I’ve been really pleased with a lot of the Mariners moves so far during the off season. Since Pinella was going to leave anyway, getting Randy Winn back in the deal was a fantastic steal. Gillick played that masterfully as the D-Rays could afford to give up Winn since they won’t be planning to win in the next year or two and can afford to wait for their other young outfielders to develop. If Gillick had let Pinella go to another team like the Mets, the Mariners wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much back as compensation.
The Mariners also resigned several key free agents (John Olerud, Jamie Moyer and Dan Wilson) to slightly below market contracts and signed Bob Melvin as the new skipper.
But I digress… I intended to discuss the Mariner’s new Hitting Coach.
Like I was saying, so much has gone right for the Mariners this off season – this caught me completely off-guard. The Royals are the whipping boys of the sabermetric crowd as a team that goes up hacking at anything near the plate, unwilling to work the count or take a walk. With this negative impression already set in my mind, I went over to the wonderful Baseball-Reference.com site to see what the numbers had to say.
The since they moved into Safeco, which is no small feat in a good pitcher’s park. They have had over 600 walks each of the last 4 years and 6 of the last 7 with a high mark of 775 in 2000 (the last year they had A-rod).
During that time, the Royals run production has gone from 5.32 to 4.55. This drop coincides with them losing Jermaine Dye and Johnny Damon, but looking at the walk totals over this span is really concerning. Dropping from 535 in 1999 to 511 in 2000 to 406 in 2001 before rising again to 524 this past year.
Those numbers scare me… but what scares me more is not knowing what Lamar Johnson’s role in those numbers was (would the Mariners and Gillick really hire a guy who’d do this?) and what his role will be with the M’s in terms of setting the team strategy at the plate.