Musings about, um... well, the Seattle Mariners as well as a love affair with this game baseball. By Peter J. White
"Klesko's the one guy you don't want to beat you," manager Bob Melvin said. "Not that White's not a good player, but you like the right-vs.-right matchup with Nellie and White" (P-I).
"You're not officially a writer until someone interrupts you while you're typing, and you try to be nice about it, but you secretly want to start screaming like Nicholson in The Shining."
They took a huge dive in 2001, but they didn't have a sub-.500 season until they got Fat Mo.
I think losing Olerud was the end of their infield defense, though. Their infield errors have ballooned ever since. You ever notice how sometimes Carlos Guillen has a really interesting arm? The only reason it's not even more interesting is because of Olerud. Zeile was an ok defensive replacement but Mo Vaughn is really just scraping the bottom of the barrel. Not that they'll have to worry about that anymore except for the paycheck part.
Saw your response to my Olerud post, and I don't think you're giving it it's proper due. Because outside of the win totals, the slide in the Mets offensive production began right after his departure from New York.
As I wrote:
"Sure, the Mets were able to make it to the World Series in 2000 without Olerud. But you can't help but notice that while the Mets scored 853 runs in 1999 (Olerud's last season in New York), that production dropped to 807 in 2000, and 642 in 2001."
If the Mets were able to clinch the Wild Card in 2000, it was because of Mike Hampton's addition to the pitching staff. Without him the following year, the slide continued, and the difference between having Zeile in the lineup in place of Olerud became even more apparent.
Later in your post, you demonstrate some detailed knowledge of Olerud's current OPS and Walk totals. Why don't you take a look at the Mets totals between 1999 and 2001? How can you fail to notice that Olerud has 125 walks in 1999, compared to Zeile's 75 walks he had in Olerud's place a year later?
I don't mean to bash Todd Zeile, a guy who has made a living playing for plenty of major league teams. But at this point in his career, he simply isn't the same sort of hitter that Olerud is. As a hitter, Zeile is always looking for a ball to drive; meanwhile, Olerud has always been a patient hitter who will take a walk if he can't get a pitch he can drive.
Something else I didn't mention. Zeile's failure to adequately take Olerud's place in the lineup led directly to the trade for Mo Vaughn after the 2001 season -- another nice direct link from Olerud's departure to the mess the Mets currently find themselves in.
It's not quite as interesting as the Mets playing in three straight 1-hit games, but the M's have now won three straight doubling their opponents score.
"I was a pitcher," he said, breaking into a broad smile. "And if I pitched to me now, I don't think I would get this guy out" (Hickey, P-I)
"[First Basemen] #53 John Olerud: A career .300 hitter who walks 100 times a year and has some power, no speed. His stock will shoot up if and when his career numbers start to pass milestones" (The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, p. 452, 2001).
"I can see where he could be badly outwitted by another manager who traps him into bad matchups based on Melvin's L/R fixation, or the M's losing a game where Melvin fails to make good pinch-hitting decisions in a situation where they could have generated some runs. The Torre-Zimmer duo particularly would give Melvin fits."