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  1. Interesting that, even with all that is going for them, they are the lowest ranked AL West team. I look forward to the rest, and, though I thought the M’s would go higher, am glad to be done hearing about why whatever team is better than the M’s. Great stuff, Dave, as always.

    Comment by Sass — March 18, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

  2. The Mariners are a “sleeper” organization. They’ve got a lot of talent, some of it buried in unlikely places. So if Dave Cameron, no great fan of the team, says that they might be about to wake up, that’s worth listening to.

    Comment by Tom Au — March 18, 2009 @ 3:17 pm

  3. Dave… I feel that you are dead on about the M’s organization. Infact, I think that this year’s team has a good chance at winning the West… It is Beltre’s contract year afterall.

    The one thing I think is that it is too early to put a grade on the Front Office. I would like to see a good draft out of them first. But I do like what they have done so far.

    Comment by Tim — March 18, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

  4. Go look at Milwaukee’s recent drafts. Zduriencik and McNamara weren’t created out of thin air yesterday. They have a long track record of drafting extremely well.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 18, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

  5. I’m not at all worried about the Mariners’ drafting future, but you’re giving him far too much credit in the other aspects of the game based on trading his closer for one prospect with upside and some major-league filler. As I said in the previous thread, the grade is incomplete.

    Comment by Kevin S. — March 18, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

  6. Not a Mariners fan (at least not primarily, though I generally root for them), but I agree that you were too conservative in rating the front office. I think an A- is both the appropriate grade for what they’ve done so far and the grade you probably wanted to give them, but were understandably avoiding some of the “bias!” attacks.

    But, then, an “incomplete” would also have been acceptable…

    Comment by Bill — March 18, 2009 @ 3:32 pm

  7. Except that’s not what I’m giving them credit for. I’m giving them credit for hiring Tom Tango, creating a department of baseball research, giving the #2 position in the organization to Tony Blengino, hiring Don Wakamatsu to be the manager, and the overall intelligence of the people running the organization. We have far more evidence of their strategies going forward than just using their major league transactions as a proxy.

    The grade might be incomplete for people who don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but that description doesn’t include me.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 18, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  8. What are these advanced analytical techniques? Why wouldn’t any other team have them? I can get somewhat on board with the rest of the article, but these “techniques” seem to be pretty close to the homerism that everyone is talking about.

    If anything, MacPhail is the only GM in the business using a unique undervalued statistic (defense) to scout and promote players, in much the same way Beane once used OBP. If you can give me some sort of answer besides “I don’t know what it is; it’s super secret ninja statistics” then we can go from there.

    Comment by Greg in Baltimore — March 18, 2009 @ 3:35 pm

  9. Regardless, it’s grading them on things that *should* work, not things that have worked. I understand these rankings are for going forward, and I’m as bullish on the hires as anybody (from an observational standpoint, not a fan), but I just don’t think you can know what they’re going to do without a real track record in player acquisition. Also, you didn’t mention the Junior acquisition. Are you satisfied that he won’t get in the way of Clement or Balentien? Just curious, I know others disliked it for that reason.

    Comment by Kevin S. — March 18, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

  10. It’s no different than saying that Matt Wieters is one of the top ten catchers in MLB right now. It’s a projection based on the historical performance of the principles in action. Guys who hit like Wieters did hit in the majors. Teams who lay a foundation of organizational processes that involve these kinds of analytics build winning baseball teams.

    It’s like saying that we couldn’t say the Rays were building a good baseball team before 2008. A lot of us did, because we saw it coming. Things are predictable before they happen.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 18, 2009 @ 3:43 pm

  11. This past winter has been an unbelievable breath of fresh air for us long-suffering Mariner fans. It’s going to take a little while to clean up the mess Bavasi left behind, but I couldn’t be any more optimistic about the future of this team.

    Comment by Benne — March 18, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

  12. Ms fans rejoice-someone said something nice about the Ms!

    An extension for Beltre isn’t likely in this climate, but it would be nice. I wouldn’t mind one for Bedard either.

    Comment by Terry — March 18, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

  13. Dave, I take it you’re significantly more optimistic about Triunfel’s chances than some others out there (notably Goldstein over at BP)?

    Comment by Aaron/YYZ — March 18, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

  14. Yup.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 18, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

  15. Apparently I’ve been Mariner bashing, but this seems about dead on as far as an analysis of the single team. I’d agree the front office is a B, maybe even a B+. I’d grade the ownership slightly lower however. I don’t see a ton of difference between this ownership and the O’s ownership (a little more meddling on the O’s side to be sure), but you grade the O’s a full letter lower. I’d also say the major league grading is slightly too high, I think a C would be more appropriate. Over all, for all the talk, I’d only rank the M’s about 2 spots lower, which is close enough.

    Comment by Wally — March 18, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

  16. I really hope his listed age is his actual age.

    Comment by JI — March 18, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

  17. How is that the Mariners rank above the Orioles, when according to your own grades the Orioles have superior major league (B-) and minor league (A-) talent to the Mariners (C+ and C+). I understand your giving them a lot of credit for the FO’s potential, but this ranking seems pretty hard to justify.

    Comment by RP — March 18, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

  18. Jeff Clement is the big X factor for me when talking about the M’s future. If he can hit and stick behind the plate its such a big deal for the Mariners. But those are two big ifs

    Comment by drew — March 18, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

  19. Why are you assuming that all of the factors are weighted equally, or should be?

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 18, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

  20. Angelos has shown a history of meddling with everything, to the point of appointing duel GMs and making himself the tiebreaker. The M’s ownership has meddled in contracts for three Japanese players, and in general, their meddling has come in the form of “our positive relationships allow you to sign this guy at a bargain rate”. It’s a pretty big difference.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 18, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

  21. Shouldn’t the fact that they are the lowest ranked of the AL West teams (and well behind in the Angels) make them a little lower than 15th? They can’t compete with the Angels financially and don’t have the young, cheap talent that both the Rangers and A’s have. That’s not to say they can’t beat those teams but it would seem that they should be ranked below the Twins and White Sox.

