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Opening! Day!

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Appropriately enough, the Mariners stick King Felix with the first of what is sure to be many no-decisions in a battle of deep, talented offenses. (A lot of critiques of Billy Beane are silly. What is a fair critique is that the three best position players he’s drafted since 1999 have so far been Nick Swisher, Andre Eithier, and Kurt Suzuki. Very unimpressive even before you consider that Eithier was parlayed into 115 games of Milton Bradley.)

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  • c u n d gulag

    And don’t forget, Swisher’s one of the all time greatest performers in post-season history.

    Ask any Yankee fan!
    Like me.
    NOT!!!

    • R Johnston

      Hey, what do you have against a .169/.295/.323 slash line?

      Nobody takes a walk in the playoffs like Nick Swisher!

      • c u n d gulag

        The problem is, that when he’s up in a Playoff or WS game, a walk is about the best you can hope for.

        • howard

          cund gulag, swisher is a streak player incarnate; as i’m sure you realize, you can go through long stretches of the season where he performs just as poorly as he has in the post-season, and long stretches where he looks like a hall of famer.

          i believe that we’re dealing with small sample size in the post-season, and that he will eventually have a strong post-season.

          (and if we’re going to talk about shoddy post-season hitting, we should start with mark texeira, who somehow escapes comment despite the utter awfulness of his yankee postseason career.)

          • Swisher sucks.

            Get over it.

            • howard

              swisher as a yank:

              ops: .854
              ops+: 123
              avg. games per season: 150

              i can live with it.

              per the original topic of this thread, the mariners would go nuts to have an ops+ = 123 guy in their lineup!

              • wengler

                Everytime I see his stupid Swisher face I want to punch it.

              • Sherm

                “the mariners would go nuts to have an ops+ = 123 guy in their lineup!”

                Not at $10.5 million.

                • howard

                  ichiro suzuki career ops+ = 114

                  number of seasons ichiro’s ops+ has exceeded 123: 3.

                  he will earn $17m this year.

                • djw

                  howard: right. Swisher is a very good player who is earning his contract at roughly the market rate for wins above replacement. Playoff sample size is far too small to draw any meaningful conclusions. The notion that Nick Swisher is a bad baseball player requires a very special kind of Yankee fan myopia.

                • Sherm

                  Ichiro’s career WAR — 54.5

                  Swisher’s career WAR — 19.2

                  Swish is a decent player, but a little perspective please.

        • But the fans love him, C U N D!

          He’s an arrogant overpriced asshole fan favorite!

          • c u n d gulag

            When did we switch from talking about Swisher, to Coach Rex Ryan? ;-)

            And he’s FAT, too!

          • Rob in CT

            Swish is a very good player (solid fielder as well as a good hitter) who has had a very poor stretch of playoff PAs.

            That happens, and does not mean he sucks. I haven’t enjoyed it either, but comeon.

    • Sherm

      I thought you guys should have let him walk, and signed Beltran in his place. I know a lot of Yankee fans love the guy, but his goofball routine has grown old.

      • howard

        swisher’s likelier to play 140 games.

      • c u n d gulag

        He was still signed through this year, so they’d have had to have traded him.

        I’m not saying that doing that and signing Beltran wouldn’t have been a good idea – it’s just that Beltran’s 3 1/2 years older, and in the middle of his decline phase, whereas Swish’s just recently entered his decline phase.

        Let him go after this year.

        Jeter’s going to probably need a new spot in the field after this year, since he’s getting very, very long in the tooth for a SS.
        The Yankees left side of the IF already looks like a Bronx revival of Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys.”

        Then, the Yankees can maybe more Granderson to RF, move Brett Gardner to CF, and let Jeter play LF.

        • Sherm

          They picked up his option. Could have let him walk. Nice player, probably worth the option. But I felt that it was time for a change.

          • c u n d gulag

            Thanks for the correction.

            And I think the Yanks feel that, even if he never hits in the post season, he does enough damage in the regular season to help them get there.

            The problem last year was that it wasn’t just Swisher alone who stopped hitting in the playoffs – so did S-Rod and Tex.
            So, effectively, 1/3 of the line-up was mired in a dreadful slump.

            • Sherm

              You are right about Swisher. But after watching the playoffs last year, I thought they needed to do something to upgrade their offense. Montero at DH might have been the boost they needed, but they traded him away. You upgraded your pitching (assuming Pineda’s healthy and throwing 95 again come April), but your offense just got another year older. And your division is just brutal this year. The Rays look really good, and the Blue Jays are getting close.

              Damn, I can’t wait for baseball to start.

              • c u n d gulag

                If the Yanks want to improve, they need to make some changes to the line-p:
                Gardner – 7
                Granderson – 8
                Cano – 4
                A-Rod – 5/DH
                Tex – 3/DH
                Ibanez – DH/LF/RF
                Swisher – 9/DH
                Martin – 2
                Jeter – 6/DH

                Eduardo Nunez will back-up SS, 3rd, 2nd, and sometimes LF and RF.

                If Ibanez doesn’t hit, or needs a day off, then the DH spot shifts slots depending on who needs a day off from playing the field that day.

                Chavez, in the IF, and Jones, in the OF, will also be around to DH and back-up.

                But that line-up ain’t gonna happen.
                Jeter still wants to lead-off. And, if he can hit near 300, with an OBP of
                near 350-30, why not?
                In which case, they’ll go back to Jeter in the leadoff, and Gardner goes back to the 9-hole.

                • Sherm

                  There is absolutely no excuse not to lead Gardner off against righties. Jeter cannot hit righties any more. And if Jeter is 1/8 the team player the media says he is, then he should have no problem dropping down in the lineup.

