — April 2, 2010 @ 5:26 am

  64. but spring training stats are magic or other world stuff, simply they are misleading…= but spring training stats are NOT magic or other world stuff, simply they are misleading…

    Comment by Kurt — April 2, 2010 @ 5:27 am

  65. Don’t forget the BABIP for Griffey was .220 last year and his lowest BABIP was .248 in 2006 before last year. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Griffey gets his BABIP up to.250 in 2010 and that would raise his AVG to around .250 and his OBP to .355-.360.

    Griffey’s walk to strikeout ratio does not show decline in vision or discipline even if he is 40 this year. Also, his power numbers leave him as a potential 30+ HR guy if playing a full season, so even losing something still leaves him better than most guys who are in their 30s.

    It’s sad that Griffey gets compared to who he was, instead of just accepting him for who he is. If this was some random everyday player, nobody would talk so much crap about his production. Griffey is still a good player coming off a bad luck season, but he has the chance to be a .250/.350/.450 hitter this year.

    Either way, it has nothing to do with Garko vs. Sweeney. Griffey pays not only his salary, but he also pays the salary for Sweeney and than some with his marketability. Griffey is the other half of the platoon statistically regardless of whether Sweeney or Garko is kept on the team, so it’s simply $550K for Garko & .25 WAR vs. $650K for Sweeney & positive clubhouse chemistry.

    I’ll pay the extra $100K, lose the .25 WAR, and bank on clubhouse chemistry making up that extra 1/4 of a win with the way the guys support each other and use the positivity around them to avoid slumps and losing streaks.

    Comment by Kurt — April 2, 2010 @ 5:44 am

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