    Comment by Tom — March 18, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

  22. Has it been confirmed that Triunfel has grown a couple inches?

    Comment by drew — March 18, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

  23. Well run teams can quickly change the makeup of their roster. Good rosters can’t do anything about the quality of the people in charge. The ownership/front office grades carry more weight than the roster sections, as the Marlins ranking clearly showed.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 18, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

  24. Shouldn’t major then minor league talent be weighted more heavily?

    Comment by Kevin S. — March 18, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

  25. Angels 2008 payroll: $119 million
    Mariners 2008 payroll: $117 million

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 18, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

  26. Major League talent is weighted more heavily than minor league talent.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 18, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

  27. Yes, but going forward that behavior (on Angelos’ part) is supposed to be reduced right? I know, we shouldn’t assume it will go away entirely, but recent evidence points to a downward trend.

    Anyway, I’m quibbling, and I’d do something slightly different, but this have been a great series. Its been a great procrastination tool for me, unfortunately…

    Comment by Wally — March 18, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

  28. Did you actually give them a weighting factor, or are you just eye-balling it?

    Comment by Wally — March 18, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

  29. This O’s fan is hoping that Beltre signs with the O’s in 2010! : ) And maybe even resign Bedard!! : )

    O’s/M’s World Series in 2011? ;^)

    Comment by Tito Landrum — March 18, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

  30. 2006 they were at approximately $88 million, so which is truely indicative of their payroll and market size going forward?

    Comment by steve-o — March 18, 2009 @ 4:27 pm

  31. It’s weird, the Angels are clearly the best team right now, but I kind of expect them to be the next AL West team listed. Their farm system is by far the worst in the division, and the new front office hasn’t been very impressive. The Angels have big money on their side, but their core is aging, their youth movement pretty much petered down to Kendrick, Aybar, and Santana (and maybe Wood), and they have a lot of money locked into non-elite talent for several years moving foward.

    Comment by JH — March 18, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

  32. I imagine division plays a factor in the Ms ranking above the Orioles. They’re in a similar position with very smart people newly in charge. The O’s have a slightly better core of major league/major league ready players, but the Mariners have more money, inferior competition, and more depth in the minors.

    Comment by JH — March 18, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

  33. Dave: “The M’s ownership has meddled in contracts for three Japanese players, and in general, their meddling has come in the form of ‘our positive relationships allow you to sign this guy at a bargain rate’.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it the ownership (or representatives thereof) that were responsible for killing the Washburn deal? How does that play into this grade? Just curious.

    Comment by Brett — March 18, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

  34. I sort of figured Ownership would be the only reason to place the Mariners above the Orioles. After all, as exciting as the Mariners front office is, the Orioles front office is quite good and has more evidence to prove they are good. I’m afraid the Orioles FO might actually be overrated right now due to stellar draft choices in Wieters, Arrieta, and Matusz, which actually weren’t difficult choices at all. The Orioles drafts in 2005 and 2006 with the same Director of Scouting, Joe Jordan, weren’t nearly as good. Hopefully MacPhail convinces Jordan to stick with the college players.

    My other question is, how much do we curse a “reformed” meddling owner? I mean, Angelos was terrible, but I have to hold at at least some hope that he’s learned something from the past 10 years.

    Comment by math_geek — March 18, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

  35. I think the teams actual talent should be the most important element.

    Comment by RP — March 18, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

  36. Sorry, I just don’t see it. I think the Marlins ranking should be far higher as well. THe Marlins’ management might stink, but they did somehow manage to acquire a lot of talented young players, and those players could easily make them competitive in the next few years.

    Comment by RP — March 18, 2009 @ 4:39 pm

  37. A pox on you for discussing the Angels amidst the glory of the Ms.

    Comment by Terry — March 18, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  38. I know you meant to say major league/minor league players, and I’m not so sure the Mariners minor league system holds a candle to the Orioles minor league system. Using the farm system values at http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/stories/8 (they haven’t done the AL East yet), Matt Weiters, Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta might be worth the entire Mariners farm system. The Orioles do have minor leaguers after these guys (although not as many as I might like) and Matt Weiters is probably worth even more than the 36.5 million the data has him at (as bizarre as it is for me to say that). There’s a difference between having a top 10 prospect THE top prospect.

    Comment by math_geek — March 18, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

  39. I think it would definitely be edifying to know how exactly the grades correspond to the overall grade.

    Comment by math_geek — March 18, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

  40. @Brett: Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it the ownership (or representatives thereof) that were responsible for killing the Washburn deal? How does that play into this grade? Just curious.

    I was wondering when someone was going to bring up the dunder twins (Armstrong and Lincoln). The only defense I have for Armstrong there was that the M’s were being run at the time by an interim GM, and, according to my understanding of the timeline, Armstrong got cold feet, thinking that his future GM should be able to get a better deal in the offseason. So… yes, he wildly overvalued Washburn and meddled in the FO’s affairs, but, to be fair, he also didn’t trust his interim GM to get maximum value in return and wanted wait till he had someone in place that he could trust.

    Going back to the original point though, yes, I do find it curious that Dave didn’t mention Lincoln/Armstrong at all. Even if they do claim to have reformed and to keep a hands-off approach (much like Angelos, although Lincstrong didn’t meddle to nearly the same degree), in my eyes, their track record knocks the ownership grade down to Orioles level (or at least only a tiny bit higher)

    Comment by Sammy — March 18, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  41. Dave,
    Thanks for the unusual perspective of #6-#15 organization prospects relative to others. That makes things seem even better.
    Hopefully one or two of the four top picks this year will also move the M’s up the rankings in terms of top tier guys.

    Comment by diderot — March 18, 2009 @ 5:04 pm

  42. More importantly, the Angels were able to eat Matthews Jr’s large contract and bring in Abreu while the Mariners are playing Johjima because of his large contract.

    So maybe they can compete with them financially but choose not to?

