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  1. #23org

    Comment by astrostl — March 28, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

  2. -1 Depressingly Predictable. And Not ‘Oh, I’ll Go Look At A Beautiful Spring Day’ Depressing, But ‘I’m Going To Throw Myself Off A Ledge’ Depressing

    Comment by NBarnes — March 28, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  3. So, if the only way the biased east coast media can understand the Rangers and Angels is to dub them the Yankees and Red Sox of the AL West, I guess that makes the Mariners potentially… what, the AL West Blue Jays?

    Comment by Snowblind — March 28, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  4. 2013+ Outlook = 13th? I must be missing something.

    The team’s future is brighter than their present,

    I chuckled when I read this, followed by the statement “God, I hope so.”

    The Mariners, for whatever reason, have been one of the biggest disappointments in recent history.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — March 28, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

  5. If the way you assess your process is persistently in conflict with the results, doesn’t that suggest you might want to re-evaluate how you assess your process?

    Comment by #MeOrg — March 28, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  6. “How you view this category probably depends entirely on whether you believe someone should be evaluated by the process that leads them to their decisions or the results that those decision produce.”

    Why should this be about “beliefs”? You don’t support “beliefs” when it comes to things like “intangibles” or “grit”. You have to look at the front office empirically just like everything else. The teams that Jack Z has constructed have been abysmal. We can measure how bad they’ve been.

    Comment by Jason — March 28, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

  7. Way to take us off the high of an opening day win Dave.

    Comment by skiba — March 28, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

  8. Given the time horizons that baseball executives must deal with, this is much harder than I think your comment implies that it is. Zduriencik has been GM for three offseasons. Do you imagine that that’s enough time to really assess all his decisions? Can you separate out the things that didn’t work because they were bad ideas at the time from the things that didn’t work because subsequent events made them not work out? Morrow for League was a bad idea at the time. Chone Figgins was a fine idea at the time.

    Comment by NBarnes — March 28, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

  9. “Chone Figgins was a fine idea at the time.”

    Replacing Adrian Beltre with Chone Figgins was a fine idea?

    Comment by Jason — March 28, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

  10. Joke, folks :( Same as the one Dave Cameron tweeted afterward: https://twitter.com/dcameronfg/status/185034796701974528

    Comment by astrostl — March 28, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

  11. Any thing can happen in baseball yet I fear the Mariners have a long road to hoe back to contending. 2016? While I think the overall ranking is accurate, I think the 2013+ ranking is overly aggressive.

    Comment by Shane H — March 28, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

  12. it doesn’t work that way, sorry. there’s random variation in everything in life, and that variation will sometimes make sound decisions lead to poor results. that doesn’t mean you should change how you make your decisions.

    if i have a weighted coin that is designed to land “heads” 60% of the time, i should bet on heads. even if it lands on “tails” the first 2 or 5 or 10 times. eventually, good process will lead to good results.

    Comment by paranoiaagent — March 28, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

  13. I think they’re a bit better than this. Ackley, Felix, Montero, and Smoak are a pretty good core.

    Comment by Omar — March 28, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

  14. Paranoia,

    Yes there is random variation. Of course there is. Everybody accepts this. That does not mean you cannot measure things!!! If you think the sample size is too small to evaluate Jack Z then you have to show this. Is Jack Z the equivalent of spring training at bats, or is he a full season’s worth of data?

    Comment by Jason — March 28, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

  15. I’m really happy they aren’t #6 Org this year, though I do disagree with the 2013+ outlook because there is so much pitching talent and the core of Smoak, Ackley, and Montero can be really good. Other than that, their ranking sounds fair to me.

    Comment by Thurston24 — March 28, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

  16. You make it sound like they chose Figgins over Beltre. Beltre was leaving no matter what. He needed a make-good contract in a hitter’s park, and Seattle couldn’t give him that.

    And Figgins had been a 3.5-WAR player over the previous six years, with better performances more recently. That was generally regarded as one of the better deals at the time. Sometimes players just don’t follow their projections. It happens, and all you can do is make reasonable decisions with the data you have.

    Comment by Ari Collins — March 28, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  17. Maybe, just maybe, the reason no team was willing to pay Figgins as much as the M’s were was because their scouts saw the issues with his game that would cause him to fall off quicker than most players do. Seriously, what did they expect was going to happen with no power that was completely reliant upon speed once he reached his mid 30’s?

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 28, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

  18. You’re treating this like it’s a math problem with know probabilities. Just because Z followed the numbers doesn’t necessarily make the process good. You need a combination of numbers and scouting. Perhaps Z has good process when it comes to stats, but his guys just suck when it comes to scouting, so they end up going after the good stat guys that have issues with their games that simply don’t show up in the numbers (Figgins).

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 28, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  19. It’s shocking how the baseball media is more well developed around franchises like the Red Sox and Yankees who have no tradition and mostly bandwagon fan bases, while great historic organizations like the Rangers and Angels don’t get nearly the same attention. I mean, it would be one thing if the Red Sox and Yankees brand was a global force and had demand for intense local coverage. If only those darn east coast reporters stayed up until 1am local time to report about a team who is 3000 miles away for no apparent reason oth.er than some idea of “fairness”.

    Seriously, you guys need to start complaining about your own fan base, and why they don’t demand additional media coverage. It’s not like Boston and New York have more reporters because they arbitrarily prefer the east coast. It’s like complaining that Dallas gets overhyped with football talk. Boston and New York are baseball towns, stop crying. The ironic part is, the majority of Red Sox and Yankee fans hate their old man media coverage based around narratives rather than objective analysis.

