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Jack Zduriencik's Seattle Mariners and His Moneyball

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 18:  Ichiro Suzuki #51 (L) of the Seattle Mariners gets a hug from Ken Griffey Jr. #24 after batting practice prior to the game against the New York Yankees on September 18, 2009 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Sam WoodsCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2010

A quick group "Aww" for that picture.

Awwwwwwwww!!!

Anyway, the term "Moneyball" was coined by Michael Lewis in his book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game .

The book is mainly about the Oakland Athletics' revolutionary (at the time) idea of using sabermetics to construct a competitive baseball team in spite of their payroll disadvantages.

A thought came to me on my way home today. I was trying to brainstorm ideas for ways the Seahawks could find undervalued pieces on the market, an act they must master, and they have a pretty good head start on it (woo Alex Gibbs!).

Then my mind, for whatever reason, turned to the Mariners. Just as quickly, I realized something that had been staring me in the face for months now.

Jack Zduriencik has found a new inefficiency in the market. He has changed the meaning of finding undervalued talent.

Forget UZR, VORP, WAR, FIP, .WOBA, tRA, etc. The undervalued player in this market is not one with a high OBP, but with a high temper and stacked police record.

Milton Bradley, Daniel Cortes, and Ian Snell all have had personal problems not too long ago. They're all extremely talented, but their former respective teams felt the risk out-weighed the reward.

Not Jack. He snatched them up on the cheap, unloading Yuniesky Betancourt for Dan Cortes (!) and Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley (!!).

Teams will pay attention to the Northwest after this year. They'll realize that ol' Jacky Z got 'em good (again) and they to will try this new found idea out.

At this time, most teams aren't constructed to take advantage of the current market's inefficiencies. They may take in headcases, but they don't get much out of their investment. They lack excellent clubhouse chemistry. Only one team can have Ken Griffey Jr., right?

So, if anyone is wondering, that's why Ken was brought back. You might be able to get a slight upgrade over him as a pinch hitter, but it doesn't compare to how much better he'll make this team.

In sabermetric language, an upgrade over Griffey would provide at most one more WAR. With Griffey and all that comes with him, the likes of Milton Bradley, Ichiro, Ian Snell, as well as willingness to experiment with the infield a bit, can reward us with an extra five to eight more WAR.

Chemistry counts. With good chemistry, you can take chances and still win ballgames.

If I'm late to the party and you've already reached this conclusion, my apologies. There's worse ways to spend three minutes, right?

 

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