Sunday, August 22, 2021

Las Vegas Aviators 8, Tacoma Rainiers 4

My Sweetie, the official scorer, and I typically attend Tacoma Rainiers games on Sunday afternoons, but I had a rare opportunity to catch a game at Cheney Stadium under the lights when I caught the game against the Las Vegas Aviators on Tuesday, August 17. The occasion was a Mariners game-day staff outing, and several members of the ticket office were in attendance as the Aviators topped the Rainiers 8-4.

Things started off well enough for Tacoma starter Darren McCaughan, who blanked Las Vegas on just one hit over the first couple of innings. The Aviators' starter Argenis Angulo matched that, allowing just one hit over two and the score was 0-0 going into the top of the third. 

Things then came apart a bit for McCaughan. Pete Kozma and Buddy Reed opened the frame with singles, and then local product Nate Mondou drilled a base hit to plate Kozma with the first run of the game. Chad Pinder hit a sacrifice fly to bring in a second run, then Skye Bolt bounced into a niftily turned 3-6-1 double play to end the frame.

Sam Travis
Sam Travis
put the Rainiers on the board with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the third. After two out Jantzen Witte singled, and that was the end of the night for Angulo. Aaron Brown came on in relief, and immediately picked Witte off of first to end the third with Vegas up 2-1.

The Aviators got right back after McCaughan in the fourth. First sacker Francisco Pena cracked a leadoff homer, and DH Khris Davis, recently signed by the Oakland Athletics to a minor-league contract, was hit by a pitch. After an out, Kozma and Reed singled, Davis scoring on the latter and Kozma reaching third. Moudou hit a fly ball to left deep enough to score Kozma and it was 5-1 Las Vegas.

Tacoma scratched its way back into the game with two runs in the fifth without getting a hit. Jose Godoy led off with a little dribbler out in front of the plate.  Las Vegas catcher Aramis Garcia over-ran the ball and was charged with an error. Marius Wilson walked, but Travis and Jack Reinheimer both struck out looking. Donovan Walton was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Witte hit a slow grounder to third. In a rush to get the final out, Mondou threw wild to first and two runs came in to make it 5-3.

Bolt homered for Las Vegas leading off the eighth and the Aviators scored two more in the ninth.  Travis hit his second homer of the game leading off the ninth to close out the scoring.

Jose Marmolejos

Jose Marmelejos is leading the AAA-West in hitting with a robust .372 average and has 21 home runs in 279 plate appearances for Tacoma this season. His slugging hasn't translated to the big leagues, where he's batted just .177 with nine home runs in 209 plate appearances over the past two seasons with the Mariners.

Hometown product

Mondou is from Lake Tapps and attended Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma. He played college ball at Wake Forest and was drafted by Oakland in the 13th round in 2016. It's his first year at the Triple-A level, where he's batting .315 and has seven home runs.

The Aaron Brown who pitches for Las Vegas is NOT the former Seattle TV news anchor who later worked for ABC, CNN, and PBS.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Rainiers split Sunday twin bill with Sacramento


July 25 was a beautiful day to play two at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.

The Tacoma Rainiers and Sacramento River Cats split a doubleheader at Cheney Stadium on Sunday, July 25. The Rainiers won the opener 4-0 and the River Cats took the nightcap 3-2.

Ian McKinney
The game 1 starter was southpaw Ian McKinney, who also had a strong outing in our last Rainiers game, a 4-0 loss to Salt Lake the previous weekend. This time McKinney wasn't quite as sharp but came away with a win. He pitched five innings and allowed just one hit, walked four and struck out six. Wyatt Mills and Jimmy Yacabonis each pitched a scoreless inning as the Rainiers combined for a two-hitter in the seven-inning affair. Left fielder Jantzen Witte was the hitting star of the game. His leadoff home run in the second proved to be all Tacoma needed, and the Rainiers added three in the sixth on a rally started by Witte's one-out single that included an RBI double by Sam Travis and a run-scoring single by Jack Reinheimer.