    Comment by wahhhiminthemidwest — March 28, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

  20. I’m with Jason on this. Every GM suffers bad and enjoys good “luck.” On balance, Jack Z. has been quite unsuccessful.

    Figgins was inked off a big career year, at a not-at-all-young age. Milton Bradley was a known meltdown risk. Fister was basically given away, wasn’t he? And the throw-in of the Pineda trade, Campos, is exactly the sort of high-upside kid who comes back to bite you in the rump.

    I couldn’t put Ops anywhere but bottom 5.

    Comment by Bob — March 28, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

  21. I think it helps to understand that this organization has had to rebuild almost completely from scratch.

    This organization is in overall much better shape than it was when it was ranked #6 in 2010 and #17 in 2011. Simply staring at the Major League record for the past three season is misleading. There has been a lot of turnover to get where Jack Zduriencik really wants to be. Easy to forget that he started with a bad farm system and a terrible team with bad contracts.

    2009 was fun but basically featured adding defense to old moving parts. In 2010, Zduriencik made moves to further support the pieces of the old foundation. Clearly, the idea was for the old foundation to hold serve for the immediate future until the team could transition to younger talent. As we’ve seen however, the old foundation came crashing down hard.

    The 2011 team had to rely on a lot of players looking for rebounding seasons. None of the good news game from the offense as players like Franklin Gutierrez and Chone Figgins imploded further. Ichiro had a bad season. Milton Bradley didn’t last long and the team got nothing out of Jack Cust. Fortunately, the organization had enough pieces to start infusing the team with young players.

    The 2012 Mariners are truly a Jack Zduriencik team as his fingerprints are all over it. The foundation is still being laid down as we’re not sure how capable this team is. This team is no longer relying on stopgaps to prop the team up. It is within the next few years that we’ll find out whether Jack Zduriencik can build a quality major league ball club. They have a nicely developing farm system with a promising team for 2012. The organization really has come a long way from where it used to be. I’ve been impressed with the turnaround even though it hasn’t shown up in the Major League win-loss record. As Eric Wedge says though, that will be the last place you’ll see improvements and it could begin as early as this year.

    It’s a shame that the Rangers and Angels have gotten more powerful in the meantime though.

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 28, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

  22. Fair. I have them ranked #22 (and #22 last year too). I think one of their bigger problems is being able to attract (non Japan) bigger time free agents to their team.

    Comment by xeifrank — March 28, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  23. I think this might be more satisfying if financial resources was something like 75% average of last 5 years spending and 25% 5 year projection. i.e. their Pacific Northwest draw isn’t changing and with Ichiro aging, their Japan tie is only going to fade, even if they continue to pick up players, so I’d project Seattle as negative over the next 5 years because the product is down so much. Contrast with Philadelphia where the product is great and the main question is probably how much they can raise ticket prices and not have to worry about keeping the stadium packed.

    Comment by monkey business — March 28, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

  24. Don’t forget about trading for Josh Lueke.

    Comment by Big Oil — March 28, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  25. “no one should be expected to predict the future.”

    What else can you predict but the future?

    Comment by Steve N — March 28, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

  26. You shouldn’t give big money and big responsibility to players that need to rely on their teammates to be successful in the best of cases (e.g. Figgins, Crawford). Jack Z seems to have constructed an entire team of these sorts of guys in the misguided belief that 3 WAR == 3 WAR.

    Stats like WAR are expected outcomes based upon league averages. They aren’t real outcomes. There is greater or less variance in whether a player meets or exceeds his expectations based upon how they get to their WAR or wOBA. A player that gets there through walks and singles will more frequently not meet expectations because there is more variance in outcomes (home runs always produce runs, walks do not). Further, walk and singles hitters that play on a team full of walk and singles hitters have virtually no chance of living up to expected outcomes, because the expectation is based upon the league average and their team is far below the league average.

    It should not have been difficult to predict the failings of the Mariners. They were/are terribly constructed teams.

    Comment by Jason — March 28, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

  27. It is a silly statement, I agree. However, you can predict the past too in a sense. It helps you understand how we got to the present. We do this all the time in evolutionary genetics.

    Comment by Jason — March 28, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

  28. I think this is the best FO in the game

    Comment by Steve Baron — March 28, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  29. “A player that gets there through walks and singles will more frequently not meet expectations because there is more variance in outcomes (home runs always produce runs, walks do not).”

    This would be a horrible argument even if it accurately described what happened with Figgins, but fortunately it doesn’t even come close. The problem wasn’t that Figgins got on base and got stranded there — the problem was that Figgins suddenly and surprisingly became a horrible all-around player. His middling power disappeared in 2010 while his defense tanked, and his offense completely fell off a cliff in 2011.

    Comment by Nadingo — March 28, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

  30. Oh you look like a self righteous fool now NBarnes

    Comment by Cloud Computer — March 28, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  31. Milton Bradley!? You are citing Milton Bradley?

    Fister was not given away. Wells, Furbush, Ruffin, and Martinez is a valuable package. You can argue not valuable enough, but it’s not unreasonable. Also (defying all odds) Fister is overrated.

    Campos wasn’t a throw-in– he was necessary to get Noesi. And Noesi is more valuable than Campos in terms of risk/reward/time.

    Comment by MangoLiger — March 28, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

  32. Nadingo,

    You miss the point. The point is that Figgins wouldn’t have been worth what Jack Z gave him to the M’s even if he had played well. There is little chance he could have ever produced what his wOBA suggested he should of based upon league averages on that team.

    Comment by Jason — March 28, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

  33. *should have read: “should have” not “should of”. ….ugh.