    Comment by Tom — March 18, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

  43. There’s a lot of collateral information out there, and Dave sees more of that than most people, that this really is a smart organization. When you hear them talk about the way that they want to make decisions, they basically say “We want to get as much and as varied information as we can. We want scouts and stats. We want to encourage people to disagree and find the things not everyone is talking about. And then we want to use that information to make the best decision we can.” This sort of decision making practice is highly successful; it’s much more successful than demagogic owners making decisions; it’s more successful than asking the most knowledgeable single person in the room, even in a room of very smart people.

    Zdureinick’s track record is basically that of a minor league superstar that was outstanding before being promoted to the top performance tier. Since that promotion he made a smart three way trade that re-stocked a depleted farm system with talent that, while not elite, will probably produce a one or two major league average players in addition to improving the outfield. He’s signed a bunch of live-arm relievers for basically minimum cost; one of those guys will probably end up a fixture in a major league bullpen. Etc.

    Everything about this organization so far leads me to believe that “B” is really much too conservative. I would grade them a B based on their performance thus far alone, and this office has more upside than any other in baseball.

    Comment by Fresh Hops — March 18, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

  44. That was between GM’s. If there was ever a time for meddling to take place I would have to think that would be it. Things have changed from that time.

    Comment by drew — March 18, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

  45. I didn’t actually. I meant to say current young major leaguers, and major league ready players (i.e. Wieters) who have not yet played in the major leagues. Apologies for the confusion.

    Comment by JH — March 18, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

  46. Imagine if the A’s got a new stadium how competitive this division would be over the next several years. The A’s and Rangers have a lot more talent on the way, but the Mariners have the resources to add it quickly. The Angels may be left in the dust soon.

    Comment by t ball — March 18, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

  47. Wouldn’t maximum value for Washburn been getting somebody to just take his contract off their hands? He’s had a below average FIP for the past three years, doesn’t strike anybody out, gives up a lot of fly balls, which would be magnified even more in his HR/9 if Safeco didn’t destroy righty power… and he’s on the hook for eight figures this year. If it’s true that the Yankees were willing to take on his whole salary, than whoever put the kibosh on that screwed it up.

    Comment by Kevin S. — March 18, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

  48. Or maybe the Mariners had more dead money than the Angels did. Finances are not this team’s issue.

    Comment by Kevin S. — March 18, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

  49. That was upper management (The Lincoln-Armstrong combo) killing a deal that an interim GM that they were not going to keep on was putting through. Depending on how broadly you wanted to define “ownership” you might include the teams CEs… but throughout this series it seems that Dave has been basing the “ownership” grade on a balance of resources/meddling provided by the owner/ownership group directly.

    The Ms upper management would certainly have gotten a D from me, but that isn’t a category in this system. Its not like any of this is quantitative anyway ;)

    Comment by rwildernessr — March 18, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

  50. The Washburn deal occurred during the time when Lee Pelekoudas was made to be the Interim GM after Bavasi was fired last summer. To be honest, it was more like Pelekoudas/Chuck Armstrong (ownership) running the Mariners at that point and everything bigger than a small trade (i.e. Arthur Rhodes) was being blocked because the pieces were too “valuable”.

    This isn’t going to happen going forward and Chuck eventually admitted that not selling on Washburn was a mistake (well, kinda).

    Ownership has said that they would give Jack Zduriencik all the room he needs to do his work and so far, impressively, they have held up their end of the bargain.

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 18, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

  51. To be clear, I know the O’s system is better at the front (by far), but the guys who have a realistic shot at being league average regulars go about 15-deep in the Ms system. In contrast beyond the O’s big 4, they’ve got… Reimold, Erbe, D. Hernandez, and Beato, and then two guys with unquestionable talent but HUGE questions (Spoone, with his shoulder injury, and Rowell, with his poor conditioning, awful performance, and horrible reports on makeup). Who else am I missing?

    The Mariners, in contrast, are weaker at the top, but their middle ranks absolutely crush the Orioles. Outside the Mariners’ top tier of prospects, they’ve still got 3 guys within a year or two’s striking distance of being 2WAR players in the majors (Adam Moore, Matt Tuiasosopo, and Mike Carp), and the next tier is much stronger than Baltimore’s low minors contingent.

    Comment by JH — March 18, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

  52. Pelekoudas was a seat-filler; that he wasn’t able to get the trigger pulled on the Washburn deal doesn’t tell us anything valuable about the current state of the higher-ups level of meddling in player acquisition decisions, and everything we’re hearing right now is that Zduriencik has pretty much total autonomy. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made that a condition of coming in to take the job in the first place.

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 18, 2009 @ 5:22 pm

  53. It looked to me like Howard Lincoln vetoed the Washburn trade; it’s probably not really know whether he was acting on behalf of Nintendo or not. However, that was with the interim GM last fall before Zduriencik was hired, so I’m not sure that it counts.

    Comment by Fresh Hops — March 18, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

  54. You also have to consider that in a normal economic climate Jack Z actually MAY have been able to get a better return for Washburn – so it becomes a question of how much you penalize LincStrong for not predicting the market collapse. Interfering with the Washburn trade probably wasn’t the best call, but given all the circumstances around it (interim GM, largely unpredicted economic collapse) it’s a somewhat defensible move, albeit one that turned out poorly in the end (though it may be too soon to judge that as well, as Washburn could have a good season and/or get traded for something more worthwhile than the now-injured Boof Bonser). And as Dave has pointed out, the Japanese connections have helped more than they’ve hurt. All in all I’d say that a top-10 payroll + mostly advantageous Japanese connections + desire and commitment to win + great ballpark + a market that spans WA/OR/ID and reaches to Japan certainly overcomes the Joh/Wash/Griffey meddlings enough to warrant a B.

    Comment by Terminator X — March 18, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

  55. Regarding your “pessimistic” outlook what did you write about the M’s last year?

    Comment by Chuck — March 18, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

  56. Regardless of the stadium, the A’s have shown an increasing willingness to spend under Wolff. I would make a pretty serious bet that Wolff pulls off a San Jose stadium as well. That’s many years away however.

