Take a look, if you haven’t already, at Geoff Baker’s blog over at the Seattle Times. I know there are a lot of people that avoid it in the blogsphere but his interview with John Hart (former General Manager) and Dan Pleasac (former MLB pitcher) is very enlightening and it kind of comes back to a lot of what we (as a blogsphere) have been saying the last few years.
Just a few things to take away from the interview.
A) PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE,
Rebuilding is a process. While most of us know this we need to get this through the Mariner family’s mind. It’s going to take time to see this team rise to prominence. They have have a couple of years in the near future that puts them in that “80” win category and it feels so close. But patience! The goal isn’t 84-85 wins, it’s 95-100 wins. It’s not just a division, it’s a World Series.
B) A closer at this point is over valued.
I like Aardsma and League, but should they build some positive value this year, I’m not opposed to seeing them traded. We got some young arms that have potential and we don’t need to be paying them a combined 10 million dollars next year. Let Cortes and Lueke battle it out.
C) “Leadership” and Chemistry is overvalued.
Does it exist? Sure. We’ve all seen examples of it within our work centers and places of business. But should is it the difference between the team being .500 and losing 100+ games? Absolutely not. People invest too much money in the “Sweeney theory” and it results in poor seasons and frustration.
It’s about putting solid talent out there that can win ball games. Winning teams have winning chemistry. Not the other way around.
D) I still disagree with the sentiment that playing “small ball” can’t win you games in the American League.
Yes, the American League by nature is a tougher league to pitch to because you don’t have the pitcher in the line-up and you have a designated hitter in his place. Obviously this is going to change the way you approach a line-up. But that doesn’t mean the opposing team can’t put together 4 runs by just consistent hitting. I’m not saying you put 9 Chone Figgins in the line-up.
Bradley, Kotchman, Gutierrez and Lopez were all expected to produce more than 15 home runs each. Sure, I’ll agree that’s not a menacing line-up. But if Bradley gets a single, and Casey works a walk, etc. It had potential.
E) The Mariners have a shot to be a .500 team.
Will they post a winning record? Not necessarily. I, as well as many others around the blogsphere, have posted some sort of projection based off Bill James, PECOTA or some other “smart”system. We pretty much all agree on roughly 70-75 wins. Do they have a shot at .500 sure, heck there is an outside shot the team wins the AL West. But it’s like less than 2%.
Just remember there is a reason we play the games. Figgins could come out of now where and post a career year along with Jack Cust. Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders and Adam Moore could blossom into what we thought they could be, and we get a whole year out of Erik Bedard. Watch out. Who knows where we could go.
But, then again Figgins could just continue to drop, Ichiro could finally hit his wall and Gutierrez could prove he’s offensively not an every day player. Smoak and Saunders might fail as prospects, and injures come all over the pitching staff.
Just temper your expectations the next COUPLE of years. There are going to be more frustrating moments than memorable ones, and that’s okay. That’s where we are as an organization. But we are moving forward and we need to support our team regardless of wins and loss totals, regardless of let downs and disappointments. This is our team and we will have our moment in the sun. Just remember, patience!