Game 1 box score

We never get to see a no-hitter, not even a fake one

Readers of Weisenheimer are no doubt familiar with our lament that my Sweetie, the official scorer, and I have never seen a no-hitter despite having seen hundreds of games together over the last 30 years. We didn't see one today, either, though we got closer than usual. 

There wasn't much suspense on the River Cat side, as the first batter of the game, former Rainier Braden Bishop got a single on the first pitch of the game from Tacoma starter Brian Schlitter. The Rainiers didn't get a hit until Taylor Trammell's leadoff double in the fourth. Neither team scored early in the "bullpen" game for both clubs, and it was 0-0 through four. The Rainiers finally broke through in the fifth. Wyatt Mathisen led off with a hit by pitch and, after two outs, Luis Liberato cracked a home run for a 2-0 lead.

Sacramento answered with a run in the top of the sixth. Bishop led off with a triple and scored on a fly ball to Trammell in deep center. Sacramento took the lead in the top of the seventh. Chadwick Tromp singled with one out. Pinch runner Arismeady Alcantara went to third on a double by Mitchell Tolman. Will Toffey's single plated Alcantara, and Tolman scored on a groundout. The Rainiers went out quietly in the bottom of the seventh.

Game 2 box score

My Sweetie, the Official Scorer, notes that even if one of the teams had not registered a base hit, it would not have been a no-hitter, as she doesn't recognize seven-inning games as real baseball.

Ballpark music

The Rainiers have been leaning on barbershop quartets for music, at least in recent games we have attended. The national anthem Sunday was performed by the Clef Jumpers, who also sang a couple of other barbershop standards during inning breaks. The previous Sunday the featured performers were the Four Tunes. They burned three of their tunes on the anthem and God Bless America, plus one barbershop classic, so they only have one song left in their repertoire.

Family ties

The River Cats have an infielder named Peter Maris, but we find no indication that he's related to former single-season home run record holder Roger Maris. Sacramento pitcher Yunior Marte does not appear to be related to any of several active players who share his surname. Outfielder Joe McCarthy is a brother of Jake, currently playing for Reno. Neither appears to be related to the long-time Yankees manager or the Red-baiting US Senator of the 1950s.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Salt Lake Bees 4, Tacoma Rainiers 0

Cheney Stadium on a lovely Sunday afternoon, July 18, 2021

My Sweetie, the Official Scorer and I have seen many hundreds of baseball games together over the last 30 years and have yet to see a no-hitter. We typically lament that "We never get to see a no-hitter" once both sides have put a safety up on the board. We didn't get to see a no-hitter yesterday at Cheney Stadium, either, but it was closer than we usually get as the Rainiers fell to the Salt Lake Bees 4-0.

Brian Johnson
Big Salt Lake southpaw Brian Johnson retired the first 13 batters he faced before Tacoma designated hitter Jantzen Witte grounded an eight-hopper up the middle. Bee shortstop Gavin Cecchini made a game attempt, but the ball tipped off the end of his glove. I was certain that My Sweetie, usually pretty strict about these things, would rule an error, but both she and the Rainiers official scorer credited Witte with a single. He was immediately erased when Tacoma catcher José Godoy grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, preserving the perfect game (which, under My Sweetie's rules, means facing the minimum regardless of how many runners reach.)

Meanwhile Tacoma lefty Ian McKinney was having a pretty decent outing himself, allowing just three hits in the first six innings while walking three and striking out 10 with some sneaky slow stuff and a fastball that touched 92 at times. We arrived at the seventh inning in a 0-0 tie.

Salt Lake third baseman Jake Gatewood led off against McKinney, worked a full count, fouled off a couple of two-strike pitches, and then blasted a long, majestic home run well over the wall in left center field and it was 1-0 Bees. When first baseman Preston Palmeiro hit a warning-track fly ball to right, Tacoma manager Kristopher Negron decided McKinney's day was done.