    Comment by Wally — March 18, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

  57. Alot of the Washburn hate is fairly irrational. Over the course of his career with the M’s he’s put up a WAR/200 IP of right around 2 (according to FIP, tRA likes him less due to FB tendancies), and that’s consistant with last year (1.3 WAR in 151.2 IP). He’s overpaid and, yes, a below average pitcher, but if the Mariners can get 170-190 IP and 1.5-2.0 WAR out of him then they’re not overpaying him by more than a couple million. That’s as good as all but a handful of #4 or #5 pitchers in MLB

    Comment by Terminator X — March 18, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

  58. Not to put words in his or anyone’s mouth, but as a rough paraphrase he seemed to be jumping up and down yelling “this team is nowhere close to contention! Way overperformed in 2007! Jones for Bedard 1-for-1 is a questionable trade by itself! Silva contract is awful! ESPN analysists are dead wrong, this team is NOT contending for the ALW! Stop trading away the farm system dammit, we need to rebuild!” to anyone that would listen. I suggest you dig through some of the older posts as ussmariner to see for yourself.

    Comment by Terminator X — March 18, 2009 @ 5:57 pm

  59. Go look at the site, but to sum it up: “Bavasi is a really nice guy, but a terrible talent evaluator.”

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 18, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

  60. Also took a ton of flak from non-saber posters the whole year who found the USSM from other websites for stuff like not being a “true fan” and “hating” on the M’s. You don’t have to believe us though, read for yourself.

    Comment by Terminator X — March 18, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

  61. Dave wrote that the Bedard trade crippled the franchise and was one of the worst moves in recent history, he wrote that Carlos Silva was the #2 free agent landmine on the 2007 free agent market (http://ussmariner.com/2007/11/08/2007-free-agent-landmines/), and wrote several times that the general feeling that the ’08 Mariners would be competitive in the AL west was beyond his ability to comprehend.

    Comment by JH — March 18, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

  62. And he was right about most everything he said. He has a knack for hitting the nail on the head before anyone else even realizes there’s a nail at all.

    And I’m not kidding, or trying to fluff Dave’s ego in any way. He just always seems to be correct in his evaluation about the team.

    Comment by JLP — March 18, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

  63. “An A- is appropriate for what they’ve done so far”, what have they done so far that warrants that high of a grade? The Putz trade is no stroke of genius, nor was signing Griffey, or any other move they’ve made.

    Comment by Reed — March 18, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

  64. “replaced their advance scouting with a video database”

    I don’t see how that could be considered a good move in any way.

    Comment by Brock — March 18, 2009 @ 6:49 pm

  65. I imagine it saves some money, and you can see a lot more. That’s not to say that getting rid of the advance scouts is automatically a good idea, because I really don’t know. I’ll plead ignorance on that one, because I don’t know how valuable it is to have someone there in person watching the player. But a bunch of guys watching opposing teams on tape seems more effective than sending one guy to a game.

    Comment by Teej — March 18, 2009 @ 7:15 pm

  66. I know you said you’re prepared for accusations of bias, but hopefully you’ll still listen to them. I really don’t see how the Mariners land this high if we’re talking about the ability to contend for a World Series in the future. If you’re talking about maintaining a dynasty of consistent World Series-caliber teams, then yes, payroll and ownership are going to play a huge role. But that doesn’t seem like a very interesting exercise as it turns into basically just ranking the teams in descending order of payroll, which is actually what this list is shaping up as. I figure Tampa Bay will be near the top because of the incredible minor league depth they have but I bet they’re a couple slots lower than “conventional wisdom” would think because their low payroll makes it hard for them to keep key players and to consistently contend.

    If that really is the rubric you’re using then I have many fewer objections to the M’s being this high. The Yankees showed that a team with enough financial muscle can rework a roster in a single offseason. I do think that it would have been better to make this clearer, though, because teams like the Marlins, Orioles, Reds and Cardinals, and to a lesser degree the White Sox and Twins have a much better chance to win a -single- WS in the near future. Florida already proved that its business model, crazy and infuriating as it may be, is capable of winning a WS, and the franchise certainly has the talent on hand to do it again, so I think you’re heavily over-weighting their ownership and payroll situation there. The Orioles have a solid young core already and the cavalry is arriving in the form of waves of young pitching (which, by the way, I think you severely underestimate in terms of depth), and most importantly the time frame seems right – they will have enough impact players breaking in as the first core hits its prime to make a real run. The Cards and Reds have similar situations.

    So, to sum up, if you’re talking about creating and sustaining a dynasty, I think that should have been made more explicit and that probably would have deflected a lot of misguided anger at your rankings. However, I do feel that if that is what you’re ranking it really does depend mainly on financial and management concerns rather than with the current talent level of the organization and is therefore a much less interesting analysis.

    Re: the M’s stuff, here’s a great quote I picked up on the OH that pretty much sums up my opinion as well. Please don’t take it as an attack, I enjoyed reading these, I just have concerns and the comment section seems like the perfect place to voice them.

    Here’s the quote:

    “Seems pretty clear that he’s over-valuing the team. First, no demerits for an ownership team that prodded Bavasi to make a big deal to compete (Bedard) and then abandoned him when it predictably fell apart?

    And he’s clearly placing more value on an untried FO than a very mediocre MiL system: it’s great that they’ve got bells-and-whistles galore (oooooh, a statistical research department?) but let’s see them actually accomplish a bit more before we anoint them anything.

    I mean, they’re losing a lot after this year. And they have little-to-no MiL talent ready to step into the void.

    I don’t think he’s biased in a “I play favorites” way. I just think there’s a pretty drastic availability bias at work, whereby Cameron knows so much about the M’s organization that he’s able to spot all kinds of “positive” value that he can’t assign to teams he knows less well.”

    Comment by Oscar — March 18, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

  67. The Putz trade helped retool the Major League roster on top of improving depth in the Minor League system. The thought process behind this trade tells us more about the quality of the Front Office than some folks seem to realize.

    Other moves, while not amazing, were reasonable attempts to to upgrade the product on the field while lacking payroll space.