    Comment by Jason — March 28, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

  34. you don’t follow baseball very closely, do you?

    Comment by jim — March 28, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  35. Jack Z should probably get fired soon. He really needs Smoak to turn it around (doubtful), Montero to turn into a .370+ wOBA hitter, Pineda to struggle in NY, and Fister to struggle in Detroit to save his job as far as I’m concerned. Just imagine if he had held on to Fister and traded for Montero when he’d have the chance. Then he’d have Montero, Pineda, and Fister instead of Montero and some hopes and dreams.

    Comment by Greg — March 28, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

  36. You do realize that Boston and NY get such a large amount of media attention because they are located in the most populous areas in the nation? Sure Anaheim isn’t far from LA, but it’s nowhere as tightly compacted people wise as the NYC area.

    Comment by SaberTJ — March 28, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  37. Worst of all, it seems the Mariners won’t even be a family-friendly organization this year. I point you to this quote from Eric Wedge today (emphasis mine):

    “We’re trying to stretch out the lineup and have the guys feed off each other,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “I think Ichiro hitting in the third spot is the right place. We’re going to be a very offensive ballclub this year.

    The fact that he evidently went out of his way to point out that his team will be offensive surely isn’t a good sign of things to come this season.

    Comment by steex — March 28, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

  38. I concur.

    The ironic part is, the majority of Red Sox and Yankee fans hate their old man media coverage based around narratives rather than objective analysis.

    Repeated for emphasis. I can’t stand MSM coverage of the Yankees. It’s overly pessimistic and panic-inducing. The Red Sox media is more of the same from what I understand.

    Comment by Frank — March 28, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

  39. 23! They lead the league in runs scored and are best in runs allowed. How can you rate them this low?

    Comment by bill — March 28, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

  40. and you don’t follow terrible mariner’s prospects apparently.

    Comment by browl — March 28, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  41. Even taking you at your revised point, you don’t have much of a case. Figgins was signed for about $9M per year, essentially paying him to be a 2-WAR player. Between 2004 (his first full season with the Angels) and 2009 (his last year with the Angels), he averaged more than 3.5 WAR. So even if he lost 40% of his value going forward, he would still earn his salary for the Mariners. Instead he lost 100%, since he averaged -0.1 WAR between 2010 and 2011.

    Incidentally, during his five years with the Mariners, Beltre averaged 3.3 WAR and earned more than $12M per year. So I think you could say that replacing Beltre with Figgins did look like a pretty good idea at the time.

    Comment by Nadingo — March 28, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

  42. Nadingo,

    I don’t have a revised point.

    I get the sense that you think very much like Jack Z here. You seem to think WAR == WAR and there can be no nuance.

    I disagree. I don’t care what Figgins WAR in LA was and I don’t care what Beltre’s WAR in Seattle was. I care about the type of player they are and how they fit into my team. The reason for this is WAR is an expected outcome based upon playing for an idealized team. It doesn’t reflect what did, or what will actually happen. The Mariners were, and are, a far from idealized team. The average team in the league has a few power hitters to drive in runs. The best teams in the league have many of them. The results of all these power hitters are factored in to the linear weights ascribed to each batting outcome. But the Mariners have none of these players. The value of a single to the Mariners is not the same as the value of a single to other teams in the league. It is much lower. Singles produce runs for the Mariners less frequently than they do for other teams. Walks produce runs for the Mariners less frequently than they do for other teams. Figgins’ skill set was the least valuable type possible for the Mariners. This is especially true when you consider the fact that they used him to replace their only legitimate power threat.

    The Mariners should never have expected the team to be as good or better with Figgins than Beltre even if he didn’t fall off a cliff. WAR does not equal WAR. Context matters.

    Comment by Jason — March 28, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

  43. There’s no question that the Mariners have the ability to be a large revenue franchise, as they are the de facto team for … a huge geographic area that they don’t really share with anyone else.

    I had thought TV contracts were made per capita, not per square mile.

    Comment by Steve Balboni — March 28, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

  44. Agree to some extent….

    Why is “the process” deemed good? Maybe it was bad process that led to bad results and people are too eager to give the beenfit of the doubt because they like that Jack Z talks up advanced analysis.

    Maybe their application of the advanced analysis is flawed and it’s not simply a bad luck – bad result thing.

    It seems any GM that is believed to use advanced stat is automatically given the benefit of the doubt. As we have limited access to the “process” why do we assume it is good?

    Comment by Tom — March 28, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

  45. Wait when did they hire Tom Tango? That’s pretty cool if I may say so.

    Comment by max — March 28, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

  46. But isn’t Noesi/Campos *exactly* the opposite of the type of trade Z should be making?

    This club is at least 2/3 years from playoff contention, I think we can all agree; in that situation, you should trade away the merely Okay MLB guy for the high-upside teenager…not the other way around.

    And Fister? If the Tigers want him bad enough, they give you Jacob Turner. They don’t give you Turner, you hold onto Fist.

    If Milton Meltdown wasn’t acquired by Z, then I apologize for my oversight.

    Comment by Bob — March 28, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

  47. Ughh… a Dave Cameron article about the Mariner’s and out come the crazies. Seriously, I wish you’d just given this responsibility to someone else (maybe Matthew?), as people just can’t seem to be rational or drop things that have been beaten to death long ago. This is really a pretty reasonable, uncontroversial article (I would argue conservative, and somewhat bearish myself, but whatever) and still we have to deal with pages of people rehashing stupid arguments from years ago. Seriously people let it go.