Daniel Zamora got the final two outs of the seventh with no trouble, but things fell apart in the eighth. After one out, Zamora walked Jo Adell and gave up a single to José Rojas. Vinny Nittoli was summoned from the pen and uncorked a wild pitch that moved the runners to second and third. A walk loaded the bases. Salt Lake catcher Anthony Bemboom lifted a sacrifice fly to right deep enough to advance all three runners, and Gatewood lined a single to plate the final two runners and end the scoring.

Johnson continued his excellent work. With the score 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh he allowed his second hit of the game, a leadoff dunker to center by Jake Hager. Taylor Trammell followed with a walk and the Rainier faithful stirred, hoping for a comeback. But José Marmolejos whiffed and Witte bounced into a 6-4-3 double play, and that was that. Johnson ended up pitching eight innings, allowing the two hits and one walk and striking out five. Tacoma got just four baserunners and bounced into two twin killings. They really didn't hit anything hard all afternoon.

Box score

Family ties

Preston Palmeiro is the son of former big-league slugger Rafael Palmeiro. Preston was a seventh-round draft pick of the Orioles in 2016 and bounced around their minor league system for several seasons. He signed as a free agent with the Angels organization this spring and his playing his first season at the Triple-A level. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Tacoma Rainiers 7, Round Rock Express 6

A nice day for baseball in Tacoma!
My Sweetie, the Official Scorer, and I made it to Cheney Stadium in Tacoma last Sunday for our first in-person ballgame since August of 2019 and were treated to a Rainiers win. Tacoma jumped out to an early lead and then held on for a 7-6 victory over the Round Rock Express.

We weren't so sure about how much scoring we would see. After all, the Rainiers are players deemed not yet ready for the bigs. They're the Triple-A affiliate of the Mariners, whose team batting average just earlier this week nosed back above the Mendoza line.

We were somewhat heartened when, in looking at pre-game lineups, we noted that the starting pitcher for Round Rock was one Brock Burke. In his two previous starts this season, Burke had lasted a total of just four innings and allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits and six walks in just four innings--a whopping ERA of an even 18.00.

The Rainier lineup included two recent demotees from the big club, catcher Luis Torrens and outfielder Taylor Trammell, as well as rehabbing outfielder Jake Fraley, penciled in at designated hitter for the day. Bernie Martinez was the starting pitcher for the Rainiers.

Burke got through the first just fine, fanning the first two Rainiers before allowing a single to Trammell and getting first sacker Sam Travis on a comebacker. The wheels came off in the second. Left fielder Dillon Thomas led off with a single and third baseman Jantzen Witte followed with a walk. A base hit by Luis Liberato, the right fielder, loaded the bases with nobody out. Shortstop Jack Reinheimer whiffed for out number one. Second baseman Ty Kelly hit a fly ball to right field that was deep enough to plate Thomas with Tacoma's first run. Fraley, the leadoff man, walked to re-load the bases, and then Torrens drilled one into the Rainier bullpen beyond the left field wall for a grand slam and a quick 5-0 lead.

That ended the day for Burke, who lasted 1.2 innings and allowed five earned runs on four hits, walking two and striking out three. His ERA actually went UP to 20.65. I know ERA isn't exactly in vogue as an indicator of pitching performance these days, but if you're above 20, well, that's not good.

Round Rock began to claw their way back into the game with a pair in the top of the third on a double by Delino DeShields. Liberato hit a solo home run with two out in the bottom of the third to make it 6-2. The Express got a run on three singles in the fifth, and Trammell answered with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the frame to make it 7-3. Jason Martin, the Round Rock first baseman, slugged a solo shot in the sixth to make it 7-4 and set up an interesting eighth inning.

With Ben Onyshko on the hill for the Rainiers after pitching a 1-2-3 seventh, DeShields led off with a grounder to short that Reinheimer fielded cleanly but threw away for an error. Round Rock third sacker Yonny Hernandez walked, and Andy Ibañez doubled to plate DeShields and move Hernandez to third. A base hit by Martin scored Hernandez and moved Ibañez to third, making it 7-6, and that was it for Onyshko. 