    The Griffey situation, I believe, was handled as well as it possibly could have. He isn’t projected to add much to the team but there’s a sizable fanbase that yearns to see him wear a Mariner uniform at least one more time. They’ve explored all of their options (having a number of hefty contracts on the payroll prevented us from signing Bobby Abreu) and decided to give this route a shot.

    The Front Office has done a heck of a job, and that’s just after walking in the door.

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 18, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

  68. The Reds have a real chance of winning a world series!? HA!

    Comment by Steven — March 18, 2009 @ 7:52 pm

  69. BTW, who the hell has “concerns” about an organizational ranking that need a proper venue to be “voiced”?

    Comment by Steven — March 18, 2009 @ 7:53 pm

  70. Whoever wrote that hasn’t paid much attention to Dave’s writing.

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 18, 2009 @ 8:04 pm

  71. I don’t think he’s biased in a “I play favorites” way. I just think there’s a pretty drastic availability bias at work, whereby Cameron knows so much about the M’s organization that he’s able to spot all kinds of “positive” value that he can’t assign to teams he knows less well.”

    That, of course, goes for the negative aspects as well. My availability to the team hasn’t changed, and I was the organization’s leading critic for the last five years.

    And, I’ll humbly suggest that I probably know more about how most teams operate than you might think.

    As for the rest of your comments, ehh, whatever – you want the rankings to be something they aren’t. That’s fine. Feel free to redo them yourself based on your own criteria. I won’t stop you.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 18, 2009 @ 8:09 pm

  72. Which would you rather have?

    A) A scout or scout team who go to watch another team and try to pay attention to everything possible. Then, you sit around and take notes on a memo pad while he lectures you on everything he saw.

    or.

    B) Video that you can watch yourself over and over again, taking as much time, as many notes, and getting as many views on as many players as you can.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I learn a lot more from watching what someone does then when someone tells me what someone does.

    Comment by The Typical Idiot Fan — March 18, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

  73. Yea man Arrieta in the 5th round was such an EASY choice. Same with Matusz of Smoak the guy most fans probably wanted. Same with Wieters who fell because of his pricetag, it’s not easy to take a guy asking for record money. Not hard, but there’s a reason he fell to the Orioles and there’s a reason he wasn’t signed until 30 minutes before deadline.l

    Comment by DodgeTown2 — March 18, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

  74. M’s over O’s is a joke. It must be assumed that Bedard and Morrow will be completely healthy or something. And Johjima’s season was fluke last year. And Griffey won’t get significant time. etc.

    Dave isn’t a homer, I’m a fan of his work but seriously? B for ownership that forced the team to sign a horrible contract that was completely undeserved and probably not backed at all by the GM. Is Angelos’ rumored blocking of a Adam LaRoche and Marcus Giles for Brian Roberts and Hayden Penn more important than the horrible Johjima signing?

    Comment by DodgeTown2 — March 18, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

  75. Revenge.

    Do Want. :)

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1997_ALDS2.shtml

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 18, 2009 @ 8:47 pm

  76. Oscar, if I read your comment before Dave’s post I’d assume he’d ranked the M’s 4th or something. 15th is average; fully half the MLB teams will be ranked ahead of them. Obviously, there’s a lot more unknowns and change in the next 2-3 years than a lot of organizations, but you that comes with greater opportunities as well as greater risk.

    Comment by djw — March 18, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

  77. Yes, clearly Dave is banking on a huge Johjima bounceback as a fundamental assumption of this ranking. It’s not like he referred to Johjima’s contract as “wasted salary” in the body of the post or anything.

    Comment by JH — March 18, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

  78. I agree with this rank. Front office and ownership are often much steadier commodities than actual talent. From a distance, I have really admired some of the moves that the Mariners have made. JZ seems like a very smart man and a good talent evaluator. His semi-reliance on Sabermetrics is encouraging to me, as there are still so many GMs in the Ned Colletti mode who refuse to break away from tradition.

    I’m still pissed about the Cardinals rank though :).

    Comment by vivaelpujols — March 18, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

  79. Who else am I missing?

    I would say Brandon Snyder is worth something. He hit really well last year and if he can learn to field, he should be a good player. He’s worth at least a mention. Brad Bergesen is also worth mentioning, even though he’ll never be a star.

    Sickels likes Zach Britton a lot. In fact, Sickels has the Orioles with 9 B- or above players and the Mariners with 9 B- or above players. Sickels has the Orioles with 7 C+ players and the Mariners with 6. In reality, the Orioles and Mariners have similarily deep farm systems, although the Mariners have some excellent deadline trade bait in Bedard. The Major difference between the Mariners and the Orioles is that the Orioles have a top five prospects of Wieters, Tillman, Matusz, Arrieta, and Erbe, where the Mariners have Triunfel, Halman, Aumont, Ramirez, and Pineda.

    As for major league talent and major league ready talent, I think if you add Weiters the O’s definitely have the edge. Sure, the pitching is awful, but Uehara and Rich Hill at least have some potential, and Hendrickson isn’t that much worse than Jarrod Washburn. The Orioles offense and positional defense on the other hand, are really very good.

    Comment by math_geek — March 18, 2009 @ 10:31 pm

  80. If you could wouldn’t you take A and B? I would.The more information the better.

    Comment by Brock — March 18, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

  81. Well, I don’t think it was meant insultingly. Most people know much more about the team they follow most. He wasn’t saying you don’t know anything, or something like that.

    I’m still not clear on this though – are we talking about sustaining a WS-caliber dynasty for a number of years, or the chance of winning 1+ WS in the next, say, ten years? I don’t want the rankings to be anything, I just want to be sure about what you’re talking about.

    Comment by Oscar — March 18, 2009 @ 10:56 pm

  82. I did not know the Mariners hired Tango. With Zduriencik and some payroll to work with it will be interesting to follow this club for the
    foreseeable future.