    Comment by CheeseWhiz — March 28, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

  48. I like that plan where you get Montero for literally nothing. You should be a GM!

    Comment by ThirteenOfTwo — March 28, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

  49. “Neither Jake Peavy or Adam Dunn have lived up to their expensive contracts, and waiver claims for Alex Rios and Manny Ramirez have not worked out.”

    Thats from the White Sox’s baseball operations review, which happened to be 25th in the league. How come you think its okay to look at the results for Adam Dunn, but for Chone Figgins its the process that matters? Was signing a hitter who was coming off 4 straight seasons of 129+ wRC+- but bad defense- to be a DH bad process? If not, why not come to the White Sox’s defense? I can’t help but suspect that the whole “process over results” is still just a defense of #6org, esp since that WAS the reason behind #6org in the first place.

    I’m pretty sure that in every other Org rankings there has been no defense/attack of any other FO’s process. If you’re going to do nothing but evaluate the process and downplay the results for the Mariners, you need to do it (or make it more evident you are doing it) for the other franchises.

    Comment by Keystone Heavy — March 28, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

  50. And, while we’re at it, if you people could be bothered to stay home to watch the national games when your teams are on, maybe we wouldn’t have to stay up late every other Sunday night to watch ours.

    Comment by Judy — March 28, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

  51. i think that everyone makes mistakes, even talented baseball executives…but unless you’ve fully drunk the koolaid on jack z, that episode has got to a least give you pause.

    Comment by cable fixer — March 28, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

  52. Offensive meaning “This tem is gonna rake like the 27 Yankees” or Offensive meaning “The 2012 Mariners will be the most offensive team to watch since the 1962 Mets.”

    Comment by Shane H — March 28, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

  53. i assume he means for cliff lee, no?

    Comment by ccoop — March 28, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

  54. I think the missing step is “traded Cliff Lee for Montero instead of for Smoak.”

    Comment by matt w — March 28, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

  55. ninja’d!

    Comment by matt w — March 28, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

  56. I like those four as well but all except Felix have things to prove.

    Comment by Shane H — March 28, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

  57. He’s talking about the Cliff Lee for Montero deal that didn’t happen.

    Comment by Feeding the Abscess — March 28, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  58. This team really needs Smoak, Ackley, Montero to produce and for the young starters to get here soon and be good so they can get around .500 in 2013. Go with youngsters and development for the next 2 years as the dead weight (Ichiro and Figgins) fades away. If this plan could get them a solid nucleus going into 2014, that’s when you (wisely) go after free agents. I’m a Red Sox fan and love me some Jacoby Ellsbury but I fear he is gone after 2013. He is a northwestener, from Oregon and his skillset would play so well in that park. I wonder if he is on the Mariner’s radar. Even so, so many things need to go right for this team to make the playoffs within the next five years. Their offense is just so bad and they really have no top teir offensive talent in the system.

    Comment by Shane H — March 28, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  59. Bradley was a garbage-for-garbage swap with the Cubs, who received Carlos Silva in return. Milton was the better gamble.

    Fister was an example of trading a mediocre player at his peak value. Wells and Furbush are valuable role players, Ruffin looks to be a valuable bullpen piece in the future, and Martinez is one of the better 3B prospects in the minors. I’d do that trade again, right now, given the M’s pitching depth.

    No knowledgeable M’s fan wanted to see Campos go, but if it was necessary to get Montero, that’s tough to criticize. Noesi is already looking better than expected, and Pineda isn’t exactly thrilling Yankees fans at this point. I think you have to grade that trade as a net win so far.

    Unless you’re prepared to go all Captain Hindsight on Figgins, I don’t really see reasonable arguments for these criticisms.

    Comment by This guy — March 28, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

  60. Milton Bradley was traded for Carlos Silva. The Mariners won that trade simply by getting Silva out of their locker room.

    Comment by Steven — March 28, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

  61. That’s not how WAR works, Jason. It isn’t in *any* way a team stat. Your statement about singles and walks producing less runs on an anemic offensive team is true, but your claim that a team full of those players wouldn’t produce runs is patently false.

    Give me a team full of prime Figginses (fun!), guys that hit around 290/370/370 with speed, and we’ll see how many runs they score.

    Figgins has just sucked. He isn’t inherently less valuable because he’s a slap hitter, he’s less valuable because he’s awful. The guy used to get on via walk or hit, annoy the pitcher, take two bases on every single and one on a lot of outs, and get the job done.

    Look no further than the 2009 Angels. That team hit 285/350/441 and scored 883 runs. The team was 10th in ISO (11th in homers) and 2nd in the majors in runs scored. The only other teams anywhere near them in runs scored (Yanks and BoSox) hit way more homers.

    Figgins was a big part of that. Old Figgins, not this washed-up version.

    Comment by tmorgan1970 — March 28, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

  62. Every positive comment about the Mariners in this article has an upvote. Every negative comment has a downvote. Seems like the M’s are some holy grail that can’t be bashed, even if there are tons of other sabermetrically inclined teams that are fair game.

    Comment by Greg — March 28, 2012 @ 11:27 pm

  63. tmorgan1970,

    I didn’t say WAR was a team stat. It is not. I said scoring runs is a team affair. It predominantly is. The batting component of fWAR is based upon wOBA. wOBA is based upon LEAGUE-WIDE run expectancy. wOBA gives you the EXPECTED production of a hitter if he played on a league average team. In real life players never actually produce what they are expected to. The reason for this is two fold and both are important to a keen general manager. First, in a finite sample size stochasticity will drive the observed away from the expected. This point is important because the variance in run production associated with each outcome are not equal. As you head up the scale from walks to homeruns the variance in outcome (how different, on average the observed is from the mean) decreases. There is less variance in outcome for home runs than there is for walks. If you hit four homeruns in a game you are expected to score four times and you do score four times. If you walk four times, you are expected to score between 1 and 2 times, but in actuality you score 0 or 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 times. For this reason, singles and walks hitters are expected to deviate in their observed production from their expected production greater than are homerun and doubles hitters.