Tacoma manager Kristopher Negron called on right hander Vinny Nitoli, who pulled quite a Houdini act. Martin swiped second to make it second and third with no outs. With the Rainier infield playing in, Nitoli fanned DH Carl Chester for the first out. An intentional walk to centerfielder Leody Taveras loaded the bases and set up a potential double play. But Nitoli struck out shortstop Anderson Tejeda for the second out and catcher Jack Kruger flied out to right to end this inning with Tacoma still on top.

Zach Weiss, Tacoma's seventh and final hurler on the day, earned a save by keeping Round Rock off the board in the ninth. He walked one, struck out one, and was saved further trouble when Liberato made a diving catch on a sinking liner to right by Ibañez for the final out of the contest.

Trammell went 4-for-4, including a homer, a double, and two singles. He's hitting .460 and has five homers in a dozen games since being farmed to Tacoma.

Box score

Family ties

DeShields is the son of former big-leaguer Delino DeShields. The younger Delino played parts of five seasons with the Rangers before being dealt to Cleveland, where he played last year. He re-upped with Texas as a free agent this winter but hasn't been up to the big club as yet. Delino the elder is presently the first base coach for the Reds.

Eric Young, Jr. is a coach for the Rainiers. He played for a number of MLB teams from 2009-2018. His father, a pretty fair player in his day, is the first base coach for Atlanta.

Andy Ibañez is no relation to former Mariner Raul.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Jim Wynn and the Hall of Fame

Jim Wynn died March 26, 2020 at age 78.
The passing of former major league outfielder Jim Wynn, aka “The Toy Cannon,” has me thinking again about an article about halls of fame that has been rattling around in my head for a good little while now. Among this article’s several inspirations are the dubious election of Harold Baines to the baseball hall and a 1974 Sports Illustrated article about that year’s Dodgers that my good friend Nancy mailed to me a while ago. It was Wynn’s first season with LA after eleven with Houston, who traded him to the Dodgers for Claude Osteen and David Culpepper. The Cannon hit 32 homers and knocked in 108 runs for Los Angeles that year and ended up fifth in the National League MVP voting.

I recall thinking upon reading the article that Wynn was a far better player than Baines. Looking through stats of 1970s Dodgers I also came across Reggie Smith, another fine player. Both Wynn and Smith played for my APBA teams at times during the '70s. I compared them to a short list of inducted Hall-of-Famers:

            Career WAR   HR RBI    OPS
Andre Dawson 64.8    438 1591 806
Reggie Smith     64.6    314 1092 855
Dave Winfield    64.2    465 1833 827
Jim Wynn 55.9    291 964      820
Tony Perez         54       379 1652 804
Jim Rice            47.7    382 1451 854
Orlando Cepeda 50.2    379 1365 849
Harold Baines    38.7    384 1628 820

While Smith and Wynn lag behind the group in the counting stats, they compare favorably in WAR and OPS. Six of these guys are in the Hall of Fame. Smith got three votes from the writers in 1988 and was dropped from further consideration. Wynn didn’t get a single vote in his only year of eligibility in 1983. I’m not here to suggest Smith and Wynn belong in the Hall. I’m not sure ANY of them do, though they were all great players. I'll give you Dawson and Winfield as the class of this bunch.

There are lots of statistical tools that folks have developed for assessing Hall of Fame possibilities, from black ink and gray ink to JAWS and HOF Monitor and HOF Standards. I’m thinking of developing the grandpa/grandma test. I can imagine sitting on my grandpa’s lap 55 years ago and asking, “Wow, did you REALLY get to see Babe Ruth play ball?” I can’t imagine some kid sitting on grandma’s lap in 2050 and asking, “Wow, did you REALLY get to see Harold Baines play?”

That's fame.

I'll get to that larger article about halls of fame pretty soon. It's a good social distancing project!

