Mariners Analysis

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

John Parrish's role

Last night when McLaren put in Parrish while the M's clung to a 3-1 lead, I was dumbstruck.

How could a manager with the full bullpen at his disposal choose his worst reliever in a situation like that? It was impossible to apply logic to the move.

Managers get second guessed all the time when it comes to bullpen usage. It comes with the territory, and in general I don't get too worked up about it because ultimately the player has to perform. We only ask that the manager puts the player in the best possible position to succeed, and asking a player like Parrish who hasn't been very good all year to suddenly step in during his home debut and not suck seemed like a lot.

The trade to get Parrish was a bit of a head scratcher. The M's already had a great bullpen, and trading with Baltimore who has one of the worst seemed like an odd way to try and upgrade. No matter what type of metric you believe in to evaluate relievers- scouting reports, radar guns, ERA+, wins, losses... whatever you choose, Parrish didn't grade out very well.

The Mariners have never really clarified why they got him, and why they think he will help the team. They talked about sending Lowe to AAA, but you don't need to acquire a bad reliever to do that. You had plenty of other options if that was the sole concern.

So last night, amid the scattered boos, the team made a choice in sending Parrish out and it backfired big time. The team needs to make a choice here.

Do you admit that you knew Parrish wasn't very good in the first place, and he really is just an arm to pitch mop-up? If so, then you screwed up in sending him out last night against Santana. A 3-1 lead for your ace (Felix) is hardly mop-up time.

Or, do you tell us you believe Parrish is a valuable addition to the club who will contribute through his veteran presence? If so, last night says volumes about your player evaluation skills.

The Mariners are between a rock and hard place here. They traded for a guy who isn't very good, and hope they can make him good in the middle of a playoff race. They have no margin for error here.

Either Bavasi made a mistake, or McLaren made a mistake last night. It's not second guessing, it's just the facts.