Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Speed of Stupidity

What is the speed of stupidity?

We know it is pretty fast. For instance, say The Voice of Reason asks me how I like her haircut. And let's say my immediate stupid reply is "Um, did you want it that short?" The time between the last word coming out of my mouth and the bedroom door slamming is less than five seconds. That’s pretty fast.

But I think we can safely say that Bill Bavasi shattered all previous speed records this week. Bavasi, in case you don’t know, is the Seattle Mariners GM, and a couple of months ago, it looked like he was close to losing his job. His biggest mistake? Giving two veterans (Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre) huge guaranteed money after career years. But he wasn’t fired, and Mariners surged to be a couple of games out of the wild care.

Granted a stay of execution, he did what any of us would have done – he went on a bender. And in this case the bender apparently means offering Ichiro, an aging veteran having a career year, to a huge, guaranteed, five-year, $100 million contract. Bavasi voluntarily offered an extra $5 million per year and an extra guaranteed year beyond what any other team had ever given a 30-plus-year-old center fielder, outpacing even the Yankees’ deal with Johnny Damon.

Stupidy sped 2000 miles to Minneapolis. And everything changed.

Suddenly, the cost of retaining Torii Hunter next year had increased about $40 million over what it had been a week earlier. Ichiro is a helluva a player, but he’s a year older, has less power, and isn’t a true center fielder. Not only did any chance of reaching a deal with Hunter before he reaches free agency go right out the window, but in all probability, re-signing Hunter just went from “a stretch” to “irresponsible”.


Unfortunately, the impact of that moronic agreement doesn’t just affect the Twins next year. The Twins start this homestand seven games out of the playoffs. Terry Ryan is always looking first and foremost at the present year, and will likely try to add impact bats if the Twins are within range of a postseason push. But if they find themselves double-digits back as this homestand ends – a homestand featuring three opponents with .500 or better records - he may need to change his tune and fast.

If there’s no chance of reaching the playoffs, and there’s no chance of re-signing Hunter, you can bet he’ll seriously consider moving Hunter for an impact player next year. Or to restock the offense in his minor league system.

Doing anything else would just be, well, stupid.

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Hey, if you haven't stopped by MNGameday.com today, for the love of all that is good and right, get your butt over there. I spent the last week redesigning it, and I'll be so hurt if you don't at least stop by.

And PLEASE scroll down to the bottom and check out the links. A couple of years ago, I fired up TwinsTerritory.com to try and provide a place that Twins fans could come for nearly limitless Twins content. But I hated that the writers needed to join and use that site for me to provide the links.

Now that's not necessary. Over on MNGameDay.com you'll find links to over twenty independent blogs, all with their latest post. If you're a writer and want yours to be included, please let me know and we'll add it to the feed.

Thanks everyone. Let me know how you like it.
John

8 comments:

John Sharkey, Esq. said...

I hadn't thought at all about how Ichiro would affect Hunter. Now I'm ready to throw back a few Alous.

Joseph said...

Maybe it's verboten to say. And I'm as big of a Twins and Torii Hunter fan as the next person who reads here, but I wouldn't mind seeing them trade away Hunter this season (while he's playing as well as he is) for something in return.

He's a very good player, granted. But, his overall career as a player, isn't as good for the money he might be commanding (even with a "hometown discount"). We'd miss his defense, though.

If it means a better chance of re-signing Santana, Nathan, or both, I'd be fine with it.

Just my $0.02.

Josh's Thoughts said...

I agree with Joseph. Overall throughout his career, he should be getting just a little more than Gary Mathews Jr. is getting (he's a much better player, but Mathews Jr. is vastly overpaid).

P.S. I'd like my site to be on mngameday too.

Take care.

Daymonster said...

Depending on the deal, I'd like to keep Torii but at a certain price you have to say good bye, no matter how good his smile is.

As for Santana, we need to do what ever it takes to keep him until his arm falls off.

Nathan, I think we should trade him for some offensive talent maybe and move Neshek to closer.

Alex said...

I dont think the 20 million for Ichiro is a bad deal. The amount of pull Ichiro has with Japanese fan base and Sponsorship is amazing. The Mariners would lose money if they didnt resign Japan's greatest player.

Anonymous said...

How is Ichiro not a true centerfielder? According to the Hardball Times, he has the second best Range Factor among centerfielders in the AL and fifth in the majors (Hunter is 7th and 12th). Plus, he's made more plays out of his range than any other centerfielder. Plus, he has a cannon for an arm. In my book, he is the ideal centerfielder. He's lightning quick, catches the ball and has a double plus arm. That the Mariners failed to play him in centerfield all of these years is their problem.

--SBG

John said...

Josh, your blog is added. It’s great and I didn’t know it was there. If anyone knows of any more, let me know.

Ken, Is Ichiro a true CF? Well, I’ll give you a ‘maybe’ on that. I only tangentially trust most fielding stats, and the fact that they’ve been playing Jeremy Reed and Randy Winn over him for the last three years out there isn’t exactly a vote of confidence. You’re right about his arm, and he certainly has enough speed that he should have good range. I was under the impression that he struggled on routes to the ball, but the fielding stats would seem to indicate that isn’t the case.

I find it interesting that he only became a CF in a contract year, a move that would undoubtedly boost his value. I don’t know if that was by his wish or not, or if playing RF was his wish or not. Still, between the lack of history, his age, and my question about this being a contract year, I’d put that chances that he plays out this contract in CF the whole time at 50/50.

But it’s just my opinion, and it’s mostly based on speculation. After all, I was the guy who thought Jacque shoulda played CF for some teams.

ubelmann said...

John, if Ichiro isn't a true center fielder, then Torii Hunter is a below average corner outfielder.

Ichiro's contract was right in line with his market value. In fact, he's probably getting underpaid. Those looking for Torii to get signed to a contract much lower than Ichiro's $90M/5yr deal weren't being very realistic.

I find it interesting that he only became a CF in a contract year, a move that would undoubtedly boost his value.

I find it interesting that you weren't paying much attention last year. Ichiro moved to CF halfway through last year. Why did he move to CF? Because he was asked to move there.

When Ichiro came over from Japan, he was a center fielder. The Mariners had Mike Cameron in center field, though, so it really didn't matter which way they arranged Cammy and Ichiro, it was going to be a great defensive OF either way. The team never asked Ichiro to move back to CF until last year. That reflects upon the Mariners a lot more than it reflects upon Ichiro.