Thanks for the memories, Jim Wynn.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A goose egg for Dipoto, a gig for O'Brien

As we celebrate today because pitchers and catchers are reporting to Mariners camp, and as I'm in need of a vehicle for procrastination, I decided to make an addendum to my general managers article posted on Friday. I spent about 2,300 words explaining how I figured Pat Gillick was the best trader among M's general managers and Bill Bavasi was the worst. But I didn't rank Jerry Dipoto, current GM, because there just isn't enough data. As you will recall, or can go read, I rated trades for each GM based on future Wins Above Replacement gained and given for each swap. As Dipoto has been on the job for just over a year, most of his deals have yet to pencil out.

I decided I might as well dig up what data there is and see how he's doing so far. Interestingly enough, based on trades made before the end of the 2016 season, Dipoto's general manager trade value is exactly: ZERO. We logged eighteen trades Dipoto made between his hiring in September 2015 and the end of last season, and so far he's gotten back precisely as much WAR as he's given away.

Dipoto's best trade, so far, resulting in a gain of 2.1 WAR, is the deal that brought Leonys Martin to the club, along with Anthony Bass, for Tom Wilhelmsen, James Jones, and Patrick Kivlehan. His worst, at -2.2 WAR, was sending Brad Miller, Logan Morrison, and Danny Farquhar to Tampa Bay for Boog Powell, Nate Carns, and C.J. Riefenhauser. Oddly enough, Dipoto lost 1.6 WAR dealing Riefenhauser away, along with Mark Trumbo, for Steve Clevenger. While Trumbo had a modest 1.6 WAR, all we got out of Clevenger was 0 WAR and some racist tweets.

The Tampa deal illustrates why we didn't want to lump Dipoto in with the rest of the general managers yet. The ultimate value of the trade probably hinges on how much of a prospect Powell is. He hit .270 in 64 games at Tacoma last year before getting hit with an 80-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs.

Similarly, the trade of Mike Montgomery and Jordan Pries for Dan Vogelbach and Paul Blackburn presently ranks as -0.7 WAR for the M's, as Montgomery delivered 0.4 WAR out of the Cubs bullpen while Vogelbach went 1-for-12 during a September call-up for -0.3. But Vogelbach has some potential; he hit 23 home runs and had an OPS of .923 playing for Iowa and Tacoma last summer. Also Vogelbach's nickname is "Vogey." What is wrong with the nicknamers these days? Well, at least he's not D-Vog, and I'm sorry for even putting that idea out there.

In rating the previous general managers, I declined to calculate the trades in which clearly minimal, if any, value had changed hands. I wonder what the future Weisenheimer doing this exercise with ten years of hindsight will think of most of these deals. Juan De Paula and Jio Orozco for Ben Gamel doesn't seem particularly exciting, but if Gamel is the next Mike Trout, or even the next Bruce Bochte, that's probably a plus for the M's.

Dan O'Brien, Jr.

Dan O'Brien ranked number seven of eight Mariner general managers with a trading WAR of -32.9. He passed away last month at the age of 87. His son, Dan O'Brien, Jr., has just landed a gig with Minor League Baseball. According to a report on Ballpark Digest, O’Brien has been hired to serve as a senior executive advisor to MiLB president & CEO Pat O’Conner. This will be the junior O'Brien's 40th season in professional baseball. He was an advisor to the Royals last year and worked for the Brewers as a special assistant for ten years before that. He got his start working in sales and marketing for the M's back in the dark ages.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Bad trades: Rating Mariner general managers

Bad trades are part of baseball. I've made several recent posts about bad trades, and have threatened to do an analysis to determine which Mariners general manager had the worst trading record. Which one do you think was the worst trader? Keep your answer in mind; I’m about to give mine!

First, a little about the methodology. Say what you will about Wins Above Replacement (WAR), it is an easy, one-number representation of a player’s overall value. So in rating trades, I simply compared the future WAR given up to the future WAR received. It’s a hindsight-is-nearly-20-20 way of looking at the swap. For those not familiar with the concept, a player who reaches 2 WAR in a season is a decent starting player, a WAR of 5+ is an all-star type year, and a player with 8 or more WAR would be in the running for MVP. I used WAR as listed by It is explained fully on the site.