    Second, no individual player has the league average batting in front or behind them. The real run expectancies for any given player are dependent upon the team he has hitting around him not upon the league average. Players will often outperform or underperform their expected production if they have a better than average or worse than average supporting cast.

    A good general manager understands that runs are scored as a team. They try to construct a team that allows players to produce at or hopefully above their run expectancy. How do you do this? You have to consider the whole.

    Power hitters are the safe bets. Because they rely on their teammates less to produce runs they will guarantee you run production. Because of their low variance in outcomes they wont be much above or below in reality from what you expect them to produce. Singles hitters are the real wild card. Singles hitters might score way more or way fewer runs than you’d expect. You really want them to score way more than you’d expect and you really dont want to get stuck with one scoring way less than they are expected to. Singles hitters that bat in front of hitters who are way above the league average can be winning lottery tickets. Singles hitters that bat in front of hitters well below the league average are like anchors. You wont ever get their expected production.

    The Mariners have no hitters that are well above league average. Their singles hitters are destined to be anchors and not winning lottery tickets.

    Comment by Jason — March 28, 2012 @ 11:51 pm

  64. No. The people making negative comments are getting negative votes for being illogical.

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 29, 2012 @ 12:05 am

  65. What was so illogical about my earlier post? Was there something I said that was incorrect? At some point, people need to realize that Jack Z has not done a great job as GM of the Mariners other than get Cliff Lee for nothing, but then he turned around and got nothing for Cliff Lee.

    Comment by Greg — March 29, 2012 @ 1:00 am

  66. Read my earlier post again to find out a lot about what you’re missing in your narrow view of the situation.

    Or to summarize, Jack Zduriencik has essentially been rebuilding the entire organization from scratch. He’s done a very solid job so far.

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 29, 2012 @ 3:14 am

  67. You’re right… rampant vampirism in the clubhouse probably isn’t very family-friendly.

    Comment by BIP — March 29, 2012 @ 3:55 am

  68. First, different authors write each org’s summary. Secondly, it’s only a five-point difference that still rates the Mariners’ FO below-average overall. Getting into the particulars, though the White Sox have more or less systematically had both bad process and bad results. To the extent the Dunn signing is defensible, other moves like the jettisoning of Swisher/Vazquez, the Rios claim, the plate appearances for Juan Pierre, the refusal to spend in the draft, are not.

    At any rate, one could argue the entire difference in ranking is because of differences in their drafting performance.

    Comment by BIP — March 29, 2012 @ 4:07 am

  69. I didn’t know Justin Smoak was nothing.

    Comment by BIP — March 29, 2012 @ 4:08 am

  70. Check. And. Mate.

    Thank you, Keystone.

    Comment by Bob — March 29, 2012 @ 4:20 am

  71. I thought Cub fans were the most deluded I’d ever encountered, Greg, until I started reading Fangraphs. Now I make the M’s fans clear frontrunners for the honor.

    Multiple people refer to Smoak as a “core” player. A guy who’s Overbay Lite?

    Another says he’d make the Fister trade again. Really, you’d trade a dirt cheap mid-rotation starter for a handful of spare parts?

    Milton Clubhouse Land Mine Bradley *had* to be acquired in order to dump Carlos Silva? Here’s a novel idea: just release Carlos Silva.

    Campos *had* to be included in the Montero trade? Then here’s what ya do: Don’t make the trade. Keep your uber-talented league-minimum #3 starter in Pineda, and also keep your high-ceiling teenager and see if maybe he becomes a star.

    I know all that gloomy weather can make people depressed and defensive, but for Heaven’s sake, wake up and smell the bad GM, Mariners fans. Loving your team doesn’t necessitate defending poor general managing.

    In fact, it oughtta *preclude* it.

    Comment by Bob — March 29, 2012 @ 4:36 am

  72. The bottom line is, that’s just not true. If you’re talking about a single game, sure, 4 homers is going to score more consistently than 12 singles (or whatever it would take for the overall wOBA of the team to be about the same). Over the course of a season, there’s not going to be much difference, either in runs scored or record. That’s why wOBA is what it is.

    If the guys batting behind Figgins have the same wOBA, be it through singles, walks, triples, homers, whatever, he’s going to score about the same number of runs a year. Sure, it takes more of the non-homer outcomes, and sure, Seattle’s offense sucks, but what you’re saying simply isn’t true in a large sample.

    Figgins isn’t a bad fit in Seattle because of the rest of their hitters. He’s a bad fit because he’s turned into a sucky player.

    Comment by tmorgan1970 — March 29, 2012 @ 5:30 am

  73. How long will the product in Philadelphia be great? A couple of years at best, and they have very little on the farm as well.