    Comment by Columbo — March 18, 2009 @ 11:55 pm

  83. God, 15 seems high to me. Not because anything you said is unreasonable or I disagree with a word of it. Just because I’m sure it’s so much higher than we were last year. Seriously, if you’d done rankings last year, what would we have been? 29th? Edging the Nats maybe? Has any other organization improved more since last year? God, I’m excited for our future. I only wish Jackie Z could’ve taken over a year earlier. I miss Adam Jones and Chris Tillman. And Tony Butler. And Kam Mickolio. I can get by without George Sherrill, but he was a fine player as well. Oh, and I guess it’s too early to forget Carlos Silva, but I wouldn’t be sad to go back in time and get us out of that one either.

    Comment by Dan Mellen — March 19, 2009 @ 12:36 am

  84. “…teams like the Marlins, Orioles, Reds and Cardinals, and to a lesser degree the White Sox and Twins have a much better chance to win a -single- WS in the near future.”
    Based on what, exactly? Personal intuition?

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/blog_article/tht-projected-standings-as-of-march-9/

    Projected wins and odds of making the playoffs:
    Orioles 75, 1%
    Marlins 72, 1.5%
    White Sox 73 5%
    Reds 79 7%
    Twins 77 10%
    Mariners 78 15%
    Cardinals 83 19.8%

    Seems that the Cards are the only ones with a real gripe in this area so far, barring future non-gut-instinct evidence to support someone else having a higher probability of making the playoffs.

    The ML roster is fairly underrated, has a ton of upside and SEVERELY underperformed/were the recipients of bad luck last year, and significantly improved.Just as they weren’t a true-talent 88 win team in 2007, they weren’t a true-talent 61 win team last year. Felix, Bedard, Beltre and Ichiro all have very legitimate 4-5 WAR potential, Lopez is taking up right where his strong last few months of hitting left off by absolutely CRUSHING in the WBC, he could make the jump to a 3+ WAR player, Gutierrez/Clement/Morrow have ~3 WAR upside right now, Silva has posted WARs of 3+ in 3 of his past 5 seasons and is due for some MAJOR regression, Washburn and Chavez are serviceable enough for their roles, the 1B and DH platoons are stopgaps but could end up with decent production regardless (but at the cost of an extra roster spot or two). Someone useful is bound to emerge from the Aardsma/Cordero/Lowe/Walker/Fields group and the bullpen could surprise as a whole, but is definitely a big wild card right now. Johjima saw his BABIP plummet from .292/.291 in ’06/’07 to .233 in ’09, he could be due for (positive) regression as well, while no one really had an enormous BABIP, though Lopez’s was a tad high but not unprecedented. SS will probably be a black hole offensively and defensively, but this team is all upside right now.

    Comment by Terminator X — March 19, 2009 @ 2:02 am

  85. The “personal intuition” bit was not meant as an attack, just wondering what basis you have to say that. Baseball Prospectus/Pecota agrees with THT as well, updated only a couple days ago:

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/index.php

    M’s closer to a division title than any of the teams you listed (in win differential), and only St. Louis is closer to a WC than the M’s are to the division title (6 games to 8 games) with Cincinatti being 8 games out of the WC.

    Comment by Terminator X — March 19, 2009 @ 2:12 am

  86. See for yourself.

    Comment by Greg H. — March 19, 2009 @ 2:35 am

  87. “The near future isn’t limited to 2009″ Certainly not, but it’s the nearest future we have and the one we can most accurately project, and by both well-respected projections I’ve posted the M’s fare better than all but 1 of the afore mentioned teams. Given the Washburn/Batista contracts expire in 2010, and Beltre and Bedard will likely either be re-signed (more likely for Bedard than Beltre it seems) or flipped for prospects. Those four + Griffey = $41M. Add 3-4M onto Felix’s contract in arb, the combined 1.7M raise to Lopez/Betancourt, and a couple million for Gutz’s first arb year and you’re sitting on $34-35M extra cash next year + whatever you get for Beltre/Bedard (or take off ~10-12M apiece to re-sign them, though I’d prefer trade Beltre and give Tui a shot next year, he could be a good 1-2 WAR filler). M’s could have a lot of cash to spend next winter, hopefully Z is equally savvy at signing impact FA as he has been with trades and cheap pick-ups. Basically, if Jack Z does as well next offseason as he did this one, with that extra money and roster space, the M’s will (hopefully) only be getting better, while the ChiSox only get older, the O’s improve but stay stuck in the toughest division ever, the Marlins continue to be hamstrung by low-payroll, the Reds and Twins continue to improve as they mature as well, but the Twins risk losing alot of their advantage if Mauer has to move to 1B/DH, the Cards keep doing their thing but if anything ever happens to Pujols they’re more screwed than a Mauer-at-1B-Twins team.

    And while I won’t be baited into a flame war by your second comment, I’ll (hopefully) humor you (and definitely humor myself) by saying this: Only one man* has ever made a convincing argument in a single sentence, and that man went by the name Rene Descartes. And believe me when I say this… you sir, are no Rene Descartes. So instead of just pointing out obvious little facts that don’t really refute a single thing I wrote, how about you form a cogent argument (you know, premises logically supporting a conclusion, all that good stuff) and contribute to the conversation? Or you can keep rattling off your snappy little one-liner zingers and I’ll just ignore you. I don’t care much either way about it.

    Comment by Terminator X — March 19, 2009 @ 4:57 am

  88. The Mariners don’t have the minor league system the Orioles have, and you underrate the depth of the Orioles farm system as well. The M’s have not nearly as much positional talent in the Majors, a comparable front office (you guys love Tom Tango; you haven’t given any credit to all of the ridiculously genius moves that MacPhail has made, especially noting that MacPhail has been cashing in on defense as an underrated statistic). The Mariners have made two moves so far under new management: Griffey and Putz, niether of which speak to the enlightened front office the M’s claim to have now. The M’s have ownership that is similar as Angelos is no longer a meddler and has shown a recent desire to win. Over the past 10 years, the Mariners have only over spent an average of $15M on their payroll compared to the Orioles, and I’m sure the Baltimore coffers are deeper than you’d imagine. The Orioles leapfrogging over the Red Sox and Rays seems like less of a challenge than it would be for the Mariners to beat the Angels and Athletics at this point. I completely disagree with the Mariners over the Orioles.