In rating the general managers, I have not included all trades, mostly because I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in analysis of swaps such as Steve Delabar for Eric Thames. (Jack Zduriencik lost on that deal, getting -0.1 WAR of Thames for 0.3 of Delabar, a -0.4 WAR swap.) We didn’t consider whether either team actually kept the player, just the total future WAR involved in the trade. We didn’t rate Jerry DiPoto because there’s not yet enough data on his deals. In fact Zduriencik’s data isn’t complete, either; Thames just signed a three-year contract with the Brewers after putting up some good power numbers in Korea for four years. Finally, we don’t include WAR from drafts or signings, though we will make note of some in the narrative. We're just talking trades.

Thus, from best to worst, we rate Seattle Mariner general managers on their trading acumen:

1. Pat Gillick, 2000-2003. GM trade value: 42.7

It figured that Gillick would sit in this spot, though he was the M’s GM for just four years. He held the chair during the amazing 106-win season in 2001 and, while many key pieces of that club were in place when he took over, Gillick made important signings of folks like Bret Boone, John Olerud, and David Bell, all of which were positive.

Gillick made only three significant trades, and two of them worked out OK. Sort of. It was Gillick’s task to trade Ken Griffey, Jr., and he got good return. As we wrote in a previous article, Mike Cameron was by far the better player in the coming years, and the trade amounted to a net gain in WAR of 29.1 for Seattle.

The other good trade for Gillick was the acquisition of Randy Winn for Antonio Perez, a gain of 19.5* WAR. It’s marked with an asterisk, though, because manager Lou Piniella was sort of a part of the deal, and the M’s haven’t done much since Sweet Lou and Gillick departed the scene.

I rated Piniella with my facetious “genius managing factor,” which is essentially a comparison of expected pythagorean wins against actual team victories that attributes the difference to good (or bad) managing. In Piniella's seven years with the Rays and then the Cubs, he had a GMF of -4.

Gillick also signed Ichiro and Felix Hernandez and drafted Adam Jones. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.

2. Lou Gorman, 1977-1980. GM trade value: 31.8

It’s probably a bit of a surprise to see the M’s first general manager so high on the list. Think about it, though—the expansion Mariners had so few players of value that it was hard to make a bad trade!

Most of Gorman’s WAR gains are the result of the selection of veteran lefty reliever Grant Jackson in the expansion draft. Since a veteran lefty reliever is of dubious value to a crummy expansion team, Gorman dealt Jackson to the Pirates for Craig Reynolds and Jimmy Sexton, for a gain of 10.2 WAR. Reynolds was the regular shortstop for two years until Gorman dealt him to Houston for Floyd Bannister, a gain of 16.5 WAR. Thus, Gorman squeezed 26.7 WAR out of Jackson. He also came out ahead on a deal that sent the “Rapid City Rabbit,” Dave Collins, to the Reds for southpaw hurler Shane Rawley. He even got a small positive return for dealing the franchise’s first favorite, Ruppert Jones, to the Yankees for Jim Beattie. I still sing “Rupe, Rupe, Rupe for the Mariners” during Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

Gorman died in 2011.

3. Woody Woodward, 1989-1999. GM trade value: 25

OK, how many of you immediately had Woodward pop into your heads when I suggested that you think about which M’s GM you thought was the worst trader? I thought so. I did, too. Here’s what happened.

Woodward made what is by far the best trade in Mariner history when he shipped Mark Langston and Mike Campbell to Montreal for Brian Holman, Gene Harris, and a wild kid who was 55 2/3 innings into what became a Hall of Fame career. Randy Johnson was worth 104.4 future WAR, and Woodward came out 92.9 WAR ahead on the deal.

Since he had only 25 WAR to the good by the end of his long tenure with the M’s, Woodward gave most of it back.

