Originally posted by ScottChristThat's every bit as much a pitching stat as it is a fielding stat, and consider how much worse the Seattle pitching was in '04 compared to '03. Their team ERA was up a full run and they allowed 158 more hits total. The Mets were also half a run better this year than last year. Mike Cameron wasn't so amazingly great either year that he should be looked at as the sole reason for either development.
The Mariners also had an outfield full of fast players before, whereas now, with the huge outfield in the park, you have Ibanez in left rather than Winn. I'm also not simply blaming Ibanez, who plays left field just about as well as anyone needs to play left field, but Safeco is indeed a place where it helps to have three speedy outfielders. Ibanez is a lot of things, one of them is not fast. Of course this is just an idea - how much of it would you say would be Ibanez v. Winn, as much if not more than Winn v. Cameron?
Well, they gave up 49 more home runs in 2004, which leaves 109 extra hits left over, almost exactly the difference in doubles and triples over 2003. Of course pitching contributed to this increase, but the Mariners won games from '01-'03 by playing good defense and cutting down on extra-base hits, and generally preventing big innings by the opposition, and they sure suffered in '04 from giving up big innings much more often. I think the poorer outfield defense REALLY contributed to Moyer and Franklin's bad years, though they are certainly accountable themselves.
Let's just say that there were PLENTY of fly balls hit to the OF this year that Winn didn't catch where you said to yourself "Cameron would've probably caught that." Dave Henderson is one of the M's rotating color guys, and he liked to point out that Winn watched the ball while he ran, while a "natural" CF like Cameron runs to the spot where he will catch the ball with his head down to get there more quickly and then locate the ball when he's close.
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Matsui has hinted he might take next season off to play for Japan in the Olympics, so that could take him off the market. No-Arm is from the area, so it could give them a local guy to market the team off of.