The Seattle Mariners signed Eric Byrnes to a one year $400,000 deal last week. In this post, I made a snarky comment that San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean would foolishly sign Byrnes to a two year contract with a third year player option. Why am I now praising Mariners GM Jack Z for this signing when I would have trashed Sabean for the same signing?
It's definitely not for Eric Byrnes' stats. Over the last two injury plagued season, he didn't post an OBP greater than .272. In fact, he's had two other seasons where he didn't reach base more than 30% of the time. The thing about this signing, the Ryan Garko signing, the Milton Bradley trade and other signings is that the Mariners are acquiring okay production on the cheap. This okay production should lead to some nice, inexpensive platoons.
Sabean, on the other hand, signs Edgar Renteria, signs Aaron Rowand, signs Aubrey Huff and sign sMark DeRosa on the not-so-cheap and expects those players to be the stars of their position. Rowand and Renteria have not produced at the rate they are being paid, and I don't expect Huff and DeRosa to either.*
Back to the original question: Why am I now praising Mariners GM Jack Z for this signing when I would have trashed Sabean for the same signing?
Answer: Z brings in the same type of players that Sabean brings in. Z pays them much less than Sabean. Z does not throw all of his dice at said players. Instead, he creates depth and competition. Z is brilliant, Sabean is not.
*I tried to not make this so easy, but we can't forget this contract.