    Comment by Simon — March 29, 2012 @ 5:51 am

  74. Don’t forget Michael Morse for Ryan Langerhans.

    Comment by Will — March 29, 2012 @ 9:03 am

  75. I think this is the best FO in the game

    +6

    Speaking of illogical

    Comment by Shane H — March 29, 2012 @ 9:25 am

  76. I think the front office should get a higher ranking. I think they should be close to the top 10.

    I don’t give Z and grievance for signing Figgins, or whatever other “bad” moves he’s made. The commenters above saying we should evaluate FO based on results are idiots.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — March 29, 2012 @ 9:25 am

  77. tmorgan1970,

    I’m sorry but you are misunderstanding the math. You need to understand the role of stochasticity in a finite sample. You also need to understand that there is a difference between what is expected to happen and what actually happens. It is true that wOBA expects the outcomes of a .300 hitter to be exactly the same as any other .300 hitter regardless of how they get to their .300. In an infinite sample and ceteris paribus they would, in fact, be exactly equal. Season’s may be long, but they are not infinite! In practice, despite perhaps having exactly the same skill level, two .300 hitters will never produce the same outcome. This is because the run expectancy is probabilistic and not deterministic. Importantly, it becomes less deterministic the further you get from homeruns.

    wOBA does not account for unequal variances in batting outcomes, nor should it. The purpose of wOBA is to compare players in a context neutral situation and independent of the stochasticity of events. But a good general manager is trying to create the team that scores more runs, not that has the highest wOBA. wOBA does not win games. Real world runs do. A GM doesn’t want context neutral. The context is everything. A good GM might say, I have a choice between two players with equal ability (equal wOBA), but which one is a better fit for my team. That likely requires looking deeper than wOBA.

    You might be interested to read about the evolutionary process known as genetic drift. Much of evolution works similar to this…

    Comment by Jason — March 29, 2012 @ 10:00 am

  78. Their offense is just so bad and they really have no top teir offensive talent in the system.

    They’ve got some guys that might surprise you. There’s surprising 3B depth, Franklin is a top tier shortstop prospect, and too many interesting outfielders to keep straight. I’m expecting a lot of Rockies-style late-20’s peaks from guys, where you really only need them to be hot for 2-4 years while supporting more consistent stars like we’re assuming Ackley and Montero etc will be. If Trayvon, Jiminez, Wells, Catricala, Franklin, and Smoak all get a few more years to struggle and break through that, I think they could very well be the Seth Smith/Ryan Spilborghs/(maybe a Matt Holliday in there somewhere?) type with some really exciting peaks that smarter baseball people will capitalize on by trading at their peak for prospects. If we have a nice coalescence, which I think is what we’re all kind of banking on because if we aren’t… man you must really just love baseball in any form.

    Ellsbury seems like such a Grady Sizemore, that could be a very dangerous long term deal for whoever bites. When that speed’s gone, he’s going to have to learn to take a walk to be valuable, and at best at that point he’s a Carlos Gonzalez, which is great, but not what people are thinking he is, and not what he’s going to get paid for. Jose Reyes money, I’d imagine, if he has a couple more years like last year, but he’ll be hard pressed to repeat. Pure speculation of course. I have no informants in front offices, haha.

    Not necessarily disagreeing with you, just saying that if you look closely over time you might see more hope than you’d expect.

    Comment by Tsunamijesus — March 29, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

  79. Alrighty-then…

    Multiple people refer to Smoak as a “core” player. A guy who’s Overbay Lite?

    There is some optimism in Justin Smoak, particularly for those of us who saw him hit well in 2011 until the thumb injury and the death of his father took a toll on him. If you look at his offensive monthly splits, you’ll find a fascinating outlier. While he is one of the players that needs to step it up in 2012 we’ve seen evidence that he’s capable of rising up to the challenge. A struggling Justin Smoak is “Overbay Lite” so his upside is certainly better.

    Another says he’d make the Fister trade again. Really, you’d trade a dirt cheap mid-rotation starter for a handful of spare parts?

    I would trade a guy like Fister for a collection of interesting/promising parts as the Mariners did at the trade deadline. Particularly if it helps the team on offense. Not every Mariner fan would do it. Some really enjoyed having Fister around. It’s a debatable topic.

    Mariners also have a lot of pitching depth and were dealing from a position of strength to address a position of weakness. Great pitching and terrible offense turned out to be a bad combo.

    Milton Clubhouse Land Mine Bradley *had* to be acquired in order to dump Carlos Silva? Here’s a novel idea: just release Carlos Silva.

    It’s okay. You’re not expected to know that Carlos Silva was actually a bigger headache to have around than Milton Bradley turned out to be. Given his reputation, Bradley’s time in Seattle was actually pretty mild. He had time off to seek some counseling and it took him over a year after being acquired to be ejected from a ball game during the regular season.

    The problem was that he sucked. He didn’t even perform up to the level of performance as he did with the Cubs. The Cubs were having nightmares dealing with him. It didn’t work out but the gamble was worth it.

    Campos *had* to be included in the Montero trade? Then here’s what ya do: Don’t make the trade. Keep your uber-talented league-minimum #3 starter in Pineda, and also keep your high-ceiling teenager and see if maybe he becomes a star.

    Once again, Mariners dealt from a position of strength to address a position of weakness. I dunno…are you even aware that the Mariners have a lot of pitching depth? This article flat out says the team has a trio of young pitching prospects coming (Hultzen, Paxton, Walker). And that’s just the obvious three. The team loses Jose Campos and gains Hector Noesi, an interesting prospect with good stuff and a fastball that reaches the mid 90s that they can stick in the rotation immediately. It’s a high-risk, high-reward trade for both the Mariners and the Yankees.

    I know all that gloomy weather can make people depressed and defensive, but for Heaven’s sake, wake up and smell the bad GM, Mariners fans. Loving your team doesn’t necessitate defending poor general managing.

    This is what I’m talking about. This is a perfect example of an illogical post.