He also made the two worst trades in club history: The disastrous swap of Jason Varitek AND Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb (-56.5 WAR) and the deal of David Ortiz to Minnesota for Dave Hollins (-52.2). I almost gave Woodward a pass on the Ortiz deal, but a trade is a trade. Even so, the Twins had Ortiz for six years and were so impressed with him that they simply released him after the 2002 season. Ortiz signed with Boston and became a Fenway-aided monster.

Woodward made some nice deals, too. The swap of Darren Bragg for Jamie Moyer was a gain of 32.2 WAR. Even when forced to trade Johnson he came out 4.3 WAR ahead on the deal. But he made a few other clinkers, too, such as the puzzling deal of Tino Martinez, Jeff Nelson, and Jim Mecir to the Yankees for Sterling Hitchcock and Russ Davis (-31.5); and the Omar Vizquel deal I wrote about last month (-31.7).

So it was feast or famine with Woodward on the trade market. In other moves, he hired Piniella and drafted Varitek, Boone, and Alex Rodriguez.

4. Jack Zduriencik, 2009-2015. GM trade value: 11.1

“Trader Jack” came in and almost immediately pulled off an eleven-player deal, the principals of which were J.J. Putz, Luis Valbuena, Jason Vargas, and Franklin Gutierrez. The deal gained Zduriencik 13.2 WAR, and he spent the rest of his tenure losing 2.1.

Jack Z
We learned a lot about Zduriencik from his two deals involving Cliff Lee. In trading Tyson Gillies, Phillippe Aumont, and J.C. Ramirez to the Phillies for Lee in December 2009, he came out 27.5 WAR ahead, as the players he gave away were worth less than zero. Aumont was the M’s first-round draft pick in 2007; in parts of four seasons with the Phils he pitched in 46 games, all but one in relief, and recorded a career ERA of 6.80. The M’s used 3.4 of Lee’s WAR during the 2010 season before dealing him to Texas in July, along with Mark Lowe, for Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, and Josh Leuke. It was a -20.5 WAR deal, but in the Lee dealings Jack came out ahead by seven because he got to use some of Lee, and Smoak and Beavan had some minor value.

My next study may be a look at deals made to get “something” for the guy who is about to become a free agent. The best idea may well be to hold on and get a good couple of months from the player who is going to walk, rather than collecting three shiny pennies for your dull old quarter.

There were a number of times Zduriencik made a good move, only to later give away his gains. He earned 6.2 WAR trading Michael Saunders for J.A. Happ, then lost 4.5 trading Happ for Adrian Sampson. He got John Jaso for Lueke (+8.6) but then dealt Jaso for Mike Morse (-5.6).

5. Hal Keller, 1984-1985. GM trade value: 1.4

KellerKeller was the club’s general manager for two seasons and made just one trade of note, dealing Tony Bernazard for Jack Perconte and Gorman Thomas. Thomas was about done, but Perconte had a couple of nice, productive seasons for the M’s. Sitting on your hands can be a good approach for a GM!

Keller passed away in 2012. His brother was Charlie Keller, a slugging outfielder for the Yankees during the 1940s. Hal caught a couple of dozen games for the Washington Senators between 1949 and 1952.

6. Dick Balderson, 1986-1988. GM trade value: -6.8

Balderson ran the club for three seasons and made one horrible trade, another bad one, and a couple of good ones. The bomb was the inexplicable 1986 swap of Dave Henderson and Spike Owen to Boston for Rey Quinones, Mike Brown, Mike Trujillo, and John Christensen—a loss of 29.7 WAR. The other clinker was his trade of Danny Tartabull and Rick Luecken to the Royals for Scott Bankhead, Mike Kingery, and Steve Shields (-10).

He came out ahead in the deal of Phil Bradley and Tim Fortugno to Philadelphia for Dave Brundage, Mike Jackson, and Glenn Wilson, +14.2 mostly thanks to a long and useful career by the reliever Jackson.