    Comment by Greg in Baltimore — March 19, 2009 @ 8:31 am

  89. “ehh, whatever”? Wow, great response to a well thought out post by Oscar. If you want to be taken seriously you should have thicker skin.

    Comment by RP — March 19, 2009 @ 8:33 am

  90. The only thing this indicates is that DC ranked the Mariners about 5 slots too high last year as well.

    Comment by Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin — March 19, 2009 @ 9:22 am

  91. Well analyzed as usual, Dave. Totally agree. As an east coast Mariner fan, I am feeling optimistic about the future for the first time in a long, long time.

    Comment by Quinaldo — March 19, 2009 @ 10:15 am

  92. To be fair, any team coming off a 100 loss season is going to be all upside…. And you list a players upside value without any mention of the possibility of reaching that up side. It seems very likely now that Bedard may never throw enough innings to get back to his 06/07 self. What happen’s to Ichiro’s value if he loses a step or two as he get closer to 40? Outside a small possitive regression this year, he’s going to start declining, and we may very well have seen the last 5 WAR season from him. Clement is a stud, but where does he play right now? Is he going to take over for Johjima? Is he going to DH over Griffey? If so, does that mean Griffey is in the outfield?

    So yeah, the team as a whole is all up side from last year, thanks to the starting point. But each individual player is not all up side.

    Comment by Wally — March 19, 2009 @ 10:53 am

  93. I’m going to have to second the disappointment in your response. About 2/3 of Oscar’s post was asking for a clarification on your methods/criteria, about a 1/4 of it was questioning how you ranked certain parts of the franchise, which left about 1/12 questioning your bias. It is a valid point about the knowledge based bias, it isn’t very constructive to bring it up, but as a reader weighing the information, it is something to keep in mind. So, you basically chose to respond to the least important part of Oscar’s post. And to the vast majority of it your response is “whatever?” If you’re going to bother to respond, you might as well put a little effort in.

    I was very encouraged that you responded to some of my questions/criticisms yesterday. However, you eventually didn’t respond, and yet continued to respond on this thread, leaving me to think you had no response to my points (just eye-balling the weighting factor of each of the categories wouldn’t be a bad thing sense they are so many interacting factors in each of them, BTW). Being able to answer criticism leads to increased credibility. Not answering any criticism leads to the assumption you aren’t listening, and are busy else where. But answering criticism poorly and getting defensive just leads to the assumption that you aren’t comfortable with your position.

    Comment by Wally — March 19, 2009 @ 11:16 am

  94. I have remarkably limited amounts of free time. I can’t respond to everything. I try to respond to interesting/insightful comments. If you want me to respond to your comments, make them more interesting or insightful. “I assume that you don’t have a response” is neither.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 19, 2009 @ 11:20 am

  95. “The Orioles leapfrogging over the Red Sox and Rays seems like less of a challenge than it would be for the Mariners to beat the Angels and Athletics at this point.”

    Really?

    Comment by Adam — March 19, 2009 @ 11:24 am

  96. Great piece, once again, Dave. I’ve been a longtime reader at USS Mariner and as a diehard M’s fan I really look forward to your writing on any site. Thanks for the “luckiest teams” tourney info, too! But I was waiting to see your analysis on the M’s organization and I think it is right on the mark. Jack Z and his front office team is the best thing to happen to this organization in years. Keep up the great work!

    Comment by Rey Quinones — March 19, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

  97. “I have remarkably limited amounts of free time.”

    That’s kind of a given, right?

    “I can’t respond to everything.”

    Also a given.

    “If you want me to respond to your comments, make them more interesting or insightful. “I assume that you don’t have a response” is neither.”

    Given your last two posts this terribly ironic of you to say. If you only respond to something interesting or insightful, and my post contained in it “I assume that you don’t ahve a response” which is not deemed by you to be interesting or insightful, why did you respond to that? Not even to just my post in general, or other parts of that post, but to that specific line?

    BTW, just claiming something isn’t interesting or insightful doesn’t defend your position. My criticism have been voiced by a number of other posters, and you haven’t/can’t answer that….. No rational mind is going to assume that is because it isn’t an “interesting or insightful” point.

    Heck if we all went by criteria for a responce none of the things you said in responce to oscar would warrent a responce. You know more about the teams negatives? Duh. You know more about the opperations of other teams than he thinks? Now that’s insightful! And “whatever?” —-?

    The irony would be funnier, if I didn’t think you took yourself so seriously.

    Comment by Wally — March 19, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

  98. While I agree that the Mariners are headed in the right direction by taking part of the core of the Brewer’s talent evaluation apparatus, it’s still unclear how they will be competitive this year or the next couple unless they bring in more talent from other organizations. How is this team going to score runs? This offense looks like the Dodgers’ last year without Manny and this pitching staff top to bottom isn’t as good as LAs was.

    As for the farm system, most of the hope lies with guys in the low minors and as Dave noted those guys are highly speculative. Greg Halman, for example, with as much physical talent as he has, still has a strikezone that encompasses both batters’ boxes and recognizes a breaking pitch only after it hits him. I had to watch him in the AFL this year, where he struck out in 37 of his 83 at bats and walked only twice. While it’s possible he becomes the next Alfonso Soriano, I would put the probability in the low single digits percentage-wise. Even Juan Encarnacion seems optimistic. Triunfel and Aumont have a better chance to meet their projection, but they’re both a ways away.

    The Ms will draft well so there is hope but that will still take a few years to yeild results.

    Comment by Longgandhi — March 19, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

  99. “a comparable front office (you guys love Tom Tango; you haven’t given any credit to all of the ridiculously genius moves that MacPhail has made, especially noting that MacPhail has been cashing in on defense as an underrated statistic). The Mariners have made two moves so far under new management: Griffey and Putz, niether of which speak to the enlightened front office the M’s claim to have now.”