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 29, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

  80. Jason; if you really did predict that Figgins and Beltre would take the career paths they did after the 2009-2010 offseason, you need to be employed by a baseball FO someplace. Because you are the only person in the world that saw that coming.

    Comment by NBarnes — March 29, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

  81. I think it’s more than a GM that makes decisions that coincide with the best available thinking outside that FO are given the benefit of the doubt. And GMs that do things that go against the opinions of the well-respected people outside the FO-sphere are not. Zduriencik doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt because Dave Cameron likes the works he uses. He gets the benefit of the doubt because his decisions make sense at the time they are made. Dayton Moore gets sneered at even when he gets good seasons out of Francouer and Melky Cabrera because nobody respects a stopped clock, even on the two times a day that the stopped clock is correct.

    If you have a pile of concurrently timed opinionating that suggests that you saw all of Zduriencik’s errors coming in advance, we’d all be, very sincerely, interested in that. But what I think many people are seeing here is not that, but a lot of what is essentially complaining that FG isn’t using enough post-hoc reasoning in their analysis.

    Comment by NBarnes — March 29, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

  82. Milton Bradley? Really? REALLY?

    Zduriencik traded Carlos Silva away to get Bradley. What did you expect to get?

    Comment by NBarnes — March 29, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

  83. Michael Morse had assembled 1.1 WAR over the previous four seasons with the Mariners. Does that sound like a valuable piece to you? That the guy had a BABIP-fueled career year at the age of 29 doesn’t make that trade look as bad as you seem to think it does.

    Comment by NBarnes — March 29, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

  84. You have to know who Steve Baron is to get the joke.

    Comment by PalousePirate — March 29, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

  85. The Mariners only gave Morse all of 35 games in the majors after he was league average offensively as a 23 year old. You think that may have something to do with his low WAR total? Also, his career BABIP is higher than his 2011 BABIP, so I’m not sure why you’re treating it like some fluke. I’m also not sure how BABIP explains a guy hitting 30+ HR in less than 600 PA. Please feel free to explain how that one works.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 29, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

  86. According to you ThundaPC, an illogical post is any post that makes a point disagreeing with your own opinions.

    1) Where is the evidence that Smoak is willing to “step up to the challenge”? He can’t hit a breaking ball to save his life and guys who can’t hit breaking balls don’t make it in the big leagues.

    2) Really, you’d make that Fister trade again? A 5 WAR pitcher under team control for several more years at a dirt cheap salary in return for zero premium prospects? Come on now.

    3) Jack Z traded one of the best young arms in the game plus a huge upside teenager for a right handed 1B/DH playing at a park that destroys RH hitters. If he loved Montero so much, he should have picked him over Smoak when he had the chance. And with the huge failure rate for pitching prospects, he should have let some of the guys he’s counting on actually prove they can pitch in the majors before trading away a guy we know who can.

    Comment by Greg — March 29, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

  87. To be honest, I always had a feeling that Pineda is damaged goods. It’s that persistent gut feeling when he pitches, that it’s just a question of time before he breaks down.

    Comment by stjz — March 29, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

  88. Michael Morse was also a terrible defender, who had been busted for steroid use multiple times.

    Comment by CheeseWhiz — March 29, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  89. Michael Morse was also a terrible defender with no position, who had been busted for steroid use multiple times.

    Comment by CheeseWhiz — March 29, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  90. Name a profession where evaluations *aren’t* at least in large part based on results…. well, other than academics.

    Comment by longgandhi — March 29, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

  91. They reached the playoffs 5 years in a row, made it to 2 WS and won one of them. If they’re great for a couple more years, that’s an excellent outcome that most teams’ fans would love to experience.

    Comment by vivalajeter — March 29, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

  92. According to you ThundaPC, an illogical post is any post that makes a point disagreeing with your own opinions.

    Much like most of what you’ve said so far, you’re basically presenting information out of thin air.

    1) Where is the evidence that Smoak is willing to “step up to the challenge”? He can’t hit a breaking ball to save his life and guys who can’t hit breaking balls don’t make it in the big leagues.

    I said “he’s capable of rising up to the challenge.” Evidence of this is found in early and late 2011 performances. “He can’t hit a breaking ball to save his life” describes Carlos Peguero, not Justin Smoak. Or maybe you’re getting him mixed up with 2011 Michael Saunders. Otherwise, this sounds like more thin air analysis.

    2) Really, you’d make that Fister trade again? A 5 WAR pitcher under team control for several more years at a dirt cheap salary in return for zero premium prospects? Come on now.

    Let’s not go around calling Doug Fister a 5 WAR pitcher after one 5 WAR season. You’re essentially putting the cart before the horse. It’s okay to be confident in his abilities going forward. Some people even believe he’s “the next Cliff Lee.” Some people believe he’s due for regression. Regardless, Doug Fister wasn’t going to command a Cliff Lee size haul considering his lack of proven history. The team could’ve kept him, but once again, it’s dealing from a positional strength to address a weakness in offense.

    3) Jack Z traded one of the best young arms in the game plus a huge upside teenager for a right handed 1B/DH playing at a park that destroys RH hitters. If he loved Montero so much, he should have picked him over Smoak when he had the chance.

    Yay for one-sided embellishment.

    But seriously, what really happened is that Zduriencik traded a talented two-pitch pitcher for an extremely talented hitter who may be a Catcher or a DH. For the Mariners to maximize this deal they would need Montero to work out as a catcher. For the Yankees, they need to get Pineda to improve his changeup.

    And with the huge failure rate for pitching prospects, he should have let some of the guys he’s counting on actually prove they can pitch in the majors before trading away a guy we know who can.