                • mpowell


                  And if Jeter is 1/8 the team player the media says he is, then he should have no problem dropping down in the lineup.

                  hmm…

  • DivGuy

    The Mariners do appear to maybe sorta have half of a good offense. Dustin Ackley would be an All-Star in a league that didn’t have the three best 2B in the game. Jesus Montero should mash, especially now that he’s freed from catching everyday. Smoak and Carp are cromulent. And Ichiro’s hitting .800!

    But good lord, the end of that lineup is execrable. Figgins, Saunders, Olivo, and Ryan all project to OPS+ under 80. Only Ryan has the glove to carry that. The other three are just full-on worthless.

    • djw

      It would look a bit less grim if Wedge would see fit to use Casper Wells, although it doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen much. He projects to be as good a hitter as Carp, and can play the outfield pretty well. If you want defense, start him over Carp. If you want offense, start him over Saunders. Either way, a big improvement. And Seager should obviously be starting over Figgins. He’s no one’s idea of a high ceiling prospect or anything, but he’s hit at every level, and held his own in the majors at 23 last year. The desperate plan to hope Figgins plays well enough to trade is the kind of scheme that might have been worth a try 10-15 years ago, when the population of GMs contained a lot more dumbasses than it does now.

      • djw

        And, of course, I forgot they traded for Jaso, who’s a perfectly mediocre hitter, which makes him obviously a fair bit better than Olivo. They’ve got a offense within shouting distance of mediocre, if they had any interest in actually putting it on the field.

    • howard

      and of course, they play in a great pitcher’s park.

  • Kurzleg

    It was sort of evident at the time the book came out, and now that the movie’s come out it’s become quite obvious that the success the A’s had was mostly founded on the Hudson/Zito/Mulder trifecta. The quantitative aspect of scouting – especially for scouting hitters – played a secondary role. For a time it helped Beane identify undervalued players, but that time has long passed. It was clearly the starting pitching plus perhaps some proprietary fielding metrics – my suspicion is that this is what Beane alludes to when noting that he didn’t give away all his secrets – that drove the A’s success. Even now, Beane has shifted his focus to what’s currently undervalued (speed, defense) and tried to use that to build around young pitchers.

    • gorillagogo

      A few years back when the A’s traded for Matt Holliday, I thought Beane had come up with the radical notion that expensive veteran players were the new undervalued commodity in baseball.

      • Sherm

        At least he didn’t do anything stupid like including in that trade a budding young superstar under team control for years.

        • gorillagogo

          Ha!

      • timb

        Is Matt Holliday a bad player, ’cause he has killed my Reds over the last few years.

        • gorillagogo

          Holliday’s a pretty good hitter who was making something like $13M when the A’s traded for him. Not exactly your typical Oakland move.

  • Billy Beane with the help of Michael Lewis stole the credit of the successful early ’00 Oakland A’s teams from Sandy Alderson.

    There. I said it. (And don’t tell me Beane ripped off Omar Minaya. EVERYBODY ripped off Omar Minaya when the Expos were sinking)

  • Murc

    My impression has been that Beane hasn’t been that successful over the past decade because everyone started using sabremetrics, and that turned the As back into the pumpkin they’ve always been; a small-market team without a lot of money.

    • Kurzleg

      Right. And when you consider the inherent difficulties in developing pitchers, he’s in the same boat as everyone else.

      • timb

        One thing I still like about him is that he willing to make the bold move…

        a second thing is that he looks like Brad Pitt.

        Well, at least one of those things is true.

      • timb

        The other change was drafting college pitchers. Many, many, many baseball old-timers did not want to draft college pitchers: they pitched too many innings, had bad mechanics they were too old to change, were too arrogant to be coachable. Give me the 18 year old, they said, and we will teach him how to pitch.

        Beane realized that was bs, drafter studs and now everyone else knows too.

        I can’t recall how many I heard Reds announcers putting down the idea of drafting college pitchers back in the 80’s and 90’s

        • Kurzleg

          Good point. I didn’t realize it when I posted the comments above, but the trio of Zito/Hudson/Mulder were all college pitchers. Or at least they all attended college according to Baseball Reference dot com.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Right. I’ll do another post on this eventually, but I’ve never understood the argument that Beane deserves no credit for M/H/Z. Not drafting high school pitchers was one of the most robust findings of early sabermetrics, and while Mulder was a hot prospect Hudon and Zito are by no means the kind of pitchers scouts love.

  • Again, a guy asks first thing out of the box – “Who the H are The Mariners?” I second who is King Felix – a cartoon cat? A fussy sidekick? I understand there’s some kind of game going on, what is that game?

    I try to stay informed, I read blogs and news sources, but I also work hard at my chosen tasks. I don’t follow news or politics professionally, and I need a hint what you professionals are trying to say.

    Hinting that Opening! Day! has happened (what ever that is?) is not helpful to 98% of the English speaking world, including progressive activists who have a busy life.

    Come on, spell things out first use, which is style in every professional journo style book – then tell us that Milton Bradley has something to do with games. That will help me understand what the heck you are saying.

    Thanks, all

    Also: Ghana.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I’m sorry, I’d give you a slow clap every professional journo style book would clearly tell you to earnestly explain the reference to kill the joke first. I’m a busy man!

    • elm

      I’m assuming this and the similar comment in the RTV thread are references to J. Otto, but was there a comment in a particular thread where he said something along these lines that I missed?

  • Sherm

    Well, he better not win another Cy Young with all those damn no decisions. Great pitchers will their teams to score.

  • Njorl

    That wasn’t Opening Day. That was an exhibition game that counts.

    • wengler

      This was an excuse to take away two home games from the A’s.

  • jsmdlawyer

    So where’s the LGM Baseball Challenge for 2012? Looking to improve on last year’s 4th place finish.

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