    1) The Mariners made a lot more than two moves.
    2) The Putz trade not saying anything about the quality of the front office is ridiculously wrong. That’s great that MacPhail understands the importance of defense but the Putz trade was tailor made to beef up outfield defense while upgrading the farm system. Not only that, our front office understand that said defense will help improve some of the starting pitchers they’re stuck with.

    “The M’s have ownership that is similar as Angelos is no longer a meddler and has shown a recent desire to win.”

    Peter Angelos has stepped back to allow Andy MacPhail to do his thing. That’s great.

    Meanwhile, Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong (despite being a long time traditional baseball guy) have allowed the way to be paved for a new “dream team”-caliber front office that combines the best of scouting with the latest in statistical analysis. Andy MacPhail sounds good and all and anyone who can make the Orioles competitive again deserves props but I’d pretty much take our new front office every time.

    “The Orioles leapfrogging over the Red Sox and Rays seems like less of a challenge than it would be for the Mariners to beat the Angels and Athletics at this point. I completely disagree with the Mariners over the Orioles.”

    Well, I feel for the Orioles. They have the misfortune of being stuck with some of the best organizations in baseball in the same division.

    Nevertheless, the idea the the Orioles are going to leapfrog the Red Sox and the Rays PERIOD is painfully ridiculous by itself, let alone when compared to the Mariners chances of merely beating the Angels and Athletics.

    The Orioles organization has quite a bit of upside, but so do the Mariners. My suggestion? Keep an open mind.

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 19, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  100. As a Mariners fan, this makes me giddy. Dave, you hit it spot on.

    “the 2009 team will likely be the least talented one that Zduriencik puts on the field for the foreseeable future.”
    ^BEAUTIFUL^

    Comment by Dustin — March 19, 2009 @ 1:49 pm

  101. Other teams do. You’ll notice that there are still 14 teams left to go . . .

    Comment by The Ancient Mariner — March 19, 2009 @ 1:52 pm

  102. Umm . . . so which team were you planning on moving to the NL next season?

    Comment by The Ancient Mariner — March 19, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

  103. Yeah, that threw me off, too. The AL East has three legit 90-win teams. The AL West has zero.

    Comment by Teej — March 19, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

  104. Haha @ the Orioles having a chance to Leapfrog the Yankees, the Red Sox, AND the Rays.

    The mariners have a MUCH BETTER CHANCE to win their respective division.

    Comment by John — March 19, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  105. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BIASED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by BaDA — March 19, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

  106. The Mariners have the financial resources.

    The front office can use those resources over the next few years to build a makeshift competitive team while developing the core through drafting that will be around for the long haul.

    The 2009 team will have to live on pitching and defense. It’s not optimal but it can work. The team is projected to produce decent results (75-80 wins) and that’s the worst team the new front office will field since it was essentially assembled on a tight budget.

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 19, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

  107. If you covered your favorite team half as much as Dave covers the Mariners you’d have a lot to say too…and the best part about this is that Dave probably could have ranked them even higher…

    Comment by Dustin — March 19, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

  108. One thing this ranking shows me is how much of an advantage it is to play in a four team division. It is much easier to only have to beat out three teams for a playoff berth as opposed to the five teams that my Cardinals have to beat. Furthermore, the AL West hasn’t exactly been the most talented division over the last few years. No wonder the Angels have been a lock for the playoffs the last few years. All they had to do was beat fairly mediocre division opponents and play .500 ball outside the division. I wish there were a way to remedy this inequity without adding or subtracting two teams.

    Comment by Nick — March 19, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

  109. “I wish there were a way to remedy this inequity without adding or subtracting two teams.”

    There is!

    1. First, move Houston from the NL Central to the NL West. Their bad farm system and declining team may actually be competitive out west.

    2. Move Arizona from the NL West to the AL West. Why Arizona? I figure that Tampa and Arizona were the 2 most recent expansion teams–before that, the NL got 2 expansion teams(Colorado and Florida in 1993), so this rectifies that situation by giving Arizona to the AL, and both leagues have 15 teams.

    (And each of the West divisions then has 1 Texas team, and with Arizona and Colorado, 1 Mountain Time Zone team as well.)

    The only problem then becomes–what to do about an odd number of teams in each league? Have at least 1 interleague game every day of the schedule?

    Comment by Jim — March 20, 2009 @ 12:11 am

  110. This series of ranking articles is the WORST material I have ever seen on this website. To rank Seatlle this high, yet the Tigers so low is a complete JOKE!

    The Tigers have a PROVEN front office, BETTER major league talent and an owner who is willing to spend more than almost all the teams listed ahead of them so far.

    Basically this list, with the exception of the Marlins, is nothing more than the teams with sabermetric from offices ranking high and the old school teams low COMBINED with how good a teams farm is.

    this whole ranking is a joke.

    Comment by Tom — March 20, 2009 @ 12:20 am

  111. yeah that is MORE important than overall payroll. FTL

    Comment by Matt H. — March 20, 2009 @ 12:41 am

  112. The problem is the odd number of teams in each league. Either you have to play one interleague game a day (not likely) or you have an off day for one team per day (impossible).

    Comment by Nick — March 20, 2009 @ 10:09 am

  113. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t a huge part/ the main part of this list about the teams outlook/their future?

    If that’s the case, I’d take 25 teams over the Tigers, who have a depleted farm system, a couple of unmovable contracts, and a pitching staff with more holes than a 20 pound brick of Swiss cheese.

    Comment by Dustin — March 20, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

  114. The AL West is going to be one of the best divisions in baseball. Oakland and Texas break the ratings scale with there minor league systems and the Angels have always remained competetive. While the Mariners might be a better team than many of the ones, whose odds that you have listed, I doubt that they will be able to keep up with there division in the future.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — March 21, 2009 @ 2:41 am

  115. Why would Mauer have to move to DH? He is the best defensive catcher in the game. Also re. Cards and Pujols. That can happen to any team. If the Mariners lost one of there “5 WAR” starters next year then they would be a crappy team.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — March 21, 2009 @ 2:43 am

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