    What does this even mean? No pitcher was traded away because the team didn’t think they could pitch in the majors. They were traded away for players in an effort to bolster this team’s offense. The Mariners have had lots of pitching and no hitting. They’ve been working to rectify that with trades.

    I’m just trying to help you understand what’s actually going on. Let me know if you have any more questions.

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 29, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

  93. Pardon the messed up block quoting.

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 29, 2012 @ 6:40 pm

  94. Jason, go back into your room and stop bothering these nice people!

    Comment by Jason's Mother — March 29, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

  95. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t the Mariners play in the AL? You know, the league that has a position specifically for people who can’t play in the field? So who the hell cares if he sucks defensively when he was more than 4 times as many runs better than league average offensively than any hitter on the Mariners team? How does that make trading him for Ryan Langerhans any less ridiculous in hindsight?

    As for the whole steroid thing, the last suspension was 4 years earlier. I guess you can hold it against him on a personal level if you want, but at that point I’m not sure how you can hold it against his value as a player. In no way does that make trading him for Ryan Langerhans any more justifiable.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 29, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

  96. Looking into it, the funniest thing about the whole “it was just a fluke career year” argument is that Morse was more valuable with the bat in just 293 PA in 2010 than any player on the Mariners roster. Basically, within a year of trading him, he was as good or better offensively than any player on their team. And Jack Z just left him rotting in the minors and then traded him for a career 4th OF.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 29, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

  97. Right, the people who realize “process” includes things other than just looking at stats are idiots. Just because you and Z didn’t realize Figgins was in for a steep decline doesn’t mean other MLB teams were confident he was because of their scouting reports on him.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 30, 2012 @ 10:11 am

  98. Yes, it’s easy to highlight everything that has gone wrong with the Mariners over the past few years, but that doesn’t leave you with any kind of useful assessment of whether the front office is worth sticking with or not. Comparing the Zduriencik FO to the Bavasi FO is damning with faint praise, but for Mariners fans it’s been night and day. The Bavasi regime was full of bad moves that looked bad at the time — trading Carlos Guillen for Ramon Santiago, trading Rafael Soriano for Horacio Ramirez, signing Carl Everett as a DH, then trading for Jose Vidro, the Shin-Soo-Choo/Asdrubal Cabrera trades that netted Cleveland’s mediocre DH platoon, and the Erik Bedard trade. He also presided over five years of lousy top draft picks (Tuiasosopo, Clement, Morrow, Aumont, Fields). Bavasi’s horrible FO left the major league team and the minor league system in horrible shape, and that’s what Zduriencik had to start with when he came in.

    Meanwhile, Zduriencik has had a mixed record that has included some unquestionable successes (the Putz/Gutierrez trade, the Aumont/Cliff Lee trade, the Aardsma trade), some moves that looked okay at the time but have been disappointing since (the Cliff Lee/Smoak trade, the Figgins signing), and some moves that many fans questioned at the time they were made (the Morrow/League trade, the Fister trade). He’s also drafted the Mariners best hitter (Ackley) and three pitchers who are among the top pitching prospects in baseball (Paxton, Walker, and Hultzen).

    So no, not everything the FO has done has been successful, and their process has not always been perfect either. But they started from such a position of weakness, they’ve made enough moves that either worked out well or at least looked good at the time, and they’ve restocked the minor league system while improving the major league roster. Given all of that, I don’t think an 18 rank for the FO is delusional at all.

    Comment by Nadingo — March 30, 2012 @ 10:16 am

  99. sup #6 org

    Comment by awayish — March 30, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

  100. I think the thing here is that they have the possibility of developing into a good team very soon, but there’s also an equally large possibility of that not happening. Ackley will in all likelihood be a solid MLB 2nd baseman, but even that’s a bit of a question mark: will he be All-Star good or just decent? Felix is the only sure thing they have right now, and pitchers can be gone in a flash. If Ackley, Montero, Smoak, Hultzen, Walker, and Paxton all turn into All-Star caliber players, then they will be very good in a few years, but it’s not likely that all of them turn out that way.

    Comment by Berychance — March 30, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  101. smoak? the 25-year-old first baseman with 900 career PA’s and a career .308 wOBA?

    if that’s the m’s fourth best “core” player, i agree the 2013+ ranking looks overly hopeful.

    Comment by tom s. — March 31, 2012 @ 1:44 am

  102. “no one should be expected to predict the future”
    Well, except for a GM. That’s his job.
    This meme that Dave has been beating for quite awhile that no one could have ever predicted that Figgins would be a bust has become tiresome. I don’t recall a lot of dancing in Pioneer Square when this deal was inked. For what very little it’s worth, I certainly wasn’t too enthused about locking up a super-utility guy for 4 years/36 million. True, with the low bar set by Dave, I surely can’t say I thought Figgins would be nearly as awful as he has been (just 2 more years to go!). Jack Z’s most egregious mistake was trading away Morrow for League. That, I’ll never understand. A promising starter for a closer is simply a deal that should never be done – particularly by a team not good enough to need a closer. Meanwhile, Martinez will need to pan out for the Fister deal to make sense. Smoak will need to pan out for the Cliff Lee deal not to be a disaster and, yes, giving away Morse for nothing suggests that the Great Jack Z can’t evaluate offense the way we were led to believe.

    Comment by Monroe — March 31, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

  103. The population of the Mariners broadcasting area is around 17 million people.

    Comment by d.t. — April 5, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

  104. One “bad” year and Ichiro is dead weight? That’s a bit pessimistic.

    Comment by d.t. — April 5, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

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