Then came Balderson’s best trade and the only Mariner trade I know of to make it into sitcom lore: the swap of Ken Phelps to the Yankees for Jay Buhner, Rick Balabon, and Troy Evers. This one was a gain of 22.8 WAR and brought Balderson much closer to the break-even point as a trader. Alas, he was sacked about a week after making his best deal ever, and replaced by Woodward.

Balderson also drafted Ken Griffey, Jr.

7. Dan O'Brien, 1981-1983. GM trade value: -32.9

O’Brien, Seattle’s second-worst trader ever, was the club's second GM and gets his low rating on the basis of just two deals that did not go well. Worst was his swap of Bud Black, a decent hurler and future manager who pitched one inning for the Mariners, for Manny Castillo, a -2.2 WAR guy who made it a -22.3 deal. The other was a five-for-six swap that essentially boiled down to Rick Honeycutt for Richie Zisk and Jerry Don Gleaton (-10.5). Zisk was probably the first of many disappointments brought in to add some power to the lineup. Honeycutt had a long career as a pitcher and has been the pitching coach for the Dodgers for a decade or so. I wonder if he’s taught Clayton Kershaw anything about the use of thumbtacks. Gleaton, a ginger-headed southpaw nicknamed “Flamin’ Red” by M’s broadcaster Dave Niehaus, was once the post-game interview subject some years after leaving Seattle. Asked about his his continuing career, Gleaton observed, “When you’re a lefty, they want you even if you suck.”

O’Brien, who passed away last month at age 87, signed Edgar Martinez.

8. Bill Bavasi, 2004-2008. GM trade value: -155.8

Probably most of you who didn’t guess Woodward as the team’s worst trader ever picked Bavasi. You were right, and it’s not even close. In five years Bavasi made nine major trades and every single one of them returned negative WAR. Most of them turned in double-figures negative WAR.

His crowning achievement is the stunningly awful trade for southpaw pitcher Erik Bedard, for whom Bavasi surrendered Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler, and Cam Mickolio. Total WAR: -39.7. Bavasi has been gone from the M’s for nine seasons, and this trade is still getting worse. Jones is now 31 years old and just had his lowest-WAR season (1.1) since having a cup of coffee with the Mariners. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect that he could add at least another 10 WAR over the next 4-5 years. Tillman is about to turn 29 and has averaged 2.9 WAR over the last four seasons. If he does that again it’s another 12 WAR. Another 22 WAR makes this one -61.7, and that would be the worst deal in club history.

Other terrible Bavasi trades: Shin-Soo Choo and Shawn Nottingham for Ben Broussard (-31.4). Asdrubal Cabrera for Eduardo Perez (-25.8). Matt Thornton for Joe Borchard (-14.2). Heck, Bavasi’s “best” trade was the one dealing the 43-year-old Moyer to the Phillies for Andrew Baldwin and Andy Barb. This was only -4.8 WAR as Moyer went on to win 58 more games in the bigs, while Baldwin and Barb were career minor leaguers. It's tough to trade a guy who is over 40 and still come out on the short end.

Bavasi’s best moves were free agent signings of Richie Sexson, Kenji Johjima, and Adrian Beltre. While all three are considered busts by many, Sexson and Johjima made modest contributions in Seattle. In Seattle Beltre never reached the sort of gaudy numbers he'd put up while with the Dodgers, but he did account for 21.3 WAR in five seasons with the M’s, and 66.9 in all since the signing. We're starting to hear talk of his Hall of Fame credentials; he just re-upped with Texas for two years and needs 58 hits to get to 3,000 and 55 home runs to get to 500.

Bavasi was far and away the worst trader among former Mariner general managers. He took over a club that had won 91 or more games in each of the previous four seasons and immediately won 63. While they finished above .500 once during his tenure, by his final season the M’s lost 101 games.

To recap:

WAR from trades by Seattle general managers

Gillick: 42.7
Gorman: 31.8
Woodward: 25
Zduriencik: 11.1
Keller: 1.4
Balderson: -6.8
O'Brien: -32.9
Bavasi: -155.8