Mariners Analysis

Friday, January 25, 2008

Depressing M's conference yesterday

Wow, yesterday listening to the M's try to get the fans excited had exactly the opposite effect. From Charlton's thinning, gray hair slicked back, McLaren in that ridiculous black leather coat... and then of course Bavasi and his comments.

The team all but came out and said "we are trying everything we can to trade Jones and company to get top-line pitching" but can't seem to find any takers. You seriously have to wonder if Adam might be better off in a different setting, as the current "brain trust" seems hell bent on trading him; the only way he sets foot in Safeco wearing Mariner blue is if other teams don't play along with Bavasi's "plan." By then the hype/expectations for Jones will be so high among casual fans they'll expect nothing short of Griffey-esque numbers that most will call him a failure no matter what.

Just as some have argued Morrow will be better off pitching for a club that isn't in a "win now" mode, Jones might well be better off playing for a club (Baltimore) where the team isn't expected to contend in 2008. Half the Mariner fans think Jones is a bust waiting to happen, and the expectations are going to be high. If Bavasi has his way, Adam Jones will be in Minnesota, Pittsburgh or Baltimore shortly.

The other depressing part was listening to Charlton and his insane "pitching inside" and "establish the fastball" mantra. I couldn't tell if he was the bullpen coach or a Scientology representative. Let's put up a list of clubs that don't believe pitchers should do either...

Club #1.... Mariners 2007 (according to Charlton)
Club #2.... umm, can't find any.

Seriously, this is like the hitting coach coming out and declaring in 2008 we are going to hit the ball harder. And farther. Because that's how to be an effective hitter, and we didn't do enough of that in 2007.

Felix didn't throw inside more in 2007 because he can't locate his fastball consistently. See, in order to throw your fastball to a particular location you have to actually know where it's going. Apparently Charlton has never actually watched Felix pitch because otherwise you would have never said what our bullpen coach spouted in front of the camera. You can go to any number of game logs to find games where every pitch was a fastball in the 1st inning by Felix.

I'm all for our coaching staff being excited about 2008 and getting our fans excited. From a PR perspective I would have rather seen the spin of "we have amazing prospects coming on board" and then had the team explain they found a deal they couldn't refuse if they had to part with them.

Instead the team finds itself in a bit of a predicament. They have essentially notified the fan base the young kids are being used as trade tokens because they believe they cannot help the club enough to win this year. So if for some reason the trades don't go through, then what? You tell the fans we are disappointed you couldn't get the players you wanted, so I guess we'll play out the year with our sloppy-seconds?

Bavasi had made it clear the present farm system is being used as trade tokens for the players they really want. I'll leave it up to you to decide if that's the way modern teams build for success.